top of page

Volume 1:610-634

H.P. Blavatsky's chapter on "Gods, Monads, and Atoms" is one of the most famous sections in The Secret Doctrine.

  1. (Chapter XV). GODS, MONADS, AND ATOMS: H.P. Blavatsky maintained that there are "planetary inhabitants" throughout the Cosmos. In his Universal Natural History on page 131, Immanuel Kant concurred, "I am of the opinion that it is not particularly necessary to assert that all planets must be inhabited. However, at the same time, it would be absurd to deny this claim with respect to all or even to most of them."

  • The secondary gods in the Mundane Egg are tied into the microcosmic operations of the solar rays at the atomic level in the planetary chains. The classification of "Gods, Monads, and Atoms" correlates to Cosmic Kama, Cosmic Jiva, Astral Light, and Sthula-Sarira in G.de Purucker's diagram in Fountain-Source on page 437. It is the Gods, Monads, and Atoms in these cosmical principles that are initially destroyed at the close of a Great Age. A Maha-Manvantara is a Prakritika-Pralaya in the sense that these four differentiated prakritis are demolished. But just because the Solar Sun in its complete series of life and death cycles equally divides its time between the Maha-Manvantara and the Maha-Pralaya does not mean the higher cosmic suns follow its example. The primary gods in the Mundane Egg escape upwards in the direction of the central point during the Maha-Pralaya.

  • In The Secret Doctrine 1:614, the central point establishes the "Son" of Father-Mother (the bisected boundless Circle) in the Mundane Egg. H.P. Blavatsky identified Kant's "second Antinomy" to draw a line between the "absolutely Ideal Universe" (three-fold) and the "invisible though manifested Kosmos" (seven-fold). An antinomy is the contradiction between two possible realities that both appear reasonable to the human mind. As to Kant's "second Antinomy," he presented two contradictory positions: one could argue that atoms in fact have a basis, but on the other hand one could argue that everything is composite. In trying to understand an antinomy, the human mind finally gives up. Kant surmised in Critique of Pure Reason on pages 378-379, "reason tries at first, with the illusion of great plausibility, to establish its principle of unconditioned unity, but soon becomes entangled in so many contradictions that it must, with regard to cosmology, give up its claims to such unity." But there is a way out for Kant. He believed that certain truths could be known a priori. They did not have to be derived from experience but were inherently known within the human mind. As a Conceptualist, he felt that certain truths existed within the human mind, even if they did not exactly match up to the world of experience. One of these a priori truths was the figure of the Circle. In Critique of Judgement (1790) on page 192, Kant explained that the "figure of the circle is an intuition which understanding has determined according to a principle" that is "applied to space, a form of intuition, which, similarly, is only found in ourselves, and found a priori, as a representation." H.P. Blavatsky herself sided with the Conceptualists in The Secret Doctrine 1:3, refuting Roscelin of Compiegne's 11th-century "materialistic views of Realism and Nominalism." Therefore, she described the three-fold logoic progression from the immaculate white disk to the dull black ground with its central point as "before the writer's eye" in The Secret Doctrine 1:1. This progression represents a symbolic conception in the human mind, a conception of the Great Breath or the inner motion of the shining central point emerging along the plane of the immaculate white disk and shooting across the reaches of Space to infill a man's interior principles by tincturing his Atman at the summit of the Mundane Egg. The actual process is far more complicated in terms of progression through light and dark phases. What is conceptualized in the human mind may not exactly match what is beyond the human mind, but this is the a priori representation that evolution has developed within us to assist on the journey into the unseen realities of the universe.

  • On this relationship between H.P. Blavatsky's division of the "absolutely Ideal Universe" from the "manifested Kosmos," Kant asserted in Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783) on page 73, "That which determines space into the figure of a circle, a cone, or a sphere is the understanding, insofar as it contains the basis for the unity of the construction of these figures. The bare universal form of intuition called space is therefore certainly the substratum of all intuitions determinable upon particular objects." For Kant, the "bare universal form of intuition" included the figure of a Circle, but it also included an a priori representation of the figure of a Line. In Critique of Pure Reason on page 249, he elaborated, "This intuition, however, is that of the motion of a point in space, the presence of which in different places (as a sequence of opposite determinations) gives us, for the first time, an intuition of alteration. For in order that we may subsequently make even inner alterations thinkable, we must make time, as the form of inner sense, figuratively comprehensible to ourselves by means of a line, and the inner alteration by means of the drawing of that line." Only the drawing of the "line" makes possible an understanding of the "successive existence of ourselves in different states comprehensible by means of outer intuition." This is Kant's Conceptualist view of H.P. Blavatsky's "Father-Mother-Son." H.P. Blavatsky's endorsement of a "line" between the "Ideal" and the "manifested" shows her as a Dialectician, a philosopher who views the world through antithetical opposition (the two aspects of the One Principle), with a mild leaning towards Transcendental Idealism, though she confessed a preference for Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's "objective Idealism" in The Secret Doctrine 1:631 since it asserted the existence of matter, even if illusory, where matter as that which is perceived in some way is one with the perceiver. In the famous Preface from his 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit in Verses 17-23, Hegel postulated an Absolute "Substance" and "Subject" (a "bifurcation of the simple" on par with H.P. Blavatsky's 1st and 3rd Logos) whose movement reflected itself to itself and whose "essence" was consummated through its own development in which an unconscious impulse became a conscious, immanent one.

  • A few words must be said about Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's 1714 essay, Monadology. Even though H.P. Blavatsky viewed both the philosophies of Kant and Leibniz as "too artificial to serve as a vehicle for the Truth of the Occult Sciences" in Collected Writings 11:269, she did remark in The Secret Doctrine 1:627 that Leibniz's spiritual sensitivity far exceeded that of Kant. Despite the shortcomings of Monadology in that it never successfully differentiated between vastly different planes of existence (or "Ideal" and "manifested"), it did offer deep insights into the "Gods, Monads, and Atoms." In Verse 9, Leibniz's Monads were "different from every other." H.P. Blavatsky confirmed the great variety of these Monads in The Secret Doctrine 1:631. As the "jivas" in The Secret Doctrine 1:629 and in G. de Purucker's diagram in Fountain-Source on page 437, his Monads were configured as the receptacles of distinct Swabhavas. These Monads made perception and even profound spiritual apperception in human beings possible. He wrote in Verse 19, "Since feeling is something more than a mere perception I think that the general name of Monad or Entelechy should suffice for simple substances which have only perception, while we may reserve the term Soul for those whose perception is more distinct and is accompanied by memory." That is, Leibniz contrasted the first and the second "mortal" souls in human beings in terms of perception and apperception. H.P. Blavatsky admired the foresight of this division. In Verse 30, "Reflective Acts" of human consciousness evolved from apperception. This correlates with the human Manas perceiving itself in the cosmic Mahat. Finally, in Verse 40, Leibniz posited a governing ground of existence underlying the Monads, "We may hold that the supreme substance, which is unique, universal and necessary with nothing independent outside of it, which is further a pure sequence of possible being, must be incapable of limitation and must contain as much reality as possible." H.P. Blavatsky argued for such a ground of existence in The Secret Doctrine Dialogues on page 73, "But 'causeless cause' puts a stop to it, because that means there is no cause behind it, and that it had no cause, because it is cause itself." As she elucidated in the Secret Doctrine Commentary 1:35, this supreme substance is not the "cause, but the causality, or the propelling but not volitional power, in every manifesting Cause." For her, the "eye of the Seer" could follow the Monad into this "Causeless Cause" to "behold it in all its pregenetic glory," per The Secret Doctrine 1:617.

Sources:

H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. 11 (Wheaton: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1973).

H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 2019).

H.P. Blavatsky, Secret Doctrine Commentary (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1994).

H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine Dialogues (Los Angeles: The Theosophy Company, 2014).

G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977).

Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgement, trans. James Creed Meredith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, trans. Gary Hatfield (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Immanuel Kant, Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens, trans. Ian Johnston (Arlington: Richer Resources Publications, 2008).

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics, Correspondence with Arnauld and Monadology, trans. George Montgomery (La Salle: Open Court Publishing Company, 1988).

G. de Purucker, Fountain-Source of Occultism (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1974).

(Photo by Lu Moreno on Unsplash)

bottom of page