Part II - Go To Part I
We are further told that "Akasa contains and includes the seven centres of Force, therefore the six Tatwas of which it is the synthesis". This may be taken to mean that all Forces are some form of motion, their characters being determined by the forms, directions, and rates of their vibrations.
Rama Prasad says, "all forms and ideas of the Universe live and move in Akasa. There is no living thing which is not preceded by Akasa or followed by it"; and, in the Visishtadwaita catechism, we read "Akasa is that subtle fluid which pervades all space and exists everywhere [Visishtadwaita Catechism, Page 37] in everything"; while H. P. B. tells us that "Akasa is the Upadhi or [Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 326] Vehicle of Divine Thought."
Thus we are again brought back to Divine Thought, and that thought only becomes subjective to us when it moulds the form of an Idea out of something more tangible than itself, but still too subtle to be cognizable by our keenest senses. This something is held to be what we term consciousness, and if it is consciousness on one plane, it must be consciousness on every plane. Consequently we get Consciousness, Idea and Thought as the Triad from which all things emanate on every plane.
But we may even go a little further than this. Consciousness itself implies limitations and qualifications. Something to be conscious of, and [Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 56] someone to be conscious of it. Here, therefore, we get a Duality, on a higher plane than our own; a principle which differentiates what we are accustomed to regard as the Divine Unity. In Hindu philosophy this Unity stands for "Absolute Consciousness, which contains the cogniser, the thing to be cognised and the cognition. All three in itself and all three One". "But to us this consciousness is unconsciousness, for concrete [Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 56] Consciousness cannot be predicated of Abstract Consciousness anymore than the quality wet can be predicated of water â€” wetness being its own [Secret Doctrine,Volume 1, Page 58] quality and the cause of wetness in others". See 2.18 - One Becomes Two
We have then consciousness, i.e. immediate knowledge â€” as the passive substance in which all Ideas are evolved by the active energy of Will, manifested as Thought, and the objective Word as the effect of their Being. This order is universal, and can be traced through all the Planes of Being. To us, as we have seen, it first appears as the correlation of spirit and matter; for, as the Hindus say, Purusha and Prakriti are ever [Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 247] inseparable though ever distinguishable. They are the two poles of the same homogeneous substance.
For us, however, these exist only as differentiations of our own consciousness, for unless we had knowledge of them, to us they would not be, and that knowledge is only to be attained by a finite Being through limitations in his consciousness of the Infinite.
Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Omniscience, etc., are not segrations in the Divine Unity but only terms by which we express our intuition of the infinitude of the power, propinquity, knowledge, etc., which characterise our own being, and which, in the abstract, extend beyond the range of our cognition. Now as consciousness is the genesis of Individuality it is to each of us "the first film on the boundless expanse of 'Jiva' or the 'Universal Life Principleâ€', and that, as we are told, is the primary definition of Akasa. Akasa, therefore, is not only Divine, but also human consciousness.
Then, when we read that, "Akasa is the upadhi, or vehicle, of Divine thought", we understand that Divine Will, or Desire, evolves a Divine Idea, which Divine Thought, or Intelligence, formulates in such a mode that it can be apprehended by Human Consciousness, as an Idea or Intuition, which Human thought can clothe by fashioning the sympathetic essence that unifies man and Deity, and so we are enabled to comprehend our correspondent of that which was evolved in the Divine consciousness or Akasa.
Passing through the various planes in which consciousness is manifested we come at last to the physical. There we find "countless centres of potential vitality, each having latent intelligence within it, and each evolving a succession of forms, through countless ages, in precisely the same way that our own Egos have evolved our own personalities; consequently, between our Egos and other centres of potency there is an inherent correlation, so there is no absurdity in believing that if we can obtain control over the various vibrations of the common medium of consciousness, or Akasa, we can use all the forces of Nature for the benefit [Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 567] of man".
Now these centres, Jivas, Monads, Egos, or whatever we choose to call them, have certain characteristics by which each can be distinguished from all others, while, at the same time, these characteristics have an essential similtude which implies a common origin. Some of them are manifestations wonderfully complex, and science has traced the evolution of organs, into which the homogeneous protoplasm has been differentiated, as fresh needs have arisen in the order of Being. In every case we find the need preceding the differentiation, and the perfection of the organ keeping pace with the growth of the necessity.
Here again we see the Divine Will, personated by necessity and evolving a first film, that is, consciousness or Akasa, on Universal Life manifested on the physical plane. But here, too, we mark a notable distinction. Absolute Being has no needs, and, therefore, is incapable of progress. Finite Being is the manifestation of multiplying needs, and by that multiplication progress is effected.
Now this progress is ever towards the extinction of needs, and in that extinction is reunion with the Absolute, which has no needs; consequently, while there is ever a temporary potent differentiation, the potential Unity of all is the eternal One Reality, and needs are only created to be destroyed.
Thus, by regarding Akasa, or consciousness, manifested on various planes and in various Differentiations, as that in which Divine Motion, Energy, Thought, or Will formulates Divine Ideation, we get some slight conception of the Harmony which ever vibrates in the Infinite.
That is to say, like everything else, the Great Breath or Abstract Motion can only be manifested in and by a suitable vehicle, while no such vehicle can be without Divine Volition.
This necessitates the existence of Akasa before the first thrill of even subjective vibration. Here, therefore, it is properly called a principle rather than a substance, for even the subjective antecedent of Matter is too gross to embody That which is beyond the seventh plane of Akasa â€” the omnipresent Deity from which, and in which, a sand grain and Iswara, alike have their Being; the unknowable Absolute of the West, the inscrutable Parabrahm of the East.
And now let us give a brief consideration to the other part of our subject.
Ether, we are told, "is the lining of Akasa; it is the World Soul or [Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 97] Mother of Kosmos; it is said to be the fifth element within which Cosmic Matter scatters and forms itself into the Mystic Four". It is the [Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 134] "Spiritual Mother of everything". "The passive female Principle from [Secret Doctrine, Volume 1, Page 57] which everything has emanated". On the highest objective plane then, we get Akasa the male Principle or Deity with its lining or female correspondent, Ether, as the parents of the Universe. Personifying these Principles, as an illustration of creation, we may compare Iswara to a child blowing bubbles. For his plastic [Visishtadwaita Catechism] medium he has Sudda-Satwa, or intellectual Substance; worlds are the bubbles he produces, and it is his breath that forms them. In him alone is the potentiality of their being. But what are they? Are they his breath, or the film that encloses it? His breath is his life, for all must breathe or cease to live; so he gives his life that these may be. But it is at his will that he imparts that breath to Sudda-Satwa; and, though he must breathe, he may become weary of creating bubbles. Even when he does produce then there is but one form that he can impart to them, and even he can give them but a transient existence, so there is a law that limits his Will. In due time too the bubbles must either burst or float away from him, glitter for a moment in the sunlight and then their beauty is lost forever, unless they return to their primal source and obtain new being from the breath of their Creator. As it is with worlds so is it with us, so well may the Hindus call all objects Maya or Illusion. And is not that Law which limits the will of the Creator more divine than even he is. But let us continue.
The order in which Divine Ideation evolves, is said to be Dots, Lines, Triangles, Squares, Circles, and finally cubes and spheres. That is, superficial ideal forms, and then solid ideal forms are manifested in our consciousness. Thus we may say Divine Thought when impregnated by Divine Idea evolves subjective forms by the fundamental inherent law of Being. Consequently though this first Duality emanates all, beyond it lies the inscrutable "That" which, for convenience, in this aspect we denominate Law, and by "That" alone forms are able to manifest even subjectively.
Here we seem to get at the very kernel of Occultism. Essential Being is Unity; but perfect Unity is without form and void, so it is properly termed Non-being. But Unity necessitates Diversity; the one idea is non-existent without the other; therefore Unity and Diversity [Monism and A, Page 40] must ever exist simultaneously. Dvivedi says, "Advaitism is Non-duality which he explains as "Inseparability of Mind and Matter, not their Unity. Thought and Being are inseparable â€” not Oneâ€''.
Now we know that, in natural order, One precedes Two, and that One remains unchangeable however often it is multiplied by itself, while it ceases to be a Unity if you divide it into fractions. One, therefore cannot be an effective Cause though it is the antecedent possibility of all Causes.
Or, to put it otherwise, knowledge is incomprehensible till it is limited by ideas; the Universal can only be understood by Particulars. But, however much thought may differentiate them, knowledge and universality ever remain logical necessities, complete in themselves and co-existent with their opposites. These, however, are only metaphysical subtleties. What really concerns us is not the Causeless Cause or Absolute Unit, but the Effective Causes which differentiate it, i.e., the co-existent fruitful Duality, which with the Unity makes the Trinity.
Why differentiation should be we can never learn, but we do know that it is the logical and fundamental necessity of manifested Being, and it is only with Differentiations that Occultism occupies itself.
To us they become objective as male and female: which is but a variant of the attraction and repulsion of the magnetic plane that dominates physical being and energises all our affinities. Now, there is something very noteworthy in magnetism. Test a magnetic rod, and one end will be found positive, the other negative. But positive and negative are qualities which are not restricted to those ends. Divide the rod anywhere, and you will produce two fresh poles. That, too, which is now positive might have been negative if your division had been varied by a hair's breadth, therefore these qualities are not inherent in special atoms, or ends of atoms, but are derived from the relative position of any atoms. This corresponds with the mutations that are found in Theosophy, and may enable us to understand why one Deity is sometimes male, sometimes female, and why Akasa and Ether are interchangeable terms; the two being noumenonally one, but phenomenally diverse. On successive planes polarities are reversed, for each Cause manifests as an Effect, and each Effect becomes the Cause of that which emanates from it, and so the chain of Being is eternally prolonged.
This ultimately brings us back to our intuitive consciousness of the One Universal Law, in which, and, by which, all Being is manifested; consequently, however, much our Personality may repel us from the Divine Unity, our Individuality, the God in us, will ever be attracted by its essential sympathy with Deity, and so our higher manhood can only find rest in Nirvana, "the State where the Spirit becomes a part of the [Isis Unveiled, Volume 2, Page 116] integral whole, but never loses its Individuality".
For B.L.T. read Blavatsky Lodge Transactions
For R.Y.. read Raja Yoga.
For S.D. read Secret Doctrine.
For I.U. read Isis Unveiled.
For M. read Monism.
For B.C. read Buddhist Catechism.
For V.C. read Visishtadwaita Catechism.