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Theosophical Tenets: Analogy and Correspondence

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    ModeratorTN
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    Theosophical Tenets: Analogy and Correspondence

    Analogy is thus the surest guide to the comprehension of the Occult teachings. . . .
    Everything in the Universe follows analogy. “As above, so below”; Man is the microcosm of the Universe. That which takes place on the spiritual plane repeats itself on the Cosmic plane. Concretion follows the lines of abstraction; corresponding to the highest must be the lowest; the material to the spiritual. — The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 173, 177

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Theosophical Tenets: Analogy and Correspondence


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    “The Universe is worked and guided from within outwards. As above so it is below, as in heaven so on earth; and man — the microcosm and miniature copy of the macrocosm — is the living witness to this Universal Law, and to the mode of its action. We see that every external motion, act, gesture, whether voluntary or mechanical, organic or mental, is produced and preceded by internal feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or mind. As no outward motion or change, when normal, in man’s external body can take place unless provoked by an inward impulse, given through one of the three functions named, so with the external or manifested Universe. The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who — whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyan-Chohans or Angels — are “messengers” in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws.”

    — H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 274


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    What the student has first to do is to comprehend these axioms and, by employing the deductive method, to proceed from universals to particulars. He has then to reason from the “known to the unknown,” and see if the inductive method of proceeding from particulars to universals supports those axioms. This process forms the primary stage of true contemplation. The student must first grasp the subject intellectually before he can hope to realise his aspirations. When this is accomplished, then comes the next stage of meditation which is “the inexpressible yearning of the inner man to ‘go out towards the infinite.’” Before any such yearning can be properly directed, the goal, to which it is to be its aim to run, must be determined by the preliminary stages. The higher stage, in fact, consists in realising practically what the first steps have placed within one’s comprehension. In short, contemplation, in its true sense, is to recognise the truth of Eliphas Levi’s saying: —

    To believe without knowing is weakness; to believe, because one knows, is power.

    Or, in other words, to see that “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.” — “Contemplation”, Theosophist, 1884.


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    This world is part of a definite system having the sun as center. The evolutionary stream proceeds upon one definite plan for each manvantara. In order to carry this out all evolved objects and things must evolve upon one plan. All the forces must work from one center out to the various smaller centers, and in this the law of correspondence is seen. The sun being the center, it must have a correspondence in every concrete form or system found within the whole collection of objects in the sun’s sphere of action. The sun must be the center of life then for the solar system, and so its currents and forces are said to correspond to the heart in man which is his center of physical life and force. The circulation of the blood through the human body must correspond to something higher in the solar system. This is found in the cosmic blood which circulates through space and is of course nothing like our blood in appearance. This “cosmic blood” is the life-giving ether spreading in space. It enters the body of man and there vitalizes his blood by means of his breathing. The sun focalizes for his system the whole plan and force of such evolution in order to carry that plan and force into operation through appropriate channels in all the planets which he governs. By reading Instruction No. I, a good idea may be gained of the proper use of the Law of correspondences. WQJ


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    How to Study the Secret Doctrine: Part II

    If, as has been claimed, the three fundamental propositions constitute a key to the study of the Secret Doctrine, the student should endeavor to apply these not merely to the philosophy as a whole, but to each and every department and special topic and to the linking of these together. Only by so doing can the true relations between the latter be found, and the place and importance of each in respect to the whole. It must therefore be borne in mind that these propositions apply to the whole manifested Cosmos, to Universes, worlds, and men, to all planes of the Cosmos as well as to all kingdoms of Nature; that back of all manifestation is the One Reality, one common Source; that guiding all manifestation is one Universal Law; and that the working of this one Law and the line of evolution are fundamentally the same in all cases.

    A study of the great systems of ancient philosophy would show that underlying each are these same propositions, or some phases of them which, although differently expressed, embody the same fundamental ideas. In some instances these have been put into the form of aphorisms, which to a great extent are the keynotes of the systems in which they are so expressed. Such, for instance, are the following: “As above, so below”, from the Hermetic school of philosophy; “Man is the Microcosm of the Macrocosm”, from the ancient Hindu philosophy; both of these aphorisms are expressions of what is known as the “Law of Correspondences” which was used by all the great Hindu philosophers and to a greater or less degree by more modern writers, e.g., some of the early Church Fathers, and by Boehme, Swedenborg, and others. It will easily be seen that these aphorisms are dependent upon the fundamental propositions of the Secret Doctrine, and in a measure contain or imply the latter. Then there is the Cabalistic saying, “A stone becomes a plant; a plant, a beast; a beast, a man; and man, a god”. This particular statement is, however, only a partial statement of the third proposition; it is only a partial statement of evolution. It goes further than the modern scientific statement of evolution in that it does not stop at man, but it makes no statement of the stages of evolution preceding the mineral; it only begins at the lowest point of the cycle of evolution, omitting the elemental kingdoms on the downward arc. The above statements and many others are constantly referred to in the Secret Doctrine, and by presenting these fundamentals in different aspects the student who learns to connect them together is better enabled to comprehend the methods and working of Nature and also that to us most vital problem — man’s place in Nature. Furthermore, these various statements furnish an additional argument for the Wisdom Religion’s being the fountain of Truth from which all streams of Truth have sprung.

    On Analogy and Correspondence, from ‘How to Study the Secret Doctrine’ by J.H. Fussel


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    How to Study the Secret Doctrine: Part II
    If, as has been claimed, the three fundamental propositions constitute a key to the study of the Secret Doctrine, the student should endeavor to apply these not merely to the philosophy as a whole, but to each and every department and special topic and to the linking of these together. Only by so doing can the true relations between the latter be found, and the place and importance of each in respect to the whole. It must therefore be borne in mind that these propositions apply to the whole manifested Cosmos, to Universes, worlds, and men, to all planes of the Cosmos as well as to all kingdoms of Nature; that back of all manifestation is the One Reality, one common Source; that guiding all manifestation is one Universal Law; and that the working of this one Law and the line of evolution are fundamentally the same in all cases.

    J.H. Fussel


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    The Law of Correspondences
    From a Talk by Robert Crosbie

    Theosophy, October, 1920

    “Law of Correspondences” is a greater subject than people are liable to suspect; yet we all know something of correspondences in the simple facts of nature—the seven colors of the spectrum, the seven notes of the scale. Each color of each octave corresponds to the same color of another octave. We see only a certain number of rates of vibration, but above the number perceptible to us are those too fine for us to perceive with our physical senses, and, also below, are vibrations too coarse for our perception. ‘We stand in the middle, as it were, of a great range of perceptions, aware of only a portion of the universe in which we live. The same is true with regard to sounds——from the note do up to Si; do corresponds to every other do in the seven octaves which we are able to perceive physically; but these seven octaves are merely a portion of all the great octaves of nature above us and below us. There is correspondence between the high and the low throughout all nature, because the great Center of Life, of Consciousness, of Perception is the same in every being of what ever grade; and because from within that Center proceeds all action. The use of the power to act which is inherent in that Center is the cause of all manifestation.


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    The Law of Analogy, by Sarah Corbett
    The Law of Analogy
    Behold how like the moon reflected in the tranquil waves, Alaya is reflected by the small and by the great, is mirrored in the tiniest atoms, yet fails to reach the heart of all.—The Voice of tile Silence.

    The Law of Analogy, or as it is sometimes called the Law of Correspondence, is the fundamental idea in the Esoteric Philosophy, and its right application is the key-note to all Esoteric study. It is by means of this law that we can proceed from the known to the unknown, and thus widen the circle of our knowledge. The same changeless laws of evolution and involution are at work in an atom, a man, a world, a universe; and if we rightly understood the meaning of one moment of our lives, we should understand the whole. Thus the saying of Emerson, “There is no great and no small in the Soul that maketh all,” may be applied both to time and space. As applied to time it suggests that all cycles—Manvantaras, Kalpas, Rounds, Races, Lives—are formed essentially on the same plan. There is a period of irresponsible innocence, a fall into matter, and a conscious rise towards spiritual things. As applied to space it tells us that atoms, men, globes, are in their inward nature essentially the same; they have their seven Principles, they have their Brahm, Vishnu and Shiva, they have each a world of entities over which they preside. Here is indeed a clue to the meaning of Universal Brotherhood, but something more than brain intellect is needed to comprehend it, and that is why it remains for so many of us unrealized and beyond our reach.


  • Gerry Kiffe
    Moderator
    Gerry Kiffe

    What is the main obstacle to thinking analogically? Are analogy and correspondence tools to awaken intuition?


    • Peter
      Moderator
      Peter

      That’s an interesting question, Gerry. I’m not sure there is an obstacle to thinking analogically given that people use it in almost every sphere of life and field of knowledge. Perhaps the obstacle arises when it comes to what areas of study that analogical thinking should be applied. For example, someone who doubts the reality of any metaphysical truths is unlikely to see the value of ‘as above, so below’, yet they may well use analogy on an everyday basis to understand or explain, say, scientific ideas and principles.

      Yes, we could say that analogy is an aid to intuition. It’s also an aid to rational thought. In a way, it allows rational thought and intuition to work together and supplement each other. In some cases, for example, we may not be able to make use of analogy and correspondence until we have at least a reasonable mental grasp of the subject matter under study. As HPB wrote in her Preface to The Key to Theosophy, ‘To the mentally lazy or obtuse, Theosophy must remain a riddle.’ At the same time, the use of analogy and correspondence can lift rational thought out of the merely linear mode of thinking and logic by providing a depth and breadth to our endeavours at understanding.

      ~~


      • Ramprakash ML
        Participant
        Ramprakash ML

        I like the concluding remark :

        “ At the same time, the use of analogy and correspondence can lift rational thought out of the merely linear mode of thinking and logic by providing a depth and breadth to our endeavours at understanding.”

        So very true. If ONE, not many, or, One in many and many in One is true, then many are the many aspects of that One, and, therefore, every thing is an image of the One, and every process and working in the universe bears an analogical relation to every other

        St Paul said that this world of ours is an enigmatic mirror of pure Truth


        • Peter
          Moderator
          Peter

          That’s nicely put, Ram. It also provides a hint to at least one of the ways we might understand the assertion Tat Tvam Asi (That thou art), from our other conversation thread.

          ~~


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    And so one might go on indefinitely did time and space permit, for the mission of the poet is to point out to those who see it less clearly than himself, the spiritual meaning of temporal things, the ideal which underlies what most people call the real. The poets are the interpreters of human nature and of life, so also are the best novelists from another point of view. For some minds a study of the best poets and novelists, and also of writers such as Emerson, Ruskin, Olive Schreiner. James Hinton, who perceive truth intuitionally, is very helpful to the study of Theosophy. Others have little faculty for learning in this way, and they strive to reach the truths of Theosophy by the road of Natural Science. Every student has his own method of working, and it would be invidious to make comparisons, but it must not be forgotten that whatever method is taken. the key to progress is the Law of Analogy. From what is seen, we must continually infer what is unseen; this can only be done by patient thought and meditation; the real inner meaning of any fact or of any proverb is never gathered without concentrating the mind on it for a considerable time.

    The Law of Analogy, by Sarah Corbett


    • Ramprakash ML
      Participant
      Ramprakash ML

      Scientific approach to Theosophy is intellectual.The heart of Theosophy is seen and felt in the great works of the poets of the British and American Romanticism – of late 18th and early 19th century.


  • Gerry Kiffe
    Moderator
    Gerry Kiffe

    I wonder if the efficacy of analogy in human communication and in spiritual and philosophical education is evidence or perhaps a clue to the meaning of Plato’s statement, that all learning is recollection?


    • Peter
      Moderator
      Peter

      I believe the term Plato uses is anamnesis which is rendered as recollection in the English translation. It first arises in the Meno which is an inquiry into how virtue arises, i.e. is it something which is teachable, acquired practice or by nature or by some other means. One of the views put forward in the Meno is that recollection is bring to light latent knowledge resulting from the soul’s immortality. Socrates puts it as follows:

      ‘Since the soul is both immortal and has been born many times, and has seen both what is here and what is in Hades, and in fact all things, there is nothing it has not learned. And so it is no matter for wonder that it is possible for the soul to recollect both about virtue and about other things, given that it knew them previously. For since all nature is akin and the soul has learned everything, there is no reason why someone who has recollected only one thing – which is what people call learning – should not discover something else, as long as one is brave and does not give up on the search. For seeking and learning turn out to be wholly recollection.’ (Meno; 81c-81d)

      In the Meno recollection is something that may occur when we come face to face with an interlocutor (as Socrates was to the slave boy in the example he gives). Knowledge that is latent within us is brought to conscious awareness through the questioning method of the dialectic.

      In the Phaedo recollection is described slightly differently but still pointing to knowledge that is latent in the immortal soul. Hear recollection is described as occurring when by seeing one thing we are reminded of another as, for example, when sensory information reminds us of the Forms such as Beauty, Virtue, the Just, Piety and so on. (see Phaedo 74c-75d). Here the subtle difference of emphasis appears to point to the nature of the Soul partaking of the realm of the Forms. So, it could well be that the use of analogy applied to certain fields of knowledge ‘reminds us’ or awakens latent knowledge in the Soul.

      ~~


      • Ramprakash ML
        Participant
        Ramprakash ML

        Thanks Peter for the valuable contribution. Translator rendered the Greek tern anamnesis as recollection probably because the English word Reminiscence is not as much in use as the other two cognate terms–remembrance and recollection–and, moreover, all the three terms are used generally as synonyms.


  • Ramprakash ML
    Participant
    Ramprakash ML

    What did Plato mean by “Recollection ?” It couldn’t be recollection in the ordinary sense we use in daily life. What is the original Greek word which is rendered as Recollection, I wonder ? It must mean recalling to memory what we have forgotten of our true Self and nature, our real being, unborn, deathless.

    In Key HPB recalls three kinds of memory : Remembrance, recollection and Reminiscence.

    She says Reminiscence is the memory of the Soul – of the Reincarnating Ego, which is divine.

    If Plato’s statement that all learning is recollection, is restated as all learning is Reminiscence, then it makes sense.

    The object of all true education and learning should have as its chief object recovering the memory of our divine nature which we have lost. In Sanskrit it is SMRITI. It is Soul-memory.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by  Ramprakash ML.

  • Anatolii
    Participant
    Anatolii

    I don’t see an analogy but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Thinking about the idea of analogy I came to the conclusion that this law should be used carefully. When we know both objects we compare it is easy to see the analogy between them but when one object or both of them are unknown we can easily come to the wrong conclusions. The simplest example – when people endow God with character traits which are similar to human ones.

    In this case we don’t have any reliable knowledge of the memories Plato spoke. Therefore using the analogy law we can easily make the same mistake as in case of God


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    All things which are visible come from the invisible. In the evolution of a planet there is a beginning in homogeneous, radiant matter—such as composes the Milky Way—the basis of all subsequent forms that are brought about, or produced, by the beings existent in that homogeneous state. Each being is a Center and each Center is the same as the One Great Center. Proceeding from the same Source, necessarily, all beings proceed under the same laws. The same Law rules all beings. The power to act and the subsequent reaction—the law of laws which we know as Karma—is brought into operation by all beings to produce the manifested universe and all the differentiations in forms and substance. Thus there is a connection between each being and every other being. There is a correspondence between each being and every other being. There is a correspondence between the constituents of each being and the constituents of every other being.

    The Law of Correspondences Robert Crosbie


  • ModeratorTN
    Keymaster
    ModeratorTN

    This fundamental law in Occult Science is the basis of the “Law of Correspondences”, which in so many cases has been hit upon by Mystics and used by them intuitionally and, very often it would seem, fancifully. And being acquired merely intuitionally, and no basis or foundation being given, this law has come to be regarded by many as a mere empiricism. All through the Secret Doctrine this law is held to, and it is illustrated to such an extent that it rests with the student himself to test whether it be a law or not. Let the student hold to the doctrine of analogy and correspondences. The Law of Correspondences does not merely hold on one and the same plane, as, for instance, in the case of man and Nature, the physical external man corresponds to physical external Nature, the astral man to the astral side of Nature, etc., but there is also a correspondence between different planes, and action and reaction from plane to plane. Manifestation takes place on four planes, which are phenomenal and rupic (rupa=form), while above these are three arupa or formless planes, where form ceases to exist and which cannot become objective to us. The three higher planes are noumenal and subjective, the four lower are phenomenal, and are, or may be, objective to us. The seven planes represent the seven states of Cosmic consciousness, the three higher planes being inaccessible to human intellect as developed at present”. “These seven planes correspond to the seven states of consciousness in man.”4 All ultimate causes originate on the higher planes, and pass from plane to plane to the lowest which is the plane of ultimate effects, whence there may again be reaction on the higher planes. That which may appear as an effect on any plane, due to a cause on a higher plane, may itself act as a cause in reference to a still lower plane. In this way there is correspondence from plane to plane, and in this way all manifestation proceeds, from plane to plane; from within, without. And although very few who can see into the astral and psychic planes of Nature can connect these with the physical plane, or rise to the purely spiritual, yet no links are missing between them, and it is only by a comprehension of the Law of Correspondences that it is possible to connect them together. The varied aspects of Nature, the many phases of development which we see in all the kingdoms of Nature and which exist on all the phenomenal planes; the hierarchies of beings — gods, men, elementals — which represent the stages of the development of the soul, are all links in the endless chain of manifestation. Destroy one link and the chain would be destroyed; but granting continuity, granting the law of cause and effect — Karma, it follows that the Law of Correspondences must also hold good, and we shall be wise if we follow the advice of the Master and hold to it as a guide in our studies.

    On Analogy and Correspondence, from ‘How to Study the Secret Doctrine’ by J.H. Fussel

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