TCF 2 Introductory Postulates
TCF 1 said that it would start TCF 2 with the concept of Fire (page xvii). It importance is obvious since it is the only concept to receive entirely separate treatment. It is explained as the basis of manifestation, i.e. the very idea of manifestation. Specifically, it is defined as ‘divine Substance’. But at a level of manifestation nearer to our understanding, we might consider it as the essence of the cosmic physical plane (an idea incorporating our seven solar system planes). In another, sense, fire can also be considered as one of the four Elements (fire, air, water, earth) but perhaps we can leave this issue till we reach that topic in TCF.
Let’s move instead to the itemising of the Three Fires. Before we list them, perhaps we can note the 1 – 3 – 7 differentiation. This is worth some attention because as a general rule, the “ancient occult sciences presuppose this relationship. Hence behind every 7, there is a 3 and a 1 (TCF p. 408). Seven stands for form, or perhaps more accurately spirit (3) translated into matter (4) to produce form. Hence the importance of the figure 7 in manifestation. Three is important as spirit in manifestation when freed from form. One is unity and therefore stands for the essence of life, such as the One Life, etc.
The Three Fires are spelt out next (page xvii):
I. The Internal Fire or Fire by Friction – heat within and outside every atom.
II. The Fire of Mind or Solar Fire – the fire of knowledge burns up illusion.
III. The Fire of Spirit or Electric Fire – the one Flame that brings the Fires together.
IV. Page xviii begins with a note on TCF Contents. Each of the three Fires has a section to itself but it seems worth noting that Section Two has the lion’s share. In other words, most attention is devoted to the current stage of manifestation which includes the goal. This takes place within the Vishnu Aspect. Put another way, one could say that it is love-wisdom (buddhi-manas) which is the goal of humanity for our solar system. The contents are then outlined in greater detail. The various issues are best tackled as we reach them in the text.
Page xxvi list the Charts and the Full Page Tabulations. It is useful to note where this list is placed since we have found ourselves repeatedly referring to the items, especially the Charts.
The text suggests that we look at these Postulates in the light of the Proem to the Secret Doctrine (SD). This latter does add one or two ideas and we shall aim to include these as we proceed. The basic Postulate is that of an Absolute which is outside manifestation and consciousness (as we think of it).It is this Absolute which is responsible for manifestation (external form) and pralaya (internal contemplation). Manifestation is achieved via series of stages. The beginning commences with three abstract logoi, i.e. “basic creative principles, not beings):
1 The First Cosmic Logos – impersonal and unmanifested
2 The Second Cosmic Logos, Spirit-Matter, Life
3 The Third Cosmic Logos, Cosmic Ideation, the Universal World Soul
It seems important to point out, as the Proem says, that attention is focused at the cosmic and subjective level. In other words, the three logoi are prior to the full manifestation of the solar system. Secondly, the First Logos might be conceived of as the idea of manifestation from which the other two proceed into manifestation. One can achieve some idea of what is meant by looking at the top of Chart II, TCF p. 94.
The Proem points out that the third Logos is the First Creative Objective Logos in manifestation. This fits in with later information: manifestation proceeds via the Brahma Aspect first: “the Brahma aspect, the Activity-Intelligence aspect precedes its (Vishnu’s) manifestation in time” (TCF p. 175). Another point which the Proem makes is that manifestation is always denoted by duality. This is another of the points which will crop up in the text as we proceed. In a way the point isn’t difficult to comprehend. Manifestation has to be dual because if it were denoted by singularity it would be the First Logos and hence not in manifestation.
Another point, which perhaps the Proem makes a little more clearly than the above is that there is a universal Oversoul, (the Universal World Soul above) to which all souls really belong. Further, all monads have to pass through every stage of evolution and of form in the manifest world. It seems useful to recognise that we can’t expect to bypass anything.
Page 4 of TCF tells us that the three logoic principles manifest via a series of gradations to the point where a being can incarnate. In our case, this is the solar logos of our solar system. The form of manifestation follows the triple pattern, which can again be seen in terms of principles and agency (or beings). Earlier we noted that in occultism, energies and beings always go together. If there is an energy to be used, there must also be a being who uses it.
The TCF text then sets out more information concerning the operation of the three fires:
Electric fire, or Spirit…1st Person…Father.Life.Will.Purpose.Positve energy.
Solar fire or Soul….2nd Person…Son.Consciousness.Love wisdom.Equilibrised energy.
Fire by friction, or Body, or Matter…Holy.Form.Active Intelligence-.Negative energy.
It is worthwhile noting that polarity is apparent in the above. It is the positive electric fire coupled with the negative fire by friction who produce the son.
Each of these three above is again triple in manifestation:
a) the nine Potentcies or Emanations.
b) The nine Sephiroth.
c) The nine Causes of Initiation.
Add to these nine, the totality of their manifestation and the result is 10 – the perfect manifestation or the perfect man.
In respect of these points it would seem useful to make several observations:
i) it seems that a. b. and c. above are alternative terms for the preceding three;
ii) otherwise, there would not be nine groups, but 27,
iii) the Sephiroth is a term from the Kabalah meaning potencies, where they are pictured as successive emanations from the Ain Soph or Absolute. Some of the emanations are male and others female. They add to the figure 10, which stands for male/female (1 – male, 0 – female) [Glossary, SD],
iv) they can be described as causes of initiation because each potency represents a
fresh level of consciousness which sets up an influence on the initiate, who
has reached the stage immediately below.
It might be useful next to consider the notion of ‘totality’. This will crop up at various stages. Spelt with a capital ‘T’ it stands for the One Life and hence an expression of Infinity. Spelt with a lower case ‘t’ as in TCF p.4 we are referring to the idea of some whole. The concept of wholeness incorporates several ideas:
1 a whole is always more than the sum of its parts. Hence a whole is an idea or entity in its own right. Put another way, one is saying that adding all the individual parts together will not produce the whole in its own right. Hence we have the concept of the soul as a group where the group (which is a form of whole) demonstrates its individual nature via its own soul. In other words, it is being argued that properly functioning groups can achieve a more creative output than the same number of individuals can separately. Although this may sound metaphysical, it is in fact easy to prove. Raise some issue separately with each member of a group. Then raise it again when the members are together. The latter produces more answers and more varied answers – via member interaction.
2. Both individualism and totality are present in all forms. Again, though the idea sounds abstruse, it is in practice, a matter of experience. Just as we think of ourselves as individuals, we are also aware of ourselves as members of various groups: family, neighbourhood, one or other of the nascent occult schools, a church, various organisations and so on. Each individual is a group; each group is composed of members and/or other groups.
Back to TCF page 4 where we are told that the three aspects of the Whole are present in every form. This is spelt out in terms of the solar system, the human being and the atom. There is always a relationship between these three aspects: an energy circulation, forms in the solar system all influence one another, e.g. the gravitational interaction between the sun and planets and astrological influences, brotherhood between people. The energy circulation is physically known to modern science, though TCF would think of all the energies connected with the seven planes and corresponding beings. Similarly with the interaction between planets and the sun. Via the teaching, we would think of this as embodying an entire range of influences, not merely gravity. Brotherhood as the interaction between people illustrates the foundational idea of right human relations.
The three aspects (the three fires of p. 4), the solar logos and the Central Energy demonstrate through seven centres of force – three major and four minor. These centres could be seen as standing for corporate Entities: the seven planetary logoi, the seven spirits before the throne, the seven rays and the seven heavenly men. The seven logoi embody the seven rays – as listed on p.5.
The Law of Periodicity is basic to all manifestation. Everything is born and dies in some way, manifestation/pralaya, day/night, in-breathing/out-breathing and so on. Laws linked to this and basic to the solar system are:
a) the Law of Economy…Brahma….third aspect…governs matter
b) the Law of Attraction….Vishnu ….second aspect…governs the soul
c) the Law of Synthesis….Shiva…..first aspect…governs the spirit.
These laws work primarily through one or other of our seven planes. The laws sweep periodically into power. Currently, the first two laws are especially important. Three basic cycles are then spelt out:
Inert motion…activity…….rhythmic motion
Tamasic life…rajasic life…sattvic life
These last three are known as the gunas or qualities of motion (TCF p. 129). They are explained in the line above them. Knowledge of the cycles is bound up with an understanding of number, sound and colour. However, complete understanding of the cycles belongs only to the perfected adept.
All souls are one with the Oversoul
Human beings…..in/out of incarnation…..microcosm
Every form of life has a soul (but, as we know, only human beings have an individualised soul). Brotherhood is considered a fact because all souls belong to the Oversoul. The Law of Correspondences explains this relationship; it is the interpretative law of the solar system. God is the macrocosm for the kingdoms. Human beings are the macrocosm for the lower kingdoms.
The evolutionary goal of –
the atom is self-consciousness, e.g. human beings,
the human being is group consciousness, e.g. planetary logos,
the planetary logos is god consciousness, e.g. solar logos.
The solar logos is the sum total of all states of consciousness within the solar system.
You are invited to try any/all of the following:
1 Is there much evidence so far to suggest the relevance of numerology in TCF?
1 Love-wisdom is said to be the goal of our solar system, (which is the second of three solar systems.
(i) Does there seem to be much evidence of this love-wisdom in our world of so many conflicts?
(ii) Why is love-wisdom the goal of this second system? Why not the first system?
1 It is being suggested that there are umpteen solar systems and umpteen manifest lives within them. How do you respond to this idea?
1 All souls are said to belong to the Oversoul. So there is only One Soul really. Can we recognise such a suggestion?
1 How can an individual be a group?
1 Can one really think of a group as an entity in its own right?
1 Economy, attraction and synthesis are basic laws. Can you illustrate them in operation in any one sphere of life? (Employment, family, church, etc)
And here is my reply:
Cf. 2 Introductory Postulates Pages 3 - 7
The treatise is divided into three parts. The first part (pages 37-219) deals with Fire by Friction; while the second part and the longest (pages 223-1222) deals with Solar fire; and the third part (pages 1229-1285) which is the shortest of the treatise will deal with Electric Fire.
As this is only an introduction it is important to grasp the main points and leave all the details to a time when the study had progressed a little further. In any case all these points are raised again and again in the treatise and in time they become clearer to us all.
I. We have first the Italicised part on page 3 setting the theme for the whole treatise. I reproduce it here because of its importance:
There is one boundless Immutable Principle; one Absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested conditioned Being. It is beyond the range and reach of any human thought or expression.
This is the Unmanifest universe or the Absolute reality which contains the manifested universe within it. It is expressed in the form of:
a) The first Cosmic Logos, the precursor of the Manifested.
b) The Second Cosmic Logos, Spirit Matter, Life, the spirit of the Universe.
c) The Third Cosmic Logos, Cosmic Ideation, The Universal World-Soul.
From these basic creative principles we have the numberless Universes and countless Manifesting Stars and Solar Systems. Each solar system is the manifestation of a great life to which we give the name ‘A Solar Logos’. We are further told that the solar logos incarnates through the medium of a solar system which is the body or form of His cosmic life.
This present solar system is triple and is expressed by the three Fires.
i) Electric Fire or Spirit.
ii) Solar Fire or Soul.
iii) Fire by Friction, or Body, or Matter.
Terry explains this well when he sites a previous introduction. It will suffice for us at this stage to remember that we are in the second solar system and that the first solar system has manifested for us the fire by Friction. In the present system we are working through solar Fire while the Next system will express Electric Fire or Spirit. These ideas will become clear as we study.
II. 1. There is a Basic law called the ‘Law of Periodicity’.
It governs all manifested existence.
2. We have three other Laws linked with the law of periodicity.
a) The law of economy.
b) The Law of Attraction.
c) The Law of Synthesis.
3. These three Laws are cosmic Laws
4. We also have seven systemic laws which manifest primarily on each one of the seven planes of the solar system.
5. Each of these laws sweeps periodically into power thus producing sequentially periods of manifestation on each of the planes.
6. Every manifested life has its three great cycles:
Inert motion…..activity……...rhythmic motion
Tamasic life…..rajasic life…..Satvic life.
7. Knowledge of the cycles involves knowledge of number, sound and colour.
8. The mystery of the cycles is only known to the perfected adept.
III. All souls are identical with the Oversoul.
We have much material here which will become clear as we progress into our studies. This material is in the treatise between pages 3 and 7. It can be read and I am sure will result in many questions in the minds of us all. It is important at this stage to deal with the general idea of the three solar systems and the manifesting present system of love or solar fire. We will need to grasp the relationship between the three energies and the treatise will gradually divulge for us the informing laws for that relationship.
Terry’s paper is comprehensive and has many details in it. The attempt to resolve all the problems raised can be overwhelming, but in time we will have a better idea of the meaning of the entire presented concept.
I suggest we stick to basics and raise any question that is related primarily to these few pages. It is only in this way that we will be able to tackle this very difficult material. I think I have suggested in this paper enough points for discussion which will keep us occupied for the next four weeks. The next CF 3 will take us to Section I page 37. ABD.
Here is Terry's reply;
Just a few early observations on CF 2 from Abraham. First, let's thank him for keeping his piece clearly separate from mine. I use TCF; he uses CF. That will stop confusion in the document file.
(i) I thought it might help if I tackled the three fundamental principles from the Secret Doctrine on which the Introductory Postulates are based. The three are:
1. that there is an Absolute, embracing manifestation and pralaya (the period of rest between manifestations) and that manifestation takes place in stages, i.e. the first, second and third logos;
2. that the law of periodicity is universal and influences everything;
3.that there is an Oversoul embracing all souls on their pilgrimage from the simplest forms to spiritual perfection.
In view of these principles what is the role of TCF. This was dealt with in TCF 1. But let's answer in pragmatic terms for once. The Tibetan's work is to add the teaching about the seven rays to present teaching on the Ancient Wisdom. This is His addition to the work of the Secret Doctrine. It is another part of the Ancient Wisdom. But there is more to come and we are told that it is in the offing, soon to be provided.
(ii) The solar system is said to be composed of three basic fires. Why fire? What does this term (fire) mean? Why choose the term 'fire' to describe divine substance?
Because the spiritual world (the monadic triad of will, love-wisdom and higher mind) relates to the form world (lower mind, emotions and physical body) as heat and light. These latter two are fire.
Let's turn to LOS now. I'll leave the issue of 'isolated unity' aside for the moment because it is covered to some extent in TCF 1. But more on this if comes up in the debate.
LOS (i) The idea of union is about the process leading towards unity or the One Life. Therefore, if it is a process; it follows a series of stages. These stages are doubtless well known to us: union with the soul, then union with the triad (outlined above) and then union with the monad on its own plane leading to cosmic consciousness and cosmic work.
(ii) the form nature (lower mind, emotions, physical body) has to be given up as a centre of commitment. The reason is the need to achieve a new centre of commitment -- initially, the soul. As this is achieved, the disciple uses the lower self in his/her work.
(iii) Why is the yogi said to know himself in "reality"? Because s/he is no longer the slave of the personality. The yogi can respond as he/she desires in relation to his/her work. The personal level of response no longer takes over.
(iv) Active modifications of the lower bodies -- meaning what? Meaning the way in which the disciple has learned to change those bodies as s/he follows the Path. As one learns to behave, think, feel differently, so the bodies progressively purify. However, even these modifications have to be set aside when the soul takes charge because the soul brings a power to which the entire lower self has to respond.
I plan no more response at this stage because I am hoping for responses from others, i.e. the developing debate. Hopefully the above will help to start this debate. However, it may be that other participants would sooner that I waited before chipping in. So let me know how you feel. Terry Chivers
Here is my reply:
Thanks to Terry for his comments and elaborations on Cf 2.
The three fundamentals principles as given by HPB in the secret Doctrine are of course very useful here as an introduction into our treatise, and hence their choice and their placing right at the start of the book.
The material of pages 3 to 7 of our treatise are simply an extension and an explanation of those fundamentals.
The important point to remember here, as I see, is that all manifestation has an inner side and that all there is stems from that absolute.
The rays, the fires and many other elaborations are dealt with in the Treatise and as we progress these will be made clearer to us.
As to Terry’s response to LOS we need to remember the agreed method intended for that study. What was asked and agreed was simply a commentary upon the way we understand these four sutras and preferably to rewrite the particular sutra as an introduction before writing our thought on them.