THEOSOPHY, Vol. 48, No. 6, April, 1960
(Pages 269-274; Size: 16K)
QUESTIONS ON THE GOD-IDEA(1)
WHY do different peoples, and "times," vary so greatly in their concept of Deity -- from Fetichism to Immutable Law?
The evolution of the God-Idea proceeds apace with man's own intellectual evolution. So true it is that the noblest ideal to which the religious Spirit of one age can soar, will appear but a gross caricature to the philosophic mind in a succeeding epoch.
Was this the case among men from earliest primitive ages?
The philosophers themselves had to be initiated into perceptive mysteries before they could grasp the correct idea of the ancients in relation to this most metaphysical subject. Otherwise -- outside such initiation -- for every thinker there will be a "thus far shalt thou go and no farther," mapped out by his intellectual capacity, as clearly and unmistakably as there is for the progress of any nation or race in its cycle by the law of Karma.
Does the law of Karma impose such intellectual limitations?
Mankind is obviously divided into god-informed men and lower human creatures. The intellectual difference between the Aryan and other civilized nations and such savages as the South Sea Islanders, is inexplicable on any other grounds. No amount of culture, nor generations amid civilization, could raise such human specimens as the Bushmen, the Veddhas of Ceylon, and some African tribes, to the same intellectual level as the Aryans, the Semites, and the Turanians so called.
There are existing, then, actual inferior men?
The "sacred spark" is missing in them and it is they who are the only inferior races on the globe, now happily -- owing to the wise adjustment of nature which ever works in that direction -- fast dying out. Verily mankind is "of one blood," but not of the same essence. We are hothouse, artificially quickened plants in nature, having in us a spark, which in them is latent.
What of the term "God"? Is it a good one to use?
The attempt to derive God from the Anglo-Saxon synonym "good" is an abandoned idea, for in no other language, in all of which the term varies more or less, from the Persian Khoda down to the Latin Deus, has an instance been found of a name of God being derived from the attribute of Goodness. To the Latin race it comes from the Aryan Dyaus (the Day); to the Slavonians, from the Greek Bacchus (Bagh-bog); and to the Saxon races directly from the Hebrew Yodh or Jod. The latter is the number 10, male and female, and Jod the phallic hook -- hence the Saxon Godh, the Germanic Gott, and the English God. This symbolic term may be said to represent the Creator of physical "Humanity," on the terrestrial plane; but surely it has nothing to do with the formation or "Creation" of Spirit, gods, or Kosmos!
The "God-idea" is then a dual one? A God of the terrestrial, and a God of the celestial "Creation"?
Pymander, the "Thought Divine" personified, says: "The Light is me, I am the Nous (the mind or Manu), I am thy God, and I am far older than the human principle which escapes from the shadow ("Darkness," or the Concealed Deity). I am the germ of thought, the resplendent Word, the Son of God. All that thus sees and hears in thee is the Verbum of the Master, it is the Thought (Mahat) which is God, the Father."
Can this be simplified? Here God seems to be synonymous with the term "Manu."
Manu comes from the root man "to think," hence "a thinker." It is from this Sanskrit word very likely that sprung the Latin "mens," mind, the Egyptian "Menes," the "Master-Mind," the Pythagorean Monas, or conscious "thinking unit," mind also, and even our Manas or mind, the fifth principle in man.
But "God" in Pymander seems also synonymous with Mahat. Can this be related to man?
"When Mahat develops into the feeling of Self-Consciousness -- I -- then it assumes the name of Egoism." Translated into our esoteric phraseology, this means when Mahat is transformed into the human Manas (or even that of the finite gods), it becomes Aham-ship, or "I" -- Selfhood.
Then the "Thought Divine," or the "Word," Mahat, is transformed into both Manas, which is immortal, and into "that of the finite gods"?
"God" is the collectivity of all Spiritual Beings. The "Ah-hi" pass through all the planes, beginning to manifest on the third, of the seven planes. Like all other Hierarchies, on the highest plane they are arupa, i.e., formless, bodiless, without any substance, mere breaths. On the second plane, they first approach to Rupa, or form. On the third they become the Manasa-putras (the Sons of Mahat), those who become incarnated in man.
With every plane they reach they are called by different names -- there is a continual differentiation of their original homogeneous substance; we call it substance, although in reality it is no substance of which we can conceive. Later, they become Rupa -- ethereal forms.
The text speaks of Planetary, Solar, Lunar, and lastly, Incarnating Egos.
The Endowers of man with his conscious, immortal EGO, are the "Solar Angels" -- whether so regarded metaphorically or literally. The mysteries of the Conscious EGO or human soul are great. The esoteric name of these "Solar Angels" is, literally, the "Lords" (Nath) of "persevering ceaseless devotion" (pranidhana). Therefore they of the fifth principle (Manas) seem to be connected with, or to have originated the system of the Yogis who make of pranidhana their fifth observance.
And the other class of "Pitris" ...?
The Progenitors of man, called in India "Fathers," Pitara or Pitris, are the creators of our bodies and lower principles. They are ourselves as the first personalities, and we are they. Primeval man would be "the bone of their bone and the flesh of their flesh" -- if they had body and flesh.
Why "primeval man"? Why not the man of today?
The Pitris are not the ancestors of the present living men, but those of the first human kind or Adamic race; the spirits of human races, which, on the great scale of descending evolution, preceded our races of men, and were physically as well as spiritually, far superior to our modern pygmies. They are called the Lunar ancestors.
Can an illustration be given to help comprehend this statement?
Mankinds different from the present are mentioned in all the ancient Cosmogonies. Plato speaks, in the Phædrus, of a "winged race of men." Aristophanes (in Plato's Banquet), speaks of a race "androgynous and with round bodies." Again, in the ancient Quiche MSS, the Popol Vuh, the first men are described as a race "whose sight was unlimited, and who knew all things at once": thus showing the divine knowledge of Gods, not mortals. The Secret Doctrine, correcting unavoidable exaggerations of popular fancy, gives the facts as they are recorded in the Archaic symbols.
Are such Teachings better understood in the Orient?
With the Brahmans the Pitris are very sacred, because they are the Progenitors or ancestors of men -- the first Manushya on this Earth -- and offerings are made to them by the Brahman when a son is born unto him. They are more honoured and their ritual is more important than the worship of the gods ...
Every old religious tradition points to this dual origin of Man?
Everywhere it is the same. The creating powers produce Man, but fail in their final object. All these logoi strive to endow man with conscious immortal spirit, reflected in the Mind (Manas) alone; they fail, and they are all represented as being punished for their failures, if not for the attempt.
They fail, because ...?
Each class of Creators endows man with what it has to give: the one builds his external form; the other gives him its essence, which later on becomes the Human Higher Self owing to the personal exertion of the individual. But they could not make men as they were themselves -- perfect, because sinless; sinless, because having only the first, pale shadowy outlines of attributes, and these all perfect -- from the human standpoint -- white, pure and cold as the virgin snow. Where there is no struggle there is no merit.
What was the "punishment" spoken of?
A sentence of imprisonment in the lower nether region, which is our earth; the lowest in its chain; an "eternity" -- meaning the duration of the life-cycle -- in the darkness of matter, or within animal Man. It has pleased the half-ignorant and half-designing Church Fathers to disfigure the graphic symbol. They took advantage of the metaphor and allegory found in every old religion and turned them to the benefit of the new one. Thus, man was transformed into the darkness of a material hell; his divine consciousness, obtained from his indwelling Principle (the Manasa), or the incarnated Deva, became the glaring flames of the infernal region; and our globe that Hell itself.
What is the right interpretation of the allegory?
Esoteric philosophy teaches that one third of the Dhyanis -- i.e., the three classes of the Arupa Pitris, endowed with intelligence, "which is a formless breath, composed of intellectual not elementary substances" -- was doomed by the law of Karma and evolution to be reborn (or reincarnated) on Earth. Thence, the subsequent assertions of St. John's vision, referred to in his Apocalypse, for example, about "the great red Dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads," whose "tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth."
Then one should sharply differentiate between man's "Endowers" and his "Creators"?
The Kumaras, explains an esoteric text, "are the Dhyanis, derived immediately from the supreme Principle, who reappear in the Vaivasvata Manu period, for the progress of mankind." They may indeed mark a "special" or extra creation, since it is they who, by incarnating themselves within the senseless human shells of the two first Root-races and a great portion of the Third Root-race, create, so to speak, a new race: that of thinking, self-conscious and divine man.
It must be admitted, though, that the problem is a complex one. Both classes are Pitris, and both seem to be "Creators"!
Like alone produces like. The Earth gives man his body, the gods (Dhyanis) his five inner principles, the psychic Shadow, of whom those gods are often the animating principle. SPIRIT (Atman) is one -- and indiscrete.
Humanity, "of the Earth earthy," was not destined to be created by the angels of the first divine Breath. Therefore they are said to have refused to do so, and man had to be formed by more material creators, who, in their turn, could give only what they had in their own natures, and no more. Subservient to eternal law, the pure Gods could only project out of themselves shadowy men, a little less ethereal and spiritual, less divine and perfect than themselves -- shadows still. The first humanity, therefore, was a pale copy of its progenitors; too material, even in its ethereality, to be a hierarchy of gods; too spiritual and pure to be MEN, endowed as it is with every negative (Nirguna) perfection.
The pure celestial Being (Dhyan Chohan) and the great Pitris of various classes were commissioned -- the one to evolve their images (Chhaya), and make of them physical man, the others to inform and thus endow him with divine intelligence and the comprehension of the Mysteries of Creation.
Can it be asked why "Spiritual Beings" are "commissioned"?
There is an eternal cyclic law of re-births, and the series is headed at every new Manvantaric dawn by those who had enjoyed their rest from re-incarnations in previous Kalpas for incalculable Æons -- the highest and earliest Nirvanees. It was the turn of those "Gods" to incarnate in the present Manvantara; hence their presence on Earth, and the ensuing allegories; hence also the perversion of the original meaning. The Gods who had "fallen" into generation, whose mission it was to complete "divine" man, are found represented later on as Demons, evil Spirits, and fiends, at feud and at war with Gods, or the irresponsible agents of the one Eternal law. But no conception of such creatures as the devils and Satan of the Christian, Jewish and Mahometan religions was ever intended under those thousand and one Aryan allegories.
In a sense then, the "Gods" are compelled to "fall into generation"?
We have a passage from a Master's letter which has a direct bearing upon these incarnating angels. Says the letter: "Now there are, and there must be, failures in the ethereal races of the many classes of Dhyan-Chohans, or Devas (progressed entities of a previous planetary period), as well as among men. But still, as the failures are far too progressed and spiritualized to be thrown back forcibly from Dhyan-Chohanship into the vortex of a new primordial evolution through the lower Kingdoms, this then happens. Where a new solar system has to be evolved these Dhyan-Chohans are born in by influx 'ahead' of the Elementals (Entities ... to be developed into humanity at a future time) and remain as a latent or inactive spiritual force, in the aura of a nascent world ... until the stage of human evolution is reached. ... Then they become an active force and commingle with the Elementals, to develop little by little the full type of humanity." That is to say, to develop in, and endow man with his Self-conscious mind, or Manas.
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