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H.P. Blavatsky on Pantheism

Nov 16, 2008 03:28 PM
by danielhcaldwell

In THE SECRET DOCTRINE, H.P. Blavatsky writes as follows on pantheism:

It is hoped that during the perusal of this work the erroneous ideas 
of the public in general with regard to Pantheism will be modified. 
It is wrong and unjust to regard the Buddhists and Advaitee 
Occultists as atheists. If not all of them philosophers, they are, at 
any rate, all logicians, their objections and arguments being based 
on strict reasoning. Indeed, if the Parabrahmam of the Hindus may be 
taken as a representative of the hidden and nameless deities of other 
nations, this absolute Principle will be found to be the prototype 
from which all the others were copied. Parabrahm is not "God," 
because It is not a God. "It is that which is supreme, and not 
supreme (paravara)," explains Mandukya Upanishad (2.28). It 
is "Supreme" as cause, not supreme as effect. Parabrahm is simply, as 
a "Secondless Reality," the all-inclusive Kosmos ? or, rather, the 
infinite Cosmic Space ? in the highest spiritual sense, of course. 
Brahma (neuter) being the unchanging, pure, free, undecaying supreme 
Root, "the one true Existence, Paramarthika," and the absolute Chit 
and Chaitanya (intelligence, consciousness) cannot be a 
cogniser, "for that can have no subject of cognition." Can the flame 
be called the essence of Fire? This Essence is "the life and light of 
the Universe, the visible fire and flame are destruction, death, and 
evil." "Fire and Flame destroy the body of an Arhat, their essence 
makes him immortal." (Bodhi-mur, Book II.) "The knowledge of the 
absolute Spirit, like the effulgence of the sun, or like heat in 
fire, is naught else than the absolute Essence itself," says 
Sankaracharya. IT ? is "the Spirit of the Fire," not fire itself; 
therefore, "the attributes of the latter, heat or flame, are not the 
attributes of the Spirit, but of that of which that Spirit is the 
unconscious cause." Is not the above sentence the true key-note of 
later Rosicrucian philosophy? Parabrahm is, in short, the collective 
aggregate of Kosmos in its infinity and eternity, the "that" 
and "this" to which distributive aggregates can not be applied.* "In 
the beginning this was the Self, one only" (Aitareya Upanishad); the 
great Sankaracharya, explains that "this" referred to the Universe 
(Jagat); the sense of the words, "In the beginning," meaning before 
the reproduction of the phenomenal Universe.

Therefore, when the Pantheists echo the Upanishads, which state, as 
in the Secret Doctrine, that "this" cannot create, they do not deny a 
Creator, or rather a collective aggregate of creators, but only 
refuse, very logically, to attribute "creation" and especially 
formation, something finite, to an Infinite Principle. With them, 
Parabrahmam is a passive because an Absolute Cause, the unconditioned 
Mukta. It is only limited Omniscience and Omnipotence that are 
refused to the latter, because these are still attributes (as 
reflected in man's perceptions); and because Parabrahm, being 
the "Supreme all," the ever invisible spirit and Soul of Nature, 
changeless and eternal, can have no attributes; absoluteness very 
naturally precluding any idea of the finite or conditioned from being 
connected with it. And if the Vedantin postulates attributes as 
belonging simply to its emanation, calling it "Iswara plus Maya," and 
Avidya (Agnosticism and Nescience rather than ignorance), it is 
difficult to find any Atheism in this conception.? Since there can be 
neither two infinites nor two absolutes in a Universe supposed to be 
Boundless, this Self-Existence can hardly be conceived of as creating 
personally. In the sense and perceptions of finite "Beings," that is 
Non-"being," in the sense that it is the one BE-NESS; for, in this 
all lies concealed its coeternal and coeval emanation or inherent 
radiation, which, upon becoming periodically Brahma (the male-female 
Potency) becomes or expands itself into the manifested Universe. 
Narayana moving on the (abstract) waters of Space, is transformed 
into the Waters of concrete substance moved by him, who now becomes 
the manifested word or Logos.

The orthodox Brahmins, those who rise the most against the Pantheists 
and Adwaitees, calling them Atheists, are forced, if Manu has any 
authority in this matter, to accept the death of Brahma, the creator, 
at the expiration of every "Age" of this (creative) deity (100 Divine 
years ? a period which in our years requires fifteen figures to 
express it). Yet, no philosopher among them will view this "death" in 
any other sense than as a temporary disappearance from the manifested 
plane of existence, or as a periodical rest.

The Occultists are, therefore, at one with the Adwaita Vedantin 
philosophers as to the above tenet. They show the impossibility of 
accepting on philosophical grounds the idea of the absolute all 
creating or even evolving the "Golden Egg," into which it is said to 
enter in order to transform itself into Brahma ? the Creator, who 
expands himself later into gods and all the visible Universe. They 
say that Absolute Unity cannot pass to infinity; for infinity 
presupposes the limitless extension of something, and the duration of 
that "something;" and the One All is like Space ? which is its only 
mental and physical representation on this Earth, or our plane of 
existence ? neither an object of, nor a subject to, perception. If 
one could suppose the Eternal Infinite All, the Omnipresent Unity, 
instead of being in Eternity, becoming through periodical 
manifestation a manifold Universe or a multiple personality, that 
Unity would cease to be one. Locke's idea that "pure Space is capable 
of neither resistance nor Motion" ? is incorrect. Space is neither 
a "limitless void," nor a "conditioned fulness," but both: being, on 
the plane of absolute abstraction, the ever-incognisable Deity, which 
is void only to finite minds,* and on that of mayavic perception, the 
Plenum, the absolute Container of all that is, whether manifested or 
unmanifested: it is, therefore, that absolute all. There is no 
difference between the Christian Apostle's "In Him we live and move 
and have our being," and the Hindu Rishi's "The Universe lives in, 
proceeds from, and will return to, Brahma (Brahma):" for Brahma 
(neuter), the unmanifested, is that Universe in abscondito, and 
Brahma, the manifested, is the Logos, made male-female* in the 
symbolical orthodox dogmas. The God of the Apostle-Initiate and of 
the Rishi being both the Unseen and the Visible space. Space is 
called in the esoteric symbolism "the Seven-Skinned Eternal Mother-
Father." It is composed from its undifferentiated to its 
differentiated surface of seven layers.

"What is that which was, is, and will be, whether there is a Universe 
or not; whether there be gods or none?" asks the esoteric Senzar 
Catechism. And the answer made is ? space.

It is not the One Unknown ever-present God in Nature, or Nature in 
abscondito, that is rejected, but the God of human dogma and his 
humanized "Word." In his infinite conceit and inherent pride and 
vanity, man shaped it himself with his sacrilegious hand out of the 
material he found in his own small brain-fabric, and forced it upon 
mankind as a direct revelation from the one unrevealed space.? The 
Occultist accepts revelation as coming from divine yet still finite 
Beings, the manifested lives, never from the Unmanifestable one life; 
from those entities, called Primordial Man, Dhyani-Buddhas, or Dhyan-
Chohans, the "Rishi-Prajapati" of the Hindus, the Elohim or "Sons of 
God," the Planetary Spirits of all nations, who have become Gods for 
men. He also regards the Adi-Sakti ? the direct emanation of 
Mulaprakriti, the eternal Root of that, and the female aspect of the 
Creative Cause Brahma, in her A'kasic form of the Universal Soul ? as 
philosophically a Maya, and cause of human Maya. But this view does 
not prevent him from believing in its existence so long as it lasts, 
to wit, for one Mahamanvantara; nor from applying Akasa, the 
radiation of Mulaprakriti,* to practical purposes, connected as the 
World-Soul is with all natural phenomena, known or unknown to science.
Quoted from:  Volume 1 (original 1888 edition), pp. 6-10.  Footnotes 
are deleted.

For more material on THE SECRET DOCTRINE, see:


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