THEOSOPHY, Vol. 60, No. 12, October, 1972
(Pages 365-372; Size: 23K)

"THE TRINITARIAN IDEA"(1)

The Real Man is the trinity of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or Spirit and Mind, and he uses certain agents to get in touch with nature in order to know himself. 

--The Ocean of Theosophy
THE first and Fundamental dogma of Occultism is Universal Unity (or Homogeneity) under three aspects. With Pythagoras, the MONAD returns into silence and Darkness as soon as it has evolved the triad, from which emanate the remaining seven numbers of the 10 (ten) numbers which are at the base of the manifested universe. This very trinitarian idea, as well as the so bitterly denounced doctrine of emanations, whence their remotest origins? In the sublime and profoundest of all the philosophies, that of the universal "Wisdom-Religion," the first traces of which, historical research now finds in the old pre-Vedic religion of India.

Swayambhouva is the unrevealed Deity; it is the Being existent through and of itself; he is the central and immortal germ of all that exists in the universe. Three trinities emanate and are confounded in him, forming a Supreme unity. These trinities, or the triple Trimurti, are: the Nara, Nari, and Varadyi -- the initial triad; the Agni, Vaya and Sourya -- the manifested triad; Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, the creative triad. Each of these triads becomes less metaphysical and more adapted to the vulgar intelligence as it descends. Thus the last becomes but the symbol of its concrete expression; the necessarianism of a purely metaphysical conception. Together with Swayambhouva, they are the ten Sephiroth of the Hebrew kabalists, the ten Hindu Prajapatis (Progenitors) -- the En-Soph of the former, answering to the great Unknown.

We meet the Trinity northeast of the Indus; and tracing it to Asia Minor and Europe, recognize it among every people who had anything like an established religion. It was taught in the oldest Chaldean, Egyptian, and Mithraic schools. The Chaldean Sun-god, Mithra, was called "Triple," and the trinitarian idea of the Chaldeans was a doctrine of the Akkadians, who, themselves belonged to a race which was the first to conceive a metaphysical trinity.

"For from this Triad, in the bosoms, are all things governed," says a Chaldean oracle. The Phos, Pur, and Phlox, of Sanchoniathon, are Light, Fire, and Flame, three manifestations of the Sun who is one. The Persian triplicate Deity also consists of three persons, Ormazd, Mithra, and Ahriman. "That is that principle," says Porphyry, "which the author of the Chaldaic Summary saith, 'They conceive there is one principle of all things, and declare that is one and good'." The Chinese idol Sanpao, consists of three equal in all respects; and the Peruvians "supposed their Tanga-tanga to be one in three, and three in one," says Faber. The Egyptians have their Emepht, Eicton, and Phta; and the triple god seated on the Lotus can be seen in the St. Petersburg Museum, on a medal of the Northern Tartars.

Space is called the "Mother" before its Cosmic activity, and Father-Mother at the first stage of re-awakening. In the Kabala it is also Father-Mother-Son. But whereas in the Eastern doctrine, these are the Seventh Principle of the Manifested Universe, or its "Atma-Buddhi-Manas" (Spirit, Soul, Intelligence), the triad branching off and dividing into the seven cosmical and seven human principles, in the Western Kabala of the Christian mystics it is the Triad or Trinity, and with their occultists, the male-female Jehovah, Jah-Havah. In this lies the whole difference between the esoteric and the Christian trinities. The Mystics and the Philosophers, the Eastern and Western Pantheists, synthesize their pregenetic triad in the pure divine abstraction. The orthodox, anthropomorphize it. Hiranyagarbha, Hari, and Sankara -- the three hypostases of the manifesting "Spirit of the Supreme Spirit" -- are the purely metaphysical abstract qualities of formation, preservation, and destruction, and are the three divine Avasthas (lit., hypostases) of that which "does not perish with created things" (or Achyuta, a name of Vishnu); whereas the orthodox Christian separates his personal creative Deity into the three persons of the Trinity, and admits of no higher Deity.

Among the Church dogmas which have most seriously suffered of late at the hands of the Orientalists, the last in question -- stands conspicuous. The reputation of each of the three personages of the anthropomorphic godhead as an original revelation to the Christians through Divine Will, has been badly compromised by inquiry into its predecessors and origin. Orientalists have published more about the similarity between Brahmanism, Buddhism, and Christianity than was strictly agreeable to the Vatican. Everyone knows the Christian dogma of the "three in one" and "one in three"; therefore it is useless to repeat that which may be found in every catechism. Athanasius, the Church Father who defined the Trinity as a dogma, had little necessity of drawing upon inspiration or his own brain power; he had but to turn to one of the innumerable trinities of the heathen creeds, or to the Egyptian priests, in whose country he had lived all his life. He modified slightly only one of the three "persons." All the triads of the Gentiles were composed of the Father, Mother, and the Son. By making it "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," he changed the dogma only outwardly, as the Holy Ghost had always been feminine, and Jesus is made to address the Holy Ghost as his "mother" in every Gnostic Gospel.

The Trikaya, literally, three bodies or forms, once understood, explains the mystery of every triad or trinity, and is a true key to every threefold metaphysical symbol. In its most simple and comprehensive form it is found in the human Entity in its triple division into spirit, soul, and body, and in the universe, regarded pantheistically, as a unity composed of a Deific, purely spiritual Principle, Supernal Beings -- its direct rays -- and Humanity. The origin of this is found in the teachings of the prehistoric Wisdom-Religion, or Esoteric Philosophy. The grand Pantheistic ideal, of the unknown and unknowable Essence being transformed first into subjective, then into objective matter, is at the root of all these triads and triplets.

Life we look upon as "the one form of existence," manifested in what is called matter; or, as in man, what, incorrectly separating them, we name Spirit, and Matter. Matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of the soul on this plane of existence, and soul is the vehicle on a higher plane for the manifestation of spirit, and these three are a trinity synthesized by Life, which pervades them all. Spirit and Matter are to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective. The three worlds are Swarga, Bhumi, and Patala -- or, Heaven, Earth, and Hell in popular beliefs. Esoterically, these are the Spiritual and Psychic (or astral) regions, and the Terrestrial sphere.

Say the Kabalists: "The Deity is one, because It is infinite. It is triple, because it is ever manifesting." This manifestation is triple in its aspects, for it requires, as Aristotle has it, three principles for every natural body to become objective: privation, form, and matter. Privation meant in the mind of the great philosopher that which the Occultists call the prototypes impressed in the Astral Light -- the lowest plane and world of Anima Mundi. The union of these three principles depends upon a fourth -- the LIFE which radiates from the summits of the Unreachable, to become an universally diffused Essence on the manifested planes of Existence. And this QUATERNARY (Father, Mother, Son, as a UNITY, and a quaternary, as a living manifestation) has been the means of leading to the very archaic Idea of Immaculate Conception, now finally crystalized into a dogma of the Christian Church, which carnalized this metaphysical idea beyond all common sense.

In Occult metaphysics there are, properly speaking, two "ONES" -- the One on the unreachable plane of Absoluteness and Infinity, on which no speculation is possible, and the Second "One" on the plane of Emanations. The former can neither emanate nor be divided, as it is eternal, absolute, and immutable. The Second, being, so to speak, the reflection of the first One (for it is the Logos, or Eswara, in the Universe of Illusion), can do all this. It emanates from itself -- as the upper Sephirothal Triad emanates the lower seven Sephiroth -- the seven Rays or Dhyan Chohans; in other words, the Homogeneous becomes the Heterogeneous, the "Protyle" differentiates into the Elements.

Everything in the Universe follows analogy. "As above, so below"; Man is the microcosm of the Universe. That which takes place on the spiritual plane repeats itself on the Cosmic plane. Concretion follows the lines of abstraction; corresponding to the highest must be the lowest; the material to the spiritual. Thus, corresponding to the Sephirothal Crown (or upper triad) there are the three elemental Kingdoms, which precede the Mineral, and which, using the language of the Kabalists, answer in the Cosmic differentiation to the worlds of Form and Matter from the Super-Spiritual to the Archetypal.

Only the seven Self-born primordial "gods" emanated from the trinitarian ONE. The ten Sephiroth are contemplated as a group of three triads: Kether, Chochmah and Binah form the supernal triad; Chesed, Geburah and Tipereth, the second; and Netzach, Hod and Jesod, the inferior triad. This is orthodox Western Kabala. Eastern Occultists recognise but one triad -- the upper one (corresponding to Atma-Buddhi and the "Envelope" which reflects their light, the three in one) -- and count seven lower Sephiroth, every one of which stands for a "principle," beginning with the Higher Manas and ending with the Physical body -- of which Malkuth is the representative in the Microcosm and the Earth in the Macrocosm.

As in the oldest Grecian Cosmogony, differing widely from the later mythology, Eros is the third person in the primeval trinity: Chaos, Gaea, Eros: answering to the Kabalistic En-Soph (for Chaos is SPACE, "void") the Boundless ALL, Shekinah and the Ancient of Days, or the Holy Ghost; so Fohat is one thing in the yet unmanifested Universe and another in the phenomenal and Cosmic World. In the latter, he is that Occult, electric, vital power, which, under the Will of the Creative Logos, unites and brings together all forms, giving them the first impulse which becomes in time law.

But in the unmanifested Universe, Fohat is no more this, than Eros is the later brilliant winged Cupid, or LOVE. When the "Divine Son" breaks forth, then Fohat becomes the propelling force, the active Power which causes the ONE to become TWO and THREE -- on the Cosmic plane of manifestation. The triple One differentiates into the many, and then Fohat is transformed into that force which brings together the elemental atoms and makes them aggregate and combine. We find an echo of this primeval teaching in early Greek mythology. Erebos and Nux are born out of Chaos, and, under the action of Eros, give birth in their turn to Æther and Hemera, the light of the superior and the light of the inferior or terrestrial regions. Darkness generates light. In the Puranas this is found in Brahma's "Will" or desire to create; and in the Phoenician Cosmogony of Sanchoniathon the doctrine that desire is the principle of creation.

"The one Universal Light, which to Man is Darkness, is ever existent," says the Chaldean "Book of Numbers." From it proceeds periodically the ENERGY, which is reflected in the "Deep" or Chaos, the store-house of future worlds, and, once awakened, stirs up and fructifies the latent Forces, which are the ever present eternal potentialities in it. Then awake anew the Brahmâs and Buddhas -- the co-eternal Forces -- and a new Universe springs into being.

The Vedanta philosophy teaches as much as Occult philosophy that our monad during its life on earth as a triad (the 7th, 6th, and 5th principles), has, besides the condition of pure intelligence, three conditions; namely, waking, dreaming, and sushupti -- a state of dreamless sleep -- from the standpoint of terrestrial conceptions; of real, actual soul-life -- from the occult standpoint. While man is either dreamlessly, profoundly asleep or in a trance state, the triad (Spirit, Soul and Mind) enters into perfect union with Paramatma, the Supreme Universal Soul.

"Man," says Plutarch, "is compound; and they are mistaken who think him to be compounded of two parts only. For they imagine that the understanding (brain intellect) is a part of the soul (the upper Triad), but they err in this no less than those who make the soul to be a part of the body, i.e., those who make of the Triad part of the corruptible mortal quaternary." Christos is not only one of the three higher principles, but all the three regarded as a Trinity. This Trinity represents the Holy Ghost, the Father, and the Son, as it answers to abstract spirit, differentiated spirit, and embodied spirit. Krishna and Christ are philosophically the same principle under its triple aspect of manifestation. In the Bhagavatgita we find Krishna calling himself indifferently Atman, the abstract spirit, Kshetragna, the Higher or reincarnating Ego, and the Universal SELF, all names which, when transferred from the Universe to man, answer to Atma, Buddhi and Manas.

The Zohar teaches that it is the primordial elements -- the trinity of Fire, Air and Water -- the four cardinal points, and all the Forces of Nature, which form collectively the VOICE of the WILL Memrab, or the "Word," the Logos of the Absolute Silent ALL. In the Sepher Jezirah, the Kabalistic Book of Creation, the author has evidently repeated the words of Manu. In it the Divine Substance is represented as having alone existed from the eternity, boundless and absolute; and as having emitted from itself the Spirit. "One is the Spirit of the living God, blessed be his Name, who liveth for ever! Voice, Spirit, and Word, this is the Holy Spirit." And this is the Kabalistic abstract Trinity, so unceremoniously anthropomorphized by the Fathers. From this triple ONE emanated the whole Kosmos. First from ONE emanated number TWO, or Air, the creative element; and then number THREE, Water, proceeded from the air; Ether or Fire complete the mystic four, the Arba-il. In the Eastern doctrine Fire is the first Element -- Ether, synthesizing the whole (since it contains all of them).

The Sun (the Father), the Moon (the Mother), and Mercury-Thoth (the Son), were the earliest Trinity of the Egyptians, who personified them in Osiris, Isis, and Thoth (Hermes). In Pistis Sophia, the seven great gods, divided into two triads and the highest God (the Sun), are: the lower "Trinity," whose powers reside respectively in Mars, Mercury and Venus; and the higher Triad ("the three unseen gods") who dwell in the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. The Sun is the giver of life to the whole planetary system; the Moon is the giver of life to our globe; and the early races understood and knew it, even in their infancy. She is the Queen and she is the King, and was King Soma before she became transformed into Phoebe and the chaste Diana. She is pre-eminently the deity of the Christians, through the Mosaic and Kabalistic Jews, though the civilized world may have remained ignorant of the fact for long ages; in fact, ever since the last initiated Father of the Church died, carrying with him into his grave the secrets of the pagan temples.

Fire, Water and Air are the primordial Cosmic Trinity [says Pymander], "I am thy Thought, thy God, more ancient than the moist principle, the light that radiates within Darkness (Chaos), and the shining Word of God (Sound) is the Son of the Deity."

The "Father" of primitive physical man, or of his body, is the vital electric principle residing in the Sun. The moon is its Mother, because of that mysterious power in the Moon which has as decided an influence upon human gestation and generation, which it regulates, as it has on the growth of plants and animals. The "Wind" or Ether, standing in this case for the agent of transmission by which those influences are carried down from the two luminaries and diffused upon Earth, is referred to as the "nurse"; while "Spiritual Fire" alone makes of a man a divine and perfect entity.

Now what is that "Spiritual Fire"? In alchemy it is HYDROGEN, in general; while in esoteric actuality it is the emanation or the Ray which proceeds from its noumenon, the "Dhyan of the first Element." Hydrogen is gas only on our terrestrial plane. But even in chemistry hydrogen "would be the only existing form of matter, in our sense of the term," and is very nearly allied to protyle, which is our layam. It is the father and generator, so to say, or rather the Upadhi (basis), of both AIR and WATER, and is "fire, air and water," in fact: one under three aspects; hence the chemical and alchemical trinity. In the world of manifestation or matter it is the objective symbol and the material emanation from the subjective and purely spiritual entitative Being in the region of noumena. That which Hydrogen is to the elements and gases on the objective plane, its noumenon is in the world of mental or subjective phenomena; since its trinitarian latent nature is mirrored in its three active emanations from the three higher principles in man, namely, "Spirit, Soul, and Mind," or Atma, Buddhi, and Manas. Rudimentary man, having been nursed by the "air" or the "wind," becomes the perfect man later on; when, with the development of "Spiritual fire," the noumenon of the "Three in One" within his Self, he acquires from his inner Self, or Instructor, the Wisdom of Self-Consciousness, which he does not possess in the beginning. Thus here again divine Spirit is symbolised by the Sun or Fire; divine Soul by Water and the Moon, both standing for the Father and Mother of Pneuma, human Soul, or Mind, symbolised by the Wind or air, for Pneuma, means "breath."

The culmination of the Secret Work is Spiritual Perfect Man, at one end of the line; the union of the three elements is the Occult Solvent in the "Soul of the World," the Cosmic Soul or Astral Light, at the other; and, on the material plane, it is Hydrogen in its relation to the other gases. The TO ON (of Plato), truly; the ONE "whom no person has seen except the Son"; this sentence applying both to the metaphysical and physical Kosmos, and to the spiritual and material Man. For how could the latter understand the TO ON the "One Father," if his Manas, the "Son," does not become (as) "One with the Father," and through this absorption receive enlightenment from the "divine instructor," Guru -- Atma-Buddhi?


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:

DISCOVERING THE POWERS OF SELF

We would open the door to all powers by a daily and hourly living in accordance with the nature of the Self -- seeing that every other being is but an aspect of Self, and acting so that every other being will be helped on its way. For we cannot go on our way alone. We have our duty to fulfil by every other being, whether in the kingdoms below us, without which we could not exist, or in the human kingdom. Every other stands as a vicarious atonement for us -- an object lesson -- and if we have reached a point higher than that which is ordinarily reached by men, then all the more are we constrained to duty by them. 


--ROBERT CROSBIE

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