Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

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obnoxion
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby obnoxion » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:37 pm

Smaragd wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:04 pm
The primordial substance is meantioned often. It is akasha, which many remember from the term akashic records where from Blavatsky reportedly pulled information in the form of books to help her write the Isis Unveiled. For such a book to be visible to the material eyes, like they were described by Olcott, Blavatsky must have followed the records of the informing principle of/that is the primordial substance tracing it to more and more dense planes until a material book is pointed to have link to some particular idea. These innumerable links are like a matrix of meaning where different objects like a sword or cross or my beating heart and other events in time, like ones hand gently touching a tree are linked to certain ideas. To me it is important to understand these ideas to be abstract like the ideas of archetypes are living essences. The plane that is akasha corresponds to the principle manas according to Blavatsky and the Theosophy Wiki, which ties the seemingly detached and random pool of ideas to the larger context of oneness of the higher triad.
This is an off-topic notion (it seems it's always off-topic when I write nowdays...): This is exactly as I understand the process of Poetry.
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Silvaeon » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:04 am

Smaragd wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:33 pm
Silvaeon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:31 am
Smaragd wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:47 am
If the bliss of Paranishpanna is only possible because the self analysing consciousness, ie. Paramârtha, which is supposed to be something that remains the annihilation, it felt contradicting the 2. b. part of the poem "No! there was neither silence, nor sound. Naught save ceaseless, eternal breath (Motion) which knows itself not ". Interestingly related to this, the commentary noted: " To know itself or oneself, necessitates consciousness and perception (both limited faculties in relation to any subject except Parabrahm), to be cognized." (Italics by me).
I've interpreted Parabrahm as a sort a absolute subject of/in the Paranishpanna. The eternal breath that knows itself not I've connected to this same "area". How do you see these unconscious an conscious concepts connecting in this phase where polarities seem to be melted in to one? Is this one of those sacred contradictions? Maybe I'm reading this with a bit too much of logical scrutiny.
I think there are two different elements at play in this question. The "ceaseless, eternal breath" of the Absolute which "knows itself not" cannot be conscious of itself, as "Infinity cannot comprehend finiteness," and this sort of self-analyzing consciousness that we are familiar with is always finite. The Eternal Breath is beyond that. Assuming our own consciousness' are able to achieve Paramârtha and the subsequent bliss of Paranishpanna, this is our finite selves merging with infinity, and then paradoxically becoming both non-being (to our finite consiousness) and absolute being, which, as our once finite consciousness, on some level is able to be conscious of its new state. At least that's how I'm interpreting it, although I'm sure I didn't explain myself very well and could be off still. I'm lacking the proper words for this sort of depth. This is fascinating and difficult stuff!
Ah yes, the absolute consciousness is more in the manner of everything happening or being, while our finite consciousness is more like observing differences and limits. Thank you for your insight! it seems so obvious now.
Silvaeon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:31 am
I try to not get caught up in semantics and take Blavatsky's advice: " Under this apparent contradiction in terms, there rests a fact of Nature to realize which in the mind, rather than to argue about words, is the important thing."
I have this thought that a lot of this stuff can't be understood with logical scrutiny, but Blavatsky seems to have been so learned on metaphysics that I can not but try to see the logical paths there also. To me it seems like metaphysics work on this area that is both super logical and elusive. I feel like there's much to learn from the logical system Blavatsky tries to lay out here, and am a bit bummed that seeing both of these facets is so hard. Well to be honest it's also quite exciting challenge.
Glad my fumbling around managed to make sense! I agree with you with you about the logical paths too - they are surely there, but it is a challenge for sure. Sor Polyhymnia shared a brief excerpt from her Satanic Feminism reading with me, and it feels appropriate to share a portion of it here too: 'Works like the secret doctrine are so full of ambiguities, digressions, and overlapping symbologies that they bewilder and frustrate the casual reader. The use of paradox and symbolic language as a valid method for conveying truth is, however, central to the theosophical epistemology, which regards the awakening of intuition (buddhi) essential to spiritual growth'. So, I think we're doing okay so far!
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Silvaeon » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:52 am

3. The hour had not yet struck ; the ray had not yet flashed into the germ; the matri-padma had not yet swollen.

The ray of light emanating from the "darkness" of the absolute has not yet begun to flash. The "germ" is describe as abstract matter, present in every atom. So at this stage everything is still in the state of unity, which has of course been driven home a lot by now. I really enjoyed the writing about the Lotus in this commentary, as this was a symbol I was not terribly familiar with, despite it being everywhere. " ...the Lotus-seed contains within itself a perfect miniature of the future plant, which typefies the fact that the spiritual prototypes of all things exist in the immaterial world before those things become materialised on Earth. Secondly, the fact that the Lotus plant grows up through the water, having its root in the Ilus, or mud, and spreading its flower in the air above. The Lotus thus typifies the life of man and also that of the Kosmos ; for the Secret Doctrine teaches that the elements of both are the same, and that both are developing in the same direction. The root of the Lotus sunk in the mud represents material life, the stalk passing up through the water typifies existence in the astral world, and the flower floating on the water and opening to the sky is emblematical of spiritual being."



4. Her heart had not yet opened for the one ray to enter, thence to fall as three into four in the lap of Maya.

The three are represented by Father, Mother and Son (male and female principles of the root nature, and the universe?). The Ray of light brings with it the principle of Life, turning the three mentioned into the four, a living quarternary. For this to manifest (physically, objectively?) 3 things are mentioned as being required by Aristotle: Privation, Form, and Matter
Smaragd wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:04 pm
The Secret Doctrine wrote:Privation meant in the mind of the great philosopher that which the Occultists call the prototypes impressed in the Astral Light — the lowest plane and world of Anima Mundi.
Privation is an interesting choice of word here. A dictionary points it means "a state in which food and other essentials for well-being are lacking". As we move with our imagination from akasha towards astral light, aether and coarse material plane the coarseness draws more and more effective limitations and thus something is left out atleast to the imagination that falls in the confinement and illusion of the lower planes.

I thought Privation was indeed a strange word to use as well, but I found your thoughts here really helpful and it makes much more sense now. Thanks!

The section of the commentary dealing with numerolgy is completely baffling to me, as anything to do with numbers usually is, so I skip ahead to the summary of all this three into four talk: " Thus is repeated on Earth the mystery enacted, according to the Seers, on the divine plane. The “ Son ” of the immaculate Celestial Virgin (or the undifferentiated cosmic protyle, Matter in its infinitude) is born again on Earth as the Son of the terrestrial Eve—our mother Earth, and becomes Humanity as a total—past, present, and future— for Jehovah or Jod-he-vau-he is androgyne, or both male and female. Above, the Son is the whole Kosmos ; below, he is Mankind."
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Aquila » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:53 pm

Stanza II
1. Where were the builders, the luminous sons
of manvantaric dawn (a) ? . . . . In the unknown darkness in
their Ah-hi (Chohanic, Dhyani-Buddhic) Paranishpanna, the producers of form (rupa) from no-form (arupa), the root of the
world—the Devamatri* and Svâbhâvat, rested in the bliss of nonbeing (b).
Blavatsky writes of the creative forces of the universe which to us appear as the seven planetary spheres. She writes that "this doctrine, which deals only with
our Planetary System, they, as the architects of the latter, are also called
the “ Watchers ” of the Seven Spheres, which exoterically are the Seven
planets, and esoterically the seven earths or spheres (planets) of our
chain also."

I get the impression that only in our planetary system these creative forces appear as the seven planets and probably in some other system they might appear in different way which to me sounds quite logical. Also considering that our knowledge of the Nature has gradually increased we might in some ways add new things to our esoteric understanding as well (like how the newer planets add something to the system).
The seven planets are also the seven spheres of the Earth, our chain, which means the earth also has various levels of existence in spiritual sense which can be and has been applied to our microcosm, the human, too.

It is interesting that Blavatsky tells that without self-analysing consciousness ( Paramârtha/Svasamvedana) Paranishpanna is only exctinction and no bliss. I think this idea is often in the heart of all spiritual practices as everyone will sooner or later reach Paranishpanna but only in that extent how much one has found Self-consciousness. It's similar to the idea that one only survives as a consciouss being in the process of dying if one has found connection to the higher principles of oneself. In human life it's about whether one has only identified oneself with the finite - body, personality, thoughts etc.

2. . . . . Where was silence ? Where were the ears to
sense it ? No ! there was neither silence, nor sound (a). Naught
save ceaseless, eternal breath (Motion) which knows itself
not (b).
The infinite does not know itself or the finite. I believe comprehending this idea is beyond words and beyond the material and on some level even beyond that which we might view as spiritual which to us seems relatively high and blissful but is still "below" the absolute beyond everything. Of course it's also within everything but can only be understood partly, for example through spiritual work of self-analysing (which I find a bit wrong word somehow) in which one slowly awakes to understand the unity of seemingly opposite things through which the human mind works, and deconstruct the duality.
3. The hour had not yet struck ; the ray had not yet flashed
into the germ (a) ; the matri-padma (mother lotus) had not yet
swollen (b). *
The ray is the ray of Ever-Darkness - the basis of all material existence on which everything can manifest and "flash into the germ". I think that again the darkness is only dark to our eyes as what is beyond can not be seen. The hour had not yet struck means that time has not yet started, I suppose.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Silvaeon » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:44 pm

Aquila wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:53 pm
Also considering that our knowledge of the Nature has gradually increased we might in some ways add new things to our esoteric understanding as well (like how the newer planets add something to the system).
This something I've thought about every so often as well - how to to reconcile these newer discoveries with the older ideas, as 7 is such a prevalent number. If anyone has any insight, it would be welcome!


5. The Seven (Sons) were not yet born from the Web of Light. Darkness alone was Father-Mother, Svâbhâvat, and Svâbhâvat was in darkness.

Once again, it is the sons, or watchers, who are the real creators of our planetary chain. I'm looking forward to finding out more about them. "Svâbhâvat, the “ Plastic Essence ” that fills the Universe, is the root of all things. Svâbhâvat is, so to say, the Buddhistic concrete aspect of the abstraction called in Hindu philosophy Mulaprakriti." "Plastic" seems a strange choice of word to me, as I usually associate plastic with cheap and disposable - obviously that is not the meaning meant here, but I'm curious about the choice of word and what the context may have been during the time period this was written.


6. These two are the Germ, and the Germ is—one. The Universe was still concealed in the Divine Thought and the Divine Bosom.

Here, Father-Mother, Svâbhâvat, are called the Germ. From section 3, "the collectivity of these (Germs) (if the term can be applied to something which is boundless and infinite) forms the noumenon of eternal and indestructible matter." So, this is another way of saying that the root of everything is spiritual, and in essence One. Just before the awakening of the universe now, "the Universe or the “ Son ” lies still concealed “ in the Divine Thought,” which had not yet penetrated “ into the Divine Bosom.” This idea, note well, is at the root, and forms the origin of all the allegories about the “ Sons of God ” born of immaculate virgins." I passed over this when it was discussed in one of the other sections, but the idea of the universe spawning from the virgin space being at the root of the virgin birth tales is a fascinating one.
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Polyhymnia
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Polyhymnia » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:15 pm

Greetings, brothers and sister! I've been absent from discussion the last few weeks due to a very hectic work schedule and dedicating my spare time to Satanic Feminism, which we are reading in Lodge Hermes. The chapter I'm discussing this month is quite the conflict of interest as it's titled Theosophical Luciferianism, and I must say it's a little bizarre reading about Blavatsky and her works from Faxneld's lens and also trying to digest her works mentally and spiritually at the same time.

Silvaeon wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:31 am

1. . . . . Where were the builders, the luminous sons of manvantaric dawn? . . . . In the unknown darkness in their Ah-hi Paranishpanna, the producers of form from no-form, the root of the world—the Devamatr* and Svâbhâvat, rested in the bliss of nonbeing.
One thing I find interesting about this doctrine is that the Absolute is not viewed as the "creator", the way Christianity views God as the creater, but instead it contains within itself all the tools and potential for creation - and it is the Watchers which create from this potential.
I learned in Satanic Feminism that Blavatsky vehemently disliked Christian theology, and detested the Christian idea of a personal God, which is why she described herself as a Buddhist pantheist (though only if one asked her to identify with something).
Cerastes wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 6:01 pm
Stanza 2.2 wrote: WHERE WAS SILENCE? WHERE WERE THE EARS TO SENSE IT? NO! THERE WAS NEITHER SILENCE, NOR SOUND (a). NAUGHT SAVE CEASELESS, ETERNAL BREATH (Motion)WHICH KNOWS ITSELF NOT


Silence was not because there were no ears to sense it. Again, this this refers to the self-consciousness that needs to be there in order to make sound/silence exist as polar opposites.
Blavatsky uses the example of hydrogen and oxygen that are combined to water but still exist in a different state as they are not annihilated.
In my super abridged version I don't get all of Blavatsky's words, so thanks for sharing the hydrogen/oxygen example!
3. The hour had not yet struck; The ray had not het flashed into the germ; the Matri-Padma (mother lotus) had not yet swollen."
Gomes states, "The Lotus is the product of heat (fire) and water (vapour or Ether); fire standing in every philosophical and religious system as a representation of the Spirit of Deity, the active, male, generative principal; and Ether, or the Soul of matter, the light of the fire, for the passive female principle from which everything in the Universe is emanated. Hence, Ether or Water is the Mother, and Fire is the Father."

4. Her heart had not yet opened for the one ray to enter, thence to fall as three into four in the lap of Maya.
Silvaeon wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:52 am
The three are represented by Father, Mother and Son (male and female principles of the root nature, and the universe?). The Ray of light brings with it the principle of Life, turning the three mentioned into the four, a living quarternary. For this to manifest (physically, objectively?) 3 things are mentioned as being required by Aristotle: Privation, Form, and Matter
I'm afraid I'm missing something. What is the fourth? Svabhavat? The plastic essence/root of all things?
"Limited love asks for possession of the beloved, but the unlimited asks only for itself." -Kahlil Gibran
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Cerastes » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:41 pm

Thank you everyone for the summaries, this helped me a lot to understand to content.
Silvaeon wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:44 pm
"Plastic" seems a strange choice of word to me, as I usually associate plastic with cheap and disposable - obviously that is not the meaning meant here, but I'm curious about the choice of word and what the context may have been during the time period this was written.
In the German version they translated "Plastic Essence" with „formende Essenz“ (= forming or form-giving essence). Therefore I think that "plastic" is meant here rather as an adjectival description like in “plastic surgery” or “plastic sculpture”. The essence that is leading from pure abstraction to 3-dimensional manifestation, so to say.
Polyhymnia wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:15 pm
In my super abridged version I don't get all of Blavatsky's words, so thanks for sharing the hydrogen/oxygen example!
The complete version with all the comments is availably online in English.
https://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/up ... vatsky.pdf
Maybe this is helpful because I think the comments make it much easier to understand.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Silvaeon » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:27 am

Polyhymnia wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:15 pm
4. Her heart had not yet opened for the one ray to enter, thence to fall as three into four in the lap of Maya.
Silvaeon wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:52 am
The three are represented by Father, Mother and Son (male and female principles of the root nature, and the universe?). The Ray of light brings with it the principle of Life, turning the three mentioned into the four, a living quarternary. For this to manifest (physically, objectively?) 3 things are mentioned as being required by Aristotle: Privation, Form, and Matter
I'm afraid I'm missing something. What is the fourth? Svabhavat? The plastic essence/root of all things?
It took me a bit of re-reading to grasp it the first time around too, but the fourth she's talking about is the "life" principle itself, or Jiva I suppose. The abstract fath-mother-son principles, the trinity, becoming "alive" as the ray enters, and thus as 3 to 4.

Cerastes wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:41 pm
Thank you everyone for the summaries, this helped me a lot to understand to content.
Silvaeon wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:44 pm
"Plastic" seems a strange choice of word to me, as I usually associate plastic with cheap and disposable - obviously that is not the meaning meant here, but I'm curious about the choice of word and what the context may have been during the time period this was written.
In the German version they translated "Plastic Essence" with „formende Essenz“ (= forming or form-giving essence). Therefore I think that "plastic" is meant here rather as an adjectival description like in “plastic surgery” or “plastic sculpture”. The essence that is leading from pure abstraction to 3-dimensional manifestation, so to say.
Thank you for this, this makes much more sense now.
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Polyhymnia » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:14 am

Silvaeon wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:27 am

It took me a bit of re-reading to grasp it the first time around too, but the fourth she's talking about is the "life" principle itself, or Jiva I suppose. The abstract fath-mother-son principles, the trinity, becoming "alive" as the ray enters, and thus as 3 to 4.

OH. It seems so obvious now! Thank you!!

And thank you, Cerastes, for the link! I always forget that's there. I should just keep it in an open tab.
"Limited love asks for possession of the beloved, but the unlimited asks only for itself." -Kahlil Gibran
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Re: Reading Circle (Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine)

Postby Aquila » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:43 pm

Smaragd wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:04 pm
The primordial substance is meantioned often. It is akasha, which many remember from the term akashic records where from Blavatsky reportedly pulled information in the form of books to help her write the Isis Unveiled. For such a book to be visible to the material eyes, like they were described by Olcott, Blavatsky must have followed the records of the informing principle of/that is the primordial substance tracing it to more and more dense planes until a material book is pointed to have link to some particular idea. These innumerable links are like a matrix of meaning where different objects like a sword or cross or my beating heart and other events in time, like ones hand gently touching a tree are linked to certain ideas. To me it is important to understand these ideas to be abstract like the ideas of archetypes are living essences. The plane that is akasha corresponds to the principle manas according to Blavatsky and the Theosophy Wiki, which ties the seemingly detached and random pool of ideas to the larger context of oneness of the higher triad.
Reading this was very enlightening to me and feels like the most important idea considering the latter half of the Stanza II. I will have to try and remember this correspondence of Manas and Akasha from now on.
Silvaeon wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:44 pm
Aquila wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:53 pm
Also considering that our knowledge of the Nature has gradually increased we might in some ways add new things to our esoteric understanding as well (like how the newer planets add something to the system).
This something I've thought about every so often as well - how to to reconcile these newer discoveries with the older ideas, as 7 is such a prevalent number. If anyone has any insight, it would be welcome!
Maybe it's bit too optimistic thinking but I tend to believe that certain kind of scientific discoveries symbolize somewhat similar possibilities or potentiality on the spiritual level. Naturally we don't have so much history and symbolism around the newer planets as they are not part of the "old system" but present some kind of new details that can and will be added to esoteric worldview when the time is ripe. I think it's like the idea that only some parts of the secret doctrine have been revealed this far or that only the first four initiations (referring to Nefastos' book Adept) can be reached on certain level of humanity but new secrets and possibilities are slowly revealed though they are still far from being part of any collective understanding. Yet I don't think we have so much urgent need to think of the esoteric meanings of the planets behind Saturn as we're still pretty much trying to understand and live by the ideals of the first ones :)

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