The Secret Doctrine vol. 1, Stanza III.4
4. (Then) the three (triangle) fall into the four (quaternary). The radiant essence becomes seven inside, seven outside (a). The luminous egg (Hiranyagarbha), which in itself is three (the triple hypostases of Brahmā, or Vishnu, the three “Avasthas”), curdles and spreads in milk-white curds throughout the depths of mother, the root that grows in the ocean of life (b).
The use of geometrical figures and the frequent allusions to figures in all ancient scriptures (see Puranas, Egyptian papyri, the “Book of the Dead” and even the Bible) must be explained. In the “Book of Dzyan,” as in the Kabala, there are two kinds of numerals to be studied — the figures, often simple blinds, and the Sacred Numbers, the values of which are all known to the Occultists through Initiation. The former is but a conventional glyph, the latter is the basic symbol of all. That is to say, that one is purely physical, the other purely metaphysical, the two standing in relation to each other as matter stands to spirit—the extreme poles of the one Substance.
As Balzac, the unconscious Occultist of French literature, says somewhere, the Number is to Mind the same as it is to matter: “an incomprehensible agent;” (perhaps so to the profane, never to the Initiated mind). Number is, as the great writer thought, an Entity, and, at the same time, a Breath emanating from what he called God and what we call the all; the breath which alone could organize the physical Kosmos, “where naught obtains its form but through the Deity, which is an effect of Number.” It is instructive to quote Balzac’s words upon this subject:
- “The smallest as the most immense creations, are they not to be distinguished from each other by their quantities, their qualities, their dimensions, their forces and attributes, all begotten by the Number? The infinitude of the Numbers is a fact proven to our mind, but of which no proof can be physically
- given. The mathematician will tell us that the infinitude of the numbers exists but is not to be demonstrated. God is a Number endowed with motion, which is felt but not demonstrated. As Unity, it begins the Numbers, with which it has nothing in common. . . . The existence of the Number depends on Unity, which, without a single Number, begets them all. . . . . What! unable either to measure the first abstraction yielded to you by the Deity, or to get hold of it, you still hope to subject to your measurements the mystery of the Secret Sciences which emanate from that Deity? . . . . And what would you feel, were I to plunge you into the abysses of MOTION, the Force which organizes the Number? What would you think, were I to add that Motion and Number* are begotten by the WORD, the Supreme Reason of the Seers and Prophets, who, in days of old, sensed the mighty Breath of God, a witness to which is the Apocalypse?”
(b) “The radiant essence curdled and spread throughout the depths” of Space. From an astronomical point of view this is easy of explanation: it is the “milky way,” the world-stuff, or primordial matter in its first form. It is more difficult, however, to explain it in a few words or even lines, from the standpoint of Occult Science and Symbolism, as it is the most complicated of glyphs. Herein are enshrined more than a dozen symbols. To begin with, the whole pantheon of mysterious objects,† every one of them having some definite Occult meaning, extracted from the allegorical “churning of the ocean” by the Hindu gods. Besides Amrita, the water of life or immortality, “Surabhi” the “cow of plenty,” called “the fountain of milk and curds,” was extracted from this “Sea of Milk.” Hence the universal adoration of the cow and bull, one the productive, the other the generative power in Nature: symbols connected with both the Solar and the Cosmic deities. The specific properties, for occult purposes, of the “fourteen precious things,” being explained only at the fourth Initiation, cannot be given here; but the following may be remarked. In the “Satapatha Brâhmana” it is stated that the churning of the “Ocean of Milk” took place in the Satya Yug, the first age which immediately followed the “Deluge”. As, however, neither the Rig-Veda nor
† The “Fourteen precious things.” The narrative or allegory is found in the Satapatha Brahmana and others. The Japanese Secret Science of the Buddhist Mystics, the Yamabooshi, has “seven precious things.” We will speak of them, hereafter.
Manu—both preceding Vaivasvata’s “deluge”, that of the bulk of the Fourth Race—mention this deluge, it is evident that it is not the “great” deluge, nor that which carried away Atlantis, nor even the deluge of Noah, which is meant here. This “churning” relates to a period before the earth’s formation, and is in direct connection with that other universal legend, the various and contradictory versions of which culminated in the Christian dogma of the “War in Heaven,” and the fall of the Angels (see Book II., also Revelations chap. xii.). The Brâhmanas, reproached by the Orientalists with their versions on the same subjects, often clashing with each other, are pre-eminently occult works, hence used purposely as blinds. They were allowed to survive for public use and property only because they were and are absolutely unintelligible to the masses. Otherwise they would have disappeared from circulation as long ago as the days of Akbar.