Gestation and Growth

by Raghavan Iyer @ Theosophy Trust


GESTATION AND GROWTH


 In the Sankhya philosophy, Purusha (spirit) is spoken of as something impotent unless be mounts on the shoulders of Prakriti (matter), which, left alone, is – senseless. But in the secret philosophy they are viewed as graduated. Though one and the same thing in their origin, Spirit and Matter, when once they are on the plane of differentiation, begin each of them their evolutionary progress in contrary directions – Spirit falling gradually into matter, and the latter ascending to its original condition, that of a pure spiritual substance. Both are inseparable, yet ever separated. In polarity, on the physical plane, two like poles will always repel each other, while the negative and the positive are mutually attracted, so do Spirit and Matter stand to each other – the two poles of the same homogeneous substance, the root-principle of the universe.

The Secret Doctrine, i 247

 Outside Divine Darkness, sensed though not seen by the opened eye of Shiva, the graduated polarities of Spirit-Matter pervade all manifestation. The light vitalizing and illuminating each plane of manifestation is the shadow of supersensuous matter in motion upon a more noumenal plane. From above below, from within without, the Verbum stirs the entire gamut of rhythmic resonances in the responsive centres of life, causing them to shine forth from the darkness in the myriad rainbow hues of their differentiated existence. The timeless symmetries of sound and silence, motion and rest, darkness and light, upon the arupa planes are dimly echoed in the consciousness and conduct of beings caught in the cyclic round of birth and death upon the rupa planes. Whatever their partial perceptions of good and evil, of merit and demerit, nothing in manifest nature is so good that it casts no shadow, nor so evil that it does not have its bright side.

 The awakening of Divine Wisdom through the Aquarian potency of noetic discrimination is not aided by crude Manichaean distinctions which vainly seek to relegate complex factors in nature to one side or the other of a concretized moral dichotomy. Students of the Gupta Vidya are initially vulnerable to just this sort of moralistic over-simplification, especially when they mistakenly surmise that the arcane Teachings suggest that the sun is good and that the moon is bad. This confusion has many roots. First and foremost, it stems from hastiness of thought which itself is the karmic consequence of entrenched error inherited from past lives. Impatience makes the cool comprehension of the elusive and subtle interaction between the solar and the lunar more arduous than necessary. When this facile misconception is perpetuated, it further restricts the range of thought to the merely literal and physical parameters of the problem. Given the vastness and grandeur of even the physical universe, with its circling systems of galaxies, stars and planets, it is foolish to give undue importance to the visible sun and physical moon and thereby compress lofty philosophic conceptions of darkness and light into these two familiar orbs.

 Nonetheless, so long as the earth revolves around the sun, so long as there are days and nights, so long as there are four seasons, there is a distinct value in the twelve signs of the zodiac and in the division of the lunar month into twenty-eight days. There is a deeper significance to the broad division of the lunar month into the waxing and waning phases, and in the arrangement of its twenty-eight days in four sets of seven, each of which has its intrinsic logic. This has been sensed in mature cultures, and the simplest calendars and almanacs available to people everywhere provide basic information to make practical use of these intervals. The deeper mysteries of the archetypal divisions of the lunar month are not readily accessible, and would be of little use to most people without an intensive period of preparation involving even the more superficial aspects of this cycle.

 Essentially, the new moon is a time for purification and gestation, whereas the full moon is for abnegation and tapas. The greater the purification through mystic meditation during the phase of the new moon, the greater can be the silent ripening of spiritual insight during the two weeks of the waxing moon. The waning half of the moon, far from being bad, finds its value in the intensification of self-study, the letting go of illusions. The aim of those who would wisely work with the cycles and rhythms of nature should be to make this period of renunciation a preparation for entry into a broadened and deepened cycle of learning and letting go. Thus, throughout the world, men and women observe the onset of the new moon and the full moon with fasting and deep meditation, seeking a self-conscious connection with the supple forces in nature that foster inward growth. At this point in human evolution, and especially in the so-called developed societies of the West, individuals are fortunate if they find they can make use of the ever-recurrent succession of the seasons and months. It would be well-nigh impossible to find many persons with sufficient spiritual awareness to be ready to make use of the mystical potentials of the lunar month – for example, those marked by its eleventh day.

 During the present Impulsion of the New Cycle (1967-2006), every seeker can make use of the simplest facts of Gupta Vidya in daily life. Each aspirant can exchange psychic delusions for spiritual facts, so that the name of Theosophy does not become synonymous with self-deception, but rather with honest study, deep meditation and self-regenerating ethics. The degradation of the term "Theosophy" early in this century must be corrected and reversed, so that the Theosophist becomes one who is known for true knowledge based upon authentic experience and self-testing. The sorting out of cumulative confusion concerning the solar and the lunar is an essential part of this painful process of self-correction. The removal of mental confusion requires some grasp of the subtle connection between the lunar and the solar and the suggestive ways in which the solar light works through lunar substance. One must first recognize that all the human Monads of the present earth chain participated in the moon chain, which ended over three and a half Rounds ago. Before this vast period of terrestrial evolution, the hosts of Monads in their various stages of evolutionary advance that are now part of the earth chain were then active, at different levels, on the sevenfold moon chain.

 Any meaningful reference to the lunar necessarily involves a reference to a previous field of evolution as complex and differentiated, as full of potential refinement and growth, as the present earth chain. The physical moon that is seen in the sky is a reflection of the disintegrating corpse of the lowest globe of that chain. It is a shadowy remnant of a once vast and vital arena of Monadic evolution. Beyond the peculiar relevance of this particular moon to the present earth, a more general meaning and metaphysical function are associated with the indispensable role of lunar predecessors when involution and evolution are viewed from the broader standpoint of an endless series of planetary chains, each linked with its successor in unbroken continuity.

 Within the strict terms of Simultaneity Theory, succession is not considered as a physically objective phenomenon, but as a subjective one.... It is only in consciousness, it seems, that we experience time at all.... In a dream there is no time, and succession is all changed about, and cause and effect are all mixed together. In myth and legend there is no time.... When the mystic makes the reconnection of his reason and his unconscious, he sees all becoming as one being, and understands the eternal return....
 Our model of the cosmos must be as inexhaustible as the cosmos, [with] a complexity that includes not only duration but creation, not only being but becoming, not only geometry but ethics.

The Dispossessed URSULA LE GUIN

 Individual integrity is damaged if one falls prey to an undue fascination with the physical corpse of the moon chain. Such a fascination and even obsession, associated with the Witches of Thessaly and similar coteries elsewhere, is the unwholesome consequence of those human beings millions of years ago who used the dark half of the moon for nefarious practices. Even now, the mere mention of such malodorous practices provokes a quickening of attention. But it is this strangely perverse if fear-ridden fascination with evil which is the prolific source of evil. There should, rather, be a fearlessness in looking at the excreted dregs of human life, but only in the light of a genuine desire to develop a secure taste for the best spiritual food for the soul. One will find no such compulsive fascination with evil amongst high souls. There is only a deeply felt pain that such tragic phenomena have taken place or persist in the present, coupled with the compassionate desire and will to alleviate the immense suffering attendant upon such maleficent practices. High souls are magnetically drawn to the ineffable Light of the Spiritual Sun (Savitur). Those who, alas, find themselves unconsciously drawn to the shadowy side of human life should expel once and for all this degrading and polluting fascination from their lunar minds. Anyone who has widely travelled and witnessed repellent scenes of human depravity through the stern eyes of universal compassion – whether it be in Place Pigalle, Macao or the Sunset Strip – can only be saddened that such sordid places exist and also recognize that there is nothing novel or exciting about them. Heliopolis may be sought even in the midst of the necropolis; there is Shamballa in Myalba, Nirvana within Samsara.

 Whilst everything emanating from the misuse of human faculties is indeed depressing, this can hardly be blamed upon the moon, which is also sevenfold. Perhaps it could be blamed upon the lunar corpse, which throws off a pernicious influence. Even this, however, is not all bad, and has its enigmatic effects upon the tides of the ocean, which are immensely helpful to mariners and so essential to life on the shore. Every process in nature is imbued with inexplicable compassion, and even that which is slowly disintegrating has its therapeutic function. People should not be preoccupied with cadavers and corpses; but if seen in the right light with the right motive, even these ghoulish concerns may result in some good. Many people are insanely afraid of their own deaths; and their horror of corpses is partly the outcome of their abject fear of the "living dead". These are, however, no cadavers. They are soulless beings which may have some fascination for the fearful personality. And they are extremely active, though only supposedly alive, human forms which are shown often on television or on other channels of the mass media. The entire subject, like everything connected with the mystery of the pilgrim-soul, is somewhat inscrutable. One must preserve a certain reticence, recognize one"s puzzlement, accepting that it will long remain, owing to the complexity of the connection between the solar and the lunar and its important implications in relation to the varied hosts of Pitris linked with the evolution of humanity.

 Some sense of the enormous difficulty in grasping the complex Teachings of the Gupta Vidya concerning the hosts of solar and lunar Pitris may be gained through an analogy with the awesome developments in modern science. Over the past one hundred years there has been such an untidy expansion of theoretical understanding in fields like physics and chemistry, biology and medicine, that scarcely half a dozen individuals in the world in any of these fields can claim to have a coherent perspective on the complex pattern of development taking place in his or her respective specialty. The scope of investigation and discovery has become so vast, even in a sub-field such as particle physics, that the leading experts in these fields are dismayed by the proliferation and lack of synthesis. If this is true for the best minds of the century, it is even more so for ordinary individuals attempting to understand the trends of thought at the present time. Even though the conceptual complexity in these realms of empirical enquiry overtaxes the foremost theorists, so that none can safely predict even the broad course of subsequent developments over the coming century, very little in this vast expansion of knowledge is anything more than a hit-and-miss approach to the ABCs of the Gupta Vidya.

 There is an immense and immeasurable gap between the Divine Wisdom of the Mahatmas and the progressive formulations of modern man. One of the many purposes of Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine was to put modern man in his proper place, to teach him humility before the stars, and before the Himalayan heights of Spiritual Knowledge (Brahma Vidya). The hollow presumption of modern man has unfortunately produced hosts of bewildered victims, the foremost of which is himself. Through taking pride in what amounts to bleak ignorance, modern man blunts the higher faculties of the soul, blocking the Third Eye and rendering the spinal cord incapable of restoring the flow of the divine afflatus. These are profoundly serious maladies, but if there is a recognition of the fundamental direction and flow of human evolution, there can be a constructive healing which will have its therapeutic effects in future incarnations. In a world where numerous people are spiritually and astrally deformed, one must recognize one"s own ignorance and resolve to take up the ethical challenge offered by the Teachings to stand erect as a Manasa, a thinking being.

 One must come to see that ones s inner posture is improved through mental prostration before the spiritual benefactors of mankind. Far from shrinking from outward physical deformity, high souls may even take birth in deformed bodies so as to help those deformed outwardly and inwardly through their own ignorance, inversion and perversity. It is nearly impossible to tell the spiritual degree of a human being from outward signs. No empirical observation of physical deformity or mental disturbance is an everyday guide to the inner nature of the Ego inhabiting a mortal vesture. It is the height of delusion for anyone inhabiting a seemingly healthy physical form, which may only be the veil over a virtually moribund inner nature, to make judgements, based upon a harsh sense of separateness, of other human souls from their external appearance. It is precisely this persistent sense of separateness which characterizes the lunar Monad, whilst an authentic sense of universality is the recognizable mark of the solar Monad. This important distinction parallels the essential difference between the derivative light of the lunar and the self-generated nature of the light of the solar. In terms of the human principles, this corresponds to the crucial difference between the higher individuality – the nous, or matter-moving mind – and the personality or psyche, which is reactive or passive in relation to a field of derivative light.

 The capacities for self-determination, creative initiative and noetic choice implicit in the concept of ethical responsibility are the insignia of the immortal individuality in man. Hence, as ancient seers and modern sages have taught, the assumption of full responsibility is the beginning of selflessness, true participation in universality. Whilst it is the hope of the Mahatmas that a few pioneering souls will become selfless servants of the human race at this point in human evolution, any would-be aspirants must first prepare themselves by becoming fully responsible under karma. In a spineless culture there may be some passing merit in packaged programmes to bolster self-confidence and self-assertion, but these are commonly vitiated by the greed of both sponsors and participants, and in any event can never substitute for true self-reliance and moral courage based upon deep meditation and honest self-study. Unlike costly weekend workshops, meditation and self-study can be embarked upon at any time by anyone; they are not only less taxing on one"s pocketbook, but also more challenging psychologically.

 By inserting oneself into a programme of regular meditation and proper self-study, one can insulate oneself from the nefarious influences of the moon, enter the Light of the Spiritual Sun, and in time, take advantage of that lunar element which corresponds to the elixir deposited by the sun in the moon. This is channelled through the sushumna ray in the spinal column.

 One of the names of the moon in Sanskrit is Soma.... A "soma-drinker" attains the power of placing himself in direct rapport with the bright side of the moon, thus deriving inspiration from the concentrated intellectual energy of the blessed ancestors....
 This which seems one stream (to the ignorant) is of a dual nature – one giving life and wisdom, the other being lethal. He who can separate the former from the latter, as Kalahamsa separated the milk from the water, which was mixed with it, thus showing great wisdom – will have his reward.

H.P. BLAVATSKY

Something of the meaning of this mysterious alchemical process can be glimpsed by contemplating the threefold nature of ahankara, which at its highest level is universal I-am-I consciousness. At its lowest level, the ahankara associated with the lunar self or the illusory personality should be made to serve as the necessary focal point of the magnetic field within which the manasic self-consciousness gains proficiency in the exercise of moral responsibility. As the overbrooding individuality learns to master its projected rays, the ephemeral astral forms of its successive incarnations are gradually replaced by a purified and permanent astral vesture. The integration of the immortal individuality into the Universal Self involves still greater mysteries.

 In conveying the contributions of the various classes of Pitris to the sevenfold constitution of Manu, the Thinker, the Stanzas of Dzyan touch upon the mystical side of the moon.

 WHO FORMS HIM? THE SEVEN LIVES; AND THE ONE LIFE. WHO COMPLETES HIM? THE FIVEFOLD LHA. AND WHO PERFECTS THE LAST BODY? FISH, SIN, AND SOMA.

The Secret Doctrine, i 238

Commenting upon this passage, H.P. Blavatsky points both to its meaning in terms of arcane symbolism and its vital importance for the future evolution of humanity.

 "Who forms Manu (the Man) and who forms his body? The LIFE and the LIVES. Sin and the MOON." Here Manu stands for the spiritual, heavenly man, the real and non-dying EGO in us, which is the direct emanation of the "One Life" or the Absolute Deity. As to our outward physical bodies, the house of the tabernacle of the Soul, the Doctrine teaches a strange lesson; so strange that unless thoroughly explained and as rightly comprehended, it is only the exact Science of the future that is destined to vindicate the theory fully.

The Secret Doctrine, i 248

 Here the term "sin" does not mean what it currently connotes in the English language, but is a Chaldean conception having a precise if hidden relation to the moon, as well as being its symbolic equivalent. "Sin" does not merely refer to the physical moon, but rather to the Chaldean moon-god who was the lord of wisdom and of the calendar. The ancient Hindus and Chaldeans understood the vital relationship between the moon and the principles of gestation and growth. They comprehended something of the spiritual aspect of the moon symbolized in the lunar crescent found on the forehead of true yogins and on the mighty brow of the Mahayogin Shiva. Manu represents the Heavenly Man, the Father of the human race, who through his mystic meditation gives of the very essence of his divine vesture that which becomes the real and non-dying Ego of every human being. The indestructible spark of the indestructible fire is the deathless Self in every human being. After the Monad-Jiva, the meta-spiritual ray and breath of the Absolute Homogeneity, has been shot down into the very depths of differentiation, and gradually worked its way up through the regions of form aided by the ethereal prototypes provided by the lunar Pitris, the divine self-conscious intelligence of the Heavenly Man enters the waiting tabernacle and lights therein the sacred fire. This divine descent can take place only in coordination with the completion of the work of the lunar Pitris.

 Whilst the Monad-Jiva spirals downward into the depths of differentiated matter,

the lower Dhyan-Chohans...are evolving pari passu with it on a higher and more spiritual plane, descending also relatively into matter on their own plane of consciousness, when, after having reached a certain point, they will meet the incarnating senseless monad, encased in the lowest matter, and blending the two potencies, Spirit and Matter, the union will produce that terrestrial symbol of the "Heavenly Man" in space – PERFECT MAN.

The Secret Doctrine, i 247

When from a potential androgyne man has become separated into male and female, then he is endowed with the principle of manasic self-consciousness. Thus, the creation of the animal-man and the creation of Divine Man are joined, Perfect Man in terrestrial space and time becoming the living symbol of the Heavenly Man, the transcendental archetype.

 The complete and correct understanding of these mysteries can be acquired only through a mastery of the one exact science, the mathematics of the soul, which is exclusively in the custody of the Lodge of Mahatmas. This evidently cannot be taught to all and sundry, but glimpses of it may be shared with the most awakened souls of the age who can use it to help human evolution. This is very much an integral part of the programme of the Theosophical Movement, but like any other factor in spiritual life, can never be understood from outside. In order to begin to participate in this work, one must change one"s very idea of the ratio between the invisible and the visible and increase the ratio of the unmanifest to the manifest, thereby creating an intense inner life through meditation. When the inner life becomes rich and replete in contrast to outer life (which only represents a small portion of oneself), true asceticism begins. Even if the vibrant sense of an inner life can only be maintained briefly each day, and needs to be sustained through participation with others also consecrated to the cause of universal enlightenment, one can, by working with others who are helping themselves, learn to work with natural cycles. In this it does not matter if one is a beginner, as long as one is starting in the right direction. It is indeed possible to gain the benediction of the presiding regents of different days – of Mercury-Hermes on Wednesday, of Surya the Sun on Sunday, of Shiva, Saturn-Kronos, on Saturday – and use this to strengthen the inner life. One could learn to use the benediction of Venus-Shukra on Friday, consecrated to higher thought, in order to learn to concentrate all one"s energies around a still centre in mystic meditation. Becoming motionless within that mystic centre, remaining apart and aloof, one may begin to sense what is meant by standing aside from all the worlds that emanate out of the Divine Vesture, the invisible form of the Logos.

 What the unmanifest Logos provides ceaselessly through the manifestation of the seven Logoi is re-enacted again and again in Monadic evolution. It may be re-enacted by each ray of the Logos in every human life. Even though extremely difficult, during any incarnation in which there is an awakening to the divine immortal nature – with the body as a temple and the vesture as an energy-field – the Triad above the head can come closer to the fontanelle and evoke from the light in the heart, anahata, a continuous current of light-energy which may refine and elevate all one"s life-atoms. Such a current could not ceaselessly flow without strenuous training and wise guidance over many lives. Indeed, nothing worthwhile is ever possible without the Grace of the Guru. That help is ever available to every human being on earth in deep sleep. No being on earth is neglected. Every being in the depths of deep sleep, if even for only a moment, comes into that hinterland of the Gods, the Sages, the Rishis and the Initiator of Initiates, Dakshinamurti. The Light of the Logos is ever available in every life-atom to every being on earth throughout its seven kingdoms. There is no point in all of space beyond the purview of the flashing gaze of the Eye of Dangma.

 To honour this most precious Teaching is to be propelled forward in evolution and to receive immortal life-energy, or, if one receives it and does not use it, to be thrown backwards. In either case, the consequence is dependent upon the power of choice of Manas, the self-conscious freedom exercised by the individual, on behalf of what is strong or of what is weak. The strong must lift the weak, whilst the sick and the perverse must be let go. Every human being must choose between the baser, pathological and paranoid elements in the psyche, and the finer, purer and more selfless elements in his nature. The two are as incompatible as terrestrial fire and water. The cosmic fire of Agni is, however, correlated with the luminous waters of space called Akasha. All the physical elements are mere visible representations of the true spiritual essences existing on the higher noumenal planes.

 None of the terrestrial elements is good or bad in itself, but each has its place in the formation, nourishment and disintegration of mortal forms. This much is owed to modern science; it has gone farther in the past ninety years than in the preceding three centuries in dispelling rigid and concretized conceptions of material nature and its elements. Such knowledge still lies beyond the mental capacity of many human beings, and even then, it remains worlds away from a full understanding of Spirit-Matter – the One Life. Life pervades the entire universe, whether slumbering in the atoms of dust or awakened to divine consciousness in a perfected Bodhisattva. Gradually, over the ensuing centuries and millennia, humanity will awaken to an Aquarian awareness of the fire of the One Life burning within its every unit. Meta-biology and meta-chemistry will flourish when particle physics is ensouled by unitary metaphysics and enriched by the ontological logic of integration and differentiation.

 The perception and comprehension of mankind will be progressively transformed by the power of Buddhic intuition, vivifying and brightening the sight of the now dormant Eye of the Soul. This cannot take place without the deliberate use of the powers of thought and self-consciousness to create new matrices of ideation and to break up and discard the calcified accretions of past ignorance which blind the soul. As H.P. Blavatsky noted, Louis Pasteur was wise in his time to observe that microbic life can sustain itself by both aerobic and anaerobic processes, thus indicating the independence of the vital potency from external environments. Through each of its distributive units life builds and unbuilds, creates and destroys, every organic form from the most minute to the most macrocosmic. Integration and disintegration of form proceed hand-in-hand with the differentiation and synthesis of consciousness throughout all the octaves of manifestation from the formless worlds built up out of the divine elements to the shadowy realm of physical existence. All alike are impelled from within by the Shabdabrahman, the Divine Sound surrounded by the supernal light of the Gayatri, the immortal pulse in the secret heart – the Sound in the Light and the Light in the Sound.

Hermes, June 1982
by Raghavan Iyer