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The Theosophist

Meditating on The Secret Doctrine


PABLO SENDER

IN an earlier article (May 2006), we which can hardly be conveyed in words.


considered the importance of a meditative Consequently, to start with, we will try to
study of universals and also the Three clarify briefly the main concepts expressed
Fundamental Propositions of The Secret in the First Proposition.
Doctrine (SD) as a broad guideline for
spiritual practice. Here we will focus on The process of manifestation
the meditative process, using the First This Proposition establishes that,
Proposition and Stanza I of the First whether the Cosmos is manifested or not,
Volume of the SD as the foundation. there is an Absolute Reality called Para-
HPB said that the seven Stanzas of brahman, the Rootless Root. This Reality
Dzyan in this volume are an abstract is Omnipresent, Eternal, Immutable, and
formula which can be applied to the has no attributes. Indeed, Parabrahman
manifestation of the Universe. 1 Con- is not a Being but the ‘Be-ness’, that which
sidering that the First Fundamental makes possible the existence of beings.
Proposition is a summary of these But although the Absolute does not have
Stanzas, and keeping in mind the hermetic qualities, we can say It has two aspects,
axiom ‘as above, so below’, we will take as described in the Proem:
this Proposition as a formula for the
This ‘Be-ness’ is symbolized in the Secret
manifestation of the mind, and then we
Doctrine under two aspects. On the one
will apply it to the meditative process.
hand, absolute abstract Space, representing
Finally, we will examine some important
bare subjectivity, the one thing which no
hints given in the First Stanza as to the
human mind can either exclude from any
original nature of Mind.
conception, or conceive of by itself. On
But we have to realize that these teach-
the other, absolute abstract Motion repre-
ings tend to move the mind towards a
senting Unconditioned Consciousness.2
reality beyond concepts. Thus, the pro-
blem the student faces initially is the Absolute abstract Space is called
difficulty of understanding, at least at Mulaprak·ti, the Precosmic Root-
the intellectual level, the statements related Substance, which is coeternal with
to transcendental or essential realities, Parabrahman. HPB says that its only
Dr Pablo Sender is a young Theosophist from Argentina who actively propagates the Theosophical view
of life among the young. He is currently working at Adyar as Assistant Archives Officer.

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Meditating on The Secret Doctrine

representation in this plane is Space — metaphysical unmanifested Triad, which,


a very illuminating concept from a nevertheless, is a Unity.
psycho-spiritual point of view, as we saw But once the unmanifested Logos
in the article mentioned above. But also becomes active, the process of differ-
from a metaphysical viewpoint it brings entiation begins, and follows the Second
an important understanding, because the Logos stage, called Âlaya, the Universal
Absolute, like space, is neither affected Over-Soul, which is semi-manifested
nor modified by conditioned (manifested) because it is a link between both states.
things: ‘In the all-pervading space there At this point a subjective polarization in
exist clouds, stars, planets, dust-storms, the Unity takes place. Although it is not
and so on, but it [space] is not touched by an actual duality, it will give origin to
any of them’ says a Vedântic scripture.3 all dualities in the manifested Cosmos
However, this representation is necessarily (Spirit-Matter, Self-No Self, Subject-
limited to describing absolute abstract Object, Masculine-Feminine, Positive-
Space, because it is not an empty space, Negative, and so on). Its symbol is a
as we may imagine: It is ‘neither a circle with a diameter: \.
“limitless void”, nor a “conditioned full- And then comes the Third Logos, with
ness”, but both’.4 This abstract feminine which manifestation begins. It is called
principle, Mulaprak·ti, will give origin to Brahmâ, the Creator, or Mahat, the
the objective side of the manifested Universal Mind, the guiding intelligence
Cosmos, that is to say, all the different in Evolution. At this stage duality takes
states of matter (planes) and the vehicles place, and also a relationship between both
of consciousness (bodies). Its symbol is poles arises, ‘something’ which links spirit
a white circle: . to matter, subject to object:
The Second aspect of Parabrahman
This something . . . is called by the
is absolute abstract Movement. It is
occultists Fohat. It is the ‘bridge’ by
called the First Logos or Brahman
which the ‘Ideas’ existing in the ‘Divine
(neuter) and is an abstract male aspect,
Thought’ are impressed on Cosmic sub-
because it is the Precosmic Ideation.
stance as the ‘Laws of Nature’. Fohat is
The First Logos is the Germ of the
thus the dynamic energy of Cosmic
Universal Mind, which will give origin
Ideation; or, regarded from the other side,
to the subjective side of manifestation,
it is the intelligent medium, the guiding
that is, to every kind of consciousness.
power of all manifestation, the ‘Thought
Being an aspect of the Absolute, it is also
Divine’ transmitted and made mani-
eternal, but it is latent or active period-
fest through the Dhyâni Chohans, the
ically. When active, it is calledthe First
Architects of the visible World. 5
Cause of the manifested Universe, and is
symbolized by a point within a circle: ☼. The Third Logos then, is the first
These three elements constitute the first manifested Triad: Spirit-Fohat-Matter,

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The Theosophist

Knower-Knowledge-Known, and so on, relationship between both, the reactions


symbolized by a cross within a circle: ⊕. that arise in ‘me’ while in contact with
At this point it may be useful to summarize: the ‘other’. This triad represents the
Thus from Spirit, or Cosmic Ideation, Third Logos.
comes our consciousness; from Cosmic Through proper meditation, observing
Substance the several vehicles in which calmly and attentively this diversity of
that consciousness is individualized and processes within us, we can reach a point
attains to self — or reflective — con- of non-reaction, of just awareness of all
sciousness; while Fohat, in its various that is happening. It requires that we allow
manifestations, is the mysterious link all thoughts, sensations, and so on, to arise
between Mind and Matter, the animating and disappear by themselves, without
principle electrifying every atom into life.6 interfering, just watching. And then we
have raised ourselves above the plane of
Hereafter, diversity takes place through
relationship between self and non-self.
a vast Hierarchy of Beings (Architects,
However, although there is no reaction,
Watchers, Builders, Planetary Spirits, and
we are observing from a centre, that is,
so forth) who build the Universe. Matter
there still is a sense of ‘I am aware of the
becomes grosser and grosser while
psychological movement’, ‘the movement
forming the Lower Cosmic Planes, and
and me are different’. So, this is a state of
consciousness becomes more and more
duality, the Second Logos stage.
conditioned. This stage of activity is
If we remain silent, quiet, in that con-
represented by the svastika: .
dition, it is possible to leave behind the
Reversing the process of manifestation sense of duality. Then ‘the observer is
So far, we have given a general over- the observed’, as J. Krishnamurti (JK)
view of the manifestation processes. Now, frequently said. This is a state of unity,
we are in a position to examine the stages symbolized in the First Logos. And now
described above from a psychological the door is open to reach a qualitative-
point of view. In our normal state of con- ly different kind of consciousness,
sciousness we are involved with a wide represented by Parabrahman, the
variety of psychological processes such as Absolute beyond the reach of thought.
emotions, thoughts, memories, and long- As we can see, the process described
ings. This state is represented by the is the principle of Râja Yoga; we have to
svastika, the stage of diversity. But if we reverse within us the course of mani-
begin to examine ourselves, we will see festation. This is represented by many
behind all that movement there are just mystical teachings, for example, when
three elements: (1) The knower, which is in The Voice of the Silence we read ‘The
the subject, the self, what we call ‘I’; rose must re-become the bud born of its
(2) the known, the object, the non-self, all parent stem’ (v. 77) or ‘the drop returneth
that is external; and (3) knowledge, the whence it came’ (v. 181).

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Meditating on the First Stanza of I will not present the ºloka-s of this
Cosmogenesis Stanza in a literal form, but the concept
The First Stanza of Cosmogenesis will be conveyed in a way useful for our
describes the Absolute, the original state present purpose. Besides, we should try
from which all creative forces appear. As to apply the statements as referring to
the human being is the mirror of the Man, instead of to the Macrocosms. Thus,
Cosmos, Parabrahman can be seen as a in the Original state of Mind:
Macrocosmic description of that state I.1. The only presence was the (infinite)
which corresponds to our mental con- Space: This is the basic Reality, as we
sciousness when it is at its highest point, have already seen. Therefore, our direc-
in its original nature. We must remember tion is towards non-identification with
what HPB said, that when we reach the inner movement but with that which
the highest degree possible on a plane encloses all psychological activity. Our
(the seventh subplane, the homogeneous consciousness is habituated to perceiv-
one), the consciousness can pass to the ing everything from this restricted point
immediately superior: which is the personality, but here we have
to expand our mind to the infinite and rest
The seventh [degree] bridges across from
in a sense of non-limitation to this
one plane to another. The last is the idea,
particular point in space.
the privation of matter, and carries you
I.2. Time was not; it lay in the infinite
to the next plane. The highest of one
duration: In her comments, HPB says
plane touches the lowest of the next.7
that ‘time is only an illusion produced
This is an important subject, because by the succession of our states of con-
it is the very foundation of certain practical sciousness’ or as JK would say: ‘Time
theosophical teachings, but it is beyond belongs to the brain’ and ‘time is based
the scope of this article. Nevertheless, if on thought’. Therefore, when we dwell
we bear in mind this fact while working on being all Space, we embrace every
on what follows, this Stanza can be seen movement. There is no perception of
as a description of that state of universality something as ‘internal’ or ‘external’. All
where the self is silent and the Other is within: the brain-born activity as well
may make contact. Of course it is not as Nature’s sounds. Slowly we merge
through the ordinary action of our brain- into the state of a quiet, full presence,
consciousness (kâma-manas) that we without the sense of time.
can realize that state, but if we reflect I.3. Mind was not; there was no one to
deeply about what the Stanza says and contain it and hence to manifest it: From
work on it, then ‘the fire of knowledge a microcosmic point of view, ‘mind’ here
burns up all action on the plane of means our lower mind, kâma-manas.
illusion’ 8 and we can have an intima- Thought cannot conceive (and, therefore,
tion from the plane of reality. functions) in a state of Infinity (ºloka I.1)

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and Eternity (ºloka I.2). As JK has said: stretched boundless, infinite, causeless
‘The thinker is the thought. There is no throughout that All-Presence which is
thinker separate from thought.’ 9 In this sensed by the opened eye of the purified
state the brain consciousness and its soul: In the previous quote JK said that
product, the self, ceases. when the self is absent there remains ‘a
I.4. The way to bliss and the cause of totally different kind of consciousness’.
misery were not, for there was no one to Maybe he is referring to that ‘non-being’,
produce and get ensnared by them: The the One being. But we should note that,
self is limited, and is the source of separ- as the Stanza asserts, this state is ‘cause-
ateness from which attractions and repul- less’, and appears when ‘the causes of
sions arise. Therefore when this illusory (personal) existence are done away’ with.
centre is not, there is neither struggle How is this done? In Vedânta philosophy
to be happy nor possibility of sorrow. it is said that Âtman (the One Being) is
But then, what is there? like the sun covered by the clouds (the
I.5. Darkness alone filled the bound- personal self). When the wind (spiritual
less all. perception) removes the clouds, the sun
I.6. All is immersed in Absolute Non- shines. But the sun was not produced by
Being. Naught was: When there is no the wind; it acted over the clouds, while
‘self’, from the standpoint of the lower the sun itself remains always the same,
consciousness, all is in darkness. But is untouched. Therefore in order to awaken
this state where ‘naught was’ merely an spiritual consciousness (sunlight) nothing
annihilation, an unconscious state like is to be added, only removed. Spiritual
when we are knocked out? The fol- Consciousness is not produced by any
lowing dialogue between JK and Dr conditioned movement, but arises when
David Bohm gives us a hint: the self is absent. As JK said:
JK: Consciousness is made up of all that To put it very simply, when the self is
it has remembered: beliefs, dogmas, not, there is beauty, silence, space; then
rituals, fears, pleasures, sorrow. that intelligence, which is born of com-
DB: Yes. Now if all that were absent, passion, operates through the brain. It is
would there be no consciousness? very simple.11
JK: Not as we know it.
So, this state comes freely, sponta-
DB: But there would still be a kind of
neously. However, it does not mean that
consciousness?
it will appear magically, without requiring
JK: A totally different kind.10
any work from us. All spiritual discipline
I.7. The causes of existence had been aims to ‘prepare the ground’ where that
done away with, all rested in eternal non- state may come into existence, and
being — the one being. without the necessary work it is almost
I.8. Alone the one form of existence impossible for this selfless awareness to

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appear. JK gave as an example that if you I.9. Then, all were in the absolute
open the window, the breeze may enter. reality: Finally, mental consciousness
You cannot produce the breeze, you can reaches the absolute reality of its own
only keep the window open; but if you level. And from that state, creative powers
do not open the window, then the breeze can arise, modifying the very structure of
will never enter. the brain to give form to a more suitable
And what will keep the window open? vehicle for this new and different kind of
The ºloka refers to ‘that all-presence which energy and consciousness. As JK has it:
is sensed by the opened eye of the purified
So can the brain, with all its cells
soul’. The ‘purified soul’ could represent
conditioned, can those cells radically
that alertness, with a non-centred presence
change? . . . We are saying that they
where the Intuition or spiritual perception
can, through insight; insight being out
can manifest:
of time, . . . It has nothing to do with
DB: Now if the brain is silent, if it is not any time and thought. 13
thinking of a problem, then still the space
This could be one of the reasons why
is limited, but it is open to . . . .
HPB said, about working with the SD:
JK: . . . to the other.
DB: Would you say that, through attention, Ordinary intellectual activity moves on
or in attention, the mind is contacting the well-beaten paths in the brain, and does
brain? . . . Does it (intelligence) operate not compel sudden adjustments and
through attention? destructions in its substance. But this
JK: Of course. new kind of mental effort calls for some-
DB: So attention seems to be the contact. thing very different — the carving out of
JK: Naturally. We said too that attention ‘new brain paths’, the ranking in different
can only be, when the self is not.12 order of the little brain lives.14 —

1. The Secret Doctrine (SD), I, 2003, TPH Adyar, 3-vol. ed., pp. 20-1.
2. Ibid., p. 14.
3. Eleventh Book of the ªrimad Bhâgavata.
4. SD, I, p. 8.
5. Ibid, p. 16.
6. Idem.
7. SD, V, 1962, TPH Adyar, 6-vol. ed.
8. SD, I, 2003, p. 87.
9. The Future of Humanity, First Conversation, Brockwood Park, 11 June 1983.
10. Idem.
11. The Future of Humanity, Second Conversation, Brockwood Park, 20 June 1983.
12. Idem.
13. The Future of Humanity, First Conversation.
14. Robert Bowen, Madame Blavatsky on How to Study Theosophy, TPH Adyar, pp. 12-13.

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