Studies in the Secret Doctrine:
The Basic Law of Brotherhood
Nature and man are one in their divine consubstantiality, but each has a dual aspect — its Non-manifested and manifested. Again, both the Non-manifested and the manifested have a triple characteristic, which in the case of the former is forever concealed while in the latter the triplicity unfolds itself in manifestation. The forever concealed, primeval triune differentiation, not from, but in the ONE ABSOLUTE is therefore symbolized by 4, or the Tetraktis, in the metaphysical world. In the Indian system, the Sacred Word Aum is composed of four factors — the three letters A, U, and M and the half-metre, Ardha-Matra, for the fourth. Similarly, man is not only Atma-Buddhi and Manas but also is that which binds the immortal Triad, to the One Life, the Universal Spirit Paramatma, which enfolds all.
Metaphysically speaking, the manifested universe is triune. The Absolute Space, parentless, but parent of all, ever is; the Absolute Space, the Germ in the Root that sprouts and grows as the Tree of Evolution, ever was; the Absolute Space that is ever becoming ever will be; and these three are ever concealed as one in Absoluteness. (cf. I, 11.) Through That, in That, from That arises the metaphysical trinity of Motion, Duration and Matter, as also the psychological one of Spirit, Soul and Body. The reader is requested to note the four factors involved in these two trinities in the following from The Secret Doctrine:
The “Breath” of the One Existence is used in its application only to the spiritual aspect of Cosmogony by Archaic esotericism; otherwise, it is replaced by its equivalent in the material plane — Motion. The One Eternal Element, or element-containing Vehicle, is Space, dimensionless in every sense; co-existent with which are — endless duration, primordial (hence indestructible) matter, and motion — absolute “perpetual motion” which is the “breath” of the “One” Element. This breath, as seen, can never cease, not even during the Pralayic eternities. (I, 55.)
… Life we look upon as “the one form of existence,” manifesting in what is called matter; or, as in man, what, incorrectly separating them, we name Spirit, Soul and Matter. Matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this plane of existence, and soul is the vehicle on a higher plane for the manifestation of spirit, and these three are a trinity synthesized by Life, which pervades them all…. (I, 49.)
The one and only Macrocosmos is for ever hidden in Absoluteness. The universe in toto is itself a microcosmic projection of that one and only Macrocosmos. The study of the manifested is the study of innumerable reflections of the One Life. Every microcosmos, following its parent, projects itself, thus becoming macrocosmos to its progeny. It is necessary to understand this.
The manifested universe is called in The Secret Doctrine the Son of Necessity. Every microcosmos is a Son of Necessity. The rising of the Wave — the universe — in the Ocean of Absoluteness is under Law. Says The Secret Doctrine:
… Stepping out of the Circle of Infinity, that no man comprehendeth, Ain-Soph (the Kabalistic synonym for Parabrahm, for the Zeroana Akerne, of the Mazdeans, or for any other “UNKNOWABLE”) becomes “One” — the ECHOD, the EKA, the AHU — then he (or it) is transformed by evolution into the One in many, the Dhyani-Buddhas or the Elohim, or again the Amshaspends, his third Step being taken into generation of the flesh, or “Man.” … (I, 113.)
In the Circle of Infinity arises, under and as Law, the Circle of Necessity or finiteness. This Law has three aspects corresponding to the three in the Ever Concealed Unity — the Law of Karma (Action), of Cycles (Yugas) and of Yagna (Sacrifice-Compassion).
Under the Law of Karma beings, cosmic or human, wake up or fall asleep as cyclic processes go on, in differing periods of time (cycles), according to their acquired capacities and powers inherent in them, but the Law of Cycles runs its course evenly and uniformly, putting the universe to sleep through its manvantaric activities, awakening it to manifestation through its pralayic movements. By the Law of Yagna or Sacrifice all these beings act as builders, preservers, regenerators, giving of their own life-power to those who are in need of it, and receiving from others what they themselves require, some will-fully, others unconsciously. This threefold function of the One Law is not outside of man or the universe. It is within each.
Thus the Spiritual-man sacrifices himself for the benefit of the mental-man, as the latter for the man of flesh in whom he incarnates. Under the Law of Compensation suitable adjustments, skandhaic or personal, egoic or individual, and monadic or universal take place. To offer sacrifice and receive it and thus produce readjustment, the time-element, the due and proper season, is a necessity. The unfoldment of principle’s, cosmic or human, the growth of body, mind or soul in man or of the Kingdoms in Nature, in short, evolution generally, is dependent on the threefold function of the One Law.
Why are we what we are? — it is often asked, and the answer, because we made ourselves so, brings the sequential query — “how?” In our being we have come to this particular readjustment of cosmic principles, some of which we have assimilated and made our own, while others remain to be so assimilated; and further, only portions and aspects of some of these have been assimilated and more of their assimilation has yet to take place; this process is dependent on the activity of the Law of Yagna-sacrifice — to give to and receive from other beings. This explanation makes us enquire why we enjoy or suffer from the capacity or the limitation to offer and to accept, and to it the reply comes — The Law of Cycles: each one of us is moving in a particular age or yuga and according to the season is the fruit of our labours. Each being in the universe is a portion of Space, assimilating other portions by action (Karma) thus producing cause, and facing in time the reaction which is its effect; in this assimilation it affects and is affected by all other portions till it learns the truth of Brotherhood, of Union, nay of Unity Itself. Note the triple action of the One Law in the following:
… the one absolute, ever acting and never erring law, which proceeds on the same lines from one eternity (or Manvantara) to the other — ever furnishing an ascending scale for the manifested, or that which we call the great Illusion (Maha-Maya), but plunging Spirit deeper and deeper into materiality on the one hand, and then redeeming it through flesh and liberating it — this law, we say, uses for these purposes the Beings from other and higher planes, men, or Minds (Manus), in accordance with their Karmic exigencies. (II, 87-8.)
Thus the reader will see that the Law of laws is the Law of Brotherhood — Alaya. Its triple expression is karma, yuga, and yagna — compensation, cycles, and sacrifice. This Brotherhood includes not only man, but all Nature — Spiritual or Atmic, Intellectual or Manasic, Psychical or Kamic, and Bodily or Shariric; its unity extends beyond the human kingdom and enfolds bird and beast, shrub and tree, metal and stone, all the invisible elemental kingdoms of nature-spirits, fairies and devatas, collective hosts of archangels, shining ones and devas, and the crown of them all — Perfected Men, Mahatmas, Buddhas, Dhyanis. In its basic or upadhic formlessness Nature is coeval with Deity. Says H.P.B. in The Key to Theosophy:
When we speak of the Deity and make it identical, hence coeval, with Nature, the eternal and uncreate nature is meant, and not your aggregate of flitting shadows and finite unrealities. We leave it to the hymn-makers to call the visible sky or heaven, God’s Throne, and our earth of mud His footstool. Our DEITY is neither in a paradise, nor in a particular tree, building, or mountain; it is everywhere, in every atom of the visible as of the invisible Cosmos, in, over, and around every invisible atom and divisible molecule; for IT is the mysterious power of evolution and involution, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and even omniscient creative potentiality.
If Deity and Nature are one, so are these two one with Law. Says The Secret Doctrine, “… It is idle to speak of ‘laws arising when Deity prepares to create’ for (a) laws or rather LAW is eternal and uncreated; and (b) that Deity is Law, and vice versâ.” And it adds, “… the one eternal LAW unfolds everything in the (to be) manifested Nature …” (I, 152.)
The interplay of these three laws takes place in terms of analogy-correspondence and continuity. Deity, Nature, Law, never stops but moves on uniformly and there is neither a gap nor a chasm anywhere; all are connected in a harmonious whole. The Law of correspondence and analogy comes to the rescue of the intelligent seeker and unveils the mystery which the magic of prakriti causes. Says The Secret Doctrine:
The Worlds are built “in the likeness of older Wheels” — i.e., those that existed in preceding Manvantaras and went into Pralaya, 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…. (I, 144-5.)
Modern science also teaches that the universe is guided by Law, but in its observations exist chasms broad and deep; hence the numerous “missing links”; when modern science learns to use the law of correspondence and analogy the gaps in its knowledge will begin to disappear.
… It is a fundamental principle of the Occult philosophy, this same homogeneity of matter and immutability of natural laws, which are so much insisted upon by materialism; but that unity rests upon the inseparability of Spirit from matter, and, if the two are once divorced, the whole Kosmos would fall back into chaos and non-being…. (I, 640.)
… evolution — viewed from its several standpoints — i.e., as the universal and the individualized Monad; and the chief aspects of the Evolving Energy, after differentiation — the purely Spiritual, the Intellectual, the Psychic and the Physical — may be thus formulated as an invariable law; a descent of Spirit into Matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the depths of materiality towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete form and substance up to the LAYA state, or what Science calls “the zero-point,” and beyond. (I, 620.)
The Key to the use and application of the law of analogy and correspondence lies in an understanding of the real Nature of Brotherhood and its triple expression referred to above.
The first idea which has to be grasped in reference to the law of correspondence-analogy is that there is no qualitative difference between Macro and Micro Cosmos. Every creature in every kingdom is a microcosmic reflection of the One Life — the Macrocosm. Atoms, Monads, Gods are but the reflected images of and in the One Life. The difference is a difference of degree but not of kind — the same One Life reflects itself in and with varied strength thus producing differentiation, the endless variety of Nature. Nature is varied because Life is One.
The second idea to understand is that this difference is only seeming — is an ever-changing appearance. Those who perceive its apparent nature call it illusory or mayavic, but it is intensely real to all who have not caught a glimpse of its illusionary Nature. What makes this illusion? The One Life in its perpetual motion, acting and re-acting, or causing effects, produces cycles — circles, ellipses, epicycles — Yugas, Wheels or Rings of Time. This causal-effectual-cyclic movement begets permutations and combinations. Thus there is the original Motion of the on-sweep of the One Life — the Great Breath of Brahma — which makes every point of space different from every other point and these reacting on one another work the mighty magic of prakriti. Thus there arises Nature’s manifoldness. The three aspects of the One Life casting their own reflections become six and with the original parent make the First Septenate. Therefore there are seven Archangels, Sapta-Rishis, seven Ameshaspentas in exoteric religions, the souls or units of seven hierarchies in esotericism. Each of these has a seven-fold consciousness functioning in seven-fold matter and therefore there are seven forces or faculties resulting from the contact of consciousness and matter. He who knows himself above the triple attributes or gunas of matter, — inertia, mobility, rhythm, or tamas, rajas, sattva — above the triple aspects or faculties of consciousness — thought, feeling, will, or gnyan, ichcha, kriya — knows himself as the One Life.
The third idea to get hold of is this: in differentiated Nature the differences are in terms of what has become patent and of what still remains latent. As the flow of the One Life progresses, its aspects, faculties, characteristics, show themselves. These unfold in an unbroken continuity, ever growing, what is latent in one kingdom today becoming patent in another kingdom tomorrow. The variety of Nature should be examined in terms of its latency and its patency — one belongs to the aspect of the future, as the other to that of the past and the two come together in that of the present. And each creature of Nature, which is part and parcel of it, sees the latency and patency of every other creature in terms of its own. According to what has unfolded in us of the Mother Nature or the One Life as also what lies dormant and asleep, is our power to perceive, to understand, to serve all other creatures in all kingdoms.
This brings us to the fourth idea: the One Life impregnates the entire manifested universe, as the sunlight falls on the just and unjust alike. A perfect reflection is a veritable reproduction. Sunlight falls over the entire surface of a lake but reproduces itself as a reflected image in a particular spot of the quiet lake to each observer. The One Life is becoming patent or is reflecting itself in and from the different kingdoms differently. It casts its perfect shadow, or it causes its exact reproduction in the human kingdom only. Man is the photograph of the universe — the Microprosopus of the One Life which is the Macroprosopus. In man alone the primal pair of opposites, with its sixfold manifestation, combines to make him the sevenfold being he is. It is in this fact of the unique nature of man which The Secret Doctrine unveils that we have to look for the understanding of its two ugly distortions. We are all aware of the Egocentric tendency of all mankind; this is a distorted shadow of the reality of the teaching we are considering. For the same reason that the stage of man is unique in Nature, is this earth of ours — the fourth globe in the planetary chain — the real field of battle — the true Kurukshetra. This idea again was distorted by early European astronomers, under the influence of the church, and the geocentric solar system was preached. Pythagoras and his Teachers of the East knew and taught the heliocentric system astronomically, as well as the doctrine of Man being an exact miniature copy of Nature and the One Life, illusory as body, reality as Spirit.
It is this great fact of perfected man being a complete reproduction, a perfect reflection of Nature, of his being the true microcosm of the Macrocosm, of the real identity which subsists between them, that enables him to perceive, understand and serve the Law of Brotherhood. In knowing himself he knows the universe; what is latent in him is also dormant in nature; what manifests in him brings him in contact and unison with what has manifested in Nature. Perception of the Universe by the Man of Sense, understanding of the Universe by the Man of Mind, service of the Universe by the Man of Spirit are interrelated. Man lives in a triple universe — tri-loka — because he is triple; he affects it in a sevenfold manner because he is septenary; but he perceives the triple universe in a sevenfold way partially, therefore understands it partially, therefore serves partially — is only a half brother to Nature. But in him lies the opportunity to grow and become an Elder Brother in the vast family of Nature. To rise to that glorious height is difficult in our age:
In our race and generation the one “temple in the Universe” is in rare cases — within us; but our body and mind have been too defiled by both Sin and Science to be outwardly now anything better than a fane of iniquity and error…. (II, 651.)
But what men have done, that man can do — control and pacify the warring younger brothers within himself, establish the brotherhood in his own bodily, psychic, mental and spiritual natures and thus become the servant of the Great Mother. The Secret Doctrine has described in a memorable passage (I, 268) the sequential unfoldment of the powers and aspects of the One Life and the place of Man in that scheme to which the readers’ attention is specially called and from which a short extract follows:
Starting upon the long journey immaculate; descending more and more into sinful matter, and having connected himself with every atom in manifested Space —the Pilgrim, having struggled through and suffered in every form of life and being, is only at the bottom of the valley of matter, and half through his cycle, when he has identified himself with collective Humanity. . . .