The origin of the cosmos or the universe. This is the first of the two major themes of the magnum opus of Helena P. BLAVATSKY, The Secret Doctrine, the second being ANTHROPOGENESIS, or the origin of mankind. A related discussion of various views of the origin of the universe is found in COSMOGONY. This article will outline the important points of cosmogenesis as presented by Blavatsky in the first volume of the said work.
The concept of emanation, instead of creation, is the basis of the theosophical view about the origin of the universe. From the state of Absoluteness, the universe unfolded in a series of identifiable stages.
Beyond all manifested existence is the ineffable state of the ABSOLUTE, which is described as the First Fundamental Principle of theosophical cosmogenesis:
- An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. . . . It is . . . devoid of all attributes and is essentially without any relation to manifested, finite Being. It is “Be-ness” rather than Being. . . . (SD I:14)
A second Fundamental Principle involves the law of periodicity that governs cosmic manifestation: This universe is “the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing . . . like a regular tidal ebb of flux and reflux” (SD I:16-17).
Emanation consists of the following important phases:
1. At the root of manifestation is a principle called the “First Cause” or the First LOGOS. In itself it is unmanifested. It is a state of potency during universal rest or pralaya.
2. The second phase is the unmanifest-manifest state, or the Second Logos. A “ray” shoots out from the potency of the First Logos. But this “radiation” is not the same as emanation. For no action is yet made on primordial matter. There is differentiation in this phase, but no Time. This state is described as “Father-Mother,” Spirit-Matter, or Purusa-Prakrti.
3. The third is the manifested or Third Logos. Here time appears. It is called by various names: COSMIC IDEATION, MAHAT, Universal Intelligence, Universal World-Soul, Maha-Buddhi, Demiurge, or the ADAM KADMON of KABBALAH (although the last two terms are sometimes equated with the second Logos). This is the full differentiation of the Second Logos. It is equivalent to the first three Sephiroth of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life: Kether, Binah, and Chokmah. This triple nature emanates into seven, from which everything proceeds. This is the highest concept of a manifested God or Deity. Thus it is also equated with BRAHMš, AVALOKITESVARA, or Kwan- Shi-Yin. A web is spun that connects spirit and matter. This web constitutes the expansion of universe. Fohat infuses energy into matter.
H. P. Blavatsky wrote that these three Logoi correspond to the stages mentioned in the first verse of the Gospel of John:
- In the beginning (M™laprakriti) was the Word (Third Logos), and the Word was with God ( ; Second Logos), and the Word was God (First Logos). (CW XI:487)
4. The first expansion of the Third Logos is the emergence of the first Primordial Seven (there are many levels of Primordial Seven). They are the highest Beings that exist. Each of these seven is also seven-fold. From them evolve the hierarchies of divine intelligences such as Dhyani-Chohans, Archangels, Thrones, Principalities, etc. These seven use FOHAT as the messenger of their will. Also from the seven the elements are formed, which have geometrical and numerical equivalents. The Second Seven are the LIPIKAS, who are regarded as the recorders of karma. They also project into objectivity the plan of the universe from the Universal Mind, upon which the “BUILDERS” reconstruct the Kosmos after every pralaya.
5. The Primordial Seven in turn produces the “fiery whirlwind” which is “the incandescent cosmic dust” which follows divine thought. This dust has the potentiality of self-consciousness, like the MONADS of Leibnitz. Through Fohat, matter is differentiated and later combined. These differentiations take place in six directions which are symbolized by the six pointed star, three in the upper and three in the lower levels, with one more as the vortex in the center. Of these seven directions, Fohat connects the sixth principle (equivalent to BUDDHI) and the seventh (equivalent to ATMAN) with “spiral lines,” which is the link between the unconditioned and the manifested in Nature. In human beings, this link creates the Monad (štma-Buddhi). In each of these corners, there is a host of celestial intelligences to watch over it throughout the duration of the manvantara. At the center vortex are the Lipikas. This is the first Divine World, where the formless universe is reflected in the world of shadows.
This stanza (V) also states that Fohat strides the five upper planes of matter (from Atma to Kama) and then builds a “winged wheel” in each of the four cardinal points (east, west, north, south) connected with the Four Mah€r€jas, or those DHYANI-CHOHAN administering the law of karma. Then the Lipikas create an impassable barrier, the “Ring-pass-not,” between the personal Ego and the impersonal Self, which cannot be crossed until that time when the non-separateness of the Ego is fully realized, the “Great Day of Be-With-Us.”
Fohat then creates seven LAYA or zero centers, points where differentiations cease to exist, “against which none will prevail to the Great Day ‘Be with us.’” Upon these foundations the universe was made to sit, surrounded with monadic sparks. Seven elements were formed, but they manifest one by one. On our Earth, only four are fully manifested (Fire, Air, Water, and Earth) because we are only in the fourth round of the Earth CHAIN. The fifth one, Ether, will fully manifest in the fifth round. The Earth is the physical globe of a chain of seven globes, six of which are invisible. These worlds are built based on those that existed in previous manvantaras. They are built from fiery dust and formed into balls. Fohat infuses life in them. The cold one it makes hot, the dry ones are made moist, the shining ones it cools.
Blavatsky’s account of Cosmogenesis ends with the 4th sloka of the sixth stanza. Subsequent slokas belong to anthropogenesis or the origin and history of human evolution. The rest of the volume is devoted to extensive discussions on the parallelisms between the theosophical cosmogenesis and the symbolisms, myths and beliefs of various religious traditions. For example, the logoic doctrine finds correspondences in Greek mythology, Kabbalistic tree of life, and Hindu and Buddhist theogonies. Blavatsky further devoted a substantive part of the volume to the comparison between the secret doctrine and the current scientific theories prevailing at that time, such as on gravitation, ether, solar theory, etheric force, light, nebular theory, etc.
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