THE THIRD PROPOSITION
EVERYTHING in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is CONSCIOUS i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. We men must remember that because we do not perceive any signs—which we can recognize— of consciousness, say, in stones, we have no right to say that no consciousness exists there. There is no such thing as either “dead” or “blind” matter, as there is no “Blind” or “Unconscious” Law. These find no place among the conceptions of Occult philosophy. The latter never stops at surface appearances, and for it the noumenal essences have more reality than their objective counterparts.
The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life. There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless adaptations is a proof of this. The immutable laws that weed out the weak and feeble species, to make room for the strong, and which ensure the “survival of the fittest,” though so cruel in their immediate action—all are working toward the grand end. The very fact that adaptations do occur, that the fittest do survive in the struggle for existence, shows that what is called “unconscious Nature” is in reality an aggregate of forces. . . the MIND of the Universe and its immutable LAW.
The Universe manifests periodically for purposes of the collective progress of the countless lives, the outbreathings of the One Life; in order that through the Ever-Becoming, every cosmic atom in this infinite Universe, passing from the form-less and in tangible, through the mixed natures of the semi-terrestrial, down to matter in full generation, and then back again, (may) reascend at each new period. The reincarnationists and believers in Karma alone dimly perceive that the whole secret of Life is in the unbroken series of its manifestations: whether in, or apart from, the physical body.
The Secret Doctrine teaches: The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Oversoul, and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul through the Cycle of Incarnation in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law. In other words, no Soul can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the over-soul,—has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara, and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self- induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel. The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations. Unless we want to believe the unphilosophical dogma of a special created soul for every human birth—a fresh supply of these pouring in daily, since “Adam”—we have to admit the occult teachings.
The Doctrine teaches that, in order to become a divine, fully conscious god,—aye, even the highest—the Spiritual primeval Intelligences must pass through the human stage. And when we say human, this does not apply merely to our terrestrial humanity, but to the mortals that inhabit any world, i.e., to those Intelligences that have reached the appropriate equilibrium between matter and spirit, as WE have now. Each Entity must have won for itself the right of becoming divine, through self-experience.
The Darwinian theory of the transmission of acquired faculties, is neither taught nor accepted in Occultism. Evolution, in it, proceeds on quite other lines; the physical, according to esoteric teaching, evolves gradually from the spiritual, mental, and psychic. This inner soul of the physical cell—this “spiritual plasm” that dominates the germinal plasm—is the key that must open one day the gates of the terra incognita of the Biologist, now called the dark mystery of Embryology.
No Occultist would deny that man—no less than the elephant and the microbe, the crocodile and the lizard, the blade of grass or the crystal—is, in his physical formation, the simple product of the evolutionary forces of nature through a numberless series of transformations; but he puts the case differently. It is not against zoological and anthropological discoveries, based on the fossils of man and animal, that every mystic and believer in a divine soul inwardly revolts, but only against the uncalled-for conclusions built on preconceived theories and made to fit in with certain prejudices.
Inferior, semi-intelligent and non-intelligent Elementals—are all future men. That fact alone—that a Spirit is endowed with intelligence—is a proof to the Occultist that man acquired his knowledge and intelligence throughout the human cycle. There is but one indivisible and absolute Omniscience and Intelligence in the Universe, and this thrills throughout every atom and infinitesimal point of the whole Kosmos which hath no bounds, and which people call Space, considered independently of anything contained in it. This may be a mystery, yet it is a fact, in Esoteric philosophy, and a very apparent one too.
It becomes plain that there exists in Nature a triple evolutionary scheme or rather three separate schemes of evolution, which in our system are inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point. These are the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions. These three are the finite aspects or the reflections of the one reality.
1. The Monadic is, as the name implies, concerned with the growth and development into still higher phases of activity of the Monad in conjunction with:—
2. The Intellectual, represented by the “givers of intelligence and consciousness” to man and:—
3. The Physical, round which Nature has concreted the present physical body. This body serves as the vehicle for the “growth” (to use a misleading word) and the transformations through Manas and—owing to the accumulation of experiences—of the finite into the infinite, of the transient into the Eternal and Absolute.
Each of these three systems has its own laws. Each is represented in the constitution of man, the Microcosom of the great Macrocosom; and it is the union of these three streams in him which makes him the complex being he now is.
“Nature,” the physical evolutionary Power, could never evolve intelligence unaided—she can only create “senseless forms.” It is the “Mind-Gods” who fill up the gap, and they represent the evolutionary power of Intelligence and Mind, the link between “Spirit” and “Matter.” In the infancy of the primitive race was called into being a ready and perfect vehicle for the incarnating denizens of higher spheres, who took forthwith their abodes in these forms born of Spiritual will and the natural divine power in man.
At the early beginning, psychic and physical intellect being dormant and consciousness still undeveloped, spiritual conceptions were quite unconnected with physical surroundings. Divine man dwelt in his animal—though externally human—form; and, if there was instinct in him, no self-consciousness came to enlighten the darkness. When, moved by the law of Evolution, the Lords of Wisdom infused into him the spark of consciousness, the first feeling it awoke to life and activity was a sense of solidarity, of one-ness with his spiritual creators. As the child’s first feeling is for its mother and nurse, so the first aspirations of the awakening consciousness in primitive man were for those whose element he felt within himself, and who yet were outside, and independent of him. Devotion arose out of that feeling, and became the first and foremost motor in his nature; for it is the only one which is natural in our heart, which is innate in us, and which we find alike in human babe and the young of the animal.
Theosophy considers humanity as an emanation from a state of “divinity,” on its return path thereto. At an advanced point upon the path, Adeptship is reached by those who have devoted several incarnations to its achievement. For, remember well, no man has ever reached Adeptship in the Secret Sciences in one life; but many incarnations are necessary for it after the formation of a conscious purpose and the beginning of the needful training. Many may be the men and women in the very midst of our society who have begun this uphill work toward illumination several incarnations ago, and who yet, owing to the personal illusions of the present life, are either ignorant of the fact, or on the road to losing every chance in this existence of progressing any farther. They feel an irresistible attraction toward occultism and the Higher Life, and yet are too personal and self-opinionated, too much in love with the deceptive allurements of mundane life and the world’s ephemeral pleasures, to give them up; and so lose their chance in their present birth. Yet the Monad of every living being, unless his moral turpitude breaks the connection and runs loose and “astray into the lunar path”—to use the Occult expression—is a kind of spiritual individuality of its own. Its Primary, Spirit, is one with the one Universal Spirit.
The human heart has not yet fully uttered itself, and we have never attained or even understood the extent of its powers. Is it too much to believe that man should be developing new sensibilities and a closer relation with nature? The logic of evolution must teach as much, if carried to its legitimate conclusion. If, somewhere, in the line of ascent from vegetable or ascidian to the noblest man a soul was evolved, gifted with intellectual qualities, it cannot be unreasonable to infer and believe that a faculty of perception is also growing in man, enabling him to descry facts and truths even beyond our ordinary ken.
The refusal to admit in the whole Solar system of any other reasonable and intellectual beings on the human plane, than ourselves, is the greatest conceit of our age. All that science has a right to affirm, is that there are no invisible Intelligences living under the same conditions as we do. It cannot deny pointblank the possibility of there being worlds within worlds, under totally different conditions to those that constitute the nature of our world; nor can it deny that there may be a certain limited communication between some of those worlds and our own.