Oct 23, 2001 09:22 AM
by Peter Merriott
Thanks, I am well at the moment. I trust the same is with you. I've only
recently noticed that you posted your reply to THEOS-1 rather than
Theos-Talk where the original discussion took place. I don't normally
receive mail from the former but I have now adjusted my settings. Also I
don't have much time at the computer at the moment.
The issue under discussion is that you felt Dallas qouted HPB out of context
when speaking about the "Immortal Spiritual Self". You wrote to Dallas:
> I do not subscribe to any such "immortality."
> I believe that you got this idea (and many others)
> by taking Blavatky's words out of context. I do not
> think that your continual promotion of this immortality
> business is doing anyone any good.
In return I suggested it may well be you that does not appreciate the
context in which HPB is writing and suggested that you provide what you
think that context is and what you think it means in order to show why
Dallas has got it wrong.
In your post below, I notice you offer two short qoutes from HPB which I
find very interesting. I also see the logic in your thinking as you relate
these qoutes to Prasangha Madhyamaka school of Buddhism. You offer some
interesting ideas. However, I feel the weakness of what you write in the
light of your original complaint to Dallas is that you do not address the
context in which HPB is writing. Instead you look at your two qoutes in the
light the Prasangha Madhyamaka of Buddhism.
It must be obvious to most people that HPB and the Mahatmas did not write
the Secret Doctrine from the point of view of the Prasangha Madhyamaka
school. Whether or not we agree with them the fact is we find HPB and the
Mahatmas referring to this "immortal spiritual Self" all the way through the
Secret Doctrine. This doctrine is present in the Key to Theosophy and
appears over and over again in The Collected Writings. Here is a statement
by HPB that addresses this very point we are discussing:
"I can indicate [?]0* places in The Theosophist, as well as in writings
signed by Occultists, where it is affirmed in the clearest manner that the
7th and 6th principles, the Divine Monad and its vehicle, the spiritual soul
(which make a unity), are immortal indestructible and INFINITE…. not one of
us, Occultists, could ever say that the individual consciousness was
annihilated or that the “spiritual ego” could fall back into the world of
cosmic, primal matter…" (CW V 5 ;*first digit missing in original)
What does HPB mean by "immortal indestructible and INFINITE"? Does it mean
some maya that lasts only to the end of the Manvantara but which disappears
at the threshold of Pralaya or Nirvana? No it does not. In a number of
different places in the Collected Writings and in the Secret Doctrine HPB
(and the Mahatmas) state this "immortal, indestructible and INFINITE"
Divine Monad (Atma-Buddhi) persists even through the period of the Great
Pralaya (ParaNirvana) which follows the end of the Maha-Manvantara. She
"I maintain as an Occultist, on the authority of the Secret Doctrine, that
though merged entirely into Parabrahm, man’s spirit while not individual per
se, yet preserves its distinct individuality in Paranirvana . . . That such
Parabrahmic and Paranirvanic 'spirits', or units, have and must preserve
their divine (not human) individualities, is shown in the fact that, however
long the 'night of Brahma' or even the Universal Pralaya (not the local
Pralaya affecting some one group of worlds) yet, when it ends, the same
individual Divine Monad, resumes its majestic path of evolution, though on
higher, hundred-fold perfected and more pure chain of earths than before and
bring with it all the essence of compound spiritualites from its previous
(CW VII 52)
A similar passage appears in The Secret Doctrine with reference to the Monad
being withdrawn into Parabrahm at the end of the MahaManvantara:
""Nor is the individuality - nor even the essence of the personality, if any
be left behind - lost, because re-absorbed. For, however limitless - from a
human standpoint - the paranirvanic state, it has yet a limit in Eternity.
Once reached, the same monad will re-emerge therefrom, as a still higher
being, on a far higher plane, to recommence its cycle of perfected activity.
The human mind cannot in its present stage of development transcend,
scarcely reach this plane of thought. It totters here, on the brink of
incomprehensible Absoluteness and Eternity."
(SD I 266)
So here we see HPB referring to the same "Immortal Spiritual Self" of which
Dallas often reminds us. Here we have three substantial passages from HPB.
They are very definite statements from someone speaking as "an Occultist".
The above are not isolated qoutes by reflect the whole doctrine of the
Monads and cyclic development as given out by the Mahatmas through HPB.
Hundreds of relevant passages could be found throughout those writings
supporting the notion of the 'immortality of the Monad'. These passages
are also in accord with the 3 Fundamantal Propositions of the SD. We may
not agree with what is stated therein and that is fair enough. But if you
or others feel HPB means something other than what she writes above, then
please explain what you feel she does mean. But it would help us if you do
so by examining the passages in question.
I don't believe Dallas has taken this idea "out of context". I
think it may well be you who does not seem to understand the context in
which Dallas and HPB (and indeed the Mahatmas) write on this subject.>>>>>>>
Peter, good day. Hope you are well. Well, of course you may be right here. I
don't doubt that we each have our own interpretation, and probably suspect
others of being "wrong." I am not, however, trying to be "right" nor am I
saying that Dallas is "wrong" although it probably comes out sounding that
way because I have a hard time putting this into words. My position is that
we each tend to interpret Blavatsky in our own way.
Let me just give you two quotes from HPB and some quick thoughts of my own
in how I personally interpet them.
QUOTE 1: "Each principle is on a different plane" (INNER GROUP TEACHINGS p
QUOTE 2: "Spirit is matter on the seventh plane; matter is Spirit - on the
lowest point of its cyclic activity; and both - are MAYA" (SD Vol 1 p 633)
MY INTERPRETATION: Atma and buddhi, and especially when together as
atma-buddhi, the so-called "monad," are maya - illusions, as are all 7
principles. All 7 cosmic planes are illusion - that means that they exist,
but not as the realities they seem to be. Matter seems to be solid, but it
is not. Atma-buddhi seems to be eternal and permanent, but it is not.
Now, as Theosophists we are free to accept the two quotes above, or not. We
can ignore them, like Dallas seems to do, or we can accept them and then
realize that they dovetail nicely with Buddhist teachings.
<<<<<<I don't have any doubt that HPB and the Mahatmas were thoroughly
acquainted with the doctrine of anatta as taught in Buddhism. We find them
applying this same doctrine to the personal self (rather the non-self of the
skandhas) over and over again. Yet being aware of this they
still emphasized the nature of the Individuality and 'immortality' of
the Spiritual Ego (as distinct from the personal ego) - even an
'Individuality' of the Monad which lasts through the great Paranirvana
(Maha-Pralaya) and emerges again at the next Maha-Manvantara.>>>>>>>>>
Yes, and in this they are very much in agreement with the Mind Only school
of Buddhism, as I have already pointed out several times. But the Middle Way
school, of which Tzongkhapa was a member, tells us that even this spiritual
Self is maya (i.e., the teaching of the emptiness of emptiness). This
teaching of the illusion of the spiritual Self was also accepted by
Longchenpa, one of the greatest Masters of Dzongchen who ever lived. Now,
when one says that the Self is an illusion, this doesn't mean that reality
is nothingness - there is still consciousness, but it is a formless non-dual
awareness that is hard to put into words.
So, the estoeric tradition of Dzogchen and Middle Way tells us that even the
Spiritual Ego, as you put it, has no inherent existence (lots of logic
problems would surface if it did).
<<<<<<<<<<For as long as you/we project the qualities of the personality
onto the Individuality these more complex and deeper doctrines of
Theosophy will always remain obscure. I think we need to get beyond
dictionary and exoteric definitions which is all 'lower manas' mentality and
try to understand the deeper meaning in these teachings.>>>>>>>>>>
Agreed. We all would say, and would agree, that "the grass is green" or that
"the sky is blue." But this is maya, isn't it? Science tells us that colors
do not exist as real things, but are brain interpretations of light
vibratory frequencies. But we humans do experience colors as external
realities, don't we? According to esoteric tradition, the same can be said
of all 7 cosmic planes - they are our own experiential interpretations of
reality, and not reality itself.
<<<<<If you really believe Dallas has taken these ideas out of context
then please bring forward what HPB and the Mahatmas "actually" say on
this subject and offer your own explanation of what it is they really
mean. There are a number of very knowledgeable students of Theosophy on
this list, I am sure they would welcome a genuine discussion on this
important topic. We need more than just disparaging statements about fellow
students and their views.>>>>>>>>>>
OK, and I hope that I have done this. But, and here is the problem: We can
quote until doomsday with different quotes backing up our personal
interpretations while ignoring quotes that seem to disagree with them, etc.
I believe that Blavatsky gave out a whole lot of exoteric material, was very
limited in what she felt the public was ready to receive, but that she did
throw out esoteric hints here and there throughout her writings. The two
quotes that I presented above are just such hints, thrown out for those who
are ready to understand them. It is obvious that these two quotes, when put
together, strongly suggest the mayavic nature of atma-buddhi - but nowhere
does she come right out and say it.
And I have already pointed out in a past post that G de Purucker picked up
on this, and that he too says that the principles are changing, evolving,
and thus cannot be permanent or eternal, so I am not alone in this
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