THEOSOPHY, Vol. 54, No. 10, August, 1966
(Pages 292-295; Size: 13K)
THE DEAD GODNo light that shines from Spirit can dispel the darkness of the nether Soul, unless all selfish thought has fled therefrom....DURING the early centuries of our era, the growing Church waged constant war against the philosophical tenets of the Gnostics, that manasic(1) branch of early Christianity which promoted both the metaphysical and moral verities of Jesus. Substituting dogma for the living message of the Master, it later pronounced the teachings of Origen anathema, thus denying its own St. Jerome who had extolled this great philosopher as being second to the disciples in knowledge and practice. Since that time, the Church has departed further and further from the influence of the Christ-spirit, worshipping a "dead God" and a "dead Christ." In this sense, Christianity became a debased form of "spiritualism," as materialistic in its effects upon the mind as the most degraded séance-room.
--The Voice of the Silence
Nor have other religious faiths fared very much better. The persuasive dynamism of Krishna, Buddha, Lao-tze, and Jesus, sprang directly from the living fire of the One Universal Spirit, but the dead hand of dogma smothered the flame and paved the way, at least in the West, to the furor of the current contretemps: Is God Dead?
Who can deny that with the passage of time ambitious priests have contaminated the life-giving manna the Saviors came to bring and, by reverse alchemy(2), changed it into ritual and dogma, the very evil the Reformers had assailed? Instead of nourishment, people were given a "holy" Bible replete with mistranslations, inconsistencies, and an even more confusing exegesis. As a consequence, many intelligent people have gone to the extreme of fabricating fantastic and nonsensical dogmas to prop their beliefs.
Are the Theosophists any better in their way, it is fair to ask, than Christians, Jews, and Hindus? Are they free from the paralyzing influence that has devitalized and corrupted movements of the past? Theosophists, let it be said, share the same nature, the same defects and virtues of the rest of humanity. And many of them, entering theosophical study, bring to it the same "religious," or kama-manasic, attitudes which prevail in their families and the churches. Kama-Manas, or the lower personal mind, is where the "religious instinct" has its domain, despite its origin on higher planes. It is true that some people function through the more sublimated rays of kama-manas, and live a sweetness-and-light variety of existence. But this is still the personal quality, and can never exercise the penetrating, perceptive power of Higher Manas, which alone can be a vehicle of the light that shines from Spirit and thus holds a Movement on its course.
For many "Theosophists," therefore, their "movement" is as lifeless as the ritualistic practices of conventional religious institutions. For some, H.P.B. and Judge(3) are "dead," since such students are totally unaware of their own kama-manasic tendencies and the resulting effects. For others, even some who call themselves disciples, the Masters are "dead," the magnetic rapport between themselves and the Teachers having been lost, perhaps unconsciously, through selfishness or infidelity, or some other weakness of the personal nature. And the rapport once broken, the Teachers say, "it becomes at each time doubly difficult to re-establish it again." Our self-worship and anthropomorphism, inherited from an Atlantean past, has created the personal God idea of Western religions. This posture separates man and the living God within.The light from the ONE MASTER, the one unfading golden light of Spirit, shoots its effulgent beams on the Disciple from the very first. Its rays thread through the thick, dark clouds of Matter.... But, O Disciple, unless the flesh is passive, head cool, the Soul as firm and pure as flaming diamond, the radiance will not reach the chamber....(The Voice of the Silence.)The aim of the Theosophical Movement is to remove this incongruity -- the personal God concept -- from man's memory, and to restore for all men the lost rapport. But this cannot be done as long as men continue to think and live as persons, instead of as Souls, as long as they anthropomorphize Deity as a being in heaven. According to Theosophy, Deity is the Divine Essence inherent in all life, and the Christ is a living principle within the heart of every man. This teaching means that man, in reality, is Soul, and that to achieve a conscious realization of the fact, he must direct all his thoughts, feelings, and actions from the plane of Spirit. Neither by prayer, supplication, nor petition, can the inner rapport be re-established, but only by becoming one's greater SELF. When this is achieved, self-realization will dawn; both God and the Christ will become living powers within men's lives, and brotherhood and peace will prevail upon earth.
Since God is the Divine Essence within all forms and beings, IT can never die. Were such death possible, planets would cease to revolve, flowers would be unable to bloom, animals, birds, and insects would lose their procreative power, and the heart-beat of both Nature and Man would cease. The true Deity antecedes and succeeds all finite beings and conditions, all philosophies and scriptures, and depends upon naught. Is it not, then, a sad error, born of ignorance, for finite man to sit in judgment upon the Infinite? "All things hang on me," Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita, "as precious gems upon a string."
Regarding as irrational all forms of anthropomorphism, Thomas Paine made obeisance only to this primal Intelligence, and the frightened and the casuistic reviled him as an "atheist." Paine appraised even the best of religious Scriptures -- since they depend upon human language -- as inferior to the book of Nature. His words merit quotation at length:It is only in the CREATION that all our ideas and conceptions of a word of God can unite. The creation speaketh an universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they be. It [Nature] is an ever existing original, which every man can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. It does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man all that is necessary for man to know of God.Would that more of our fellows had Paine's reverence for the one living Reality, and less for the "dead" God of organized religion!
Do we want to contemplate his power? We see it in the immensity of the creation. Do we want to contemplate his wisdom? We see it in the unchangeable order by which the incomprehensible Whole is governed. Do we want to contemplate his munificence? We see it in the abundance with which he fills the earth. Do we want to contemplate his mercy? We see it in his not withholding that abundance even from the unthankful. In fine, do we want to know what God is; search not the book called the Scripture, which any human hand might make, but the Scripture called Creation.
The only idea man can affix to the name of God is that of a first cause, the cause of all things. And incomprehensible and difficult as it is for a man to conceive what a first cause is, he arrives at the belief of it from the tenfold greater difficulty of disbelieving it. It is difficult beyond description to conceive that space can have no end; but it is more difficult to conceive an end. It is difficult beyond the power of man to conceive an eternal duration of what we call time; but it is more impossible to conceive a time when there shall be no time. In like manner of reasoning, everything we behold carries in itself the internal evidence that it did not make itself. Every man is an evidence to himself that he did not make himself, neither could his father make himself, nor his grandfather, nor any of his race; neither could any tree, plant, or animal, make itself; and it is the conviction arising from this evidence that carries us on, as it were by necessity, to the belief of a first cause eternally existing, of a nature totally different from any material existence we know of, and by the power of which all things exist; and this first cause man calls God. (The Age of Reason, Part I.)
All men, according to The Secret Doctrine, are potentially Christs, though only few today are aware of this truth. This inward Divinity in all is the essential fact of all life. Without it there could not be the existence we now know, however limited and foreshortened it is by the perverted "religious instinct," which worships a "dead" Christ, instead of arousing the true living one within.
None of the Masters, neither Krishna, Buddha, nor Christ, are persons. Only their temporary earthly vehicle, the body, presents that appearance. Nor is any man a person, whether the personality, the mask he uses for a lifetime, is stately or the opposite. Rather, each, in his highest nature, is a Christ, Atman in Sanskrit, the life in all things and beings, from the grain of dust to the Adept. The difference is that the Adept knows he is Christ; the dust does not.
The God of theology is an uninspired caricature of the ever-incomprehensible Reality, the product of man's impure fancy, which blights both mind and heart. If this is the "God" now being called "dead," let us say AMEN! Let the last funeral rites be expeditiously performed! Then the immemorial impulse of devotion in men may find its natural expression and fulfillment, and make of humanity a Republic of Brotherhood, in which all men shall live to serve one another.
Studies in The Secret Doctrine
Deity In Nature
(Part 21 of a 25-part series.)
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THREE (3) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
COMPILER'S NOTE: I added these footnotes; they were not in the article. If any of them don't paint an accurate enough picture, or are incorrect, I hope the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine will spot them and point the inaccuracies out to me, so that I can make the necessary corrections.
(1) "Manas" means Mind.
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(2) "Alchemy", or the Chemistry of Nature, is true knowledge of how everything in Nature and Man works on every plane (on this planet and throughout the cosmos) -- spiritual, mental, psychic, and physical.
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(3) "Judge" here means William Q. Judge (W.Q.J.).
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