BN-Basic Course Syllabus
The Ancient Wisdom Tradition
III The Source of Life: The Unseen World
1). Sparks From the Flame - The Seeds of Divinity
(Theosophical University Press, Occult Glossary)
Monads are spiritual-substantial entities, self-motivated, self-impelled, self-conscious, in infinitely varying degrees, the ultimate elements of the universe. These
Every monad is a seed, wherein the sum total of powers appertaining to its divine origin are latent, that is to say unmanifested; and evolution consists in the growth and development of all these seeds or children monads, whereby the universal life expresses itself in innumerable beings.
As the monad descends into matter, or rather as its ray -- one of other innumerable rays proceeding from it -- is propelled into matter, it secretes from itself and then excretes on each one of the seven planes through which it passes, its various vehicles, all overshadowed by the self, the same self in you and in me, in plants and in animals, in fact in all that is, and belongs to that hierarchy. This is the one self, the supreme self or paramatman of the hierarchy. It illumines and follows each individual Monad and all the latter's hosts of rays -- or children Monads. Each such Monad is a spiritual seed from the previous manvantara, which manifests as a Monad in this manvantara; and this Monad through its rays throws out from itself by secretion and then excretion all its vehicles. These vehicles are, first, the spiritual ego, the reflection or copy in miniature of the Monad itself, but individualized through the manvantaric evolution, "bearing" or "carrying" as a vehicle the Monadic ray. The latter cannot directly contact the lower planes, because it is of the monadic essence itself, the latter a still higher ray of the infinite Boundless composed of infinite multiplicity in unity.
(HPB, Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, 4)
Q. The divine ideas in the Divine Mind? But the Divine Mind is not yet.
A. The Divine Mind is, and must be, before differentiation takes place. It is called the divine Ideation, which is eternal in its Potentiality and periodical in its Potency, when it becomes Mahat, Anima Mundi or Universal Soul. But remember that, however you name it, each of these conceptions has its most metaphysical, most material, and also intermediate aspects.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 178)
...as the spiritual Monad is One, Universal, Boundless and Impartite, whose rays, nevertheless, form what we, in our ignorance, call the "Individual Monads" of men, ...so the Mineral Monad -- being at the opposite point of the circle -- is also One -- and from it proceed the countless physical atoms, which Science is beginning to regard as individualized.
(Wm. Q. Judge, Ocean of Theosophy, p. 23)
Coming now to our Earth the view put forward by Theosophy regarding its genesis, its evolution and the evolution of the Human, Animal and other Monads, is quite different from modern ideas, and in some things contrary to accepted theories. But the theories of today are not stable. They change with each century, while the Theosophical one never alters because, in the opinion of those Elder Brothers who have caused its repromulgation and pointed to its confirmation in ancient books, it is but a statement of facts in nature. The modern theory is, on the contrary, always speculative, changeable, and continually altered.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 21)
Stanza III. describes the Re-awakening of the Universe to life after Pralaya. It depicts the emergence of the "Monads" from their state of absorption within the ONE; the earliest and highest stage in the formation of "Worlds," the term Monad being one which may apply equally to the vastest Solar System or the tiniest atom.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 167)
The Monads are not discrete principles, limited or conditioned, but rays from that one universal absolute Principle.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 175)
The MONAD emerges from its state of spiritual and intellectual unconsciousness; and, skipping the first two planes -- too near the ABSOLUTE to permit of any correlation with anything on a lower plane - it gets directly into the plane of Mentality. But there is no plane in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action in its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than this plane, which has in its turn an appropriate smaller plane for every "form, "from the "mineral" monad up to the time when that monad blossoms forth by evolution into the DIVINE MONAD. But all the time it is still one and the same Monad, differing only in its incarnations, throughout its ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of matter --two polar antitheses -- as it ascends into the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality.
(Wm. Q. Judge, Ocean of Theosophy, p. 53)
The course of evolution developed the lower principles and produced at last the form of man with a brain of better and deeper capacity than that of any other animal.
(Wm. Q. Judge, The Synthesis of Occult Science, and S.D., Vol. 1, p.623)
"Let the reader remember these 'Monad's of Leibnitz, every one of which is a living mirror of the universe, every Monad reflecting every other, and compare this view and definition with certain Sanskrit stanzas (Slokas) translated by Sir William Jones, in which it is said that the creative source of the Divine Mind, . . . 'Hidden in a veil of thick darkness, formed mirrors of the atoms of the world, and cast reflection from its own face on every atom'."
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 620)
This evolution -- viewed from its several standpoints -- i.e., as the universal and the individualized Monad; and the chief aspects of the Evolving Energy, after differentiation -- the purely Spiritual, the Intellectual, the Psychic and the Physical -- may be thus formulated as an invariable law; a descent of Spirit into Matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the depths of materiality towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete form and substance up to the LAYA state, or what Science calls "the zero-point,"
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 619)
The Monads of the present dissertation are treated from the standpoint of their individuality, as atomic Souls, before these atoms descend into pure terrestrial form. For this descent into concrete matter marks the medial point of their own individual pilgrimage. Here, losing in the mineral kingdom their individuality, they begin to ascend through the seven states of terrestrial evolution to that point where a correspondence is firmly established between the human and Deva (divine) consciousness. At present, however, we are not concerned with their terrestrial metamorphoses and tribulations, but with their life and behaviour in Space, on planes wherein the eye of the most intuitional chemist and physicist cannot reach them -- unless, indeed, he develops in himself highly clairvoyant faculties.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 176)
"There are seven kingdoms. The first group comprises three degrees of elementals, or nascent centres of forces -- from the first stage of differentiation of (from) Mulaprakriti (or rather Pradhana, primordial homogeneous matter) to its third degree -- i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception; the second or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning point in the degrees of the "Monadic Essence," considered as an evoluting energy. Three stages (sub-physical) on the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages on the objective physical* side -- these are the (first or preliminary) seven links of the evolutionary chain."
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 632-33)
...what is called collectively Monads by Leibnitz -- roughly viewed, and leaving every subdivision out of calculation, for the present** -- may be separated into three distinct Hosts, which, counted from the highest planes, are, firstly, "gods," or conscious, spiritual Egos; the intelligent architects, who work after the plan in the Divine Mind. Then come the Elementals, or Monads, who form collectively and unconsciously the grand Universal Mirrors of everything connected with their respective realms. Lastly, the atoms, or material molecules, which are informed in their turn by their apperceptive monads, just as every cell in a human body is so informed. (See the closing pages of Book I.) There are shoals of such informed atoms which, in their turn, inform the molecules; an infinitude of monads, or Elementals proper, and countless spiritual Forces -- Monadless, for they are pure incorporealities, ------ except under certain laws, when they assume a form - not necessarily human. Whence the substance that clothes them -- the apparent organism they evolve around their centres? The Formless ("Arupa") Radiations, existing in the harmony of Universal Will, and being what we term the collective or the aggregate of Cosmic Will on the plane of the subjective Universe, unite together an infinitude of monads -- each the mirror of its own Universe -- and thus individualize the same time seeing in them abstractions. "We shall never arrive at the truth," he says, "much less the power of associating with those celestials, until we return to the simplicity and fearlessness of the primitive ages, when men mixed freely with the gods, and the gods descended among men and guided them in truth and holiness" (No. 10, Path) . . . . "There are several designations for 'angels' in the Bible which clearly show that beings like the Elementals of the Kabala and the monads of Leibnitz, must be understood by that term rather than that which is commonly understood. They are called 'morning stars,' 'flaming fires,' 'the mighty ones,' and St. Paul sees them in his cosmogonic vision as 'Principalities and Powers.' Such names as these preclude the idea of personality, and we find ourselves compelled to think of them as impersonal Existences . . . as an influence, a spiritual substance, or conscious Force." for the time being an independent mind, omniscient and universal; and by the same process of magnetic aggregation they create for themselves objective, visible bodies, out of the interstellar atoms. For atoms and Monads, associated or dissociated, simple or complex, are, from the moment of the first differentiation, but the principles, corporeal, psychic and Spiritual, of the "Gods," -- themselves the Radiations of primordial nature. Thus, to the eye of the Seer, the higher Planetary Powers appear under two aspects: the subjective -- as influences, and the objective -- as mystic FORMS, which, under Karmic law, become a Presence, Spirit and Matter being One, as repeatedly stated. Spirit is matter on the seventh plane; matter is Spirit -- on the lowest point of its cyclic activity; and both - are Maya.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 185-86)
for the "human" Monad, whether immetallized in the stone-atom, or invegetallized in the plant, or inanimalized in the animal, is still and ever a divine, hence also a HUMAN Monad. It ceases to be human only when it becomes absolutely divine. The terms "mineral," "vegetable" and "animal" monad are meant to create a superficial distinction: there is no such thing as a Monad (jiva) other than divine, and consequently having been, or having to become, human. And the latter term has to remain meaningless unless the difference is well understood. The Monad is a drop out of the shoreless Ocean beyond, or, to be correct, within the plane of primeval differentiation. It is divine in its higher and human in its lower condition -- the adjectives "higher" and "lower" being used for lack of better words -- and a monad it remains at all times, save in the Nirvanic state, under whatever conditions, or whatever external forms. As the Logos reflects the Universe in the Divine Mind, and the manifested Universe reflects itself in each of its Monads, as Leibnitz put it, repeating an Eastern teaching, so the MONAD has, during the cycle of its incarnations, to reflect in itself every root-form of each kingdom. Therefore, the Kabalists say correctly that "MAN becomes a stone, a plant, an animal, a man, a Spirit, and finally God. Thus accomplishing his cycle or circuit and returning to the point from which he had started as the heavenly MAN." But by "Man" the divine Monad is meant, and not the thinking Entity, much less his physical body.
(HPB, Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 570)
... the Occult teaching says, "Nothing is created, but is only transformed. Nothing can manifest itself in this universe -- from a globe down to a vague, rapid thought -- that was not in the universe already; everything on the subjective plane is an eternal IS; as everything on the objective plane is an ever becoming -- because transitory."
The monad -- a truly "indivisible thing," as defined by Good, who did not give it the sense we now do -- is here rendered as the Atma in conjunction with Buddhi and the higher Manas. This trinity is one and eternal, the latter being absorbed in the former at the termination of all conditioned and illusive life. The monad, then, can be traced through the course of its pilgrimage and its changes of transitory vehicles only from the incipient stage of the manifested Universe. In Pralaya, or the intermediate period between two manvantaras, it loses its name, as it loses it when the real ONE self of man merges into Brahm in cases of high Samadhi (theTuriya state) or final Nirvana; "when the disciple" in the words of Sankara, "having attained that primeval consciousness, absolute bliss, of which the nature is truth, which is without form and action, abandons this illusive body that has been assumed by the atma just as an actor (abandons) the dress (put on)." For Buddhi (the Anandamaya sheath) is but a mirror which reflects absolute bliss; and, moreover, that reflection itself is yet not free from ignorance, and is not the Supreme Spirit, being subject to conditions, being a spiritual modification of Prakriti, and an effect; Atma alone is the one real and eternal substratum of all -- the essence and absolute knowledge -- the Kshetragna.** It is called in the Esoteric philosophy "the One Witness," and, while it rests in Devachan, is referred to as "the Three Witnesses to Karma."
References for further reading