The Tide of Life
The Path, April-May, 1888
(ANNOTATED BY H. P. BLAVATSKY.)
“Our souls have sight of that immortal sea which brought us hither;
Can in a moment travel thither—
And see the children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.”
That the book of Genesis is not a homogeneous work, but is composed of several distinct and widely different books, becomes evident from a slight examination. The first thirty-four verses form the first and apparently the most ancient of these. This treatise contains a system of cosmogony closely resembling that of the Puranas and Upanishads. The origin of this ancient tract, and the causes which led to its incorporation with the Hebrew scriptures, we can only guess at. Its source may have been some venerable hieratic manuscript brought by Moses from the temple-libraries of Egypt, where it had lain for thousands of years, from the time when the colonists of Egypt left their early home in ancient India. Or it came, perhaps, from the Chaldean Magians, the inheritors of the sacred Iranian lore, the younger sister of the wisdom-religion of the motherland of the Aryas. This much we know, that it contains a Divine Cosmogony, of evident Oriental character, and almost identical with the Archaic Sacred theories of the East.
This tract splits off like a flake from the story of Adam and Eve which, from its more vivid colour, has almost cast it into the shade, and a mere preface or pendant to which it has erroneously been considered to be. To make this separation more clearly apparent, a few of the lines of cleavage may be shewn.1 To begin with, we find two quite different and distinct accounts of the “Creation.”
(1.) In the more ancient cosmogony, contained in the first thirty-four verses, the account of the formation of man is similar to, and parallel with, that of the animals.2
“The Elohim created man, male and female.”
While the second and later account introduces the distinct and peculiar story of the creation of Adam from dust, and of Eve from Adam’s rib. Besides this, earlier in the second account, we find that the formation of man as detailed in the first tract is entirely ignored by the words—
“There was not a man to till the ground.”3
and this nine verses after it had been chronicled that “God created man.”
(2.) In the more ancient tract, man and women are created together, and over them is pronounced the blessing—
“Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth,”
yet in the subsequent story of Adam and Eve, the absence of woman is marked by the words—
“It is not good that the man should be alone:”
and further on, in the story of Eden, the children of Eve are foretold with a curse and not with a blessing,
“I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception,”
for, in this story, while Adam and Eve remained unfallen they remained childless.
(3.) We read in the first account that—
“The Earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit tree.”
This is ignored in the second account, when we read, twenty-four verses later,
“No plant of the field was yet in the earth.”
Similarly, we have a second and distinct account of the formation of the animal kingdom; which, moreover, comes after the Seventh day “on which God rested from all his work which he had created and made.”4
(4.) In the first account the order of creation is as follows:—
“Birds; beasts; man; woman;”
In the second, we find the order changed,
“Man; beasts; fowls; woman.”
In the one case man is created to rule the beasts; in the other the beasts are created as companions for man.
(5.) In the first account all herbs and fruits are given to man unreservedly—
“I have given you every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed.”
In the second we read—
“Of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it.”
(6.) All through the earlier cosmogony the Divine Creative Energy is called “Elohim;” thus in the first verse we read—
“Berashit bara Elohim.”
In the story of Adam and Eve this title is replaced by another, “Jehovah” or “Yâvâ.” In the English the difference is veiled by translating the former “God,” though it is a plural form, while the latter becomes “the Lord God.” In other parts of the Bible several other titles of Deity are introduced, “El,” “Adon-ai,” “El Shaddai.”
(7.) The early cosmogony gives to man a Divine dignity from the first:—
“The Elohim created man in their own image; in the image of the Elohim created they him.”
In the story of Adam and Eve this likeness to the Divine comes only after the forbidden fruit is eaten, when man has fallen; then it was that
“Jehovah said, The man is become as one of us.”
These facts warrant us in considering this Divine cosmogony, contained in the first thirty-four verses of Genesis, separate and distinct from the less orderly and scientific, though more popular, story of Adam and Eve.
At the present time, when the apparent antagonism between modern evolutionary doctrines and the doctrine of the Adamic Creation is perplexing many, it may not be out of place to draw attention to this earlier and more scientific cosmogony, and to point out that not only is it perfectly in accordance with the latest ascertained facts, but that it is probably “more scientific than the scientists,” in that it recognised clearly the dual character of evolution, while modern thought manifests too great a tendency to one-sidedness.
The doctrine of this first cosmogony of Genesis is that of the formation of the phenomenal universe by the expansive or emanative power of the great unmanifested Reality, or underlying Divine Vigor in virtue of which existence is possible. This unmanifested Reality has no name in the West, but it may be called with the Hindu Vedantins, Parabrahm. After a period of Cosmic rest called in the East a Night of Brahma, the Unmanifested, by its inherent expansive power, sends forth from itself a series of emanations.
The first emanation, the only Divine and eternal one, which is conceived as lasting even through the Night of Brahma, is the Logos. The second emanation is what was called by the cabalistic philosophers the “fifth essence,” counting “fire,” “air,” “water,” and “earth” as the other four. It may be termed “Spiritual Ether.” From Ether proceeded the element called by the cabalists “fire”; from fire proceeded “air”; from air proceeded the element “water”; from water, “earth.”
These five—ether, fire, air, water, earth, are the five emanations which, in their various phases and combinations, make up the phenomenal universe, the Logos being considered Divine and subjective, or noumenal. From Earth sprang in order the vegetable and animal kingdoms, and finally Man.
The “elements”, as understood in the above classification, are by no means to be confounded with the elements of modern chemistry; they are arrived at by an entirely different though equally scientific course of reasoning.
In the cosmogony of Genesis the Divine Underlying Reality is called GOD. The expansive power by which, after the period of cosmic rest, the phenomenal universe was formed is thus described:—
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
This “in the beginning,” marks off from eternity the point at which the present period of cosmic activity, or day of Brahma, began; when the Universe proceeded from “the everlasting bosom of God” to which it must return when this period comes to an end. Modern scientists are not without some dim perception of this process of emanation and absorption, as may be seen from the speculations in the “Unseen Universe,”5 though the authors of this work confine themselves chiefly to the last emanation, that of physical matter from the emanation which preceded it. Whence the universe emerged, thither also must it return; a truth clear to the pure insight of Shakespeare—
“. . . Like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.”
God, the eternal Parabrahm, remains unchanged; with God remains the Logos, the first and eternal emanation—
“The spirit of God . . .”
which, “dove-like, sat brooding on the vast abyss.”
This “vast abyss,” or, as it is styled in the cosmogony of Genesis—
“The face of the waters,”
is what we have called the elemental Ether, the “Akâsa” of the Upanishads. It is of ethereal nature, and is the plane of sound, answering to the sense of hearing; that it is the plane of sound has been taught by the Brahmans and the cabalists, and may be inferred from various considerations, amongst others from the difficulty of locating sounds in their immediate material sources (they having, as it were, an immaterial character), and from their spiritual, ethereal nature.
This element of ether has within it the possibility of innumerable sounds and changes of sound; according to the cabalists the sound becomes apparent to our senses only when it strikes against a material object, such as a vibrating violin-string, which becomes merely a point of reflection for the all-pervading element of sound; just as a beam of sunlight becomes apparent only by reflection from particles of dust floating in the air.6
Next in order after the emanation of ether, the matrix of sound, comes the elemental Light, the “fire-element” of the cabalists. It corresponds to the plane of colour and the sense of sight, which should rightly be called the “colour-sense.” For colour is really the only quality perceived by the eye. “All objects,” says Ruskin, “appear to the human eye simply as masses of colour. Take a crocus, and put it on a green cloth. You will see it detach itself as a mere space of yellow from the green behind it, as it does from the grass. Hold it up against the window, you will see it detach itself as a dark space against the white or blue behind it. In either case its outline is the limit of the space of colour by which it expresses itself to your sight. The fact is that all nature is seen as a mosaic composed of graduated portions of different colours.”7 This light, or colour-element, is a pure element containing within itself the possibility of all varieties of colour. After its formation, we find the words—
“The evening and the morning were the first day,”
introducing the element of time first with this emanation. The Logos is, as we have seen, eternal; and the immaterial, semi-physical element of Ether is, as it were, the borderland between the subjective eternal Logos and the objective elements of fire, air, water, and earth.
After this light-emanation comes the element called by the cabalists “Air.” Its formation in the cosmogony of Genesis is marked by the words—
“The Elohim said, Let there be an Expanse.”
This word, for a long time wrongly translated “firmament,” is chosen to express the air-element, because from this element we derive the idea of the extension or expansiveness of a body—its ability to fill a certain quantity of space. The air-element corresponds to the sense of touch, so far as this sense conveys the idea of “expansiveness” or “extension.” The sense of touch differs from the senses of sound and sight, in that it is distributed all over the surface of the skin, while they are confined to definite sense-organs, or spaces of localised sensitiveness, and, in proportion as the eye and ear have gained in sensitiveness to light and sound, the rest of the skin has lost its power of responding to these sensations. The whole surface of the body is, on the contrary, still sensitive to touch, as also to the sensation of heat.8 There is reason to believe that at one time the body’s whole surface could respond equally to all sensations;9 the specialised organs of sense not being then developed, just as the whole surface of the jelly fish still responds to the stimulus of light. An analogy to this condition of unspecialised sensitiveness is furnished by modern experiments in thought transference, from which it appears that the sensations of sound, colour, taste, touch, and smell are all transferred from one mind to another with equal ease. There are some grounds for the belief that when an organ is specialised for some particular sensation it loses the power of responding to other sensations; that the retina, for instance, will be insensible to heat.10 The sensations of heat and touch are, as we have seen, distributed over the whole surface of the skin; and from this fact, among others, we are led to consider heat as well as touch an attribute of the element “air.” Another reason for this conclusion is the fact that we find heat always associated with expansiveness, or extension. As elucidating this point we may quote the researches in the solidification of gases, and speculations on “absolute zero” in temperature, though want of space precludes us from more than merely referring to them. After air comes the element of water, marked in the Genesis cosmogony by the words:—
“The Elohim said, Let the waters be gathered together.”
This elemental water corresponds to the sense of taste, and in part to the idea of molecular motion; the motion of masses being one of the ideas attached to the Air-element. It might be thought that the sensation of taste might also be derived from solid bodies; but that this is not so may be inferred from recent scientific researches, which have demonstrated that all bodies, even the metals, and ice far below zero, are covered with a thin layer of liquid, and it is from this liquid layer that we get the sensation of taste from solids. In this element of water are the potentialities of innumerable tastes, every organic body, and even minerals and metals, having a distinctive taste; zinc and steel among the metals for instance, and sugar, vinegar, and wine in the organic world.
This element is followed by the last emanation, the Earth-element of the cabalists, marked in the Cosmogony of Genesis by the words,
“The Elohim said, Let the dry land appear, and it was so, and the Elohim called the dry land Earth.”
This emanation corresponds to the extreme of materiality, solidity, and, amongst the senses, to smell. A piece of camphor, for example, throws off small solid particles in every direction, and these, coming in contact with the nerves specialised to this sense, produce the sensation of smell. This Earth-element is the last emanation strictly so-called. To this point the outward expansion of Parabrahm has been tending, and from this point the wave of spirit must again recede.
It must be here stated that these elements, fire, air, water, and earth, are not what we ordinarily mean by these terms, but are, so to speak, the pure elemental or spiritual counterparts of these. Down to this point, Form has been gradually developing, being destined to combine with each of the elements in turn, in the ascending scale.
—“Where the daisies are rose-scented,
And the rose herself has got
Perfume which on earth is not.”
Form exists on an ideal plane, as a purely abstract conception; into this region, and the similar one of Number, pure mathematics have penetrated.11 Modern speculations,12 as well as the ancient cabalists, have asserted that every geometrical form, as well as every number, has a definite, innate relation to some particular entity on the other planes, to some colour or tone, for instance; and there is good reason to believe that this holds true of all the planes, that the entities on each of them are bound to the entities on all the others by certain spiritual relations which run like threads of gold through the different planes, binding them all together in one Divine Unity.13 From the standpoint of the terrestrial Globe, the first modifications of the last emanation, Primordial Earth, is the mineral kingdom, in which the primal earthy matter is modified by the element of Form. There is every reason to believe that, if any existing mineral or metal could be reduced to the condition of “primordial earth,” it could be re-formed into any other mineral or metal. The specialization of the minerals, or “formation of the mineral kingdom,” is perhaps marked in the Genesis-Cosmogony by the words,—
“The Elohim called the dry land Earth,”
Name and Form being cognate attributes of a specialized entity. As we have seen the gradual evolution of form in the descent from spirit to matter, so the gradual dissipation of form will be seen in the ascent from matter to spirit. The crystal, for example, retains its form always unchanged, and the form of the tree is more lasting than that of the bird or animal. The second modification of the Earth element, still from the standpoint of the world, is the vegetable kingdom, in which to form and substance is added molecular motion, or vitality, called in Brahman cosmologies Jiva.
This vitality, or capacity for molecular change, corresponds, as we have seen, to the water element; one of the elements, in ascending order of spirituality, being picked up by each of the successive kingdoms of ascending evolution. The formation of the vegetable kingdom is marked in the Genesis cosmogony by the words—
“The earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed, and tree bearing fruit,”
words which point to a perfectly natural evolutionary process under the energizing power of spirit—the physical aspect of which is the “Tendency to Evolution” of the Scientists—and not that violent and unnatural process termed a “creative act.”
We may remark, by the way, that the three divisions of the vegetable kingdom in this cosmogony correspond to three perfectly well defined geological epochs, that of the Cryptogams, of the Phænogams, and of the Fruit-trees, examples of which are respectively ferns, pines, and orange-trees.14
These two changes of matter are looked at, as we have said, from the standpoint of the Earth. The cosmogony now pauses, and, in order to make its account of Evolution complete, inserts here the first change of the same element from a different point of view, that of astronomy. This first change is the congregation of the primal nebulous matter into suns and planets, marked by the words—
“The Elohim said, Let there be Lights in the firmament,”
the sun, moon, and stars being subsequently particularised. From our previous views of the Elemental Light we shall be fully prepared to infer that, just as what we call sonant bodies seem not to be real sound-creators, but merely sound-reflectors, so these “Lights in the firmament” may not be real light-creators, but merely light-reflectors; and this view is borne out by the fact that in this cosmogony the formation of Light precedes that of the Light-givers. Leaving the astronomical standpoint, let us consider the next step in upward evolution.
To the shape, substance, and vitality of the plant—drawn respectively from the Elements of Form, Earth, and Water—the animal kingdom adds locomotion, corresponding to Air element, one attribute of which we have seen to be that locomotion, or movement as a whole, which distinguishes the animal from the plant. Thus we see another link of the ascending chain of the elements picked up. The earliest representatives of this kingdom are, as modern science has shewn, the protozoa,—water-animalcules. Their formation is correctly placed first in the Genesis cosmogony, marked by the words—
“The Elohim said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature which hath life.”
Here we again find words which distinctly mark a perfectly natural process of development. Just as we had the earth “bringing forth grass”—or “sprouting forth sproutage,” to translate it more literally,—we now have the waters “bringing forth the moving creature which hath life,” as soon as proper cosmic and elemental conditions were presented. If the proper cosmic and elemental conditions could be artificially produced, we have every reason to believe the “tendency of Evolution,” or the “Downward pressure of spirit,” might again cause the waters to produce the “moving creature which hath life”—the monera,—in fact, that what is unscientifically termed “spontaneous generation” might take place. After this follows the formation of fish, birds, and beasts,—the vertebrates or “back boned” creatures; the invertebrates being grouped under the two general heads of the “moving creatures in the water” and the “creeping things upon the earth.” In the account of the production of the animal kingdom and of the birds, we have terms used which could only apply to a natural process of development, and not to a “creative act.”
“The Elohim said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its nature, cattle, and the beasts of the earth.”
The Animal Kingdom adds to the plant the quality of locomotion under the stimulus of the instincts,—which corresponds, as we have seen, to the air-element A slight consideration of the nature of this locomotion under stimulus will show that we are justified in assigning this quality, with its distinctive element, to the principle of Kama in certain Eastern classifications.15 Could this principle—or, rather, the specialised portion of the air-element embodying it—be isolated from the lower elements, we should have a sort of aeriform vehicle, or ethereal body, depending for its form on the attractions specialising it. Of such an isolated air-body we shall speak when we come to treat of the elements.
Three times has the earth brought forth,—plants, fishes, animals. But at this point we perceive a change. Evolution so far, from the mineral, through the vegetable, up to the animal, appears as an ascending arc. In this the cosmogony of Genesis agrees with the sacred theories of the East, as well as with the views of modern science. But in Man we find a turning point, at which the ancient cosmogonies agree in branching off from modern science. The sacred theories of the East teach that man is the result of two converging curves of evolution, the one curve ascending through the vegetable and animal kingdom and marking the evolution of the physical body, while the other curve descends from a superphysical, spiritual race, called by some the “Progenitors” or “Pitris,” by others the “Planetary Spirits” or “Descending Dhyan Chohans.” This curve marks the downward evolution of man’s spiritual nature, the development of the soul.16
As we should expect from the Oriental character and high antiquity of the cosmogony of Genesis,—dating as it does from a time when the “downward evolution of the soul” had not progressed so far as it now has, and when man had not yet lost his spiritual insight—,we find this doctrine of man’s divine progenitors clearly visible. In the case of the plants, animals, and marine creatures, we found terms applied which could only be used of a regular, unbroken process. When we reach Man, a new and striking expression is introduced—
“The Elohim created man in their image, in the image of the Elohim created they man.”
The pressure of the descending evolution of the Planetary Spirits or Elohim—seeking for objective, physical existence—upon the previously formed animal kingdom, caused the evolution of a fitting physical vehicle from the highest representatives of that kingdom. Hence we get physical man as we know him, descended on the one side from the animal kingdom, and on the other from his divine progenitors, the Planetary Spirits. We have compared this dual evolution to two converging curves. A too great attraction towards the material, physical side of man’s nature keeps the modern materialist from seeing more than one of these curves. The modern Scientist is colour-blind to spirit, to him man is merely—
“A quintessence of dust.”
But to intuitional minds at the present day, as to our more spiritual ancestors, both curves are visible; besides the physical man they could see the spiritual man
“In action like an angel; in apprehension like a God.”
To return to the standpoint from which we viewed the previous kingdoms, we perceive that the introduction of this new factor in evolution corresponds to the addition from above of a new element in the series of ascending spirituality. With man is added the Fire-Element, in its aspect of the divine light of reason. It corresponds to manas in Eastern systems. Another aspect of manas, considered idealistically this time, by virtue of which it “creates for itself an external world of delight,”17 would correspond to the quality of colour in the fire element. Of the earliest races of men we learn that they were purely frugivorous and perhaps androgyne.
With the formation of man the cosmogony of Genesis closes. We are justified in supposing that, as the union of form with the elements of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire produced the objective Mineral, Vegetable, Animal, and Human kingdoms, so these elements, divorced from Form, should have their appropriate kingdoms of beings, or forms of life, if we can use this term for something so widely different from all ordinary forms of life. These subjective kingdoms of the four elements would correspond to the Rosicrucian conceptions of “primordial earth” and the “Fire, Air, and Water Elementals.”
We may go further than this, and, carrying on our inference, postulate for the spiritual ether, and even for the divine Logos, their appropriate qualities of being. To a conception somewhat similar to what the last of these would involve, the Gnostics gave the name of Æons; for the first—the ether-beings—we have the Indian titles of gandharva,—celestial musician,—or Deva. But having gone thus far, we are driven a step further. We have already seen all the links in the chain of elements in ascending spirituality picked up one by one by the ascending tide of Evolution, up to the elemental fire; let us advance a step, and postulate that the other two emanations or planes—the Ether-Spirit and the Logos—should ultimately be picked up by the Evolutionary tide. With the resumption of the first, instead of a human being we should have a “Spiritual Man,” and from a re-union with the Logos we should have a “Divine Man, Perfected and Eternal,” or, giving to these conceptions the names already appropriated to them in the East, we should have in the first case a Mahatma, in the second a perfect Buddha.
It is now time to point out that the pure elements of Ether, Fire, Air, Water, and Earth are not these bodies as we know them. The five classes of objects (corresponding to these five elements) known to us, being all on the physical plane, all belong properly to a single category, and may be called for the sake of distinction the Mundane Elements. To make this clearer, let us suppose that Mundane Earth—the mineral kingdom in its various forms—is composed of five parts of the element earth, while Mundane Water (everything cognized by the sense of taste) is composed of four parts of the element of earth added to one part of the element of water. Similarly the Air-element known to us on the physical plane (corresponding, as we have seen, to the sense of touch) is composed of four parts of the earth element, with one part of the pure elemental air added; and the Fire and Ether elements as known to our physical or waking consciousness are each composed of four parts—with one part of fire and ether respectively added.
These considerations will prepare us to believe that the real elements are purer and more spiritual than their representatives on the physical plane,18 and that they will be represented by different compounds on each plane (or as it is called in some works, planet) on the water plane (or planet): for instance, what we may for convenience term Undine Earth will be represented by four parts of the Water element and one part of the earth-element; Undine water will be five parts elemental water; while Undine air will be composed of four parts elemental water, added to one part elemental air, and so on.
The composition of the elements as present on each plane or planet may similarly be deduced by observing carefully the principle which governs these combinations. We should warn our readers that these examples are given by way of illustration, and not as representing accurately and numerically the combined elements as they actually occur; they are really formed on a much more complex principle.19
In our illustrations we have, for convenience sake, confined ourselves to the five objective elements, though of course it must not be forgotten that the energizing spirit runs through the whole series on every plane.
The pure spiritual or elemental ether is the macrocosmic counterpart of that principle of the microcosm termed Buddhi by eastern mystics.20
The Logos corresponds to Atma in the same speculations.
We have seen that to the four principles—Form or Linga, Vitality or Jiva, Substance or Sthula Sarira, motion under desire or Kama—of the animal, Man has added a fifth,—corresponding to the macrocosmic elemental Fire,—human reason, or Manas.
Our speculations as to the two superhuman Kingdoms are also in harmony with these eastern theories; the element of Buddhi being added to form the Mahatma; and Atma completing the Buddha, perfected and divine.
The perfect Buddha, though not possessing a physical body, or, indeed, being united to principles on any of the objective planes, will still retain the spiritual counterparts of these principles, corresponding to groups of experiences gained on each plane. It is by these spiritual principles that the Buddha is richer than the Æon; it is in virtue of them that the Ascending excels the Descending Planetary Spirit, or Dhyan Chohan. These spiritual principles constitute the end and aim of evolution, and justify the cosmic expansion and involution.
The evolutionary tide, in generating the higher kingdoms, has flowed, as we have seen, from the earth-element towards pure Spirit. In obedience to this tendency, man in achieving his apotheosis must, gradually loosing his hold on the world of Matter, add to his treasure in the worlds divine; until humanity becomes ever freer, stronger, and more perfect, and returns at last, refreshed, to his home in the bosom of the perfect God.
1. The esoteric teaching accounts for it. The first chapter of Genesis, or the Elohistic version, goes not treat of the creation of man at all. It is what the Hindu Puranas call the Primal creation, while the second chapter is the Secondary creation or that of our globe of man. Adam Kadmon is no man, but the protologos, the collective Sephirothal Three—the “Heavenly man”, the vehicle (or Vahan) used by En-Soph to manifest in the phenomenal world (see Sohar); and as the “male and female” Adam is the “Archetypal man,” so the animals mentioned in the first chapter are the sacred animals, or the zodiacal signs, while “Light” refers to the angels so called.—H.P. BLAVATSKY
2. Vide supra—“The great whale” (v.21) is the Makara of the Hindu Zodiac—translated very queerly as “Capricorn,” whereas it is not even a “Crocodile,” as “Makara” is translated, but a nondescript aquatic monster, the “Leviathan” in Hebrew symbolism, and the vehicle of Vishnu. Whoever may be right in the recent polemical quarrel on Genesis between Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Huxley, it is not Genesis that is guilty of the error imputed. The Elohistic portion of it is charged with the great zoological blunder of placing the evolution of the birds before the reptiles (Vide—“Modern Science and Modern Thought,” by Ms. S Lang), and Mr. Gladstone is twitted with supporting it. But one had but to read the Hebrew text to find that Verse 20 (Chap. 1) does speak of reptiles before the birds. And God said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the (swimming and creeping, not) moving creatures that hath life, and fowl that may fly” etc. This ought to settle the quarrel, then of larger vegetation, then of fish (or mollusks), reptiles, birds, etc., etc.. Genesis is a purely symbolical and kabalistic volume. It can neither be understood nor appreciated if judged on the mistranslations and misinterpretations of its Christian remodellers.—H.P. BLAVATSKY
3. Because Adam is the Symbol of the first terrestrial MAN or Humanity.—H.P. BLAVATSKY
4. Genesis being an eastern work, it has to be read in its own language. It is in full agreement, when understood, with the universal cosmogony and evolution of life as given in the Secret Doctrine of the Archaic Ages. The last word of Science is far from being uttered yet. Esoteric philosophy teaches that man was the first living being to appear on earth, all the animal world coming after him. This will be proclaimed absurdly unscientific. But see in Lucifer—“The Latest Romance of Science.”—H.P. BLAVATSKY
5. “The Unseen Universe,” by Professors Balfour Stewart and P. G. Tait.—[C.J.]
6. While taking this view of sound, we are, of course, perfectly acquainted with modern researches and speculations on the subject. Our standpoint, however, is so widely different from that of modern science that no comparison with its teachings is possible.
7. Ruskin, “Lectures on Art,” p. 125.
8. For speculations on a specialized heat sense we may refer to Mr. R. A. Proctor’s ideal visit to Saturn’s Satellites.
9. Readers will remember the translations which appeared in the PATH some time ago giving the German Mystic Kernning’s teachings hereupon. [W.Q.J.]
10. Vide some experiments with thermal rays in Tyndall’s “Heat a Mode of Motion.”
11. It is through the power to see and use these “abstract” forms that the Adept is able to evolve before our eyes any object desired—a miracle to the Christian, a fraud for the materialist. Countless myriads or forms are in that ideal sphere, and matter exists in the astral light, or even in the atmosphere, that has passed through all forms possible for us to conceive of. All that the Adept has to do is to select the “abstract form” desired, then to hold it before him with a force and intensity unknown to the men of this hurried age, while he draws into its boundaries the matter required to make it visible. How easy this to stale, how difficult to believe; yet quite true, as many a theosophist very well knows. The oftener this is done with any one form, the easier it becomes. And so it is with nature: her ease of production grows like a habit.—[H.P.B.]
12. “Geometrical Psychology,” Miss Louisa Cook.
13. Here is the key so much desired by enterprising—indeed all—students. It is by means or those correlations or color, sound, form, number, and substance—that the trained will of the Initiate rules and uses the denizens or the elemental world. Many theosophists have had slight conscious relations with elementals, but always without their will acting, and, upon trying to make elementals see, hear, or act for them, a total indifference on the part of the nature spirit is all they have got in return. These failures are due to the fact that the elemental cannot understand the thought of the person: it can only be reached when the exact scale of being to which it belongs is vibrated whether it be that of color, form, sound, or whatever else.—[H. P. B.]
14. For further information on this point readers are referred to “The Color-sense” by Grant Allen.
15. Vide “Esoteric Buddhism,” chapter on “The constitution of man.”
16. There is an important point in the teachings of the Secret Doctrine which has been continually neglected. The above described evolution—the spiritual falling into the physical, or from mineral up to man, takes place only during the 1st of the two subsequent Rounds. At the beginning of the fourth “Round” in the middle of which begins the turning point upward—i.e. From the physical up to the spiritual, man is said to appear before anything else on earth, the vegetation which covered the earth belonging to the 3rd Round, and being quite etherial, transparent. The first man (Humanity) is Ethereal too, for he is but the shadow (Chhaya) “in the image” of his progenitors, because he is the “astral body” or image of his Pitar (father). This is why in India gods are said to have no shadows. After which and from this primeval race, evolution supplies man with a “coat of skin” from the terrestrial elements of the kingdom—mineral, vegetable, and animal.—[H.P.B.]
17. Vide Sankaracharya’s “Viveka Chudamani.” [Crest-Jewel of Wisdom]
18. This is one reason for calling the objective phenomenal world an “illusion”. It is an illusion and ever impermanent because the matter of which the objects are composed continually returns to the primordial condition of matter, where it is invisible to mortal eyes. The earth, water, air, and fire that we think we see are respectively only the effects produced on our senses by the primordial matter held in either of the combinations that bring about the vibration properly belonging to those classes: the moment the combination is entirely broken, the phenomena cease and we see the objects no more.—[H. P. B.]
19. Vide Man; Fragments of Forgotten History. p. 13 note.
20. Vide “Esoteric Buddhism.”