Stanzas of Dzyan
The Stanzas of Dzyan are, according to Helena Petrovna Blavatsky part of the Book of Dzyan of Tibetan origin. The Stanzas form the basis for The Secret Doctrine, one of the foundational works of the theosophical movement written by Mme. Blavatsky.
- 1 General description
- 2 Cosmogenesis
- 3 Anthropogenesis
- 4 See also
- 5 Online resources
- 6 Notes
The Stanzas and its commentaries were originally written in the sacred language of Senzar, which is unknown to modern Anthropology:
This first installment of the esoteric doctrines is based upon Stanzas, which are the records of a people unknown to ethnology; it is claimed that they are written in a tongue absent from the nomenclature of languages and dialects with which philology is acquainted; they are said to emanate from a source (Occultism) repudiated by science; and, finally, they are offered through an agency, incessantly discredited before the world by all those who hate unwelcome truths, or have some special hobby of their own to defend. Therefore, the rejection of these teachings may be expected, and must be accepted beforehand. No one styling himself a "scholar," in whatever department of exact science, will be permitted to regard these teachings seriously.
The Stanzas which form the thesis of every section are given throughout in their modern translated version, as it would be worse than useless to make the subject still more difficult by introducing the archaic phraseology of the original, with its puzzling style and words. Extracts are given from the Chinese Thibetan and Sanskrit translations of the original Senzar Commentaries and Glosses on the Book of DZYAN —these being now rendered for the first time into a European language. It is almost unnecessary to state that only portions of the seven Stanzas are here given. Were they published complete they would remain incomprehensible to all save the few higher occultists. Nor is there any need to assure the reader that, no more than most of the profane, does the writer, or rather the humble recorder, understand those forbidden passages. To facilitate the reading, and to avoid the too frequent reference to foot-notes, it was thought best to blend together texts and glosses, using the Sanskrit and Tibetan proper names whenever those cannot be avoided, in preference to giving the originals. The more so as the said terms are all accepted synonyms, the former only being used between a Master and his chelas (or disciples).
The Secret Doctrine published two sets of Stanzas: the first one, under the name of "Cosmogenesis", explores the formation of the cosmos and its evolution. The second set, entitled "Anthropogenesis", deals with the appearance and evolution of humanity on this planet.
In regard to the set of cosmological stanzas Mme. Blavatsky wrote:
The reader has to bear in mind that the Stanzas given treat only of the Cosmogony of our own planetary System and what is visible around it, after a Solar Pralaya. The secret teachings with regard to the Evolution of the Universal Kosmos cannot be given, since they could not be understood by the highest minds in this age, and there seem to be very few Initiates, even among the greatest, who are allowed to speculate upon this subject.
The Stanzas, therefore, give an abstract formula which can be applied, mutatis mutandis, to all evolution: to that of our tiny earth, to that of the chain of planets of which that earth forms one, to the solar Universe to which that chain belongs, and so on, in an ascending scale, till the mind reels and is exhausted in the effort.
The seven Stanzas given in this volume represent the seven terms of this abstract formula. They refer to, and describe the seven great stages of the evolutionary process, which are spoken of in the Purânas as the “Seven Creations,” and in the Bible as the “Days” of Creation.
Below are the first set of stanzas as found in The Secret Doctrine volume I:
Cosmic Evolution. In Seven Stanzas translated from the Book of Dzyan.
THE NIGHT OF THE UNIVERSE
6. The seven sublime Lords and the seven Truths had ceased to be, and the Universe, the son of necessity, was immersed in Paranishpanna (absolute perfection, Paranirvāṇa, which is Yong-Grub), to be outbreathed by that which is and yet is not. Naught was. (Commentary)
8. Alone the one form of existence stretched boundless, infinite, causeless, in dreamless sleep; and life pulsated unconscious in universal space, throughout that All-Presence which is sensed by the "Opened Eye" of the Dangma. (Commentary)
9. But where was the Dangma when the Ālaya of the Universe (Soul as the basis of all, Anima Mundi) was in Paramārtha (Absolute Being and Consciousness which are Absolute Non-Being and Unconsciousness) and the great wheel was Anupādaka? (Commentary)
THE IDEA OF DIFFERENTIATION
1. . . . Where were the Builders, the luminous sons of manvantaric dawn? . . . In the unknown darkness in their Ah-hi (Chohanic, Dhyāni-Buddhic) Paranishpanna. The producers of form (rūpa) from no-form (arūpa)—the root of the world—the Devamātri and Svabhavat, rested in the bliss of non-being. (See Commentary)
2. The vibration sweeps along, touching with its swift wing (simultaneously) the whole universe and the germ that dwelleth in darkness: the darkness that breathes (moves) over the slumbering waters of life. (Commentary)
3. "Darkness" radiates light, and light drops one solitary ray into the waters, into the mother-deep. The ray shoots through the virgin egg; the ray causes the eternal egg to thrill, and drop the non-eternal (periodical) germ, which condenses into the world-egg. (Commentary)
4. Then the three (triangle) fall into the four (quaternary). The radiant essence becomes seven inside, seven outside. The luminous egg (Hiraṇyagarbha), which in itself is three (the triple hypostases of Brahmā, or Vishṇu, the three "Avasthās"), curdles and spreads in milk-white curds throughout the depths of mother, the root that grows in the depths of the ocean of life. (Commentary)
6. The root of life was in every drop of the ocean of immortality (Amṛita), and the ocean was radiant light, which was fire, and heat, and motion. Darkness vanished and was no more; it disappeared in its own essence, the body of fire and water, or father and mother.
7. Behold, oh Lanoo! The radiant Child of the two, the unparalleled refulgent Glory: Bright Space Son of Dark Space, which emerges from the depths of the great Dark Waters. It is Oeaohoo the younger, the * * * (whom thou knowest now as Kuan-shih-yin.--Comment). He shines forth as the Sun; he is the blazing Divine Dragon of Wisdom; the Eka (one) is Chatur (four), and Chatur takes to itself three, and the union produces the Sapta (seven), in whom are the seven which become the Tridaśa (the thrice ten) or the hosts and the multitudes. Behold him lifting the Veil and unfurling it from East to West. He shuts out the above, and leaves the below to be seen as the great Illusion. He marks the places for the shining ones (stars), and turns the upper (space) into a shoreless Sea of Fire, and the One manifested (element) into the Great Waters.
8. Where was the germ and where was now darkness? Where is the spirit of the flame that burns in thy lamp, O Lanoo? The germ is that, and that is light, the white brilliant son of the dark hidden father.
9. Light is cold flame, and flame is fire, and fire produces heat, which yields water: the water of life in the great mother Chaos.
10. Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end is fastened to Spirit (Puruṣa) — the light of the one Darkness — and the lower one to Matter (Prakṛti), its (the Spirit's) shadowy end; and this web is the Universe spun out of the two substances made in one, which is Svabhavat.
11. It (the Web) expands when the breath of fire (the Father) is upon it; it contracts when the breath of the mother (the root of Matter) touches it. Then the sons (the Elements with their respective Powers, or Intelligences) dissociate and scatter, to return into their mother’s bosom at the end of the "great day", and re-become one with her. When it (the Web) is cooling, it becomes radiant, and the sons expand and contract through their own selves and hearts; they embrace infinitude.
1. Listen, ye Sons of the Earth, to your instructors — the Sons of the Fire. Learn, there is neither first nor last, for All is one number, issued from no-number.
3. From the effulgency of light — the ray of the ever-darkness — sprang in space the re-awakened energies (Dhyāni-Chohans): the one from the egg, the six, and the five. Then the three, the one, the four, the one, the five — the twice seven the sum total. And these are the essences, the flames, the elements, the builders, the numbers, the arūpa (formless), the rūpa (with bodies), and the force of divine man — the sum total. And from the divine man emanated the forms, the sparks, the sacred animals, and the messengers of the sacred fathers (the Pitṛs) within the holy four.
4. This was the army of the voice — the Divine Septenary. The sparks of the seven are subject to, and the servants of, the first, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh of the seven. These (“sparks”) are called spheres, triangles, cubes, lines, and modellers; for thus stands the Eternal Nidāna — the Oi-Ha-Hou (the permutation of Oeaohoo)
5. ...which is:
I. The Ādi-Sanat, the Number, for he is One.
II. The Voice of the Word, Svabhavat, the Numbers, for he is One and Nine.
III. The “Formless Square” (Arūpa)
And these three enclosed within the (boundless) circle, are the sacred four; and the ten are the Arūpa (subjective, formless) Universe. Then come the “Sons,” the seven Fighters, the One, the eighth left out, and his Breath which is the Light-Maker (Bhāskara).
6. . . . Then the Second Seven, who are the Lipikas, produced by the three (Word, Voice and Spirit). The rejected Son is One. The “Son-Suns” are countless.
2. They make of him the messenger of their will. The Dgyu becomes Fohat, the Swift Son of the Divine Sons, whose sons are the Lipikas, runs circular errands. Fohat is the steed and the Thought is the rider (i.e., he is under the influence of their guiding thought). He passes like lightning through the fiery clouds (cosmic mists); takes three, and five, and seven strides through the seven regions above, and the seven below (the world to be). He lifts his voice, and calls the innumerable sparks (atoms), and joins them together.
3. He is their guiding spirit and leader. When he commences work, he separates the sparks of the lower kingdom (mineral atoms) that float and thrill with joy in their radiant dwellings (gaseous clouds), and forms therewith the germs of wheels. He places them in the six directions of space, and one in the middle — the central wheel.
4. Fohat traces spiral lines to unite the sixth to the seventh — the Crown; an Army of the Sons of Light stands at each angle, and the Lipikas — in the middle wheel. They (the Lipikas) say: "This is good". The first Divine World is ready, the first is now the second (world). Then the “Divine Arūpa” (the formless Universe of Thought) reflects itself in Chāyāloka (the shadowy world of primal form, or the intellectual), the first garment of the Anupādaka.
6. The Lipikas circumscribe the triangle, the first one (the vertical line or the figure I), the cube, the second one, and the pentacle within the egg (circle). It is the ring called “Pass Not”, for those who descend and ascend (as also for those) who, during the Kalpa, are progressing towards the great day “Be with us”. . . . Thus were formed the Arūpa and the Rūpa (the Formless World and the World of Forms): from one light seven lights; from each of the seven, seven times seven lights. The "Wheels" watch the ring. . . .
1. By the power of the Mother of Mercy and Knowledge — Kuan-Yin — the “triple” of Kuan-Shih-Yin, residing in Kuan-yin-T'ien, Fohat, the breath of their progeny, the Son of the Sons, having called forth, from the lower abyss (chaos), the illusive form of Hsien-chan (our Universe) and the seven elements:
2. The Swift and Radiant One produces the Seven Laya Centres, against which none will prevail to the great day “Be-with-Us,” and seats the Universe on these eternal foundations, surrounding Hsien-chan with the Elementary Germs.
3. Of the seven (elements) — first one manifested, six concealed, two manifested — five concealed; three manifested — four concealed; four produced — three hidden; four and one tsan (fraction) revealed, two and one half concealed; six to be manifested, one laid aside. Lastly, seven small wheels revolving; one giving birth to the other.
4. He builds them in the likeness of older Wheels (worlds), placing them on the imperishable centres.
How does Fohat build them? He collects the fiery dust. He makes balls of fire, runs through them, and round them, infusing life thereinto, then sets them into motion; some one way, some the other way. They are cold, he makes them hot. They are dry, he makes them moist. They shine, he fans and cools them.
Thus acts Fohat from one Twilight to the other, during Seven Eternities.
The curse is pronounced; they will be born on the fourth (Race), suffer and cause suffering; this is the first war.
6. The older wheels rotated downwards and upwards. . . . The Mother’s spawn filled the whole (Kosmos). There were battles fought between the Creators and the Destroyers, and battles fought for space; the seed appearing and re-appearing continuously.
7. Make thy calculations, O Lanoo, if thou wouldest learn the correct age of thy small wheel (chain). Its fourth spoke is our mother (Earth). Reach the fourth “fruit” of the fourth path of knowledge that leads to Nirvāṇa, and thou shalt comprehend, for thou shalt see.
1. Behold the beginning of sentient formless life.
First the Divine (vehicle), the one from the Mother-Spirit (Ātman); then the Spiritual (Ātma-Buddhi, the Spirit-Soul); (again) the three from the one, the four from the one, and the five from which the three, the five, and the seven. These are the threefold, the fourfold downward; the “mind-born” sons of the first Lord (Avalokiteśvara); the Shining Seven (the "Builders").
2. The one ray multiplies the smaller rays. Life precedes form, and life survives the last atom (of Form Stūla-Śharīra, external body). Through the countless rays proceeds the life-ray, the one, like a thread through beads (pearls).
4. It is the root that never dies; the three-tongued flame of the four wicks . . . The wicks are the sparks, that draw from the three-tongued flame (their upper triad) shot out by the seven — their flame; the beams and sparks of one moon reflected in the running waves of all the rivers of earth ("Bhūmi", or "Pritivī").
5. The spark hangs from the flame by the finest thread of Fohat. It journeys through the Seven Worlds of Māyā. It stops in the first (kingdom), and is a metal and a stone; it passes into the second (kingdom) and behold — a plant; the plant whirls through seven forms and becomes a sacred animal (the first shadow of the physical man).
From the combined attributes of these, Manu (man), the thinker, is formed.
6. From the first-born (primitive, or the first man) the thread between the silent watcher and his shadow becomes more strong and radiant with every change (reincarnation). The morning sunlight has changed into noonday glory. . . . .
7. This is thy present wheel, said the Flame to the Spark. Thou art myself, my image, and my shadow. I have clothed myself in thee, and thou art my Vahan (vehicle) to the day, “Be-with-us,” when thou shalt re-become myself and others, thyself and me. Then the builders, having donned their first clothing, descend on radiant earth and reign over men — who are themselves.
Talking about the Stanzas on Anthropogenesis, Mme Blavatsky wrote:
The Stanzas, with the Commentaries thereon, in this Book, the second, are drawn from the same Archaic Records as the Stanzas on Cosmogony in Book I . As far as possible a verbatim translation is given; but some of the Stanzas were too obscure to be understood without explanation. Hence, as was done in Book I., while they are first given in full as they stand, when taken verse by verse with their Commentaries an attempt is made to make them clearer, by words added in brackets, in anticipation of the fuller explanation of the Commentary.
Below are the first set of stanzas as found in The Secret Doctrine volume II:
Anthropogenesis in the Secret Volume.
1. The Lha which turns the fourth is subservient to the Lha of the Seven, they who revolve driving their chariots around their Lord, the One Eye. His breath gave life to the Seven; it gave life to the first.
2. Said the Earth: — “Lord of the Shining Face; my house is empty . . . . send thy sons to people this wheel. Thou hast sent thy seven sons to the Lord of Wisdom. Seven times doth he see thee nearer to himself, seven times more doth he feel thee. Thou hast forbidden thy servants, the small rings, to catch thy light and heat, thy great bounty to intercept on its passage. Send now to thy servant the same.”
3. Said the “Lord of the Shining Face”: — “I shall send thee a fire when thy work is commenced. Raise thy voice to other Lokas; apply to thy father, the Lord of the Lotus, for his sons . . . . thy people shall be under the rule of the Fathers. Thy men shall be mortals. The men of the Lord of Wisdom, not the Lunar Sons, are immortal. Cease thy complaints. Thy seven skins are yet on thee . . . . thou art not ready. Thy men are not ready.”
4. After great throes she cast off her old three and put on her new seven skins, and stood in her first one.
5. The wheel whirled for thirty crores more. It constructed rupas: soft stones that hardened; hard plants that softened. Visible from invisible, insects and small lives. She shook them off her back whenever they overran the mother. . . . . After thirty crores she turned round. She lay on her back; on her side . . . She would call no sons of Heaven, she would ask no sons of Wisdom. She created from her own bosom. She evolved water-men, terrible and bad.
6. The water-men terrible and bad she herself created from the remains of others, from the dross and slime of her first, second, and third, she formed them. The Dhyani came and looked — The Dhyani from the bright Father-mother, from the white regions they came, from the abodes of the immortal mortals.
7. Displeased they were. Our flesh is not there. No fit rupas for our brothers of the fifth. No dwellings for the lives. Pure waters, not turbid, they must drink. Let us dry them.
8. The flames came. The fires with the sparks; the night fires and the day fires. They dried out the turbid dark waters. With their heat they quenched them. The Lhas of the High, the Lhamayin of below, came. They slew the forms which were two- and four-faced. They fought the goat-men, and the dog-headed men, and the men with fishes’ bodies.
9. Mother-water, the great sea, wept. She arose, she disappeared in the moon which had lifted her, which had given her birth.
10. When they were destroyed, Mother-earth remained bare. She asked to be dried.
11. The Lord of the Lords came. From her body he separated the waters, and that was Heaven above, the first Heaven.
12. The great Chohans called the Lords of the Moon, of the airy bodies. “Bring forth men, men of your nature. Give them their forms within. She will build coverings without. Males-females will they be. Lords of the Flame also . . . . “
13. They went each on his allotted land: seven of them each on his lot. The Lords of the Flame remain behind. They would not go, they would not create.
14. The Seven Hosts, the “Will-born Lords,” propelled by the Spirit of Life-giving, separate men from themselves, each on his own zone.
15. Seven times seven Shadows of future men were born, each of his own colour and kind. Each inferior to his father. The fathers, the boneless, could give no life to beings with bones. Their progeny were Bhuta, with neither form nor mind. Therefore they are called the Chhaya.
16. How are the Manushya born? The Manus with minds, how are they made? The fathers called to their help their own fire; which is the fire that burns in Earth. The Spirit of the Earth called to his help the Solar Fire. These three produced in their joint efforts a good Rupa. It could stand, walk, run, recline, or fly. Yet it was still but a Chhaya, a shadow with no sense . . . .
17. The breath needed a form; The Fathers gave it. The breath needed a gross body; the Earth moulded it. The breath needed the Spirit of Life; the Solar Lhas breathed it into its form. The breath needed a Mirror of its Body; “We gave it our own,” said the Dhyanis. The Breath needed a Vehicle of Desires; “It has it,” said the Drainer of Waters. But Breath needs a mind to embrace the Universe; “We cannot give that,” said the Fathers. “I never had it,” said the Spirit of the Earth. “The form would be consumed were i to give it mine,” said the Great Fire . . . . Man remained an empty senseless Bhuta . . . . Thus have the boneless given life to those who became men with bones in the third.
18. The first were the sons of Yoga. Their sons the children of the Yellow Father and the White Mother.
19. The Second Race was the product by budding and expansion, the A-Sexual from the Sexless. Thus was, O Lanoo, the Second Race produced.
20. Their fathers were the self-born. The self-born, the Chhaya from the brilliant bodies of the Lords, the Fathers, the Sons of Twilight.
21. When the Race became old, the old waters mixed with the fresher waters. When its drops became turbid, they vanished and disappeared in the new stream, in the hot stream of life. The outer of the first became the inner of the second. The old Wing became the new Shadow, and the Shadow of the Wing.
22. Then the second evolved the Egg-born, the third. The sweat grew, its drops grew, and the drops became hard and round. The Sun warmed it; the Moon cooled and shaped it; the wind fed it until its ripeness. The white swan from the starry vault overshadowed the big drop. The egg of the future race, the Man-swan of the later third. First male-female, then man and woman.
23. The self-born were the Chhayas: the Shadows from the bodies of the Sons of Twilight.
24. The Sons of Wisdom, the Sons of Night, ready for rebirth, came down, they saw the vile forms of the First Third, “We can choose,” said the Lords, “we have wisdom.” Some entered the Chhaya. Some projected the Spark. Some deferred till the Fourth. From their own Rupa they filled the Kama. Those who entered became Arhats. Those who received but a spark, remained destitute of knowledge; the spark burned low. The third remained mind-less. Their Jivas were not ready. These were set apart among the Seven. They became narrow-headed. The Third were ready. “In these shall we dwell,” said the Lords of the Flame.
25. How did the Manasa, the Sons of Wisdom, act? They rejected the Self-born. They are not ready. They spurned the Sweat-born. They are not quite ready. They would not enter the first Egg-born.
26. When the Sweat-born produced the Egg-born, the twofold and the mighty, the powerful with bones, the Lords of Wisdom said: “Now shall we create.”
27. The Third Race became the Vahan of the Lords of Wisdom. It created “Sons of Will and Yoga,” by Kriyasakti it created them, the Holy Fathers, Ancestors of the Arhats. .
28. From the drops of sweat; from the residue of the substance; matter from dead bodies of men and animals of the wheel before; and from cast-off dust, the first animals were produced.
29. Animals with bones, dragons of the deep, and flying Sarpas were added to the creeping things. They that creep on the ground got wings. They of the long necks in the water became the progenitors of the fowls of the air.
30. During the third Race the boneless animals grew and changed: they became animals with bones, their Chhayas became solid.
31. The animals separated the first. They began to breed. The two-fold man separated also. He said: “Let us as they; let us unite and make creatures.” They did.
32. And those which had no spark took huge she-animals unto them. They begat upon them dumb Races. Dumb they were themselves. But their tongues untied. The tongues of their progeny remained still. Monsters they bred. A race of crooked red-hair-covered monsters going on all fours. A dumb race to keep the shame untold.
33. Seeing which, the Lhas who had not built men, wept, saying: —
34. “The Amanasa have defiled our future abodes. This is Karma. Let us dwell in the others. Let us teach them better, lest worse should happen. They did . . . .
35. Then all men became endowed with Manas. They saw the sin of the mindless.
36. The Fourth Race developed speech.
37. The One became Two; also all the living and creeping things that were still one, giant fish-birds and serpents with shell-heads.
38. Thus two by two on the seven zones, the Third Race gave birth to the Fourth-Race men; the gods became no-gods; the sura became a-sura.
39. The first, on every zone, was moon-coloured; the second yellow like gold; the third red; the fourth brown, which became black with sin. The first seven human shoots were all of one complexion. The next seven began mixing.
40. Then the Fourth became tall with pride. We are the kings, it was said; we are the gods.
41. They took wives fair to look upon. Wives from the mindless, the narrow-headed. They bred monsters. Wicked demons, male and female, also Khado (dakini), with little minds.
42. they built temples for the human body. Male and female they worshipped. Then the Third Eye acted no longer.
43. They built huge cities. Of rare earths and metals they built, and out of the fires vomited, out of the white stone of the mountains and of the black stone, they cut their own images in their size and likeness, and worshipped them.
44. They built great images nine yatis high, the size of their bodies. Inner fires had destroyed the land of their fathers. The water threatened the fourth.
45. The first great waters came. They swallowed the seven great islands.
46. All Holy saved, the Unholy destroyed. With them most of the huge animals, produced from the sweat of the earth.
47. Few men remained: some yellow, some brown and black, and some red remained. The moon-coloured were gone forever.
48. The fifth produced from the Holy stock remained; it was ruled over by the first divine Kings.
49. . . . . Who re-descended, who made peace with the fifth, who taught and instructed it. . . . . .
- Stanzas on Cosmic Evolution by H. P. Blavatsky.
- Stanzas on Anthropogenesis by H. P. Blavatsky
- Stanzas of Dzyan - A Study Guide by Nick Mojzesz
- An Intuitive Approach to the Seven Stanzas of Dzyan by Beverley B. Noia
- The Book of Dzyan Research Reports by David Reigle
- The Stanzas Of Dzyan by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), xxxvii.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), 22-23.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), 13.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. I (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1978), 20-21.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine vol. II (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1979), 1.