The history of cosmic evolution, as traced in the Stanzas [of Dzyan], is, so to say, the abstract algebraical formula of that Evolution. Hence the student must not expect to find there an account of all the stages and transformations which intervene between the first beginnings of “Universal” evolution and our present state. To give such an account would be as impossible as it would be incomprehensible to men who cannot even grasp the nature of the plane of existence next to that to which, for the moment, their consciousness is limited.
The Stanzas, therefore, give an abstract formula which can be applied, mutatis mutandis, to all evolution: to that of our tiny earth, to that of the chain of planets of which that earth forms one, to the solar Universe to which that chain belongs, and so on, in an ascending scale, till the mind reels and is exhausted in the effort. The seven Stanzas given in this volume represent the seven terms of this abstract formula. They refer to, and describe the seven great stages of the evolutionary process, which are spoken of in the Purânas as the “Seven Creations,” and in the Bible as the “Days” of Creation. (SD I:20-21)
The Seven Eternities meant are the seven periods, or a period answering in its duration to the seven periods, of a Manvantara, and extending throughout a Maha-Kalpa or the “Great Age”—100 years of Brahmâ—making a total of 311,040,000,000,000 of years; each year of Brahmâ being composed of 360 “days,” and of the same number of “nights” of Brahmâ (reckoning by the Chandrayana or lunar year); and a “Day of Brahmâ” consisting of 4,320,000,000 of mortal years. These “Eternities” belong to the most secret calculations, in which, in order to arrive at the true total, every figure must be 7x (7 to the power of x); x varying according to the nature of the cycle in the subjective or real world; and every figure or number relating to, or representing all the different cycles from the greatest to the smallest—in the objective or unreal world—must necessarily be multiples of seven. The key to this cannot be given, for herein lies the mystery of esoteric calculations, and for the purposes of ordinary calculation it has no sense. (SD I:36)
There are three primary causes which bring the human being into existence. I [Subba Row] shall call them, for the purpose of discussion, by the following names:
(1) Parabrahmam, the Universal Spirit. (2) Sakti, the crown of the astral light, combining in itself all the powers of Nature. (3) Prakriti, which in its original or primary shape is represented by Akasa. (Really every form of matter is finally reducible to Akasa.)
It is ordinarily stated that Prakriti or Akasa is the Kshetram, or the basis which corresponds to water in the example we have taken Brahmam the germ, and Sakti, the power or energy that comes into existence at their union or contact. But this is not the view which the Upanishads take of the question. According to them, Brahamam is the Kshetram or basis, Akasa or Prakriti, the germ or seed, and Sakti, the power evolved by their union or contact. And this is the real scientific, philosophical mode of stating the case.
Now, according to the adepts of ancient Aryavarta, seven principles are evolved out of these three primary entities. Algebra teaches us that the number of combinations of n things, taken one at a time, two at a time, three at a time, and so forth=2n– 1.
Applying this formula to the present case, the number of entities evolved from different combinations of these three primary causes amounts to 23– 1 = 8-1 = 7.
As a general rule, whenever seven entities are mentioned in the ancient occult science of India, in any connection whatsoever, you must suppose that those seven entities came into existence from three primary entities; and that these three entities, again, are evolved out of a single entity or MONAD. To take a familiar example, the seven coloured rays in the solar ray are evolved out of three primary coloured rays; and the three primary colours coexist with the four secondary colours in the solar rays. Similarly, the three primary entities which brought man into existence co-exist in him with the four secondary entities which arose from different combinations of the three primary entities. (“Brahmanism on the Sevenfold Principle in Man,” Five Years of Theosophy, p.160-10)
Note: for a detailed analysis of this formula, see here. And here’s a graphic on this particular formula:
Divine thought cannot be defined, or its meaning explained, except by the numberless manifestations of Cosmic Substance in which the former is sensed spiritually by those who can do so. To say this, after having defined it as the Unknown Deity, abstract, impersonal, sexless, which must be placed at the root of every Cosmogony and its subsequent evolution, is equivalent to saying nothing at all. It is like attempting a transcendental equation of conditions for the true values of a set, having in hand for deducing them only a number of unknown quantities. Its place is found in the old primitive Symbolic charts, in which, as shown in the text, it is represented by a boundless darkness, on the ground of which appears the first central point in white―thus symbolising coeval and co-eternal SPIRIT-MATTER making its appearance in the phenomenal world, before its first differentiation. When “the one becomes two,” it may then be referred to as Spirit and matter. (SD I:327)
“And God said, Let there be a firmament. . .” (v. 6), and “God,” the second, obeyed and “made the firmament” (v. 7). “And God said let there be light,” and “there was light.” Now the latter does not mean light at all, but in the Kabala, the androgyne “Adam Kadmon,” or Sephira (Spiritual light), for they are one; or, according to the Chaldean “Book of Numbers,” the secondary angels, the first being the Elohim who are the aggregate of that “fashioning” god. For to whom are those words of command addressed? And who is it who commands? That which commands is the eternal Law, and he who obeys, the Elohim, the known quantity acting in and with x, or the coefficient of the unknown quantity, the Forces of the ONE Force. All this is Occultism, and is found in the archaic STANZAS. It is perfectly immaterial whether we call these “Forces” the Dhyan Chohans, or the Ophanim, as St. John does. (SD I:337)
Sephira is the Crown, KETHER, in the abstract principle only, as a mathematical x (the unknown quantity). On the plane of differentiated nature she is the female counterpart of Adam Kadmon—the first Androgyne. The Kabala teaches that the word “Fiat Lux” (Genesis ch. i.) referred to the formation and evolution of the Sephiroth, and not to light as opposed to darkness. Rabbi Simeon says: “Oh companions, companions, man as an emanation was both man and woman, Adam Kadmon verily, and this is the sense of the words ‘Let there be Light, and it was Light.’ And this is the two-fold man.” (SD I:215 fn)
Q. When does Light proceed from that Darkness?
A. Subsequently, when the first hour for manifestation strikes.
Q. Light, then, is the first manifestation?
A. It is, after differentiation has begun and at the third stage of evolution only. Bear in mind that in philosophy we use the word “light” in a dual sense: one to signify eternal, absolute light, in potentia, ever present in the bosom of the unknown Darkness, coexistent and coeval with the latter in Eternity, or in other words, identical with it; and the other as a Manifestation of heterogeneity and a contrast to it. For one who reads the Vishnu Purâna, for instance, understandingly, will find the difference between the two terms well expressed in Vishnu; one with Brahmâ, and yet distinct from him. There, Vishnu is the eternal x, and at the same time every term of the equation. He is Brahmâ (neuter) essentially matter and Spirit, which are Brahma’s two primordial aspects—Spirit being the abstract light. (Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, p. 35)
X.—This letter is one of the important symbols in the Occult philosophy. As a numeral stands, in mathematics, for the unknown quantity; in occult numerals, for the perfect number 10; when placed horizontally, thus , it means 1,000; the same with a dash over it for 10,000; and by itself, in occult symbolism, it is Plato’s logos (man as a microcosm) decussated in space in the form of the letter . The , or cross within the circle, has moreover a still clearer significance in Eastern occult philosophy: it is Man within his own spherical envelope. (Theosophical Glossary)