All existence is ONE THING: the universe is a living Entity composed of hosts of living beings. These
hosts, which provide the structure, qualities and governance of the universe according to everlasting law,
are divisible into seven main types according to their characteristic qualities, these in turn having their
correspondences at every level of being. Although distinctively named and described in the literature,
these various groups of living beings constitute a Unity in which every component is intimately related to
every other. Each Hierarchy is composed of those below it, while in its turn it is a component of the one
above it. There are therefore Hierarchies of Beings superior to man, from among whom came the guides
and teachers of the early races, and from whom also man has derived the very qualities of his being.
There are also Hierarchies of the kingdoms below man, those of the Elementals.
The great religious traditions recognize these Hosts under a variety of names - Spirits, Angels and
Archangels, the Elohim and Sephiroth, Amshaspends, Cosmocratores and Prajapatis of the different
systems. In The Secret Doctrine also many names are used to refer to these lofty powers, the
designation of each often signifying the function of the particular Order or Hierarchy or its place in the
total scheme. Thus we find Lipika, Ah-hi, Dhyani-Chohans, Mind-born Sons, Sons of Light, Builders,
Planetary Spirits, and so on. Their origination in the One Life is first indicated in the Summary of the
Seven Stanzas given at the end of the Proem, where each Stanza is shown to refer to one of the seven
stages in the process of cosmic becoming. Stanza IV, describing the stage known in Hindu mythology as
"the 'Creation of the Gods'", shows
... the differentiation of the "Germ" of the Universe into the septenary hierarchy of conscious Divine
Powers, who are the active manifestations of the One Supreme Energy. They are the framers,
shapers, and ultimately the creators of all the manifested Universe, in the only sense in which the
name "Creator" is intelligible; they
inform and guide it; they are the intelligent Beings who adjust
and control evolution, embodying in themselves those manifestations of the ONE LAW, which we
know as the "Laws of Nature".
Generically they are known as the Dhyani-Chohans, though each of the various groups has its
own designation in the Secret Doctrine. Secret Doctrine (I 21, I 49, I 86)
This summary is developed in passages descriptive of particular groups and their several functions.
Information about some of these - the Ah-hi, the Lipika, the Builders and the Planetary Spirits - is given
here and there throughout the Commentaries, the following extracts being a representative selection.
1. The Ah-hi.
The Ah-hi (Dhyani-Chohans) are the collective hosts of spiritual beings - the Angelic
Hosts of Christianity, the Elohim and "Messengers" of the Jews - who are the vehicle for the
manifestation of the divine or universal thought and will. They are the Intelligent Forces that give to
and enact in Nature her "laws", while themselves acting according to laws imposed upon them in a
similar manner by still higher Powers; but they are not "the personifications" of the powers of
Nature, as erroneously thought. This hierarchy of spiritual Beings, through which the Universal
Mind comes into action, is like an army - a "Host", truly - by means of which the fighting power of a
nation manifests itself, and which is composed of army corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, and
so forth, each with its separate individuality or life, and its limited freedom of action and limited
responsibilities; each contained in a larger individuality, to which its own interests are subservient,
and each containing lesser individualities in itself. Secret Doctrine (I 38, I 70, I 112)
2. The Lipikas
The Lipikas, from the word lipi, "writing", means literally the "Scribes". Mystically,
these Divine Beings are connected with
Karma, the Law of Retribution, for they are the Recorders
or Annalists who impress on the (to us) invisible tablets of the Astral Light - "the great picturegallery
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. As said in Isis Unveiled I 343, this divine and unseen
canvas is the BOOK OF LIFE. As it is the Lipika who project into objectivity from the passive
Universal Mind the ideal plan of the universe, upon which the "Builders" reconstruct the Kosmos
after every Pralaya, it is they who stand parallel to the Seven Angels of the Presence, whom the
Christians recognize in the Seven "Planetary Spirits" or the "Spirits of the Stars"; for thus it is they
who are the direct amanuenses of the Eternal Ideation - or, as called by Plato, the "Divine
Thought". The Eternal Record is no fantastic dream, for we meet with the same records in the
world of gross matter. Secret Doctrine (I 103, I 130, I 165)
More information about the function of the Lipikas is given in the Commentaries on Stanza V. We pass
now to the Builders.
3. The Builders.
There are three chief groups of Builders and as many of the Planetary Spirits and
the Lipikas, each group being again divided into seven sub-groups. It is impossible, even in such a
large work as this, to enter into a minute examination of even the three principle groups, as it
would demand an extra volume. The "Builders" are the representatives of the first "Mind-Born"
entities, therefore of the primeval Rishi-Prajapatis; also of the Seven great Gods of Egypt, of which
Osiris is the chief; of the Seven Amshaspends of the Zoroastrians, with Ormazd as their head; or
the "Seven Spirits of the Face"; the Seven Sephiroth separated from the first Triad, etc., etc.
They build, or rather rebuild every "system" after the "Night". The Second group of the Builders is
the Architect of our planetary
chain exclusively; and the third, the progenitor of our humanity - the
Macrocosmic prototype of the microcosm.
The Planetary Spirits are the informing spirits of the Stars in general and of the Planets especially.
They rule the destinies of men who are all born under one or another of their constellations; the
second and third groups pertaining to other systems have the same functions, and all rule various
departments in Nature.
The Lipikas ... are the Spirits of the Universe, whereas the Builders are only our own planetary
deities. The former belong to the most occult portion of Cosmogenesis, which cannot be given
here . Secret Doctrine (I 127, I 152, I 185)
The hierarchy of Creative Powers is divided into seven (or 4 and 3) esoteric, within the twelve
great Orders, recorded in the twelve signs of the Zodiac; the seven of the manifesting scale being
connected, moreover, with the Seven Planets. All this is subdivided into numberless groups of
divine Spiritual, semi-Spiritual and ethereal Beings. Secret Doctrine (I 213, I 233, I 260)
Each of these orders of Celestial Beings is described in some detail, for the further study of which the
reader is referred to the Commentary on Stanza VII, entitled "The Parents of Man on Earth".
The wealth and complexity of the information given in the Stanzas must understandably have proved
perplexing, if not fanciful, to some of Mme Blavatsky's readers. Anticipating their reaction to Stanza V, for
example, "perhaps the most difficult of all the Stanzas to explain" - she commented:
Its language is comprehensible only to him who is thoroughly versed in Eastern allegory and its
purposely obscure phraseology. The question will surely be asked, "Do the Occultists believe in all
these 'Builders', 'Lipikas', and 'Sons of Light' as Entities, or are they merely imageries?" To this the
answer is given as plainly:
"After due allowance for the imagery of personified Powers, we must
admit the existence of these Entities, if we would not reject the existence of spiritual humanity
within physical mankind. For the hosts of these Sons of Light and 'Mind-born Sons' of the first
manifested Ray of the UNKNOWN ALL are the very root of spiritual man". Unless we want to
believe the unphilosophical dogma of a specially created soul for every human birth - a fresh
supply of these pouring in daily, since "Adam" - we have to admit the occult teachings. Secret Doctrine (I 106, I 131, I 166)
Reference was made earlier to the Preface of The Secret Doctrine, in which Mme Blavatsky mentioned
that part of her aim was "to assign man his rightful place in the scheme of the Universe". According to the
esoteric teaching, humanity is an inescapable stage in the progressive unfoldment of consciousness:
The Doctrine teaches that, in order to become a divine, fully conscious god - aye, even the highest
- the Spiritual primeval INTELLIGENCE must pass through the human stage. and when we say
human, this does not apply merely to our terrestrial humanity, but to the mortals that inhabit any
world, i.e. to those Intelligences that have reached the appropriate equilibrium between matter and
spirit, as we have now, since the middle part of the Fourth Root-Race of the Fourth Round was
passed. Each Entity must have won for itself the right of becoming divine, through self-experience.
Secret Doctrine (I 106, I 131, I 166)