THEOSOPHY, Vol. 51, No. 6, April, 1963
(Pages 148-150; Size: 9K)

THE SEPHIROTHAL WORLDS(1)

THE Circle was with every nation the symbol of the Unknown, "Boundless Space," the abstract garb of an ever-present abstraction -- the Incognizable Deity. It represents limitless Time in Eternity. From the Boundless Circle of the Unknown Time issues the radiant LIGHT -- the Universal Sun.

In the Zohar ("Book of Splendour") the highest God is a pure abstraction. With the Hebrew kabalists, Ain Soph is non-existent, for it is incomprehensible to our finite intellects, and therefore cannot exist to our minds. Its first emanation was Sephira, the Crown -- Light, or the divine Intelligence. When the time for an active period had come, then was produced a natural expansion of the Divine Essence from within outwardly, obedient to immutable and eternal Law. From this eternal and infinite Light was emitted a spiritual substance. This was Sephira, the first Sephiroth, containing in herself the other nine Intelligences. In their totality and unity they represent the archetypal man, Adam Kadmon, the "Heavenly Man," who in his individuality or unity is yet dual, for he is the prototype of all humanity. Thereby we obtain three trinities.

The Kabala teaches that the word "Fiat Lux" (Genesis, i) referred to the formation and evolution of the Sephiroth, and not to light as opposed to darkness. The ten Sephiroth are copies taken from the ten (Brahman) Prajapatis, the "Progenitors" of The Secret Doctrine, the givers of life to all on this earth. They are the highest emanations of Deity. The synthesis, Sephira, is formed by the concentration of the "Limitless Light" (Ain Soph Aur). And each Sephira produces by emanation another Sephira. Each is a picture to the kabalist of a group of exalted ideas, titles, and attributes which the name but faintly represents. Each is called either active or passive, the two words expressing the relation between individual Sephiroth, not any absolute quality.

Says Franck, the translator of the Kabala: "The ten Sephiroth are divided into three classes, each of them presenting to us the divinity under a different aspect, the whole still remaining an indivisible Trinity. The first three Sephiroth are purely intellectual in metaphysics, they express the absolute identity of existence and thought, and form what the modern kabalists called the intelligible world -- which is the first manifestation of Deity. The three Sephiroth that follow, make us conceive God in one of their aspects as the identity of goodness and wisdom; in the other they show to us, in the Supreme good, the origin of beauty and magnificence (in the creation). Therefore, they are named the virtues, or the sensible world. Finally, we learn by the last three Sephiroth that the Universal Providence, that the Supreme artist, is also absolute Force, the all-powerful cause, and that at the same time this cause is the generative element of all that is. It is these last three Sephiroth that constitute the natural world, or nature in its essence and in its active principle. Natura Naturans."

It must be remembered that every Cosmogony has a trinity of workers at its head: Father, spirit; Mother, nature or matter; and the manifested Universe, the Son or result of the two. To the kabalist and Hermetic philosopher, everything in nature appears under a triune aspect; everything is a multiplicity and trinity in unity, and is so represented by him symbolically in various geometrical figures. "God geometrizes," says Plato. The "three kabalistic Faces" are the "three Lights" and the "three Lives" of Ain Soph (the Parabrahm of the Westerns), which is also called "the Central Invisible Sun." "The Universe is his Spirit, Soul, and Body," his "Three Emanations." This triune nature -- the purely Spiritual, the purely Material, and the Middle nature (or imponderable matter, of which man's astral soul is composed), is represented by the equilateral triangle, whose three sides are equal because these three principles are diffused throughout the universe in equal proportions, and -- the one law in nature being perfect equilibrium -- are co-eternal and co-existent.

The three sides of the triangle, representing to the Occultists, as they do to the Aryans -- Spirit, Matter, and the Middle nature (the latter identical in its meaning with "Space") -- they stand also for the creative, preservative and destructive energies, typified in the "Three Lights." The first Light infuses intelligent, conscious life throughout the universe, thus answering to the creative energy. The second Light incessantly produces forms out of pre-existent cosmic matter within the cosmic circle, and hence is the preservative energy. The third Light produces the whole universe of gross physical matter. As the latter keeps gradually receding from the central spiritual Light, its brightness wanes, and it becomes Darkness or Evil, leading to Death. Hence it becomes the destructive energy, which we find ever at work on forms and shapes -- the temporary and the changing. The "three kabalistic Faces" of the "Ancient of the Ancient" -- who "has no face" -- are, again, the Aryan deities called respectively Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra or Shiva.

"Sabbath" means rest or Nirvana. It is not the seventh day after six days but a period the duration of which equals that of seven "days" or any period made up of seven parts. Thus a pralaya -- when all is reabsorbed once more into the ONE ELEMENT, the spirits of men becoming Nirvanees and the elements of everything else becoming again what they were before, undifferentiated substance -- a pralaya is equal in duration to a Manwantara, or a Night of Brahma is equal to his "Day." If the Christians will follow Jewish customs they ought to adopt the spirit and not the dead letter thereof: i.e., to work one week of seven days and rest seven days.

"Day" represents a certain period of cosmic activity, "Night" an equal one of cosmic repose. In the one, worlds are evolved, and pass through their allotted four stages of existence. In the other the "in-breathing" of Brahma reverses the tendency of the natural forces; everything visible becomes gradually dispersed, chaos comes, and a long night of repose reinvigorates the cosmos for its next term of evolution. (The Universe, also, as well as each planet which it comprehends passes through four ages, like man himself. All have their infancy, youth, maturity, and old age). In the morning of one of these "days" the formative processes are gradually reaching their climax of activity; in the evening imperceptibly diminishing the same until the pralaya arrives, and with it "night."

In the Zohar, the soul is made to plead her freedom before God: "Lord of the Universe! I am happy in this (higher) world, and do not wish to go into another world, where I shall be a handmaid, and be exposed to all kinds of pollutions." The doctrine of fatal necessity, the everlasting immutable Law, is asserted in the answer of the Deity: "Against thy will thou becomest an embryo, and against thy will thou art born."


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