As Above, So Below

by Raghavan Iyer @ Theosophy Trust


AS ABOVE, SO BELOW


Thus is repeated on Earth the mystery enacted, according to the Seers, on the divine plane. The "Son" of the immaculate Celestial Virgin (or the undifferentiated cosmic protyle, Matter in its infinitude) is born again on Earth as the Son of the terrestrial Eve – our mother Earth, and becomes Humanity as a total – past, present, and future – for Jehovah or Jod-he-vau-he is androgyne, or both male and female. Above, the Son is the whole KOSMOS; below, he is MANKIND.

The Secret Doctrine, i 60

 The mystery of immaculate conception is inherently inseparable from the magic of the Tetraktis, which, Pythagoras taught, is too sacred to be spoken of and should rather be the subject of profound meditation over a lifetime. "The triad or triangle becomes Tetraktis, the Sacred Pythagorean number, the perfect Square, and a 6-faced cube on Earth." The Tetraktis is incarnated by the enlightened being, the Initiate, who is more than Atma-Buddhi-Manas. If the Initiate were only Atma-Buddhi-Manas, he would be on so high a plane of universal consciousness that he would hardly be able to incarnate. The Initiate is Atma-Buddhi-Manas plus the visualized essence extracted from all the lower principles and planes so as to serve as a stable focus for the immortal Triad in space and time. The Initiate permanently synthesizes individuation and universalization. The universal principles are brought together through Buddhi in an individuated, perfected instrument, which exemplifies the Tetraktis. This exalted condition is founded upon the metaphysical axiom in all spiritual growth that the higher one ascends, the more one's sense of being is essentially a mode of participation in cosmic principles.

Atma-Buddhi-Manas cannot incarnate in personal consciousness as long as its dominant concerns are almost entirely bound up with pleasure and pain, fame and shame, gain and loss. These evanescent if hectic preoccupations bind together the skandhas and colour the composite vestures, producing an illusory panorama which people commonly call life, but which is viewed by the Adept as the night of nescience.

 The only way one can activate the higher faculties is by a conscious and continuous attunement to universal principles. Atman is an unconditionally universal essence, while Buddhi is connected with Mahabuddhi and Manas derives from Mahat. The Mahatma is one whose mind has become "like a becalmed and boundless ocean" – the ocean of cosmic ideation – and whose heart has become the hebdomad, the Dhyan Chohanic heart that pulses at the core of all manifestation. The uninitiated cannot understand this owing to the tenacious sense of separateness that attaches to the personality but which is entirely inapplicable to the Adept. The Adept cannot be sundered from the whole of Nature, but is truly, as in Leonardo's diagram, the man within the man, the enlightened cosmic man that overbroods man as a unit and whose unity is mirrored in that unit. The Atma-Buddhi-Manas of the Adept is necessarily inseparable from the Atma-Buddhi-Manas of individual human beings. The Adept is verily the spiritual soul of all humanity.

 Human beings represent varying degrees of self-consciousness in inverse proportion to their personal attachment to the limited modes of life available in the world of sensation. Like assertive adolescents, they are engrossed in the Mahamaya, partly because they wholly identify with name and form and pant with thirst for embodied life and an ever-present fear of pain and deprivation. Yet, while the human condition is characterized by avidya, all individuals are fundamentally light-rays from the same luminous source. They are most likely to experience their essential humanity in deep sleep, where even those who are demons by day become like little children. According to the Upanishadic teachings, all phenomenal distinctions disappear in deep sleep. There is no father and no mother; there is no husband and no wife, no brother and no sister, no enemy and no friend; there is neither young nor old, neither male nor female. The distinctions that people make entirely disappear in sushupti. During deep sleep the soul is able to speak its own language, what Erich Fromm called "the forgotten language", which was once known as the language of the gods. This is the language of unconditioned consciousness in which our pristine humanity comes into its own. Human beings are most assured when they are least deluded. The Mahatma is totally free from all delusion and can fathom the secret heart, the pulsing reverberation of the whole of humanity that gives its forward impulse to evolution.

 When spiritual knowledge becomes conscious awareness, wisdom through use, Gupta Vidya becomes Paramarthasatya. Paramartha is the ultimate comprehension of Satya, the truth of all things, of Sat, pure being, the ideal universe. Paramarthasatya is consummate comprehension of the noumenal universe that does not manifest but is the Divine Ground spoken of by mystics, which is latent in Hiranyagarbha, the divine bosom, and animated by Mahat, divine thought. The mystery of immaculate conception has to do with the paradox that the most fully incarnated being is also the least incarnated. While this is too enigmatic to reduce to discursive logic, it is intuitively clear that the more complete the incarnation, the less is the being involved in incarnation in the sense of attachment to so-called living. The paradox is deeply enshrined in the mystery of the immaculate conception:

 The Primordial Substance had not yet passed out of its precosmic latency into differentiated objectivity, or even become the (to man, so far,) invisible Protyle of Science. But, as the hour strikes and it becomes receptive of the Fohatic impress of the Divine Thought (the Logos, or the male aspect of the Anima Mundi, Alaya) – its heart opens. It differentiates, and the THREE (Father, Mother, Son) are transformed into four. Herein lies the origin of the double mystery of the Trinity and the immaculate Conception.

The Secret Doctrine, i 58

 At the dawn of manifestation, Mulaprakriti, the Germ, which is the Father-Mother potentially and the point in every atom, is latent in cosmic substance. When the Germ is awakened by the descending ray, Divine Thought becomes the inseminating force which activates the sleeping energy within every life-atom. Then the three become the four through the transformation of the primordial Triad in a pure state of Parabrahmic latency into a creative Logos that lights up and makes Mulaprakriti radiant. It thereby becomes Daiviprakriti. also known as Brahma Vach, Divine Wisdom, the Verbum, the Word, the Light of the Logos. This gives rise to the manifest universe. The same idea is found in Aryasanga's Precepts for Yoga in a metaphorical form, indicating that absolute Unity may not be comprehensible to the individual unless that absolute Unity is seen in relation to primordial, indestructible matter and also in relation to eternal duration:

 If thou wouldest believe in the Power which acts within the root of a plant, or imagine the root concealed under the soil, thou hast to think of its stalk or trunk and of its leaves and flowers. Thou canst not imagine that Power independently of these objects. Life can be known only by the Tree of Life.

The Secret Doctrine, i 58

 To visualize the invisible Root, it is easier to think as well of the massive trunk and its many branches. This is a cosmic analogue to something that can be actualized within the human constitution, as suggested by Bhavani Shankar in his Commentary on the Gita. It is veiled in the sacred teaching of the lotus, which is "the product of heat (fire) and water (vapour or Ether)". Lotus plants are phanerogamous, containing in their seeds complete representations, as prototypes, of the future plant. The lotus is a representation in the vegetable kingdom of a sacred macrocosmic mystery, which is why the spiritual centres in the human constitution have from the most ancient times been compared to lotuses. Bhavani Shankar speaks of the thousand-petalled lotus in the brain, which is also referred to in the Bhagavad Gita and which symbolizes the radiance and the richness of the energy-field that is latent in human beings. The Guru can activate the spiritual seed in the disciple who is ready. This would also have a bearing upon the mystery of the caduceus. When a disciple has reached a moment of ripeness in inward development, it is possible for active Buddhi, or what is called in The Voice of the Silence, Kundalini, that mysterious energy which flows through two alternating currents intertwined, to become a reality. Thus a creative fusion of consciousness can be attained wherein the Third Eye may open, the eye for which there is no past, present or future, the eye of spiritual vision, of universal wisdom and of inner enlightenment, the eye of Shiva, the eye of Dangma.

 In metaphysical language it is possible, when cognizer, cognized and cognition are one, for absolute consciousness to become a pervasive reality in the life of a perfected human being through Paramarthasatya, through Divine Wisdom embodied and manifested. Such a man is called a sage, a muni, in whom there is such a vast expansion of individual self-consciousness that it has become universal self-consciousness. This is also expressed in terms of the noumenal realm of Akasa, which is connected with the subliminal astral light, sometimes called in mythic language the immaculate virgin mother. It is Sarasvati, the Light of the Logos, the goddess of wisdom, Sephira in the Kabbalah, the mother of the Sephiroth. These are different words for the divine sphere of universal consciousness that is the elixir of immortality, which may pour like rain into the receptacle of the clear mind undarkened by personality and raised to the realm of pure receptivity. Shankaracharya differed here from the Dvaita schools, which put strong emphasis upon devotion but in terms of the gap between God and man. Shankara taught that man is one with God, that Atman is Brahman and that devotion is simply a return to one's true nature. The simulacrum of devotion fostered by orthodox religion, which puts strong emphasis upon one's own insignificance and inability to do anything at all, is fundamentally different from that self-energizing devotion which is like breathing.

 Real devotion is a return to one's true nature. All human souls in the Third Root Race were natural exemplars of humanity, and were joyously devoted. In the infancy of the human race immortal souls did not know any way other than devotion and harmony, which is why devotion has often been compared to the child state. Any other mental posture was unnatural to them. To discover one's true nature through jnana is also to release that true devotion which may bring back the spiritual knowledge that was one's own in many former lives. True devotion is a fusion between the chela and the Guru, the mind and the heart of the disciple becoming totally attuned to the mind and the heart of the teacher. So great is the luminous beauty of this state of total attunement that it is a shining paradigm of the immemorial teaching of Divine Wisdom and the sacred process of initiation. Mystics have conveyed this in many ways because it is a state that is understandable at some level by every human being who has the hidden spark which helps to recognize the flame that intimates the fire. As there is a spark of true devotion in each human heart, so there is Buddhi in every human being, even though latent and reflected in kama. If Buddhi is the seed of the Buddha, the lighting up of Buddhi, the spark of devotion, in vast multitudes of human beings is the alchemical function of all spiritual Teachers. They come to awaken soul-memories in human beings who have forgotten and fallen from their pristine state, soul-memories of what they essentially are and what they self-consciously could become.

 It is a metaphysical axiom of Eastern psychology that something can cease to exist and still be. The analogy is given of hydrogen and oxygen which exist independently as gases, but in water they seem to have disappeared, though they are still there. This is an apt analogy to what happens to the entire universe in pralaya, when it goes to sleep, ceases to be. Imagine a state of supreme stillness such as in the depths of the ocean or when it is well past midnight and one is meditating upon the midnight sun. One can also visualize the veiled full moon on the first day of the new moon. Such analogies suggest that one can generate a sense of reality which is not dependent upon Nature's photographs and the astral light, which is sometimes called Nature's infinite negative. Beyond these periodical manifestations there is the living, breathing stillness, the divine darkness, the absolute unconscious consciousness which is within the secret heart of Nature. During pralaya the universe seems to have gone to sleep. The archetypal noumenal matrices in thought that lie behind all manifest forms are reabsorbed into the supreme consciousness. If there is to be unbroken continuity between one manvantara and another and also through pralaya, analogous to self-conscious continuity between one incarnation and another through devachan, there must be a sense in which this process is analogous to the rhythmic inhaling and the exhaling of breath.

 Innumerable universes are like winks in the eye of Self-Existence, their appearance and disappearance resembling the twinkling of stars. If it is possible to make a meaningful analogy with the long periods between manvantaras and the intervals between incarnations as well as the silences between breaths, there must be some profound secret here which contains the clue to conscious immortality. Human beings get caught in the processes of emanation and involution, which is why they are obscured. Physiologically it is a losing race against clock-time because they are dying faster than they are recharging themselves. This is the result on the physical plane of what takes place in consciousness. On the mental plane they are not absorbing ideas, that is, they are not meditating, not reflecting, and are receiving impressions in such a chaotic rush that the mind is like a worn-out record that is overused. They are making use of only a minute percentage of their potential brain-energy and even less their heart-energy. They will remain spiritual paupers, living far below their capacity, until they restore a natural rhythm in the relation between what they receive and what they give out.

 Krishna teaches in the Gita that both receiving and giving may be seen as sacrificial. If the idea of sacrifice is linked up to what is inhaled, which is a form of receiving from outside, then it is clear that one is continually benefiting from the sacrifice of Nature. Exhalation is also a mode of sacrifice because every time one breathes one is giving to the world. Much of this is erratic and involuntary since most people's minds are not cooperating with their lungs. The personal mind tends to ruin whatever knowledge it has by possessiveness. That is not true of breathing, which goes on all the time and, while it is sometimes disordered, it also has its recurring rhythms. The breath should become less hurried and short, deeper and more gentle, until it is non-violent and sacrificial. Through carelessness in speech the greatest harm is done to breathing and to eating, but if one is alert and mindful, pausing with quiet gratitude periodically and rhythmically, then one moves away from a polarized activity towards a triune motion. Instead of taking in and throwing out, one takes in, holds, and then gives. As one's rhythms become triune in breathing, this becomes a conscious reflection of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, Atma-Buddhi-Manas. If one also keeps in mind the Atma-Buddhi-Manas of the life-atoms that one is dealing with, this will deepen continuity and ultimately transform and revolutionize the rhythm of one's life. These simple considerations are supremely practical examples of Buddhic analogy and correspondence between the cosmic and the human.

 The authentic teachings of the Gupta Vidya are always intended to awaken slumbering intuition. Those who learn to profit from the gift begin to find that there is great Buddhic wisdom concealed therein as the inheritance of future races. By contact with what is Buddhic, one's own Buddhi is stirred. By concentrating on retention, which is connected with continuity of consciousness, there can be a strengthening of the antaskarana bridge between nous and psyche, the immortal and the mortal, the universal and the particular, the infinite and the finite, the transcendental and the temporal, eternal duration and present time. When the first steps are taken upon the Path, the disciple's heart will quicken to a sense of the joyous mystery of the immaculate incarnation of the light of Logos in Mankind.

Saith the Great Law: "In order to become the KNOWER of ALL SELF, thou hast first of SELF to be the knower". To reach the knowledge of that SELF, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being, and then thou canst repose between the wings of the GREAT BIRD. Aye, sweet is rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the AUM throughout eternal ages.

The Voice of the Silence

Hermes, April 1980
by Raghavan Iyer