Occult Science in India, by Louis Jacoilliot, , at sacred-texts.com
[Twenty-fourth dialogue of the Book of the Pitris.]
After giving as a text the words of the Atharva-Veda, and a few verses from Manu, which we have just quoted, the Agrouchada-Parikchai devotes the twenty-fourth lesson of the Guru to the study of the Supreme Being. The principles of cause and harmony lead human reason to the absolute notion of a superior and universal cause.
"He who denies this cause for the whole," says the Book of the Pitris, "has no right to assign any cause to any particular fact. If you say the universe exists because it exists, it is unnecessary to go any further; man lives only by facts, and he has no assurance otherwise of the invariability of natural laws."
Having shown that the belief in a superior and universal cause, in the Supreme Being, lies at the basis of all science and, pre-eminently, of axiomatic truth, the Guru of initiations borrows from Manu and the Vedas the definition of this primordial force, whose mysterious and sacred name it is forbidden to utter.
"It is he who exists by himself, and who is in all, because all is in him.
"It is he who exists by himself, because the mind alone can perceive him; who cannot be apprehended by our sensual organs. Who is without visible parts, eternal the soul of all beings, and none can comprehend him.
"He is one, immutable, devoid of parts or form, infinite,
omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He it is who has created the heavens and the worlds out of chaos, and has set them whirling through infinite space. He is the motor, the great original substance, the efficient and material cause of everything."
"Behold the Ganges as it rolls, it is he; the ocean as it mutters, it is he; the cloud as it thunders, it is he; the lightning as it flashes, it is he; as from all eternity the world was in the mind of Brahma, so now everything that exists is in his image."
"He is the author and principle of all things, eternal, immaterial, everywhere present, independent, infinitely happy, exempt from all pain or care, the pure truth, the source of all justice, he who governs all, who disposes of all, who rules all, infinitely enlightened, infinitely wise, without form, without features, without extent, without condition, without name, without caste, without relation, of a purity that excludes all passion, all inclination, all compromise."
The Guru, with the Pouranas, discusses these sublime questions, to which he returns the following answers:
"Mysterious spirit, immense force, inscrutable power, how was thy power, thy force, thy life manifested before the period of creation? Wast thou dormant in the midst of disintegrating matter, like an extinct sun? Was the dissolution of matter in thyself or was it by thy order? Wert thou chaos? Did thy life include all the lives that had escaped the shock of the destroying elements? If thou wert life, thou wert also death, for there can be no destruction without movement, and motion could not exist without thee."
"Didst thou cast the worlds into a blazing furnace in order that they might be regenerated, in order that they might be born again, from their decomposing elements, as an old tree springs again from the seed in the midst of its corruption?"
"Did thy spirit wander over the waters, thy name being Narayana?
"The immortal germ," went on the Guru, "whose terrible name should not be spoken, is the ancient of days. Nothing existed without him; nothing was apart from him; he causeth life, motion, and light to shine through infinity; everything comes from him and everything goes back to him; he is constantly fertilizing the universe, through an intimate union with his productive thought.
"Hear ye, this has been revealed to the sages in the silence of solitary places, upon the banks of unfrequented torrents, in the mysterious crypts of temples."
This is what no profane ear should hear. This is what has been from all eternity, which never had any beginning and will have no end.
Listen to the hymn of eternal love:
He is one and he is two. He is two, but he is three. The one contains two principles, and the union of these two principles produces the third.
He is one and he is all, and this one contains the husband and the wife, and the love of the husband for the wife, and of the wife for the husband, produces the third, which is the son.
The husband is as ancient as the wife, and the wife is as ancient as the husband, and the son is also as ancient as
the husband and wife, and the one that contains all three is called
Three in One.
This is given as the meaning of the sublime monosyllable. It is the image of the ancient of days.
The union of the husband and the wife continues forever, and from the transports of their eternal love the son constantly receives life, which he unceasingly drops into infinity, like so many millions of dew-drops fertilized by the divine love.
Every drop of dew that falls is an exact representation of the great al], an atom of the Paramatma or universal soul, and each of these atoms possesses the two principles that beget the third.
So everything goes by three in the universe, from the infinite to which everything descends, to the infinite to which everything ascends, with a motion similar to that of an endless chain revolving about a wheel.
The first appearance of atoms is in the state of fertilized germs. They collect together and form matter which is being continually transformed and improved by the three grand principles of life; water, and heat, and by the pure fluid, called Agasa.
Agasa, the pure fluid, is life itself. It is the soul. It is man. The body is only an envelope, an obedient slave.
As the seed, which germinates, bursts through its shell, and shoots out of the ground, Agasa lays gradually aside the material veil, beneath which its transformation takes place, and purifies itself. Upon leaving the earth, it passes through the fourteen more perfect regions, and every time it abandons its former envelope, and clothes itself with one more pure.
Agasa, the vital fluidthe soulanimates the human body upon earth. In infinite space, it put on the aerial form of the Pitris or spirits.
Human souls before being absorbed in the supreme soul, ascend through the fourteen following degrees of superior spirits.
The Pitris are the immediate souls of our ancestors, still living in the terrestrial circle, and communicating with men, just as more perfect man communicates with the animal world.
Above the Pitris, but having nothing in common with the earth, are,
Spirits inhabiting the planets and stars.
The two highest degrees were those of the Marîtchis and of the Pradjapatis, who were superior spirits, and would soon arrive at the end of their transmigrations and be absorbed in the great soul.
This is called the progressive transformation of just spirits who have spent their terrestrial life in the practice of virtue. The following are the transformations of the bad spirits:
Bad spirits who are constantly attempting to creep into the bodies of men, and return to terrestrial life, which they have to pass through anew.
These bad spirits are the malign secretions of the universe. Their only means of regaining the degree of purity required for the higher transformations, is through thousands and thousands of transformations into minerals, plants, and animals.
The superior pradjapatis are ten in number; the three first,
represent eternal reason, wisdom, and intelligence.
The second three,
represent the goodness, power, and majesty of the Divine Being.
The last triad,
are the agents of creation, preservation, and transformation. They are the direct ministers of the manifested trinity.
The last, called
represents the intimate union of all the Pradjapatis in the mind of the Self-existent Being, and the unceasing production of the thousands of beings by whom nature is constantly being rejuvenated and the work of creation is being perpetuated.
These qualities of reason, wisdom, intelligence, goodness, power, majesty, creation, preservation, transformation, and union, which are being constantly diffused throughout nature, under the influence of the superior spirits, are the unceasing product of the love of the divine husband for his celestial spouse. In this way the great being maintains his eternal life, which is that of all beings.
For all things in the universe only exist and move and undergo transformation, in order that the existence of the Great All may be perpetuated, renewed, and purified.
That is the reason why nothing exists outside of his essence and substance, and that all creatures contain in themselves the principles of reason, wisdom, intelligence, goodness, power, majesty, creation, preservation, transformation, and union, and are the image of the ten Pradjapatis, who are themselves a direct emanation from the divine power.
The departure of the soul-atom from the bosom of divinity is a radiation from the life of the Great All, who expends his strength in order that he may grow again, and in order that he may live by its return. God thereby acquires a new vital force, purified by all the transformations that the soul-atom has undergone.
Its return is the final reward. Such is the secret of the evolutions of the Great Being, and of the supreme soul, the mother of all souls.
After fully setting forth the above system with regard to God, the soul, and perpetual creation, the most astonishing system, perhaps, that the world has ever produced, and which contains within itself, substantially under a mystical form, all the philosophical doctrines that have ever agitated the human mind, the Book of the Pitris closes the present chapter, from which we have eliminated its interminable invocations and hymns to the creative power, by the following comparison:
"The Great All, which is constantly in motion and is constantly undergoing change in the visible and invisible universe, is like the tree which perpetuates itself by its seed, and is unceasingly creating the same identical types."
Thus, according to the belief of those who had been initiated, God is the whole, the soul is the atom which undergoes progressive transformation, is purified and ascends to its eternal source, and the universe is the reunited body of atoms in process of transformation.
As man upon earth is in direct communication with the souls of plants and of inferior animals, so the Pitris, having clothed themselves with a fluidic (fluidique) body, and having attained the first of the fourteen superior degrees, are always in communication with man.
There is an uninterruptedly ascending scale, the links of which are never broken:
The Pitris are in relation with the Somapas (spirits).
The Somapas with the Agnidagdhas.
The Agnidagdhas with the Agnanidagdhas.
The Agnanidagdhas with the Agnichwatas.
And so on up to the Pradjapatis, who are in direct communication with God.
In each of these categories the spirit assumes a more perfect body and continues to move in a circle of laws, which may be called superterrestrial but which are not supernatural.
The Book of the Pitris says positively that the spirits preserve their sex, whatever may be the superior categories to which they may attain; that they are united together by the ties of a love which is totally unlike every form of earthly passion. These unions are always prolific and give birth to beings who possess all the qualities of their parents, enjoy the same happiness, and are not tied down to the transformations of this lower world.
It is possible, however, as the Pitris enjoy the utmost freedom of will, that they may commit some exceptionally grave fault and be degraded, in consequence, to the condition of man. Upon this point the Agrouchada-Parikchai alludes to a revolt of the Pitris, that happened a long while
ago, but makes no further explanation. Some of them are supposed to have been cast down to earth again.
There is every reason to suppose, from the close similarity existing between their various religious traditions, that this legend found its way, through the process of initiation, from the Hindu temples into the mysteries of Chaldea and Egypt, and thus gave birth to the myth of the first sin.
Those Pitris which have not passed the degree immediately above that of man, are the only spirits which are in communication with the latter. They are regarded as the ancestors of the human race and its natural directors from whom it derives its inspiration. They are themselves inspired by the spirits of the next degree above them, and so on, from one degree to another, until the divine word or, in other terms, until revelation is imparted to man.
The Pitris are not equal to each other. Each category forms a separate and complete world, in the likeness of our own, only more perfect, in which there is the same diversity of intelligence and function.
According to this theory, it will be readily understood that man cannot live isolated from his ancestors. It is only by the aid of their instruction and help that he can arrive in the shortest possible time at the transformation by means of which he becomes united to them.
Upon this belief is based the whole theory of initiation.
But men upon earth are not fitted to receive communications from a higher world. Some are naturally inclined toward evil and do not care to improve their characters: others still feel the effect of the previous lives which they have spent in the form of animals, and their spirits are entirely dominated by matter. It is only after many generations have been spent in the practice of virtue that the soul becomes spiritualized and the pure fluid called Agasa is developed, by means of which communication is established.
Hence the natural inequality of men and the necessity that those who have arrived at the highest degree of development should unite in the study of the great secrets of life and of the forces of nature, that they may set them in motion.
"It is only by constant fasting, mortification, prayer, and meditation," says the Agrouchada-Parikchai, "that man can arrive at complete separation from everything that surrounds him. In that case he acquires extraordinary power. Time, space, capacity, weight are of no consequence. Hey has all the Pitris at his command and through them all the superior spirits likewise. He attains a power of thought and action of which formerly he had no conception, and sees through the curtain that hangs before the splendors of human destiny."
But while there are mediating and directing spirits who are always ready to come at his call, to point the way to virtue, there are also others which have been condemned for their misdeeds in this, their earthly life, to undergo again all their previous transmigrations, commencing with mineral and plant life; they float about in infinity until they can seize upon some unoccupied particle of matter, which they can use as an envelope: they employ all the resources of their miserable intellects to deceive and mislead men as to the means by which they can arrive at the supreme and final transformation. These bad spirits are constantly occupied in tormenting pious hermits during their sacrifices, initiates in the midst of their studies, and sannyassis in their prayers, and it is impossible to drive them away, except through the possession of the secret of magical conjurations.
Lastly, the whole system, the Great All, is perpetually preserved, developed, and transformed through love.
The emblem of this love, the Trinity, contains within itself both the husband and wife, and their perpetual embraces give birth to the son by whom the universe is regenerated.
Everything that exists is composed of atoms that reproduce themselves by threesthe germ, the womb, and the offspringthe father, the mother, the childafter the pattern of that immortal Trinity which is welded together in one being by whom the whole of nature is ruled, and the soul-atom, at the close of its transformations, returns to the ever-living source from which it sprang.
This grand and imposing conception gave birth, in the vulgar cult, to that triple manifestation of the Trinity which was known in India as
It was known in Egypt under the following names:
It was called in Chaldea:
In Polynesian Oceanica:
And finally in Christianity:
All the teachings of the temples grow out of the mysteries into which the priests are initiated, and which they change into the grossest symbols, in order to vulgarize them without divulging their secret meaning.