THEOSOPHY, Vol. 51, No. 6, April, 1963
(Pages 138-141; Size: 12K)
(Number 12 of a 14-part series)

PROEM

XII

MONAD, Monads, and "monadic essence" are Theosophically-used terms that focus the mind on the basic concept of Unity -- in the Universe, of the Universe, throughout the Universe. Whatever the words, comprehension of the idea of Unity constitutes "the beginning, the middle, and the end" of meaning insofar as concerns the Universe in which we live, of which our movement is an intrinsic part, and whose Center is the "center" of every Being of whatsoever degree of consciousness, or grade of intelligence.

The importance of grasping this idea, of not being misled by terms, is indicated by H.P.B.: "Those unable to seize the difference between the monad -- the Universal Unit -- and the Monads or the manifested Unity, as also between the ever-hidden and the revealed LOGOS or the Word, ought never to meddle in philosophy, let alone the Esoteric Sciences." (S.D. I, 614.)

Is this not the primary reason why Proem begins with introduction of the Ancient Symbolism? Symbols speak to the aspect of mind that is not enmeshed in words -- the intuition. In the statement, "The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns," the intuitive mind will perceive this inherent movement, and its subsequent inevitable phases, in the light of the "divine Unity" -- the unbroken circle, the One -- unaltered in its universal sense, continuous in its changing aspects.

This is the first idea presented in the Stanzas from the Book of Dzyan that is not "beyond the range and reach of thought." It is a stage within the "Universal Unit" and pertains to Stanza III, as shown by an introductory note:

Stanza III. describes the Re-awakening of the Universe to life after Pralaya. It depicts the emergence of the "Monads" from their state of absorption within the ONE; the earliest and highest stage in the formation of "Worlds," the term Monad being one which may apply equally to the vastest Solar System or the tiniest atom. (p. 21.)
The emergence from, or state of arising, following dissolution, or the state of absorption within the One -- in unceasing rhythm -- is the majestic pulsation characteristic of the Law of manifestation. The One Law, being universal, adapts to each "Cycle of Necessity" as the "tendency in the Universe to restore equilibrium." This continuous motion embraces the "natural impulse" toward evolutionary progression in the kingdoms of Nature below man, as well as the compelling "self-induced and self-devised efforts" of a higher stage. Without relation to Time as we know it, this Law governs on every plane in accordance with conditions, impersonally, and whatever is persists with its own form of continuity. Nations rise and fall, and mighty monuments perish in the course of Time, and yet, to quote The Voice of the Silence: "E'en wasted smoke remains not traceless. A harsh word uttered in past lives is not destroyed, but ever comes again," until conditions for the dissolution of that form of continuity are present. But always continuity underlies change.

Stanza III is dynamic. The Universe is no longer "concealed in the Divine Thought and the Divine Bosom" as in Stanza II. But what is implied in "the formation of Worlds"?

The "re-awakening" of the Universe to life is simultaneously the conditioning of Consciousness, and the building of a vehicle of life -- electric, magnetic, energic, to gain experience in life:

Manvantaric impulse commences with the re-awakening of Cosmic Ideation (the "Universal Mind") concurrently with, and parallel to the primary emergence of Cosmic Substance -- the latter being the manvantaric vehicle of the former -- from its undifferentiated pralayic state. Then, absolute wisdom mirrors itself in its Ideation; which, by a transcendental process, superior to and incomprehensible by human Consciousness, results in Cosmic Energy (Fohat). Thrilling through the bosom of inert Substance, Fohat impels it to activity, and guides its primary differentiations on all the Seven planes of Cosmic Consciousness....

There can be no manifestation of Consciousness,... except through the vehicle of matter; that is to say, on this our plane, wherein human consciousness in its normal state cannot soar beyond what is known as transcendental metaphysics, it is only through some molecular aggregation or fabric that Spirit wells up in a stream of individual or sub-conscious subjectivity. And as Matter existing apart from perception is a mere abstraction, both of these aspects of the ABSOLUTE -- Cosmic Substance and Cosmic Ideation -- are mutually inter-dependent. (S.D. I, 328-9.)

In the language of the Archaic Stanza: "Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end is fastened to Spirit (Purusha), the light of the one Darkness, and the lower one to Matter (Prakriti) its (the Spirit's) shadowy end; and this web is the Universe spun out of the two substances made in one, which is Swâbhâvat...." (S.D. I, 83.)

Each atom is "a part of the web," and each ... "becomes in turn a world." An atom -- a "concrete manifestation of the Universal Energy" -- has the potentiality of self-consciousness in it, and is a Universe "in itself, and for itself." The Web of the Universe is, then, a living, breathing (expanding and contracting), conscious Unity -- a Being. Formation, re-formation, transformation.

The simple, graphic imagery of the web as Universe is an illustration of how illusory ordinary "values" can be. With a tendency to categorize, we would perhaps think of Spirit as "good," or higher or superior or more important than Matter, and overlook the hidden factor in the analogy of the "web." Is the warp of the network of delicate threads spun by the spider more important than the woof? The "interlacing" constitutes the structure, becomes the texture, provides the usefulness of a field of experience to some form or forms of Intelligence. In the "trinity" of Spirit, Matter, and the Intelligences that work in, through, and upon the web of living Substance, Brotherhood is the fact of interdependent Unity.

Monad, Monads and "monadic essence" pertain to the dynamic development of every Being in the Universe -- spiritual evolution. "As the Monads are uncompounded things,... it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation, which properly constitutes the Monad -- not the atomic aggregation, which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and the higher degrees of intelligence." (S.D. I, 179.)

In The Ocean of Theosophy, William Q. Judge asks: "What then is the universe for, and for what final purpose is man the immortal thinker here in evolution?" He continues:

It is all for the experience and emancipation of the soul, for the purpose of raising the entire mass of manifested matter up to the stature, nature, and dignity of conscious god-hood. The great aim is to reach self-consciousness; not through a race or a tribe or some favored nation, but by and through the perfecting, after transformation, of the whole mass of matter as well as what we now call soul. (p. 60.)
Perhaps the most marked characteristic of developing intelligence is the irrepressible desire for freedom, though it means struggle and brings pain. Not simply being but awareness of being gives scope and depth to the life of Soul. Adaptation to environment in the lower kingdoms is achievement, in Man it spells conformity and revolts the Soul. Security that springs from surroundings of the familiar circumscribes the consciousness, and the Pilgrim-soul finds challenge in complexity of conditionings, adventure in Self-discovery and the perfection of understanding. What constitutes "emancipation of the soul"? This expression from Coleridge gives food for thought:
The medium, by which spirits understand each other, is not the surrounding air; but the freedom which they possess in common, as the common ethereal element of that being, the tremulous reciprocations of which they propagate themselves even to the inmost of the soul. Where the spirit of man is not filled with the consciousness of freedom (were it only from its restlessness, as one struggling in bondage) all spiritual intercourse is interrupted, not only with others, but even with himself.
Emancipation implies liberation from something that controls or dominates -- the "bonds of Karma." It also suggests a freedom which one's own judgment or conscience or intelligence decrees the course to be taken, the principles to be followed. Self-determination is the unique power of Soul, whereby it knows itself a solely responsible "Unit." The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy "admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations." Complete freedom is in complete identity with All. What is there to lose, or to gain, at the Heart of the Universe?

W.Q.J. said: "Through linked centers of life the self-conscious is born of the monadic."


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:

TO "TRY TO INDICATE"

The One is in truth beyond all statement: any affirmation is of a thing; but the all-transcending, resting above even the most august Divine Mind, possesses alone of all true being and is not a thing among things; we can give it no name because that would imply predication: we can try to indicate, in our own feeble way, something, concerning it. 


--PLOTINUS

Next article:
PROEM
XIII
(Part 13 of a 14-part series)

Back to the
"PROEM"
series complete list of articles.

Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".



Main Page | Introductory Brochure | Volume 1--> Setting the Stage
Karma and Reincarnation | Science | Education | Economics | Race Relations
The WISDOM WORLD | World Problems & Solutions | The People*s Voice | Misc.