THEOSOPHY, Vol. 51, No. 8, June, 1963
(Pages 218-222; Size: 15K)
(Number 14 of a 14-part series)

PROEM

XIV

UNITY of the Universe is an inescapable concept that challenges the human mind. As an abstract idea it is ALL-inclusiveness, essential Indivisibility -- unthinkable in Time-splitting terms of past-present-future, unknowable by any process of fractionation, indescribable save in the revealing/concealing language of Archaic symbols which make Reality intelligible to the intuitive mind.

In a diversified Universe with its multiplicity of objects, its variety of interests, its complexity of relationships, the concept of Unity is elusive. Yet each activity of the human being is a compound unity. In speech, for instance. The words used are a thing apart from what is said, from the tone of voice, the intensity of feeling, the volume of expression, the apparent reason that prompts it, and the underlying motive that colors the whole. The illustration extended would include bodily apparatus, the organs of thought and speech, the molding of facial appearance, etc.

Symbols invite the mind to experience in the world of ideas -- to rise momentarily beyond particularities, disengaging thought processes from all that is personal and trivial. Having risen within itself to the plane of ideas, the will-aspect of mind is strengthened, and whatever of Reality is grasped in that high state may be carried into the consciousness of every-day living as a reminiscent quality, the soul-sense of Unity.

Every symbol has depths or facets of meaning, as shown throughout The Secret Doctrine. The Circle-symbol represents Unity: "The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns." (Proem, 1.) The motion of "proceeding from" and "return" implies the unbroken Unity of the cycle or period of evolution. As symbol of the manifested Universe, however, the Circle is not "one" but a tri-Unity. Its circumference represents the abstract limits of manifestation in Time. Its surface represents the field of consciousness in Space. Its unmanifested Center represents the occult or hidden Root at the heart of All, unaltered by the alternating processes of organization and dissolution. H.P.B. states:

Intra-Cosmic motion is eternal and ceaseless; cosmic motion (the visible, or that which is subject to perception) is finite and periodical.... It is only with reference to the intra-cosmic soul, the ideal Kosmos in the immutable Divine Thought, that we may say: "It never had a beginning nor will it have an end." With regard to its body or Cosmic organization, though it cannot be said that it had a first, or will ever have a last construction, yet at each new Manvantara, its organization may be regarded as the first and the last of its kind, as it evolutes every time on a higher plane. (S.D. I, 3.)
What is the meaning, here, of body equated with "Cosmic organization"? Each in its own way is a form of Unity. Body denotes structure as a whole, and marks outermost boundaries of a formal field. Organization is the totality of inter-related activities within that field, including the highest initiating Intelligences, countless hierarchies of participating Intelligences, down to the least responsive. In the words of Coleridge: "What is organization but the connection of parts in and for a whole, so that each part is, at once, end and means?"

Organization, we may say, is the active aspect of Unity; its opposite is the homogeneous, structureless state -- CHAOS. "Chaos--Theos--Kosmos" is the comprehensive title used by H.P.B. for one of the Chapters in The Secret Doctrine. On the one hand the unconditioned -- Chaos -- "formless as Matter, senseless as Consciousness"; on the other, Kosmos -- the majestic grandeur of a Universal system of Order and Harmony; and between the two, the God-principle, Theos --the "bridge" by which the "Ideas" existing in the "Divine Thought" are impressed on Cosmic substance as the "laws of Nature." The gods, then, in process of organization--

are the vehicle for the manifestation of the divine or universal thought and will. They are the Intelligent Forces that give to and enact in Nature her "laws," while themselves acting according to laws imposed upon them in a similar manner by still higher Powers;... This hierarchy of spiritual Beings, through which the Universal Mind comes into action, is like an army -- a "Host," truly -- by means of which the fighting power of a nation manifests itself, and which is composed of army corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and so forth, each with its separate individuality or life, and its limited freedom of action and limited responsibilities; each contained in a larger individuality, to which its own interests are subservient, and each containing lesser individualities in itself. (S.D. I, 38.)
Organization and unity -- rather than numbers -- are the essentials of an "army." Organization and unity, in the Universal scheme of evolution, work toward qualitative development. From a unitary source, the seed reveals its latent potentialities through processes of unfoldment, and produces a harvest -- one or many -- by way of synthesis, an organic whole. The same principle pertains to all Evolution. The "building of Solomon's Temple" involves both "Natural Impulse" and "self-induced and self-devised efforts." The structural pattern of the human form established, the goal of human evolution is the perfection of an instrument, a functional synthesis. As Wm. Q. Judge points out in the Ocean of Theosophy: "Although reincarnation is the law of nature, the complete trinity of Atma-Buddhi-Manas does not yet fully incarnate in this race.... When that has been accomplished the race will have become as gods, and the godlike trinity being in full possession the entire mass of matter will be perfected and raised up for the next step." (p. 66.)

What delays the full incarnation of the Real Man? Erroneous or limited ideas that make a separative basis for thought and action. The changeless and the changing are in essence One. The human form and the "body of the Universe" are inseparable: "SPACE,... is, in reality, the container and the body of the Universe with its seven principles. It is a body of limitless extent, whose PRINCIPLES, in Occult phraseology -- each being in its turn a septenary -- manifest in our phenomenal world only the grossest fabric of their sub-divisions." (S.D. I, 342.)

This abstruse statement finds application in Robert Crosbie's Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita, Thirteenth Chapter, (pp. 191-3) dealing with "discrimination of the Kshetra (body) from Kshetrajna (soul)." This Chapter is said to contain the whole of Occultism:

This Western mind of ours finds a difficulty in reconciling "changelessness" with "progression"; this is because of Ahankara, the tendency to identify ourselves with forms and conditions. Forms and conditions do change, but not of themselves; there is That which causes change to succeed change, and That is the indwelling spirit, which continually impels the instruments It has evolved towards further perfection. So progress and evolution mean an unfolding from within outward, a constant impulsion towards a better and better instrument for the use of the Spirit -- the Self within. The Spirit, rectifies, sustains and enjoys through Its instrument or vehicle; the ideal progress is a perfected vehicle which will contact and reflect in the highest sense all worlds and all beings.

The term "body" has been used throughout this chapter, but it must not be supposed that only the physical body is meant. The physical body is included in the term, because itself is the product of involution and evolution from higher states of substance or matter. There can be no action unless there is something to be acted upon; that something is the highest substance; it is that which fills all space, and from which all the denser forms of substance or matter have been evolved, and within which they are contained. Thus, the body represents on this plane all the other states of substance from which it has been evolved; it is surrounded by and connected with them. A study of the Seven Principles of Man will give an understanding of this statement, if it is remembered that Man, the Thinker, is not any of his principles; they are his vehicles or instruments.

Discrimination "between body and soul," or the Thinker and his principles, presupposes acute and constant awareness of choice and clarification of values. This results in awareness of Self as Chooser, and of the ever-present perceiving Power. Simultaneously arises a sense of responsibility --the truly human characteristic, and sensitivity to existing tendencies -- the builders of habit, and especially Ahankara, the tendency to identify Self with substance or form or possessions, or anything that can be conjured up by the imagination aroused by desire. The active imagination is the engaged power of Will, and both are aspects of Mind. Together -- a unity -- they create man's life along whatever lines thought functions. As stated in The Ocean of Theosophy: "...every thought combines instantly with one of the elemental forces of nature, becoming to that extent an entity which will endure in accordance with the strength of the thought as it leaves the brain, and all of these are inseparably connected with the being who evolved them. There is no way of escaping; all we can do is to have thoughts of good quality, for the highest of the Masters themselves are not exempt from this law, but they 'people their current in space' with entities powerful for good alone." (p. 102.)

Discrimination in the true sense is an occult practice which each must make his own. It is an attitude of mind, a discipline of responsibility that unites respect for Self and consideration for others, suggested in the following by Robert Crosbie, under the title "What is Occultism?":

Occultism is the not telling all one knows; but reticence.

Occultism is the not saying all one suspects; but silence.

Occultism is the not speaking of all one "sees"; but reverting inward to the source of sight.

Occultism is the not repeating of all one "hears"; but a closed mouth lest hearing should escape therethrough.

Occultism is the not speaking of faults of others; but charity.

Occultism is the not setting of fixed plans; but a fluidic position balanced in the good law.

Occultism is the not laying down for another his duty; but self-watchfulness in performing one's own.

Occultism is the not doing what one wishes and when one wants; but discipline.

Occultism is the not listening to gossip or slander; but good-will to all, from which gossip and slander can draw no sustenance.

Occultism is the not giving way to anger or impatience; but calmness.

Occultism is the not being vain of one's learning, or proud; but humility.

Occultism is the not hurrying one's daily affairs nor forcing one's progress; but knowing the amplitude of time in all things.

Occultism is the not doing all the great work there is to do; but the will to labor, the willingness to accept help or be a helper; the joy that another does a task the best.

Occultism is the not striving to be a leader of men; but to follow a line. (THEOSOPHY 8: 353; 37: 252.)


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 IDEA OF HIDDEN KNOWLEDGE"

An examination of what is known of mysticism and mystical states of consciousness is of great interest in connection with the idea of hidden knowledge. If we follow neither the religious nor the scientific view but try to compare descriptions of the mystical experiences of people of entirely different races, different periods and different religions, we shall find a striking resemblance among these descriptions, which can in no case be explained by similarity of preparation or by resemblance in ways of thinking and feeling. In mystical states utterly different people in utterly different conditions learn one and the same thing and, what is still more striking, in mystical states there is no difference of religions. All the experiences are absolutely identical; the difference can be only in the language and form of the description. In the mysticism of different countries and different peoples the same images, the same discoveries, are invariably repeated. 


--P. D. OUSPENSKY


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