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The Mahatma Letters on "God" & Related Terms

May 05, 2007 10:16 AM
by danielhcaldwell

I give BELOW a compilation of extracts from various Mahatma
letters on "God", "spirit", "matter", "atman", Parabrahm, etc.

One could also annotate all of these extracts with other extracts
from HPB's SECRET DOCTRINE and her other works.

One might also ponder on the words theism, a-theism and pan-theism
and what they actually mean as one reads all these extracts.



Neither our philosophy nor ourselves believe in a God, least of all
in one whose pronoun necessitates a capital G. . . . we deny God both
as philosophers and as Buddhists. We know there are planetary and
other spiritual lives, and we know there is in our system no such
thing as God, either personal or impersonal. Parabrahm is not a God,
but absolute immutable law, and Iswar is the effect of Avidya and
Maya, ignorance based upon the great delusion. . . .

. . . while we assign to all the phenomena that proceed from the
infinite and limitless space, duration and motion, material, natural,
sensible and known (to us at least) cause, the theists assign them
spiritual, super-natural and unintelligible an un-known causes. . . .

. . . Pantheistic we may be called -- agnostic NEVER. If people are
willing to accept and to regard as God our ONE LIFE immutable and
unconscious in its eternity they may do so and thus keep to one more
gigantic misnomer. But then they will have to say with Spinoza that
there is not and that we cannot conceive any other substance than
God; or as that famous and unfortunate philosopher says in his
fourteenth proposition, "practer Deum neque dari neque concepi potest
substantia" -- and thus become Pantheists . . . .

. . . When we speak of our One Life we also say that it penetrates,
nay is the essence of every atom of matter; and that therefore it not
only has correspondence with matter but has all its properties
likewise, etc. -- hence is material, is matter itself. . . .

. . . We are not Adwaitees, but our teaching respecting the one life
is identical with that of the Adwaitee with regard to Parabrahm. And
no true philosophically brained Adwaitee will ever call himself an
agnostic, for he knows that he is Parabrahm and identical in every
respect with the universal life and soul -- the macrocosm is the
microcosm and he knows that there is no God apart from himself, no
creator as no being. Having found Gnosis we cannot turn our backs on
it and become agnostics. . . .

. . . We deny the existence of a thinking conscious God, on the
grounds that such a God must either be conditioned, limited and
subject to change, therefore not infinite, or . . . if he is
represented to us as an eternal unchangeable and independent being,
with not a particle of matter in him, then we answer that it is no
being but an immutable blind principle, a law. . . .

. . . if they tell us that God is a self existent pure spirit
independent of matter -- an extra-cosmic deity, we answer that
admitting even the possibility of such an impossibility, i.e., his
existence, we yet hold that a purely immaterial spirit cannot be an
intelligent conscious ruler nor can he have any of the attributes
bestowed upon him by theology and thus such a God becomes again but a
blind force. Intelligence as found in our Dyan Chohans, is a faculty
that can appertain but to organized or animated being -- however
imponderable or rather invisible the materials of their
organizations. Intelligence requires the necessity of thinking; to
think one must have ideas; ideas suppose senses which are physical
material, and how can anything material belong to pure spirit? . . .

. . . we believe in MATTER alone, in matter as visible nature and
matter in its invisibility as the invisible omnipresent omnipotent
Proteus with its unceasing motion which is its life, and which nature
draws from herself since she is the great whole outside of which
nothing can exist. . . .

. . . The existence of matter then is a fact; the existence of motion
is another fact, their self existence and eternity or
indestructibility is a third fact. And the idea of pure spirit as a
Being or an Existence -- give it whatever name you will -- is a
chimera, a gigantic absurdity. . . .

. . . Contrary in that to the finite, the "infinite mind," which we
name so but for argument's sake, for we call it the infinite FORCE --
exhibits but the functions of its cerebellum, the existence of its
supposed cerebrum being admitted as above stated, but on the
inferential hypothesis deduced from the Kabalistic theory (correct in
every other relation) of the Macrocosm being the prototype of the
Microcosm. So far as we know the corroboration of it by modern
science receiving but little consideration -- so far as the highest
Planetary Spirits have ascertained (who remember well have the same
relations with the trans-cosmical world, penetrating behind the
primitive veil of cosmic matter as we have to go behind the veil of
this, our gross physical world --) the infinite mind displays to them
as to us no more than the regular unconscious throbbings of the
eternal and universal pulse of Nature, throughout the myriads of
worlds within as without the primitive veil of our solar system.

It is the peculiar faculty of the involuntary power of the infinite
mind -- which no one could ever think of calling God, -- to be
eternally evolving subjective matter into objective atoms (you will
please remember that these two adjectives are used but in a relative
sense) or cosmic matter to be later on developed into form. And it is
likewise that same involuntary mechanical power that we see so
intensely active in all the fixed laws of nature -- which governs and
controls what is called the Universe or the Cosmos. There are some
modern philosophers who would prove the existence of a Creator from
motion. We say and affirm that that motion -- the universal perpetual
motion which never ceases never slackens nor increases its speed not
even during the interludes between the pralayas, or "nights of
Brahma" but goes on like a mill set in motion, whether it has
anything to grind or not (for the pralaya means the temporary loss of
every form, but by no means the destruction of cosmic matter which is
eternal) -- we say this perpetual motion is the only eternal and
uncreated Deity we are able to recognise. To regard God as an
intelligent spirit, and accept at the same time his absolute
immateriality is to conceive of a nonentity, a blank void; to regard
God as a Being, an Ego and to place his intelligence under a bushel
for some mysterious reasons -- is a most consummate nonsense; to
endow him with intelligence in the face of blind brutal Evil is to
make of him a fiend -- a most rascally God. A Being however gigantic,
occupying space and having length breadth and thickness is most
certainly the Mosaic deity; "No-being" and a mere principle lands you
directly in the Buddhistic atheism, or the Vedantic primitive
Acosmism. What lies beyond and outside the worlds of form, and being,
in worlds and spheres in their most spiritualized state -- (and you
will perhaps oblige us by telling us where that beyond can be, since
the Universe is infinite and limitless) is useless for anyone to
search after since even Planetary Spirits have no knowledge or
perception of it. If our greatest adepts and Bodhisatvas have never
penetrated themselves beyond our solar system, -- and the idea seems
to suit your preconceived theistic theory wonderfully, my respected
Brother -- they still know of the existence of other such solar
systems, with as mathematical a certainty as any western astronomer
knows of the existence of invisible stars which he can never approach
or explore. But of that which lies within the worlds and systems, not
in the trans-infinitude -- (a queer expression to use) -- but in the
cis-infinitude rather, in the state of the purest and inconceivable
immateriality, no one ever knew or will ever tell, hence it is
something non-existent for the universe. You are at liberty to place
in this eternal vacuum the intellectual or voluntary powers of your
deity -- if you can conceive of such a thing. . . .

. . . And we maintain that wherever there is life and being, and in
however much spiritualized a form, there is no room for moral
government, much less for a moral Governor -- a Being which at the
same time has no form nor occupies space! Verily if light shineth in
darkness, and darkness comprehends it not, it is because such is the
natural law, but how more suggestive and pregnant with meaning for
one who knows, to say that light can still less comprehend darkness,
nor ever know it since it kills wherever it penetrates and
annihilates it instantly. Pure yet a volitional Spirit is an
absurdity for volitional mind. The result of organism cannot exist
independently of an organized brain, and an organized brain made out
of nihil is a still greater fallacy. If you ask me "Whence then the
immutable laws? -- laws cannot make themselves" -- then in my turn I
will ask you -- and whence their supposed Creator? -- a creator
cannot create or make himself. If the brain did not make itself, for
this would be affirming that brain acted before it existed, how could
intelligence, the result of an organized brain, act before its
creator was made. . . .

Yes: there is a force as limitless as thought, as potent as boundless
will, as subtile as the essence of life so inconceivably awful in its
rending force as to convulse the universe to its centre would it but
be used as a lever, but this Force is not God, since there are men
who have learned the secret of subjecting it to their will when
necessary. Look around you and see the myriad manifestations of life,
so infinitely multiform; of life, of motion, of change. What caused
these? From what inexhaustible source came they, by what agency? Out
of the invisible and subjective they have entered our little area of
the visible and objective. Children of Akasa, concrete evolutions
from the ether, it was force which brought them into perceptibility
and Force will in time remove them from the sight of man. Why should
this plant in your garden to the right, have been produced with such
a shape and that other one to the left with one totally dissimilar?
Are these not the result of varying action of Force -- unlike
correlations? Given a perfect monotony of activities throughout the
world, and we would have a complete identity of forms, colours,
shapes and properties throughout all the kingdoms of nature. It is
the motion with its resulting conflict, neutralization,
equilibration, correlation, to which is due the infinite variety
which prevails. You speak of an intelligent and good -- (the
attribute is rather unfortunately chosen) -- Father, a moral guide
and governor of the universe and man. A certain condition of things
exists around us which we call normal. Under this nothing can occur
which transcends our every-day experience "God's immutable laws." But
suppose we change this condition and have the best of him without
whom even a hair of your head will not fall, as they tell you in the
West. A current of air brings to me from the lake near which, with my
fingers half frozen I now write to you this letter -- I change by a
certain combination of electrical magnetic odyllic or other
influences the current of air which benumbs my fingers into a warmer
breeze; I have thwarted the intention of the Almighty, and dethroned
him at my will! I can do that, or when I do not want Nature to
produce strange and too visible phenomena, I force my nature-seeing,
nature-influencing self within me, to suddenly awake to new
perceptions and feelings and thus am my own Creator and ruler.

But do you think that you are right when saying that "the laws
arise." Immutable laws cannot arise, since they are eternal and
uncreated, propelled in the Eternity and that God himself if such a
thing existed, could never have the power of stopping them. And when
did I say that these laws were fortuitous per se. I meant their blind
correlations, never the laws, or rather the law -- since we recognise
but one law in the Universe, the law of harmony, of perfect
EQUILIBRIUM. Then for a man endowed with so subtle a logic, and such
a fine comprehension of the value of ideas in general and that of
words especially -- for a man so accurate as you generally are to
make tirades upon an "all wise, powerful and love-ful God" seems to
say at least strange. I do not protest at all as you seem to think
against your theism, or a belief in an abstract ideal of some kind,
but I cannot help asking you, how do you or how can you know that
your God is all wise, omnipotent and love-ful, when everything in
nature, physical and moral, proves such a being, if he does exist to
be quite the reverse of all you say of him? Strange delusion and one
which seems to overpower your very intellect. . . .

The conception of matter and spirit as entirely distinct, and both
eternal could certainly never have entered my head, however little I
may know of them, for it is one of the elementary and fundamental
doctrines of Occultism that the two are one, and are distinct but in
their respective manifestations, and only in the limited perceptions
of the world of senses. Far from "lacking philosophical breadth"
then, our doctrines show, but
one principle in nature, -- spirit-matter or matter-spirit, the third
the ultimate Absolute or the quintessence of the two, -- if I may be
allowed to use an erroneous term in the present application -- losing
itself beyond the view and spiritual perceptions of even the "Gods"
or Planetary Spirits. This third principle say the Vedantic
Philosophers -- is the only reality, everything else being Maya, as
none of the Protean manifestations of spirit-matter or Purusha and
Prakriti have ever been regarded in any other light than that of
temporary delusions of the senses. Even in the hardly outlined
philosophy of Isis this idea is clearly carried out. In the book of
Kiu-te, Spirit is called the ultimate sublimation of matter, and
matter the crystallization of spirit. And no better illustration
could be afforded than in the very simple phenomenon of ice, water,
vapour and the final dispersion of the latter, the phenomenon being
reversed in its consecutive manifestations and called the Spirit
failing into generation or matter. This trinity resolving itself into
unity, -- a doctrine as old as the world of thought -- was seized
upon by some early Christians, who had it in the schools of
Alexandria, and made up into the Father, or generative spirit; the
Son or matter, -- man; and into the Holy Ghost, the immaterial
essence, or the apex of the equilateral triangle, an idea found to
this day in the pyramids of Egypt. Thus once more it is proved that
you misunderstand my meaning entirely, whenever for the sake of
brevity I use a phraseology habitual with the Western people. But in
my turn I have to remark that your idea that matter is but the
temporary allotropic form of spirit differing from it as charcoal
does from diamond is as unphilosophical as it is unscientific from
both the Eastern and the Western points of view, charcoal being but a
form of residue of matter, while matter per se is indestructible, and
as I maintain coeval with spirit -- that spirit which we know and can
conceive of. Bereaved of Prakriti, Purusha (Spirit) is unable to
manifest itself, hence ceases to exist -- becomes nihil. Without
spirit or Force, even that which Science styles as "not living"
matter, the so-called mineral ingredients which feed plants, could
never have been called into form. There is a moment in the existence
of every molecule and atom of matter when, for one cause or another,
the last spark of spirit or motion or life (call it by whatever name)
is withdrawn, and in the same instant with the swiftness which
surpasses that of the lightning glance of thought the atom or
molecule or an aggregation of molecules is annihilated to return to
its pristine purity of intra-cosmic matter. It is drawn to the mother
fount with the velocity of a globule of quicksilver to the central
mass. Matter, force, and motion are the trinity of physical objective
nature, as the trinitarian unity of spirit-matter is that of the
spiritual or subjective nature. Motion is eternal because spirit is
eternal. But no modes of motion can ever be conceived unless they be
in connection with matter. . . .

. . . And thus according to Mr. Massey's philosophical conclusion we
have no God? He is right -- since he applies the name to an extra-
cosmic anomaly, and that we, knowing nothing of the latter, find --
each man his God -- within himself in his own personal, and at the
same time, -- impersonal Avalokiteswara. . . .

. . . Avalokita Isvar literally interpreted means "the
Lord that is seen." "Iswara" implying moreover, rather the adjective
than the noun, lordly, self-existent lordliness, not Lord. It is,
when correctly interpreted, in one sense "the divine Self perceived
or seen by Self," the Atman or seventh principle ridded of its
mayavic distinction from its Universal Source -- which becomes the
object of perception for, and by the individuality centred in Buddhi,
the sixth principle, -- something that happens only in the highest
state of Samadhi. This is applying it to the microcosm. In the other
sense Avalokitesvara implies the seventh Universal Principle, as the
object perceived by the Universal Buddhi "Mind" or Intelligence which
is the synthetic aggregation of all the Dhyan Chohans, as of all
other intelligences whether great or small, that ever were, are, or
will be. Nor is it the "Spirit of Buddhas present in the Church," but
the Omnipresent Universal Spirit in the temple of nature -- in one
case; and the seventh Principle -- the Atman in the temple -- man --
in the other. Mr. Rhys Davids might have, at least remembered, the
(to him) familiar simile made by the Christian Adept, the Kabalistic
Paul: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit
of God dwelleth in you" -- and thus avoided to have made a mess of
the name. Though as a grammarian he detected the use of the "past
particle passive" yet he shows himself far from an inspired "Panini"
in overlooking the true cause and saving his grammar by raising the
hue and cry against metaphysics. And yet, he quotes Beale's [Beal]
Catena as his authority, for the invention, when, in truth, this work
is perhaps the only one in English that gives an approximately
correct explanation of the word, at any rate, on page 374. "Self-
manifested" -- How? it is asked. "Speech or Vach was regarded as the
Son or the manifestation of the Eternal Self, and was adored under
the name of Avalokitesvara, the manifested God." This shows as
clearly as can be -- that Avalokitesvara is both the unmanifested
Father and the manifested Son, the latter proceeding from, and
identical with, the other; -- namely, the Parabrahm and Jivatman, the
Universal and the individualized seventh Principle, -- the Passive
and the Active, the latter the Word, Logos, the Verb. Call it by
whatever name, only let these unfortunate, deluded Christians know
that the real Christ of every Christian is the Vach, the "mystical
Voice," . . .

. . . [Do you] know the meaning of the white and black interlaced
triangles, of the Parent [Theosophical] Society's seal . . . ?
Shall I explain? -- the double triangle viewed by the Jewish
Kabalists as Solomon's Seal, is, as many of you doubtless know the
Sri-antara of the archaic Aryan Temple, the "mystery of Mysteries," a
geometrical synthesis of the whole occult doctrine. The two
interlaced triangles are the Buddhangums of Creation. They contain
the "squaring of the circle," the "philosophical stone," the great
problems of Life and Death, and -- the Mystery of Evil. . . .Of
course you know that the double-triangle -- the Satkiri Chakram of
Vishnu -- or
the six-pointed star, is the perfect seven. In all the old Sanskrit
works -- Vedic and Tantrik -- you find the number 6 mentioned more
often than the 7 -- this last figure, the central point being
implied, for it is the germ of the six and their matrix . . . the
central point standing for seventh, and the circle, the Mahakasha --
endless space -- for the seventh Universal Principle. In one sense,
both are viewed as Avalokitesvara, for they are respectively the
Macrocosm and the microcosm. The interlaced triangles -- the upper
pointing one -- is Wisdom concealed, and the downward pointing one --
Wisdom revealed (in the phenomenal world). The circle indicates the
bounding, circumscribing quality of the All, the Universal Principle
which, from any given point expands so as to embrace all things,
while embodying the potentiality of every action in the Cosmos. As
the point then is the centre round which the circle is traced -- they
are identical and one, and though from the standpoint of Maya and
Avidya -- (illusion and ignorance) -- one is separated from the other
by the manifested triangle, the 3 sides of which represent the three
gunas -- finite attributes. In symbology the central point is Jivatma
(the 7th principle), and hence Avalokitesvara, the Kwan-Shai-yin, the
manifested "Voice" (or Logos), the germ point of manifested
activity; -- hence -- in the phraseology of the Christian
Kabalists "the Son of the Father and Mother," and agreeably to ours --
"the Self manifested in Self -- Yih-sin, the "one form of
existence," the child of Dharmakaya (the universally diffused
Essence), both male and female. Parabrahm or "Adi-Buddha" while
acting through that germ point outwardly as an active force, reacts
from the circumference inwardly as the Supreme but latent Potency.
The double triangles symbolize the Great Passive and the Great
Active; the male and female; Purusha and Prakriti. Each triangle is a
Trinity because presenting a triple aspect. The white represents in
its straight lines: Gnanam -- (Knowledge); Gnata -- (the Knower); and
Gnayam -- (that which is known). The black-form, colour, and
substance, also the creative, preservative, and destructive forces
and are mutually correlating, etc., etc. . . .

. . . every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner
world and becomes an active entity by associating itself --
coalescing, we might term it -- with an elemental; that is to say
with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives
as an active intelligence, a creature of the mind's begetting, for a
longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of
the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is
perpetuated as an active beneficent power; an evil one as a
maleficent demon. And so man is continually peopling his current in
space with a world of his own, crowded with the offsprings of his
fancies, desires, impulses, and passions, a current which reacts upon
any sensitive or and nervous organisation which comes in contact with
it in proportion to its dynamic intensity. The Buddhist calls this
his "Skandha," the Hindu gives it the name of "Karma"; the Adept
evolves these shapes consciously, other men throw them off
unconsciously. . . .

. . . The human brain is an exhaustless generator of the most refined
quality of cosmic force, out of the low, brute energy of nature; and
the complete adept has made himself a centre from which irradiate
potentialities that beget correlations upon correlations through
Aeons to come. This is the key to the mystery of his being able to
project into and materialise in the visible world the forms that his
imagination has constructed out of inert cosmic matter in the
invisible world. The adept does not create anything new, but only
utilises and manipulates materials which nature has in store around
him; a material which throughout eternities has passed through all
the forms; he has but to choose the one he wants and recall it into
objective existence. . . .

What have we, the disciples of the true Arhats, of esoteric Buddhism
and of Sang-gyas to do with the Shasters and Orthodox Brahmanism?
There are 100 of thousands of Fakirs, Sannyasis and Saddhus leading
the most pure lives, and yet being as they are, on the path of error,
never having had an opportunity to meet, see or even hear of us.
Their forefathers have driven away the followers of the only true
philosophy upon earth away from India and now, it is not for the
latter to come to them but to them to come to us if they want us.
Which of them is ready to become a Buddhist, a Nastika as they call
us? . . . Faith in the Gods and God, and other superstitions attracts
millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents
around them, with which we would have to use more than ordinary
exercise of power to drive them away. We do not choose to do so. We
do not find it either necessary or profitable to lose our time waging
war to the unprogressed Planetaries who delight in personating gods
and sometimes well known characters who have lived on earth. There
are Dhyan-Chohans and "Chohans of Darkness," not what they term
devils but imperfect "Intelligences" who have never been born on this
or any other earth or sphere no more than the "Dhyan Chohans" have
and who will never belong to the "builders of the Universe," the pure
Planetary Intelligences, who preside at every Manvantara while the
Dark Chohans preside at the Pralayas. . . . as all in
this universe is contrast . . . so the light of the Dhyan Chohans and
their pure intelligence is contrasted by the "Ma-Mo Chohans" -- and
their destructive intelligence. These are the gods the Hindus and
Christians and Mahomed and all others of bigoted religions and sects
worship; and so long as their influence is upon their devotees we
would no more think of associating with or counteracting them in
their work. . . .

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