THEOSOPHY, Vol. 32, No. 5, March, 1944
(Pages 215-217; Size: 10K)
(Number 5 of a 6-part series)
ANTIPODAL POWERS OF MANAS
THE eternally recurring question of how it is that an Almighty God, infinite in love for humanity, can be omniscient and still permit the existence of an all-devouring Satan, is a problem few thinkers dare to discuss. Side by side with the blessings of life we find full-blown the curses of some evil hand. Wherever there is joy, there also is the mournful face of sorrow. Good is checked by evil, peace by war, health by disease, and all that is clean and lovely by the grotesque veil of ugliness. What man but knows the sadness of a blighted hope, the heartache of a lover's loss? Where is the individual who has not experienced in his life some form of inexplicable woe? Even Nature, with all her grace and charm, remains not free from the baleful power. Out of the air that brings the cooling breezes come also the devastating winds of destruction, out of rich earth the vomiting fumes of the volcano. Who knows whence springs this evil power, this pitiless blot upon the otherwise fair face of existence?
"Ah," says the skin-deep philosopher, "everything is relative. Evil has no existence apart from the good, just as good has no existence apart from evil. If one would know the meaning of pleasure, he must also know its opposite -- pain. All these qualities which we see in nature and in life are illusions." Such is the reasoning of the superficial thinker who looks no deeper than the surface of things. No one can deny the necessary contrasts of the "opposites," that but for darkness there could be no perception of light, but does this mean that the darkness must be pitch black, filled with all sorts of hideous monsters? Must one, to know the meaning of good, sink to the depths of depravity and wallow deliberately in the gutter of sin, or to understand pleasure, experience a lifetime of dearth and pain? The contrasts of the "opposites" are necessary, it is true, but so far as their requirements for perception are concerned, they could be as harmless as a shadow on the wall. The opposite of sunshine is cloudiness, but think of the beneficence of a gentle rain. No, the painful extremes through which men go are wholly unnecessary, were never part of the great Plan. The Satanic influence which we see in life is not a natural outcome of the "opposites," but an abnormal state, the cause of which must be sought in the human heart.
To solve great questions the ancients used the law of correspondence and analogy. The divine and satanic powers in Nature, they said, have their counterparts in the hidden side of the individual man. Know the mysteries of man and you will know the universe. Find whence springs the evil impulse in a human heart and you will have discovered the source of all affliction.
The Wisdom Religion admits of no personal Satan any more than it does a personal God seated in some far-off corner of the universe. But it does indicate the truth behind these terms, and that truth it traces to the dual moral nature of Mind. Higher and Lower Manas, says H. P. Blavatsky, "are figured allegorically as the two inseparable companions of man through life, the one his Guardian Angel, the other his evil Demon." Man is eternally a Thinker, and the results of his thinking are never lost. All good and evil thoughts and feelings are lodged unshakably in the occult aura of the hidden self, where they remain as living seeds from which fructify and grow the karmic events of tomorrow. If the evil Demon of a single man is capable of the damage seen on every hand, who can estimate the wrong-doing of a race or nation, to say nothing of the whole of mankind? Who can measure the hypnotizing power of the army of thought sensations "that swarm round humankind, the progeny and heirs to man and his terrestrial spoils"? The Astral Light, surrounding the earth to a measurable distance, is the storehouse of selfish thoughts, the reservoir of all human vice and iniquity. Of an originally pure substance, used for the consolidation of the forms of reincarnating Egos, the Astral Light is now impure, evil, devilish, radiating back an hundred-fold the bad impressions it receives, while the whole of Nature "groans in travail because of the iniquities of man."
The only Satan there is, therefore, is Lower Manas, the dynamic power of human thinking turned in the direction of selfishness. The very force of Spirit itself is the producer of all our ills. Is it not proved that the greater a force the more destructive its effects, if wrongly used? And what force, short of the omnipotence of the God-head, could possibly have produced the evils of the whole wide world? Why create an imaginary Satan and endow him with powers he does not possess -- powers equal, moreover, to those of God himself, if one is to judge by effects? The religious allegory of Satan being a fallen angel bears striking resemblance to the old theosophical doctrines of the divine Manasa, now caught up and deluded by the snares of self.
Shall we, then, despair of progress for the human race, and say there is nothing we can do? Shall we, like unthinking religionists, cry for help from a God who makes no reply, while the forces of evil sweep the field? Man's greatest need, say the Teachers, is a knowledge of his own true nature, a perception of his place in the scheme of things. He needs to know that the power which makes for evil can, with equal force, be turned to good. What inhibits, do we ask? False religious ideas about what we are, chief of which is the teaching that man is a poor, miserable sinner, inherently imperfect, and born in iniquity. What can be more degrading than this? While placing upon man the burden of responsibility for his sins, Theosophy teaches him to look up, to grasp the power that is his by divine birthright. "Even if thou wert the greatest of all sinners," says the Bhagavad Gita, "thou shalt be able to cross over all sins in the bark of spiritual knowledge."
Why wild beasts and deadly plants and all manner of human ailments, do we ask? Why the harsh extremes through which we go, instead of the quiet beneficent contrasts of the "opposites"? Why this demon Satan running rampant in a world guided by a kind and loving God?
The answer is that man is a God incarnated in human form, learning to master the powers of Self. He is a Divine Being, waging in himself a unique battle -- that for spiritual freedom. Upon his shoulders rests the moral equilibrium of the universe. Shall he, therefore, be judged too harshly for his present imperfections?
Demon est Deus inversus --Lower Manas is Higher Manas reversed.
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:
PHYSICS AND FREE-WILL
The classical physics seemed to bolt and bar the door leading to any sort of freedom of the will; the new physics hardly does this; it almost seems to suggest that the door may be unlocked -- if we could only find the handle. The old physics showed us a universe which looked more like a prison than a dwelling-place. The new physics shows us a universe which looks as though it might conceivably form a suitable dwelling-place for free men, and not a mere shelter for brutes -- a home in which it may at least be possible for us to mould events to our desires and live lives of endeavor and achievement.... [Whether we continue to call matter "matter" or not] what remains is in any case very different from the full-blooded matter and the forbidding materialism of the Victorian scientist. His objective and material universe is proved to consist of little more than constructs of our own minds. In this and in other ways, modern physics has moved in the direction of mentalism.
--SIR JAMES JEANS
ANTIPODAL POWERS OF MANAS
(Part 6 of a 6-part series)
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