More on the First Fundamental from the SD:

"It may, however, assist the student if a few further explanations are given here.

    Herbert Spencer has of late so far modified his Agnosticism, as to assert that the nature of the "First Cause," * which the Occultist more logically derives from the "Causeless Cause," the "Eternal," and the "Unknowable," may be essentially the same as that of the Consciousness which wells up within us: in short, that the impersonal reality pervading the Kosmos is the pure noumenon of thought. This advance on his part brings him very near to the esoteric and Vedantin tenet. *

    Parabrahm (the One Reality, the Absolute) is the field of Absolute Consciousness, i.e., that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol. But once that we pass in thought from this (to us) Absolute Negation, duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or consciousness) and Matter, Subject and Object.

    Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective.

    Considering this metaphysical triad as the Root from which proceeds all manifestation, the great Breath assumes the character of precosmic Ideation. It is the fons et origo of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution. On the other hand, precosmic root-substance (Mulaprakriti) is that aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of Nature."

 

Would anyone care to elucidate the meaning of the phrase, "pure noumenon of thought"?

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In my limited view, The 'pure noumenon of thought' is an awareness to the reader/student, that the unimpressionable Be-Ness of all is the purest thoughts for beings. Not to be moved or acted upon another's thoughts. To find that you like or dislike, love or hate, right or wrong duality is non existing. Just letting ourselves and other be. Which reminds me of a beautiful song, Can I share a song on here? Well, it's called 'Let Me Be' by Xavier Rudd, but the person that put it on Youtube called it 'The Free Way', which makes a lot of sense to me.

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That's an interesting quote, from Nicholas. I'm not sure that HPB is saying that the meaning of noumenon is that its a relatively higher form of matter. She's saying that Substance is a relatively higher form of matter (matter on a higher plane), therefore itappears as noumenon to us. Substance doesn't appear as a noumenon to the Dhyan Chohans which exist on higher planes.

I think HPB uses the term noumenon simply to mean 'that which stands behind' or 'source' or 'the essence' of some thing. Earlier in that same article HPB says that a noumenon could be a Dhyan Chohan or even an elemental.

'…Theosophists [believe] …that every Force (so called) in Nature has at its origin a substantial NOUMENON, an Entity, conscious and intelligent, whether it be a Planetary (Dhyan Chohan) or an Elemental..' (CW 8 315)

Thus - Substance is the noumenon of matter; The Dhyan Chohans and elementals are the noumenon of force; Akasa is the noumenon of the Astral Light. Kosmos is described as the NOUMENON of the phenomenal world:

'Kosmos - the NOUMENON - has nought to do with the causal relations of the phenomenal World. It is only with reference to the intra-cosmic soul, the ideal Kosmos in the immutable Divine Thought, that we may say: "It never had a beginning nor will it have an end."' (SD I 3)

To come back to Gerry's question about the 'pure noumenon of thought', the relevant passage under study in the SD is:

'the Consciousness which wells up within us: in short, that the impersonal reality pervading the Kosmos is the pure noumenon of thought.'

The Great Breath mentioned in the Proem is the noumenon of all force and all consciousness, therefore we might consider that it is this which is meant or indicated by'the pure noumenon of thought'. (See SD I 15)

We could say that just as Mulaprakriti is the noumenon of all matter, so the Great Breath is the noumenon of all force and consciousness:

'It is the fons et origo of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution. On the other hand, precosmic root-substance (Mulaprakriti) is that aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of Nature.' (SD I 15)

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I thought Matter, the other pole or condensation of Spirit, is more an abstraction while Substance and force pertain more to the manifested universe. Sometimes, the terms are used inter-changeably but the quote below throws more light on this subject.

And as Matter existing apart from perception is a mere abstraction, both of these aspects of the Absolutes- Cosmic Substance and Cosmic Ideation - are mutually inter-dependent. In strict accuracy - to avoid confusion and misconception - the term "matter" ought to be applied to the aggregate of objects of possible perception, and "Substance" to noumena; for inasmuch as the phenomena of our plane are the creation of the perceiving Ego - the modification of its own subjectivity - all the "states of matter representing the aggregate of perceived objects" can have but a relative and purely phenomenal existence for the children of our plane. (SD I 329)

Manvantaric impulse commences with the re-awakening of Cosmic Ideation (the "Universal Mind") concurrently with, and parallel to the primary emergence of Cosmic Substance - the latter being the Manvantaric " vehicle of the former - from its undifferentiated pralayic state. (SD I 328)

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Barbara,

Yes, I think we can say that matter as 'precosmic root-substance' (Mulaprakriti) is a pure abstraction. It is that aspect of the Absolute which is the basis of all the objective planes in nature which exist during the active periods of the Universe.

Precosmic root-substance (Mulaprakriti) is undifferentiated matter. Cosmic substance (Prakriti) is the differentiated matter that makes up the different planes of objectivity in the manifested universe. If I've understood HPB correctly, she is saying that there are subtle and gross planes of Cosmic Substance, and what appears as the noumenon of matter to us is really the subtle planes of Cosmic Substance.

Precosmic ideation (the Great Breath) is that aspect of the Absolute which is the source of all consciousness, intelligence and force. It is referred to as Unconditioned Consciousness'. During manifestation (the active period of the universe) it appears as Cosmic Ideation (Mahat, Universal Mind).  It is also the source of that consciousness which wells up in every individual.

Spirit and Matter are one in essence i.e. in the sense that precosmic ideation and precosmic root-substance are both aspects (to us) of the Absolute, the ONE REALITY.  Or to use different words, we can say that at source unconditioned consciousness and undifferentiated matter are ONE.

In manifestion, these appear as the mutually interdependent duality - the opposites of spirit and matter, mind and body, consciousness and form.

In one sense we shouldn't use the term 'spirit' in relation to Parabrahm because Parabrahm is the ever incognisable Presence, which is neither spirit nor not-spirit. This is why Advaitees such as Subba Row refer to the Logos and Mulaprakriti as that essence of spirit and matter which are ultimately ONE and indivisible. Mulaprakriti has the potentiality of all forms within it; the Logos (as the consciousness and intelligence 'arising' from Parabrahm) awakens that potentiality within Mulaprakriti - which brings the manifested universe into being.

This is just my understanding - corrections, improvements welcome.

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Hi Peter:

This is very clear.   Thank you.   It is easier for me to grasp the ideas and understand their succession when they are separated between those before manifestation and those after.  Adding to what you have written on the root-substance, In S.D. II 25, it also states that “Force succeeds Mulaprakriti; but, minus Force, Mulaprakriti is for all practical intents and purposes non-existent.”    

Circling back to the topic, the noumenon of thought, it is said that the Dhyani-Chohans, as the guiding powers of the Forces in Nature, mirror the reflection of cosmic ideation coming from Mahat, the Universal Mind, during the Manvantaras.  The Dyhani-Chohans are the vehicles for manifesting these divine thoughts.   In the ideal worlds, these thoughts are prototypes or archetype forms.   They are emanations of the subjective divine ideation to the concrete objection forms.  If noumenon is interpreted to mean “The essential nature of being as distinguished from the illusive objects of sense” (Theosophical Glossary), then all these components, Dhyani-Chohans, Mahat, archetype forms, cosmic ideations, are all facets of the noumenon. 

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That's a good point and explanation, Barbara.  So, from this perspective the divine thought or ideation is the noumenon itself.

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"pure noumenon of thought":

Thoughts don't just pop into existence by themselves. There has to be someone to "think" the thought in the first place. I believe this is Atman. As Peter pointed out, the Great Breath is the noumenon of all consciousness and force, and I recall that in HPB's Esoteric Instructions, she says that the Great Breath is Atman. Putting metaphysics and philosophy aside, I observe the formation of a thought in my own consciousness, and each and every time, "I" am the one who thinks the thought. It seems, in my own mind anyway, that "I" am the noumenon, and cause, of my thoughts.
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To simplify (possibly oversimplify) the meaning of "noumenon of thought," I think of it as the causeless, timeless, impersonal formation of ideas, accessible to us relative to the degree that an individual can draw on it (from within), and drawing on it, we can get a glimplse at what's behind appearances.  We use intuition not senses, which can be beneficial if we need to break out of a rut or see something from a new perspective. 

It's the microcosmic vision of a macro-vision which in its pure state ("the impersonal reality that pervades the Kosmos") gives us a sense of the oneness of the universe.  That which pervades the universe is pre-manifestation, pre-duality of Spirit/Matter, pre-cosmic ideation. 

But, tell me if I'm reading this correctly, it is the triad root (from the paragraph that mentions precosmic ideation) that supplies the guiding intelligence (and therefore the "pure noumenon of thought" is pre-Great Breath). 

 

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I think we need to bear in mind that when HPB writes:

"..in short, that the impersonal reality pervading the Kosmos is the pure noumenon of thought"

she is using her own terminology to summarise the views of Herbert Spencer. Spencer was, broadly speaking, an empiricist. He believed a) that our knowledge of things is derived solely through the senses and b) that empiricism is the only way to verify the truth or falsity of such knowledge. At the same time he believed that all such knowledge is 'relative' and that we cannot apply empirical methods to demonstrate the truth or falsity of an ultimate reality. He saw the ultimate reality as the nature of things in themselves, the 'why' of their existence, their ultimate causation. While we have an awareness that there must be an ultimate reality, he said, we cannot have any definite knowledge of that reality. Furthermore, he argued, that same underlying reality of which we cannot have any definite knowledge must also be the cause of thought. 

Importantly, HPB says that Spencer's view is close to the esoteric and Vedantin tenets;the implication being that his view is not identical to the esoteric teaching. So, it might be that we need to focus on the latter rather than the former. HPB goes on to tells us what is the esoteric view. This proposes an Absolute Principle, Parabrahm, which is beyond the range and reach of thought, and it's two aspects - precosmic ideation and precosmic root-substance: these being the source of consciousness (spirit) and the basis of matter in the manifested universe.

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Di asks:  But, tell me if I'm reading this correctly, it is the triad root (from the paragraph that mentions precosmic ideation) that supplies the guiding intelligence (and therefore the "pure noumenon of thought" is pre-Great Breath).

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Ultimately - yes, that would be the case, Di.  Yet we might envisage a huge gap between "the Divine Thought, wherein lies concealed the plan of every future Cosmogony and Theogony:" (SD I 2) and the human thought unable to grasp the ultimate reality, which Herbert Spencer was referring to.   The former is enacted by the Dhyan Chohanic intelligences, the latter by the elemental forces.

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thank you, Peter.  very helpful.

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For those members who do not have a copy of The Secret Doctrine you can view or download sections from the book here.

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sd/sd1-0-co.htm#contents

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sd-pdf/sdpdf-hp.htm

The three fundamental propositions of The Secret Doctrine are in The Proem, which can be downloaded from the above links.

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Permalink Reply by Jimmy on December 14, 2012 at 10:21am
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In my studies of philosophy, and in particular that branch of philosophy called metaphysics, the tendency of the philosopher's thought is always toward unity. In western philosophy, this begins with the early greek philosophers, who were primarily concerned with finding an explanation for the existence of the natural world. The common feature of their "philosophizing" was to explain the existence of the world as the outcome of some fundamental Principle; and in their case this Principle was "substance". Various candidates were postulated, including water, fire, and air. This is the beginning of the argument of western philosophy. Since then, other candidates for the Principle developed over time. Stepping forward most recently during HPB's century and continuing today, is the principle of Mind as the fundamental reality by one group of philosophers, and opposed by another group claiming Matter as fundamental.

Modern Science, which is really the brainchild of philosophy, carries forward the torch in search of the Principle on the side of Matter. The most recent manifestations of this tendency toward unity shows up in the search for a singularity from which the universe evolved and upon which it is based. Theories like the Big Bang, the unified field, the "god" particle, string theory, and etc. are examples.

Religion is no stranger to this tendency toward a fundamental principle either. The most obvious candidate put forward in this department is a personal God; and to the more philisophically minded, an impersonal God.

I say all this as background for a couple of questions:

1) Is this universal tendency toward a fundamental principle proof that it exists?

2) Apart from the consideration of philosophy, science, religion, or the Secret Doctrine, do any of you notice a tendency toward unity or a fundamental principle in the natural movement of your thoughts? Why?
Permalink Reply by Peter on December 14, 2012 at 4:51pm
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Jimmy asks: 1) Is this universal tendency toward a fundamental principle proof that it exists?

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Really good questions.  I'm not sure as to the answer to number one, Jimmy.  Many traditions of buddhism would argue that we grasp at something permanent,  at some unchanging fundamental principle, out of ignorance and in the face of the noble truth that everything is subject to change.  They might well argue that there is no fundamental cause of the universe: everything is merely a dependent arising and samsara is begining-less.  From the western philosophical stance, existentialists might argue something similar.

Theosophy would agree with the buddhists that there is no ultimate beginning to the endless cycles of universal activity and rest, but as we know, Theosophy, like Advaita Vedanta,  does assert a fundamental principle, an Absolute that is out of all relation to conditioned existence, i.e. Parabrahm.  It also proposes that life is purposeful i.e. there is an evolutionary scheme, a Divine Plan.  Sentient beings are not simply struggling with their own ignorance and the karma this ignorance generates.  Well... we do, but this is in addition to the unfolding of a triple evolutionary scheme of Spirit (Monadic), Intelligence, and matter - not the cause of it.  So, from this perspective we might argue that it is understandable the many people intuit something deeper, some underlying truth beneath the chimera of worldly existence.

But perhaps I've not understood your question fully?

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on December 14, 2012 at 5:43pm
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Of course, the SD's assertion that the one absolute attribute of the ONE PRINCIPLE is MOTION (eternal, ceaseless Motion) certainly seems to bridge the apparent 'gap' between the Buddhist and the Adwaita Vedantin, if one goes into the metaphysics of it.

When the Buddhist argues against "some unchanging fundamental principle", it's somewhat of a straw-man argument, since while we say that the One Principle is unchanging, in and of itself as an abstract, in the same breath we say that it IS change (i.e. the Great Breath). So it becomes a metaphysical conundrum, with the big question: what is a thing apart from its attributes?

Is it "no-thing"? Or is it nothing?

I have a feeling philosophers will continue arguing about that till the cows come home. ;)

p.s. wonderful point about the 'purpose' and 'plan'. This is another interesting concept to delve into, especially when we start going past the idea that a 'plan' requires an ultimate or absolute or final 'goal'.

Permalink Reply by Jimmy on December 16, 2012 at 12:57pm
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It sounds like you fully understood the question. However, I think I was having a little trouble articulating the underlying notion of the question. Between yourself, Barbara, Gerry and Jon, all of you did a nice job intuiting the idea that I was trying to get at. From Barbara's post a short phrase stands out that sums up my thought -- "INNATE IDEAS". If the Secret Doctrine is correct in asserting the reality of an one absolute and fundamental principle from which all proceeds (and I think it is correct!), then this Principle must be the "innate idea" that is the ground and source of human cognition, and as a "manifesting" Principle, it's unitary nature should be visible in the unfoldment of the highest products of human reason, i.e. science, religion and philosophy.

The Buddhist response to this question is interesting. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Do we grasp at some unchanging principle to escape the suffering that change brings in it's wake? Or is this grasping toward an unchanging principle due to the power and pressure of that Principle struggling to awaken in the human consciousness? I suspect the latter. I would also counter by asking how one is to know that change is change unless there is an unchangeable background against which the change occurs?
Permalink Reply by Sharisse on December 17, 2012 at 9:18am
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Hi Jimmy,

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I have always loved this question; it just goes to the heart of all living creations. I did read a few years ago that scientists found a protein in the chicken’s ovaries that the egg needed to be formed, hardened, and without this protein the egg would never be. So they claimed the chicken came first. But that’s just the chicken, not all produce a hardened shell, so to speak, and it gives rise to the same question in a different way, ‘Where did the chicken come from then?’ Even if it were evolution, there is still that question which could go back through each evolution, well then where did the dinosaur come from, and so on. Just love this, Thanks Jimmy!

I would also counter by asking how one is to know that change is change unless there is an unchangeable background against which the change occurs?

I read this from Crosbie and it has held value and truth, for me, ever since.

‘If the identity ever changed, it could not observe change. Only that which is permanent and stable can see change, can know it, can make it.’ Universal Theosophy pg. 9

Permalink Reply by Jimmy on December 17, 2012 at 10:08am
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Perhaps the scientists are right! Is the Causeless Cause equivalent to the symbol of the Great Mother?
Permalink Reply by Sharisse on December 17, 2012 at 7:37pm
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Perhaps, I won't rule it out :)

Is the Causeless Cause equivalent to the symbol of the Great Mother?

Hmmn, honestly I'm not quite sure which symbol you are asking, because I have yet to learn of the symbols. But in the Proem, The Disc in its third stage has a diameter, which represents The Mother Nature, its also a dividing point, involution-evolution, to me, so within that symbol I will most definitely say no, because its part of the trine if looked at differently also. However, if it were the symbol you are asking that is sexless and infinte, then yes. But your help on this would be very much appreciated. :)

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on December 17, 2012 at 10:00pm
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Theosophical cosmogony is not to be confused with Western Religious notions of Creation.  The chicken, egg problem is no problem at all for the Occultist because there is neither beginning or end.  They are both illusions.  Theosophy points to Eternal Duration.  It uses terms like emanation and radiation which we will come to in our study of the Secret Doctrine.

The Causeless Cause is not equivalent to the symbolism of the Great Mother.  The Great Mother symbolism refers to manifestation and the process of manifestation.  The Causeless Cause lies beyond this.  In a manner of speaking.  Not much can be said about the Causeless Cause. In a way it is one of the metaphysical concepts that the student of theosophy must grabble with in the attempt to enter into metaphysical exploration.  The first and biggest mistake in this effort is to concretize or crystalize the absolute.

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on December 18, 2012 at 2:05pm
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I'd have to agree with Gerry here. To my mind, the symbology of the Great Mother is a couple of metaphysical steps below (so to speak) that of the One Principle.

Stanza 1, sloka 5 (vol. 1, p. 40) is a good place to explore this idea further. Here we read:

"The Father-Mother are the male and female principles in root-nature, the opposite poles that manifest in all things on every plane of Kosmos, or Spirit and Substance, in a less allegorical aspect, the resultant of which is the Universe, or the Son."

What we might say, I think, is that the Great Mother symbolizes the 'receptacle' of Nature, being always associated with the 'substance' side of manifestation. It is within the 'womb' of the Great Mother that the Son is developed, when she is 'impregnated' by the Father (i.e. Spirit).

So, by seeing the mother as one of the essential poles of dual Nature, we may realize that it cannot be quite the same as the ONE Principle, which lies ever beyond polarity.

Permalink Reply by Peter on December 18, 2012 at 3:39pm
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Jon,

I think you are right to say that ‘Mother’, the feminine principle, is one aspect of the dual poles of Nature, and Spirit, symbolised by ‘Father’, is the other aspect.  Thus Father-Mother (Spirit-Matter) are said to give birth to the manifested universe. 

However, Mother, in the sense of ‘The Eternal Parent, Space' is prior to the emergence of Father-Mother.  Hence, the very first stanza of Sloka I states:

1. "THE ETERNAL PARENT (Space), WRAPPED IN HER EVER INVISIBLE ROBES, HAD SLUMBERED ONCE AGAIN FOR SEVEN ETERNITIES (SD I 35)

Note, this is feminine. HPB confirms this view in the Proem when she states:

‘Space is called the "Mother" before its Cosmic activity, and Father-Mother at the first stage of re-awakening.’  (SD I 18)

I think it’s a case of distinguishing between pre-cosmic and cosmic stages, though it would be wrong to call the pre-cosmic a stage.

In the Secret Doctrine Commentaries HPB discusses why this is feminine and says the Eternal Parent is the Mulaprakriti of the Vedantins (see pp 1 to 3)

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on December 18, 2012 at 4:27pm
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Good point Peter. That makes perfect sense.

In the case of seeing the Eternal Parent as Mulaprakriti, would we still need to distinguish between this "Mother" and the Causeless Cause based on the distinction between Mulaprakriti and Parabrahm? Following on your other post, do we see Mulaprakriti as a 'latent potential' that the causeless cause works on and through, so-to-speak, as opposed to it being the cause itself?

Wanted to also run an analogy by you (and everyone else):

In the normal human process of conception we have the Mother releasing an egg within her womb, the father releasing sperm into that womb, and from the merger of these the 'son' is formed. So, by analogy, could we say that neither the mother nor the father are the sole cause, but rather that each is an aspect of the 'causeless cause', which in this analogy would perhaps be the (abstract) human being (or perhaps the human species)? In essence, is the causeless cause by necessity beyond either father or mother (pre-cosmically as in the human condition)?

From this analogy, does this seem somewhat accurate:

Absolute: Causeless Cause — Humanity
Pre-Cosmic: Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti — Mother-Father
Cosmic: Prakriti-Purusha — Egg-Sperm

Permalink Reply by Sharisse on December 19, 2012 at 7:30am
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Thanks Gerry, and also thanks for helping me see the chicken, egg conundrum for what it is. I was just sharing what I read a few years ago. All the replies on this helped a lot. I couldn't reply on the bottom of them. I see where I was confused as thinking of a symbol from Jimmy's question. And from only what I know, now, I was thinking mother and equating it with the Mother Nature aspect and that's why I answered no  also on that aspect being the same as The Causeless Cause. And answering yes if it was sexless and infinite. Then reading Peter's response I also saw his point of Stanza I, where it became clearer to me what Jimmy was asking and how I really need to ask in what context are the questions being brought to me to understand it better to my learning capacities:

1. "THE ETERNAL PARENT (Space), WRAPPED IN HER EVER INVISIBLE ROBES, HAD SLUMBERED ONCE AGAIN FOR SEVEN ETERNITIES (SD I 35)

I wasn't registering this in my brain that it was HER ever invisible robes. I kept thinking more along the lines as being sexless. Thank You Peter!

And from Jon's reply and analogy:

Absolute: Causeless Cause — Humanity
Pre-Cosmic: Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti — Mother-Father
Cosmic: Prakriti-Purusha — Egg-Sperm

I understand this, makes perfect sense to me. I can relate to this understanding. And that the Absolute is still beyond the pre-cosmic, and it helps me see better 'Then the three fall into the four' from Stanza III Sloka 4. The pre-cosmic and cosmic are the 3. Thank you Jon.

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Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on December 14, 2012 at 5:40pm
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1) Is this universal tendency toward a fundamental principle proof that it exists?

Let me see if I can take a certain stance on this one. Wonderful questions by the way!

I would argue, philosophically, that the tendency not just of the human mind, but of matter of all kinds to 'play' always between unity and multiplicity leads inevitably to the assertion that both of these 'exist' at the very least as philosophic abstractions - i.e. on an infinite line, the moment we recognize a middle (i.e. where humanity is, or where we are) then we are forced to recognize two abstract poles.

In another sense though, again philosophically but this time attempting to go beyond relativity, I would venture to say that Unity is proven by our very existence. While "absolute non-unity" ever remains an utter impossibility we cannot say the same about "absolute unity". By our very observations as sentient beings we can see that all thingsare necessarily part of one thing, which we might call "reality" or simply "the ONE" (forgive my loose use of the term 'thing'). It's impossible to conceive of anything that is not part of all things except in the way of an absolute abstract principle, but even that principle cannot be seen as separate from all things. There cannot be a thing that is not part of all things, and hence unity is proven by existence itself.

So it would seem to me that the 'tendency' towards a fundamental principle can be seen as the manifestation of unity. It seems, to me, something inescapable (though we certainly put in a good deal of effort to try to escape it ;)

2) Apart from the consideration of philosophy, science, religion, or the Secret Doctrine, do any of you notice a tendency toward unity or a fundamental principle in the natural movement of your thoughts? Why?

I would have to admit that, for me, my thoughts seem intent on tending away from unity. I don't mean to say that I, myself, try to tend away from it, but simply that the thoughts I 'hear' seem to tend towards reinforcing a sense of separateness. Each thought seems to be enwrapped, so to speak, in a sense of divisibility - each one having almost it's own sense of being separate. A thought comes and leads in a direction, then ceases, then another thought comes and leads in another (even if similar) direction, then ceases, and so on. With each one is a sense of "my-ness" or identity (even if I'm not identifying with them, they seem identified to themselves as separate thoughts), and even when these thoughts are about the One Principle, they still seem to have this inherent built-in separative power over my mind.

But, between each thought there is a simple glimpse of silence, and when I can lengthen that silence it doesn't seem to have this sense of separateness. Instead, it seems to be itself ONE. For instance, every thought that comes seems to be a unique thought, individual, personal, distinct from the thoughts that preceded it and follow it. But each silence between those thoughts is the exact same one silence that is there each time - i.e. between thoughts a, b, and c, there are two "silences", but it's actually the same silence; there's no distinctions between them.

So, I'd have to say that my thoughts don't seem to naturally move towards unity, but they do seem to 'ride upon it', so to speak.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on December 15, 2012 at 12:25am
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I think philosophy of an esoteric nature invites us to work deductively, from universals to particulars and then back again for testing.  In such a process it is natural to conceive of the idea of the Whole or the All and work towards the parts so to speak.  Whether or not something exists or not (and remember for theosophical philosophy to exist means to manifest in some manner) due to the inclination of a philosopher to start with such a premise probably does not verify or negate a notion of this nature.  In the middle ages church fathers argued over how many angels could stand on the tip of a needle.  That did not make the fundamental premise true or false since so many were involved with such foolishness.

But I think I catch your point in the main here.  Given our natural tendency in this direction it lends an air of credibility  to it..

Permalink Reply by barbaram on December 15, 2012 at 1:11pm
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1) Is this universal tendency toward a fundamental principle proof that it exists? 

2) Apart from the consideration of philosophy, science, religion, or the Secret Doctrine, do any of you notice a tendency toward unity or a fundamental principle in the natural movement of your thoughts? Why?

____

In response to the questions above posted by Jimmy, I do not know if there is an universal tendency toward the One principle since it is not with in Buddhist tradition who believe there is nothing permanent nor with the Christians who believe there is a God and then there is me. 

But, let's say if this does exist and it is a human trait, one explanation could be found in a quote Peter sent a while back. 

'The mission of the planetary Spirit is but to strike the KEY NOTE OF TRUTH. Once he has directed the vibration of the latter to run its course uninterruptedly along the catenation of that race and to the end of the cycle -- the denizen of the highest inhabited sphere disappears from the surface of our planet -- till the following "resurrection of flesh." The vibrations of the Primitive Truth are what your philosophers name "innate ideas."' (Mahatma Letters to A.P.Sinnett: Letter 18, p59, Chronological Edition. Letter 9, Barker Edition).

 

Permalink Reply by Di Kaylor on December 17, 2012 at 5:46pm
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My first thought is that the tendency to grasp at this ultimate fundamental PRINCIPLE is not a search for proof, merely an opening gate to the probability that it exists. From there we apply logic and experience that coalesces into an intuitive trust that a "Divine Ground" or fundamental principle exists. 

As we cycle through our lives, we constantly break through the illusion of separateness that we have been thrown into. It feels like an impulse we can't deny, which drives us to create and express ourselves. And the ways we find to express this through religion, philosophy and science often add to the illusion of separateness oddly enough. 

I think the vibrations of the Divine Ground or common ground, whatever you call it, enable us to recognize the evidence when we feel it. First we perceive an idea, then we learn to express it. I think we learn through our desire to create, that we as individuals share common emotions, common compulsions to be together, to draw out feelings of empathy and compassion.  Those things we create together demonstrate the natural movement of culture and collective thinking.  

For me, the probability that we are on the right path(s) is overwhelmingly in favor of IT's existence.  But since we always have a lot to unlearn as we progress, we find that returning repeatedly to the very basic foundational principles helps us test out the reliability upon which we build our doctrines.  Doubt and speculation seems an inherent part of the process for spiritual growth, which is why we seek the security of "sanctuaries" and group support, even if its an academic discipline. I think people tend to settle into groups that reflect our own level of comfort and willingness to take action based on any perceived sense of reality (i.e, how far are we willing to speculate and accept our findings).  The Gita (Chap 12.5?) suggests the hardest path is the one that focuses on the abstract, unmanifested aspect. It's not for everyone.  Fortunately there are many ways to approach it. 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on December 17, 2012 at 10:09pm
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We cannot prove or disprove the idea of a First Principle.  The idea is to accept it as an assumption which means to temporarily suspend judgement and accept it as true for the time being.  Then later we can come back to it and make evaluations.  It would be like building a house on  a foundation, if the foundation is false or flimsy the whole edifice will eventually fall and then we know that the assumption was false.  But we have to build the house to find out.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on December 15, 2012 at 12:09am
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In our passage here it reads: that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol."

What does it mean to say "and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol"?

Permalink Reply by Peter on December 18, 2012 at 6:08am
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'Is the Causeless-cause equivalent to the symbol of the Great Mother?'

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One way to look at it is as follows.  This is just my understanding and is tentative, so corrections and improvements welcome.  Take the first symbol of the Proem:

‘..an immaculate white disk within a a dull black ground . . . The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns.  Its circumference - a forcibly limited symbol, in view of the limitation of the human mind - indicates the abstract, ever incognisable PRESENCE, and its plane, the Universal Soul, although the two are one.  Only the face of the Disk being white and ground all around black, shows clearly that its plane is the only knowledge, dim and hazy though it still is, that is attainable by man’  (SD I 1)

That which is indicated by the circumference of the circle is the dull black ground. This is Parabrahm - the ever incognisable PRESENCE ‘beyond the range and reach of thought’. It can be indicated but not directly cognised, hence it is symbolised by darkness.

The plane of the circle is Mulaprakriti. This is the veil which covers Parabrahm - ‘although the two are one’.  This is ‘the Eternal Parent wrapped in her invisible robes’ (precosmic root-Substance) which slumbers during periods of pralaya these being the periods of rest between universal periods of activity/manifestion (Manvantaras).  In a sense then, this is feminine in our conceptions, the ‘immaculate white disk’ suggesting the Virgin Mother.

Precosmic ideation awakening into activity is symbolised as the point appearing in the centre of the circle. It is the first Logos, that which awakens the potentialities latent in Mulaprakriti.  When the point becomes a line (the circle with a horizontal diameter) this symbolises that precosmic root-Substance is in its first stage of manifestation as cosmic substance, still immaculate and pure at this stage as divine mother nature.  The logos is both Father as precosmic Ideation and the Son as Mahat (cosmic ideation or the universal Mind).  

By the law of analogy Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti correspond to the human principles  Atma and Buddhi.  While buddhi is nouminous to us, it is still substance non the less. In conjunction with Atma it is the spiritual soul or human monad in the individual (the microcosm) just as Mulaprakriti in conjunction with Parabrahm is the Universal Soul in the universa (the macrocosm).

Manas (Mind), the fifth human principle corresponds with Mahat (Universal Mind).

When describing this first symbol of the Proem, the Secret Doctrine states: 

‘Only the face of the Disk being white and the ground all around black, shows clearly that its plane is the only knowledge, dim and hazy though it still is, that is attainable by man. It is on this plane that the Manvantaric manifestations begin; for it is in this SOUL that slumbers, during the Pralaya, the Divine Thought,* wherein lies concealed the plan of every future Cosmogony and Theogony.’  (SD I 1)

This emphasises the unknowable nature of Parabrahm. So what is it that can be cognised?  In a number of places in the SD HPB quotes Subba Row as stating that Parabrahm is incognisable even for the Logos, what can be known is Mulaprakriti:

‘Parabrahmam by itself cannot be seen as it is. It is seen by the Logos with a veil thrown over it, and that veil is the mighty expanse of Cosmic matter. . . .’  (SD I 428)

We should bear in mind that the cognition referred to here is Objective: it requires a cogniser and the thing cognised. Parabrahm, as the Absolute, can never be an object of perception or cognition.  It is the TOTAL the ALL, therefore nothing can be distinct from IT for IT to perceive, or distinct for IT to perceive IT.  As the Advaitins say about Atman, ‘it is one without a second, with nothing for it to know and no one to know it.’

As said, the above is tentative and we should keep in mind that the symbols of the Proem can be used in relation to Kosmos, Cosmos, Rounds and Races, and to the Human Constitution.  The corresponding explanations will alter depending on their application.

Permalink Reply by Peter on December 18, 2012 at 1:13pm
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Parabrahm, as the Absolute, can never be an object of perception or cognition.  It is the TOTAL the ALL, therefore nothing can be distinct from IT for IT to perceive, or distinctfor IT to perceive IT.  As the Advaitins say about Atman, ‘it is one without a second, with nothing for it to know and no one to know it.’

Apologies - Correction:

It should say,   'It is the TOTAL, the ALL, therefore nothing can be distinct (i.e separate) from IT that can be an object of perception, nor can there be anything separate from IT to perceive IT.'

Hope that's a bit clearer!

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on December 18, 2012 at 1:45pm
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Crystal clear.  Which is why we ought not to equate "The Great Mother" symbology with the Absolute (Causeless Cause) because the metaphor of the Mother implies progeny.  The idea of the One without a Second is a challenging idea to conceptualize but crucial to our investigation of the First Fundamental Proposition of Theosophy.

Permalink Reply by Pierre Wouters on December 19, 2012 at 5:26pm
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"Is the Causeless-cause equivalent to the symbol of the Great Mother?"

Nope, because then the symbol or the great Mother would be a limiting definition of the Causeless Cause.

"Precosmic ideation awakening into activity is symbolised as the point appearing in the centre of the circle."

Nope, there are some stages preceding this stage of radiation.

Just bringing in a few refs to expand on the views of the white circle and perhaps situate it relative to what is called the Absolute. HPB seems to employ a wide range of terms and is not always consequent in using them. Sometimes she makes a distinction between the absolute and absoluteness and then reverses the meaning! Most likely to keep us from getting stuck in semantics because after all it can not be described as mentioned in the First Fundamental. Keep in mind that all what follows is “out of space and time”, thus pre-cosmic and in co-adunition, so not a linear or cause-effect relationship although so represented on the arupa planes (the 3 highest planes) in the diagram in SD I:200. Our lower mind is after all incapable of perceiving different planes of consciousness as one. Everything within square brackets in the quoted sentences are my musings.

an immaculate white disk within a a dull black ground”

What precedes this picture presented in SD I:1 is HPBs comment in SD I: 328 where the dull black ground:

“is represented by a boundless darkness, on the ground of which appears the first central point in white -- thus symbolising coeval and co-eternal SPIRIT-MATTER making its appearance in the phenomenal world, before its first differentiation.”

As far as I understand, this “on the ground of which appears the first central point in white” is what is referred to in the Transactions p. 84 as

“the plane of the circle, the face being black, the point in the circle being potentially white, and this is the first possible conception in our minds of the invisible Logos.” 

This boundless absolute darkness - which is absolute light - represents that absoluteness and the potential white point that which will become the white circle in a later stage when it expands. In SD I:429 HPB says:

“This great circle (which Eastern Esotericism reduces to the point within the Boundless Circle) is the Avalokiteswara, the Logos or Verbum of which Mr. Subba Row speaks. But this circle or manifested God is as unknown to us, except through its manifested universe, as the ONE, though easier, or rather more possible to our highest conceptions.”

A potential white point is of course a black point in a black circle and will only become white or non-potential or active, when it manifests.

The question was asked in Transactions p.83 (Theosophy Company Edition):

“Is the Point in the Mundane Egg [the black point in the white circle] the same as the Point in the Circle [the potential white point in the dark circle], the Unmanifested Logos?” To which HPB answers:

“Certainly not: the [potential white] Point in the Circle [black] is the Unmanifested [First] Logos, the Manifested [read Manifesting] Logos is the Triangle. Pythagoras speaks of the never manifested Monad [the Pythagorean Monas Monadum] which lives in solitude and darkness [black circle]; when the hour strikes [pre-cosmic manifestation in the seventh eternity of the pralaya] it [the potential white point] radiates [descends] from itself ONE the first number. This number descending, produces TWO, the second number, and Two, in its turn, produces THREE, forming a triangle, the first complete geometrical figure in the world of form. It is this ideal or abstract triangle which is the Point in the Mundane Egg,…” [the black point in the white circle of SD I:1].

Now, this abstract triangle being made up of Number ONE, TWO and THREE is only the apex of the triangle pictured in the diagram of SD I:200 on the arupa planes! (The 3 highest planes are arupa - where form ceases to exist on the objective plane - and the 4 lower planes where you’ll find the 7 globes are rupa). So this abstract triangle forms only the apex of the triangle you’ll see on the arupa planes - the apex doesn’t even touch the 1st or highest arupa from where the potential white point or first logos radiates. This apex is also called Shekinah or Kether (the Crown) being in fact this abstract triangle which becomes the black point in the Mundane Egg or the white circle.

HPB goes on by saying in Transactions p. 83:

“…this ideal or abstract triangle which is the Point in the Mundane Egg, which, after gestation, and in the third remove, will start from the Egg to form the Triangle [that’s the triangle you’ll see in the diagram of SD I:200 on the 2nd and 3rd arupa planes, and…] This is Brahma-Vach-Viraj in the Hindu Philosophy and Kether-Chochmah-Binah in the Zohar. The First Manifested Logos [the potential white point in the dark circle after it manifests] is the Potentia, the unrevealed [First] Cause; the Second, the still latent Thought [the abstract triangle or Shekinah/Kether]; the Third, the Demiurgus, [the triangle Kether - Chokmah - Binah] the active Will evolving from its universal Self [Atman/Brahmâ] the active effect, which, in its turn, becomes the cause on a lower plane. [the manifested universe or the 4 lower rupa planes with the globes].

The white circle of SD I:1 can then be regarded as the expanded apex (Number ONE, TWO and THREE) or Shekinah by forming a diameter) which becomes the triangle (Kether - Chokmah - Binah) of p.200.  A triangle is thus the same as a circle, consisting of a center (the point) a diameter and a circumference (forming a triad or triangle). See for this statement SD I:616 “A superficies was compared to the number three because it is the first of all causes that are found in figures; for a circle, which is the principal of all round figures, comprises a triad, in centre -- space [diameter or surface] -- circumference.”

Thus the point, the diameter and the circumference form a triangle. One can call the circle (or point) the noumenon (that which contains and precedes the phenomenon) becoming a triangle as a phenomenon. Btw, these two concepts of noumenon and phenomenon are relative to each other, because for the perceiver whom can perceive the noumenon of a phenomenon (or the subject of the object), that noumenon becomes a phenomenon on its own plane and must have again an underlying noumenon. See HPBs statement in SD I:38, where she says: “A noumenon can become a phenomenon on any plane of existence only by manifesting on that plane through an appropriate basis or vehicle.”

The apex (also called the germ) becoming a white circle has of course within itself again a center (now a black point due to the reversal of plane - a higher plane always reflecting itself on a lower plane). From this white circle or triangle (Kether - Chokmah - Binah) then emanate the 7 rays, i.e. forces or hierarchies related to the 7 globes.

The Eternal Egg (egg-ness - darkness - Mulaprakriti) assumes the condition of the Virgin Egg (white circle initially) and then becomes the Mundane or World Egg (Prakriti) in which manifest or emanates the objective world as the rupa planes. So keep in mind the distinction between the potential white point in the dark circle and the black point in the white circle, the last one having an unmaniifested or arupa condition and a manifested or rupa condition.

Sorry if this has become a bit drawn out, but that’s the nature of writing I guess :-)

My 2 cents worth.

Permalink Reply by Peter on December 20, 2012 at 8:10am
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That's a really interesting post, Pierre, with some much needed clarification.  Thank you.  I think that one of the weaknesses (and there are many) of my post is that I have tried to keep it too simple by using the explanation of Parabrahm, the Logos and Mulaprakriti as presented by Subba Row (quoted by HPB later in the SD) while combining it with the symbols on the first few pages of the Proem and the concepts of precosmic ideation and precosmic root-substance.   Of course,  Subba Row doesn't make clear what Logos he is referring to and HPB is critical of him for this.  However, as an overall view his explanation is valuable.   I look forward to more of your contributions.

Permalink Reply by Sharisse on December 20, 2012 at 11:12pm
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Hi Pierre,

Your two cents must be made of Rhodium then, as always :)

This was very informative on questions I have had for a bit. Thank You! Egg-ness? That made me laugh, very funny! I have some questions that I’m not sure on and was wondering. Could the 2nd and 3rd planes of the 3 highest planes, Arupa, also be considered as Atma-Buddhi-Manas? And would Arupa only define the 2nd and 3rdplanes and not the 1st, if the 1st plane is the limitless? I wasn’t sure, because it seems Arupa would be naming the 1st plane, limiting it?

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Pierre Wouters on December 22, 2012 at 1:05pm
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The diagram on SD I:200 has 7 planes, 3 arupa and 4 rupa.

As we have 7 planes, they can be made to correspond with the 7 principles and then arupa 1 (the highest) would CORRESPOND with Atma, the 2nd with Buddhi and the 3rd with Manas.

But be aware that correspondence does not imply IDENTITY.

Take for instance the middle A note on the piano which vibrates at 440 cycles per second, the A note in the next octave up CORRESPONDS with that middle A in the octave below because the higher vibrates at 880 cycles per second. So the two A’s correspond but are not identical. So does the A in the octave below the middle A, vibrating at 220 cycles per second. 

Now, for arguments sake, say that the lower A of 220 corresponds with Atma on our globe D, then the middle A of 440 can be seen as corresponding with globe G on the highest rupa plane and the higher A of 880 with the highest arupa plane. All three share the same essence (i.e. the power to perceive) but can only express this power relative to their position.

Look at the diagram in SD I:153 and you’ll see that HPB corresponds the globes as well (on the right hand side) with the 7 principles of man (on the left hand side), where globe G (#7) corresponds with “Spirit” (Atma) and globe A (#1) with “Soul, Vehicle of Spirit” (Buddhi) and so on down the planes where globe D (#4) corresponds with “The Upadhi [or vehicle] of all the 6 Princ.” (our Body or #7) on the left hand side.

For corroboration check with HPBs answer in Transactions p. 23 where she also corresponds the 3 Logoi (the 1st Logos, 2nd and 3rd) with Atma, Buddhi and Manas.

“Like the Pythagorean Monas, the first Logos, having emanated the first triad, disappears into silence and darkness. Question: Does this mean that the three Logoi emanated from the primordial Radiation in Macrocosm correspond to Atma, Buddhi, and Manas, in the Microcosm?

Answer: Just so; they correspond, but must not be confounded with them. We are now speaking of the Macrocosm at the first flutter of Manvantaric dawn, when evolution begins, and not of Microcosm or Man.”

Also, the Absolute(ness) is NOT on the highest plane (the 1st Unmanifested Logos or the potential white point in the dark circle is), because it is both being and non-being and includes both the manifested and unmanifested planes, it is only non-being before manifestation comes about on the rupa planes. Everything exists in everything (is in co-adunition), remember from the 1st Fundamental that the Absolute is omnipresent and boundless, not limited to ANY plane. ALL the planes are limitless in and by themselves as well and also in number:

See what HPB has to say in Transactions p. 107:

“In using the term "planes of non-being" it is necessary to remember that these planes are only to us spheres of non-being, but those of being and matter to higher intelligences than ourselves. The highest Dhyan-Chohans of the Solar System can have no conception of that which exists in higher systems, i.e., on the second "septenary" Kosmic plane, which to the Beings of the ever invisibleUniverse is entirely subjective.”

and on p. 111:

“Q. But are the planes of "non-being" also Septenary?

A. Most undeniably. That which in the Secret Doctrine is referred to as the unmanifested planes, are unmanifested or planes of non-being only from the point of view of the finite intellect; to higher intelligences they would be manifested planes and so on to infinity, analogy [and correspondence] always holding good.”

Ouch! :-)

Before manifestation unfolds, i.e. before anything manifests on the rupa planes, the 3 logoi can be situated on the arupa planes only, as 1st Logos - arupa 1, 2nd Logos as arupa 2 and 3rd logos as arupa 3, but since the 1st descends (radiates) to form Kether on the second arupa from which is formed the triangle (the second logos), the base line of that triangle will form the 3rd Logos having an unmanifested aspect on the 3rd arupa and a manifested aspect on the cosmos or rupa side. All these logoi exist in one-another (Kether-Chokmah-Binah) as THREE in ONE, they only become distinct (but not separated) when they manifest as ONE in THREE (Atma-Buddhi-Manas as the globes). HPB sometimes refers to ALL three the arupa planes (after manifestation) as the 1st Logos, the second as ALL four of the rupa planes and the 3rd Logos as Man manifested in the rupa planes! No wonder she says that the language of Occultism is varied!

Here’s another example from Transactions p. 4:

“Q. What aspect of Space, or the unknown deity, called in the Vedas "THAT" which is mentioned further on, is here called the "Eternal Parent"?

  A. It is the Vedantic Mulaprakriti, and the Svabhavat of the Buddhists, or that androgynous something of which we have been speaking, which is both differentiated and undifferentiated. In its first principle it is a pure abstraction, which becomes differentiated only when it is transformed, in the process of time, into Prakriti. If compared with the human principles it corresponds to Buddhi, while Atma would correspond to Parabrahm, Manas to Mahat, and so on.

So flexibility in the use of terms and concepts is a necessity in our study because it prevents dogmatism (as W.Q. Judge points out) and by correspondence improves the plasticity of our brain stuff :-) Hope this helps and doesn't add to confusion.

Permalink Reply by Sharisse on December 23, 2012 at 1:26pm
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What confusion? ;)

I am so grateful for this, it helped tremendously Pierre, thank you! It actually changed my view and showed me what I was not seeing and was confused on. When I was looking at the diagrams, I was combining and blending all the ones I know of, now. The SD1:153,157,172 and 200 and one from the Lokas and Talas of GDP Fundamentals pg. 451. And I was definitely viewing them with that flexibility. Every one of them has the same dynamic, whether within an arc diagram or within the spirit-matter of each plane. Yet from my limited view at the time I asked you about this, I kept thinking the point (or Kether) of the triad was the Self and that the Self was not of the 1st plane. I see the Self is beyond and how I didn’t quite grasp that until now. Kether, or crown, I was relating to the crown chakra as well, and why I was stuck on that view, for it was looking outside and not within. Because looking within I have always seen the Self, floating or hovering over the Crown chakra, and therein lies my answer.

Take for instance the middle A note on the piano which vibrates at 440 cycles per second, the A note in the next octave up CORRESPONDS with that middle A in the octave below because the higher vibrates at 880 cycles per second. So the two A’s correspond but are not identical. So does the A in the octave below the middle A, vibrating at 220 cycles per second.  

Now, for arguments sake, say that the lower A of 220 corresponds with Atma on our globe D, then the middle A of 440 can be seen as corresponding with globe G on the highest rupa plane and the higher A of 880 with the highest arupa plane. All three share the same essence (i.e. the power to perceive) but can only express this power relative to their position.

I love this analogy, made me smile :) I see this whole correspondence within the Lunar and Earth Chains in the diagram SD1:172. Just as an example of this. As this diagram is descending into matter, per se, and corresponds to the rupas or globes. But actually draws, or shows, the passing through Nirvana from the planetary pralaya, transferring the ‘Essence’ into the new laya-centre. In the same sense as what you are saying here with the musical notes as with the higher vibrations, and positioning of the higher and lower vantage points, having the same essence.

But be aware that correspondence does not imply IDENTITY

Understood! :) The correspondence links each sepentary nature to the next as within-without, above-below, so it couldn’t be defined to a certain identity, limiting the perception of it to particulars. If we were looking at the whole of it, it could be all or none, higher or lower, the duality of all things and its relativity depending on view. The consciousness is the same in every being, or entity, here, there or everywhere as that consciousness is the center.  

Where can I find HPB’s Transactions?

Permalink Reply by Peter on December 20, 2012 at 12:31pm
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Jon - there's no more room to reply under the thread itself so I've replied to you here:

JON asks: In the case of seeing the Eternal Parent as Mulaprakriti, would we still need to distinguish between this "Mother" and the Causeless Cause based on the distinction between Mulaprakriti and Parabrahm? Following on your other post, do we see Mulaprakriti as a 'latent potential' that the causeless cause works on and through, so-to-speak, as opposed to it being the cause itself?

PETER: It's tricky isn't it, Jon, because we're trying to speculate about THAT which is beyond thought. That said, it seems to me that just as we cannot conceive of Buddhi without Atman (because it is the vehicle of Atman), so we cannot conceive of Mulaprakriti as separate from Parabrahm. However, as Mulaprakriti (precosmic susbstance) and the Great Breath (precosmic ideation) are aspects of the Absolute we cannot say each is the causeless-cause in themselves.

JON: In the normal human process of conception we have the Mother releasing an egg within her womb, the father releasing sperm into that womb, and from the merger of these the 'son' is formed. So, by analogy, could we say that neither the mother nor the father are the sole cause, but rather that each is an aspect of the 'causeless cause'.

PETER: They can each be a cause. In philosophy we can speak about an efficient cause and a material cause. The material cause is the basic substance out of which a thing is made. The efficient cause is the agent (or force) which brings about the change. For example, the clay pot has the clay as its material cause and the potter as its efficient cause. The First (unmanifested) Logos is said to be the First Cause, as distinct form the causeless cause (SD I 16). From this we might say that the First Logos is the efficient cause of the Universe, while Mulaprakriti is its material cause. Parabrahm is the Causeless-cause of both.

JON: is the causeless cause by necessity beyond either father or mother (pre-cosmically as in the human condition)?

PETER: Yes. It seems to me that must be the case. The Absolute must be cause-less for if it were the effect of some cause then it would not be the Absolute. The Absolute cannot have any relationship to its 'parts' (if parts were possible within the Absolute!), for as the TOTALITY, the ALL, there is no 'other' for it to have relations with. Yet it must be the ultimate source (cause) of all being and existence, of both spirit and matter.

JON: From this analogy, does this seem somewhat accurate:
Absolute: Causeless Cause — Humanity
Pre-Cosmic: Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti — Mother-Father
Cosmic: Prakriti-Purusha — Egg-Sperm

PETER: I'm not sure about this, Jon. I find it hard to relate Humanity with the Causeless Cause. Looking for an analogy along the lines you suggest - wouldn't Humanity be more like the Collective Host, the Demiurge, the third logos, Isvara?

For Pre-cosmic - again, not sure. I would probably opt for Ideation-Substance: Logos-Mulaprakriti: the potentiality of Father and of Mother.

Cosmic (Macrocosm): Purusha-Prakriti - manifested Masculine in Feminine.

Microcosm:   Father - Mother:  the creative force in the sperm - the material egg.

Child: the embodiment of all the above.

That doesn't help, does it, as by changing the meanings I've moved away from your analogy. Sorry! These latter correspondences I'm not sure I would write the same thing tomorrow!

Permalink Reply by Pierre Wouters on December 21, 2012 at 4:33pm
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Hey guys,
that was an interesting dialog you've got going there.
I'd like to chime in with a few comments to add to the discussion.
Jon said:
"would we still need to distinguish between this "Mother" and the Causeless Cause based on the distinction between Mulaprakriti and Parabrahm?"

Jon, you just said it yourself, "would WE still need to distinguish between..."
Well, that's exactly what WE do! WE distinguish between the two, not the absolute :-)
Like HPB points out in the 1st Fundamental, spirit and matter are not independent realities (whether in or out of manifestation) and as such it is indeed the We that distinguishes. HPB uses the term "aspects", for Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti, not qualities!

Aspects is what refers to our (the WE or I) that distinguishes, not the absolute. Since they both (together) make up that absolute reality, they fall under the same heading of how HPB "defines" that PRINCIPLE, i.e. they are both omnipresent, eternal, boundless and immutable, therefore absolute abstract motion (Parabrahm) and absolute abstract space (Mulaprakriti), the absolute abstract refering to those 4 "definitions". They become aspects (distinguished) in OUR minds because we can't conceive of them both at the same time being confined to a dual mind.
Peter couldn' have said it any better: "as Mulaprakriti (precosmic substance) and the Great Breath (precosmic ideation) are aspects of the Absolute we cannot say each is the causeless-cause in themselves" That's very well said, they are not the causeless cause in and by themselves, because they are ONE. They become aspects or elements to work with in our dual mind to be used in linear time and space. I liked Peter's comment about the efficient cause and the material cause, that is exactly what those aspects become in OUR mind, not in the absolute and as Peter points out, those aspects are NOT parts of the absolute, just our limitation for dealing with it on our mental plane, otherwise those aspects would become definitions of that which cannot be defined.

As to Jon's question regarding the correspondences of:
"From this analogy, does this seem somewhat accurate:
Absolute: Causeless Cause — Humanity
Pre-Cosmic: Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti — Mother-Father
Cosmic: Prakriti-Purusha — Egg-Sperm"

I think it's time for a coffee break :-)
Well, all kidding aside, it is my impression that strictly speaking there can be no correspondences relating to the unrelatable or Absolute. Although I wouldn't be surprised to see HPB throwing in a curve ball here or there :-)
Perhaps, with a little bit of goodwill, Humanity from a metaphysical pre-cosmic perspective can be related to Atman as the heavenly man(kind)and Mahat (in conjunction with Maha-Buddhi)in its manifested condition, then becoming individualized rays as individual or distinct but not separated minds.

Remember that Purusha & Prakriti are products of Mulaprakriti alone! HPB refers to it somewhere but I can't recall the page ref right now.
Prakriti-Purusha - Egg-Sperm, yeah sure, good correspondence.
The reason I guess for Prakriti-Purusha being the product of Mulaprakriti is that Father and Mother on the manifested plane (Third Logos) are already seen as two distinct factors that became split up from their preceding hermaphroditic state (Second Logos). I guess this to be related to the emanation of the syzygies. Everything in the manifested universe is material! Including the highest principles, because they all come into being through matter (prakriti). Like Krishna says in the BG, I produced this universe with a part of myself (The material part because that can change) and yet remain separate

Anyway, keep on playing with correspondences, as it exercises the plastic potency of the lower mind and sets it up for the influx of intuitional forces :-)
Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on December 30, 2012 at 9:58am
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Thanks Pierre. This is very helpful. As you can tell, I was basically thinking out loud and trying to work through the ideas. I've gotta say, I'm currently struggling with understanding the first, second and third logos; the full meaning of the terms remains unclear to me.

WE distinguish between the two, not the absolute

I had a chance to really delve into the SD over my holidays and this is one of the ideas I was exploring. This makes a huge difference in my view when realizing that these distinctions are but the product of our perspective from our limited capabilities. So thanks for bringing this up here. Your explanation helps greatly.

Permalink Reply by Jimmy on December 30, 2012 at 11:40am
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I've revisited the idea of the 'logos' lately too. I've decided to set aside everything I thought I knew, look at it afresh, and try to "whittle down" the complexity of the teaching to a basic principle. So far, I'm understanding that Logos is the outward expression of an inward principle, and in any case, Logos is always a "manifestation". First, second and third Logos has more to do with the doctrine of emanation rather than the principle of logos itself. So I'm finding it helpful to consider the two ideas separately.
Permalink Reply by Pierre Wouters on December 30, 2012 at 2:13pm
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Just a few refs from the Transactions that might be helpful to look at it afresh. I won't comment on these as I don’t want to influence your refreshing :-) Bold emphasis is mine.

As to the idea of emanation and radiation, consider this:

  Q. Can you, then, speak of Time as existing from the appearance of the Second or Unmanifested-Manifested Logos?

  A. Assuredly not, but from the appearance of the Third. It is here that the great difference between the two lies, as just shown. The "last vibration" begins outside of Time and Space, and ends with the third Logos, when Time and Space begin, i.e., periodical time. The Second Logos partaking of both the essences or natures of the first and the last. There is no differentiation with the First Logos; differentiation only begins in latent World-Thought, with the Second Logos, and receives its full expression, i.e., becomes the "Word" made flesh—with the Third.

  Q. How do the terms "Radiation" and "Emanation" differ in the Secret Doctrine?

  A. They express, to my mind, two entirely different ideas, and are the best apologies for the original terms that could be found; but if the ordinary meanings are attached to them the idea will be missed. Radiation is, so to say, the unconscious and spontaneous shooting forth, the action of a something from which this act takes place; but emanation is something from which another thing issues in a constant efflux, and emanates consciously. An orthodox Occultist goes so far as to say that the smell of a flower emanates from it "consciously"—absurd as it may seem to the profane. Radiation can come from the Absolute; Emanation cannot. One difference exists in the idea that Radiation is sure, sooner or later, to be withdrawn again while Emanation runs into other emanations and is thoroughly separated and differentiated. Of course at the end of the cycle of time emanation will also be withdrawn into the One Absolute; but meanwhile, during the entire cycle of changes emanation will persist. One thing emanates from the other, and, in fact, from one point of view, emanation is equivalent to Evolution; while "radiation" represents to my mind—in the precosmic period, of course—an instantaneous action like that of a piece of paper set on fire under a burning glass, of which act the Sun knows nothing. Both terms, of course, are used for want of better. (Transactions pp.94-95)

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As to the correspondence but not identity of the 3 logoi with Atma-Buddhi-Manas and the application of the feminine priciple:

 Q. To what cosmic plane do the Ah-hi, here spoken of, belong?

  A. They belong to the first, second, and third planes—the last plane being really the starting point of the primordial manifestation—the objective reflection of the unmanifested. Like the Pythagorean Monas, the first Logos, having emanated the first triad [Shekinah or Kether], disappears into silence and darkness.

  Q. Does this mean that the three Logoi emanated from the primordial Radiation in Macrocosm correspond to Atma, Buddhi, and Manas, in the Microcosm?

  A. Just so; they correspond, but must not be confounded with them. We are now speaking of the Macrocosm at the first flutter of Manvantaric dawn, when evolution begins, and not of Microcosm or Man.

  Q. Are the three planes to which the three Logoi belong simultaneous emanations, or do they evolve one from another?

  A. It is most misleading to apply mechanical laws to the higher metaphysics of cosmogony, or to space and time, as we know them for neither existed then. The reflection of the triad in space and time  or the objective universe comes later. (Transactions p.23)
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   Q. But why is the Eternal Parent, Space, spoken of as feminine? 
  A. Not in all cases, for in the above extract Space is called the "Eternal Mother-Father"; but when it is so spoken of the reason is that though it is impossible to define Parabrahm, yet once that we speak of that first something which can be conceived, it has to be treated of as a feminine principle. In all cosmogonies the first differentiation was considered feminine. It is Mulaprakriti which conceals or veils Parabrahm; Sephira thelight that emanates first from Ain-Soph; and in Hesiod it is Gaea who springs from Chaos, preceding Eros (Theog. IV.; 201-246). This is repeated in all subsequent and less abstract material creations, as witnessed by Eve, created from the rib of Adam, etc. It is the goddess and goddesses who come first. The first emanation becomes the immaculate Mother from whom proceed all the gods, or the anthropomorphized creative forces. We have to adopt the masculine or the feminine gender, for we cannot use the neuter it. From IT, strictly speaking, nothing can proceed, neither a radiation nor an emanation. (Transactions p.2)

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Here’s a synopsis of the 3 logoi:

Q. Is Fohat one of the three, Father, Mother and Son?

  A. Fohat is a generic term and used in many senses. He is the light(Daiviprakriti) of all the three logoi—the personified symbols of the threespiritual stages of Evolution. Fohat is the aggregate of all the spiritual creative ideations above, and of all the electro-dynamic and creative forcesbelow, in Heaven and on Earth. There seems to be great confusion and misunderstanding concerning the First and Second Logos. The first is the already present yet still unmanifested potentiality in the bosom of Father-Mother; the Second is the abstract collectivity of creators called "Demiurgi" by the Greeks or the Builders of the Universe. The third logos is the ultimate differentiation of the Second and the individualization of Cosmic Forces, of which Fohat is the chief; for Fohat is the synthesis of the Seven Creative Rays or Dhyan Chohans which proceed from the third Logos. (Transactions p.38) (See also the last ten lines of SD I:293 with regard to the 3rd Logos/Fohat being the synthesis of the Dhyan Chohans.)

Permalink Reply by Jimmy on December 30, 2012 at 3:56pm
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Thanks Pierre! I'll have to read that few times to fully absorb what she's saying. When I think of emanation my mind goes directly to the Tree of Life model, since that was my first exposure to the concept, e.g. Kether emanates Chockmah, Kether-Chockmah emanate Binah, Kether-Chockmah-Binah emanate Chesed and so on. So I've always thought of the emanations of the Logoi as proceeding in the same way. The idea of Radiation here is something I'll have to consider.

However, I think what I'm going for right now is getting down to the absolute basics, as far as the Secret Doctrine is concerned. So what about this word "logos"? What does it mean? Why is this word used and not some other? What basic idea is this word intended to convey?
Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on December 30, 2012 at 4:36pm
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This is exactly where I am as well, Jimmy... stripping everything down to the essentials and really asking: what is meant by "logos"?

The last synopsis in Pierre's reply above seems like a good place to start.

Permalink Reply by Peter on December 30, 2012 at 5:09pm
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Jimmy writes: 'So far, I'm understanding that Logos is the outward expression of an inward principle, and in any case, Logos is always a "manifestation".'

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We have the unspoken word as well the spoken word. For example:

A 'formless' idea (a flash of intuition) arises in the fertile field of awareness.

It gives birth to a concept: the unmanifest-manifest word.

Then it is spoken - the manifest word.

Permalink Reply by Pierre Wouters on December 30, 2012 at 7:25pm
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It's time to ask the Nexus boys to add a LIKE or DIG button to the replies!

Very well put Peter. Sometimes one word expressed differently or mentioned in a certain context makes the old brain churn again :-) Just the use of "unspoken" rang a bell.

From a different perspective we can say:

1st Logos is the ideas (in the sense of Platonic Archetypes - formless)

2nd Logos is the thoughts engendered by these ideas (Prototypes).

3rd Logos is the words used to express the thoughts (i.e. manifestation of the ideas).

Each time the ideas descend they become more material and limited.

Or:

1st Logos corresponds with the power to perceive (Father)

2nd, the perception (Mother)

3rd, the perceived (Son)

The first is a ray from the absolute, the 2nd contains the first, the 3rd contains the first and the second.

Permalink Reply by Peter on December 30, 2012 at 1:32pm
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Pierre's outline of the three Logoi in connection with the symbolism of the point in the circle and the germ in the mundane egg of the Proem and the diagram on p200 of the SD is probably the best I've come across so far.  It might be worth us looking at it together.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on December 30, 2012 at 9:39am
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Pardon the late reply... been out of internet range for a week.

Thanks a lot for this response. I like the distinction between material and efficient cause, and will spend some time mulling that over. It reveals that I've taken that term 'cause' for granted without exploring it deeply enough.

And thanks also for tackling the correspondence I was playing with.

wouldn't Humanity be more like the Collective Host, the Demiurge, the third logos, Isvara?

That would make much more sense.

I find it quite helpful to see yourself and Pierre play with these correspondences in different ways, as it just helps me see the flexibility of the use of corr/analogy.