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FW: To Jerry

Nov 11, 2001 02:19 AM
by Peter Merriott


I normally try not to cross post messages. As Jerry has sent his replies to
my post on Theos-1 to this list, I thought it would be appropriate to send
the original messages. Peter.

-----Original Message-----
Jerry,

Apologies for the long delay. I've been meaning to reply to your mail of 23
Oct for some time now but have just been too busy for any kind of thoughtful
replies to any list. I believe we were looking at the question of "Does HPB
put the view that there is an immortal and enduring Self?" Your view was
that HPB does NOT put this view and that Dallas has taken this out of
context. I offered some passages from HPB which very much support Dal's
viewpoint:

===PETER: 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.===

===JERRY: Experientially the atma-buddhi is immortal (I have no problem
with that) and it is formless (and therefore infinite - no problem there
either).===

Indeed, this is very similar to what Dal and HPB are saying.

You suggest something cannot be "permanent" if it changes over time.
Surely, it all depends on what we mean by "permanent". For example, take
what the Secret Doctrine states about Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti - 'seemingly'
two aspects of the ONE ABSOLUTE:-

"It is the ONE LIFE, eternal, invisible, yet Omnipresent, without beginning
or end, yet periodical in its manifestations, between which periods reigns
the dark mystery of non-Being... absolute consciousness; unrealisable, yet
the one self-existing reality." (SD I 2)

In other words this is "the one-self existing reality" which endures whether
there be a universe or not. So in one sense we may call it 'PERMANENT'
since it is 'THAT' which always 'IS'. Yet because it is infinite, it cannot
be a permanent static and limited 'something', which would be finite.
Hence the Secret Doctrine goes on to describe this ONE LIFE as follows:

"Its one absolute attribute, which is ITSELF, eternal ceaseless Motion..."
(SD I 2)

So it is that which endures, and also its one absolute attribute is "eternal
ceaseless Motion". Motion implies 'change', but can the "one self-existing
reality" ever be something other than itself? Is Buddha nature permanent,
can it ever be something other than itself? These are paradox's we have to
sense into, we need to go beyond the words and logic, as you often point
out.

When we come to understand the 'immortal Monad' we need to keep in mind
that Atma-Buddhi in man corresponds to Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti in the Kosmos.
In fact, Atman is one with Parabrahm as its radiation. I believe that is
why HPB says of ATMAN that it is indestructible (CW IV 185). As to Buddhi,
HPB draws a useful passage from Plato which shows it corresponds to the
"eternal ceaseless Motion" of the ONE LIFE, above:

=== Plato defines Soul (Buddhi) as "the motion that is able to move itself."
"Soul," he adds (Laws X.), "is the most ancient of all things, and the
commencement of motion," ===
(Key to Theosophy)


Returning to your use of the term "immortal" in relation to Atman you write:

=== JERRY: I agree that atma-buddhi is individualized consciousness which is
immortal (mortal means material and we are dealing with spirit here). It is,
however destructible in that it only lasts for a manvantara, then it dies
and is re-imbodied at the next manvantara. So, atma-buddhi is spacially
independent (and thus infinite) and is time dependent (because it
evolves).===

Once again your first sentence is very much what Dallas is stating.
However, Atma-Buddhi does not evolve, as such, hence it is not time
dependent any more than Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti is time dependent. It is the
same in the Adwaita Vedanta system - Atman is already one with Brahman, it
does not evolve. Just as - in the Buddhist system Tathagatagarbha does not
evolve to become Buddha-Nature - it already IS. Hence HPB states about the
Monad:

"Metaphysically speaking, it is of course an absurdity to talk of the
'development' of a Monad . . . It stands to reason that a MONAD cannot
either progress or develop, or even be affected by the changes of states it
passes through. IT IS NOT OF THIS WORLD OR PLANE, and may be compared only
to an indestructible star of divine light or fire, thrown down on to our
Earth as a plank of salvation for the personalities in which it indwells.
It is for the latter to cling to it; thus partaking of its divine nature,
immortality. Left to itself the Monad will cling to no one; but, like the
'plank', will be drifted away to another incarnation by the unresting
current of evolution." (SD I 175)

Is the Monad destructible, does HPB say it lasts ONLY the length of a
Manvatara, as you suggest?

=== JERRY: "It is, however destructible in that it only lasts for a
manvantara, then it dies and is re-imbodied at the next manvantara."

If it is still around at the end of a Pralaya in order for it to be
"re-imbodied" at the next Manvatara, then it has not really died or been
destroyed, has it? It is immortal and enduring as both Dallas and HPB
state.

According to the Secret Docrtine, both Cosmic Ideation and Cosmic Substance
are 'withdrawn' at the end of a manvatara. But the Monad does not die, any
more than matter or substance 'dies'. HPB and her two Teachers state that
the Monad endures not only **through** the minor pralayas and complete
planetary pralayas, but even through the GREAT Universal Pralaya -
PARANIRVANA. HPB writes:

"I maintain as an Occultist, on the authority of the Secret Doctrine, that
though merged entirely into Parabrahm, manís 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 ...
when it ends, THE SAME INDIVIDUAL DIVINE MONAD, RESUMES ITS MAJESTIC PATH
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 countless rebirths."
(CW VII 52, caps added)

HPB appears to be asserting here, as she does in many other places in her
works, that there is an immortal and enduring SELF in each being which has a
kind of "distinct individuality" of its own. That such an 'individuality',
a 'parabrahmic spirit', can be preserved throughout the Universal Pralaya,
Paranirvana, suggests this has nothing to do with being a 'separate self' or
'ego' since that is a MAYA which cannot exist to the Monad "merged entirely
into Parabrahm". Once again we have a paradox which needs to be sensed
into, intuited, realised, rather than fitted into the framework of
intellectual logic.

regards,

...Peter



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