Triad

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Triad is a word to refer to a group of three elements. In philosophy and religion, triads, triangles, and trinities are prominent. H. P. Blavatsky said: "Everywhere antiquity slows an unbounded reverence for the Triad and Triangle--the first geometrical figure."[1]

In the Theosophical view there are different triads, which are a reflection on different planes and levels of the absolute Triad. In one of his letters, Mahatma K.H. talks about a primeval triad or trinity formed by the Absolute, Spirit, and Matter. He compares it with the Christian Trinity as follows:

This trinity resolving itself into unity, — a doctrine as old as the world of thought — was seized upon by some early Christians, who had it in the schools of Alexandria, and made up into the Father, or generative spirit; the Son or matter, — man; and into the Holy Ghost, the immaterial essence, or the apex of the equilateral triangle, an idea found to this day in the pyramids of Egypt.[2]

Absolute triad

In the First Fundamental Proposition of the The Secret Doctrine, Mme. Blavatsky stated that, although the Absolute or Be-ness "is beyond the range and reach of thought" and "devoid of all attributes", it can be symbolized as having two aspects:

This “Be-ness” is symbolised in the Secret Doctrine under two aspects. On the one hand, absolute abstract Space, representing bare subjectivity, the one thing which no human mind can either exclude from any conception, or conceive of by itself. On the other, absolute Abstract Motion representing Unconditioned Consciousness.[3]
Thus, Be-ness, Absolute abstract space, and Absolute abstract motion (also known as the Great Breath) form the "metaphysical triad . . . the Root from which proceeds all manifestation".[4]

Pre-Cosmic triad

Mme. Blavatsky states that at the beginning of the process of manifestation the absolute triad radiates the two basic pre-cosmic principles, which become the cause of the new Cosmos:

Considering this metaphysical triad as the Root from which proceeds all manifestation, the great Breath assumes the character of precosmic Ideation. It is the fons et origo of force and of all individual consciousness, and supplies the guiding intelligence in the vast scheme of cosmic Evolution. On the other hand, precosmic root-substance (Mulaprakriti) is that aspect of the Absolute which underlies all the objective planes of Nature.[5]

In his description of this process, T. Subba Row adds a third principle, thus forming a pre-cosmic triad:

Parabrahmam radiates from the Logos, and manifests itself as the light and energy of the Logos. Now we see the first manifestation of Parabrahmam is a Trinity, the highest Trinity that we are capable of understanding. It consists of Mulaprakriti, Eswara or the Logos, and the conscious energy of the Logos, which is its power and light; and here we have the three principles upon which the whole cosmos seems to be based.[6]

Mulaprakriti (the precosmic root-substance) is a radiation of the Absolute abstract space, the unmanifested Logos (or Pre-cosmic Ideation) is a radiation of the Great Breath, while the "light of the Logos" (called Daiviprakriti) is Parabrahman (the Be-ness) radiating through the Logos.

This is "the highest trinity that we are capable of understanding" since the absolute triad "transcends the power of human conception and . . . is beyond the range and reach of thought"[7]).

Cosmic triad

The cosmic triad is regarded as the basis for the trinities of different religions, often represented in an anthropomorphic way.

In the Theosophical literature the cosmic (or manifested) triad consists of Cosmic Ideation, Cosmic Substance and Cosmic Energy (or Fohat), which are manifestations of the pre-cosmic Ideation, the pre-cosmic Substance, and the "light of the Logos" (or Daiviprakriti), respectively.

Human triad

The human Triad (sometimes called "higher triad" or "upper triad") is formed by the three higher principles, Atma, Buddhi and Manas, the fruition of the latter assimilated by the first two after every terrestrial life.[8] In other occasions, H. P. Blavatsky says that the triad corresponds to "Âtmâ-Buddhi and the “Envelope” which reflects their light, the three in one", the "envelope" referring to the auric egg.[9] This is the perennial individuality that reincarnates in different personalities.

Other triads

Of physical nature

Matter, force, and motion are the trinity of physical objective nature, as the trinitarian unity of spirit-matter is that of the spiritual or subjective nature.[10]

Online resources

Articles

Notes

  1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 333.
  2. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 90 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), ???.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 14.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 15.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 15.
  6. Tallapragada Subba Row, Notes on the Bhagavad Gita, (Pasadena, CA: Theosophical University Press, 1978), 21-22.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 14.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 237.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 338.
  10. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 90 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 283.