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H.P. Blavatsky on Pantheism

Mar 18, 2009 07:15 AM
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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