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Jerry on the Atman

Nov 13, 2001 01:15 PM
by Peter Merriott

PETER TO JERRY: You offered a single sentence quote from the SD and one from
"The Inner Group Teachings" to support the view that ATMA was a maya and
therefore there was no immortal self and enduring Self. I wonder if you
have done what you complain about to others - ie picked a couple of quotes
that support your view but not checked to see if the overall context of HPB
writings supports that particular interpretation?>>>

JERRY: Thats cruel Peter. You scoff at me because I say things without
quotes to "back it up" and then when I do, you turn around and scoff that I
am doing what I charge others of doing. You obviously want to have it both
ways. Personally, I don't think you or Dallas were aware that such quotes
were available and now that I have shown you that they are, you want to
shoot the messenger.

Not cruel, a fair observation. Why should I scoff? What place does that
have in these discussions if we are both serious students? You criticised
Dallas for quoting HPB out of context and yet when asked to supply the
context you quote a two sentences from the entire Secret Doctrine and
Collected Writings. I think "context" requires more. I can't speak for
Dallas, but yes I was aware of those two sentences. The difference between
us is that you seem to be taking them literally and at face value. I would
prefer to look a little deeper, along with understanding the context in
which those statements were made.

JERRY: I am already on record as saying that atman is a universal
principle - the principle of a subjective self, and the glue that holds maya
together. No, it is not one with Parabrahm, but rather a ray or radiation of
Parabrahm, and thus a mayavic expression.>>

You are certainly welcome to that view and I have no desire to change it.
But we are trying to establish what HPB is saying. Her view is that ATMA is
not a maya and that it is one with Parabrahm. Thus over and over again we
find her saying similar things as:

"Atma alone is the one real and eternal substratum of all -- the essence and
absolute knowledge -- the Kshetragna." (SD I 570).

PETER: If it were ATMAN that HPB was referring to and calling a Maya, we
would expect to find further support for this in other places in her
writings. Yet, over and over again she says the opposite.<<<

JERRY: I think that she deliberately did this, for fear of giving out too
much of the esoteric teaching, and probably also because few would
understand her, and most, like yourself, would be opposed to the idea.<<

There isn't anything esoteric about saying Atma is a Maya. Nor does HPB say
it is a Maya, as far as I can determine.

<<<"As well expressed by the translator of the Crest Jewel of Wisdom 'though
ISWARA is God.. unchanged in the profoundest depths of pralayas and in the
intensist activities of the manvantaras... beyond (him) is ATMA round whose
pavilions is the darkness of eternal MAYA." (SD I 574)>>>

JERRY: As for the translator of the Crest Jewel of Wisdom, please see the
latest Fohat (Fall 01) for a good article on this. Using Hindu or Vedantist
quotes don't help much, because they both do view atman as an eternal Self.
Theosophy is no more Hindu than it is Buddhist, is it? Were Blavatsky and
Olcott both Buddhists or were they Vedantists?

I think you have missed the point. HPB is quoting Wilson because what he
says is in agreement with the view she is putting in the Secret Doctrine, ie
beyond ISWARA (spirit, Cosmic Ideation, the collective Dhyanis) is ATMA
around whose pavilions is MAYA. That's why she draws on Hindu and Vedanta
when she wants to consolidate the view she is presenting.

<<<Atman… the emanation of the Absolute (CW III 414)>>>

JERRY: Atman is not equal to Parabrahm so much as it is a ray or radiation
(ie a mayavic expression) of it.<<

JERRY: The essence of atman lies beyond time, but atman itself is within
time and must be located on one of the planes.<<

A raindrop is not 'equal' to the ocean but it is identical in nature. Using
analogy, we might call it an emanation of the ocean. It is not the essence
of the drop that is identical in nature to the ocean, it is the drop itself
which is identical in nature to the ocean. There is no need to add an extra
layer of essence between the nature of the drop and the Ocean, which is what
you do. Atman and Parabraham, Atman and Brahm, Tathagata and Buddha Nature
are said to be one. The Maya is that they are two different things when all
the time they are of the same nature.

Maybe we could extend the analogy (but not too far!) and say a large 'drop'
(Paramatman, or later a Dhyani Buddha) first emanates from the Ocean, and
this drop disperses into smaller drops & so on. Still the essential nature
of all the drops are the same.

Perhaps the drop (Atman) can never equal the Ocean (Parabrahm) even when it
merges once again with its source and 'knows' it is ONE. But all the time
it has always been the same nature.

I'll let HPB have the last word.

"I make no difference between my Seventh Principle and the Universal Spirit
or Parabrahm; nor do I believe in an individual, segregated spirit in me, as
something apart from the whole."
(CW V 52)


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