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The Ancient Wisdom

Annie Besant


Available as PDF, epub, and Kindle ebook.

Tags: Theosophy

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Description

Chapters include: The Physical Plane; The Astral Plane; Kamaloka; The Mental Plane; Devachan; The Buddhic and Nirvanic Planes; Reincarnation; Karma; The Law Of Sacrifice; Man's Ascent; and, Building a Kosmos.

This book has 227 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1897.

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Excerpt from 'The Ancient Wisdom'

We have just seen that the source from which a universe proceeds is a manifested Divine Being, to whom in the modern form of the Ancient Wisdom the name LOGOS, or Word has been given. The name is drawn from Greek Philosophy, but perfectly expresses the ancient idea, the Word which emerges from the Silence, the Voice, the Sound, by which the worlds come into being. We must now trace the evolution of spirit-matter, in order that we may understand something of the nature of the materials with which we have to deal on the physical plane, or physical world. For it is in the potentialities wrapped up, involved, in the spirit-matter of the physical world that lies the possibility of evolution. The whole process is an unfolding, self-moved from within and aided by intelligent beings without, who can retard or quicken evolution, but cannot transcend the capacities inherent in the materials. Some idea of these earliest stages of the world’s “becoming” is therefore necessary, although any attempt to go into minute details would carry us far beyond the limits of such an elementary treatise as the present. A very cursory sketch must suffice. 

Coming forth from the depths of the One Existence, from the ONE beyond all thought and all speech, a LOGOS, by imposing on Himself a limit, circumscribing voluntarily the range of His own Being, becomes  the manifested God, and tracing the limiting sphere of His activity thus outlines the area of His universe. Within that sphere the universe is born, is evolved, and dies ; it lives, it moves, it has its being in Him ; its matter is His emanation ; its forces and energies are currents of His Life ; He is immanent in every atom, all-pervading, all-sustaining, all-evolving ; He is its source and its end, its cause and its object, its centre and circumference ; it is built on Him as its sure foundation, it breathes in Him as its encircling space ; He is in everything and everything in Him. Thus have the sages of the Ancient Wisdom taught us of the beginning of  the manifested worlds.

From the same source we learn of the Self-unfolding of the LOGOS into a threefold form ; the First LOGOS, the Root of all being ; from Him the Second, manifesting the two aspects of Life and Form, the primal duality, making the two poles of nature between which the web of the universe is to be woven – Life-Form, Spirit-Matter, Positive-Negative, Active-Receptive, Father-Mother of the worlds. Then the Third LOGOS, the Universal Mind, that in which all archetypically exists, the source of beings, the fount of fashioning energies, the treasure house in which are stored up all the archetypal forms which are to be brought forth and elaborated in lower kinds of matter during the evolution of the universe. These are the fruits of past universes, brought over as seeds for the present. 

The phenomenal spirit and matter of any universe are finite in their extent and transitory in their duration, but the roots of spirit and matter are eternal. The root of matter (Mulâprakriti ) has been said by a profound writer to be visible to the LOGOS as a veil thrown over the One existence, the supreme Brahman (Parabrahman) –to use the ancient name.

It is this “veil” which the LOGOS assumes for the purpose of manifestation, using it for the self-imposed limit which makes activity possible. From this He elaborates the matter of His universe, being Himself its informing, guiding, and controlling life. ( Hence He is called “The Lord of Mâyâ” in some Eastern Scriptures, Mâyâ, or illusion, being the principle of form; form is regarded as illusory, from its transitory nature and perpetual transformations, the life which expresses itself under the veil of form being the reality).

Of what occurs on the two higher planes of the universe, the seventh and sixth, we can form but the haziest conception. The energy of the LOGOS as whirling motion of inconceivable rapidity “digs holes in space” in this root matter, and this vortex of life encased in a film of the root of matter is the primary atom; these and their aggregations, spread throughout the universe, form all the subdivisions of spirit-matter of the highest or seventh plane. The sixth plane is formed by some of the countless myriads of these primary atoms, setting up a vortex in the coarsest aggregations of their own plane, and this primary atom en-walled with spiral strands of the coarsest combinations of the seventh plane becomes the finest unit of spirit-matter, or atom of the sixth plane. These sixth plane atoms and their endless combinations form the subdivisions of the spirit-matter of the sixth plane.

The sixth-plane-atom, in its turn, sets up a vortex in the coarsest aggregations of its own plane, and, with these coarsest aggregations as a limiting wall, becomes the finest  unit of spirit-matter, or atom, of the fifth plane. Again, these fifth-plane atoms, and their combinations form the subdivisions of the spirit-matter of the fifth plane. The process is repeated to form successively the spirit-matter of the fourth, the third, the second, and the first planes. These are the seven great regions of the universe, so far as their material constituents are concerned. A clearer idea of them will be gained by analogy when we come to master the modifications of the spirit-matter of our own physical world.  

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