THEOSOPHY, Vol. 41, No. 2, December, 1952
(Pages 49-50; Size: 7K)

THE THREE-VISAGED GOD

Esoteric philosophy denies Deity no more than it does the Sun. Esoteric philosophy has never rejected God in Nature. It only refuses to accept any of the gods of the so-called monotheistic religions, a blasphemous and sorry caricature of the Ever Unknowable. 

--The Secret Doctrine I, xx.
POWER, Goodness and Unity -- most conceptions of God stand for all these. The three are inseparable in conventional tradition, yet need to be separated. This God of the three faces, is a most confusing visage, even "goodness" changing shape before our eyes whenever identified with God.

Goodness -- what can be wrong with "goodness," and how can it be claimed that "goodness" needs to be separated from anything? Yet if one believes that goodness is outside of man himself -- if the powers which can make goodness are those which transcend his own powers -- man then has no logical alternative but to believe in his own profound weakness, not in his potential "goodness" at all. So when "goodness" and "God" are combined, goodness itself passes human understanding, just as God has done, and it is doubtful if anything which passes man's comprehension can communicate aspirations toward a higher life.

One can find other faults with "goodness," as did Krishna when he discoursed on the limitations of those snugly surrounded by Sattvic(1) perfections. The psychological chain by which man may be bound to this anchor of "goodness" requires careful examination if one is to determine the subtle forging of its links. The simplest logic, however, makes clear that a perfection is not perfection. Any form of goodness, clearly, is created and cannot be creative. The power of Deity is the power of creativity; hence, a confusion of that power which men call God with goodness is a gross philosophic error. And since all philosophic errors have psychological consequences, it is really no surprise to note that Christians have long worshipped "Goodness" without seriously seeking to discover and embody the qualities of Goodness. It is study and application, rather than worship, which are needed. Then, too, the qualities which make for Goodness are never so much what a man is as what he seeks to be, the cores of aspiration which cannot be worshipped except by individual embodiment. Krishna, in The Bhagavad-Gita, enjoins Arjuna to stop worshipping Goodness, so that he may begin to comprehend its many subtleties.

Finally, the issue between the typical religious approach and the approach of Theosophy seems to be that the first is directed toward worship and imitation, while the latter is directed toward study, investigation, and application. One may, for instance, either worship Power or study Power. When one studies "power" he discovers that it is of many kinds -- always of many kinds -- and always weak in its imperfections. Power becomes identified with Authorities and authorities may die, be dethroned, or at the very least develop serious rivals -- all of which should prove that no form of Power offers "security."

No manifestation of Power, or Goodness either, creates the necessary bonds of sympathy by which man can alone understand man. For Theosophists, then, Deity can be only "the Divine spark in man, one and identical in its essence with the Universal Spirit," as H.P.B. has it in the Key(2). This Divine spark is Creator, alone deserving of worship. Both Power and Goodness are but creations, and prostration at those altars is thus no more than idolatry.

If the intuitive leaning of man toward recognition of interdependence transforms itself into a leaning on authority for guidance, or toward an invoking of power, the believer is betrayed by false ideology. It becomes necessary to know that organizations and institutions, capable of being either good, or powerful, or both, cannot create brotherhood among men. The conception of Unity itself, however, is incorruptible, so long as kept from conjoining with the concepts of Goodness or Power. And this incorruptible, unmodifiable Unity is the subject matter of the First Fundamental Proposition of Theosophy.


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TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:

COMPILER'S NOTE: I added these footnotes; they were not in the article. If any of them don't paint an accurate enough picture, or are incorrect, I hope the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine will spot them and point the inaccuracies out to me, so that I can make the necessary corrections.

(1) "Sattvic": "Sattva" is one of the three natural, essential, and all-pervading qualities or attributes or characteristics of the substance of Nature on all levels or planes during manifestation -- meaning that they are inherent in it. Sattva is the quality of truth, purity, goodness, etc. The other two are Rajas, the quality of activity, passion, or desire; and Tamas, the quality of quiescence, darkness, ignorance, inertia, or immobility.
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(2) "Key" here refers to "The Key to Theosophy", a book written in Question & Answer form, by H. P. Blavatsky.
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