THEOSOPHY, Vol. 64, No. 8, June, 1976
(Pages 242-246; Size: 15K)

NOTES ON "PROBLEMS OF LIFE"(1)

PHYSICAL Science, it seems, gives the name of "atoms" to that which we regard as particles or molecules. With us "atoms" are the inner principles and the intelligent, spiritual guides of the cells and particles they inform. This may be unscientific, but it is a fact in nature.

Our philosophy teaches us that atoms are not matter; but that the smallest molecule -- composed of milliards of indivisible and imponderable atoms -- is substance. Nevertheless, the atom is not a mathematical point or a fiction; but verily an immutable Entity, a reality within an appearance -- the molecule being in occult philosophy but a figment of that which is called maya or illusion. The atom informs the molecule, as life, spirit, soul, mind, inform Man. Therefore is the atom all these, and Force itself. During the life-cycle, the atom represents, according to the geometrical combinations of its groupings in the molecule, life, force (or energy), mind and will; for each molecule in space, as each cell in the human body, is only a microcosm within (to it) a relative macrocosm. That which Science refers to as Force, conservation of energy, correlation, continuity, etc., etc., is simply the (spiritual) sparks on the manifested plane, thrown out by the Anima Mundi, the Universal Soul or Mind (Maha-Buddhi, Mahat) from the plane of the Unmanifested. In short, the atom may be described as a compact or crystalized point of divine Energy and Ideation.

Claude Bernard, one of the greatest physiologists of this age, said that organized matter was per se inert -- even living matter in that sense, he explains, "has to be considered, as lacking spontaneity," although it can become and manifest its special properties of life, under the influence of excitation, for, he adds, "living matter is irritable." If so, then the materialistic negation of life and mind outside and independent of matter becomes a fallacy condemned out of its own mouth. For to excite it, there must be an agent outside of matter to do so. And if there is such an agent to irritate or excite matter, then the materialist and physiologist can no longer say that "life is a property of matter or of living organized substance." Dr. Paul Gibier -- the latest scientific convert to transcendental psychology -- objects to this and says, that "if organized, living matter were indeed inert, demanding an exterior stimulant to manifest its properties, it would become incomprehensible how the hepatic cell could continue, as well demonstrated, to secrete sugar long after the liver had been separated from the body." Occultism says that there is no such thing as inert, dead or even inorganic matter. As sponge is the product of water, created, living and dying in the water, whether ocean or lake, after which it changes form but can never die in its particles or elements, so is matter. It is created and informed by life in the Ocean of Life, which LIFE is but another name for Universal Mind or Anima Mundi, one of the "Four Faces of Brahmâ" on this manifested plane of ours, the visible universe.

Occult philosophy reconciles the absurdity of postulating in the manifested Universe an active Mind without an organ, with that worse absurdity, an objective Universe evolved as everything else in it, by blind chance, by giving to this Universe an organ of thought, a "brain." The latter, although not objective to our senses, is none the less existing; it is to be found in the Entity called KOSMOS (Adam Kadmon, in the Kabbalah). As in the Microcosm, MAN, so in the Macrocosm, or the Universe. Every "organ" in it is a sentient entity, and every particle of matter or substance, from the physical molecule up to the spiritual atom, is a cell, a nerve center, which communicates with the brain-stuff or that substance on the plane of divine Thought in which the prime ideation is produced. Therefore, was man produced in the image of God -- or Divine Nature. Every cell in the human organism mysteriously corresponds with a like "cell" in the divine organism of the manifested universe; only the latter "cell" assumes in the macrocosm the gigantic proportions of an intelligent unit in this or that "Hierarchy" of Beings. This, so far as the differentiated, divine Mind is concerned, on its plane of ideation. This eternal or ABSOLUTE THOUGHT -- lies beyond and is, to us, inscrutable.

Eastern Philosophy -- occult or exoteric -- does not admit of an "I" separate from the Universe, objective or subjective, material or spiritual -- otherwise than as a temporary illusion during the cycle of our incarnations. It is this regrettable illusion, the "heresy of separateness" or personality, the idea that our "I" is distinct in eternity from the Universal EGO, that has to be conquered and destroyed as the root of selfishness and all evil, before we can get rid of re-births and reach Nirvana.

Occult philosophy teaches us that the human mind (or lower Manas) is a direct ray or reflection of the Higher Principle, the Noëtic Mind. The latter is the reincarnating Ego which old Aryan philosophers call Manasaputra, the "Sons of Mind" or of Mahat, the Universal Cosmic Mind. In the Hindu Puranas (see Vishnu Purana) Mahat is identical with Brahmâ, the creative God, the first in the trinitarian group (Trimurti) of Brahmâ, Vishnu and Siva. Or, as the Occultist would call it, the "Higher Ego," the immortal Entity, whose shadow and reflection is the human Manas, the mind, limited by its physical senses. The two may be well compared to the Master-artist and the pupil-musician. The nature of the Harmony produced on the "organ," the Divine melody or the harsh discord, depends on whether the pupil is inspired by the immortal Master, and follows its dictates, or, breaking from its high control, is satisfied with the terrestrial sounds produced by itself conjointly with its evil companion -- the man of flesh -- on the chords and keys of the brain-organ.

Mesmeric and hypnotic experiments have proven beyond doubt that sensation may become independent of the particular sense that is supposed to generate and convey it in a normal state. Whether science will ever be able to prove or not that thought, consciousness, etc., in short, the sensus internum has its seat in the brain, it is already demonstrated and beyond any doubt that under certain conditions our consciousness and even the whole batch of our senses, can act through other organs, e.g., the stomach, the soles of the feet, etc. The "sensing principle" in us is an entity capable of acting outside as inside its material body; and it is certainly independent of any organ in particular, in its actions, although during its incarnation it manifests itself through its physical organs.

Lunacy, or loss of mind, as it is very suggestively called, is explained in Occultism as being primarily due to the paralysis of the higher functions in Kama-Manas, the physical mind -- and, in cases of incurable insanity, to the reunion of the superior portion of the lower with the Higher Divine Ego, and the destruction, in consequence, of Antaskarana, the medium of communication, an event which leaves alive in man only his animal portion, whose Kamic mind lives henceforward on the astral plane.

No manifestation, however rapid or weak, can ever be lost from the Skandhic record of a man's life. Not the smallest sensation, the most trifling action, impulse, thought, impression, or deed, can fade or go out from, or in the Universe. We may think it unregistered by our memory, unperceived by our consciousness, yet it will still be recorded on the tablets of the astral light. Personal memory is a fiction of the physiologist. There are cells in our brain that receive and convey sensations and impressions, but this once done, their mission is accomplished. These cells of the supposed "organ of memory" are the receivers and conveyers of all the pictures and impressions of the past, not their retainers. Under various conditions and stimuli, they can receive instantaneously the reflection of these astral images back again, and this is called memory, recollection, remembrance; but they do not preserve them. When it is said that one has lost his memory, or that it is weakened, it is only a façon de parler; it is our memory-cells alone that are enfeebled or destroyed. The window glass allows us to see the sun, moon, stars, and all the objects outside clearly; crack the pane and all these outside images will be seen in a distorted way; break the window-pane altogether and replace it with a board, or draw the blind down, and the images will be shut out altogether from your sight. But can you say because of this, that all these images -- sun, moon, and stars -- have disappeared, or that by repairing the window with a new pane, the same will not be reflected again into your room? There are cases on record of long months and years of insanity, of long days of fever when almost everything done or said, was done and said unconsciously. Yet when the patients recovered they remembered occasionally their words and deeds and very fully. Unconscious cerebration is a phenomenon on this plane and may hold good so far as the personal mind is concerned. But the Universal Memory preserves every motion, the slightest wave and feeling that ripples the waves of differentiated nature, of man or of the Universe.

Our "memory" is but a general agent, and its "tablets," with their indelible impression, but a figure of speech: the "brain-tablets" serve only as a upadhi or a vahan (basis, or vehicle) for reflecting at a given moment the memory of one or another thing. The records of past events, of every minutest action, and of passing thoughts, in fact, are really impressed on the imperishable waves of the ASTRAL LIGHT, around us and everywhere, not in the brain alone; and these mental pictures, images, and sounds, pass from these waves via the consciousness of the personal Ego or Mind (the lowest Manas) whose grosser essence is astral, into the "cerebral reflectors," so to say, of our brain, whence they are delivered by the psychic to the sensuous consciousness. This at every moment of the day, and even during sleep.


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

A MISSION OF CLARITY

Clarity means peaceful spiritual possession, sufficient domination of our mind over images, not to suffer anxiety about the threat that the object grasped will flee from us. ... Life is the eternal text, the burning bush by the edge of the path from which God speaks. Culture -- art or science or politics -- is the commentary, it is that aspect of life in which, by an act of self-reflection, life acquire polish and order. That is why the work of culture can never retain the problematic character pertaining to all that is merely living. In order to master the unruly torrent of life the learned man meditates, the poet quivers, and the political hero erects the fortress of his will. It would be odd indeed if the result of all these efforts led only to duplicating the problem of the universe. No, man has a mission of clarity upon earth. This mission has not been revealed to him by God nor is it imposed on him from without by anyone or anything. He carries it within him, it is the very root of his constitution. Within his breast arises perpetually a tremendous ambition for clarity -- as Goethe, taking his place in the row of highest human peaks, sang:

I declare myself of the family of those
Who from obscurity to clarity aspire.
                            --JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSET

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NUMBER, THE RULING DEITY

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ONE (1) FOOTNOTE LISTED BELOW:

(1) NOTE.--This collation is from footnotes appended by H.P.B. to a series of extracts translated from the posthumously published "Memoirs" of Dr. N. I. Pirogoff, a prominent Russian surgeon, and printed in volumes 7, 8 and 9 of Lucifer. Dr. Pirogoff's views on the existence of a universal mind and a "Vital Force, independent of any chemical or physical process" are discussed in H.P.B.'s article, "Kosmic Mind."
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