Occult Powers in Nature and in Man – Introduction – Address at the commencement of the summer school
During our Workers’ Conference and the Convention itself our thoughts were led by the lectures and by the discussions which followed them to the problems in the world around us and the application of Theosophy to their solution.
In the Summer School, particularly in my own contribution, we shall temporarily withdraw our thoughts from the outer world and, guided by theosophical teachings, turn them o the emanation and the formation of universes.
Our thoughts will go back to that pre-Cosmic condition in which, as is said in the Book of Genesis, “Darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Then, when the Cosmic Hour had struck, divine creative energy was liberated and there was initiated the whole Cosmic process of emanation, formation and perfection in orderly progression, of universes and all that they contain.
We shall turn our thoughts to that first dawn when “ the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2), “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” (Job 38:7)
IN our study together we shall have a threefold objective. We shall
- First seek some partial comprehension of the creative Deity itself;
- Second, some understanding of the processes of the emanation of universes; and
- Third, knowledge of man’s relationship to God and of his place in the Great Work, as it has been called.
This surely, is an extremely interesting and important subject, for we shall seek knowledge of our Spiritual Source, of our Spiritual Parentage, of the fountain and origin of our existence and our lives.
We shall also be seeking knowledge of the purpose of our lives and of the laws governing the fulfillment of that purpose, and also the way of power, of full attainment for ourselves and of happiness and peace for all mankind.
At the very beginning we shall reach up and outwards together into the realm of eternal and infinite thought.
This itself is valuable, no process being more important to man than contemplation of the Divine, no quest so essential to human happiness; for without a knowledge of our Source, of our nature and of our goal, we cannot live intelligently.
Unless we live intelligently we cannot either obtain for ourselves, or give to others, enduring happiness.
So, we are going to study together Cosmic creative processes.
It is a difficult subject, yet man has always sought to understand it.
The thought of man has always reached out towards his Divine Source, and perhaps the most magnificent of all literature has been evoked by the contemplation of the Divine and the attempts of authors, philosophers and poets to put into words the sublimity of THAT from which we all came forth. Yes, even children will ask us questions about God and who made God.
The mother of two children of seven and five once told me that their thoughts were often turned towards the subject of God. On one occasion the younger child said, “Mother, did God make everything?” “Yes, dear, of course He made everything.” “Well, then, Mother, Who made God?” came the natural question. Whereupon the elder child immediately said, “Mother, don’t answer him. He’ll only want to know who made who made who!”
We, in our turn, this morning and through the days to follow, will try to understand “who made who made who” and by what means.
The answer is strange, difficult to understand, metaphysical, abstract.
St.John, in the first five verses of his Gospel, leads into it in the most wonderful way, saying:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.”
The first five verses of the Book of Genesis state:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
Evidently, then, at first there existed a duality – the Word, which was God, the masculine creative Spirit; and the face of the Deep, space, pre-Cosmic matter, the feminine creative Principle. At first and throughout creative Night, Pralaya (Sk. Creative Night, a period of quiescence, non-manifestation, in contradistinction to Manvantara, creative Day, a period of activity, manifestation.)
Then the Cosmic hour struck. The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the Waters. The Great Breath was breathed upon the Great Deep. God spake, saying “Let there be light”, and light shone forth. In this all cosmogonies seem to agree, saying that sound, the “Word” of God, best describes the nature of the creative agency. Evidently it is of the order, quality and form-producing potency of sound; so that by sound all things were said to be made.
This, in part, is the Logos Doctrine which we will study together. We shall find many strange utterances descriptive of creation, or rather emanation from the Absolute and the formation of universes by the power of Divine Will-Thought-Sound.
“By the word of Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (33:6) sang the Palmist.
In Egypt the creative Deity affirms: “I am the Great God Nu, who gave birth to himself, and who made his name to become the company of the gods.”
Again the Egyptians taught that Tehuti, as the Divine Intelligence, at the creation of the universe uttered the “Word” which resulted in the formation of the world. Tehuti was self-produced, was Lord of earth and air and sea and sky. Amen, the later active Deity, is called “the Hidden One of the Mouth”, and it is the silence of his mouth whose uttered word is mystery, even the mouth of the Ruler of Aeon, which grasps the eternity of Being in Peace” (Budge, Book of the Dead, Ch.XVII) which brought forth worlds.
Similarly, Brahma, the creative Deity in Hinduism, brings forth the universe as a result of marriage with His consort, Vach, which means voice, sound, the active, creative potency.
There is a delightful story told of the childhood of the Lord Shri Krishna, who was an Avatara or “descent” of Vishnu. He was born of Devaki, his mother, in prison. When freed and with his foster mother Yasoda, and they were at home together, whilst in many ways he showed his strange divinity, his deific powers, in others he was a playful, even a naughty little child. One day, Balarama and other boys complained to Yasoda that Krishna had eaten earth. She remonstrated. “They have lied”, exclaimed Krishna. “Or, if they have spoken the truth, then examine my mouth.” “Open it”, said Yasoda, but what did she find within that mouth?
The seven Dvipas (continents), the planets, the stars, the three Gunas and all their transformations, even Vrindavana (A wood in the district of Mathura, India, where Krishna passed his youth, under the name of Gopala, among the cowherds) and herself. (A Study of the Bhagavata Purana, by Purnendu Narayana Sinha, M.A., B.L. Skandha X, Chap.VIII, The Pranks of the Boy.)
For a moment, she was lost in the vision and thereafter she saluted and worshipped this Child, the Lord Himself, creative Deity, who brings forth all things metaphorically from within His mouth or by the power of His voice.
Still another wonderful description of creation is found in Egyptian cosmogony. The Egyptians believed at one time that the articulate “Word” or the Voice of God, as of man, is amongst the most potent of creative forces and that the Voice of God did not remain immaterial on issuing from His lips. The Divine Voice condensed into tangible substance, into bodies, into gods and goddesses, who created in their turn.
There is one striking description in which the Deity, at the dawn of creation, stands as it were above the vast Ocean of Space and utters the creative cry, which was “Come unto me”, whereupon the sun rose from the vast depths of Space above fully opened lotus flower. God had opened His lips, and the voice which proceeded therefrom had become a universe. Sound had produced form.
These will be some of the ideas which we shall think over quietly together on the four mornings when we study creative processes. As we do so, I hope we will remember that ultimately all theosophical doctrines must and will be translated into consciousness.
Doctrines must eventually for us become living knowledge. Teachings must become gateways to direct experience. In order to achieve that we begin with study, bringing the doctrines into clear focus in the mind and holding them there, living with them, meditating upon them, until gradually they become assimilated knowledge, comprehended truth.
The student then knows the doctrines, they belong to him, they are part of him, his own. This full assimilation of fundamental ideas and this self-identification with them, it seems to me, are the goal.
So, as we study together in these beautiful surroundings morning after morning, I shall enunciates the doctrines very slowly, sometimes repeating them and pausing between each repetition. We shall then find, I hope, that in many cases the sheer beauty of the language of the quotations will delight and uplift our minds, as we move towards the ideas and finally comprehend them.
At the end of such study we will turn to man, the microcosm, creator-in-the beginning, one day to bring forth universes even larger than those now existing; for let us ever remember that such is our destiny. We are Creative Voices-to-be, Logoi-in-the becoming. One day it will be our task, or at least our stature, to bring forth universes in our turn.
The power to do so is in us now. Within the Monad (Monad (Greek) Alone. The one Self, Divine Spark or Ray from the one universal Principle, “the Immortal Germ”.) of each one of us resides the whole potency of the Cosmic God-head. We do not have to create that power, we only liberate and exercise it. That is why the Monad in each one of us is called the “Immortal Germ”.
Each one of us is at some stage in this becoming, at some phase of our pilgrimage, the goal of which is described by our Lord: “”Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mathews V:48)
Walt Whitman, in his wonderful poem, “Passage to India”, echoes this thought:
“O Thou transcendent,
Nameless, the fibre and the breadth,
Light of the light, shedding forth universes, thou centre of them.
. . . . . . . . . .
How should I think, how breathe a single breath, how speak, if,
out of myself
I could not launch, to those, superior universes?”
Unless possessed of the vision of a Walt Whitman, this is difficult to contemplate as we think of ourselves as we are down here, mere mortal man and women, conscious of our limitations. If, however, for a moment we contemplate and perhaps touch the Divinity within us, if only “the hem of His garment”, then the possibility of such attainment begins to be realized. “Become that which you are”, we are taught, indicating our destiny, which is to bring into full manifestation that which from the beginning has been latent within us.
Man is described as a microcosm, a little world, a reproduction of the Macrocosm, the greater world. In terms of vibratory possibilities, all that is in this universe is present in man. The whole universe with all its physical parts from the Ādi plane down to the physical, is interlocked, interwoven to make a single whole – one body, one organism, one life, one consciousness.
All the organs of this Macrocosm, the universe, though apparently separated in space and plane of manifestation, are, in fact, harmoniously interrelated and interacting. The whole Syrian Cosmos, for example, which includes the twelve Signs of the Zodiac, and all its component Solar Systems with their suns and their planets, and all their kingdoms and planes of Nature, their elements, colours, Rays, notes, beings and Orders of Intelligences – all this is one co-ordinated whole. This is because all the parts are in correspondence or harmonious resonance and mutual interaction with each other. “All are parts of one stupendous whole.”
Certain parts or organs of the universal body, certain signs, planets, planes, kingdoms, colours, metals, jewels, parts of man, physical and super-physical, are more intimately grouped together than others, and these parts resonate harmoniously with each other, like the notes of a chord. Various parts of the universe and of man share a common basic frequency of oscillation. In occultism, they are said to correspond. For example, one Sign of the Zodiac, its ruling planet, one of the elements, one of the colours, one of the principles or bodies of man, one of the chakras (Chakra- (Sk). A wheel or a circle. A force-centre consisting of a spinning vortex in the etheric, emotional, mental and higher bodies of man, each of which contains seven chakras. Each of these is in mutual resonance with a plane of nature, a planet, a sign of the Zodiac and the Orders of Intelligences presiding over each of them. Vide The Chakras, C W Leadbeater), one of the glandular centres in the physical body – these are all co-ordinated and vibrating in mutual resonance.
Knowledge of these correspondences, as they are theosophically called, provides the key to the understanding of the universe and of man’s place therein, and to the solution of many human problems; it is also the basic science behind all life and the key to magic.
Magic has been defined as the power to address the the gods in their own tongue, meaning that human consciousness must be able to vibrate and send out thought waves on the frequency of the hierarchical Orders of Gods whose collaboration is sought. Symbolically, one must know their “names”, and since every “name” of every being is within man he can evoke it, especially if he knows various frequencies and correspondences.
All, says Theosophy, which is outside of us is also within us, not only in general but like a perfectly adjusted piece of clockwork.
Every part of man is synchronized or geared to every corresponding part of the universe, the whole being one great and perfect mechanism turning together, as cycle follows cycle in that orderly progression which, as The Secret Doctrine says, is without conceivable beginning or imaginable end.
These ideas of Theosophy we will think over together, and particularly that man is made in the image of God or, as it is said, “God created man to be immortal, to be an image of His own eternity”. Lao-Tze, the Chinese philosopher, said: :The universe is a man on a large scale.” We might permissibly reverse the dictum and say that man is a universe on a small scale. Thus, indeed, as Pope said: “The proper study of mankind is man”; for if man wholly knows himself, he knows all. Rightly, over the doorway of the Temple at Delphi in ancient Greece, the words were inscribed: “Man know thyself”.
So, as I said at the beginning of these introductory remarks and now repeat at the end, during these few happy days together in the beautiful surroundings and the seclusion of Olcott, and away from the noise and the roar of traffic of the world amidst which so many of us have to live, we will give up our thoughts to the contemplation of the Divine. From our morning meditation at 7.30, and on throughout our studies and thoughts together, we will seek what Ruysbroeck describes as “the immediate contact with the Divine”.
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