Piercing The Language Of Time


Could there be a truly timeless language, or would this be a contradiction in terms? A language, after all, is the speech of embodied intelligence. Embodiments are temporal: they belong to time. They are the offspring of cycles and they come and go, subject to change, growth, and development, and suffer also the defects of decline and old age, becoming rigid and inflexible. Yet we have a sort of intelligence which comprehends principles of change, bringing an element of constancy to all mortal process. There is timelessness in this. There are indeed principles of change, of form and embodiment, which are signified by a rather wonderful language of precise symbolism. Geometry and numbers suggest one sort of language that is freer than others from the distortions of time and place. A vast order of vital symbols, beginning with the egg and including various plants and animal, add to the versatile power of communication in symbolic language. Yet, as we know, the more universal a symbol, and the more "timeless" its meaning, the more assistance we require in order to understand that meaning. Metaphysics is a type of philosophical geometry, conveying the necessary truths of consciousness, while the geometry of extension in space is concerned with the truths of form and its transformations.


All these modes of representation serve the effort of the hungering mind to distinguish between the timeless, unconditioned, free, and the vast gamut of finite, realities clothed in the terms of objectivity and linearity. And, since infinity displays via the finite our final discovery will be within, as it is we who contain both aspects of the whole. Thus we are both the mystery and the solution, yet the world sets the problem for us to solve. The task of all searchers is to find the meaning of the timeless in symbols which are only outwardly timebound, and to know that they are found by feeling their correspondences within themselves.


Many may feel the restless surge of the god within yet misinterpret its call. The restless energies of lost spiritual freedom spur them to ever new conquests -- of lands, of wealth, of fame and power -- only to have these achievements, bound to cyclic law, light the way to disappointment. All must wrestle with their own illusions. To be truly oneself, in the sense of the Wisdom-Religion -- Man Know Thyself -- gives us our essential nature. The pursuit for self-understanding is to undertake the high Promethean calling and see oneself in all. This is the secret: matter cannot feel, its essence will not thrill to, and hence the requirement to reach inwardly to that source of being where the fellowship of souls is no longer an ethical teaching, nor only a wise tradition, but the stuff of beinghood itself. That we are urged by sacred books to find that place, to seek that self, can only be because, as humankind we are able to do it. And for help along the way we have the guidance of others who have climbed the same ladder which we now struggle to ascend, moving laboriously from rung to rung. At each state of elevation, we may think the meanings of what these teachers have said increase in scope and application. They speak to the aspiring minds and hearts of an age, using the idiom of the plane where they are, therefore they can but hint at the language appropriate to the next steps above. H.P.B. refers to their method of communication:
To some extent, it is admitted that even the esoteric teaching is allegorical. To make the latter comprehensible to the average intelligence, requires the use of symbols cast in an intelligible form. Hence the allegorical and semi-mythical narratives in the exoteric, and (only) semi-metaphysical and objective representations in the esoteric teachings. For the purely and transcendentally spiritual conceptions are adapted only to the perceptions of those who "see without eyes, hear without ears, and sense without organs," according to the graphic expression of the Commentary.
Symbols, then, are a means of referring to transcendentally spiritual conceptions in terms of an imagery familiar to the organs of sense, yet in ways that reach beyond these limitations. Our language, too, affords a similar assistance, since it is built out of terms which relate to the common experience of the race. But we will have no difficulty in seeing that H.P.B.'s use of this language lifts it to a level of profound metaphysical and even spiritual communication, showing how anything with which man has to do may be turned into a reference to the timeless realities which lie beyond the veil of matter. Her language has an extraordinary tropism of aspiration; it is filled with the strength of a mind settled in clarity concerning the cycles of being and the embodiments of intelligence, so that even while using terms of finite definition, a deeper meaning pervades the entirety of the text. And again H.P.B. speaks of those higher modes of perception which are natural to those who retain their sense of egoity on higher planes.


All this becomes rich in meaning when regarded from the Promethean viewpoint. For why, one will naturally ask, did the hierarchies of building intelligence spend long ages in developing eyes and ears and other organs of sense, if these points of contact with the natural world are nothing but sources of delusion and confinement to the soul? At issue is the meaning of the whole drama of evolution. Its beginning is the projection of form on a cosmic scale to provide vehicles for consciousness and life, and its end is the reaping of the harvest of the manvantaric cycle through the enlarged and extended sense of self for all the transformed intelligence that has been involved in the great development. The journey of return brings the meaning of the divine in nature and in man -- the timeless united with the cyclic.