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RE: [bn-study] Re: Chapter 2, page 15 - Akasha and the Astral Light

Dec 02, 2004 09:14 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

Dec 1 2004

The following may also be of help

ABSOLUTE – An Analogy


”Paranishpanna, remember, is the summum bonum, the Absolute, hence the same
as Paranirvana. Besides being the final state it is that condition of
subjectivity which has no relation to anything but the one absolute truth
(Paramârthasatya) on its plane. It is that state which leads one to
appreciate correctly the full meaning of Non-Being, which, as explained, is
absolute Being. Sooner or later, all that now seemingly exists, will be in
reality and actually in the state of Paranishpanna. But there is a great
difference between conscious and unconscious “being.” The condition of
Paranishpanna, without Paramârtha, the Self-analysing consciousness
(Svasamvedana), is no bliss, but simply extinction (for Seven Eternities).
Thus, an iron ball placed under the scorching rays of the sun will get
heated through, but will not feel or appreciate the warmth, while a man
will. It is only “with a mind clear and undarkened by personality, and an
assimilation of the merit of manifold existences devoted to being in its
collectivity (the whole living and sentient Universe),” that one gets ridof
personal existence, merging into, becoming one with, the Absolute,* and
continuing in full possession of Paramârtha. " 
S D I 53-4


The Shirt-tail Saints

Figures of speech or analogies seem to be absolutely essential to express
the realities of Profundity. The direct meaning of language does not
express the actuality of the Higher Consciousness. We might say that the
Actuality envelopes the expression but is not directly contained in it.
Thus the reader should strive not so much to understand the formal meaning
contained in these writings, but to make a certain turn In his own
consciousness toward a Matrix that surrounds expression.

He should concentrate upon faint stirring in his consciousness which he
cannot really express, even to himself. They constitute a certain ‘plus’
quality added onto the formal meaning.  

The formal meaning serves as a sort of focal point that entrains the subtle
‘plus value. It is very hard to reach the latter without the use of a focal
point until a rather high level of spiritual development is attained. Hence
it remains important to employ various means of expression. But if the
expression is taken too much in the rigorous or defined sense, the real and
deeper Meaning is lost.

Therefore, the words of an Illumined Man should never be taken in
the literal sense when He is giving a cross-translation from the Beyond.  

Now, the ‘plus’ quality at first is almost indistinguishable from nothing or
emptiness. It is like a breath that has just escaped, a momentary gleam
caught from the corner of the eye that disappears when the full focus of
sight is turned upon it. It must be reached for very gently, as one must
act in seeking the confidence of a defenseless and fearful creature of the
wilds. One should reach out almost as though not reaching at all.

A time will come when This that is so very subtle will be transformed into a
Presence more palpable and stronger than the roughest granite. It will
manifest a Power so great that It will dissolve not only the immediate field
but even the whole universe.  

But the Great Power is rarely in the beginning a clearly dominant force, and
It must be assimilated very carefully or It will disappear in the first
stages. In the beginning it may seem that one is walking a tight-rope over
unmeasured spaces, and the necessary balance is extremely hard to hold. In
the end the rope becomes all Space, the Supreme Support of all universes but
Itself in need of no support.  

Visible man, in that case, has been transformed and has become the
all-containing Matrix. No longer, then, does he struggle to keep his
balance on a rope, but he finds Himself everywhere and therefore
Invulnerable. (Pathways Through to Space, p. 147)

"The immediate effect of a state of consciousness having a one-way
dependence on, or relation to the subject, and no object, is that of a vast
void. It is an "I" suspended in an utter voidness. At once a process of
"enantio-dromia" [Jung, Psychological Types, 541-42.] transforms the
voidness into the value of substantial fullness. This is a "thickness" that
I am quite sure would much more than meet James's requirement.  

I know of no empiric content that in the faintest degree suggests this
quality of fullness, which is the actual palpable Presence of Divinity
itself. It is nothing so crude as a vast person in space, but a Presence
that permeates all space, interwoven throughout the objects of ordinary
consciousness, yet more completely present where those objects are not.  

The effect is a radical reversal of all former values, and a resolution of
many of just those problems to which empiricism can give no satisfactory
answer." (Transformations in Consciousness, p. 112)
[from AQUARIAN THEOSOPHIST, Supp., Jan 2004 ]


Here below are some of the best contributions received.

Why not use the idea of UNIVERSAL SPIRIT for that which in religions has
been designated “God?” It is UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD as a living fact. It
has always been there and will continue to be there, and we will always be
in and with IT. Its beginnings (and ours) are of the same duration, and
that cannot be measured in terms of whet we call time, distance or motion.
Call it a sublime IDEA.

Some of these concepts can appeal to us and we can then use them as avenues
of thought to universalize IT, and those will cause us to see it first in
ourselves as our dearest friend, and closest tutor, and then, if we reach
out to the radiance in everything, we will sense it in a daisy, the Sun, our
friends and family, in a grain of sand or a cloud, in the roaring fire or
tinkling brook - wherever we may project or stretch our minds -- there some
for, of LIFE IS.

Then, if we agree that we can see God everywhere, who are we to change or
destroy that presence or manifestation and to be tyrants or oppressors ? If
we think God is all-knowledge , and is omnipresent, then we cannot hide --
ever. Nor can we ‘escape’ from the consequences of our choices.

There is an old hymn or verse that says:  
“Never was I not, never was I not.”
Never will I cease to be.
Never the Spirit was IT not,
Beginnings and ends are but dreams.”


Questions: How can we exit from Materialism?

A. --	How often in framing our concepts do we rely on our education?
Almost all the time. At what point do we begin to question some of the
basics that were given to us as facts and truths, and which we later find
out are only hypotheses? What is an atom, what makes it move? What is
electricity, magnetism, light, what causes these, and why are they always
described in terms of their effects and not in terms of their actual causes

True that for our present Western frame of mind (as well as often in the
East as well) the term “God” is employed to designate a Power, a stabilizing
unity in design and purpose, which we may hope will turn to our help if, by
some method of worship or propitiation we secure its specific attention to
us. How can our whole world with all its differences ? … How can a whole
Galaxy exist, and seemingly run in good order -- that is still mainly
unexplored by us ? … How can we delve into our own psyche and mind - still
largely not in our control ? … What have we ? … Blind alleys, or horizons of
hope and encouragement to widen our range of understanding ? Then comes the
death of the physical body. Is all lost or is there a continuance ? What
is the purpose of so complex a situation?

What evidence can we assemble to prove or disprove the Theosophical
propositions about the nature of the Universe and our role as humans in it ?
Perhaps it is well that there is no finality and that our curiosity is left
with an open field in which to grow, to ever grow ?



Commander Bowen quotes HPB’s 4 main points.

Since most of the quotes that we will discuss come from SD, I hope the
following extracts from Robert Bowen's notes of personal teachings given by
H.P.B. to private pupils during the years 1888 to 1891 on how to study SD
may be of some help.

"At last we have managed to get H.P.B. to put us right on the matter of the
study of the S.D. Let me get it down while it is all fresh in mind. 

Reading the S.D. page by page as one reads any other book (she says) will
only end us in confusion. 

The first thing to do, even if it takes years, is to get some grasp of the
"Three Fundamental Principles" given in the Proem. Follow that up by study
of the Recapitulation -- the numbered items in the Summing Up to Vol. I.
(Part 1.). Then take the Preliminary Notes (Vol. II.) and the Conclusion
(Vol. II.)...... 

She talked a good deal about the "Fundamental Principles." 

She says: If one imagines that one is going to get a satisfactory picture of
the constitution of the Universe from the S.D. one will get only confusion
from its study. It is not meant to give any such final verdict on existence,
but to LEAD TOWARDS THE TRUTH. She repeated this latter expression many

It is worse than useless going to those whom we imagine to be advanced
students (she said) and asking them to give us an "interpretation" of the
S.D. They cannot do it. 

If they try, all they give are cut and dried exoteric renderings which do
not remotely resemble the Truth. To accept such interpretation means
anchoring ourselves to fixed ideas, whereas Truth lies beyond any ideas we
can formulate or express.

Exoteric interpretations are all very well, and she does not condemn them so
long as they are taken as pointers for beginners, and are not accepted by
them as anything more. 

Many persons who are in, or who will in the future be in the T.S. are of
course potentially incapable of any advance beyond the range of a common
exoteric conception. But there are, and will be others, and for them she
sets out the following and true way of approach to the S.D. 

Come to the S.D. (she says) without any hope of getting the final Truth of
existence from it, or with any idea other than seeing how far it may lead
TOWARDS the Truth. See in study a means of exercising and developing the
mind never touched by other studies. Observe the
following rules: 

1. No matter what one may study in the S.D. let the mind hold fast, as the
basis of its ideation to the following ideas 

(a) The FUNDAMENTAL UNITY OF ALL EXISTENCE. This unity is a thing altogether
different from the common notion of unity -- as when we say that a nation or
an army is united; or that this planet is united to that by lines of
magnetic force or the like. The teaching is not that.

It is that existence is ONE THING, not any collection of things linked
together. Fundamentally there is ONE BEING. This Being has two aspects,
positive and negative. 

The positive is Spirit, or CONSCIOUSNESS. The negative is SUBSTANCE, the
subject of consciousness. 

This Being is the Absolute in its primary manifestation. Being absolute
there is nothing outside it. It is All-Being. It is indivisible, else it
would not be absolute. If a portion could be separated, that remaining could
not be absolute, because there would at once arise the question of
COMPARISON between it and the separated part. 

Comparison is incompatible with any idea of absoluteness. Therefore it is
clear that this fundamental One Existence, or Absolute Being must be the
Reality in every form there is.

I said that though this was clear to me I did not think that many in the
Lodges would grasp it. "Theosophy," she said, "is for those who can think,
or for those who can drive themselves to think, not mental sluggards." 

H.P.B. has grown very mild of late. "Dumskulls!" used to be her name for the
average student.  

The Atom, the Man, the God (she says) are each separately, as well as all
collectively, Absolute Being in their last analysis, that is their REAL
INDIVIDUALITY. It is this idea which must be held always in the background
of the mind to form the basis for every conception that arises from study of
the S.D. The moment one lets it go (and it is most easy to do so when
engaged in any of the many intricate aspects of the Esoteric Philosophy) the
idea of SEPARATION supervenes, and the study loses its value. 

(b) The second idea to hold fast to is that THERE IS NO DEAD MATTER.

Every last atom is alive. It cannot be otherwise since every atom is itself
fundamentally Absolute Being. Therefore there is no such thing as "spaces"
of Ether, or Akasha, or call it what you like, in which angels and
elementals disport themselves like trout in water. That's
the common idea. The true idea shows every atom of substance no matter of
what plane to be in itself a LIFE. 

(c) The third basic idea to be held is that Man is the MICROCOSM. As he is
so, then all the Hierarchies of the Heavens exist within him. But in truth
there is neither Macrocosm nor Microcosm but ONE EXISTENCE. Great and small
are such only as viewed by a limited

(d) Fourth and last basic idea to be held is that expressed in the Great
Hermetic Axiom. It really sums up and synthesises all the others. 

“As is the Inner, so is the Outer; as is the Great so is the Small; as itis
above, so it is below; there is but One Life and Law; and he that worketh it
is ONE. Nothing is Inner, nothing is Outer; nothing is Great, nothing is
Small; nothing is High, nothing is Low, in the
Divine Economy.”
No matter what one takes as study in the S.D. one must correlate it with
those basic ideas."


Why does SPIRIT undergo the evolutionary process.  

Basically it would seem so that: "IT should know Itself."

Logic: SPIRIT by itself is UNCONSCIOUS - UNIVERSAL - without contrast.
Evolutionary law (KARMA) provides periodically the contrast of MATTER in an
evolutionary Manvantara such as we are now involved in. [ Karma: as the
endless "pulsing" of unconscious Life, which is perceived by "the opened eye
of the Dangma" (the perception of the WISE)--SD I 27 Verse 8.]

SPIRIT emanates aspects of itself - "Rays, Sparks" - which appear
simultaneously with "matter" of a refined and "primordial type". Also
simultaneously arises the POWER TO PERCEIVE, or UNIVERSAL MIND-MAHAT. [
Primordial pure matter is also named "Mulaprakriti" and "Mahabuddhi." ]

The "Rays" invested with "matter" or MAHA-BUDDHI (Wisdom derived from
experience) pass as individual MONADS [Atma-Buddhi-Manas] through all the
planes and spheres of manifestation and eventually find themselves as
individual Men-Minds on this, the
grossest, most material of the planes. The SD describes this process
starting SD Vol. I, p. 152. The OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY covers this in brief in
Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 14, 15, if a
synopsis is desired.

If one is asking for a FIRST CAUSE, [SD I 14-5 214 342 426] you will be
disappointed because there is none of a "material" kind. In terms of
metaphysics, HPB hints in the SD that it is the CAUSELESS CAUSE, [SD I
9-10 14-5 55 89 273 280; II 589 ] and it is indescribable in our material,
physical terms and thoughts.

What then remains for us to do to un-puzzle our minds? Only the fact that
we are here. The fact that we are questioning is highly significant.  

In THE SECRET DOCTRINE we are given one of the most comprehensive "keys" to
the great seven-fold puzzle.

This 7-fold mystery stretches between the polar opposites of Spirit and
Matter, and employs the Mind which is mid-way between and independent of
them, to note and record all their
interactions in terms of time, space and motion. In effect we are told:
"Man know thyself."  

Since we are also 7-fold, each one of our principles when ultimately refined
and brought under control opens the corresponding "lock" of great nature.  

Man is the "Microcosm" of the "Macrocosm" and contains in himself, in
miniature, every power and force that the Universe has. He has to
understand these, where they come from and how they are used, but, the power
to employ the secret laws and posers of nature are not entrusted to him by
the WISE, who hold the final "secrets," until he has become completely
HARMLESS to himself and to Nature around him.  

The practice of "brotherhood" is the opening aspect of the discipline that
leads to individual "success" and to ultimate Wisdom (or the practice of
benevolence as a force that is employed only for the good of others).

By the fact that in any one evolutionary period a mass of minds
independently and cooperatively achieve the highest illumination into the
nature of SPIRIT and the UNIVERSE, to that extent SPIRIT GETS TO KNOW
ITSELF. It becomes progressively SELF-CONSCIOUS. Thus the human stage is an
essential component of the evolutionary process and those 

Men-minds that become successful are entrusted with the guidance of various
aspects of future evolutionary schemes and the assisting of still more
"minds" to become universally enlightened. Spirit may be said to get to
"know itself" by the success of Minds who are wisely benevolent.

As the process is continuous and eternal, evolution and progress towards
spirituality (with the memory of every Egoic, individual experience in all
departments of Nature stored in Akasa-- the BUDDHI-wisdom -- aspect of
fundamentally, becomes ONE WITH THE UNIVERSAL SPIRIT.  

But this merging does not annihilate or disintegrate the Individual, for
that continues as a conscious unit on a self-assumed mission of assistance,
compassion and mercy described in the VOICE OF THE SILENCE in the last pages
of the book (pp. 76-79 and the
all-important footnotes there). We as humans are half-way through this vast
process and work.


"I maintain as an occultist, on the authority of the Secret Doctrine
Parabrahm, man's spirit which not individual per se, yet preserves its
distinct individuality in Paranirvana owing to the
accumulation in it of the aggregates, or "skandhas" that have survived after
each death, from the highest faculties of the Manas.  

The most spiritual--i.e., the highest and divinest aspirations of every
personality follow "Buddhi" and the Seventh Principle into Devachan
("Swarga") after the death of each personality along the line of rebirths,
and become part and parcel of the "Monad." [HPB Articles III, p. 265.]


If the "ALL" is so grand and all knowing (omnipotent and omnipresent,
etc...), then why does it need to form itself into a dense, fleshly
creature like ourselves to evolve? It seems to me that to do so would be
"un-evolving" itself (if such a word exists). Now I know that someone here
is going to say, "Well, by becoming human, the "All" can experience many
things on this plane, thus, adding to Its bank of knowledge." BUT, (I
say),"Why??? If, It is already all-knowing???"

What a grand question. In fact, the greatest philosophers of all history
have asked over and over the question as to why God joined soul and body
together - which is a variant of your question, isn't it?

HPB has written that the mystery of the solar logos is the greatest mystery
and the most precious in all of occultism. Bailey, though I am a declared
dissident with respect to much of what she wrote - has said that the purpose
of the solar logos is a redemptive one, that is, that our own God, the
highest God we can conceive purpose for, was born - as in the Bible story
about Christ - to save mankind with his great love and benedictions.

Apparently our solar system and the planets therein have experienced great
moral and spiritual failures in the past. It was not only in Atlantis that
men turned to wickedness, sorcery and greed, black magic and so on, but in
previously solar systems, resulting in great dead and decaying substance in
the cosmos with human prisoners within them, comatose or in pain.

Then along comes the redeeming heart of the Sun, who as Christ did, made
the stupendous sacrifice to give us life and opportunity to work out way
back home to paradise again.

So if you look at the billions of billions of billions of suns and the
equivalent numbers of humanities, both evolved and perfected and unevolved
in the vast kosmic space we see each night in the skies, it is only ONE
portion, our own solar system that required its God to incarnate through the
human kingdom. Elsewhere the arrangement is not so much requiring of
redemption as ours.

Mankind is the redeemer, the great savior who must awaken to his true
ancient agenda - and who seemingly has temporarily lost his way.


Universal Foundation: THE ABSOLUTE

Manifestation re begins under the unfinished Karma of the previous

"The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions: --

(a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable Principle on which all
speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception
and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is
beyond the range and reach of thought - in the words of Mandukya,
'unthinkable and unspeakable.'" (from The Secret Doctrine by H.P.
Blavatsky, vol I page 14.)

That "principle" is usually referred to as the "Absolute" in Theosophical
discussion. Note there are other quotations in the SD that shed additional
light on the Absolute. Perhaps I will include some of them later in the
week - but I do not want to distract you from this quote. It is "famous"
for students of the SD. The context of that quote is also quite important
but not given here.



Circle, Circle and Dot.

The CIRCLE can be taken two ways, as I understand it:

1. as representative of the UNMANIFESTED, attributeless and
indescribable ALL.

2. The Circle can also represent the Universe as an "idea" that
emanates from the ABSOLUTENESS and thus is indicative of the
first differentiation.

Circle is a limitation in the LIMITLESS (which as I understand it
in the SD, is the ABSOLUTE) It is devoid of all attributes (SD
I 214 420 II 34 384fn}. But, it is ALL POTENTIAL. It cannot 
be “projected” unless an earlier Universe had existed. This tends 
to show that Karma (law) is a necessary and included part of the ALL.  

Circle, actually, is a triple glyph:

1.	SPACE UNLIMITED outside of it. An unlimited area with no
boundaries or qualities.

2.	Circle line itself. Apparently drawn by ETERNAL KARMA (SD I
27 - Verse 8) or that which is ALWAYS present as a philosophical
necessity. In Non-manifestation it represents the "past" of all
being previously IN MANIFESTATION, and due to eventually return.

3.	Space limited inside the circumference that is drawn (Circle
represents a SPHERE) .

This represents the first flutter of a new Manifestation to be
reborn out of the old impulses and forces left as Karmic germs.

In the SD it might help to draw the information on the following
pages together:
SD I 1 4-5 11 65 99 113-4 134fn 239 333 359 II 553 573 589 621

You will see in the first pages of SD vol. I that HPB gives No
SYMBOL for the ABSOLUTE -- she uses many words indicating that it
is not to be limited. At the bottom of p. 4 are the first series of
On p. 11 is the extract from the OCCULT CATECHISM.


"What is it that ever is?" "Space, the eternal Anupadaka."* "What is it that
ever was?" "The Germ in the Root." "What is it that is ever coming and
going?" "The Great Breath." "Then, there are three Eternals?" "No, the three
are one. That which ever is, is one, that which ever was is one, that which
is ever being and becoming is also one: and this is Space." 

"Explain, oh Lanoo (disciple)." —

"The One is an unbroken Circle (ring) with no circumference, for it is
nowhere and everywhere; the One is the boundless plane of the Circle,
manifesting a diameter only during the manvantaric periods; the One is the
indivisible point found nowhere, perceived everywhere during those periods;
it is the Vertical and the Horizontal, the Father and the Mother, the summit
and base of the Father, the two extremities of the Mother, reaching in
reality nowhere, for the One is the Ring as also the rings that are within
that Ring. Light in darkness and darkness in light: the 'Breath which is
eternal.' It proceeds from without inwardly, when it is everywhere, and from
within outwardly, when it is nowhere — (i.e., maya, one of the centres ).It
expands and contracts (exhalation and inhalation). When it expands the
mother diffuses and scatters; when it contracts, the mother draws back and
ingathers. This produces the periods of Evolution and Dissolution,
Manwantara and Pralaya. The Germ is invisible and fiery; the Root (the plane
of the circle) is cool; but during Evolution and Manwantara her garment is
cold and radiant. Hot Breath is the Father who devours the progeny of the
many-faced Element (heterogeneous); and leaves the single-faced ones
(homogeneous). Cool Breath is the Mother, who conceives, forms, brings
forth, and receives them back into her bosom, to reform them at the Dawn (of
the Day of Brahma, or Manvantara). . . . " 
[S D I, p. II ]


Our minds in the here and now, surrounded by matter, find it most difficult
to think of that which is NOT material or limited in terms of time, space
and motion.  

Pp. 14-19 give the "3 fundamentals." Those are found repeated throughout 
later pages in one way or another. SD vol. 1 up to p. 300 gives a survey of
manifestation starting with the most spiritual levels and
gradually devolving into "matter." MATTER at that beginning
point is "primordial matter." And if we were to perceive it, we
might think of it as "spirit" in contrast with the "gross matter"
we use every day here and now. Those first 300 pages are full of
the most valuable explanations (see for instance Mr. Judge's
HIDDEN HINTS IN THE SECRET DOCTRINE, which is a useful guide and
commentary), we have to grasp and keep the information gained
from those 300 pages in mind when reading the rest of the book.

In SD I 51 she states positively that the "finite" cannot
conceive of the INFINITE, and on p. 56 she says the reverse the
INFINITY cannot know the "finite." And yet we dare as mind-being
to think about this ABSOLUTENESS as a logical necessity from
which emanates all the limitations of a functioning Universe.

Is this not because we are in our innermost core, (as are all
other beings) One with that ABSOLUTENESS ? This is the one fact
that makes of each of us MONADS and Eternal Pilgrims.

The DOT within the CIRCLE would indicate the Germ, the Seed the
"first differentiation". It also stands for the imperishable
MONAD encased in physical matter.

If you look at a graphic representation of the Pythagorean
TRIANGLE embodying the ten dots in 4 lines, then the ABSOLUTENESS
would be an invisible ( Circle ? ) above the topmost dot. Or in
another way, as IT is non-manifest, it would be an invisible
CIRCLE that we create in our mind's eye, that includes all the
ten dots which signify manifestation in all its many details.


Best wishes,


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