The title of this article expresses a question which many students of Theosophy have been asking themselves for over a century.
The word “monad” is generally defined in dictionaries as meaning “primary unit” or “ultimate unit.” In some of the more basic and foundational textbooks of Theosophy, such as “The Key to Theosophy” by H.P. Blavatsky and “The Ocean of Theosophy” by William Q. Judge, the term “Monad” is used quite simply and applies to the conjunction of the two highest “Principles” of the inner, spiritual constitution of the human being, namely Atma and Buddhi, which are usually termed the seventh and sixth Principles of man.
Atma, being pure eternal Spirit, one with the Absolute Infinite Omnipresent Divine Principle, can effectively have no connection with or influence on anything differentiated, manifested, or conditioned, except through Buddhi, the Spiritual Soul, which serves as the vehicle through which the divine light and radiance of Atma shines through to Manas, the next highest Principle, and which is our Reincarnating Ego, our permanent individuality, the Mind-Entity or Human Soul, which has been described and explained at some length in articles such as Ego Is Not a Bad Word and Manas – The Mystery of Mind.
When the Higher Manas principle is first awakened and activated in “animal man” – as occurred for this Earth’s humanity in the latter part of the Third Root Race, the Lemurian Epoch, millions of years ago – the Monad can be considered to have become individualised, in a sense, and to have gained its own Ego, its own “I”. Without this additional presence of Manas, as the connecting link between the Monad and the earthly personality, Atma-Buddhi remains for a man nothing more than pure abstraction in a state of absolute subjectivity and inactivity.
Atma and Buddhi are naturally in conjunction with one another. We can hardly conceive of one without the other. Manas is something individual, whilst Atma and Buddhi are universal Principles, one and the same for all. Some articles on this site which relate to them are Atman – The Higher Self and The Buddhi Principle. Atma-Buddhi is thus the highermost part of every being and it is the mission of the reincarnating Manas to merge and unite itself with the Monad, which is in fact its own source and highest spiritual essence.
Although this is admittedly more complex than the overly simplistic and unsatisfactory explanations about the nature of man offered by most religions, it is still sufficiently comprehensible.
When one begins to go even deeper into the study of the Theosophical teachings, however, it becomes apparent that there is in fact far more to the subject of the Monad than this. Apparently contradictory and confusing statements begin to emerge, particularly in the two volumes of “The Secret Doctrine,” and especially so when one discovers the numerous references to the Monad in relation to astrological aspects such as the seven sacred planets and the twelve constellations or signs of the Zodiac. We also see that the Monad is perhaps not quite as absolutely impartite and universal as we may have thought. It seems to be something individual in its nature, yet universal in its essence. As HPB remarked, it is “a mystery.”
All sacred mysteries are revealed to the earnest, humble, and selfless aspirant, when the time is right. In the meantime, we may encourage ourselves with the reminder that there are seven aspects or seven sides to every truth, and that in continually studying and contemplating upon all the differing explanations and statements given regarding the Monad, we may eventually be able to perceive the larger picture and gain a fuller, deeper, and more accurate understanding of that which has obviously had to be deliberately blurred and obscured by HPB and the Masters in order to avoid clearly and explicitly giving out to the world something which is of the utmost sacredness and holiness. Not everything can be handed to us on a plate; there are some things which we have to work out for ourselves, if we are sufficiently willing and interested to do so and to make the great effort required.
The modern esoteric student, said HPB, “demands and expects that his “Path” shall be engineered with all the selfish craft of modern comfort, macadamized, laid out with swift railways and telegraphs, and even telescopes, through which he may, while sitting at his ease, survey the works of other people; and while criticizing them, look out for the easiest, in order to play at the Occultist and Amateur Student of Theosophy. The real “Path” to esoteric knowledge is very different. Its entrance is overgrown with the brambles of neglect, the travesties of truth during long ages block the way, and it is obscured by the proud contempt of self-sufficiency and with every verity distorted out of all focus. To push over the threshold alone, demands an incessant, often unrequited labour of years, and once on the other side of the entrance, the weary pilgrim has to toil up on foot, for the narrow way leads to forbidding mountain heights, unmeasured and unknown, save to those who have reached the cloud-capped summit before. Thus must he mount, step by step, having to conquer every inch of ground before him by his own exertions; moving onward, guided by strange land marks the nature of which he can ascertain only by deciphering the weather-beaten, half-defaced inscriptions as he treads along, for woe to him, if, instead of studying them, he sits by coolly pronouncing them “indecipherable.” The “Doctrine of the Eye” is maya; that of the “Heart” alone, can make of him an elect.” (“Mistaken Notions on the “Secret Doctrine”” article)
This article consists of a compilation of quotations on the topic of the Monad, mainly from HPB but also with a few excerpts from her Adept Teachers. This is by no means the complete collection of everything ever said by them on this subject but it does include the main and most important statements and explanations.
In light of what follows, the simplest explanation that could be given as to what our Monad actually is, would be to say that it is a Divine Spark or Ray, an individualised “breath” of the Absolute, a manifestation of the infinite Energy of the One Universal Monad. These are of course only words, until we gain that understanding and intuitional perception which far surpasses mere words and intellect. Nevertheless, these words above present only a small part of the story of what exactly is the Monad.
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“Monad (Gr.). The Unity, the one; but in Occultism it often means the unified triad, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or the duad, Atma-Buddhi, that immortal part of man which reincarnates in the lower kingdoms, and gradually progresses through them to Man and then to the final goal – Nirvana.” (HPB, “The Theosophical Glossary” p. 216, Entry for “Monad”)
“The Monad, though meaning strictly one, is in its manifestation always Trinitarian – being one only in Nirvana. When it is in its Laya state every ancient philosophy proves it to be so. … It cannot be otherwise than Trinitarian. How can Monad manifest, unless it is Trinitarian and capable of acting only on the third plane, as the second and the first are too spiritual to be regarded in our perceptions as planes of any activity? Take the human septenary. Atma alone is nothing; it is not only not a breath, but it is simply an idea, nothing, because it is absoluteness; it is the essence of Ain Soph or Parabrahm; Buddhi is its vehicle, and yet Buddhi, even in conjunction with Atma, is still nothing on this plane.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 438-439)
“The monad … is here rendered as the Atma in conjunction with Buddhi and the higher Manas. This trinity is one and eternal, the latter being absorbed in the former at the termination of all conditioned and illusive life. The monad, then, can be traced through the course of its pilgrimage and its changes of transitory vehicles only from the incipient stage of the manifested Universe. In Pralaya, or the intermediate period between two manvantaras, it loses its name, as it loses it when the real ONE self of man merges into Brahm in cases of high Samadhi (the Turiya state) or final Nirvana; …
“Atma (our seventh principle) being identical with the universal Spirit, and man being one with it in his essence, what is then the Monad proper? It is that homogeneous spark which radiates in millions of rays from the primeval “Seven;” – of which seven further on. It is the EMANATING spark from the UNCREATED Ray – a mystery.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 570, 571)
“Stanza III. describes the Re-awakening of the Universe to life after Pralaya. It depicts the emergence of the “Monads” from their state of absorption within the ONE; the earliest and highest stage in the formation of “Worlds,” the term Monad being one which may apply equally to the vastest Solar System or the tiniest atom.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 21)
“For him [i.e. Leibnitz] matter was a simple representation of the monad, whether human or atomic. Monads, he thought (as we do), are everywhere. Thus the human soul is a monad, and every cell in the human body has its monad, as every cell in animal, vegetable, and even in the (so-called) inorganic bodies.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 630)
“The Monad or Jiva, as said in “Isis Unveiled,” vol. i., p. 302, is, first of all, shot down by the law of Evolution into the lowest form of matter – the mineral. After a sevenfold gyration encased in the stone (or that which will become mineral and stone in the Fourth Round), it creeps out of it, say, as a lichen. Passing thence, through all the forms of vegetable matter, into what is termed animal matter, it has now reached the point in which it has become the germ, so to speak, of the animal, that will become the physical man. All this, up to the Third Round, is formless, as matter, and senseless, as consciousness. For the Monad or Jiva per se cannot be even called spirit: it is a ray, a breath of the ABSOLUTE, or the Absoluteness rather, and the Absolute Homogeneity, having no relations with the conditioned and relative finiteness, is unconscious on our plane. Therefore, besides the material which will be needed for its future human form, the monad requires (a) a spiritual model, or prototype for that material to shape itself into; and (b) an intelligent consciousness to guide its evolution and progress, neither of which is possessed by the homogeneous monad, or by senseless though living matter. The Adam of dust requires the Soul of Life to be breathed into him: the two middle principles, which are the sentient life of the irrational animal and the Human Soul, for the former is irrational without the latter. It is only when, from a potential androgyne, man has become separated into male and female, that he will be endowed with this conscious, rational, individual Soul, (Manas) “the principle, or the intelligence, of the Elohim,” to receive which, he has to eat of the fruit of Knowledge from the Tree of Good and Evil. How is he to obtain all this? The Occult doctrine teaches that while the monad is cycling on downward into matter, these very Elohim – or Pitris, the lower Dhyan-Chohans – are evolving pari passu with it on a higher and more spiritual plane, descending also relatively into matter on their own plane of consciousness, when, after having reached a certain point, they will meet the incarnating senseless monad, encased in the lowest matter, and blending the two potencies, Spirit and Matter, the union will produce that terrestrial symbol of the “Heavenly Man” in space – PERFECT MAN.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 246-247)
“The Monads are not discrete principles, limited or conditioned, but rays from that one universal absolute Principle.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 167)
“Whatever meaning various schools may give the term, Sattva is the name given among Occult students of the Aryasanga School to the dual Monad or Atma-buddhi, and Atma-buddhi on this plane corresponds to Parabrahm and Mulaprakriti on the higher plane.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 69)
“The Sixth principle in Man (Buddhi, the Divine Soul) though a mere breath, in our conceptions, is still something material when compared with divine “Spirit” (Atma) of which it is the carrier or vehicle. Fohat, in his capacity of DIVINE LOVE (Eros), the electric Power of affinity and sympathy, is shown allegorically as trying to bring the pure Spirit, the Ray inseparable from the ONE absolute, into union with the Soul, the two constituting in Man the MONAD, and in Nature the first link between the ever unconditioned and the manifested.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 119)
“The “monad” is the combination of the last two Principles in man, the 6th and the 7th, and, properly speaking, the term “human monad” applies only to the Spiritual Soul, not to its highest spiritual vivifying Principle. But since divorced from the latter the Spiritual Soul could have no existence, no being, it has thus been called. The composition (if such a word, which would shock an Asiatic, seems necessary to help European conception) of Buddhi or the 6th principle is made up of the essence of what you would call matter (or perchance a centre of Spiritual Force) in its 6th and 7th condition or state; the animating ATMAN being part of the ONE LIFE or Parabrahm. Now the Monadic Essence (if such a term be permitted) in the mineral, vegetable and animal, though the same throughout the series of cycles from the lowest elemental up to the Deva kingdom, yet differs in the scale of progression.
“It would be very misleading to imagine a monad as a separate entity trailing its slow way in a distinct path through the lower kingdoms, and after an incalculable series of transmigrations flowering into a human being; in short, that the monad of a Humboldt dates back to the monad of an atom of hornblende. Instead of saying a mineral monad, the correcter phraseology in physical science which differentiates every atom, would of course have been to call it the Monad manifesting in that form of Prakriti called the mineral kingdom. … it is a concrete manifestation of the Universal Energy which itself has not yet become individualized: a sequential manifestation of the one Universal Monas. The ocean does not divide into its potential and constituent drops until the sweep of the life-impulse reaches the evolutionary stage of man-birth. The tendency towards segregration into individual monads is gradual, and in the higher animals comes almost to the point. The Peripatetics applied the word Monas to the whole Cosmos, in the pantheistic sense; and the Occultists while accepting this thought for convenience’ sake, distinguish the progressive stages of the evolution of the Concrete from the Abstract by terms, of which the “Mineral Monad” is one. The term merely means that the tidal wave of spiritual evolution is passing through that arc of its circuit. The “Monadic Essence” begins to imperceptibly differentiate in the vegetable kingdom. As the monads are uncompounded things, as correctly defined by Leibnitz, it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation which constitutes properly the monad – not the atomic aggregation which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and higher degrees of intelligence. …
“…even the vegetable monad is still the Monad in its second degree of awakening sensation. Leibnitz came several times very near the truth, but defined the monadic evolution incorrectly and often greatly blundered. There are seven kingdoms. The first group comprises three degrees of elementals, or nascent centres of forces – from the first stage of the differentiation of Mulaprakriti to its third degree – i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception; the second or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning-point in the degrees of the “Monadic Essence” – considered as an Evoluting Energy. Three stages in the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages in the objective physical side – these are the seven links of the evolutionary chain. A descent of spirit into matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the deepest depths of materiality (the mineral) towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete organisms up to Nirvana – the vanishing point of differentiated matter. …
“The mineral “monad” is not an individuality latent, but an all-pervading Force which has for its present vehicle matter in its lowest and most concrete terrestrial state; in man the monad is fully developed, potential, and either passive or absolutely active, according to its vehicle, the five lower and more physical human principles. In the Deva kingdom it is fully liberated and in its highest state – but one degree lower than the ONE Universal Life.”
“In short, the mineral monad is one – the higher animal and human monads are countless.” (HPB, “About the Mineral Monad,” “Five Years of Theosophy” p. 274-278)
“”Pilgrim” is the appellation given to our Monad (the two in one) during its cycle of incarnations. It is the only immortal and eternal principle in us, being an indivisible part of the integral whole – the Universal Spirit, from which it emanates, and into which it is absorbed at the end of the cycle. When it is said to emanate from the one spirit, an awkward and incorrect expression has to be used, for lack of appropriate words in English.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 16-17)
“The “human” Monad, whether immetallized in the stone-atom, or invegetallized in the plant, or inanimalized in the animal, is still and ever a divine, hence also a HUMAN Monad. It ceases to be the human only when it becomes absolutely divine. The terms “mineral,” “vegetable” and “animal” monad are meant to create a superficial distinction: there is no such thing as a Monad (jiva) other than divine, and consequently having been, or having to become, human. And the latter term has to remain meaningless unless the difference is well understood. The Monad is a drop out of the shoreless Ocean beyond, or, to be correct, within the plane of primeval differentiation. It is divine in its higher and human in its lower condition – the adjectives “higher” and “lower” being used for lack of better words – and a monad it remains at all times, save in the Nirvanic state, under whatever conditions, or whatever external forms. As the Logos reflects the Universe in the Divine Mind, and the manifested Universe reflects itself in each of its Monads, as Leibnitz put it, repeating an Eastern teaching, so the MONAD has, during the cycle of its incarnations, to reflect in itself every root-form of each kingdom. Therefore, the Kabalists say correctly that “MAN becomes a stone, a plant, an animal, a man, a Spirit, and finally God. Thus accomplishing his cycle or circuit and returning to the point from which he had started as the heavenly MAN.” But by “Man” the divine Monad is meant, and not the thinking Entity, much less his physical body.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 185-186)
“… the Universe … proceeds from the Point (the real, esoteric LOGOS) or the Pythagorean MONAD. For the Greek Monas signifies “Unity” in its primary sense. Those unable to seize the difference between the monad – the Universal Unit – and the Monads or the manifested Unity, as also between the ever-hidden and the revealed LOGOS or the Word, ought never to meddle in philosophy, let alone the Esoteric Sciences. …
“This relates to Cosmic and sub-planetary Monads, not to the Super-Cosmic Monas (the Pythagorean Monad) as called, in its synthetic character, by the Pantheistical Peripatetics. The Monads of the present dissertation [i.e. the section titled “Gods, Monads, and Atoms” which can be found between p. 610-634 of Vol. 1] are treated from the standpoint of their individuality, as atomic Souls, before these atoms descend into pure terrestrial form. For this descent into concrete matter marks the medial point of their own individual pilgrimage. Here, losing in the mineral kingdom their individuality, they begin to ascend through the seven states of terrestrial evolution to that point where a correspondence is firmly established between the human and Deva (divine) consciousness. …
“The evolution – viewed from its several standpoints – i.e., as the universal and the individualized Monad; and the chief aspects of the Evolving Energy, after differentiation – the purely Spiritual, the Intellectual, the Psychic and the Physical – may be thus formulated as an invariable law; a descent of Spirit into Matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the depths of materiality towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete form and substance up to the LAYA state, or what Science calls “the zero-point,” and beyond.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 614, 619, 620)
“Manu declares himself created by Viraj, or Vaiswanara, (the Spirit of Humanity), which means that his Monad emanates from the never resting Principle in the beginning of every new Cosmic activity: that Logos or UNIVERSAL MONAD (collective Elohim) that radiates from within himself all those Cosmic Monads that become the centres of activity – progenitors of the numberless Solar systems as well as of the yet undifferentiated human monads of planetary chains as well as of every being thereon. Each Cosmic Monad is “Swayambhuva,” the SELF-BORN, which becomes the Centre of Force, from within which emerges a planetary chain (of which chains there are seven in our system), and whose radiations become again so many Manus Swayambhuva (a generic name, mysterious and meaning far more than appears), each of these becoming, as a Host, the Creator of his own Humanity.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 310-311)
“Metaphysically speaking, it is of course an absurdity to talk of the “development” of a Monad, or to say that it becomes “Man.” But any attempt to preserve metaphysical accuracy of language in the use of such a tongue as the English would necessitate at least three extra volumes of this work, and would entail an amount of verbal repetition which would be wearisome in the extreme. It stands to reason that a MONAD cannot either progress or develop, or even be affected by the changes of state it passes through. It is not of this world or plane, and may be compared only to an indestructible star of divine light and fire, thrown down on to our Earth as a plank of salvation for the personalities in which it indwells. It is for the latter to cling to it; and thus partaking of its divine nature, obtain immortality. Left to itself the Monad will cling to no one; but, like the “plank,” be drifted away to another incarnation by the unresting current of evolution.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 174-175)
“Manas is immortal, because after every new incarnation it adds to Atma-Buddhi something of itself, and thus, assimilating itself to the Monad, shares its immortality. … Buddhi becomes conscious by the accretions it gets from Manas after every new incarnation and the death of man. … Atma neither progresses, forgets, nor remembers. It does not belong to this plane: it is but the ray of light eternal which shines upon and through the darkness of matter – when the latter is willing. … Buddhi is the mould of the “garments” of Atma, because Atma is no body, or shape, or anything, and because Buddhi is its vehicle only figuratively. … The Monad becomes a personal ego when it incarnates; and something remains of that personality through Manas, when the latter is perfect enough to assimilate Buddhi.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 243-244, 245)
“The question is now sufficiently explained, I believe: the sixth and seventh principles apart from the rest constitute the eternal imperishable, but also unconscious “Monad.” To awaken in it to life the latent consciousness, especially that of personal individuality, requires the monad plus the highest attributes of the fifth – … and it is that which makes the ethereal Ego that lives and enjoys bliss in the Deva-Chan.”
“But not even the most exalted experience of a monad in the highest devachanic state in Arupa-Loka (the last of the seven states) – is comparable to that perfectly subjective condition of pure spirituality from which the monad emerged to “descend into matter,” and to which at the completion of the grand cycle it must return. Nor is Nirvana itself comparable to Para Nirvana.”
“… Paccika-Yana, and of Amita-Yana. … technical names for the many personal entities blended in one Individuality – the long string of lives emanating from the same Immortal MONAD. You will have to remember them:-
“(1) The Paccika Yana – (in Sanskrit “Pratyeka”) means literally – the “personal vehicle” or personal Ego, a combination of the five lower principles. While –
“(2) The Amita-Yana – (in Sanskrit “Amrita”) is translated: – “The immortal vehicle,” or the Individuality, the Spiritual Soul, or the Immortal monad – a combination of the fifth, sixth and seventh.”
“We know that periods of action and rest follow each other in everything in nature from the macrocosm with its Solar Systems down to man and its parent-earth, which has its seasons of activity followed by those of sleep; and that in short all nature, like her begotten living forms has her time for recuperation. So with the spiritual individuality, the Monad which starts on its downward and upward cyclic rotation.” (Extracts from Masters’ Letters)
“It is only the knowledge of the constant re-births of one and the same individuality throughout the life-cycle; the assurance that the same MONADS – among whom are many Dhyan-Chohans, or the “Gods” themselves – have to pass through the “Circle of Necessity,” rewarded or punished by such rebirth for the suffering endured or crimes committed in the former life; that those very Monads, which entered the empty, senseless shells, or astral figures of the First Race emanated by the Pitris, are the same who are now amongst us – nay, ourselves, perchance; it is only this doctrine, we say, that can explain to us the mysterious problem of Good and Evil, and reconcile man to the terrible and apparent injustice of life. Nothing but such certainty can quiet our revolted sense of justice.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 303)
“This sentence: “The thread between the silent watcher and his shadow (man) becomes stronger” – with every re-incarnation – is another psychological mystery, that will find its explanation in Book II. For the present it will suffice to say that the “Watcher” and his “Shadows” – the latter numbering as many as there are re-incarnations for the monad – are one. The Watcher, or the divine prototype, is at the upper rung of the ladder of being; the shadow, at the lower. Withal, the Monad of every living being, unless his moral turpitude breaks the connection and runs loose and “astray into the lunar path” – to use the Occult expression – is an individual Dhyan Chohan, distinct from others, a kind of spiritual individuality of its own, during one special Manvantara. Its Primary, the Spirit (Atman) is one, of course, with Paramatma (the one Universal Spirit), but the vehicle (Vahan) it is enshrined in, the Buddhi, is part and parcel of that Dhyan-Chohanic Essence; and it is in this that lies the mystery of that ubiquity, which was discussed a few pages back. “My Father, that is in Heaven, and I – are one,” – says the Christian Scripture; in this, at any rate, it is the faithful echo of the esoteric tenet.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 265)
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The Monad from an Astrological and Theogonical Perspective
“The descent and re-ascent of the Monad or Soul cannot be disconnected from the Zodiacal signs, and it looks more natural, in the sense of the fitness of things, to believe in a mysterious sympathy between the metaphysical soul and the bright constellations, and in the influence of the latter on the former, than in the absurd notion that the creators of Heaven and Earth have placed in heaven the types of twelve vicious Jews.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 668)
“Evidently then, these “Brahmanas” are identical with the Bodhisattvas (the terrestrial) of the heavenly Dhyani Buddhas. Both, as primordial, intelligent “Elements,” become the creators or the emanators of the monads destined to become human in that cycle; after which they evolve themselves, or, so to say, expand into their own selves as Bodhisattvas or Brahmanas, in heaven and earth, to become at last simple men – “the creators of the world are born here, on earth again and again” – truly. … The divine, purely Adi-Buddhic monad manifests as the universal Buddhi (the Maha-buddhi or Mahat in Hindu philosophies) the spiritual, omniscient and omnipotent root of divine intelligence, the highest anima mundi or the Logos. This descends “like a flame spreading from the eternal Fire, immoveable, without increase or decrease, ever the same to the end” of the cycle of existence, and becomes universal life on the Mundane Plane. From this Plane of conscious Life shoot out, like seven fiery tongues, the Sons of Light (the logoi of Life); then the Dhyani-Buddhas of contemplation: the concrete forms of their formless Fathers – the Seven Sons of Light, still themselves, to whom may be applied the Brahmanical mystic phrase: “Thou art ‘THAT’ – Brahm.” It is from these Dhyani-Buddhas that emanate their chhayas (Shadows) the Bodhisattvas of the celestial realms, the prototypes of the super-terrestrial Bodhisattvas, and of the terrestrial Buddhas, and finally of men. The “Seven Sons of Light” are also called “Stars.”
“The star under which a human Entity is born, says the Occult teaching, will remain for ever its star, throughout the whole cycle of its incarnations in one Manvantara. But this is not his astrological star. The latter is concerned and connected with the personality, the former with the INDIVIDUALITY. The “Angel” of that Star, or the Dhyani-Buddha will be either the guiding or simply the presiding “Angel,” so to say, in every new rebirth of the monad, which is part of his own essence, though his vehicle, man, may remain for ever ignorant of this fact. The adepts have each their Dhyani-Buddha, their elder “twin Soul,” and they know it, calling it “Father-Soul,” and “Father-Fire.” It is only at the last and supreme initiation, however, that they learn it when placed face to face with the bright “Image.” …
“Atma is not-Spirit in its final Parabrahmic state, Iswara or Logos is Spirit; or, as Occultism explains, it is a compound unity of manifested living Spirits, the parent-source and nursery of all the mundane and terrestrial monads, plus their divine reflection, which emanate from, and return into, the Logos, each in the culmination of its time. There are seven chief groups of such Dhyan Chohans, which groups will be found and recognised in every religion, for they are the primeval SEVEN Rays. Humanity, occultism teaches us, is divided into seven distinct groups and their sub-divisions, mental, spiritual, and physical. The monad, then, viewed as ONE, is above the seventh principle (in Kosmos and man), and as a triad, it is the direct radiant progeny of the said compound UNIT, … The “triads” born under the same Parent-planet, or rather the radiations of one and the same Planetary Spirit (Dhyani Buddha) are, in all their after lives and rebirths, sister, or “twin-souls,” on this Earth.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 572-573, 574)
“Every student of Occultism knows that the heavenly bodies are closely related during each Manvantara with the mankind of that special cycle; and there are some who believe that each great character born during that period has – as every other mortal has, only in a far stronger degree – his destiny outlined within his proper constellation or star, traced as a self-prophecy, an anticipated autobiography, by the indwelling Spirit of that particular star. The human Monad in its first beginning is that Spirit, or the Soul of that star (Planet) itself. As our Sun radiates its light and beams on every body in space within the boundaries of its system, so the Regent of every Planet-star, the Parent-monad, shoots out from itself the Monad of every “pilgrim” Soul born under its house within its own group. The Regents are esoterically seven, whether in the Sephiroth, the “Angels of the Presence,” the Rishis, or the Amshaspends. “The One is no number” is said in all the esoteric works.” (HPB, “Astrology and Astrolatry” – posthumously published article)
“This “World of Truth” can be described only in the words of the Commentary as “A bright star dropped from the heart of Eternity; the beacon of hope on whose Seven Rays hang the Seven Worlds of Being.” Truly so; since those are the Seven Lights whose reflections are the human immortal Monads – the Atma, or the irradiating Spirit of every creature of the human family.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 120)
“Hence the seven chief planets, the spheres of the indwelling seven spirits, under each of which is born one of the human groups which is guided and influenced thereby. There are only seven planets (specially connected with earth), and twelve houses [i.e. constellations], but the possible combinations of their aspects are countless. As each planet can stand to each of the others in twelve different aspects, their combinations must, therefore, be almost infinite; as infinite, in fact, as the spiritual, psychic, mental, and physical capacities in the numberless varieties of the genus homo, each of which varieties is born under one of the seven planets and one of the said countless planetary combinations.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 573)
“The chief features of one’s life are always in accordance with the “Constellation” one is born under, or, we should say, with the characteristics of its animating principle or the deity that presides over it, whether we call it a Dhyan Chohan, as in Asia, or an Archangel, as with the Greek and Latin churches. … The closer the approach to one’s Prototype, “in Heaven,” the better for the mortal whose personality was chosen, by his own personal deity (the seventh principle), as its terrestrial abode. For, with every effort of will toward purification and unity with that “Self-god,” one of the lower rays breaks and the spiritual entity of man is drawn higher and ever higher to the ray that supersedes the first, until, from ray to ray, the inner man is drawn into the one and highest beam of the Parent-SUN. … Yes; “our destiny is written in the stars!” Only, the closer the union between the mortal reflection MAN and his celestial PROTOTYPE, the less dangerous the external conditions and subsequent reincarnations – which neither Buddhas nor Christs can escape. … Those who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to death, every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by the heavenly voice of the invisible prototype outside of us, or by our more intimate astral, or inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the embodied entity called man. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, faithfully following the fluctuations.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 639)
“It is then the “Seven Sons of Light” – called after their planets and (by the rabble) often identified with them – namely Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, Venus, and – presumably for the modern critic, who goes no deeper than the surface of old religions – the Sun and Moon, which are, according to the Occult teachings, our heavenly Parents, or “Father,” synthetically. Hence, as already remarked, polytheism is really more philosophical and correct, as to fact and nature, than anthropomorphic monotheism. Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus, the four exoteric planets, and the three others, which must remain unnamed, were the heavenly bodies in direct astral and psychic communication with the Earth, its Guides, and Watchers – morally and physically; the visible orbs furnishing our Humanity with its outward and inward characteristics, and their “Regents” or Rectors with our Monads and spiritual faculties. In order to avoid creating new misconceptions, let it be stated that among the three secret orbs (or star-angels) neither Uranus nor Neptune entered; not only because they were unknown under these names to the ancient Sages, but because they, as all other planets, however many there may be, are the gods and guardians of other septenary chains of globes within our systems.” (HPB, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 575)
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One thought on “What Exactly Is The Monad?”
Thank you for this very lucid article which made clear to me -for the first time in many years – the nature of the relation between the high and the lower, the material and the abstract, the eternal and the transient; and how the act of individualization is brought about; and if one brings in the idea of the sutratma, the thread-soul, one can see how the manifestation of the lower nature came about and its purpose in the human and spiritual scheme of things.
i never really understood what the monad was and why a personality was needed. You have resolved my confusion.
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