FOOTNOTES TO “THE TIDE OF LIFE”
[The Path, New York, Vol. III, Nos. 1 & 2, April and May, 1888,
pp. 2-8, and 42-48 resp.]
[Charles Johnston, the eminent Sanskritist and Orientalist (married to H.P.B.’s niece, Vera Vladimirovna de Zhelihovsky) writes an article analyzing the inner meaning of the first chapter of Genesis. H.P.B. appends a number of footnotes to various statements by the writer.] *
[The first thirty-four verses the most ancient The origin of this ancient tract . . . . we can only guess at. . . . This tract splits off like a flake from the story of Adam and Eve . . . . a few of the lines of cleavage may be shown]
The esoteric teaching accounts for it. The first chapter of Genesis, or the Elohistic version, does not treat of the
* [Consult the comprehensive biographical sketch of Charles Johnston in the Bio-Bibliographical Index of the present Volume.— Compiler.]
creation of man at all. It is what the Hindu Puranas call the Primal creation, while the second chapter is the Secondary creation or that of our globe of man. Adam Kadmon is no man, but the protologos, the collective Sephirothal Tree—the “Heavenly Man,” the vehicle (or Vahan) used by En-Soph to manifest in the phenomenal world (see Zohar); and as the “male and female” Adam is the “Archetypal man,” so the animals mentioned in the first chapter are the sacred animals, or the zodiacal signs, while “Light” refers to the angels so called.
[In the more ancient cosmogony, contained in the first thirty-four verses, the account of the formation of man is similar to, and parallel with, that of the animals. “The Elohim created man, male and female.”]
“The great whale” (i, 21) is the Makara of the Hindu Zodiac—translated very queerly as “Capricorn,” whereas it is not even a “Crocodile,” as “Makara” is translated, but a nondescript aquatic monster, the “Leviathan” in Hebrew symbolism, and the vehicle of Vishnu. Whoever may be right in the recent polemical quarrel on Genesis between Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Huxley, it is not Genesis that is guilty of the error imputed. The Elohistic portion of it is charged with the great zoological blunder of placing the evolution of the birds before the reptiles (Vide—Modern Science and Modern Thought, by Mr. S. Laing), and Mr. Gladstone is twitted with supporting it. But one has but to read the Hebrew text to find that verse 20 (chap. i) does speak of reptiles before the birds. And God said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the [swimming and creeping, not] moving creatures that hath life, and fowl that may fly,” etc. This ought to settle the quarrel and justify Genesis, for here we find it in a perfect zoological order—first the evolution of grass, then of larger vegetation, then of fish (or mollusks), reptiles, birds, etc., etc. Genesis is a purely symbolical and kabalistic volume. It can neither be understood nor appreciated, if judged on the mistranslations and misinterpretations of its Christian remodellers.
[the second account . . . introduces the . . . . creation of Adam from dust, and of Eve from Adam’s rib. Besides this, earlier in the
second account, we find that the formation of man as detailed in the first tract is entirely ignored by the words—”There was not a man to till the ground.”]
Because Adam is the symbol of the first terrestrial MAN or Humanity.
[Similarly, we have a second and distinct account of the formation of the animal kingdom; which, moreover, comes after the Seventh day]
Genesis being an eastern work, it has to be read in its own language. It is in full agreement, when understood, with the universal cosmogony and evolution of life as given in the Secret Doctrine of the Archaic Ages. The last word of Science is far from being uttered yet. Esoteric philosophy teaches that man was the first living being to appear on earth, all the animal world coming after him. This will be proclaimed absurdly unscientific. But see in Lucifer—The Latest Romance of Science.*
[Form exists on an ideal plane, as a purely abstract conception; into this region, and the similar one of Number, pure mathematics have penetrated.]
It is through the power to see and use these “abstract” forms that the Adept is able to evolve before our eyes any object desired—a miracle to the Christian, a fraud for the materialist. Countless myriads of forms are in that ideal sphere, and matter exists in the astral light, or even in the atmosphere, that has passed through all forms possible for us to conceive of. All that the Adept has to do is to select the “abstract form” desired, then to hold it before him with a force and intensity unknown to the men of this hurried age, while he draws into its boundaries the matter required to make it visible. How easy this to state, how difficult to believe; yet quite true, as many a theosophist very well knows. The oftener this is done with any one
* [Reference is made here to H.P.B.’s review of a work by Paul Topinard whose actual title has not been traced. It appeared in Lucifer, Vol. I, September, 1887, pp. 72-74. Vide Vol. VIII, pp. 33-37, of the present Series.—Compiler.]
form, the easier it becomes. And so it is with nature: her ease of production grows like a habit.
[. . . every geometrical form, as well as every number, has a definite, innate relation to some particular entity on the other planes, to some colour or tone, for instance; and there is good reason to believe that this holds true of all the planes, that the entities on each of them are bound to the entities on all the others by certain spiritual relations which run like threads of gold through the different planes, binding them all together in one Divine Unity.]
Here is the key so much desired by enterprising—indeed all—students. It is by means of these correlations of colour, sound, form, number, and substance—that the trained will of the Initiate rules and uses the denizens of the elemental world. Many theosophists have had slight conscious relations with elementals, but always without their will acting, and, upon trying to make elementals see, hear, or act for them, a total indifference on the part of the nature spirit is all they have got in return. These failures are due to the fact that the elemental cannot understand the thought of the person; it can only be reached when the exact scale of being to which it belongs is vibrated whether it be that of colour, form, sound, or whatever else.
[The sacred theories of the East teach that man is the result of two converging curves of evolution, the one curve ascending through the vegetable and animal kingdoms and marking the evolution of the physical body, while the other curve descends from a super-physical spiritual race, called by some the “Progenitors” or “Pitris,”. . . . . This curve marks the downward evolution of man’s spiritual nature the development of the soul.]
There is an important point in the teachings of the Secret Doctrine which has been continually neglected. The above described evolution—the spiritual falling into the physical, or from mineral up to man, takes place only during the 1st of the two subsequent Rounds. At the beginning of the fourth “Round” in the middle of which begins the turning point upward—i.e., from the physical up to the spiritual, man is said to appear before anything else on earth, the vegetation which covered the earth belonging to the 3rd Round, and being quite ethereal, transparent. The first man (Humanity) is Ethereal too, for he is but the
shadow (Chhaya) “in the image” of his progenitors, because he is the “astral body” or image of his Pitri (father). This is why in India gods are said to have no shadows. After which and from this primeval race, evolution supplies man with a “coat of skin” from the terrestrial elements and kingdom—mineral, vegetable, and animal.
[the real elements are purer and more spiritual than their representatives on the physical plane]
This is one reason for calling the objective phenomenal world an “illusion.” It is an illusion and ever impermanent because the matter of which the objects are composed continually returns to the primordial condition of matter, where it is invisible to mortal eyes. The earth, water, air, and fire that we think we see are respectively only the effects produced on our senses by the primordial matter held in either of the combinations that bring about the vibration properly belonging to those classes: the moment the combination is entirely broken, the phenomena cease and we see the objects no more.