THEOSOPHY, Vol. 51, No. 4, February, 1963
(Pages 75-78; Size: 12K)
(Number 10 of a 14-part series)

PROEM

X

CREATION as an "idea" -- in its transcendent sense -- pertains to realms beyond the reach of mind as it is generally understood. Creation as a "word" stimulates the human mind to endless wonder and meaningful search -- opening avenues of thought to wider vistas of perception, inviting the imagination to flights beyond mere fancy, or, it may be, engaging the true function of the creative power that lies at the root of the image-making faculty. Creation as an "act" is sheer magic --in the truly occult sense of the term. (Magic, Magia, means the "Great Life," or divine life in spirit. The root is magh as seen in the Sanskrit Mahat; Zend, Maz; Greek, Megas, and Latin, Magnus.)

The greatest aid -- or obstacle -- to comprehension of "Creation" lies in the inner attitude, which governs the approach to the idea. Asking why is there a Universe may lead to realization of the interdependence of all that constitutes the objective world, and therefore to reflection on the moral overtones inevitably implied. If one asks how the Universe arose or what brought it into being, he may have the experience of discovering a universal unfolding process, evident on every hand, that invites the searching mind to become naturalist and philosopher. "There is a constant becoming; there has been no beginning, there can be no ending," said the naturalist, John Burroughs. And a similar perception is found in the words of Bernard Shaw: "Life is a constant becoming; all stages lead to the beginning of others." If, however, one should ask who created the Universe, the question implies a "Creator." This is the simplest question, the most direct question, and likewise the final question -- it closes the mind.

The dictionary definition of "creation" implies the same finality. The word's primary meaning is, "specifically, the act of causing to exist, or fact of being brought into existence, by divine power; especially, the act of bringing this world into existence out of nothing." The Secret Doctrine, by way of comparison and contrast, depicts the universal scope and character of Creation.

Page one of Proem presents, in the archaic symbolism of the Point within the Circle, all the elements incident to the drama of Creation. This, as it were, is the "prologue":

The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns. Its circumference -- a forcibly limited symbol, in view of the limitation of the human mind -- indicates the abstract, even incognisable PRESENCE, and its plane, the Universal Soul, although the two are one.... It is on this plane that the Manvantaric manifestations begin; for it is in this SOUL that slumbers, during the Pralaya, the Divine Thought, wherein lies concealed the plan of every future Cosmogony and Theogony.
A footnote reminds the reader that "Divine Thought," like "Universal Mind," must not be regarded as even vaguely shadowing forth an intellectual process akin to that exhibited by man. That is, "Divine Thought" does not imply the idea of a "Divine Thinker."

What key to the magic of Creation does this quotation from Proem provide? The incognizable PRESENCE and the "Universal Soul" are one. In that Soul is the "Divine Thought." And within the Divine Thought is the "plan" of the Universe-to-be. A plan implies "intelligence" to sketch and guide the unfoldment of its possibilities. In the symbolism of Point, Plane, and Circumference of the abstract Circle are three aspects of the Indissoluble Unity -- come Manvantara or Pralaya. Within the ALL-containing Reality or Principle is the "plan" and Mind is the "active aspect." As said in The Ocean of Theosophy, by Wm. Q. Judge:

Mind is the intelligent part of the Cosmos, and in the collection of seven differentiations [above roughly sketched], Mind is that in which the plan of the Cosmos is fixed or contained. This plan is brought over from a prior period of manifestation which added to its ever-increasing perfectness, and no limit can be set to its evolutionary possibilities in perfectness. Because there was never any beginning to the periodical manifestations of the Absolute, there never will be any end, but forever the going forth and withdrawing into the Unknown will go on. (p. 15.)
What marks the moment in Time when "Creation" begins -- the dividing line between Manvantara and Pralaya -- the beginning of the Cosmic Day? According to the Stanzas of the Book of Dzyan:
I. The Eternal Parent (Space), wrapped in her ever invisible robes, had slumbered once again for seven eternities.

II. .... Where were the builders, the luminous sons of manvantaric dawn?

    The hour had not yet struck;...

III. The last vibration of the seventh eternity thrills through infinitude....

    The vibration sweeps along, touching with its swift wing the whole universe,...

Preceding her Commentary on this verse of Stanza Three, H.P.B. speaks of the magic of Motion -- "TOUCHING WITH ITS SWIFT WING (simultaneously) THE WHOLE UNIVERSE,..." (S.D. I, 63.) In the principle of unbroken unity in Time is the magic of the Cycle.

Motion -- eternal, ceaseless Motion -- is the "one absolute attribute" of the ONE LIFE. "That which is motionless cannot be Divine. But then there is nothing in fact and reality absolutely motionless within the universal soul." (S.D. I, 2.) On the plane of physical manifestation: "Occultism says that in all cases when matter appears inert, it is the most active. A wooden or a stone block is motionless and impenetrable to all intents and purposes. Nevertheless, and de facto, its particles are in ceaseless eternal vibration which is so rapid that to the physical eye the body seems absolutely devoid of motion; and the spacial distance between particles in their vibratory motion is -- considered from another plane of being and perception -- as great as that which separates snow flakes or drops of rain." (S.D. I, 507-8 fn.)

In the truly philosophical sense, then, Motion embraces all gradations of movement including apparent "rest" -- as the swing of the pendulum illustrates. Having swung to its utmost point, the pendulum reaches a stopping-point which is, at the same time, the "point of return." The unbroken continuity that constitutes the thread of the cycles is illustrated also in this verse from the 1st Book of Manu: "At the expiration of each night (pralaya) Brahma, having been asleep, awakes, and, through the sole energy of the motion, CAUSES to emanate from itself the spirit, which in its essence is, and yet is not."

This paradox is implicit in the mystery of Creation which must forever remain incomprehensible without knowledge of the nature of Preservation and of Destruction -- the other two aspects of the manifesting Power. Without preservation, what is "created" would at once cease to exist -- whereas destruction constitutes the change to which every "created" thing is immediately subject.

Creation suggests the "Song of Life," -- uttering itself wherever the cycle of Life is on its ascending arc. Destruction typifies the "Dance of Death" -- the essence of change. Death has its grim aspect for the human mind that associates it with personal loss alone, or shuns consideration of its actuality, but the symbolism of the dance provides the concept with all-encompassing scope and universality.

What associations are basic to the "dance"? Spontaneous activity; combinations of movement; vivid representation through perfection of movement of the unseen powers and forces behind the appearance of the dancer -- every conceivable phenomenon of change lends itself to one of these categories. Death may devastate mercilessly, with a vitality suggested by the spinning Dervish. It may, on the other hand, fulfill itself without shadow of disturbance in the surrounding atmosphere. And in the evolution of man, the significance of Death has a philosophical import, as expressed in the mantramic statement of Wm. Q. Judge: "To the Ego, death comes ever as a friend."

The change called death or destruction is constantly observed and experienced, and is natural to the universal process of evolution -- "just as a perfect flower must cease to be a perfect flower and die, in order to grow into a perfect fruit ..."

Between the "great opposites" of Creation and Destruction is Preservation -- permanency in Space and continuity in Time -- which makes possible the record of sequential phenomena and events, the basis of all sciences and the histories of peoples.

Every Great Teacher represents the threefold universal process: "I produce myself among creatures, O son of Bharata, whenever there is a decline of virtue and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world; and thus I incarnate from age to age for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of righteousness," said Krishna in The Bhagavad-Gita. And H.P.B. came "to break the moulds of men's minds."

For each man to know himself as Creator-Preserver-Destroyer means that the Promethean powers of the Soul are unbound. The Unity of the Point and Circumference is realized on the Plane of action, through the use of the powers of Thought, Will and Feeling, or Imagination. "In this curve of the cycle," said Wm. Q. Judge, "each man is his own authority."


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