Studies in the Secret Doctrine:
Deity, Law, Being
“Some call it Evolution and others call it God,” but neither the evolutionists nor the theists seem to be sure of their ground. It is shifting sand with the former and a terra incognita with the latter. John Morley in his Compromise said that “Evolution is not a force but a process; not a cause but a law,” with which Theosophy agrees; but does the evolutionist know much or even anything with certainty about the unerring nature of that law? The one great thing about the evolutionist is that in his opinion this law is so foreign to the religious conception of God that he has not even contemplated that perchance some intimate relation between the two may exist; nay more, that in reality these two, God and Law, may be one and the same. We cannot blame him much. The theologian has made such blasphemous mockery of the Divine Law which is God, by transforming It into a personal being, and then investing him with powers and faculties and belongings that men of knowledge, even scanty knowledge, cannot but brush it all aside. Those who have some reverence left in their hearts in this twentieth-century civilization rightly look upon this God of the theologian as a rank and intolerable blasphemy. Those on whom the curse of priestcraft hangs heavy have carnalized the Divine Law, transforming it into a masculine being and when the caricature of the old type did not satisfy them, they made him an ever-youthful person, attractive and charming!
We are aware of such an absurd presentation on the part of one calling himself a Theosophist — who says he has seen the glorious vision of the God of the Solar System, a youth, handsome beyond description, who eternally sits on a lotus-seat, governing the destinies of all his subjects! Let students of true Theosophy note the fact once for all that there is no essential difference between an aged gentleman sitting on a golden throne and a youthful person adorning a lotus-seat. Both are concepts of God, the presiding power of the Solar System, concepts absurd and contrary to the teachings of the Theosophy of the Upanishads and the Gita, of the Gnostics and the Neo-Platonists, as well as of H. P. Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine and her other writings. Therefore has H. P. Blavatsky said that the Initiates and Adepts “believe in ‘gods’ and know no ‘God’ but one universal unrelated and unconditioned Deity.” (S.D. I, 295 fn.) Mahatma K.H. once wrote: “Neither our philosophy nor ourselves believe in a God, least of all in one whose pronoun necessitates a capital H.” In this connection The Secret Doctrine carefully and completely establishes the fact that “there is nothing profane in the Universe,” and adds:
Thus can all exoteric religions be shown the falsified copies of the esoteric teaching. It is the priesthood which has to be held responsible for the reaction in favour of materialism of our day. It is by worshiping and enforcing on the masses the worship of the shells — personified for purposes of allegory — of pagan ideals, that the latest exoteric religion has made of Western lands a Pandemonium, in which the higher classes worship the golden calf, and the lower and ignorant masses are made to worship an idol with feet of clay. (S.D. I, 578.)
This is substantiated by the Master K.H.:
I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two-thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches. It is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity and that almost overwhelms mankind. Ignorance created Gods and cunning took advantage of the opportunity. Look at India and look at Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism. It is priestly imposture that rendered these Gods so terrible to man; it is religion that makes of him the selfish bigot, the fanatic that hates all mankind out of his own sect without rendering him any better or more moral for it. It is belief in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanity the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretence of saving them.
Personifications, allegories, metaphors used by great minds to explain and expound the mysterious nature of Universal Law have been misunderstood, twisted, wrongly explained and misapplied everywhere for many centuries. The ignorance and credulity of masses of mankind is such that one is not at a loss to appreciate the humour underlying the statement of Voltaire — “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him!”
The God of modern science and philosophy hovers between the unknown and the “unknowable.” One great service Science has already rendered to the cause of Truth, viz., it has ushered in the reign of Law in the domain of belief and knowledge. It has destroyed the notion of a lawless universe and has demonstrated the supremacy of Law which works everywhere and always. Modern Knowledge is not in a position to define, describe or expound the nature of that Law which is at once the Deity and the Universe — for the two are one. It is not in a position to do so because it deals mainly with one of the aspects, the material universe, and is therefore contacting the effect side of the Law. When it emphasizes the research of Living Forms and Conscious Intelligences instead of forms of life and modes of motion it will touch the causal aspect of the Law which is Deity, universal, impersonal, ever-Becoming, rooted in Be-ness and the basis and playground for the birth and death of all Beings — atoms or gods or intelligences.
Meanwhile it falls to the lot of Theosophy to enlighten our generation on the subject of God, and this the Fundamental Propositions of The Secret Doctrine do. There is no Personal God anywhere and that is why there is no miracle anywhere. Having indicated what God is not, let us resolve to discard this word which through its usage has become a source of great confusion and a pitfall for the unwary whose name is legion. Let us substitute the word Deity; therefore it is of Deity that the First Fundamental Proposition speaks. To protect ourselves in advance against the charge of Atheism we quote the clear statement of the S.D. (I, 279):
The Secret Doctrine teaches no Atheism, except in the Hindu sense of the word nastika, or the rejection of idols, including every anthropomorphic god. In this sense every Occultist is a Nastika.
The goal of all philosophical enquiry is Deity; the base of all scientific research is Law; the longing of all art-endeavour is Life; the yearning of all human hearts is the Self. Behind and beyond Space, Time and Causality is the Principle in and on which these categories manifest themselves — and philosophers are seeking that Principle. Underlying all forms, combinations of cells, themselves combinations of minuter forms, is the Principle which brings them into being — and scientists are looking for the nature of that Principle. Hidden in all expression of beauty is the creative intelligence which is the mystery, the soul of what is seen, heard, smelt, tasted or touched — and artists are pining to know what that Principle is. Beyond all known and noted processes of feeling, thought and will is the Principle which co-ordinates them all — and all men want to cognize that Principle.
The Deity, the Law, the Life, the Self, is that Principle. Other names are given according to the temperament, effort and knowledge of the namer. But because this concordance of knowledge as a whole is not accepted by people, and the key it affords is not used, they fail to see that the Principle is one, and the search for it is along many paths, each leading to partial and therefore non-satisfying results.
The path of synthesis — of Deity, Law, Life, Self, and all other names, whatever they be — is the path of Theosophy. The Secret Doctrine deals with the Principle first and studies only in the second place its varied manifested powers and personalities; always, however, in terms of and in the light of the parent Principle.
At the present stage of evolution our lower mind aided by the five senses is in a position to ask five primary questions, which, in a real sense, are only one question of a five-fold nature. Just as mind, the unit, co-ordinates and synthesizes the activity of the five senses, so also the true seeker and enquirer, the man himself, is in a position to synthesize the answers to these five questions, because of the inter-relationship which subsists between them. All our enquiries arise from one single interrogation — What is this? All objects are effects, and the primary question about them pertains to their objectivity. To obtain a fuller answer than the one which sense-impressions give, we proceed to ask — How it happened to be, Where it happened to be, and When it happened to be. The manner, place and time of its happening are enquired into because we desire to know what it is. But when we have obtained informative answers we find that these are not satisfactory, for however full the information, the question of questions is still to be put — Why? Why did the object happen to be what it is, by this process, in this place, at this time? What, How, Where, When, are related to Effect, Motion, Space, Time, but the existence of the object is not completely understood until and unless the Why related to Cause is cognized. What an object is, is rooted in how it became so; how it became so is due to the interaction of where and when it became what it is; but the reason for its becoming there, then and thus, i.e., in a particular place and at a particular time and by a particular process, lies hidden in the answer to — Why? What caused it to become what it is in this manner, at this place, at this time?
The universe and man exist. The Fundamental Propositions answer these primary questions: What are the universe and man, how, where and when did these become? Why did they become what they are?
The Third Proposition deals with what man and the universe are; the Second with how, where and when they came to be what they are; the First with why. The interrelation between man and the universe, the microcosm and the macrocosm, is a mystery so profound that we have not a sixth appropriate interrogative word even to formulate a direct question. Further, the mystery within and behind the Causal Interrogation, Why, is also so profound that we have not got a seventh interrogative word to deliberately enquire about it.
The Three Fundamentals deal with Seven problems and give a sevenfold answer to seven Primary Questions. Humanity in its evolution has reached a stage when it is capable of asking only five questions and it does not know how to ask the two remaining questions — nay, for the most part it does not know that there are more than five to be enquired into. Therefore the Law of Cycles and the Law whereby the Soul merges into the Over-Soul or the Over-Soul empties itself in the Soul, are reported to be mysteries of Initiation. Reverently let us withdraw from their Presence and try to gain for ourselves illumination on subjects on which we are capable of formulating questions.
What our universe is, how and when and where it came to be, and why — is the study of Cosmogenesis.
What we ourselves are, how and when and where we came to be, and why — is the study of Anthropogenesis.
Both are Boundless; both are Immutable, Eternal, and Omnipresent; both are what they are because of the Law of Cycles; the two are one because they cannot be different; to divide them would be to perform a miracle, but there is no miracle; to know them as one, the study of magic is to be pursued.
The reader is invited to note in the above paragraph the applications of the Three Fundamental Propositions of The Secret Doctrine(especially the opening sentence) and the first four items of Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 587-88.
Lest the reader regard all this as cold metaphysical abstractions it is necessary to reiterate what has been said so often before that the study of metaphysics is the beginning of the practical application of the Heart-Doctrine. “Alas, alas, that all men should possess Alaya, be one with the Great Soul, and that possessing it, Alaya should so little avail them!” Therefore let us dwell on the sage advice contained in the following:—
The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart — invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through “the still small voice” of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence. (S.D. I, 280.)