This article is based on a talk first prepared in 2013. It is an attempt to probe various aspects of consciousness and energy which H.P. Blavatsky (HPB) writes of in The Secret Doctrine, and many excerpts are taken from this book. The page references given are from the facsimile of the original edition of 1888, volumes I and II, published by The Theosophy Company in 1964.
The Secret Doctrine is a deep and many layered work, and our life experiences change the way we view things, so that what we read and thought we understood several years ago, now have a different or altered meaning for us. Therefore, please take this article as a work in progress, and just some ideas which are put forward for consideration at this present time.
Occult philosophy says that 'Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is conscious: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception.' How is this relevant to us, to how we see and interact with the world 'and the Universe' around us?
The full quote is found in The Secret Doctrine (vol.1 p274), in the 'Summing Up' after the first seven stanzas, where HPB lists the main basic tenets of the Ancient Wisdom:
(5.) Everything in the Universe, throughout all its kingdoms, is CONSCIOUS: i.e., endowed with a consciousness of its own kind and on its own plane of perception. We men must remember that because we do not perceive any signs - which we can recognise - of consciousness, say, in stones, we have no right to say that no consciousness exists there. There is no such thing as either "dead" or "blind" matter, as there is no "Blind" or "Unconscious" Law. These find no place among the conceptions of Occult philosophy.
But Theosophical teachings make us aware of the many different kinds of energy which surround us. Take HPB's comment about stones, for example, how many of us who have even a small amount of sensitivity to some of the concepts which HPB writes about, are able to feel a subtle energy in a crystal, or even just a pebble. Hold a piece of limestone, look at and sense the fossils in it - they are amazing things, hundreds of millions of years old.
To explore a feeling for this Conscious Universe let us look at some of the core aspects of what lies behind this concept, and consider five major points of interest which illustrate the way everything interacts and works together.
1. Not only do we live in a Conscious Universe - The Universe is Embodied Consciousness.
2. An aspect of that is Matter, Cosmic substance - ranging from Akâsa (the Astral Light through to Ether) through to dense physical form.
3. The Universe is energised by Cosmic electricity, called by the Tibetan mystical name of Fohat, and is:
4. Guided by the formless, (Arupa) Dhyanis/Devas/Angelic forces. Everything is recorded by the Lipika, the Recording Dhyanis.
5. It is all put into form by the builders, the (Rupa) Dhyanis/Devas/Angelic forces, from suns and planets at the top end through to the tiny elementals who build the physical world at the lower end.
1. Firstly then: The Universe is embodied Consciousness. The basic foundation which underlies everything is outlined in the Proem of The Secret Doctrine (SD), in the three fundamental propositions, especially the first one:
(a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought - in the words of Mandukya, "unthinkable and unspeakable". [Ed: Mandukya;(Skt) An Upanishad dealing with the sacred syllable Om. (Source: An Invitation to the Secret Doctrine - 1988, Grace F. Knoche, ed.]
To render these ideas clearer to the general reader, let him set out with the postulate that there is one absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested, conditioned, being. This Infinite and Eternal Cause ... is the rootless root of "all that was, is, or ever shall be". It is of course devoid of all attributes and is essentially without any relation to manifested, finite Being. It is "Be-ness" rather than Being ... , and is beyond all thought or speculation. (SD vol.1 p14)
I like the way she says that her aim is "to render these ideas clearer to the general reader", whilst saying in two places here that the concepts are beyond all thought or speculation, and unthinkable and unspeakable!
The way forward seems to be that when we consider 'Be-ness' we have to take a step back into a contemplative way of viewing things, but even then we are forming images in our mind, which illustrates the illusory way we humans think about things - the state of Maya - or illusion.
In the following couple of pages, she outlines some of the concepts behind this first Principle - looking at Parabrahm - the field of Absolute Consciousness; the two facets of the Absolute - Spirit and Matter; and Cosmic Ideation.
There are two aspects to this eternal and boundless Principle:
On the one hand, absolute abstract Space, representing bare subjectivity, the one thing which no human mind can either exclude from any conception, or conceive of by itself. On the other, absolute Abstract Motion representing Unconditioned Consciousness.
On page 130 of the SD HPB makes an interesting point about this Principle:
... Moreover, in Occult metaphysics there are, properly speaking, two "ONES" - the One on the unreachable plane of Absoluteness and Infinity, on which no speculation is possible, and the Second "One" on the plane of Emanations. The former can neither emanate nor be divided, as it is eternal, absolute, and immutable. The Second, being, so to speak, the reflection of the first One (for it is the Logos, or Eswara, in the Universe of Illusion), can do all this.
This plane of Emanations, which is a 'reflection of the first One and can do all this ...' i.e. where it can emanate or divide, is where things start to happen. What are its attributes?
It is the one life, eternal, invisible, yet Omnipresent, without beginning or end ... unconscious, yet absolute Consciousness; unrealisable, yet the one self-existing reality... Its one absolute attribute, which is itself, eternal, ceaseless Motion, is called in esoteric parlance the "Great Breath", which is the perpetual motion of the universe, in the sense of limitless, ever-present SPACE.
That which is motionless cannot be Divine.
But then there is nothing in fact and reality absolutely motionless within the universal soul.(SD vol.1 p2)
The whole Universe - everything - is in constant motion and is also described as 'the Unrevealed Deity... Universal motion, the thrill of the creative Breath in Nature.'
It has various names: Parabrahm, the One Reality, the Absolute (SD vol.i p15), and has 'two facets or aspects': Spirit (Consciousness) and Matter.
Spirit (Consciousness): Pre-Cosmic Ideation, the very basis of thought, it is the origin and root 'of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution'. It is the Thought behind everything.
Matter: 'On the other hand, precosmic root-substance (Mulaprakriti) is that aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of Nature' ... pre-matter before it has actually coalesced into matter.
Just as pre-Cosmic Ideation is the root of all individual consciousness, so pre-Cosmic Substance is the substratum of matter in the various grades of its differentiation. (SD vol.1 p15)
HPB gives another view of Consciousness in this piece from the Instructions to the Esoteric Section No.IV, Collected Writings vol.XII, p656. It shows what subtle layers there are when considering this subject.
To give the merest outline of the States of Consciousness is the most difficult thing in the world, since the Universe is embodied Consciousness, and a knowledge of the States of Consciousness means a knowledge of the Planes of the Universe, and of all correspondences in the Kosmos, the Solar System and Man. [Ed: Kosmos; (Grk.) The Universe, as distinguished from the world ... (source: Theosophical Glossary)]
She then explains that any study of consciousness can only be confined to that 'manifesting in the solar system' and 'the whole of even the lowest plane of Kosmos transcends the highest Adept on earth'.
HPB's approach to imparting this teaching is more flexible than it first appears. She refers to something in one place, then elsewhere seems to give it a different definition, which can be confusing! Context is important, which accounts for much of this, but she also implies that we need to be less rigid in our approach, and especially when it comes to tables or diagrams:
Now it must always be borne in mind that diagrams can only show one aspect of truth, and that they are only meant to help the student to an apprehension of the aspect symbolised. Let us remember we are dealing with Forces and States of Consciousness, and not with water-tight compartments. (Collected Writings, vol.XII, p657)
This need for flexibility is shown in accounts of her conversation, such as at the group study meetings recorded in The Secret Doctrine Commentaries (transcribed and annotated by Michael Gomes, published by ISIS Foundation, The Netherlands, 2010). In them we can see that members of these meetings (which were held at Landsdowne Road, London, in 1889), had similar problems in understanding many of the concepts - as we do today. On numerous occasions she teases or becomes exasperated with the people there, and tries a more light-hearted approach, for example in this piece, which although technical is a good illustration. (For reference, the Lipika are the recording forces of the Universe, and Fohat is cosmic electricity.)
Mr A. Keightley, trying to understand the relationship of the Lipika and the sons of Fohat, asks:
Does this mean that the Lipika are the Sons of Fohat, or are they the Sons of the Primordial Seven?
Mme Blavatsky: This means that they are the Sons of Fohat, as a personification of Mahat, the Manasaputras or "sons of the universal intelligences", and it means that the Lipika are the Sons of the "Primordial Seven". Whether the Lipikas' marriage certificate is illegal will be asked next, I suppose. I would not wonder, because, for instance, what can I answer you to this? They are the sons; they cannot be the Sons, it is simply an expression used. "The Sons of Fohat" means just as the sons of Lipika, it is simply one coming down from above to below, and that is all. (p.349)
On another occasion, an account related in the magazine The Theosophist (May 1938, p.138) tells of 'a certain American lady, who was sitting reading, while HPB was nearby writing, looked up suddenly and asked "Oh, HPB, why did Parabrahman manifest Himself?" Madame Blavatsky turned and replied, obviously concentrating on something else and not prepared for such a question: "Good gracious! ask Parabrahman; I don't know!"
Returning to Pre-Cosmic Ideation as the root of consciousness and Pre-Cosmic Matter which underlies the material world, there are a couple of major aspects to both of these (nos 2 and 3 on the main points list), which use Sanskrit and Tibetan terms because there are no English words to describe them easily, namely Akâsa (Cosmic substance) and Fohat (Cosmic electricity).
2. Akâsa; Matter, Cosmic substance
Akâsa ranges from the Astral Light in its higher vibration to Ether, then through to denser, physical forms. Remember the opening comments about everything, even stones, being conscious ... everything's fizzing and full of life!
It has been stated before now that Occultism does not accept anything inorganic in the Kosmos. The expression employed by Science, "inorganic substance", means simply that the latent life slumbering in the molecules of so-called "inert matter" is incognizable. All is Life, and every atom of even mineral dust is a Life, though beyond our comprehension and perception, because it is outside the range of the laws known to those who reject Occultism. (SD vol.1 p248)
This phrase 'those who reject occultism' was written in 1888, and the materialist world view continues to be dominant in the West, although quantum field theory raises some interesting questions.
HPB describes the
[...I]ncandescent Cosmic dust which ... follows magnetically, as the iron filings follow the magnet, the directing thought of the "Creative Forces". Yet, this cosmic dust is something more; for every atom in the Universe has the potentiality of self-consciousness in it, and is, like the Monads of Leibnitz, a Universe in itself, and for itself. It is an atom and an angel. (SD vol.1 p107)
The incandescent cosmic dust not only has life (as opposed to being inert) but also has consciousness. Akâsa is the medium in which everything is held, and has many levels: Judith Tyburg in her book Sanskrit Keys to the Wisdom Religion gives a good definition:
Akâsa is the fifth Kosmic Element; the Element above or rather within the other elements of earth, water, air, and fire; derived from the verb-root kâś - to shine; hence "the shining substance". Akâsa is primordial spacial substance of a subtil supersensuous and spiritual nature and it pervades all things. It is the vehicle of Divine Thought and hence it is said to have but one attribute, that of sound. The Akâsa is the medium of the higher thoughts of men, the medium by which they can communicate with the Gods. Akâsa, sometimes called "occult electricity", is used in the carrying out of any magical or spiritual performance. Akâsa has been called by the Mahatmas the "tablet of memory" of the Hierarchy of Dhyan Chohans as well as of every spiritual Ego, while the Astral Light is the "tablet of memory" of the earth and of animal man. (Sanskrit Keys pps.39-40)
It has seven levels but we have to remember those 'non water-tight compartments' and think or it more as a gradated scale.
At the top level is the finest vibration - the Astral Light; the lowest level is Ether, although in other systems the physical is regarded as the lowest level:
The Lipika, the Divine recorders impress on the (to us) invisible tablets of the Astral Light, "the great picture-gallery of eternity" - a faithful record of every act, and even thought , of man, of all that was, is, or ever will be, in the phenomenal Universe. (SD vol.1 p104)
HPB also makes an interesting comment when she says:
Connected as the Lipika are with the destiny of every man and the birth of every child, whose life is already traced in the Astral Light - not fatalistically, but only because the future, like the PAST, is ever alive in the PRESENT - they may also be said to exercise an influence on the Science of Horoscopy. (SD vol.1 p105)
Thinking back to the comment that the lower level of Akâsa is Ether, "the shining substance" we are also told that;
... Occult Science recognises Seven Cosmical Elements - four entirely physical [earth, water, air, and fire] and the fifth (Ether) semi material, as it will become visible in the air toward the end of our Fourth Round, to reign supreme over the others during the whole of the fifth. The remaining two are as yet absolutely beyond the range of human perception. (SD vol.1 p12)
Some people claim to be able to see the Ether as sparks in the sky already, describing them as dancing or whirling tiny points of light, which are especially visible in a clear blue sky. Could this be what is described as Orgone by Wilhelm Reich?
3. Fohat. The third aspect of our Conscious Universe is that it is energised by Cosmic electricity. In Theosophy HPB gives it the Tibetan mystical name of Fohat, the dynamic energy of Cosmic Ideation, Cosmic Life or Vitality.
This is a fantastically powerful concept, and refers to everything of a vibrant electrical nature throughout the universe:
It is through Fohat that the ideas of the Universal Mind are impressed upon matter. Some faint idea of the nature of Fohat may be gathered from the appellation "Cosmic Electricity" sometimes applied to it; but to the commonly known properties of electricity must, in this case, be added others, including intelligence. (SD vol.1 p85)
Fohat ... is, in reality everywhere; it runs like a thread through all, and has its own seven divisions, each with its seven sub-divisions; the Fohatic consciousness is a state of Consciousness everywhere. (CW XII, p657)
On a universal level it is variously described as an 'emanation' or the 'combined concentration' of the Dhyani Buddhas, the top hierarchy of angels, and has a huge range of attributes:
On the cosmic plane he is behind all such manifestations as light, heat, sound, adhesion etc, and is the 'spirit' of ELECTRICITY, which is the LIFE of the Universe. (SD vol.1 p139)
The agitation of the Fohatic Forces at the two cold ends (North and South Poles) of the Earth which result in a multicoloured radiance at night, have in them several of the properties of Akâsa (Ether) colour and sound as well. (SD vol.1 p205)
... the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis - 'both of which take place at the very centres of terrestrial electric and magnetic forces' ...
The two poles are said to be the store-houses, the receptacles and liberators, at the same time, of Cosmic and terrestrial Vitality (Electricity); from the surplus of which the Earth, had it not been for these two natural "safety valves" would have been rent to pieces long ago. (SD vol.1 p205)
When I first read this piece I was under the mistaken impression that it was written many years (in 1888) before scientists discovered the Earth's magnetic field and the importance of that field in protecting us from the Sun's magnetism. However, research into the Earth's magnetic field and the importance of that field took a leap forward after 1859 when the Earth was hit by a huge solar electrical storm, the effects of which were observed and recorded by Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson. Afterwards called 'The Carrington Event', the storm with its huge magnetic power surge, blew out the telegraph system. Operators received electric shocks, telegraph wires threw off sparks,and in some cases the lingering magnetism was so high that the telegraph stations were still able to send out and receive messages even though the power source had been disconnected.
The power of Fohat is also important in the creation of the universe. All those atoms of cosmic dust are 'directed and coagulate[d] by means of "cosmic force" (Fohat) like iron filings follow a magnet.'
Fohat is nearly personified, often referred to as 'he' ...
Fohat hardens and scatters the seven brothers; which means that the primordial Electric Entity - for the Eastern Occultists insist that Electricity is an Entity - electrifies into life, and separates primordial stuff or pregenetic matter into atoms, themselves the source of all life and consciousness. (SD vol.1 p76)
Fohat is the steed and Thought is the rider (i.e. he is under the influence of the guiding thought of the Dhyani Buddhas). He passes like lightning through the fiery clouds (cosmic mists) ... He lifts his voice and calls the innumerable sparks (atoms) and joins them together. (SD vol.1 p108)
... a description here of the creation of suns and planets, now photographed by the Hubble space telescope which has sent us spectacular pictures of the formation of stars and huge clouds of cosmic dust ... Fohat in action.
The Secret Doctrine gives us more descriptions: 'The ancients represented it by a serpent, for "Fohat hisses as he glides hither and thither" in zigzags.' (SD vol.1 p76) and ' ... while Fohat, in its various manifestations, is the mysterious link between Mind and Matter, the animating principle electrifying every atom into life.' (SD vol.1 p16)
That animating principle is not only on a universal scale, but on the atomic level as well, including the electrical impulses in our bodies and brains, on all levels of our being. 'It is of interest to note that modern science has come to the conclusion that all cerebration and brain-activity are attended by electrical phenomena' wrote HPB in 1888. For many years now we have measured the electrical impulses in our neural networks by means of ECGs - electro-encephalographs.
So to recap - the universe is Embodied Consciousness, in which there is matter/cosmic substance, and that it is activated into life by Fohatic energy. The final subjects to have a look at in this article are the angelic or devic aspects in the Conscious Universe, and that -
4. It is guided by the formless, (Arupa) Dhyanis/Devas/Angelic forces, and recorded by the Lipika, the Recording Dhyanis.
5. It is all put into form by the builders, the (Rupa) Dhyanis/Devas/Angelic forces - from suns and planets at the top end through to the tiny elementals who build the physical world at the lower end.
We have already briefly mentioned the Lipika, who impress on to the tablets of the Astral Light everything we do or think. The Lipika are one of the top sets of Divine Beings/Angels/Dhyanis.
Judith Tyberg describes them as:
... Kosmic energies or spiritual beings belonging to the Hierarchy of Compassion. Their very action, the nature of which is harmony with the Kosmic Consciousness, automatically and impersonally impresses on the Astral Light, "the great picture gallery of Eternity", a record of every deed, word, and thought of all the entities of the Kosmos. They have been called "the Agents of Karman", and the "Guardians of Destiny", for in one sense they blaze the paths that all entities will follow in a future Manvantara. The word Lipika comes from the verbal root lip - to write. (Sanskrit Keys p38)
In fact the whole Universe with its various forces can be seen in terms of divine beings - that is the way in which the ancients described them - as Forces or Dhyanis/Angels. In Mahayana Buddhism, although there are many depictions of them personified in the art which adorns their temples and thangkas, the Dhyani Buddhas are defined as essentially 'metaphysical essences'.
HPB uses many labels in the different languages and belief systems. The seven highest Forces are described as Dhyani Buddhas in the Buddhist, the Panchasyam or Brahmas (the creators) in the Hindu (although they count only five), and these also equate to the Christian archangels.
Could the description of the blazing Divine Dragon of Wisdom, "who emerges from the depths of the great Dark Waters" of Space and who is "the generator of Light and Life" near the beginning of this Manvantara or Great Age, (SD vol.1 p71) be an ancient poetic way of describing the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe?
This blazing Divine Dragon of Wisdom is said to contain in himself the Seven Creative Hosts, also described as "the first seven breaths of the Dragon of Wisdom" ie the very top level of Dhyani Buddhas, who produce in their turn "from their holy circumgyrating breaths the fiery whirlwind" the incandescent Cosmic dust ... that cosmic dust which is whipped into shape by Fohat, as mentioned earlier - again, an ancient poetic way of describing the beginning of the universe and the creation of galaxies. But it is not only on a material level, for HPB says:
The whole Kosmos is guided, controlled, and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having a mission to perform, and who - whether we give to them one name or another, and call them Dhyan-Chohans or Angels - are "messengers" in the sense only that they are the agents of Karmic and Cosmic Laws. They vary infinitely in their respective degrees of consciousness and intelligence ... (SD vol.1 p274)
All of these things - the Angelic hierarchies, Akâsa, Fohat descend from higher vibrational rates to lower rates, in subdivisions of 7, subdivided in 7 etc.
Bearing in mind the comment earlier about these descriptions not being in 'watertight compartments' - the whole Kosmos is on a sliding scale, the divisions overlap or blend into each other. HPB describes, how:
The hosts of the Dhyani Buddhas evolve a lower set of Dhyani Buddhas, and these Dhyani Buddhas a third, and so on. There are seven of them ... after that they begin to be kosmocratores, the builders (call them whatever names you like, they have all got special names in the Sanskrit) - then the builders of the Astral Light; it is an endless hierarchy of one kind of Dhyanis evoluting another kind of Dhyanis. Every one becomes more consolidated, more material, until it comes to the builders of this universe ...
The Secret Doctrine Commentaries, p.183 (also a similar piece on p.337)
In the case of the Dragons of Wisdom they evolute seven out of seven etc until they become 'physical' enough to incarnate, because at the beginning of each of the root races - 3rd, 4th and 5th ie Lemuria, Atlantis and our own, they have incarnated as 'gods' or great teachers.
5. The Builders - In the case of the builders, there's a huge range of those Devic forces, from the creators of suns and planets at the top end through to the tiny elementals who build the physical world at the lower end.
So, how relevant is all this to us, to how we see and react with a Conscious Universe?
We are told in Theosophy that our life's object is to further our spiritual journey towards our becoming as the Mahatmas and that:
'man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of Ideas, by becoming to the best of his ability a co-worker with nature in the cyclic task'(SD vol.1 p280).
Although we are affected by these amazing forces, we have grown up accepting it all, taking it for granted, and for the most part are totally unaware of any of this in our everyday lives. But learning about Akâsa, Fohat, and the devic forces helps us to realise we are all energy beings - a mass of vibrating molecules, and each atom has life.
Just consider the vibrational field we each have round us, our aura, which extends beyond the confines of our physical body. Once we become aware of all this it can have a profound effect on our attitude towards the world and the people around us. This field is not emitted from the physical body, like light is from a light-bulb. Instead, we are the energy field, with denser layers as we get nearer the physical body, the most material part.
Realisation of this can lead to increased sensitivity and increased awareness. It means:
• Energies in/received - we can feel things, very subtly through our aura, that outer membrane. The Voice of the Silence, pg 16, tells us to 'merge into one sense thy senses ... that sense alone which lies concealed within the hollow of thy brain.' We can become aware of these things if we meditate or contemplate on them and sense the very subtle thoughts, energies and images which may be impinging on our energy field. Sometimes we may sense anger or negativity coming in - in which case it's not so subtle and we need to protect ourselves - see below.
• Energies out/emitted - we must have a sense of responsibility about the energies and thoughts we send out as they are very definite things. The Master KH writes:
'[E]very thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world, and becomes an active entity by associating itself - coalescing we might term it - with an elemental; that is to say with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence, a creature of the mind's begetting, for a longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active, beneficent power, an evil one as a maleficent demon. And so man is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions; a current which reacts upon any sensitive or nervous organisation which comes in contact with it in proportion to its dynamic intensity.'
First letter of K.H. to A.O. Hume. Dated 1st November, 1880
Appendix I. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, chronological edition, p.472
We are building thought-forms continually. HPB could feel negative thoughts coming to her, and Countess Wachmeister in her book Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky and the "Secret Doctrine" describes how:
HPB said to me one evening: "You cannot imagine what it is to feel so many adverse thoughts and currents directed against you; it is like the prickings of a thousand needles, and I have to be continually erecting a wall of protection around me." (p.32)
When we need to protect ourselves we can create 'a wall of protection' as HPB suggests ... or one can send out light. Because of the vibratory quality of the different kinds of light held in Akâsa, bright white light emanations are able to turn away darker, disruptive emanations.
Judith Tyberg tells us in Sanskrit Keys that:
When a man loves all things, as did the Buddha, he surrounds himself with Akâsic substance which becomes a protective shield which no malevolent influences can penetrate. (p.40)
Akâsa gives a whole new meaning to the term 'the world-wide web', for this medium is here around us, permeating us, all the time.
HPB and the Masters, all the higher beings - even ourselves if we wish and are able to train ourselves to be sensitive in this way - are in constant communication through it. In The Mahatma Letters, KH mentions how he feels the thoughts of A.P. Sinnett (to whom many of the letters were written):
During the past few months, especially, when your weary brain was plunged in the torpor of sleep, your eager soul has often been searching after me, and the current of your thought been beating against my protecting barriers of Akâs as the lapping wavelets against a rocky shore ...
Letter No. 47 in The Mahatma Letters, Chronological Edition, towards end of page 131.
(Barker Edition, letter 45, middle of page 267.)
Communication on this level is partly how The Secret Doctrine was written. It was not 'channelled' but received telepathically from the living Masters. Countess Wachmeister recounts how one day she walked into HPB's writing room to find the floor strewn with sheets of discarded writing, with HPB complaining that she had written this page out twelve times and "each time Master says it is wrong". So Countess brought her a cup of coffee, and an hour later HPB called through to say she'd finished it, it was "completed to satisfaction".
Countess asked HPB how it was that she could make mistakes in setting down what was given to her. HPB said:
Well you see, what I do is this. I make what I can only describe as a sort of vacuum in the air before me, and fix my sight and my will upon it, and soon scene after scene passes before me like the successive pictures of a diorama, or, if I need a reference or information from some book, I fix my mind intently, and the astral counterpart of the book appears, and from it I take what I need. (Reminiscences, p.33)
HPB begins the Proem of The Secret Doctrine with the words 'Pages from a Pre-historic period. An Archaic Manuscript - a collection of palm leaves made impermeable to water, fire and air, by some specific unknown process - is before the writer's eye ...'
These are the Stanzas of Dzyan - seen in her mind's eye. There has been a lot of controversy over the past 120 years or so about their authenticity, and whether these stanzas exist on the physical plane somewhere, and it is highly unlikely that HPB had them in front of her at that time. However, Tibetologist David Reigle, in his 1983 70-page booklet The Books of Kui-te has traced the public books and has found that indeed copies of the 35 exoteric writings are held in many Tibetan monasteries. HPB says that she came across 14 secret volumes of commentaries and esoteric writings when she was allowed to study near the private temple of the Panchen Lama, near Tashilunpo, with her Master in 1868.
Sometimes the thoughts or mental messages just come through direct:
Master KH recounts in The Mahatma Letters how, travelling back after personally visiting his 'chief' to discuss an aspect of Theosophical Society matters, he was crossing over to Lhadak on his way home, coming through the Karakorum, when he saw an avalanche tumble.
But just as I was taking advantage of the awful stillness which usually follows such cataclysm, to get a clearer view of the present situation ... I was rudely recalled to my senses. A familiar voice, as shrill as the one attributed to Saraswati's peacock ... - shouted along the currents "Olcott has raised the very devil again! ... The Englishmen are going crazy ... Koot Hoomi, come quicker and help me!" and in her excitement forgot she was speaking English. I must say, that the "Old Lady's" telegrams do strike one like stones from a catapult!
Letter No. 5 in The Mahatma Letters, Chronological Edition, p.15.
(Barker Edition, letter IV, p.12.)
How many times have we suddenly thought about someone whom we haven't seen or heard from for some time, the phone rings and there is that person on the other end of the line. Vibrations through the Akâshic web are happening all the time!
Messages sometimes come through on a physical level - especially when dealing with a Master. Colonel Olcott recalls how, after he had just had a moan and a gripe about HPB, on a steamer in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, he went to his cabin, where a letter materialised, and fell from the ceiling - from KH telling him off for having bad thoughts and doubting her. (August 1888)
Countess Wachmeister comments about her time with HPB during the writing of The Secret Doctrine that:
Living in this atmosphere and coming into contact so continually with these, usually unseen, forces, this all seemed the true reality to me, and the outer world was that which appeared vague and unsatisfactory. (p.56)
Finally, to end with, here is another example of how these energies can come through - the Conscious Universe making itself known through a cuckoo clock!
The Countess recalls how:
[HPB] had, however, a distraction of rather a peculiar nature. In front of her writing table, attached to the wall, was a cuckoo clock, and this used to behave in a very extraordinary manner. Sometimes it would strike like a loud gong, then sigh and groan as if possessed, cuckooing in the most unexpected way. Our maid, Louise, who was the most dense and apathetic of mortals, was very much afraid of it, and told us solemnly one day that she thought the devil was in it.
"Not that I believe in the devil", she said, "but this cuckoo almost speaks to me at times".
And so it did. One evening I went into the room and saw what appeared to me like streams of electric light coming out of the clock in all directions. On telling HPB she replied, "Oh, it is only the spiritual telegraph, they are laying it on stronger tonight on account of tomorrow's work".
Countess Wachmeister pps.55-56
Reminiscences of H.P. Blavatsky and the "Secret Doctrine"