The Absolute in Modern Theosophical Literature

“The name Pan means ALL. If you accept the Christian etymology of this compound word and form it of (…) “all,” and (…) “god,” and then imagine and teach that this means that every stone and every tree in Nature is a God or the ONE God, then you will make of the Pantheists fetish-worshippers, in addition to their legitimate name. Our DEITY is neither in a paradise, nor a particular tree, building, nor mountain; it is everywhere, in every atom of the visible as of the invisible Cosmos, in, over, and around every invisible atom and divisible molecule; for IT is the mysterious power of evolution and involution, the omnipresent, omnipotent, and even omniscient creative potentiality. PAN was at one time absolute nature, the one and GREAT-ALL; but when history catches a first glimpse of him, Pan has already tumbled down into a godling of the fields, a rural god; and history will not recognize him, while theology makes of him the devil. Yet his seven-piped flute, the emblem of the seven forces of nature, of the seven planets, the seven musical notes, of all the septenary harmony, in short, shows well his primordial character.” (The Pantheists, THEOSOPHY, Vol. 68, No. 2, December, 1979.)

“This divine spirit animates the flower, the particle of granite on the mountain side, the lion, the man. The same spirit that animates the particle of dust, lurking latent in it, animates man, manifesting itself in him in its highest state of activity. This doctrine of God being the universal mind diffused through all things underlies all ancient philosophies.” (Isis Unveiled)

“The magians so affirm. They tell us that the fecund mother Earth is subject to the same laws as every one of her children. At her appointed time she brings forth all created things; in the fulness of her days she is gathered to the tomb of worlds. Her gross, material body slowly parts with its atoms under the inexorable law which demands their new arrangement in other combinations. Her own perfected vivifying spirit obeys the eternal attraction which draws it toward that central spiritual sun from which it was originally evolved, and which we vaguely know under the name of GOD.” (Isis Unveiled, Vol. 1, pg. 255),

“From the beginning of man’s inheritance, from the first appearance of the architects of the globe he lives in, the unrevealed Deity was recognised and considered under its only philosophical aspect — universal motion, the thrill of the creative Breath in Nature. Occultism sums up the “One Existence” thus: “Deity is an arcane, living (or moving) FIRE, and the eternal witnesses to this unseen Presence are Light, Heat, Moisture,” — this trinity including, and being the cause of, every phenomenon in Nature. Intra-Cosmic motion is eternal and ceaseless; cosmic motion (the visible, or that which is subject to perception) is finite and periodical. As an eternal abstraction it is the EVER-PRESENT; as a manifestation, it is finite both in the coming direction and the opposite, the two being the alpha and omega of successive reconstructions.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, Proem, page 2-3)

“The Buddhists maintained that there is no Creator, but an infinitude of creative powers, which collectively form the one eternal substance, the essence of which is inscrutable — hence not a subject for speculation for any true philosopher. Socrates invariably refused to argue upon the mystery of universal being, yet no one would ever have thought of charging him with atheism, except those who were bent upon his destruction. (…)

It is wrong and unjust to regard the Buddhists and Advaitee Occultists as atheists. If not all of them philosophers, they are, at any rate, all logicians, their objections and arguments being based on strict reasoning. Indeed, if the Parabrahmam of the Hindus may be taken as a representative of the hidden and nameless deities of other nations, this absolute Principle will be found to be the prototype from which all the others were copied. Parabrahm is not “God,” because It is not a God. “It is that which is supreme, and not supreme (paravara),” explains Mandukya Upanishad (2.28). IT is “Supreme” as CAUSE, not supreme as effect. Parabrahm is simply, as a “Secondless Reality,” the all-inclusive Kosmos — or, rather, the infinite Cosmic Space — in the highest spiritual sense, of course. Brahma (neuter) being the unchanging, pure, free, undecaying supreme Root, “the ONE true Existence, Paramarthika,” and the absolute Chit and Chaitanya (intelligence, consciousness) cannot be a cogniser, “for THAT can have no subject of cognition.” Can the flame be called the essence of Fire? This Essence is “the LIFE and LIGHT of the Universe, the visible fire and flame are destruction, death, and evil.” “Fire and Flame destroy the body of an Arhat, their essence makes him immortal.” (Bodhi-mur, Book II.) “The knowledge of the absolute Spirit, like the effulgence of the sun, or like heat in fire, is naught else than the absolute Essence itself,” says Sankaracharya. IT — is “the Spirit of the Fire,” not fire itself; therefore, “the attributes of the latter, heat or flame, are not the attributes of the Spirit, but of that of which that Spirit is the unconscious cause.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, Proem, pp. 4, 6)

“ABSOLUTE Deity, having to be unconditioned and unrelated, cannot be thought of at the same time as an active, creating, one living god, without immediate degradation of the ideal. A Deity that manifests in Space and Time— these two being simply the forms of THAT which is the Absolute ALL — can be but a fractional part of the whole. And since that “all” cannot be divided in its absoluteness, therefore that sensed creator (we say Creators) can be at best but the mere aspect thereof.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 2, pages 158-59)

“The fact of choosing a deity among the pagan gods and making of it a special national God, to call upon it as the “One living God,” the “God of Gods,” and then proclaim this worship Monotheistic, does not change it into the ONE Principle whose “Unity admits not of multiplication, change, or form,” especially in the case of a priapic deity, as Jehovah is now demonstrated to be.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, Proem, page 6 fn.)

“Parabrahm is, in short, the collective aggregate of Kosmos in its infinity and eternity, the “THAT” and “THIS” to which distributive aggregates can not be applied. “In the beginning THIS was the Self, one only” (Aitareya Upanishad); the great Sankaracharya, explains that “THIS” referred to the Universe (Jagat); the sense of the words, “In the beginning,” meaning before the reproduction of the phenomenal Universe.

Therefore, when the Pantheists echo the Upanishads, which state, as in the Secret Doctrine, that “this” cannot create, they do not deny a Creator, or rather a collective aggregate of creators, but only refuse, very logically, to attribute “creation” and especially formation, something finite to an Infinite Principle. With them, Parabrahmam is a passive because an Absolute Cause, the unconditioned Mukta. It is only limited Omniscience and Omnipotence that are refused to the latter, because these are still attributes (as reflected in man’s perceptions); and because Parabrahm, being the “Supreme ALL,” the ever invisible spirit and Soul of Nature, changeless and eternal, can have no attributes; absoluteness very naturally precluding any idea of the finite or conditioned from being connected with it. And if the Vedantin postulates attributes as belonging simply to its emanation, calling it “Iswara plus Maya,” and Avidya (Agnosticism and Nescience rather than ignorance), it is difficult to find any Atheism in this conception. Since there can be neither two INFINITES nor two ABSOLUTES in a Universe supposed to be Boundless, this Self-Existence can hardly be conceived of as creating personally. In the sense and perceptions of finite “Beings,” THAT is Non-“being,” in the sense that it is the one BE-NESS …” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, Proem, page 7)

“The Occultists … show the impossibility of accepting on philosophical grounds the idea of the absolute ALL creating or even evolving the “Golden Egg,” into which it is said to enter in order to transform itself into Brahmâ — the Creator, who expands himself later into gods and all the visible Universe. They say that Absolute Unity cannot pass to infinity; for infinity presupposes the limitless extension of something, and the duration of that “something”; and the One All is like Space — which is its only mental and physical representation on this Earth, or our plane of existence — neither an object of, nor a subject to, perception. If one could suppose the Eternal Infinite All, the Omnipresent Unity, instead of being in Eternity, becoming through periodical manifestation a manifold Universe or a multiple personality, that Unity would cease to be one. … Space is neither a “limitless void,” nor a “conditioned fulness,” but both: being, on the plane of absolute abstraction, the ever-incognisable Deity, which is void only to finite minds, and on that of mayavic perception, the Plenum, the absolute Container of all that is, whether manifested or unmanifested: it is, therefore, that ABSOLUTE ALL.” (The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Proem, page 8)

“”What is that which was, is, and will be, whether there is a Universe or not; whether there be gods or none?” asks the esoteric Senzar Catechism. And the answer made is – SPACE.

It is not the One Unknown ever-present God in Nature, or Nature in abscondito, that is rejected, but the God of human dogma and his humanized “Word.” In his infinite conceit and inherent pride and vanity, man shaped it himself with his sacrilegious hand out of the material he found in his own small brain-fabric, and forced it upon mankind as a direct revelation from the one unrevealed SPACE.” (The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Proem, page 8)

“We will then prove, perhaps, to the satisfaction of the non-prejudiced that the Absolute, or the Unconditioned, and (especially) the unrelated, is a mere fanciful abstraction, a fiction, unless we view it from the standpoint and in the light of the more educated pantheist. To do so, we will have to regard the “Absolute” merely as the aggregate of all intelligences, the totality of all existences, incapable of manifesting itself but through the interrelationship of its parts, as It is absolutely incognizable and non-existent outside its phenomena, and depends entirely on its ever-correlating Forces, dependent in their turn on the ONE GREAT LAW.”

“… the inner man is the only God we can have cognizance of. And how can this be otherwise? Grant us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle, and how can man alone escape from being soaked through by, and in, the Deity? We call our “Father in heaven” that deific essence of which we are cognizant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness, and which has nothing to do with the anthropomorphic conception we may form of it in our physical brain or its fancy: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of (the absolute) God dwelleth in you?” Yet, let no man anthropomorphise that essence in us. Let no Theosophist, if he would hold to divine, not human truth, say that this “God in secret” listens to, or is distinct from, either finite man or the infinite essence—for all are one.” (Key To Theosophy, Section 5.)

“The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart—invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through “the still small voice” of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence.” (The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, page 280)

“…the opposite poles of subject and object, spirit and matter, are but aspects of the One Unity in which they are synthesized…” (The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Proem, page 16)

“…the contrast of these two aspects of the Absolute is essential to the existence of the “Manifested Universe.” (…) The “Manifested Universe,” therefore, is pervaded by duality, which is, as it were, the very essence of its EX-istence as “manifestation. (The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Proem, page 15)

” (…) please don’t allow your materialistic conceptions to imagine that Absolute can be divided into parts or pieces. The Absolute is everywhere, even in the smallest molecules of matter. It can neither be pressed into the infinitesimal part, nor enlarged into a limitless cosmos; it is both.” (The Secret Doctrine Dialogues, page 335)

“The Absoluteness is that which is, to our minds, at least, immutable— which never had a beginning nor will ever have an end, which is omnipresent, which is absolute everything. And when we say of that Absoluteness that it is absolutely unconscious, absolutely without any desire, without any thought, it is because we mean and must mean that it is absolute consciousness, absolute desire, absolute love, absolute everything. Now you see how difficult is this thing to conceive. (The Secret Doctrine Dialogues, page 394)

“The Secret Doctrine teaches the progressive development of everything, worlds as well as atoms; and this stupendous development has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end. Our “Universe” is only one of an infinite number of Universes, all of them “Sons of Necessity,” because links in the great Cosmic chain of Universes, each one standing in the relation of an effect as regards its predecessor, and being a cause as regards its successor.

The appearance and disappearance of the Universe are pictured as an outbreathing and inbreathing of “the Great Breath,” which is eternal, and which, being Motion, is one of the three aspects of the Absolute — Abstract Space and Duration being the other two. When the “Great Breath” is projected, it is called the Divine Breath, and is regarded as the breathing of the Unknowable Deity — the One Existence — which breathes out a thought, as it were, which becomes the Kosmos. So also is it when the Divine Breath is inspired again the Universe disappears into the bosom of “the Great Mother,” who then sleeps “wrapped in her invisible robes” (The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, page 43)

“”What is that which was, is, and will be, whether there is a Universe or not; whether there be gods or none?” asks the esoteric Senzar Catechism. And the answer made is – SPACE.

“The ever unknowable and incognizable Karana alone, the Causeless Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart—invisible, intangible, unmentioned, save through “the still small voice” of our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and the Universal Spirit, their good actions the only priests, and their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sacrificial victims to the Presence.” (The Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, page 280)

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