Logos

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Logos (λόγος) is a Greek word that means "word," "speech," "reason." It became a technical term in philosophy beginning with Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC), who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.[1]

General description

H. P. Blavatsky talks about three Logoi: "the unmanifested 'Father,' the semi-manifested 'Mother' and the Universe, which is the third Logos of our philosophy or Brahmâ."[2] These three Logoi can be seen as "the personified symbols of the three spiritual stages of Evolution."[3] Yet all the three Logoi are one.[4]

There is no differentiation with the First Logos; differentiation only begins in latent World-Thought, with the Second Logos, and receives its full expression, i. e., becomes the "Word" made flesh--with the Third.[5]
The first is the already present yet still unmanifested potentiality in the bosom of Father-Mother; the Second is the abstract collectivity of creators called “Demiurgi” by the Greeks or the Builders of the Universe. The third logos is the ultimate differentiation of the Second and the individualization of Cosmic Forces, of which Fohat is the chief; for Fohat is the synthesis of the Seven Creative Rays or Dhyan Chohans which proceed from the third Logos.[6]
The point within the circle which has neither limit nor boundaries, nor can it have any name or attribute. This first unmanifested Logos is simultaneous with the line drawn across the diameter of the Circle. The first line or diameter is the Mother-Father; from it proceeds the Second Logos, which contains in itself the Third Manifested Word.[7]
There seems to be great confusion and misunderstanding concerning the First and Second Logos. The first is the already present yet still unmanifested potentiality in the bosom of Father-Mother; the Second is the abstract collectivity of creators called “Demiurgi” by the Greeks or the Builders of the Universe. The third logos is the ultimate differentiation of the Second and the individualization of Cosmic Forces, of which Fohat is the chief; for Fohat is the synthesis of the Seven Creative Rays or Dhyan Chohans which proceed from the third Logos.[8]

First Logos

The First Logos is unmanifested, and it is the first stage in the process of reawakening of the cosmos from the rest in pralaya. This Logos is frequently depicted as a white "potential" point in a black circle.[9]
When the first Logos radiates through primordial and undifferentiated matter there is as yet no action in Chaos. “The last vibration of the Seventh Eternity” is the first which announces the Dawn, and is a synonym for the First or unmanifested Logos. There is no Time at this stage. There is neither Space nor Time when beginning is made; but it is all in Space and Time, once that differentiation sets in.[10]

Associated to the unmanifested Logos is the idea of a "ray" that flashes out from it, and that begins the differentiation in matter:

The solitary ray dropping into the mother deep may be taken as meaning Divine Thought or Intelligence, impregnating chaos.[11]
The Ray [is] periodical. Having flashed out from this central point and thrilled through the Germ, the Ray is withdrawn again within this point and the Germ develops into the Second Logos, the triangle within the Mundane Egg.[12]

Second Logos

The Second Logos is frequently seen as a bridge between the unmanifested and the manifested Logoi, "the Second Logos partaking of both the essences or natures of the first and the last.[13] Because of this, this Logos is sometimes said to be semi-manifested: "the three Logoi [are] the unmanifested “Father,” the semi-manifested “Mother” and the Universe, which is the third Logos of our philosophy or Brahmâ".

The word "mother" is not always associated to the second Logos. Most frequently we find that of Father-Mother:

At the time of the primordial radiation, or when the Second Logos emanates, it is Father-Mother potentially, but when the Third or manifested Logos appears, it becomes the Virgin-Mother.[14]

The ray that comes from the first Logos begins the process of differentiation in the pre-cosmic substance, and this produces the Second Logos. If we consider the first Logos as a potential point, the second is seen as the first real (or maybe, dimensional) point:

The first stage is the appearance of the potential point in the circle—the unmanifested Logos. The second stage is the shooting forth of the Ray from the potential white point, producing the first point, which is called, in the Zohar, Kether or Sephira. The third stage is the production from Kether of Chochmah, and Binah, thus constituting the first triangle, which is the Third or manifested Logos.[15]

In fact, the "point" of the second Logos is in the "mundane egg", and is said to be an abstract triangle :

The Point in the Circle is the Unmanifested Logos, the Manifested Logos is the Triangle. . . . It is this ideal or abstract triangle which is the Point in the Mundane Egg, which, after gestation, and in the third remove, will start from the Egg to form the Triangle. This is Brahmâ-Vâch-Virâj in the Hindu Philosophy and Kether-Chochmah-Binah in the Zohar.ref>Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 351.</ref>
The point in the Circle is the Unmanifested Logos, corresponding to Absolute Life and Absolute Sound. The first geometrical figure after the Circle or the Spheroid is the Triangle. It corresponds to Motion, Color and Sound. Thus the Point in the Triangle represents the Second Logos, “Father-Mother,” or the White Ray which is no color, since it contains potentially all colors. It is shown radiating from the Unmanifested Logos, or the Unspoken Word. Around the first Triangle is formed on the plane of Primordial Substance in this order (reversed as to our plane).[16]

Third Logos

This is the manifested Logos, called The Secret Doctrine the “luminous sons of manvantaric dawn”.[17] Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

When the hour strikes for the Third Logos to appear, then from the latent potentiality there radiates a lower field of differentiated consciousness, which is Mahat, or the entire collectivity of those Dhyan-Chohans of sentient life of which Fohat is the representative on the objective plane and the Manasaputras on the subjective.[18]
Then, at the first radiation of dawn, the “Spirit of God” (after the First and Second Logos were radiated), the Third Logos, or Narayan, began to move on the face of the Great Waters of the “Deep.”[19]

Some synonyms in other traditions are Mahat (Hinduism), Adam Kadmon (Kabbalah),[20] Protogonos (Greek/Orphic)[21], Brahmā (Hinduism), among others.

Divine Thought

"Divine Thought" is a phrase frequently used by Mme. Blavatsky, who defined it as "the Logos, or the male aspect of the Anima Mundi, Alaya".[22] In it "lies concealed the plan of every future Cosmogony and Theogony."[23]

The Cosmos is fashioned by the Builders, following the plan traced out for them in the Divine Thought.[24] This thought impregnates matter,[25] and can be perceived "by the numberless manifestations of Cosmic Substance in which the former is sensed spiritually by those who can do so."[26]

It is important to keep in mind that the phrase "Divine Thought" neither implies the idea of a Divine thinker[27] nor of a process of thinking:

It is hardly necessary to remind the reader once more that the term “Divine Thought,” like that of “Universal Mind,” must not be regarded as even vaguely shadowing forth an intellectual process akin to that exhibited by man.[28]

Female Logos

Mme. Blavatsky stated that female deities such as Vāc, Isis, Mout, Shekinah (Sephira), Kwan-Yin, etc. represent the female aspect of the creator:

They are all the symbols and personifications of Chaos, the “Great Deep” or the Primordial Waters of Space, the impenetrable veil between the incognisable and the Logos of Creation. “Connecting himself through his mind with Vach, Brahma (the Logos) created the primordial waters.” In the Kathaka Upanishad it is stated still more clearly: “Prajapati was this Universe. Vach was a second to him. He associated with her . . . she produced these creatures and again re-entered Prajapati.”* (* This connects Vâch and Sephira with the goddess Kwan-Yin, the “merciful mother, “ the divine VOICE of the soul even in Exoteric Buddhism; and with the female aspect of Kwan-Shai-yin, the Logos, the verbum of Creation, and at the same time with the voice that speaks audibly to the Initiate, according to Esoteric Buddhism. Bath Kol, the filia Vocis, the daughter of the divine voice of the Hebrews, responding from the mercy seat within the veil of the temple is—a result).[29]
Kwan-Yin, [is] the “Divine Voice” literally. This “Voice” is a synonym of the Verbum or the Word: “Speech,” as the expression of thought. Thus may be traced the connection with, and even the origin of the Hebrew Bath-Kol, the “daughter of the Divine Voice,” or Verbum, or the male and female Logos, the “Heavenly Man” or Adam Kadmon, who is at the same time Sephira. The latter was surely anticipated by the Hindu Vâch, the goddess of Speech, or of the Word. For Vâch—the daughter and the female portion, as is stated, of Brahmâ, one “generated by the gods”—is, in company with Kwan-Yin, with Isis (also the daughter, wife and sister of Osiris) and other goddesses, the female Logos, so to speak, the goddess of the active forces in Nature, the Word, Voice or Sound, and Speech. If Kwan-Yin is the “melodious Voice,” so is Vâch; “the melodious cow who milked forth sustenance and water” (the female principle)—“who yields us nourishment and sustenance,” as Mother-Nature. She is associated in the work of creation with the Prajâpati. She is male and female ad libitum, as Eve is with Adam. And she is a form of Aditi—the principle higher than Ether—in Akâsa, the synthesis of all the forces in Nature; thus Vâch and Kwan-Yin are both the magic potency of Occult sound in Nature and Ether—which “Voice” calls forth Sien-Tchan, the illusive form of the Universe out of Chaos and the Seven Elements.[30]

The female logoi are many times regarded as triple: the mother, wife, and daughter of the male Logos.[31] This has to be interpreted in a cosmic sense, where "mother, wife and daughter" are different stages of differentiation of the primordial matter in which develops the Logos:

There is certainly a cosmic, not a physiological meaning attached to the Indian allegory, since Vâch is a permutation of Aditi and Mulaprakriti (Chaos), and Brahmâ a permutation of Naràyana, the Spirit of God entering into, and fructifying nature; therefore, there is nothing phallic in the conception at all.[32]

The Army of the Voice

In Stanza IV.4 there is a mention to "the Army of the Voice". Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

This Sloka gives again a brief analysis of the Hierarchies of the Dhyan Chohans, called Devas (gods) in India, or the conscious intelligent powers in Nature. To this Hierarchy correspond the actual types into which humanity may be divided; for humanity, as a whole, is in reality a materialized though as yet imperfect expression thereof. The “army of the Voice” is a term closely connected with the mystery of Sound and Speech, as an effect and corollary of the cause—Divine Thought.[33]
The “Army of the Voice”, is the prototype of the “Host of the Logos,” or the “WORD” of the Sepher Jezirah, called in the Secret Doctrine “the One Number issued from No-Number”—the One Eternal Principle. The esoteric theogony begins with the One, manifested, therefore not eternal in its presence and being, if eternal in its essence; the number of the numbers and numbered—the latter proceeding from the Voice, the feminine Vâch, Satarupa “of the hundred forms,” or Nature. It is from this number 10, or creative nature, the Mother (the occult cypher, or “nought,” ever procreating and multiplying in union with the Unit “1,” one, or the Spirit of Life), that the whole Universe proceeded.[34]

Notes

  1. Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2nd ed): Heraclitus, 1999.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 332.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 334
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XI (Wheaton, Ill: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 487.
  5. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 359.
  6. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 334.
  7. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 314.
  8. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 334.
  9. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 351-352.
  10. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 358.
  11. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 64.
  12. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 351.
  13. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 359.
  14. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 358.
  15. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 352.
  16. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 564.
  17. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 485.
  18. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 360.
  19. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. X (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988), 379.
  20. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 6.
  21. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. II, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 592.
  22. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 58.
  23. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 1.
  24. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 339.
  25. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 340.
  26. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 327.
  27. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 61.
  28. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 1, fn.
  29. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 431.
  30. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 473.
  31. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 136.
  32. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 431.
  33. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 93.
  34. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 94.

Further reading