The First Principles
By Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa
First published in 1921
Theosophy is the wisdom arising from the study of the evolution of life and form. This wisdom already exists, because the study has been pursued for long ages by properly equipped investigators into nature's mysteries. The investigators, who are called the Masters of the Wisdom, are those souls who in the evolutionary process have passed beyond the stage of man to the next higher, that of the "Adept". As man evolves to Adept, he gains knowledge by investigation and experiment. The knowledge so far gained by an unbroken line of Adepts is Theosophy, the Ancient Wisdom.
As man becomes Adept, he ceases to be merely an item in the evolutionary process, and appears as a master and director of that process, under the supervision of a great Consciousness called in Theosophy the Logos. He is enabled, as a cooperator with the Logos, to see nature from His standpoint, and to some extent survey her, not as her helpless tool, but with the vision of her Creator. Such a survey is Theosophy today.
These Masters of the Wisdom, the agents of the Logos, direct the evolutionary process in all its phases, each supervising a particular department in the evolution of life and form. They form a body known as the Great Hierarchy or the Great White Brotherhood. They guide the building and unbuilding of forms on sea and land; they direct the rise and fall of nations, giving to each just so much of the Ancient Wisdom as is needed for its welfare, and can be assimilated by it.
Sometimes that Wisdom is given indirectly, through workers in quest of knowledge, by inspiring them all unseen towards discoveries; sometimes it is given directly, as a revelation. Both these ways are observable now in the twentieth century. The Masters of the Wisdom, who are in charge of the evolution of all that lives, are giving the Wisdom — the science of facts — indirectly, through the invisible guidance and inspiration of scientific workers; directly, they have given it in a body of knowledge known by the term Theosophy.
Theosophy is then, in a sense, a revelation, but it is the revelation of a knowledge by those who have discovered it, to those who have not yet done so. It cannot but be a hypothesis at first to whomsoever it is offered; it can become one's own personal knowledge only by experiment and experience.
In Theosophy today we have not the fullness of knowledge of all facts. Only a few main facts and laws have been told us, sufficient to spur us on to study and discovery; but innumerable gaps remain to be filled in. They are being filled in by individual workers in our midst, but what we have of knowledge is as a drop in the ocean to what lies undiscovered or unrevealed. Nevertheless, the little we have is of wonderful fascination, and it reveals new inspiration and beauty everywhere. Theosophy today, in the modern Theosophical literature, will be found to be concerned mostly with the evolution of life. But the knowledge concerning the evolution of form, now gathered in every department of modern science, is equally a part of the Ancient Wisdom. In both, there are gaps to be filled in; but when both are correctly viewed, each is seen to supplement the other.
In this exposition of Theosophy, as in every manual of science, there are bound to be two elements. A writer will expound what has been accepted as fact by all, or by a majority of scientific investigators, but at the same time he may include the result of the work of a few or of himself only, which may require corroboration or revision. As he proceeds, he may not separate, unconsciously or through lack of true scientific training, these two elements. Similarly, while the leading ideas of this work may be considered "Theosophical", and as a fairly correct exposition of the knowledge revealed by the Masters of the Wisdom, there will be parts that will not deserve that dignity. But as Truth is after all a matter of discovery by each for himself, what others can do is merely to point out the way. Scientifically established truths, and what may be but personal or erroneous views, must all be tested by the same standard.
Though in its fundamental ideas Theosophy is a revelation, yet there is no authority in it to an individual, unless he himself assents to it. Nevertheless, as a man must be ready to stand or fall by the noblest hypothesis of life which his heart and mind can conceive, this work is written to show that such a hypothesis exists in Theosophy.
There is no better preparation for a clear comprehension of Theosophy than a broad, general, knowledge of modern science. For science deals with facts, tabulating them and discovering laws; Theosophy deals with the same facts, and though they may be tabulated differently, the conclusions are in the main the same. Where they differ, it is not because Theosophy questions the facts of the scientist, but simply because, before coming to conclusions, it takes into account additional facts which modern science either ignores or has not as yet discovered. There is but one Science, so long as facts remain the same; what is strictly scientific is Theosophical, as what is truly Theosophical is entirely in harmony with all the facts, and therefore in the highest degree scientific.
The greatest achievement of modern science is the conception offered to the thinking mind of the phenomena of existence as factors in a great process called Evolution. Let us understand in broad outline what evolution means according to science, and we shall be ready to understand what it means according to Theosophy.
Let us consider first the great nebula in Orion (Fig. 1).
It is a chaotic mass of matter in an intensely heated condition, millions and millions of miles in diameter. It is a vague, cloudy mass, full of energy; but, so far as we can see, it is energy not performing any usefu1 work.
But there are other nebulae which give us an. indication of a definite trend in evolution. The nebula in Canes Venatici (Fig. 2) is not only revolving round a center, but it also appears to be breaking up into distinct sections or arms. The material of each arm, while retaining its motion round the centre, will slowly condense round one or more nuclei. Each nucleus will become a star.
A similar process can be postulated for the next stage in evolution. The material of each star undergoes a change. Either because of its internal condition, or because it is affected by a passing star, it will develop subsidiary centers. The nebular matter will condense round them, and slowly these centers will become planets circling round the star's central nucleus. Thus, with regard to our own star, the Sun, we note what evolution has accomplished; it is today an orderly solar system, having a central sun and attendant planets circling round it (Fig. 3).
What will be the next stage? By this time, there will have appeared within the solar system the lighter chemical elements. Hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and others, will be there; they will enter into certain. combinations, and then will come the first appearance of Life. We shall now have some of the matter as protoplasm, the first form of Life. What, then, will be the next stage?
This protoplasm, too, arranges itself in groups and combinations; it takes the form of organisms, both vegetable and animal. Let us first watch what happens to it, as it becomes vegetable organisms.
Two activities will be noticeable from the beginning in this living matter: one, that the organism desires to retain its life as long as possible, by nutrition; the other, to produce another organism similar to its own. Under the impulse of these two instincts, it will "evolve", that is, we shall see the simple organism taking on a complex structure. This process will continue, stage by stage, till slowly there will arise a vegetable kingdom on each planet, such as we have on our own (Fig. 4).
Each successive stage will be developed from its predecessor; each will be so organized as to prolong its existence longer and to give rise to better offspring. Each will be more "evolved" than what has gone before. From unicellular organisms, such as bacteria, algae and fungi, spore plants will be developed, able to disseminate offspring in a new way; later, a better method of propagation will be evolved, by means of seeds. Later still, there will come the stage of flowering plants, where the individual organism, with least expenditure of energy, will retain its own life, while at the same time it gives rise to a large number of off-spring. Stage by stage, the organism increases in complexity; but that very complexity enabIes it to "live" more satisfactorily, that is, to give rise to offspring with the least expenditure of force, to prolong its life, and at the same time to produce a type of progeny with new and greater potentialities of self-expression than its parent.
A similar process of evolution takes place in protoplasm, as it gives rise to the animal kingdom. From protozoa, simple unicellular organisms, we find evolved step by step the various groups of the invertebrate kingdom (Fig. 5).
From unicellular organisms to multi-cellular organisms with tissues and nervous and circulatory systems, complexity increases group after group. Then a new step comes in the building of organisms; the central nerve trunk is sheathed by vertebrae, and thus we have the vertebrates. From one order of vertebrates, the reptiles, come the mammals; (only contains Figure 5) among the highest of the mammals appear the primates. Of this last order of the animal kingdom, the most highly organized is Man.
The instincts of self-preservation and propagation are seen in the animal kingdom also. As structure becomes more complex, the organism is better fitted to adapt itself to the changing environment, better able, with less. and less expenditure of force, to live and produce similar organisms. But a new element of life appears among the higher vertebrates.
“If we contemplate life at large in its ascending forms, we see that in the lowest creatures the energies are wholly absorbed in self- sustentation and sustentation of the race. Each improvement in organization, achieving some economy or other, makes the maintenance of life easier; so that the energies evolved from a given quantity of food more than suffice to provide for the individual and for progeny; some unused energy is left. As we rise to the higher types of creatures having more developed structures, we see that this surplus energy becomes greater and greater; and the highest show us long intervals of cessation from the pursuit of food, during which there is not an infrequent spontaneous expenditure of unused energy in that pleasurable activity of the faculties we call play. This general truth has to be recognized as holding of life in its culminating forms — of human life as well as of other life. The progress of mankind is, under one aspect, a means of liberating more and more life from mere toil and leaving more and more life available for relaxation — for pleasurable culture, for aesthetic gratification; for travel, for games.”
1 Herbert Spencer, Life, I, page 147
From the chaotic nebula, once upon a time, to man today, thinking, playing and loving — this is the process called Evolution. A chaos has become a cosmos, with orderly events, which the human mind can tabulate as laws; the unstable, "a-dharma", has become the stable, "dharma". We note what are the principles which nature has followed, as the One becomes the Many, as disorder becomes order, in the next diagram (Fig. 6).
True, no eye of man saw the beginning of this process, nor has continuously watched it to the present day, and so can describe from direct observation each step in evolution, and say that evolution is a fact. We can only reconstruct the process by observing different kinds of nebulae, by studying the structures of extinct and living organisms, by piecing together here a tail with there a wing. None can say that the universe did not arise in all its complexity a few thousand years ago, just before historical tradition began; and none can say that the universe will not tomorroww cease to be. But man cannot be satisfied with taking note only of the few brief moments of the present which his consciousness can retain; he must construct some, conception of nature, and postulate a past and a future. Such a past and a future are propounded, largely from analogy, in the process called evolution. In a sense, evolution is a hypothesis; but it is the most satisfactory hypothesis so far in the history of mankind, and it is also one which, when once accepted, shows evolution everywhere, for all to see.
Fascinating as is the survey of the cosmos in the light of evolution as taught by modern science, there is nevertheless one gloomy element in it, and that is the insignificant part played by the individual in the timeless drama. Nature at work, "evolving", lavishly spends her energies, building form after form. But a terrible spendthrift she seems, producing far more forms than she provides sustenance for. Time is of no account, and the individual but of little, only indeed so long as he lives. During the brief life of the individual, nature smiles on him, caresses him, as though everything had been planned for his welfare. But after he has made the move she guides him to make, after he has given rise to offspring, or has slightly modified the environment for others by his living, death comes and he is. annihilated. That "I am I", which impels each to live, to struggle, to seek happiness, ceases to be; for it is not we who are important, but the type — "so careful of the type she seems, so careless of the single life". Where today are Nineveh and Babylon, and "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome"?
“Tis all a Checkerboard of Nights and Days Where Destiny with men for Pieces plays; Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays, And one by one back in the closet lays.”
From this aspect, evolution is terrible, a mechanical process, serene in its omnipotence and ruthlessness. Yet, since it is a process after all, perhaps to bring in personal considerations whether we like it or not may not be to the point. But since we are men and women who think and desire, we do bring in the personal element to our conception of life; and when we look at evolution, the outlook for us as individuals is not encouraging. We are as bubbles of the sea, arising from no volition of our own, and we cease to be, following developments in a process which we cannot control. We are "such stuff as dreams are made of, and our little life is rounded with a sleep".
Is there possible any conception of the evolutionary process which can show a more encouraging outlook? It is that which Theosophy offers in the doctrine of the Evolution of Life through the evolution of forms.
As the scientist of today examines nature, he notes two inseparable elements, matter and force; a third, which we know as "life", he considers to be the effect of the interaction of the two. He sees in matter the possibilities of both life and consciousness, and neither of them is considered by him capable of an existence independent of matter. In the main this conception is true; but, according to Theosophy, a modification is required, which may be stated as follows.
Just as we see no matter without force, and no force which is not affecting matter, so, too, there exists a similar relation between life and matter. The two are inseparable, and neither is the product of the other.
There are in the universe types of matter finer than those recognized by our senses, or ponderable by the most delicate of instruments. Many forms of energy, too, exist, of which but a few have as yet been discovered by man. One form of energy, which acts in conjunction with certain types of ultra-physical matter, is called Life. This life evolves; that is, it is slowly becoming more and more complex in its manifestations.
The complexity of the life-activities is brought about by building organisms in such matter as we know by our senses. (There are other modes of life-activities, but for the moment we shall confine our attention to those activities which our senses can perceive.) It is this life which holds a group of chemical compounds during a certain period as a living organism. While so holding it, that life gains a complexity by means of the experiences received through its receptacle. What we note as the death of the organism is the withdrawal of its life, in order to exist for a while dissociated from the ldwest or physical forms of matter. It is, however, still linked to ultra-physical matter. In withdrawing from the organism at death, such experiences as were received through it are retained as habits learned by the life; they are transmuted into new capacities for form-building, and they will be utilized with its next effort to build a new organism.
If we look at Fig. 7, we shall be able to grasp clearly the Theosophical conception of the Evolution of Life.
When we consider structures only, we are looking at but one side of evolution. For behind each structure is a life. Though a plant dies, the life which makes it living, and propels it to react to environment, does not die. When a rose withers and dies and disappears in dust, we know that none of its matter is destroyed; every particle of it. still exists, for matter cannot be annihilated. So, too, is it with the life which out of chemical elements makes.. a rose. It merely withdraws for a time, to reappear later building another rose. The experiences of sunshine and storm, of the struggle for existence, gained through the first rose, are slowly utilized to build a second (Contains only Fig. 19.) rose which shall be better adapted to live and propagate its kind.
Just as an individual organism is one unit in a larger group, so also is the life within each organism a unit in a larger group called a
"group-soul". Behind the organisms of the vegetable kingdom as a whole is the vegetable group-soul, an indestructible reservior of those life-forces which are attaining complexity by building vegetable forms. Each unit of life within that group-soul, as it appears on earth anew in an organism, comes there endowed with the sum total of the experiences of the dead organisms built by the group-soul; each unit, as it returns to the group-soul at death, contributes to the group what it has gained in power of new ways of reacting to environment. The same is true of the animal kingdom; each species, genus and family has its own compartment in the general animal group-soul.
With man, too, the principle is the same, except that man has passed the stage of belonging to a group-soul. Each man is an individual life and, though he is linked in mystic ways to all his fellows in a Brotherhood of Man, he treads his own path, and carves out his own future. He retains his experiences, gained by him life after life, and does not share them with others, unless he shares them of his own volition.
There is no such thing as death in nature, in the sense of a resolution into nothing. The life withdraws into its ultra-physical environment for a while, retaining there the experiences which it has gained as new modes of form-building. Though form after form comes and goes, their successive lives are but the entrances and exits of the same lite in the evolutionary drama. Not a fraction of experience is lost, as not a particle of matter is destroyed.
Furthermore, this life evolves, as already mentioned. The method of its evolution is through growth in forms. The aim of a given part of the group-soul's life is to manifest through such forms as shall dominate, through the greatest adaptability to environment, all other forms, while at the same time they shall be capable of the most delicate response to the inner promptings of the life itself. Each part of a group-soul, each type of life, each group and class and order, has this aim; and hence ensues the fierce warfare in nature. She is "red in tooth and and claw with ravin", but the struggle for existence is not the wasteful work it seems. Forms are destroyed, but only to be built up into new forms. The life comes and goes, but step by step it comes nearer to the form which it seeks. No life is lost; the waste is but a seeming, and the ruthless struggle is the way to determine the best forms. in an ever-changing environment.
When the fittest forms, for a given environment have been evolved, then that particular part of the group-soul pours its life through them with a fullness and richness which mark an epoch by its domination; and as the environment again changes, once more the quest is resumed for the next fitter forms. So all parts of the group- souls of the vegetable and animal kingdoms are at war, in a struggle for a survival of the fittest. Yet in that struggle not a single unit of life is annihilated; the victory achieved by one type is not for itself, but for the totality of life which has been seeking that very form as the best through which to unfold its dormant energies.
Life as it evolves has its stages. First, it builds forms in ultra- physical matter, and then we name it "elemental" life. Then, with the experiences of its past building, it "ensouls" chemical elements in combination, and becomes the mineral group-soul. Next, it builds. protoplasm, ensouls vegetable forms, and afterwards, at a later period, animal forms. Then we have the next stage as man. Life now builds individuals able to think and love, capable of self-sacrifice and idealism, for
...striving to be Man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form.
And man is not the last link in the chain.
In all this cosmic process from atom to man, there is one element which must be taken into account, if we are to understand the process correctly. Though matter evolves from homogeneous to heterogeneous, from indefinite to definite, from simple to complex, life does not so evolve. The evolution of matter is a rearrangement; the evolution of life is an unlocking and an unfoldment. In the first cell of living matter, there exists, in some incomprehensible fashion, Shakespeare and Beethoven. Nature may need millions of years to rearrange the substance, "selecting" age after age, till the proper aggregation is found, and Shakespeare and Beethoven can come from her bosom to be the protagonists in one scene of her drama. Yet all the while, throughout the millions of years, the life held them both mysteriously within itself. The evolution of life is not a receiving but a giving. For at the root of the life itself, as its very heart and soul, is something greater still, a Consciousness from His fullness of Power, Love and Beauty, He gave to the first speck of life all that He is., As all the rays from the glorious panorama or a mountain range may be converged by a lens into one invisible geometrical point, so each of life is as a focal point of that illimitable Existence. Within each cell He resides in His fullness; under His guidance, at the proper time Shakespeare and Beethoven step forth, and we call the action Evolution.
If the study of the evolution offorms,according to modern science, has enlarged and corrected our previous conceptions of the universe, the study of the evolution of life is more striking still in its consequences. For new elements of complexity appear in the life-side of evolution, and their consideration means a new evaluation of evolutionary processes. The first factor in the complexity is that, within the forms as studied by the scientist, there are several parallel streams of evolving life, each largely independent of the others in its development.
Two of these streams are those of Humanity and of a parallel stream called the evolution of Devas or Angels (Fig.8).
As already mentioned, human life has as its earlier stages animal, vegetable, mineral, and elemental life.
From that same mineral life, however, the life diverges into another channel, through the stages of vegetable forms, animal forms, then to forms of "nature-spirits" or the fairies of tradition, into Angels or Devas. Another parallel stream, about which little is known, is the life of cells, with its earlier phases and those to come. A stream of life through electrons, ions and chemical elements is also probably distinct. Yet other evolutions exist on our planet, but for lack of sufficient information they may for the moment be left out of consideration.
The ladder of life which evolves through the forms in our midst is seen in Fig. 9.
The life utilizes organisms built up of solid, liquid and gaseous matter; but it also uses forms built of more tenuous matter in a "fourth state" of matter (called "etheric" by the Theosophist), and also in types of matter still more rarefied, called "astral" and "mental" matter. Ascending from the mineral, six distinct streams will be noted, converging into Adepts or Perfect Men, and into Arupa Devas or Higher Angels, and culminating in a type of lofty entities called Dhyan Chohans. Of the six, only two utilize physical matter in its finer physical or "etheric" states (first and third columns in thediagram), and then build forms in astral matter as "sylphs". One stream builds organisms living in water, while three use forms living on land. Only one of the six streams of life leads into humanity; the other five pass into the parallel evolution of the Devas or Angels.
It must be carefully noted that the evolution of life has its antecedent phases, its heredity, as it were, which is sometimes quite distinct from the heredity of the forms. The fact that mammals and birds have been developed from reptilian forms only indicates a common ancestry of bodily form. While seaweeds, fungi, grasses and mosses have a common physical heredity from unicellular aquatic organisms, the life nevertheless has ascended through four separate streams. Similarly, while birds and mammals have a common physical ancestry, the life of birds has, for its future, stages as etheric creatures, the fairies on the surface of the earth, then as fairies in higher etheric matter and so to astral fairies and Devas; but the life of mammals passes into the human kingdom.
Before passing from these etheric forms in earth-depths and in the depths of the sea, it must be pointed out that an etheric form, though composed of "matter", can pass. through and exist in solid rock, or in the sea, as the air can pass through a wood-pile or remain among the interstices between the pieces: of wood. Even our densest substances are porous to the etheric types of matter; and organisms built up of these latter types find no difficulty in existing inside the earth or sea, since they are not affected by the heat or the pressure which would make life for ordinary physical creatures impossible.
The same general differentiation of life is observable if we consider humanity alone (Fig. 10).
The stream of life, which later is to become humanity, has rudimentary marks of specialization, even in its early phases of elemental, mineral and vegetable life; we begin to note these more clearly when the animal kingdom is reached. There are seven fundamental types of this life which is going to be human; there are modifications in each type as it is influenced somewhat by the others. The types persist throughout all the kingdoms preceding the human. The life of dogs is always distinct from that of cats; that of tile elephants from both. The dog life evolved in forms of wolves and jackals and other canidae, previous to its highest embodiment in the domesticated dog. Similarly other types of animal life, like cats, horses, elephants, monkeys, had their earlier "incarnations" through more savage and prehistoric forms of the same species. (This subject will be dealt with more fully in Chapter VII — "The Evolution of Animals").
When we come to study these types as they appear in humanity, a most fascinating view of mankind opens before us. It requires but little imagination to see that the canine life, on its entrance into humanity, will appear as the devotional type of soul. the classification in Fig. 11 is in no way final; it is given more by way of suggestion than as an absolutely correct clue to, the mystery of temperaments.
Seven types are clearly marked; one is not better or higher than another. They are all needed in the great evolutionary drama, and each is great as it contributes to the whole that development of the one Divine Life and Consciousness which has been arranged for it by the Logos.
If we examine devotional souls around us we shall note some who in their heart and mind go to God direct, and others to whom God is vague unless conceived in the form of some Incarnation or Mediator, such as Jesus Christ or Shri Krishna. There are also devotional souls who are influenced by the dramatic wave of life; and then they will covet martyrdom, not out of conceit or from desire of posing, but because a life of devotion is unreal unless it is continually dramatic. Love of God and the mind of a Tolstoy will mean identifying himself in outward ways with the poor and the down-trodden, and playing a role in a dramatic situation; the Christ-life must be dramatic for these souls, to be full of meaning.
The affectionate type, too, has its many variants. There are those for whom all life is centred in the love of one soul alone, the Romeos and Juliets among us, who are ready to renounce all for one. There are others who are capable of a less intense love, but who delight in sending it out to a wider circle of parent, child and friend, and are attracted by philanthropic schemes of activity.
The dramatic type, one variant of which has been mentioned above, is interesting, as it is often misunderstood. To them life is not real unless an event is a scene in a drama. Happiness is not happiness, unless it is in a drama in which the soul is playing a "strong part"; grief is grief only if it is "like Niobe, all tears". One variant will be drawn to the stage, developing a dual conception of action as the self and the not-self;. influenced by the philosophic type of life, another soul will develop into the playwright; while the dramatic soul with executive tendencies will find life fascinating as a leader of battalions or as the chief of a political party.
Among the scientific type, the theoretical and experimental variants are easily recognizable. A third, the reverential, is less common just now, but he is the soul full of zeal in scientific investigations, yet continually feeling the universe as the living garment of God. 'The scientist who is spectacular in his methods has the dramatic type influencing him; his behaviour is not necessarily the result of vanity or of a desire to be "in the limelight", but only because he is living his God-given temperament.
Of the executive type, there is the dramatic variant, seen in many a political leader, and another, the magnetic type, who is able to inspire subordinates with deep loyalty, but is not at all spectacular — if anything, prefers to keep in the background, so long as the work is done.
Little need be said of the philosophic type, the dIfferences of method adopted by the various philosophers, in developing their conceptions of life, are due to what they are, within themselves, as expressions of the One Life. Spencer and Haeckel, Ruskin and Carlyle, Aristotle, Plato, Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Kant, Hegel, Spinoza, and others, well represent a few of the many variations of this "Ray".
To another type, which is much misunderstood, belong those to whom symbolism strongly appeals. To these, life is not real unless it is an allegory. An example of this type would be St. John, the author ofRevelation, who delights in symbols and allegories. A modification of this type is seen in those who find religion real only when ritual accompanies it. Vestments and processions, incense and genuflections, are a part of the worship of a being of this type.
In manifold ways the Logos trains His children to help Him in the common work, and all are equal before Him. For each, He has hewn a path; it is for each to tread his own path, encouraging the while the others on theirs.
The subject is full of fascination, but enough has been said to show something of the Evolution of Life, and to suggest a line of thought and observation that will be productive of much wisdom.
This rapid survey of creation from Orion to man shows, then, an evolutionary process ever at work, the One becoming the Many. It is not a process where, in the Many, each strives for himself, but where each slowly realizes that his higher expression is dependent upon serving the others, for all are One. Not a series of like parts, simply placed in juxtaposition, but one whole, made up of unlike parts mutually dependent, is the key-note of the Evolution of Form; not one temperament, not one creed or mode of worship, but a diversity of temperaments and creeds and ways of service, all uniting to cooperate with the Logos to bring to realization what He has planned for us, is ever the key-note of the Evolution of Life.
In Fig. 12 we have a picture of the world today.
In its many lands-north and south, east and west — live many peoples of diverse races and creeds, and a study of their race-characteristics and customs is one of great fascination. The study of peoples, aiming to understand their racial characteristics, is called Ethnology. We shall be better able to understand what Theosophy teaches as to the rise and fall of civilizations, if we first study what modern scientific research tells us of the living races of mankind.
The peoples of the world today can be classified in many ways; among them are two recognized as trustworthy guides. It is found that the shape of the head and the texture of the hair are two fairly safe methods of classification, as they are characteristics which pass on from generation to generation with but little modification. Peoples are first divided into three groups according to their "cephalic index", as either dolichocephalous or long-headed, or brachycephalous or short- headed, or mesaticephalous or medium-headed. The "cephalic index" is that figure obtained when the maximum breadth of the head is stated as a percentage of its maximum length. Taking one hundred as the length of the head, then when its width is below seventy-five, a man is called dolichocephalous or long-headed; between seventy-five and eighty he is mesaticephalous or medium-headed; and above eighty he is said to be brachycephalous or short-headed.
The second method of classification, according to the texture of the hair, is due to the fact that hair may be woolly and kinky, or curly and wavy, or straight and smooth. In woolly hair, each hair is flattened like a ribbon, and a transverse section under the microscope is seen to be a flat ellipse. Smooth and straight hair is round like a wire, and a microscopical section shows it to be circular. Wavy and curly hair is midway between the two peculiarities of oval and circular, and its section is an oval ellipse. It is these structural characteristics which make hair woolly, or straight, or wavy.
These two broad methods of classifications, according to the cephalic index and according to the hair, are summed up in Fig. 13.
Broca's classification shows us three main types of people. No race in all its individuals follows one type only; in each may be found long- headed or medium-headed or short-headed individuals; but one of the three types will predominate, and according to that will be the classification of the race. Sometimes, however, even though the hair will be a sure indication of classification, a race may be so mixed that the ethnologist is uncertain whether it should be labelled medium- headed rather than long-headed or short-headed.
The classification of Flower and Lydekker is but little different, though it also takes into consideration the facial angle, the color of the hair and skin, and other physical peculiarities.
It is noteworthy that both these systems of classification give us in the world today three principal types of races: (1) the Ethiopian type, dark-skinned, almost black, with thick lips, head tending to be dolichocephalic, and with black, woolly hair; (2) the Mongolian, with high cheek. bones, yellow or reddish in complexion, hair black, straight and smooth, and, in the men, scanty on. the face; (3) the
Aryan or Caucasian, either white or brown, with hair curling or with tendency to curl, in color flaxen, brown, black or "carroty"; the beard is usually full.
We have excellent examples of the Ethiopian type in Figs. 14 and 15. The woolly hair, the broad nose and thick lips are prominent in these peoples. Though these two individuals, chosen as examples of their race-type, are not handsome according to our standards of beauty, nevertheless they are not repulsive. Fig. 14 shows strength and dignity of a kind,
while Fig. 15 shows a rugged but artistic modelling that would have delighted the eye of Rodin.
Figs. 16, 17 and 18 give us examples of the second type. We have it in a crude form in Fig. 16, which is that of a Red Indian "squaw'" from British Columbia, with her high cheek bones and long, lank hair.
More typical of the second type are Figs. 17 and 18; in the former we have a Red Indian from the north-west of the United States, and in the latter a Chinese mandarin; the high cheek bones and the smooth, hairless face show us at once to which type they belong.
When we come to the Caucasian races, we have a type nearer to our Western standards of the beautiful. We have two representatives, a Hindu with shaven face (Fig. 19),
and a bearded Englishman (Fig. 20).
In the Aryan or Caucasian races we have in some respects the highest forms, not only for beauty of structure, but also for quick response to external stimuli and high sensitiveness to the finer philosophical and artistic thoughts and emotions.
The peoples of the world today have their civilizations; but no nation continues for ever, and the fate of Nineveh and Tyre, of Greece and Rome, will be the fate of all. Some will vanish utterly, leaving hardly a trace; others like Greece, will leave to mankind a mighty message of the art of life. We may know something of the rise and fall of civilizations by a study of history, but in historical studies we see the past through the refracting medium of time and tradition, and we can never be fully certain that our conclusions are not partial or erroneous. Yet without a study of the past of humanity, we cannot judge of the present or construct the future, and our philosophy of life cannot be true to fact.
Theosophy opens a new way to study the civilizations that have been, a method in which, for the time, the past becomes the present, and therefore written records or traditions are not essential. Difficult as is this subject to expound, yet an attempt must be made, for it is one of the fundamental truths of existence, to which we shall have to refer again and again in the course of this exposition of Theosophy.
In Chapter I it was mentioned that behind all life and form, as their heart and soul, is a great Consciousness. It is His manifestation that is the evolutionary process, and "in Him we live and move and have our being". Of Him Theosophists today speak as the Logos. To that Consciousness there is no Past, and what to us has been is with Him an event that is happening even Now. To the Logos, the Past is as the Present, and the event of each moment of past time is still happening in Him, is still a part of His present Self. Mortal mind can little understand the "Eternal Now"; and yet it is one of the greatest of truths, which, when grasped, shows new values to all things.
Mysterious and incredible as is this "Eternal Now", yet man too may know something of it. Man, the individual evolving soul, is in truth made in the image of his Maker, and what He is in His fullness now, that man will become someday. Hence it is that, by a certain development of faculties latent in the human consciousness, men can touch even now the fringe, as it were, of the Consciousness of the Logos, and so, with
Him, see the Past as happening even now. It is no picture which passes before the vision of the investigator, no panorama which unveils itself before him, as on a stage; it is an actual living in the so-called Past. He has but to select that part of the "Past" which he desires to investigate, and then he is of it, and in it. Does he desire to see the earth before its crust has solidified? Then he lives millions of years ago, and round him is the earth with its seething molten metals, and he can watch what is happening, hear the explosions, and feel the heat and the pressure. And this in no dream condition, but exactly as he may go into a busy thoroughfare today, hear the roar of the traffic, watch the people as they go to and fro, or look up at the sun and the clouds, and note whatsoever thing interests him. Does he desire to hear an oration of Pericles or see a triumph of Caeser? Then he is in Athens or in Rome; the life of that day is all around him; he hears the musical Greek or the sonorous Latin; he watches the actors in life's drama of those days. The Book of Time is spread out before him, and it is for him to select an event which, to us, happened a thousand years since; but, as he puts himself in touch with the Memory of the Logos, the Past becomes for him the Present, and he may study it with such faculties as he possesses today.
Theosophical investigators, of present and past generations, have thus investigated the Past of the earth by watching this Record in the Memory of the Logos; and much information gathered in this way forms a part of Theosophical teaching. What they have found in their researches into past civilizations is as follows.
Long, long ago — over one million years ago — the distribution of land and water was as shown in Fig. 21, the dark, shaded parts representing land.
We know that the surface of the earth is changing all the time, with here a coastline slowly sinking, and there new land rising out of the waves; but how may anyone know exactly what was the distribution of land and water a million years ago? It is this that is possible; first, by watching the Record, and secondly, by study in the museum of the Adept Brotherhood. The Hierarchy, or the Great Brotherhood, mentioned in the Introduction, has preserved, from the day man began his habitation of the earth, fossils and skeletons, maps, models and manuscripts, illustrative of the development of the earth and its inhabitants, animal and human. To those who, through utter renunciation of self and service of man, earn the privilege, the study of past forms and civilizations in this wonderful museum is a never-failing delight. There, the Theosophical investigator finds models in clay of the appearance of the earth long ago, before this or that cataclysm, patiently constructed for the guidance of later generations of students by the Adept investigators of past civilizations. The maps of Figs. 21-24 have been drawn after a survey of the land and water by watching the earth's changes, and afterwards checking such survey with the globes in the museum of the Brotherhood.
As we look at the map in Fig. 21, we see that most of the land today was under the waves then, while most of the land of those days has sunk below the sea, leaving here and there remnants, as in Australasia and in parts of other continents. The continent which is seen to extend along the equator and south of it, covering much of the present Pacific Ocean, is called Lemuria by the students of Theosophy. The term is taken from the naturalist Sclater, who believed in the existence of some such continent, because of the unusual distribution over wide territories of the Lemur monkeys. Even in the days of Lemuria, men peopled the earth, and the Lemurian peoples were of our first type, as in Figs. 14 and 15. The pure Negroes and other woolly-haired races today are remnants of the ancient Lemurians, with little change of type, except a diminution of stature.
Slowly, as years passed, the configuration became as in Fig. 22.
Where the Atlantic Ocean is today, there existed once upon a time a continent, which Theosophists, after Plato, called Atlantis. It was on this continent that there arose the second type of those peoples whom Flower and Lydekker have called Mongolians — those with smooth hair and high cheek bones. From their original home in Atlantis they migrated in all directions, and give us today the millions of China and kindred peoples, and the fast-disappearing Red Indians of North and South America.
By the time of the map in Fig. 23, Atlantis and the remnants of Lemuria have changed in outline, and as we come to the days of Fig. 24, there remains of the once vast continent of Atlantis only a large island in the Atlantic Ocean.
The story of its sinking as narrated to Solon, Plato's ancestor, by the Egyptian priests, is given by Plato in his Timaeus and Kritias. In 9564
B.C. mighty convulsions destroyed this last remnant of Atlantis, and the island sank so rapidly under the sea that it created a huge tidal wave which swept the low-lands of the earth, and left in men's minds the tradition of a vast, devastating "flood". As Atlantis sank under the waves, other parts of the earth, such as the desert of Sahara, rose up; and what was once an inland sea of Central Asia became what is now the Gobi Desert, and the earth took on more or less its appearance of today.
That Atlantis is not a mere myth is easily seen when we look at Fig. 25.
It gives us in outline the bed of the Atlantic Ocean, as mapped out according to deep sea soundings. Round the Azores, the land does not slope gently down, as in the ordinary coast lands, but descends precipitously; for, when Atlantis was above the level of the ocean, the present Azores were the inaccessible, snow-clad tops of the highest mountain range of the sunken continent.
Long before the destruction of Atlantis, however, a new race of men had sprung up round the southern shores of the Central Asian sea. These are the Aryans or Caucasians, our third type, of Figs. 19 and 20. Southwards and westwards they spread, becoming Hindus, Arabs and Persians, Greeks and Romans, Celts, Slavs and Teutons.
Thus in Lemuria, Atlantis and Asia, arose the three races whose descendants people the earth today.
Theosophy teaches that the rise and fall of civilizations is not a mechanical development, "a Checkerboard of Nights and Days where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays". Nations come, and nations go, but always according to a Plan. The Logos, from the beginning of human existence, has planned what races, and what religions and sciences appropriate to them, shall appear one after the other, and His Agents on earth, the Great Brotherhood, carry out His Plan. It is the Adept Brothers who, using all nature's forces, visible and invisible, direct the evolutionary process throughout the millions of years. In that
Brotherhood, there are two Adepts whose work is to mould the destiny of each great race. One is called the Manu, who directs the physical development of the race, forming the new race- type by modification from that already existing, according to the Plan of the Logos set before Him. It is the Manu who guides the migrations of the race, gives to each people its polity, and directs each to do its appointed work. The other guardian of the race is its Bodhisattva, or Spiritual Teacher, who watches over its intellectual and emotional development, and arranges for each people such religions, arts and sciences as shall enable it to play its role in the drama written by the Logos.
Following the Plan of the Logos, during that period of time in which humanity evolves on earth, seven great race-types are made to appear, called "Root-races ". So far in the evolution of men, only five of the seven have appeared; of them the First and the Second appeared so long ago that they have left no direct descendants.
Each Root-race has seven modifications, called "sub-races". A sub- race has the fundamental characteristics of the Root-race, but it has also some tendency or modification peculiar to itself. In Fig. 26 we have the names of the three Root-races and their sub-races, whose representatives we have seen in the three race-types already studied.
The Third Root-race is the Lemurian, and its earlier sub-races, the first, second and third, have left no trace at all. Negroes, Negritos, Negrillos, and other woolly-haired peoples represent the later sub- races of the Lemurian Root-race. Hardly anywhere is a Root-race to be found now quite pure, but though it may have intermingled with other races, usually it still shows its peculiar characteristics.
From the seventh sub-race of the Lemurian, the Manu of the Fourth Root-race developed the new Root-race, the Fourth or the Atlantean. It too has its seven sub-races. Of the first and second of its sub-races no pure descendants are living, but the skeleton of the "Furfooz man" is a fair specimen of the first, and that of the "Cro-Magnon man" of the second. The third, the Toltec sub-race, still remains in the "Indios" (Indians) of South and Central America, and the Red Indians of the United States and Canada. The fourth migrated from Atlantis, and went eastwards, past Babylonia, along the Yellow River into the plains of China. Its peoples are represented in certain parts of China today by a tall, yellow Chinese race, quite distinct from the later seventh sub-race Chinese. The "original Semites", the fifth sub-race, have left their descendants for us in the white pure Jews, and in the
Kabyles of North Africa. The sixth, the Akkadians, were the Phoenicians, who traded in the Mediterranean Seas; and the seventh, or Mongolians, were developed out of the fourth or Turanian on the plains of China, and became the modern Chinese. Two races, the Japanese and the Malays, belong hardly to any special one of its sub- races, having in them the mixture of two or more. With the Japanese especially, it is as though they are a final ebullition of the whole Root-race, as a crowning effort, before the energies of the race begin their slow decline; hence they possess many qualities which differentiate them from the seventh sub-race, the Chinese.
From the fifth or "original Semite" sub-race of the Atlantean, the Manu of the Fifth Root-race evolved His new type. The Fifth or Aryan Root-race also has its Seven subdivisions, but so far only five of them have appeared. Of the first are the Aryan Hindus, as also one type among the ancient Egyptians — that to which the upper ruling classes belonged. The second is the Aryan Semite, distinct from the "original Semite", and it has its representatives today in the Arabs and the Moors. The third is the Iranian, to which belonged the ancient Persians, and whose descendants. are the Iranians and Parsis of today. Of the fourth sub-race, or the Celts, were the ancient. Greeks and Romans; and to it belong, with the exception of those of Teutonic descent, their modern descendants in Italy, Greece, France, Portugal and Spain and their descendants in South and Central America, Mexico and the Antilles. The Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, the Manx and the Bretons must also be numbered among the Celts.
To the Teutonic sub-race belong the Slavs, the Scandinavians, the Dutch; the Germans, the English, and their descendants all over the world. By an intermingling of several sub-races, the Manu of the Race is now developing the sixth sub-race, which is called in the diagram the "Austral-American". It is in process of formation in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The seventh sub-race, whose work is still far in the future, is already showing faint indications of its future type. In a child here and there in Brazil one may note a moulding of the face which shows that the type is not Austral- American, but another variant still of the Aryan race. The seventh sub- race may well be called "Latin-American", to distinguish it from the sixth, the Austral-American.
The Manu of the Sixth Root-race will develop His future type later on from the sixth sub-race of the Aryan, and tens of thousands of years hence the Manu of the Seventh Root-race will develop His new type from the seventh sub-race of the Sixth Root-race.
Root-races and sub-races play their roles in the drama of the Logos, in order to give experiences to us, His children, whom He sends to be born in them. For that it is, that the Manu brings about differences in His sub-races of color and other physical peculiarities, and places them among mountains or by the sea; for that it is, that the Bodhisattva of the race sends to the sub-races different aspects of the one Truth, in the many religions and philosophies which appear in them under His guidance.
In Fig. 27 we have something of the characteristics of the races, and to understand the significance of the table let us imagine a soul as he is born in sub-race after sub-race, in them all.
Starting with a birth in the first sub-race of the Atlantean what strange experiences he would have as a primitive, giant-like man; and then how different those as a mountaineer, taciturn and hardy, sensitive to changes of sun and cloud. In a birth as a Toltec, in Atlantis or Peru, his life would be as an administrator of some kind in the wonderful patriarchal government that was the glory of the Toltecs; he would have thrust upon his shoulders the welfare of a village or province, would be trained to sink his individuality in some life-work for his fellow-men. As a Turanian colonist, he would know of wanderings in search of new lands, of the struggle to tame nature in a new settlement. As an original Semite, he would be first and foremost a fighter, who developed quickness of decision and was taught that his life was not his, but belonged to his tribe. As an Akkad, he would know something of the magic of the sea, the need to sense the psychological moment in the disposal of his wares, and would develop much mental strength in business competition. And then as a Chinaman, a farmer, hardly leaving for a day his ancestral farm, how intimately he would know a few of his village, share their griefs and sorrows, and learn much of the inner meaning of life away from the turmoil of war or trade!
Imagine how different, too, would be the soul's experiences in those same sub-races, should he then be born in each in a woman's form, with a woman's duties; new standpoints and sensibilities would be developed, for the lack of which surely the soul would be all the poorer.
Following the soul's journeyings in rebirths, let us watch his entrance among the Aryans. Surely a life in India would leave an indelible mark on him, giving him something of the Hindu philosophical and detached view of life. Later, in Egypt of old, among its practical and happy people, not given to dreams, he would develop another phase of his nature. As an Arab, born in the bosom of the desert, would not that desert leave an impress upon the soul, in a quick sensitiveness and in the sense of the peopled solitude and the vastness of nature? As an Iranian, born in a civilization forcing him to a life of success through mercantile pursuits, what might he not learn of inventiveness and initiative, and of industry and integrity? He could not speak but his thought would take poetical form, and even if he had nothing of poetry in him, a life as an Iranian would put him into touch with another phase of life. Then as a Celt — as a Greek of Athens perhaps — what a new conception of life he would have, believing that the gods were everywhere on sea and on land, that he was descended from them, born to make an art of life, to have as his ideal to know something of everything, and so develop a rounded nature and a health of heart; or as a Roman, firm in the conviction that religion and the family and the State are one, with his deep sense of law and reverence for it, and a readiness to obey, in order that he might learn how to rule; or as a Frenchman or an Italian, sensitive and quick to respond to emotions, dazzled by ideas because they are ideas, irrespective of material considerations; or as an Irishman, perhaps a descendant of the Tuatha de Danaan, with his dreams and intuitions, with his exaltations and depressions.
And then born a Teuton, in Scandinavia or England or America — what new qualities would not the soul add to those already acquired? A practical outlook, impersonality through scientific research, conscientiousness through business, and individualism, would he gain; and would not Beethoven, too, and Wagner, and Shakespeare, give him a new message of life?
Of the future sub-race, the sixth, the "Austral-American", now arising in America, Australia and New Zealand, we can already forecast some qualities: fraternal, as in the new conception of the relation of parent and child; cooperative, with combinations and "mergers" in business and in the work of material development; intuitive, with an ability to approach anew the world problem, untrammelled by the traditions of the old world; and a delight in sunshine and open air and in all things which bring men together in congregations.
And what of the seventh sub-race? Though still in the womb of time, its faint stirrings of life may today be noted in the craving of Latin- America for architecture, poetry and music, remembering subconsciously "the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome". In that far-off future, men will live a fuller life than even Greece dreamed of; from the treasure-house of Beauty which a man will then find in his heart and mind, he will know that he is divine, and realize his Divinity by creation.
Thus civilizations rise and fall, and develop this or that quality; but the meaning of it all is Reincarnation. They come and go, only to give us training-grounds for the experiences we need life after life. Our Father in Heaven makes them out of the dust, lets them play their parts, and sinks them under the waves, or destroys them in a fiery cataclysm; but they are all only scenes in the drama which He has written for us, His children, so that by playing well and truly our roles in them, we may someday become like Him.
The Lord let the house of a brute to the soul of a man,
And the man said, "Am I your debtor?"
And the Lord — "Not yet: but make it as clean as you can,
And then I will let you a better."
Once in ten thousand years or more, an idea is suddenly born into the world, that, like another Prometlieus, ushers in a new era for men. In the century behind us, such an idea was born, a concept of concepts, in that of Evolution. Like a flash of lightning at night, its light penetrated into every corner, and ever since men have seen nature at work, and not merely felt her heavy hand. In the dim dawn of time was similarly born another concept, that of Reincarnation.
Reincarnation — that life, through successive embodiments, ascends to fuller and nobler capacities of thought and feeling — and Evolution — that form ascends, becoming ever more and more complex in structure — are as the right hand and left of the Great Architect who is fashioning the world. The riddle of the universe is but half solved in the light of one truth alone; consider the two as inseparable, the one the complement of the other, and man then finds a concept which grows with his growth.
Though Reincarnation is usually thought of as peculiar to the souls of men, it is in reality a process which affects all life in all organisms. The life of the rose that dies returns to its subdivision of the Rosaceae "group-soul", and then reincarnates as another rose; the puppy that dies of distemper returns to its dog "group-soul", and later reincarnates as the puppy of another litter. With man, the only difference is that at death he does not return to any group-soul, for he is an individual and separate consciousness; when he reincarnates, he returns with the faculties which he developed in his previous lives, undiminished by sharing them with another individual.
By common usage, however, the word Reincarnation is restricted to the process as it affects the souls of men, and it is used in one of three senses, as follows:
1. That at the birth of a child, God does not then create for it a soul, because that soul existed long before as an individual, in some spiritual condition. For the first and for the last time, the soul takes birth in a human form.
This is the doctrine of Pre-existence.
2. That the soul of man has already appeared in earlier embodiments, sometimes in human forms, but at other times as an animal or as a plant; and that similarly, after death, the soul may be reborn as an animal or plant, before returning once more to a human habitation. This idea is best known as Transmigration or Metempsychosis.
3. That the soul of man, before birth as a child, has already lived on earth as man and as woman, but not as an animal or a plant, except before "individualization", i.e. before the soul became a permanent, self-conscious, individual entity; and that at death, after an interval of life in a spiritual condition, the soul returns to earth again, as man or as woman, but never more taking birth as a plant or as an animal. This is the doctrine of Reincarnation.
Theosophy teaches that a soul, once become "individualized" and human, cannot reincarnate in animal or vegetable forms, and Theosophists today use the word Reincarnation only in the third sense above. In modern Theosophical literature, Reincarnation never means rebirth as plant or animal, for, were such a thing possible, a soul would gain nothing for his evolution by such a retrograde step.
Since this work is a textbook of Theosophy, arguments for and against Reincarnation have here no place. Each inquirer must discover for himself the fact of Reincarnation by study and observation, as each student of science discovers the process of Evolution by similar means. This section will outline the laws under which souls reincarnate, in so far as laws have been discovered by occult investigations.
At the outset, we must clearly understand who or what it is that reincarnates. For this, we must understand what is the soul, and what are his vehicles or instruments of consciousness.
The soul of man is an individual and permanent Consciousness who lives in a form or body of invisible matter. This soul-body, composed of a type of matter called higher mental, is called in modern Theosophical studies the Causal Body. Its form is human, but not of either man or woman with sex characteristics, but more of the angel of tradition. It is called the Augoeides. It is surrounded by an ovoid of fiery, luminous matter, yet delicate as the evanescent tints of a sunset. The Augoeides and the ovoid of luminous matter surrounding it are the soul's permanent habitation, the causal body; it is called "causal", because the best impulses for thought, feeling and action on all the planes of the soul's operations, are caused or created in this permanent residence of the soul. In that causal body the soul lives, undying and eternal. To him there is no birth, childhood, old age or death; he is an immortal soul, growing in power to love, to think, to act, as the ages roll by. He lives his eternal life only in order to make himself an expert in some department of life by the experiences which he shall gain, and to find his utmost happiness in aiding the evolutionary Plan of his Divine Progenitor.
The growth of the soul commences first by experimenting with life on realms lower than those where is his true home. For this he reincarnates; that is,
1. He gathers matter of the lower mental plane and shapes it into a mental body, with which to think, that is, to translate the outer world of phenomena in terms of thoughts and laws;
2. He gathers astral matter and shapes it into an astral body, with which to feel, that is, to translate the phenomenal world in terms of personal desires and emotions;
3. He is provided with an appropriate physical body, with which to act; using that body, he translates the world in terms of physical properties — heavy or light, hot or cold, movable or immo vable, and others.
This process of taking up these three bodies by the soul is Reincarnation. During the life of the physical body, every vibration to which the nerves respond first causes a sensorial reaction in the brain; this reaction is noted then by the astral body as pleasant or unpleasant; the mental body next notes the report of the astral, and translates the impression as a thought; that thought is finally noted by the soul in the causal body. The soul then sends, through the mental body to the astral body, and through the astral to the physical brain, its response to the phenomenon of the physical world. At every moment of time, when consciousness works, there is this telegraphing to and from the causal body. After many ideas are thus gained, the soul analyses them, tabulates them, and finally generalizes all life's experiences into ideals of thought and action. He thus transmutes the phenomenal world into eternal concepts which become a part of himself.
The return process in Reincarnation, called Death, makes no difference whatsoever to the soul in the causal body. First, the physical body is put aside, and a response is no longer made through it to physical phenomena. But he has still the mental body and the astral body. Then the astral is cast aside, and attention is no longer paid to astral phenomena, and the soul observes only the world of the lower mental plane. Lastly, the mental body itself is discarded, and the soul is fully himself in the causal body; he no longer possesses any lower vehicles. (See Chapter VI — "Man in Life and in Death".) He has returned home once more, as it were, though as a matter of fact he never left his real abode at all; he did but focus a part of his consciousness and will through his vehicles of lower matter, and men called it Reincarnation. He used his vehicles for varying lengths of time and, when he no longer needed them, he cast them aside. What we call life and death are, to the soul, only the sending forth of some of his consciousness to lower planes, and then its withdrawal to the higher once more.
The method of studying the laws of Reincarnation is to observe souls as they are born into physical bodies, as they live in them, as they cast them aside at death, as they later free themselves from their astral and mental bodies, and as they are finally fully themselves in their causal bodies. Every incident of this process is recorded in the Memory of the Logos, and the investigator who can put himself in touch with that Memory can watch the reincarnations of any soul time after time.
Investigations by this method have been made, and enough facts have been gathered already to enable us to deduce laws. The first important fact in Reincarnation is that its laws differ for various types of souls. All souls at any given epoch are not of equal capacity, for some are older souls and others are younger. (Why there should be this difference in age will be explained in Chapter VII — "The Evolution of Animals".) The aim of Reincarnation is to enable a soul to be wiser and better after the experiences of each incarnation; but it is found that while one soul has the ability of learning quickly from an experience, another will be extremely slow to learn, and needs each experience to be repeated over and over again. This difference in capacity for assimilating experience is due to the difference in age of the two souls, and, according to such differences, souls naturally fall into five broad classes, as in Fig. 29.
The youngest souls are those who are unable to control their violent and crude desire-natures and are lacking in mental ability; in the world today, these souls appear in the savage and semi-civilized races, as also in the backward or criminal-minded individuals in civilized communities (No.5). Somewhat further evolved, and so older, are those souls who have passed beyond the savage stage, but are still simple-minded, unimaginative, and lacking in initiative (No.4). These two classes include more than nine- tenths of humanity.
Then come the more advanced and cultured souls in all races, whose intellectual horizon is not altogether limited by family or nation, who crave an ideal of perfection, and are consciously aiming to achieve it (No.3). Fewer still are those souls who have discovered that the meaning of life is self-sacrifice and dedication, and are "on the Path" and consciously moulding their future (No.2). And as the rare blossoms on our tree of Humanity are the Adepts, the Masters of the Wisdom, those mighty Elder Brothers of Humanity who are the Shadows of God upon earth, who stand guiding evolution according to the Divine Plan (No.1).
Reincarnation takes place in the sub-races of the Root-races studied in the last chapter; but before we come to its laws, we must first exempt from their working two classes — that of the Adepts and that of those "on the Path ". The Adept is past any need of Reincarnation; he has already gained all experiences which civilizations can give him; he has "wrought the purpose through of what did make him man". Though he has become "a pillar in the temple of my God" and "shall go no more out", yet many an Adept reincarnates among men to be a Lawgiver and Guide, to at-one mankind with God. As the Adept takes birth, he chooses where and when he will be born, for he is the absolute master of his destiny.
Those "on the Path" are the disciples of the Masters of the Wisdom, and usually, after death, they reincarnate within a few months or years, without discarding their mental and astral bodies, as is normally the case before rebirth. The general law is that, after the death of the physical body, the soul has a brief period of life on the astral plane; and then, after discarding the astral body, spends several centuries in the lower mental world. This lower mental world is in the Lower Heaven (often called Devachan in Theosophical literature), and there the longings and aspirations of the earth-life are lived over again, but with complete realization now of all the happinesses longed for. Centuries are thus spent in happy activity, till the forces of aspiration work themselves out, and the soul discards the mental body itself. He has then finished his incarnation, and is himself, in his causal body only, with all his experiences transmuted into ideals and capacities. But as he has still much to do towards perfecting himself, he reincarnates again, taking three new bodies — the mental, the astral and the physical.
An exception to this usual method of evolution is the disciple "on the Path"; he puts by the centuries of happiness which he might have in the heaven world, for he is eager to continue on the physical plane the work for his Master; he therefore renounces the happiness which is his due, in order to serve mankind with his work. His Master chooses for him when and where he shall be born, and he returns to birth with the astral and mental bodies of the life just closed, taking only a new physical body.
The laws of Reincarnation, which apply to souls who are neither disciples, nor Adepts, can be deduced as we analyse the facts in Figs.30-33.
The charts give us, in tabular form, facts concerning the past lives of four individuals.1 All four have of course behind them several hundred lives; but, for purposes of study, only their more recent lives have been investigated. These four belong to the cultured class of souls, but the study of the laws governing their evolution will give us also some facts concerning the reincarnation of the other two classes — the simple-minded and the undeveloped.
From the particulars given as to the place, time, sex and race of the incarnations, and from the time intervening between lives, we can deduce the following:
1. There are among the cultured souls two sub-types: one of those whose period between death and rebirth averages about 1,200 years (Subjects A, Band D, Figs. 30, 31 and 33), and the other, of those whose interval between lives is only about 700 years (Subject C, Fig. 32). The period between incarnations is largely spent in the lower heaven world, in "Devachan", and the length of life there depends on the amount and intensity of aspiration during the earthly life. In the case or the undeveloped and the simple-minded souls, a life in the physical body of some sixty years will create spiritual force which will give a life in Devachan, for the former from five to fifty years, and for the latter of some two or three- centuries; should, however, the physical life be short, as when death occurs in childhood or youth, the Devachan will be much shorter,. since the spiritual force generated will be smaller in quantity.
1 These four individuals, A, B, C and D, are respectively the character-egos. Sirius, Orion, Alcyone and Erato of "The Lives of Alcyone". Sirius and Alcyone do not, strictly speaking, belong anymore to class 3 of Fig. 29, since they are now "on the Path". But as they entered "the Path" only recently — in the case of Sirius, in his Greek incarnation, 524 B.C., and in the case of Alcyone, in A.D. 1910 — their lives are probably typical of class 3.
In the case of the majority of cultured souls, a life of sixty years may need from 1,000 to 1,200 years in Devachan; the period of time depends on the quantity of force to be transmuted into faculty. Among these cultured souls, however, is a small group, of the type of Subject C in Fig. 32, who, though they may generate the same quantity of aspirational force as the others who require twelve centuries in Devachan, yet condense their heaven-world life into some seven centuries.
2. Cultured souls of the first sub-type are born, in one cycle, in the sub-race of a Root-race at least twice in each sub-race, and generally in their numerical order. When we consider Subject A of Fig. 30, we find him born, in 23,650 B.C., in the first sub-race of the Atlantean Root-race; his subsequent lives occur in its other sub-races in their order. At his incarnation in the sixth sub-race, he changes sex. After his life in the seventh sub-race, he returns to the first again, and then is born in the next sub-races in numerical order. As he returns to these, he changes sex in the second and fifth sub-races. As he is born for the second time in the sub-races, he omits the seventh sub-race; when a sub-race is altogether missed, it is because the soul has already acquired elsewhere the qualities which are usually to be gained only in that race. In A's case, evidently one life in the seventh sub-race was enough to gain from it what he required. Similarly, where a life in a sub-race is repeated more than twice, the extra incarnation is needed for the soul to accomplish the purpose planned.
The second sub-type, represented by Subject C, must also follow some general law, but no such law can be deduced as we consult Fig. 32; later on, no doubt, when other individuals of the same sub-type are examined, some law may be seen.
3. Concerning the sex of the body, we may observe that these four individuals vary considerably. An incarnation as man or woman is for the purpose of gaining qualities more readily developed in the one sex than in the other. Since, however, the capacity for assimilating experiences varies with different souls, and since, further, the needs change as the lives are lived, there is no hard and fast rule as to the number of incarnations in the sexes. Usually, there are not more than seven lives consecutively, nor less than three, in one sex, before changing to the other; but there are exceptions, and we find our Subject A, after a series of three as a man, changes to two as a woman, and then reverts to the male sex again. There has been observed the case of a soul having as many as nine consecutive lives as a woman.
4. There is no general principle to be deduced as to the length of life in the physical body. The time of birth is determined by the ending of the life in the heaveh world; the time of death is usually fixed beforehand by the "Lords of Karma" — those Angels of God's Plan whose work is to adjust the good and the evil of man's past and present, so that through their interaction the maximum of good may result for the future. The life may be brought early to a close through accident or disease, if they see that that is best for the soul's future evolution; if, on the other hand, a long life is just then needed to enable the soul to acquire some faculty, then the length of life will be adjusted to that end.
Though the main incidents and the close of an incarnation are fixed by these commissaries of God according to the soul's "Karma"" — i.e., according to the services due by him to others, and by them to him, as the result of past lives — nevertheless the general plan may be modified by an exercise of initiative by the individual himself, or by others whose actions directly affect him. For instance, when death is by accident, it is not infrequently the ending planned by the Lords of Karma for that incarnation; but sometimes it is not so intended, and the accidental death is therefore an interference by new forces brought to bear on the life. In such a case, the disturbed plan will be adjusted in the beginning of the next life, so that there will not be anything lost in the end to the soul whose destiny has been changed for the moment by others.
In no case is suicide in the plan of a man's life; for such an act the soul is directly responsible, though that responsibility may also be shared by others. There are many varieties of suicide, some in order to escape the result of evil-doing, some due from mental derangement, and some due to noble motives. According to the causes and motives of the suicide will be the karmic result which follows.
For souls of the two classes — the simple-minded and the undeveloped — the law of Reincarnation is modified to the extent that they will be born repeatedly in a sub-race before passing on to the next. This will be due to their inability to gain the required experience during two or three lives in a sub-race. The period between their incarnations is sometimes only a few years, though it may be as long as two or three centuries. They are in reality millions of years behind the cultured class, so far as their general evolution is concerned. Yet the backwardness of classes 4 and 5 is not due to any evil in them; it is merely a matter of the age of the soul; they are young souls. The larger outlook on life and the wider sympathies, which are natural today to a cultured soul, will some day be possessed by the undeveloped and the simple-minded souls also. Growth comes to all, sooner or later, in the endless life of the soul.
Looking at these charts of lives, and noting the particulars therein of place and date and race, it may be asked how the occult investigator is certain as to any of them. How is he sure that a man in Poseidonis (Subject D) and an Eskimo woman of the next life are the same soul? Granted that there is a Memory of the Logos, how can these things be found out?
The question is natural, and the answer will perhaps make clear that the methods of occult investigation are not radically different from those employed by the scientists today. The locating of any part of the earth where an individual is born is not a difficult matter; the investigator will see the birth of the child, and then he will have to look round the surrounding country to note its relation to seas and mountains and lakes and rivers; his present knowledge of geography will then enable him to locate the place. If the epoch is remote, and the configuration of the surface of the globe is different, he must for one moment look at the place as it was then, and the next moment put himself in touch with the Divine Memory, at the same place, but in later historical times or even today; he can then know what name geographers give to the place today.
To know the race and sub-race, much previous study in ethnology is required. To one who has travelled much, there is little difficulty in distinguishing a Chinaman from a Japanese, or even a French Celt from an Italian Celt, or a Norwegian from an Englishman. Similarly, observations of the race peculiarities, and especially of the variations in the constituents of the subtle invisible bodies of the sub-races, will enable the investigator to find the information which he seeks.
The fixing of dates is a more difficult task. As the investigator reads the Memory of the Logos, he can watch the events on earth as fast or as slowly as he desires. He may, if he likes, watch the incidents of a day of long ago, minute by minute; or he can in the course of a few seconds swiftly note summer, autumn, winter and spring, and summer once more, at any place he chooses, and so count time by seasons. If he desires perfect accuracy, he must watch the seasons as they fly thus, rapidly counting the passage of time, year by year.
Within historical times, for instance, if he is watching a scene in Egypt, and desires to know the date, he may perhaps need to observe some court ceremony, catch the Pharaoh's name as it is pronounced by someone, and then consult an encycloproia to find the date of that monarch. In Greece he may need to see someone write a letter or document, and note the number of the Olympiad, or he may fix upon some well-known event, like the Battle of Marathon, and then count the number of years from that to the incident in which he is interested. In Rome he must find a scribe dating a letter "such and such a year from the founding of the City", or he could find the date by watching some debate in the Senate and noting the names of the Consuls for the year, and then by getting their date from an historical list. Sometimes he will count backwards or forwards from a landmark in time, like the sinking of Atlantis, 9564 B.C. — that time having been once and for all fixed by him by previous counting. When hundreds of thousands of years are needed to be counted, the investigator will need to know something of astronomy so as to calculate the large periods by the relative position of the Pole Star to the earth's axis. As with modern scientific research, so too the value of the work of the occult investigator depends upon his care in observation, and upon his general culture and ability to present his observations in a methodical manner.
In recognizing a soul in his different incarnations, a careful investigator need never make any mistake in identification. It is quite true that the subject's physical body is a different one in each incarnation; but his soul-body, the Causal Body with the Augoeides in it, does not change. Once the investigator has noted the appearance of that permanent body of the soul, he will recognize it life after life, whatever be the changes in the temporary physical body. It is that causal body which is the certain mark of identification, and that will be the same, whether the physical body be that of a new-born infant or that of a man tottering to the grave.
Two more diagrams remain to be considered in this chapter. They are Figs. 34 and 35.
The three souls, A, Band C, whom we have studied, are closely linked by bonds of affection, by bonds, that were forged many, many lives ago. Each soul evolves under the pressure of his own separate Eternity, but he does not tread the path to his Deification alone, but in companionship with other souls whom he learns to love. A true bond of deep affection is always one between souls, and not merely between their earthly garments; and whatever these latter may be, love will flash through them from soul to soul. Physical relationships are of minor consequence; the one many-dimensional power of love will manifest itself — always as love and service, whatever be the earthly channel marked out for it by the Lords of Karma.
Of the three subjects A, B and C, A and B belong to that sub-type among cultured souls. who have 1,200 years in Devachan, while C belongs to the second sub-type with only 700 years interval between lives. It is obvious that A and B cannot appear in all the lives of C, unless they both die in each life at that age which will entitle them to some 700 years only of Devachan. What has really happened is given in Fig. 34. During the time that C has lived 31 incarnations, A has lived only 19, and B only 23. In the first of A's lives in this series, he meets C, and they become husband and wife; but in that life A does not meet his other friend B. When A is next born again, he is husband to B, and brother-in-law to C; but in the meantime B has had three lives and C one, where they have not met A. Studying the chart, we shall find that during 31 lives C meets A twelve times, while he meets both A and B together only eight times. The bond between A and C is specially strong, as will be seen from the diagram; whatever is the physical relation — as husband and wife, or wife and husband, as brother and sister, or as lovers to whom the fates are unpropitious, so that they do not. marry — soul speaks to soul. Once B as a woman adopts a little girl, A; that debt is paid later by A when as a man he adopts a little boy, B.
In fourteen of the lives of Subjects E and F, Fig. 35, in which they meet, we see how the bond of love appears in varying forms. When E changes sex and has two lives as a woman, her beloved is with her, first as son, and then as husband. When F changes sex and has three lives as a man, in the third of them he meets his friend E as a man; between the two men there springs up an unusual bond of sympathy and affection. In the next life, E is a priest, and a little orphan girl is brought to him to be admitted to the temple; little need for many months to elapse before they are great friends, and the priest is father and guide. Then comes a life where they are husband and wife again, and then two lives in which they meet and love springs up between them, but the course of true love does not run smooth. Follows then a life where F does not meet her beloved; but they meet again as husband and wife in Rome. In their present life they have not yet met each other; though the plans of the Lords of Karma for each has kept them apart this time, the bond, soul to soul, is strong and unbroken, and they will meet again in future lives, — as wife and husband, as son and father, or as friends. They will be true lovers once more, capable of that many-dimensional love which goes out in devotion and sacrifice to its beloved, in whatever channel for it the Lords of Fate give.
Act first, this Earth, a stage so gloom'd with woe,
You all but sicken at the shifting scenes.
And yet be patient. Our playwright may show
In some fifth Act what this wild Drama means.
Life, without Reincarnation as a clue, is a wild, wild drama indeed, as it seemed to Tennyson once, in spite of his Christian faith. A cruel process is Evolution, careful of the type and careless of the single lite. But grant that Life, indestructible and undying, also evolves, then the future of each individual is bright indeed. In the light of Reincarnation, death loses its sting and the grave its victory; for men go ever onwards to Deification, hand in hand with those they love, with never a fear of parting. Mortality is but a role which the soul plays for a while; and when the play is done, when all lives are lived and all deaths are dead, then the soul begins his destiny as a Master of the Wisdom, as a Shadow of God upon earth, even as "the Word made flesh". To us one and all, cultured or savage now, this is the future that awaits us, the glory that shall be revealed.
Who toiled a slave may come anew a Prince,
For gentle worthiness and merit won;
Who ruled a King may wander earth in rags
For things done and undone.
— The Light of Asia
Little by little, as man's knowledge grows, the world in which he lives is seen to be a world of of law. Each law of nature, as it is discovered, liberates more of our will, however much it may seem at first sight to circumscribe our action; and since actions are but the resultant diagonal of a series of forces of thought and feeling of an inner world, man's supreme need is to understand that inner world of his as one of law and order. The great Law of Karma or Action, which Theosophy expounds, reveals to man something of the inner fabric of his being, and so helps him little by little to be a master of circumstance, and not its slave.
We are already familiar in science with the conception of the whole universe as an expression of energy. The electron is a storehouse of energy; so too, though on a larger scale, is a star. This energy is continually changing, motion transforming itself into light or heat or electricity, and a heavy element into a lighter, and so on from one transformation to another. Man himelf is a storehouse of energy; he takes in energy with his food, and transforms it into the movements of his body. The energy in man, when utilized for a kindly action, is beneficent; and we call such a use "good"; when it is employed to injure another, we term such a use "evil". All the time that man lives, he is a transformer; the universal energy enters into him, to be transformed by him into service or into injury.
The Law of Karma is the statement of cause and effect as man transforms energy. It takes into account not only, as science does, the visible universe and its forces, but also that larger, unseen universe of force which is man's true sphere of activity. Just as, with the flicker of an eyelid, man throws into the universe a force which affects the equilibrium of all other forces in our physical cosmos, so too, with each thought and feeling, he changes the adjustment of himself to the universe, and the adjustment of the universe to himself.
The first principle to grasp, in the attempt to understand Karma, is that we are dealing with force and its effects. This force is of the physical world of movement, or of the astral world of feeling, or of the mental world of thinking. We are using all three types of force, the first with the activities of our physical bodies, the second with the feelings of our astral bodies, and the third with the concrete and abstract thoughts of our mental and causal bodies. To aspire, to dream, to plan, to think, to feel, to act — all this means to set in motion forces or three worlds; and, according to the use made by us of these forces, we help or we hinder.
Now, all the force which we use, on all the planes, is the energy of the Logos; we are but transformers of that energy. As we so transform and use that energy, it is His Desire that we use it to further His Plan of Evolution. When we help that Plan, our action is "good";, when we hinder it, our action is "evil". And since we use His force all the time, we must, at each moment of time, either help or hinder that Plan.
Since man is not an individual by himself, but is one unit in a Humanity of millions of individuals, each thought or feeling or act of man affects each of his fellow-men, in proportion to the nearness of each to him as the distributor of force. Each such use of force by a man, which helps or hinders the whole, of which he is a part, brings with it a result to him; this result is briefly stated, in terms of his action and its resultant reaction, in Fig. 36.
Each hurtful act is so much force (represented in the diagram by a black square) thrown out into the universe, which works itself out in the injury inflicted on another; but the equilibrium of the universe to that other has then been disturbed by the injurer, and that equilibrium must be restored at the expense of the wrong-doer. His "karma" for the injury is a "pain"; the force which produces that pain discharges itself through the injured as the fulcrum, and thus restores the original equilibrium. Similarly is it with a kind act; its karma or reaction is a force which adjusts circumstances so as to produce a "comfort".
Furthermore, in this universe of law, each type of force works on its own plane. One man may give alms to a beggar with pity and sympathy, but another merely to get rid of him as a nuisance; both perform a kind act, and to both the karma of the act on the physical plane is a "comfort";' but there is to the former an additional karma on the astral plane for his pity and sympathy, and it returns to him as a happy emotion, while to the latter there is no karma of this kind. Similarly, I may have nothing but pity to give to a sufferer; I reap thereby an emotional "happiness", but I do not reap a physical "comfort" as well.
For the purpose of the exposition of this difficult subject, a symbol has been taken for each type of force which makes karma (see last column in diagram); these signs-squares, triangles, circles and the star — are merely symbols, and nothing more. On the higher mental plane, where the soul of man resides in his causal body, evil "is null, is naught, is silence implying sound"; there, no evil counterpart exists to the soul's aspiration. There is therefore nothing which can be symbolized by a black star. The wicked man is not a wicked soul; he is but the representative in an earthly body of an undeveloped soul, whose energies are too feeble as yet to control his emotional and physical agents.
Each one of us, as he enters this life, comes from a long past of many lives; as we take up our task once more on earth, we bring with us our karma of good and evil. Now this karma, as already explained, consists of forces; and Fig. 37 is an attempt to suggest to our imagination this fact of the individual as a fulcrum for the discharge of the good and evil forces of his own creation.1
Perhaps, as we look at the diagram, our eye is first impressed by the large number of "pains", "griefs" and. "worries" which are the man's due; and we count only three "ideals". But we must not forget that the forces of all the planes are not of equal value in the production of changes in a man's destiny; a unit of physical force, producing a "comfort", may be only a hundredth fraction as powerful as a unit of mental force which makes an "ideal". If we give 1 as the "work" equivalent for a physical unit of force, we shall not be exaggerating if we put 5 for an astral unit, 25 for a lower mental, and 125 for an "ideal" of the higher mental world. While a man may have many "pains" 'and "griefs" and "worries" as his karma, yet if he but have a few "ideals" as well, he will make a success of his life and not a failure; on the other hand, a man may get as his karmic due wealth and position, giving him many "comforts" and "happiness", and yet, if he has not brought from his past any "inspirations" for his mind, his life may be merely one largely of agreeable futility.
1 In the diagram, the black signs represent pains, griefs and worries respectively, and the white symbolize ideals, inspirations, joys and comforts. See Fig. 36.
Looking round us at the lives which men and women live, it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that, in most lives today, there is more "bad" karma than "good", that is, there is on the whole more of tedious toil and sorrow than of happy labor and joy. At the present stage of human evolution, there is, in the store of forces accumulated by each of us, more to give us pain than pleasure. Our evil account is larger than our good, because in our past lives we have not desired to be guided by wisdom, but preferred instead to live selfish lives, caring little whom we hurt by our selfishness. But each karmic force must discharge its energy, for "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".
As a man "reaps", his karmic forces are carefully adjusted, so that, from the interaction between his good and his evil, the final result shall be an addition, however slight, to his good. If, as we enter life, all our karmic forces of good and evil were to be set into operation, then, seeing how much larger a stock we have of evil than of good, our lives would be so weighted with pain and sadness that we should have little spirit to struggle through the battle of life. In order, however, that we should struggle and succeed, and increase the good side of our account and not the bad, a careful adjustment is made for each soul as he enters into incarnation.
This adjustment is made by the "Lords of Karma", those beneficent Intelligences who, in the Plan of the Logos, act as the arbiters of Karma. They neither reward nor punish; they only adjust the operation of a man's own forces, so that his karma shall help him one step forward in evolution. We can study a typical method of adjustment from the diagrams which now follow.
In Fig. 38 we have a circle which represents the totality of a man's karma, or the accumulated force of all his past lives; the circle has two segments, the white and the dark. The white segment represents the quantity of good karma, and the dark that of the evil karma.
We will presume that the individual's total karma comes to one hundred units, and that the relation between his good and his evil is in the ratio depicted in the diagram, which is as 2 to 3. The segment a e b c a, then, represents the good karma of 40 units, while the segment a d b c arepresents the bad karma of 60 units. This total of accumulated past karma is known in Indian philosophy as Sanchita or "accumulated" karma.
Out of this total, the Lords of Karma select a certain quantity for the new life of the soul; we will imagine that they take for the work of the new life one-fourth of the total. This one-fourth is represented in the diagram by the segment e c d a e; and of this e c a represents the good, with 10.7. units, and a c d the bad, with 14.3 units. The ratio between this good and bad is not as 2 to 3, which is that of the total; it is as 3 to 4, thus giving the individual more out of his good account than is properly speaking his share. This stock of karma, with which the soul starts his incarnation, is called in Sanskrit Prarabdha or "starting" karma; it is that "fate" which the Muslim believes God ties round the neck of each soul at his birth.
In Fig. 39 we have this Prarabdha karma; and its good is the white segmentf i g h f and its evil is the dark segment f h g f. It was mentioned that more of good karma was selected for the life than was the ratio in the total karma of all past lives. This is shown in the diagram, where the segment f i h frepresents the proportion of good according to the total of karma, and the larger segment f i g h f represents the proportion of good actually selected for the new life.
Karma is force; as force spends itself, it does "work", This "work" brings about in a man's life those reactions which are described in Fig.36. As a man's life is lived, the Karma represented by our Fig. 39 exhausts itself. But the "work" it does has, however, the result of making him create new karma by its reaction; according to the man's wisdom will be this new karma which is thus produced. If his "pains" teach him resignation and sympathy, if his "grief" and "worries" spur him to effort to right the wrongs which he has done, if he "pays his karmic debts" with understanding, then the new karma which he generates is good and not evil. But if he is resentful of the debts which he is called upon to pay, if his nature hardens, and as a result he causes misery to others, the new karma which he makes is evil. As a matter of fact, most of us, as we pay our karmic debts, make our new karma mixed, as of old, of both good and evil; only, there will be, in the wiser of us, a larger proportion of good than evil.
This new karma created, called in Sanskrit Agami or Kriyamana, or "future" Karma, is shown in Fig. 40.
It is a larger circle than that of Fig. 39. While 25 units of karma were spent, good and bad, we shall presume that 36 new units of both have been created; whereas the proportion of good and evil with which the life was started was as 3 to 4, the proportion, as the life closes, of the new karma created — of good 16 and of bad 20 — is as 4 to 5. In Fig.40 the radii m l and k l mark respectively the sizes of the segments of the old exhausted good karma and the new generated.
In Fig. 41 we have the two Figs. 39 and 40 superimposed one over the other; we see at once that here both a larger quantity of force is generated, and a larger proportion of good to evil.
Referring once more to Fig. 38, we now find that the segment a e c d a has been exhausted; we must put in its place the new karma represented by Fig. 40. This is done in the new Fig. 42.
The outer circle represents the new total of 111 units, while the inner circle represents the old total of 100; the radii p r, p o show us how there is for the future a larger proportion of good to evil, the proportion being now practically as 41 to 59. Since the proportion of the old total was 40 to 60, the change is not great; there is only one more unit of the good, and one less of the bad, as the result or one incarnation. But as a matter of fact, till a man understands the plan of evolution, there is no great change in him from life to life; there are the usual ups and downs of good and evil fortune, of griefs and joys, as years pass and lives are lived. It is only when a man definitely aspires to serve the Plan of the Logos, to live not for himself but for his fellow-men, that great changes take place in his karma, and his evolution is hastened. Then his progress is swift from life to life, even as in the ratio of geometrical progression.
We can understand now, how to some extent, there is for each man a "fate", for "fate" is that quantity of good and evil karma selected for him by the Lords of Karma for a given life. His parents, his heredity, those who help him and those who hinder him, his oppprtunities, his obligations, his death — these are as his "fate"; but while these forces spend themselves, they do not impose upon him the manner in which he shall react to them. Small though his will is, as yet, that will is still free; he can react to his old karma and produce good rather than bad new karma. It is true that he is greatly handicapped, both by his past tendencies and by the pressure of his environment; yet the Divine Spirit lives within him, and, if he will but rouse himself, he may cooperate with the Divine Will in evolution, and not work against it. It is the duty of his teachers and elders, as well as of the government under which he lives, so to arrange his education and environment that he will find it easier to cooperate with the Divine Will than to thwart it; but this Utopia is still in the womb of the future. Till that day comes, when any man fails — and much of his failure now is due to his environment — each of us who has helped to make that environment shares in the karma of his failure.
It has been mentioned that, in the working out of karmic forces, the Lords of Karma direct their operation; we must now understand the principles which guide these Directors; they are briefly summarized in Fig. 43.
The Lords of Karma must use the individual's own stock of force; they cannot add to it nor diminish it. He comes out of a past, with karmic bonds to individuals, to a community, to a people; he must be sent to be born where he can "work out" his karma with respect to these. But also, his life is only one of a series of lives, and at the end of them, he is to become a Master of the Wisdom, a Perfect Man, in the image of an Archetype which the Logos has created for him. The Lords of Karma, then, must adjust the individual's karma so that he grows steadily towards his Archetype.
Now, much of a man's activities will depend upon the kind of physical body which he has; and since this is provided by a father and a mother, the heredity from the parents is an important matter. In these days we think of heredity in terms of Mendelian "genes" -- those units of physical attributes whichare in the germ-cells of the parents; the Lords of Karma have therefore to select such "genes" as will be useful for the type of body which the karma requires. I quote here what I have written previously on the subject in Theosophy and Modern Thought, whence, too, is taken this Fig. 43.
“Once more the problem resolves itself into happenings in two worlds, the seen and the unseen. On the seen, the form side, we have man as a body, and that body has been fashioned by factors. 1 But these factors are helpful to some and are handicaps to others; one man is born with a splendid physique, while another has night-blindness or hemophilia as his share; one may be musical, and another deaf and dumb. In a family with the factor for color-blindness, we have one son normal, but three are affected; why are three handicapped thus, but not the fourth?
“We must turn to the life side to understand the riddle of man's destiny. Three elements there come into play. Of these the first is that the man is an Ego, an imperishable circle in the sphere of Divinity; "long, long ago, indeed, he had his birth, he verily is now within the germ". He has lived on earth in many a past life, and there thought and felt and acted both good and evil; he has set in motion forces that help or hinder both himself and others. He is bound and not free. But he lives on from age to age to achieve an ideal, which is his Archetype. Just as for plant and animal life there are archetypes of the forms, so are there archetypes for the souls of men. One shall be a great saint of compassion, another a teacher of truth, a third a ruler of men; artist and scientist, doer and dreamer, each has set before him his Archetype, that Thought of God Himself of what each man shall be in the perfection of his God-given temperament. And each ego achieves his Archetype by finding his work. For this it is that we, as egos, come into incarnation — to discover our work and to release the hidden powers within us by battling with circumstances as we achieve that work.
1 In 1914, when I wrote, the word "gene" had not been invented as a substitute for Bateson's "factors" what are now termed "genes".
“But to do our work we must have a body of flesh; and the help or, the handicap the body is to our work depends on the factors of which it is made. Here once more there is no fortuitous concourse of factors; Deva Builders come to help man with his destiny. These are the Lords of Karma, those invisible Intelligences who administer the great Law of Righteousness which establishes that as a man soweth so shall he reap; they select from the factors provided by the parents those that are most serviceable to the ego for the lesson he has to learn and for the work he has to do, in that particular body which Karma allots to him.
“The Lords of Karma neither punish nor reward; they only adjust the forces of a man's past, so that those forces in their new grouping shall help the man one step nearer his Archetype. Whatever the Lords give to a man, joy or sorrow, opportunity or disaster, they keep one thing in mind, that man's purpose in life at his present stage is neither to be happy nor miserable, but to achieve his Archetype. There is, later on, untold bliss for him in action, when he is the Archetype in realization; but till that day, it is their duty to press him on from one experience to another.
“After the zygote1 is made, the Lords of Karma select the factors, since as yet the ego cannot do so himself; if the next stage in evolution for him is by developing some particular gift — as, for instance, that of music — then they select for him the appropriate factors; the musician will need an abnormally sensitive nervous system and a special development of the cells of the ear, and the Lords will pick out these factors as the embryo is fashioned. If at the same time the man's inner strength is to be roused by a handicap, or his nature to be purified by suffering, then an appropriate factor will also appear, some factor perhaps like that which brings about a lack of virility or of resistance to disease. If on the other hand the ego, already a mathematician, is in this life to be a mathematical genius, then those factors in the zygote that build the mathematical brain will be brought out as the zygote grows to be the embryo.
“Whatever is the work for the ego, appropriate factors are selected for; it by the Lords; virility for the pioneer in new lands, the psychic temperament for those who can help by communing with the invisible, a disabling factor for one who shall grow through suffering, and so on, factor by factor, the Lords distribute the karma of men. With infinite compassion and with infinite wisdom, but swerving not one hair's breadth from justice, they build for one soul a body suited for genius, and for another a body whIch is as a log. It is not theirs to make the man happy or discontented, good or evil; their one duty is to guide the man one step nearer. his Archetype. Helps and handicaps, joys and pains, opportunities or privations, are the bricks of the ego's own making for his temporary habitation; the Lords of Karma add nothing and take nothing away; they only adjust the forces of the soul's making, so that his ultimate destiny, his Archetype, shall be achieved as swiftly as may be, as he treads the round of births and deaths.”
1 The first cell of the embryo, made by the union of the two germ-cells contributed by the parents.
We must not, however, imagine that this "fate" selected for the individual is absolutely rigid and immutable; a man can, and does, change his "fate" sometimes, by an unusual reaction to circumstances. For instance, suicide is not in a man's fate, though his visible and invisible circumstances may, seemingly to us, be too much for his strength; the plan for the individual is always to struggle through his "pains" and "griefs" and "worries", and not "go under ". Similarly, an individual may take an opportunity not specially arranged for him; some religious teacher, for instance, whose appearance is not specially related to him, may affect him, and he may make for himself a new opportunity. Not infrequently too, a man's karma may be as it were put out of gear by the actions of others wich are not calculated for in his karma. In all these cases, whether the event be of service or disservice to the individual, there is always a large reserve of karma not actually in operation, and the new karma is deducted from or added to this reserve, so that there is no final favoritism or injustice.
It is also interesting to note that there are several types of karma, and that individuals can be related by one, or more, of them, but not necessarily by all. The commonest "karmic link" is of love or hatred; but there are also links of caste, or of race. A man born, for instance, into a priestly caste shares to some extent in the good or the evil done by the caste as a whole; an individual born among a particular people is handicapped or helped by the karma which that people has made for itself throughout the centuries. There is also the karma attaching to a special type of work; the henchmen of a Pericles or the lieutenants of a Caesar will be drawn by karmic links to their chief whenever that chief is in incarnation and works again at his life's dream. In such cases, there may or may not be any emotional links at all between those united in the common work; the link which binds them, so that they help or hinder each other and the common work, is a karmic link of work.
This vast subject of the soul's karma, or the soul at work, can only be suggested in outline in such a brief summary as this. To understand Karma in its fullest operation and significance requires the wisdom of an Adept; but to understand the principle 0f Karma is to revolutionize one's conception of the possibilities of life and of oneself. As Theosophy is intensely ethical in its outlook, there perhaps is no more useful way of summarizing what we know of Karma than as done in Fig. 44.
* * * *
Ah, Love, could you and I with Him conspire,
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,
Would we not shatter it to bits, and then
Remould it nearer to the heart's desire!
There is indeed One who has made this "scheme of things entire " according to a Plan of Love and Beauty; but, at the present stage of human evolution, that Plan is "in heaven", and not "on earth". But He is waiting till the day when His Will shall be done "on earth, as it is in heaven"; and that day cannot come till each one of the myriads of souls who are Fragments of Him is ready to work with Him to shatter His present scheme and remould it nearer to His "heart's desire". He is the great Reconstructor, who shatters what He erstwhile built, and rebuilds nearer to His heart's desire. For the whole world is His Karma, His Action. And we need only to follow His guidance, as He whispers in our inmost hearts how to shatter our scheme of things entire, and then make it nearer to our heart's desire. When each of us has indeed the vision of his heart's true desire, and wants to shatter his scheme of things entire, so that a better, diviner scheme shall exist for all men and not for himself alone, then he will inevitably know how so to fashion his Karma that each action of his shall be the action of the Logos, according to His Heart's Desire.
In the life of each of us, the world which surrounds us has a very great, if not the greatest, influence. We are very much what our knowledge of the world makes us. We know the world by means of our five senses; and if one of our senses is defective, our knowledge of the world is less by that defect.
Now, though we are all the time exercising our senses, and see, hear, touch, taste and smell the objects of the world in which we live, we little realize what complex processes of consciousness are involved in our "knowing" the world. Nor do we realize that we know only a part of what there is to be known of the world around us.
Let us consider, for instance, our knowledge of the world through the faculty of sight. What do we mean by "seeing" an object? It means that our eyes respond to such vibrations of light as are given off by the front of the object, and that our consciousness translates those vibrations into ideas of form and color.
What we see is of course only the front of the object, never the whole, which is both the front and the back. Our faculty of sight, then, is due to waves of light to which our eyes respond. But what, after all, is "light"? In answering that question we shall quickly see how small a part of the true world is the visible world, and how' large a part the invisible. In Fig. 45 we have a diagram showing us the main facts about light.
Light is a vibration; according to the frequency of the vibration is the color produced by it. The light by which we see comes from the sun, which throws off bundles of vibrations of various frequencies, and we call the aggregates of these bundles white light. But if we interpose a prism of glass in the way of a white ray of light, the particles of glass break the white light into its constituent vibrations. These vibrations create in our consciousness, when they are noted by the retina of our eyes, the sense of color. The colors which our eyes can see are seven — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet; these seven colors and their shades and their mixtures make up the many colors of the world in which we live.
But the colors which we see are not the only colors which exist. We see only such colors as our eyes can respond to. But the response of our eyes is limited; we can see in the spectrum the colors from red to blue, and then the violet; few of us can see any indigo between the blue and the violet. So long as the vibrations are not larger than 38,000 to the inch (or 15,000 to the centimeter), making the color red, nor smaller than 62,000 to the inch (or 25,000 to the centimeter), making the color violet, we can respond to solar vibrations, and know them as color. But a little experiment will quickly show us that, below the red of the spectrum, and beyond the violet, there exist vibrations which would mean color to us, if we could but respond to them. If, after the spectrum is made, we put a burning-glass where come the infra-red rays (where our eyes see nothing), and put a piece of phosphorus where the rays of the lens converge, we shall have the phosphorus set on fire by heat; evidently, below the color red of the spectrum, there are vibrations producing heat. Similarly, at the other end of the spectrum, if we shut off the violet rays by a screen, and in that part of the space beyond the violet, where our eyes see no color, we place a disc or screen covered with plantino-cyanide, the disc will begin to glow, owing to the effect of the ultraviolet rays. There are, then, in the sun's rays, infrared and ultraviolet colors which our eyes cannot see; if we could see them, it is obvious that the colors in natural objects would be seen to have not only new colors but also new shades.
Our sense of hearing is similarly limited; there are sounds both too high and too low for us to hear. Sound is made by waves in the air; 16½ sound-waves per second make the low C note of the organ. While some can hear this, others cannot hear a note which produces fewer vibrations than 40 per second. So too with the highest audible note; some can hear a note as high as 40,000 per second, but others only up to 20,000 per second. Wherever exist sounds which some of us, due to some defect, cannot hear, they do not exist for us; they exist for others who respond to those vibrations. In Fig. 46 we have a table of vibrations, giving us a general idea of such effects as are produced in nature by vibrations in air and in the aether. 1
If we imagine a pendulum swinging twice per second, then increasing to four times per second, and then to eight, and so on, doubling at each step, we shall produce certain numbers of vibrations per second. Of waves producible in the air, our faculty of hearing begins only when they are at the 5th step, and it ends between the 13th and 15th steps. Of the electro-magnetic waves in the ether, also, we "see" only those of a definite range of frequency. The wire carrying the current to a lamp is opaque to our eyes, but when the electricity meets with resistance, and vibrations, corresponding to those of the 45th to 46th steps in the diagram, are produced in the ether, then light appears and our eyes recognize the presence of the electric current. Of the wide range of vibrations, extending from waves a minute fraction of an inch in length, to many miles, which have been tabulated by science, our senses respond only to a little more than one-ninth of the whole. Thus, of the world around us, which science has discovered, we know only about one-eighth; seven-eighths of the world is hidden to our consciousness.
1 I know that physics today has discarded the existence of the aether, since the phenomenon of light can be explained without any need to postulate a medium in which it moves. All the same the ether exists, for I see it.
Suppose that our nerves were differently organized; suppose they did not respond to light waves but to some other range of electro-magnetic vibrations, what a different world would then be around us! When the sun shone, there would be no sunlight; the atmosphere about us would be opaque but for waves such as those used in radio. When we turned on the electric switch, our rooms would be lit, not by the light of the electric bulb, but by the wires along the walls and by the discharges of static electricity from the objects in the room. As a matter of fact, if our eyes responded to electric waves, we should require no wires at all; we should "see" by means of the light emitted by the protons and electrons composing the atoms. There would then be for us no alternations of night and day; it would always be "day" for us, so long as the protons and electrons swung in their orbits.
Fig. 47 and 48 show us how different an object can appear if cognized by two different types of vibration. Both are pictures of the sun, taken by the photographic camera; but in Fig. 47 we have a picture made by the ordinary photographic negative, which responds to all the rays emitted by the sun, that is, to the white rays.
But Fig. 48 is a picture of the sun taken by means of the spectroheliograph, in which the negative responds only to selected vibrations from the sun and to no others. To make this picture, only the vibrations of light emitted by the hydrogen vapors of the sun are allowed to enter the camera. We have thus two different pictures of the sun, both made by the camera. If, therefore, at one and the same time, we were to photograph the sun by two telescopes, one with the ordinary camera attachment and the other with the spectroheliograph adjusted to a particular rate of vibration, we should then obtain two photographs, of one and the same sun, differing entirely in detail, except for the circular contour common to both.
This is exactly the principle underlying what is called Clairvoyance. Around us are many types of vibrations to which the ordinary mortal cannot respond. He is blind to and unconscious of a part of the universe which is ready to reveal itself to him, were he but ready to respond to its vibrations. But the clairvoyant does so respond, and therefore he "sees" more of the real world in which we spend our days. Of course all clairvoyants are not alike in their response to the unseen world; some "see" only a little, others a great deal; some make clear conceptions of what they see, others are confused and incoherent. But the principIe of Clairvoyance is exactly the principle of ordinary sight1. We do not yet know what special development of nerves and of brain centres is necessary to call out response to the vibrations of the invisible world; the science of a future day will map out for us the occult physiology of the brain, which will explain to us more than we now know of the mechanism of Clairvoyance.
On this matter of a larger, unseen world around, us, I speak not at second hand, but partly of my own direct observation and knowledge. What there is peculiar in the centres of my brain I do not know; but a never-vanishing fact of my consciousness is that there is on all sides of me, through, within and without everything, an invisible world, which is most difficult to describe. It scarcely requires an effort of the will to see it; there is no greater need to concentrate to see it than for the physical eye to focus instantly to see an object. It is not seen with the eye; whether the eye is open or shut makes no difference. The sight of the physical eye and this inner sight are independent of each other, and yet both work
1 I refer here only to those clairvoyants who see objectively, that is, the object is seen in front of them, and apart from them, just as in the case of physical sight. Many clairvoyants, however," see" subjectively, that is, by mental impressions received which create images or pictures.
simultaneously; my eye sees the paper on which I write this, and at the same time my something — scarcely know what to call it — sees the invisible world above, below, around and through the paper, and the table, and the room. That world is luminous, and seems as if every point of its space was a point of self-created light of a kind different from the light of the physical world; the whole of its space is full of movement, but in a puzzling, indescribable manner, suggestive of a fourth dimension of space. I must testify, with all the vehemence at my command, that to my consciousness, to all that I know of as "I", this invisible world has a greater reality than the physical world; that as I look at it, and then with my physical eye look at the world of earth and sky and human habitations, the physical world is an utter illusion, a Maya, and has no quality in it which my consciousness can truly label as "real". "Our world", when I compare it to the intense reality of even this fragment of the invisible worlds which I see, is less than a mirage or a shadow or a dream; it seems scarcely even an idea of my brain. Nevertheless, of course, our physical world is "real" enough; in its own way, it is real enough just now to me, seeing that, as I write this among the hills of Java, mosquitoes are biting me, and I am acutely conscious of their stings. Some day, when opportunity permits, I may be able to develop this faculty with which I have been born, and add to the stock of facts about the invisible worlds which have already been gathered by Theosophical investigators.
The facts already gathered by the scientists of the Theosophical tradition tell us that this physical world of ours is only a fragment of the true world, and that interpenetrating this world, as also beyond it, are many invisible worlds. Each of these worlds is material, that is, not a mere conception, but made of matter; the matter of the invisible worlds, however, is far finer in quality and substantiality than the matter to which we are usually accustomed. We are aware of solid matter, and liquid matter; gaseous matter, as of the air, we are not normally conscious of, and we note gases only when they incommode us, as when wind obstructs us, or some gas causes difficulty in breathing. Beyond this gaseous state of matter, modern science has discovered further states, once termed by Crookes "radiant" matter; and there is also the mysterious luminiferous ether — in every sense matter, and yet differing in its attributes from such matter as we know. All this vast domain of finer states of matter has been investigated and described in Theosophy, and in Fig. 49 we have in tabular form some facts about the invisible worlds.
There are seven "planes" or worlds which have special relation to man, and each individual has some phase of his life in them. He is represented in the three lower planes by a vehicle or body made of matter of each of those planes, and each body serves him as a means of knowledge and communication with that plane. Thus, each of us has a physical body, made up of the seven sub-states of physical matter, and through that body he gains his experiences of the physical world. Similarly, each of us has a body of "astral" matter — so called because the matter is starry or self-luminous — which is called the "astral body", and each has also a "mental body" and a "causal body" made up of materials of the mental world. (See Fig. 28.) Each invisible body is of course highly organized, as is the physical body; there is an anatomy and physiology of these invisible vehicles more complex than that of the physical body. On planes higher than the mental world, man's consciousness is as yet rudimentary, and his bodies or vehicles in them are still awaiting organization.
As is shown in the diagram, each plane or world is quite distinct from all the others; natural phenomena like heat and light and electricity are of our physical world of physical matter, and do not affect, for instance, the world of mental matter. As there are laws of solid, liquid and gaseous states of physical matter, so are there similarly laws of matter for each plane. The matter of each plane has seven sub-states, called sub-planes; our physical world has not only the three sub-states, solid, liquid and gaseous with which we are familiar, but also four other sub-states, called respectively etheric, super-etheric, sub-atomic and atomic. (It should here be mentioned that the word "etheric" relates to certain sub-states of physical matter, and does not refer to the ether, that substance which fills interstellar space and bears to us the lightwaves from the farthest stars.)
The highest sub-plane of each of the seven planes is labelled "atomic", for the reason that its particles are not molecular; each particle is a unit which is not further divisible into smaller constituents of that plane.
All the invisible worlds exist around us, here and now; they are not removed in space from this world. The astral world. and its inhabitants are around us all the time, though most of us are unaware of them. So too is that invisible world which is known in tradition as "Heaven"; the glories of Heaven are here and now, and all about us, had we but the eye to see and the ear to hear. How can this be, that in our rooms, in our gardens and roads and cities, there are also other worlds? How can several worlds exist in one and the same space?
They can so exist, because each higher world is of finer matter than the one below. If we compare the matter of the three lower worlds — physical, astral, mental — to the three states of physical matter with which we are familiar — solid, liquid and gaseous; if we think of the physical world for a moment as "solid", the astral world as "liquid", and the mental world as "gaseous", then in one and the same space these three worlds can exist. A bottle can be filled with sand; but it is not really full, as there are air spaces between the particles of sand; we can put water into the bottle, and the water particles will occupy the empty spaces in the sand. Even with the sand and the water the bottle is not really full, for we can aerate the water, that is, send gas particles to fill the empty spaces in the water, since water does not closely pack space but is full of holes between its particles. Sand, water and gas can thus exist together inside one and the same bottle.
We can use another simile in order to understand how several worlds can occupy the same space. Suppose a large room or hall were filled with old-fashioned round cannon balls, as closely as they will pack; because of the spherical shape of the balls, there will be empty spaces between them, however closely they are packed. Suppose then we send into the room thousands of small gun shot, each having a mysterious faculty of movement; the shot could exist in the empty spaces between the cannon balls, and move about without finding them an insuperable obstruction. Suppose the room is quite full of shot, and there is no room for them to move at all among the cannon balls; still, because the shot are round, there are empty spaces between them. If then we send in an army of microbes, they will live quite at ease among the small shot, move about without finding the shot an obstruction.
This is somewhat the way that the astral world, the mental and the higher worlds, are here all about us; our physical world, of solid and liquid and gaseous and the etheric states, is porous, and between its finest particles exist great spaces; in these spaces exist particles of matter of the higher planes. An atom of a rare gas in the atmosphere, like argon, might move in and out between the meshes of a wire fence without in the least being incommoded by the fence; and as argon will not combine with any substance, the argon atom and the fence will be shut off from each other, as it were, in consciousness, though both partake of the same space. Similarly, entities of the astral and other worlds are all about us, living their life, but we are not conscious of them, nor they of us, except under abnormal circumstances.
Suppose there exists a man who responds to the vibrations of the astral and mental worlds, and so can "see" them, and that he has also been scientifically trained in observation and judgment, what does he see? He sees a multitude of phenomena, which will take him long years to analyze and understand. The first and most striking thing will be that he sees, living in either astral or mental bodies, those friends and acquaintances of his whom he thought of as dead; they are not removed in space, in a far-off heaven or purgatory or hell, but are here, in the finer unseen extensions of this world. He will see the "dead" blissfully happy, mildly contented, bored, or utterly miserable; he will note that entities with these attributes of consciousness are localized to various sub-planes of the astral and mental worlds. He will observe how far from the earth's surface these sub-planes extend, and so he will make for himself a geography of the invisible worlds.
He will see that in the astral world, and in its lowest subdivision, live for a time men and women acutely miserable, and that that part of the astral world is evidently the "hell" described in all the religions; that a higher part of the astral world is evidently "purgatory"; and that a higher part still is the "Summerland" described by the communicating entities at spiritualistic seances. With a higher faculty of observation still, he will note a part of the invisible world where the "dead" live as intensely happy as each is capable of being, and he will note that this is evidently "heaven", though in many ways radically different and more sensible than the religious imagination has conceived heaven to be. The mystery of life and death will be solved for him as he thus observes the invisible worlds.
Fig. 50 is an attempt to sum up in tabular form the various inhabitants of the "three worlds", the physical, the astral and the mental or heaven world.
Three distinct types of evolving entities share in common these worlds: (1) the human (including individualized animals), (2) the life of "elemental Essence", and the life of minerals, (3) the Devas or Angels, with the nature-spirits or fairies. The second type is the most difficult to grasp, because it is life which is not differentiated into stable or persistent forms. The matter of the astral and mental worlds, qua matter, that is, irrespective of the soul who makes a vehicle out of it, is alive with a peculiar kind of life, which is delicately sensitive, quick with life, and yet is not individualized; if we imagine what the particles of water in a cup might feel as an electric current passed through the water, we have a faint idea of the increased vitality and energy of mental and astral grades of matter as "elemental essence" of the first, second and third types acts through them.
This elemental essence is, as it were, in a "critical state", ready to precipitate into "thought-forms" the moment a vibration of thought from a thinker's mind affects it. According to the type and quality and strength of the thought is the thought-form which is made by elemental essence out of astral or mental matter. These thought-forms are fleeting or last for hours, months or years; and hence they can well be classed among the inhabitants of the invisible worlds. They are called Elementals.
Of the same somewhat undifferentiated type of life are forms of the etheric grades of physical matter; while more differentiated is the life of minerals. A mineral has a dual existence, as form and as life; as form, it is composed of various chemical elements; as life, it is a grade of evolving life trained to build in matter crystal forms according to geometrical designs.
Looking at the second column of the diagram, we have, of course, as physical inhabitants, all minerals, plants, animals and men. Temporary inhabitants, disintegrating after a few weeks or months, are those finer etheric counterparts of the physical bodies, called the "etheric doubles", which float over graves where the coarser physical bodies are buried. "Since these etheric doubles have the shape of their more physical counterparts, and since they are still 'physical matter of a sort, they are sometimes seen by sensitive people in churchyards, and mistaken for the souls of the dead.
In the astral world exist temporarily all those physical entities, men and animals, for whom sleep involves a separation of the physical body for a time from the higher bodies. While we "sleep", we live in our astral bodies, either fully conscious and active, or partly conscious and semi-dormant, as the case may be, according to our evolutionary growth; when we "wake", the physical and the higher bodies are interlocked again, and we cease to be inhabitants of the astral world. Of course the "dead" live in astral bodies in the astral world; "temporarily", as mentioned in the diagram, since after a period of time they finally pass on to life in the heaven world; this temporary life in the astral world may, however, vary from a few hours to several dozen years. (See Fig. 54.)
"Discarded astral bodies" are exactly described by the words; just as we discard our physical bodies when we "die", and go to live in the astral world for a time, so too, when we leave the astral world to pass on to the mental world, our astral bodies are cast aside. These discarded astral bodies are, however, different from our discarded physical bodies, because they retain a certain amount of the departed soul's consciousness locked up among their astral particles; they possess, therefore, many memories, and, having a curious vitality for a while, will, like automata, enact certain habits and modes of expression of the departed entity. They are called "spooks", and often are attracted to seances, where they are mistaken for the true souls, of whom they are nothing more than mere simulacra. Unless they are artificially stimulated, as at seances; they disintegrate in a few hours, or in a few months or years, according to the spiritual or material nature of the entity who has passed on into the heaven world.
The seven sub-planes of the heaven world [the Mental Plane] form two great divisions; the three higher sub-planes make the higher heaven, and the four lower sub-planes make the lower heaven. The lower heaven world is also known as "Devachan", the abode of Bliss, or the place of intense joy because in its four lower sub-divisions are found souls after death in conditions of happiness described in the various religions as "heaven". Here too are found those animals who, before death, became "individualized", and attained to the stature of a human soul. On the lowest sub-plane live those men and women and children in whom affection predominated in the character when on earth (however limited may have been its manifestation, owing to adverse circumstances), and they dwell in bliss for centuries in happy communion with those to love whom was the highest possible heaven of earthly dreams. On the next higher sub-plane are those who added to affection a devotion to some definite religious ideal; on the sub- plane above, the men and women who delighted to express their dreams of love and devotion in philanthropic action; on the fourth sub- plane are those who, with all these beautiful attributes, added philosophic, artistic or scientific interests to their soul's manifestations when on earth.
In the three higher sub-planes, in the higher heaven, ever live all the souls who compose our humanity. Here each lives as the "individuality", as the totality of capacity and consciousness evolved throughout the long course of evolution. From here, as the individuality, each soul descends into incarnation, putting forth only a part of himself as the "personality", to experiment with life on lower planes. On the highest sub-plane live the Adepts and their higher pupils; on that next below, the souls whose higher evolution is attested by their inborn culture and natural refinement when in earthly bodies; and on the third sub-plane are the vast majority of the 60,000 millions of souls who form the mass of our, as yet, backward humanity.
Totally distinct from all the life in the visible and invisible worlds so far described, is the life of an evolution of entities known as Devas or Angels. In the higher heaven live Devas of the highest grade, known as Arupa or "formless" Devas, because the matter of their bodies is made up of the three higher sub-planes of mental matter, technically called "formless". The term "formless" is used because thought in that matter does not precipitate into definite shapes having form, but expresses itself as a complex, radiating vibration. On the four lower sub-planes, called the Rupa or "form" sub-planes, because thought creates thought-forms having definite shapes with outlines, exist the Rupa or "form" Devas, the lesser-Angels.
On the astral plane exists a still lower order of Angels known as Kama or "desire" Devas, since the astral world in which they live is essentially the realm of self-centred emotions. On this plane and on the higher etheric levels of the physical, exist the nature-spirits or fairies, whose relation to the Devas is somewhat akin to the relation which our domestic pets hold to us. These fairies, though their higher grades possess high intelligence, are not yet individualized, i.e., they are still part of a fairy group-soul. They individualize and become permanent egos by their devotion to individual Devas, just as, one by one, our pet dogs and cats attain to the possession of a reincarnating soul through their devotion to us.
The invisible worlds of Fig. 49 are those within the boundaries of our solar system, and are the fields of experience for our evolving humanity. There are, however, other planes, extra-solar and so cosmic in their nature and extent, called the "Cosmic Planes". Each of these cosmic planes too has its seven subdivisions or sub-planes; the lowest and seventh sub-plane of each cosmic plane makes the highest and first, the atomic, sub-plane of our seven planes within the solar system. The idea will. be clear if we study the two diagrams of Figs. 49 and 51 together.
It is on the fifth or Cosmic Mental Plane that there exists as a definite Thought-Form the great Plan of the evolution of all types of life and form in all our seven planes; this Plan is the Thought of the Logos Himself of how evolution shall proceed from its beginning to its end. In this "Mind of the Logos" are the "Ideas" or "Archetypes" discussed by Plato; here, "as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be" is an objective reality.
As will be noted by examining the two diagrams of the Planes of the Solar System and of the Cosmic Planes, the highest sub-plane of our mental world is seen to make the lowest subdivision of the Cosmic Mental Plane; from this follows a striking fact, that whoever can raise his consciousness to work in the former comes directly under the inspiring vision and power of the Archetypes of the latter. As the glorious colors of a sunset are reflected on the still surface at the bottom of a deep well, though in space the water and the clouds are far removed, so can the purified intellect and the spiritual emotions of the soul see and sense and know the Eternal Now, the future that awaits us, "the glory that shall be revealed". It is in this manner that the great artists glimpse with their intuitions what eternally IS, and so create for us works of art which are, at one and the same time, beauty and wisdom, work and sacrifice.
Such are the worlds invisible and visible, in the lowest and least part of which we play at our roles of mortality. But our immortal selves are the inheritors of a vast unseen universe, in which our fuller life shall become, as we advance in knowledge and growth, a series of inspiring adventures amidst divine masterpieces. Even a tiny glimpse of that vast invisible world corrects our mortal vision of things, and gives a perspective to life and evolurlon which never palls in its fascination. All doubts of man fade away, as mists dissolve when the sun rises, when man can thus see for himself, and know by direct vision, and not merely believe.
Though for most of us this vision is not as yet attainable, yet there is another vision of the purified intellect and of the glorified intuition, which is indeed as a beacon light to guide our steps amid the dark paths of our mortal world. If Theosophy cannot give at once, and to all, the direct vision to the eye, it can at least give, more satisfactorily than any other philosophy, a vision of "things as they are" to the human intellect, which inspires to good and adds to life's enthusiasms. Till all can see what now only a few see, this is all that Theosophy can legitimately claim, as the vision of the invisible worlds is thus revealed to the aspiring intellects of men.
It is an axiom in our modem conception of evolution that the more diverse are the functions of which an organism is capable, the more complex is its structure. It is therefore in the order of things that man should have a complexity of structure not found in less developed organisms. But the complexity of the human organism revealed to us in anatomy and physiology is only a small part of the full complexity of man; even what we are told in modern psychology lays bare but little of the complexity revealed in Theosophy.
In Fig. 52 are summarized the main facts about man, as seen in Theosophy.
At the birth of an individual, we have several elements which go to build the unit of humanity whom we call "man". They are as follows:
1. The Ego, the true Soul of man, of whom in all cases only a part can ever be manifested in a physical body. This Ego is the Individuality.
2. A part of the Individuality which is manifested in a reincarnation, at a given time, in a particular race, and as either a man or a woman. This is the Personality.
The relation between the Individuality and the Personality has been expressed by many symbols; one, which has been used in the old mysteries, is that of a string of pearls, where the string represents the Individuality, and the pearls the separate Personalities in successive incarnations. In Fig. 52 another symbol is taken. If we take the three- dimensional, twenty-equal-surfaced geometrical solid, known as the icosahedron, to represent the Individuality, then the Personality is equivalent to one of the twenty two-dimensional triangles which make up the surface of the figure.
All the twenty triangles of the surface, even when put side by side, will always fail to represent one characteristic of the figure, which is its third dimension; and conversely, since a triangle has only two dimensions, and the solid figure has three, it is possible to separate an infinity of triangles from each face of the icosahedron. In a similar fashion, each Personality — as, too, all the Personalities together which an Ego ensouls at successive rebirths — fails to reveal certain attributes of the real Ego; and, also, an Ego can ensoul as many Personalities as his force is adequate to, without exhausting his true nature as the Ego.
Only one Personality, however, is ensouled by the Individuality for the purpose of the work done in any one incarnation.
3. The Personality (Fig. 52, column 3) at rebirth takes a Mind or Mental Body, an Astral Body and a Physical Body.
4. Each of these three bodies has a life and consciousness of its own, quite distinct fron the life and consciousness of the Personality who uses them. ,This "body-consciousness" of each vehicle is known respectively as the "mental elemental" of the mind body, the "desire elemental" of the astral body, and the "physical elemental" of the physical body (column 2). This "body-consciousness" is the life of the Elemental Essences of mental and astral matter, and the life of the mineral, vegetable and anjmal streams of life which make up the physical body (column 4).
5. The physical body, which is provided by the parents, is the repository of the hereditary Mendelian genes or "factors" which are in the parental ancestry; out of these parental genes such of them are selected, at the building of the embryo at conception, as are consonant with the karma of the Individuality, and will be useful for the work of the Personality.
6. The astral and mental bodies also have hereditary factors of a kind; but these are not provided by the parents but by the Ego himself. The astral and mental bodies with which a child is born are replicas of the astral body and the mental body with which the previous incarnation ended, when the Personality of the previous life discarded his astral body to enter the heaven world, and later discarded his mental body, at the end of his period in the heaven world.
Man then, when examined in the light of Theosophy, is a very complex entity, the resultant of the diagonals of many parallelograms of forces of three worlds; for the purpose of coherent study, we can well arrange these forces into three groups:
1. The Individuality, who lives on in the permanent Causal Body from life to life, and retains the memories of the experiences of all his Personalities;
2. The Personality, a more or less partial representative of the Individuality;
3. The "body consciousness" of each of the three vehicles, the mental, astral and physical elementals.
We shall consider first the kinds of body-consciousness. The physical body has a consciousness which, however limited, is sufficient for the purposes of its life and functions. This consciousness knows how to attract the attention of the occupier when there is need for it; when the body is tired. it urges the individual to rest; when it needs food and drink, it creates in him the desire to eat and drink. When such physical functions work, it is not the Ego who wants to eat and drink; but merely the physical elemental. It is clever enough, through long ancestral habits of heredity, to protect itself; when attacked by disease germs, it marshals its army of phagocytes to kill them; when wounded, it organizes the cells to heal when the body is asleep (that is, when the owner departs in his astral body, and the physical body is tenantless), it pulls up the bedclothes to cover itself against the cold, or turns over to sleep in a new position. In any event which it thinks threatens its life, it will instantly do what it can, however limited, to protect itself; if a shot is fired or a door is slammed, it jumps back; its consciousness is not sufficient to distinguish between the danger revealed by the sound of a shot and the absence of danger fro m the slamming of a door.
Many of these manifestations of the physical elemental are natural enough, and need not be interfered with by the consciousness of the tenant of the body; but sometimes such interference is necessary, as when a duty has to be performed, and the body is tired and objects, and yet must be forced to work, or when there is a work of danger to be done, and the elemental, fearing for its life, wants to run away and yet must be held to its task by the will of the owner. In children. the physical elemental is most pronounced; when a baby cries and screams, It is the elemental which manifests its objections (reasonable to it, though often unreasonable to us), but it is not the Soul of the baby who screams and cries.
This physical elemental's life and consciousness is the reservoir of all the experiences of pleasure and pain of its long line of physical ancestors; its life was once the life of the desire elementals of savages of long ago. It has all kinds of ancestral memories and tendencies, to which it often reverts, whenever the Ego's consciousness over it is lessened. It is this body-consciousness which has been discovered in the researches of modern psychoanalysts of the schools of Freud, Jung and Adler, and its vagaries of consciousness are manifest in our inconsequential and often meaningless dreams.
The elementals of the astral and mental bodies consist of the life of the Elemental Essence. This Elemental Essence is a phase of the life of the Logos at an earlier stage of manifestation than even the life of the mineral; it is on the "downward arc" of life, and is "descending into matter", to become, later, mineral life, and later still, vegetable and animal life. Its chief need is to feel itself alive, and in as many new ways as possible; it wants a variety of vibrations, and the coarser they are, that is, tending more to materiality, the better pleased it is. This is that "law in my members, warring against the law of my mind", of which St. Paul speaks, the "sin that dwelleth in me".
The desire elemental likes the astral body to be roused, to have in fact "a rousing time"; variety, novelty, excitement are what it wants on its downward arc of life. The mental elemental does not like the mind to be held to one thought; it is ever restless, and craves as many varied thought vibrations as it can induce its owner to give; hence our difficulty in concentration because of this "fickleness of the mind".
But the owner of the astral and mental bodies, the Ego, is on the upward arc of life; billions of years ago he lived as the mineral, the plant and the animal; such experiences as the mental and desire elementals now prefer, on their downward arc, are not necessarily what he, the Ego who is on the upward arc, finds useful for his work in life. Hence that continual warfare for mastery between the Ego and his vehicles, graphically described by St. Paul; "the good that I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do."
Man's work in life and death and beyond is to control his vehicles, and use their energies to accomplish a work mapped out for him by the Lords of Karma, and acquiesced in by the Ego. He may succeed or he may fail according to the amount of will-power in the Ego, and according to his knowledge of how to exercise it. This battleground of life, this crucible of experience, is outlined in Fig. 53.
The Individuality is the "Higher Self", "the Demon" of Plato; he has three fundamental attributes, described as Atma, the Spirit; Buddhi, the Intuition; and Higher Manas, the Abstract Mind. Will, Wisdom and Activity also describe this fundamental triplicity of the Higher Self. The personality is the "Lower Self", and is composed of the Lower Manas or the Concrete Mind, the astral or desire nature, the physical functions, and the three vehicles in which these activities manifest. The Higher Self "puts down" a part of himself into incarnation for the work of transforming experiences into faculty.
Everything now depends on how much power of will exists in the Ego, and is being manifested by him in the control of his vehicles. Where the will of the Ego dominates the instincts of the mental, desire and physical elementals, the incarnation is a success; where, on the other hand, the three elementals gain the upper hand, the incarnation is so much wasted effort. In the case of most men, there is neither complete domination nor complete slavery; in some things we succeed in dominating, in others we fail. What happens in each case, we can see from the diagram.
The functions of the physical body are neither good nor evil; it is the body's duty to eat to live, drink to satisfy thirst. The evil begins when a natural function is intensified, by the identification of the desire nature of the man with the function. When the purely animal sensations from food and drink are delighted in by the astral body, the body becomes gluttonous and craves stimulants; at first the astral body dictates when the cravings must be indulged in, but after a while the physical elemental makes the astral body its tool. It is natural enough for a primitive savage to gorge and be a glutton; but when a civilized man allows a purely physical function to hypnotize his desire nature, he is for the time reverting to the savage. The process of reversion is well illustrated in the Japanese proverb about drunkenness:
First the man takes a drink;
Then the drink takes a drink;
Then the drink takes the man.
But where the will is dominant, then, from the physical functions, permanent qualities are developed by the Ego of self-control and purity. It is of great use to the Ego to have perfect control over the physical body, so that the body's technique may be fully and swiftly under the Ego's control in the work in life. Rational and pure diet, perfect health, control over muscle and limb, through exercise and games, are invaluable in transforming physical functions into self-control and purity.
In exactly a similar way, it is natural for the astral body to desire; it is natural that the astral body should object to offensive smells or to discords in sound, and be pleased at harmonious surroundings and agreeable tones. The desire nature of the astral body provides a delicate instrument of cognition. Evil begins when the desire elemental dominates and dis-possesses the Ego for the time. A natural desire then becomes a craving, and the astral body gets out of control.
When a man loses his temper, so that for the time he is not showing a soul's attributes, but those of a wild beast, he has for the time reverted to an early stage of evolution, dragged thereto by the astral body which he cannot control.
What we have to understand is that we are not the habits of the desire elemental of the astral body, but are to search out, for our soul's purpose, such aptitudes in it as are useful to us. Sometimes, through suffering, we discover for ourselves this duality in us; an American girl of thirteen whom I knew so discovered it. One day she came home from school almost crying because her playmates had been teasing her; and when her mother asked her if they had hurt her, she replied: "N-no, but they made my feelings feel bad." When we realize that we are not the feelings of the astral body but possess them, just as we might possess a tennis racket or a motor car, then we shall know exactly how much freedom to give to the feelings.
On the reverse side of the picture, the feelings of our astral body, when controlled, can be made most sensitive and delicate, and can be transformed into wonderful revelat ions of the soul's affection and sympathy; the astral body then becomes a fine instrument upon which we can play, so as to throw the invisible world around us into waves of inspiring and purifying emotions.
What has been said above, about the desire elemental of the astral body, applies with even greater force to the mental elemental of the mind body. The mental body has, as its natural function, that of responding to thought; and thought, when exercised by the Ego, is a means of discovering the world in which he lives. Concrete thought weighs and measures the universe; the function of abstract thought is to transform all experiences of the mental and lower bodies into eternal concepts which can be incorporated into the soul's nature.
But very few of our thoughts are of this nature, for two reasons: first, that the mental elemental often clings to past thoughts of ours, and insists on thinking them, despite our attempts to control it; and secondly, that what we think is less our own creation, and more what is supplied to us by others. Of the former type are prejudices, which are in reality thoughts which were once useful to us in our work in life, though not necessarily true; they become later no longer useful, and we are better without them, but the mental elemental retains the strength which we instilled into them, and, the better to gain its end, hypnotizes us into believing that they are still our true thoughts. The prejudices which men have as to the superiority of race, creed, sex, caste, class or color, are largely of this nature.
Of the second type are the thoughts of other people, which are being continually poured into the world's mental atmosphere, and which, impinging on our mental bodies, draw out of us automatically a response of like thoughts. When such thoughts seek admittance, we need to take care that we give welcome only to those which are useful for our soul's work, and that we rigorously exclude all others.
Certain thoughts of both these types sometimes behave like the "malignant growths" which appear in the human body as tumors and cancers. Some thoughts make definite centers in the mental body, and gather round them similar thoughts, and absorb their vitality; they then become distinctly malignant mental growths of the mind body. Just as a tumor in the brain, in the beginning, will produce only a slight ache, but afterwards, as it grows larger, will derange many functions of the body, so too is it with these malignant mental growths; at first they are hardly evident, except perhaps as unreasonable phantasies and worries; later, they grow and produce definite mental diseases, like phobias of various kinds and insanity.
The transmutation of the experiences into eternal concepts, which is gained through right thinking, feeling and acting, is only partly accomplished during the life on earth and in the astral world after death; the task is continued when the individual begins his life in the heaven world. There, under the most ideal and congenial surroundings, with the power to create all such happiness as he longs for, and above all with the wonderful aid of the Mind of the Logos playing upon his mental body and causing it to grow, the man lives his period in the heaven world. He develops his will and transforms all his experiences into eternal concepts, and into faculties which more and more reflect his hidden Divine Nature.
This work which man does during his period, "in Heaven" naturally depends upon the strength of his aspirations, and upon the amount of capacity with which he sets to work upon the work of transmutation. These facors determine how long he is "in Devachan", growing there through happiness. In Fig. 54 we have a table giving a general average for various types of Egos.
When the death of the physical body takes place, the man lives in the astral world for a while; afterwards he passes to the lower heaven, to live there "in Devachan". At the end of Devachan, the mental body, the last remnant of the Personality, is cast aside, and the Ego is once more fully himself, with all his energies, in the higher heaven. After a period, brief or long, dimly conscious or fully aware of the process of rebirth, the Ego once more puts down a part of himself into incarnation to become the new Personality.
We see from the diagram that the degenerate, low type of human being lives about five years in the astral world and, having no spiritual qualities needing Devachan for their growth, returns at once into incarnation. The terms artisan, farmer, merchant are used to describe general types; anddoctor is used to represent professional men in general. But a farmer or a merchant may be a highly cultivated man and belong really to a higher type of Ego than is represented by his occupation.
The cultured man, who is definitely idealistic and who makes sacrifices for the sake of his ideals, has a consciously active life as the Individuality in the higher heaven. The man consecrated to service under the guidance of a Master of the Wisdom, should he "take his Devachan", will have so purified his astral nature before death that he need have no life in the astral world at all; he will pass at once into his Devachan.
We see from the diagram that the period between incarnations may vary from five years to twenty-three centuries. When a child dies, he, too, has his short astral life and his short Devachan before return to birth again; the period between his death and rebirth may vary from a few months to several years, according to the age and the mental and emotional nature of the child.
Many of the facts already mentioned, about the hidden nature of man and his finer vehicles, are restated in the next diagram, Fig. 55.
In the first column we have the seven planes of the solar system; in the second we have the four bodies which man now uses. It will be seen from the third and fourth columns that man exists, in his highest nature, as the "Monad", on the four planes higher than the mental plane, but that he has as yet no vehicle or instrument of cognition and action in them.
For all general purposes of study, the soul of man is the Individuality in the causal body. The Individuality creates a Personality for the purpose of incarnation, and the Personality has three vehicles, the mental, astral and physical bodies. Each of these three lower bodies represents one aspect of the Ego; and since the Ego in the causal body gives the fundamental tone or temperament for the incarnation, we, may think of the Ego and his three lower vehicles as forming a chord of temperamental, tones, the Chord of the Man. But the Individuality in the causal body is only a partial representation of all his qualities; behind his Higher Manas or Abstract Mind exists the Buddhi, the Divine Intuition, and behind that, the Atma or the indomitable Spirit of God in man. But the Atma, Buddhi and Manas are themselves reflections of still higher attributes of the Monad, "the Son in the bosom of the "Father", The fundamental note of the Life of the Logos gives the dominant tone for the Monad, and the three attributes of the Monad, on the Adi, Anupadaka and higher Nirvanic planes, make the "Chord of the Monad". The Monad then creates the Individuality; the tone of the Monad being then the dominant, it and the tones represented by the Atma, Buddhi and Manas make the "Chord of the Augoeides". When next the Individuality creates the Personality, the "mask", we have the "Chord of the Man".
* * * *
Man's work in life and in death is to discover what he is, what is the world, and what is the Logos "in whom we live, and move, and have our being". Ages of experience and action are required before he begins. to grasp this "Wisdom of God in a mystery", and to understand "God's Plan, which is Evolution". Yet this is his eternal work — to know, in himself and in others, the clod, the brute and the God. All life is a workshop where he is taught his work; and many are the instructors who come to help him. These are the religions and the philosophies, the sciences and the arts of his time. Instructors too, unwelcome for the most part, are the sufferings which are his lot. But most welcome of all his instructors can be the Hidden Wisdom known as Theosophy, which reveals God's Plan with such a fascination to the mind, and with such an inspiration to the heart, as have not yet been found in any other revelation.
When we survey nature, we can readily see that by far the greater number of living organisms are to be found not in the human kingdom, but in the vegetable and animal kingdoms. The theories of modern science tell us that there is a bridge in the evolution of forms from the vegetable to the animal, and from the animal to man; therefore it is evident that, since man is the highest so far in evolution, all forms lower than man must be tending towards his type. The highest type in the animal kingdom, which is nearest to man, is the "missing link"; and the anthropoid apes are the forms now existing which are nearest to this "missing link". On the side of the physical form, we can see clearly enough the transition from the anthropoid apes to man; but when we consider intelligence in the animal kingdom, there is a serious gap in the scientific conception of evolution. We have certain domestic animals, like dogs, cats and horses, in whom distinctly human characteristics of intelligence and emotion appear; many a dog in his inner nature is nearer to man than the anthropoid ape. It is obvious that there is no possible transition, on the side of form, from the dog to man; inevitably, therefore, the high human attributes developed in our domestic pets must be practically wasted, if evolution proceeds rigidly according to the ladder of forms enunciated by science. (Fig. 5.)
In order to understand more thoroughly nature at her work, we must supplement the conception of the evolution of form in the animal kingdom with that of the evolution of its life. Only this latter conception will enable us fully to understand the role which the animal kingdom plays in evolutionary processes.
All life whatsoever, whether in mineral, plant, animal or, man, is fundamentally the One Life, which is an expression of the nature and action of the Logos; but this Life reveals its attributes more fully, or less fully, according to the amount of limitation which it has surmounted in evolution. The limitations to its manifestation are greatest in the mineral, but they become by degrees less in the plant, the animal and man. In the evolution of its attributes, the Life undergoes these limitations in succession; after enduring the limitation or mineral matter, and there having learned to express itself in the building of geometrical forms through crystallization, it next passes on to become the life of the vegetable kingdom. Retaining all the capacities which the Life learned through mineral matter, it now adds new capacities as the plant, and discovers new ways of self-revelation. When sufficient evolutionary work has been done in the vegetable kingdom, this Life, with all the experiences gained as the mineral and as the plant, builds organisms in the animal kingdom, in order to reveal more of its hidden attributes through the more complex and more pliant forms of animal life. When its evolutionary work is over in the animal kingdom, its next stage of self-revelation is in the human kingdom.
Through all these great stages, as the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the human, it is the One Life which is at work, building and unbuilding and rebuilding, ever at work to build higher and higher forms. This One Life, long before it begins its work in mineral matter, differentiates itself into seven great streams, each of which has its own special and unchanging characteristics. (Fig. 56.)
The One Source of Life is symbolized in the diagram by the triangle within the circle. Each of these seven streams differentiates itself into seven modifications. If we represent the seven great streams by the figures 1, 2, 3,4, 5, 6, 7, then the modifications of each are as in the following table.
It will now be apparent how the first type or life has seven variants, in the first of which its own special characteristic is doubly emphasized (11), but in its 2nd to 7th variants its own special characteristic is modified by the characteristics of the six other fundamental types l.2 l.3 l.4 l.5 l.6 l.7 . The same principle holds good with reference to the six other fundamental types also, as will be seen from the table. These types are known as the "Rays".
Each of the forty-nine variants of the One Life follows its own characteristic development through all the great kingdoms of life, the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the human. The type of life, which in the animal Kingdom belongs to the 3.2 variety, passes from the mineral kingdom to the vegetable kingdom along its own special channel, and is the 3.2 life of the vegetable kingdom; when the time comes for it to pass into the animal kingdom, it appears there still as 3.2 animal life, and through animal forms which are exclusively reserved for the development of this type or life. When this animal life comes to the stage of passing into the human, it will build an individual of the 3.2 type of human being, and not one of another type. These forty-nine variants of the One Life-Stream follow their forty-nine distinct channels through all the great kingdoms, and there is no mingling of one type of life with another type.
When the forty-nine life-streams in the animal kingdom are ready to pass into the human, each of the seven variants of each fundamental type converges, in the highest phases of its animal life, to a few predetermined animal forms. These animal forms are arranged in the Divine Plan so as to come into close touch with humanity as domestic pets; and, under the influence of the care lavished upon them, the animal life reveals its hidden attributes, and develops them, and "individualizes" into the human kingdom.
We have today certain animal types which stand as the doors from the animal kingdom to the human; such types are the dog, the cat, the horse, the elephant, and probably also the monkey. The transition from the animal to the human can take place through these doors, provided the proper influences are brought to bear on the animal by the action of man. While the life in dogs and cats is of the highest type along their two "Rays", yet the transition will take place only when an individual dog or cat has developed his intelligence and affection by the direct action of a human being.
Our domestic animals have been developed out of earlier and more savage types of animal life; the dog is the descendant of the wolf, and the cat of various cat-like creatures, like the panther, the tiger, etc. At the present stage, the life-streams manifesting in the dog-streams of life, the Canine, all converge upon the domesticated dog for the purpose of entering the human kingdom; and similarly the Feline types of life converge today upon the domesticated cat. In future ages we shall have other "domesticated animals, who also will be among the forms making the seven doors to humanity.
In the understanding of the evolution of the animals, it is necessary to grasp clearly what is the animal group-soul. Just as, from the Theosophical standpoint, the individual man is not the physical body, but an invisible spiritual entity possessing a physical body, so too is the animal. The true animal is not the body; he is an invisible life which acts on the animal form as does the soul of man on man's body. This invisible life, which energizes the animal forms, is called the Group-Soul.
The group-soul is a certain definite quantity of mental matter charged with the energy of the Logos. This mental matter contains a definite life at the animal grade of evolution, and in that life are retained all the possible developments of animal consciousness and activity. This animal group-soul was, in previous cycles, the vegetable group-soul; and in earlier cycles still, it was the mineral group-soul. So that now, at the stage we are considering, the animal group-soul is already highly specialized, as the result of its experiences in vegetable and mineral matter. At the present stage of evolution, there is no one animal group-soul for the animal kingdom, just as there is no one physical type for all animals; and just as in the evolution of forms we have today their division into kingdom, sub-kingdom, group, class, order, family, genus and species, so have we similar divisions in the animal group-soul.
Our next diagram, Fig. 57, will give us an idea of the way that the group-soul works.
Let us presume that there exists, on the mental plane, the group-soul of some species of animal life; this group-soul will repeatedly reincarnate on earth through its animal representatives. The life of two animals of this group-soul will be quite distinct so long as they are alive; but when they die, the life of each returns to the group-soul, and is mingled with all other such returning lives which form the group-soul of that species. Looking at our diagram, if we consider that A and B are two representatives of the group-soul on the physical plane, then, when they give birth to offspring — A to a, b, c, d, and e, and B to f and g — the life ensouling the bodies of the new generation comes direct from the group-soul on the mental plane. Let us presume that, in the litter of A, the young animals represented by a, d and e, die young through feebleness, or get destroyed by the enemies of the species; and also that one offspring of B, denoted by g, suffers a similar fate. When these animals die, their life returns direct to the group-soul, and contributes to its stock of experiences such few experiences as they gained before death. Now we see, according to the diagram, that b gives rise to offspring h, i and j, and c to offspring k and l, and f to offspring m, and o. The life ensouling the bodies of the third generation also comes direct from the group-soul, but it will have impressed upon it such experiences as have been gathered by those of earlier generations who had died before the third generation was conceived. As each animal dies, the life which ensouled that animal form is poured back into the group-soul; and this life, as it returns to the group-soul, adds as innate memories the experiences it gained in its various physical environmentS. It is the memory of these past experiences which expresses itself as instinct in animals; and the consciousness of the group-soul is slowly changing, according to the contributions received by it from its representatives on earth after their return.
It will be evident that b, c and f survived only because they were able to adapt themselves to the environment of nature, which is constantly changing around them; and a, d, e and g died because they were not strong enough to adapt themselves to that environment. The former survived because they were the strongest and the fittest, in an environment full of struggle and competition; and being the fittest to survive, they become the channels of the evolving life of the group- soul; they then produce descendants who possess this quality of fitness to survive which had been developed for a giyen environment.
In this action by nature of selecting the forms best fitted to survive, an important role is played by certain entities in the invisible worlds who are called, in our diagram, the "Builders". These Intelligences belong to a kingdom higher than the human, and are known as Devas or Angels. One department of these "Shining Ones" has as its work that of guiding the processes of life in nature; it is they who guide the Struggle for existence, and watch for the development in their charges of those characteristics which are tending towards the ideal forms of the species. They combine the Mendelian genes which are so intimately connected with the revelation of the latent characteristics of the life dwelling in the form. These Builders have before them certain ideal Types which have to be developed in nature, so as to serve best the purposes of the Life; with these Archetypes before them, they watch and mould organisms from the unseen worlds, so as to bring about that arrival of the fittestwhich is difficult to explain with the ordinary evolutionary theories.
Present-day theories of biology are not sufficient to explain the "three major problems of evolution" — the origin of species, the origin of adaptations, and the maintenance of long range trends. That "blind nature" can work so purposefully with a purely mechanical method of trial and error is not convincing. The adaptations are towards a definite end in the long run. The conception of the group-soul, and of the operations of the Deva Builders, provide a resonable explanation. It is the Builders who use trial and error as their method in their long range operations throughout the ages, but the final type is before them from the beginning.
The struggle for existence is the method adopted by the Builders to the living organisms, in order to find out which of them will develop, in that struggle, those adaptations which build types that steadily approximate to the Archetypes. It must be remembered that, in the death of any organism, its life is not dissipated into nothing; that life, with its experiences, returns to its group-soul, and thence issues later to dwell in another form. Therefore, when we see that out of one hundred seeds perhaps only one finds soil in which to grow, and ninety-nine are wasted, the waste is only apparent, since the life of the
"unfit" ninety-nine appears in a later generation as the descendants of the one "fit" seed.
With this principle before them of the indestructibility of Life, the Builders arrange for a keen struggle for existence in the vegetable and animal kingdoms. This method, which brings about a fierce brutality in visible nature, yet has on its unseen side a most amicable cooperation among the Builders who are directing the growth of rival forms. They all have but one aim, which is ,to carry out the Divine Will, which places before them the Archetypes which must be reproduced in the evolution of forms.
We must now understand how the animal life differentiates itself in its progress to individualization. If we consider any group-soul, such as, for instance, the Canine (Fig. 58), we shall first note that its group- soul exists on the mental plane.
Let us presume that it puts out expressions of itself in Canine forms in different parts of the world. The differences of climate and other variations in environment will draw out of the individuals differences of response, according to the part of the world where the life of each is manifest; each individual in a country will, as it dies, take back to the group-soul a particular type of experience and tendency. As time passes and these experiences accumulate, there will arise in the group-soul different nuclei, each segregating particular experiences and tendencies. If we think of an experience as a rate of vibration in the indwelling life, then, where in one mass two rates of vibration are produced, there will be a tendency for the mass to divide, just as a glass cracks when boiling water is poured into it, because the rate of vibration of the inner particles is suddenly made more rapid than that of the outer particles. Similarly we shall find that, after several generations, the Canine group-soul will subdivide into specialized group-souls of wolves, foxes, dogs, jackals and other varieties. Similarly, the Feline group-soul (Fig. 58) will divide, following specializations of experience, into smaller group-souls of lions) tigers, cats, etc. In fact, just as genera subdivide into families, so too does the group-soul slowly divide itself into smaller and smaller group-souls containing more and more specialized characteristics and tendencies.
In this process of the subdivision of the group-soul, we shall come to a point when a highly specialized small group-soul will be the indwelling life of only a small number of physical forms; when this happens, and when the forms can be brought under the influence of man, the transition from the animal to the human becomes possible, and individualization is near.
If, for instance, we consider the original Feline group-soul, we shall, in the course of time, have a small group-soul which energizes one highly specialized breed of domestic cats (Fig. 58); at this stage individualization is possible. If we consider two cats, No. 1 and No. 2, we may presume that their experiences will vary; we will presume that cat No.1 finds a home where he is appreciated and much interest and affection are lavished upon him, and that cat No.2 is born in another home where he is relegated to the kitchen and banished from the drawing-room. Cat No.1, in his favorable environment, will begin to respond to the high rates of vibration impinging upon him from the thoughts and feelings of his master or mistress; and even before his death, this will bring about such a specialization in the litt le group- soul that that part of the group-soul which stands as the soul of Cat No.1 will break off from the rest of the group-soul. In the case of Cat No. 2, the life in him, when he dies, will return to the group-soul, there to mingle with all the other returning lives.
When Cat No. 1 has so separated himself during life from his group- soul, the further stages of individualization can be understood from the next diagram (Fig. 59).
The animal taken into consideration is, however, not a cat, but a dog, "Jack". Jack was a fox terrier of pedigree who was most devoted to his master and mistress, and also a great friend of the writer. If we look at our diagram and imagine the group-soul, with Jack in it before he came to his master, as a rectangle, then the special affection lavished on Jack will have the effect, which is shown in the diagram, of drawing up that part of the group-soul which is Jack into a cone that rises upwards. The amount of mental matter, which stands as the "Soul of Jack", then slowly separates itself from the rest of the mental matter making up the group-soul, as shown in the third column of the diagram.
Now this specialization of Jack out of the dog-group-soul is due, not only to the higher vibrations sent towards him from Jack's master, mistress and friends, but also to the fact that a Monad, "a Fragment of Divinity", is seeking to form an Ego or Soul in order to begin his human pilgrimage. This Monad long ago attached to himself an atom of each of the planes as a center on that plane, as an "earnest" deposited in advance with a view to his future work. These "permanent atoms" of his were sent out into the elemental, mineral, vegetable and animal group-souls in succession, there to receive whatever experiences they could. When the "permanent atoms find themselves in touch with a highly specialized part of the animal group-soul, like the "soul of Jack", then the Monad sends down from his high plane certain influences, in response to the outer work done for the "soul of Jack" by his human friends. These influences are symbolized in our diagram as the force from the Monad sprayed on the "soul of Jack". The Monad is symbolized in the diagram as the upper inverted cone, and each star in that cone represents the quality which the Monad is manifesting on each of the planes of his activity.
When the "soul of Jack", as a result of the stronger and more divine radiations from the Monad, breaks off from the group-soul, Jack is still a dog to outer appearance, but he is really at an intermediate stage, as he certainly is not dog nor yet man. This stage is illustrated in the third column of the diagram. The next stage, illustrated in the last column of the diagram, is when, as a result of the increased outpouring from the higher planes by the Monad, the Causal Body is made.
What happens can only be described by a simile; if we imagine that the "soul of Jack" which in the third column is represented by the lower cone, is like a volume of watery vapor of no precise shape or coherence; if we then think of all this vapor as being condensed into a drop; if we then imagine that into the drop air is blown and a bubble is created; then this is something like what happens to the "soul of Jack" when the Monad descends and creates a causal body. A divine afflatus, which is the energy of the Monad, pours into the mental matter which has stood to Jack as his little soul. The mental matter rearranges itself into a causal body, to become the vehicle of this "Son in the Bosom of the Father" who has descended to become a human soul.
It should here be clearly noted that, in this process of individualization, the animal does not become the human in the same way that the vegetable evolves into the animal; at individualization, all that has been for ages the animal becomes now the vehicle to hold a fragment of Divinity, the Monad, who has descended from above.
This Monad cannot make an Ego with a Causal Body until all the previous stages have been achieved, of experience in the animal and preceding kingdoms; but, while he utilizes what the animal kingdom has prepared for him, he is in reality an utterly different stream of energy and conciousness of the Divine Life from what is found in kingdoms lower than man. That is why there is an infinite gap in evolution between the highest anthropoid ape and the youngest individualized soul; in the latter is the life of a Monad, in the former we have as yet only the higher manifestations of animal life.
From the time that the "soul of Jack" separates itself from his dog- group-soul, he has in reality ceased to be a dog, though he still has a dog's form. From this point of separation up to the actual formation of the causal body, there are several stages of transformation. These stages can be hastened by the proper understanding by men of the process of individualization, so that our animal friends may pass swiftly to the reception of that Divine Outpouring which makes of each a Soul of Man.
One of the greatest privileges in life which men have is to cooperate with the Divine Plan in hastening the individualization of the higher animals; but it is a privilege which, through ignorance, only a few are ready to accept today. Most people now take for granted that animals exist only to serve men's purposes; though animals are indeed intended to give us their strength and intelligence to help us in the development of our civilizations, yet they exist not primarily for men, but to fulfil their own purposes in the Divine Plan. In our dealings with animals, we have to remember that, while they give us their strength, yet our first duty is to see that they develop in such ways as hasten their individualization. In these days, we train the intelligence of horses to take pride in speed, that of dogs to develop their cunning in hunting, that of cats to be "good mousers". All this is utterly wrong, for the animals are brought into touch with man to have their savage instincts weaned out of them, and to have the higher human attributes called out of them. Each action of man, which utilizes the mere cunning of the animal to gratify man's desires, is so much injury done to the evolving animal life. We have yet to learn that, while our superior intelligence and control of nature's forces give us a control of the animal kingdom, yet that control has to be exercised for the benefit of the animal kingdom, and not for our own.
Each system of thought worthy of the name Philosophy has in it many elements which cannot be tested by the limited intelligence of man. Man's experiences deal mainly with a world interpreted for him by his five senses; even such faculties of the imagination as he has are largely circumscribed by these experiences. When, therefore, a philosophy tells of the beginnings of things, or unveils a panorama of past or future events, no man can judge of its truth by the standard of his own experiences.
This is the case with some of the teachings of modern science; when science tells us that all the planets and the sun once formed a nebula, we can logically infer it by observing the many nebulae existing in the heavens, but we should be certain of it only if we were to see the original nebula, and watch its process of division into sun and planets. When science tells us of the evolutionary process, of the building of molecules into protoplasm, and of protoplasm into man, through definite stages of a ladder of evolution, we accept the account, not because we can prove it to be true, but because our acceptance of it makes our intellectual life more vital and fruitful. Logically, if the test of truth were only man's own experiences, he should put aside every statement of science or philosophy which, for hm, is outside the range of possible experience. But, on the other hand, he would lose thereby most of his present intellectual poise and imaginative vigor.
It is only as a man is continually imaginative, that he transcends the limitations which a perishable body imposes upon his sense of individuality. The larger is a man's intellectual horizon, the more powerful is his imagination, and the combined result of both makes him more forceful in his environment. Since the sum total of any philosophy, in terms of conduct, is to give us more power to change our environment, philosophical ideas are esential for our life, even though at any particular moment it may be beyond our capabilities to test their truth.
When a man is confronted by philosophical ideas which deal with subjects outside his experience, he can survery them as a whole, and accept them only in so far as they appeal to his sense of the fitness of things. If the intellectual edifice which a philosophy provides for him proves not only sound but also inspiring, and if all the facts of which he is aware: find logical and harmonious place in that dwelling, he may as well accept that philosophy to live by as any other. Exactly this, no more but no less, can be said of those particular Theosophical ideas which form this chapter and the next; while they are not likely to be personally proved for many a life by the average inquirer, nevertheless they offer to the mind a conception of life which is attractive to man's reason and inspiring to his imagination.
1. The Divine Wisdom tells us that the universe with its myriads of stars is the expression of a Conscious Life, called variously God, Isvara, Ahura Mazda, Allah, or the Logos. This One Life is, we are told, a Person but He transcends all the limitations which necessarily are associated with our ideas of Personality. We are told that this Cosmic Logos is ever a Unity, "One without a second" (ekam advitiyam); nevertheless, as He energizes a universe, He energizes it as a Trinity of three fundamental modes of manifestation. God as a Trinity is described in Hinduism as Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer; in Christianity the Trinity is stated as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. In other religions too, we find names for the trinitarian modes of the divine activities.
2. Associated with the work in the universe of the Cosmic Logos are seven Embodiments of His Nature, called the Seven Cosmic Planetary Logoi. All the stars in the universe, each of which is the center of a great evolutionary system, belong to one or other of these great Seven, and are in some way expressions of Their life, as They in turn are expressions of the One Life of the Cosmic Logos. Fig. 60 is an attempt to symbolize the Primordial One and His seven Embodiments; the seven small circles, within each of which should be innumerable stars, both great and small, represent the Seven Planetary Logoi, while the large circle, embracing the seven small circles, represents the Cosmic Logos.
3. In all this vast splendor of universal life, the Lord of our Solar System, the Solar Logos, exists. As a Star, as the Lord of a System among the myriads of stars, He lives and moves and has His Being in His Father-Star, one of the great Seven; yet He mirrors directly the Life and Light and Glory of the "One without a second". What is the special purpose which the Solar Logos, with the Brother- Stars of His Company, fulfils in the growth of the Universe, who can tell? But this at least is sure, that, for us men, He is God, the ultimate of all our thought and imagination, the only God whom we can conceive, because we ourselves are He and none other.
True, we are rooted in the "One without a second"; but we abide in that glory only as seeds within the seed-pod. The action of the Solar Logos is to nourish us till we grow into. Individuality, as the mother nourishes the embryo till it can begin its separate existence as an entity. But for His thinking we could not think, but for His loving we could not love, but for His living we. could not live. Our Individualities are fractions of the Total of His Individuality, circles inscribed on the vast sphere of His Being. His field of activity is a vast sphere, whose radius begins with the sun and ends with the last satellite of the farther-most planet yet to be discovered. Within this sphere, in "bright-space", He works, ever impelling His system to reveal more and more of His wondrous nature as the cycles pass, patiently waiting for the Day when all the life of the system which has come forth from Him shall return to Him, conscious of its revealed glory.
4. "As above, so below." In the image of the. Cosmic Logos, the Logos of the solar system is also a Trinity when He energizes His system. He works in three fundamental modes, which are symbolized in the great religions as those of the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer; or the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. In modern Theosophical. nomenclature, this triple activity is described as that of the First Logos (Father), the Second Logos (Son), and the Third Logos (Holy Ghost). The First Logos, the Second Logos and the Third Logos are but three Aspects of the one Solar Logos; while three in manifestation, He is yet ever the one indivisible Godhead. (Fig. 61.)
5. "As above, so below." Associated with "the work of the Logos of our solar system are seven Beings, who are as seven expressions of His Nature, as seven channels of His inexhaustible Life. These Seven are called the Seven Planetary Logoi. (Fig. 62.) In Hinduism They are called the Seven Prajapatis (Lords of Creatures), in Zoroastrianism the Seven Amesha Spentas (Immortal Holy Ones), in the Hebrew and Christian tradition the "Seven Spirits before the Throne of God." [Revelation 4:5]
The energies of these Seven control and direct all that takes place within the solar system; each of the Seven contributes His typical nature as a vibratory response even to each atom, so that when an atom is affected by the sun's ray, the seven "minor strands" of the atom flash out the seven prismatic colors. Each of the Seven is the Head and Ruler of hierarchies of creative entities who work under His direction in the building and sustaining of the solar system. Under each are ranged those Devas (Shining Ones) or "Angelic Hosts, called in Oriental religions Adityas, Vasus, Phyani Buddhas, Dhyan Chohans, etc., and in the Christian tradition, Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominations, Principalities, Virtues, Powers, Cherubim and Seraphim.
6. In Fig. 63 we have a condensed summary of the work of the Triple Logos within His system.
The Logos works through three aspects or modes, whose fundamental characteristics may be stated as follows:
I. First Logos: Divinity-Humanity.
II. Second Logos: Life-Form.
III. Third Logos: Force-Matter.
Before the Logos began the work of the system, He created on the "Plane of the Divine Mind" (see Fig. 51) the system as it was to be, from its commencement to its end. He created all the Archetypes of forces, forms, emotions, thoughts and intuitions, and determined how and by what stages in civilization each should be realized in the evolutionary scheme of His system. Then, in that part of space selected by Him for the work of His Plan, He commenced His work through HisThird Aspect, the Third Logos as Force-Matter.
The vast sphere in space, within which the sun and its planets were to arise, contained at the beginning no substance in any way akin to matter (visible or invisible) which we have within the system today. There was onlyMulaprakrti or "root-matter", that ether of space once postulated by science which is incomprehensible to our imagination, since it is only out of "holes in the aether" that matter such as we know is composed. In our Theosophical studies we have called this primordial ether or negation of matter "Koilon", the "emptiness". (Fig. 64.)
Into this Koilon, or primordial ether of "space, the Cosmic Logos poured His energy, pressing back the Koilon from innumerable points within it. (Fig. 65.)
Each "bubble" or point of light exists where Koilon is not; therefore each bubble is in reality a point of consciousness of the Third Aspect of the Cosmic Logos; and each bubble persists only so long as He wills to keep back the enveloping Koilon.
As the next action, the Solar Logos, acting in His Third Aspect, swept these bubbles into spiral formations (Fig. 66), with seven bubbles spiral. The bubbles are so held by His Will. These are termed "spirals of the first order". He coiled great lengths of these spirals of the first order, into larger loops still, with seven spirals making one "spiral of the second order"; lengths of spirals of the second order were similarly twisted and held as "spirals of the third order"; and so on till there were created lengths of "spirals of the sixth order". (Fig.66 shows spirals of the first, second and third orders; the white line connecting the bubbles in the spiral of the first order, and that going through the loops in the spirals of the second and third orders, denote the particular forces of the Will of the Third Logos which holds the bubbles in each spiral order.) Ten parallel strands, composed of lengths of spirals of the sixth order, were then twisted, as shown in Fig. 67, to make the fundamental unit of our physical matter.
Each action in the making of these spirals, from the spiral of the first order to the physical atom, is due to the focussing of the consciousness of the Third Logos to that particular purpose; each order of spirals retains its formation only because His consciousness continues to hold it so. Our physical atom is not "matter"; it is in reality myriads of points of the consciousness of the Third Cosmic Logos, held by the Solar Logos in a particular formation to do a specific work — that of building the physical plane.
But the building of the physical plane is preceded by the building of the superphysical planes; to grasp this we must revert to Fig. 63. In that diagram, we find that the little circle representing the Third Logos has two lines issuing from the right side; these two lines denote two activities which build the planes and sub-planes. The shorter line refers to the first action of all of the Third Logos which is, as already described, that of grouping the bubbles in Koilon; these bubbles are the final units, the bricks so to say, out of which all the I seven planes of the solar system are made.
The first or Adi plane is made out of the bubbles in Koilon directly, and the atom of this plane is one bubble. The atom of the next plane, the Anupadaka, is made out of 49 bubbles. The Atmic atom is made out of 492 or 2,401 bubbles. We have the atoms of the lower planes then made in succession with bubbles to the number as follows: atom of the Buddhic plane, 493 or 49 x 2,401 bubbles; atom of the Mental plane, 494 or 2,401 x 2,401 bubbles; atom of the Astral plane, 495 or 49 x 2,401 x 2,401 bubbles; atom of the Physical plane, 496 or 2,401 x 2,401 x 2,401 bubbles, with a definite number of bubbles in addition, owing to the peculiar formation of the physical atom.
When the atoms of each of the seven planes have been created, then the Third Logos creates the sub-planes of each plane. (The longer line, issuing to the right from the small circle of the Third Logos, denotes this second action.) The atoms of each plane are swept into groups of two, three, four, etc., to make the sub-planes. The first or highest sub-plane is composed of the single atoms themselves, while the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh sub-planes are made by combinations of these atoms into molecules. Thus, on the physical plane, the highest sub-plane is composed of unit physical atoms, of two varieties, the positive and the negative. Then, by combination of these positive and negative atoms, there are built the remaining, sub- planes, called sub-atomic, super-etheric, etheric, gaseous, liquid and solid. It is in the course of building the sub-planes of the physical world, that the chemical elements are produced, as will later be explained when dealing with the subject of Occult Chemistry.
The work of the Third Logos, then, builds the seven great planes, with their sub-planes, of the solar system. That building is not complete, and it is still proceeding apace. He is the ensouling Force in the Matter of all the planes; electricity is one expression of His force through the matter of the physical plane; another expression, which is totally distinct, is Kundalini, the mysterious "serpent fire" which operates in all higher organisms.
In the seven great planes thus built by the Third Logos, next appears the work of the Second Logos. His energy is essentially of an order best described as Life-Form; with this energy He ensouls the matter of the seven planes, and enables it to build forms which have that mysterious quality which we call "life". This life builds the matter of the planes into varying forms, and, each form persists only so long as the life of the Second Logos holds the matter in that form.
Now for the first time appear the phenomena of birth, growth, decay and death. A form is born because the Life of the Second Logos has a work of evolution to do through that form; it grows while that work is progressing to its culmination; it shows signs of decay because the Second Logos slowly withdraws the life from the form, since the life has evolved all it can through that form; it dies when finally the "Second Logos withdraws all of the life, in order to send it back once again to build a newer and better form, which can give the evolving life the new experiences necessary for its further growth and self- revelation. On the physical plane, the expression of the force of the second Logos is Prana, Vitality.
When manifest on the four highest planes of the solar system, that life of the Second Logos is called the Monadic Essence; it descends stage by stage, gaining at each stage the growth which has been planned for it in the Great Plan. During a long period of time, called a Chain, it first manifests in the matter of the Adi plane; at the end of the Chain, it returns to the Second Logos, from whom it issues forth again at the beginning of the succeeding Chain, in order to ensoul the matter of the second, the Anupadaka plane. It commences the work of the second Chain, with all the experiences of the first Chain inherent in it as tendencies and capacities.
Chain by Chain, the Monadic Essence descends from plane to plane, and at the beginning of its fifth cycle, it begins to ensoul the matter of the higher mental plane. Up to this point, the Monadic Essence was not limited for its experiences to one "scheme ofevolution"; but henceforth its experiences are restricted to those obtainable in our "scheme of evolution". From the time of its entrance into the matter of our mental plane, it is called Elemental Essence. During the period of its growth in higher mental matter, this life of the Second Logos is called the First Elemental Essence; after the end of a Chain, it reappears at the commencement of a new Chain, and ensouls lower mental matter; at this stage it is called the Second Elemental Essence. At the next Chain, it becomes the Third Elemental Essence, and ensouls the matter of the astral plane.
1 In the next chapter the terms "chain" and "scheme of evolution" will be fully explained.
It is this ensouling life of the Second Logos which gives to mental and astral matter their peculiarly living quality, so that the faintest vibration caused in the mental world by a thought, or in the astral world by desire, makes the mental and astral matter swiftly generate shapes and forms, and causes it to crystallize into "thought-forms".
Still "descending into matter" Chain by Chain, the life of the Second Logos, after ensouling astral matter, next ensouls physical matter. The first effect of this new ensouling is to give to the chemical elements a power of combination among themselves. While the Third Logos creates hydrogen and oxygen, it is only when the life of the Second Logos appears that two atoms of hydrogen can combine with one of oxygen to make water. Physical matter as we know it today appears with the work of the Second Logos; under His guidance there now appears the mineral kingdom, ready to build a solid earth. In terms of rhythm and beauty, matter now crystallizes with mathematical precision; through each physical encasement the work of the Second Logos is done according to the Plan. To our eyes, the mineral is inert and lifeless, mere earth; yet all the while the Second Logos is at work in that seemingly inert matter. Of a truth is the God now "dead and buried", crucified on a cross of matter.
The life of the Second Logos, after its lowest descent into matter as the mineral kingdom, now begins its ascent. Its next manifestation is as the vegetable kingdom. At the commencement of this stage, the substances of earth develop a new capacity, that of becoming a vehicle for life, such life as our eyes can see. The chemical elements group themselves together, and a mysterious life appears among them, and builds them into protoplasm. Guided by the Second Logos, this protoplasm undergoes transformation, becoming in process of time the vegetable kingdom. (Fig. 4.) After long experiences of growth, slowly evolving during the period of a Chain, the vegetable kingdom appears in a subsequent Chain as the animal kingdom. (Fig. 5.) In due course of time, out of the animal kingdom, arise those highest animals which are capable of individualization.
When the animal group-soul has been built, as has been explained in the previous chapter, and a particular animal is ready for individualization, then begins the action of the First Logos. He sends a Fragment of Himself, a "Monad", to make an Individuality in a Causal Body. A Soul of Man, made "in the image of his Maker", then begins his evolution, which is to discover the Divinity in himself, in his fellowmen, and in all the life of nature which surrounds him. On the physical plane the expression of the force of the First Logos is the Immortal Soul in a mortal body.
* * * *
Thus swiftly we have surveyed the mighty work of the Triple Logos, which began long, long ago, and yet is, as says the Upanishad, still "in the womb". Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, He builds, and unbuilds, and builds again, coming by each stage one step nearer to the Perfection of His Plan. To see that Plan is to have the Beatific Vision; to work for that Plan is to change one's mortal nature to that of a deathless immortal. Deathlessness in life, Eternity in time, Divinity in humanity, are his who, understanding the Plan, works for it unceasingly.
Magnificently, as modern science has developed the concept of evolution, it has yet to come to that breadth and grander which is revealed in Theosophy. The word "life", especially has, in Theosophical studies, a profounder and more far-reaching significance; for life is seen, not only, as with modern science, in the small circle of existence which comprises the human, animal and vegetable kingdoms, but also as manifesting in the seeming dead matter of minerals, and in organisms of invisible matter lower than minerals and higher than man. In Fig. 68, we have briefly summarized the wave of evolving life which leads up to humanity.
A comparison of this figure with that of Fig. 9 will show that there are other streams of evolving life which, without touching the human kingdom, pass, through levels which correspond to that of humanity, into kingdoms higher than man.
Fig. 68, however, deals with those forms of life, which, in their evolutionary growth, issue in a humanity like ours. We see from it that, stage by stage, the life of the Logos manifests as three types of Elemental Essence, and then subsequently as Mineral Life, Vegetable Life, Animal Life and Humanity. The transition from stage to stage was explained in the previous chapter, and, in Fig. 59, was shown the transition of the highest animal into the human kingdom.
The seven stages of evolving life, from Elemental Essence I to Humanity, are called the "Life Wave.". Other forms of life and consciousness are also, of course, "life waves"; but, for the clearer understanding of a difficult topic, the term "life wave" is reserved for those forms of life which are most closely related to our humanity in a direct line of growth, as shown in Fig. 68.
All these great changes involve vast periods of time; nevertheless in each fraction. of time the evolutionary work is done according to a pre-destined plan. Each type of form and consciousness appears in evolution only at its given time, and always under the supervision of those Workers in the Divine Plan whose function it is to supervise the intricate workings of evolution. We must think of these periods of time less in terms of actual years, and more in terms of quotas of evolutionary work completed in the furtherance of the Plan.
It was shown in Chapter II, on "The Rise and Fall of Civilizations", that, during the time that humanity exists on our Earth, seven great Root-races appear, and that each of these Root-races has seven sub-races. The period of time which is necessary to accomplish the work, which has to be done through seven Root- races and their sub-races, is called a "World Period ". During a World Period, the evolutionary scheme, as it affects the seven kingdoms of our life wave, is in full operation; the life wave may be said to begin with the appearance of the first sub-race of the First Root-race, and it ends when the seventh sub-race of the Seventh Root-race has done its work.
When the allotted span of work for a particular World Period is finished, the life wave passes from our Earth, to commence its evolution on another globe of our solar system. On this new globe, each of the seven stages of life, from Elemental Essence I to Humanity, resumes its work and continues its further development. Once again, this development, so far as humanity is concerned, takes place through civilizations and cultures develop in seven Root-races and their sub-races. At the end of the evolutionary work on this new globe, the life wave passes on to another globe, there to resume its work under new conditions, and accomplish the part in evolution next allotted to it in the Great Plan.
The work of the life wave, with which humanity on this Earth is associated, will be understood if we carefully study our next diagram, Fig. 69.
Our life wave requires for invisible types of matter. These too have their revolutions round the sun, as have the visible planets, but their matter is of superphysical states. Of these four invisible planets, two — B and F — are of astral matter, and the remaining two — A and G — of lower mental matter. Each of these globes is separated in space from all the others; each is a complete planet by itself, just as are Mars, Earth and Mercury.
If we consult our diagram, and carefully study that part of it which represents our Earth, we shall see that the Earth is shown as being composed of physical matter surrounded by envelopes of astral, lower mental and higher mental types of matter. It goes without saying that each higher and finer type of matter interpenetrates all grosser than itself; thus the astral envelope not only extends from the Earth's surface miles upwards, but it also interpenetrates the Earth; and similarly, the envelope of lower mental matter interpenetrates both the astral world and the physical Earth. This astral envelope round our Earth, and interpenetrating it, is our Astral Plane; the lower mental matter is our Lower Heaven, and the higher mental matter makes our Higher Heaven. Associated with all these are, of course, the higher planes of nature, composed of Buddhic, Atmic and higher types of matter though they are not shown in the diagram.
But in a similar fashion, Mars, a physical globe, has also an astral envelope, and two envelopes of lower and highe:r mental matter. The astral envelope interpenetrating the physical planet Mars is the astral plane of Mara. This Martian astral plane is totally distinct from the astral plane of our Earth. Moreover, just as there is no communication of a physical kind through interplanetary space between the Earth and Mars, so is there no astral communication between the astral plane of Mars and our astral plane. Mars also has its lower heaven world and its higher heaven. Exactly the same scheme holds good for Mercury, which has its own astral and lower and higher mental planes. When we come to planets B and F, we find that they have no physical counterparts; they are astral planets, but each planet has its own lower and higher heavens and also higher planes still. Planets A and G, it will be seen from the diagram, are globes of lower mental matter; they too have their higher mental, Buddhic, Atmic and higher planes, but they have no planes below the lower mental plane. We must think then, of the seven planets — A, B, Mars, Earth Mercury, F and G — as complete in themselves, and each revolving round the sun; but only three of them are visible to our physical eyes.
We can now grasp in general outline the work of the life wave. The life wave on the Earth, at this actual moment, is doing the work, so far as humanity is concerned, of the Third, Fourth and Fifth Root-races, and it has progressed up to the point of starting the first variants — the sixth sub-race of the Fifth Root-Race; they are now appearing in the United States of America, Australia and New Zealand. Side by side with the work of humanity is the evolutionary work of animals, plants, minerals and the three types of Elemental Essence.
There still remains to be done on the Earth the work of the seventh sub-race of the Fifth Root-race, and the vast work of the Sixth and Seventh Root-races which are still to come, with their respective sub- races and variations. How many hundreds of thousands of years more this work will require, we can scarcely tell; but the life wave will not have accomplished the work set before it, during its occupation of the Earth and its higher planes, till all this further work comes to a successful conclusion.
When the seventh sub-race of the Seventh Root-Race has given its message to evolution there is no more work to be done, for the time, on the Earth; the life wave then passes on to another planet, to begin there the next stage of its unfoldment. This planet is Mercury. On Mercury, as on the Earth, the life wave in all its divisions, from Elemental Essence I to Humanity, will continue its work from stage to stage; in the human kingdom there will be seven Root-races with their sub-races. Each Root-race, through the structure of its visible and invisible bodies, enables the development of some new form and expression of consciousness and activity; hence the need for the various Root-races and their sub-divisions.
After the life wave has finished on Mercury, it will be transferred to the next planet, which is F. On F, which is an astral planet and has no physical counterpart, obviously there can be no physical forms for the evolving life; that life will have to do its work through forms of astral and higher matter. After the life wave has completed its work on planet F, it will then be transferred to planet G. As this planet G is composed of lower mental matter, all evolution will necessarily take place in forms of this and finer types of matter. When the life wave completes its work on planet G, it will pass on to evolutionary work on planet A. From A it will pass on to B, where evolution will be resumed again in astral forms. After the work done on B, the life wave will pass on to Mars, where work will be begun once again through physical forms also. After the life wave completes its work on Mars, it will be transferred to the Earth, there to begin another stage of evolution through new human, animal and, vegetable types. When the life wave has completed its work on the seven planets in succession, it will have taken a period of time called a "Round".
In the description so far given of the transference of the life wave, it was made to start from the Earth and to pass through Mercury, F, G, A, B, Mars, to return to the Earth again,. thus making a completed Round. In reality, however, the life wave begins on planet A, then passes on to planet B, and next to Mars, Earth, Mercury; F and G. Our present life wave, therefore, began long ages ago on planet. A in the First Round, and has already gone through three complete Rounds; only after this work was done, began then the work of the Fourth Round, on planet A. Then the life wave passed on to B, and then to Mars, and so. to the Earth; this is where it is today.
In the evolutionary scheme, we are at present on the fourth planet of the Fourth Round. This is exactly midway in the larger scheme of our eyolution, since the life wave has yet to complete the Fourth Round bypassing to Mer- cury, F and G, and then afterwards to complete the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Rounds. When the life wave has so passed through seven com- plete Rounds in succession, the time occupied in the process is called a Chain.
These facts are summarized in Fig. 70.
Seven sub-races compose one Root-race; the time occupied by seven Root-races is that of one World Period. Seven World Periods, on seven successive globes while the life wave passes from one to another, compose one Round. Seven Rounds, in each of which the life wave has passed from planet to planet, compose one Chain.
The work of evolution, of all life and form in the solar system is, however, not accomplished within the period of one Chain. It is intended in the Plan that, during the period of activity of one Chain, one kingdom of life shall have evolved to the next-higher kingdom; thus, that which began as animal life at the beginning of bur Chain, that is, on planet A of the First Round, will rise to the stage of humanity at the end of the Chain, which will be on planet G of the Seventh Round; similarly, that which began the Chain as vegetable life will, at its ending, have risen to the animal life. If we look back to Fig. 68, we see the various steps of evolution of the kingdom of life; each step requires one complete Chain.
When our Chain began on planet A of our First Round, the work was commenced In all the seven kingdoms, from the First Elemental Essence to Humanity; but where did Humanity achieve its human characteristics, and the animal life its animaL characteristics, so as to begin the Chain already thus equipped? To answer this we must turn to Fig. 71.
We find in it, as the fourth circle, the Earth Chain; this is practically Fig. 69in miniature, for we find Mars, Earth and Mercury as the three black spheres denoting physical matter, while planets B and F are marked as of astral matterm and planets A and G as of matter of the lower mental plane. We see preceding the Fourth Chain a Third, called in the diagram the Moon Chain. In this Moon Chain we find that there are seven globes, but only one of them is physical, while two are astral, two are lower mental, and two higher mental.
Now, our life wave, before it entered our Chain, the Earth Chain, was for countless ages the life of the preceding Chain, the Moon Chain; but the life wave on the Moon Chain was exactly one stage earlier than what it is today on the Earth Chain. That is to say, that which is humanity now on the Earth Chain was the animal kingdom of the Moon Chain; our present animal kingdom of the Earth Chain was the vegetable kingdom of the Moon Chain; and similarly, all the other kingdoms of life on the Earth Chain were one stage earlier on the Moon Chain.
In an exactly similar fashion, the kingdoms of life of the Moon Chain themselves came into it from an earlier Chain still, Chain No.2 on the diagram. It will be seen that this Chain has no physical planet at all, but is composed of one astral, two lower mental, two higher mental, and two planets of Buddhic matter. Each kingdom of life on this Second Chain was exactly one stage earlier than it was on the Moon Chain; thus, that which was the animal kingdom of the Moon Chain was the vegetable kingdom of Chain No.2. Chain No.2 itself derived its life from an earlier Chain No. 1; in this we have only one lower mental planet, two higher mental, two of Buddhic matter, and two of Nirvanic matter.
The kingdoms of life on this Chain No.1 were at one stage earlier than they were on Chain No.2. To sum up, following the direction of evolution, that which began on Chain No.1 as the mineral kingdom appeared on Chain No.2 as the vegetable kingdom, and on Chain No.3 — the Moon Chain — as the animal kingdom, and on Chain No. 4 — our present Earth Chain — it is our Humanity.
When the work of this Earth Chain is completed at the end of the Seventh Round, each kingdom of evolving life will have ascended one stage; our animals of today will, at the end of our Chain, have come to the human level; our vegetable life will have entered into the animal kingdom. Our Humanity will have gone to a stage beyond humanity. The Fifth Chain will be similar to the Third Chain, so far, at least, as the nature of its globes is concerned; just as, on the Third Chain, there was only one physical planet, so will there be but one physical planet in the Fifth Chain, though it will have. two astral planets, two of lower mental matter, and two of higher mental.
The constituent planets of Chains No.6 and No.7 will be as marked on the diagram.
The work of the First, Second and Third Chains is now over, and their planets have disintegrated, except that the only physical planet of the Third Chain still remains, though shrunk, as the Moon which goes round the Earth. The Moon has now on it none of the life wave, and it is practically a dead planet, waiting its final disintegration. Evolution is now exactly midway among the seven Chains, since our present Chain is the Fourth; and on this Fourth Chain we are at the fourth planet of the Fourth Round.
We have before us, when the work of the Earth Chain is completed, work to be done by the kingdoms of evolving life in the next, the Fifth Chain. This Chain will have one physical planet, which will be made by coalescing into one planetary mass the Asteroids, which now make a ring of little planets between Mars and Jupiter. By the time the Asteroids have coalesced into a planet, and become the center of evolution of the life wave, the work will have been completed in the Earth Chain. Our Earth will have become a dead planet with no evolving life upon it; it will have shrunk in size through loss of its liquids and gases and other causes, and It will then be attracted to the physical planet of the new Chain and attached to it as a Moon.
Our present animal kingdom will begin the work of the Fifth Chain as its humanity; our present vegetable kingdom will then be its animal kingdom. In exactly a similar way, the work in the Sixth and Seventh Chains, which are yet to come, will be accomplished. In each successive Chain the life evolves from one kingdom to the next beyond it.
The work done through seven Chains in succession makes one "Scheme of Evolution". There are seven such Schemes of Evolution, and over the work of each presides a Planetary Logos; nay, more, each Scheme is theexpression of His exalted Life, and the seven Chains of His Scheme are as successive incarnations of that Life. Each of the seven Planetary Logoi has thus before Him a Scheme of Evolution to develop and guide; each Scheme involves seven Chains, and each Chain requires seven distinct globes.
There are now in the solar system seven Schemes. of Evolution; they require, at some stage of their work, a physical planet; the stage of each of these seven Schemes is given in our next diagram., Fig. 72. (We are told that there are three Schemes which require no physical planet at all; but there is no information about their arrangement.) The Schemes of Evolution which involve Vulcan, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, are behind the Earth Scheme by one Chain; the Neptune Scheme (which includes Pluto and another planet not yet discovered) is, like the Earth Scheme, at its Fourth Chain whereas the Venus Scheme of Evolution is in advance of the Earth Scheme by one Chain.
It must be remembered that though a physical planet may not be able, owing to heat and pressure or absence of atmosphere, to permit life in such organisms as we have on our Earth, nevertheless there are types of non-physical evolution which can do their work efficiently on the astral planes of planets, where physical life is not possible.
It is because the Venus Scheme is one Chain in advance of the Earth, and therefore the average humanity of Venus is near the Adept level, that Adepts from Venus were able to help the work of the Earth Chain at its commencement, becoming Lords of Worlds, Manus, Buddhas, Chohans, and other great leaders of our evolution. These are the "gods" and "divine rulers" of the myths of primitive mankind. In exactly a similar fashion, such of the Earth's humanity as attain Adeptship at the end of the Earth Chain, and care to do so, may begin helping the work of evolution of the four backward Chains of the Vulcan, Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus Schemes.
When an individual completes the work of evolution set before him, he attains the level of a Master of the Wisdom. He will attain this level, in the normal course of slow evolution, at the end of the Seventh Round of this Chain; but he may, by hastening his evolution, attain Adeptship far earlier than this. A small number among the advanced souls of humanity have already done so. Whenever a soul attains the Adept level, and has gained such experiences as this Chain can afford him, he has before him seven choices, regarding his future growth and activity. These seven choices are summarized in our next diagram, Fig. 73.
Among the seven choices none is better than the others; each Adept will choose his path according to his temperment and the needs of the Great Plan. A certain number, quite a minority, decide to qualify themselves to become Manus, Buddhas, Chohans and other officials of the Hierarchy who guide the evolution of the kingdoms of life on a globe; this choice requires constant physical incarnation, though, as an Adept, the need for incarnation is long over. Adepts of another temperament, while not desiring to take office as officials of the Hierarchy, nevertheless remain with humanity, and live in the invisible worlds as "Nirmanakayas"; in this condition of existence, they create great spiritual forces, which are then transferred to the members of the Hierarchy to be used to further human advancement.
A third type of Adept passes into the kingdom of the Devas or Angelic Hosts, there to work sometimes indirectly with humanity as Angels, and sometimes to do the work of the Angelic Hosts in other parts of the solar system than the Earth. Yet another type of Adept enrolls himself in the "Staff Corps of the Logos", training himself to work in any part of the solar system, and in any work needed, where he may be sent, in accordance with the needs of the Plan. A certain number of Adepts will choose to do the work of preparation necessary to initiate the Fifth Chain. The sixth and seventh types of Adepts enter upon a phase of spiritual evolution and activity incomprehensible to our consciousness, and technically called "entering Nirvana"; they do not achieve any kind of "annihilation" or negativity, but give their splendid contribution to the Great Plan, though in ways incomprehensible to our present limited human consciousness.
All this process of evolution, taking millions of years for its unfoldment, is far vaster than our imagination can conceive. At each stage, more power, wisdom and beauty are released in the universe. The vegetable kingdom in each Round is more highly evolved than the vegetable kingdom of the previous Round; in each Chain it is more evolved still. What our present trees, plants and shrubs, with their exquisite foliage and flowers, are to the antediluvian forests of tree ferns; what our birds, with their gorgeous coloring, song and joyous life, are to their ungainly, drab ancestors of bygone ages; that too will the animal kingdom, of Rounds and Chains to come, be to what is the animal kingdom of the present Round. Even the invisible atom evolves, Round by Round and Chain by Chain; and all life grows in greater self-expression and self-revelation as the cycles go by.
Man's life, too, changes Round by Round; Our mental life will have in the next Round a richness scarce to be grasped today, for our lowest instrument of thinking, the brain, will be composed of atoms of substances more evolved than they are in this Fourth Round. Since matter is force, and form is life, and man's humanity is fundamentally Divinity, so, wherever evolution is, there the Logos is at work; and where He is, there a joyous work comes, step by step, near to fulfilment.
It is usual for men to make a contrast between mind and matter; mind signifies to them a spiritual faculty while matter denotes a lifeless unspiritual substance which is the very opposite of mind. But a new outlook arises when we realize that both mind and matter are the expressions. and revelations of a wondrous Personality, the Logos "in whom we live and move and have our being". Then we see that matter is no less divine than mind, and that there is a gospel of beauty and grandeur to be found, not only in the mind of a genius, but also in the tiny fragment of matter which makes a crystal. Behind both mind and matter a mighty Doer works, who wills to evolve, and who directs each stage. In the understanding of what constitutes His matter, no less than in the understanding of His mind, we may gain a slight glimpse into His Nature — that ever-attractive nature, for which matter is a mirror of His wisdom, strength and beauty.
Before we attempt to understand the Life of the Logos as matter, as revealed in Theosophy, we must first grasp fairly clearly what matter is, as modern science has discovered it for us. For the facts established by science are God's Facts, and the understanding of them enables us to lay a sure foundation for the deeper wisdom about God's Facts revealed in Theosophy. Leaving aside for the time the fact that matter consists fundamentally of "holes in the ether", with those "holes" grouped into electrons, protons and neutrons, the matter of the world around us consists of various substances with which we are more or less familiar. The earth we tread is solid, the water we drink is liquid, and the air we breathe is gaseous; our houses, our utensils, our furniture are all made of matter of various kinds — earths, woods, metals; we have matter, but of a different kind, in the living bodies of ourselves and of people around us, and in the plants and animals and other "living" things which people our world.
Now, this matter is either solid, as wood or iron; liquid, as water; or gaseous, as the atmosphere. It exists for us in thousands of variations. But, numerous are the kinds of matter which compose the objects of our world, in reality they are made up out of a few fundamental substances. These fundamental substances are called the "chemical elements", and modern science has, so far, tabulated for us 92 elements1. Each chemical element exists in an "atomic" state;2thus, for example, a piece of sulphur is an aggregation of sulphur "atoms", and the nature of each of these atoms is such that it cannot be further subdivided, without losing its characteristic as the element. The atom (is built of protons (carrying a charge of positive electricity) electrons (negative electricity) and neutrons (neither positive nor negative).
The known chemical elements are divisible into two main groups-metals and non-metals.
1 List of chemical elements as given in the International Atomic Weights Table of 1937 : Aluminium, Antimony, Argon, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Boron, Bromine, Cadmium, Calcium, Carbon, Caerium, Cesium, Chlorine, Chromium, Cobalt, Columbium, Copper, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Fluorine, Gadolinium, Gallium, Germanium, Gold, Hagnium, Helium, Holmium, Hydrogen, Indium, Iodine, Iridium, Iron, Krypton, Lanthanum, Lead, Lithium, Lutecium; Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Molybdenum, Neodymium, Neon, Nickel, Nitrogen, Osmium, Oxygen, Palladium, Phosphorus, Platinum, Potassium, Praseodymium, Protoactinium, Radium, Radon, Rhenium, Rhodium, Rubidium, Ruthenium, Samarium, Scandium, Selenium, Silicon, Silver, Sodium, Strontium, Sulphur, Tantalum, Tellurium, Terbium, Thal- lium, Thorium, Thulium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, Uranium, Vanadium, Xenon, Ytterbium, Yttrium, Zinc, Zirconium.
2 The words "atomic" and " atom "are here used in the ordinary chemical sense, not in that of "Occult Chemistry".
Metallic elements are Aluminium, Manganese, Calcium, etc., and non-metals are Carbon, Boron, Oxygen, Chlorine, etc. Metals in electrolysis appear at the cathode or negative pole, and non-metals at the anode or positive pole. The metals are good conductors of heat and electricity, while the non-metals are bad conductors. There is a third group of elements, like Arsenic, Antimony, etc., called metalloids, as they are hybrid in character, being like both metals and non-metals in their behavior.
In Fig. 74, we have in its first division twelve out of the 92 chemical elements, with the symbols used for them: H=Hydrogen, C=Carbon, N=Nitrogen, O=Oxygen, Na (for Natrium)=Sodium, Cl=Chlorine, K (for Kalium)=Potasium, S=Sulphur, AI=Aluminium, Fe (for Ferrum)=Iron, P=Phosphorus, Ca=Calcium. Each has its definite weight, and certain other marked characteristics.
In the second and third divisions of Fig. 74, we have illustrated the fact that these primary elements combine among themselves to make new substances. Thus, two particles of Hydrogen will combine with one of Oxygen to make a unit particle of water; one particle of Sodium will combine'with one particle of Chlorine to make a unit particle of salt. So element combines with element to make the myriads of organic and inorganic substances which make up our world. While only two atoms of Carbon, with six of Hydrogen and one of Oxygen, are necessary to make one molecule of alcohol, we require, to make one molecule of Hemoglobin (the red coloring-matter of the blood), no less than 712 Carbon, 1,130 Hydrogen, 214 Nitrogen, 1 Iron, 2 Sulphur and 425 Oxygen atoms. Protoplasm, the primary living substance out of which all cells are made, is composed of Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Sulphur, Phosphorous, Chlorine, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Iron atoms, but in what proportion science cannot as yet say.
The chemical elements, the bricks, so to say, of our universe, not only combine (with a few exceptions) among themselves, but they combine according to certain habits characteristic of each element. This habit of combination is called " valency" (see Fig. 75). Thus (see Figure, first column), one atom of Fluorine, or of Chlorine, Bromine or Iodine, prefers to combine with one atom of Hydrogen rather than with two; while on the other hand, an atom of Oxygen, or Sulphur, Selenium or Tellurium, prefers to combine with two Hydrogen atoms rather than with one (see Figure, second column). Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Arsenic atoms select three Hydrogen atoms for combinations, and atoms of Carbon and Silicon choose four (see Figure, third and fourth columns). Chemical science merely catalogues this behavior of the elements, and terms it valency, without being able to account for it precisely.
In the lower half of Fig. 75, we have illustrated two cases of an atom of an element combining with five other bodies. When Ammonium Chloride is made by 1 Nitrogen, 4 Hydrogen and 1 Chlorine atoms, Chemistry presumes that Nitrogen, whose valency is, as here, five, in some way puts out of itself in five directions five unsatisfied desires for combination; these are fulfilled by combining with 4 Hydrogen and 1 Chlorine atoms. We have a similar case of a fivefold valency in Phosphorus Pentachloride.
The next interesting fact taught us in Chemistry is that, as chemical elements combine they combine so as to make geometrical figures; we have this fact illustrated for us in Fig. 76.
Marsh Gas is composed of 1 Carbon and 4 Hydrogen atoms; it has been suggested by Kekule that the spatial positions of the five atoms are as shown in the diagram, that is, the Carbon atom stands in the middle of a tetrahedron, and the 4 Hydrogen atoms are placed at its four corners. With another gas, called Ethane, which is composed of 2 Carbon and 6 Hydrogen atoms, it has been suggested that the positions of the 8 atoms are as in the figure, where the apices of two tetrahedra interpenetrate each other, there being at each apex 1 Carbon atom, and 6 Hydrogen atoms being placed at the other corners of the two tetrahedra.
A further illustration of this geomtetrical building appears in the ammoniacal derivatives of Cobalt, Violeocobaltammine and Praseocobaltammine. The former in color is violet and the latter green; yet in both there are 2 atoms of Chlorine with four groups of Ammonia, each of which is made up of 1 Nitrogen and 3 Hydrogen atoms. Now, it has been suggested that the difference of color is due to the difference of position in an octohedron of the two Chlorine atoms; where the two atoms of Chlorine are at the opposite apices of the octohedron, the Cobalt derivative is Violet, while when these two atoms are at the ends of an edge of the octohedron, the derivative is green.
There are certain marked characteristics in the chemical elements, which can be summarized as follows:
1. Each element has a definite average weight, and no two elements are of the same weight.
2. Elements are either paramagnetic or diamagnetic; that is to say, when they are brought under the influence of magnetic force, some remain parallel to the lines of that force (paramagnetic), while others remain at right angles to that force (diamagnetic).
3. Elements are either electro-positive or electro-negative.
4. Elements have valency, that is, they can combine with or displace one or more atoms of Hydrogen.
Now when all the elements are arranged in a list, according to their atomic weights, it is found that they group themselves naturally in a certain order according to valency, magnetic and electric qualities. This method of grouping of the elements is known as the " Periodic Law". There are several ways of stating this "periodicity" of the elements but, the way that the Periodic Law has been stated for us by the late Sir William Crookes is perhaps the clearest. We have it in our next diagram, Fig. 77. In the line depicting a pendulum which swings backwards and forwards all the elements are marked in their order of weight; the lightest, Hydrogen, beginning the pendulum swing, and the heaviest, Uranium, (and possibly one or more heavier, yet to be discovered) closing the swing. Among the upper-right lines is a middle line, and there are four on either side; if the middle-perpendicular line represents no valency, and also "inter-periodicity", if the four lines on either side of this median line represent, in order, valency 1, valency 2, valency 3 and valency 4; then, it is found, as the elements are mapped out in the order of their atomic weights, and placed at the intersecting points of the pendulum line and the nine upright lines, that (with a few exceptions):
1. On the median line fall the "inert gases", whose characteristic is that they will not combine with any other element, and hence have valency 0. They appear regularly after one complete swing of the pendulum.
2. On the same median line, and at regular intervals, that is, after one complete swing of the pendulum (after Neon), occur the Inter- periodics.
3. All elements to the right of the median line are diamagnetic, and those to the left paramagnetic, according to the theory of Crookes.
4. The elements appear in a certain order of valency; beginning with any element having characteristic valency 0, the next heavier has. valency 1, and following it there come those with valency 2, valency 3, valency 4; next the valency diminishes, and the succeeding elements have valency 3, valency 2 and valency 1; and after this the next element, valency 0.
5. As the pendulum swings outward from the median line, most of the elements coming on the outward swing are all electro-positive; as the pendulum swings inward to the median line, the elements coming on this inward swing are all electro-negative.
As long ago as 1887, Crooke conceived or the chemical elements as appearing in the Cosmos one after another, their characteristics modified by forces brought to bear upon them. He drew a picture of the "Genesis of the Elements" out of a primordial substance which he called "protyle". The diagram of Crookes appears as Fig. 77, with scarcely any modifications; the chief changes are the giving to each element not the weight given in Chemistry but its "number weight", i.e., the number of "ultimate physical atoms" which it contains1, and that new elements discovered since 1887 have also been added to the diagram.
1 As discovered by clairvoyant investigation by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater. See the book, Occult Chemistry.
The idea of a "genesis of the elements " is in reality no mere hypothesis at all, but a fact of the greatest inspiration. Let us first conceive the idea as Crookes presented it to a materialistically-minded scientific audience at the Royal Institution of London on February 18, 1887; we shall then have our imaginations. fairly prepared to grasp the more magnificent conception given as in Occultism.1
“We may trace, in the undulating curve, the action of two forms of energy, the one acting vertically and the other vibrating to and fro like a pendulum: Let the vertical line represent temperature gradually sinking through an unknown number of degrees from the dissociation- point of the first-formed element downwards to the dissociation-point of the last member of the scale.
“But what form of energy is figured by the oscillating line? We see it swinging to and fro to points equidistant from a neutral center. We see this divergence from neutrality confer atomicity of one, two, three, or four degrees, as the distance from the center increases to one, two, three, or four divisions. We see the approach to or the retrocession from this same neutral line deciding the electro-negative or electro- positive character of each element; those on the retreating half of the swing being positive, and those on the approaching half negative. In short, we are led to suspect that this oscillating power must be closely connected with the imponderable matter, essence, or source of energy we call electricity.
“Our pendulum begins its swing from the electro-positive side: lithium, next to hydrogen in the simplicity of its atomic weight, is now formed, followed by glucinum, boron, and carbon. Each element, at the moment of birth, takes up definite quantities of electricity, and on these quantities its atomicity depends. Thus are fixed the types of the monatomic, diatomic, triatomic and tetratomic elements.
1 In quoting from Crookes's lecture at the Royal Institution, I have left out here and there sentences and paragraphs of a somewhat technical nature.
“It has been pointed out by Dr. Carnelly that "those elements belonging to the even series of the periodic classification are always paramagnetic, whereas the elements belonging to the odd series are always diamagnetic". Now in our curve the even series to the left, so far as has been ascertained, are paramagnetic, whilst, with a few exceptions, all to the right are diamagnetic.
“We come now to the return or negative part of the swing; nitrogen appears and shows instructively how position governs the rriean, dominant atomicity. Nitrogen occupies a position immediately below boron, a tri-atomic element, and, therefore, nitrogen is likewise tri- atomic. But nitrogen also follows upon carbon, a tetratomic body, and occupies the fifth position if we count from the place of origin. Now these seemingly opposing tendencies are beautifully harmonized by the endowment of nitrogen with a double atomicity, its atom being capable of acting either as a tri- or as a pent-atomic element. With oxygen (di- and hex-atomic) and fluorine mon- and hept-atomic) the same law holds good, and one half-oscillation of the pendulum is completed. Passing the neutral line again, we find successively formed the electro-positive bodies sodium (monatomic), magnesium (diatomic), aluminium (triatomic), and silicon (tetratomic).
“The first complete swing of the pendulum is accomplished by the birth of the three electro-negative elements, phosphorus, sulphur, and chlorine; all three, like the corresponding elements on the opposite homeward swing, having at least a double atomicity, depending upon position.
“Again let us follow our pendulum ... and the first element to come into existence, when the pendulum starts for its second oscilation, is not lithium, but the metal next allied to it in the series, i.e., potassium, which may be regarded as the lineal descendant of lithium, with the same hereditary tendencies, but with less molecular mobility and a higher atomic weight.
“Pass along the curve, and in nearly every case the same law holds good. Thus the last element of the first complete vibration is chlorine. In the corresponding place in the second vibration. we have, not an exact repetition of chlorine, but the very similar body bromine, and when the same position recurs for a third time we see iodine. I need not multiply examples. I may, however, point out that we have here a phenomenon which reminds us of alternating or cyclical generation in the organic world, or we may perhaps say of atavism, a recurrence to ancestral types somewhat modified. ”
Now that we have gained a general idea of the speculations of modern science as to a possible "genesis of the elements", we can understand more fully what Theosophy reveals of the mysteries ,of force and matter. From the beginning we must remember that there is no such thing as a "fortuitous concourse of atoms"; the building of the universe was thought out by a Divine Builder, and each step in the building is directed by Him. Atoms rush together or part, only because He so wills.
The first stages in the building of matter by the Logos have already been described in Chapter VIII, on "The Work of the Triple Logos", in Figs. 64, 65 and 66. The energy of the Cosmic Logos, called"Fohat" in The Secret Doctrine, "thrilling through the inert Substance" makes in Koilon those holes or bubbles which are the true units of our solar planes. Then these holes, thus filled with the Consciousness of the Cosmic Logos, are whirled by the Solar Logos into spiral formations. When, in the process of forming the physical, atom, spirillae of the sixth order have been formed, He then coils strands of them into three parallel series, as in Fig. 78. The coils in this figure go from right to left, in order to make a positive atom; 1 the coils are wound from left to right, to make the negative atom.2
These three coils in some mysterious way are charged with the three types of energy characteristic of the Triple Logos; "in the three whorls flow currents of different electricities".3 Then the seven embodiments of the Triple Logos, the Seven Planetary Logoi, twist seven parallel coils to complete the physical atom. Each of these minor seven coils, when affected by light and sound, throws out one color of the solar spectrum and one of the seven sounds or the natural scale, and therewith the special influence of its Planetary Logos.
The atom, when completed, appears in outline as in Figs. 79 and 80, which are diagrams of a positive and a negative atom.
We must never forget that the atom is not "substance", but the negation of substance; the white lines in Figs. 79 and 80 represent the bubbles in their coils, and are lines of force. The substance, the fundamental rether, is represented by the black background of the diagram. So, as Poincare truly said, the atom is only a "hole in the ether". Yet is this "hole in the ether" filled with the Divine Nature; "hole" though it be, when compared with Koilon, it is real to us, true substance to our knowing, just because the Cosmic Logos is there, and creates in us the thought of substance and reality. As He thinks, and as the Solar Logos thinks, so think we, at our level, with Them.
1 The word "atom" is used henceforth in the Theosophical sense.
2 The details of this subject of "occult chemistry" will be found in Occult Chemistryby Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater.
3 Occult Chemistry, page 7 of First Edition
When the physical atom; of the two types, positive and negative, is constructed, then begins the building of the chemical elements. They are built according to the Periodic Law, outlined in Fig. 77; but there is more Wisdom and Beauty in the Periodic. Law than has yet happened to the scientific imagination to con- ceive. Before we can appreciate the Periodic Law in all its magnificence, we must turn aside for a while to study what are known as the Platonic Solids (Fig. 81).
There are five, and only five, three-dimensional solids, in each of which itslines, angles and surfaces are equal. They are the Tetrahedron, Cube (Hexahedron), Octahedron, Dodecahedron and Icosahedron.1 In the first row of Fig. 81 are illustrations of them, as the five solids appear when they lie on a flat surface. In this position, their symmetry is not readily evident; hence they are placed in a different position, in order to bring out their symmetry, and their appearance then is given in the illustrations of the second and third rows. These five "Platonic Solids" were considered of special significance by the Platonic schools of Greece and Alexandria; the reason for this will be evident soon. Now, these five solids, distinctive though each is in the number of its lines, angles and surfaces, are all developable from one solid, the tetrahedron. Thus, the cube and the octahedron are developed out oftwo tetrahedra when symmetrically interlaced (see the second figure of the second row); the 8 corners of the 2 interlacing tetrahedra give the 8 corners of the cube, while the 6 intersecting points give the 6 corners of the octahedron. This fact has long been well known in geometry. But the further fact, that the two remaining Platonic Solids, the dodecahedron and the icosahedron, are also developable from the tetrahedron, was discovered by Senor Arturo Soria y Mata, a Theosophist of Madrid. By interlacing 5 tetrahedra, we have the complicated solid shown in the first figure of the third row; the 20 corners of the 5 interlacing tetrahedra make the 20 corners of the dodecahedron, while the 12 intersecting points give the 12 corners of the icosahedron.
1 Tetrahedron, 4, surfaces; Hexahedron, or Cube, 6 surfaces; Octahedron, 8 surfaces; Dodecahedron, 12 surfaces; Icosahedron, 20 surfaces.
There are, in each of the five solids, a number of surfaces and corners; these give the directions for the building of the chemical elements. Taking the first three solids — the tetrahedron, cube and octahedron — we have:
We find that these three solids are the tanmatras — "the measures of That" — or axes for the building of the divalent, trivalent and tetravalent elements of the Periodic Law. Thus, all divalent elements, both positive and negative, paramagnetic and diamagnetic, with the single exception of Oxygen, are of the general type of Beryllium (Glucinum), illustrated in Fig. 82.
Atoms of the positive and negative types are massed together in groups, but especially in four main groups or "funnels", which radiate from the center of the tetrahedron to its four surfaces. This is the simple divalent structure for the lighter elements; in the heavier elements there appear, in addition to the "funnels", new groups termed "spikes", four in number, and radiating from the center to the fourcorners. (The unit of each element is surrounded by a spherical limiting wall, composed of the circumambient matter of the atomic sub-plane of the physical plane, but for the sake of simplicity, this is not shown in the diagrams.)
All trivalent elements, with the single exception of Nitrogen, are of the type in Fig. 83; the lighter trivalents are composed of six "funnels" radiating from the center of a cube 10 its six surfaces; the heavier trivalents have, in addition to the six funnels, eight "spikes" radiating to the eight corners of the cube.
All tetravalent elements, with the exception of Titanium and Zirconium, are of the type in Fig. 84; the lighter tetravalents are composed of eight "funnels", starting from the center of an octahedron and pointing to its eight surfaces; the heavier tetravalents have, in addition, six "spikes" pointing to the six corners:
There remain the dodecahedron and the icosahedron; the former is thetanmatra, not for anyone type of elements, but for a constituent of some of the elements. This constituent is composed of groups of atoms which are placed at the twenty corners of a dodecahedron.1 Except that the icosahedron is implied in a dodecahedron — for the corners of an icosahedron are the twelve points where the five tetrahedra regularly intersect — no definite groups of bodies in the building of the elements have so far been noted, as placed at the twelve corners of an icosahedron.
The monovalent elements are built according to the types represented by Figs. 85 and 86. The paramagnetic monovalents start with Lithium, whose structure is given in Fig. 85.
Lithium contains 127 ultimate physical atoms. The remaining elements, down the line of Lithium, in Fig. 77 of the Periodic Law (with the exception of Fluorine), have the center pillar or "cigar" of Lithium, but made heavier by the addition of new bodies, and multiplied in a definite series, and radiating from a common center. The direction of these radiating bodies has not yet been determined, but they will be sure to follow definite positions formed by the interlacing of various solids. The diamagnetic monovalents are all built after the type of Sodium in Fig. 86; there is a central bar or rod, which connects an upper group of twelve radiating funnels with a lower group of twelve similarly radiating funnels.
1 The dodecahedron also appears in the "ring" series of carbon compounds like napthalene, anthracene, etc., with 12 funnels pointing to the 12 surfaces of the dodecahedron.
There are two remaining groups in the table of the chemical elements to be accounted for; these are the "interperiodic" metals, and the "inert gases" of the atmosphere. Both groups, come on the median line of the diagram of the Periodic Law. The appearance of the Interperiodics (Iron, Cobalt, Nickel, Palladium, Ruthenium, Rhodium, etc.) is given in Fig. 87.
Each is composed of 14 "bars" radiating from a center. The four interperiodic groups so far noted go in triplets (with the fourth group adding a fourth member), and they have a striking peculiarity in that each member of its group is 28 atoms heavier than the preceding member. Thus, since each Interperiodic is composed of 14 bars, all of which within one element are alike, we have "periodicity" coming regularly as follows in each group:
GROUP I. IRON, COBALT, NICKEL
GROUP II. RUTHENIUM, RHODIUM, PALLADIUM
GROUP III. X, Y, Z
GROUP IV OSMIUM, IRIDIUM, PLATINUM, PLATINUM B
Platinum B 1
This same characteristic of periodicity appears in the second type of elements which come on the median line, the inert gases. Their general appearance is given in Fig. 88.
These inert gases go in pairs, the second member of the pair having exactly 42 atoms more than the first member. Fig. 88 shows us that in the center there appears the complicated five interlacing tetrahedra which came in Fig. 81; radiating from this, but all on one plane, are six arms, each having the same number of atoms. Periodicity appears in the fact that, in each inert gas, the second member or "isotope" has 7 atoms more in each arm., (In all of the inert gases, the center sphere has only 120 atoms.)
1 As later this element of weight 195.22 was said to be discovered in Canada, a few Canadian chemists gave it the name of "Canadium". But the discovery has not been confirmed.
GROUP I. NEON, META-NENON
Number in an Arm
Total Weight, H=1
GROUP II. ARGON, META-ARGON
GROUP III. KRYPTON, META-KRYPTON
GROUP IV. XENON, META-XENON
Number in an Arm
Total Weight, H=1
GROUP V. "KALON", "META-KALON"
GROUP VI. RADON, META-RADON
In the description given above of the elements, it has been stated that certain elements (i.e., Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, etc.) are exceptions. There are no "exceptions" to divine laws; the word is merely used in the conventional sense, to imply that we have not as yet discovered of what law each exception is an example. We do not yet know why the exceptions are different in structure from that which is seen as the "ancestral type ". But, even from what little we have already seen of the building of the elements, it is fairly clear that further discoveries will explain exactly why these exceptions have their present formations.
Of the few exceptions, among the noteworthy are Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen, represented in Figs. 89, 90, 91. In Fig. 89, which is that of Hydrogen, the stages of its building are given. Hydrogen has in each unit 18 atoms, but there are two varieties of Hydrogen, the first compsed of ten positive and eight negative atoms, and the second composed of nine positive and nine negative atoms. Figure 89 shows the first variety. In its first stage, the atoms, ten of which are positive and eight negative exist, on the atomic sub-plane of the physical plane. At the next stage, on the sub-atomic sub-plane (see Fig. 49), the 18 atoms arrange themselves into 6 groups of 3 each. At the next stage, on the super-etheric sub- plane, there is a rearrangement. At the fourth stage on the etheric sub- plane, there is a further rearrangement. Finally, when we come to the gaseous sub-plane, the 18 atoms making up the one unit of Hydrogen (the chemicalatom of Hydrogen) re-group themselves into 6 groups of 3 each; three of these 6 groups are specially linked together as a positive half of Hydrogen, while the remaining 3 groups link themselves together as the negative half of Hydrogen.
In this First Principles of Theosophy it is obviously out of place to write fully on "Occult Chemistry", i.e., chemical structure as seen by the enlarging power of trained clairvoyance. But Occult Chemistry is interesting even to a beginner in Theosophy, because, when, after leaving on one side mere theories and speculations about chemical structure, one sees how elements are actually constructed, then one realizes how, even in the proton, electron, and neutron in the atom and the element, the Logos is at work, building.
The vision of "things as they are" is a vision revealing a wonderful craftsmanship and an inspiring wisdom. A glimpse of His Plan, even for the chemical element, enables one to know that there is no place where He is not, and nothing in which He is not working.
We have had glimpses of the modes of His working in the elements in their geometrical design, in their periodicity, in their "valency". We get another glimpse as we look at one more diagram, that of Fig. 92, which gives us the skeleton of the structure of six monovalent elements — Sodium, Chlorine, Copper, Bromine, Silver and Iodine. All these come on one line of the Periodic Table, Fig. 77, and all are of the "ancestral type" of Sodium shown in Fig. 86. That figure shows us Sodium somewhat like a dumb-bell in shape; there is a central rod connecting two groups of funnels, an upper and a lower; the funnels of each group are twelve in number, and each set of twelve radiates on to two planes from a central sphere. This "dumb-bell" structure is carried on to all elements appearing on the diamagnetic monovalent line. If, therefore, in anyone of these elements, we know the bar, one funnel, and one sphere from which the funnels radiate, we can construct the full element. Then, by counting the total number of "ultimate physical atoms", and dividing by 18 (for Hydrogen has 18 such atoms, and if we make H=1, to reduce "atomic weights" to a common standard), we get the "atomic weight" of the element in terms of Hydrogen.1 Fig.92 is illuminating, as it shows us how the Logos builds from an "ancestral type", as Crookes suggests. To make a funnel of Chlorine, the funnel of Sodium is taken, and added to, and the bar is made heavier by 5 atoms. Then the funnel of Chlorine is in turn taken to make the funnels o f Copper and Bromine, and new groups of atoms are added. Bromine in its turn is taken to build Silver and Iodine, and the Bromine funnel of 58 atoms is used with additions in order to build them. The changes made in the spheres connecting the funnels are shown in the diagram. It will be seen that from Chlorine to Iodine no change is made in the bar. Counting all the dots, which represent "ultimate physical atoms", and remembering that in each element there is one bar, two spheres, and 24 funnels (see Sodium, Fig. 86), we get the following:
1 If it is desired to get the "atomic weight" in terms of Oxygen = 16, as is done now in Chemistry, the divisor will have to be made 18.144.
Here I must leave this fascinating subject of the building of the chemical elements, referring students who care to follow the matter further to the special work on the subject, Occult Chemistry, by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater.1
1 There is an isotope of Chlorine with 667 atoms, and weight 37.05.
When most of us turn our attention to the substances around us, which are all composed of the chemical elements, we think of these substances by the relation which they bear to us. Utterly wrapped up in our man-centered outlook, we say that this substance is useful, or that useless. We look with interest at a diamond, but with no interest at all at a piece of granite or clay. It has not yet dawned on our imagination that all substances have their part in the Divine Plan, and are doing their work to further that Plan, irrespective of their relation to us mo rtals.
How different all nature appears when we come to know that even the" dead "substances which compose our world are evolving; and that, as each one of us is irresistibly drawn upwards towards an ideal, so all the elements and their combinations are being drawn upwards slowly to become more perfect lenses of the Divinity dwelling within them. For He does so dwell, even as in the soul of man. Did not Christ the Logos say: “Raise the stone, and there thou shalt find Me; cleave the wood, and there am I?” To him that hath ears to hear, there is not only a melody in the surf of the sea and in the whispers of the wood, there is also a Song of nature wherever even the tiniest speck of matter exists, and does its part in the Great Plan. Out of the earth, out of heaven and hell, from every corner of all the worlds visible and invisible, there ever rises one triumphant pean of nature:
Thus at the roaring Loom of time I ply, And weave for God the Robe thou seest Him by.
1 First edition, 1908; second edition, 1919; third edition, 1951. French, Italian and German translations of this work have appeared.
Of all the perennially inspiring facts in life which Theosophy reveals, none is so overwhelming as the fact that Matter, Life and Consciousness are three aspects of one indivisible Unity. It is impossible to conceive of any matter which is not living, nor of any life which has not consciousness. And when a man realizes that all forms of consciousness, from that of an electron to that of a Dhyan Chohan, are embodiments of the one Logos; that, "cabined, cribbed, and confined" though He be there, yet He is within the electron; then he begins to live in a universe of perpetual light, and to him nature at work in realms visible and invisible is one blaze of glory of the Ineffable. To know this, even merely intellectually, is to gain a new insight into everything in heaven and earth. But to feel it, to live it, is to discover an exhilaration and an enthusiasm of which he had not thought himself capable.
It was shown, in the chapter on "The Evolution of the Matter and Force", that the Consciousness of the Logos pervades all the processes in the building of the chemical elements. The same is true when we watch all the processes which we consider characteristic of life, as distinct from those of matter. At each stage of life, from the lowest to the highest, from a bacterium to an archangel, He works, with His agents as His helpers, with His plan before Him. Nothing comes to birth by chance; nothing dies by chance; life and death are the warp and woof of His loom. Each organism contains — when the seed, when the tree, in life, as too, in death — one chapter of the Divine Wisdom for him who will study its. processes.
What are the principles which guide the evolution of life? There are many, and one of them is that life grows in response to a stimulus from without. Stimuli from the world without are needed so as to rouse the slumbering life, whether of mineral, plant, animal or man. Heat, strain, pressure and other external impacts, which impinge on the slumbering life in a mineral, awaken that mineral to its higher possibilities of organization. The fiery glow of a nebula has no meaning to us men, and we do not grow, but die, in that whirling mass of heat and pressure and movement. But to the chemical element, all that incandescence is as the breath of its life. Our earth, when it was one seething mass of lava, was impossible for us men as a habitation; but it was as a fairy garden to the mineral, who rejoiced in receiving those fiery impacts and pressures which would have annihilated plant and animal organisms. An inner impulse in the life and a stimulus from the outer environment are both necessary for the life's growth; without the impact, the life is dormant; with stimulus alone, but without the inner impulse, the form is dead.
A second principle to note is that life grows by building and unbuilding. A myriad deaths or unbuildings matter little to the life, so long as one opportunity can be seized to build a more fitting form. Life lavishly builds and unbuilds, ever seeking to build for itself that garment which is placed before it as its ideal. In all this process, there seems to be a terrible waste of forms; yet in reality there is no waste at all. The matter of the forms, after they are broken up, still remains the same matter. As for the life, it withdraws from the dying organisms, to reappear undiminished in the forms of succeeding generations. Since life is indestructible, it works at its self-evolution by experiment after experiment in the building of forms. (See Fig. 57.)
Perhaps the most vital principle to grasp is that, as life evolves, more and more consciousness is released. A successful evolutionary form means one through which the consciousness locked up within the life can manifest more fully. Simply to live means little for the life; but, while living, to think, to feel, to intuit, to aspire, however vaguely, however feebly, is what all nature is striving for. There is not an electron that is not vaguely aspiring to be a fuller representative of the Divine Force of which it is a channel; each plant and each animal, from the dim recesses of its thought and feeling, is dumbly hoping and trying to be a larger mirror of the Divine Life which it contains. Life is ever striving to be more and more self-conscious, and, above all, to be conscious of the Great Plan, and of its own joyous participation in that Plan.
These principles of the evolving life are seen in operation in that struggle for existence which characterizes the evolution of our vegetable and animal forms. Seen through the cold passionless eyes of a scientific materialism, nature is "red in tooth and claw with ravin"; what else may one think as one examines nature with the magnifying lens of a botanist?
The gaily-colored lid of the Sarracenia pitcher is bedewed in spring and early summer with drops of nectar, which lie on its inward surface, at least for the most part; not on both, as in the pennon of the Darlingtonia.
A closer examination of its surface shows that these drops are at once helped to form, and if sufficiently large to trickle downwards, by a coating of fine but short and stiff hairs which arise from the epidermic surface. Here, in fact, is in every way an admirably-constructed "attractive surface", and it is obvious as well as natural that the insects which sip the honey should travel down into the interior of the pitcher to seek for more. Beyond the lid surface, with its hairs and nectar-glands, they come upon the smooth and glassy "conducting surface", and well- paved path leading indeed towards destruction. In S. purpurea there are indeed a few fresh nectaries to be reached by this descent, a new secreting surface below the conducting one — in S. flaua and other species not even this — but in all cases we soon reach the "detentive surface" of the whole lower part of the pitcher. This is covered with long, stout, bristly hairs, averaging say 1/4 inch long, all sloping downwards into the cavity of the pitcher, and so presenting no obstacle towards descent, but much resistance towards return, as the finger can easily verify, or as the dead inmates of the tubular prison still more conclusively show. That so comparatively powerful an insect as a wasp or bluebottle can be thus detained may be at first sight perplexing; but we see that there is no scope to use the wings for escape, while legs and wings alike become entangled and held back by the stiffly-pointed hairs, which the struggling insect can at most only thrust along, and thus not break. Another captive soon comes on top; ventilations becomes checked, and the foul air rising from dead predecessors must still further check respiration; little wonder then that life must fail.. Even in our greenhouses the leaf thus becomes filled, not only 1 or 2, but often 5 or 6 inches deep with dead insects; while observers on the spot, notably Dr. Melichamp, to whom our knowledge is mainly due, have shown that there is normally a considerable amount of fluid secreted by the pitcher, although this does not seem to appear in European cultivation, and that this fluid has distinctly anaesthetic and fatal properties to insects immersed in it.
It is an old fact that while with us the bluebottle falls an easy and natural prey to this unwanted trap, being doubtless attracted like the wasp by that odor of decomposing carrion to which the bee and butterfly in turn owe their safety, a shrewder American cousin (Sarcophaga sarraceniae) lays few eggs over the pitcher edge, where the maggots hatch and fatten on the abundant food. In April three or four of these larvae are to be found, but in June or July only one survives, the victor who has devoured his brethren. But nemesis is often at hand in the form of a grub-seeking bird, who slits up the pitcher with his beak, and makes short work of all its eatable contents. For this bird in turn the naturalist has next to lie in wait, and so adds a new link to the chain.
The larvae of a moth, (Xanthoptera semicrotea) also inhabit the pitcher, but devour its tissue, not its animal inmates; in fact, they spin a web across its diameter, as if to exclude further entrance of these, and then devour the upper part of the tissue especially, it would seem, the nectar- glands, finally passing through their chrysalis stage within the cavity of the pitcher, and not, as in the case of theSarcophaga larva, making their exit into the ground.
It is said that spiders also spin their webs over the mouths of the pitchers and wait to reap the profit of their attractiveness-again a point of almost human shrewdness.1
1 Geddes, Chapters in Modem Botany, pp.8-IO.
The struggle for existence in the vegetable and animal kingdoms is a wonderful part of the Great Plan. Ever at its work of releasing more and more of consciousness, it strives to select those forms which are most responsive both to the inner urge of the life and to the changing environment. It works at selection first by multiplying forms and then by segregating those most suited to survive in the struggle for existence. Hosts of Devas or Angels, higher and lower, are guardians of the multitudinous types of evolving life; they carry on a fierce warfare, for each Deva arranges for his charges to fatten on those of another Deva, to slay and to be slain; each concentrates on his own type of life and form, as if it alone were intended to thrive according to the Great Plan. But since the death of the form is not a waste of the life, and since, too, each seeming loss brings with its experience both of wisdom and force to the life, to help it towards its ultimate success, the ghastly warfare in nature is a mimic warfare after all, for all the unseen Builders are one in their dedication to the needs of the Plan.
The conception that the life-energies in nature do not work blindly nor at haphazard, but are guided by Builders, is not only novel to most, but startling to many. Yet the idea is as old as the hills. Mankind has ever believed in the greater invisible workers, the Angels or Devas, that they ruled planets and stars, and that patron saints guide the destinies of nations. The belief is still vital in Hinduism and Buddhism; Zoroastrianism and Muhammadanism have it as an integral. part of their teaching. It exists in Christianity, but is professed sincerely only by a few today. The belief in the lesser invisible workers is equally widespread; fairies of earth and water, of air and fire, are well known in Oriental traditions; faith in their existence began to disappear in Europe only after the birth of modern science. But that such a faith is not irrational is well illustrated in the following description of a process in embryology by T. H. Huxley, whose trained scientific imagination led him beyond the bounds of his temperamental agnosticism:
The student of nature wonders the more and is astonished the less, the more conversant he becomes with her operations; but of all the perennial miracles she offers to his inspectiop, perhaps the most worthy of admiration is the development of a plant or of an animal from its embryo. Examine the recently laid eggs of some common animal, such as a salamander or a newt. It is a minute spheroid in which the best microscope will reveal nothing but a structureless sac, enclosing a glairy fluid holding granules in suspension. But strange possibilities lie dormant in that semi-fluid globe. Let a moderate amount of warmth reach its watery cradle, and the plastic matter undergoes changes so rapid and yet so steady and purpose-like in their succession that one can only compare them to those operated by a skilled modeller upon a formless lump of clay. As with an invisible trowel, the mass is divided and subdivided into smaller and smaller proportions, until it is reduced to an aggregation of granules not too large to build withal the finest fabrics of the nascent organism. And then, it is as if a delicate finger traced out the line to be occupied by the spinal column, and moulded the contour of the body, pinching up the head at one end, the tail at the other, and fashioning flank and limb into due salamandrine proportions in so artistic a way that, after watching the process hour by hour, one is almost involuntarily possessed by the notion that some more subtle aid to vision than an achromatic microscope would show the hidden artist, with his plan before him, striving with skilful manipulation to perfect his work.1
This is exactly what happens. Myriads of Builders, great and small, are ever at work, building cells, guiding organs to form, moulding and coloring the flowers, selecting from the Mendelian "genes" those which are most suited to bring about the particular form, the model of which is placed before them by the Deva in charge. Nature is truly a factory, but so vast and stupendous that the imagination of man can but stand dazed at the sight of her many creations.
1 Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reveries, Chapter, "The Origin of Species".
Stage by stage life evolves, and in these days we need but take a textbook of Botany or Zoology to see what is God's Plan for the vegetable and animal kingdoms. But while we study that Plan, we must never forget that the Plan is He, and that it is His self-revelation which we are watching as the pageant of nature passes before our eyes. The crude ideas of Animism professed by primitive savages are in some ways nearer the truth than the expositions of modern sceptical scientists; the former have discovered the truth as to the Life, while the latter have found the truth as to the Form. Both are blended and given us in symbol in Hinduism in its doctrine of the Avataras (Fig.93). An Avatara is literally a "descent", and is specially used to describe the descents or "incarnations" 1 of Vishnu, the Second Person of the Hindu Trinity.
In all the Trinities, the Second Logos is specially identified with the Life-Form activities in manifestation. Thus it is that the Avataras are of Vishnu, and not of Brahma or Shiva, the Third and First Persons of the Hindu Trinity.
According, then, to the Hindu myth, the first stage in the Divine Revelation is marked by the fish, the creature of water. The statement that God was a fish seems revolting, until we grasp its inner significance. How that statement appears to the Hindu imagination is shown in Fig. 94, which represents the popular idea of the Matsya or Fish Avatara. The Avatara came at the time of the "Deluge" to save for the human race the volumes of the Divine Revelation, the four Vedas, which are represented as four children rescued from the flood. The artist has drawn the children white, brown, yellow and black in color, his imagination sensing in the children the races of mankind.
1 In the literal sense of the word. i.e" "entering into flesh", into physical life for the first time. Compare in the Christian Gospel: Et Verbum caro factum est — "And the Word was made flesh."
The next higher stage is one of transition, as the life in water-creatures slowly ascends to life in creatures of the land. Hence the Avatara is the tortoise, the animal both of land and water. The next stage in evolution is represented by a creature who lives completely on land, the boar. Next comes once again a transition, that of the Divine Life in animal forms as it slowly begins to manifest in human forms. This is the mythical "man-lion", the lion being taken to represent the highest stage of animal evolution. After the man-lion, the next stage is that of complete humanity, but of a primitive kind; and the Divine Life in the early stage of human activity is represented by the "dwarf", the primitive man. The human life, after ages of growth, becomes strong in body, with giant shapes, violent, selfish, destructive; yet that life is God Himself, and so the Avatara is Parashu Rama — Rama with the axe — whose energies were bent more on destruction than on reconstruction.
Now comes the stage of the Divine Life as full and perfect humanity, and the Avatara is Ramachandra, the ideal king of the Hindus, who reigned in India tens of thousands of years ago, and whose exploits and sacrifices for Duty and Righteousness are treasured in every Indian heart today. Comes thereafter the succeeding stage, when the perfect man is both man and conscious God, and so the Avatara is that of Shri Krishna, who taught with authority, ruling and guiding men because He was God. A further Avatara is promised, though our imaginations can scarce grasp what it is; the books say that Kalki will come, riding on a white winged horse1, again to establish Righteousness for the sake of men.
So life evolves, at each stage releasing more of the consciousness enshrined in it, and steadily becoming a fuller reflection of Divine Wisdom, "Strength and Beauty. Whoso can dream with a mineral, feel with a flower, rejoice with the birds, sympathize with the cravings and delights of the animals, is a poet, a seer, whose imagination senses what is the Divine Purpose for which they were planned. Not merely to look at a landscape, but to think and feel as each blade of grass, as each shrub and tree opens its heart to the sun's rays, as each of them contributes its tiny note to nature's wondrous harmony, is to transcend man's limitations and to put on the attributes of an Angel, a deva, and lastly of God himself. It was not a beautiful phantasy but a most glorious verity which Coleridge saw, when he sang:
And what if all of animated nature
Be but organic harps diversely framed,
That tremble into thought, as o'er them sweeps,
Plastic and vast, one intellectual breeze,
At once the Soul of each, and God of All?
1 Perhaps the aeroplane.
When we use the word "truth", we mean a knowledge of the universe, in all its embodiments, visible and invisible. These embodiments, when mirrored in our consciousness, give rise to the sense of law.
But each law concerning the universe is woven into its innermost texture. Because the universe is what it is, the laws which our minds formulate exist, whether we exist or not to discover them. Truth, in reality, is not the result of the discoveries of the seekers of truth. Truth is, because the universe is.
Now, this truth is ourselves. For man, who is an infinitesimal part of the Whole, is nevertheless, in a mysterious way, himself that Whole. Furthermore, in a way that seems incredible, every truth which concerns the Whole is to be found somewhere in every fraction of the Whole.
Therefore, the truths as to God, nature, and man's ascent to Divinity exist in man himself.
The treasures of the wisdom, love and beauty of the Whole exist in the innermost recesses of man's soul. If a man will but seek rightly, he can find all truth.
There are two possible modes of discovering truth. One process is by using Manas, the mind; the other is by using Buddhi, the intuition. At the present stage of evolution, the process of discovering truth by Buddhi, unaided by Manas, is possible only to a few; we may therefore omit Buddhi in our consideration of the means of arriving at truth. The mind, however, has already been well developed by the advanced Egos of our Humanity, and it has served us well to discover truth. The modes of discovery are mathematics, science and philosophy.
But what mind has so far revealed is incomplete, because the mind has omitted to bring into the problem one aspect of nature. This aspect is that of nature as revealing Beauty. Until nature is seen to reveal not only Law, but also Beauty, our vision of truth remains only partial.
We have seen in Chapter X, in our study of the laws of the building of matter, how the Divine Mind of the Logos constructs according to certain fundamental principles. We not only watch, as we study the chemical elements, an enthralling wisdom, but we can also react with a sense of wonder in admiration of a work that is exquisite in symmetry and proportion. When we shall have before our eyes the diagrams which give in detail the building of all the chemical elements of the Periodic Law1, this sense of wonder will be as powerful as when we contemplate a perfect edifice like the Parthenon or the Taj Mahal. For, as the Logos builds, He builds in beauty, and all nature is His handiwork.
Let us look at three leaves (Figs. 95, 96, 97). Nature has worked throughout the ages to produce in each of them a quality that is beautiful. Many laws are involved in building into the leaf the carbon of the air, in using the sun's rays for making its chlorophyll, in transmuting the minerals of the earth and in lifting them from the soil against gravity. But what is the mysterious attribute of nature which has built, "mechanically" we are apt to think, such a beautiful thing as one of these leaves? We get a glimpse of one law of nature's handiwork in our next illustration (Fig.98). The law is not of chemistry or physics, but of another sphere, that of art. It is the law of radiation. Beauty is once more revealed as nature builds a leaf, a flower, a crustacean and a crystal of snow. A beauty which is less evident to most is shown when building the cells of Scolopendrium officinarium (Fig. 99), as its protoplasmic filaments traverse the cell walls.
1 In the third edition of Occult Chemistry.
One fact is clear, that, while the essential attribute of nature is beauty, yet that beauty has a framework of geometry. The old maxim of the Stoics, "God geometrizes", is full of truth, as science delves into nature's mysteries. In the radiating whorl of spiral leaves in Alstroemeria (Fig. 100), one of the commonest geometrical forms is revealed.
How the life-force in the vegetable kingdom insists on building geometrically appears in a fungus (Fig. 101), which was photographed eleven years ago near Wellington in New Zealand.
More instructive is the sea-shell, Solarium perspectivum (Fig. 102), because its spiral is a logarithmic curve.1 This shell — as indeed all spiral shells — brings us directly into the realm of art.
The spiral volute in the Ionic pillar in Greek architecture (Fig. 103) is developed from this and other shells which reveal the logarithmic curve. The curve which is drawn, when a string wound round a conical shell is unwound from its top, with a pencil touching the paper, is shown in Fig. 104.
1 See also Fig. 127, the shell of the chambered Nautilus pompilius.
An exquisite wonder is the building of the sea-creature, Lichnaspis giltochii, one of the acantharia (Fig. 105), whose spines radiate in so precise a fashion that a law, formulated by Muller, tells us that the spines are arranged in groups which are designated respectively, north polar, north tropical, equatorial, south tropical and south polar spines.
We all know that nature builds geometrically in all minerals. We know that ice is a crystal but who would dream that water freezing to ice could ever form the wonder revealed in Fig. 106? “But this exquisite design must have been drawn and moulded by a great artist, surely,” we would say, if the photograph were of a moulded ceiling. But it is a photograph of ice- crystals. What is the principle in nature that produces the fronds of the American maiden-hair fern, Adiantum pedatum (Fig. 107), so that the artistic imagination is thrilled with their beauty?
Everywhere nature builds in beauty.
Whence the beauty of the Lyre bird of Australia (Fig. 108), or the beauty of the curve of the cat's back (Fig. 109)?
How could nature "mechanically", ever fashion a structure of bone and muscle so that the cat's pose is beautiful, and equally too that of the playful kitten? Watch any bird in flight (Fig. 110), and there nature reveals not merely her masterly artistic hands, but also the poetry of motion.
It is when we come to coloring, as shown in birds and fishes, that our sense of delight in nature's artistic creations becomes profound. No theory of a mechanical selection of the genes within the chromosome, nor even that of a geometrical structure inherent in nature, will explain the rich fantasy of a master artist who has colored the birds and the fishes. It is only one who is himself an artist — that is, one who has trained his eye and hand through long years, and has developed his imagination to sense that indescribable principle which is "Art" — who knows that nature cannot be mechanical, nor merely the fashioning by a "pure geometrician". The life of nature throbs with art, though geometry can also be found if we seek for it.
Let anyone look at two among the dozens of varieties of fishes to be found in the seas around Hawaii, and shown in the aquarium at Honolulu; and he cannot help feeling (if he has the root of art in him) that he is gazing at the creations of a master. Teuthis achilles, Pa kui kui in Hawaiian, is pure black, the last imaginable color for a fish; yet round the mouth, ear and eye, and in the lower and upper fins, are touches of color, blue and red; and in the tail and the side-fins near the tail such a "laying on", as a painter would say, of red that the observer, if he is artistic, knows and salutes with joy the unseen artist.
Impossible to describe in words is Zanclus canescens, Kihikihi in Hawaiian, a fish strange in shape; once again the color is "laid on" with a master's hand. But more than its color is its shape, which reveals the rich fantasy of the artist who, in a playful mood and as if to rest from serious labors, sends forth from his studio this fish so strange in shape and yet beautiful.
Were one to describe the beauty of the birds, the only way would be to gather together all the birds, and say to the seeker of truth, “Look; and if you do not understand, look again”.
The next two illustrations, of a spider's web (Fig. 111), and of the Periodic Law of the chemical elements (Fig. 112), link in an undecipherable mystery a microcosm with the Macrocosm. For in the center of the spider's web is the logarithmic curve; how does the spider know to build according to geometrical principle ? And why does the universe, as it comes into being, create 92 elements in such a rhythmic fashion that we can group them into families, and tabulate them all according to their atomic weights, so as to make a spiral curve similar to the spider's and to that of Solarium (Fig. 102)?
An acute sense of the beauty of nature as she works is essential to our understanding of truth. For the mind which catalogues facts and deduces laws can take us only up to a certain point, and no farther.
Life has more mysteries than the mind can ever formulate. As we gaze at Hymenocallis litoralis (Fig. 113), it is as if we must perforce fall in adoration. (But, indeed, he who seeks to know the Eternally True does fall in adoration in his imagination before every flower.) Are not the beads in the feather of the Argus pheasant (Argus argusianus) of Java (Fig. 113a) like the repetition of a chord in music?
And what of the star fish (actual size) picked up on Madras Beach by the writer (Fig. 114)?
And when we look at the picture of the Wave, by Hokusai of Japan (Fig. 114a), and when we sense the Cosmic Will in the wave and feel in it the beauty of nature's rhythm, what may we do but be dumb? Yet it is in that silence that we discover one aspect of the Eternally True, which is also the Eternally Good and the Eternally Beautiful.
Could one but understand what Consciousness really is, one would find the clue to all problems in evolution. For consciousness is the highest expression of that One Existence which is both force and matter, form and life.
OM, AMITAYA! measure not with words
The Immeasurable; nor sink the string of thought
Into the Fathomless. Who asks doth err,
Who answers, errs. Say nought!1
1 The Light of Asia, Book VIII.
Yet such is the fabric of our nature that we must ask, and we can find satisfaction in life only as we deem ourselves to have found answers to our questions. The answer of yesterday may not satisfy us today; but we cannot be content today, unless we find some answer for today, though we may discard it tomorrow. An intellectual grasp of how consciousness evolves only takes us part way to the realization of what consciousness is. Nevertheless, the knowledge of how consciousness evolves is the science of sciences.
The first great marvel about consciousness is that the whole is in the part, the total is in the unit. For, though the consciousness in an electron be as a pinpoint of consciousness, yet that tiny unit is linked to the vast totality of consciousness which is the Logos. All of Him is there, though we with our limitations can only discover so much of Him as makes the electron. Just as, when a myriad diffused rays of sunlight are focused by a lens into a point, all the ray's energies are there in that point, so is it with every type of consciousness ensouling every form. All possible revelations of consciousness are in each ensouled unit, great or small. The Mendelian biologist is only stating the occult truth when he says that “Shakespeare once existed as a speck of protoplasm not so big as a small pin's head”1. Place a lens before a great panorama extending for miles; the lens will bring all the rays of the panorama in to one focal point. The whole landscape will there exist in the point, and yet there will be no picture to be seen. It is only as we get away from the focal point, that picture after picture will appear on a screen placed to reflect the rays, each picture varying in size according to the distance from the point where we place the screen. According to the distance is the size of the picture; and according to the size will be the legibility of the picture's details. The picture is all there in the point; it is only as we get away from the point that the picture steps out of nothing towards us. This is an apt illustration of the evolution of consciousness.
1 Bateson, Presidential Address, British Association, 1914.
The evolution of consciousness is also as the drawing aside of a curtain which screens a light; the action of drawing the curtain aside adds nothing to the light. Having nothing to gain, the Light only wills to banish the Darkness. Till we ourselves consciously identify ourselves with the Light, we shall not realize why It so wills. Its action is both a sacrifice and a joy; the sacrifice comes from enduring a limitation, the joy from a giving. To partake of that Sacrifice and of that Joy is to attain Divinity.
The evolution of consciousness in man is by giving. The principle of growth for the animal and vegetable kingdoms is competition, rivalry and self-seeking; the principle of growth for man is cooperation, renunciation and self-sacrifice. The Logos is eternally sacrificing Himself on the cross of life and matter; only as man imitates Him does man grow into His likeness. This is the great principle ever to keep in mind. The consciousness in man unfolds hidden possibilities stage by stage, but without self-sacrifice there, is no passing from one stage to the next. Man must die to every remnant of the brute in him, though it takes hundreds of lives. When, after many births and deaths, self-sacrifice has become instinctive with him, then he knows that sacrifice is joy, the only conceivable joy.
Before consciousness can evolve, it must first have been in-volved. It is this process of involution which we have outlined in our next diagram, Fig. 115.
There are in it seven horizontal divisions to make the seven great planes of our solar system; and above them all is the symbol of the Unmanifested Logos, before creative processes begin. Within the circle, which represents the Absolute, is a triangle. This is the Trinity of the Logos. Within that triangle is a Star; it represents the Monad of man.
As the first step of involution, the Logos descends on to the Adi plane; there all the three great aspects, as Shiva, Vishnu and Erahma, or Father, Son and Holy Ghost, function in perfection. When the Logos descends to the next plane, the Anupadaka, He endures limitation, for His aspect as the First Logos is there latent, and only the aspects as the Second and Third Logos can find perfect expression. This is represented in the diagram by omitting the side of the triangle which symbolizes the First Logos. At the, next stage of descent, the Logos undergoes still further limitation, and the Third Logos alone can fully manifest on the plane of Nirvana, the aspects of the Second and First Logos finding it impossible to manifest Their attributes on that plane. Only one line of the triangle remains.
Perhaps it may be difficult to some to grasp how an omnipotent Logos should suffer limitation, as He descends from plane to plane. We can grasp the idea, if we take an example from our knowledge of space relations. We all know what a cube is; it has three dimensions, of length, breadth and height. To everyone who can walk round a cube, and look down upon it, and look too at its bottom by lifting it, a cube is a solid object, having six square faces, with twelve bounding lines.
But suppose we put ourselves into the consciousness of a microbe who is on a piece of paper, a microbe who is unable to lift himself out of the surface of the paper. Then, when the cube is placed on the paper, the microbe, coming up to the cube, and walking round the cube where it touches the paper, will see or feel only four equal, impenetrable lines; with his highest imagination, he may be able to conceive of a square, that is, a plane surface bounded by four equal lines. But, since the microbe cannot leave the plane of the paper, the cube will never be able to reveal itself to him as a cube, a solid in three dimensions. The cube may present its six faces in succession before the microbe's eyes; but the microbe will say each time: "It is only a square."
So too, when any object of three dimensions presents itself to a consciousness which knows only two dimensions, that object undergoes a limitation. That limitation is not in the nature of the object; it exists with reference to the power which the object can exercise in the two-dimensional world. Similarly it is with the limitations which the Logos undergoes, as He descends from plane to plane. In His Nature, He is ever the same; but as He works on the planes which He creates, He suffers limitation plane by plane, according to the materiality of the plane.
During all the period of the descent of the Logos on to the three highest planes, the human Monad dwells wit hin Him. This fact is symbolized in the diagram by the tiny star within the triangle. There is never a moment when each of us, as a Monad, does not live and move and have our being in Him. Though at first we know nothing of Him, though we, even when knowing, may for a while go contrary to His Will, yet, in all the stages through which we have gone, from mineral to plant, from plant to animal and man, no separation from Him has ever been possible. Thus speaks the ancient stanza of The Secret Doctrine:1
The Spark hangs from the Flame by the finest thread of Fohat. It journeys through the Seven Worlds of Maya. It stops in the First, and is a Metal and a Stone; it passes into the Second, and behold — a Plant; the Plant whirls through seven changes and becomes a Sacred Animal. From the combined attributes of these Manu, the Thinker, is formed.
And ever, the Spark hangs from the Flame. The sense of individuality, as a doer, begins in the Monad when, on the plane of Nirvana, he finds himself as a triplicity of Atma, Buddhi and Manas, separate from the Flame as a spark, and yet gaining from the Flame all the attributes of its light and fire. The triple Monad, on the plane of Nirvana, is a miniature Logos, in all ways in the image of his Maker. He is represented in the diagram by the little triangle.
Just as the Logos underwent a process of involution, so too does the Monad in his turn.
1 By H. P. Blavatsky.
All three aspects of the Monad reveal themselves on his true plane, that of Nirvana. The moment he descends to the Buddhic plane, he undergoes a limitation, and his aspect as the Atma is veiled, and only Buddhi and Manas manifest themselves. So one side of his triangle becomes unmanifest and latent. Similarly, when he descends one plane lower still, to the mental plane, he undergoes a further limitation; and, in the causal body which he forms there, only his aspect as Manas appears, the other two being latent with regard to the higher mental plane. Now only one side of his triangle, its base, can manifest.
Once again, there begins the process of involution, and now of the Ego who lives in the causal body. When the Ego descends into incarnation, he undergoes limitation plane by plane, as he makes successively the mental, astral and physical bodies.
The evolution of consciousness is the process of releasing the hidden energies, first of the Ego, then of the Monad, and lastly of the Logos, through the vehicles made on all the planes. The mode of releasing the consciousness of the Ego, by the process of training his vehicles, has already been dealt with in Chapter VI, “Man in Life and in Death”, where the process is described with the aid of Fig. 53. After the Ego has gained the requisite control of his vehicles, the next stage in the expansion of his consciousness comes when he enters the Great White Brotherhood. He is then taught, at the First Initiation, how to function in full consciousness on the lowest sub-plane of Buddhi. Then, for the first time, he begins to know, by actual realization and not by mere belief, the unity of all that lives, and how his destiny is indissolubly linked with the destiny of all the myriads of souls who with him form Humanity. Nay, more, he realizes that they are a part of him, and that all those divisions of “I” and “thou,” of “mine” and “thine” which mark existence on the planes below Buddhi, are illusions. He has now, at this ascending stage on the Buddhic plane, realized and brought into manifestation two sides of his triangle.
Further expansions of consciousness, at the Second, Third and Fourth Initiations, give him mastery of the remaining sub-planes of the Buddhic plane, till, at the Fifth Initiation, that of the Asekha, his consciousness works unbrokenly on the plane of Nirvana. The triangle of the Monad is now complete, and the “Eternal Pilgrim” has now returned home, “rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him”.
Him the Gods envy from their lower seats;
Him the Three Worlds in ruin should not shake;
All life is lived for him, all deaths are dead;
Karma will no more make.
New houses. Seeking nothing, he gains all;
Foregoing self, the Universe grows “I”.
If any teach Nirvana is to cease,
Say unto such they lie.
If any teach Nirvana is to live,
Say unto such they err; not knowing this,
Nor what light shines beyond their broken lamps,
Nor lifeless, timeless, bliss.1
1 The Light of Asia, Book VIII.
At this stage of the Asekha Adept, the Monad knows, by direct realization, that marvel of marvels — that, Spark though he be, he is the Flame. He is thenceforth the Christos, the “Anointed”, crowned with that kingly Crown which, as the Son of God, he went forth “to war” to gain.
From this time, the triangle of the Monad is in direct contact with the Triangle of the Logos, though only with one line of it, with its base, which is the aspect of the “Holy Ghost”. Hence Christian tradition tells us that there are two baptisms, one of water and the other of “fire”. John the Baptist could give the first baptism, with water; but only a Christos could give the second, with the Holy Ghost and fire: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”
It is when the Monad is so baptized “with the Holy Ghost and with fire”, that he can say in triumph and in dedication: “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father .... I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die .... I and my Father are one.”
To further heights still, inconceivable now to us, does the Eternal Pilgrim go, making, on the Anupadaka plane, his Buddhi one with the Buddhi of the great Triangle and, at last, on the Adi plane, making his Atma one with the eternal Atma of all that is, was and ever shall be, the Logos of our System.
Man's ascent to Divinity can be studied from many points of view, and another such is given in the next diagram, Fig. 116. The fundamental thought in it is that, as is the kind of impact on a consciousness from outside, so is the discovery of the world by that consciousness. Response to impacts, physical, astral or mental, gives us a knowledge of the world; according to the type of response is the expansion of consciousness in the individual. A physical stone responds, in the main, only to the impacts of heat and cold and pressure; therefore it knows only the physical world. A plant responds to astral vibrations of like and dislike; and hence it has an instinct of adaptation to environment; it knows both the physical and astral worlds, though the latter only dimly. The animal responds to the vibrations of the lower mental world, and so thinks as well as feels; it therefore knows the physical, astral and mental worlds, though the last only vaguely, But man is capable of being affected by the higher mental world, which means that his vision of the universe is from that plane.
The lower astral world is thrown by man into activity by animal feelings like anger, lust, envy and jealousy, As man's astral body gets refined, and he is capable of affection, devotion and sympathy, though they may be strongly tinged with his personal needs, he discovers the higher astral world of feeling. In a similar fashion, the disjointed, unrelated thoughts which we have concerning things in general enable us to contact the lower mental world of particularized thought. It is only when we can arrange our ideas into categories of thought and feeling, and discover laws from them, that we reach up to the vision of the higher mental world, To think with the causal body is to rise above particularized thoughts, and to come to those universal thoughts concerning religion, philosophy, science and art which characterize the philosophic mind.
Beyond the highest attribute of pure thought, man has yet another faculty, or instrument of cognition, which, for want of a better term, Theosophy calls by the Hindu philosophical term Buddhi. Its characteristic is that an object is known by it, not by examination from outside, but by identification with it by the knower. Buddhi is a mode of consciousness which is neither thought alone, nor feeling alone, nor both simply combined; yet at once it is both, and more still, a kind of indescribable being-thought-feeling. One can only say that, when Buddhi affects the higher mental plane, the mind grasps universal concepts; and that, when the force of Buddhi is reflected on a pure astral nature, the tenderest of sympathies result. Buddhi is a Divine Intuition, surer than knowledge, because it judges not only from a past and a present but also from a future, more precise in understanding than the profoundest emotion, because the knower at will becomes the known. Hindu philosophers have termed it arsha-buddhi, the Buddhi of Rishis or saints, not of common men.
If already words fail to describe what Buddhi is, how may one describe that faculty of the Monad which expresses itself on the Nirvanic plane? Suffice it to say that, as Buddhi is different and more wonderful than pure thought and pure emotion, so is the Atma aspect of the soul more wonderful still than Buddhi.
The cultural growth of humanity will not be complete till all can function on the plane of Nirvana. So far, the highest achievement of mankind has been to touch, through the efforts of a few geniuses, the Buddhic plane through Art. We must, however, not forget that "art" is not merely painting, sculpture, music, etc. Art also manifests through Devotion, through Love, through Philosophy, whenever these touch the realm of Buddhi. But it is as if only yesterday that mankind discovered art, and that there exists a realm of being where man can fashion objects of beauty that are joys forever, and create not for a day but for all time.
When the mind of a genius, whether in religion or art, in philosophy or science, breaks through into the Buddhic plane, what he creates enshrines the essence of art. If as scientist he deals with nature's facts, he conceives and presents them so artistically that his science is luminous with intuition; if as philosopher he creates a system, he broods. with tenderness on both the small and the great, and enwraps them with a beauty and a unity. The ethical precepts of the great Teachers are revelations of the purest art, for their commandments are universal in their applicability to all men's problems, and un-ageing in their freshness and beauty at all epochs of time.
Any one expression of art contains within it some of the characteristics of all the others; a picture is a sermon, and a symphony is a philosophy. When Buddhi gives its message, religion is science, and art is philosophy, and all four are love. It is only on the lower mental plane of particularized thoughts that the unity breaks into diversity, and then he who cannot sense the unity through one particular expression sees the particulars as contradicting each other. Man the thinker, the lover, the doer, when the Buddhi is awake in him, achieves a unity of himself which he cannot fully reveal except on the Buddhic plane.
Mankind is being taught to attain to That, which exists out of time and space, by using time and space. Our highest tool of cognition, so far, is creative art. How its various aspects are related to each other is one of the problems in philosophy; one mode of their relation is suggested in diagram, Fig. 117.
In literature of the highest type, we have both a brilliant "word- painting" and a graphic dramatization of events and ideas. From literature, according as it uses time-values or space-values, the arts develop. On the side of time, literature leads to drama, and drama tends to poetry, and poetry through its essential musical quality leads on to music.
On the side of space, the word-painting of literature is linked to painting, and painting that uses two dimensions rises to a three- dimensional manifestation in sculpture, and sculpture to those wonderful abstract conceptions of rhythm and beauty which architecture gives. It is not difficult to see how drama, narrating events in time, is related to paintinig, which depicts events in space.
Sculpture is like dumb poetry, while poetry sculptures image after image from the matter of the imagination. The description of Goethe and Lessing, that architecture is "frozen music", gives us the clue to the relation between music and architecture.
All true forms of art lead man's consciousness to grasp those values in life which the Monad knows on the Buddhic plane. The artistic sense of humanity is rudimentary as yet, but with the growth of Brotherhood more of art will be sensed in life. On the other hand, with the development in men of their artistic sense, there will be a greater power to realize Brotherhood. Lastly, when we have come to the utmost limits of artistic creation, and begin to feel in us powers and realizations not expressible even in the highest art, then shall we know those actvities of creation which characterize the Monad on his true plane of Atma. But in what manner we shall join the splendor of Nirvana and this earth of ours into one realm of Action is a mystery of the future.
* * * *
To understandfully the evolution of consciousness is to solve the mystery of God's nature. Yet since all life is He, and since we too are fragments of Him, our growth in consciousness is both a discovery of Him and a growing into His likeness. Yet while we discover Him, it is ourselves whom we discover. This is the mystery of consciousness, that the part is the Whole. But to know this is one thing, and to be this another. To be the Whole is only possible as we act as the Whole, and that is, by giving ourselves as fully and freely to all within our little circle of being, as the Whole gives Himself to all within the vast circle of His Being. It seems incredible that we shall ever be capable of imitating the Whole. Yet because that indeed is our destiny, He has sent us forth from Him to live our separated lives. That the only life worth living is to join in His eternal Sacrifice is the testimony of all who have come from Him, and are consciously returning to Him.
Among the many startling ideas which confront the inquirer into Theosophy, one of the most significant is that there is an inner Government of the World. The international life of the world throughout the ages seems to us so purposeless in most ways, that one is thoroughly in accord with Gibbon's dictum that the history of the nations “is, indeed, little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind”.
It seems scarcely credible to the sceptical mind of today that every event in the world's happenings is being used and guided to fulfil a Divine Plan. Our religious faith is sufficient to believe in a far-off “divine event to which the whole creation moves”; but when it comes to believing literally that not a sparrow “shall fall on the ground without your Father”, our faith is of the heart and not of the head.
Yet no more wonderful fact exists in nature than this revealed by the Christ; it is literally true that not a sparrow falls, without that event being noted in a Consciousness, and without a Love enwrapping the sparrow as it falls, and guiding it beyond the gates of death to a happier life. Here, on this globe of ours which spins round the sun, Mighty Beings guide every event; and the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind, as too, their heroisms, sacrifices and dreams, are used by Them to achieve that particular part of the Plan of the Logos, which is intended for fulfilment as the days and months pass, one by one.
The facts as to an Inner Government of the World have been long kept as the most precious of secrets in the Ancient Mysteries; but, with the opportunities of a swifter evolution now dawning for men, what was once hidden is now revealed. To many, no doubt, the revelation will mean nothing at all; in some it will give rise to mockery; in a few it may call forth both a new insight into life, and a new determination to throw themselves heart and soul into the work of furthering “God's plan, which is Evolution”. It is for the sake of these latter, who long to understand in order to justify to the brain the faith which is in their hearts, that a great body of occult knowledge has been revealed to men through the Theosophical Movement.
Throughout all these pages of First Priciples of Theosophy, the one dominant theme has been that all that happens in nature, in life, and in the heart of man, is the Self-revelation of the Logos. It has been shown that His Life reveals itself stage by stage, and that all forms of life and consciousness are related to each other in a ladder of evolution. An atom and an ameba contain His Life; but more of His Life is revealed in a Dhyan Chohan or a Planetary Logos. On this earth of ours, all of us men are embodiments of His Life, and we reveal Him more fully than can our younger brothers of the animal creation. In an exactly similar way, there are Beings higher than man who reveal more still of His Life than can man. It is They who form the Inner Government of the World.
Each globe within the solar system has a band of His Ministers who carry out His Plan for that globe. This body is called the "Hierarchy" of the globe, and the Hierarchy on our Earth is known in tradition by many names, the one now chiefly in use being the "Great White Brotherhood". This Brotherhood is not a mere association of Supermen but a living organism which contains the Life- energies of the Logos. It is truly a "Grand Lodge Above", the pattern of every Grand Lodge that has ever been, and its mighty Officers labor from noon to noon without ceasing. The Adepts of the Great White Brotherhood work in true hierarchical order, according to their qualifications, each having his work in a particular department of the Plan.
It has just been said that the Great White Brotherhood contains the Life-energies of the Logos. As the Logos, when in manifestation, works as a Trinity, so all His energies flow through three Ministers, who are the representatives for this Earth of His triple nature, and who are the channels of the energies of that Triplicity. The Great Triangle, "eternal in the heavens", is that of the Logos as the First, Second and Third Logos — Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, or Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Its representation here on the Earth is another Triangle, composed of three Great Adepts, known as the Lord of the World, the Bodhisativa and the Maha-Chohan. The First brings down to humanity the energies of the Atmic or Power aspect of the Logos; the Second, as the World-Teacher, is the channel of His Wisdom aspect, and performs for humanity the mysterious function which is the "Atonement"; the Third is the channel of His Divine Mind, and reveals to earth all those activities which are typical of the Third Logos, the "Holy Ghost".
Though the Logos in activity is a Trinity, there is an aspect of Him as the Unmanifested; similarly is it with the Triangle of the Hierarchy of this Earth. Behind the Great Three — the King who wills, the Prime Minister who plans, and the General who executes — is a Fourth, the Silent Watcher, who in the last Round was the Lord of the World of our globe, and now "watches and waits" behind the Three, but doing what mighty actions for man and God we scarce can conceive.
The grades of the Hierarchy which rules the world are set down briefly in Fig. 118.
The Head of the Hierarchy is that lofty Being, the Lord of the World, who wills and orders all events on this globe for men and for angels. Within His consciousness is recorded everything which happens on all the seven planes of our globe. Since His aura pervades the entire Earth, He is aware of all that happens within that aura, and no act is so secret but He knows, no injustice so small but He records it.
The King, as He is often named, is not an Adept of our humanity; the position which He holds is too lofty a one to be filled by any Adept of our human evolution. He is a mighty Adept of the great Venus Scheme of Evolution, and came thence six and a half million years ago to take charge of the evolution of this Earth, to succeed a predecessor who had taken charge when humanity had been transferred from the Moon Chain to the Earth Chain. Without His fiat, none can be admitted into the Great White Brotherhood, and it is His Star which flashes in assent over the head of the Adept Initiator, as a sign that He accepts the initiate into His Brotherhood. Hindu tradition, which knows or Him, calls Him Sanat Kumara; the " Eternal Virgin- Youth ", for His Body, though physical, is not born of woman, but was made by kriyashatki, or will-power, and it never ages; and He is in appearance not a man but a "Youth or sixteen summers". He is the Will of the Logos incarnate for men, and yet is His mighty Love as vast as the ocean.
Round Him stand the Four Great Devarajas, or the Rulers of the Elements, who adjust the karmas of men, and great Devas or Angels are as His ministers, ready to do His bidding. All earthly kings, whose dynasties have gained His Benediction as a recognition of their selfless sevice for men, have that mysterious “divine right of kings” as a part of their invisible heritage. When the crown of England is set upon the head of her King, a far-off reminiscence of the tradition as to the Great King of the World is seen in the little globe which is placed in the King's left hand, and in the sceptre, or Rod of Power, which is placed in his right. For of a truth, this Earth of ours, large though it be to us, does lie in the hollow of His Hand, and verily not a sparrow falls but He knows.
With Him are three Pupils and Assistants, who also came from Venus; They are named in Hindu tradition Sanandana, Sanaka and Sanarana, and all the glorious Four are called “mind-born Sons of Brahma” and “Lords of the Flame”. The four Lords of the Flame have been also called “the Head, the Heart, the Soul and the Seed of undying knowledge”. When the life wave shall. pass from Earth to Mercury, it is these Three who will become in turn Lords of Mercury, and guide all evolution on that globe. They are known in Buddhism as Pratyeka Buddhas, the “solitary Buddhas”; for They do not teach, or establish world-religions. They are on the First or ruling Ray, while the Buddhas are on the Second or teaching Ray. Though They stand at the level of the Buddhas, Theirs is not the role of World-Teachers. Hence the curiously misleading description in popular Buddhism of Them as “solitary” or “selfish” Buddhas, who “cannot” teach. Their love is as great as that of the Buddhas, but They give to men Power, not Wisdom.
The Buddha Initiation is the highest achievement on this Earth on the Second Ray, and it is taken by a Bodhisattva or World-Teacher as the crown of His work of ages for humanity. After founding religion after religion, [a Bodhisattva] gathers, in the last of His lives, all His pupils who are ready to enter the various grades of Initiation, and He reincarnates on earth with them. Then He establishes a world-religion, and after the work of that physical body is over, He passes to loftier work on other planes. As He passes from humanity, He hands over to His successor the duties of the World-Teacher. The last of the Buddhas was the Buddha Gautama, and His successor in the office of World-Teacher is the Bodhisattva Maitreya, already called by Buddhist tradition Maitreya Buddha, in anticipation of His future office.
On all the remaining five Rays, from the Third to the Seventh, the highest Initiation, as a member of our humanity, is that of the Maha-Chohan. This office is held by only one Adept at a time. According to the dominant influence in evolution, at any given epoch,. of a Ray and its sub-rays, is the type of Adept who holds the position of Maha-Chohan. He is the great “Keeper of the Records” of the evolutionary processes of the globe, and supervises and directs all the activities of the members of the Great Brotherhood, as stage by stage They develop the Great Plan. He has been described as one “to whose insight the future lies like an open page”.
The Adept of the First Ray who takes the Fifth Initiation usually enters thereafter upon the arduous duties of the Manu of a Root- race on a globe. His work has already begun with the slow selection of the Egos who are going to work under Him at the commencement of the new race, and through all the successive sub-races as they appear one by one. During the hundreds of thousands of years of the history of a Root-race, He directs as its Manu the building of variant after variant of the sub-races, and Himself incarnates in each sub-race to set the form for it. After His work as Manu is completed, He passes on to take the Eighth Initiation as a Pratyeka Buddha, and aeons later to take the Ninth Initiation, that of a Lord of the World. Only two Manus now remain with humanity, the Manu Chakshusha who founded the Fourth Root-race, the Atlantean, over a million years ago, and the ManuVaivasvata, who founded the Fifth Root-race, the Aryan, about sixty thousand years ago.
A careful study of Fig. 118 will show that, on all the seven Rays, there are Adepts up to the level of the Asekha Initiation1. At this stage, the Adept can make one of seven choices, as to his future work (see Fig.73). If he decides to continue to work with our humanity, he works on and finally takes the Sixth Initiation. After this, he may, if he so chooses, leave his work with humanity, and take up work elsewhere. But ifhe decides to continue with humanity, he then qualifies himself to be a Manu, or a Bodhisattva, or a Maha-Chohan, and takes the Seventh Initiation2. The Adept who is a Maha-Chohan, after his period of office is over, once more makes his "choice". If he chooses still to continue to work with humanity as an official of the Hierarchy, he must transfer himself to the First or the Second Ray, in order to proceed to take the Eighth Initiation. Similarly, the Adept who holds the office of Buddha, if he chooses still to take office in the Hierarchy, must transfer himself to the First Ray to take the Ninth Initiation.
1 The first, second, third and fourth Initiations will be dealt with in the next Chapter, "The Path of Discipleship".
2 There are, however, Adepts on both the First and Second Rays who have taken the Seventh Initiation, and who do not hold the offices of Manu or Bodhisattva, but do other work in the Great Plan.
The Adepts of any Ray, who leave humanity from the Asekha level upwards, will take elsewhere those Initiations for which they have not qualified themselves on this globe. One Ray is not better than another. All the Initiations can be taken on all the Rays. But since only three Lords of the World are required during a world-period, and only seven Manus and seven Buddhas, and only a certain number of Maha- Chohans, not all Adepts as a matter of fact qualify for these offices, and the majority of them "enter Nirvana" after the Asekha Initiation, and pass on to forms of work which do not bring them directly in touch any more with our humanity.
The work of the world, visible and invisible, is under the direction of the Adepts of the Great White Brotherhood. Into Their hands the Logos commits His Power, Wisdom and Love, and They distribute the energy of the Logos into all the many departments of human activity. Religion and philosophy, science and art, commerce and development, are inspired and guided by Them; either incarnating among men, or from the invisible, They move men and nations as pawns on a board, striving to win over men to cooperate with the Divine Plan. They are constantly hindered in Their work by the unwillingness of men; yet since They may not coerce men's wills, They toil with a patience which has no bounds, and They inspire and guide all, brooding over men's good and evil with infinite love and understanding.
The “Everlasting Arms” of the Great Brothers enfold humanity, and while They labor to complete the Plan, no ultimate failure is possible for mankind. Because They, once weak and sinful as we are today, have now achieved Perfection, the vision of our Perfection some day is not a dream but a reality. In Their love is our comfort, and in Their strength is our peace and salvation. To serve Them is to gain the certainty that all things move in the direction of the Good, the True and the Beautiful; to be accepted by Them as Their assistants and helpers is to enter on the Path that leads to Deification.
As the Ancient Wisdom unfolds to the gaze of the seeker the majestic Plan of Evolution, there are some whose hearts burn within them with an overwhelming longing to consecrate themselves to that Plan. All things in life lose their savor after the Heavenly Vision is seen, and nothing thenceforth is possible except to give utterly, holding back nothing, to an Ideal of service, devotion or renunciation. The noblest impulses in man are the manifestations on earthly levels of an expansion of consciousness in the heavenly realms; the vision of an ideal brings with it the promise of its attainment. For within man is the Way, the Truth and the Life; he only needs to be roused from his lethargy to see the Light which burns in his Soul.
The awakening of the soul has many stages, and the influences of all forms of culture are brought to bear on him, to make the Divine Spark within him to shine forth as a flame. In the long history of the soul's unfolding of consciousness, there comes the stage when he is clearly recognizable as committed not to self-seeking but to altruism. The soul is then on earth the man or woman of ideals, who, however often he or she may betray the ideal, never finally renounces it, though the cost is suffering and martyrdom.
It is at this stage that. there enters into the soul's life One who shall guide his expansion of consciousness to greater heights of realization. This is a “Father in God”, a Master of the Wisdom, who has watched the soul's struggles, life after life, to be true to his ideal; He now comes to make a bond with the soul as Master to disciple.
The stages on the Path of Discipleship, leading upwards from the man of ideals to the Initiate of the Great White Brotherhood, are given in Fig. 119.
The first stage is that of the Probationary Pupil, when a Master of the Wisdom puts the aspirant “on Probation”. This is done either on the physical or the astral plane, but more usually on the latter. At the Master's command, the aspirant is conducted to Him by a senior pupil, and the Master formally puts the candidate on Probation. It is at this time that the Master makes what is known as the "living image"; it is a living replica, fashioned by the Master's will, of the pupil's astral and mental bodies. The living image is kept near the Master, and it is so magnetically connected with the pupil that it records perfectly the effects of the latter's thoughts and emotions as he does his work in life. The Master examines frequently this living image, to note how far the pupil is succeeding or failing. Needless to say, when He so examines, it is not merely as judge; He sends through the living image to the pupil such purification and strengthening as the latter will allow himself to receive.
The act of being put on Probation is the response to a demand, made by the pupil to the Guardians of Humanity, to be given opportunities for a swifter evolution than is normal with the generality of mankind. The response brings with it a readjustment of the individual's karma. This karmic readjustment has the aim: (1) of freeing the individual slowly from such types of karma as handicap him from exercising a greater usefulness; (2) of giving him opportunities for a wider knowledge, especially the knowledge of the hidden truths of nature; (3) of bringing to him new opportunities for self-expression through Service.
The Probation or proving of the pupil consists in testing him, to see how far he can withstand the shocks of his karma, and remain without diminishing his altruism, in spite of the fact that his life becomes more barren of those satisfactions and delights which make life worth living for most men. He is also tested to see if, as a worker, he can sufficiently adapt himself to be a worker in the Master's plan. For each Master of the Wisdom is the center of a large number of activities, which He has undertaken to foster as His contributio n to the Plan of the Logos; an aspirant, therefore, is put on Probation less to gain knowledge from the Master and, more to train himself to be an apprentice to help the Master in His work. The probationary pupil must therefore be ready, if necessary, to change his methods of work to fit himself to those of his Master; he must be ready to cooperate with his fellow-apprentices; and in all ways he must prove that an Ideal of work weighs more with him than his personal satisfaction as a worker.
When a Master takes an aspirant as a probationary pupil, it is usually with the expectation of presenting him for Initiation in that life. It does not follow that the pupil will succeed because a Master has responded to his aspiration; he has earned a karmic right to be given the opportunity, but what he makes of that opportunity depends on himself. Still, if he "means business", and will allow himself to be guided by the senior pupils of his Master, he is more likely to succeed than to fail.
If he strenuously works at the qualifications for Initiation, then the Will to Good inherent in nature will help him with illumination and strength. These qualifications are given in tabular form. in Fig. 120; they are taken from At the Feet of the Master, by J. Krishnamurti. The author of that priceless gem gives the explanations and comments on them which were given to him by his Master when he was prepared for Initiation. The aspirant who is seeking the Master cannot do better than take that little book, study it, and live it. If, after seven years of testing, the pupil on Probation is found to have grown in self-sacrifice to man and to God, his Master then finally receives the pupil into the stage of Acceptance. The living image is dissolved, and the Master makes with the accepted pupil an inward link which, even if temporarily broken by the pupil through failure, will in all lives to come be felt as drawing him to his Master.
When accepted, the pupil is given the right to a mystical experience, which is of the greatest inspiration to him in his work. When any matter arises which he cannot decide out of his own experience, he may test his judgment by the judgment of the Master on the matter. This is done by raising his consciousness for the moment so as to touch the fringe of his Master's consciousness. If he can free himself of the prejudices of his personality, and knows how to guard himself against the idiosyncrasies of his temperament, then such a possibility of testing his judgment by the criterion of the Master is one of the greatest privileges in life to which the pupil can attain. It enables him to distinguish between what is more useful and less useful, between what is more helpful and less helpful, as he works for men in the name of his Master.
There are some pupils put upon Probation who have shortened the usual seven years between Probation and Acceptance into one year, or even less; but such fortunate souls are few, for it means that behind them, as they enter upon Probation, there exists a great accumulated karma of Service, which gives them the strength and the opportunities which others have not earned. The interval of time between the various stages on the Probationary Path depends upon the initiative and the capabilities of the pupil; if he is forceful and determined, he may override obstacle after obstacle and "enter the Path" swiftly; or, if he lets opportunities slip by, he may spend decades in one stage before passing to the next. All pupils, without distinction, receive the inspiration of the Master, but each assimilates from it according to his capacity.
A still ctoser link between Master and pupil takes place at the next stage, when the pupil becomes the “Son of the Master”. More and more the pupil's hopes and dreams begin to reflect the wondrous life which the Master lives among His peers, and slowly the pupil becomes as a cell in the living organism of his Master. He grows to be a ray of his Master's consciousness, and he comes to possess a depth of wisdom which is not his, but is given to him for use by his Father in God.
Nevermore can the pupil be alone; in griefs and in joys, in darkness and in light, the Master's consciousness enfolds that of the pupil, even though at times the pupil may not be aware of that glorious fact. Now, as he works for the plan of his Master, whether the world accepts him with acclamation or martyrs him, he works, not as a solitary craftsman, but as a younger brother by whose side toils an elder and more expert Brother.
His commandments grievous are not Longer than men think them so; Though He send me forth, I care not, Whilst He gives me strength to go. When or whither, all is one, On His business, not mine own, I shall never go alone.
At each stage, from Probation to Acceptance and to Initiation, the Master formally presents his pupil to the Maha-Chohan, the Keeper of the Records pf the Hierarchy; the pupil's name and rank are entered by the Maha-Chohan in His imperishable Record.
Coincident usually with the stage of the Son of the Master, the pupil is presented by his Master to the Great White Brotherhood for Initiation. The Master thereby affirms to the Brotherhood that his pupil is sufficiently fit, by his ideals and by his life; and by the balance between his good karma and bad, to share in the mysterious life of that august Body, and to be a channel of Its forces to the world. Besides his own Master, a second member of the Brotherhood, of the rank of a Master, has also to stand sponsor for the candidate. The presentation is made in the first instance to the Maha-Chohan, who then appoints one of the Adepts to act as the Hierophant Initiator. Either in the Hall of Initiation, or in some other appointed place, the candidate is formally initiated at a stately ceremony. What happens to the candidate is truly an "initiation", i.e., a beginning. It is the beginning of a new phase of existence, where the Personality becomes steadily more and more a reflection of the Ego, and the Ego himself begins to draw upon the powers of his Monad1.
The Soul of Man is in truth that highest part of him which is the Monad; but from that moment, when the Monad made the causal body out of the animal group-soul at individualization, the “Spark hangs from the Flame by the finest thread of Fohat”. The Ego, though linked thus to the Monad, has had, up to the moment of Initiation, no means of communication with that highest aspect of himself. But at Initiation, at the call of the Hierophant, the Monad descends into the causal body to take the vows of Initiation. From that moment, the “finest thread of Fohat” becomes as a bundle of threads, and the Ego, instead of hanging merely as a "spark", becomes as the lower end of a funnel, which reaches upwards to the Monad and brings down from him life and light and strength. From the time of Initiation, there comes into the Initiate a virility and a power of resistance of which he was not capable before, and he finds thenceforth in his own self a Rock of Ages which nothing can shake.
1 For further information, see The Masters and the Path, by C. W. Leadbeater.
After his Initiation, the candidate is taken by his Master, or by a senior pupil, to the Buddhic plane, to be taught to function there in his Buddhic vehicle. This means that the causal body must be transcended. Here now happens what has not happened before. Each night, when he left his body to work on the astral or the mental plane, his physical body, or his astral — one or both, as the case may be — has been left behind on the bed, to be donned when he returned to them. When he leaves the higher mental plane for the Buddhic plane, he of course leaves his causal body; but this causal body, instead of remaining with the physical, astral and mental bodies, vanishes.
When the pupil, from his Buddhic vehicle, looks down on to the higher mental plane, no causal body is there any longer to represent him. It is true that, when he returns, he finds himself in a causal body again; but it is not the causal body which he has had for millions of years since the day of individualization, but a causal body which is a replica of that age-long house of his.
This experience shows the Initiate that he is not the Ego, but something more transcendental still; he knows now at first hand that his "self", to which he has clung from the time of individualization, is no true self at all, but only “that thing which he has with pain created for his own use and by means of which he purposes, as his growth slowly develops his intelligence, to reach to the life beyond individuality”1. Also, with his first Buddhic experience, the Initiate knows, not merely believes on faith, the Unity of all that lives — how all men's lives, their griefs as their joys, their failures as their successes, are inseparable from his life. Thenceforth, his standard of all things is changed; he has shifted his center from that of his personal self and its interests to that of a greater Self, the "great Orphan", Humanity. At Initiation, the Soul "enters the Stream", (Fig. 121).
1 Light on the Path
This is the ancient Buddhist phrase, which describes the great transition which takes place in the life of the Initiate. He enters the great tide of the Will of the Logos, which has determined that, on this Earth Chain, the majority of our humanity shall commit themselves to His Plan, before the great day of testing in the Fifth Round, when the laggard souls must drop out of evolution, as the failures of the Earth Chain. They drop out, not for ever, but only for an age; when the next Chain begins, they resume their evolution, after their long rest, at that level whence they dropped out from the Earth Chain.
This is that "eternal damnation" with which the ungodly are threatened in Christianity. But it is not a condemnation, but rather an evolutionary arrangement for those souls who must drop out, because they cannot keep pace with their more spiritually equipped fellows. Nor is it eternal, but only, as in the original Greek of the New Testament, "eonian", that is, for the period of an eon or dispensation. But he who has "entered the Stream" is "safe" or "saved"; and, slowly or with speed, he will "attain Nirvana", the goal of human perfection, according to the plan for the Earth Chain. Therefore the Initiate is called in Buddhism Sotapanna, "he who has entered the Stream".
It is said that usually seven lives intervene between the First Initiation and the Fourth, that of the Arhat, and that similarly between the Arhat and the Asekha, seven more lives are necessary in which to do the required work of purification. Each Initiation means an expansion of consciousness, and each must be prepared for by adequate experience and self-training. But while one Initiate may take the full limit of time for the work to be done, another may condense it all into a much briefer period. It is largely a matter of the accumulated karma of the individual, i.e., of the work done in past lives, and of the growth in strength and purification achieved by him in them. But all who "enter the Stream" reach the "further shore", that is, to the bliss of Nirvana.
The stages on the Path of Holiness, as this process of spiritual unfoldment is called, are marked by expansions of consciousness, and by the gift by the Great White Brotherhood of new knowledge and new powers to the Initiate. The Brotherhood requires from the candidate, before he can pass from one stage to another, a record of work done for humanity, a freedom from specified mental and moral defects, and the possession of certain spiritual faculties. In particular, there are ten "Fetters", which the candidate must cast off one by one, before he can finally come to Adeptship. After the candidate has "entered the Stream", and before he can be given the Second Initiation, he must show, besides the record of work which he presents, that he is free of the first three Fetters; these are, according to Buddhist terminology:
(2) Vichikichchha, and
The first Fetter, Sakkayaditthi1, means “the delusion as to one's individuality or Self”. Many a man thinks of his physical body as the Self; and he identifies himself with its lusts and cravings, with its health or want of health, with its persistence during life, or with its death. A man more evolved will identify his Self with his "temperament", with his professions of belief, wIth his religious and esthetic ideas, and with his sympathies and antipathies. Only very few, who are capable of dispassion and analysis, will begin to realize how most of the ideas and emotions, which a man thinks are his own, are in reality a garment which he wears, a garment which is less of his own making and far more made for him by his sex, race, caste or class, and religion. And all, except the supreme idealists, instinctively make a distinction between their personal selves and the humanity of which they are units.
1 Sanskrit: Sat-kaya-drishti
To get rid of the Fetter of the delusion of Self is to know what the real Self is — that It is the Heart of all that lives, and that Its gain and good come only from the gain and good of the Whole. The Buddhic experience, when the causal body vanishes, shows the way to the Initiate to discover by experiment and experience what is that true Self in him, which has no part in the limiting forces of "race, creed, sex, caste or color".
The second Fetter, Vichikichchha1, means "Doubt". This is doubt as to "God's plan, which is Evolution", especially as to that part which concerns the growth of the individual by the process of Reincarnation, in accordance with the Law of Karma. There are many stages in doubt, from rank disbelief to the acceptance of a truth as a "working hypothesis". In practical conduct, the noblest lives have been lived by men and women who have had only working hypotheses as to the nature of existence. A lofty idealism, based on working hypotheses, will lead a man through the gates of Initiation; but there comes the time when some at least of his working hypotheses must be living facts of his inmost consciousness, facts known to be true because, by outer observation and by inward realization, they are part of his individuality evermore. The Fetter of Doubt as to the fundamental laws governing human evolution must be utterly thrown aside, before the soul can pass to the second stage.
1 Sanskrit: Vichikitsa.
The third Fetter, Silabbataparamasa1, means "reliance upon rites and ceremonies". It was the Lord Christ who pointed out in Palestine that "the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath; therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath". It was the same great truth which the Lord Buddha proclaimed, when He held that reliance upon prayers and invocations, upon rites and ceremonies, is a superstition, from which the wise man should be free. Rituals and ceremonies, when scientifically constructed, are like any other piece of scientific mechanism; they are reservoirs of energy or conductors of force. But they are to be servants to do man's will, not masters to control man's behaviour. This is the true attitude towards rites and ceremonies.
1 Sanskrit: Sh£la-vrata-paramarsha
They are not necessary, nor indispensable, for wise conduct or for cooperation with the Divine; they are useful, especially to souls of certain temperaments; to help them to attune their wills to the One Will. But the same work can be done by earnest striving and aspiration, each man for himself, without rites and ceremonies, and without help of priests or Devas or Angels. The advice and guidance of men or Supermen, of earthly or heavenly denizens, are only useful to enable a man to look up and not down, forward and not back; but these helpers cannot tread the Path for him, nor lead him to Salvation. A man must "save" himself. To know utterly that within one's own self, and not without, is "the Way, the Truth and the Life", is to cast off forever this Fetter of Superstition.
When the Master finds that the pupil has transcended the first three Fetters, and has to his credit the requisite amount of work done, then He presents the pupil once again for Initiation. As before, in a similar stately ceremony, the Hierophant opens up at Initiation new possibilities of consciousness in the candidate, and entrusts him with those secrets and powers which appertain to the new stage. The Initiate of the second grade is calledSakadagamin, "he who returns once", for only one more physical birth is obligatory for him; at the end of his next physical life he can, if he so chooses, complete the remaining stages of the Path without returning to incarnation.
As he passes on to the next Initiation, new faculties must be evolved, and a yet larger record of work must be achieved. There are no Fetters to be cast off between the Second and Third Initiations; but the higher mind must be made a mirror of the wisdom of the Intuition, and trained to conceive and elaborate those truths which the mind cannot discover, unless implanted in it by a faculty greater than the mind.
When the higher mind has become the tool of the Intuition, and the pupil's record of service is adequate, he is presented by his Master for the Third Initiation. He becomes then Anagamin, "not returning"; for birth in a physical body, unless he so chooses, is no longer obligatory in order to attain to the final goal. The work can be done in the invisible worlds, and the Initiate can from there, if he so decides, proceed to the Fourth and Fifth Initiations.
Between the Third and Fourth Initiations, two Fetters must be cast off:Kamaraga, sensuality, and Patigha, anger. Of course, long before this, all the cruder forms of sense-gratification and anger will have been eliminated by the Initiate; but there are subtle forms of these two Fetters which bind the aspirant as firmly as their cruder forms enslave the man of the world. In addition to freedom from these Fetters, and the record of work, the candidate must show that he has acquired mastery over some of the invisible worlds, and that his brain consciousness can be made, when necessary, a true record of his life on higher planes. At the Fourth Initiation, he becomes the Arhat, "the venerable". During all the stages — Sotapanna, Sakadagamin, Anagamin and Arhat — the Initiate is sekha, a "disciple", under the instruction and supervision of a Master of the Wisdom. The next stage is to become Asekha, "no-more- disciple", the Master1. He is a Master of the Wisdom, that is, he has within him all the capacities and powers which are requisite in order to know all that concerns the evolution-past, present and future-of the Planetary Chain to which he belongs. But before this stage can be reached, five more Fetters must be cast aside, the hardest of all.
Lo ! like fierce foes slain by some warrior,
Ten sins along these Stages lie in dust,
The Love of Self, False Faith, and Doubt are three
Two more, Hatred and Lust.
Who of these Five is conqueror hath trod
Three Stages out of Four; yet there abide
The Love of Life on earth, Desire for Heaven, Self-Praise, Error, and Pride2.
1 These five stages on the Path probably correspond to the five stages in Hinduism, known as:
In the Festivals of the Christian Church, the five Initiations are symbolized in the life- story of the Christ by five great Festivals, commemorating
(1) the Virgin Birth,
(2) the Baptism,
(3) the Transfiguration,
(4) the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and
(5) Ascension and Descent of the Holy Ghost.
(See The Hidden Side of Christian Festivals, by C. W. Leadbeater.)
2 Light on the Path, Book VIII.
The five Fetters which the Arhat must cast off before he can take the Fifth Initiation, that of the Asekha, are Rulparaga, "desire for life in worlds of form", Aruparaga, "desire for life in worlds of no- form", Mano "pride ",Uddhachchha, "irritability", and Avijja, "ignorance". What is the true significance of these terms it is difficult to say; but knowledge about these five Fetters is not essential to those who have not yet entered the Path. Suffice it to say that, before the Fifth Initiation can be taken, man must put on the attributes of the Superman; he must become the Christos, "the Anointed", who has come "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"1.
This is the great Day for which the Monad went forth a "kingly crown to gain"; and when he gains it, he gains it not for himself but for all creatures, human, sub-human and super-human. All nature rejoices in his achievement; for one more Saviour of Humanity has joined the ranks of those who live to give utterly, as the Logos gives. It is said that when one of our humanity attains to Perfection, all Nature thrills with joyous awe and feels subdued. The silver star now twinkles out the news to the night-blossoms, the streamlet to the pebbles ripples out the tale; dark ocean-waves will roar it to the rocks surf-bound, scent-laden breezes sing it to the vales, and stately pines mysteriously whisper: "A Master has arisen, a Master Of The Day"1.
1 St. Paul, Ephesians, iv, 3.
* * * *
Know, O disciple, that those who have passed through the silence, and felt its peace and retained its strength, they long that you shall pass through it also.... Give your aid to the few strong hands that hold back the powers of darkness from obtaining comp!ete vIctory. Then do you enter mto a partnershIp of joy, which brings indeed terrible toil and profound sadness, out also a great and ever-increasing delight2.
These are the words of a Master of the Wisdom, uttered to those who seek to serve God or Man or an Ideal. There awaits each man and woman of noble instincts and pure enthusiasms such a life of delight as only those know who have become Disciples. It is a delight which comes not from ease and the fruition of dreams, but from ceaseless toil in the noblest cause which man's imagination can conceive. To look up and see God, and know that one can be His messenger; to look down and see men's ignorance and misery, and know that in one's hand is the power to lessen both for them; to look round at nature and know that one can become her prophet; to look within and know that a Light is there to lead men from the darkness of death to a new day — it is these things which inspire; those who have torn the veil of self-interest which enwraps them, and have seen something of the Hidden Light and the Hidden Work. It was said by the Rishis of India, of those who see the Heavenly Vision: Nanyah panthah vidyate 'yanaya — "No other path at all is there to go." For those who have seen what the Logos does and, from that what the Logos is, there is indeed "no other path at all to go".
1 The Voice of the Silence, by H. P. Blavatsky
2 Light on the Path
The Path is full of toil, and renunciation of hopes and dreams, and weariness; yet are the days and nights, when treading that Path" suffused with a keen enthusiasm inspiring to new hopes and to new dreams, and filled with the delight of knowledge and mastery. It is said in a book of occult maxims: "When one enters the Path, he lays his peart upon the cross; when the cross and the heart have become" one, then hath he reached the goal." And that goal is a Transfiguration. To that Transfiguration the LoGOs calls us, and to go whither He calls is to discover what has never yet been revealed.
Enter the Path; There is no grief like hate!
No pains like passion, no deceit like sense!
Enter the Path! Far hath he gone whose foot
Treads down one fond offence.
Enter the Path! There spring the healing streams
Quenching all thirst! There bloom th' immortal flowers
Carpeting all the way withjoy! There throng Swiftest and sweetest hours!1
1 The Light of Asia, Book VIII.
There is a saying attributed to Plato which is full of significance: it is, "God geometrizes". In that saying we have the proclamation of the Divine Wisdom that there exists a God of the universe, and that all nature is a creation by Him after a Plan. Modern science, with her doctrine of evolution, acknowledges a "design in Nature", but that design is to most scientists, merely the result of the mechanical interplay ot natural forces, and it in no way warrants the belief in a Creator. It is only a scientist here and there who is ready to acknowledge that the structure of the universe reveals the mind of a "pure mathematician", the Great Architect of the Universe.
The Ancient Wisdom proclaims with no hesitating voice that every part of nature's design reflects the plan of a Divine Mind. This "God's plan, which is Evolution" is not mechanical; what seems a "fortuitous concourse of atoms" is the resultant diagonal of the energies of the Logos, and their quantity and direction as they operate are determined by Him at each moment of time.
It is difficult for the modern mind to imagine our Solar System as a living organism. Yet that is what it is. The sphere in space, whose center is the Sun and whose radius is the distance from the center to the trans-Plutonian planet "X" 1, is the physical body of the Logos, and His mind directs all the activities within that vast sphere. The magnitude of that Mind baffles human imagination; only a few glimpses here and there of Its wonders can we gain as we study creation. Looking at that Mind with the heart, It appears as infinite Love; observing It with the developed artistic imagination, It is infinite Beauty.
When the mind looks at Its activities in visible nature, there is revealed a fascinating geometrical design. Why "God geometrizes" we may not know till our little minds can directly contact His great Mind; we can but look with our eyes and ponder on what they report, and what they report is order, rhythm and beauty.
1 See Fig. 3.
All matter is electricity, though no one yet knows what is electricity, nor what is magnetism, the force induced by electricity. Unknown as these two forces are in their true nature, we yet know that, as one of them, magnetism, operates, geometrical design at once appears. When needles are pierced upright in corks, each needle made into a magnet with a north and south pole, and when the corks are allowed freely to float in water, and when over the floating needles there is held a powerful electro-magnet, the result is shown in Fig. 122.
When only one needle floats, it comes directly under the magnet; on the introduction of a second cork, the two corks range themselves side by side; three form a triangle;four a square; five a pentagon; six a pentagon with a needle at its center. The experiment has been carried to 52 needles; with 51, the circles are of 6, 11, 14 and 19, with one needle in the middle. With 52 needles, the circles are the same, but instead of one needle, two form the nucleus round which the circles are grouped. Why do the magnets arrange themselves in these geometrical designs? Because so to act is "God's plan" for magnetism.
For, everything has work to do, mapped out for it in that Plan. Even at this very beginning of physical forces, "number" and geometry come into play. It was this that Pythagoras taught when he said that the universe is constructed according to "number". Everywhere we look, a geometrical design appears. And as rhythm in structure and movement means music, the universe makes music as it works at its tasks. The electrons make waves as they rush through the ether; but their notes are scarcely within the audibility of the average clairaudient ear. But the note which the Earth makes as it circles the Sun, pushing its way through the rether, and the harmonies of that note, can be heard1. Each visible and invisible planet has its note, and the "music of the spheres" is not a fantasy, but a most sober verity.
1 I can testify to the existence of some of these notes by continuous personal experience night and day. — C.J.
Let us look for a moment now at the ultimate physical atom (Fig.123).
It is aliving heart, pulsating with energy; with its three thicker whorls and the seven thinner, it is also a transformer; each whorl is made up of seven orders of spirillae. Spirals and spirillae are its basis or structure; the atom is fashioned to do a work.
“In the three whorls flow currents of different electricities, the seven vibrate in response to etheric-waves of all kinds — to sound, light, heat, etc; they show the seven colors of the spectrum; give out the seven sounds of the natural scale; respond in a variety of ways to physical vibration — flashing, sirtging, pulsing bodies, they move incessantly, inconceivably beautiful and brilliant.
“The atom has — as observed so far — three proper motions, i.e., motions of its own, independent of any imposed on it from outside. It turns incessantly upon its own axis, spinning like a top; it describes a small circle with its axis, as though the axis of the spinning top moved in a small circle; it has a regular pulsation, a contraction and expansion, like the pulsation of the heart. When a force is brought to bear upon it, it dances up and down, flings itself wildly from side to side, performs the most astonishing and rapid gyrations, but the three fundamental motions incessantly persist. If it be made to vibrate, as a whole, at the rate which gives anyone of the seven colors, the whorl belonging to that color glows out brilliantly.”1
Why has the atom this peculiar shape, and these many motions and functions? Because that is "God's plan" for the atom. Out of its tiny life the Logos expects a cooperation, and age by age the atom is being trained by His agents to perform that duty. And when men are willing to do their duty to the full, then the atom and mankind will join in a common work with a forcefulness not now possible.
Order, rhythm and beauty are more evident to our minds when we look at the shapes of the chemical elements2. The five "Platonic Solids" (Fig. 124) give the axes of structure for all the elements. Verily God geometrizes, as He builds the bricks of matter out of which the solar system is to be made.
1 Occult Chemistry, by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater
2 See Chapter X, "The Evolution of Matter and Force"
Why is Calcium a tetrahedron and Phosphorus a cube? Because it is God's plan. For each element has its part in the Great Plan; each gives to the universe its own revelation of the nature of the Logos. Each is a mirror of the inexhaustible fullness of the Divine Life; each is a channel, both to bring down to earth the energies of that Life, as also to conduct upwards and inwards to It the response which nature gives.
When we come to the molecular world, who that has looked at minerals has not noted how crystals carry out geometrical design to perfection? The precision of their angles is often more perfect than can be achieved by the most accurate of man-made measuring tools. After building angular solids, exquisite for symmetry and beauty, the mineral life next fashions out of them solids with curves; one can but perennially marvel at the ingenuity of the mineral, as it arranges tiny crystals of quartz and other minerals to make spirals (Fig. 125).
The life activities of the mineral kingdom are a glorification of the Divine Mind which thinks in "numbers", and ever shapes the combinations of the elements into forms of order, rhythm and beauty. Each mineral carries out God's plan for it, and the crystal world is a mirror of those geometrical laws of the Divine Mind which the artist senses and the mathematician deduces.
As the life of the Logos expresses itself in more pliant forms of matter, the rhythm and the music become ever more complex with each higher stage. Each plant is built rhythmically, the place of leaf on twig, and branch on stem, being fixed by laws of geometry and design. When we look at the flowers, then each flower, built as it is according to "number", is as a chord in a great musical octave. Consider the arrangement of sepals and petals, of stamens and ovaries, in any flower, and the geometry of the mineral life reappears in new variations and combinations at the next stage as the vegetable group-soul; surely God geometrizes as He builds the four types of Fig.126, the Loosestrifes, Gourds, Borageworts and Geraniums.
And when we come to the life of the animal kingdom, how exquisite is God's geometry in the shell of the Nautilus pompilius (Fig. 127), and in that of Solarium (Fig. 128).
Beauty is there clear to our gaze; but what of the laws of mathematics in their curves, and of mechanics in the moulding of their chambers? In theNautilus, Surely a Grand Geometrician is visibly at work, and His Mind is full of rhythm and melody.
In all the myriads of creatures of the animal kingdom, God geometrizes as in the plant and the mineral. But His geometry is less evident, though the movement of every muscle illusltrates laws of rhythmic motion, and a higher beauty exists in the animal than in plant or mineral. Grace of line and limb and movement, with a complexity of rhythm difficult to analyze, characterizes all the forms of the animal world. In each animal God geometrizes, and teaches its duty in His plan.
So "God's plan, which" is Evolution", is worked out in each order of creation, from the atom to the animal. And when the animal life individualizes to become the habitation of a Monad, a Son of God gone forth to realize his Divinity, then the whole life of man, did he but know how to live it, can become one harmony of thought and feeling and action, bodying forth, in worlds visible and invisible, form after form of beauty. Every atom and cell in his vehicles then spring forth to give their love of order, rhythm and beauty, to make his life as a melody in the eternal symphony of the Logos. For, we make music wherever we go, with all our bodies — physical, astral, mental and causal; either we amplify the great chords sounded by the Logos, and weave out of them new melodies of our own, or we mar the music of nature, and introduce discords which reverberate and cause confusion in the melodies which others, more noble than we, are trying to weave.
God's plan for men is to unfold their latent Divinity. For that, the Logos sends us forth from Himself to live our separate lives, each bound on a wheel of birth and death and birth again; and each life is as a day in the School of Eternal Life. There, we learn, taught by His Messengers, what are the lessons necessary. for us in order to pass from a lower class to a higher (Fig. 129).
God's plan for the savage is selfishness, with an ever-insistent "I want it", in order to strengthen the center of his individuality. But after many lives as the savage, God's plan for him changes, and "We", not "I", becomes slowly the lesson which he must learn; he must now cooperate with the Logos by sharing, not by asking for himself alone. "Let us share it" becomes his creed as the citizen of a community. Comes next the later stage, when he must be spiritual, having as the keynote of his life a desire to share the burdens of others. "I will help you" is the way that God's plan speaks to the heart of the man rising to spirituality.
God's plan for the Disciple is that he shall live in the name of his Master, becoming day by day a nobler warden and a saintlier almoner of the blessings which his Master creates for the world. At the last stage of all, that of the Master of the Wisdom, God's plan is fully achieved, and the soul lives in an indescribable unity of man and God. "I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father," is then the motive of every action. As he alone can know, and none below the level of his achievement; he realizes what the Sages meant when they said, "I am the Self", and what Christ meant when He proclaimed, "I and my Father are one ".
And this wonder, which is each moment's experience for the Master of the Wisdom, is God's plan for all men, the savage and the civilized, the spiritual and the Disciple. And He will fulfil it in His own good time, winning the cooperation of all, of the sinner as of the saint. For that purpose alone has He sacrificed Himself to fashion a universe for our habitation and growth. Where He works, no failure is possible, and to join Him in His work is to feel deathlessness and mastery.
God's plan is not, as it sometimes seems to our eyes, a round of weariness and pain, an implacable Fate which wrings out of man many griefs for each joy which he creates for himself. To the babe who tries to walk, there is stress of limb and anxiety of mind as he makes his first steps; but, if a mother's joyous face and laughing eyes are before him to encourage him, the effort of body is little, compared to the final bliss in her loving arms. So is it with all life. If, from one angle, evolution seems an unending stress, from another it is an exhilarating play. It is the great Game which the Logos plays with us, and the laws of Righteousness are the rules of the game.
The joyousness which is the undercurrent of nature's processes must be sensed by each for himself, out of his own experiences. It may take many a life before he can say, in spite of all that he has suffered, that Love is the fulfilling bf the Law; but his evolution is incomplete till he knows for himself that the heart of things is indeed Love and Joy, and that all the tragedy of evolution is only a passing phase.
One of the mystery teachings of the past is that the universe is at play while it is at work. Hinduism teaches that all manifestation is the "dance of Shiva", and the same doctrine was taught in the Eleusinian Mysteries. One of the experiences of the initiated in those Mysteries was to feel what was in the "sacred basket"; these were the "playthings" of Dionysus, the Divine Child. Tradition reports that they were the dice, the spinning-top, the ball, and the mirror. What they were in reality, tie have in Fig. 130.
The "dice" were the five Platonic Solids, which give the axes for the growth of the chemical elements and crystals; the "top" was a model of the ultimate physical atom; the "ball" was a model of the Earth, and the "mirror" was the symbol of the seven planes on which are reflected what the Logos fashions on high. These were the "play-things" of the Logos as the Divine Child and the initiates at Eleusis were taught to sense beneath the processes of nature a deep under-current of joy.
All the principles of Theosophy, which this work has so far tried to explain, are summed up in our next figure, Fig. 131.
PRINCIPLES IN EVOLUTION
1. The Divine Consciousness veils Itself as Life and Matter.
2. Form dies to release Life. Life returns in better organized Form.
3. Geometrical Building in all forms, visible and invisible.
4. All building after the Archetypal Pattern on high.
5. Man strengthens his center through Selfishness; he radiates out from his center through Self- Sacrifice.
6. The Divine Life exists in all things — mineral, plant, animal, man, angel — not as less or as more, but as Perfect Divinity.
The first and the last maxims give the clue to what is happening around us, that all is consciousness, the Divine Consciousness itself, and none less; and that, wherever the Divine: Manifestation reveals itself there is neither "less" nor "more". Where He is, there He is in His Perfection.
We have so far considered God's plan largely from the standpoint of man, as the individual and as the unit, and only here and there gained a glimpse of the Plan in its larger aspect.
There remains only to attempt to see the Plan as a whole. Could we but step outside the limits of the planes of our globe, then should we see the work of the Logos for the Solar System as a whole.
Those who are able to see that work in its entirety say that the appearance of the Solar System from high planGs is that of a wonderful cosmic Flower of many petals and colors, with a great golden pistil which is the Sun, as the heart of the Flower (see frontispiece, Fig.132.1) Each of the seven Planetary Logoi permeates the whole system with His influences, but the matter especially affected by one type of those influences forms a great ellipsoid in space, the major focus of which is the Sun, and the minor focus the planet of the Planetary Logos. These ellipsoids of influence are changing in their relation to each other, and those changes are partly indicated by the changing positions of the physical planets. So the Solar System, as the Logos and His seven great Assistants who work with Him, appears as a great Flower of many petals, with a great, glowing, golden heart at its center.2
Whoso can attain to this vision of the work of the Logos can never have a shadow of doubt as to His Love and Might and Beauty. Each vision of the Truth, through religion or philosophy, through ,science or art, or through philanthropy and service, leads the soul one step nearer to the goal, which is, to live and move and have his being, in full consciousness, and with exceeding joy, in the Logos of our Solar System.
1 It is impossible to do more than barely suggest this vision in a diagram. The planets cannot be placed to a true scale in the small diagram. The colors adopted are not the ancient traditional colors of the Seven Planetary Logoi, but simply the seven colors of the solar spectrum taken in order. The colors used in Ancient Chaldea are described in Man: Whence, How and Whither, by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, Chap. XIII.
2 See The Inner Life, by C. W. Leadbeater, Vol. I, under "Symbology" [starting with the sentence, "Another symbol is that of the lotus,...], for a fuller description.
In a swift survey, we have seen what the Ancient Wisdom says of man and his destiny, of Nature and her message, and of God and His Work. There is no philosophy to equal Theosophy in its idealism, in its hopefulness, and in its all-embracing tenderness. It reveals to the intellect so stupendous a panorama of life's activities, in worlds visible and invisible, that the mind of man is at first stupefied, and then transported with its entrancing beauty. Above all, the Ancient Wisdom does not speculate, but speaks with authority. "These are the eternal facts of Nature", say the Teachers of the Wisdom, and They ask us to live a life of Idealism, because no other life is possible for reasonable men and women who desire to act in the light of Truth, and not under the sway of error. Well may the inquirer into Theosophy ask, confronted with its seeming dogmatism: How can I know for myself that all this is true?
Knowledge is of many kinds — what the senses report, what the mind sees, what the heart conceives, and what the intuition knows. One or other of these, or all, are for a man avenues to Truth, according to his temperament. We are not all alike, and, the value to each of us of the world and its happenings varies according to what we seek from life. As is the fabric of a man's mind and heart, so is his vision of life.
But while what is a fact to one man may perhaps be an illusion to another, there is one test of Truth which is the same for all. Truth is what compels. A fact of nature, when once viewed honestly and clearly, thereafter draws all one's nature to act in accordance with it; its compulsion may be swift or slow, but such is the effect on the mind of the Thing-that-is, that the mind can never free itself from the power of that Thing. Furthermore, if what the mind has seen is a vision of Truth and not an illusion, the vision grows day by day, ever revealing larger horizons. Doubts may surge up one after another, but a million doubts cannot invalidate one truth. The soul who thinks that he has grasped the essence of Truth can patiently fight on, slaying one by one the hosts of doubts as they arise.
If these many truths of Theosophy are facts in nature, then in time they will prove themselves so to everyone. They must sooner or later be built into the fabric of every man's thinking, if a man is to think truly in accordance with allfacts. They can be seen, one by one, as the faculties necessary for their sight are developed; but to see all, from the atom at its work to the solar system as it carries out the Will of the Logos, is not for everyone of us, at our present stage of limitation. As a man's consciousness grows, and faculty after faculty is added, more and more facts will be seen. One by one, each fact, which is at first merely believed in, will be seen with direct vision, and relied upon with an unassailable certainty. To all will come this direct vision; but the full vision in its splendor will come only when the soul becomes the Master of the Wisdom.
Till that day, we can at least each act in the light of the vision of Truth which each has. If we will only realize that not only the five senses and the mind are the avenues of sight, but also the aspirations, the imagination, our refined loves and our spirit of sacrifice, then Truth will pour into our natures from many avenues. which are now barred by us. Life is a greater thing than can be known by merely one instrument of cognition, the mind; the mind is a useful instrument to record, but it is a very limiting one to give us vision.
There is no surer way for the inquirer, if he desires to prove one by one the truths of Theosophy, than to put into practice one great truth which he can readily accept. It is the truth of Brotherhood. Let a man remember that another is as himself, that the same life of nature flows in both, that what is hard for himself is hard for the other too; let him, looking at his neighbour, say, "This is myself, in a hitherto unknown aspect of me"; let him study with patience this mysterious part of himself that exists outside of him; then let him see if, as he grows in charity and long-suffering, he is not mysteriously impelled to discover about man and God truths of whose existence he was not aware. Loving action is Divine Wisdom at work and whoso acts lovingly must inevitably come to the Wisdom.
This is the surest way to prove that the truths of Theosophy are realities, and not the beautiful creations of some philosopher's brain. If a man cannot believe in all the teachings of Theosophy, let him at least act as Theosophy teaches. He will then find that the word "Theosophy" describes a wonderful Reality. And when he knows, with every fiber of his being, and in each moment of time, that all that he is — his highest love and sacrifice, his fullest faith and offering — is that Reality in him, and that apart from It he has no existence, then he will find within himself an instrument of knowledge by means of which he can discover all for himself. For God's Truth is within a man's own nature; it is not an utter stranger to him, but ever the Companion of his dreams.
Because man is Divine, the Wisdom is his heritage. Nay, not Wisdom alone, but Power also — power to dare, to suffer, and to conquer. This sense of Victory, which brings with it all joy, is the gift which the Ancient Wisdom gives to all who cherish her.
May 14, 1921
In continuation of my obligation to various sources for illustrations, I have to add the following, with sincere thanks: Fig. 98 to the late C. F. Bragdon; Fig.
101 to The Evening Post, Wellington, New Zealand; Fig. 103 to Architecture of Athens by Stuart and Revett; Fig. 104 to The Curves of Life by T. A. Cook; Fig. 106 to Illustrated London News; Fig. 107 to Art Forms in Nature by Karl Blossfeldt; Fig. 108 to the Australian Museum, Sydney; Fig. 109 to Tiere in Schonen Bildren by K. R. Langewische; Fig. 113 to Vita delle Piante by R. H. France; Fig. 105 to The Protozoa by G. N. Calkins; Fig. 110 to the famous Japanese painter Chiura of the period of the Shogun Yoritomo.