Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge: ‘Though They Are Gods, Still They Are Not To Be Worshiped’
“I say there are many gods, but one God of all these gods, incomprehensible and unknown to all (…) a Power of immeasurable and ineffable Light, whose greatness is held to be incomprehensible, a Tower which the maker of the world does not know.” (Simon Magus, Clemens Recognitiones from the Clementine Literature)
“They boast ethereal vigour and are form’d
From seeds of heavenly birth.” (Virgil)
The practice of worshiping the gods (including the god of the Jews and its offshoots) has with it the practice of prayer as an outward expression and petition addressed to that particular god. Matthew vi. v-xiii. gives more definite instructions on prayer, which complements the occult view, but this understanding of prayer is different from the common view. Theosophists admit belief in the existence of Intelligences, Spirits, or Gods, but find it ill-advised to worship them; and the less your involvement with them, the better. One may hold a reverence for them, but worship, as in petitioning to the gods, no. This idea is fervently rejected, and advised against, for it is only the secret (inner) God to whom we turn to.
“A. (…) Dhyani is a generic name in Buddhism, an abbreviation for all the gods. Yet it must be ever remembered that though they are “gods,” still they are not to be worshipped.
Q. Why not, if they are gods?
A. Because Eastern philosophy rejects the idea of a personal and extra-cosmic deity. And to those who call this atheism, I would say the following. It is illogical to worship one such god, for, as said in the Bible, “There be Lords many and Gods many.” Therefore, if worship is desirable, we have to choose either the worship of many gods, each being no better or less limited than the other, viz., polytheism and idolatry, or choose, as the Israelites have done, one tribal or racial god from among them, and while believing in the existence of many gods, ignore and show contempt for the others, regarding our own as the highest and the “God of Gods.” But this is logically unwarrantable, for such a god can be neither infinite nor absolute, but must be finite, that is to say, limited and conditioned by space and time. With the Pralaya the tribal god disappears, and Brahma and all the other Devas, and the gods are merged into the Absolute. Therefore, occultists do not worship or offer prayers to them, because if we did, we should have either to worship many gods, or pray to the Absolute, which, having no attributes, can have no ears to hear us. The worshipper even of many gods must of necessity be unjust to all the other gods; however far he extends his worship it is simply impossible for him to worship each severally; and in his ignorance, if he choose out any one in particular, he may by no means select the most perfect. Therefore, he would do better far to remember that every man has a god within, a direct ray from the Absolute, the celestial ray from the One; that he has his “god” within, not outside, of himself.
Q. Is there any name that can be applied to the planetary Hierarchy or spirit, which watches over the entire evolution of our own globe, such as Brahma for instance?
A. None, except the generic name, since it is a septenary and a Hierarchy; unless, indeed, we call it as some Kabalists do — “the Spirit of the Earth.”
Q. It is very difficult to remember all these infinite Hierarchies of gods.
A. Not more so than to a chemist to remember the endless symbols of chemistry, if he is a Specialist. In India, alone, however, there are over 300 millions of gods and goddesses. The Manus and Rishis are also planetary gods, for they are said to have appeared at the beginning of the human races to watch over their evolution, and to have incarnated and descended on earth subsequently in order to teach mankind.” (Helena Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine Commentaries. Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, Meeting 4, Meeting held at 17, Lansdowne Road, London, W., on January 31st, 1888; Mr. T. B. Harbottle in the chair)
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