THEOSOPHY, Vol. 49, No. 11, September, 1961
(Pages 509-516; Size: 22K)


IT is thought that scientific ideas even now offer but remote correspondence to the teachings on Motion as elaborated in the Wisdom-Religion. The latter, it appears, demand some other, newer concept of Life. But now, what of beginnings and endings? Take as an example, "death." Is that but a different kind of "motion"?

The ancient Rishis said: "Nothing is begun or ended; everything is changed, and that which we call death is only a transformation." In thus speaking they wished to be understood as referring to the manifested universe, the so-called death of a sentient creature being only a transformation of energy, or a change of the mode and place of manifestation of the Divine Resonance. We may consider that there is pervading the whole universe a single homogeneous resonance, sound, or tone, which acts so to speak as the awakener, or vivifying power, stirring all the molecules into action. This is creation, for without this resonance or motion among the quiescent particles, there would be no visible universe. The Divine Resonance is the universal energy, which is conserved during each Day of Brahma, and at the coming on of the great Night is absorbed again into the whole. Continually appearing and disappearing, it transforms itself again and again, covered from time to time by a veil of matter called its visible manifestation, and never lost, but always changing itself from one form to another.

Is "Be-ness," the abstract POWER in all, subject to comprehension in any degree whatever by finite intelligence?

This Be-ness is symbolized 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. Even our Western thinkers have shown that Consciousness is inconceivable to us apart from change, and motion best symbolizes change, its essential characteristic. The latter aspect of the one Reality, MOTION, is also symbolized by the term "the Great Breath" -- a symbol sufficiently graphic to need no further elucidation.

Is the one Reality, the "not-manifested Deity," Motion?

The Boundless can have no relation to the bounded and the conditioned. In the Occult teachings, the Unknown and the Unknowable MOVER, or the Self-Existing, is the absolute divine Essence. And thus being Absolute Consciousness and Absolute Motion -- to the limited senses of those who describe this indescribable -- it is unconsciousness and immovableness.

But is "Deity" to be thought of as Motion?

According to the esoteric philosophy, this Deity is during its "Nights" and its "Days" (i.e., cycles of rest or activity) "the eternal perpetual motion," "the Ever-Becoming, as well as the ever universally present, and the Ever-Existing." The latter is the root-abstraction; the former, the only possible conception in human mind -- if it disconnects this deity from any shape or form. It is a perpetual, never-ceasing evolution, circling back in its incessant progress through aeons of duration into its original status ABSOLUTE UNITY.

Is there a law, by knowledge of which one will comprehend that Motion never can cease?

One must be well acquainted with the philosophical metaphysics of a beginningless and endless series of cosmic re-births; and become well impressed and familiarized with that immutable law of Nature which is ETERNAL MOTION, cyclic and spiral, therefore progressive even in its seeming retrogression. The one divine Principle, the nameless THAT of the Vedas, is the universal Total, which, neither in its spiritual aspects and emanations nor in its physical atoms, can ever be at "absolute rest" except during the Nights of Brahma. "Motion is eternal in the unmanifested and periodical in the manifest," says an Occult teaching.

Are Motion and "Fire" one and the same?

What says the esoteric teaching with regard to fire? "Fire," it says, "is the most perfect and unadulterated reflection in Heaven, as on Earth, of the ONE FLAME. It is Life and Death, the origin and the end of every material thing. It is divine 'SUBSTANCE'." A drop of liquid assumes a spheroidal form owing to its atoms moving around themselves in their ultimate, irresolvable, and noumenal essence; unresolvable for physical science, at any rate.

Not only the Fire-Worshipper, the Parsee, but even the wandering savage tribes of America, which proclaim themselves "born of fire," show more science in their creeds and truth in their superstitions, than all the speculations of modern physics and learning. Procure a sixpenny lamp, keep it only supplied with oil and you will be able to light at its flame the lamps, candles, and fires of the whole globe without diminishing that flame.

Does the motion within our Solar boundaries differ from the Universal Motion?

The Sun is the storehouse of Vital Force, which is the Noumenon of Electricity; and it is from its mysterious, never-to-be-fathomed depths that issue those life currents which thrill through Space, as through the organisms of every living thing on Earth. It is the sun-fluids or emanations that impart all motion and awaken all into life, in the solar system. It is attraction and repulsion, not as understood by modern physics and according to the law of gravity, but in harmony with the laws of Manvantaric motion designed from the early Sandhya, the Dawn of the rebuilding and higher reformation of the system. These laws are immutable; but the motion of all the bodies, which motion is diverse and alters with every minor Kalpa, is regulated by the Movers, the Intelligences within the Cosmic Soul.

And what is it outside our Solar System?

Outside the boundaries of the solar system, it is other Suns, and especially the mysterious "Central Sun" (the "abode of the invisible deity" as some reverend gentlemen have called it) that determines the motion of bodies and their direction. That motion serves also to differentiate the homogeneous matter, round and between the several bodies, into elements and sub-elements unknown to our earth, which are regarded by modern Science as distinct individual elements, whereas they are merely temporary appearances, changing with every small cycle within the Manvantaras, some esoteric works calling them "Kalpa Masks."

Through the years we hear such phrases as "mechanistic Universe," "expanding Universe," and more recently the "big bang theory" of how worlds come into being. What does Theosophy say of this?

Upon inaugurating an active period, says The Secret Doctrine, an expansion of the Divine Essence from without inwardly, and from within outwardly, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the result of the long chain of cosmical forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine Essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. The visible universe becomes disintegrated, its material dispersed; and "darkness" solitary and alone, broods once more over the face of the "deep." To use a metaphor from the Secret Books, which will convey the idea still more clearly, an outbreathing of the "Unknown Essence" produces the world; and an inhalation causes it to disappear. This process has been going on from all eternity, and our present universe is but one of an infinite series, which had no beginning and will have no end.

The Secret Doctrine affirms the Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane; periodically "the playground of numberless Universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing," called "the manifesting stars," and the "sparks of Eternity."

When, or how, does "life" come into being?

"Whatsoever quits the Laya State, becomes active life. It is drawn into the vortex of MOTION (the alchemical solvent of Life); Spirit and Matter are the two States of the ONE, which is neither Spirit nor Matter, both being the absolute life, latent." That, which is neither spirit nor matter -- that is IT -- the Causeless CAUSE of Spirit and Matter, which are the Cause of Kosmos. And THAT we call the ONE LIFE or the Intra-Cosmic Breath.

Motion is known to be circular. What impels the atoms into whirling, vortical movement?

It is one of the fundamental dogmas of Esoteric Cosmogony, that during the Kalpas (or aeons) of life, that MOTION, which during the periods of Rest "pulsates and thrills through every slumbering atom," assumes an ever-growing tendency, from the first awakening of Kosmos to a new "Day," to circular movement. The "Deity becomes a WHIRLWIND." This law of vortical movement in primordial matter, is one of the oldest conceptions of Greek philosophy, whose first historical Sages were nearly all Initiates of the Mysteries. The Greeks had it from the Egyptians, and the latter from the Chaldeans, who had been the pupils of Brahmins of the esoteric school.

The question of "atoms" is an awfully puzzling one. There does seem little resemblance between the atom of modern physics and the "World Atom" of the Occult sciences. What is the difference?

The waves and undulations of Science are all produced by atoms propelling their molecules into activity from within. Atoms fill the immensity of Space and by their continuous vibration are that MOTION which keeps the wheels of Life perpetually going. It is that inner work that produces the natural phenomena called the correlation of Forces. Only, at the origin of every such "force" there stands the conscious guiding noumenon thereof -- Angel or God, Spirit or Demon -- ruling powers, yet the same.

According to The Secret Doctrine, "the one Cosmic atom becomes seven atoms on the plane of matter, and each is transformed into a centre of energy; that same atom becomes seven rays on the plane of spirit, and the seven creative forces of nature, radiating from the root-essence ... follow, one the right, the other the left path, separate till the end of the Kalpa, and yet are in close embrace. What unites them? KARMA." The atoms emanated from the Central Point emanate in their turn new centers of energy, which, under the potential breath of Fohat, begin their work from within without, and multiply other minor centers. These in the course of involution and evolution, form in their turn the roots or developing causes of new effects, from worlds and man-bearing globes, down to the genera, species, and classes of all the seven kingdoms (of which we know only four).

It seems that wherever one turns in The Secret Doctrine, there is Fohat. Is "Fohat" the principal "actor" in the Universe of manifestation?

Fohat is spoken of as the synthetic motor power of all the imprisoned life-forces and the medium between the absolute and conditioned Force. It is a link, just as Manas is the connecting link between the gross matter of the physical body and the divine Monad which animates it, but is powerless to act upon the former directly. "The 'Primordial Seven' use for their Vahan (vehicle, or the manifested subject which becomes the symbol of the Power directing it), Fohat, called, in consequence, the 'Messenger of their will' -- the fiery Whirlwind."

Fohat, in the manifested Universe, is "that" which links spirit to matter, subject to object. Fohat is the bridge by which the ideas existing in the Divine Thought are impressed on Cosmic substance as the "laws of Nature." It is thus the dynamic energy of Cosmic Ideation. Regarded from the other side, Fohat is the intelligent medium, the guiding power of all manifestation, the "Thought Divine," transmitted and made manifest through the Dhyan Chohans, the Architects of the visible world. In its various manifestations, Fohat is the mysterious link between Mind and Matter, the animating principle electrifying every atom into life.

On the Cosmic plane, it is present in the constructive power that carries out, in the formation of things, from the planetary system down to the glow-worm and the simple daisy, the plan in the mind of Nature, or in the Divine Thought, with regard to the development and growth of that special thing. On the earthly plane his influence is felt in the magnetic and active force generated in the strong desire of the magnetizer.

There is, then, only one omnipresent Fohat?

Each world has its Fohat, who is omnipresent in his own sphere of action. But there are as many Fohats as there are worlds, each varying in power and degree of manifestations. The individual Fohats make one Universal, Collective Fohat -- the aspect-Entity of the one absolute Non-Entity, which is absolute Be-Ness, "Sat." "Millions and billions of worlds are produced at every Manvantara," it is said. Therefore there must be as many Fohats, whom we consider as conscious and intelligent Forces.

In terms of physical science, what is here meant by the Fiery Whirlwind?

The "Fiery Wind" is the incandescent Cosmic dust which only follows magnetically, as the iron filings follow the magnet, the directing thought of the Creative Forces. Yet, this cosmic dust is something more; for every atom in the Universe has the potentiality of self-consciousness in it, and is, like the Monads of Liebnitz, a Universe in itself and for itself. It is an atom and an angel.

Centers of Forces at first, the invisible sparks of primordial atoms differentiate into molecules, and become Suns -- passing gradually into objectivity -- gaseous, radiant, cosmic, the one "Whirlwind" (or motion) finally giving the impulse to form, and the initial motion, regulated and sustained by the never-resting Breaths -- the Dhyan Chohans.

Are worlds referred to as "Wheels" because of their cyclic motion?

"Wheels" are centers of force, round which primordial Cosmic dust expands, and passing through all the six stages of consolidation, becomes spheroidal and ends by being transformed into globes or spheres. The Worlds are built "in the likeness of older Wheels" -- i.e., those that existed in preceding Manvantaras and went into Pralaya. This is because the LAW for the birth, growth, and decay of everything in the Kosmos, from the Sun to the glow-worm in the grass, is ONE. It is an everlasting work of perfection with every new appearance, but the Substance-Matter and Forces are all one and the same.

How is one to understand the real meaning of the terms "force" and "energy" employed by Science?

Shall we say that Force is "moving matter" or "matter in motion," and a manifestation of energy? Or that matter and force are the phenomenal differentiated aspects of the one primary, undifferentiated Cosmic Substance? This query really concerns the Occult teachings with regard to Fohat and his "Seven brothers or Sons," in other words, the cause and the effects of Cosmic Electricity, the latter, called in Occult parlance, the seven primary forces of Electricity, whose purely phenomenal, and hence grossest effects are alone cognizable by physicists on the cosmic and especially on the terrestrial plane. These include, among other things, Sound, Light, Colour, etc., etc.

Now what does physical Science tell us of these "Forces"? Sound, it says, is a sensation produced by the impact of atmospheric molecules on the tympanum, which, by setting up delicate tremors in the auditory apparatus, thus communicate themselves to the brain. Light is the sensation caused by the impact of inconceivably minute vibrations of ether on the retina of the eye. So, too, we say. But this is simply the effect produced in our atmosphere and its immediate surroundings, all, in fact, which falls within the range of our terrestrial consciousness. Occultism sees in all these Forces and manifestations a ladder, the lower rungs of which belong to exoteric physics, and the higher are traced to a living, intelligent, invisible Power, which is, as a rule, the unconcerned, and exceptionally, the conscious cause of the sense-born phenomenon designated as this or another natural law.

Can an example be given of the power of Motion on inner planes, in terms of our perception?

We say and maintain that Sound, for one thing, is a tremendous Occult power; that it is a stupendous force, of which the electricity generated by a million of Niagaras could never counteract the smallest potentiality when directed with occult knowledge. Sound may be produced of such a nature that the pyramid of Cheops would be raised in the air, or that a dying man, nay, one at his last breath, would be revived and filled with new energy and vigor.

Force and energy are both then the outcome of "Motion"?

The Occultists do not say -- if they would express themselves correctly -- that matter, but only the substance or essence of matter, is indestructible and eternal (i.e., the Root of all, Mulaprakriti). They assert that all the so-called Forces of Nature, Electricity, Magnetism, Light, Heat, etc., far from being modes of motion of material particles, are in esse, i.e., in their ultimate constitution, the differentiated aspects of that Universal Motion.

Occultism sees in the effects "Elemental" (forces), and, in the direct causes producing them, intelligent Divine Workmen. The intimate connection of those Elementals (guided by the unerring hand of the Rulers) -- their correlation we might call it -- with the elements of pure Matter, results in our terrestrial phenomena, such as light, heat, magnetism, etc. The "Elementals," the Nature-Forces, are the acting, though invisible, or rather imperceptible, secondary Causes and in themselves the effects of primary Causes behind the Veil of all terrestrial phenomena. We give the name to these guiding Intelligences -- the ruling Dhyan Chohans.

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


The life of the soul or thought-consciousness after physical death has occurred is a succession of visions of thought-forms which have no more reality than our earthly life. They are hallucinations similar to those of our dreams, subjective visions corresponding to the intimate religious beliefs held by the deceased during his earthly life. It is his subconscious mind let loose into an intermediate psychic world called the bardo. The man who has had no psychic training during his lifetime conceives these hallucinations, the world in which he now finds himself, to be real. Only he who has reached a high degree of knowledge during his brief passage on earth can understand that they are subjective visions with no intrinsic reality. Life after death is a dream state in which the soul often imagines that it still has a physical body, just as we, in our dreams, always think that we are wide awake and living our everyday physical life. 

--AMAURY DE RIENCOURT: Roof of the World

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(1) NOTE.--Answers collated from standard Theosophical sources.
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