THEOSOPHY, Vol. 68, No. 2, December, 1979
(Pages 46-50; Size: 15K)

THE PANTHEISTS(1)

But those who worship or believe in the Self as all-in-all, not separate from any, supreme, the container, the whole -- go to It. 

--Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita
THE term "Pantheism" is one of the many abused terms, whose real and primitive meaning has been distorted by blind prejudice and a one-sided view of it. A Pantheist is one who identifies God with Nature, and vice versa. Pantheism is often objected to by people and regarded as reprehensible. But how can a philosopher regard Deity as infinite, omnipresent and eternal unless Nature is an aspect of IT, and IT informs every atom in Nature?

Nature is the god PAN. When we speak of the Deity and make it identical, hence coeval with Nature, the eternal and uncreate nature is meant, not the aggregate of flitting shadows and finite unrealities. We neither take into consideration this objective and material nature, which we call an evanescent illusion, nor do we mean by "Nature," in the sense of the accepted derivation from the Latin Natura (becoming, from nasci, to be born).

The name Pan means ALL. If you accept the Christian etymology of this compound word and form it of ... "all," and ... "god," and then imagine and teach that this means that every stone and every tree in Nature is a God or the ONE God, then you will make of the Pantheists fetish-worshippers, in addition to their legitimate name. Our DEITY is neither in a paradise, nor a particular tree, building, nor mountain; it is everywhere, in every atom of the visible as of the invisible Cosmos, in, over, and around every invisible atom and divisible molecule; for IT is the mysterious power of evolution and involution, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and even omniscient creative potentiality.

PAN was at one time absolute nature, the one and GREAT-ALL; but when history catches a first glimpse of him, Pan has already tumbled down into a godling of the fields, a rural god; and history will not recognize him, while theology makes of him the devil. Yet his seven-piped flute, the emblem of the seven forces of nature, of the seven planets, the seven musical notes, of all the septenary harmony, in short, shows well his primordial character. There is a well-known pious legend which has been current in the Christian world ever since the days of Tiberius, to the effect that "the great Pan is dead." But people are greatly mistaken in this; neither nature nor any of her Forces can ever die. A few of these may be left unused, and being forgotten lie dormant for long centuries. But no sooner are the proper conditions furnished than they awake, to act again with tenfold power.

Pantheism was known, seen, and felt by the whole of antiquity. Pantheism manifests itself in the vast expanse of the starry heavens, in the breathing of the seas and oceans and the quiver of life in the smallest blade of grass. Philosophy rejects one finite and imperfect God in the universe, as the anthropomorphic deity of the monotheist is represented by his followers. It repudiates in its name of Philo-Theo-Sophia the grotesque idea that Infinite, Absolute Deity should, or rather could, have any, whether direct or indirect, relation to finite illusive evolutions of matter, and therefore cannot imagine a universe outside that Deity, or the latter absent from the smallest speck of animate or inanimate substance. This does not mean that every bush, tree or stone is God or a god; but only that every speck of the manifested material of Kosmos belongs to and is the substance of "God," however low it may have fallen in its cyclic gyration through the Eternities of the ever becoming; and also that every such speck individually, and Kosmos collectively, is an aspect and a reminder of that universal One Soul -- which philosophy refuses to call God, thus limiting the eternal and ever-present root and essence.

From the early ages of the Fourth Race, when Spirit alone was worshipped and the mystery was made manifest, down to the last palmy days of Grecian art at the dawn of Christianity -- the Hellenes alone had dared to raise publicly an altar to an UNKNOWN GOD. Whatever St. Paul may have had in his profound mind when declaring to the Athenians that this "unknown," ignorantly worshipped by them was the true God announced by himself -- that Deity was not "Jehovah," nor was he "The Maker of the world and all things." For it is not the "God of Israel" but the "Unknown" of the ancient and modern Pantheist that "dwelleth not in temples made with hands" (Acts xviii, 23-4).

"With the ancient WISE, there was no name and no idea, and no symbol of A FIRST CAUSE." Most decidedly not. Rather never give a thought to it and leave it forever nameless, as the early Pantheists did, than degrade the sacredness of that Ideal of Ideals, by dragging down its symbols into such anthropomorphic forms! The silent worship of abstract or noumenal Nature, the only divine manifestation, is the one ennobling religion of Humanity.

Well may a man of science ask himself, "What power is it that directs each atom," and what is it that its character should be selective? Theists would solve the question by answering "God"; and would solve nothing philosophically. Occultism answers on its own pantheistic grounds. The matter-moving Nous, the animating Soul, immanent in every atom, manifested in man, latent in the stone, has different degrees of power; and this pantheistic idea of a general Spirit-Soul pervading all Nature is the oldest of all the philosophical notions.

If the Parabrahmam of the Hindus may be taken as a representative of the hidden and nameless deities of other nations, this absolute Principle will be found to be the prototype from which all the others were copied. Parabrahm is simply, as a "Secondless Reality," the all-inclusive Kosmos -- or, rather, the infinite Cosmic Space -- in the highest spiritual sense, of course. Parabrahm is, in short, the collective aggregate of Kosmos in its infinity and eternity.

Spinoza recognised but one universal indivisible substance and absolute ALL, like Parabrahmam. Leibnitz, on the contrary, perceived the existence of a plurality of substances. There was but ONE for Spinoza; for Leibnitz an infinitude of Beings, from, and in, the One. Hence, though both admitted but one real Entity, while Spinoza made it impersonal and indivisible, Leibnitz divided his personal Deity into a number of divine and semi-divine Beings. Spinoza was a subjective, Leibnitz an objective Pantheist, yet both were great philosophers in their intuitive perceptions.

It is said and plainly demonstrated [in the Zohar] that in the beginning the Elohim (Elhim) were called Echod, "one," or "the Deity is one in many," a very simple idea in a pantheist conception (in its philosophical sense, of course). Then came the change, "Jehovah is Elohim," thus unifying the multiplicity and taking the first step toward Monotheism.

It is to be borne in mind that in designating Spirit, which the European Pantheists use as equivalent to Parabrahm, as unconscious, they do not attach to that expression of "Spirit" -- one employed in the absence of a better to symbolise a profound mystery -- the connotation it usually bears. "Spirit and Matter, or Purusha and Prakriti are but the two primeval aspects of the One and Secondless," we are taught. Divine Thought cannot be defined, or its meaning explained, except by the numberless manifestations of Cosmic Substance in which the former is sensed spiritually by those who can do so. ... To "Spirit" is referable every manifestation of consciousness, reflective or direct, and of unconscious purposiveness (to adopt a modern expression used in Western philosophy, so-called) as evidenced in the Vital Principle, and Nature's submission to the majestic sequence of immutable Law. "Matter" must be regarded as objectivity in its purest abstraction -- the self-existing basis whose septenary manvantaric differentiations constitute the objective reality underlying the phenomena of each plane of conscious existence.

At the commencement of a great Manvantara, Parabrahm manifests as Mulaprakriti and then as the Logos. This Logos is equivalent to the "Unconscious Universal Mind," etc., of Western Pantheists. It constitutes the Basis of the SUBJECT-side of manifested Being, and is the source of all manifestations of individual consciousness.

It is easy to show how Scientists, wedded to their materialistic views, have endeavoured, ever since the day of Newton, to put false masks on fact and truth. But their task is becoming with every year more difficult; and with every year also, Chemistry, above all the other sciences, approaches nearer and nearer the realm of the Occult in nature. It is assimilating the very truths taught by the Occult Sciences for ages, but hitherto bitterly derided. "Matter is eternal," says the Esoteric Doctrine. But the matter the Occultists conceive of in its laya, or zero state, is not the matter of modern science; not even in its most rarefied gaseous state. Mr. Crookes' "radiant matter" would appear matter of the grossest kind in the realm of beginnings, as it becomes pure spirit before it has returned back even to its first point of differentiation.

Therefore, when the adept or alchemist adds that, though matter is eternal, for it is PRADHANA, yet atoms are born at every new manvantara, or reconstruction of the universe, it is no such contradiction as a materialist, who believes in nothing beyond the atom, might think. There is a difference between manifested and unmanifested matter, between pradhâna, the beginningless and endless cause, and prakriti, or the manifested effect. That which in modern phraseology is respectively referred to as Spirit and Matter, is ONE in eternity as the perpetual cause, and it is neither Spirit nor matter, but IT -- rendered in Sanskrit TAD ("that"), -- all that is, was, or will be, all that the imagination of man is capable of conceiving.

The Greek Hyle means primordial stuff. ... The first principle out of which the objective Universe was formed. Hylozoism, when philosophically understood, is the highest aspect of Pantheism. It is the only possible escape from idiotic atheism based on lethal materiality, and the still more idiotic anthropomorphic conceptions of the monotheists; between which two it stands on its own entirely neutral ground. Hylozoism demands absolute Divine Thought, which would pervade the numberless active, creating Forces, or "Creators"; which entities are moved by, and have their being in, from, and through that Divine Thought; the latter, nevertheless, having no more personal concern in them or their creations, than the Sun has in the sun-flower and its seeds, or in vegetation in general.

Such active "Creators" are known to exist and are believed in, because perceived and sensed by the inner man in the Occultist. Thus the latter says that an ABSOLUTE Deity, having to be unconditioned and unrelated, cannot be thought of at the same time as an active, creating, one living god, without immediate degradation of the ideal. A Deity that manifests in Space and Time -- these two being simply the forms of THAT which is the Absolute ALL -- can be but a fractional part of the whole. And since that "all" cannot be divided in its absoluteness, therefore that sensed creator (we say Creators) can be at best but the mere aspect thereof.


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:

In the study of the Secret Doctrine it is not a matter of likes or dislikes, of belief or unbelief, but solely a matter of intelligence and understanding. 


--WILLIAM Q. JUDGE

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