Theosophy's Origin of the Universe

Pohaika Wahine, you said,
"... there is a link to an ancient path of wisdom shared by many cultures and religions as well as "ways of life"...."
--> This is a key teaching — all religions come from the same set of original religious teachings.
"...right now I am fully imersed in the Torah which strikes a cord deep within my soul ...."
--> I have learned a great deal of similarity between the Torah, Hinduism, and Buddhism. There is a great deal of symbolism in the Zohar and Sephiroth. I am fortunate to see how they all fit together.
"...the emerald tablets which speak to "as without, so within" or some would say "as above, so below"...."
--> This is a key idea in my belief system — the idea that everything in the universe is in a state of continually unfolding.
"...the Kumulipo - the deep darkness, the teacher, the source...."
--> I like your idea that the Darkness is the same as the teacher, for this is a key teaching in my belief system.
"...when we return to the ancient ocean (kaaumoana) we return within ourselves...."
--> I agree! I would add that this ocean is the only Reality, and the rest is only an illusion.
"...the energy must cycle through the seven energy centers in the body...."
--> I agree.
"...he uses the outer form only as an instrument but does not identify himself with it? The body is only the robe of the self."
--> My belief system spends a great deal of time preparing us for the day we no longer have a physical body, an astral body, etc.
"...the poem of dzyan tells us how to move into the darkness and begin to see with our inner eye ...."
--> Christianity says we have a firmament which separates us from the Darkness, and Theosophy calls it a "wall of fire." Does your belief system have such an idea?
alohe e nick - you said:

--> "Christianity says we have a firmament which separates us from the Darkness, and Theosophy calls it a "wall of fire." Does your belief system have such an idea?"

there are many references to what we would call "light carriers" - ka po'e ao hiwa (the light carriers, those that tended the sacred light); kaula - a prophet, pure energy, a light carrier; kalama, the night torch, those that carry the night torch ..... it is woven into many aspects of the ancient culture ....

like many people today, hawaiians are beginning to look into the ancient ways to see what they mean to life today .... but the veils are not easy to remove from the eyes because most of the hidden meanings went underground long ago .... even now, there are many that would not agree with my interpretations, but this is what I see .... we are each the light carriers and we are each pure energy, when we wake from the deep sleep and reconnect the ancient path (system) we begin to cross over one-by-one and when we change our mind, we change our world ....

pele, the volcano goddess is not an object to worship - she is a symbol with hidden messages - her lengedary battles with kamapua'a (the boar and many other manisfestations) are all great stories (easy to remember) but the real meanings are hidden in the symbols, the sounds, the numbers, the directions .....

I don't want to detract from your original thread about the origin of the universe and the poem of dzyan .... I would love to see you unravel the various levels of meaning in the poem .... as you continue forward, I'll be happy to add a small comment here and there if it would be helpful ....

he hawai'i au, poh

Pohaika Wahine, By the way, I like the Kwan Yin in your avatar. You said,
"...there are many references to what we would call "light carriers"...."
--> Actually, I was more interested in a separator between Light and Dark, rather than the Light itself.
"...the veils are not easy to remove from the eyes because most of the hidden meanings went underground long ago...."
--> This is what your and my belief systems are working towards.
"...we are each the light carriers and we are each pure energy...."
--> I like the Theosophical quote which says we are "light standing-still."
"...the real meanings are hidden in the symbols, the sounds, the numbers, the directions ....."
--> Your and my belief systems are working towards explaining all of these symbols.
"I would love to see you unravel the various levels of meaning in the poem...."
--> I will now post another slice of interpretation.
The universe literally expanded. The Sparks “joyously sally[ed] forth into the universe of things”*, entering, knowing, and making them our own. Then, when the universe contracts, we will become introspective, ready to return to a state of non-activity.

We are the Sparks mentioned in the story, scattering about during the universe's present expansion into matter, ready to return to the Source at the end of the Great Day.


* Man, the Measure of All Things, by Prem & Ashish, p 156
-- The First Fall --

It is useful to use the metaphor, “The Sparks shot out into empty space,” out into the world of materiality and separateness. They burned brightly, dazzled with the thrill of new-found freedom and individuality.

Every child must leave the nest and try out its wings. Every parent must allow their children out of the nest, so the children can have experiences, become mature, and learn to be independent. Thus, the Sparks struck out on their own, “rush[ing] out into separateness.”*

Many religions have portrayed this descent into material existence as a negative experience. It must be shown, however, that it was a perfectly natural and positive thing to do.


* Man, the Measure of All Things, by Prem & Ashish, p 156
-- The Wall of Fire --

It has been said that some of the Sparks were not happy with their newfound freedom and challenges, and wished to return to the security of unity with spirit. This could not be allowed. A “Wall of Fire”* was erected, keeping the Sparks away from their source. This Wall is also described as a shoreless sea of fire**. It is the same wall described in Genesis as the firmament.
“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament....” (Genesis 1:6-7)
The Theosophical description of the event is a little more emphatic.
“Behold [the Son] lifting the veil and unfurling it from east to west. He shuts out the above, and leaves the below to be seen as the Great Illusion. He marks the places for the Shining Ones, and turns the upper (space) into a shoreless sea of fire, and the One Manifested (element) into the Great Waters.”***
The Wall of Light ensured the Sparks would not return to the Oneness until they were ready.

The white brilliance of the Son hid the Absolute as Darkness. And, although the veil has been drawn and the Son shined brightly, the source of the Son was still there, in the background, unmanifested.


* Prem & Ashish, Man, the Measure of All Things, p 324

** Prem & Ashish, Man, the Measure of All Things, p 324

*** Blavatsky, H. P., The Secret Doctrine, Shloka i-3-7
-- The Universe as a Veil--

The Sparks needed to have concrete experiences, in order to mature. Unfortunately, they were composed of pure, formless “spirit,” and needed to occupy denser “bodies” in order to have experiences. Dense material was gathered around each Spark, providing it with a denser “veil” or “body” to work within. Each Spark was unable to be conscious inside its new veil, so it put a part of itself down into its veil, “ensouling” it.
[A Spark] “... is not able to function on the lower planes of being nor in the physical world. It may only contact the lower planes by means of an upadhi (to use the technical term). Upadhi is generally given the meaning of a ‘base’ or a ‘vehicle,’ although it may also be rendered a substitute, an appearance, a disguise of the spirit, or ‘veil of spirit’ ... upadhi may be rendered that which is deposited by [a Spark] — namely the sixth principle, Buddhi.” (The Divine Plan, by Geoffrey Barborka, p. 10)​
This new form is called a Monad. A Monad is a Spark that is surrounded by a veil of materiality that (1) gives it the beginnings of definition and form, yet (2) causes it to be unable to view the source from which it comes.

More and more veils were drawn around the Monad, each one providing a denser, more concrete form of reality. It was like clouds of pure consciousness that were getting thicker and thicker. Each veil provided a more concrete vehicle for experiences, yet at the same time, each veil created an increasing sense of separateness from the Monad's original spiritual reality.

From these sequential plunges into materiality and separateness, we get the two sayings, “Christ died for us,” and, “God sacrificed His Son for us.” Technically, these two statements are correct — the Universe (“Christ”) took upon itself layer upon layer of restricting levels of materiality and separateness, for the purpose of providing us with concrete experiences.

Seven layers or veils were created (each one denser than the one before it), which we refer to as Planes of Consciousness. Some of the names are familiar to us. The seventh or lowest plane is called the the Physical Plane. The sixth lowest plane is called the the Astral Plane. The fourth lowest plane is called the Buddhic Plane, and the third lowest level is called the Nirvanic Plane.

We are said to have an astral body, as well as a physical body, and even finer higher-lever “bodies.” Our Monad (“soul”) has taken on several more, denser veils, one of them being the astral body. The astral body “took on” a physical body at the beginning of our physical incarnations on Earth — a good example of one veil taking on an even denser veil. (Our goal, then, is to eventually remove all veils, and finally see the One Reality.)
-- Pre-Physical Atoms --

There is another way to look at the appearing of the Sparks. Fohat (the universal energy-principle) is said to have dug “holes”* in pre-matter. These “holes” are referred to as atoms, although they are unlike any atoms of our present physical world. Perhaps it is useful to compare this to Christian terminology.

“Darkness was upon the Face of the Deep.”


“And God said let there be light.”


This was the appearance of the atom/sparks, and this was the first layer of materiality and separateness.

Groups of atoms were gathered together, each group then acting as a single atom of a lower plane of existence. Then those atoms were grouped together, each group acting as a single atom of an even lower plane of existence. Thus, a series of planes of existence appeared, each one denser than the previous, with all planes of existence interpenetrating each other.

Astral objects, then, are composed of astral atoms. Physical objects are composed of physical atoms. (Physical atoms are merely groups of astral atoms. Astral atoms are merely groups of atoms of the next higher level.)


* The Secret Doctrine, by H. P. Blavatsky, vol 1 p 147
Perhaps it is useful to compare this to Christian terminology.

“Darkness was upon the Face of the Deep.”

“And God said let there be light.”
This was the appearance of the atom/sparks, and this was the first layer of materiality and separateness.

Just to point out, lest anyone draw the wrong impression, that this Theosophist interpretation of a Christian text is profoundly materialist in outlook, and by no means consonant with the orthodox Christian one.

Well, as Theosophy is rarely classed as a mainstream part of Christianity, I would not expect a mainstream interpretation. :)
-- The Monads’ Levels of Consciousness --

The Monads did not have a level of consciousness anywhere near that of the human level of consciousness we now all enjoy. The Monads did not have any self-awareness. It was as if they were all part of clouds of consciousness that floated throughout space, at a level of existence much less dense than anything in today's physical world.

Eon after eon, these clouds of consciousness took on denser and denser layers of materiality. Finally, these clouds took on the veil of materiality we call physical matter. Physical matter appeared, and is said to be ensouled by these clouds of consciousness.

Physical awareness now began to awaken. For the first time, consciousness turned outward, recognizing contact with other entities in an external world. This was the first realization of “I” and “Not I”, although this consciousness is described as “sleeping” in the mineral world.

The mineral experiences of freezing, melting, being crushed, turning to molten metal, all impacted upon the mineral consciousness. As a result, vague answers of sympathetic vibrations arose, within the deep-slumbering consciousness. Chemical valency and the bonding of chemnical compunds were strong desire on the mineral level. There was a response within the astral part of the souls, although it was quite unorganized. There was no mental activity within the mineral souls.

When the consciousness was ready, it was guided by Devas to the plant kingdom for plant manifestation.
Two concepts need to be covered: Trishna and group-souls. Trishna (“thirst”) is the desire for experiences in the material world. The Monads were driven into the physical world by a desire for experiences. This desire had propelled them down into denser and denser forms. Although these desires can be seen as being very selfish, they were quite appropriate for this level of consciousness.

Groups-souls are objects that ensoul minerals, plants, and animals. Animals, etc., do not have individual souls. Several animals belong to one “soul,” so they are said to have a group-soul. Perhaps it will help if the reader considers flocks of birds and schools of fish. They seem to belong to one consciousness — which is exactly what they are. All fish within one school of fish belong to a single group-soul. Consciousness is slowly becoming more complex, although it is still not self-conscious.
At the end of the mineral kingdom phase, the activity of the mineral group-soul was transferred to the mental plane (“Heaven”). Then it nourished the already-present mental bodies, and made them gradually less vague. There was a great deal more astral activity for plants than minerals. A tree that lived a long life, for example, became able to experience pleasure and discomfort. For the first time, small amounts of mental matter accumulated around long-living trees, which manifested as faint memory, followed by faint anticipation.

Groups-souls are not individual souls. When an animal dies, its “soul” goes back into the common group-soul of its individual flock, school, etc. Is like pouring water into a bucket; when the “soul-matter” is selected for the next individual animal, part of the “water” is ladeled out, and a new “soul” is created. In the interim, all the “soul-matter” gets mixed together. Each animal, then, has a generic “chunk” of “soul-matter" from all of the previous animals of that group-soul. (This also explains animal instinct; the “soul-matter” is continutally being mixed between births, causing a general sharing of “animal instinct.”)
-- The Ensouling of Animals and Humans --

When ready, a vegetable goup-soul was guided by Devas to life in the lowest of animal, for example, bacteria, amoebae, etc. Each animal group-soul slowly gathered experiences, preparing to eventually become human.

Each animal "soul" eventually became possessd of its own individual group-soul envelope, ready for human Individualization. As time went on, a group-soul gradually contained fewer and fewer individuals. When a single group-soul contained only one individual animal, and was ready, it became a part of a causal body. The upward-drawn group-soul met the downpouring from above. This, then, was the beginning of a reincarnating human, born into its first independent human incarnation.


(A chart from The First Principles of Theosophy, p. 186, showing a dog ("Jack") making its transition into its first human incarnation.)

Although I do not completely agree with the way this chart is presented, it gives the reader a good view of the basic dynamics of initial human "soul" creation.
-- The Great Beings of the Universe --

Up to now, no mention has been made of the Designers of the universe. First, let's contrast with commonly-held ideas. According to many religions, the universe was created by a single Diety. Theosophy takes a different view. Once the universe began to emanate, everything was put into the hands of seven Builders. They are called Archangels in Christianity, and Bodhisattvas in Buddhism.

There are seven of them — which explains why the number seven appears so often in the Bible.
“From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God....” (Revelations 4:5)​
They built the beginnings of our universe.

After the appearance of the first Builders, there was a great deal of delegating of authority which occured throughout the universe. Lower Builders built galaxies. Even lower Builders built our solar system. Still lower builders built our Earth and humanity. It is this group of Builders that is referred to in the Bible.
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...” (Genesis 1.26)​
(As a sidenote, the idea that humans were built in their image is explained as such: Our Earthly Builders had astral bodies. Parts of their astral bodies were "broken off," and used to create our humanly astral bodies — thus we literally were created in their image.)

Every aspect of the building of the universe has been painstakenly supervised by one level of Builders or another. No galaxy nor animal species has appeared that was not first conceived of by a Builder.
-- The Relationship of Humanity to the Universe --

This discussion would be incomplete without discussing the relationship of humans to the universe. The entire universe is evolving — even the Great Beings that were previously mentioned are evolving. Humanity is also evolving, and it is everyone's task to assist that evolution in every way they can.

Our eventual task will be to rise to the next level in our evolution. When we finally succeed, we will then be given many opportunites to assist various forms of evolution that are already occuring in our solar system. It will be a great day for humanity, when we reach that level. Our immediate task, then, is to accelerate our progress towards that goal, and leave the reincarnating human form as quickly as possible.

The signpost that we are ready to move onto the next level is called Enlightenment. It needs to be pointed out that qualifying for Enlightenment is the most difficult thing we will ever do as humans. Buddhism teaches that Enlightenment is perhaps a change of attitude, or perhaps having the right type of "aha" experience. Theosophy takes quite a different view. According to Theosophy, achieving of Enlightenment is a lot of hard work — the most difficult thing we will ever do.

Everyone, then, is invited to enter the long, hard Path to Enlightenment. The sooner we put aside the dazzling distractions of the physical world, the sooner we can move to the next level, begin assisting the evolution of the universe in a more direct way, and help the universe become what it is meant to be.

For further information on how to prepare for the Path to Enlightenment, please read the online book, At The Feet of the Master.

At The Feet of the Master, by Alcyone