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Correspondences and Correlations

Here are some tentative correspondences and correlations with Theon's cosmic philosophy and four planes:

Neoplatonism

Neoplatonism posits three divine hypostases (underlying states) behind the phenomenal world. Each higher hypostases determines the next one down, in a chain of being. We see the same emanationist pattern here, with the Materialisms world being the result. Of the three hypostases, the One is the limitless Absolute and Source, the original cause or first principle. Iamblichus divided the One into a transcendent and a causal One, a tendency not followed by others of the school. The Nous is the Divine Mind, eternal and perfect but still limited in that it is divided into a multiplicity of divine ideas or seminal forms, whereas the One, as its name indicates, is simply "one". Ther Nous is generally divided into three principles; a tendency that is hinted at in the writings of Plotinus, developed by Iamblichus, and carried to its logical conclusion by Proclus (according to whom the noetic reality is actaully a number of distinct principles (of which the actual Nous is the lowest) rather than a single hypostases). These three principles are Being (ontos), Life (zoe), and Mind (nous). Finally, from Divine Mind, which is still eternal and transcendent, comes manifestation in time, in the form of the Divine World-Soul, or Psyche, the soul of the universe, and equivalent to the demiurge or creator (although for Iamblichus the Demiurge corresponds to the lowest stage of Nous - compare this with Theon's Adonai as the "Pure Spirit of Activity" in the 3rd (Etherisms) world).

The following correspondence with Theon's Tradition is indicated


Max Theon
"Cosmic Tradition"
Plotinus
(original Neoplatonism)
Iamblichus
(theurgic Neoplatonism)
Proclus
(theosophical Neoplatonism)
The Cause without Cause The One Causal One The One
1st veiling - Nucleolinis   The Dyad
Noetic Monad
Henads?
1st World - Occultisms Nous Paradigm (Noetic Being) Being
2nd veiling - Nucleolus    
2nd World - Pathotisms Spiritual Life Life (Zoe)
3rd veiling - Nucleus    
3rd World - Etherisms Divine Ideas and Demiurge Nous
4th veiling - Etherialised Matter World Soul Psychic Monad (transitional)  
4th World - Materialisms World Soul in part
Cosmos
Noeric Soul, supramundane and mundane gods, daimons, etc
Cosmos, Matter
Soul
Body

Gnosticism

Gnosticism developed in the same cultural milieu as Neoplatonism, the mingling of diverse philosophies and religions in an age of anxiety (not unlike today's world!). But whilst Neoplatonism was more philosophical, mystical, and theurgic, Gnosticism was more specificically mythopoetic, individually creative, and religious. And although Gnostic teachings indicate profound insights, these are often distorted by the virtually unreadable quality of the texts themselves - like the worst of Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine in their dense jumble of symbolism that is written too badly to ever be made readable (if you doubt me - just try reading the Nag Hammadi!). But for all this, a basic theme shines through, especially in the Sethian and Valentinian schools. Here there are influences not only of Judaism and early Christianity, but of Zervanism and Zoroastrianism, and of Neoplatonism and Hermeticism.

Originally there is only the ineffable Absolute, described in the language of negative theology. From this emanates a pleroma of deities (Aeons), and from the lowest of these (Sophia) as an accident or "abortion" comes the world-creator or demiurge. From this negative (Sethism) or at best only ignorant (Valentenism) , entity is created the lower world, i.e. the cosmos, which is considered a world of darkness as opposed to the light and spirit of the Pleroma. In the context of Theon's teachings, it is interesting that some Sethian Gnostics adapted the Neoplatonic noetic triad, but they termed the principles Kalyptos (the Hidden One), Protophones (the First Appearing), and Autogenes (the Self-Begotten, who in a sense is a sort of original "Good God" (being the impetus from which the Savior (via further emanations) arises, the emanations of Autogenes being the archetypes of the terrestrial saviours), and in that sense perhaps can be compared to (and derived from?) Iamblichus' Demiurge, even if it does not have any demiurgic function in the lower world. Now, what is interesting is that Kalyptos - the Hidden One - means the same as Occultisms (Occult - that which is hidden or concealed)

The lowest aeon, Sophia, in her creative role, would serve as the transitional hypostasis between the Pleroma (Etherisms and higher) and the World of Matter (Materialisms), hence the "4th veil" in Theon's Tradition

Max Theon
"Cosmic Tradition"
Earlier Sethism Apocryphon of John "Neoplatonic" Sethism Ptolemic Valentinian Valentinism
The Cause without Cause "Spirit" or "Father" "Spirit" or "Father" The Father, who "emits all things" "Forefather"
1st veiling - Nucleolinis        
1st World - Occultisms Thought or Barbelo (5-Aeon) Kalyptos The Arche (primal principle), also called Nous Mind and Truth (who alone know the Forefather)
2nd veiling - Nucleolus    
2nd World - Pathotisms Protophanes (first appearing) Logos and Life
3rd veiling - Nucleus      
3rd World - Etherisms Autogenes-Mirothoe (self-begotten)
and further four aeons
Autogenes-Mirothoe (self-begotten)
and further emanated aeons
The rest of the Pleroma
4th veiling - Etherialised Matter     Sophia outside the Pleroma Horos (limit)
Sophia outside the Pleroma
4th World - Materialisms Lower world of matter, planetary heavens, Lower world of matter Cosmos, Demiurge, matter Cosmos, Demiurge, Hyle and Psyche

Sant Mat

Like Classical Gnosticism, Sant Matis a very creative movement with many variations of standard themes, and Radhasoami Cosmologies of specific gurus and traditions differ in a number of details The following table, adapted and modified from external link The Genealogical Connection: Kirpal Singh, Paul Twitchell, and Eckankar, compares three variations. I have added the external link Science of Spirituality Version (Sawan-Kirpal tradition), and what I consider may be equivalent terms in Theon's cosmoloogy in the right-hand column


Version #1 common in Beas related groups Version #2 common in Beas related groups Common in Agra related groups, particularly Soami Bagh Science of Spirituality Version suggested equivalent from Theon tradition
6. Sach Khand
("Truth Region;" soul/God union)
9. Anami Lok ("nameless") 10. Anami Lok 10. Anami (God realisation) Causeless Cause (God)
8. Agam Lok ("inaccessable") 9. Agam Lok 9. Agam Purush 1st Veiling (Nucleolinus)
7. Alakh Lok ("invisible") 8. Alakh Lok 8. Alakh Purush 1st World - Occultisms (inaccessable to man in his present state)
--
(Lower Anami)*
--
2nd Veiling (Nucleolus)
6. Sach Khand 7. Sach Khand 7. Sat Lok (God the Father) (self realisation) 2nd World - Pathotisms
(may be identified with either Sat Lok or Bhanwar Gupha)
5. Bhanwar Gupha
("whirling vortices/cave")
5. Bhanwar Gupha 6. Bhanwar Gupha 6. Bhawargupha
--
--
5. Maha Sunn ("great void") 5. Maha Sunn 3rd Veiling (Nucleus)
4. Daswan Dwar
("tenth door;" beyond mind)
4. Daswan Dwar 4. Daswan Dwar 4. Sunn ("void" - liberation) 3rd World - Etherisms
3. Trikuti
("three prominences;" causal region)
3. Trikuti 3. Trikuti 3. Brahmand (Causal) 4th Veiling - (Cosmic Cause)
2. Sahans-dal Kanwal ("thousand petalled lotus" astral region) 2. Sahans-dal-Kanwal 2. Sahans-dal-Kanwal 2. And (Subtle) 4th World - Materialisms
1. Pind ("body" physical region) 1. Pind 1. Pind 1. Pind

*sometimes it is mentioned in Soami Bagh literature that there are two "anamis"-- one right above Sach Khand and the final, great anami at the end

Of interest also is the way that Theon's primary parameter (the four worlds and four veils) seem to nicely align with the Radhasoami worlds. In the Theon cosmology, there is the material world, the region of creation, and beyond that a series of progressively more spiritual worlds. In Sant Mat there is likewise a gradation of physical, subtle, causal, supracausal, and beyond. According to Theon, each world is separated by a barrier (a Lurianic theme). Similarily in Sant Mat there is reference to a sort of barrier like region (Mahasunna). In both the highest region or regions are referred to as inconceivable and inaccessible. In both there is also an intermediate (but still transcendent) region of God or Soul (Sant Mat), or Divine Empathy - Pathotism (Theon). Of course there are many differences as well, and obviously not all the levels precisely match up. Things become even more difficult with the higher worlds in Sant Mat where there is disagreement among the various lineages as to the number of the highest subdivisions.

Other parallels might be suggested as well. Theon refers to four lower States (Physical, Nervous, Psychic, and Intellectual), each with their gods or superphysical beings, the sub-degrees of which consitute ordinary consciousness, and four higher States that refer to little realised Divine consciousness. These eight worlds or planes constitute the subdivisions of the "Material" World (the word Matter here obviously having a much broader interpretation than in science.) Similarily in Sant Mat, the Creation consists of three lower worlds of form (Saguna), which include the heavens of the gods of various religions, which consitute the gross, subtle, and causal aspects of creatred or embodied reality, and two higher ones of formlessness (Nirguna) which represent transcendent (but still subtle material) realms. But wheras Theon refers to two distinct parameters or dimensions of creation (which i have associated with what might be called the "vertical" and "emanational" dimensions or ontoclines), Sant Mat, in keeping with the larger number of esoteric teachings, only allows a single axis of creation.

In both these spiritual traditions there is also the parallel with the Gnostic theme of a lower creation and lower heavens, as opposed to the higher spiritual Pleroma representing (in Gnosticism and Sant Mat, both otherworldly) the goal of the spiritual adept.


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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 6 October 2000, last modified 26 November 2005