THEOSOPHY, Vol. 53, No. 3, January, 1965
(Pages 80-86; Size: 20K)

THE FALL OF THE ANGELS(1)

IF our modern philosophers, preceded by our medieval 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 the 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.

In general, the so-called orthodox Christian conceptions about the "fallen" angels or Satan, are as remarkable as they are absurd. "Your doctrine," the Occultists are told, "makes of man, created out of the dust in the likeness of his God, a vehicle of the devil from the first." "Why did you make of your god a devil -- both, moreover, created in your own image?" is our reply. The esoteric interpretation of the Bible, however, sufficiently refutes this slanderous invention of theology; the Secret Doctrine must some day become the just Karma of the Churches -- more anti-Christian than the representative assemblies of the most confirmed Materialists and Atheists.

The amount of malicious fancy and fiction bestowed on the "Host" by various fanatical writers is quite extraordinary. The so-called Arch-Angels and Spirits of the West, copies of their prototypes, the Dhyan-Chohans, the Devas and Pitris of the East, are no real Beings but fictions. On this point Materialistic Science is inexorable. To support its position, it upsets its own axiomatic law of uniformity in the laws of nature, that of continuity, and all the logical sequence of analogies in the evolution of beings. Christian theology having arbitrarily settled and agreed that Satan with his Fallen Angels belonged to the earliest creations, Satan being the first-created, the wisest and most beautiful of God's Archangels, the word was given, the keynote struck. Henceforth all the pagan scriptures were made to yield the same meaning, and all were shown to be demoniacal, and it was and is claimed that truth and fact belong to, and commence only with Christianity.

No Theologian, any more than an Orientalist, can ever understand the genealogies of the Prajapati, the Manus, and the Rishis, nor the direct connection of these -- or their correlation, rather -- with the Gods, unless he has the key to the old primitive Cosmogony and Theogony, which all the Nations originally had in common. All these gods and demi-gods are found reborn on earth, in various Kalpas and in as various characters; each, moreover, having his Karma distinctly traced, and every effect assigned to its cause. It is not only one of most hidden secrets of Nature -- that of generation, over whose solution the Embryologists have vainly put their heads together -- but likewise a divine function that involves that other religious, or rather dogmatic, mystery, the "Fall of the Angels," as it is called. Satan and his rebellious host would thus prove, when the meaning of the allegory is explained, to have refused to create physical man, only to become the direct Saviours and the Creators of "divine Man."

Occult symbolism furnishes the key to the mystery; theological symbolics conceal it still more. For the former explains many a saying in the Bible and even in the New Testament which has hitherto remained incomprehensible; while the latter, owing to its dogma of Satan and his rebellion, has belittled the character and nature of its would-be infinite, absolutely perfect god, and created the greatest evil and curse on earth -- belief in a personal Devil. This mystery is opened with the key to its metaphysical symbolism now restored; while that of theological interpretation shows the gods and the archangels standing as symbols for the dead letter of dogmatic religions, and as arrayed against the pure truths of Spirit, naked and unadorned with fancy. It is the symbolic representation of the great struggle between divine wisdom, nous, and its earthly reflection, Psuche, or between Spirit and Soul, in Heaven and on Earth. In Heaven -- because the divine MONAD had voluntarily exiled itself therefrom, to descend, for incarnating purposes, to a lower plane and thus transform the animal of clay into an immortal god. For, as Eliphas Levi tells us, "the angels aspire to become men; for the perfect man, the man-god, is above even angels."

The symbolic teaching is more mystical than religious, it is purely scientific. ... For, instead of remaining a mere blind, functioning medium, impelled and guided by fathomless LAW, the "rebellious" Angel claimed and enforced his right of independent judgment and will, his right of free-agency and responsibility, since man and angel are alike under Karmic Law. "And there was war in Heaven". ... The supposed "rebels" were simply those who, compelled by Karmic law to drink the cup of gall to its last bitter drop, had to incarnate anew, and thus make responsible thinking entities of the astral statues projected by their inferior brethren. Some are said to have refused, because they had not in them the requisite materials -- i.e., an astral body -- since they were arupa. The refusal of others had reference to their having been Adepts and Yogis of long past preceding Manvantaras; another mystery. But, later on, as Nirmanakayas, they sacrificed themselves for the good and salvation of the Monads which were waiting for their turn, and which otherwise would have had to linger for countless ages as irresponsible, animal-like, though in appearance human, forms.

There is more than one interpretation, for there are seven keys to the mystery of the Fall. Moreover there are two "Falls" in Theology: rebellion of the Archangels and their Fall, and the "Fall" of Adam and Eve. Thus the lower as well as the higher Hierarchies are charged with a supposed crime. The word "supposed" is the true and correct term, for in both cases it is founded on misconception. Both are considered in Occultism as Karmic effects, and both belong to the law of Evolution: intellectual and spiritual on the one hand, physical and psychic on the other. The "Fall" is a universal allegory. It sets forth at one end of the ladder of Evolution the "rebellion," i.e., the action for differentiating intellection or consciousness on its various planes, seeking union with matter; and at the other, the lower end, the rebellion of matter against Spirit, or of action against spiritual inertia. And here lies the germ of an error which has had such disastrous effects on the intelligence of civilized societies over 1,800 years. In the original allegory it is matter, hence the more material angels, which was regarded as the conqueror of Spirit, or the Archangels who "fell" on this plane. "They of the flaming sword (or animal passions) had put to flight the Spirits of Darkness." Yet it is the latter who fought for the supremacy of the conscious and divine spirituality on Earth and failed, succumbing to the power of matter. But in theological dogma we see the reverse. It is Michael, "who is like unto God," the representative of Jehovah, who is the leader of the celestial hosts -- as Lucifer, in Milton's fancy, is of the infernal hosts -- who has the best of Satan.

Christian Angelology is directly and solely derived from that of the Pharisees, who brought their tenets from Babylonia. The Sadducees, the real guardians of the Law of Moses, knew not of, and rejected, any angels, opposing even the immortality of the human Soul (not impersonal Spirit). In the Bible the only "Angels" spoken of are the "Sons of God" mentioned in Genesis vi (who are now regarded as the Nephilim, the Fallen Angels), and several angels in human form, the "Messengers" of the Jewish God, whose own rank needs a closer analysis than heretofore given.

Were the Gnostics so wrong in affirming that this our visible world, and especially the Earth, had been created by lower angels, the inferior Elohim, of which, as they taught, the God of Israel was one? These Gnostics were nearer in time to the records of the Archaic Secret Doctrine, and therefore ought to be allowed to have known better than non-initiated Christians, who took upon themselves, hundreds of years later, to remodel and correct what was said. The Beings, or Being, collectively, called Elohim, who first (if ever) pronounced the cruel words, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever ..." must have been indeed the Ilda-baoth, the Demiurge of the Nazarenes, filled with rage and envy against his own creature, whose reflection created Ophiomorphos. In this case it is but natural -- even from the dead letter standpoint -- to view Satan, the Serpent of Genesis, as the real creator and benefactor, the "Harbinger of Light," bright radiant Lucifer, who opened the eyes of the automaton created by Jehovah, as alleged; and he who was the first to whisper: "In the day ye eat thereof ye shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil" -- can only be regarded in the light of a Saviour.

The sons of "Dark Wisdom," though identical with the Archangels which Theology has chosen to call the "Fallen," are as divine and pure and more so than all the Michaels and Gabriels so glorified in the churches. The Secret Doctrine teaches that the Fire-Devas, the Rudras, and the Kumaras, the "Virgin-Angels," (to whom Michael and Gabriel, the Archangels, both belong), the divine "Rebels" -- preferred the curse of incarnation and the long cycles of terrestrial existence and rebirths, to seeing the misery (even if unconscious) of the beings (evolved as shadows out of their Brethren) through the semi-passive energy of their too spiritual Creators. And of the latter it is asserted: the Pitris are not the ancestors of the present living men, but those of the first human kind or Adamic race; the spirits of human races, which, on the great scale of descending evolution, preceded our races of men, and were physically as well as spiritually, far superior to our modern pygmies.

If "man's uses of life should be such as neither to animalize nor to spiritualize, but to humanize Self," before he can do so he must be born human not angelic. Hence the tradition shows the celestial Yogis offering themselves as voluntary victims in order to redeem Humanity -- created god-like and perfect at first -- and to endow him with human affections and aspirations. To do this they had to give up their natural status and, descending on our globe, take up their abode on it for the whole cycle of the Mahayuga, thus exchanging their impersonal individualities for individual personalities -- the bliss of sidereal existence for the curse of terrestrial life. This voluntary sacrifice of the Fiery Angels, whose nature was Knowledge and Love, was construed by the exoteric theologies into a statement that shows "the rebel angels hurled down from heaven into the darkness of Hell" -- our Earth. Hindu philosophy hints at the truth by teaching that the Asuras hurled down by Siva, are only in an intermediate state in which they prepare for higher degrees of purification and redemption from their wretched condition; but Christian theology -- claiming to be based on the rock of divine love, charity, and justice of him it appeals to as its Saviour -- has invented, to enforce that claim paradoxically, the dreary dogma of hell, that Archimedean lever of Roman Catholic philosophy.

To express it in (still) clearer form, limiting the explanation to this earth only, it was the duty of the first "differentiated Egos" -- the Church calls them Archangels -- to imbue primordial matter with the evolutionary impulses and guide its formative powers in the fashioning of its productions. This it is which is referred to in the sentences, both in the Eastern and Western tradition -- "the Angels were commanded to create." After the Earth has been made ready by the lower and more material powers, and its three Kingdoms fairly started on their way to be "fruitful and multiply," the higher powers, the Archangels or Dhyanis, were compelled by evolutionary Law to descend on Earth, in order to construct the crown of evolution -- MAN. Thus the "Self-created and the Self-existent" projected their pale shadows; but group the Third, the Fire Angels, rebelled and refused to join their fellow Devas. Agreeably to esoteric interpretation, it was a self-sacrifice for the benefit of mankind. The "Rebels" would not create will-less irresponsible men, as the "obedient" angels did; nor could they endow human beings with only the temporary reflections of their own attributes; for even the latter, belonging to another and a so-much higher plane of consciousness, would leave man still irresponsible, hence interfere with any possibility of a higher progress. No spiritual and psychic evolution is possible on earth -- the lowest and most material plane -- for one who on that plane, at all events, is inherently perfect and cannot accumulate either merit or demerit. Man remaining the pale shadow of the inert, immutable, and motionless perfection, the one negative and passive attribute of the real I am that I am, would have been doomed to pass through life on earth as in a heavy dreamless sleep; hence a failure on this plane.

"We combat Protestants and Roman Catholics on a number of dogmatic theological beliefs of human and sectarian origin. We agree with them in their belief in Spirits and intelligent operative powers, though we do not worship 'Angels,' as the Roman Latinists do." It stands to reason that there must be an enormous difference in such terms as "objectivity" and "subjectivity," "materiality" and "spirituality," when the same terms are applied to different planes of being and perception.

Of the seven great divisions of Dhyan-Chohans, or Devas, there is none with which humanity is more concerned than with the Kumaras. Imprudent are the Christian Theologians who have degraded them into fallen Angels, and now call them "Satan" and Demons; as among these heavenly denizens who refuse to create the Archangel Michael -- the greatest patron Saint of Western and Eastern Churches, under his double name of St. Michael and his supposed copy on earth, St. George conquering the DRAGON -- has to be allowed one of the most prominent places. The Kumaras, the "mind-born Sons" of Brahma-Rudra (or Siva), the howling and terrific destroyer of human passions and physical senses, which are ever in the way of the development of the higher spiritual perceptions and the growth of the inner eternal man -- mystically -- are the progeny of Siva, the Mahayogi, the great patron of all the Yogis and mystics of India. They themselves, being the "Virgin-Ascetics," refused to create the material man. Well may they be suspected of a direct connection with the Christian Archangel Michael, the "Virgin Combatant" of the Dragon Apophis, whose victim is every soul united too loosely to its immortal Spirit, the Angel who, as shown by the Gnostics, refused to create just as the Kumaras did.

Siva-Rudra is the Destroyer, as Vishnu is the preserver; both are the regenerators of spiritual as well as of physical nature. To live as a plant, the seed must die. To live as a conscious entity in the Eternity, the passions and senses of man must first DIE before the body does. "To live is to die and to die is to live," has been too little understood in the West. Siva, the destroyer, is the creator and the Saviour of Spiritual man, as he is the good gardener of nature. He weeds out the plants, human and cosmic, and kills the passions of the physical, to call to life the perceptions of the spiritual man.

In the present all-material Fifth Race, the earthly Spirit of the Fourth is still strong in us; but we are approaching the time when the pendulum of evolution will direct its swing decidedly upwards, bringing Humanity back on a parallel line with the primitive third Root-Race in Spirituality. During its childhood, mankind was composed wholly of that Angelic Host, who were the indwelling Spirits that animated the monstrous and gigantic tabernacles of clay of the Fourth Race -- built by (as they are now also) and composed of countless myriads of lives.

The Arhan, though he can see the Past, the Present, and the Future, is not yet the highest Initiate; for the Adept himself, the initiated candidate, becomes chela (pupil) to a higher Initiate. Three further grades have to be conquered by the Arhan who would reach the apex of the ladder of Arhatship. There are those who have reached it even in this fifth race of ours, but the faculties necessary for the attainment of these higher grades will be fully developed in the average ascetic only at the end of this Root-Race, and in the Sixth and Seventh. Thus there will always be Initiates and the Profane till the end of this minor Manvantara, the present life-cycle.


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