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Re: Letter No. 88 - Copied by APS Sept. 28, 1882

Jun 19, 2007 06:52 PM
by plcoles1

"An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on 
which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power 
of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human 
expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of 
thought -- in the words of Mandukya, "unthinkable and unspeakable." 

Dear Sveinn & All,
It seems to me that while the term "God" should not send us into a 
reel but needs to be seen within the context of how a person uses 
the term.

It is hard for me to see how the comments in the Mahatmas letter can 
be seen to be controversial in any way as the writer is simply 
expressing clearly and succinctly his philosophical and doctrinal 
position and given what the 1st fundamental proposition of the 
Secret Doctrine states the comments seem to me to be entirely in 
accord with.

I think the term "God" can perhaps be a word and concept that keeps 
us stuck in a very limited mindset and if we are prepared to go 
beyond the "God" concept perhaps we can see a much more deeper and 
profound perspective.
This is just how I see it ..



--- In, Sveinn Freyr <Sven04@...> wrote:
> Letter No. 88 
> 1                              (ML-10) Copied by APS Sept. 28, 1882
> Now we come to what is probably the most 
> controversial letter in the volume. Actually, it 
> is not a letter but some notes made by the 
> Mahatma K.H. on what Hume called a "Preliminary 
> Chapter on God," intended as a preface to a book 
> he was writing on Occult Philosophy. The copy in 
> the British Museum is in Sinnett's handwriting.
> These "Notes" have caused some people to reject 
> the whole occult philosophy because of the denial 
> of the traditional concept of God. The student is 
> therefore asked to withhold judgment.
> Received at Simla, Sept. 1882.
> Neither our philosophy nor ourselves believe in a 
> God, least of all in one whose pronoun 
> necessitates a capital H. Our philosophy falls 
> under the definition of Hobbes. It is 
> preeminently the science of effects by their 
> causes and of causes by their effects, and since 
> it is also the science of things deduced from 
> first principle, as Bacon defines it, before we 
> admit any such principle we must know it, and 
> have no right to admit even its possibility. Your 
> whole explanation is based upon one solitary 
> admission made simply for argument's sake in 
> October last. You were told that our knowledge 
> was limited to this our solar system: ergo as 
> philosophers who desired to remain worthy of the 
> name we could not either deny or affirm the 
> existence of what you termed a supreme, 
> omnipotent, intelligent being of some sort beyond 
> the limits of that solar system. But if such an 
> existence is not absolutely impossible, yet 
> unless the uniformity of nature's law breaks at 
> those limits we maintain that it is highly 
> improbable. Nevertheless we deny most 
> emphatically the position of agnosticism in this 
> direction, and as regards the solar system. Our 
> doctrine knows no compromises. It either affirms 
> or denies, for it never teaches but that which it 
> knows to be the truth. Therefore, we deny God 
> both as philosophers and as Buddhists. We know 
> there are planetary and other spiritual lives, 
> and we know there is in our system no such thing 
> as God, either personal or impersonal. Parabrahm 
> is not a God, but absolute immutable law, and 
> Iswar is the effect of Avidya and Maya, ignorance 
> based upon the great delusion. The word "God" was 
> invented to designate the unknown cause of those 
> effects which man has either admired or dreaded 
> without understanding them, and since we claim 
> and that we are able to prove what we claim ? 
> i.e. the knowledge of that cause and causes ? we 
> are in a position to maintain there is no God or Gods behind them.
> The idea of God is not an innate but an acquired 
> notion, and we have but one thing uncommon with 
> theologies ? we reveal the infinite. But while we 
> assign to all the phenomena that proceed from the 
> infinite and limitless space, duration and 
> motion, material, natural, sensible and known (to 
> us at least) causes, the theists assign them 
> spiritual, super-natural and unintelligible and 
> un-known causes. The God of the Theologians is 
> simply an imaginary power, un loup garou as 
> d'Holbach expressed it ? a power which has never 
> yet manifested itself. Our chief aim is to 
> deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man 
> virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life 
> relying on himself instead of leaning on a 
> theological crutch, that for countless ages was 
> the direct cause of nearly all human misery. 
> Pantheistic we may be called ? agnostic NEVER. If 
> people are willing to accept and to regard as God 
> our ONE LIFE immutable and unconscious in its 
> eternity they may do so and thus keep to one more 
> gigantic misnomer. But then they will have to say 
> with Spinoza that there is not and that we cannot 
> conceive any other substance than God; or as that 
> famous and unfortunate philosopher says in his 
> fourteenth proposition, "praeter Deum neque dari 
> neque concipi potest substantia" ? and thus 
> become Pantheists . . . who but a Theologian 
> nursed on mystery and the most absurd 
> supernaturalism can imagine a self-existent being 
> of necessity infinite and omnipresent outside the 
> manifested boundless universe. The word infinite 
> is but a negative which excludes the idea of 
> bounds. It is evident that a being independent 
> and omnipresent cannot be limited by anything 
> which is outside of himself; that there can be 
> nothing exterior to himself ? not even vacuum, 
> then where is there room for matter? for that 
> manifested universe even though the latter [be] 
> limited? If we ask the theist is your God vacuum, 
> space or matter, they will reply no. And yet they 
> hold that their God penetrates matter though he 
> is not himself matter. When we speak of our One 
> Life we also say that it penetrates, nay is the 
> essence of every atom of matter; and that 
> therefore it not only has correspondence with 
> matter but has all its properties likewise, etc. 
> ? hence is material, is matter itself. How can 
> intelligence proceed or emanate from 
> non-intelligence ? you kept asking last year. How 
> could a highly intelligent humanity, man the 
> crown of reason, be evolved out of blind 
> unintelligent law or force! But once we reason on 
> that line, I may ask in my turn, how could 
> congenital idiots, non-reasoning animals, and the 
> rest of "creation" have been created by or 
> evoluted from, absolute Wisdom, if the latter is 
> a thinking intelligent being, the author and 
> ruler of the Universe? How? says Dr. Clarke in 
> his examination of the proof of the existence of 
> the Divinity. "God who hath made the eye, shall 
> not see? God who hath made the ear shall he not 
> hear?" But according to this mode of reasoning 
> they would have to admit that in creating an 
> idiot God is an idiot; that he who made so many 
> irrational beings, so many physical and moral 
> monsters, must be an irrational being. . ..
>   . . . We are not Adwaitees, but our teaching 
> respecting the one life is identical with that of 
> the Adwaitee with regard to Parabrahm. And no 
> true philosophically trained Adwaitee will ever 
> call himself an agnostic, for he knows that he is 
> Parabrahm and identical in every respect with the 
> universal life and soul ? the macrocosm is the 
> microcosm and he knows that there is no God apart 
> from himself, no creator as no being. Having 
> found Gnosis we cannot turn our backs on it and become agnostics.
>   . . Were we to admit that even the highest 
> Dhyan Chohans are liable to err under a delusion, 
> then there would be no reality for us indeed and 
> the occult sciences would be as great a chimera 
> as that God. If there is an absurdity in denying 
> that which we do not know it is still more 
> extravagant to assign to it unknown laws.
> According to logic "nothing" is that of which 
> everything can truly be denied and nothing can 
> truly be affirmed. The idea therefore either of a 
> finite or infinite nothing is a contradiction in 
> terms. And yet according to theologians "God, the 
> self-existent being is a most simple, 
> unchangeable, incorruptible being; without parts, 
> figure, motion, divisibility, or any other such 
> properties as we find in matter. For all such 
> things so plainly and necessarily imply 
> finiteness in their very notion and are utterly 
> inconsistent with complete infinity." Therefore 
> the God here offered to the adoration of the 
> XIXth century lacks every quality upon which 
> man's mind is capable of fixing any judgment. 
> What is this in fact but a being of whom they can 
> affirm nothing that is not instantly 
> contradicted. Their own Bible, their Revelation, 
> destroys all the moral perfections they heap upon 
> him, unless indeed they call those qualities 
> perfections that every other man's reason and 
> common sense call imperfections, odious vices and 
> brutal wickedness. Nay more, he who reads our 
> Buddhist scriptures written for the superstitious 
> masses will fail to find in them a demon so 
> vindictive, unjust, so cruel and so stupid as the 
> celestial tyrant upon whom the Christians 
> prodigally lavish their servile worship and on 
> whom their theologians heap those perfections 
> that are contradicted on every page of their 
> Bible. Truly and veritably your theology has 
> created her God but to destroy him piecemeal. 
> Your church is the fabulous Saturn, who begets children but to 
devour them.
> (The Universal Mind) ? A few reflections and 
> arguments ought to support every new idea ? for 
> instance we are sure to be taken to task for the 
> following apparent contradictions. (1) We deny 
> the existence of a thinking conscious God, on the 
> grounds that such a God must either be 
> conditioned, limited and subject to change, 
> therefore not infinite, or (2) if he is 
> represented to us as an eternal unchangeable and 
> independent being, with not a particle of matter 
> in him, then we answer that it is no being but an 
> immutable blind principle, a law. And yet, they 
> will say, we believe in Dhyans, or Planetaries 
> ("spirits" also), and endow them with a universal 
> mind, and this must be explained.
> Our reasons may be briefly summed up thus:
> (1) We deny the absurd proposition that there can 
> be, even in a boundless and eternal universe ? 
> two infinite eternal and omnipresent existences.
> (2) Matter we know to be eternal, i.e., having 
> had no beginning (a) because matter is Nature 
> herself (b) because that which cannot annihilate 
> itself and is indestructible exists necessarily ? 
> and therefore it could not begin to be, nor can 
> it cease to be (c) because the accumulated 
> experience of countless ages, and that of exact 
> science show to us matter (or nature) acting by 
> her own peculiar energy, of which not an atom is 
> ever in an absolute state of rest, and therefore 
> it must have always existed, i.e., its materials 
> ever changing form, combinations and properties, 
> but its principles or elements being absolutely indestructible.
> (3) As to God ? since no one has ever or at any 
> time seen him or it ? unless he or it is the very 
> essence and nature of this boundless eternal 
> matter, its energy and motion, we cannot regard 
> him as either eternal or infinite or yet self 
> existing. We refuse to admit a being or an 
> existence of which we know absolutely nothing; 
> because (a) there is no room for him in the 
> presence of that matter whose undeniable 
> properties and qualities we know thoroughly well 
> (b) because if he or it is but a part of that 
> matter it is ridiculous to maintain that he is 
> the mover and ruler of that of which he is but a 
> dependent part and (c) because if they tell us 
> that God is a self existent pure spirit 
> independent of matter ? an extra-cosmic deity, we 
> answer that admitting even the possibility of 
> such an impossibility, i.e., his existence, we 
> yet hold that a purely immaterial spirit cannot 
> be an intelligent conscious ruler nor can he have 
> any of the attributes bestowed upon him by 
> theology, and thus such a God becomes again but a 
> blind force. Intelligence as found in our Dhyan 
> Chohans, is a faculty that can appertain but to 
> organized or animated being ? however 
> imponderable or rather invisible the materials of 
> their organizations. Intelligence requires the 
> necessity of thinking; to think one must have 
> ideas; ideas suppose senses which are physical 
> material, and how can anything material belong to 
> pure spirit? If it be objected that thought 
> cannot be a property of matter, we will ask the 
> reason why? We must have an unanswerable proof of 
> this assumption, before we can accept it. Of the 
> theologian we would enquire what was there to 
> prevent his God, since he is the alleged creator 
> of all ? to endow matter with the faculty of 
> thought; and when answered that evidently it has 
> not pleased Him to do so, that it is a mystery as 
> well as an impossibility, we would insist upon 
> being told why it is more impossible that matter 
> should produce spirit and thought, than spirit or 
> the thought of God should produce and create matter.
> We do not bow our heads in the dust before the 
> mystery of mind ? for we have solved it ages ago. 
> Rejecting with contempt the theistic theory we 
> reject as much the automaton theory, teaching 
> that states of consciousness are produced by the 
> marshalling of the molecules of the brain; and we 
> feel as little respect for that other hypothesis 
> ? the production of molecular motion by 
> consciousness. Then what do we believe in? Well, 
> we believe in the much laughed at phlogiston (see 
> article "What is force and what is matter?" 
> Theosophist, September), and in what some natural 
> philosophers would call nisus, the incessant 
> though perfectly imperceptible (to the ordinary 
> senses) motion or efforts one body is making on 
> another ? the pulsations of inert matter ? its 
> life. The bodies of the Planetary spirits are 
> formed of that which Priestley and others called 
> Phlogiston and for which we have another name ? 
> this essence in its highest seventh state forming 
> that matter of which the organisms of the highest 
> and purest Dhyans are composed, and in its lowest 
> or densest form (so impalpable yet that science 
> calls it energy and force) serving as a cover to 
> the Planetaries of the 1st or lowest degree.  In 
> other words we believe in MATTER alone, in matter 
> as visible nature and matter in its invisibility 
> as the invisible omnipresent omnipotent Proteus 
> with its unceasing motion which is its life, and 
> which nature draws from herself since she is the 
> great whole outside of which nothing can exist. 
> For as Bilfinger truly asserts, "motion is a 
> manner of existence that flows necessarily out of 
> the essence of matter; that matter moves by its 
> own peculiar energies; that its motion is due to 
> the force which is inherent in itself; that the 
> variety of motion and the phenomena that result 
> proceed from the diversity of the properties of 
> the qualities and of the combinations which are 
> originally found in the primitive matter" of 
> which nature is the assemblage and of which your 
> science knows less than one of our Tibetan Yak-drivers of Kant's 
> The existence of matter then is a fact; the 
> existence of motion is another fact, their self 
> existence and eternity or indestructibility is a 
> third fact. And the idea of pure spirit as a 
> Being or an Existence ? give it whatever name you 
> will ? is a chimera, a gigantic absurdity.
> Our ideas on Evil. Evil has no existence per se 
> and is but the absence of good and exists but for 
> him who is made its victim. It proceeds from two 
> causes, and no more than good is it an 
> independent cause in nature. Nature is destitute 
> of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable 
> laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends 
> suffering [and] death, and destroys what she has 
> created. Nature has an antidote for every poison 
> and her laws a reward for every suffering. The 
> butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, 
> and the little bird killed by an animal goes into 
> a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity 
> and the eternal fitness of things, and hence 
> cannot be called Evil in Nature. The real evil 
> proceeds from human intelligence and its origin 
> rests entirely with reasoning man who dissociates 
> himself from Nature. Humanity, then, alone is the 
> true source of evil. Evil is the exaggeration of 
> good, the progeny of human selfishness and 
> greediness. Think profoundly and you will find 
> that save death ? which is no evil but a 
> necessary law, and accidents which will always 
> find their reward in a future life ? the origin 
> of every evil whether small or great is in human 
> action, in man whose intelligence makes him the 
> one free agent in Nature. It is not nature that 
> creates diseases, but man. The latter's mission 
> and destiny in the economy of nature is to die 
> his natural death brought by old age; save 
> accident, neither a savage nor a wild (free) 
> animal dies of disease. Food, sexual relations, 
> drink, are all natural necessities of life; yet 
> excess in them brings on disease, misery, 
> suffering, mental and physical, and the latter 
> are transmitted as the greatest evils to future 
> generations, the progeny of the culprits. 
> Ambition, the desire of securing happiness and 
> comfort for those we love, by obtaining honours 
> and riches, are praiseworthy natural feelings, 
> but when they transform man into an ambitious 
> cruel tyrant, a miser, a selfish egotist they 
> bring untold misery on those around him; on 
> nations as well as on individuals. All this then 
> ? food, wealth, ambition, and a thousand other 
> things we have to leave unmentioned, becomes the 
> source and cause of evil whether in its abundance 
> or through its absence. Become a glutton, a 
> debauchee, a tyrant, and you become the 
> originator of diseases, of human suffering and 
> misery. Lack all this and you starve, you are 
> despised as a nobody, and the majority of the 
> herd, your fellow men, make of you a sufferer 
> your whole life. Therefore it is neither nature 
> nor an imaginary Deity that has to be blamed, but 
> human nature made vile by selfishness. Think well 
> over these few words; work out every cause of 
> evil you can think of and trace it to its origin 
> and you will have solved one-third of the problem 
> of evil. And now, after making due allowance for 
> evils that are natural and cannot be avoided, ? 
> and so few are they that I challenge the whole 
> host of Western metaphysicians to call them evils 
> or to trace them directly to an independent cause 
> ? I will point out the greatest, the chief cause 
> of nearly two thirds of the evils that pursue 
> humanity ever since that cause became a power. It 
> is religion under whatever form and in whatsoever 
> nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the 
> priesthood and the churches; it is in those 
> illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he 
> has to search out the source of that multitude of 
> evils which is the great curse of humanity and 
> that almost overwhelms mankind. Ignorance created 
> Gods and cunning took advantage of the 
> opportunity. Look at India and look at 
> Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism. 
> It is priestly imposture that rendered these Gods 
> so terrible to man; it is religion that makes of 
> him the selfish bigot, the fanatic that hates all 
> mankind out of his own sect without rendering him 
> any better or more moral for it. It is belief in 
> God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity 
> the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them 
> under the false pretence of saving them. It is 
> not man ever ready to commit any kind of evil if 
> told that his God or Gods demand the crime ? 
> voluntary victim of an illusionary God, the 
> abject slave of his crafty ministers? The Irish, 
> Italian and Slavonian peasant will starve himself 
> and see his family starving and naked to feed and 
> clothe his padre and pope. For two thousand years 
> India groaned under the weight of caste, Brahmins 
> alone feeding on the fat of the land, and to-day 
> the followers of Christ and those of Mahomet are 
> cutting each other's throats in the names of and 
> for the greater glory of their respective myths. 
> Remember the sum of human misery will never be 
> diminished unto that day when the better portion 
> of humanity destroys in the name of Truth, 
> morality, and universal charity, the altars of their false gods.
> If it is objected that we too have temples, we 
> too have priests and that our lamas also live on 
> charity . . . let them know that the objects 
> above named have in common with their Western 
> equivalents, but the name. Thus in our temples 
> there is neither a god nor gods worshipped, only 
> the thrice sacred memory of the greatest as the 
> holiest man that ever lived. If our lamas to 
> honour the fraternity of the Bhikkhus established 
> by our blessed master himself, go out to be fed 
> by the laity, the latter often to the number of 5 
> to 25,000 is fed and taken care of by the Samgha 
> (the fraternity of lamaic monks), the lamassery 
> providing for the wants of the poor, the sick, 
> the afflicted. Our lamas accept food, never 
> money, and it is in those temples that the origin 
> of evil is preached and impressed upon the 
> people. There they are taught the four noble 
> truths ? ariya sacca, and the chain of the 
> causation, (the 12 nid~nas) gives them a solution 
> of the problem of the origin and destruction of suffering.
> Read the Mahavagga and try to understand, not 
> with the prejudiced Western mind but the spirit 
> of intuition and truth what the Fully Enlightened 
> one says in the 1st Khandhaka. Allow me to translate it for you.
> "At the time the blessed Buddha was at Uruvela on 
> the shores of the river Neranjara as he rested 
> under the Bodhi tree of wisdom after he had 
> become Sambuddha, at the end of the seventh day 
> having his mind fixed on the chain of causation 
> he spake thus: `from Ignorance spring the 
> samkharas of threefold nature ? productions of 
> body, of speech, of thought. From the samkharas 
> springs consciousness, from consciousness springs 
> name and form, from this spring the six regions 
> (of the six senses, the seventh being the 
> property of but the enlightened); from these 
> springs contact from this sensation; from this 
> springs thirst (or desire, kama, tanha), from 
> thirst attachment, existence, birth, old age and 
> death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection 
> and despair. Again by the destruction of 
> ignorance, the samkharas are destroyed, and their 
> consciousness, name and form, the six regions, 
> contact, sensation, thirst, attachment 
> (selfishness), existence, birth, old age, death, 
> grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and 
> despair are destroyed. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of 
> Knowing this the Blessed One uttered this solemn utterance:
> "When the real nature of things becomes clear to 
> the meditating Bhikshu, then all his doubts fade 
> away since he has learned what is that nature and 
> what its cause. From ignorance spring all the 
> evils. From knowledge comes the cessation of this 
> mass of misery, and then the meditating Brahmana 
> stands dispelling the hosts of Mara like the sun that illuminates 
the sky."
> Meditation here means the superhuman (not 
> supernatural) qualities, or arhatship in its highest of spiritual 
> Copied out Simla, Sept. 28, 1882.
> ____________
> 1 Transcribed from a copy in Mr. Sinnett's handwriting. ? ED.
> ____________
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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