In The Secret Doctrine, H.P. Blavatsky outlined three fundamental propositions: the existence of One Principle under two aspects, the manifestation of numberless Universes, and the identification of every Soul with the Universal Oversoul.

In looking at the first fundamental proposition, she described the One Principle as “Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable.”1 Since it is boundless it is infinity of substance. Being immutable it lacks disintegration. As eternal it produces nothing. In its omnipresence no monadic point exists outside of it.  Random speculation on the One Principle may well be impossible, but direct cognition, inference and comparison from subsequent discursive reasoning are not.  While infinity itself is not a monad since it lacks individuality, the One Principle conceptualized as the substance of that infinity stretching to the limits of our imagination can be described as an unborn cosmic atom—a “giant atom of the Infinitude above.”2 Like the astral-physical atoms of the manifested Universe that display themselves as both a wave and a particle, the unborn cosmic atom presents itself, as the latent design within those astral-physical atoms, in two ways: ultimate reality and conventional reality.  Devoid of “all attributes,” ultimate reality is the emptiness of “Be-ness” whereas conventional reality is the fullness of dependence in finite manifested “Being.”3 The unborn cosmic atom is labelled a “principle” precisely because it impresses its characteristic of Be-ness and Being as the one universal law throughout the fabric of itself. While the search to understand the One Principle can never end, it can begin with an exploration into these two aspects of the unborn cosmic atom.

The Be-ness of the unborn cosmic atom is represented as the “unconditioned consciousness” of abstract Motion and the “bare subjectivity” of abstract Space.4 Parabrahman is unconditioned consciousness; Mulaprakriti is bare subjectivity. Bare subjectivity, as a “conscious spiritual quality” that spreads like “a film” in the objective world to give the appearance of motion to unconditioned consciousness, is the first moment of that apparent motion of self-grasping towards individual identity.5 Individual identity is the arising of consciousness of beings within Being; it is the conventional and constructed reality of the human mind where everything exists interdependently. No human mind can exclude bare subjectivity from its “conception” since it is its root.6 But to conceive it is to bring the mind to a “blank” since it is “impossible to conceive anything without a cause.”7 In its Be-ness, Mulaprakriti is rootless and thus uncaused. Therefore, the human mind in this state of blankness views abstract Space as an immense void. Alternately, no human mind can conceive of bare subjectivity “by itself” because conventional reality is as much an aspect of the unborn cosmic atom as is ultimate reality.8 The human mind in this state views the appearance of abstract Motion as an immense moving fullness infilled with beings all dependent on their identities from one another. The “absolute abstraction” or “limitless void” of ultimate reality and the “conditioned fullness” or “mayavic perception” of conventional reality are the two ways in which the unborn cosmic atom presents itself.9

This Be-ness of unconditioned consciousness and bare subjectivity develops in the “finite mind” into a “theological Trinity” because a ray of consciousness in the field of self-grasping breaks through the “dim and hazy” blankness of abstract Space to establish its identity as an active Soul within conventional reality.10 This abstract Space is Mulaprakriti, but it is also referred to as the Universal Oversoul. Mulaprakriti, as Space, is treated as both undifferentiated and differentiated because this ray of reflexive self-consciousness penetrates it.** Mulaprakriti becomes the basis for the active Soul because of the self-conscious explosion of manifest light from its own darkness. Similarly, the Universal Oversoul is treated as the combination of the “central point” of light that comes into view against the darkness of fathomless Space and the “dull black ground” itself that covers the “immaculate white disk” of the unconditioned consciousness of ultimate reality—the “Kosmos in Eternity.”11 On the one hand, the dull black ground is the “one true actuality” and the “basis and the root of light” for the shining central point, without which the “latter could never manifest itself, nor even exist.”12 In this case, the dark unmanifest aspect of the Universal Oversoul, like Brahma, “assumes another form, that of the Day”—or the lighted manifest aspect of the Universal Oversoul.13 This lighted manifest aspect is the active Soul. There are countless active Souls “manifesting and disappearing” as sparks of light against the blackened expanse of the latent Universal Oversoul.14 As sparks from the darkness of the Universal Oversoul, every active Soul owes its “fundamental identity” to it.15 On the other hand, this darkness “in its radical, metaphysical basis” is the “subjective and absolute light” of the “immaculate white disk” beyond both the darkness and its central point.16 Thus, the theological Trinity in the “tenets of Eastern Occultism” is the immaculate white disk as unconditioned consciousness or the 1st Logos, the dull black ground as the Universal Oversoul or the 2nd Logos, and the central point of light as the active Soul or the 3rd Logos at the head of Being at the “dawn” of differentiation—the appearance of conventional reality against the backdrop of ultimate reality.17 This active Soul is the second “One” since there are, “properly speaking, two ‘ONES’—the one on the unreachable plane of Absoluteness and Infinity” and the other one on the “plane of Emanations.”18 The first One of ultimate reality can “neither emanate nor be divided” as it is “eternal, absolute, and immutable,” but the second One can “do all this” in the “Universe of Illusion.”19 As the head of Being, the active Soul oversees the seven cosmic planes from Atman on down through the objective world in all its interrelatedness and interconnectivity. As such, it is the “Logos” that “crucifies” itself “in Space” for the duration of a “life cycle” for the “redemption” of Matter—and the individual that links himself with it becomes Plato’s “man-god.”20

Unconditioned consciousness is the “Causeless Cause” from which the active Soul as the “First Cause” arises.21 Actually, unconditioned consciousness is not even a cause but only a “propelling” of  “causality” since infinity can neither “emanate” nor “create.”22 While this causal propellant is “outside the province of legitimate speculation,” it reveals itself to the human mind as the emptiness of the unknowable or Nirvana.23 But the arising of the “First Cause” establishes the conventional consciousness “which wells up” within each human being.24 Trying to “pass in thought” from the conventional consciousness of conditioned existence to the ultimate reality of the causal propellant leads to an impress on the human mind of “Absolute Negation.”25 But absolute negation does not mean nihilism; absolute negation can lead to affirmation. From a philosophical perspective, the negation of the identity of something as one particular thing does not prevent the establishment of an identity for that something as another particular thing. For example, the recognition that the causal propellant is not conventional consciousness projects through its very negation the idea that another particular thing such as ultimate reality could be relevant to the existence of that conventional consciousness. Similarly, the denial of conventional consciousness to the Causeless Cause does not eliminate the possible affirmation of its unconditioned consciousness. Absolute negation can in fact affirm an alternate existence to existence. The Causeless Cause as absolute negation is the alternate existence to the existence of the active Soul.

The unborn cosmic atom is both alternate existence and existence. This alternate existence is a mode of living independent of a perceiving consciousness. It has to be independent in its unconditioned state because all perceiving consciousnesses are conventionally conditioned in dependent relations where there is necessarily a “dualism.”26 Either this alternate existence as ultimate reality is “absolute and unconditioned” with “no relation to anything nor to anyone” or it is “bound and conditioned” and then “cannot be called the Absolute.”27 If relation in ultimate reality is asserted then unconditioned absoluteness is denied. This is because relation implies conditioned consciousness and conditioned consciousness implies duality. If relation is denied then unconditioned absoluteness is asserted. This is because lack of relation implies lack of dependence and lack of dependence implies a state of unconditioned absoluteness or emptiness. There is no distinction of parts in a uniform continuum such as emptiness; no part can be isolated to distinguish it from others. Therefore, Be-ness, as Parabrahman, can have “no relation to the bounded.”28 On the other hand, Being, which is “finite and conditioned,” can have “relation to something else.”29 As a result, the unborn cosmic atom is both relational and non-relational. The unborn cosmic atom is One, but the characterization of that Oneness allows it to appear either as Being or Be-ness where dependence and emptiness exist in every monadic point throughout its fabric. Experience can either be unconditioned absoluteness or conditioned consciousness at every monadic point.

From an even deeper philosophical perspective, the unborn cosmic atom is actually neither relational nor non-relational; it is neither existent nor alternately existent. The non-relational and alternately existent aspect is simply an approximation to ultimate reality. Non-relation is merely the nonexistence of relation; alternate existence is merely the nonexistence of existence. But ultimate reality—being both—transcends both since it is not solely one or the other. H.P. Blavatsky referred to this transcendence as “meta-spirit.”30 For her, this meta-spirit was the “TOTAL” independent of all relation—even independent of its refutation or negation.31*** 

Finally, the manifested Universe in Space is “pervaded by duality” as a result of Fohat, or cosmic energy, operating in the original field of self-grasping to separate and divide the arising individual identities into relations where they are dependent on each other.32 Fohat brings about the appearances in conventional reality. By fully differentiating the manifested Universe from its root-source of the bare subjectivity of Mulaprakriti, the astral-physical atoms blossom into fully dependent relationships. But each atom, as a reflection in the Universe of Illusion of the unborn cosmic atom, displays its own characterization of Being and Be-ness. Thus, the dependent relations of atoms in the conventional reality of the manifested Universe only make up one part of what is actually going on. The other part of what is actually going on is the Be-ness of unconditioned consciousness with its independence of relation for that particular astral-physical atom. Atoms that are dependent on each other are also completely independent of such dependent relations. And so the unborn cosmic atom is replete with these atoms that are both full and void. They are merely reflections of the One Principle’s infinite substance that sets the pattern for this most wondrous and mysterious paradox: Ultimate reality is always the same, but the ultimate reality for one individual is not the same as the ultimate reality for another individual. It is a shared experience and yet we retain our identity.

Notes and Sources:

** Whether Mulaprakriti technically differentiates, subdivides, or simply emanates/radiates the active Soul is open to debate. The process is spoken of differently in numerous places. For example, H.P. Blavatsky asserted that Mulaprakriti “never differentiates but only emanates or radiates its first born Mahatattva.”33 The active Soul as the central point of light is treated as the “first differentiation of the ever-unknowable PRINCIPLE.”34 In this way, abstract Space is never subdivided. On the other hand, H.P. Blavatsky suggested that “differentiation” begins in the “latent World-Thought” of the 2nd Logos as Mulaprakriti.35 Mulaprakriti, as the Mother Goddess, is “both differentiated and undifferentiated.”36 In her commentary on The Secret Doctrine, she established the existence of “subdivisions” of “unknown quantities” of the 2nd Logos.37 Mulaprakriti must be subdivided if Pradhana and Prakriti are to be considered its lower aspects. Perhaps H.P. Blavatsky’s advice in The Key to Theosophy should be heeded—“We need not quarrel over terms.”38

***In Buddhism, H.P. Blavatsky’s meta-spirit is Swabhavat or Adi-Buddha (the primordial wisdom), the one basic element that unifies Parabraman and Mulaprakriti but, in doing so, transcends both.  

1(SD1-14) 2(CW5-152) 3(SD1-14) 4(SD-14) 5(SD1-289) 6(SD1-14,340) 7(SD1-44) 8(SD-14) 9(SD1-8) 10(SD1-1,14) 11(SD1-1) 12(SD1-70) 13(SD2-59) 14(SD1-16) 15(SD1-17) 16(SD1-70) 17(SD1-1,70) 18(SD1-130) 19(SD1-130) 20(KY188) 21(SD1-14) 22(CW10-336) 23(CW10-336) 24(SD1-14) 25(SD1-15) 26(CW3-423) 27(CW3-423) 28(SD1-56) 29(CW10-311) 30(KY33) 31(CW4-580) 32(SD1-15) 33(CW6-143) 34(CW10-242) 35(CW10-359) 36(CW10-304) 37(SDD296) 38(KY85)

CW = Blavatsky, H.P. Collected Writings: Vol. 3,4,5,6,10

               Vol. 3. Wheaton: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1968.

               Vol. 4. Wheaton: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1969.

               Vol. 5. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, Inc., 1950.          

               Vol. 6. Los Angeles: Blavatsky Writings Publication Fund, 1954.

               Vol. 10. Wheaton: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1974.

KY = Blavatsky, H.P. The Key to Theosophy. Pasadena: Theosophical University

                Press, 1995.

SD = Blavatsky, H.P. The Secret Doctrine. Pasadena: Theosophical University

                Press, 1998.

SDD = Blavatsky, H.P. The Secret Doctrine Dialogues. Los Angeles: The

     Theosophy Company, 2014.