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Evolutionary Metaphysics


If Theon was for a time a teacher of Blavatsky, it seems that many Theosophical concepts, such as the idea of seven planes, and an immortal reincarnating Higher Self, ultimately go back to him. He also had a 7-fold and a 4-fold classification of psychological and cosmic principles and planes of being. In addition to the four, seven or twelve cosmic planes of being, there were, he said, the Physical, Vital (= Astral-Emotional), Mental, and Psychic (= Soul or Higher Self) within the individual, each of which can be subdivided, and so on ad infinitum.

So for example idea of a long chain of cycles of cosmic evolution is a very important one in Theosophy. It also occurs in Theon's teachings as well, according to which seven epoches are referred to. Through these epoches, evolution follows a spiral path. As Mirra explains:

"Theon always said that the "Serpent" had nothing to do with Satan; it was a symbol of evolution...the spiral path of evolution...."
[Mother's Agenda, vol 3, p.455]

The serpent referred to is obviously the Tantric Kundalini (recall that Theon received initiation in India), the coiled serpent power which lies dormant at the base of the spine, and which can be awakened to rise through the successive chakras (centres of consciousness), culminating in the Crown Chakra, where Enlightenment is attained. One writer, Gopi Krishna, has even written a popular book entitled "Kundalini, the Evolutionary Energy in Man" [Gopi Krishna, Kundalini, the Evolutionary Energy in Man, Shambhala, 1970].

Of course, the "spiral path of evolution" is precisely what one finds in the cosmologies of Blavatsky, Steiner, and other contemporary esotericists.  Evolution is referred to, certainly. But it is not a simple linear ascent, as in pop-Darwinism and Positivism, but rather occurs through sucessive cycles of involution and evolution [On Theosophical and Occult cyclic evolutionism, see Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, and Rudolph Steiner, Cosmic Memory, Harper and Row, and An Outline of Occult Science, Anthroposophic Press, ch 4]. Rather than linear, it is spiral.  One wonders: was Blavatsky's concept of a spiral evolution arrived at independently of Theon, or was she influenced by the latter, to in turn influence Steiner and subsequent esotericists?

Perhaps it was either Theon or Mathers who is the real author of the "well-known Kabbalistic aphorism" which Madame Blavatsky refers to at least twice in her Secret Doctrine:

"The Breath becomes a stone; the stone, a plant; the plant, an animal; the animal, a man; the man, a spirit; and the spirit a god."

[An Abridgement of the Secret Doctrine, p.54, also p.108]
note: The "Breath" here signifies the Soul (in many old languages the two words are synonymous; e.g. ruah, pnuema, spiritus, etc).
"The 'Spark' animates all the kingdoms in turn before it enters into and informs Divine Man, between whom and his predecessor, animal man [i.e. humanity at its present stage  of evolution], there is all the difference in the world." [Ibid, p.108]

Although the Sufi Rumi, and the Hindu Puranas (myths telling of the incarnations of God), speak of the evolution of consciousness from mineral through plant, animal, human, and beyond, culminating in the return to the Source, nowhere is such a sequence to be found in Jewish Kabbalah. Theon's inspiration therefore was not some old "Kabbalistic aphorism", but the contemporary evolution theories of Lamarck, Darwin, and Haeckel, which obviously confirmed, or at least allowed him to interpret, certain discoveries gleaned from the occult worlds.

It can be assumed that Theon saw the goal of evolution not as a simple return to the Source, and consequent loss of all individuality, as in Sufism and Hinduism, and for that matter the majority of spiritual and mystical traditions in the world today, but rather, as the attainment of the state of the divine individual; the "Divine Man" or "god". This is especially so when one considers his concept of the Glorious Body.

The Glorious Body

"On the earth, man is the supreme evolver. Science should direct the drive of its research toward the conditions for terrestrial immortality. Transformation being the law of life, progressive transformation should replace retrogressive transformation."
from the Bases of the Cosmic Philosophy"

Theon postulated seven planes of existence. And he understood humanity to be evolving to a higher state, culminating in the actualisation of the seventh and highest of those Planes.  When one attains this state, one aquires the corps glorieux, the glorious or illumined body, the state of full self-Divinisation [Sri Aurobindo, Mother India, May 1974, pp.349- 50].  With the attainment of this divine body we come to the climax and goal of the entire evolutionary process.

Theon simply called this new and transformed world "the new world on earth" [Mother's Agenda, vol 3, p.45], while Sri Aurobindo and following him, the Mother, used the term "Supramentalisation".




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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 4 October 2000, last modified 9 September 2005