Current Theme:  Meta-Chemistry

The One Flame               SD i 120-122

Elements and Elementals           SD i 140-147

Akasa    SD i  248-260

The Mysterium Magnum    SD i 282-289

The Astral Light    SD i 296-297

Gods and Elements     SD i 460-470

The Protyle and the Caduceus      SD i 540-555

Elements and Atoms                   SD i 566-569

Light, Energy and Matter             SD i 579-587

Hermetic Fire       SD  ii 112-115

Lucifer         SD  ii 511-515

The Septenary Law       SD  ii 627-629

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The One Flame               SD i 120-122

In the Catechism, the Master is made to ask the pupil: —

"Lift thy head, oh Lanoo; dost thou see one, or countless lights above thee, burning in the dark midnight sky?"

"I sense one Flame, oh Gurudeva, I see countless undetached sparks shining in it."

"Thou sayest well. And now look around and into thyself. That light which burns inside thee, dost thou feel it different in anywise from the light that shines in thy Brother-men?"

"It is in no way different, though the prisoner is held in bondage by Karma, and though its outer garments delude the ignorant into saying, 'Thy Soul and My Soul.' "

The radical unity of the ultimate essence of each constituent part of compounds in Nature — from Star to mineral Atom, from the highest Dhyan Chohan to the smallest infusoria, in the fullest acceptation of the term, and whether applied to the spiritual, intellectual, or physical worlds — this is the one fundamental law in Occult Science. "The Deity is boundless and infinite expansion," says an Occult axiom; and hence, as remarked, the name of Brahmâ.* There is a deep philosophy underlying the earliest worship in the world, that of the Sun and of Fire. Of all the Elements known to physical science, Fire is the one that has ever eluded definite analysis. It is confidently asserted thatAir is a mixture containing the gases Oxygen and Nitrogen. We view the Universe and the Earth as matter composed of definite chemical molecules. We speak of the primitive ten Earths, endowing each with a Greek or Latin name. We say that water is, chemically, a compound of Oxygen and Hydrogen. But what is FIRE? It is the effect of combustion, we are gravely answered. It is heat and light and motion, and a correlation of physical and chemical forces in general. And this scientific definition is philosophically supplemented by the theological one in Webster's Dictionary, which explains fire as "the instrument of punishment, or the punishment of the impenitent in another state" — the "state," by the bye, being supposed to be spiritual; but, alas! the presence of fire would seem to be a convincing proof of its material nature. Yet, speaking of the illusion of regarding phenomena as simple, because they are familiar, Professor Bain says (Logic. Part II.): "Very familiar facts seem to stand in no need of explanation themselves and to be the means of explaining whatever can be assimilated to them. Thus, the boiling and evaporation of a liquid is supposed to be a very simple phenomenon requiring no explanation, and a satisfactory explanation of rarer phenomena. That water should dry up is, to the uninstructed mind, a thing wholly intelligible; whereas to the man acquainted with physical science the liquid state is anomalous and inexplicable. The lighting of a fire by a flame is a GREAT SCIENTIFIC DIFFICULTY, yet few people think so" (p. 125).

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 "The lighting of a fire by a flame is a GREAT SCIENTIFIC DIFFICULTY, yet few people think so" 

Might someone help us understand why the above is true?

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Bain's book on logic that HPB quotes is available as a free download from Google. I checked the reference when you first posted this question. But Bain does not explain why this is true; he only gives this statement to illustrate his principles of logic. I did not reply earlier, because I found no answer to the question you posed. Now, however, I realized that even knowing that Bain does not explain it might be of some use. It at least shows that scientists of his time thought that the lighting of a fire by a flame is a GREAT SCIENTIFIC DIFFICULTY. I do not know where to look to find out why they thought that.

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It can reproduce without being diminished. 

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Above is a chart that might be helpful for this passage - Interestingly, three of these elements, plus four more make up what today are considered the seven diatomic elements ...

Hydrogen (H2) Nitrogen (N2) Oxygen (O2) Fluorine (F2) Chlorine (Cl2) Iodine (I2) Bromine (Br2)

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Elements and Elementals           SD i 140-147

The Occultists, who do not say—if they would express themselves correctly—that matter, but only the substance or essence of matter, is indestructible and eternal, (i.e., the Root of all, Mulaprakriti): assert that all the so-called Forces of Nature, Electricity, Magnetism, Light, Heat, etc., etc., far from being modes of motion of material particles, are in esse, i.e., in their ultimate constitution, the differentiated aspects of that Universal Motion which is discussed and explained in the first pages of this volume (See Proem). When Fohat is said to produce "Seven Laya Centres," it means that for formative or creative purposes, the GREAT LAW (Theists may call it God) stops, or rather modifies its perpetual motion on seven invisible points within the area of the manifested Universe. "The great Breath digs through Space seven holes into Laya to cause them to circumgyrate during Manvantara" (Occult Catechism).

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I need to look at this like a kindergardener.  Is HPB telling us there is on eternal root substance which lies behind and within everything that we associate with matter? And that root substance is called Mulaprakriti?

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That is the way I understand it.

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And it is immutable and coeval with Spirit, its dance partner in the Cosmos.

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Here's how John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon) (Introduction to the Mahanirvanna Tantra) puts it:

Śakti is both māyā, that by which the Brahman creating the universe is able to make Itself appear to be different from what It really is,(2) and mūla-prakrti, or the unmanifested (avyakta) state of that which, when manifest, is the universe of name and form.

2() The Devī Purāna (chap. xiv), speaking of this power of the Supreme,says: “That which is of various cause and effect; the giver of unthought-of fruit which in this world seems like magic or a dream; that is called māyā”; Vicitra-kāryakāraṇ ācintitāphalapradā Svapnedrajālavalloke māyā tena prakirtita.

Mūla-prakrti is the womb into which Brahman casts the seed from which all things are born.(1) The womb thrills to the movement of the essentially active rajo-guna.

(1) Bhagavad-gitā (Chap. xiv).

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"And it is immutable and coeval with Spirit, its dance partner in the Cosmos."

This is a great illustration that resonates with some key concepts in esoteric philosophy. From the great philosopher and Divine Sage Gaudapadâcarya, to Gnostic, Sufi, and Buddhist Philosophers, we find essentially the same teachings, though each school recognizes different grades of this Eternal Force.  Approaching this subject regarding references from Hindu texts we find a similar sloka in Adi Sankaracaryas Saundaryalaharî;

"Only if conjoint with the S'akti (Thyself), would S'iva earn the privilege to become overlord; Otherwise the God is not able to even stir..."

https://archive.org/details/SaundaryaLahari

One may take note of the 1st and 9th slokas and the commentaries thereon. Many early Theosophical writers refer to this particular work.  This Devî is the Gayatri, of which Fôhat is a particular manifestation. 

This texts, Saundaryalaharî, echoes the teachings- if not exactly the same- found in the Srimad Devî Bhagavatam Purana of which Casady had mentioned.  Both go into detail about this Eternal Female energy (S'akti) initiating activity into the eternal birthless, causeless, root matter; mûlaprakrti, which inherently contains all modification (cosmic systems, etc etc.).  One considers modern day physics dealing with potential, latent, (latent potentiality), passivity, and kinetic energy regarding manifestation via unmanifestation.  How I understand it, neither of the two are at any point "separate" anymore than space is distinct from light.

Of corse, the XIII-XV discourse of the Bhagavadgita mention this doctrine quite in detail, along with many other texts.  The entire first book of the SD deals with this topic;- spirit and matter, or purusa and prakrti.

SD.i.15. proem;

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

We see this again repeated in the Vedânta Sûtras.I.i.2;

"...Brahman is He from whom proceeds the evolution- i.e. birth (janma), existence (sthiti), dissolution (layam), disappearance (tirobhava) and grace (anograha)- of this manifested universe made of chetara and achetana, of spirit and matter, held together in indissoluble union." 

 T. Subba Row writes an amazing article dealing with this subject, "Prakrti and Purusa."

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You might add to the notion of root substance the idea of Root Nature and Undifferentiated Matter.

These are very abstract principles, not easily grasped and I suppose we have a tendency to materialize them too quickly in our minds.  That is we are too quick to apply form to them.

Perhaps that is why we call this whole area of thought Meta-Chemistry.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 12, 2015 at 10:35am
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seems to be referring to the Seven Sons of Fohat (E.I. 3):

1- Motion

2- Sound

3- Heat

4- Light

5- Cohesion

6- Electricity or Electric Fluid

7- Nerve-Force or Magnetism

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 18, 2015 at 10:19am
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Speaking of the one eternal root substance and its motion, or matter and spirit, which, as Kristan said, can no more be separate than space and light, there is a compilation of quotations on this from the primary Theosophical sources:http://easterntradition.org/first%20fundamental%20proposition%20of%...

In our necessarily dualistic world we are accustomed to thinking of spirit as ultimate, and matter as a manifestation. This is not, however, the picture we get from the Theosophical teachers.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on June 18, 2015 at 12:11pm
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Good point.  Spirit and Matter are essentially ONE in theosophical philosophy.  I some times wonder if Matter is really the best English word for what we are talking about here.  I wonder if Substance is better.  What do students think?  Matter suggests the physical world of the senses whereas Prakriti is severely more subtle and metaphysical.

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 18, 2015 at 12:47pm
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I think substance is just as good as matter.  I believe it isn't the terms that are confusing for students, but rather the preconception of term definitions, like matter, that bring on confusion for the students.  We must consider the process of unlearning what we've learned to learn.

We simply must constantly try to develop and use the metaphysical mind to understand metaphysical concepts.  I figure there is no other way. 

Substance or matter, to me, brings to mind a universal material, potentially containing all of its modifications.  I believe this is why some philosophies have designated a handful of very particular technical vocabulary to describe one universal root substance-matter; viz. mûlaprakrti- in its many grades of manifestation.  It is confusing, but unbelievably precise according to ones philosophical preferences. 

We are very familiar with these concepts and degrees of matter, thought more typically and perhaps unknowingly, it is used in reference to the most abstract metaphysical concept, space.  Inner space, outer space, empty space, full space, deep space, etc., etc., all are conditions or rather concepts of only one- physically labeled-Space.  We recognize spacial distances in our dreams, and some perhaps recognize the space in the Heart through metaphysical contemplation/meditation.   

Permalink Reply by Alex Papandakis on June 21, 2015 at 10:29am
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These two ideas, Spirit and Matter, might also be expressed through the ideas of universalization and specialization.  There is a Yin and Yang relationship between them, they are opposites yet they contain the seed of the other within because at the deepest level they are One.  Could these two ideas also be expressed by Involution and Evolution?

Permalink Reply by Kristan Stratos on June 18, 2015 at 12:54pm
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Great link David, very useful !

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on June 14, 2015 at 2:16pm
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Akasa    SD i  248-260

"Occultism does not accept anything inorganic in the Kosmos. The expression employed by Science, "inorganic substance," means simply that the latent life slumbering in the molecules of so-called "inert matter" is incognizable. ALL IS LIFE, and every atom of even mineral dust is a LIFE, though beyond our comprehension and perception, because it is outside the range of the laws known to those who reject Occultism. "The very Atoms," says Tyndall, "seem instinct with a desire for life." Whence, then, we would ask, comes the tendency "to run into organic form"? Is it in any way explicable except according to the teachings of Occult Science?

Permalink Reply by Alex Papandakis on June 18, 2015 at 9:09am
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What are the ethical ramifications of the metaphysical notion that nothing is "inorganic"?

Permalink Reply by David Reigle on June 18, 2015 at 11:11am
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Good question, Alex, one that goes far beyond the "pet rocks" fad. I remember, in the early days of the Findhorn community, something that struck me very forcefully. One of their people with a certain psychic sensitivity was able to contact nature spirits and devas, and this led to the famous Findhorn garden. Cooperation with the nature spirits and devas of the various plants yielded phenomenal results there. This lady then tried to contact the spirits of rocks. She said that she expected to contact a lesser deva that was comparatively unevolved in relation to those of plants. She was amazed at the powerful presence she contacted. However her communication occurred, this great mineral deva pointed out to her that the mineral kingdom extends even to other planets of our system. The same kinds of rocks on earth are also on other planets. So the picture she got is that the life inhabiting the "inorganic" mineral kingdom is a vast life.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on June 18, 2015 at 12:16pm
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Well perhaps one broad ethical consequence that is suggested from the "no inorganic matter" idea is that that everything is sacred, everything deserves respect, everything can be influenced negatively or positively by the thoughts and actions of men. And those influences are carried onward to other beings.  People who love their tools, cars, books,  furniture etc. know about this intuitively.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on June 25, 2015 at 10:19pm
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The Mysterium Magnum    SD i 282-289

The active Power, the "Perpetual motion of the great Breath" only awakens Kosmos at the dawn of every new Period, setting it into motion by means of the two contrary Forces,* and thus causing it to become objective on the plane of Illusion. In other words, that dual motion transfers Kosmos from the plane of the Eternal Ideal into that of finite manifestation, or from the Noumenal to the Phenomenal plane. Everything that is, was, and will be, eternally IS, even the countless forms, which are finite and perishable only in their objective, not in their ideal Form. They existed as Ideas, in the Eternity, † and, when they pass away, will exist as reflections. Neither the form of man, nor that of any animal, plant or stone has ever been created, and it is only on this plane of ours that it commenced "becoming," i.e., objectivising into its present materiality, or expanding from within outwards, from the most sublimated and supersensuous essence into its grossest appearance.

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on June 25, 2015 at 10:44pm
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Perhaps we could liken it to energy or light which takes many forms but is enduring.

"How can the man who believeth that it is incorruptible, eternal, inexhaustible, and without birth, think that it can either kill or cause to be killed? As a man throweth away old garments and putteth on new, even so the dweller in the body, having quitted its old mortal frames, entereth into others which are new. The weapon divideth it not, the fire burneth it not, the water corrupteth it not, the wind drieth it not away; for it is indivisible, inconsumable, incorruptible, and is not to be dried away: it is eternal, universal, permanent, immovable; it is invisible, inconceivable, and unalterable; therefore, knowing it to be thus, thou shouldst not grieve."

-The Bhgavad-Gita Chapter 2

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Permalink Reply by Casady on June 26, 2015 at 11:16am
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see also hpb on the hermetic emerald tablet (Isis I 507)

2) What is below is like that which is above, and what is above is similar to that which is below to accomplish the wonders of the one thing.
3) As all things were produced by the mediation of one being, so all things were produced from this one by adaption.
4) Its father is the sun, its mother the moon.
6a) It is the cause of all perfection throughout the whole earth.
7) Its power is perfect if it is changed into earth.
7a) Separate the earth from the fire, the subtile from the gross, acting prudently and with judgement.
8 ) Ascend with the greatest sagacity from earth to heaven, and unite together the power of things inferior and superior;
9) thus you will possess the light of the whole world, and all obscurity will fly away from you.
10) This thing has more fortitude than fortitude itself, because it will overcome every subtile thing and penetrate every solid thing.
11a) By it the world was formed.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on June 25, 2015 at 10:21pm
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The Astral Light    SD i 296-297

But the experience of any plane is an actuality for the percipient being, whose consciousness is on that plane; though the said experience, regarded from the purely metaphysical standpoint, may be conceived to have no objective reality. But it is not against metaphysicians, but against physicists and materialists that Esoteric teachings have to fight, and for these Vital Force, Light, Sound, Electricity, even to the objectively pulling force of magnetism, have no objective being, and are said to exist merely as "modes of motion," "sensations and affections of matter."

Neither the Occultists generally, nor the Theosophists, reject, as erroneously believed by some, the views and theories of the modern scientists, only because these views are opposed to Theosophy. The first rule of our Society is to render unto Cæsar what is Cæsar's. The Theosophists, therefore, are the first to recognize the intrinsic value of science. But when its high priests resolve consciousness into a secretion from the gray matter of the brain, and everything else in nature into a mode of motion, we protest against the doctrine as being unphilosophical, self-contradictory, and simply absurd, from a scientific point of view, as much and even more than from the occult aspect of the esoteric knowledge.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on June 27, 2015 at 3:36pm
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Gods and Elements     SD i 460-470

METAPHYSICALLY and esoterically there is but One ELEMENT in nature, and at the root of it is the Deity; and the so-called seven elements, of which five have already manifested and asserted their existence, are the garment, the veil, of that deity; direct from the essence whereof comes MAN, whether physically, psychically, mentally or spiritually considered. Four elements only are generally spoken of in later antiquity, five admitted only in philosophy. For the body of ether is not fully manifested yet, and its noumenon is still "the Omnipotent Father—Æther, the synthesis of the rest." But what are these "ELEMENTS" whose compound bodies have now been discovered by Chemistry and Physics to contain numberless sub-elements, even the sixty or seventy of which no longer embrace the whole number suspected. (Vide Addenda, §§ XI. and XII., quotations from Mr. Crookes' Lectures.) Let us follow their evolution from the historical beginnings, at any rate.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on June 28, 2015 at 10:03pm
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Gods and Elements     SD i 460-470

METAPHYSICALLY and esoterically there is but One ELEMENT in nature, and at the root of it is the Deity; and the so-called seven elements, of which five have already manifested and asserted their existence, are the garment, the veil, of that deity; direct from the essence whereof comes MAN, whether physically, psychically, mentally or spiritually considered. Four elements only are generally spoken of in later antiquity, five admitted only in philosophy. For the body of ether is not fully manifested yet, and its noumenon is still "the Omnipotent Father—Æther, the synthesis of the rest." But what are these "ELEMENTS" whose compound bodies have now been discovered by Chemistry and Physics to contain numberless sub-elements, even the sixty or seventy of which no longer embrace the whole number suspected. (Vide Addenda, §§ XI. and XII., quotations from Mr. Crookes' Lectures.) Let us follow their evolution from the historical beginnings, at any rate.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on June 30, 2015 at 3:25pm
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The Septenary Law       SD  ii 627-629

THE NUMBER SEVEN IN CHEMISTRY.

especially to the Epistle of Peter (I P. ii. 2-5) ought to be conclusive. In the old symbolism, man, chiefly the inner Spiritual man is called "a stone." Christ is the corner-stone, and Peter refers to all men as "lively" (living) stones. Therefore a "stone with seven eyes" on it can only mean what we say, i.e., a man whose constitution or ("principles,") is septenary.

To demonstrate more clearly the seven in Nature, it may be added that not only does the number seven govern the periodicity of the phenomena of life, but that it is also found dominating the series of chemical elements, and equally paramount in the world of sound and in that of colour as revealed to us by the spectroscope. This number is the factor, sine qua non, in the production of occult astral phenomena.

Thus, if the chemical elements are arranged in groups according to their atomic weights, they will be found to constitute a series of groups of seven; the first, second, etc., members of each group bearing a close analogy in all their properties to the corresponding members of the next group. The following table, copied from Hellenbach's Magie der Zahlen, exhibits this law and fully warrants the conclusion he draws in the following words: "We thus see that chemical variety, so far as we can grasp its inner nature, depends upon numerical relations, and we have further found in this variety a ruling law for which we can assign no cause; we find a law of periodicity governed by the number seven."

 

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on July 1, 2015 at 9:03pm
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Seven is an organizing principle in all the departments of nature HPB tells us.

Permalink Reply by Casady on July 3, 2015 at 10:01am
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Here's a good article on the table of elements -

https://www.aip.org/history/curie/periodic.htm

hpb is referring to the Mendeleev table of the time - it's changed quite a bit since then obviously - harder to maintain the 7fold analysis - (based on the horizontal line) - although it now has seven rows... so maybe the 7fold structure can still be maintained... but it's changed from atomic weight to atomic number, plus a structural classification based on electrons... apparently six types...