[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Sinnett's Chapter on "The Universe" from Esoteric Buddhism

Aug 14, 2007 11:57 AM
by danielhcaldwell

We are in the process of putting online a special edition
of Sinnett's ESOTERIC BUDDHISM.  This edition will be easy
both to navigate and to read as well as having links to relevant
extracts in HPB's writings from ISIS UNVEILED to THE SECRET DOCTRINE 
as well as to the letters of the Mahatmas.

I give below a link to a draft online copy of Chapter XI "The 
Universe" of Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism.


The attentive reader will see that Sinnett in 1883 writes on
at least two of the three fundamental propositions of HPB's 1888 

I give a few brief extracts below:

IN all Oriental literature bearing on the constitution of the cosmos, 
frequent reference is made to the days and the nights of Brahmâ; the 
in-breathings and the out-breathings of the creative principle, the 
periods of manvantara, and the periods of pralaya. This idea runs 
into various Eastern mythologies, but in its symbolical aspects we 
need not follow it here. The process in Nature to which it refers is 
of course the alternate succession of activity and repose that is 
observable at every step of the great ascent from the infinitely 
small to the infinitely great. Man has a manvantara and pralaya every 
four-and-twenty hours, his periods of waking and sleeping; vegetation 
follows the same rule from year to year as it subsides and revives 
with the seasons. The world, too, has its manvantaras and pralayas, 
when the tide-wave of humanity approaches its shore, runs through the 
evolution of its seven races, and ebbs away again, and such a 
manvantara has been treated by most exoteric religions as the whole 
cycle of eternity.

The one eternal, imperishable thing in the universe, which universal 
pralayas themselves pass over without destroying, is that which may 
be regarded indifferently as space, duration, matter or motion; not 
as something having these four attributes, but as something which is 
these four things at once and always. And evolution takes its rise in 
the atomic polarity which motion engenders. In cosmogony the positive 
and the negative, or the active and the passive, forces correspond to 
the male and female principles. The spiritual efflux enters into the 
veil of cosmic matter; the active is attracted by the passive 
principle, and if we may here assist imagination by having recourse 
to old occult symbology - the great Nag - the serpent emblem of 
eternity, attracts its tail to its mouth, forming thereby the circle 
of eternity, or rather cycles in eternity. The one and chief 
attribute of the universal spiritual principle, the unconscious but 
ever active life-giver, is to expand and shed; that of the universal 
material principle is to gather in and fecundate. Unconscious and non-
existing when separate, they become consciousness and life when 
brought together.

That which antedates every manifestation of the universe, and would 
lie beyond the limit of manifestation, if such limits could ever be 
found, is that which underlies the manifested universe within our own 
purview - matter animated by motion, its Parabrahm or Spirit. Matter, 
space, motion, and duration, constitute one and the same eternal 
substance of the universe. There is nothing else eternal absolutely.

See the complete chapter at:


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application