Will

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General description

In the Theosophical view the will power is seen as a universal force that manifests in different ways on the different planes. H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

In metaphysics and occult philosophy, Will is that which governs the manifested universes in eternity. Will is the one and sole principle of abstract eternal MOTION, or its ensouling essence. “The will”, says Van Helmont, “is the first of all powers . . . . The will is the property of all spiritual beings and displays itself in them the more actively the more they are freed from matter". And Paracelsus teaches that “determined will is the beginning of all magical operations. It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the (occult) arts are so uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain.” Like all the rest, the Will is septenary in its degrees of manifestation. Emanating from the one, eternal, abstract and purely quiescent Will (Âtmâ in Layam), it becomes Buddhi in its Alaya state, descends lower as Mahat (Manas), and runs down the ladder of degrees until the divine Eros becomes, in its lower, animal manifestation, erotic desire. Will as an eternal principle is neither spirit nor substance but everlasting ideation. As well expressed by Schopenhauer in his Parerga, “in sober reality there is neither matter nor spirit. The tendency to gravitation in a stone is as unexplainable as thought in the human brain. . If matter can--no one knows why--fall to the ground, then it can also--no one knows why--think.. . . As soon, even in mechanics, as we trespass beyond the purely mathematical, as soon as we reach the inscrutable adhesion, gravitation, and so on, we are faced by phenomena which are to our senses as mysterious as the WILL.”[1]

This force is present not only in human beings, but also in animals and even in inanimate things:

What is the WILL? Can "exact science" tell? What is the nature of that intelligent, intangible, and powerful something which reigns supreme over all inert matter? The great Universal Idea willed, and the cosmos sprang into existence. I will, and my limbs obey. . . . The mysterious effects of attraction and repulsion are the unconscious agents of that will; fascination, such as we see exercised by some animals, by serpents over birds, for instance, is a conscious action of it, and the result of thought. Sealing-wax, glass, and amber, when rubbed, i.e., when the latent heat which exists in every substance is awakened, attract light bodies; they exercise unconsciously, will; for inorganic as well as organic matter possesses a particle of the divine essence in itself, however infinitesimally small it may be.[2]

However, the manasic form of this universal Will is present only in human beings. This is why H. P. Blavatsky stated:

Will is the exclusive possession of man on this our plane of consciousness. It divides him from the brute in whom instinctive desire only is active.[3]

In one of his letters, Master K.H. makes an interesting connection between faith and the activation of will. He wrote to Mr. Sinnett:

You have not the faith required to allow your Will to arouse itself in defiance and contempt against your purely worldly intellect.[4]

Will and desire

Mme. Blavatsky stated that the forces of will and desire are related. She wrote:

Desire, in its widest application, is the one creative force in the Universe. In this sense it is indistinguishable from Will; but we men never know desire under this form while we remain only men. Therefore Will and Desire are here considered as opposed.


Thus Will is the offspring of the Divine, the God in man; Desire the motive power of the animal life.
Most of men live in and by desire, mistaking it for will. But he who would achieve must separate will from desire, and make his will the ruler; for desire is unstable and ever changing, while will is steady and constant.
Both will and desire are absolute creators, forming the man himself and his surroundings. But will creates intelligently—desire blindly and unconsciously. The man, therefore, makes himself in the image of his desires, unless he creates himself in the likeness of the Divine, through his will, the child of the light.

His task is twofold: to awaken the will, to strengthen it by use and conquest, to make it absolute ruler within his body; and, parallel with this, to purify desire.[5]

Free will

Free will can only exist in a Man who has both mind and consciousness, which act and make him perceive things both within and without himself.[6]
This “Mind” is manas, or rather its lower reflection, which whenever it disconnects itself, for the time being, with kama, becomes the guide of the highest mental faculties, and is the organ of the free will in physical man.[7]

See also

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 370.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 144.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1990), 109.
  4. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 126 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), ???.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1990), 109.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1990), 109.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 358.