Law of Correspondences

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The Law of Correspondences is based on an holographic model of the universe where the part reflects the whole. Also known as Law of Analogy, it postulates that the microcosm is the miniature copy of the macrocosm and therefore there exists a general correspondence between what is found "above" and "below". This law is also based on a model of cyclic evolution where the general processes that take place on larger cycles are repeated in smaller ones. For example, the Mahatma M. writes in a letter to Mr. Sinnett:

Nothing in nature springs into existence suddenly, all being subjected to the same law of gradual evolution. Realize but once the process of the maha cycle, of one sphere and you have realized them all. One man is born like another man, one race evolves, develops, and declines like another and all other races. Nature follows the same groove from the “creation” of a universe down to that of a mosquito. In studying esoteric cosmogony, keep a spiritual eye upon the physiological process of human birth; proceed from cause to effect establishing as you go along, analogies between the birth of a man and that of a world.[1]

In reference to this H. P. Blavatsky said that the Law of Correspondences is "an immutable one in the system of cycles".[2]

This law has been clearly stated by Commander Robert Bowen in his notes of certain teachings given by Madame Blavatsky towards the end of her life. In them, HPB is reported to have put forward four basic ideas that the student should keep in mind while studying the The Secret Doctrine. The fourth idea deals with the Law of Correspondences:

Fourth and last basic idea to be held is that expressed in the Great Hermetic Axiom. It really sums up and synthesizes all the others:
As is the Inner, so is the Outer; as is the Great so, is the Small; as it is above, so it is below: there is but ONE LIFE AND LAW; and he that worketh it is ONE. Nothing is Inner, nothing is Outer; nothing is GREAT, nothing is Small; nothing is High, nothing is Low, in the Divine Economy.[3]

The Stanzas of Dzyan published in the The Secret Doctrine are said to follow this law:

The beauty and wisdom of the Stanzas consist in this, that they may be interpreted on seven different planes, the last reflecting, by the universal law of correspondences and analogy, in its most differentiated, gross and physical aspect, the process which takes place on the first or purely spiritual plane.[4]

Since what happens at a higher plane finds its reflection at a lower one, by using this law the student can infer first principles and the higher realities underlying various phenomena. Once he finds the essential nature of that which can be known, he can move from the particular to the universal. Thus, H. P. Blavatsky wrote:

[T]he law of correspondences will lead you to the discovery of the greatest mysteries of macrocosmical life.
But to arrive at the macrocosmical, you must begin by the microcosmical: i.e., you must study MAN, the microcosm––in this case as physical science does––inductively, proceeding from particulars to universals. At the same time, however . . . we must never lose sight of the Platonic method, which starts with one general view of all, and descends from the universal to the individual.[5]

Notes

  1. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 44 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 118.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. VII (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1958), 69.
  3. Robert Bowen, Madame Blavatsky on how to study Theosophy (Wheaton, Il: Theosophical Society in America, [1989?], 9-10.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1964), 354.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 517.

Further reading