Point Loma edition 1993
Blavatsky Trust edition 2010
Life, according to The Secret Doctrine, has but one attribute, "eternal, ceaseless motion," hence the significance of the term, the Ever-Becoming, applied to the One Universal Life. Monad is the term used to refer to that Life as it activates the cosmic process. In man it becomes, in conjunction with Manas, the immortal, divine Pilgrim that journeys through the cycles of manifestation. The cycles of manifestation exhibit two modes of operation, involution and evolution, but the overall process is progressive. Occultism recognizes this as a universal and invariable law; involution may be briefly formulated as "a descent of Spirit into Matter" and evolution as "a re-ascent from the depths of materiality towards its status quo ante" Secret Doctrine (I 620, I 680, I 345)
Now, that which is perfect - the One Life as an abstract, unconditioned essence of Monad - cannot be said to evolve or develop. The process of manifestation, therefore, according to Esoteric Science, does not imply the emergence of any new thing, but rather is it one by which vehicles or forms are developed to give increasing expression to the properties inherent in the aspects of the One Life that animate them. As these properties, the potentialities of spirit, are inexhaustible, no more appropriate word can describe the cosmic process than the Ever-Becoming. There is, as it were, a constant pressure from the spirit within to develop instruments through which it can manifest those potentialities. The kingdoms of Nature themselves are such instruments, demonstrating the orderly emergence by stages of responsive adaptations. Throughout Nature the operative principle is always "from within outwards." As we saw in Chapter VII,
The whole order of nature evinces a progressive march towards a higher life. There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest
forces. The whole process of evolution with its endless adaptations is a proof of this. Secret Doctrine (I 277, I 298, I 320)
The occult doctrine recognizes the universality of consciousness, but in varying degrees in everything. It expands as Life progresses through the kingdoms. Today, following the lead of Professor J.C. Base (an early 20th Century Indian scientist), recognition is accorded among some scientists to evidence for some responsiveness indicating an awareness not only in plants but in metals also. Whereas science observes and studies the physical aspects of living things, Occultism teaches the existence of inner subjective aspects, each material form being the outward expression of an invisible entity. This, however, is only observable by those in whom the requisite faculty of inner perception has been developed. Such individuals may be referred to as occult scientists of various degrees of proficiency. They cover all fields in their investigations from the very small to the very large, the Cosmos. Referring to high Adepts in these arts, themselves the natural product of the evolutionary process, as we saw in Chapter I, Mme Blavatsky wrote in The Secret Doctrine:
The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there, where an ordinary profane, however learned, would have perceived but the external work of form. But modern science believes not in the "soul of things," and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony. Secret Doctrine (I 272, I 293, I 316)
It is thus claimed that the statements of Esoteric Science are the records of direct observations, continually corroborated as are the best established pronouncements of physical science, hence the rejection of any notion of "unconscious Nature."
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 recognize - 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. The latter never stops at surface appearances, and for it the noumenal essences have more reality than their objective counterparts ... Secret Doctrine (I 274,1295, 1317)
The fact of universal consciousness is further underlined in a footnote which has relevance to the whole field of Esoteric Science, very particularly to the processes of evolution:
Nature; taken in its abstract sense, cannot be "unconscious," as it is the emanation from, and thus an aspect (on the manifested plane) of the ABSOLUTE consciousness. Where is that daring man who would presume to deny to vegetation and even to minerals a consciousness of their own. All he can say is, that this consciousness is beyond his cornprehension. Secret Doctrine (1 277 fn, I 298, I 320)
The Life or Monad that animates the forms now inhabiting our planet, in all the kingdoms, has passed through cycles of experience of immense duration in preceding Rounds. For everything has a past, everything has antecedents, and every form is but a present-time and temporary expression of an aspect of the Ever-Becoming. In elaborating the general principle that operates in Nature - from within outwards - Mme Blavatsky refers to a fact of common experience, namely, that each outward act is preceded by an impulse from within, prompted' by emotion, thought or volition. The creation of a work of art-whether symphony, painting or edifice of steel and concrete-begins as an idea, its final form being a projection "from within outwards," the inner model transferred from the 'plane of mind into the plane of sensory perception. The whole cosmic process has proceeded in this manner, ideal patterns that have been developed in one cycle being transferred in due time to our planet, where they gradually become clothed in the matter of the physical plane. The story of man itself illustrates this process: his form as we now know it began as a "shadow" (the Sanskrit word is chhaya) developed by the humanity of the Chain preceding ours. This produced the astral prototype of future mankind which projected the
densified physical body in the Third Round, and eventually, through various stages, that of the present Fifth Race man.
Evolution, as popularly understood, is largely concerned with physical changes. Occultism speaks of a triple evolutionary scheme, namely, "the Monadic (or spiritual), the intellectual, and the physical evolutions," the three being "inextricably interwoven and interblended at every point." All three are represented in the constitution of man, making him the complex being he now is." The story of Anthropogenesis or the becoming of man shows how physical Nature could not, unaided, evolve intelligence; a hierarchy of Beings referred to in The Secret Doctrine as Manasaputras, Agnishwattas or Solar Ancestors of man, made of him a rational being by contributing "the evolutionary power of Intelligence and Mind, the link between 'Spirit' and 'Matter." Secret Doctrine (I 181, I 203, I 233) contains all four quotes in this paragraph.
It is little wonder that The Secret Doctrine speaks of "the mystery of evolution." The motive power behind the evolutionary process is derived from two sources: it is
(a) the MONAD, or that which acts in it unconsciously through a force inherent in itself; and (b) the lower astral body or the personal SELF. The former, whether imprisoned in a vegetable or an animal body, is endowed with, is indeed itself, that force. Owing to its identity with the ALL-FORCE, which, as said, is inherent in the Monad, it is all-potent on the Arupa, or formless plane. On our plane, its essence being too pure, it remains all-potential, but individually becomes inactive … Secret Doctrine (II 109, II 115, III 117)
To explain the significance of this fact, the illustration is given of the sun that shines regardless of the particular plants on which its rays may fall. The sunbeam does not go in search of the plant hidden in the shade. Similarly, the highest Self in man, his Ego, must maintain its contact with its source, the Monad, failing which it will be held in bondage by the lower personal self.
It is a strange law of Nature that, on this plane, the higher (Spiritual) Nature should be, so to say, in bondage to the lower. Unless the Ego takes refuge in the Atman, the ALL-SPIRIT, and merges entirely into the essence thereof, the personal Ego may goad it to the bitter end. Secret Doctrine (II 109, II 115, III 117)
The seven stages of the human pilgrimage represented by the seven Root Races are shown to bring about two distinct phases of the evolutionary process, first the preparation of the vehicles, the perfecting of the physical form, and then their subjection to the will of the higher Ego whose goal is the attainment of immortality by conscious reunion with the Monad from which it came forth. The first phase is characterized by the "fierce Selfishness and animal desire to live" of the personal ego intent on the building of the physical tabernacle. After the midpoint is reached, the higher Ego has the task of asserting itself as master over the builder. This explanation is crucial to our understanding both of the stage of our present humanity and of the difficulties experienced by the change of direction of evolutionary progress.
... for the first three and a half Root Races, up to the middle or turning point, it is the astral shadows of the "progenitors," the lunar Pitris, which are the formative powers in the Races, and which build and gradually force the evolution of the physical form toward perfection - this, at the cost of a proportionate loss of spirituality. Then, from the turning point, it is the Higher Ego, or incarnating principle, the. Nous or Mind, which reigns over the animal Ego, and rules it wherever it is not carried down by the latter. In short, Spirituality is on its ascending arc, and the animal or physical impedes it from steadily progressing on the path of its evolution only when the selfishness of the personality has so strongly infected the real inner man with its lethal virus, that the upward attraction has lost all its power on the thinking reasonable man. In sober truth, vice, and wickedness are an abnormal, unnatural manifestation, at this period of human evolution - at least they ought to be SO. Secret Doctrine (II 110, II 116, III 118)
The processes of evolution are seen to be orderly, sequential, and purposive. What is achieved at anyone stage becomes incorporated into the next. The mineral which provides the vegetable and animal kingdoms with their necessary elementary material is itself the expression of countless elemental lives. The ideal forms already exist in the inner worlds; they are brought forth into the physical world by the building of dense material around the astral models. This is the work of the elementals who, in their own kingdoms, evolved the abilities necessary for carrying out this function. They are the workmen, obedient - even if not wholly efficient - to the will of the architects and directors, the upper Hierarchies.
A further example of the utilization of past achievements in further advances is found in the methods of reproduction of the early human races. These methods are briefly summarized in The Secret Doctrine: the First Race reproduced by fission, a method utilized in the amoeba and in cell- division; the Second Race reproduced by budding, the offspring growing out from the parent until it can lead an independent existence, as in the sea- anemone, hydra, and many vegetables; both the Second and early Third Races developed a kind of hermaphroditism, male and female organs inhering in the same individual and producing a single cell which developed into a multi-cellular organism with the features of the parent, as in most plants and in worms and snails; with the later Third Race came the separation of the sexes and true sexual union. Again, the development of the human embryo illustrates the incorporation of earlier achievements into later developments, the foetus recapitulating early evolutionary stages before the offspring emerges as recognizably human.
The study of the past and of the principles underlying evolutionary advance points to the inescapable fact that we all, individually and collectively, are the humanity whose evolution is the central theme of Esoteric Science.
The Cycles of Matter will be succeeded by Cycles of Spirituality and a fully developed mind. On the law of parallel history and races, the majority of the future mankind will be composed of glorious Adepts. Humanity is the child of cyclic Destiny, and not one of its Units can escape its unconscious mission, or get rid of the burden of its co-operative work with nature. Thus will
mankind, race after race, perform its appointed 'cycle-pilgrimage. Secret Doctrine (II 446, II 456, III 444)
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