AND THE SECRET
By MAX HEINDEL
We have traced the history of "The Secret Doctrine", from the time when H.P.B.'s Master gave her the plan, until it was printed and given to the world. Now study the plan upon which it was constructed, and try to catch a glimpse of the teachings contained within its several volumes.
When we contemplate the range of subjects dealt with in this work--a range bounded only by the universe--it is at once apparent how fragmentary must be any outline. The content of "The Secret Doctrine" cannot be taught in one lecture not in a hundred lectures, even though such a lecture course were given by the most learned exponent. The work is a mine rich in priceless gems of occult knowledge. Perseverance and intuition are the pick and shovel by the diligent use of which we may become possessed of these jewels of great price. A truth discovered by ourselves stays with us after we have lost a dozen other truths explained to us by others. If therefore we can be induced to dig within "The Secret Doctrine" for ourselves, we shall profit more than if someone were to explain to us every teaching contained within its covers.
A cursory reading will prove a potent emans of bewildering the mind, as before us whirl demons and devas, Dhyan Chohans and Kumaras, yugas and cycles, satyrs and fakirs, adepts and alchemists, Manus and monads, in a continuous phantasmagoria. To be of value "The Secret Doctrine" must be studied. Just as Theseus, who entered the labyrinth of Crete to do battle with the Minotaur, was gudied out of the maze by the thread of Ariadne, so the student should fix his mind on one subject, and plunge boldly into the maze to do battle with the Minotaur of ignorance. If he persists, and holds tight the golden thread of intuition, he will be sure to bring out the priceless gem of knowledge of the subject; and by his toil he will have made it part of himself--a possession never to be lost. In this way he may spend days in search of a small point, but when he understands that point, he will know thsat the time was well spent. When at last he has extracted as far as he is able the information contained in "The Secret Doctrine", there dawns upon his mind a conception of the truth. I cannot describe the exultation I felt at that first view of that truth, and how I meditated on it and admired it as I saw it dovetail into all the general philosophies. It should be remembered that the work which we are considering is not by any means the whole of the esoteric philosophy possessed by the Masters of Wisdom, but only a small fragment of its fundamental tenets. The teachings of "The Secret Doctrine", however fragmentary and incomplete, do not belong to the Hindu, Zoroastrian, Chaldean, or Egyptian religions; nor to Buddhism, Islamism, Judaism or Christianity exclusively. The book contains the essence of them all. Originating from the same source, all are in these volumes resolved into their original elements, out of which every mystery and dogma has developed and become materialized. The aim of the work is to show that Nature is not a fortuitous concurrence of atoms, to assign to man his rightful place in the scheme of the universe, to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions, to uncover to some extent the fundamental unity from which they all sprang, and finally to show that the occult side of Nature has never been approached by the science of modern civilization.
When an architect starts to build a modern skyscraper he first prepares a solid foundation; upon this he rears the massive steel beams to form the skeleton of the building. This skeleton is then clothed in walls and floors of concrete, terra cotta, and other materials. A system of steam-pipes like arteries carries heat to every room. Its nervous system is an intricate network of electric light and telephone wires, while in the basement throbs a steam engine, driving an electric generator. The result is an organic whole pulsing with life.
Somewhat similar was the procedure of the Masters of Wisdom who built the monumetal structure of occult knowledge which we are considering. A Mohammedan writer says, "In the assembly of the day of resurrection the sins of Kabak will be forgiven for the sake of the Lust of the Christian Churches." Professor Max Muller replied, "The sins of Islam are as worthless as the dust of Christianity. In the day of the resurrection both Christians and Mohammedans will see the vanity of their religious doctrines. Men fight about religion on earth. In heaven they shall find out that there only one true religion." In other words, "There is no religion higher than truth." Upon this foundation of truth was raised by the Masters of the Wisdom of the Ages the skeleton structure of the "Book of Dzyan", a Senzar manuscript of vast antiquity, about which have been gathered all that was good and true in all the world religions, cemented by occult knowledge, and ornamented with old symbols and myths. These were the more beautiful for being deprived of the scale of materialism which for ages had covered them. The result is the congeries of transcendent philosophy contained in "The Secret Doctrine". It may be asked: where are the arteries of steam pipes, the nervous system of electric wires, the steam engine, and the electric generator to vitalize the building? These the student must himself supply by making it part of himself, by taking it into his own life. In proportion as he does this will be the life it has for him, its measure and its limit being his devotion to its ideals.
"The Secret Doctrine" establishes three fundamental postulates. The first is the existence of an omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable Principle on which all specualtion is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and can only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range of thought, unspeakable and unthinkable. This Be-ness is symbolized in "The Secret Doctrine" under two aspects: on the one hand is Absolute Abstract Space, representing base subjectivity--the one thing which no human mind can either exclude from any conception or conceive of by itself. On the other hand is Absolute Abstract Motive, representing unconditional consciousness. This latter aspect is also spoken of as the Great Breath, the One Reality. The Absolute is the field of absolute consciousness, or that essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol; but once we pass in thought from this absolute negation (to us), duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter.
Spirit and Matter are to be regarded not as independent realities, but as symbols or aspects of the Absolute, which constitute the basis of conditioned being, whether subjective or objective. Considering this metaphysical triad as the root from which proceeds all manifestation, the Great Breath assumes the character of precosmic ideation. It is the fount of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding Intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic evolution. On the other hand, precosmic root substance is the aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of nature.
The manifested universe is pervaded by duality, which is the very essence of its existence as Manifestation. But just as the opposite poles of subject and object, spirit and matter, are but aspects of the One Unity in which they are synthesized, so in the manifested universe there is that which links spirit to matter, subject to object. This something--at present unknown to Western speculation--is called by Eastern occultists "fohat". It is the "bridge" by which ideas existing in the divine thought are impressed on cosmic substance.
Thus from spirit or cosmic ideation comes our consciousness; from cosmic substance come the several vehicles in which that consciousness is individualized; while this substance in its various manifestations is the mysterious link between mind and matter, the principle vivifying every atom.
The second fundamental postulate of "The Secret Doctrine" is the existence of eternity in toto as a boundless plane--periodically the playground of numberless universes which are incessantly manifesting and disappearing. This postulate is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature. An alternation such as that of day and night, waking and sleeping, life and death, is in fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to see in it one of the fundamental laws of the universe.
The third and last of the basic postulates of "The Secret Doctrine" is the fundamental identity of all souls with the universal Oversoul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage of every soul through a cycle of incarnation. These souls or sparks are the Sons abiding from everlasting, from the beginning of the creative age in the bosom of the Father. They are to be made perfect through sufferings. Each soul is truly equal to the Father as concerns its Godhead, but inferior to the Father as concerns its manhood, and each is to go forth into matter in order to render all things subject to itself. The soul is to be sown in weakness that it may be raised in power, thus escaping from the limitations of a static Logos, enfolding all divine powers, ominiscient and ominpresent on its own plane, but unconscious on all other planes. Its glory is to be veiled in soul-blinding matter in order that through experience, the soul may become omnisicent and omnipresent ON ALL PLANES, repsonsive to all divine vibrations instead of to those on the highest planes only. The pivotal doctrine of the hidden wisdom admits of no privileges or special gifts in man save those won by his own soul through a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations.
Such are the basic conceptions on which "The Secret Doctrine" rests. It would not be fitting here to enter upon any defense or proof of their inherent reasonableness, nor can I pause to show how they are contained-- though too often under a misleading guise--in all systems of thought or philosophy worthy of the name. Once the student has gained a clear comprehension of them and realized the light they throw on every problem of life, he finds that they need no further justification.
The history of cosmic evolution as traced in the Stanzas of Dzyan may be regarded as the abstract algebraic formula of that evolution. Hence the student must not expect to find there an account of all the stages ands transformations which have occurred between the beginnings of universal evolution and our present state. To give such an account would be as impossible as it would be incomprehensible to men who cannot grasp the nature of even the plane of existence next to their own. The Stanzas, therefore, give an abstract formula which can be applied to all evolution--to that of our tiny earth, to the chain of planets of which our earth forms one, to the solar universe to which that chain belongs, and so on, in an ascending scale until the mind reels an is exhausted in the effort to understand.
The seven Stanzas of the first volume represent the seven terms of the abstract formula to which they refer, and describe the seven great stages of the evolutionary process mentioned in the Hindu philosophy as the seven creations, and in the Bible as the days of creation.
Stanza No. 1: describes the condition of the Absolute One during the interlude between cosmic manifestations and before the first flutter of reawakening activity. A moment's consideration will show how difficult it is to describe such a state. Since it is a state of Absoluteness per se, it can possess none of the specific attributes which serve to describe objects in positive terms. Hence the state can be suggested only by negatives involving all the most abstract attributes which men feel rather than conceive as the remotest limits attainable by their powers of conception. We are informed by the Stanza that:
Stanza No. 1: "The eternal parent wrapped in her ever invisible robes had slumbered once again for seven eternities. 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. The seven ways to bliss were not. The great causes of misery were not, for there was no one to produce and get ensnared by them. Darkness alone filled the boundless all, for father, mother and son were once more one, and the son had not awakened yet for the new wheel, and his pilgrimage thereon. The seven sublime lords and the seven truths had ceased to be, and the Universe, the son of Necessity, was immersed in Paranishpanna [the Absolute], to be outbreathed by that which is and yet is not. Naught was. The causes of existence had been done away with; the visible that was, and the invisible that is, rested in eternal non-being--the one being. Alone the one form of existence stretched boundless, infinite, causeless, in dreamless sleep; and life pulsated unconscious in universal space, throughout that All- presence which is sensed by the opened eye of the Dangma [the inner spiritual eye of the seer, or the Third Eye]."
Stanza No. 2: describes a stage which to the Western Mind is so nearly identical with the first that to explain the difference would require a treatise in itself. A grasp of what it contains can be obtained only through the intuition and higher faculties of the student. Indeed, it must be remembered that all the Stanzas appeal more to the inner faculties than to the physical brain:
"Where were the Builders, the luminous Sons of Manvantaric Dawn? * * * The producers of form from no-form--the root of the world--? * * Where was silence? Where the ears to sense it? No, there was neither silence nor sound; naught save ceaseless eternal breath, which knows itself not. The hour had not yet struck; the ray had not yet flashed into the Germ; the Matripadma [Mother- Lotus] had not yet swollen. * * * The universe was still concelaed in the Divine thought and the Divine bosom."
Stanza No. 3: describes the reawakening of the universe to activity after rest. It depicts the emergence of the monads from their state of absorption within the One. Thus begins the earliest and highest stage in the formation of worlds. The term "monad" may apply to the vastest solar system and the tiniest atom. Says the Stanza:
"The last vibration of the seventh eternity thrills through inifinitude. The mother swells, expanding from within without, like thge bud of the lotus. The vibration sweeps along, touching with its swift wing the whole universe and the germ that dwelleth in darkness. The darkness that breathes over the [slumbering waters of life. Darkness radiates light, and light drops one solitary ray into the mother-deep. The ray shoots through the virgin egg, the ray causes the virgin egg to thrill, and drop the non-eternal germ, which condenses into the world-egg. * * * Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end is fastened to spirit--the light of the one darkness--and the lower one to its shadowy end, matter; and this web is the universe spun out of the two wubstances made in one. * * * It expands when the breath of fire is upon it; it contracts when the breath of the mother touches it. Then the sons dissociate and scatter, to return into their mother's bosom at the end of the great day, and re-become one with her: * * *"
Stanza No. 4: shows the differentiation of the germ of the universe into the septenary hierarchy of conscious Divine Power which is the active manifestation of the one supreme energy. They are the framers, shapers, and ultimately the creators of all the manifested universe in the only sense in which the name Creator is intelligible. They inform and guide it. They are intelligent beings who adjust and control evolution, embodying in themselves those manifestations of the one Law which we know as the Law of Nature. This stage of evolution is called in mythology the Creation of the Gods, but it is [PAGE 202] not a creation of gods in the sense in which creation is generally understood in the West, but as a reawakening into activity of Beings who have acquired their transcendental intelligences in former universes.
Stanza No. 5: "The Primordial Seven, the First Seven Breaths of the Dragon of Wisdom, produce in their turn from their Holy Circumgyrating Breaths the Fiery Whirlwind."
The stanza describes the process of world formation; first, diffused cosmic matter, then the fiery whirlwind--the first stage in the formation of a nebula. This nebula condenses, and after passing through various transformations froms a solar universe, a planetary chain, or a single planet, as the case may be.
Stanza No. 6: indicates the subsequent stages in the formation of such a world, and brings its evolution down to the fourth period--corresponding to the period in which we are now living.
"* * * He builds them in the likeness of older wheels, placing them on the Imperishable Centres. How does Fohat build them? He collects the fiery dust. He makes balls of fire, runs through them, and round them, infusing life thereinto, then sets them into motion; some one way, some the other way. They are cold, he makes them hot. They are dry, he makes them moist. They shine, he fans and cools them. Thus acts Fohat from one twilight to the other, during Seven Eternities. * * * Make thy calculations, Lanoo, if thou wouldest learn the correct age of the small wheel. Its fourth spoke is our mother. Reach the fourth "fruit" of the fourth path of knowlkedge that leads to Nirvana, and thou shalt comprehend, for thou shalt see."
Stanza No. 7: "Behold the beginning of sentient formless life. * * * The one ray multiplies the smaller rays. Life precedes form, and life survives the last atom of form. Through the countless rays proceeds the life-ray, the One, like a thread through many jewels. * * * The spark hangs from the flame by the finest thread of Fohat. It journeys through the Seven World of Maya. It stops in the first, and is a metal and a stone; it passes into the second and behold--a plant; the plant whirls through seven changes and becomes a sacred animal. From the combines atteibutes of these, Manu, the thinker is formed.
The 7th Stanza continues the history, tracing the descent of life down to the appearance of man, thus ending the description of comsic evoltuion as found in the first volume.
For a graphic summary of the teaching of "The Secret Doctrine" on the cosmogony of the system of worlds to which we belong, it would be difficult to improve upon that given in an old commentary on the Book of Dzyan. "Eight houses were built by Mother [Space]. Eight houses for her Eight Divine sons [planets]; four large and four small ones. Eight brilliant suns, according to their age and merits. Bal-i-lu (Marrtanda) [the eighth sun, the sun of our solar system] was not satisfied, though his house was the largest. He began (to work) as the huge elephants do. He breathed (drew in) into his timach the vital airs of his brothers. He sought to devour them. The larger four were far away; far, on the margin of their kingdom (planetary system). They were not robbed (affected) and laughed. Do your worst, Sir, you cannot reach us, they said. But the smaller wept. They complained to the Mother. She exiled Bal-i-lu to the center of her Kingdom, from whence he could not move. (Since then) he (only) watches and threatens. He pursues them, turning slowly around himself, they turning swiftly from him, and he following from afar the direction in which his brothers move on the path that encircles their houses. (`The sun rotates on his axis always in the same direction in which the planets revolve in their respective orbits.' astronomy teaches us)."
If there is anywhere a plainer and more graphic exposition I should like to know it. Modern astronomy also explains this phenomenon, though in some points it differs. The occult doctrine rejects the hypothesis (born of the nebular theory) that the seven great planets have evolved from the central mass of the sun--at least, of our visible sun. The first condensation of cosmic matter took place around a central nucleus, its parent sun, but according to the occult teaching, the sun merely detached itself earlier than the others, as the rotating mass contracted, and is their elder brother and not their father.
Each of these seven planets in its turn is again associated with six other planets. Such a group is called a planetary chain. Each of these chains froms a field of evolution for a certain number of monads or souls. There are further subdivisions, but we need not be concerned with them here.
Evolution of these monads progresses through a series of manifestations on one or more of these chains, and, just as this earth is the fourth and most material planet of the seven globes which are the field of its special system of evolution, do does this whole chain of worlds occupy the same place in the larger scheme to which it belongs; that is to say, the life impulse which is now cycling through this present period of evolution had its beginning long anterior to it. There have been three such periods of evolution before this one, and there will be three after this one has passed, before objective manifestation once more returns to the bosom of the Infinite for a period of rest.
Our own little earth and its human inhabitants are given due consideration in the second volume of "The Secret Doctrine". To understand it is by no means the simple task which one might suppose when viewing the pictures representing the creation story in some of the old cathedrals of Europe, where God appears much as a Nuremburg toymaker, hanging the planets in the firmament, or sitting cross-legged on a table with a large pair of scissors beside him, sewing coats of skin for Adam and Eve.
We understand also that the geological constitution of the earth cannot be accounted for by the six-day or any other creation theory, for if God created the world as thus set forth, we must also suppose that he twisted the strata, stored the fossils between, scooped out the valleys supposed to have been made by glaciers, and caused the marks of erosion by water all for His own glory and for the mystification of man.
"The Secret Doctrine" teaches that the fire-mist which eventually condensed into what is now our earth originally covered an area so large that it enveloped the moon. The latter was heated to such an extent that it was softened to the consistency of mud; its water and air were converted into steam, and when the fire-mist contracted, the atmosphere and water followed the new center. When the earth had cooled sufficiently, the enveloping fire-mist condensed into our present water and air, until at the time when the life-wave reached the earth from Mars in the course of the present round, the earth had cooled so much that the water had become tepid. About this time, the first of the four great continents--which existed before the earth assumed its present topography--appeared in the region now known as the Arctic.
[COVER] [CONTENTS] [INTRODUCTION] [BIOGRAPHY OF MAX HEINDEL] [CHAPTER I] [CHAPTER II] [CHAPTER III] [CHAPTER IV] [CHAPTER V] [APHORISMS BY MAX HEINDEL] [LINKS]
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