EXISTENCE, BEING AND NON-BEING
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
There is nary a metaphysical question that the Perfected Ones didn’t touch on, thus rendering their thoughts far superior to those done by materialist Western philosophers. The Perfected Ones thus cogitated, concerning the subject of being and existence, in Sloka 7 of Stanza 1, Book of Dzyan, to note: “THE CAUSES OF EXISTENCE HAD BEEN DONE AWAY WITH (a); THE VISIBLE THAT WAS, AND THE INVISIBLE THAT IS, RESTED IN ETERNAL NON-BEING, THE ONE BEING (b).”
In Volume I, Secret Doctrine, HPB discoursed on the sloka, as follows:
(a) “The Causes of Existence” mean not only the physical causes known to science, but the metaphysical causes, the chief of which is the desire to exist, an outcome of Nidana and Maya. This desire for a sentient life shows itself in everything, from an atom to a sun, and is a reflection of the Divine Thought propelled into objective existence, into a law that the Universe should exist. According to esoteric teaching, the real cause of that supposed desire, and of all existence, remains for ever hidden, and its first emanations are the most complete abstractions mind can conceive. These abstractions must of necessity be postulated as the cause of the material Universe which presents itself to the senses and intellect; and they underlie the secondary and subordinate powers of Nature, which, anthropomorphized, have been worshipped as God and gods by the common herd of every age. It is impossible to conceive anything without a cause; the attempt to do so makes the mind a blank. This is virtually the condition to which the mind must come at last when we try to trace back the chain of causes and effects, but both science and religion jump to this condition of blankness much more quickly than is necessary; for they ignore the metaphysical abstractions which are the only conceivable cause of physical concretions. These abstractions become more and more concrete as they approach our plane of existence, until finally they phenomenalise in the form of the material Universe, by a process of conversion of metaphysics into physics, analogous to that by which steam can be condensed into water, and the water frozen into ice.
(b) The idea of Eternal Non-Being, which is the One Being, will appear a paradox to anyone who does not remember that we limit our ideas of being to our present consciousness of existence; making it a specific, instead of a generic term. An unborn infant, could it think in our acceptation of that term, would necessarily limit its conception of being, in a similar manner, to the intra-uterine life which alone it knows; and were it to endeavour to express to its consciousness the idea of life after birth (death to it), it would, in the absence of data to go upon, and of faculties to comprehend such data, probably express that life as ““Non-Being which is Real Being.” In our case the One Being is the noumenon of all the noumena which we know must underlie phenomena, and give them whatever shadow of reality they possess, but which we have not the senses or the intellect to cognize at present. The impalpable atoms of gold scattered through the substance of a ton of auriferous quartz may be imperceptible to the naked eye of the miner, yet he knows that they are not only present there but that they alone give his quartz any appreciable value; and this relation of the gold to the quartz may faintly shadow forth that of the noumenon to the phenomenon. But the miner knows what the gold will look like when extracted from the quartz, whereas the common mortal can form no conception of the reality of things separated from the Maya which veils them, and in which they are hidden. Alone the Initiate, rich with the lore acquired by numberless generations of his predecessors, directs the “Eye of Dangma” toward the essence of things in which no Maya can have any influence. It is here that the teachings of esoteric philosophy in relation to the Nidanas and the Four Truths become of the greatest importance; but they are secret.
As a budding scientist and philosopher, I had the opportunity to read through the works of modern Western thinkers. That begins with the empiricists, then with the French phisosophes, then the German Enlightenment thinkers, and onward to the positivists, hermeneutes, Marxists, phenomenologists,… up through the followers of Nietsche, the post-modernists, who it seems celebrate Chaos and the Primal.
After all the peregrinations and discourses done by the Western thinkers, very few of them have come closest to unraveling the layers of reality. I do give credit where it is due, so I recognize the contributions of the said thinkers—the last reads of mine being those of the postmodernists Foucault, Derrida, Guattari, Deleuze, Lyotard, Laing, Lacan, Kristeva, Baudrillard, Spivak—to the advancement of contemporary thought. Yet putting their works together hardly came closest to representing and explicating reality as it is, and the classic questions of being and existence, a metaphysical feat that belonged more to the philosopher-Teachers of the East.
The noumenon of all noumena, the crux of all causes, was best articulated by the Perfected Ones. And their peregrinations haven’t ended yet. They only revealed to us those which we can chew and digest, as Terrans’ finite minds cannot comprehend the totality of cosmic evolution, even of questions of being and existence, save for those who have attained the state of Perfected Ones.
Two classical German thinkers—Kant and Hegel—I truly had great admiration for. Kant was able to unravel the truth concerning the structure of reality as noumenon and phenomena, while Hegel was able to intuit on the continuous flux of progression. Let me add Goethe too to that list of German thinkers, who in poetic form showed to us the possibility of a quantum mutation in awareness from the gross level to that of a ‘higher mind’, though the process is fraught with risks.
But after contrasting them to the Mahatmas of the East, and authenticating their contentions gradually through higher perceptions enabled by kriya-raj meditation, I could only surmise at how limited are the mindsets and perspectives of the Western thinkers. The meta-discourse on the way to liberation and comprehension of the layers of reality is with the great Teachers, Perfected Ones, Dhyan Chohans, whose own tireless mentoring and love made possible the ascension of the 144,000 rishis of today.
[Philippines, 16 December 2011]
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