Sequence Of Numbers
( Originally Published 1908 )
ONE of the most significant and deepest truths of life, of Nature, of the Universe, is, that there is correspondence fundamental correspondence everywhere. The stumbling-block of science has been its separation of man, the observer, from the objects of his study and research; for he, the crowning work of creation, is an epitome of it, bearing to its component parts the same relations that the atoms of his body bear to one another.
It is impossible for us to separate ourselves from the life about us, for we are a part of it, and bear the closest relationship to its manifold forms and manifestations. The soul, the connecting link between the body and its Creator, is the medium through which all consciousness of that Divinity and our close connection with the unchanging source of life is manifested. Now, the question arises: How is it manifested?
You have been told that everything, all activity, every visible thing, is the result of Tattvic vibrations; and that our physical bodies are gross that is, visible effects of their ceaseless permutations and comminglings. The distinction " gross " is used in this connection always with the sense of being the antipodes, or direct opposite of the most sublimated or subtle,-- a visible effect, through a succession of ever coarsening vibrations forming denser matter, of invisible forces; forces of so tremendous energy that the average mind is as yet incapable, wanting any standard of comparison, of realizing their power and effect. What you have already learned concerning the bonds of sympathy established by the Tattvas has prepared you for the consideration now of all the Iinks in the chain of causation, the analysis of which will enable you to answer in fullest detail and incontrovertibly the question : What is this relationship and correspondence? in answering which the first question is answered also.
All this is made clear through study of the Self, a septenary compound of Principles which link the microcosm to the macrocosm by the same septenary chain through and by which all phenomena issue from the noumenon. The human body consists of seven vehicles of expression, sheaths, bodies, or Principles, as they are variously designated. The lowest of these in degree of density is the physical body, an aggregation of cells compounded by the grossest vibrations of the Tattvas; but cells could not exist without molecules, nor molecules without atoms; and just as every process from the exterior to the interior of the cell is a gradation of refining motion, to forms and vibrations too subtle for the comprehension of man, so also is the structure of the human body.
The sequence of numbers forges the links in this life-chain, numbers ever repeating, ever reiterating, ever reproducing and recombining constrained by the Rhythmic Law the primary Logoi emanating from the First Cause. As from this First Cause, which is Unity (the Creator, Brahman), everything in the manifested world proceeds, the basic Truth is that the Law of Unity is the keystone of the arch supporting, defining, and limiting all other laws and their activities. But since manifestation implies change, how does this Law of Unity act? Every act proceeds from an impelling influence, the power of thought, which is Spirit in action. God thought, and instantly the vibrations of that thought for us the first manifestation of Force began working in its affinity, or opposite, the Mother Principle of the Universe, Mula-prakriti; or Pradhana; homogeneous, undiscrete substance for which there are many names. It suffices for clearest under-standing, however, to recognize it as the negative phase of Spirit, and the root of matter, which is al-ways negative to Spirit.
Thus even Unity in action must have two phases activity and existence being unthinkable, other-wise and these two aspects of the First Cause are necessarily of different character, opposite poles the one to the other, hence give rise to diversity in Unity; whence arises the law of affinity, or sympathy, in opposites. Therefore, " pairs of opposites " are to be held in mind as the basis of all activities, all change, all progress, and the beginning of numbers,- the duad, without which the Holy Trinity were impossible. Affinity is the Love Principle which builds all worlds, while its opposite, hate, destroys. The opposite of unity is diversity, and the product of their interaction is a unit which differs from them, the Trinity, the three in one, or three aspects of the Primary Cause. The very beginning of Kosmic manifestation was an unfolding of this three-fold power, the Trinity, which was latent in Unity. To put this in simple terms of every day life which should speak to every human heart in a voice that will forever echo the truth : Father, mother, and child are forever reiterating, reproducing the Primary activity of the Holy Trinity.
These aspects are defined in Principles as Will, Wisdom, and Activity, the Will to do, the Wisdom to conceive, the Power to act. The ideas of all created things are inherent in this first utterance of Supreme Unity, which we recognize as the First Logos, the expression or Voice of God, who spoke the Universe into existence ; for the resulting vibrations are the Holy Spirit or creative medium. This First Logos was seven-fold, and differentiated into the seven Logoi, or creative potencies, (the Seven Spirits, or gods, below the Trinity), corresponding to the vowels of speech, and acting through the septenary of vowel-sounds. Thus sound and color and form correspond throughout Nature.
In the " Book of Dzyan" (see Secret Doctrine, Vol. I.), it is said : " This was the army of the Voice The Divine Septenary. . . . These are called spheres, triangles, cubes, lines, and modellers." You will recognize these forms as identical with the Tattvas, and it shows you that from the beginning of manifestation God geometrized. The Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras' " Voice of Nature," is composed of these voices of the Logoi, which correspond with the seven tones of the musical scale. They are the seven heavens, or angels, who " sounded each one vowel, which, all combined together, formed a complete doxology;" the Sound whereof, being carried down to earth, became the creator and parent of all things that be on earth." The forces thus set in motion are the Seven Hierarchs of conscious divine powers, active manifestations of one Supreme Energy. In Hindu mythology, this stage of evolution is known as " the creation of the gods," the sons of Fohat, or Force. These personified forces are the positive aspects of the Tattvas, the negative phases being the Shaktis of the Hindu Sacred Books.
Now, the Logoi must be recognized also as " the Seven Great Rays " from the Holy Spirit, or Primal Light. It is these seven Forces, symbolized as the " Elohim or Seven Spirits of God "the lower Sephiroth of the Kabala, which define the limits to the links in the chain of causation, establishing seven planes of manifestation, corresponding each with its primal Ray and its vowel sound, and differentiated the one from the others by the character of its vibrations; that is, their form and rate, or number per unit of time - their velocity.
The Western mind has little idea of the latent power in sound and consequently in words, numbers, and musical tones. But number underlies all form and guides sound. All life is manifested in numerical proportions and rhythmical motion. Motion, ceaseless motion is a condition of all existence, and form determines its effect; but sound with its rhythm and accent, of which number is the expression, moulds the form. Thus, the Voice of God sound shaped the vibrations of the First Logos which contained in itself the germs of the succeeding seven Logoi.
It is, perhaps, fortunate that we are forced to employ the Sanskrit nomenclature for the Tattvas; because Sanskrit being a pure, primitive tongue, is rich in onomatopoetic words like our cool, fiery, rustling, brilliant, scurry. There is great probability that the names of the Tattvas bear a metrical relation to their signification, quality, and action on the gross plane of matter. Hence it is very important that they be correctly pronounced. To facilitate this, the accepted phonetic spelling (that adopted by the Sanskrit scholars who appreciate' the need) has been strictly followed; and to give further aid a glossary of all the Sanskrit words it has been necessary to use is appended to this book.
The marvellous building and formative power in sound has always been recognized in Hindu religion and philosophy, and it has led the East Indian people to have an unshakable faith in the potency of their most sacred Word. They believe the manifestating Word of God is Om (Aum), and, being " double in its pronunciation and triple in its essence," that it expresses every power of generation, preservation, and destruction; that is, correspondence with their Trimurti (Trinity) Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer; " all one in different aspects."
Although there are hundreds of words in different languages signifying God, there must be some root thought, generalization, or common ground from which all the symbols spring; and that root thought, " the primitive idea," reasons the Hindu, " should be the common symbol." He, therefore, seeks his fundamental in a root sound, asking him-self first, how sounds are uttered by the human voice, and then, " What must have been the first sound?"
What organs are called into action? The larynx, and the palate as a sounding board. Now, is there any word which contains in itself the basis of all sounds? Yes, Auor (Om pronounced like o in on, not like o in home, prolonging the consonant and holding the voice to one key) is such a word, and the only one. Analyzing its triple essence," the first letter, A, is the root sound, or key. In all tongues, it is the natural exclamation of emotion, whether of pain or joy (ah!), and the first word the infant utters; and it is pronounced without touching any part of the tongue or palate. U rolls from the very root of the tongue to the end of the mouth's sounding-board; and M brings teeth and lips together and closes mouth and sound. The three letters also symbolize the three worlds, physical, astral (or luminous), and heavenly; the latter embracing the other two (see Glossary).
Thus, Om is a fundamental word covering the whole phenomena of vocal utterance. As such, Swami Vivekβnanda pronounces it " the natural symbol, the matrix of all the various sounds," believing that It denotes the whole range and possibility of all the words that can be made." All the religious ideas of India have been and are centered around this sacred Word; so hallowed in many cults that its public utterance has been condemned when not forbidden. And this ban you will now understand arises from no mere superstition but is based upon Occult knowledge of the tremendous power invested in certain rhythmic sounds. I would caution you never to utter the word or discuss its profound significance in hostile or flippant company; " because," says Annie Besant, " the sound that, working in the harmonious builds, working in the inharmonious destroys; and every thing that is evil is tumultuous, while everything which is pure is harmonious " (Building of the Kosmos, p. 23).
A Sanskrit Mantra embodies in its words an essential virtue attributed to the rhythmic force of sound; and Mrs. Besant, addressing the Theosophical Society, in India, explained that she used the " teaching of the Upanishad (Mundako) but not the Sanskrit tongue in the definite order of its syllables which gives them the force of Mantrams." She would not assume the responsibility. "of repeating the Mantram-form" of Vedic Shlokas in a mixed assembly where conflicting magnetisms were gathered.
I have dwelt thus upon the importance of the spoken word as a caution to those thoughtless per-sons who frequently hold up to ridicule sacred words and subjects concerning the significance of which they are profoundly ignorant; and doing which they make for themselves very unhappy Karma, that unerring law which adjusts effect to cause on every plane, which their companions and all those whom they influence share to a lesser degree. It is impossible to speak with too great emphasis here, for idle talk does more harm than the average mind can conceive; and hasty speech, the word that hurts, has ever to be atoned for. Forces that are uncontrolled, control you; and out of this mystery emanates all the suffering and unhappiness in the world. Choose ye harmonious forces.
Pythagorean philosophy taught that the sub-stances of all things were represented by abstract numbers, which in a certain sense were the elements of the Universe and explained it. Every number, therefore, had its specific value and influence; and the Pythagoreans considered seven, or the heptagon, a religious and perfect number. It is called Telesphorus " because by it all in the Universe and mankind is led to its end "; and also, " because within the decade it has neither factors nor product." Plutarch says that Pythagoras maintained "the earth was the product of the cube; fire, of the pyramid (triangle?) ;air, of the octahedron; and the sphere of the Universe, of the dodecahedron." When you recognize the agree-ment between this theory and the Tattvic Law (in the form of elemental vibrations) you will, perhaps, think with me that the moderns would bet-ter cease to scoff at the " fantastic metaphysics " of Pythagoras, and with humble spirit and open minds study his tenets.
The number system of Pythagoras was based on the theory of opposites (by which alone Creation and the activities of the Kosmos can be explained). Numbers were divided into odd and even, and from their combination other numbers (and therefore all things) resulted. He believed number was the basis of order and harmony in the Kosmos, identified it with form; and endowed different numbers with their special virtues and powers.
The Pythagorean categories, or fundamental opposites are :
1. Limited and unlimited.
2. Odd and even.
3. One and many.
4. Right and left.
5. Masculine and feminine.
6. Rest and motion.
7. Straight and crooked.
8. Light and darkness.
9. Good and evil.
Io. Square and oblong.
The first four numbers corresponded respectively with a point, a line, a surface, and a cube. The point (I) signified unity and harmony, or order, having position, and being analogous to the monad (Spirit, or Ego), was positive and bisexual, the number of origin and of reason; the line (2) was analogous to the duad, an even number, unlimited, because it could be perpetually halved, negative and feminine; and represented matter -- therefore the possibility of evil and brute force; a surface (3 ) was analogous to the triad, or triangle, positive and masculine; and a cube (4) to the tetrad, or Tetraktys; considered the symbol of the Kosmos, because containing within itself the point, the line, the superficies, and the solid all essentials of form. Its mystical representation is the point within the triangle. Four was also significant as the first square number, and as being the potential decade (1+2+3+4=10), or perfect number. Pythagoras compared four to " a world that is self-moving; it contains in itself, and is, the quarternary." It was the number of justice, as was three of mediation.
Great honor was shown to three by all ancient peoples, as, corresponding with the triangle, it was the first absolutely perfect figure ; endowed with sacred significance as symbolizing the Eternal, the first Perfection, and the three kingdoms. Al-though the science of good and evil began with two, which expresses all the contrasts in Nature -- day and night, health and sickness, heat and cold, light and darkness, etc. it yet was recognized as intimately connected with harmonic sound, " be-cause by doubling the number of string vibrations in a given unit of time another tone is produced which sounds like the first, but differs in pitch the octave higher."
Five was called " the nourisher," the generating and fostering sound; for it was believed that a fifth was the first of all intervals which could be sounded; and also it contained the first feminine or even number (2) , and the first masculine or odd (3). Pythagoras discovered that the fifth and the octave of a tone could be produced on the same string by stopping at two-thirds and one-half of its length respectively. This gave the law that harmony depends upon numerical proportion, and the discovery is believed to have led to his whole philosophy of number.
The Ogdoad or eight symbolizes the eternal and spiral motion of all things from the atom to cycles, and is symbolized in its turn by the caduceus. It manifests the regular in-and-out-breathing of the Kosmos under the direction of the " eight great gods " that is, the seven Builders or Kosmic Dhyan Chohans (identified with the " Seven Spirits," the " Voices," and the " Seven Angels of the Stars "), and the Holy Spirit, whence they emanated. Nine is the triple ternary, a number reproducing itself incessantly under all shapes and figures in multiplication. It is the sign of every circumference. It leads to a new dispensation and to revelation and symbolizes the point of union with the Higher Self. Under certain conditions, by the law of opposites, it may be very unlucky.
Ten, or the Decade, brings the digits back to unity and completes the Pythagorean table. Hence the figure I. enclosed in a cipher unity within zero was a symbol of Deity, of the visible Universe and of infinite vastness, and of man, the only creature who stood erect; as also of the primal activity of the positive and negative forces. In the Books of Hermes, which Mme. Blavatsky quotes (Secret Doctrine, Vol. III.), ten is "the Mother of the Soul, Life and Light being therein united," for one, man, is born of the Spirit, and ten, of matter, and from their unity again the Trinity comes forth the Soul.
There is a famous Chinese arithmetical diagram called the Loh-Shu, or the scroll of the river Loh; the invention of which is attributed to Fuh-Hi who lived 2858-2738 B. C. It is a mathematical square from 1-9, so written that all the odd numbers are expressed in yang symbols,-white dots, emblems of heaven; while the even numbers are expressed in yin symbols, black dots, the emblems of earth. Confucius, who was a con-temporary of Pythagoras, used these same yang and yin symbols, with the already age-honored signification above given; and he taught that the trans-mutations and comminglings of these odd and even numbers corresponding, of course, with forces kept " the spirit-like agencies " of the Kosmic world in movement.
Thus, the theory of opposites and of the fundamental relations of odd and even numbers was not confined to a brotherhood of " fantastic metaphysicians " in Greece, and is perhaps worthy of the serious consideration of modern scientists. The twentieth century has not improved upon the Confucian Code of Ethics, and ancient wisdom is a vast storehouse of treasures for us.
The seven-fold permutations of the Tattvas was explained early in these lessons (Chapter VI), but you are now to understand that everything in Nature responds to this number seven, a compound of three and four, and the factor element in every ancient religion, because it is the factor element in Nature. The most tremendous and baffling force in Nature is the mysterious synthesizing power of the triad, the " three in one." It is the Unity which in all the apparent confusion maintains harmony and order. This synthetic power is shared in only lesser degree by five and seven, and these three are most significant numbers for humanity.
Seven is the master of the moon " for she is constrained to change her phase every seven days. Thus she herself is without the seven, being acted upon by them.
Mme. Blavatsky says : " The seven planets are not limited to this number because the ancients knew no others, but simply because they were the primordial or primitive houses of the seven Logoi. There may be nine and ninety-nine other planets discovered this does not alter the fact of these seven alone being sacred." What you know of planetary influences will enable you to recognize the " houses " as centers respectively of the separate creative forces, or Logoi.
Though invisible and inaudible to us in detail, the creative forces, in the form of rates of vibration which compound and dissociate the atoms and molecules, become in the synthesis of the whole audible to us on the material plane. The Chinese call it the " Great Tone," or Kung. It is the actual tonic of Nature, recognized by musicians as middle Fa on the piano.
Among the moderns, the great French genius, Balzac (recently classed with Napoleon and other history-makers of the nineteenth century among the demi-fous, or half-insane) was gifted with a Pythagorean insight into the mysteries of the Kos-mos. He wrote: " There is a Number beyond which the impure cannot pass; the Number which is the limit of creation.
" The Unit was lis?] the starting-point of every product. . . . The Universe is the Unit in variety. Motion is the means; Number is the result. The end is the return of all things to the Unit, which is God."