The Secret Doctrine vol. 1, Stanza I.8
8. Alone, the one form of existence stretched boundless, infinite, causeless, in dreamless sleep (a); and life pulsated unconscious in universal space, throughout that All-Presence which is sensed by the “Opened Eye”* of the Dangma (b).†
(a) The tendency of modern thought is to recur to the archaic idea of a homogeneous basis for apparently widely different things—heterogeneity developed from homogeneity. Biologists are now searching for their homogeneous protoplasm and chemists for their protyle, while science is looking for the force of which electricity, magnetism, heat, and so forth, are the differentiations. The Secret Doctrine carries this idea into the region of metaphysics and postulates a “One Form of Existence” as the basis and source of all things. But perhaps the phrase, the “One Form of Existence,” is not altogether correct. The Sanskrit word is Prabhavapyaya, “the place, or rather plane, whence emerges the origination, and into which is the resolution of all things,” says a commentator. It is not the “Mother of the World,” as translated by Wilson (see Book I., Vishnu Purana); for Jagad Yoni (as shown by FitzEdward Hall) is scarcely so much “the Mother of the World” or “the Womb of the World” as the “Material Cause of the Universe.” The Puranic Commentators explain it by Karana—“Cause”—but the Esoteric philosophy, by the ideal spirit of that cause. It is, in its secondary stage, the Svabhavat of the Buddhist philosopher, the eternal cause and effect, omnipresent yet abstract, the self-existent plastic Essence and the root of all things, viewed in the same dual light as the Vedantin views his Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti, the one under two aspects. It seems indeed extraordinary to find great scholars speculating on the possibility of the Vedanta, and the Uttara-Mimansa especially, having been “evoked by the teachings of the Buddhists,”
* In India it is called “The Eye of Siva,” but beyond the great range it is known as “Dangma’s opened eye” in esoteric phraseology.
† Dangma means a purified soul, one who has become a Jivanmukta, the highest adept, or rather a Mahatma so-called. His “opened eye” is the inner spiritual eye of the seer, and the faculty which manifests through it is not clairvoyance as ordinarily understood, i.e., the power of seeing at a distance, but rather the faculty of spiritual intuition, through which direct and certain knowledge is obtainable. This faculty is intimately connected with the “third eye,” which mythological tradition ascribes to certain races of men. Fuller explanations will be found in Book II.
whereas, it is on the contrary Buddhism (of Gautama, the Buddha) that was “evoked” and entirely upreared on the tenets of the Secret Doctrine, of which a partial sketch is here attempted, and on which, also, the Upanishads are made to rest.* The above, according to the teachings of Sri Sankaracharya,† is undeniable.
(b) Dreamless sleep is one of the seven states of consciousness known in Oriental esotericism. In each of these states a different portion of the mind comes into action; or as a Vedantin would express it, the individual is conscious in a different plane of his being. The term “dreamless sleep,” in this case is applied allegorically to the Universe to express a condition somewhat analogous to that state of consciousness in man, which, not being remembered in a waking state, seems a blank, just as the sleep of the mesmerised subject seems to him an unconscious blank when he returns to his normal condition, although he has been talking and acting as a conscious individual would.
* And yet, one, claiming authority, namely, Sir Monier Williams, Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford, has just denied this fact. This is what he taught his audience, on June the 4th, 1888, in his annual address before the Victoria Institute of Great Britain: “Originally, Buddhism set its face against all solitary asceticism . . . to attain sublime heights of knowledge. It had no occult, no esoteric system of doctrine . . . withheld from ordinary men” (!!) And, again: “. . . When Gautama Buddha began his career, the later and lower form of Yoga seems to have been little known.” And then, contradicting himself, the learned lecturer forthwith informs his audience that “We learn from Lalita-Vistara that various forms of bodily torture, self-maceration, and austerity were common in Gautama’s time.” (!!) But the lecturer seems quite unaware that this kind of torture and self-maceration is precisely the lower form of Yoga, Hatha Yoga, which was “little known” and yet so “common” in Gautama’s time.
† It is even argued that all the Six Darsanas (Schools of philosophy) show traces of Buddha’s influence, being either taken from Buddhism or due to Greek teaching! (See Weber, Max Muller, etc.) We labour under the impression that Colebrooke, “the highest authority” in such matters, had long ago settled the question by showing, that “the Hindus were in this instance the teachers, not the learners.”