THEOSOPHY, Vol. 47, No. 3, January, 1959
(Pages 122-126; Size: 15K)
THAT WHICH IS(1)
THE Intelligence that moves the universe is Fire, and Fire is Intelligence. "Fire is the most perfect and unadulterated reflection, in heaven as on earth, of the One FLAME. It is life and death, the origin and the end of every material thing. It is divine Substance." Fire alone is one, on the plane of the One Reality. On that of manifested hence illusive being, its particles are the fiery lives which live and have their being at the expense of every other life that they consume. Therefore they are named the Devourers. Pure Cosmic Fire (without, so to speak, fuel) is Deity in its universality; for cosmic fire, or heat which it calls forth, is every atom of matter in manifested nature. There is not a thing or particle in the universe which does not contain in it latent fire.
Occultism sums up the One Existence thus: "Deity is an arcane, living (or moving) FIRE, and the eternal witnesses to this unseen Presence are Light, Heat, Moisture" -- this trinity including, and being the cause of, every phenomenon in nature. For all we know, FIRE may have been pure Akasha, the first matter of the Magnum Opus of the Creators and "Builders." The Initial Existence is ... a Film for creative or formative purposes. It manifests in seven states, which, with their respective subdivisions, are the forty-nine Fires mentioned in the sacred books. ... To man, IT gives all that it bestows on all the rest of the manifested units in nature; but develops, furthermore, the reflection of all its forty-nine fires in him. The Fire-philosophers, the Rosicrucians, and the earlier Zoroastrians affirmed that the world was created of fire, the divine spirit of which was an omnipotent and omniscient God. Fire is Æther in its purest form, and hence is not regarded as matter, but it is the unity of Æther -- the second manifested deity -- in its universality. But there are two Fires, and a distinction is made between them in occult teachings. The first, or the purely Formless and invisible Fire concealed in the Central Spiritual Sun, is spoken of as "triple" (metaphysically); while the Fire of the manifested Kosmos is septenary, throughout both the universe and our solar system.
There is a deep philosophy underlying the earliest worship in the world, that of the Sun and of Fire. Of all the elements known to physical science, fire is the one that has ever eluded definite analysis. "The lighting of a fire by a flame is a great scientific difficulty, yet few people think so." Fire is the most mystic of all the five elements, as also the most divine. To give an explanation of its various meanings on our plane alone, leaving all the other planes entirely out of the question, would be much too arduous, in addition to its being entirely incomprehensible for the vast majority. Fire, in the occult sense, is æther, and æther is born of motion, and motion is the eternal dark, invisible Fire. MOTION is eternal, per se. In the manifested kosmos Motion is the alpha and omega of that which is called electricity, magnetism, sensation -- moral and physical; of thought, and even life, on this plane. Thus fire, on our plane, is simply the manifestation of motion, or life.
The ancients called it Chaos. Plato and Pythagoras named it the Soul of the World. Alone the students of this Agent, which is the divine breath, can unlock the secrets of psychology and physiology, or cosmical and spiritual phenomena. Fire, in the opinion of the Rosicrucians, who were but the successors of the theurgists, was the source, not only of the material atoms, but also of the Forces which energize them. If the Absolute deity can be referred to as Darkness or the Dark Fire, the light, its first progeny, is truly the first self-conscious God. For what is light in its primordial root but the world-illuminating and life-giving Deity? Light is that which, from an abstraction, has become a reality. No one has ever seen real or Primordial Light: what we see is only its broken rays or reflections, which become denser and less luminous as they descend into form and matter. Fire, therefore, is a term which comprehends ALL. Fire is the invisible Deity, "the Father," and the manifesting light is God "the Son," and also the Sun. Therefore, says the Teaching: "Light, or the cold Flame (Chaos) is a cold Fire, a cool Radiance, colourless, formless, devoid of every quality. Motion is the One Eternal is, and contains the potentialities of every quality in the manvantaric worlds."
Fire is the father of light, light the parent of heat and air (vital air). Light sets in motion and controls all in nature, from that highest primordial Æther down to the tiniest molecule in space. The one Cosmic element is called figuratively Fire. The expanding of the universe under the breath of Fire is very suggestive in the light of the Fire Mist period of which modern science speaks so much, and knows in reality so little. Great heat breaks up the compound elements and resolves the heavenly bodies into their primeval one element, explains the Commentary. "Once disintegrated into its primal constituent by getting within the attraction and reach of a focus, or centre of heat (energy), of which many are carried to and fro in space, a body, whether alive or dead will be vaporized and held in 'the bosom of Mother' until Fohat, gathering a few clusters of Cosmic matter (nebulae) will, by giving it an impulse, develop the required heat, and then leave it to follow its own new growth."
All cosmic phenomena were referred to by the Rosicrucians as "animated geometry." Every polar function is only a repetition of primeval polarity, said the Fire-philosophers. For motion begets heat, and æther in motion is heat. When it slackens its motion, then cold is generated, for "cold is æther in a latent condition." When we say that fire is the first of the Elements, it is the first known in the visible universe, the fire that we commonly know. Even on the highest plane of our universe, the plane of Globe A or G, fire is in one respect only the fourth (element). The Secret Doctrine teaches that in the first round, the globe, having been built by the primitive fire-lives, i.e., formed into a sphere -- had no solidity nor qualifications, save a cold brightness, nor form nor colour. It is only toward the end of the first round that it developed one element from which its inorganic, so to say, or simple Essence became now in our round the fire we know throughout the system.
In the ancient philosophy of all times and countries, including our own, Fire has been regarded as a triple principle. As water comprises a visible fluid with invisible gases lurking within, and behind all the spiritual principle of nature which gives them their dynamic energy, so in fire they recognized visible flame; invisible or astral fire -- invisible when inert, but when active producing heat, light, chemical force, and electricity, the molecular powers; and Spirit. They applied the same rule to each of the elements; and everything evolved from their combinations and correlations, man included, was held by them to be triune. Thus every fire has a distinct function and meaning in the worlds of the physical and the spiritual. It has, moreover, in its essential nature a corresponding relation to one of the human psychic faculties, besides its well-determined chemical and physical potencies when coming in contact with the terrestrially differentiated matter. Science has no speculation on fire per se; Occult and ancient religious sciences have. Truly the young Brahmin who graduates in the universities and colleges of India with the highest honors; who starts in life as an M.A. and LL.B., with a tail initialed from alpha to omega after his name, and a contempt for his national gods proportioned to the honours received in his education in physical sciences; truly he has but to read in the light of the latter, and with an eye to the correlation of physical forces, certain passages in his Puranas, if he would learn how much more his ancestors knew than he will ever know -- unless he becomes an occultist.
Let him turn to the allegory of Pururavas and the celestial Gandharvas (cosmically and psychically, aggregate powers and intelligences) who furnished the former with a vessel full of heavenly fire. The primeval mode of obtaining fire by friction has its scientific explanation in the Vedas, and is pregnant with meaning for him who reads between the lines. The Tretagni (sacred triad of fires) obtained by the attrition of sticks made of wood of the Ashwatta tree (the Bo-tree, of Wisdom and Knowledge) -- sticks "as many finger-breaths long as there are syllables in the Gayatri" must have a secret meaning, or else the writers of the Vedas and Puranas were no sacred writers but mystifiers. That it has such a meaning the Hindu occultists are a proof, and they alone are able to enlighten Science, as to why and how "the fire, that was primevally one, was made threefold (treta) in our present Manvantara, by the Son of Ila (Vach), the primeval woman after the Deluge, the wife and daughter of Vaivasvata Manu." The allegory is suggestive, in whatever Purana it may be read and studied.
Just as in old alchemical works the real meaning of the substances and elements is concealed under the most ridiculous metaphors, so are the physical, psychic, and spiritual natures of the Elements (say of Fire) concealed in the Vedas, and especially in the Puranas, under allegories comprehensible only to the Initiates. Had they no meaning, then indeed all those long legends and allegories about the sacredness of the three types of fire, and the forty-nine original fires -- personified by the Sons of Daksha's daughters and the Rishis, their husbands, "who with the first son of Brahma and his three descendants constitute the forty-nine fires" -- would be idiotic verbiage, and no more. The "living fire" is spoken of in all Hindu books, as also in the Kabalistic works. The Zohar explains it as the "white hidden fire, in the White Head, whose Will causes the fiery fluid to flow in 370 currents in every direction of the universe." It is identical with the "Serpent that runs with 370 leaps" of the Siprah Dzenioota, which, when the "Perfect Man," the Metatron, is raised, i.e., when the divine man indwells in the animal man, it, the Serpent, becomes three spirits, that is to say, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, in our theosophical phraseology.
We often speak of the Hierarchy of "Flames," of the "Sons of Fire," etc. Sankaracharya, the greatest of the esoteric masters of India, says that fire means a deity which presides over Time (kala). "The Sons of Fire" -- because they are the first Beings (in The Secret Doctrine they are called "minds") evolved from the primordial Fire. It is taught that the Fire-Devas, the Rudras, and the Kumaras, the "Virgin-Angels" preferred the curse of incarnation and the long cycles of terrestrial existence and rebirths to seeing the misery (even if unconscious) of the beings evolved as shadows out of their Brethren, the "Lunar" gods, through the semi-passive energy of their too spiritual Creators. Says the Catechism, with regard to the "fires" physical, spiritual, and intellectual, of Man: "It is from the material Worlds that descend they, who fashion physical man at the new Manvantara. They are the inferior lunar Spirits, possessed of a dual body (an astral within an ethereal form), the fashioners and creators of our body of illusion. Into the forms so projected by the lunar spirits (Lha) the two letters (the Monad, called also 'the Double Dragon') descend from the spheres of expectation. But they are like a roof with no walls, nor pillars to rest upon. Man needs four flames and three fires to become One on earth, and he requires the essence of the forty-nine fires to be perfect. It is those who have deserted the Superior Spheres, the Gods of Will, who complete the Manu of illusion. For the 'Double Dragon' has no hold upon the mere form. It is like the breeze where there is no tree or branch to receive and harbour it. It cannot affect the form where there is no agent of transmission (Manas, 'Mind') and the form knows it not. In the highest worlds, the three are one. ..." The (four) flames are evanescent and only periodical; the Fires -- eternal in their triple Unity.
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(1) NOTE.--Collated from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.
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