The Secret Doctrine vol. 1, Stanza I.6
6. The seven sublime Lords and the seven Truths had ceased to be (a), and the Universe, the son of necessity, was immersed in Paranishpanna (b) (absolute perfection, Paranirvana, which is Yong-Grub) to be out-breathed by that which is and yet is not. Naught was (c).
(a) The seven sublime lords are the Seven Creative Spirits, the Dhyan-Chohans, who correspond to the Hebrew Elohim. It is the same hierarchy of Archangels to which St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and others belong, in the Christian theogony. Only while St. Michael, for instance, is allowed in dogmatic Latin theology to watch over all the promontories and gulfs, in the Esoteric System, the Dhyanis watch successively over one of the Rounds and the great Root-races of our planetary chain. They are, moreover, said to send their Bhodisatvas, the human correspondents of the Dhyani-Buddhas (of whom vide infra) during every Round and Race. Out of the Seven Truths and Revelations, or rather revealed secrets, four only have been handed to us, as we are still in the Fourth Round, and the world also has only had four Buddhas, so far. This is a very complicated question, and will receive more ample treatment later on.
So far “There are only Four Truths, and Four Vedas” — say the Hindus and Buddhists. For a similar reason Irenaeus insisted on the necessity of Four Gospels. But as every new Root-race at the head of a Round must have its revelation and revealers, the next Round will bring the Fifth, the following the Sixth, and so on.
(b) “Paranishpanna” is the absolute perfection to which all existences attain at the close of a great period of activity, or Maha-Manvantara, and in which they rest during the succeeding period of repose. In Tibetan it is called Yong-Grub. Up to the day of the Yogacharya school the true nature of Paranirvana was taught publicly, but since then it has become entirely esoteric; hence so many contradictory interpretations of it. It is only a true Idealist who can understand it. Everything has to be viewed as ideal, with the exception of Paranirvana, by him who would comprehend that state, and acquire a knowledge of how Non Ego, Voidness, and Darkness are Three in One and alone Self-existent and perfect. It is absolute, however, only in a relative
sense, for it must give room to still further absolute perfection, according to a higher standard of excellence in the following period of activity — just as a perfect flower must cease to be a perfect flower and die, in order to grow into a perfect fruit, — if a somewhat Irish mode of expression may be permitted.
The Secret Doctrine teaches the progressive development of everything, worlds as well as atoms; and this stupendous development has neither conceivable beginning nor imaginable end. Our “Universe” is only one of an infinite number of Universes, all of them “Sons of Necessity,” because links in the great Cosmic chain of Universes, each one standing in the relation of an effect as regards its predecessor, and being a cause as regards its successor.
The appearance and disappearance of the Universe are pictured as an outbreathing and inbreathing of “the Great Breath,” which is eternal, and which, being Motion, is one of the three aspects of the Absolute — Abstract Space and Duration being the other two. When the “Great Breath” is projected, it is called the Divine Breath, and is regarded as the breathing of the Unknowable Deity — the One Existence — which breathes out a thought, as it were, which becomes the Kosmos. (See “Isis Unveiled.”) So also is it when the Divine Breath is inspired again the Universe disappears into the bosom of “the Great Mother,” who then sleeps “wrapped in her invisible robes.”
(c) By “that which is and yet is not” is meant the Great Breath itself, which we can only speak of as absolute existence, but cannot picture to our imagination as any form of existence that we can distinguish from Non-existence. The three periods — the Present, the Past, and the Future — are in the esoteric philosophy a compound time; for the three are a composite number only in relation to the phenomenal plane, but in the realm of noumena have no abstract validity. As said in the Scriptures: “The Past time is the Present time, as also the Future, which, though it has not come into existence, still is”; according to a precept in the Prasanga Madhyamika teaching, whose dogmas have been known ever since it broke away from the purely esoteric schools.* Our ideas, in short, on duration and time are all derived from our
* See Dzungarian “Mani Kumbum,” the “Book of the 10,000 Precepts.” Also consult Wassilief’s “Der Buddhismus,” pp. 327 and 357, etc.
sensations according to the laws of Association. Inextricably bound up with the relativity of human knowledge, they nevertheless can have no existence except in the experience of the individual ego, and perish when its evolutionary march dispels the Maya of phenomenal existence. What is Time, for instance, but the panoramic succession of our states of consciousness? In the words of a Master, “I feel irritated at having to use these three clumsy words — Past, Present, and Future — miserable concepts of the objective phases of the subjective whole, they are about as ill-adapted for the purpose as an axe for fine carving.” One has to acquire Paramartha lest one should become too easy a prey to Samvriti — is a philosophical axiom.*
* In clearer words: “One has to acquire true Self-Consciousness in order to understand Samvriti, or the ‘origin of delusion.’ ” Paramartha is the synonym of the Sanskrit term Svasam-vedana, or “the reflection which analyses itself.” There is a difference in the interpretation of the meaning of “Paramartha” between the Yogacharyas and the Madhyamikas, neither of whom, however, explain the real and true esoteric sense of the expression. See further, sloka No. 9.