- 4. He builds them in the likeness of older Wheels (worlds), placing them on the imperishable centres (a).
- How does Fohat build them ? He collects the fiery dust. He makes balls of fire, runs through them and round them, infusing life thereinto ; then sets them into motion, some one, some the other way. They are cold — he makes them hot. They are dry — he makes them moist. They shine — he fans and cools them (b).
- Thus acts Fohat from one Twilight to the other during Seven Eternities. ‡
(a) The Worlds are built “ in the likeness of older Wheels ” — i.e., those that existed in preceding Manvantaras and went into Pralaya,
* Indeed, if such an imaginary Chemist happened to be intuitional, and would for a moment step out of the habitual groove of strictly “ Exact Science,” as the Alchemists of old did, he might be repaid for his audacity.
† He who would allotropise sluggish oxygen into Ozone to a measure of alchemical activity, reducing it to its pure essence (for which there are means), would discover thereby a substitute for an “ Elixir of Life ” and prepare it for practical use.
‡ A period of 311,040,000,000,000 years, according to Brahminical calculations.
because the Law for the birth, growth, and decay of everything in Kosmos, from the Sun to the glow-worm in the grass, is One. It is an everlasting work of perfection with every new appearance, but the Substance-Matter and Forces are all one and the same. But this Law acts on every planet through minor and varying laws. The “ imperishable Laya Centres ” have a great importance, and their meaning must be fully understood if we would have a clear conception of the Archaic Cosmogony, whose theories have now passed into Occultism. At present, one thing may be stated. The worlds are built neither upon, nor over, nor in the Laya centres, the zero-point being a condition, not any mathematical point.
(b) Bear in mind that Fohat, the constructive Force of Cosmic Electricity, is said, metaphorically, to have sprung like Rudra from Brahmâ “ from the brain of the Father and the bosom of the Mother,” and then to have metamorphosed himself into a male and a female, i.e., polarity, into positive and negative electricity. He has seven sons who are his brothers ; and Fohat is forced to be born time after time whenever any two of his son-brothers indulge in too close contact — whether an embrace or a fight. To avoid this, he binds together and unites those of unlike nature and separates those of similar temperaments. This, of course, relates, as any one can see, to electricity generated by friction and to the law involving attraction between two objects of unlike, and repulsion between those of like polarity. The Seven “ Sons-brothers,” however, represent and personify the seven forms of Cosmic magnetism called in practical Occultism the “ Seven Radicals,” whose co-operative and active progeny are, among other energies, Electricity, Magnetism, Sound, Light, Heat, Cohesion, etc. Occult Science defines all these as Super-sensuous effects in their hidden behaviour, and as objective phenomena in the world of senses ; the former requiring abnormal faculties to perceive them — the latter, our ordinary physical senses. They all pertain to, and are the emanations of, still more supersensuous spiritual qualities, not personated by, but belonging to, real and conscious causes. To attempt a description of such entities would be worse than useless. The reader must bear in mind that, according to our teaching which regards this phenomenal Universe as a great Illusion, the nearer a body is to the Unknown Substance, the more it approaches reality, as being removed the farther
from this world of Maya. Therefore, though the molecular constitution of their bodies is not deducible from their manifestations on this plane of consciousness, they nevertheless (from the standpoint of the adept Occultist) possess a distinctive objective if not material structure, in the relatively noumenal — as opposed to the phenomenal — Universe. Men of science may term them Force or Forces generated by matter, or “ modes of its motion,” if they will ; Occultism sees in the effects “ Elemental ” (forces), and, in the direct causes producing them, intelli- gent Divine Workmen. The intimate connection of those Elementals (guided by the unerring hand of the Rulers) — their correlation we might call it — with the elements of pure Matter, results in our terrestrial phenomena, such as light, heat, magnetism, etc., etc. Of course we shall never agree with the American Substantialists * who call every Force and Energy — whether Light, Heat, Electricity or Cohesion — an “ Entity ; ” for this would be equivalent to calling the noise produced by the rolling of the wheels of a vehicle an Entity — thus confusing and identifying that “ noise ” with the driver outside, and the guiding Master Intelligence within the vehicle. But we certainly give that name to the “ drivers ” and to these guiding Intelligences — the ruling Dhyan Chohans, as shown. The “ Elementals,” the Nature-Forces, are the acting, though invisible, or rather imperceptible, secondary Causes and in themselves the effects of primary Causes behind the Veil of all terrestrial phenomena. Electricity, light, heat, etc., have been aptly termed the “ Ghost or Shadow of Matter in Motion,” i.e., supersensuous states of matter whose effects only we are able to cognize. To expand, then, the simile given above. The sensation of light is like the sound of the rolling wheels — a purely phenomenal effect, having no existence outside the observer ; the proximate exciting cause of the sensation is comparable to the driver — a supersensuous state of matter in motion, a Nature-Force or Elemental. But, behind even this, stand — just as the owner of the carriage directs the driver from within — the higher and noumenal causes, the Intelligences from whose essence radiate these States of “ Mother,” generating the countless milliards of Elementals or psychic Nature-Spirits, just as every drop of water generates its physical
* See “ Scientific Arena,” a monthly Journal devoted to current philosophical teaching and its bearing upon the religious thought of the Age. New York : A. Wilford Hall, Ph.D., LL.D., Editor. (1886, July, August, and September.)
infinitesimal Infusoria. (See “ Gods, Monads, and Atoms,” in Part III.) It is Fohat who guides the transfer of the principles from one planet to the other, from one star to another — child-star. When a planet dies, its informing principles are transferred to a laya or sleeping centre, with potential but latent energy in it, which is thus awakened into life and begins to form itself into a new sidereal body. (Vide infra, “ A Few Theosophical Misconceptions, etc.”)
It is most remarkable that, while honestly confessing their entire ignorance of the true Nature of even terrestrial matter — primordial substance being regarded more as a dream than as a sober reality — the physicists should set themselves up as judges, nevertheless, of that matter, and claim to know what it is able and is not able to do, in various combinations. Scientists know it (matter) hardly skin-deep, and yet they will dogmatise. It is “ a mode of motion ” and nothing else. But the force that is inherent in a living person’s breath, when blowing a speck of dust from the table, is also, and undeniably, “ a mode of motion ” ; and it is as undeniably not a quality of the matter, or the particles of that speck, and it emanates from the living and thinking Entity that breathed, whether the impulse originated consciously or unconsciously. Indeed, to endow matter — something of which nothing is known so far — with an inherent quality called Force, of the nature of which still less is known, is to create a far more serious difficulty than that which lies in the acceptation of the intervention of our “ Nature-Spirits ” in every natural phenomenon.
The Occultists, who do not say — if they would express themselves correctly — that matter, but only the substance or essence of matter, is indestructible and eternal, (i.e., the Root of all, Mulaprakriti) : assert that all the so-called Forces of Nature, Electricity, Magnetism, Light, Heat, etc., etc., far from being modes of motion of material particles, are in esse, i.e., in their ultimate constitution, the differentiated aspects of that Universal Motion which is discussed and explained in the first pages of this volume (See Proem). When Fohat is said to produce “ Seven Laya Centres,” it means that for formative or creative purposes, the Great Law (Theists may call it God) stops, or rather modifies its perpetual motion on seven invisible points within the area of the manifested Universe. “ The great Breath digs through Space seven holes into Laya to cause them to circumgyrate during Manvantara ” (Occult Catechism). We
have said that Laya is what Science may call the Zero-point or line ; the realm of absolute negativeness, or the one real absolute Force, the noumenon of the Seventh State of that which we ignorantly call and recognise as “ Force ” ; or again the Noumenon of Undifferentiated Cosmic Substance which is itself an unreachable and unknowable object to finite perception ; the root and basis of all states of objectivity and subjectivity too ; the neutral axis, not one of the many aspects, but its centre. It may serve to elucidate the meaning if we attempt to imagine a neutral centre — the dream of those who would discover perpetual motion. A “ neutral centre ” is, in one aspect, the limiting point of any given set of senses. Thus, imagine two consecutive planes of matter as already formed ; each of these corresponding to an appropriate set of perceptive organs. We are forced to admit that between these two planes of matter an incessant circulation takes place ; and if we follow the atoms and molecules of (say) the lower in their transformation upwards, these will come to a point where they pass altogether beyond the range of the faculties we are using on the lower plane. In fact, to us the matter of the lower plane there vanishes from our perception into nothing — or rather it passes on to the higher plane, and the state of matter corresponding to such a point of transition must certainly possess special and not readily discoverable properties. Such “ Seven Neutral Centres,” * then, are produced by Fohat, who, when, as Milton has it —
“ Fair foundations (are) laid whereon to build . . .”
quickens matter into activity and evolution.
The Primordial Atom (anu) cannot be multiplied either in its pregenetic state, or its primogeneity ; therefore it is called “ sum total,” figuratively, of course, as that “ sum total ” is boundless. (See Addendum to this Book.) That which is the abyss of nothingness to the physicist, who knows only the world of visible causes and effects, is the boundless Space of the Divine Plenum to the Occultist. Among many other objections to the doctrine of an endless evolution and re-involution (or re-absorption) of the Kosmos, a process which, according to the Brahminical and Esoteric Doctrine, is without a beginning or an end, the Occultist is told that it cannot be, since “ by all the admissions of
* Such, we believe, is the name applied by Mr. Keely, of Philadelphia, the inventor of the famous “ Motor ” — destined, as his admirers have hoped, to revolutionise the motor power of the world — to what he again calls the “ Etheric Centres.”
modern scientific philosophy it is a necessity of Nature to run down.” If the tendency of Nature “ to run down ” is to be considered so forcible an objection to Occult Cosmogony, “How,” we may ask, “ do your Positivists and Free-thinkers and Scientists account for the phalanx around us of active stellar systems ? ” They had eternity to “ run down ” in ; why, then, is not the Kosmos a huge inert mass ? Even the moon is only hypothetically believed to be a dead planet, “ run down,” and astronomy does not seem to be acquainted with many such dead planets. * The query is unanswerable. But apart from this it must be noted that the idea of the amount of “ transformable energy ” in our little system coming to an end is based purely on the fallacious conception of a “ white-hot, incandescent Sun ” perpetually radiating away his heat without compensation into Space. To this we reply that nature runs down and disappears from the objective plane, only to re-emerge after a time of rest out of the subjective and to reascend once more. Our Kosmos and Nature will run down only to reappear on a more perfect plane after every Pralaya. The matter of the Eastern philosophers is not the “ matter ” and Nature of the Western metaphysicians. For what is Matter ? And above all, what is our scientific philosophy but that which was so justly and so politely defined by Kant as “ the Science of the limits to our Knowledge ?” Where have the many attempts made by Science to bind, to connect, and define all the phenomena of organic life by mere physical and chemical manifestations, brought it to ? To speculation generally — mere soap-bubbles, that burst one after the other before the men of Science were permitted to discover real facts. All this would have been avoided, and the progress of knowledge would have proceeded with gigantic strides, had only Science and its philosophy abstained from accepting hypotheses on the mere one-sided Knowledge of their Matter. †
* The moon is dead only so far as regards her inner “ principles ” — i.e., psychically and spiritually, however absurd the statement may seem. Physically, she is only as a semi- paralysed body may be. She is aptly referred to in Occultism as the “ insane mother,” the great sidereal lunatic.
† The instance of Uranus and Neptune, whose satellites, four and one respectively, revolved, it was thought, in their orbits from East to West, whereas all the other satellites rotate from West to East, is a very good one, as showing how unreliable are all a priori speculations even when based on the strictest mathematical analysis. The famous hypothesis of the formation of our Solar System out of the nebulous rings, put
If no physical intellect is capable of counting the grains of sand covering a few miles of sea-shore ; or to fathom the ultimate nature and essence of those grains, palpable and visible on the palm of the naturalist, how can any materialist limit the laws changing the conditions and being of the atoms in primordial chaos, or know anything certain about the capabilities and potency of their atoms and molecules before and after their formation into worlds ? These changeless and eternal molecules — far thicker in space than the grains on the ocean shore — may differ in their constitution along the line of their planes of existence, as the soul-substance differs from its vehicle, the body. Each atom has seven planes of being or existence, we are taught ; and each plane is governed by its specific laws of evolution and absorption. Ignorant of any, even approximate, chronological data from which to start in attempting to decide the age of our planet or the origin of the solar system, astronomers, geologists, and physicists are drifting with each new hypothesis farther and farther away from the shores of fact into the fathomless depths of speculative ontology. * The Law of Analogy in the plan of structure between the trans-Solar systems and the intra-Solar planets, does not necessarily bear upon the finite conditions to which every visible body is subject, in this our plane of being. In Occult Science this law is the first and most important key to Cosmic physics ; but it has to be studied in its minutest details and, “ to be
orward by Kant and Laplace, was chiefly based on the above fact that all the planets revolved in the same direction. It is on this fact, mathematically demonstrated during the time of Laplace, that this great astronomer, calculating on the theory of probabilities, offered to bet three milliards to one that the next planet discovered would have in its system the same peculiarity of motion Eastward. The immutable laws of scientific mathematics got “ worsted by further experiments and observations,” it was said. This idea of Laplace’s mistake prevails generally to this day ; but some astronomers have finally succeeded in demonstrating (?) that the mistake had been in accepting Laplace’s assertion for a mistake ; and steps to correct it without attracting general attention to the bévue are now being taken. Many such unpleasant surprises are in store for hypotheses of even a purely physical character. What further disillusions, then, may there not be in questions of a transcendental, Occult Nature ? At any rate, Occultism teaches that the so-called “ reverse rotation ” is a fact.
* The Occultists, having most perfect faith in their own exact records, astronomical and mathematical, calculate the age of Humanity, and assert that the latter (as separate sexes) has existed in this Round just 18,618,727 years, as the Brahmanical teachings and even some Hindu calendars declare.
turned seven times,” before one comes to understand it. Occult philosophy is the only science that can teach it. How, then, can anyone hang the truth or the untruth of the Occultist’s proposition that “ the Kosmos is eternal in its unconditioned collectivity, and finite but in its conditioned manifestations ” on this one-sided physical enunciation that “ it is a necessity of Nature to run down ? ”
With these verses — the 4th Sloka of Stanza VI. — ends that portion of the Stanzas which relates to the Universal Cosmogony after the last Mahapralaya or Universal destruction, which, when it comes, sweeps out of Space every differentiated thing, Gods as atoms, like so many dry leaves. From this verse onwards, the Stanzas are concerned only with our Solar System in general, with the planetary chains therein, inferentially, and with the history of our globe (the 4th and its chain) especially. All the Stanzas and verses which follow in this Book I. refer only to the evolution of, and on, our Earth. With regard to the latter, a strange tenet — strange from the modern scientific standpoint only, of course — is held, which ought to be made known.
But before entirely new and rather startling theories are presented to the reader, they must be prefaced by a few words of explanation. This is absolutely necessary, as these theories clash not only with modern science, but contradict, on certain points, earlier statements made by other Theosophists, who claim to base their explanations and renderings of these teachings on the same authority as we do. *
This may give rise to the idea that there is a decided contradiction between the expounders of the same doctrine ; whereas the difference, in reality, arises from the incompleteness of the information given to earlier writers, who thus drew some erroneous conclusions and indulged in premature speculations, in their endeavour to present a complete system to the public. Thus the reader, who is already a student of Theosophy, must not be surprised to find in these pages the rectification of certain statements made in various Theosophical works, and also the explanation of certain points which have remained obscure, because they were necessarily left incomplete. Many are the questions upon which even the author of “ Esoteric Buddhism ” (the best and
* “ Esoteric Buddhism ” and “ Man.”
most accurate of all such works) has not touched. On the other hand, even he has introduced several mistaken notions which must now be presented in their true mystic light, as far as the present writer is capable of doing so.
Let us then make a short break between the Slokas just explained and those which follow, for the Cosmic periods which separate them are of immense duration. This will afford us ample time to take a bird’s-eye view of some points pertaining to the Secret Doctrine, which have been presented to the public under a more or less uncertain and sometimes mistaken light.