THEOSOPHY, Vol. 44, No. 6, April, 1956
(Pages 274-278; Size: 15K)
GAUGE OF MATURITY(1)
MATURITY is realization. It is gained by those who have bridged the everlasting and the ever-fleeting with Antaskarana. The measure of manhood wears no external insignia, but lies hidden in the individual's approach to knowledge. It is the realization of Deity. Those who anciently attained this state, looked back from timelessness, from the state of the All. They saw what men needed to guide them and gave it in its universal key, an heritage from the Mysteries. They left the symbol of the Point within the circle as the great landmark and goal, the geometrical expression of the pilgrim's attempt to expand back into the primordial condition, that of the waiting "Father." His present understanding of the symbol is a man's immediate test of the state of his intuition.
Our Deity is the eternal, incessantly evolving, not creating, builder of the Universe; that universe itself unfolding out of its own essence, not being made. It is a sphere, without circumference in its symbolism, which has but one ever-acting attribute embracing all other existing or thinkable attributes -- ITSELF. It is the one Law, within the never-manifesting because absolute LAW, which in its manifesting periods is The Ever-Becoming.
Something of the divine and the mysterious has ever been ascribed, in the minds of the ancient philosophers, to the shape of the circle. The old world, consistent in its symbolism with its pantheistic intuitions, uniting the visible and the invisible Infinitudes into one, represented Deity and its outward Veil alike -- by a Circle. This merging of the two into a unity, and the name Theos given indifferently to both, is explained, and becomes thereby still more scientific and philosophical. According to the esoteric philosophy, this Deity is during its "nights" and its "days" "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 the 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 æons of duration into its original status -- Absolute Unity.
The Circle was with every nation the symbol of the Unknown -- "Boundless Space," the abstract garb of an ever present abstraction -- the incognizable Deity. It represents limitless Time in Eternity. This boundless and infinite Unity remained with every nation a virgin forbidden soil, untrodden by man's thought, untouched by fruitless speculation. Ain-Soph, the Kabalists taught, could not be comprehended, could not be located, nor named, though the causeless cause of all. They made of it therefore a boundless circle, a sphere, of which human intellect, with the utmost reach, could only perceive the vault. The first and only form of the prima materia our brain consciousness can cognize is a circle. The advice is esoterically given to "train your thoughts first of all to a thorough acquaintance with a limited circle, and expand it gradually. You will soon come to a point when, without ceasing to be a circle in thought, it yet becomes infinite and limitless even to the inner perception. If, from your own consciousness of perception you try and think outward to the extremest limits in every direction, you will find that equal lines or rays of perception extend evenly out in every direction, so that the utmost effort of perception will terminate in the vault of a sphere. The limitation of this sphere will, of necessity, be a great Circle, and the direct rays of thought in any and every direction must be the right line radii of the circle. This then, will be, humanly speaking, the extremest, all-embracing conception of the Ain-Soph ('Boundless') manifest, which formulates itself as a geometrical figure, of a circle, with its elements of curved circumference and right line diameter divided into radii. Hence a geometrical shape is the first recognizable means of connection between the Ain-Soph and the intelligence of man." Therefore the Circle is the first geometrical figure in the subjective world.
The esoteric doctrine of the East having furnished and struck the keynote -- which is as scientific as it is philosophical and poetical -- every nation has followed its lead. Every symbol may be read esoterically, and the proof furnished for its being correctly read by transliterating it into its corresponding numerals and geometrical forms -- by the extraordinary agreement of all -- however much the glyphs and symbols may vary among themselves. Take, for instance, the opening sentences in the various cosmogonies; in each case it is either a circle, an egg or a head. DARKNESS is always associated with this first symbol and surrounds it -- as shown in the Hindu, the Egyptian, the Chaldeo-Hebrew and even the Scandinavian systems. Hence black ravens, black doves, black waters and even black flames. What is the real meaning of all those black birds? They are all connected with the primeval wisdom, which flows out of the pre-cosmic source of all, symbolized by the Head, the Circle, the Egg. The one Circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns. Its circumference -- a forcibly limited symbol, in view of the limitation of the human mind -- indicates the abstract, ever incognizable PRESENCE, and its plane, the Universal Soul, although the two are one. Only the face of the disk being white and the ground all around being black, shows clearly that the plane of the circle is the only knowledge, dim and hazy though it still is, that is attainable by man.
The Circle is not the "One," but the All. The first, or rather One principle, was called "the circle of heaven," symbolized by the hierogram of a point within a circle, the point being the Logos. The universe evolves from the point, the central sun, the ever-concealed germ. Esoteric philosophy speaks of three logoi which are the personified symbols of the three spiritual stages of evolution. The first Logos is the point within the circle which has neither limits nor boundaries, nor can it have any name or attribute. There is no differentiation with the first Logos; differentiation begins only with the second Logos and receives its full expression -- becomes the Word made Flesh -- with the third. This first Logos, the unmanifested, is synonymous with the line drawn across the diameter of the circle. The first line is the Mother-Father; from it proceeds the second Logos, which contains in itself the third manifested Word.
The Chaldeans, according to Philo, "were of the opinion that the Kosmos is a single point, comprehending the soul of all things." The universe is contained in ovo in the first natural point, the motion toward which the connatus tends, is circular, since the circle is the most perfect of all figures. Just as the fecundation of an egg takes place before it is dropped; so the non-eternal periodical germ which later becomes in symbolism the mundane egg, contains in itself the promise and potency of all the universe. Though the idea per se is, of course, an abstraction, a symbolical mode of expression, it is a symbol truly, as it suggests the idea of infinity as an endless circle. It brings before the mind's eye the picture of Kosmos emerging from and in boundless space. The simile of an egg also expresses the fact taught in Occultism that the primordial form of everything manifested, from atom to globe, from man to angel, is spheroidal, the sphere having been with every nation the emblem of eternity and infinity -- the serpent swallowing its own tail. To realize the meaning, however, the sphere must be thought of as seen from its center. The field of vision or of thought is like a sphere whose radii proceed from one's self in every direction and extend out into space, opening up boundless vistas all around. It is the symbolical circle of Pascal and the Kabalists "whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere."
The point (the real esoteric Logos) is the Pythagorean MONAD. The genesis of Gods and men takes rise in and from the same Point, which is the One Universal, Immutable and absolute Unity. Pythagoras speaks of the never manifested MONAD "which lives in solitude and darkness." When the hour strikes, it radiates from itself One, the first number. The Monad, or point, is the original and is the unit from which follows the entire numerical system. This point is the First Cause, but THAT from which it emanates, or of which, rather, it is the expression -- the Logos -- is passed over in silence. In universal cosmogony the point within the circle was not yet the "Architect" of the universe, but the cause of the Architect. The latter, the Architect, stood to that cause in precisely the same relation as the point itself stood to the circumference of the Circle -- or that which cannot be defined, because never manifested. Pythagoras esteemed the Deity (the Logos) to be the center of unity and "source of Harmony." This Deity was the (emanated, or expressed) Logos, not the (never manifested) MONAD that dwelleth in solitude and silence, because Pythagoras taught that Unity being indivisible is no number. With Pythagoras the MONAD returns into silence and darkness as soon as it has evolved the Triad, from which emanate the remaining seven numbers of the 10 numbers which are at the base of the manifested universe.
In the oldest Kabalistic diagrams, says H. P. Blavatsky, the ten Sephiroth are represented as wheels or circles. These are the "ten emanations of Deity" or the ten numbers. "In their mysterious and mutual relations, the Sephiroth or Æons are represented in the Kabala by a great number of circles, and sometimes by the figure of a man, which is symbolically formed of such circles." In The Secret Doctrine it is stated that Number issued from No-Number. The Boundless Circle (Zero) becomes a figure or number only when one of the nine figures precedes it, and thus manifests its value and potency. In all the numerical divisions the ONE universal Principle -- although referred to as the one, because the Only One -- never enters into the calculations. IT stands, in its character of the Absolute, the Infinite, and the universal abstraction, entirely by ITSELF and independent of every other Power whether noumenal or phenomenal. IT is "neither matter nor spirit, neither Ego nor non-Ego, neither object nor subject." It is taught: "Learn that there is neither first nor last, for all is ONE." In Occult metaphysics there are, properly speaking, two "ones" -- the One on the unreachable plane of Absoluteness and Infinity, on which no speculation is possible, and the second "One" on the plane of emanations. The former can neither emanate nor be divided, as it is eternal, absolute, and immutable. The second, being so to speak the reflection of the first One (for it is the Logos, or Eswara, in the universe of illusion) can do all this.
Pythagoras, after the manner of Orpheus, worshipped the Gods not bound to human form, but to divine numbers. Divine numbers, according to Orpheus and Pythagoras, are the Gods themselves. "Before the mathematical numbers," says Proclus, "there are the self-moving numbers; before the figures apparent -- the vital figures, and before producing the material worlds which move in a circle, the Creative Power produced the invisible Circles." The invisible Circles are also referred to as "Wheels," centers of force, around which primordial Cosmic matter expands, and, passing through six stages of consolidation, become spheroidal and end by being transformed into globes or spheres. The law of vortical movement in primordial matter is one of the oldest concepts of Greek philosophy, whose first historical Sages were nearly all Initiates of the Mysteries. It is one of the fundamental dogmas of Esoteric Cosmogony, that during the Kalpas of life, MOTION, which during the periods of rest "pulsates and thrills through every slumbering atom" -- assumes an evergrowing tendency to circular motion.
In the primitive philosophy of the Hierophants these invisible Circles were the prototypic causes and builders of all the heavenly orbs, which were their visible bodies or coverings, and of which they were the souls. This teaching in antiquity was universal. Pythagoras prescribes a circular prostration and posture during the hours of meditation. "The devotee must approach as much as possible the form of a perfect circle," says the Secret Book. Numa tried to spread among the people the same custom, and Pliny says: "During our worship, we roll up, so to say, our body in a ring." Orpheus as well as Pythagoras considered a spherical figure as the most appropriate symbol of divinity. For the universe is spherical.
GOOD AND EVIL
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