Current Theme: Duration

Eternity and Time

The Secret Doctrine book i p.35-38

Present, Past and Future

SD i 42-44

Paramarthasatya

SD i 47-54

Time—Noumenal and Phenomenal

SD i 62-63

The Days and Nights of Brahma

SD i 368-374

Ancient Chronology

SD ii 66-70

Arcane Numbers

SD ii 72-74

The Primeval Manus

SD ii 307-311

The Solar Cycle

SD ii 563-372

Cyclic Calculations

SD ii 620-623

Duration, Time and Space

Transactions pages 9-15

Eternity and Periodicity

Transactions pages 19-24

Radiation and Emanation

Transactions pages 93-96

Manvantaras

Transactions pages 98-101

Short quotations from the selections mentioned above will be posted every couple of days.  We encourage students to read the entire selection to get the full context. As usual we welcome everyone's comments and questions.

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Eternity and Time                      The Secret Doctrine book i p.35-38

STANZA I.

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

The "Parent Space" is the eternal, ever present cause of all — the incomprehensible DEITY, whose "invisible robes" are the mystic root of all matter, and of the Universe. Space is the one eternal thing that we can most easily imagine, immovable in its abstraction and uninfluenced by either the presence or absence in it of an objective Universe. It is without dimension, in every sense, and self-existent. Spirit is the first differentiation from THAT, the causeless cause of both Spirit and Matter. It is, as taught in the esoteric catechism, neither limitless void, nor conditioned fulness, but both. It was and ever will be. (See Proem pp. 2 et seq.)

Thus, the "Robes" stand for the noumenon of undifferentiated Cosmic Matter. It is not matter as we know it, but the spiritual essence of matter, and is co-eternal and even one with Space in its abstract sense. Root-nature is also the source of the subtile invisible properties in visible matter. It is the Soul, so to say, of the ONE infinite Spirit. The Hindus call it Mulaprakriti, and say that it is the primordial substance, which is the basis of the Upadhi or vehicle of every phenomenon, whether physical, mental or psychic. It is the source from which Akâsa radiates.

(a) By the Seven "Eternities," æons or periods are meant. The word "Eternity," as understood in Christian theology, has no meaning to the Asiatic ear, except in its application to the ONE existence; nor is the term sempiternity, the eternal only in futurity, anything better than a misnomer.* Such words do not and cannot exist in philosophical metaphysics, and were unknown till the advent of ecclesiastical Christianity. The Seven Eternities meant are the seven periods, or a period answering in its duration to the seven periods, of a Manvantara, and extending throughout a Maha-Kalpa or the "Great Age" — 100 years of Brahmâ — making a total of 311,040,000,000,000 of years; each year of Brahmâ being composed of 360 "days," and of the same number of "nights" of Brahmâ (reckoning by the Chandrayana or lunar year); and a "Day of Brahmâ " consisting of 4,320,000,000 of mortal years. These "Eternities" belong to the most secret calculations, in which, in order to arrive at the true total, every figure must be 7x (7 to the power of x); x varying according to the nature of the cycle in the subjective or real world; and every figure or number relating to, or representing all the different cycles from the greatest to the smallest — in the objective or unreal world — must necessarily be multiples of seven. The key to this cannot be given, for herein lies the mystery of esoteric calculations, and for the purposes of ordinary calculation it has no sense. "The number seven," says the Kabala, "is the great number of the Divine Mysteries;" number ten is that of all human knowledge (Pythagorean decade); 1,000 is the number ten to the third power, and therefore the number 7,000 is also symbolical. In the Secret Doctrine the figure and number 4 are the male symbol only on the highest plane of abstraction; on the plane of matter the 3 is the masculine and the 4 the female: the upright and the horizontal in the fourth stage of symbolism, when the symbols became the glyphs of the generative powers on the physical plane.

* It is stated in Book II., ch. viii., of Vishnu Purâna: "By immortality is meant existence to the end of the Kalpa;" and Wilson, the translator, remarks in a footnote: "This, according to the Vedas, is all that is to be understood of the immortality (or eternity) of the gods; they perish at the end of universal dissolution (or Pralaya)." And Esoteric philosophy says: They "perish" not, but are re-absorbed.

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My first question when coming to this section is right from the first words. What does it mean to be both "Eternal" and "Ever-Present"? And how does this square with our common experience of past-present-future?

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Great question Jon.  Perhaps we can get the group to weigh in on it.

I wanted to point out that this section directs our attention to a connection between Space and Duration.

"Space is the one eternal thing that we can most easily imagine, immovable in its abstraction and uninfluenced by either the presence or absence in it of an objective Universe. It is without dimension, in every sense, and self-existent. Spirit is the first differentiation from THAT, the causeless cause of both Spirit and Matter."

Which hints at the question: What is the relationship between Space and Duration?

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"My first question when coming to this section is right from the first words. What does it mean to be both "Eternal" and "Ever-Present"? And how does this square with our common experience of past-present-future?"

Past-present-future pertains only to the manifested aspect because it denotes change - like birth-growth-decay-death.  Our sense of time is relative;  we all have experienced spending hours on an interesting project feels like minutes and spending minutes on a tedious job feels like hours.  Our sense of time is just a registering of changes in our states of consciousness. 

 

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Here's a passage from Proclus:

"For a temporal ever is one thing and an eternal ever, another: the latter being everything collectively and at once; but the former being coextended with the whole continuity of time; and being infinite... '(In Plat. Tim., I, 239, 2-14)

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Casady please take a stab at explaining this quote for us.

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I'm not Casady but I'll give it a try. In this passage, Proclus distinguishes between two senses of the infinite. The first is the infinity of time in which the objective drama of the universe occurs, extending backwards forever into the past and neverendingly into the future. I find it very humbling to think on how we have had to traverse an infinity of time to arrive at where we are now. However, If we think back to Zeno's paradox, we'll remember that we are also traversing an infinity every time we perform any action.

This thought of the traversal of infinities should then remind us that objective time is ultimately subjective. We now arrive at the second sense of "ever," the subjective eternal that encompasses all things immediately and is at the core of all being.

Hope this was helpful!

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hey that's pretty good - Zeno's paradoxes are good reflection exercizes - hugely important in the western understanding of time

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Does duration lie outside of this infinite forward and backward of time?

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In my understanding, yes. The "forward and backward of time" is, essentially, another way of saying past-present-future, and Duration is beyond such phenomena. I imagine it like this:

Say we have infinity represented as an endless line. One cannot say that the line has a "backwards" or a "forwards" until one defines a point on that line—that point "divides" the line into backwards and forwards. So, the point becomes the "present", from which there is a "past" and a "future". But all three of these are illusions, dependent wholly upon that point (or knot) on the infinite line (or string). All that really exists is the line, and the division of that line into "backwards" and "forwards" is illusory. That which is "past" and that which is "future" is thus always relative to which point on the line we choose to base the measure from; they have only a relative reality as concepts, but no true reality.

Applying this to the terms Duration and Time, Duration is the line per se, while Time is the individual or relative experience of the line from the perspective of any single point on it.

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Thank you Kindly for this Jon.

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 I wonder if the experience of being at a movie has some parallel here. We sit down in a chair and go through all these experiences that the movie takes us through.  Years pass, emotions pass, locations change etc. But in the end, when the movie is over we have not really gone anywhere at all.  We have been sitting there from the beginning.  I wonder if this is the experience of the Self?

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Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 10, 2014 at 11:55pm
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That's an excellent illustration of Maya-illusion of Prakriti. The Manvantaric cycles (Khanda Kala)  turn their rounds eternally in the the immutable Sat (Duration or Kala). The whole manifestation is Maha-Maya, the Great Illusion; SELF alone is Real.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 7, 2014 at 3:17am
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Can we look at it from the perspective of our Self or Consciousness, subjectively ?

Our three states of consciousness, waking, dreaming and deep sleep appear to our waking self as three different unrelated states. But we know for certain, intuitively, that they are the three states of one unbroken continuity of consciousness which seems to be passing through these states in turns in its integrity, though we do not experience the wholeness.

Some idea of it may be had if we take the perspective of the Higher Reincarnating Ego--the Sutratman--which is like an unbroken string, on which are strung the quintessential experiences of innumerable mortal lives on earth it had lived in the past, like so many beads, and knows them all at once, and also knows the future lives to come to some extent, at least, in contradistinction to our personal waking consciousness which is temporal. Yet the Ever Present is Ever Present with us, nay, that is "us" in fact and truth, the temporal being an illusion of the senses.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 5, 2014 at 12:07pm
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Is there not also an objective measure of time?  Otherwise when would the ballgame start?

Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on August 5, 2014 at 1:23pm
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I would say: there is an objective measure of duration, not of time. The ball game will start at 4pm, but the person waiting for it to start while sitting in the dentist's chair may experience the intervening time quite differently than the person who waits for it to start while jet-skiing. ;)

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 5, 2014 at 2:04pm
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Three cheers for the analogy.I take it the situation changes if you are afraid of the water and if the tooth ache is overwhelming you.

Permalink Reply by Peter on August 5, 2014 at 2:13pm
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"What is the relationship between Space and Duration?"

Isn't "Duration" - as HPB uses the term in relation to the Absolute - that which ever IS, without beginning or end? In other words, completely independent of whether time exists or not.

"Space" as an aspect of the Absolute is also that which IS, whether there be a universe or not.

Permalink Reply by Peter on August 5, 2014 at 3:33pm
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Kant's major contribution to Western philosophy was to argue that Time, Space and Causation are innate structures and intuitions of our consciousness.  

According to Kant the mind doesn’t just passively receive sensory data from the world it imposes a structure on that data.  In other words, Time, Space and Causation don’t exist ‘objectively’ out there in the world.  We perceive a temporal and causal relationship between events in the world because that is the way the mind actively structures and makes sense of that experience. 

Because these are innate structures (“categories of understanding”) in our consciousness we therefore all share a common experience of the world which we can examine and test scientifically. However, because the raw data of our experience is so structured by the mind it means we really don’t know the ‘things in themselves’.  The mind operating through the senses can only know phenomena (our experience) not the noumena (the thing in itself).

Kant's view of the mind and its structures is sometimes likened to that of wearing 'rose tinted spectacles' for obvious reasons.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on August 6, 2014 at 2:28pm
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Is time and space a construct that loses meaning when we disassociate from being "in a body"?  What would time and space mean for a disembodied spirit? Is that not what we are in our essence?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 7, 2014 at 3:44am
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Is time and space a construct that loses meaning when we disassociate from being "in a body"? 

Time and space idea changes even while in the body. In dream state, for example, we have a different measure of time and space.

It should certainly alter when we are dissociated from body.

HPB shows that  in respect of every man and woman without exception, immediately after death, the whole life of the person, in minutest detail, from the moment of birth to the last moment of bodily death, is rapidly reviewed by the personal consciousness, in the presence of the Light of the Divine Ego. The whole lifetime experience is gone over in a few minutes. Drowning man's memory is proverbial.

In deep sleep we have no consciousness of time and space.

As one rises into higher planes where all tend to primordial unity, the distinctions of past, present and future tend to fade; past and the future are seen as present; future as past and past as future--as beautifully put in that mystic book The Dream of Ravan.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 10, 2014 at 11:39am
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Is the practical application of this idea (Kant's notions) the notion that if we wish to change our lives we must change how we think about it?

The ideas we hold are the lens's we use to peer into the world.  This is a very profound part of the philosophy.  Is the endeavor of the theosophical student to clean the lens of any obscuration?  It must be.

Would the starting point of this enterprise be the acknowledgement that until the moment of 'enlightenment' there is something obscuring our vision?  The removal of obscuration might take place in degrees but until a fundamental breakthrough (enlightenment) there is still work to be done to clean the lens.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on August 10, 2014 at 11:27am
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Perhaps in the end it is two different ways of thinking of the Absolute, which in the end has no characteristics, or component parts.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 10, 2014 at 11:32am
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Perhaps Space is a human conception that arises when we look at the Absolute objectively, as an object we might say.  Duration is a human conception that arises when we look at the Absolute subjectively, or as a component of experience.   Any comments on this line of thought?

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Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 11, 2014 at 12:01am
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It makes sense, because we cannot conceive of consciousness apart from time and space, as all out thoughts, all our ideas and conceptions are bound up with these two. 

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 7, 2014 at 2:53am
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I suppose the two terms, Eternal and Ever-present are virtually the same. If one Eternity means a Day of Brahma,  4,320,000,000 in terms of human years, as is stated on page 36, this itself is incomprehensible to our finite minds. An Age of Brahma will be still farther from our grasp. It is like trying to distinguish between 100 Light years and a thousand light years. It is like a neuron in our brain, whose life span is a fraction of a moment, trying to grasp the one hundred years of man's life.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 10, 2014 at 11:43am
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This certainly illustrates the relativity of time in regards to the perceiver.  I wonder how changing our sense of identification changes our sense of time?  If I am my body then time is measured in relation to a human life time.  If I am an immortal soul how does my sense of time change?

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 4, 2014 at 11:08am
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From the Section: Present, Past and Future  SD i 42-44

6. THE SEVEN SUBLIME LORDS AND THE SEVEN TRUTHS HAD CEASED TO BE (a), AND THE UNIVERSE, THE SON OF NECESSITY, WAS IMMERSED IN PARANISHPANNA (b) (absolute perfection, Paranirvana, which is Yong-Grub) TO BE OUT-BREATHED BY THAT WHICH IS AND YET IS NOT. NAUGHT WAS (c).

(a) The seven sublime lords are the Seven Creative Spirits, the Dhyan-Chohans, who correspond to the Hebrew Elohim. It is the same hierarchy of Archangels to which St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and others belong, in the Christian theogony. Only while St. Michael, for instance, is allowed in dogmatic Latin theology to watch over all the promontories and gulfs, in the Esoteric System, the Dhyanis watch successively over one of the Rounds and the great Root-races of our planetary chain. They are, moreover, said to send their Bhodisatvas, the human correspondents of the Dhyani-Buddhas (of whom vide infra) during every Round and Race. Out of the Seven Truths and Revelations, or rather revealed secrets, four only have been handed to us, as we are still in the Fourth Round, and the world also has only had four Buddhas, so far. This is a very complicated question, and will receive more ample treatment later on.

So far "There are only Four Truths, and Four Vedas" — say the Hindus and Buddhists. For a similar reason Irenæus insisted on the necessity of Four Gospels. But as every new Root-race at the head of a Round must have its revelation and revealers, the next Round will bring the Fifth, the following the Sixth, and so on.

(b) "Paranishpanna" is the absolute perfection to which all existences attain at the close of a great period of activity, or Maha-Manvantara, and in which they rest during the succeeding period of repose. In Tibetan it is called Yong-Grub. Up to the day of the Yogâchârya school the true nature of Paranirvana was taught publicly, but since then it has become entirely esoteric; hence so many contradictory interpretations of it. It is only a true Idealist who can understand it. Everything has to be viewed as ideal, with the exception of Paranirvana, by him who would comprehend that state, and acquire a knowledge of how Non Ego, Voidness, and Darkness are Three in One and alone Self-existent and perfect. It is absolute, however, only in a relative sense, for it must give room to still further absolute perfection, according to a higher standard of excellence in the following period of activity — just as a perfect flower must cease to be a perfect flower and die, in order to grow into a perfect fruit, — if a somewhat Irish mode of expression may be permitted.

The Secret Doctrine teaches the progressive development of everything, worlds as well as atoms; and this stupendous development has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end. Our "Universe" is only one of an infinite number of Universes, all of them "Sons of Necessity," because links in the great Cosmic chain of Universes, each one standing in the relation of an effect as regards its predecessor, and being a cause as regards its successor.

The appearance and disappearance of the Universe are pictured as an outbreathing and inbreathing of "the Great Breath," which is eternal, and which, being Motion, is one of the three aspects of the Absolute — Abstract Space and Duration being the other two. When the "Great Breath" is projected, it is called the Divine Breath, and is regarded as the breathing of the Unknowable Deity — the One Existence — which breathes out a thought, as it were, which becomes the Kosmos. (See "Isis Unveiled.") So also is it when the Divine Breath is inspired again the Universe disappears into the bosom of "the Great Mother," who then sleeps "wrapped in her invisible robes."

(c) By "that which is and yet is not" is meant the Great Breath itself, which we can only speak of as absolute existence, but cannot picture to our imagination as any form of existence that we can distinguish from Non-existence. The three periods — the Present, the Past, and the Future — are in the esoteric philosophy a compound time; for the three are a composite number only in relation to the phenomenal plane, but in the realm of noumena have no abstract validity. As said in the Scriptures: "The Past time is the Present time, as also the Future, which, though it has not come into existence, still is"; according to a precept in the Prasanga Madhyamika teaching, whose dogmas have been known ever since it broke away from the purely esoteric schools.* Our ideas, in short, on duration and time are all derived from our sensations according to the laws of Association. Inextricably bound up with the relativity of human knowledge, they nevertheless can have no existence except in the experience of the individual ego, and perish when its evolutionary march dispels the Maya of phenomenal existence. What is Time, for instance, but the panoramic succession of our states of consciousness? In the words of a Master, "I feel irritated at having to use these three clumsy words — Past, Present, and Future — miserable concepts of the objective phases of the subjective whole, they are about as ill-adapted for the purpose as an axe for fine carving." One has to acquire Paramârtha lest one should become too easy a prey to Samvriti—is a philosophical axiom.*

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 6, 2014 at 2:13pm
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Taken from this section: Paramarthasatya  SD i 47-54

(a) The "Builders," the "Sons of Manvantaric Dawn," are the real creators of the Universe; and in this doctrine, which deals only with our Planetary System, they, as the architects of the latter, are also called the "Watchers" of the Seven Spheres, which exoterically are the Seven planets, and esoterically the seven earths or spheres (planets) of our chain also. The opening sentence of Stanza I., when mentioning "Seven Eternities," is made to apply both to the Maha-Kalpa or "the (great) Age of Brahmâ," as well as to the Solar pralaya and subsequent resurrection of our Planetary System on a higher plane. There are many kinds of pralaya (dissolution of a thing visible), as will be shown elsewhere.

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on August 6, 2014 at 2:50pm
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HPB gives us Absolute Abstract Space and Absolute Abstract Motion as symbols of the Absolute.  Are we to connect Duration to one or the other or both?

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 10, 2014 at 10:32am
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from the Section: Time - Noumenal and Phenomenal  SD i 62-63

COMMENTARY.

1. THE LAST VIBRATION OF THE SEVENTH ETERNITY THRILLS THROUGH INFINITUDE (a). THE MOTHER SWELLS, EXPANDING FROM WITHIN WITHOUT LIKE THE BUD OF THE LOTUS (b).

(a) The seemingly paradoxical use of the sentence "Seventh Eternity," thus dividing the indivisible, is sanctified in esoteric philosophy. The latter divides boundless duration into unconditionally eternal and universal Time and a conditioned one (Khandakâla). One is the abstraction or noumenon of infinite time (Kala); the other its phenomenon appearing periodically, as the effect of Mahat (the Universal Intelligence limited by Manvantaric duration). With some schools, Mahat is "the first-born" of Pradhâna (undifferentiated substance, or the periodical aspect of Mulaprakriti, the root of Nature), which (Pradhâna) is called Maya, the Illusion. In this respect, I believe, esoteric teaching differs from the Vedantin doctrines of both the Adwaita and the Visishtadwaita schools. For it says that, while Mulaprakriti, the noumenon, is self-existing and without any origin — is, in short, parentless, Anupadaka (as one with Brahmam) — Prakriti, its phenomenon, is periodical and no better than a phantasm of the former, so Mahat, with the Occultists, the first-born of Gnâna (or gnosis) knowledge, wisdom or the Logos — is a phantasm reflected from the Absolute NIRGUNA (Parabrahm, the one reality, "devoid of attributes and qualities"; see Upanishads); while with some Vedantins Mahat is a manifestation of Prakriti, or Matter.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 12, 2014 at 2:54pm
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Time—Noumenal and Phenomenal

  SD i 62-63

Finishing paragraphs of this section

(b) Therefore, the "last vibration of the Seventh Eternity" was "fore-ordained" — by no God in particular, but occurred in virtue of the eternal and changeless LAW which causes the great periods of Activity and Rest, called so graphically, and at the same time so poetically, the "Days and Nights of Brahmâ." The expansion "from within without" of the Mother, called elsewhere the "Waters of Space," "Universal Matrix," etc., does not allude to an expansion from a small centre or focus, but, without reference to size or limitation or area, means the development of limitless subjectivity into as limitless objectivity. "The ever (to us) invisible and immaterial Substance present in eternity, threw its periodical shadow from its own plane into the lap of Maya." It implies that this expansion, not being an increase in size — for infinite extension admits of no enlargement — was a change of condition. It "expanded like the bud of the Lotus"; for the Lotus plant exists not only as a miniature embryo in its seed (a physical characteristic), but its prototype is present in an ideal form in the Astral Light from "Dawn" to "Night" during the Manvantaric period, like everything else, as a matter of fact, in this objective Universe; from man down to mite, from giant trees down to the tiniest blades of grass.

All this, teaches the hidden Science, is but the temporary reflection, the shadow of the eternal ideal prototype in Divine Thought — the word "Eternal," note well again, standing here only in the sense of "Æon," as lasting throughout the seemingly interminable, but still limited cycle of activity, called by us Manvantara. For what is the real esoteric meaning of Manvantara, or rather a Manu-Antara? It means, esoterically, "between two Manus," of whom there are fourteen in every "Day of Brahmâ," such a "Day" consisting of 1,000 aggregates of four ages, or 1,000 "Great Ages," Mahayugas. Let us now analyse the word or name Manu. Orientalists and their Dictionaries tell us that the term "Manu" is from the root Man, "to think"; hence "the thinking man." But, esoterically, every Manu, as an anthropomorphized patron of his special cycle (or Round), is but the personified idea of the "Thought Divine" (as the Hermetic "Pymander"); each of the Manus, therefore, being the special god, the creator and fashioner of all that appears during his own respective cycle of being or Manvantara. Fohat runs the Manus' (or Dhyan-Chohans') errands, and causes the ideal prototypes to expand from within without — viz., to cross gradually, on a descending scale, all the planes from the noumenon to the lowest phenomenon, to bloom finally on the last into full objectivity — the acme of illusion, or the grossest matter.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 12, 2014 at 10:38pm
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How do these verses of the Stanzas on the cosmic origins stand vis a vis biblical creation idea and modern scientific theories is a question that comes to mind. The contest that is now raging in the U.S. between the theological doctrine of creation and the scientific viewpoint which rejects the idea creation out of nothing (ex nihilo nihil fit), and swears by the theory of evolution, may be best reconciled by this most ancient cosmological idea given in the Stanzas of Dhyan.

Creation by God is an idea which when subjected to rigorous reasoning and viewed in the light of natural law is found to be illogical, absurd and unjust; and stands wholly discredited ; whereas the scientific idea of evolution based on empirical methods and inductive logic has found itself as far from truth as it was in the beginning, except spinning out theories after theories, apparently brilliant but in reality reaching nowhere. This seems to be because science starts at the wrong end with false premises. However logical and mathematically indisputable the deductions may be, a false premises cannot but lead to false conclusions. 

The Stanzas, on the other hand, proceed from universal principles and descends into particulars down the septenary ladder of Cosmos into to minutest details,  all comprehended in ONE at once, leaving no riddle unresolved, no problem unsolved.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 13, 2014 at 11:01pm
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"Therefore, the "last vibration of the Seventh Eternity" was "fore-ordained" — by no God in particular, but occurred in virtue of the eternal and changeless LAW which causes the great periods of Activity and Rest, called so graphically, and at the same time so poetically, the "Days and Nights of Brahmâ." 

The idea of God here is radically different from the conventional theological one, of anthropomorphic, extra-cosmic God of the Bible who creates the universe out of nothing--an absurdity which human reason cannot but reject outright.

God is Law and Law is God--absolutely impersonal and eternally Just. Eternity of the universe in its totality is a boundless plane in which universes appear and disappear in regular succession, like the rhythmical ebb and flow of the tide.

This is cyclic Law, a fundamental universal Law. Our idea of time is linear. Even science conceives time to be linear and all its theories have this notion implicit in them. Flow of time, on the contrary,  is cyclic, following the Law of cause and effect, of sowing and reaping, of action and reaction--not in the mechanical sense but essentially as ethical causation. 

The present is the outcome of the past; and the future will be the outcome of both the present and the past. We are reaping what we had sown in the past; and we will reap in the future what we sow now. The nature of the harvest will be in strict accordance with the nature of the seeds we sow. Our destiny is in our own hands. We may save ourselves or damn ourselves. Bondage and liberation is in our hands.

 The same law applies throughout the universe  from the atom to the galaxies, from worm in the grass to the Sun, and in all planes of being and states of consciousness.

Three of the Aphorisms of Karma state :

Aph. no. 9 : The Karma of this earth is the combination of the acts and thoughts of all beings of every grade which were concerned in the preceding Manvantara or evolutionary stream from which ours flows.

Aph. no. 10 : And as those beings include Lords of Power and Holy Men, as well as weak and wicked ones, the period of the earth's duration is greater than that of any entity or race upon it.

Aph. no 11 :Because the Karma of this earth and its races began in a past too far back for human minds to reach, an inquiry into its beginning is useless and profitless.

This applies to individual Ego, to the earth, to any planet, to a planetary system or solar system, to that great sidereal system of which solar system is like an atom, and so on and on--all and every one of them being a stream or evolution of Souls (Egos), smaller streams forming part of the larger one and so on, up the scale of being.

The law which governs the  birth, growth, decay, death of man, the Ego's post-mortem states of consciousness and rest, and its rebirth in conditions and circumstances in perfectly just accordance with his thoughts and actions of his past life--it is the same law which governs those of nations, races, worlds and systems of worlds. 

The thread of the Law of Analogy and Correspondence runs through the whole cosmos, by which, knowing one we may know the whole. 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 15, 2014 at 12:33pm
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You might say, to borrow the words of a Great Master, "it is time that Theosophy should enter the arena."

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 15, 2014 at 12:50pm
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From this section:  The Days and Nights of Brahma  SD i 368-374

THE DAYS AND NIGHTS OF BRAHMÂ.

THIS is the name given to the Periods called MANVANTARA (Manuantara, or between the Manus) and PRALAYA (Dissolution); one referring to the active periods of the Universe, the other to its times of relative and complete rest—according to whether they occur at the end of a "Day," or an "Age" (a life) of Brahmâ. These periods, which follow each other in regular succession, are also called Kalpas, small and great, the minor and the Maha Kalpa; though, properly speaking, the Maha Kalpa is never a "day," but a whole life or age of Brahmâ, for it is said in the Brahmâ Vaivarta: "Chronologers compute a Kalpa by the Life of Brahmâ; minor Kalpas, as Samvarta and the rest, are numerous." In sober truth they are infinite; as they have never had a commencement, i.e., there never was a first Kalpa, nor will there ever be a last one, in Eternity.

One Parardha—in the ordinary acceptation of this measure of time—or half of the existence of Brahmâ (in the present Maha Kalpa) has already expired; the last Kalpa was the Padma, or that of the Golden Lotos; the present one being Vârâha * (the "boar" incarnation, or Avatar).

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Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 16, 2014 at 12:07am
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Parardha--expiry of half life cycle of Brahma-- makes sense. 

In the cycle of 7 Rounds, 3 Rounds are over.

we are in the 4th Round, called Vaivaswata Manvantara.

In the 4th Round when humanity (Egos) passed the midpoint of 3rd Race of Globe D (Earth), half of the cycle of 7 Rounds expired; Crucifixion of the Egos on the cross of flesh was completed. Egos are entombed, as it were.

Egos are to free themselves, in the next three and half Rounds, from Matter, and regain its primordial spiritual purity and integrity, entirely  free from the taint of matter. 

Permalink Reply by Grace Cunningham on August 18, 2014 at 11:11am
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What does it mean to be free of the taint of matter?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 18, 2014 at 1:28am
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Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus 1 hour ago -- said, at the end of the post :

"Applying this to the terms Duration and Time, Duration is the line per se, while Time is the individual or relative experience of the line from the perspective of any single point on it."

This is what, I think, Shankaracharya says. Duration-Space_Absolute is the only Reality -- the unbroken, indivisible  "line." All other things are relative, and, therefore, illusive.

Shankara's example is : Reality is the Rope ; the snake that we see in it mistakenly and feel scared, is a false conception which we have superimposed on that Reality and suffer immensely.

But once we awaken to the truth that it not at all snake but the rope, then our fear and all the sufferings are gone with the dawn right perception.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 18, 2014 at 1:31am
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Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus 1 hour ago -- said, at the end of the post :

"Applying this to the terms Duration and Time, Duration is the line per se, while Time is the individual or relative experience of the line from the perspective of any single point on it."

This is what, I think, Shankaracharya says. Duration-Space -Absolute is the only Reality -- the unbroken, indivisible  "line." All other things are relative, and, therefore, illusive.

Shankara's example is : Reality is the Rope ; the snake that we see in it mistakenly and feel scared, is a false conception which we have superimposed on that Reality and suffer immensely.

But once we awaken to the truth that it not at all snake but the rope, then our fear and all the sufferings are gone with the dawn right perception.

Snake was never there before, nor will be there after ; therefore, logically, it cannot be there in the middle also. The only truth is SELF.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 22, 2014 at 11:54pm
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Taken from the Section: Ancient Chronology  SD ii 66-70

No greater riddle exists in science, no problem is more hopelessly insoluble, than the question: How old — even approximately — are the Sun and Moon, the Earth and Man? What does modern science know of the duration of the ages of the World, or even of the length of geological periods?

Nothing; absolutely nothing.

If one turns to science for chronological information, one is told by those who are straightforward and truthful, as for instance Mr. Pengelly, the eminent geologist, "We do not know." * One will learn that, so far, no trustworthy numerical estimate of the ages of the world and man could be made, and that both geology and anthropology are at sea. Yet when a student of esoteric philosophy presumes to bring forward the teachings of Occult Science, he is at once sat upon. Why should this be so, since, when reduced to their own physical methods, the greatest scientists have failed to arrive even at an approximate agreement?

It is true that science can hardly be blamed for it. Indeed, in the Cimmerian darkness of the prehistoric ages, the explorers are lost in a labyrinth, whose great corridors are doorless, allowing no visible exit into the Archaic past. Lost in the maze of their own conflicting speculations, rejecting, as they have always done, the evidence of Eastern tradition, without any clue, or one single certain milestone to guide them, what can geologists or anthropologists do but pick up the slender thread of Ariadne where they first perceive it, and then proceed at perfect random? Therefore we are first told that the farthest date to which documentary record extends is now generally regarded by Anthropology as but "the earliest distinctly visible point of the pre-historic period." (Encyclopædia Britannica.)

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 23, 2014 at 8:59am
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Has science in 20th and 21st centuries made any further advance on the questions of ages of sun, moon, earth, and length of geological periods ? Is science on surer grounds on these questions than they were when HPB wrote SD ?

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 24, 2014 at 1:15pm
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I am dying to find out what others think.  I don't follow modern science as well as I ought to but one thing is clear in regards to the age of man we still have no clue.  We are doing better on the Earth Sun and Moon I believe.  Anthropology does not give man even 1 million years little less 18 million.

Other people's thoughts?  Great question.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 31, 2014 at 12:53am
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Regarding the question, has science made any further advance from its position in 19th century to this 21st, on the question of age of the earth, moon, sun etc, it can be said that scientists have developed more sophisticated instruments to probe the depths of sidereal space as never before, and plumbed the mysterious depth of molecules. Have all these progress thrown any additional light on the vexed questions of age of the earth and the moon, how did they originate and when, and for what purpose ? 

It can be said without the fear of contradiction coming from any authority, scientists of the 21st century have only repeated the confessional statement of their predecessor in the 19th  "We do not know."

It is all speculation and no more. One theory is put forward as almost a confirmed law, but soon it is overthrown by another discovery and a new theory.

For instance, it was held as almost a truth that moon is a chunk spun off from the earth in its rotation on its axis and caught in earth's orbit as its satellite. So, the theory was that the moon is younger than the earth.

On the very face of it, it appears too childish and highly implausible.

This theory was overthrown when the soil gathered from the moon's surface and subjected to analysis. The finding was that moon is far far older than the earth. Then how did the moon come to be earth's satellite ? They have other theories.

Why science cannot make any progress on such questions as cosmology, anthropology, psychology is because their premises is wrong--that is, what they call objective, visible tangible physical matter is the basis and the foundation of all that exists, and life,mind, soul, spirit are all either non-existent as independent realities, or, at best a series of effects proceedings from matter. 

Ancient Wisdom Religion proceeding from unassailable Universal Principles (Plato calls them First Principles) comprehends the whole of existence in its threefold manifestation of Spirit, Soul and Matter. 

Cosmology and Anthropology of the Secret Doctrine offers us an all-inclusive view of ancient wisdom on cosmos and man, in which all the difficulties of science--its missing links, gaps and chasms in their theories, are all bridged.

Permalink Reply by Casady on September 3, 2014 at 12:23pm
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I think I saw a recent archaeology journal that gives homo erectus 1 million - so that's not bad -

the point in the mundane egg = the primordial big bang point - pure occult idea (Luc Brisson, a classical scholar wrote an article in a science journal that compared the big bang theory to creation myths, saying they had a similar structure)

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on September 4, 2014 at 12:39am
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But there is no agreement among scientists on age man. Orthodox scientific establishment shies away from any (not only a hypothesis or a suggestion but even)  sold evidence or fact which happen to clash with their established theory that man is an offshoot animal species, more specifically, of the ape. If any evidence is tumbled upon which points to the age of man to be earlier than the ape, then the fact is considered anomalous and simply put aside. What fits within the accepted theoretical framework is only admitted. This is well brought out by Graham Hancock in his interview, which video is posted in NT site.

The whole criticism of science by HPB is this : there are very, very few true scientists who place Truth, however unpalatable, above any other considerations, and who are prepared even to suffer martyrdom for their devotion to, and conviction of, truth.

Reg. big bang point and point in the mundane egg of the SD, to me the difference seems to be almost unbridgeable. Former is an empirical speculation and a random event having neither an antecedent cause nor a logical  sequential demonstrable development; where as the latter is based on firmly established ontological principles traces the whole cosmic origins and development from the stage of the thrill of the  Great Breath through the Eternal Egg, according to the fatality if Karmic and Cyclic LAW, to its complete development down to the stage of material worlds and their humanities.

But modern science rejects ontology and thus it shuts itself away from Truth.

And yet, every one of its theoretical concepts are taken from ancient Greek philosophers, such as, atom, ether (discarded in 20th c. but readmitted through back door now in their speculations on Dark Matter etc.) 

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on September 4, 2014 at 10:31am
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Well that is progress I guess. Can you point us to the journal reference? Glad to get away from the 6,000 year Bible limits!

Permalink Reply by Casady on September 4, 2014 at 12:07pm
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I'll try to find the journal reference, Gerry- unfortunately, I'm not yet properly organized for monitoring latest scientific developments and comparing them with theosophy, so I forget for the moment what journal that was - I think science, especially alternative science, is so much more advanced and attuned to incredibly subtle and microscopic measurements of phenomena, that it is overall more compatible with theosophic views and anthropology and geology, and maybe archaeology, in general, are much more open to pushing the dates back, hence also coming closer to theosophy. Although some may disagree with this, but that's OK - vivre la difference...

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Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on September 4, 2014 at 3:06pm
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Don't try too hard to find it.  Just think of me when you run into it again.  I have had a few conversations about this subject outside of theosophical circles and most are not willing to admit man's  presence here on earth for more than a couple hundred thousand years little less one Million!  That is why I was excited for your report.  No biggy.  One million is still a far cry from 18 million.  Anyhow we are onto Motion now.  Lets hear your thoughts over there.

Permalink Reply by Casady on September 5, 2014 at 9:35am
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Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 24, 2014 at 10:16pm
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From the Section: Arcane Numbers  SD i 72-74

In Isis Unveiled we wrote that which we now repeat: — "We are at the bottom of a cycle and evidently in a transitory state. Plato divides the intellectual progress of the universe during every cycle into fertile and barren periods. In the sublunary regions, the spheres of the various elements remain eternally in perfect harmony with the divine nature, he says; 'but their parts,' owing to a too close proximity to earth, and their commingling with the earthly (which is matter, and therefore the realm of evil), 'are sometimes according, and sometimes contrary to (divine) nature.' When those circulations — which Eliphas Levi calls ' currents of the astral light' — in the universal ether which contains in itself every element, take place in harmony with the divine spirit, our earth and everything pertaining to it enjoys a fertile period. The occult powers of plants, animals, and minerals magically sympathize with the ' superior natures,' and the divine soul of man is in perfect intelligence with these 'inferior' ones. But during the barren periods, the latter lose their magic sympathy, and the spiritual sight of the majority of mankind is so blinded as to lose every notion of the superior powers of its own divine spirit. We are in a barren period: the eighteenth century, during which the malignant fever of scepticism broke out so irrepressibly, has entailed unbelief as an hereditary disease upon the nineteenth. The divine intellect is veiled in man; his animal brain alone philosophizes." And philosophizing alone, how can it understand the "SOUL DOCTRINE"?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 24, 2014 at 11:19pm
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That we are in the barren period, in which animal brain alone philosophizes, is pretty evident. What is the conception of science--which is the uppermost thought of the times--on vital questions of the nature, origin and destiny of man and universe ? Having chosen to adopt the Aristotle's Inductive method and proceeding with the fundamental assumption that the only reality is matter and no more--even vital or life principle, mind and consciousness being just products of matter, having no independent reality apart from matter, the modern thought has cut itself off from Reality, and chasing illusions, mistaking shadows for reality. 

This is most aptly described by Plato in his allegory of cave men : who are chained on the floor of the cave so firmly that they can face only in one direction, the dead end of the cave wall, and are, therefore, able to see only the shadows cast on the wall by the real objects moving outside the cave behind them through the opening from which light is streaming in. 

Our civilization is a civilization of cave men of Plato. 

What science can ever offer is no more than shadows of reality, its apparent brilliance notwithstanding.

Theosophy is in the world to teach us that what we have been thinking real is not really so, and that we have to unchain ourselves, strain to look up and behind us to the light streaming in through the Golden Gates of the cave, opening out to the infinitude of the world of reality.

Whatever science may say on these questions it can only be, at best, speculative, fragmentary, and, per force, illusory. 

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on August 25, 2014 at 2:09pm
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You make many interesting points here that are  hard to disagree with.  But might it be just as honest to say that we don't really know much about the condition of humanity other than our extremely limited personal experiences and random sampling of life and the news?  What would it take to truly take the temperature of mankind? 

Perhaps it is a bit pretentious to claim too much knowledge in this regard. Which means we need not despair too much or become to elated about what we think is going on.  It is a very limited picture, so we just have to do the best we can and march on.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 31, 2014 at 1:12am
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Why not say--instead of going on blindfolded as we are--seek light ? It has been shown where and how light is to be found. We only have to break the self-imposed fetters and free ourselves.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 24, 2014 at 10:19pm
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From the Section: The Primeval Manus  SD ii 307-311

"For clearer comprehension we here give the names of the 14 Manus in their respective order and relation to each Round: —

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on August 25, 2014 at 1:59pm
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Is Duration the metaphysical source or origin of time in the same way that Space is the metaphysical source of form?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 25, 2014 at 11:00pm
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That statement seems to be very thoughtful, and seems to be true also. Reflecting on it, the following thoughts occur.

Absolute is Unknowable. Yet logically IT has to be symbolized under three aspects : Absolute Abstract Motion, Absolute Abstract Space and Duration. Yet the three are ONE; the three we speak of is from our limited perspective.

Absolute Abstract Motion is the Causeless Cause of Consciousness; because, consciousness is unthinkable apart from change, and motion best represents change.

Absolute  Abstract Space is the Absolute boundless field of Absolute Consciousness, the ultimate basis of of Matter in which that consciousness can inhere and  manifest as reflective consciousness and self-consciousness.

Duration is the ultimate basis of Time.

Vishnu Purana, which speaks of this : (and it is quoted in the SD vol. i. p.19.) of these three--Spirit, Matter and Time as the three aspects of the Supreme Brahma. It says :

"That Brahma in its totality has essentially the aspect of Prakriti, both evolved and unevolved (Mulaprakriti), and also the aspect of Spirit and the aspect of Time. Spirit, O twice born, is the leading aspect of the Supreme Brahma. The next is two-fold aspect--Prakriti, both evolved and unevolved, and is the time last." 

Time is Kronos of Greeks, a generated god.

Spirit - Matter - Time are the trinity, the three in One.

Matter is considered in two aspects, unevolved or unmanifest (Avakta) and evloved or manifest (Vyakta)

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 27, 2014 at 10:34am
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You get the feeling that the three( Motion, Space, Duration) form a triangle and if you spin the triangle you get a circle.  These symbols are representative of the manifested universe and the absolute.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 27, 2014 at 10:42am
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From the Section: The Solar Cycle SD ii 563-372

The Sankhya philosophy may have been brought down and taught by the first, and written out by the last Kapila.

Now Sagara is the name of the Ocean, and even of the Bay of Bengal, at the mouth of the Ganges, to this day in India (Vide Wilson's Vishnu Purâna, Vol. III. p. 309). Have geologists ever calculated the number of millenniums it has taken the sea to recede to where it is now, from Hardwar, 1,024 feet above the level of the sea at present? If they did, those Orientalists who show Kapila flourishing from the 1st to the 9th cent. A.D., might change their opinions, if only for one of two very good reasons: the true number of years elapsed since Kapila's day is in the Purânas unmistakably, though the translators fail to see it. And secondly — the Kapila of the Satya, and the Kapila of the Kali-Yugas may be one and the same INDIVIDUALITY, without being the same PERSONALITY.

Kapila, besides being the name of a personage, of the once living Sage and the author of Sankhya philosophy, is also the generic name of the Kumâras, the celestial ascetics and virgins; therefore the very fact of Bhagavata Purâna calling that Kapila — which it showed just before as a portion of Vishnu — the author of Sankhya philosophy, ought to have warned the reader of a blind containing an esoteric meaning. Whether the Son of Vitatha, as Harivansa shows him to be, or of anyone else, the author of Sankhya cannot be the same as the Sage of the SatyaYuga — at the very beginning of the Manvantara, when Vishnu is shown in the form of Kapila, "imparting to all creatures true Wisdom"; for this relates to that primordial period when "the Sons of God" taught to the just created men the arts and sciences, which have been cultivated and preserved since then in the sanctuaries by the Initiates. There are several well-known Kapilas in the Purânas. First the primeval sage, then Kapila, one of the three "Secret" Kumâras; and Kapila, son of Kasyapa and Kadrû — the "many-headed Serpent," (See Vayu Purâna placing him on the list of the forty renowned sons of Kasyapa), besides Kapila, the great sage and philosopher of the Kali Yuga. Being an Initiate, "a Serpent of Wisdom," a Nâga, the latter was purposely blended with the Kapilas of the former ages.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on August 29, 2014 at 11:10pm
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From the Section: 

Cyclic Calculations

SD ii 620-623

The chronology of all the Western peoples, ancient Greeks and Romans, was borrowed from India. Now, it is said in the Tamil edition of Bagavadam that 15 solar days make a Paccham; two paccham (or 30 days) are a month of the mortals, adding that such a month is only one day of the Pitar Devata (Pitris). Again, two of these months constitute a roodoo, three roodoo make an ayanam, and two ayanams a year — which year of the mortals is but a day of the gods. It is on such misunderstood teachings that some Greeks have imagined that all the initiated priests had transformed days into years!

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Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on August 30, 2014 at 9:59am
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Cycles are complicated. SD says Hindus did not conceal their chronology as did the Egyptians and others. One interested may make a special study of it. Since these cycles are related to Karma and Karma operates in physical, intellectual and spiritual, encompassing national, racial and humanity as a whole, only Initiates know these with any certainty. 

Hindu chronology agrees more closely to geological ages, and estimations of ages of solar system, of the earth and the sun of science.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on August 30, 2014 at 8:35pm
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Good points.  Thank you for offering them.  I wonder.  Cycles are round, or roundish, can duration be thought of as a circle?  Maybe with its center everywhere, and its circumference nowhere?  Circles, cycles, duration.... humm