THEOSOPHY, Vol. 49, No. 4, February, 1961
(Pages 173-181; Size: 25K)
NATURE AND NATURE'S GOD(1)
"SPIRIT and Matter, or Purusha and Prakriti, are but the two primeval aspects of the One and Secondless." Prakriti is Nature in general as opposed to Purusha, spiritual nature and spirit, which together are the "two primeval aspects of the One Unknown Deity." In contradistinction to the manifested universe of matter, the term Mulaprakriti (from Mula, "the root," and prakriti, "nature"), or the manifested primordial matter -- called by Western alchemists Adam's Earth -- is applied by the Vedantins to Parabrahm. Matter is dual in religious metaphysics and septenary in esoteric teachings, like everything else in the universe. As Mulaprakriti it is undifferentiated and eternal. As Vyakta, it becomes differentiated and conditioned.
Nature runs down and disappears from the objective plane, only to re-emerge after a time of rest out of the subjective and to reascend once more. Our Kosmos and Nature will run down only to reappear on a more perfect plane after every pralaya. The "matter" of the Eastern philosophers is not the matter and Nature of the Western metaphysicians. For what is Matter? Where have the many attempts made by Science to bind, to connect, and define all the phenomena of organic life by mere physical and chemical manifestations, brought it to? To speculation generally -- mere soap bubbles that burst one after the other before the men of Science were permitted to discover real facts. All this would have been avoided, and the progress of knowledge would have proceeded with gigantic strides, had only Science and its philosophers abstained from accepting hypotheses on the mere one-sided Knowledge of their Matter.
Occult philosophy divulges few of its most important vital mysteries. It drops them like precious pearls, one by one, far and wide apart, and only when forced to do so by the evolutionary tidal wave that carries on humanity slowly, silently but steadily, toward the dawn of the Sixth-Race mankind. For, once out of the safe custody of their legitimate heirs and keepers, those mysteries cease to be occult; they fall into the public domain and have to run the risk of becoming in the hands of the selfish -- of the Cains of the human race -- curses more often than blessings.
The Circle was with every nation the symbol of the Unknown -- "Boundless Space," the abstract garb of an ever-present abstraction -- the Incognizable Deity. It represents limitless Time in Eternity. The Mazdean Zero-ana, the "Boundless Circle of the Unknown Time," from which Circle issues the radiant light -- the Universal SUN, or Ormazd -- is the Chackra or circle of Vishnu, the mysterious emblem which is, according to the definition of a mystic, "a curve of such a nature that if the curve be protracted either way it will proceed and finally re-enter upon itself, and form one and the same curve -- or that which we call the circle." No better definition could thus be given of the natural symbol and the evident nature of Deity, which, having its circumference nowhere (the boundless) has, therefore, its central point everywhere; in other words, is in every point of the Universe. The symbol of the Mundane Egg is used to represent the first stage of manifestation, undifferentiated primordial matter, in which the vital creative Germ, or central point, receives its first spiritual impulses; Potentiality becomes Potency.
Matter, by convenience of metaphor only, is regarded as feminine, because it is receptive of the rays of the sun which fecundate it and so produce all that grows on its surface, i.e., on this the lowest plane. On the other hand primordial matter should be regarded as substance, and by no means can be spoken of as having sex. Thus the Egg, on whatever plane we speak of, means the ever-existing undifferentiated matter which strictly is not matter at all, but as we call it, the Atoms. Matter is destructible in form while the Atoms are absolutely indestructible, being the quintessence of Substances. But here is meant by "atoms" the primordial divine Units, not the "atoms" of modern Science. Similarly the "Germ" is a figurative expression; the germ is everywhere, even as the circle whose circumference is nowhere and whose centre is everywhere. It therefore means all germs, that is to say, unmanifested nature, or the whole creative power which will emanate, called by the Hindus Brahmâ, though on every plane it has a different name.
Nature never proceeds by jumps and starts. There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces. Evolution is an eternal cycle of becoming, and nature never leaves an atom unused. Moreover, from the beginning of the Round, all in Nature tends to become Man. All the impulses of the dual, centripetal and centrifugal Force are directed towards one point -- MAN.
Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious, i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. We men must remember that because we do not perceive any signs of consciousness which we can recognize, say, in stones, we have no right to say that no consciousness exists there. There is no such thing as either "dead" or "blind" matter, as there is no "Blind" or "Unconscious" Law. These find no place among the conceptions of Occult philosophy, which never stops at surface appearances, and for it the noumenal essences have more reality than their objective counterparts; it resembles therein mediaeval Nominalists, for whom it was the Universals that were the realities and the particulars which existed only in name and human fancy. Occultism asserts that "unconscious Nature" is in reality an aggregate of forces manipulated by semi-intelligent beings (Elementals) guided by High Planetary Spirits (Dhyan Chohans), whose collective aggregate forms the manifested verbum of the unmanifested LOGOS, and constitutes at one and the same time the MIND of the Universe and its immutable LAW.
Occultism has never believed in anything, whether animate or inanimate, outside nature. Nor are we Cosmolators or Polytheists for believing in "Heavenly Man" and divine men, for we have the accumulated testimony of the ages, with its unvarying evidence of every essential point to support us in this; the wisdom of the Ancients and universal tradition. We reject, however, every groundless and baseless tradition, which, having outgrown strict allegory and symbolism, has found acceptance in exoteric creeds. But that which is preserved in unanimous traditions, only the wilfully blind could reject. We do not believe in the supernatural, but only in the superhuman, or rather interhuman, intelligences. Thus Occultism teaches that the Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth! and man -- the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm -- is the living witness to this Universal Law and to the mode of its action. The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, who -- whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyan Chohans or Angels -- are "messengers" in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws.
Truly one should study Occult philosophy before one begins to verify and seek the mysteries of nature on its surface alone, as he alone who knows the truth about the qualities of nature, who understands the creation of all entities ... is emancipated from error. Says the "preceptor": "Accurately understanding the great tree of which the unperceived (Occult nature, the root of all) is the sprout from the seed (Parabrahm) which consists of the understanding (Mahat, or the universal intelligent Soul) as its trunk, the branches of which are the great egoism, in the holes of which are the sprouts, namely, the senses, of which the great (Occult, or invisible) elements are the flower-bunches, the gross elements (the gross objective matter), the smaller boughs, which are always possessed of leaves, always possessed of flowers ... which is eternal and the seed of which is the Brahman (the deity); and cutting it with that excellent sword -- knowledge (secret wisdom) -- one attains immortality and casts off birth and death." This is the Tree of Life, the Asvattha tree, only after the cutting of which the slave of life and death, MAN, can be emancipated.
But the men of Science know nought, nor will they hear, of the "Sword of Knowledge" used by the adepts and ascetics. Hence the one-sided remarks of the most liberal among them, based on and flowing from undue importance given to the arbitrary divisions and classifications of physical science. Occultism heeds them very little, and nature still less. The whole range of physical phenomena proceed from the Primary of Ether -- Akasha --as dual-natured akasha proceeds from undifferentiated Chaos, so-called, the latter being the primary aspect of Mulaprakriti, the root-matter and the first abstract Idea one can form of Parabrahm. Modern Science may divide its hypothetically conceived Ether in as many ways as it likes; the real Æther of Space will remain as it is throughout. It has seven principles, as all the rest of nature has, and where there was no Æther there would be no sound, as it is the vibrating sound-board in nature in all of its seven differentiations. This is the first mystery the Initiates of old learned. Our present normal physical senses were (from our present point of view) abnormal in those days of slow and progressive downward evolution and fall into matter. And there was a day when all that which in our modern times is regarded as phenomena, so puzzling to the physiologists now compelled to believe in them -- such as thought-transference, clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc., in short, all that which is called now "wonderful and abnormal" -- all that and much more belonged to the senses and faculties common to all humanity.
Occultism, which knows of the existence and presence in Nature of the One eternal element, at the first differentiation of which the roots of the Tree of Life are periodically struck, needs no scientific proofs. Ancient Wisdom solved the problem ages ago. Aye, earnest as well as mocking reader, Science is slowly but as surely approaching our domains of the Occult. It is forced by its own discoveries to adopt nolens volens our phraseology and symbols. Chemical science is now compelled, by the very force of things, to accept even our illustration of the evolution of the gods and atoms, so suggestively and undeniably figured in the caduceus of Mercury, the God of Wisdom, and in the allegorical language of the Archaic Sages. Says a commentary in the esoteric doctrine: "The trunk of the Asvattha (the tree of Life and Being, the ROD of the caduceus) grows from and descends at every Beginning (every new manvantara) from the two dark wings of the Swan (HANSA) of Life. The two Serpents, the ever-living and its illusion (Spirit and Matter) whose two heads grow from the one head between the wings, descend along the trunk, interlaced in close embrace. The two tails join on earth (the manifested Universe) into one, and this is the great illusion, O Lanoo!" Verily the wonderful powers of the magic caduceus, this laya rod entwined by two serpents, were sung by all the ancient poets, with a very good reason for those who understood the secret meaning.
If our modern philosophers -- preceded by the mediaeval scholars -- have helped themselves to more than one fundamental idea of antiquity, theologians have built their God and his Archangels, their Satan and his Angels, along with the Logos and his Staff, entirely out of the dramatis personae of the old heathen Pantheons. They would have been welcome to these, had they not cunningly distorted the original characters, perverted their philosophical meaning, and, taking advantage of the ignorance of Christendom -- the result of long ages of mental sleep, during which humanity was permitted to think only by proxy -- tossed every symbol into the most inextricable confusion. One of their most sinful achievements in this direction, was the transformation of the divine alter ego into the grotesque Satan of their theology.
Being is an endless cycle within the one absolute eternity, wherein move numberless inner cycles, finite and conditioned. Gods, created as such, would evince no personal merit in being gods. Such a class of beings, perfect only by virtue of the special immaculate nature inherent in them, in the face of suffering and struggling humanity, and even of the lower creation, would be the symbol of an eternal injustice quite Satanic in character, an ever-present crime. It is an anomaly and an impossibility in Nature. As the whole philosophy of the problem of evil hangs upon the correct comprehension of the constitution of the inner being of nature and man, of the divine within the animal, and hence also the correctness of the whole system as given in these pages, with regard to the crown piece of evolution -- MAN -- we cannot take sufficient precautions against theological subterfuges. When the good St. Augustine and the fiery Tertullian called the Devil "the monkey of God," this could be attributed to the ignorance of the age they lived in. It is more difficult to excuse our modern writers on the same ground. The translation of the Mazdean literature has afforded to the Roman Catholic writers the pretext for proving their point in the same direction once more. They have taken advantage of the dual nature of Ahura Mazda in the Zend Avesta and the Vendidad, and of his Amshaspends, to emphasize still further their wild theories. Satan is the plagiarist and the copyist by anticipation of the religion which came ages later. This was one of the master strokes of the Latin Church, its best trump-card after the appearance of Spiritualism in Europe. Though only a succès d'estime, in general, even among those who are not interested in either Theosophy or Spiritualism, yet the weapon is often used by the Christian (Roman Catholic) Kabalists against the Eastern Occultists.
There is frequent confusion in the attributes and genealogies of the gods in their theogonies, as given to the world by the half-initiated writers, Brahminical and Biblical, the Alpha and the Omega of the records of that symbol science. Yet there could be no such confusion made by the earliest nations, the descendants and pupils of the divine instructors; for both the attributes and the genealogies were inseparably linked with cosmogonical symbols, the "gods" being the life and animating "soul-principle" of the various regions of the Universe. Nowhere and by no people was speculation allowed to range beyond those manifested gods. The boundless and infinite UNITY remained with every nation a virgin forbidden soil, untrodden by man's thoughts, untouched by fruitless speculation. The only reference made to it was the brief conception of its diastolic and systolic property, of its periodical expansion, or dilation, and contraction. In the Universe with all its incalculable myriads of systems and worlds disappearing and re-appearing in eternity, the anthropomorphized powers, or gods, their Souls, had to disappear from view with their bodies: "The breath returning to the eternal bosom which exhales and inhales them," says our Catechism.
Demon est Deus Inversus. When the Occultist says that the "Demon is the lining of God" (evil, the reverse of the medal), he does not mean two separate actualities, but the two aspects or facets of the same Unity. One cannot claim God as the synthesis of the whole Universe, as Omnipresent and Omniscient and Infinite, and then divorce him from evil. As there is far more evil than good in the world, it follows on logical grounds that either God must include evil or stand as the direct cause of it, or else surrender his claims to absoluteness. The ancients understood this so well that their philosophers -- now followed by the Kabalists -- defined evil as the lining of God or Good. Indeed, evil is but an antagonizing blind force in nature; it is reaction, opposition, and contrast -- evil for some, good for others. There would be no life possible (in the Mayavic sense) without death, nor regeneration and reconstruction without destruction.
It is not the One Unknown ever-present God in Nature, or Nature in abscondito that is rejected, but the God of human dogma and his humanized "Word." In his infinite conceit and inherent pride and vanity, man shaped it himself with his sacrilegious hand out of the material he found in his own small brain-fabric, and forced it upon mankind as a direct revelation from the one unrevealed SPACE. The Church enforces belief in a personal God and a personal Devil, while Occultism shows the fallacy of such a belief. And though for the Pantheists and Occultists, as much as for the Pessimists, Nature is no better than "a comely mother, but stone cold," this is true only so far as regards external physical nature. They both agree that, to the superficial observer, she is no better than an immense slaughter-house wherein butchers become victims and victims, executioners in their turn. It is quite natural that the pessimistically inclined profane, once convinced of Nature's numerous shortcomings and failures, and especially of her autophagous propensities, should imagine this to be the best evidence that there is no deity in abscondito within Nature, nor anything divine in her. Nor is it less natural that the materialist and the physicist should imagine that everything is due to blind force and chance, and to the survival of the strongest, even more than of the fittest. But the Occultists, who regard physical nature as a bundle of the most varied illusions on the plane of deceptive perceptions, who recognize in every pain and suffering but the necessary pangs of incessant procreation, view the great Mother otherwise. And Man ought to be ever striving to help the living evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with nature in the cyclic task.
It is useless to attempt to explain the mystery in full. Materialists and the men of modern Science will never understand it, since, in order to obtain clear perception of it, one has first of all to admit the postulate of a universally diffused, omnipresent, eternal Deity in Nature; secondly, to have fathomed the mystery of electricity in its true essence; and thirdly, to credit man with being the septenary symbol, on the terrestrial plane, of the One Great UNIT (the Logos), which is Itself the Seven-vowelled sign, the Breath crystallized into the WORD. He who believes this, has also to believe in the multiple combination of the seven planets of Occultism and of the Kabala, with the twelve zodiacal signs; to attribute, as we do, to each planet and to each constellation an influence which, in the words of Fly Star (a French Occultist), "is proper to it, beneficent or maleficent, and this, after the planetary Spirit which rules it, who, in his turn, is capable of influencing men and things which are found in harmony with him and with which he has any affinity."
The Secret Doctrine points out, as a self-evident fact, that Mankind collectively and individually, is, with all manifested nature, the vehicle (a) of the breath of One Universal Principle, in its primal differentiation; and (b) of the countless "breaths" proceeding from that One BREATH in its secondary and further differentiations, as Nature with its many mankinds proceeds downwards toward the planes that are ever increasing in materiality. The primary Breath informs the higher Hierarchies; the second, the lower, in the constantly descending planes.
It becomes apparent how perfect is the analogy between the processes of Nature in the Kosmos and in the individual man. The latter lives through his life-cycle and dies. His "higher principles" corresponding in the development of a planetary chain to the cycling Monads, pass into Devachan, which corresponds to the "Nirvana" and states of rest intervening between two chains. The Man's lower "principles" are disintegrated in time and are used by Nature again for the formation of new human principles, and the same process takes place in the disintegration and formation of Worlds. Analogy is thus the surest guide to the comprehension of the Occult teachings.
Thus proceed the cycles of the septenary evolution, in Septennial nature; the Spiritual or divine; the psychic or semi-divine; the intellectual, the passional, the instinctual, or cognitional; the semi-corporeal and the purely material or physical natures. All these evolve and progress cyclically, passing from one into another, in a double, centrifugal and centripetal way, one in their ultimate essence, seven in their aspects. The lowest, of course, is the one depending upon and subservient to our five physical senses. Thus far, for individual, human, sentient, animal and vegetable life, each the microcosm of its higher macrocosm. The same for the Universe, which manifests periodically, for purposes of the collective progress of the countless lives, the outbreathings of the One Life; in order that through the ever-becoming, every cosmic atom in this infinite Universe, passing from the formless and the intangible, through the mixed natures of the semi-terrestrial, down to matter in full generation, and then back again, reascending at each new period higher and nearer the final goal; that each atom, we say, may reach through individual merits and efforts that plane where it re-becomes the one unconditioned ALL.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
The Dyaks of Borneo believe in an upper and a lower world, each ruled by its own god. "Just like our heaven and hell," one is tempted to say -- but there is a difference. The Dyaks think of them as being cut out of the same piece of cloth. According to their belief, the world cannot exist without both good and evil. They balance each other, like heat and cold, man and woman, life and death. For a Dyak, the most important thing is to follow the natural laws of the universe. If he breaks them, the sacred order of Nature will be disturbed. Then the elders of the hut hold a meeting to decide what is to be done. It is not a matter of punishing a criminal, only of re-establishing an equilibrium. Usually a purification ceremony is enough.
THE NAZARENE SYSTEM
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(1) NOTE.--Collated from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.
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