Cosmological Notes in Theosophy on “God” and Substance
EXCERPT FROM K.H., THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT, LETTER NO. 10, RECEIVED SIMLA, 1881-? ’82.”
“Neither our philosophy nor ourselves believe in a God, least of all in one whose pronoun necessitates a capital H. Our philosophy falls under the definition of Hobbes. It is preeminently the science of effects by their causes and of causes by their effects, and since it is also the science of things deduced from first principle, as Bacon defines it.
Before we admit any such principle we must know it, and have no right to admit even its possibility. Your whole explanation is based upon one solitary admission made simply for argument’s sake in October last.
You were told that our knowledge was limited to this our solar system: ergo as philosophers who desired to remain worthy of the name we could not either deny or affirm the existence of what you termed a supreme, omnipotent, intelligent being of some sort beyond the limits of that solar system. But if such an existence is not absolutely impossible, yet unless the uniformity of nature’s law breaks at those limits we maintain that it is highly improbable.
Nevertheless we deny most emphatically the position of agnosticism in this direction, and as regards the solar system. Our doctrine knows no compromises. It either affirms or denies, for it never teaches but that which it knows to be the truth. Therefore, we deny God both as philosophers and as Buddhists. We know there are planetary and other spiritual lives, and we know there is in our system no such thing as God, either personal or impersonal. Parabrahm is not a God, but absolute immutable law, and Iswar is the effect of Avidya and Maya, ignorance based upon the great delusion.
The word “God” was invented to designate the unknown cause of those effects which man has either admired or dreaded without understanding them, and since we claim and that we are able to prove what we claim — i.e. the knowledge of that cause and causes we are in a position to maintain there is no God or Gods behind them. The idea of God is not an innate but an acquired notion, and we have but one thing in common with theologies — we reveal the infinite.
But while we assign to all the phenomena that proceed from the infinite and limitless space, duration and motion, material, natural, sensible and known (to us at least) cause, the theists assign them spiritual, super-natural and unintelligible an un-known causes. The God of the Theologians is simply an imaginary power, un loup garou as d’Holbach expressed it — a power which has never yet manifested itself.
Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery. Pantheistic we may be called — agnostic NEVER. If people are willing to accept and to regard as God our ONE LIFE immutable and unconscious in its eternity they may do so and thus keep to one more gigantic misnomer.”