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Re to Steve - the Atman

Nov 15, 2001 07:55 AM
by Gerald Schueler

<<<Gerald: “Does Atma change over time?”
[Steve:]In theory, no, since it is the Absolute in man. If we accept the HPB statement quoted by Peter that "I make no difference between my Seventh Principle and the Universal Spirit or Parabrahm,” then Atman is absolute and therefore unchangeable.>>>

JERRY: Ah, but I see it as the RELATIVE absolute in man. In my view, there is no absolute (whatever that means) in "man" at all. Again, we have to interpret here because Blavatsky makes some conflicting statements. In the above, the "no difference" does not necessarily imply an equality. If we look at the microcosm-of-the-macrocosm teaching, then in the same way that the 7 planes are divided into three upper and four lower, with the three upper being absolute relative to the four lower, so the principles are divided into three upper and four lower - the three upper being permanant relative to the four lower, and atman the most permanent of all - but I still think that atman has to be part of maya, as a logical fallout of her planes and globes model of 7 planes containing within htem the 7 principles.


<<<<<<Gerald: “What is the purpose of evolution, and what is evolving in space-time?”
[Steve:] One might as well ask “What is the purpose of Maha Pralaya?” One way to express the insight one receives at the moment of enlightenment – and I admit this is very poor - is:
It is,
Things are,
That’s it.>>>

JERRY: This sounds more like my own answer, one that manas will never accept. Most Theosophists will say that evolution is to develop self-consciousness, although they may not able to tell you what it is that is actually evolving and developing that self-consciousness. Many think it is the Monad, the atma-buddhi, that is evolving, and I was directing my question to them. Another way of asking this is: How can atman evolve and not be changing? Logically it can't. Everything within the entire 7-plane solar system is evolving because everything is Motion.


<<<Gerald: “Is a "monad" indivisible or not?"
[Steve:] The name implies that it is. The Greek atomos means “not to divide.” Monads are atomic, and yet not material atoms in the scientific sense.>>>>>>

JERRY: Right, the word monad is used by HPB as an English equivalent to the Sanskrit paramanu. But if we use "monad" in its proper sense of being indivisible and permanent (vajra) then we can't logically talk about dual monads, human monads, mineral monads, and the like. Blavatsky did this because no English words were available for the ideas she was trying to get across, but literally this is all illogical. The result of her doing this is that now Theosophists all seem to think that these things are independently real and permanent which is not the case.


<<<We are told that Atma and Buddhi are both unconscious on this plane.>>>

JERRY: Which plane? In a sense, none of the principles is actually conscious per se. In another sense, only manas is consciousness (because it is in some sense equivalent to human consciousness). In another sense we are consciousness itself and focus via the principles on the planes. And yet there is, all the while, something within us that can transcend all of these principles.

Atma-buddhi together with higher manas function together as the Reincarnating Ego. does it not? Does not this Reincarnating Ego grow/change over time? Where does the "aroma" of each life go after death, and why is it needed? Does not the Reincarnating Ego yield up its own "aroma" after it is done (else what is its purpose?)?


<<<Gerald: “[the raindrop and the ocean] are on different planes of existence - the ocean exists in a different place. 

[Steve:] Actually, “planes” are of consciousness, and since both the raindrop and the ocean are accessible to the same consciousness without modification, they are on the same plane.>>>

JERRY: I think you may be confusing things here, and I don't follow what you are saying here at all. Is the physical plane (ie matter and material objects) conscious? Certainly not in any sense that we know of. Blavatsky says that all we have to do is to close our eyes, and we are on the mental plane. She is quite right. When we open our eyes again, we are on the physical plane. So, each plane and subplane corresponds to a state of our own possible consciousness. In this manvantara, only 7 basic conscious states or planes are possible to us. In order to be conscious on a plane, we have to use appropriate organs - the physical senses for the physical plane, the mind/manas for the mental plane and so on for each plane. The raindrop begins on a plane separate from the ocean - it has no senses with which to perceive the ocean at first - and as it falls it reaches the ocean and merge with it in the same way that atma-buddhi-manas will one day reach Beness and merge with it.


<<<<[Steve:] Maya exists only in consciousness. It comes into existence when consciousness comes into existence. Since consciousness comes into being and passes out of being from moment to moment, so does maya. Steve>>>>

JERRY: Here is how I see it: Manas is human consciousness. Manas recieves all of the sensory data from the 5 physical senses and interprets it in terms of a worldview. It has thoughts and concepts. Above this is buddhi, which is usually conceived as intuition, as a direct sense of knowing and communicating. Buddhi is above words and thoughts, and includes such things as sounds and images. Above buddhi is atman, the general principle of subjectivity that gives us each a sense of independent permanent selfhood or individuality. All of these are maya in the sense that they do not tell us what is really going on. They maintain our sense of duality. The entire subject and object duality (our sense of being an I that is conscious of, and separate from, a not-I) is caused and maintained by the upper three principles, and this illusive sense of things is maya. 

Those who believe that atman is truly permanent and eternal, in order to convince me, will have to do more than simply quote Blavatsky. They will have to show me how such a thing can logically fit into her planes and globes model and her theory of evolution. (Her evolution theory itself strongly suggests that atman is evolving via the Reincarnating Ego, and logically something that evolves/changes can't be permanent.) So far, no one has done that. I don't think anyone can. But I am certainly willing to listen.

Jerry S.

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