THEOSOPHY, Vol. 51, No. 3, January, 1963
(Pages 59-62; Size: 12K)
(Number 9 of a 14-part series)

PROEM

IX

[All contemporary Theosophical writing might be considered, from one standpoint, an introduction to the works of H. P. Blavatsky. As familiarity with the broad outlines of his work proceeds, each student discovers, further, the need for contemplative attention to those metaphysics she termed an "essential part of the Secret Doctrine." The "Proem" to the book of that title (The Secret Doctrine) involves much of the abstract and abstruse. Articles appearing under the title "Proem" represent one avenue of explorations. --Editors, THEOSOPHY]
INTELLIGENCE is as difficult of definition as Life itself, or as Time. Definition is intended for clarification. It may prevent confusion, but it may also limit the lines of inquiry, as when something named is regarded as something known, or when terms have a profound metaphysical meaning, such as Intelligence, Life, and Time.

Wherever there is movement -- that is, Motion --these three are inseparably involved: some aspect of Mind, some state of Consciousness, and some period of Duration, which may be infinitely small, or vast as the "Seven Eternities" of the opening verse of Stanza I of the Book of Dzyan.

The First Stanza refers to the Pralaya of the Universe -- the Night of Brahma -- the abstract state of "boundlessness," when--

TIME was not, for it lay asleep in the infinite bosom of Duration.

Universal MIND was not, for there were no Ah-hi to contain it.... and

LIFE pulsated unconscious in Universal Space.

What is the key to the understanding of the mysterious verses of the First Stanza? Or, should we ask ourselves, What was? In the answer to this question is the sure and only key -- essential Unity. In the words of the First Fundamental Proposition of The Secret Doctrine, it is "Be-ness" under its two philosophically conceivable aspects of "absolute abstract Motion" and "absolute abstract Space."

Correspondentially and logically, during the Manvantaric phase of the Universe -- the Day of Brahma -- the secret of understanding is in the realization of that essential Unity: the mysteries of Life, the paradoxes and problems of living, the anomalies in nature and in human nature are "knowable" in the light of that indivisible UNITY. How could one speak of an "aspect" of mind, a "degree" of intelligence, a "state" of consciousness, a "moment" or "cycle" of time, except for the implied unity in each respective phrase, and the sensed unity in variety as a Whole? Indissoluble Unity -- unbroken, whether the Universe is in-or-out of manifestation.

In attempting to rationalize separatively the initial "conditioning" of Consciousness, the primal "manifestation" of Mind, the ultimate "division" of Time, anthropomorphic deities are born or sustained; the perceptions are clouded and the concepts confused, and man becomes the helpless creature, or victim, of his own power to think, to create. The counsel of Robert Crosbie in one of his early letters in The Friendly Philosopher is pertinent here:

May I add one word to you, as a friend and brother: make clean and clear, first, the mental conceptions and perceptions; the rest will follow naturally; there will be no destruction -- the undesirable will die a natural death. "Grow as the flowers grow," from within outwards. (p. 8.)
"Time," says The Secret Doctrine, "is only an illusion produced by the succession of our states of consciousness as we travel through eternal duration,..." (I, 37.) Time as we know it, being continuous, is a binding element uniting Past, Present, and Future. Time is also a bounding factor, marking the beginning and ending of any manifestation, and defining the cyclic changes in experience that intervene. The story-teller begins the magic tale with "Once upon a time" and the mind is drawn to a focus, for a "beginning" in Time. With the closing words, "and they lived happily ever after," the woven spell is broken, the story "ends," but the sense of continuity in Time remains. If the tale is tragic, the consequences that unfold do not end with the telling of the tale.

In Cosmogenesis, Time has a dynamic character. The first page of the Proem to The Secret Doctrine is filled with expectation. The Point-symbol foretokens the Day of Brahma -- the great Cycle-to-be of manifesting Life through evolutionary progress, the unfoldment of latent potentialities. The symbol of "the Point in the Mundane Egg" represents "the germ which will become the Universe, the ALL, the boundless, periodical Kosmos, this germ being latent and active, periodically and by turns."

What is a "germ"? Figuratively, it is the primary source of anything; that from which a thing may be developed as from a seed. Actually, a germ is a "rudimentary vital element." In the present context, element is the essential root, the irreducible basis or character or quality of any form of manifestation. Rudiment is that which is undeveloped -- an "unfinished beginning," according to the dictionary. And "in Occultism":

The word Element means "rudiment" in every case. When we say "Elementary Man," we mean either the proëmial, incipient sketch of man, in its unfinished and undeveloped condition, hence in that form which now lies latent in physical man during his life-time,... With regard to "Element," when the term is used metaphysically, it means, in distinction to the mortal, the incipient divine man; and, in its physical usage, inchoate matter in its first undifferentiated condition, or in the laya state,... (S.D. I, 567).
The word vital (Latin vita, life) applies to a manifestation of Life -- a power, force, energy, or motion animating and sustaining every form, visible or invisible. Its connotations are: pertaining to life, existent as a manifestation of life, necessary to the continuance of life. William Q. Judge says, in The Ocean of Theosophy, "Life sustains all the forms requiring life...." He adds:
Life is a universally pervasive principle. It is the ocean in which the earth floats; it permeates the globe and every being and object on it. It works unceasingly on and around us forever. When we occupy a body we merely use a more specialized instrument than any other for dealing with Prana and Jiva (Life Energy). Strictly speaking, Prana is breath; and as breath is necessary for the continuance of life in the human machine, that is the better word. Jiva means "life," and also is applied to the living soul, for the soul in general is derived from the Supreme Life itself.
The idea of a "Universe of Life" is suggested by the title of Mr. Judge's book. The imagery of "Ocean" suggests the boundless, also both shallow waters and undeterminable depths, the unceasing rhythms and interpenetrating movements, the playful sports of recreation and "high adventure," and finally the other shore to be reached by the undaunted soul whose goal is Self-knowledge.

The book opens with a definition: "Theosophy is that ocean of knowledge which spreads from shore to shore of the evolution of sentient beings;..." And Patanjali's Yoga Aphorisms (9, Book II) widens the horizon of meaning here implied: "The tenacious wish for existence upon earth is inherent in all sentient beings, and continues through all incarnations, because it has self-reproductive power. It is felt as well by the wise as the unwise." Mr. Judge's note on the Aphorism gives it "Manvantaric" scope:

There is in the spirit a natural tendency, throughout a Manvantara, to manifestation on the material plane, on and through which only, the spiritual monads can attain their development; and this tendency, acting through the physical basis common to all sentient beings, is extremely powerful and continues through all incarnations, helping to cause them, in fact, and re-producing itself in each incarnation.
Intelligence is Creative, Preservative, and Destructive -- since all regeneration or re-creation is necessarily preceded by destruction. Intelligence is Individual, Collective, and Hierarchical. The sum total of Intelligences is the Universal Mind, therefore every definition of intelligence is limiting. According to the dictionary: Intelligence is (a) formerly, the faculty of understanding; the capacity to know or apprehend; the intellect as a gift or an endowment -- in which sense it commonly designates a concrete or embodied intellect. Its meaning may cover any power of apprehension or be loosely equivalent to mind. (b) The capacity for knowledge and understanding, especially as applied to the handling of novel situations; the power of meeting a novel situation successfully by adjusting one's behavior to the total situation; the ability to apprehend the interrelationships of presented facts in such a way as to guide action towards a desired goal. Psychologists still debate the question whether intelligence is a unitary characteristic of the individual or a sum of his abilities to deal with various types of situation.

According to The Secret Doctrine:

There is but one indivisible and absolute Omniscience and Intelligence in the Universe, and this thrills throughout every atom and infinitesimal point of the whole finite Kosmos which hath no bounds, and which people call SPACE, considered independently of anything contained in it.

... The very fact that adaptations do occur, that the fittest do survive in the struggle for existence, shows that what is called "unconscious Nature" is in reality an aggregate of forces manipulated by semi-intelligent beings (Elementals) guided by High Planetary Spirits (Dhyan Chohans), whose collective aggregate forms the manifested verbum of the unmanifested LOGOS, and constitutes at one and the same time the MIND of the Universe and its immutable LAW.


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