“When the term Logos, Verbum, Vach, the mystic divine voice of every nation and philosophy comes to be better understood, then only will come the first glimmering of the Dawn of one Universal Religion.” (H. P. Blavatsky, “Theosophical Articles and Notes” p. 89)
“The Logos, being no personality but the universal principle . . .” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 318)
“In Esoteric philosophy the . . . Logos . . . is simply an abstract term, an idea . . .” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 380)
“. . . all the three logoi – the personified symbols of the three spiritual stages of Evolution.” (HPB, “Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge” p. 38)
“It is an eternal and periodical law which causes an active and creative force (the logos) to emanate from the ever-concealed and incomprehensible one principle at the beginning of every maha-manvantara, or new cycle of life.” (HPB, “The Key to Theosophy” p. 62)
“Now this Parabrahmam [i.e. the Absolute Divine Principle] which exists before all things in the cosmos is the one essence from which starts into existence a centre of energy . . . the Logos. This Logos may be called in the language of old writers either Eswara or Pratyagatma or Sabda Brahmam. It is called the Verbum or the Word by the Christians, . . . It is called Avalokiteswara by the Buddhists; at any rate, Avalokiteswara in one sense is the Logos in general, though no doubt in the Chinese doctrine there are also other ideas with which it is associated. In almost every doctrine they have formulated the existence of a centre of spiritual energy which is unborn and eternal, and which exists in a latent condition in the bosom of Parabrahmam at the time of pralaya, and starts as a centre of conscious energy at the time of cosmic activity. . . . In its inmost nature it is not unknowable as Parabrahmam, but it is an object of the highest knowledge that man is capable of acquiring. . . . It is not material or physical in its constitution . . . ; it is not different in substance, as it were, or in essence, from Parabrahmam, and yet at the same time it is different from it in having an individualized existence. . . . It is the one source of all energy in the cosmos, and the basis of all branches of knowledge, and what is more, it is, as it were, the tree of life, because the chaitanyam [i.e. consciousness] which animates the whole cosmos springs from it. . . . the one source of energy and power existing in the cosmos, which we have named the Logos, and which is the one existing representative of the power and wisdom of Parabrahmam.” (T. Subba Row, “Notes on the Bhagavad Gita”)
“This divine power was finally anthropomorphized by the Chinese Buddhist ritualists into a distinct double-sexed deity with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes, and called Kwan-shai-yin Bodhisatwa, the Voice-Deity, but in reality meaning the voice of the ever-present latent divine consciousness in man; the voice of his real Self, which can be fully evoked and heard only through great moral purity. Hence Kwan-yin is said to be the son of Amitabha Buddha, who generated that Saviour, the merciful Bodhisatwa, the “Voice” or the “Word” that is universally diffused, the “Sound” which is eternal. It has the same mystical meaning as the Vach of the Brahmans. . . . Kwan-yin is the Vachishvara or Voice-Deity of the Brahmans. Both proceed from the same origin as the Logos of the neo-platonic Greeks; the “manifested deity” and its “voice” being found in man’s Self, his conscience; . . . Both Vachishvara and Kwan-yin had, and still have, a prominent part in the Initiation Rites and Mysteries in the Brahmanical and Buddhist esoteric doctrines.” (HPB, “Tibetan Teachings”)
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One of the most frequently occurring terms and concepts in the teachings of Theosophy is that of the Logos.
This has been a source of confusion and misunderstanding to some students of the Esoteric Philosophy, usually due to their having been influenced by the ideas found in what can only be called Pseudo-Theosophy, such as the notion of the Logos being a “He” or some sort of Being or Entity or a role and hierarchical position reached and achieved by passing to a certain high degree of initiation.
All such notions are false, immature, and unphilosophical and have their origins not in any Ageless Wisdom but in the imagination and ignorance of their various exponents. The teachings of H. P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, and the Masters Themselves regarding the Logos are quite different and are firmly rooted in the ancient philosophy of the real Ageless Wisdom, the Esoteric Teaching which underlies all the world’s religions.
Throughout the millennia, every spiritual philosophy – both East and West – has clearly taught the existence and necessity of the Logos.
The key to the understanding of this concept is found in the word “Logos” itself, which is a Greek word equating to “Speech,” “Word,” “Verbum,” and “Voice.” In ancient Greece, Plato, Heraclitus, and the Stoics were the main originators of the philosophical sense of the term, although the concept itself pre-dates them by long ages. The whole idea behind the literal meaning of the word “Logos” is that It is the EXPRESSION in manifestation of the subjective, silent, and ever concealed Absolute.
The Absolute is the One Infinite Eternal Divine Principle, the Supreme and Ultimate Reality, which is beyond all definition, description, and comprehension. It is the One Life, the One Element, the One Immutable Essence and Energy which is Pure Absolute Existence Itself and which is itself entirely unmoved and unaffected by anything, regardless of whether the Universe is in existence at the time or not. It is the true Divine Self or Higher Self of all because It is really the one and only Reality.
The Infinite, in order to actually be infinite, cannot have anything finite about Itself whatsoever, or It would cease to be the Infinite, seeing as that word literally means “not finite in any way.” Thus it is absolute, – which in philosophical terminology means entirely different from and unconcerned with the relative; “relative” meaning the entirety of manifested existence – yet at the same time being the source and substratum of all manifested existence.
Theosophy therefore teaches that the Infinite is forever unmanifested, unmanifestable, unconditioned, undifferentiated, and without any attributes, characteristics, form or personality of any kind. To think of or refer to It as a “He” or “She” is to negate the entire philosophy. About all that can be said about It is that It is supreme, pure, absolute Consciousness Itself. As it is absolute Consciousness, it is immeasurably beyond even the very highest and most sublime type of consciousness that we can conceive of.
To our inevitably relative perceptions, It cannot help but appear more like perfect Unconsciousness, since we cannot accurately grasp or conceive of It in any way, other than to simply know “It IS.” Likewise, being absolute Light, It cannot help but appear to us more like perfect Darkness, due to Its utterly unfathomable and infinite nature. The Infinite is Infinity Itself.
In Theosophy, the name most frequently applied to the Absolute is Parabrahm or Parabrahman, a Sanskrit Hindu term meaning “Supreme Brahman” or “Infinite Brahman.” Parabrahm and Brahman are synonyms but the term “Parabrahm” is the one used more frequently by HPB and the Masters. It is naturally acknowledged that the Absolute is nameless and unnameable in reality but nevertheless every religion of every nation has applied its own term to the Supreme Principle for sake of easier comprehension.
In esoteric Hinduism, It is Brahman or Parabrahman. In esoteric Buddhism, It is Adi-Buddha or Adi-Buddhi meaning literally “Primordial Wisdom,” while the Kabbalah uses the term Ein-Soph (also written as Ain-Soph) which literally means “The Endless Boundless No-Thing.”
The Logos, then, is the objective expression of the subjective and abstract Absolute, or the Word coming forth out of the Silence.
And this has to happen in order to bring the Universe into being, since the Absolute – due to the very fact of Its absoluteness – cannot bring anything into being by Itself. In fact, It is entirely unconcerned with there even being a Universe, but it is taught by the Mahatmas that the periodical and cyclic appearance and evolution of the Universe is due to an inherent and automatically operative Law. They explain that it is as if there is a great divine clock, or what we may call with some liberty a “cosmic computer,” which is eternally wound up and which propels the Universe into manifestation and back out of manifestation over and over again, always at the right time. Theosophy maintains that there is certainly no personal “divine will” or conscious intelligence behind it all.
The Masters of the Trans-Himalayan Brotherhood have stated that they deny the existence of God and avoid using that term (see the articles What Does Theosophy Say About God? and The Impersonal Divine). HPB unequivocally re-iterated this in “The Secret Doctrine.” To think of or refer to the Absolute as “God” is to seriously risk misunderstanding as well as misrepresenting the truth of the matter. The “God” word is not necessary and “It is to avoid such anthropomorphic conceptions that the Initiates never use the epithet “God” to designate the One and Secondless Principle in the Universe.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 555)
Nevertheless, despite employing that term, the opening verses of St. John’s Gospel in the Christian New Testament express this concept of the Absolute and the Logos quite clearly: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
These famous words, originally written in Greek and using the Greek philosophical term “Logos” and in a way that bears all the hallmarks of Platonism, have been purposely distorted and given new meanings by Christian theology, as have all the texts of the original New Testament.
An esoteric interpretation or explanation would be as follows:
“In the beginning of this Universe was the Logos, and the Logos was with the Absolute, and the Logos was the direct radiation from the Absolute. The same was in the beginning with the Absolute. All things in this Universe have been emanated and evolved from the Logos; and nothing has existed here except through the Logos. In the Logos was divine Life itself; and that Life is the spiritual light in man. The light of the Logos shone forth from the darkness of the Absolute; and the Absolute remained entirely unaffected and unmoved thereby, being Absoluteness Itself.”
The statement attributed to Jesus elsewhere in John’s Gospel that “No-one has seen the Father except the Son” likewise bears the distinctive characteristics of Platonist, Neo-Platonist, and the earlier Pythagorean esotericism, although this claim will most probably be denied or doubted by most until they actually take it upon themselves to do proper and impartial research into the matter. The inference is that the Absolute has never been directly seen or perceived except by the Logos, the “first begotten of the Father.”
So, simply put, the Logos is the all-ensouling Light and Life of the Universe. It is the Living Universe itself. It is the primal radiation from the Absolute at the dawn of the Maha-Manvantara or universal life cycle. It is Light, radiating forth from the Unknown Darkness of the Absolute. It is Time, re-emerging from the infinite bosom of Eternal Duration. It is the Anima Mundi or Universal Soul. It is Divine Ideation itself. It is Alaya. It becomes the Universal Mind.
“Alaya is literally the “Soul of the World” or Anima Mundi, the “Over-Soul” of Emerson, and according to esoteric teaching it changes periodically its nature. Alaya, though eternal and changeless in its inner essence on the planes which are unreachable by either men or Cosmic Gods (Dhyani Buddhas), alters during the active life-period with respect to the lower planes, ours included. During that time not only the Dhyani-Buddhas are one with Alaya in Soul and Essence, but even the man strong in the Yoga (mystic meditation) “is able to merge his soul with it” (Aryasanga, the Bumapa school). This is not Nirvana, but a condition next to it. . . . Alaya is the personification of the Voidness, and yet Alaya (Nyingpo and Tsang in Tibetan) is the basis of every visible and invisible thing, and . . . though it is eternal and immutable in its essence, it reflects itself in every object of the Universe “like the moon in clear tranquil water”.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 48)
“Behold how like the moon, reflected in the tranquil waves, Alaya is reflected by the small and by the great, is mirrored in the tiniest atoms, yet fails to reach the heart of all. . . .
“Of teachers there are many; the MASTER-SOUL is one, Alaya, the Universal Soul. Live in that MASTER as ITS ray in thee. Live in thy fellows as they live in IT. . . .
“Thou hast to saturate thyself with pure Alaya, become as one with Nature’s Soul-Thought. At one with it thou art invincible; in separation, thou becomes the playground of Samvriti, origin of all the world’s delusions.
“All is impermanent in man except the pure bright essence of Alaya. Man is its crystal ray; a beam of light immaculate within, a form of clay material upon the lower surface. That beam is thy life-guide and thy true Self, the Watcher and the silent Thinker, the victim of thy lower Self.” (“The Voice of the Silence” p. 24, 49-50, 57, original 1889 edition, translated by HPB from the Book of the Golden Precepts)
It is also at times referred to symbolically in Theosophy as the Central Spiritual Sun or Great Central Sun, which pervades and is the entire Universe, and which is comprised of the Seven Rays which are the seven occult (i.e. hidden and unknown, except to the sufficiently initiated) forces and powers within the Universe. In the article Theosophy on The Milky Way, after quoting some significant words from “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 240, we said:
“The careful reader will also have noticed the implication made by HPB that a vital connection and relation exists between the “Central Spiritual Sun” and the Milky Way. More specifically, “a central body in the milky way, a point unseen and mysterious, the ever-hidden centre of attraction” is the connection-point with that equally or even more mysterious “focus” of DIVINE RADIANCE.” More on this can be read in that article.
Many different names used in many different spiritual traditions may end up becoming confusing unless we keep in mind that they are almost always merely illustrative names applied to this same Logos. Just as it is Brahmā which comes forth as the Logos from the Absolute Brahman in the philosophy of the Upanishads, so it is Adam Kadmon (“Heavenly Man”) which comes forth as the Logos from Ein-Soph in the Kabbalah, and Avalokiteshvara which comes forth from Adi-Buddhi in the esotericism of Tibetan Buddhism. Some Hindus will speak of the Absolute and its Logos as Shiva and Shakti, while others will prefer to use the term Vishnu, Narayana, or Ishvara for the Logos. Others may speak of it as the Universal Kundalini or Mother of the Universe, while a true Christian Gnostic may be inclined to call it the Divine Sophia.
What is important to remember is that these are not a collection of different beings or entities and are in fact not a being or entity at all but simply names and descriptive terms for the one Logoic Principle which ensouls and animates this entire Universe. “In Esoteric philosophy, the Logos is simply an abstract term,” writes HPB in her master work “The Secret Doctrine,” adding that the Logos “is no personality but the universal principle.”
The Language of Symbols and Numbers
The universal archaic symbol relating to the Logos was that of the circle with the dot or point in the centre. On p. 1 itself of the first volume of “The Secret Doctrine” we read:
“An Archaic Manuscript – a collection of palm leaves made impermeable to water, fire, and air, by some specific unknown process – is before the writer’s eye. On the first page is an immaculate white disk within a dull black ground. On the following page, the same disk, but with a central point. The first, the student knows to represent Kosmos in Eternity, before the re-awakening of still slumbering Energy, the emanation of the Word in later systems. The point in the hitherto immaculate Disk, Space and Eternity in Pralaya, denotes the dawn of differentiation. It is the Point in the Mundane Egg, the germ within the latter which will become the Universe, the ALL, the boundless, periodical Kosmos, this germ being latent and active, periodically and by turns. The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns. Its circumference – a forcibly limited symbol, in view of the limitation of the human mind – indicates the abstract, ever incognisable PRESENCE, and its plane, the Universal Soul, although the two are one. Only the face of the Disk being white and the ground all around black, shows clearly that its plane is the only knowledge, dim and hazy though it still is, that is attainable by man. It is on this plane that the Manvantaric manifestations begin; for it is in this SOUL that slumbers, during the Pralaya, the Divine Thought, wherein lies concealed the plan of every future Cosmogony and Theogony. . . . the term “Divine Thought,” like that of “Universal Mind,” must not be regarded as even vaguely shadowing forth an intellectual process akin to that exhibited by man.”
The ”Point within the Circle” is the same as the Pythagorean Monas, the first and highest point of the Pythagorean Triangle. This HPB calls “the real, esoteric LOGOS” and adds, “The upper single dot is a Monad, and represents a Unit-Point, which is the Unity from whence all proceeds, and all is of the same essence with it.” (“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 614, 616)
In the chapter titled “Theogony of the Creative Gods,” we read (Vol. 1, p. 426) the following:
“This first, or rather ONE, principle was called “the circle of Heaven,” symbolized by the hierogram of a point within a circle or equilateral triangle, the point being the LOGOS. Thus, in the Rig Veda, wherein Brahmā is not even named, Cosmogony is preluded with the Hiranyagharba, “the Golden Egg,” and Prajapati (Brahmā later on), from whom emanate all the hierarchies of “Creators.” . . . This Point is the First Cause, but THAT from which it emanates, or of which, rather, it is the expression, the Logos, is passed over in silence. In its turn, the universal symbol, the point within the circle, was not yet the Architect, but the cause of that Architect; and the latter stood to it in precisely the same relation as the point itself stood to the circumference of the Circle, which cannot be defined, according to Hermes Trismegistus.”
The point within the circle has also been portrayed as the number 1 inside the O, symbolising the First Cause (the Logos) which radiates forth from the Causeless Cause (the Absolute); the Universal One radiating forth from the Eternal Zero.
As has been shown throughout this explanatory article, the definite system of Esoteric Philosophy embodied in Theosophy always proceeds from universals to particulars, rather than attempting to go from particulars to universals. It starts off at the start, at the definite and fixed starting point of the Absolute and then proceeds progressively downwards. This is the famous Eastern method, the deductive, known in the West as the Platonic method because of that great initiate’s preference for it, whereas the inductive method of particulars to universals is known as the Aristotelian method, which – along with Aristotle himself – is sorely and justifiably criticised by HPB and the Masters.
The Master K.H. wrote, “What a common ruse it is of your Aristoteleans! With the sleuth hound’s persistence they track an idea to the very verge of the “impassable chasm,” and then brought to bay leave the metaphysicians to take up the trail if they can, or let it be lost.” HPB said in “Isis Unveiled” that the Platonic system must triumph over the Aristotelian, for the sake of the Western world and in “Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge” (p. 58) comments that the power or faculty of spiritual perception and knowledge of Truth is latent within everyone but that the Aristotelian method has paralysed it in the vast majority. But how many of those who call themselves Theosophists today have even the faintest understanding or knowledge of either of the two?
Let us think for a moment and consider the fact that even basic mathematics proceeds from universals to particulars, clearly indicating that this is the correct, natural, logical, and accurate way to proceed, rather than going from particulars to universals. We always start off with the 0, then the 1, and then “the many” eventually and progressively arise from the 1. It would be foolish, as well as impossible, for mathematics to start off anywhere other than the definite ultimate starting point.
Similarly, genuine Theosophy deals with the Absolute (the “Eternal Zero,” the Boundless Abstract ALL) and the Universal Logos (the 1) which radiates forth from It, rather than concerning itself with lower, later, temporary (and thus illusory) manifestations such as a so-called Planetary Logos or Solar Logos, which are the main objects of attention amongst the pseudo-Theosophists, who also say that the various Logoi have worked their way up to the position of Logos through the path of initiation.
In all the 10,000+ pages of the writings of H. P. Blavatsky, spanning over fifteen years, the term “Solar Logos” is used only once – and even that is in a very different sense to the way later teachers have used the term – and the term “Planetary Logos” not at all. Nor are such terms ever used by William Judge (see Who was William Quan Judge?) or by any of the Masters, such as the Master M. and Master K.H., whose extensive writings can be readily accessed for the perusal and study of anyone sufficiently interested in knowing what the actual Masters actually teach.
Theosophy, when speaking of the Logos, is almost always speaking exclusively of the Universal Logos. “Chaos-Theos-Kosmos” is a phrase used by HPB and the Masters in one part of “The Secret Doctrine” when talking about the origins and manifestation of the Universe. Chaos – Theos – Kosmos means the Absolute – the Logos – the Manifested Universe. That is the way in which it all proceeds and progresses. Philosophically speaking, the Greek word “Chaos” does not have the same sense in which we use that term in modern everyday speech but rather refers to the formless state of Absoluteness. “Theos” translates as “God” in English and “Kosmos” spelt with a K rather than a C refers in Theosophical teachings to the Universe, rather than just the cosmos of our solar system, although of course that is included within it.
If Theosophy is Religion-Philosophy-Science, we cannot afford to neglect or ignore the Philosophy aspect.
There is of course much more that could be said on this subject of the Logos and much more has been said, particularly in “The Secret Doctrine” which the Master K.H., who claimed joint authorship of that book with the Master M. and HPB, described as the “epitome of occult truths” and said was to be the source “of information and instruction for the earnest student” for many long years to come. The Secret Doctrine itself – as in the Esoteric Teaching which underlies all the world’s religions – is described in that work as “the Synthesis of Science, Religion, and Philosophy” because it is the archaic and primeval source and fountainhead of all the Truth which exists in the various religions, philosophies, and sciences of the world.
The philosophy side of Theosophy is a vital and essential part of it. The word “philosophy” literally means “Love of Wisdom” or “Love of Truth,” wisdom and truth being synonymous in olden times. The term has developed a rather negative connotation here in the West, due to the dry, dusty, soulless, and over-intellectual speculative philosophy that sprung up and then withered away here over the past few centuries.
In “Studies in The Secret Doctrine,” B. P. Wadia wrote, “During the last several centuries metaphysical philosophy has been a very useless kind of speculative hair-splitting all over Europe. The Western world has first to be trained in the idea that the philosophy of the Ancients is far from speculative and that Eastern metaphysics is a science that is highly practical. The writings of H.P.B. go to make this amply clear. In our own Theosophical Movement we have suffered through the obtuseness of many early students who failed to see the reasons for viewing, studying and examining the teachings of the Masters through H.P.B. in their true setting and perspective, viz., metaphysical and philosophical.” (p. 74)
Spirituality divorced from philosophy is often little more than idiocy, as has been painfully demonstrated by the Spiritualist movement and by the channelled teachings and messages and angel mania that characterise the New Age Movement. But whereas such things come and go, the Ancient and Ageless Wisdom ever remains, for it is Timeless Truth and the Truth never changes. Theosophy is here for anyone and everyone who wants it. The door is open and those who wish can walk on in and find the answers to their questions.
This article began with HPB’s key statement “When the term Logos, Verbum, Vach, the mystic divine voice of every nation and philosophy comes to be better understood, then only will come the first glimmering of the Dawn of one Universal Religion.”
This is perhaps not only because a right understanding of the subject of the Logos helps to make clear the sameness of the basis on which so many of the world’s current religions and philosophies are built but also because of its inevitable practical bearing upon ethics, human conduct, and the way we view and treat one another:
“Kama is the first conscious, all embracing desire for universal good, love, and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, the first feeling of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the consciousness of the creative ONE FORCE, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from the ABSOLUTE. Says the Rig Veda, “Desire first arose in IT, which was the primal germ of mind, and which Sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered in their heart to be the bond which connects Entity with non-Entity”, or Manas with pure Atma-Buddhi. There is no idea of sexual love in the conception. Kama is pre-eminently the divine desire of creating happiness and love; and it is only ages later, as mankind began to materialize by anthropomorphization its grandest ideals into cut and dried dogmas, that Kama became the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane.” (HPB, “The Theosophical Glossary” p. 170-171, Entry for “Kamadeva”)
On p. 69-70 of “The Voice of the Silence” it is stated that Compassion is the very Self and Essence of the Universal Logos:
“Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of LAWS – eternal Harmony, Alaya’s SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.
“The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou wilt become COMPASSION ABSOLUTE.”
~ BlavatskyTheosophy.com ~
Theosophy also uses the terms First Logos, Second Logos, and Third Logos. This too has been distorted and had its meaning completely changed in later versions of “Theosophy.” For the explanation presented in the original teachings, please click below to read