Kabalistic Doctrine of the Cosmogony

Before proceeding to show by diagrams the close resemblance between the esoteric philosophies of all the ancient peoples, however geographically remote from each other, it will be useful to briefly explain the real ideas which underlie all those symbols and allegorical representations and have hitherto so puzzled the uninitiated commentators. Better than anything, it may show that religion and science were closer knit than twins in days of old; that they were one in two and two in one from the very moment of their conception. With mutually convertible attributes, science was spiritual and religion was scientific. Like the androgyne man of the first chapter of Genesis — "male and female," passive and active; created in the image of the Elohim. Omniscience developed omnipotency, the latter called for the exercise of the former, and thus the giant had dominion given him over all the four kingdoms of the world. But, like the second Adam, these androgynes were doomed to "fall and lose their powers" as soon as the two halves of the duality separated. The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge gives death without the fruit of the Tree of Life. Man must know himself before he can hope to know the ultimate genesis even of beings and powers less developed in their inner nature than himself. So with religion and science; united two in one they were infallible, for the spiritual intuition was there to supply the limitations of physical senses. Separated, exact science rejects the help of the inner voice, while religion becomes merely dogmatic theology — each is but a corpse without a soul.

The esoteric doctrine, then, teaches, like Buddhism and Brahmanism, and even the persecuted Kabala, that the one infinite and unknown Essence exist from all eternity, and in regular and harmonious successions is either passive or active. In the poetical phraseology of Manu these conditions are called the "day" and the "night" of Brahma. The latter is either "awake" or "asleep." The Svabhavikas, or philosophers of the oldest school of Buddhism (which still exists in Nepaul), speculate but upon the active condition of this "essence," which they call Svabhavat, and deem it foolish to theorize upon the abstract and "unknowable" power in its passive condition. Hence they are called atheists by both Christian theology and modern scientists; for neither of the two are able to understand the profound logic of their philosophy. The former will allow of no other God than the personified secondary powers which have blindly worked out the visible universe, and which became with them the anthropomorphic God of the Christians — the Jehovah, roaring amid thunder and lightning. In its turn, rationalistic science greets the Buddhists and the Svabhavikas as the

"positivists" of the archaic ages. If we take a one-sided view of the philosophy of the latter, our materialists may be right in their own way. The Buddhists maintain that there is no Creator but an infinitude of creative powers, which collectively form the one eternal substance, the essence of which is inscrutable — hence not a subject for speculation for any true philosopher. Socrates invariably refused to argue upon the mystery of universal being, yet no one would ever have thought of charging him with atheism, except those who were bent upon his destruction. Upon inaugurating an active period, says the Secret Doctrine, an expansion of this Divine essence, from within outwardly, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the ultimate result of the long chain of cosmical forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. The visible universe becomes disintegrated, its material dispersed; and "darkness," solitary and alone, broods once more over the face of the "deep." To use a metaphor which will convey the idea still more clearly, an outbreathing of the "unknown essence" produces the world; and an inhalation causes it to disappear. This process has been going on from all eternity, and our present universe is but one of an infinite series which had no beginning and will have no end.

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