THEOSOPHY, Vol. 51, No. 7, May, 1963
(Pages 172-176; Size: 15K)
(Number 13 of a 14-part series)
CAUSATION in the abstract sense is presented on the opening page of Proem in the symbol of the "Point." Time and Space and Causality, as we know them, having passed through the "Night" of the Universe, or Pralaya, are abstractly present for the on-coming "Day" of the Universe, or Manvantara.
Causation is said to be "a philosophical term for the operation of causes and for the mental conception of cause as operative throughout the universe." Implicit, here, is the related idea of an expanding universe, not a universe which becomes "larger," but one which grows in the mind through an ever-deepening perception of the operation of causes. It makes of every thinking being a potential philosopher.
Causation is, perhaps, one of those Ideas "impacted in the imperishable center of man's nature" -- to use a phrase of Wm. Q. Judge in The Ocean of Theosophy -- since it is universally comprehended, or apprehended. The child's first desire to witness repetition of a phenomenon is evidence of an innate belief that "something" can make it happen again. The natural curiosity of the growing child is voiced in ancient questions that are eternally new: "What makes it go?" "How did it get that way?" "Where did it come from?" The maturing mind searches for meaning in its own way: the quest for a beginning, some starting point; endless examination of problems and processes, for, whatever comes about, there is something that precedes; and the disturbing mystery of persistence and apparent purposiveness in the seemingly blind acts of Nature -- what Intelligence moves thus, and to what undisclosed end?
Opinions as to the nature of Cause differ, depending upon individual intelligence, perception, and established values. The religionist, unquestioningly, may refer everything to God as Cause, while the atheist denies the very existence of God. But points of view -- "differences of individual opinion" -- do not alter common recognition that any circumstance or condition or action is the result of some agent or power.
Confusion concerning causation arises as the illusionary nature of the physical world is discerned. This discovery at once puts the problem "on another plane," where it in fact belongs. The illusionary world is the world of appearances and one needs to look beyond appearances for meaning -- what makes the plant respond to sunlight, what prompts the flight of birds on their cyclic journey, how does the creature of nature know when to hibernate? This reflection brings, simultaneously, awareness of the illusionary "physical" man, the constantly changing form, or body. Its relation to the Real Man is clearly stated in The Ocean of Theosophy (p. 34):The Real Man is the trinity of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or Spirit and Mind, and he uses certain agents and instruments to get in touch with nature in order to know himself. These instruments and agents are found in the lower Four -- or the Quaternary -- each principle in which category is of itself an instrument for the particular experience belonging to its own field, the body being the lowest, least important, and most transitory of the whole series. For when we arrive at the body on the way down from the Higher Mind, it can be shown that all of its organs are in themselves senseless and useless when deprived of the man within. Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smelling do not pertain to the body but to the second unseen physical man, the real organs for the exercise of those powers being in the Astral Body, and those in the physical body being but the mechanical outer instruments for making the coordination between nature and the real organs inside.The maturing mind adapts its philosophy to a metaphysical world, and as the problem enlarges, the psychological aspect of all manifestation is sensed, with its complexities of causation. First, in one's self, simply, since "there is no Karma (action) unless there is a being to make it or feel its effects." No being acts alone. No action can be completely isolated. The present is an unfolding past and holds the potential future. Such awareness provides a sound sense of continuity and a fitting frame of mind for considering Universal Causation where, as Proem indicates, beginning of a Period of manifestation is at the same time an ancient continuity, for the "great Law of continuity rules the Universe."
The Point-symbol "denotes the dawn of differentiation" -- the distinguishing sign, or abstract symbol of the Day-to-come. It represents the Unmanifested Cause -- the "forever concealed, primeval triune differentiation, not from, but in the One Absolute."
The Germ "which will become the Universe" represents the dynamics of manifestation -- the stage depicted in Stanza IV from the Book of Dzyan. This stage of evolution is spoken of in Hindu mythology as the "Creation" of the Gods. In her outline of the Stanzas, H.P.B. says:Stanza IV. shows the differentiation of the "Germ" of the Universe into the septenary hierarchy of conscious Divine Powers, who are the active manifestations of the One Supreme Energy. They are the framers, shapers, and ultimately the creators of all the manifested Universe, in the only sense in which the name "Creator" is intelligible; they inform and guide it; they are the intelligent Beings who adjust and control evolution, embodying in themselves those manifestations of the ONE LAW, which we know as "The Laws of Nature." (S.D. I, 21-22.)The differentiation of the germ is the beginning of relationships -- reference points in Time and Space and the circumstances of all planes of Being, the field of Causation.
Reflection on the idea of "cause" reveals a scale of causes, interlinked in orderly fashion. The human mind, commonly concerned with appearances, seeks the immediate cause of a given phenomenon. The Sanskrit word upadana means "material cause -- as flax is the cause of linen." But does flax become linen? Not without the efficient cause, the workers. And upon what do the workers depend? A pattern to follow, and the acquired intelligence become active. Beyond all, is the "unitary" cause, the root Cause of the "visible garb of the invisible Soul" -- incomprehensible to the finite mind.
There is throughout the Theosophical philosophy the sure guide of "analogy and correspondence" -- the birth of a Universe parallels the birth of a man. Until his death in any given incarnation, and after the death of the body, he participates in the great Mystery of Being. Where, but within himself, shall he seek for the key to the Mystery? This ultimate need is stated in The Voice of the Silence (P. 5):Saith the Great Law: "In order to become the KNOWER of ALL SELF, thou hast first of SELF to be the knower." To reach the knowledge of that SELF, thou hast to give up Self to Non-Self, Being to Non-Being, and then thou canst repose between the wings of the GREAT BIRD. Aye, sweet is rest between the wings of that which is not born, nor dies, but is the AUM throughout eternal ages.This mood is captured by Robert Crosbie in his Notes on the Bhagavad-Gita (pp. 164-5):The words "Universal Divine Perfections" have a significance not usually perceived. Men speak of perfection from the standpoint of imperfection, and always in relation to forms, conditions and appearances that are constantly changing; so that with humanity in general the standard of perfection is an ever-receding and elusive, as well as delusive idea. Here again, as with our modern science, we reason from particulars to universals, instead of from universals to particulars, never perceiving that nothing less than the cause itself could ever know itself.An intriguing idea for drawing analogies is in the succinct statement by H.P.B.: "Three distinct representations of the Universe in its three distinct aspects are impressed upon our thought by the esoteric philosophy: the PRE-EXISTING (evolved from) the EVER-EXISTING; and the PHENOMENAL -- the world of illusion, the reflection, and shadow thereof." (S.D. I, 278.)
The discourses of Krishna but repeat that which was known before, to the perfected men of all ages, and that which all divine incarnations have since declared -- that Man is identical with the Absolute unmanifested, and also with the Deity as we see It manifested in Nature. Our doctrines and education lead us to think that we are inherently imperfect; if we are so, we can never by any possibility become perfect; but if we are inherently perfect, we can see, understand and correct imperfect knowledge and use of all forces, for it is forces we are dealing with, not forms; it is ideas, not persons. We will begin to understand that there is but one force or power -- the Spiritual, and that all the various effects of that one power or force that we see and experience, are due to the direction given by conscious entities of many kinds in their different degrees. To understand the "divine perfections," they must be applied universally, from the standpoint of the One Self -- the Self of each, the Self of All.
The world of illusion is also the world of distractions. The pre-existing world is the world of continuity. The ever-existing is the Reality, beginningless and endless.
In a septenary scheme of manifestation, continuity must have its seven aspects, one of which is the line of "transmitters" of the Archaic Truths. Such transmission carries the highest hopes and the deepest commitment to work for "the amelioration of the condition of humanity." The Theosophical Movement began "far back in the night of Time. Wherever thought has struggled to be free, wherever spiritual ideas, as opposed to forms and dogmatism have been promulgated, there the great Movement is to be discerned. The Theosophical Movement is moral, ethical, spiritual, universal, invisible save in effect, and continuous." So wrote Wm. Q. Judge.
And Robert Crosbie applied the ideas of causation and continuity to the present time. He said: "H.P.B. was not an isolated phenomenon of the nineteenth century. Unrelated to times and eternities, her work has no meaning for us. Unless she represented a continuity of effort, unless she was the latest of a hierarchy of teachers that began with the birth of humanity, then we have slight concern with the philosophy that she taught. For that philosophy was based upon a perpetual law of self-sacrifice, existing from the dawn of time, and varying from age to age only in the manner of its application and the needs of its beneficiaries. It represented the spiritual education of the world. It implied successive revelations of spiritual truth, of Theosophy, each adapted to periodic human wants, each related to all others in plan, design, intention. It declared a sequence of spiritual teachers, a sequence governed by precise cyclic laws, and destined ultimately to unveil the totality of Theosophic Truth. It is only in the light of that cyclic law that we can understand the portentous movement that began in 1875, under the direction of H. P. Blavatsky, and all other movements, in all other times, to which it was related. Unless we can think in ages instead of by the dwarfed standards of a human life, there can be no real survey of the battlefield, nor comprehension of the great figures that have fought thereon. To understand H.P.B. is to understand what Krishna meant when he said: 'I incarnate from age to age, for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of righteousness'."
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:
"There is no repose for the mind except in the Absolute; for feeling, except in the Infinite; for the soul, except in the divine." Nothing finite is true, is interesting, or worthy to fix my attention. All that is particular is exclusive, and all that is exclusive repels me. There is nothing non-exclusive but the ALL; my end is communion with Being. Then, in the light of the Absolute, every idea becomes worth studying; in that of the Infinite, every existence worth respecting; in that of the divine, every creature worth loving.
(Part 14 of a 14-part series)
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