A Spiritual Philosophy without God: Subba Row on Pragna and Hindu Esotericism

The idea of a spiritual conception of nature without God seems odd to many, but alternatives are catching on, as more and more people feel comfortable escaping religion. Religious thinking in the West at this time is bad. It’s stagnant, fundamentally. Our ideas of soul and God are actually hindering and obstructing true research into the subjects. It creates a gulf between religion and science where it need not be. As an example, I have asked many religious people and leaders what do they believe about God. They all believe the same.

When they do not get flowery or fancy in language, they state unequivocally their belief that God is an entity with whom they can have a personal relationship with, and who communes with them in privacy. If it is not dangerous for adults to freely hold to such ideas, as to children, it is harmful. On page 10 of The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1., Blavatsky argues, that the highest philosophical conception of Deity in almost every ancient religion is SPACE. An inscrutable Principle ancient philosophers refuse to speculate upon. Even from the occult view, as T. Subba Row attempts to solve in his Collected Writings on Personal God vs. Impersonal God, there is a gulf and difference from the armchair creationists. The idea of an immanent god or presence long antedates Christianity. For Subba Row, it is rooted in physics and ‘Occult Science’ of Hindu Esotericism about reality.

Pragna he states, being the capacity of perception, “exists in seven different aspects corresponding to the seven conditions of matter.” There are strictly six states of matter, but the so-called seventh state is but the aspect of cosmic matter in its original undifferentiated condition. Correspondingly, “there are six states of differentiated Pragna, the seventh state being a condition of perfect unconsciousness.” It is the seventh-principle, or the seventh Pragna, that is considered the Christos. Minds do not come to it, merely through a few sessions of navel-gazing or petitions at an altar, nor by walking into a beautiful temple or Cathedral and becoming blinded by light reflecting on golden ornaments. This concept is very old, and this does not prevent so many people from claiming to have reached the highest spiritual flights; or claim to be in communication with a spiritual Intelligence giving them orders. Yet, the seventh state is not an entity as religions make of it, but an undifferentiated condition.

A condition, identical with the FATHER (i.e., Spirit, Purusha):

This entity is neither matter nor spirit; it is neither Ego nor non-Ego; and it is neither object nor subject. In the language of Hindu philosophers it is the original and eternal combination of Purusha and Prakriti. As the Adwaitees hold that an external object is merely the product of our mental states, Prakriti is nothing more than illusion, and Purush is the only reality; it is the one existence which remains eternal in this universe of Ideas. This entity then is the Parabrahmam of the Adwaitees. Even if there were to be a personal God with anything like a material Upadhi (physical basis of whatever form), from the standpoint of an Adwaitee there will be as much reason to doubt his noumenal existence as there would be in the case of any other object. In their opinion, a conscious God cannot be the origin of the universe, as his Ego would be the effect of a previous cause, if the word conscious conveys but its ordinary meaning. They cannot admit that the grand total of all states of consciousness in the universe is their deity, as these states are constantly changing and as cosmic idealism ceases during Pralaya. There is only one permanent condition in the universe which is the state of perfect unconsciousness, bare Chidakasam (field of consciousness) in fact.

When my readers once realise the fact that this grand universe is in reality but a huge aggregation of various states of consciousness, they will not be surprised to find that the ultimate state of unconsciousness is considered as Parabrahmam by the Adwaitees.

The idea of a God, Deity, Iswar, or an impersonal God (if consciousness is one of his attributes) involves the idea of Ego or non-Ego in some shape or other, and as every conceivable Ego or non-Ego is evolved from this primitive element (I use this word for want of a better one) the existence of an extra-cosmic god possessing such attributes prior to this condition is absolutely inconceivable.” (T. Subba Row, Personal and Impersonal God, pp. 202-203)

Esotericism here always looks like elucidated commentary, when in fact, it destroys or directly challenges the dogma or creed set out by the conventionalists, politicians, and priesthoods throughout time.

In The Mahatma Letters no. 10, this is a common argument made by modern atheists about creationism and the intelligence of “God”:

If we ask the theist is your God vacuum, space or matter, they will reply no. And yet they hold that their God penetrates matter though he is not himself matter. When we speak of our One Life we also say that it penetrates, nay is the essence of every atom of matter; and that therefore it not only has correspondence with matter but has all its properties likewise, etc. — hence is material, is matter itself. How can intelligence proceed or emanate from non-intelligence — you kept asking last year. How could a highly intelligent humanity, man the crown of reason, be evolved out of blind unintelligent law or force! But once we reason on that line, I may ask in my turn, how could congenital idiots, non-reasoning animals, and the rest of “creation” have been created by or evoluted from, absolute Wisdom, if the latter is a thinking intelligent being, the author and ruler of the Universe? How? says Dr. Clarke in his examination of the proof of the existence of the Divinity. “God who hath made the eye, shall he not see? God who hath made the ear shall he not hear?” But according to this mode of reasoning they would have to admit that in creating an idiot God is an idiot; that he who made so many irrational beings, so many physical and moral monsters, must be an irrational being. . . .” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 10, Received at Simla, 1881-? ’82.”)

There have existed schools of thought, both at the root of our civilizations, that did not teach a belief in a Personal God as Christianity.

Provided we connote by the word God, not the crude anthropomorphism which is still the backbone of our current theology, but the symbolic conception of that which is Life and Motion of the Universe, to know which in physical order is to know time past, present, and to come, in the existence of successions of phenomena; to know which, in the moral, is to know what has been, is, and will be, within human consciousness. (SeeScience and the Emotions.A Discourse delivered at South Place Chapel, Finsbury, London, Dec. 27th, 1885.) (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1., fn. pg. 3.)

This means, that everything matters about our position:

The esoteric doctrine teaches, like Buddhism and Brahminism, and even the Kabala, that the one infinite and unknown Essence exists from all eternity, and in regular and harmonious successions is either passive or active. In the poetical phraseology of Manu these conditions are called the “Days” and the “Nights” of Brahma. The latter is either “awake” or “asleep.” The Svabhavikas, or philosophers of the oldest school of Buddhism (which still exists in Nepaul), speculate only upon the active condition of this “Essence,” which they call Svabhavat, and deem it foolish to theorise upon the abstract and “unknowable” power in its passive condition. Hence they are called atheists by both Christian theologians and modern scientists, for neither of the two are able to understand the profound logic of their philosophy. The former will allow of no other God than the personified secondary powers which have worked out the visible universe, and which became with them the anthropomorphic God of the Christians — the male Jehovah, roaring amid thunder and lightning. In its turn, rationalistic science greets the Buddhists and the Svabhavikas as the “positivists” of the archaic ages. If we take a one-sided view of the philosophy of the latter, our materialists may be right in their own way. 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.” (Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1., pg. 3-4.)

This philosophy about the ultimate nature of MATTERFORCEMOTIONELECTRICITY is irreconcilable with the belief of a jealous and ruling super-entity that dictated ancient prophets.

People try to make it fit, but it can’t; and we don’t have to make it.

Bill Nye is asked a question, if there is a God, should we obey it.

“…the best Adepts have searched the Universe during milleniums and found nowhere the slightest trace of such a Machiavellian schemer — but throughout, the same immutable, inexorable law.” (K.H., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter no. 22)

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