Esoteric Writings, T. Subba Row, p. 525-531

1. First Ray in Buddhism {note *}

T. Subba Row

THE word Buddha is used in two senses. In one sense it means any one of the 7 kinds of Logoi - any Logos is said to be Buddha. In the other, it is the Logos of a particular Ray - namely, Gautama's Ray, the Second.

Ideas connected with the first Ray seem to have crept into Chinese Buddhism before the time of Gautama.

In the first Ray there are two elements - (1) the permanent element of the First Ray, (2) the indwelling Divine Presence, which is Christos. These two are called in Buddhist phraseology, Amita

bha and Avalokitesvara. Amitabha is located in the Western Paradise from the tradition that the last great Adept of that Ray lived at Shamballa and there established "The Brotherhood".

Avalokitesvara is considered to be His son, but is not so in reality, because when the Christos comes out of the Logos of the first Ray, it seems to emerge from this fountain of light and so it is called the son of Amitabha.

Buddha Himself seems to have been questioned about Avalokitesvara by His disciples. His answer will give some ideas about its nature. The power is protean, assuming all sorts of forms and doing the work of any other Lodge for the time being. {1}

Kwan Yin may be called the female form of Kwan Shi Yin. The extract shows the ideas held by the Chinese on the subject.

Though each man belongs to a particular Ray of his own, it is only the first two Rays that have ever given rise to universal religions. In the case of the other five Rays a man is merely concerned with his own particular Ray, but in the case of these two every Adept will have to come under the influence of every other Ray. There are two ways in which these two Rays minister to the spiritual needs of mankind. Buddha is the outward teacher, the teacher par excellence, and through Him spiritual light and wisdom are supposed to come to the neophyte or even Adept. But in the case of the Christos, his manifestation is internal light and not external symbols. The last great Adept of that Ray, when going to Nirvana, leaves the Ray behind Him, until His Successor shall appear. This is the mysterious power which pervades the whole of this planet in the shape of the "still small Voice". It is potentially in every man's heart: it is not one of his 7 principles, nor does it always exist there. At a certain stage in a man's spiritual progress, it begins to sound in his heart, as described in Light on the Path. It gives him the supreme directions he has to receive, opens out the further path of progress, points out the way and disappears. It has nothing to do with the girl in the Idyll of the White Lotus. It is every man's heart and yet it is not. Only at a certain stage it makes its appearance.

So there is hardly a single Adept who can dispense with the Christos. There is this mysterious entity with which he must come into contact before he becomes a Chohan. It is everywhere and nowhere. You cannot locate it on any one plane. It seems to be on all the planes. When it does incarnate, it begins to sound like the voice, and remains in the man and establishes a relation with his principles for the time being. Then you say it has incarnated.

It is this mysterious presence which is so unaccountable. It cannot be seen by the highest Adept. It seems to be omniscient and omnipresent. It seems to be its business to help as many human beings as it can, and it has been looked upon as God by all great Initiates. It is not Parabrahman. It is the indwelling Presence of the first Ray Logos, the mysterious power always present in it, and left here, left as a substitute for himself by the last great Adept who reached Nirvana. He will remain here till the next Adept appears and then it will ascend its mercy seat on the throne. It is itself the whole Christian Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It is that which has received the name of Christos.

The word Holy Ghost used in the Bhagavad-gita lectures, may be used in two senses. In one it is a member of the "Christos" trinity; in the other, it is the "mother" and "spouse" of "Christos". It is the Gnostic Sophia. It is more or less common to all the Rays, But the first Ray has a Holy Ghost of its own - the Light of the Logos of the first Ray. That light is the emanation of the two principles of the Logos combined, that is, our Holy Ghost. That Holy Ghost is a matter of very little account to people in general, because only a man of the first Ray has to do with it. The Christian Holy Ghost is one of the elements that enters into Avalokitesvara. It is one and yet divisible, and can put forth infinite varieties of manifestations, because it is already in every man's heart, whatever his Ray. It can only be appropriated by a man of that particular Ray, yet every man can claim its assistance, and every man is bound to accept its help before he passes the last Initiation. That is the reason why Buddhism and the first Ray have given rise to universal creeds. The other five Rays, though of course important, have not given rise to universal religions, because not applicable to all people.

Wherever Buddha sees spiritual progress and spiritual culture, He is bound to shed His influence there.

This is an infallible voice and must be obeyed. It comes but once and gives directions, and tells you the meaning of your own Ray, points out the path to your own Logos, and then goes away. It will not come before you are prepared for it. Some, when they hear it, think it is some astral sound. Some think some astral sound is this turiyanandam. It is that which the Upanishads say will be heard by the man who dies at Benares. It is the song of life, and only comes when you are in a condition as it were of torpor, and then it begins to whizz round you till you wake up. Vide Prasna Upanisad for "Song of Life."

The Sign of the Cross is taken from peculiar things in connection with Adonai.

Sacrifice - Christ took advantage of the Jewish tendency to sacrifice, and gave it a certain turn, and made it more or less identical with the transfer of blood at the final Initiation. That is the meaning of the final Initiation - the mysterious thing going to happen when he goes to join the permanent counterpart, in Nirvana, of his Ray. The blood of Christ is the spiritual life that flows from Christ - his Daiviprakrti.

But in the case of the first Ray there are two elements that form together a complete thing: when one is seperated, the life current does not flow from what remains there. Only when they are joined, comes forth the general influx of life current from it, and that is "the tree of life".

In some very peculiar sense Krsna [Krishna] is the real Christ. Your Christ is simply a feeble image, as it were, of Krsna - a mere reflection. It is from the standpoint of that mysterious Voice that Krsna is speaking in the Bhagavad-gita. It is that Voice that is speaking. Hence the importance of that book. It contains more of the real teaching of Christ than any other book which now exists. But it is open to any man to obtain the teaching of Christ in himself from the "still small voice".


* [this was published before the text of this article, in the book:]

[The deep occult knowledge which the late T. Subba Row possessed is attested to again and again by H.P.B. She has considered him as having more occult knowledge than herself, and the first draft of The Secret Doctrine was sent to him by her for correction and revision. [though he refused to do so, K. Hesselink] After H.P.B.'s departure from Adyar in 1885, Mr. Subba Row's talks to an intimate circle were taken down by some of them. Among his listeners were Dr. S. Subramania Iyer, C.W. Leadbeater, A.J. Cooper-Oakley and Dr. Neil Cooke. Dr. Subramania Iyer informed me that Mr. Subba Row was an excellent tennis player, and that some of the notes are of conversations at the Cosmopolitan Club, Madras, after tennis.

Five years ago, Dr. Subramania Iyer allowed me to make a copy of his notes of Mr. Subba Row's talks, with a view to their publication some time. In 1923, I discovered, much to my surprise, a second copy of the notes among the Welsh Section archives at Cardiff. This copy says "From shorthand notes of what Subba Row told us 12 December, 1886." The Welsh Section T.S. most courteously allowed me to bring the manuscript to Adyar to be put among the T.S. records.

The two copies of the notes agree very closely; three pages are however missing from Dr. Subramania Iyer's copy. I have accepted the better wording wherever found, putting in a few commas, capitals, etc., to make the reading clearer. The footnotes also exist in the originals. So far as I know, neither manuscript has been revised by Mr. Subba Row, and one must therefore trust that he is accurately reported. - C.J. Sept. 1925.] [From the book it is unclear whether this preface is meant for the whole seventh section of the book (from which this article is taken), or for only "The First Ray in Buddhism".]

{1} See Beale's Catena of Buddhist Scripturea from the Chinese, p. 389, etc.; line 8, the word "fearlessness" is not correct.

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