David Reigle on “God’s Arrival in India”

David Reigle is an independent scholar on Tibetan Buddhism and Theosophy, who explores its ideological content. In God’s Arrival in India, David Reigle argues that the original philosophical schools of Hinduism lacked the notion of God. It is stated, that the Vedic seers and their texts, describe a metaphysical realism, in which the idea of the One and the Many did not contradict, in neither form nor substance. A Protestant scholar, Henry Corbin, wrote The Paradox of Monotheism, in which he demonstrated, monotheism does not mean worship of a ‘singular’ god, like the number, one. H.P.B. explained, that the occult view on the concept of a Creator is that it is double-meaning, i.e., there are two “Ones.” Unity admits of a plurality of forces, or host under a Unity, which constitute the forces of Nature at its apex. “E Pluribus Unum” in the Latin expresses this fact of nature. The motto means “out of one, many,” or “out of many, one.”

The position in Theosophy is acknowledged by the oldest philosophical system in India, Sāṃkhya, and others. It is outlined in a compilation prepared by David Reigle on The First Fundamental Proposition: The One Reality:

  1. There is one reality, and this is described also as the one element;
  2. The one reality is considered under two aspects —
    • Matter and spirit are two aspects of the one element;
  3. The one reality is described as matter (later changed to substance because of its limited meaning to the physical reality), but it is in essence indestructible and eternal;
  4. The one reality is described as space;
  5. The one reality is described as a limitless void (emptiness), but also a conditioned fullness (plenum, not empty space);
  6. The one reality is described as primordial darkness;
  7. The one reality is described as motion, the great breath, unconditioned consciousness (or spirit), the one life, inherent nature (i.e., tao, svabhava), or force, etc.

This is very crucial to understand in modern T h e o s o p h y.

When the pioneering Orientalists studied the Vedic texts, seeing the sacrificial gods, they took the Vedic tradition as being polytheistic.

We have the word of other scholars given by David Reigle:

“Leading Vedic scholar R. N. Dandekar in his article, “God in Hindu Thought,” Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, vols. 48 & 49, 1968, p. 440, writes: “In spite of all such indications, it must be clearly stated that monotheism in the sense of a single ethical god who, while being intimately involved in the world-process, is yet transcendental in character had not developed in the Vedic period.”

Similarly, David Reigle writes in his footnote no. 31:

“…leading Western Vedic scholar Jan Gonda in his study, “The Concept of a Personal God in Ancient Indian Religious Thought,” Selected Studies, vol. 4: History of Ancient Indian Religion, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1975, pp. 1-26, was unable to find this kind of God in the Vedas.”

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