Here are the selections for the Month.  Passages from these selections will be posted periodically throughout the month and you are welcome to go to the full selection to see the larger context and the full treatment suggested here.


Current Theme: The Great Sacrifice

Atma Vidya

The Secret Doctrine book i p.168-169

The Initiator

SD i 206-212

The Watchers

SD i 264-268

The Dragon of Wisdom

SD i 470-473

Mercury and Venu

SD ii 27-34


SD ii 47-49

Spiritual Fire

SD ii 77-83

Sons of Mahat

SD Book ii 102-104

Castor and Pollux

SD Book ii 121-123

The Sons of Will and Yoga

SD Book ii 172-173


SD Book ii 178-179

Divine Incarnations

SD Book ii 358-359

The Aswattha Tree

SD Book ii 588-589


SD Book ii 605-607

Manus, Rishis and Maruts

SD Book ii 611-615

Sons of Fire

Transactions pages 137-140, 145-149

Here are the readings we will cover this month along this theme.

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From the Section:  Atma Vidya    SD  book i   pages168-169

Hence only a few of the doctrines were revealed in their broad outlines, while details were constantly withheld, and all the efforts made to elicit more information about them were systematically eluded from the beginning. This is perfectly natural. Of the four Vidyas—out of the seven branches of Knowledge mentioned in the Purânas—namely, "Yajna-Vidya" (the performance of religious rites in order toproduce certain results); "Maha-Vidya," the great (Magic) knowledge, now degenerated into Tantrika worship; "Guhya-Vidya," the science of Mantras and their true rhythm or chanting, of mystical incantations, etc.—it is only the last one, "Atma-Vidya," or the true Spiritual and Divine wisdom, which can throw absolute and final light upon the teachings of the three first named. Without the help of Atma-Vidya, the other three remain no better than surface sciences, geometrical magnitudes having length and breadth, but no thickness. They are like the soul, limbs, and mind of a sleeping man: capable of mechanical motions, of chaotic dreams and even sleep-walking, of producing visible effects, but stimulated by instinctual not intellectual causes, least of all by fully conscious spiritual impulses. A good deal can be given out and explained from the three first-named sciences. But unless the key to their teachings is furnished by Atma-Vidya, they will remain for ever like the fragments of a mangled text-book, like the adumbrations of great truths, dimly perceived by the most spiritual, but distorted out of all proportion by those who would nail every shadow to the wall.... outside of metaphysics no occult philosophy, no esotericism is possible.

* "Lucifer," May, 1888.


Interesting .. the term Atma-Vidya.  Having to do with Knowledge, Wisdom, the Mind.  There is a 'key' mentioned above which is furnished by this Knowledge.  What do you suppose this key is?

I am wondering..


You have company. Is it possible that the Key is  pointing in this direction?

From The Aquarian Axioms:

Real Self-Knowledge is the awakening to consciousness of the divine nature of man.

Self-knowledge is unattainable bywhat men usuallycall 'self-analysis'. It is not reached by reasoning or any brain-powers.  (A point you were making in another discussion!)

Spirituality is not we understand to be "virtue" and "goodness". It is the power of perceiving formless spiritual essences.


I've heard that Atma-Vidya is a very difficult principle to understand.  Maybe this difficulty means as you say, that the ordinary ways by which we've learned to understand things (logic, reasoning, etc), will not alone provide the key here. 

My hunch is that the key has to do with giving up, not aquiring.  Cessation of thought and activity, or a surrendering of something that is normally active in our minds.  In other words, I think it's about negation - not aquisition.


Could very well be.  What I was getting at was the mysterious notion of "Self" knowledge.  Atma =Self in this case.  Atma Vidya is not so much an intellectual possession but rather a direct experience with the magnitude and glory of the Atman.

Hence the references to the Aquarian Axioms.


Ok, I see.  Yes, Self-knowledge it would seem, would be the knowledge or direct experience of the Atma principle. 

I've always been intimidated by the idea of Atma - it seems so lofty, almost unapproachable.  Buddhi on the other hand, the principle 'above' Manas (Mind), seems more accessible.  I think I'm wrong about this, and may be making it more difficult than necessary... 



Yes, Atman is a very big idea.  Much agreed.

How about "The All" or "No-Thing" to latch our boat to?


True. Atman is unapproachable. IT is Unknowable, because, as the Voice says, when you have found IT you have lost yourself--"Spark lost in the fire, drop within the ocean, ever-present ray becomes the All and the Eternal radiance" 

or, as the Light on the path says : You can enter the Light but can never touch the Flame.

THAT Thou Art !


Hello Ramprakash,  that's a really good point.  Just to add a few more thoughts - I wonder if Subba Row’s statements about Parabrahm, as 'perceived' from the objective standpoint of the Logos, might offer us a clue with regards to Atman in terms of it being “unapproachable” or “unknowable,” as you put it. 

According to Subba Row's statements, Parabrahm (the Absolute) cannot be seen “as it is” from the objectivestandpoint of even the Logos.  From the objective standpoint what the highest consciousness (the Logos) perceives is Mulaprakriti, as a sort of veil thrown over Parabrahm.  This makes sense, philosophically, for the Absolute (Parabrahm) can never be an object of perception.  How can there be anything other than or independent of the Absolute All to perceive it?

Since, Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti correspond to Atman and Buddhi in the human constitution, perhaps it is the case that Atman can never be an object of perception for Manas. Atman is not something that can be ‘knowable’ from an objective point of view. From the objective standpoint the highest that Manas can ‘perceive’ is Buddhi, as a sort of veil thrown over Atman.

From the purely subjective standpoint (i.e. from the standpoint of Being or Be-ness) there is nothing other than Parabrahm or Atman. To ‘merge’ into IT, so to speak, is to become the All itself.


Peter would you mind defining these two important notions you bring up in your comments above?

Objective standpoint

purely subjective standpoint (i.e. from the standpoint of Being or Be-ness)


That is a very valid point, Peter. Much appreciated.

What brings out strongly in contemplating the reality of Self-Atman is the truth and reality of Universal Brotherhood. There is One Self, not many; the idea of many is superimposed on the Reality of One Indivisible Self by the cognitive limitation of the embodied self, generating in it Egotism and a sense of separateness--an illusion : Maya-Moha, the one rife source of all the woes of the world.

How beautifully the Platonic idea of One in Many, and Many in One is brought out superbly in the Bhagavadigita, chapter XIII :

"Itself [Atman] without organs, it is reflected by all the senses and faculties; unattached, yet supporting all; without qualities, yet the witness of them all. It is within and without all creatures animate and inanimate; it inconceivable because of its subtlety, although near it is afar off. Although undivided it appeareth as divided among creatures, and while it sustains existing things, it is also to be known as their destroyer and creator. It is the light of all lights, and is declared to be beyond all darkness; and it is wisdom itself, the object of wisdom, and that which is to be gained by wisdom; in the heart of all it ever presideth."

Conviction of Universal Brotherhood growing out of intuitive grasp of Unity of Atman is indeed the mother of all virtues -- Dana, the key of charity and Love Immortal.

These meditations fill one's heart with reverence for all creation and love of fellowmen. To sense One Self in all and all in Self is something that cannot be demonstrated on empirical lines but interiorly felt

 One Self also implies One Law--Atman and Karman being synonymous. How then can I think and act in ways that hurts another ? With what measure ye mete, it will be measured unto you, says Jesus, very truly. The hurt I receive from whatever source is nothing else than the hurt i did to myself by my own discordant action. The hand that smites me is my own--the "other" being just a Karmic agent.

Meditation on Self frees one from the network of delusions which we weave around ourselves in ignorance. 

So many thoughts occur, endlessly, on this divine idea.


These comments remind us of Mr. Judge's statement that Universal Brotherhood is not only an ideal to strive for but actually a "fact in nature".

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 13, 2014 at 10:19pm

Your thought gives new meaning to the expression; "It takes One to know One."

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 4, 2014 at 4:23pm

From the Section called:  The Initiator  SD book i page 207-208

The "BEING" just referred to, which has to remain nameless, is the Tree from which, in subsequent ages, all the great historically known Sages and Hierophants, such as the Rishi Kapila, Hermes, Enoch, Orpheus, etc., etc., have branched off. As objective man, he is the mysterious (to the profane—the ever invisible) yet ever present Personage about whom legends are rife in the East, especially among the Occultists and the students of the Sacred Science. It is he who changes form, yet remains ever the same. And it is he again who holds spiritual sway over the initiated Adepts throughout the whole world. He is, as said, the "Nameless One" who has so many names, and yet whose names and whose very nature are unknown. He is the "Initiator," called the "GREAT SACRIFICE." For, sitting at the threshold of LIGHT, he looks into it from within the circle of Darkness, which he will not cross; nor will he quit his post till the last day of this life-cycle. Why does the solitary Watcher remain at his self-chosen post? Why does he sit by the fountain of primeval Wisdom, of which he drinks no longer, as he has naught to learn which he does not know—aye, neither on this Earth, nor in its heaven? Because the lonely, sore-footed pilgrims on their way back to their home are never sure to the last moment of not losing their way in this limitless desert of illusion and matter called Earth-Life. Because he would fain show the way to that region of freedom and light, from which he is a voluntary exile himself, to every prisoner who has succeeded in liberating himself from the bonds of flesh and illusion. Because, in short, he has sacrificed himself for the sake of mankind, though but a few Elect may profit by the GREAT SACRIFICE.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 6, 2014 at 12:06pm

Why is it that only a few "Elect" may profit by the GREAT SACRIFICE?

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on May 12, 2014 at 5:24am

The Great Sacrifice should be a hierarchy--like an Army Command. The command of the Chief of the Staff passes down the hierarchical structure. This is a crude example. Better one can be had, perhaps, from Judge's article, "The Allegorical Umbrella." Highest Adepts form a frame of protective cover without which, says Mr. Judge, poor humanity would be destroyed by the blaze from the spiritual world. 

Another illustration can be : Masters Themselves did not appear but sent Their Messengers. Mankind at the present time, in its present state of development, cannot bear the power radiating from Them, were They to appear directly in Their highly spiritualised bodies. They did not even directly sent any letters from Them to anyone except through either HPB or other Chelas, as even such messages from Them directly would carry with them vital electrical forces which would cause disturbance in the uninitiated recipient. 

The Great Sacrifice forms collectively the "Guardian Wall."

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on May 12, 2014 at 5:56am

HPB speaks of supreme chiefs of Initiates, called in India as Brahma-atma, and by the Jewish Kabalists Aleim, and quotes Jacolliot, the great French Sanskritist and Indologist, in Isis vol. ii, p. 31. He is said to have spiritual sway over the fraternity of Adepts. He is said to be the sole guardian of the mystic formula--the Word. 

The Great Sacrifice lives a double existence--on earth as well as in higher invisible spheres, carrying out functions on both the planes (S.D. I, p. 233, last para).

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 13, 2014 at 10:17pm

In the Voice of the Silence we have the idea of "The Army of the Voice."

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 6, 2014 at 12:07pm

What does it mean to say that the Initiator holds "spiritual sway over the initiated Adepts"?

Permalink Reply by Don Petros on May 6, 2014 at 1:58pm

I think it means that the head of any heirarchy naturally 'holds sway' over those beings which are immediately 'below' that head of the heirarchy.  I would think that there is such an 'Initiator' at the top of each hierarchy in nature. 

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 6, 2014 at 12:13pm

From the Section called The Watchers  SD book i  page 265

(a) This sentence: "The thread between the silent watcher and his shadow (man) becomes stronger"—with every re-incarnation—is another psychological mystery, that will find its explanation in Book II. For the present it will suffice to say that the "Watcher" and his "Shadows"—the latter numbering as many as there are re-incarnations for the monad—are one. The Watcher, or the divine prototype, is at the upper rung of the ladder of being; the shadow, at the lower. Withal, the Monad of every living being, unless his moral turpitude breaks the connection and runs loose and "astray into the lunar path"—to use the Occult expression—is an individual Dhyan Chohan, distinct from others, a kind of spiritual individuality of its own, during one special Manvantara. Its Primary, the Spirit (Atman) is one, of course, with Paramatma (the one Universal Spirit), but the vehicle (Vahan) it is enshrined in, the Buddhi, is part and parcel of that Dhyan-Chohanic Essence; and it is in this that lies the mystery of that ubiquity, which was discussed a few pages back. "My Father, that is in Heaven, and I—are one,"—says the Christian Scripture; in this, at any rate, it is the faithful echo of the esoteric tenet.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 6, 2014 at 12:14pm

From the Section The Watchers  SD book i page 266


Permalink Reply by Don Petros on May 7, 2014 at 9:28am
Thinking of ourselves as Chohans - the Watcher, is quite a 'jump up', but nevertheless something worth thinking about.

If we're the 'shadow' of the Chohan, then how is that relationship actually demonstrated in our thinking or in our actions?
Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 7, 2014 at 11:26am

This is s wonderful question.  There is undoubtedly many ways to look at this.  Here is one way amongst others.   The shadow is the man in the world, in the visible world, the participant.  The Chohan in this case is the Observer who sits outside the world undisturbed, and unaffected by whatever happens to the actor on the stage.  We all recognize and exercise both of these capacities in varying degrees.  But we have both.  This is the blessing and the curse of the full range of human nature.    And in a sense to become fully individual, fully human, fully self-actualized we must deepen both of these aspects of our nature.  We must set ourselves apart from the furniture of the world and the history of the personality to gain perspective.  There is nothing automatic about this.  It takes effort and skill to detach oneself from onself in a manner of speaking.  But to do this through meditation, reflection and contemplation is to restore a connection to the higher portion of our nature that overbroods.  Secondly to become a better actor on that stage, to make a more profound impact on the play, so to speak also requires skill and a sense of timing which are aided by the critical distance established through the detachment of the Observer or Chohan as you put it.

Other thoughts?   Thanks for the question Don.

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 10, 2014 at 4:31pm

From the Section called: The Dragon of Wisdom  SD book i page 470

LIKE Avalokiteshwara, Kwan-shi-yin has passed through several transformations, but it is an error to say of him that he is a modern invention of the Northern Buddhists, for under another appellation he has been known from the earliest times. The Secret Doctrine teaches that "He who is the first to appear at Renovation will be the last to come before Re-absorption (pralaya)." Thus the logoi of all nations, from the Vedic Visvakarma of the Mysteries down to the Saviour of the present civilised nations, are the "Word" who was "in the beginning" (or the reawakening of the energising powers of Nature) with the One ABSOLUTE. Born of Fire and Water, before these became distinct elements, IT was the "Maker" (fashioner or modeller) of all things; "without him was not anything made that was made"; "in whom was life, and the life was the light of men"; and who finally may be called, as he ever has been, the Alpha and the Omega of manifested Nature. "The great Dragon of Wisdom is born of Fire and Water, and into Fire and Water will all be re-absorbed with him" (Fa-Hwa-King). As this Bodhisatva is said "to assume any form he pleases" from the beginning of a Manvantara to its end, though his special birthday (memorial day) is celebrated according to the Kin-kwang-ming-King ("Luminous Sutra of Golden Light") in the second month on the nineteenth day, and that of "Maitreya Buddha" in the first month on the first day, yet the two are one. He will appear as Maitreya Buddha, the last of the Avatars and Buddhas, in the seventh Race. This belief and expectation are universal throughout the East. Only it is not in the Kali yug, our present terrifically materialistic age of Darkness, the "Black Age," that a new Saviour of Humanity can ever appear.

Permalink Reply by Casady on May 12, 2014 at 9:59am

Wikipedia has seems to have some pretty decent info on this:

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 13, 2014 at 10:24pm

Would you mind summarizing this in your own words for all of us?  What are the main points for you?

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 10, 2014 at 12:39pm

Guanyin refers to Avalokitesvara in China - there are so many versions of this Bodhisattva and this article gives a good overview including the feminine version and the virginal aspect, a salient aspect of theosophical concepts.

The Golden Light sutra is a tantric sutra, I think - an important source for the Nyingma Tibetan Buddhist tradition and the philosophy of the Bardo Todrol. ("Luminous Sutra of Golden Light")

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 13, 2014 at 9:42pm

From the selection: Mercury and Venus SD book ii page 34

"The informing Intelligences, which animate these various centres of Being, are referred to indiscriminately by men beyond the Great Range* as the Manus, the Rishis, the Pitris †, the Prajâpati, and so on; and as Dhyani Buddhas, the Chohans, Melhas (fire-gods), Bodhisattvas, ‡ and others, on this side. The truly ignorant call them gods; the learned profane, the one God; and the wise, the Initiates, honour in them only the Manvantaric manifestations of THAT which neither our Creators (the Dhyan Chohans) nor their creatures can ever discuss or know anything about. The ABSOLUTE is not to be defined, and no mortal or immortal has ever seen or comprehended it during the periods of Existence. The mutable cannot know the Immutable, nor can that which lives perceive Absolute Life."

† The term Pitris is used by us in these Slokas to facilitate their comprehension, but it is not so used in the original Stanzas, where they have distinct appellations of their own, besides being called "Fathers" and "Progenitors."

‡ It is erroneous to take literally the worship of the human Bodhisattvas, or Manjusri. It is true that, exoterically, the Mahâyâna school teaches adoration of these without distinction, and that Huien-Tsang speaks of some disciples of Buddha as being worshipped. But esoterically it is not the disciple or the learned Manjusri personally that received honours, but the divine Bodhisattvas and Dhyani Buddhas that animated (Amilakha, as the Mongolians say) the human forms.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 15, 2014 at 11:36pm

From the Section: The Sons of Will and Yoga  SD book ii  page 173

(b) "Kriyasakti — the mysterious power of thought which enables it to produce external, perceptible, phenomenal results by its own inherent energy. The ancients held that any idea will manifest itself externally, if one's attention (and Will) is deeply concentrated upon it; similarly, an intense volition will be followed by the desired result. A Yogi generally performs his wonders by means of Itchasakti (Will-power) and Kriyasakti."

The Third Race had thus created the so-called SONS OF WILL AND YOGA, or the "ancestors" (the spiritual forefathers) of all the subsequent and present Arhats, or Mahatmas, in a truly immaculate way. They were indeed created, not begotten, as were their brethren of the Fourth Race, who were generated sexually after the separation of sexes, the Fall of Man. For creation is but the result of will acting on phenomenal matter, the calling forth out of it the primordial divine Light and eternal Life. They were the "holy seed-grain" of the future Saviours of Humanity.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on May 16, 2014 at 4:49am

Several thoughts occur. Perhaps this passage could be related to "the ever-living human Banyan," the Sons of Will and Yoga, produced by Kriya Sakti, by the Sons of Wisdom, by incarnating in the still pure III Root Race--a conscious production by the action of Will, creating thus the "Holy Seed grain" of the future saviours of humanity (SD, I, 207)  = the "Holy Fathers born of Kriyasakti."

What is noteworthy is, that power is in everyone without exception, and which can be developed by yoga training, which "restore man to the position he previously occupied in reference to spiritual perception and consciousness." (SD, ii, 288, last para)

This is clearly implied in the myth of Prometheus, in which Prometheus prophesies the birth of a spiritual race, and mankind will be freed from the bondage to matter--deliverance of Prometheus from the curse of Zeus. (ii, p. 415 etc)

Christendom has been taught for the last 2000 years that man is born in "original sin," and his salvation by proxy. It was a mighty effort of HPB to demolish this theological absurdity and show to the West that man himself was God, though he has now, having fallen into matter, lost consciousness of his divinity, and that he may rebecome God once again by regaining the divine consciousness latent in him--that 's his destiny.

Permalink Reply by Casady on May 21, 2014 at 12:11pm

Yes, I think the two passages on the Sons of Will and Yoga speak of the same idea. The passage in book I, I believe is a digression that is out of sequence, referring to the period of the beginning of the third humanity, as related closer to the passage in Book II.

Permalink Reply by Peter on May 17, 2014 at 12:35pm

Gerry asks:  Peter would you mind defining these two important notions you bring up in your comments above?  Objective standpoint.  Purely subjective standpoint (i.e. from the standpoint of Being or Be-ness)


Gerry, Apologies for the delay in replying. I wasn’t able to respond beneath your original post as there is no facility to reply there now that the thread has got quite full.  Therefore I've put my reply here, in a new thread.

There’s a lot written and debated about objective and subjective standpoints in philosophy, as I’m sure you know.  Perhaps in this case a simple answer is that wherever there is an objective viewpoint on ‘reality’, no matter how subtle or highly spiritual that viewpoint may be, we are in the realms of differentiation between subject and object, a consciousness which perceives and that which is perceived.  As HPB states:

“Each of the seven fundamental planes (or layers) in space―of course as a whole, as the pure space of Locke's definition, not as our finite space―has its own objectivity and subjectivity, its own space and time, its own consciousness and set of senses.” (Key to Theosophy, p88)

The Absolute (Parabrahm) is the Total, the ALL.  It goes without saying that, as such, it is not one of the fundamental planes or layers of space.  The Absolute can never be an object of a perceiving consciousness, no matter how highly and spiritually developed that consciousness may be.  As the Secret Doctrine states:

“. . . even the highest Dhyan Chohan must bow in silence and ignorance [before] the unspeakable mystery of that which is called by the Vedantins, the PARABRAHMAM.”  (SD I 330)

At the same time, Parabrahm is the ultimate source of the perceiving consciousness, the subject.  It is the Be-ness of all Being and all beings. The ultimate subjective ‘state’ (to use a term that cannot really be applied to the Absolute) is Parabrahm itself, the One Reality.  Hence the saying of Sankara that to know Brahman is to be Brahman, or as HPB puts it:

“…the Occultist postulates an ascending scale of subjectivity which grows continually more real as it gets farther and farther from illusionary earthly objectivity: its ultimate, Reality—Parabrahm.”  (CW V 76)

(Original thread:   )

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on May 18, 2014 at 1:09am

Excellent contribution, Peter. Thanks. Subjective - Objective  paradox is made clear. So, subjective and objective are relative terms. To illustrate in other ways :

i. Dream experiences are subjective to waking consciousness, but is perfectly objective to the "dreamer;" dreamless sleep is perfect blank (void) to the waking man, yet it is plenum to the Ego, the world of Reality.

ii. Devacahan is subjective to us as we are in body, but it is intensely real and objective to the Devachanee experiencing that "subjective" life.

As beautifully brought out by Peter, the dichotomy between subjective self and objective world progressively become thinner, tending towards unfication,  as one ascends to the higher spheres of the Septenary planes of Cosmos, and finally become One, non-dual, Absolute Reality wherein all differences vanish, as one crosses the seventh plane.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 20, 2014 at 2:20pm

We brought this same subject up at a recent SD class meeting and  here are some comments to pass on in regards to Subjective and Objective perspectives:

Objective Perspective: The qualities that condition the objects of perceptions.

Subjective Perspective: The qualities that condition the capacities of the perceiver.

Any comments to this?

Permalink Reply by Peter on May 21, 2014 at 8:01am

I can see what you are getting at here, Gerry.  I wonder, though, does it really tell us anything about what distinguishes the objective perspective from the subjective perspective. Since the universe is comprised entirely of objects and subjects, does this definition say anything more than ‘everything in the universe is conditioned by qualities’?

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 23, 2014 at 2:35pm

I wonder if we could say that the objective perspective could be measured in qualities of homogeneity and heterogeneity while the subjective perspective would conditioned by degrees of obscurity and clarity of perception.  Both are related to each other of course. It is just coming at things more from the standpoint of the object, in the first case, and more from the standpoint of the perceiver, in the second.

I know this is oversimplifying the concepts but I am looking for a good starting point in which to investigate further.

Permalink Reply by Peter on May 23, 2014 at 12:30pm

An objective perspective or standpoint seeks to ascertain the reality of a thing  (i.e. an entity, process or event) unclouded by the individual perspective, beliefs or idiosyncrasies of the observer.  A great deal of our modern science seeks to excel at this mode of ascertaining the truth or reality of ‘things’ in order to arrive at facts and universal laws that exist independently of the observer. Some philosophers have called this approach ‘the view from nowhere’ since it aims provide an objective account of reality minus the subject (observer).

A subjective perspective is more concerned with our immediate experience of the world and the meaning or significance we give to that experience.   For example, it’s one thing to list objectively the ingredients in a cup of coffee, the temperature required and the time and ‘tools’ needed to make it.  This is an objective view. But the actual experience of tasting a cup of coffee is completely subjective.  Even though science probably has the objective means to measure all the chemical changes that take place in my body as I taste it, it can never really know the first hand subjective experience that I have when drinking it - this is mine alone.   You and I might might even describe our experience of coffee drinking using exactly the same words, but these descriptions in themselves don’t tell us that our subjective experience really is identical. That’s something we can only surmise rather than know directly.  

Traditionally, these kinds of observations led the modern world to believe that objective truths were ‘ultimately real’ while subjective truths were only ‘relatively real’.  Both kinds were seen as useful and meaningful but only one type of truth, the objective, counted as far as reality was concerned, especially from the perspective of science.  However, experiments in quantum physics cast doubts on whether it is really possible to discover an objective reality that exists independently of the observer.   This has led to an opening in scientific understanding that was already present in other fields of endeavour for many a year, namely, that 'we see things not as they are but as we are',  to loosely quote the words of Anaïs Nin.   Kant had made similar observations hundreds of years earlier.

We saw in an earlier post that the Theosophical perspective is that:

“Each of the seven fundamental planes (or layers) in space…has its own objectivity and subjectivity, its own space and time, its own consciousness and set of senses.” (Key to Theosophy, p88)

In other words from a Theosophical perspective the objective truths and subjective truths of each of the fundamental planes in space are ALL relative truths.  The are realities only from the standpoint of the fundamental plane on which they exist.

The ultimate truth is Parabrahm, the Absolute itself, in which there is no duality of subject and object and where consciousness is Unconditioned Consciousness.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 23, 2014 at 2:26pm

Thank you Peter, this response was more of the direction I was hoping for in my question initially although the other responses you and others gave were interesting too.  It seems that subjective and objective view points in philosophy have various meanings depending upon which system they are part of.  As students of the Secret Doctrine we are struggling to gain a foothold in the meaning of terms and concepts used there.  I understand your point about all these points of view are both relative and of varying degrees of reality. And I understand your point about the falsity of thinking objective is more real than subjective.

So do we need to think of subjective and objective standpoints in Metaphysics as  different lenses of looking at the same thing and not necessarily one superior to the other?

Permalink Reply by Peter on May 25, 2014 at 10:59am

Gerry, I think you are quite right in saying that ‘subjective’ and ‘objective’ may have different meanings in different systems of belief.  Our starting point for this discussion came out of the question, 'can Atman, the Self' be an object of knowledge?'  So we looked at objective and subjective in the light of that question.

You also ask:  “do we need to think of subjective and objective standpoints in Metaphysics as different lenses of looking at the same thing and not necessarily one superior to the other?”

One question would be, ‘are these really two different lenses or standpoints?’  Is it not the same perceiver (the  subject) who seeks to understand the world and ourselves from both an objective standpoint and from a subjective standpoint?

We perceive the world full of objects (entities, events and processes) through the senses, while we regard our inner world of thoughts, feelings and immediate experience etc as subjective.  Yet we can discover for ourselves, in those moments when we are not identifying with our thoughts, feelings and experience, that these are ‘objective’ to us as well.  They are not 'what' and 'who' we are.  They are not the perceiving consciousness, the subject.  

Paradoxically, it is in those moments that we cease to identify with the contents of the mind and of the world and rest in that subjectivity that we name ‘awareness’ that there comes the realisation - whether weak or strong - of being non-different to that one life and consciousness which shines through everything and everyone.  It appears that the more we understand the nature of the subject, the perceiving consciousness which is ourselves, the more we discover our underlying unity with all beings and so called ‘things’.

The Sages teach that the true nature of the subject, it’s real essence, is the Self - which is the Atman and Parabrahm.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on May 25, 2014 at 11:49pm

That's the whole point, the crux of the matter--which is UNITY OF ATMAN, as beautifully expressed by Peter. Self is One, and not many, and this One Self works through many upadhis--which are septenary differentiations of one universal Substance, manifesting aspect of that Self-Atman--and thus appear as many selves. 

All, all, is Self, and there is nothing but the Self. That is the first verse of the Purusha Sukta of the Rig Veda : Purusha eva idam sarvam, yat bhutam yat cha bhavyam : all this is Purusha, and also what was in the past and what is to come.

Perceiver--Kshetrajna--is One, and he perceives through many vehicles, and perceptions of each of which is relative. Only when the unity of Atman is realized--when the six are slain and at the Master's feet are laid, that one is in possession of the whole Truth--Paramartha.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on May 25, 2014 at 3:13am

What are the qualities that condition the objects of perception ?

It is said in SD I, 329, that on our plane pure objects apart from consciousness in unknown to us. Which means that objects we think that really exist on our plane--which indeed in the basic postulate of modern science--are in reality the mental states it excites in the perceiving Ego. The world out there is nothing but the projection of our mind. It has no intrinsic reality !

This truism is an axiom of the Yoga Aphorisms, and also of Upanishads (Mandukya upanishad, for instance). If the modification of the thinking principle is hindered, the objects disappear from the consciousness of the Ego. It will be state of Perceiver or the spectator without perception or spectacles. Which means, objects we perceive on out plane of personality are per se (in truth and reality) non-existent, Maya, though real to the personal man, just like dream experiences are real to the dreamer, though perfectly illusionary. 

 But it is said in SD page referred to that this cannot be said to be the same on higher planes--that the cooperation of subject-object results in septenary aggregate of phenomena, which are like-wise illusions. So it is very difficult for us to imagine what are the perceptions of Higher Ego on higher septenary planes of Being. We cannot conceive of it.

As the Ego itself is a production, so to say, as a result of Cosmic Ideation reflecting itself in that upadhi known as Manas, and it lasts for the whole duration of the Age of Brahma but to disappear in the Unknown at the end of that Age, that Ego itself, from the standpoint of the One Reality, an illusion. Therefore, all the perceptions of the Ego, on any plane should be Maya from the standpoint of highest metaphysics, though realities to the Ego experiencing them. 

It is very difficult to say anything with any certainty on the tow points Kerry has raised.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 27, 2014 at 11:01pm

The comparison between subjective and objective perspectives is drawn near the end of the first book.  HPB compares two western thinkers Leibnitz and Spinoza.  She tell us that the first is an objective pantheist and the second a subjective pantheist and that the Esoteric doctrine is a reconciliation of the two. The italics are mine.

SD Book i page 629

This is the spirit, the very root of occult doctrine and thought. The "Spirit-Matter" and "Matter-Spirit" extend infinitely in depth, and like "the essence of things" of Leibnitz, our essence of things real is at the seventh depth; while the unreal and gross matter of Science and the external world, is at the lowest end of our perceptive senses. The Occultist knows the worth or worthlessness of the latter.

The student must now be shown the fundamental distinction between the system of Leibnitz * and that of occult philosophy, on the question of the Monads, and this may be done with his Monadology before us. It may be correctly stated that were Leibnitz' and Spinoza's systems reconciled, the essence and Spirit of esoteric philosophy would be made to appear. From the shock of the two—as opposed to the Cartesian system—emerge the truths of the Archaic doctrine. Both opposed the metaphysics of Descartes. His idea of the contrast of two substances—Extension and Thought—radically differing from each other and mutually irreducible, was too arbitrary and too unphilosophical for them. Thus Leibnitz made of the two Cartesian substances two attributes of one universal unity, in which he saw God. Spinoza recognised but one universal indivisible substance and absolute ALL, like Parabrahmam. Leibnitz, on the contrary perceived the existence of a plurality of substances. There was but ONE for Spinoza; for Leibnitz an infinitude of Beings, from, and in, the One. Hence, though both admitted but one real Entity, while Spinoza made it impersonal and indivisible, Leibnitz divided his personal Deity into a number of divine and semi-divine Beings. Spinoza was a subjective, Leibnitz an objective Pantheist, yet both were great philosophers in their intuitive perceptions.

Now, if these two teachings were blended together and each corrected by the other,—and foremost of all the One Reality weeded of its personality—there would remain as sum total a true spirit of esoteric philosophy in them; the impersonal, attributeless, absolute divine essence which is no "Being," but the root of all being.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on May 28, 2014 at 12:25am

Thanks Gerry. That's a beautiful, a delightful passage. It reminds me one more pair of subjective and objective idealism : Aryasangha school of Mahayana answer to Spinoza's subjective idealism, as the former holds that Spirit (I think they call it Mind) as the only reality, and that all manifestations are its projections--an illusion and non-existent ; while Prasangika Madhyamika school are objective idealists, and like Spinoza, view Reality as One in Many, and do not discount the Many outright. 

I do not remember where, in which page, this is discussed by HPB in the SD.

There is one more helpful hint HPB throws on this question of subjective - objective dichotomy. That's in her article PSYCHIC AND NOETIC ACTION. In that article she says in one place, in answer to a riddle posed by Herbert Spencer that self cannot be both the knower and the thing to be known (In other words, it cannot know itself without annihilating itself) - in response to it says HPB :

"The Higher Self or Buddhi-Manas, which in the act of self-analysis or highest abstract thinking, partially reveals its presence and holds the subservient brain-consciousness in review."   --  H.P.B. Article Vol. II, p. 2 and footnote - Theosophy Co. LA edition.

Robert Crosbie says somewhere that abstract thinking is thinking without brain activity; probably meaning, a state of Samadhi - Epoptea in which senses and the brain are all paralyzed by Will, and Manas absorbed in Buuddhi, in contemplation of Sat-Eternal and also can review its life reflected in all the lower sheaths or upadhis.

One more example can be considered. In post-mortem review, Higher Divine Ego  reviews the whole scenery of the life of the personality, in fact, the Lower Manas also does it in company with the Light of the Divine Ego, its parent.`


Permalink Reply by Peter on May 30, 2014 at 11:45am

I’m not sure it’s correct to describe Leibnitz as a pantheist - whether objective or subjective.  Some scholars show him toying with the idea of pantheism in his earliest writings.  It’s not present in his later works, as far as I know.

Spinoza could be described as a pantheist.  God, for Spinoza, is an infinite substance, and the Universe IS that infinite substance. This kind of pantheism is called ’substance-monism’.  It’s a view of God as immanent. 

For Leibnitz, God is the supremely wise creator and architect of the Universe.  He rejected Spinoza’s idea that God and Universe are one substance.  For if God and the Universe were identical, according to Leibnitz, then God would have no freedom to act, to be just, i.e. to be a moral agent, to create the best of all possible worlds etc.  Leibnitz view of God still had a Christian ring about it, and presented a view of God as transcendent.

While Spinoza sees the universe as a single, infinite substance, Leibnitz sees it as an aggregate of an infinite number of substances (monads).  Each monad is complete in itself (i.e. independent of anything else), indivisible and each mirrors every other monad and the created universe.

I wonder if it was Panpsychism rather than Pantheism that HPB had in mind.  Panpsychism is the view that the whole universe is sentient.  This would fit in with both Leibnitz and Spinoza’s view and lend itself more to the notion of objective and subjective panpsychism.

Whatever the terminology, the central issue that HPB brings out is how to reconcile both Leibnitz and Spinoza’s contradictory views about substance -  is it ONE or is it MANY?  Clearly she is saying that both are true from different perspectives.

Permalink Reply by Peter on May 30, 2014 at 11:48am

Below are some passages from HPB which give a clearer view (hopefully!) of 'objective' and 'subjective' from the perspective of Esoteric Philosophy:

“Esoteric philosophy, teaching an objective Idealism -though it regards the objective Universe and all in it as Maya, temporary illusion - draws a practical distinction between collective illusion, Mahamaya, from the purely metaphysical stand-point, and the objective relations in it between various conscious Egos so long as this illusion lasts.”

SD I 631

   The Materialist asserts that matter—or the external Universe—exists independently of a perceiving mind; that the object in short has evolved the subject, which latter in its turn mirrors its author in its consciousness.

   The (pure) Idealist, on the contrary will say—“Not so; so far from Mind being the resultant of an evolutionary process from Matter, the latter exists only in consciousness. All we know, or can know, are states of our own consciousness; objects are such only by and through a perceiving Ego—its sensations, and as such, are necessarily phenomenal; with the destruction of Mind, the whole fabric of seeming objectivity collapses.”

   In what respect is such an idealist more “ideal” than the Materialist? One denies point blank anything existing outside of matter; the other, that anything is—no more matter than Spirit—that these two positions do not exhaust the alternatives. While it is clear that the Realist is unable to postulate the independent existence of the External World, except byprojecting into space the visions of his own subjectivity, the (pure!) Idealist is brought face to face with the assertion of science, that the objective universe existed aeons before the first dawn of human consciousness.

   It is from this predicament that we might be rescued by the compromise between the two opposing systems, known variously as TransfiguredRealism, Transcendental Realism or, better, objective (as opposed to pure) Idealism—if only that transfigured Realism were to conceive of Object and Subject in the way Vedântic occultists do. According to this system, the external world of this our present consciousness is the joint product of Object and Subject. While non-existent per se—it is said, the creation of the individual mind—matter is equally the sensible manifestation of the objectivity of an unknown Substance (unknown to—the profane only). Mindtranslates the impressions received from without—impressions radiating from the world of Noumena into panorama of purely subjective ideation. The object as it is given in consciousness is phenomenal, but the primary stimulus comes from without. Subject and Object—as Noumena—are equally real, but the SENSE-OBJECT is a subjective creation. Take, for example, the case of the Sun. To the Realist the glorious orb exists outside of, and independently of Mind, just as it appears in consciousness. To the Idealist it is the creation of Mind and perishes with it. To the objective Idealist, with Mind perishes the phenomenal Sun, but an unknown Substance—removed beyond the possibility of human conception as to its nature—remains.

   This—except the “Unknown Substance”—the Occultist will deny. For him, the subject as much as the object, Ego, Sun, Mind and the Universe itself is—a Mâyâ, a huge illusion. But, as both the Perceiver and the Object perceived belong to the same plane of illusion, they are mutual and reciprocal Realities for such time as the Manvantaric illusion lasts. In Reality, and outside and beyond Space and Time, it is all the effect and result of Ignorance.

CW VIII 94-95

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on June 8, 2014 at 9:34pm

Well Peter you have helped to show us that these concepts are deep, abstract and profound.  We should not feel too bad if we find them challenging.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 18, 2014 at 1:24pm

From the Section Padmapani   SD book ii page 178

Padmapani, or Avalôkitêswara in Sanskrit, is, in Tibetan, Chenresi. Now, Avalôkitêswara is the great Logos in its higher aspect and in the divine regions. But in the manifested planes, he is, like Daksha, the progenitor (in a spiritual sense) of men. Padmapani-Avalôkitêswara is called esoterically Bhodhisatva (or Dhyan Chohan) Chenresi Vanchug, "the powerful and all-seeing." He is considered now as the greatest protector of Asia in general, and of Tibet in particular. In order to guide the Tibetans and Lamas in holiness, and preserve the great Arhats in the world, this heavenly Being is credited with manifesting himself from age to age in human form. A popular legend has it that whenever faith begins to die out in the world, Padmapani Chenresi, the "lotus-bearer," emits a brilliant ray of light, and forthwith incarnates himself in one of the two great Lamas — the Dalai and Teschu Lamas; finally, it is believed that he will incarnate as "the most perfect Buddha" in Tibet, instead of in India, where his predecessors, the great Rishis and Manus had appeared in the beginning of our Race, but now appear no longer. Even the exoteric appearance of Dhyani Chenresi is suggestive of the esoteric teaching. He is evidently, like Daksha, the synthesis of all the preceding Races and the progenitor of all the human Races after the Third, the first complete one, and thus is represented as the culmination of the four primeval races in his eleven-faced

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Casady on May 20, 2014 at 3:57pm

There is reference here is to the Ekādaśamukha Avalokitesvara - here's a link that I think gives a good account of one of the more esoteric teachings regarding this figure:

I could not find an image that corresponds to the one described, although it is quite close to a Tibetan 6-armed, 11-head Avalokitesvara, so I imagine that the one described is an earlier Indian version.

Permalink Reply by Casady on May 23, 2014 at 11:49am

To find a four-armed, eleven-headed image with a snake would be quite a task, although there are so many variations, that it is possible - The four-armed Avalokiteshvara and the Eleven-headed version are quite common separately, but both aspects combined, not so much. There is also a version holding a trident with a snake,  Simhanada  Avalokiteshvara.

Some more references:

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 21, 2014 at 9:09pm

From the Section: Divine Incarnations  SD book ii page 358-9

When mortals shall have become sufficiently spiritualised, there will be no more need of forcing them into a correct comprehension of ancient Wisdom. Men will know then, that there never yet was a great World-reformer, whose name has passed into our generation, who (a) was not a direct emanation of the LOGOS (under whatever name known to us), i.e., an essential incarnation of one of "the seven," of the "divine Spirit who is sevenfold"; and (b) who had not appeared before, during the past Cycles. They will recognise, then, the cause which produces in history and chronology certain riddles of the ages; the reason why, for instance, it is impossible for them to assign any reliable date to Zoroaster, who is found multiplied by twelve and fourteen in the Dabistan; why the Rishis and Manus are so mixed up in their numbers and individualities; why Krishna and Buddha speak of themselves as re-incarnations, i.e., Krishna is identified with the Rishi Narâyana, and Gautama gives a series of his previous births; and why the former, especially, being "the very supreme Brahmô," is yet called Amsámsávatara — "a part of a part" only of the Supreme on Earth. Finally, why Osiris is a great God, and at the same time a "prince on Earth," who reappears in Thoth-Hermes, and why Jesus (in Hebrew, Joshua) of Nazareth is recognised, cabalistically, in Joshua, the Son of Nun, as well as in other personages. The esoteric doctrine explains it by saying that each of these (as many others) had first appeared on earth as one of the seven powers of the LOGOS, individualized as a God or "Angel" (messenger); then, mixed with matter, they had re-appeared in turn as great sages and instructors who "taught the Fifth Race," after having instructed the two preceding races, had ruled during the Divine Dynasties, and had finally sacrificed themselves, to be reborn under various circumstances for the good of mankind, and for its salvation at certain critical periods; until in their last incarnations they had become truly only "the parts of a part" on earth, though de facto the One Supreme in Nature.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on May 22, 2014 at 1:13am

How much of Esoteric Doctrine of Avatars has been compressed by H.P.B. in that one paragraph ! It is simply marvelous.  Each idea is a profound study in itself, and which can hardly be exhausted.  

Just recollected while reading this passage the teaching that Beings who come as Avatars are not Individualities but essence of one of the seven Hierarchies. For instance, when it is said that Being who came as Gautama also came as Shankaracharya and later as Tsonkapa, and HPB explains, that it is not the same Ego (Individuality) who came as these personages but the essence the same Hierarchy. I think Subba Row also speaks of it. 

I am sorry, I am not able to cite the page and para, as that would consume much time, but writing from what is remembered of previous personal study.

This is quite comprehensible, as we learn from the Voice that when the Ego attains and crosses  the Seventh Path, Individuality disappears to become one with one of the Seven Dhyani Buddhic Hierarchy ,of which that Ego was an emanation, inseparable from other of the Septenary Hierarchy constituting the Logos.

One reference I remember : SD vol. i, p. 275 :"Individuality is the characteristic of their respective hierarchies, not of their units; and these characteristics vary only with the degree of the plane to which those hierarchies belong : the nearer to the region of Homogeneity and the One Divine, the purer and less accentuated that individuality in the Hierarchy. "

Permalink Reply by Casady on May 23, 2014 at 10:09am

{For instance, when it is said that Being who came as Gautama also came as Shankaracharya and later as Tsonkapa, and HPB explains, that it is not the same Ego (Individuality) who came as these personages but the essence the same Hierarchy. I think Subba Row also speaks of it. }

That sounds like SD3/CW14, the "Mystery of the Buddha" section. I think  TSR addresses this question in the transcription of his private talks at the end of his Esoteric Writings compilation.

Permalink Reply by Don Petros on May 23, 2014 at 10:41am

I was reading last night about this very thing in the SD and it caught my attention.   The idea that we're 'essences' as you put it Ramprakash, instead of individualities, is very compelling to think about. 

The last paragraph you provide from the SD is also instructive.  To think about the nature of individuality and how it is, on one hand, explained in this paragraph as being an 'accentuated' (definition: to make something more noticeable) characteristic which puts it at the opposite pole of the One Divine is interesting.  Thank you. 



Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on May 23, 2014 at 3:41pm

We usually think of 'individualities" as separate entities but the word individual means "not divided" you might say "whole".

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 24, 2014 at 5:13pm

From the Section: The Aswattha Tree   SD book ii  page 588-89

But to the follower of the true Eastern archaic Wisdom, to him who worships in spirit nought outside the Absolute Unity, that ever-pulsating great Heart that beats throughout, as in every atom of nature, each such atom contains the germ from which he may raise the Tree of Knowledge, whose fruits give life eternal and not physical life alone. For him the Cross and Circle, the Tree or the Tau, are, after every symbol relating to these has been applied to, and read one after another, still a profound mystery in their Past, and it is to that Past alone that he directs his eager gaze. He cares little whether it be the seed from which grows the genealogical Tree of Being, called the Universe. Nor is it the Three in One, the triple aspect of the seed — its form, colour, and substance — that interest him, but rather the FORCE which directs its growth, the ever mysterious, as the ever unknown. For this vital Force, that makes the seed germinate, burst open and throw out shoots, then form the trunk and branches, which, in their turn, bend down like the boughs of the Aswattha, the holy Tree of Bodhi, throw their seed out, take root and procreate other trees — this is the only FORCE that has reality for him, as it is the never-dying breath of life. The pagan philosopher sought for the Cause, the modern is content with only the effects and seeks the former in the latter. What is beyond, he does not know, nor does the modern A-gnostic care: thus rejecting the only knowledge upon which he can with full security base his Science. Yet this manifested Force has an answer for him who seeks to fathom it. He who sees in the cross, the decussated circle of Plato, the Pagan, not the antitype of circumcision, as Christian (St.) Augustine did,* is forthwith regarded by the Church as a heathen: by Science, as a lunatic. This because, while refusing to worship the god of physical generation, he confesses that he can know nothing of the Cause which underlies the so-called First Cause, the causeless Cause of this Vital Cause. Tacitly admitting the All-Presence of the boundless Circle and making of it the universal Postulate upon which the whole of the manifested universe is based, the Sage keeps a reverential silence concerning that upon which no mortal men should dare to speculate. "The Logos of God is the revealer of man, and the logos (the verb) of man is the revealer of God," says Eliphas Levi in one of his paradoxes. To this, the Eastern Occultist would reply: — "On this condition, however, that man should be dumb on the CAUSE that produced both God and its logos. Otherwise, he becomes invariably the reviler, not the 'revealers' of the incognizable Deity."

Permalink Reply by Casady on May 26, 2014 at 11:18am

I think this is the passage in Plato she is referring to:

Next, he sliced this entire compound in two along its length, joined the two
halves together center to center like an X, and bent them back in a circle,
attaching  each half to itself end to end and to the ends of the other half at the
point opposite to the one where they had been joined together (Timaeus. 36 b6 -c

I think Hume translated the Eliphas Levi work in question, The Paradoxes of the Highest Science, with interesting comments by an Eminent Occultist.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 27, 2014 at 10:41pm

From the Section: Visvakarman  SD book ii page 605

For, though entirely allegorical, the Rig-Vedic hymns are none the less suggestive. The seven rays of Sûrya (the Sun) are made therein parallel to the Seven Worlds (of every planetary chain), to the seven rivers of heaven and earth, the former being the seven creative Hosts, and the latter the Seven men, or primitive human groups. The Seven ancient Rishis — the progenitors of all that lives and breathes on earth — are the seven friends of Agni, his seven "horses," or seven "HEADS." The human race has sprung from fire and water, it is allegorically stated; fashioned by the FATHERS, or the ancestor-sacrificers, from Agni; for Agni, the Aswins, the Adityas (Rig-Veda III., 54, 16, II., 29, 3, 4), are all synonymous with that "sacrificer," or the fathers, variously called Pitar (Pitris, fathers), Angirases † (Ibid, 1, 31, 17, 139, et seq.), the Sâdhyas, "divine sacrificers," the most occult of all. They are all called deva putra rishayah or "the Sons of God" (X., 62; 1, 4). The "sacrificers," moreover, are collectively the ONE sacrificer, the father of the gods, Visvakarman, who performed the great Sarva-Medha ceremony, and ended by sacrificing himself. (See Rig-Vedic Hymns.)

Permalink Reply by Casady on May 29, 2014 at 11:44am

HPB goes on to give some fascinating insights in her ''The Trial of the Sun-Initiate" (CW 14)

Here's a pretty nice article:

and a very good article on Vithoba:

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on June 8, 2014 at 9:28pm


Would you mind summarizing what you recommend here for those of us without the time to read all of it.  It sounds very important.  Could you give us the essence in your own words?

Replies to This Discussion

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 9, 2014 at 7:46am

Sure Gerry,

The Trial of the Sun-Initiate gives some pretty recondite hints about the mysteries of the Vishvakarma initiation. I know of no other text on initiation quite like this. Please forgive me if I seem cryptic and silent on this.

The american buddha article gives an account of Vishvakarma in terms of the general and well-known concept of the divine craftsman (related to 3rd logos and Masonic traditions).

The Vithoba article gives a very good, basic presentation of Vithoba from a socio-cultural perspective, although quite exoteric, not too much on the crucifixion aspects.

Permalink Reply by Gerry Kiffe on June 10, 2014 at 12:12pm

Perfect, thank you kindly.

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on May 30, 2014 at 10:21am

From the Section Manus, Rishis and Maruts  SD Book ii p.615

At the same time "Maruts" is, in occult parlance, one of the names given to those EGOS of great Adepts who have passed away, and who are known also as Nirmanakayas; of those Egos for whom — since they are beyond illusion — there is no Devachan, and who, having either voluntarily renounced it for the good of mankind, or not yet reached Nirvana, remain invisible on earth. Therefore are the Maruts * shown firstly — as the sons of Siva-Rudra — the "Patron Yogi," whose "third eye," mystically, must be acquired by the ascetic before he becomes an adept; then, in their cosmic character, as the subordinates of Indra and his opponents — variously. The "four times seven" emancipations have a reference to the four Rounds, and the four Races that preceded ours, in each of which Marut-Jivas (monads) have been re-born, and have obtained final liberation, if they have only availed themselves of it. Instead of which, preferring the good of mankind, which would struggle still more hopelessly in the meshes of ignorance and misery, were it not for this extraneous help — they are re-born over and over again "in that character," and thus "fill up their own places." Who they are, "on earth" — every student of Occult science knows. And he also knows that the Maruts are Rudras, among whom also the family of Twashtri, a synonym of Visvakarman — the great patron of the Initiates — is included. This gives us an ample knowledge of their true nature.

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 1, 2014 at 12:27pm

I wonder if Twashtri is related to Sarasvati, the goddess of esoteric knowledge...

Here's an intriguing western perspective on the Maruts:

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 3, 2014 at 2:43pm

They do seem to have some connection... here's RV, Hymn CXLII Apris.

9. Let Hotri pure, set among Gods, amid the Maruts Bhirati, Ila, Sarasvati, Mahi, rest on the grass, adorable.
10. May Tvastar send us genial dew abundant, wondrous, rich in gifts,
For increase and for growth of wealth, Tvastar our kinsman and our Friend.
Permalink Reply by Jon Fergus on June 3, 2014 at 6:58pm

Bear with me for a moment, and if you can follow along these connections I think your question of the link to Sarasvati may be answered.

Starting with Tvashtri.

There is only a single reference to Tvashtri in the 10 principle Upanishads:Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2:5:17. Here's the Sanskrit:

. . . ātharvaṇāyāśvinau dadhīce 'śvyaṃ śiraḥ praty airayatam |
sa vāṃ madhu pra vocad ṛtāyan tvāṣṭraṃ yad dasrāv apikakṣyaṃ vām iti ||

Charles Johnston's translation is:

". . . On Dadhyanch Atharvana, O Ashvins, ye did put as a substitute the head of a horse. He, fulfilling righteousness, declared to you the honey of Tvashtri, the divine Architect, to be your secret, ye wonder-workers."

So, of course, it is referencing the story of the Ashvins and Dadhyanch, which comes from the first book of the Rig Veda. Johnston's use of the term "divine architect" may give some insight into his approach to the meaning, and we can look into the SD for an understanding of what is meant by the Architect (see, for instance, SD I:278-79, where Architect is used to describe the Demiurgos, or the "aggregate of Dhyan Chohans and the other forces").

If we consider HPB's statement that the Maruts are Rudras, the same Upanishad tells us that the eleven Rudras are the "ten pranas" plus Atma (Brihad 3:9:4). Through the rest of the text of the Upanishad, it would seem clear that the "ten pranas" indicates the five breaths (prana, apana, vyana, upana, samana) plus the five "vital powers" (Prana, Vach, Manas, Caksur ("vision") and Shrotram ("hearing")), each of which certainly veils an esoteric meaning. These "ten pranas" or "vital breaths" are discussed briefly in the SD in their reference to the passage in the Upanishad (2:548), thus:

"Siva, as said before, is unknown by that name in the Vedas; and it is in the white Yajur Veda that he appears for the first time as the great god—MAHADEVA—whose symbol is the lingham. In Rig Veda he is called Rudra, the "howler," the beneficent and the maleficent Deity at the same time, the Healer and the Destroyer. In the Vishnu Purana, he is the god who springs from the forehead of Brahma, who separates into male and female, and he is the parent of the Rudras or Maruts, half of whom are brilliant and gentle, others, black and ferocious. In the Vedas, he is the divine Ego aspiring to return to its pure, deific state, and at the same time that divine ego imprisoned in earthly form, whose fierce passions make of him the "roarer," the "terrible." This is well shown in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, wherein the Rudras, the progeny of Rudra, god of fire, are called the "ten vital breaths" (prana, life) with manas, as eleventh, whereas as Siva, he is the Destroyer of that life. Brahma calls him Rudra, and gives him, besides, seven other names, which names are his seven forms of manifestation, also the seven powers of nature which destroy but to recreate or regenerate."

It's curious that HPB says "with manas" instead of "with atma" as eleventh (a "mistake"?, or perhaps a hint...?).

From all this, it would seem that we can recognize Rudra and the Rudras (and thus the Maruts) as symbolic of the essential Life-Forces, or "Breaths" or "powers of Nature" which would seem to represent the aggregate of Dhyan Chohans as Architect. This relates to the statement at the bottom of SD 1:293 that connects the Saktis (the seven powers of Nature) to the hierarchies of Dhyan Chohans, "who personify the Fifth Principle of Cosmic Nature" (i.e. "Mind" or "Mahat"), and who (SD 1:279) are said to be (in their aggregate) the creative Logos (the "Word").

Following these connections, one can read SD 1:94-95 to make the further connection directly to Sarasvati, as "Goddess of Speech".

Hope that helps.

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on June 4, 2014 at 2:26am

John said :

"It's curious that HPB says "with manas" instead of "with atma" as eleventh (a "mistake"?, or perhaps a hint...?)."

Cannot be mistake. It makes sense. Eleventh Rudra should be Manas, not Atma. Atma is a term used in a general way. Even the body is referred to in Sanskrit literature as Atma. Eg. Uddharet Atmana Atmanam (Raise the self by the self). Lower self is to be raised up by the Higher Self, and both are referred to Atma.

Further,  the eleven Rudras referred to as ten breaths also should mean ten senses : five organs of knowledge (Jnanendriyas) and five organs of action (karmendriyas). These ten breaths or senses cannot act by themselves unless moved by the King of the senses--Raja of the senses--which is the Mind, who is the eleventh Rudra.

In the practice of  seven virtues in Vedanta, Shama and Dama are the first two. Dama is repression of the senses. Shama is the control of the mind-thoughts. If the Mind is controlled all other powers--breaths--under its domain come under control. 

How beautifully this is allegorized in the Anugita--quoted and commented upon by HPB in SD, i, p. 95-96.There Mind is said to utter : "I am the eternal chief among all elements (i.e., senses, says HPB). Without me, the senses never shine, like an empty dwelling, or like the fires the flame of which are extinct. Without me, all beings, like fuel half-dried and half-moist fail to apprehend qualities or objects even with the senses exerting themselves." (p. 96) 

HPB says that this refers to Mind on the sensuous plane. Spiritual Mind is apart and stands on a higher plane and takes no cognisance of the senses in the physical man.

Profound psychology, indeed !

Permalink Reply by Ramprakash ML on June 4, 2014 at 3:08am

Twashti literally means carpenter. Twashtri is the same as Viswakarman, the divine carpenter who fashions gods and their weapon. Inasmuch as such a skill presupposes knowledge, he cannot be apart from the goddess of learning and esoteric Wisdom, Saraswati. Saraswati is Vach, who is all pervading intelligent creative force rich in Dhyan Chohanic thought--in other words, Fohat, the swift steed who carries the thoughts and intent of Dhyan Chohans in his creative errands. 

Saraswati - Vach also seems to be Buddhi as an active principle, the Voice of the Silence, Bath Kol of the Hebrews, Sophia of the Gnostics, Filia vocis of the Latins, Kwan-Yin of the Chinese--in short, the female Logos.

Hence Vishnu Purana says that the universe is nothing but all pervading knowledge--Jnana.

Let us not forget that there are four kinds of Vach : Para, Pashyanti, Madhyama and Vaikari. The last pertains to Vach on out material plane. (SD i. 138)

Universe is nothing but the VERBUM manifested.

Permalink Reply by Casady on June 4, 2014 at 11:58am

Interesting replies - works for me - I think that covers it, from the metaphysical perspective - thankys - (The 'manas' looks like a typo to me)

"Starting upon the long journey immaculate; descending more and more into sinful matter, and having connected himself with every atom in manifestedSpace — the Pilgrim, having struggled through and suffered in every form of life and being, is only at the bottom of the valley of matter, and half through his cycle, when he has identified himself with collective Humanity. This, he has made in his own image. In order to progress upwards and homewards, the “God” has now to ascend the weary uphill path of the Golgotha of Life. It is the martyrdom of self-conscious existence. Like Visvakarman he has to sacrifice himself to himself in order to redeem all creatures, to resurrect from the many into the One Life." sd238

Permalink Reply by Casady on January 5, 2015 at 6:38pm

Here's something I came across recently, as usual with hpb, an intriguing, cryptic, suggestive phrase that can take you in many interesting directions:

"Moreover, in one sense, the Greek Logos is the equivalent of the Sanscrit Vach, "the immortal (intellectual) ray of spirit." And the fact that Vach (as Devasena, an aspect of Saraswati, the goddess of hidden Wisdom) is the spouse of the eternal celibate Kumara, unveils a suggestive, though veiled, reference to the Kumaras, those "who refused to create," but who were compelled later on to complete divine Man by incarnating in him." sd2-199

The wikipedia article on Devasena seems quite good, and can provide some current background info:

Permalink Reply by barbaram on May 30, 2014 at 2:57pm

"It appears that the more we understand the nature of the subject, the perceiving consciousness which is ourselves, the more we discover our underlying unity with all beings and so called ‘things’.

Hi Peter:

Reading your message above, I take it that as our consciousness withdraws becoming detached from the objects of perception, what we once identified as ourselves - like our bodies on the material planes, or personal desires, or even our thoughts - become objective.  This process continues till we stand as the "perceiving consciousness,"  then we realize what was objective are essentially all subjective.  Interestingly, it seems that we have to become "detached" or rise above from the illusory before we could see and experience glimpses of reality.  

Is this "perceiving consciousness" the light of buddhi?  Was there a sense of all-encompassing feeling accompanying this "perceiving consciousness?"

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