This week we have Letter No. 10 under our focus. KH is making notes to Hume regarding his article published in The Theosophist. The article might be "Fragments of Occult Truth" reprinted in three parts, starting October 1881. Online Mahatma Letters states the article to have appeared in November issue of The Theosophist. There's a short writing by ”H” in the November issue, but I don't see it linking to this weeks letter, although we have KH slandering Hume by denying his role as god with capital H – creator of cosmogonies. Letter No. 54 (received ~a month after letter No. 10 if the online version is to be trusted) supports my guess as KH writes about three essays written by Hume: ”I dread the appearance in print of our philosophy as expounded by Mr. H. I read his three essays or chapters on God (?) cosmogony and glimpses of the origin of things in general, and had to cross out nearly all.”
KH starts his notes explaining how the philosophy of the Mahatmas builds under inspection of causes and their effects. He sees improbable the existence of ”a supreme, omnipotent, intelligent being of some sort beyond the limits of...” our solar system. The solar system is the manifestation of Parabrahm, which is the natural law and immediately present as the essence of matter. This brings the concept of emanation under Maya. Overall I find this letter particularly helpful for remapping the veils of the universe.
The negativity towards Christian theology and the word God (which I love for almost perverse reasons) is best described in these three quotes, first of which draws line between the words God and Iswar.
KH wrote:Parabrahm is not a God, but absolute immutable law, and Iswar is the effect of Avidya and Maya, ignorance based upon the great delusion. The word God was invented to designate the unknown cause of those effects which man has either admired or dreaded without understanding them
KH wrote:The God of the Theologians is simply and imaginary power, un loup garou as d'Holbach expressed it — a power which has never yet manifested itself.
Then KH breaks down his criticism towards infinite, conscious, thinking God apart and beyond the manifested world, and further more explains intelligent ”spirit's” such as Dyan Chohans place in this almost matter (nature) centric worldview. It was really hard for me to read this without getting annoyed by KH's use of the word matter instead of nature, but it seems necessary to penetrate matter with meaning and break unnecessary antipathy towards this crude mud or atleast towards the basis of it.KH wrote:Theologian nursed on mystery and the most absurd supernaturalism can imagine a self existent being of necessity infinite and omnipresent outside the manifested boundless universe.
There's lots of ideas in the text thrown out there for arguments sake, so I feel huge relief when KH actually states what they believe in after rejecting theistic theory and consciousness produced solely by molecules.KH wrote:We deny the existence of a thinking conscious God, on the grounds that such a God must either be conditioned, limited and subject to change, therefore not infinite
We deny the absurd proposition that there can be, even in a boundless and eternal universe — two infinite eternal and omni-present existences.
Matter we know to be eternal, i.e., having had no beginning (a) because matter is Nature herself (b) because that which cannot annihilate itself and is indestructible exists necessarily — and therefore it could not begin to be, nor can it cease to be (c) because the accumulated experience of countless ages, and that of exact science show to us matter (or nature) acting by her own peculiar energy, of which not an atom is ever in an absolute state of rest, and therefore it must have always existed, i.e., its materials ever changing form, combinations and properties, but its principles or elements being absolutely indestructible.
Intelligence as found in our Dyan Chohans, is a faculty that can appertain but to organized or animated being — however imponderable or rather invisible the materials of their organizations. Intelligence requires the necessity of thinking; to think one must have ideas; ideas suppose senses which are physical material
KH wrote:Then what do we believe in? Well, we believe in the much laughed at phlogiston (see article What is force and what is matter? (pdf page 29) Theosophist, September), and in what some natural philosophers would call nisus the incessant though perfectly imperceptible (to the ordinary senses) motion or efforts one body is making on another — the pulsations of inert matter —its life. The bodies of the Planetary spirits are formed of that which Priestley and others called phlogiston and for which we have another name — this essence in its highest seventh state forming that matter of which the organisms of the highest and purest Dyans are composed, and in its lowest or densest form (so impalpable yet that science calls it energy and force) serving as a cover to the Planetaries of the 1st or lowest degree. In other words we believe in matter alone, in matter as visible nature and matter in its invisibility as the invisible omnipresent omnipotent Proteus with its unceasing motion which is its life, and which Nature draws from herself since she is the great whole outside of which nothing can exist.
I've come to understand that in SoA some people rather gravitate towards the idea of Pure spirit (which KH renounces) emanating the world in to existence but Maya's deluding effect leads humans to misunderstand the nature of things and evil ensues. When it comes to practical matters, how we see evil emerge is substantial question. Whether we see the world with Pure spirit in the structures of the universe and within matter or the non-theistic (Buddhist?) way the Mahatmas see it, both ways see the problem of evil rise up approximately from the same place. Which way to see the world I think is a question of individuals location at the ladders of ascension. At some point theistic viewpoint has it's advances and accumulates just the right kind of energies around. Then one sheds the skin and proceeds to open towards new ideas and beyond.KH wrote:The real evil proceeds from human intelligence and its origin rests entirely with reasoning man who dissociates himself from Nature. Humanity then alone is the true source of evil. Evil is the exaggeration of good, the progeny of human selfishness and greediness.
KH's neutral attitude towards sexual relations is interesting considering Blavatskys stance on the subject. Or would you say Blavatskys attitude was strictly in the context of occult practitioners methods, while KH speaks here in much wider context?KH wrote:Food, sexual relations, drink, are all natural necessities of life; yet excess in them brings on disease, misery, suffering, mental and physical...
Continuing on the subject of evil, corrupted religion and the importance of iconoclasm/blasphemy KH arrives to the four noble truths and the 12 Nidanas — causal chains to contemplate ”the origin and destruction of suffering”. As my knowledge of Buddhist traditions is very narrow I'd like to enquire the reading group about the -agga literature. KH cites the Mahavagga and I've stumbled on the Visuddhimagga name while overlooking the 12 Nidanas. There's few translations found searching by those names; do you know any decent translations of these commentary(?) works included somewhere?
Mahavagga wrote:...from ignorance spring the Samkharas of threefold nature — productions of body, of speech, of thought. From the samkharas springs consciousness, from consciousness spring name and form, from this spring the six regions (of the six senses the seventh being the property of but the enlightened); from these springs contact from this sensation; from this springs thirst (or desire, Kama, Tanha) from thirst attachment, existence, birth, old age and death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and despair. Again by the destruction of ignorance, the samkharas are destroyed, and their consciousness name and form, the six regions, contact, sensation, thirst, attachment (selfishness), existence, birth, old age, death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and despair are destroyed. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.
KH wrote:Knowing this the Blessed One uttered this solemn utterance. "When the real nature of things becomes clear to the meditating Bikshu, then all his doubts fade away since he has learned what is that nature and what its cause. From ignorance spring all the evils. From knowledge comes the cessation of this mass of misery . . . and then the meditating Brahmana stands dispelling the hosts of Mara like the sun that illuminates the sky.