James Joyce: Notes - Literary Figures [H. P. Blavatsky]

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Isis Unveiled (1877) - Part II

[Source: available at Sacred Texts website - online; accessed 28.04.2015; page numbers throughout this copy - .e.g., (p.278) - refer to the top-of-page in the original.]

Chap. VI (in Pt. II)

Epigraph [1 of 2] ‘the curtains of Yesterday drop down, the curtains of To-morrow roll up; but Yesterday and Tomorrow both are Sartor Resartus: Natural Supernaturalism.’ (Carlyle; here p.251)





This is still another of the many sentences by which Paul must be recognized as an initiate. For reasons fully explained, we give far more credit for genuineness to certain Epistles of the apostles, now dismissed as apocryphal, than to many suspicious portions of the Acts. And we find corroboration of this view in the Epistle of Paul to Seneca. Inthis message Paul styles Seneca “my respected master,” while Seneca terms the apostle simply “brother.”

No more than the true religion of Judaic philosophy can be judged by the absurdities of the exoteric Bible, have we any right to form an opinion of Brahmanism and Buddhism by their nonsensical and sometimes disgusting popular forms. If we only search for the true essence of the philosophy of both Manu and the Kabala, we will find that Vishnu is, as well as Adam Kadmon, the expression of the universe itself; and that his incarnations are but concrete and various embodiments of the manifestations of this “Stupendous Whole”.

The Upper Triangle
The Upper Triangle

Contains the Ineffable Name. It is the AUM - to be pronounced only mentally, under penalty of death. The Unrevealed Para-Brahma, the Passive-Principle; the absolute and unconditioned “mukta,” which cannot enter into the condition of a Creator, as the latter, in order to think, will, and plan, must be bound and conditioned (baddha); hence, in one sense, be a finite being. “THIS (Para-Brahma) was absorbed in the non-being, imperceptible, without any distinct attribute, non-existent for our senses. He was absorbed in his (to us) eternal (to himself) periodical, sleep,” for it was one of the “Nights of Brahma.” Therefore he is not the First but the Eternal Cause. He is the Soul of Souls, whom no being can comprehend in this state. But “he who studies the secret Mantras and comprehends the Vach” (the Spirit or hidden voice of the Mantras, the active manifestation of the latent Force) will learn to understand him in his “revealed” aspect. (p. 267)


Contains the Ineffable Name. It is En-Soph, the Boundless, the Infinite, whose name is known to no one but the initiated, and could not be pronounced aloud under the penalty of death.

No more than Para-Brahma can En-Soph create, for he is in the same condition of non-being as the former; he is non-existent so long as he lies in his latent or passive state within Oulom (the boundless and termless time); as such he is not the Creator of the visible universe, neither is he the Aur (Light). He will become the latter when the period of creation shall have compelled him to expand the Force within himself, according to the Law of which he is the embodiment and essence.

‘Whosoever acquaints himself with the Mercaba and the lahgash (secret speech or incantation), * will learn the secret of secrets.”

Both “THIS” and En-Soph, in their first manifestation of Light, emerging from within Darkness, may be summarized in the Svabhavat, the Eternal and the uncreated Self-existing Substance which produces all; while everything which is of its essence produces itself out of its own nature.
The Space Around the Upper Triangle.

When the “Night of Brahma” was ended, and the time came for the Self-Existent to manifest Itself by revelation, it made its glory visible by sending forth from its Essence an active Power, which, female at first, subsequently becomes androgyne. (p.267) It is Aditi, the “Infinite,” the Boundless, or rather the “Unbounded.” Aditi is the “mother” of all the gods, and Aditi is the Father and the Son. “Who will give us back to the great Aditi, that I may see father and mother?” It is in conjunction with the latter female, Force, that the Divine but latent Thought produces the great “Deep” - water. “Water is born from a transformation of light . . . and from a modification of the water is born the earth,” says Manu (book i.).

”Ye are born of Aditi from the water, you who are born of the earth, hear ye all my call.”

In this water (or primeval chaos) the “Infinite” androgyne, which, with the Eternal Cause, forms the first abstract Triad, rendered by AUM, deposited the germ of universal life. It is the Mundane Egg, in which took place the gestation of Purusha, or the manifested Brahma. The germ which fecundated the Mother Principle (the water) is called Nara, the Divine Spirit or Holy Ghost, and the waters themselves, are an emanation of the former, Nari, while the Spirit which brooded over it is called Narayana.

“In that egg, the great Power sat inactive a whole year of the Creator, at the close of which, by his thought alone, he caused the egg to divide itself.” The upper half became heaven, the lower, the (p.268) earth (both yet in their ideal, not their manifested form).

Thus, this second triad, only another name for the first one (never pronounced aloud), and which is the real pre-Vedic and primordial secret Trimurti, consisted of

Nara, Father-Heaven,
Nari, Mother-Earth,
Viradj, the Son - or Universe.

The Trimurti, comprising Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Siva, the Destroyer and Regenerator, belongs to a later period. It is an anthropomorphic afterthought, invented for the more popular comprehension of the uninitiated masses. The Dikshita, the initiate, knew better. Thus, also, the profound allegory under the colors of a ridiculous fable, given in the Aytareya Brahmana, * which resulted in the representations in some temples of Brahm-Nara, assuming the form of a bull, and his daughter, Aditi-Nari, that of a heifer, contains the same metaphysical idea as the “fall of man,” or that of the Spirit into generation - matter. The All-pervading Divine Spirit embodied under the symbols of Heaven, the Sun, and Heat (fire) - the correlation of cosmic forces - fecundates Matter or Nature, the daughter of Spirit. And Para-Brahma himself has to submit to and bear the penance of the curses of the other gods (Elohim) for such an incest. (See corresponding column.) According to the immutable, and, therefore, fatal law, both Nara and Nari are mutually Father and Mother, as well as Father and Daughter. ** Matter, through infinite transformation, is the gradual product of Spirit. The unification of one Eternal Supreme Cause required such a correlation; [...]

  When the active period had arrived, En-Soph sent forth from within his own eternal essence, Sephira, the active Power, called the Primordial Point, and the Crown, Keter. It is only through her that the “Un-bounded Wisdom” could (p.267) give a concrete form to his abstract Thought. Two sides of the upper triangle, the right side and the base, are composed of unbroken lines; the third, the left side, is dotted. It is through the latter that emerges Sephira. Spreading in every direction, she finally encompasses the whole triangle. In this emanation of the female active principle from the left side of the mystic triangle, is foreshadowed the creation of Eve from Adam’s left rib. Adam is the Microcosm of the Macrocosm, and is created in the image of the Elohim. In the Tree of Life the triple triad is disposed in such a manner that the three male Sephiroth are on the right, the three female on the left, and the four uniting principles in the centre. From the Invisible Dew falling from the Higher “Head” Sephira creates primeval water, or chaos taking shape. It is the first step toward the solidification of Spirit, which through various modifications will produce earth. “It requires earth and water to make a living soul,” says Moses.When Sephira emerges like an active power from within the latent Deity, she is (p.268) female; when she assumes the office of a creator, she becomes a male; hence, she is androgyne. She is the “Father and Mother Aditi,” of the Hindu Cosmogony. After brooding over the “Deep,” the Spirit of God” produces its own image in the water, the Universal Womb, symbolized in Manu by the Golden Egg. In the kabalistic Cosmogony, Heaven and Earth are personified by Adam Kadmon and the second Adam. The first Ineffable Triad, contained in the abstract idea of the “Three Heads,” was a “mystery name.” It was composed of En-Soph, Sephira, and Adam Kadmon, the Protogonos, the latter being identical with the former, when bisexual. In every triad there is a male, a female, and an androgyne. Adam-Sephira is the Crown (Keter). It sets itself to the work of creation, by first producing Chochmah, Male Wisdom, a masculine active potency, represented by, jah, or the Wheels of Creation, from which proceeds Binah, Intelligence, female and passive potency, which is Jehovah, whom we find in the Bible figuring as the Supreme. But this Jehovah is not the kabalistic Jodcheva.The binary is the fundamental corner-stone of Gnosis. As the binary is the Unity multiplying itself and self-creating, the kabalists show the “Unknown” passive En-Soph, as emanating from himself, Sephira, which, becoming visible light, is said to produce Adam Kadmon. But, in the hidden sense, Sephira and Adam are one and the same light, only latent and active, invisible and visible. The second Adam, as the human tetragram, produces in his turn Eve, out of his side. It is this second triad, with which the kabalists have hitherto dealt, hardly hinting at the Supreme and Ineffable One, and never committing anything to writing. All knowledge concerning the latter was imparted orally. It is the second Adam, then, who is the unity represented by Jod, emblem of the kabalistic male principle, and, at the same time, he is Chochmah, Wisdom, while Binah or Jehovah is Eve; the first (p.269) Chochmah issuing from Keter, or the androgyne, Adam Kadmon, and the second, Binah, from Chochmah. If we combine with Jod the three letters which form the name of Eve, we will have the divine tetragram pronounced IEVO-HEVAH, Adam and Eve, , Jehovah, male and female, or the idealization of humanity embodied in the first man. Thus is it that we can prove that, while the Jewish kabalists, in common with their initiated masters, the Chaldeans and the Hindus, adored the Supreme and Unknown God, in the sacred silence of their sanctuaries, [ ...; cont. in single column, infra.]

[righthand column cont.:] the ignorant masses of every nation were left to adore something which was certainly less than the Eternal Substance of the Buddhists, the so-called Atheists.

As Brahma, the deity manifested in the mythical Manu, or the first man (born of Swayambhuva, or the Self-existent), is finite, so Jehovah, embodied in Adam and Eve, is but a human god. He is the symbol of humanity, a mixture of good with a portion of unavoidable evil; of spirit fallen into matter. In worshipping Jehovah, we simply worship nature, as embodied in man, half-spiritual and half-material, at best: we are Pantheists, when not fetich worshippers, like the idolatrous Jews, who sacrificed on high places, in groves, to the personified male and female principle, ignorant of IAO, the Supreme “Secret Name” of the Mysteries.

Shekinah is the Hindu Vach, and praised in the same terms as the latter. Though shown in the kabalistic Tree of Life as proceeding from the ninth Sephiroth, yet Shekinah is the “veil” of En-Soph, and the “garment” of Jehovah. The “veil,” for it succeeded for long ages in concealing the real supreme God, the universal Spirit, and masking Jehovah, the exoteric deity, made the Christians accept him as the “father” of the initiated Jesus. Yet the kabalists, as well as the Hindu Dikshita, know the power of the Shekinah or Vach, and call it the “secret wisdom,” [Hebrew chars.].

The triangle played a prominent part in the religious symbolism of every great nation; for everywhere it represented the three great principles - spirit, force, and matter; or the active (male), passive (female), and the dual or correlative principle which partakes of both and binds the two together. It was the Arba or mystic (p.270) “four,” the mystery-gods, the Kabeiri, summarized in the unity of one supreme Deity. It is found in the Egyptian pyramids, whose equal sides tower up until lost in one crowning point. In the kabalistic diagram the central circle of the Brahmanical figure is replaced by the cross; the celestial perpendicular and the terrestrial horizontal base line. But the idea is the same: Adam Kadmon is the type of humanity as a collective totality within the unity of the creative God and the universal spirit.

[...] Having done with the unrevealed triad, and the first triad of the Sephiroth, called the “intellectual world,” little remains to be said. In the great geometrical figure which has the double triangle in it, the central circle represents the world within the universe. The double triangle belongs to one of the most important, if it is not in itself the most important, of the mystic figures in India. It is the emblem of the Trimurti three in one. The triangle with its apex upward indicates the male principle, downward the female; the two typifying, at the same time, spirit and matter. This world within the infinite universe is the microcosm within the macrocosm, as in the Jewish Kabala. It is the symbol of the womb of the universe, the terrestrial egg, whose archetype is the golden mundane egg. It is from within this spiritual bosom of mother nature that proceed all the great saviours of the universe - the avatars of the invisible Deity.

‘Of him who is formless, the non-existent (also the eternal, but not First Cause), is born the heavenly man.” But after he created the form of the heavenly man, he “used it as a vehicle wherein to descend,” says the Kabala. Thus Adam Kadmon is the avatar of the concealed power. After that the heavenly Adam creates or engenders by the combined power of the Sephiroth, the earthly Adam. The work of creation is also begun by Sephira in the creation of the ten Sephiroth (who are the Pradjapatis of the Kabala, for they are likewise the Lords of all beings) (ii, 276.)

The Sohar asserts the same. According to the kabalistic doctrine there were old worlds (see Idra Suta: Sohar, iii., p. 292b). Everything will return some day to that from which it first proceeded. “All things of which this world consists, spirit as well as body, will return to their principal, and the roots from which they proceeded” (Sohar, ii., 218b). The kabalists also maintain the indestructibility of matter, albeit their doctrine is shrouded still more carefully than that of the Hindus. The creation is eternal, and the universe is the “garment,” or “the veil of God” - Shekinah; and the latter is immortal and eternal as Him within whom it has ever existed. Every world is made after the pattern of its predecessor, and each more gross and material than the preceding one. In the Kabala all were called sparks. Finally, our present grossly materialistic world was formed.

In the Chaldean account of the period which preceded the Genesis of our world, Berosus speaks of a time when there existed nothing but darkness, and an abyss of waters, filled with hideous monsters, “produced of a two-fold principle. . . . These were creatures in which were combined the limbs of every species of animals. In addition to these fishes, reptiles, serpents, with other monstrous animals, which assumed each other’s shape and countenance.”

And now again re-enter into the golden egg of His Thought, the germs of all that exist, as the divine Manu tells us. During His peaceful rest, the animated beings, endowed with the principles of action, cease their functions, and all feeling (manas) becomes dormant. When they are all absorbed in the SUPREME SOUL, this Soul of all the beings sleeps in complete repose, till the day when it resumes its form, and awakes again from its primitive darkness.”
Even the four ages of the Hindu chronology contain a far more philosophical idea than appears on the surface. It defines them according to both the psychological or mental and the physical states of man during their period. Crita-yug, the golden age, the “age of joy,” or spiritual innocence of man; Treta-yug, the age of silver, or that of fire - the period of supremacy of man and of giants and of the sons of God; Dwapara-yug, the age of bronze - a mixture already of purity and impurity (spirit and matter) the age of doubt; and at last our own, the Kali-yug, or age of iron, of darkness, misery, and sorrow. In this age, Vishnu had to incarnate himself in Christna, in order to save humanity from the goddess Kali, consort of Siva, the all-annihilating - the goddess of death, destruction, and human misery. Kali is the best emblem to represent the “fall of man”; the falling of spirit into the degradation of matter, with all its terrific results. We have to rid ourselves of Kali before we can ever reach “Moksha,” or Nirvana, the abode of blessed Peace and Spirit.
Nor do we see less clearly carried out in this succession of avatars, the truly philosophical idea of a simultaneous spiritual and physical evolution of creatures and man. From a fish the progress of this dual transformation carries on the physical form through the shape of a tortoise, a boar, and a man-lion; and then, appearing in the dwarf of humanity, it shows Parasu Rama physically, a perfect, spiritually, an undeveloped entity, until it carries mankind personified by one god-like man, to the apex of physical and spiritual perfection - a god on earth. In Christna and the other Saviours of the world we see the philosophical idea of the progressive dual development understood and as clearly expressed in the Sohar. The “Heavenly man,” who is the Protogonos, Tikkun, the first-born of God, or the universal Form and Idea, engenders Adam. Hence the latter is god-born in humanity, and endowed with the attributes of all the ten Sephiroth. These are: Wisdom, Intelligence, Justice, Love, Beauty, Splendor, Firmness, etc. They make him the Foundation or basis, “the mighty living one,” [Hebrew chars.], and the crown of creation, thus placing him as the Alpha and Omega to reign over the “kingdom” - Malchuth. “Man is both the import and the highest degree of creation,” says the Sohar. “As soon as man was created, everything was complete, including the upper and nether worlds, for everything is comprised in man. He unites in himself all forms” (iii., p. 48 a.)
In the “fall of Adam” we must see, not the personal transgression of man, but simply the law of the dual evolution. Adam, or “Man,” begins his career of existences by dwelling in the garden of Eden, “dressed in the celestial garment, which is a garment of heavenly light”(Sohar, ii., 229 b); but when expelled he is “clothed” by God, or the eternal law of Evolution or necessarianism, with coats of skin. But even on this earth of material degradation - in which the divine spark (Soul, a corruscation of the Spirit) was to begin its physical progression in a series of imprisonments from a stone up to a man’s body - if he but exercise his WILL and call his deity to his help, man can transcend the powers of the angel. “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” asks Paul (1, Corinthians, vi.3). The real man is the Soul (Spirit), teaches the Sohar. “The mystery of the earthly man is after the mystery of the heavenly man ... the wise can read the mysteries in the human face” (ii., 76 a).

“I am the Soul, O, Arjuna. I am the Soul which exists in the heart of all beings; and I am the beginning and the middle, and also the end of existing things,” says Vishnu to his disciple, in Bagaved-gitta (ch. x., p. 71).

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. ... I am the first and the last,” says Jesus to John (Rev. i. 6, 17).

Coleman, followed in it by other Orientalists, presents the seventh avatar of Vishnu in the most caricatured way. Apart from the fact that the Ramayana is one of the grandest epic poems in the world - the source and origin of Homer’s inspiration - this avatar conceals one of the most scientific problems of our modern day. The learned Brahmans of India never understood the allegory of the famous war between men, giants, and monkeys, otherwise than in the light of the transformation of species. It is our firm belief that were European academicians to seek for information from some learned native Brahmans, instead of unanimously and incontinently rejecting their authority, and were they, like Jacolliot - against whom they have nearly all arrayed themselves - to seek for light in the oldest documents scattered about the country in pagodas, they might learn strange but not useless lessons. Let any one inquire of an educated Brahman the reason for the respect shown to monkeys - the origin of which feeling is indicated in the story of the valorous feats of Hanouma, the generalissimo and faithful ally of the hero of Ramayana, and he would soon be disabused of the erroneous idea that the Hindus accord deific honors to a monkey-god. He would, perhaps, learn - were the Brahman to judge him worthy of an explanation - that the Hindu sees in the ape but what Manu desired he should: the transformation of species most directly connected with that of the human family - a bastard branch engrafted on their own stock before the final perfection of the latter. He might learn, further, that in the eyes of the (p.279) educated “heathen” the spiritual or inner man is one thing, and his terrestrial, physical casket another. That physical nature, the great combination of physical correlations of forces ever creeping on toward perfection, has to avail herself of the material at hand; she models and remodels as she proceeds, and finishing her crowning work in man, presents him alone as a fit tabernacle for the overshadowing of the Divine spirit. But the latter circumstance does not give man the right of life and death over the animals lower than himself in the scale of nature, or the right to torture them. Quite the reverse. Besides being endowed with a soul - of which every animal, and even plant, is more or less possessed - man has his immortal rational soul, or nous, which ought to make him at least equal in magnanimity to the elephant, who treads so carefully, lest he should crush weaker creatures than himself. It is this feeling which prompts Brahman and Buddhist alike to construct hospitals for sick animals, and even insects, and to prepare refuges wherein they may finish their days. It is this same feeling, again, which causes the Jain sectarian to sacrifice one-half of his life-time to brushing away from his path the helpless, crawling insects, rather than recklessly deprive the smallest of life; and it is again from this sense of highest benevolence and charity toward the weaker, however abject the creature may be, that they honor one of the natural modifications of their own dual nature, and that later the popular belief in metempsychosis arose. No trace of the latter is to be found in the Vedas; and the true interpretation of the doctrine, discussed at length in Manu and the Buddhistic sacred books, having been confined from the first to the learned sacerdotal castes, the false and foolish popular ideas concerning it need occasion no surprise.

Upon those who, in the remains of antiquity, see evidence that modern times can lay small claim to originality, it is common to charge a disposition to exaggerate and distort facts. But the candid reader will scarcely aver that the above is an example in point. There were evolutionists before the day when the mythical Noah is made, in the Bible, to float in his ark; and the ancient scientists were better informed, and had their theories more logically defined than the modern evolutionists.

Plato, Anaxagoras, Pythagoras, the Eleatic schools of Greece, as well as the old Chaldean sacerdotal colleges, all taught the doctrine of the (p.280) dual evolution; the doctrine of the transmigration of souls referring only to the progress of man from world to world, after death here. Every philosophy worthy of the name, taught that the spiritof man, if not the soul, was preexistent. “The Essenes,” says Josephus, “believed that the souls were immortal, and that they descended from the ethereal spaces to be chained to bodies.” In his turn, Philo Judaeus says, the “air is full of them (of souls); those which are nearest the earth, descending to be tied to mortal bodies, παλινδρομουσιν αυθις, return to other bodies, being desirous to live in them.” n the Sohar, the soul is made to plead her freedom before God: “Lord of the Universe! I am happy in this world, and do not wish to go into another world, where I shall be a handmaid, and be exposed to all kinds of pollutions.” The doctrine of fatal necessity, the everlasting immutable Law, is asserted in the answer of the Deity: “Against thy will thou becomest an embryo, and against thy will thou art born.” Light would be incomprehensible without darkness, to make it manifest by contrast; good would be no good without evil, to show the priceless nature of the boon; and so, personal virtue could claim no merit, unless it had passed through the furnace of temptation. Nothing is eternal and unchangeable, save the Concealed Deity. Nothing that is finite - whether because it had a beginning, or must have an end - can remain stationary. It must either progress or recede; and a soul which thirsts after a reunion with its spirit, which alone confers upon it immortality, must purify itself through cyclic transmigrations, onward toward the only Land of Bliss and Eternal Rest, called in the Sohar, “The Palace of Love,” [Hebrew chars.; in the Hindu religion, “Moksha”; among the Gnostics, the “Pleroma of eternal Light”; and by the Buddhists, Nirvana. The Christian calls it the “Kingdom of Heaven,” and claims to have alone found the truth, whereas he has but invented a new name for a doctrine which is coeval with man.

The proof that the transmigration of the soul does not relate to man’s condition on this earth after death, is found in the Sohar, notwithstanding the many incorrect renderings of its translators. “All souls which have alienated themselves in heaven from the Holy One - blessed be His Name - have thrown themselves into an abyss at their very existence, and have anticipated the time when they are to descend on earth. ... (p.281)
Come and see when the soul reaches the abode of Love. ... The soul could not bear this light, but for the luminous mantle which she puts on. For, just as the soul, when sent to this earth, puts on an earthly garment to preserve herself here, so she receives above a shining garment, in order to be able to look without injury into the mirror, whose light proceeds from the Lord of Light.” Moreover, the Sohar teaches that the soul cannot reach the abode of bliss, unless she has received the “holy kiss,” or the re-union of the soul with the substance from which she emanated - spirit. All souls are dual, and, while the latter is a feminine principle, the spirit is masculine. While imprisoned in body, man is a trinity, unless his pollution is such as to have caused his divorce from the spirit. “Woe to the soul which prefers to her divine husband (spirit), the earthly wedlock with her terrestrial body,” records a text of the Book of the Keys.
[...; &c.]