The Synthesis of Occult Science
The Path, November, 1891; February, March, May, 1892
The impassable gulf between mind and matter discovered by modern science is a logical result of the present methods of so-called scientific investigation. These methods are analytical and hypothetical, and the results arrived at are necessarily tentative and incomplete. Even the so-called “Synthetic Philosophy” of Spencer is, at best, an effort to grasp the entire method and modulus of nature within one of its processes only. The aim is at synthesis, but it can hardly deserve the name of philosophy, for it is purely speculative and hypothetical. It is as though the physiologist undertook to study the function of respiration in man through the single process of expiration, ignoring the fact that every expiratory act must be supplemented by inspiration or respiration cease altogether.
Taking, therefore, the facts of experience derived from the phenomena of nature and viewing both cosmic and organic processes purely from their objective side, the “missing links,” ”impassable gulfs, and “unthinkable gaps occur constantly. Not so in Occult Science. So far as the science of occultism is concerned, it is both experimental and analytical, but it acknowledges no “missing links,” “impassable gulfs,” or “unthinkable gaps,” because it finds none. Back of occult science there lies a complete and all-embracing Philosophy. This philosophy is not simply synthetical in its methods, for the simplest as the wildest hypothesis can claim that much; but it is synthesis itself. It regards Nature as one complete whole, and so the student of occultism may stand at either point of observation. He may from the stand-point of Nature’s wholeness and completeness follow the process of segregation and differentiation to the minutest atom conditioned in space and time; or, from the phenomenal display of the atom, he may reach forward and upward till the atom becomes an integral part of cosmos, involved in the universal harmony of creation. The modern scientist may do this incidentally or empirically, but the occultist does it systematically and habitually, and hence philosophically. The modern scientist is confessedly and boastfully agnostic. The occultist is reverently and progressively gnostic.
Modern science recognizes matter as “living” and “dead,” “organic” and “inorganic,” and “Life” as merely a phenomenon of matter. Occult science recognizes, “foremost of all, the postulate that there is no such thing in Nature as inorganic substances or bodies. Stones, minerals, rocks, and even chemical ‘atoms’ are simply organic units in profound lethargy. Their coma has an end, and their inertia becomes activity.” (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 626.) Occultism recognizes ONE UNIVERSAL, ALL-PERVADING LIFE. Modern science recognizes life as a special phenomenon of matter, a mere transient manifestation due to temporary conditions. Even logic and analogy ought to have taught us better, for the simple reason that so-called “inorganic” or “dead” matter constantly becomes organic and living, while matter from the organic plane is continually being reduced to the inorganic. How rational and justifiable, then, to suppose that the capacity or “potency” of life is latent in all matter!
The “elements,” “atoms,” and “molecules” of modern science, partly physical and partly metaphysical, though altogether hypothetical, are, nevertheless, seldom philosophical, for the simple reason that they are regarded solely as phenomenal. The Law of Avogadro involved a generalization as to physical structure and number, and the later experiments of Prof. Neumann deduced the same law mathematically from the first principles of the mechanical theory of gases, but it remained for Prof. Crookes to perceive the philosophical necessity of a primordial substratum, protyle, and so, as pointed out in the Secret Doctrine, to lay the foundations of “Metachemistry”; in other words, a complete philosophy of physics and chemistry that shall take the place of mere hypothesis and empiricism, if one or two generalizations deduced as logical or mathematical necessities from the phenomena of physics and chemistry have been able to work such revolutions in the old chemistry, what may we not expect from a complete synthesis that shall grasp universals by a law that compasses the whole domain of matter? And yet this complete synthesis has been in the possession of the true occultist for ages. Glimpses of this philosophy have been sufficient to give to minds like Kepler, Descartes, Leibnitz, Kant, Schopenhauer, and, lastly, to Prof. Crookes, ideas that claimed and held the interested attention of the scientific world. While, at certain points, such writers supplement and corroborate each other, neither anywhere nor altogether do they reveal the complete synthesis, for none of them possessed it, and yet it has all along existed.
“Let the reader remember these ‘Monads’ of Leibnitz, every one of which is a living mirror of the universe, every monad reflecting every other, and compare this view and definition with certain Sanskrit stanzas (Slokas) translated by Sir William Jones, in which it is said that the creative source of the Divine Mind, . . . ‘Hidden in a veil of thick darkness, formed mirrors of the atoms of the world, and cast reflection from its own face on every atom‘.”—S. D., Vol. 1, p. 623.
It may be humiliating to “Modern Exact Science” and repugnant to the whole of Christendom to have to admit that the Pagans whom they have despised, and the “Heathen Scriptures” they long ridiculed or ignored, nevertheless possess a fund of wisdom never dreamed of under Western skies. They have the lesson, however, to learn, that Science by no means originated in, nor is it confined to, the West, nor are superstition and ignorance confined to the East.
It can easily be shown that every real discovery and every important advancement in modern science have already been anticipated centuries ago by ancient science and philosophy. It is true that these ancient doctrines have been embodied in unknown languages and symbols, and recorded in books inaccessible to western minds till a very recent date. Far beyond all this inaccessibility, however, as a cause preventing these old truths from reaching modern times, has been the prejudice, the scorn and contempt of ancient learning manifested by the leaders of modern thought.
Nor is the lesson yet learned that bigotry and scorn are never the mark of wisdom or the harbingers of learning; for still, with comparatively few exceptions, any claim or discussion of these ancient doctrines is met with contempt and scorn. The record has, however, been at least outlined and presented to the world. As the authors of the Secret Doctrine have remarked, these doctrines may not be largely accepted by the present generation, but during the twentieth century they will become known and appreciated.
The scope and bearing of philosophy itself are hardly yet appreciated by modern thought, because of its materialistic tendency. A complete science of metaphysics and a complete philosophy of science are not yet even conceived of as possible; hence the ancient wisdom by its very vastness has escaped recognition in modern times. That the authors of ancient wisdom have spoken from at least two whole planes of conscious experience beyond that of our every-day “sense-perception” is to us inconceivable, and yet such is the fact; and why should the modern advocate of evolution be shocked and staggered by such a disclosure? It but justifies his hypothesis and extends its theatre. Is it because the present custodians of this ancient learning do not scramble for recognition on the stock exchange, and enter into competition in the marts of the world? If the practical outcome of such competition needed illustration, Mr. Keely might serve as an example. The discoveries of the age are already whole centuries in advance of its ethical culture, and the knowledge that should place still further power in the hands of a few individuals whose ethical code is below, rather than above, that of the ignorant, toiling, suffering masses, could only minister to anarchy and increase oppression. On these higher planes of consciousness the law of progress is absolute; knowledge and power go hand in hand with beneficence to man, not alone to the individual possessors of wisdom, but to the whole human race. The custodians of the higher knowledge are equally by both motive and development almoners of the divine. These are the very conditions of the higher consciousness referred to. The synthesis of occult science becomes, therefore, the higher synthesis of the faculties of man. What matter, therefore, if the ignorant shall scout its very existence, or treat it with ridicule and contempt? Those who know of its existence and who have learned something of its scope and nature can, in their turn, afford to smile, but with pity and sorrow at the willing bondage to ignorance and misery that scorns enlightenment and closes its eyes to the plainest truths of experience.
Leaving, for the present, the field of physics and cosmogenesis, it may be profitable to consider some of the applications of these doctrines to the functions and life of man.
The intellect derived from philosophy
is similar to a charioteer; for it
is present with our desires, and
always conducts them to the beautiful.
“In reality, as Occult philosophy teaches us, everything which changes is organic; it has the life principle in it, and it has all the potentiality of the higher lives. If, as we say, all in nature is an aspect of the one element, and life is universal, how can there be such a thing as an inorganic atom!” 1 Man is a perfected animal, but before he could have reached perfection even on the animal plane, there must have dawned upon him the light of a higher plane. Only the perfected animal can cross the threshold of the next higher, or the human plane, and as he does so there shines upon him the ray from the suprahuman plane. Therefore, as the dawn of humanity illumines the animal plane, and as a guiding star lures the Monad to higher consciousness, so the dawn of divinity illumines the human plane, luring the monad to the supra-human plane of consciousness. This is neither more nor less than the philosophical and metaphysical aspect of the law of evolution. Man has not one principle more than the tiniest insect; he is, however, “the vehicle of a fully developed Monad, self-conscious and deliberately following its own line of progress, whereas in the insect, and even the higher animal, the higher triad of principles is absolutely dormant.” The original Monad has, therefore, locked within it the potentiality of divinity. It is plainly, therefore, a misnomer to call that process of thought a “Synthetic Philosophy” that deals only with phenomena and ends with matter on the physical plane. These two generalizations of Occult philosophy, endowing every atom with the potentiality of life, and regarding every insect or animal as already possessing the potentialities of the higher planes though these powers are yet dormant, add to the ordinary Spencerian theory of evolution precisely that element that it lacks, viz, the metaphysical and philosophical; and, thus endowed, the theory becomes synthetical.
The Monad, then, is essentially and potentially the same in the lowest vegetable organism, up through all forms and gradations of animal life to man, and beyond. There is a gradual unfolding of its potentialities from “Monera” to man, and there are two whole planes of consciousness, the sixth and the seventh “senses,” not yet unfolded to the average humanity. Every monad that is enclosed in a form, and hence limited by matter, becomes conscious on its own plane and in its own degree. Consciousness, therefore, no less than sensitiveness, belongs to plants as well as to animals. Self-consciousness belongs to man, because, while embodied in a form, the higher triad of principles, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, is no longer dormant, but active. This activity is, however, far from being fully developed. When this activity has become fully developed, man will already have become conscious on a still higher plane, endowed with the sixth and the opening of the seventh sense, and will have become a “god” in the sense given to that term by Plato and his followers.
In thus giving this larger and completer meaning to the law of evolution, the Occult philosophy entirely eliminates the “missing links” of modern science, and, by giving to man a glimpse of his nature and destiny, not only points out the line of the higher evolution, but puts him in possession of the means of achieving it.
The “atoms” and “monads” of the Secret Doctrine are very different from the atoms and molecules of modern science. To the latter these are mere particles of matter endowed with blind force: to the former, they are the “dark nucleoles,” and potentially “Gods,” conscious and intelligent from their primeval embodiment at the beginning of differentiation in the dawn of the Manvantara. There are no longer any hard and fast lines between the “organic” and the “inorganic”; between the “living” and “dead” matter. Every atom is endowed with and moved by intelligence, and is conscious in its own degree, on its own plane of development. This is a glimpse of the One Life that—
“Runs through all time, extends through all extent,
Lives undivided, operates unspent.”
It may be conceived that the “Ego” in man is a monad that has gathered to itself innumerable experiences through aeons of time, slowly unfolding its latent potencies through plane after plane of matter. It is hence called the “eternal pilgrim.”
The Manasic, or mind principle, is cosmic and universal. It is the creator of all forms, and the basis of all law in nature. Not so with consciousness. Consciousness is a condition of the monad as the result of embodiment in matter and the dwelling in a physical form. Self-consciousness, which from the animal plane looking upward is the beginning of perfection, from the divine plane looking downward is the perfection of selfishness and the curse of separateness. It is the “world of illusion” that man has created for himself. “Maya is the perceptive faculty of every Ego which considers itself a Unit, separate from and independent of the One Infinite and Eternal Sat or ‘be-ness.'” The “eternal pilgrim” must therefore mount higher, and flee from the plane of self-consciousness it has struggled so hard to reach.
The complex structure that we call “Man” is made up of a congeries of almost innumerable “Lives.” Not only every microscopic cell of which the tissues are composed, but the molecules and atoms of which these cells are composed, are permeated with the essence of the “One Life.” Every so-called organic cell is known to have its nucleus, a center of finer or more sensitive matter. The nutritive, all the formative and functional processes consist of flux and re-flux, of inspiration and expiration, to and from the nucleus.
The nucleus is therefore in its own degree and after its kind a “monad” imprisoned in a “form.” Every microscopic cell, therefore, has a consciousness and an intelligence of its own, and man thus consists of innumerable “lives.” This is but physiological synthesis, logically deduced no less from the known facts in physiology and histology than the logical sequence of the philosophy of occultism. Health of the body as a whole depends on the integrity of all its parts, and more especially upon their harmonious association and cooperation. A diseased tissue is one in which a group of individual cells refuse to cooperate, and wherein is set up discordant action, using less or claiming more than their due share of food or energy. Disease of the very tissue of mans body is neither more nor less than the “sin of separateness.” Moreover, the grouping of cells is upon the principle of hierarchies. Smaller groups are subordinate to larger congeries, and these again are subordinate to larger, or to the whole. Every microscopic cell therefore typifies and epitomizes man, as man is an epitome of the Universe. As already remarked, the “Eternal Pilgrim,” the Alter-Ego in man, is a monad progressing through the ages. By right and by endowment the ego is king in the domain of mans bodily life. It descended into matter in the cosmic process till it reached the mineral plane, and then journeyed upward through the “three kingdoms” till it reached the human plane. The elements of its being, like the cells and molecules of mans body, are groupings of structures accessory or subordinate to it. The human monad or Ego is therefore akin to all below it and heir to all above it, linked by indissoluble bonds to spirit and matter, “God” and “Nature.” The attributes that it gathers, and the faculties that it unfolds, are but the latent and dormant potentialities awaking to conscious life. The tissue cells constitute mans bodily structure, but the order in which they are arranged, the principle upon which they are grouped, constituting the human form, is not simply an evolved shape from the lower animal plane, but an involved principle from a higher plane, an older world, viz, the “Lunar Pitris.” “Hanuman the Monkey” antedates Darwins “missing link” by thousands of millenniums. So also the Manasic, or mind element, with its cosmic and infinite potentialities, is not merely the developed “instinct” of the animal. Mind is the latent or active potentiality of Cosmic Ideation, the essence of every form, the basis of every law, the potency of every principle in the universe. Human thought is the reflection or reproduction in the realm of mans consciousness of these forms, laws, and principles. Hence man senses and apprehends nature just as nature unfolds in him. When, therefore, the Monad has passed through the form of the animal ego, involved and unfolded the human form, the higher triad of principles awakens from the sleep of ages and over-shadowed by the “Manasa-putra” and built into its essence and substance. How could man epitomize Cosmos if he did not touch it at every point and involve it in every principle? If mans being is woven in the web of destiny, his potencies and possibilities take hold of divinity as the woof and pattern of his boundless life. Why, then, should he grow weary or disheartened? Alas! why should he be degraded, this heir of all things!
“The peculiarity also of this theology, and in which its transcendency consists, is this, that it does not consider the highest God to be the principle of beings, but the principle of principles, i.e. of deiform processions from itself, all which are eternally rooted in the unfathomable depths of the immensely great source of their existence, and of which they may be called supersensuous ramifications and superluminous blossoms.”
—Thomas Taylor. Introduction to Mystical Hymns of Orpheus
It has often been thought a strange thing that there are no dogmas and no creed in Theosophy or Occultism. Is theosophy a religion? is often asked. No, it is religion. Is it a philosophy? No, it is philosophy. Is it a science? No, it is science. If a consensus of religion, philosophy, and science is possible, and if it has ever been reached in human thought, that thought must long since have passed the boundaries of all creeds and ceased to dogmatize. Hence comes the difficulty in answering questions. No proposition stands apart or can be taken separately without limiting and often distorting its meaning. Every proposition has to be considered and held as subservient to the synthetic whole. Really intelligent people, capable of correct reasoning, often lack sufficient interest to endeavor to apprehend the universality of these principles. They expect, where they have any interest at all in the subject, to be told “all about it” in an hours conversation, or to learn it from a column in some newspaper; all about man, all about Nature, all about Deity; and then either to reject it or to make it a part of their previous creed. These are really no wiser than the penny-a-liner who catches some point and turns it into ridicule, or makes it a butt for coarse jest or silly sarcasm, and then complacently imagines that he has demolished the whole structure! If such persons were for one moment placed face to face with their own folly, they would be amazed. The most profound thinker and the most correct reasoner might well afford to devote a life-time to the apprehension of the philosophy of occultism, and other life-times to mastering the scientific details, while at the same time his ethics and his religious life are made consistent with the principle of altruism and the Brotherhood of man. If this be regarded as too hard a task, it is, nevertheless, the line of the higher evolution of man, and, soon or late, every soul must follow it, retrograde, or cease to be.
Man is but a link in an endless chain of being; a sequence of a past eternity of causes and processes; a potentiality born into time, but spanning two eternities, his past and his future, and in his consciousness these are all one, Duration, the ever-present. In a former article man was shown to be a series of almost innumerable “Lives,” and these lives, these living entities called “cells,” were shown to be associated together on the principle of hierarchies, grouped according to rank and order, service and development, and this was shown to be the “physical synthesis” of man, and the organic synthesis as well. Disease was also shown to be the organic nutritive, or physiological “sin of separateness.” Every department of man’s being, every organ and cell of his body, was also shown to possess a consciousness and an intelligence of its own, held, however, subordinate to the whole. In health every action is synchronous and rhythmical, however varied and expanded, however intense and comprehensive. Enough is already known in modern physics to justify all these statements, at least by analogy. The principle of electrical induction and vibration, the quantitative and qualitative transmission of vibration and its exact registration, and their application to telegraphy, the telephone, and the phonograph, have upset all previous theories of physics and physiology. “A metallic plate, for instance, can that talk like a human being? Yea or nay? Mr. Bouillard—and he was no common man—said No; to accept such a fact were to upset all our notions of physiology. So said Mr. Bouillard, right in the face of Edison’s phonograph in full Academy, and he throttled the luckless interpreter of the famous American inventor, accusing it of ventriloquism.” 2
Occultism teaches that the Ego both precedes and survives the physical body. The phenomena of mans life and the process of his thought can be apprehended and explained on no other theory. Modern physiology teaches in detail certain facts regarding the life of man. It, moreover, groups these facts and deduces certain so-called principles and laws, but such a thing as a synthesis of the whole man is seldom even attempted. “Psychology” is mere empiricism, represented by disjointed facts, and these, of course, but little understood, and more often misinterpreted.
Ask the modern physiologist if man can think when unconscious, and he will answer No; and if asked if man can be conscious and not think, he will as readily answer No. Both answers will be based on what is known, or supposed to be known, of memory. The idea that the real man, the Ego, is always conscious on some plane, and that it “thinks,” as we ordinarily use the term, only on the lower plane through the physical brain, in terms of extension and duration, or space and time, is seldom in the least apprehended by the modern physiologist. If, however, one grasps the idea of the ego as the real man dwelling in the physical body and using it as its instrument through which it is related to space and time, perception, sensation, thought, and feeling, the gaps in physiology and psychology begin to disappear. Here again it should be particularly borne in mind that this doctrine of the ego must be considered in the light of the complete synthesis of occultism, and just to the extent that this is intelligently done will the significance of the ego appear.
The brief and concise outline of the philosophy of occultism given in the Introduction to the Secret Doctrine is therefore very significant, and the student who desires to apprehend that which follows in these two large volumes ought to study this outline very carefully. No subsequent proposition, no principle in the life of man, can be correctly understood apart from it. The subject-matter following is necessarily fragmentary, but the outline is both inclusive and philosophical, and if one reasons logically and follows the plainest analogies he can never go far astray. The relation of mind to brain, of thought to consciousness, of life to matter, and of man to Nature and to Deity, is there clearly defined; not, indeed, in all its details, but in a philosophical modulus, to be worked out in reason and in life. The all-pervading Life, the cyclic or periodical movements, the periods of action and of repose, and the intimate relations and inter-dependences of all things apply to Cosmos, and equally to every atom in its vast embrace.
Students sometimes complain that they cannot understand, that the subject is so vast, and so deep and intricate, and not made clear. It is because they do not realize what they have undertaken. Occultism can neither be taught nor learned in “a few easy lessons.” The “object lessons” sometimes given by H.P.B., almost always misunderstood and misapplied, though often explained at the time, served as often to excite vulgar curiosity and personal abuse as to arrest attention and study. If, before the advent of the T.S. in the face of the creeds of Christendom, the materialism of science, the indifferences and supercilious scorn of Agnosticism, and the babel of spiritualism, it had been proposed to begin at the foundations and reconstruct our entire knowledge of Nature and of man; to show the unity and the foundations of the worlds religions; to eliminate from science all its “missing links”; to make Agnosticism gnostic; and to place the science of psychology and the nature and laws of mind and soul over against “Mediumship”; it would have been held as an herculean task, and declared impossible of accomplishment. Now that the thing has virtually been accomplished and this body of knowledge presented to the world, people think it strange that they cannot compass it all, as the poet Burns is said to have written some of his shorter poems, “while standing on one leg!”
Again, people complain at the unfamiliar terms and the strange words imported from foreign languages. Yet if one were to undertake the study of physics, chemistry, music, or medicine, quite as great obstacles have to be overcome. Is it a strange thing, then, that the science that includes all these, and undertakes to give a synthesis of the whole realm of Nature and of life, should have its own nomenclature?
Beyond all these necessary and natural obstacles, there is another, viz., that contentious spirit that disputes and opposes every point before it is fairly stated or understood. Suppose one ignorant of mathematics were to proceed in the same manner and say, “I dont like that proposition,” “I dont see why they turn a six upside down to make a nine,” “Why don’t two and two make five?”, and so on, how long would it take such a one to learn mathematics? In the study of the Secret Doctrine it is not a matter of likes or dislikes, of belief or unbelief, but solely a matter of intelligence and understanding. He who acknowledges his ignorance and yet is unwilling to lay aside his likes and dislikes, and even his creeds and dogmas, for the time, in order to see what is presented in its own light and purely on its merits, has neither need nor use for the Secret Doctrine. Even where a greater number of propositions are accepted or “believed” and a few are rejected, the synthetic whole is entirely lost sight of. But, says some one, this is a plea for blind credulity, and an attempt to bind the mind and the conscience of man to a blind acceptance of these doctrines. No one but the ignorant or the dishonest can make such an assertion in the face of the facts. Listen to the following from p. xix, Introduction to the Secret Doctrine. “It is above everything important to keep in mind that no theosophical book acquires the least additional value from pretended authority.” If that be advocating blind credulity, let the enemies of the T.S. make the most of it. If any authority pertains to the Secret Doctrine, it must be sought inside, not outside. It must rest on its comprehensiveness, its completeness, its continuity and reasonableness; in other words, on its philosophical synthesis, a thing missed alike by the superficial and the contentious, by the indolent, the superstitious, and the dogmatic.
“O wise man: you have asked rightly. Now listen carefully. The illusive fancies arising from error are not conclusive.”
“The great and peaceful ones live regenerating the world like the coming of spring, and after having themselves crossed the ocean of embodied existence, help those who try to do the same thing, without personal motives.”
—Crest Jewel of Wisdom
In the foregoing articles, necessarily brief and fragmentary, a few points have been given to show the general bearing of the Secret Doctrine on all problems in Nature and in Life.
Synthesis is the very essence of philosophy—”the combination of separate elements of thought into a whole”—the opposite of analysis, and analysis is the very essence of science.
In the “Outline of the Secret Doctrine” by “C.J.,” now running through the pages of Lucifer, this philosophy or synthesis of the whole is made very clear.
There have been many philosophisers in modern times, but there can be but one philosophy, one synthesis of the whole of Eternal Nature. With the single exception of the writings of Plato, no one in modern times had given to the Western world any approximation to a complete philosophy, previous to the appearance of H. P. Blavatskys Secret Doctrine. The writings of Plato are carefully veiled in the symbolical language of initiation. The Secret Doctrine, coming more than two millenniums later, and in an age of so-called Science, is addressed to the Scientific thought of the age, and hence considers the whole subject largely from the stand-point of Science. The present age is as deficient in philosophy as was the age of Plato in knowledge of science. It follows, therefore, that while the Secret Doctrine itself apprehends equally both philosophy and science, in addressing itself to the thought of an age it must recognize here, as it does everywhere, the law of cycles that rules in the intellectual development of a race no less than in the revolutions of suns and worlds, and so address the times from that plane of thought that is in the ascendant. It is just because analytical thought is in the ascendant, because it is the thought-form of the age, that the great majority of readers are likely to overlook the broad synthesis and so miss the philosophy of the Secret Doctrine. The only object of these brief and fragmentary papers has been to call attention to this point.
We are now in a transition period, and in the approaching twentieth century there will be a revival of genuine philosophy, and the Secret Doctrine will be the basis of the “New Philosophy.” Science today, in the persons of such advanced students as Keely, Crookes, Lodge, Richardson, and many others, already treads so close to the borders of occult philosophy that it will not be possible to prevent the new age from entering the occult realm. H. P. Blavatskys Secret Doctrine is a storehouse of scientific facts, but this is not its chief value. These facts are placed, approximately at least, in such relation to the synthesis or philosophy of occultism as to render comparatively easy the task of the student who is in search of real knowledge, and to further his progress beyond all preconception, provided he is teachable, in earnest, and intelligent. Nowhere else in English literature is the Law of Evolution given such sweep and swing. It reminds one of the ceaseless under-tone of the deep sea, and seems to view our Earth in all its changes “from the birth of time to the crack of doom.” It follows man in his triple evolution, physical, mental, and spiritual, throughout the perfect circle of his boundless life. Darwinism had reached its limits and a rebound. Man is indeed evolved from lower forms. But which man? the physical? the psychical? the intellectual? or the spiritual? The Secret Doctrine points where the lines of evolution and involution meet; where matter and spirit clasp hands; and where the rising animal stands face to face with the fallen god; for all natures meet and mingle in man.
Judge no proposition of the Secret Doctrine as though it stood alone, for not one stands alone. Not “independence” here more than with the units that constitute Humanity. It is interdependence everywhere; in nature, as in life.
Even members of the T.S. have often wondered why H.P.B. and others well known in the Society lay so much stress on doctrines like Karma and Reincarnation. It is not alone because these doctrines are easily apprehended and beneficent to individuals, not only because they furnish, as they necessarily do, a solid foundation for ethics, or all human conduct, but because they are the very key-notes of the higher evolution of man. Without Karma and Reincarnation evolution is but a fragment; a process whose beginnings are unknown, and whose outcome cannot be discerned; a glimpse of what might be; a hope of what should be. But in the light of Karma and Reincarnation evolution becomes the logic of what must be. The links in the chain of being are all filled in, and the circles of reason and of life are complete. Karma gives the eternal law of action, and Reincarnation furnishes the boundless field for its display. Thousands of persons can understand these two principles, apply them as a basis of conduct, and weave them into the fabric of their lives, who may not be able to grasp the complete synthesis of that endless evolution of which these doctrines form so important a part. In thus affording even the superficial thinker and the weak or illogical reasoner a perfect basis for ethics and an unerring guide in life, Theosophy is building toward the future realization of the Universal Brotherhood and the higher evolution of man. But few in this generation realize the work that is thus undertaken, or how much has already been accomplished. The obscurity of the present age in regard to genuine philosophical thought is nowhere more apparent than in the manner in which opposition has been waged toward these doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation. In the seventeen years since the Theosophical movement has been before the world there has not appeared, from any source, a serious and logical attempt to discredit these doctrines from a philosophical basis. There have been denial, ridicule, and denunciation ad nauseum. There could be no discussion from such a basis, for from the very beginning these doctrines have been put forth and advocated from the logical and dispassionate plane of philosophy. Ridicule is both unanswerable and unworthy of answer. It is not the argument, but the atmosphere of weak minds, born of prejudice and ignorance.
The synthesis of occultism is therefore the philosophy of Nature and of Life; the full—or free—truth that apprehends every scientific fact in the light of the unerring processes of Eternal Nature.
The time must presently come when the really advanced thinkers of the age will be compelled to lay by their indifference, and their scorn and conceit, and follow the lines of philosophical investigation laid down in the Secret Doctrine. Very few seem yet to have realized how ample are these resources, because it involves a process of thought almost unknown to the present age of empiricism and induction. It is a revelation from archaic ages, indestructible and eternal, yet capable of being obscured and lost; capable of being again and again reborn, or like man himself—reincarnated.
“He who lives in one color of the rainbow is blind to the rest. Live in the Light diffused through the entire arc, and you will know it all.”—The Path.
“He who knows not the common things of life is a beast among men. He who knows only the common things of life is a man among beasts. He who knows all that can be learned by diligent inquiry is a god among men.”—Plato.
1. Quotations are from the Secret Doctrine and other writings of H. P. Blavatsky.
2. Dr. J. Oehorowicz, “Mental Suggestion,” p. 291.