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Hypostases, Metaphysics, and Gnosis

The Hypostases are the gradations of Reality that emerge successively through emanation from the Supreme Absolute. They are described in metaphysical teachings such as Neoplatonism, Lurianic Kabbalah, Kashmir Shaivism, Sant Mat, and other such traditions. Each however describes things slightly differently. This leads to the temptation to try to harmonise these different accounts, and put everything together in a - what i now consioder very simplistic - linear fashion, in keeping with the traditional great chain of being. Even until five or six years ago I was still doing that, as the chart on this page shows. But when I look back at this stuff now (May 2010) it feels like ancient history! It is for example very wilberian (i was inspired by Ken Wilber's books to make a metaphysical version of tables of everything). Sure it is true that these realities are related. But also it's not so simple! The idea that (X in tradition A) always = (Y in tradition B), is incorrect. Yes there is a transcendent Truth, and Truths, but they can't be approached by matching tables in that way. It is necessary to use gnosis to go beyond mental system making.

All mental cosmologies therefore should only be taken as sugggestive, and not as literal. In contrast to my earlier position, I now feel it is important not to fall into the trap of forcing different esoteric worldviews into a single procrustean mold. For example, whereas Sri Aurobindo was coming from a perspective of Supramental Realisation, Plotinus (Neoplatonism) was more at the level of esoteric-gnostic mental Realisation (Absolute Reality as conventionally defined). Kabbalah and Kashmir Shaivism seem to be transitional between the two; both represent theocosmologies (The Supreme interpreted via the Overmental Godhead interpreted via mental gnosis). Because the perspectives are different in each case, so are the Realities each describe. This is where, I believe, people like Ken Wilber go wrong, as I did in my earlier attempts at esoteric synthesis; trying to fit everything into a single simplistic spectrum. But the situation is far more nuanced than that. And even Sri Aurobindo, whose teachinsg are consider the most profound acvailabe to date, was still coming from a particular socio-historical bias and personal orientation, and hence limited to a a particular perspective and bias in time and space. So there is no single objective perennialist model of truth. In this respect the Jains are very insightful. But this is not to deny that the basic gnostic themes and aspirations of perennialism, such as the reality of transcendental metaphysical realities. Really, Wikipedia contextualism, post-modernism, etc are all stuck in an exoteric understanding that is refuted and transcended by gnosis.

For now, even my recent attempts at mapping hypostases no longer feel satisifactory. Although better than the earlier emanational table, is still too simplistic, much too linear. I decided to rename it and transfer it to a new page. That is, the hypostases i mapped out are not hypostases as such, but rather the hypostases as they appear and are experienced along the path of Integral Yoga.

I hope, one day, God willing, to be able to write from pure gnosis alone, without the mental systematising getting in the way. When i am able to do that, there will no longer be a need to constantly revise everything! As it is now, my material is patchy, some is gnosis, some is over-formalised systematising. In the meantime, there are my earlier pages on these subjects, which can be accessed through various links from this page.





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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page completely rewritten 9 May 2010