"What is it that ever is?" "Space, the eternal Anupadaka." "What is it that ever was?" "The Germ in the Root." "What is it that is ever coming and going?" "The Great Breath." "Then, there are three Eternals?" "No, the three are one. That which ever is is one, that which ever was is one, that which is ever being and becoming is also one: and this is Space."
 "Explain, oh Lanoo (disciple)." – "The One is an unbroken Circle (ring) with no circumference, for it is nowhere and everywhere; the One is the boundless plane of the Circle, manifesting a diameter only during the manvantaric periods; the One is the indivisible point found nowhere, perceived everywhere during those periods; it is the Vertical and the Horizontal, the Father and the Mother, the summit and base of the Father, the two extremities of the Mother, reaching in reality nowhere, for the One is the Ring as also the rings that are within that Ring. Light in darkness and darkness in light: the "Breath which is eternal." It proceeds from without inwardly, when it is everywhere, and from within outwardly, when it is nowhere – (i.e., maya, one of the centres). It expands and contracts (exhalation and inhalation)."

The Secret Doctrine, i 11-12  

 The metaphysical connection between spiritual knowledge and material manifestation is conveyed in the Proem to the The Secret Doctrine through illustrations from an archaic palm leaf manuscript, ancient beyond reckoning and impermeable to all the elements. On the first leaf of the manuscript there is an immaculate white disk within a dark background. On the second, the immaculate white disk remains on the dark background, but with a central point. The first diagram represents a state which is before the awakening of any universe. It is Cosmos in Eternity, the Ideal Cosmos which is veiled within Ideal Space and endures throughout Ideal Time, or Eternity. It is the Germ in the Root lying within Anupadaka, parentless, boundless Space. It is that which ever was, whilst the Great Breath is ever coming and going and Space ever exists. These three are all One in the dawn of differentiation. This pristine state is mirrored in the rising of Venus as Lucifer, the depth of silence which inaugurates each day, analogous to the dawn of a manvantara. The dawn of differentiation must be seen in relation to the one circle which is divine unity. The circumference, which is not a fixed line but a metaphysical, fluctuating boundary, is the All-Presence that sets limits upon an entire period of manifestation. The plane of that circle is the universal soul, the Anima Mundi, Alaya, the Paramatman, and every human being is an immortal ray of that ineffable Light.

 Divine Wisdom is at the hidden core of all manifestation, and hence one cannot possibly understand nature without seeing it as intelligent, as innately a manifestation of divine Reason. Man as part of nature is richly endowed with creative faculties that are analogous on planes of consciousness with powers and forces in nature. Every human being is ensouled by individuated manas, which affords, through the sum of states of consciousness, an initial representation of universal Mind, in which divine Thought is potentially ever present. It is the sacred teaching of Krishna and Buddha, Pythagoras and Plato, Christ and Confucius and a galaxy of Teachers throughout history and before recorded history, that every human being is inwardly and inherently capable of spiritual vision. Each person may embrace the whole of manifestation, for the immortal soul is capable of standing outside time, transcending the boundaries of manifestation, reaching beyond the visible universe. Through contemplation, one can come to the very core of one"s being and become attuned to the invisible ideal universe in the realm of divine Thought. This teaching implies that all possible knowledge available in principle to any human mind is enshrined in the totality of things. The totality may be compared to the face of the disk, set against the limitless background, symbolizing the fact that myriad universes in all periods of manifestation do not exhaust the potential of the realm of Be-ness or Non-Being.

 Each world is an extraordinary mirror of the whole. It is vast, massive, but it is still a fragment, yet within that massive fragment each human being is like a microscopic drop within a cosmic ocean. Within every drop there is the same quintessential life, light and wisdom or energy found in the entire ocean. It is possible for the individual human being self-consciously to become united with the One that is secondless, and from a reflection of which emanates the entire universe during a Mahamanvantara. As the Mahatmas teach, "The whole of Nature lies before you, take what you can." Nature is the repository of far more knowledge than human beings are willing or ready to use. Fortunately, it is now widely recognized that human beings use only a minute fraction of the potential energy of the brain. They not only live well within their means, but also live far below their needs. When it comes to creative ideation, human beings are extremely bankrupt, or unduly thrifty.

 If pioneering individuals could learn to partake of the generous teaching of The Secret Doctrine, making it the basis of their ideation, they would increase the proportion of their available mental energy. They could become more wide awake and more attentive to the secret Wisdom and the compassionate purposes of invisible Nature. By using the teaching they could grasp the hidden logic of the Logos in manifestation. They could come to see in every dawn meditation an archetypal sequence of states of consciousness partly corresponding to the subtle stages of differentiation of the noumenal light in darkness. The phases of dawn meditation correspond to the stages of the dawn of manifestation. Those who make meditation a regular practice come closer to those beings who eternally are awake, the Watchers in the Night of non-manifestation, the Self-Governed Sages, the Mahatmas and the Rishis, who are on a plane that is far removed from that of mundane concerns. The moment of choice has come for many individuals, who must either endure the atrophy of their faculties or become attentive to these immense possibilities. One can begin to use intuition to come closer to the concealed plan, not of every future cosmogony, but to the vast design that is deeply relevant to human evolution. Intuition rapidly soars above the tardy processes of ratiocinative thought. The quickest minds are too slow compared to the speed of the laser beam of the light of intuition, the light of Hermes. Hermes-Mercury takes the slowest minds and gives to them self-training through meditation, so that Buddhi may be activated from a germ and surely develop into that pure light of intuition which is the essential basis of all knowledge.

 Any real awakening of the Buddhic light is inevitably connected with the breathing – spiritual, mental and heart breathing, as well as the physical breathing – of every human being. The profound Catechism in the Proem, in setting forth the cosmic nature of breath, distinguishes between two archetypal modes in all manifestation. The Great Breath either proceeds from without inwardly when it is everywhere, or from within outwardly when it is nowhere. This may be understood in relation to human nature by considering the cosmic origins of the quintessentially human faculty of manas:

 Whatever the views of physical Science upon the subject, Occult Science has been teaching for ages that A"kasa – of which Ether is the grossest form – the fifth universal Cosmic Principle (to which corresponds and from which proceeds human Manas) is, cosmically, a radiant, cool, diathermanous plastic matter, creative in its physical nature, correlative in its grossest aspects and portions, immutable in its higher principles. In the former condition it is called the Sub-Root; and in conjunction with radiant heat, it recalls "dead worlds to life." In its higher aspect it is the Soul of the World; in its lower – the DESTROYER.

The Secret Doctrine, i 13  

 If, while breathing, one thinks of the One Source of the One Light, this will alter the quality of breathing by taking the grosser exhalation and using it to destroy that which needs to be destroyed, simultaneously taking the subtler inhalation and using it to rejuvenate. What has become dormant or is dying in one"s subtler thought-forms will be called back to life. This is just the initial step. Next, a pause, or retention, between inhalation and exhalation is introduced to make it a three-in-one, corresponding to the macrocosmic Breath:

Hiranyagarbha, Han, and Sankara – the three hypostases of the manifesting "Spirit of the Supreme Spirit" (by which title Prithivi – the Earth – greets Vishnu in his first Avatar) – are the purely metaphysical abstract qualities of formation, preservation, and destruction, and are the three divine Avasthas (lit. hypostases) of that which "does not perish with created things" (or Achyuta, a name of Vishnu).

The Secret Doctrine, i 18-19  

 Of the three, inhalation, retention and exhalation, the middle would be the most crucial because it will enable one to slow down and suspend inhalation and exhalation, keeping them from becoming chaotic and spasmodic. When one has begun to do this, one will soon find that it cannot really be done on a continuous basis without working causally upon one"s mental breathing. This means that when a thought is going out and before a thought rushes in, one must pause. This is a most precise and radical mode of "deliberation". It may be put in the form of a simple injunction: Think before you speak. If one really thinks before speaking, if one thinks before choosing a line of action, it will certainly steady the mental breathing and thereby steady the mind. This is truly helpful to others because, as one gains a measure of serenity or stillness, one can become a source of benediction to those who come into one"s sphere of influence.

 The implications of this ancient teaching for the distant future are suggested in a statement following the Catechism, indicating that there are seven cosmic elements. Four of them are physical, and the fifth, which may provisionally be called ether, is a semi-material aspect of Akasa corresponding to manas and critical to the relationship of thought and breathing, as well as to the further incarnation of manas. Those who have refined their sense-perceptions will show this by the way they handle all objects, through the manner in which they eat, breathe, listen and watch. During World War II, resisters like Sartre recognized that something they had always taken for granted, the privilege of thinking, became very precious because of the Gestapo. Solzhenitzen states in The First Circle that when prisoners find that everything has been taken away from them, they suddenly experience freedom, the sheer joy of thinking. Many people would rather not think but merely emote, cerebrate and react passively. Once one develops a taste for such mindless activity, deep thinking becomes painful. It is like having one"s teeth ground, since it will break down the incrustations of half-chewed and half-dead ideas that have settled down like a crust. Thinking forces these to be broken up because they have got to be eliminated. How much this will have to be done will depend upon the degree of damage already done by the crust. The mind can be always revivified by turning to seminal ideas which, like the rain on parched soil, will quicken germs of living seeds of regenerative truths. The plant of manas will begin to take root. Long before it becomes a tree, it will release the fire of creative thought, making it a thrill to create by the power of ideation. Those who begin to do this are going to find that they are also tapping a subtler realm of matter. One cannot separate thought from matter, subject from object. To really think is to tap subtler life-atoms in one"s vestures, and that means also to become more receptive and attentive to subtler life-atoms in visible forms, prepared to design new structures. This is necessary for manas to incarnate further.

 H.P.Blavatsky said in the nineteenth century that the Aquarian Age will bring about a lot of psychological disturbances. These arise in the vestures because of the unwillingness to let go of what is dead or dying. Many human beings have a morbid love of decay and are threatened by the Ray, terrified of living seeds. They are so fond of the husk that they have forgotten what the germ is like. The husk of indigestible, decaying ideas prevents the living wheat germ of spiritual ideas from giving birth to new thought-forms. Individuals who cannot do this now will have to do it by the end of the Fourth Round, because the great moment of choice must come finally in the Fifth. This is far in the future, but even the highest two elements, the sixth and the seventh, which are now far beyond the range of human perception, will be sensed during the Sixth and Seventh Races of this Round, though they will not become known to all until the Sixth and Seventh Rounds. They will be aroused partially and by anticipation in the Sixth and Seventh Sub-Races of the Fifth Root Race. Those of the Fifth Sub-Race who are touched by the current of the Sixth Sub-Race with the help of Teachers using the seventh principle, the Atman, will be able to germinate living seeds of creative thought. This will enable them to serve in future civilizations in those arenas where the seed-bearers, the vanguard of human growth, will be vitally active. Those who cannot keep pace will incarnate in those portions of the earth where slower moving structures carry on the work of evolution. Evolution takes care of everyone. There is a joy and a thrill in activating manas, the power of abstract ideation, with the help of seminal spiritual ideas and laying down fertile seeds of self-regenerating modes of thought and patterns of living.

 The Third Root Race was characterized by an effortless sense of universal unity and brotherhood. The whole of humanity was of one lip, one language, one religion, one race and this was the Golden Age, though there have also been minor golden ages. For the mystic the golden age is ever present. The golden age for the whole of humanity would correspond to the dawn of differentiation, the descent of the gods and the awakening of the fire of self-consciousness.

 "Fire and Flame destroy the body of an Arhat, their essence makes him immortal." (Bodhi-Mur, Book II.) "The knowledge of the absolute Spirit, like the effulgence of the sun, or like heat in fire, is naught else than the absolute Essence itself," says Shankaracharya. IT – is "the Spirit of the Fire," not fire itself; therefore, "the attributes of the latter, heat or flame, are not the attributes of the Spirit, but of that of which that Spirit is the unconscious cause.

The Secret Doctrine, i 6  

 The Spirit gave birth to self-consciousness in the Third Root Race in a paradisaic state characterized by Plato in the Statesman as the Age of Kronos. Since that was an epoch of human solidarity and universal brotherhood, it is hardly surprising that it was marked by effortless devotion.

 Devotion is the highest of human qualities. Devotion sustains the universe through that mysterious and irresistible force of mother love, which no psychologist, no misanthrope, has yet been able to destroy. The human babe, unlike animal offspring, is very vulnerable; it will not survive without solicitude. The infant is vulnerable especially in that tender spot on the head which should not be touched. The protective power of mother love makes human evolution possible. It also provides proof, if proof were needed, that devotion is the most natural human quality. Those people who find mental prostration or devotion unnatural are themselves unnatural. Love of parents and of children, love of brothers and sisters, respect for elders, devotion to teachers: this is what is natural. Anything else is unnatural and will be wiped out because there is no room for it in human evolution. H.P.Blavatsky states in The Secret Doctrine that the Hindu heart is the most devoted, and also that the Hindu mind is the most metaphysical, readily able to visualize the abstract. To contemplate the abstract and also cherish the deepest feelings is indeed to approximate the paradigm of the Golden Age of the Third Root Race when the fire of self-consciousness was lit. These excellences are essential to the humanity of the future, the civilization of tomorrow. The Theosophical Movement, under the guidance of the Brotherhood of Bodhisattvas, offers every human being the golden opportunity to develop the devotional heart and to engage in the meditation of the abstract mind that is capable of lighting the fire of self-consciousness. The Bodhisattvas ceaselessly sacrifice so that every soul may make the effort to come out of the cold gloom of sick egotistic fear for its own salvation, become free from obsession with the shadow caused by self-hatred, and enter the light of the Spiritual Sun.

 If the potency of the Third Root Race vibration were used in concert with manas, the active power of the Fifth Root Race, and the latter became the servant of spiritual intuition, a very fruitful combination would result, whereby the Sixth corresponding to the Third through the Fifth is able to alchemize the Fourth. What is fundamental is what is beyond every series, the Self-existent, the Seventh, which gives life-energy to the First, the temple of the Divine, wherein lies the holy of holies. Deep reflection upon these themes can be enriched by meditation upon the basic symbols taken from the ancient palm leaf manuscript: the plain disk, the disk with the point, the disk with the diameter and the disk with the cross. The mundane cross marks the point where humanity reached the Third Root Race. In the Fourth Race it became the cross without the circle, although among the spiritually wise the loss of the Divine Eye implicit in this separation did not occur.

 The Egyptian Tau cross, which later became the sign of Venus and also the swastika, Thor"s hammer or the Hermetic cross, is a most profound symbol. Originally it was the Jaina cross, the swastika within a circle or Thor"s hammer within a circle, called the Tau. In meditating upon these sacred glyphs, the third Stanza would be most helpful. The difference between the first Stanza, the state of the One All during non-manifestation, and the second – which is almost indistinguishable from the first except to the most intuitive – would be like the difference between the first and the second months of pregnancy. The third Stanza depicts the reawakening of the universe to life after pralaya. After each terrestrial dawn every morning, there is a reawakening of the universe, a new birth or micro-manvantara. Each night is like the night of non-manifestation, a micro-pralaya, to be inevitably followed by the reawakening to life of the universe of monads. The third Stanza refers to the emergence of monads from their state of absorption within the One. Analogically on earth, human monads would be absorbed within the One in sushupti during sleep. The first stage is analogous to the seventh, which is why the Self-Governed Sage is sometimes compared to a newborn babe. But whereas the babe utters the Aum and then forgets it, the Sage ever remains in the Aum.

 The term "monad" may apply equally to the vastest solar system or to the tiniest atom. The most self-conscious monads enjoy fellowship with the entire solar system, with all other monads as well as with the tiniest atoms. When the Sage is teaching disciples, he is not addressing them as personalities, but is adjusting their life-atoms and affecting their sushupti. He is not talking to the lower mind, but pushing it out, freeing the higher mind in its descent. He is awakening the Buddhi. The difference between the Third Root Race and the Fifth is that the former intuitively knew this to be true. In the Aquarian Age, which has entered its second degree, Fifth Race laggards can self-consciously re-enact what was intuitively known by all in the Third Root Race. Self-consciously they could come together and learn from the Teachings of Sages, thereby altering their modes of breathing and becoming a help rather than a hindrance, not only to each other, but also to all living beings on earth.

Hermes, February 1980
by Raghavan Iyer