5. Is the expression “a mineral monad” authorized by the Adepts? If so, what relation does the monad bear to the atom, or the molecule, of ordinary scientific hypothesis? And does each mineral monad eventually become a vegetable monad, and then at last a human being?
Any English expression that correctly translates the idea given is “authorized by the Adepts.” Why not? The term “monad” applies to the latent life in the mineral as much as it does to the life in the vegetable and the animal. The monogenist may take exception to the term and especially to the idea while the polygenist, unless he be a corporealist, may not. As to the other class of scientists, they would take objection to the idea even of a human monad, and call it “unscientific.” What relation does the monad bear to the atom? None whatever to the atom or molecule as in the scientific conception at present. It can neither be compared with the microscopic organism classed once among polygastric infusoria, and now regarded as vegetable and ranked among algæ; nor is it quite the monas of the Peripatetics. Physically or constitutionally the mineral monad differs, of course, from that of the human monad, which is neither physical, nor can its constitution be rendered by chemical symbols and elements. In short, the mineral monad is one—the higher animal and human monads are countless. Otherwise, how could one account for and explain mathematically the evolutionary and spiral progress of the four kingdoms? The “monad” is the combination of the last two Principles in man, the 6th and the 7th, and, properly speaking, the term “human monad” applies only to the Spiritual Soul, not to its highest spiritual vivifying Principle. But since divorced from the latter the Spiritual Soul could have no existence, no being, it has thus been called. The composition (if such a word, which would shock an Asiatic, seems necessary to help European conception) of Buddhi or the 6th principle is made up of the essence of what you would call matter (or perchance a centre of Spiritual Force) in its 6th and 7th condition or state; the animating atman being part of the one life or Parabrahm. Now the Monadic Essence (if such a term be permitted) in the mineral, vegetable and animal, though the same throughout the series of cycles from the lowest elemental up to the Deva kingdom, yet differs in the scale of progression.
It would be very misleading to imagine a monad as a separate entity trailing its slow way in a distinct path through the lower kingdoms, and after an incalculable series of transmigrations flowering into a human being; in short, that the monad of a Humboldt dates back to the monad of an atom of hornblende. Instead of saying a mineral monad, the correcter phraseology in physical science which differentiates every atom, would of course have been to call it the Monad manifesting in that form of Prakriti called the mineral kingdom. Each atom or molecule of ordinary scientific hypotheses is not a particle of something, animated by a psychic something, destined to blossom as a man after æons. But it is a concrete manifestation of the Universal Energy which itself has not yet become individualized: a sequential manifestation of the one Universal Monas. The ocean does not divide into its potential and constituent drops until the sweep of the life-impulse reaches the evolutionary stage of man-birth. The tendency towards segregation into individual monads is gradual, and in the higher animals comes almost to the point. The Peripatetics applied the word Monas to the whole Cosmos, in the pantheistic sense; and the Occultists while accepting this thought for convenience’ sake, distinguish the progressive stages of the evolution of the Concrete from the Abstract by terms of which the “Mineral Monad” is one. The term merely means that the tidal wave of spiritual evolution is passing through that arc of its circuit. The “Monadic Essence” begins to imperceptibly differentiate in the vegetable kingdom. As the monads are uncompounded things, as correctly defined by Leibnitz, it is the spiritual essence which vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation which constitutes properly the monad—not the atomic aggregation which is only the vehicle and the substance through which thrill the lower and higher degrees of intelligence. And though, as shown by those plants that are known as sensitives, there are a few among them that may be regarded as possessing that conscious perception which is called by Leibnitz apperception, while the rest are endowed but with that internal activity which may be called vegetable nerve-sensation (to call it perception would be wrong), yet even the vegetable monad is still the Monad in its second degree of awakening sensation. Leibnitz came several times very near the truth, but defined the monadic evolution incorrectly and often greatly blundered. There are seven kingdoms. The first group comprises three degrees of elementals, or nascent centres of forces—from the first stage of the differentiation of Mulaprakriti to its third degree—i.e., from full unconsciousness to semi-perception; the second or higher group embraces the kingdoms from vegetable to man; the mineral kingdom thus forming the central or turning-point in the degrees of the “Monadic Essence”—considered as an Evoluting Energy. Three stages in the elemental side; the mineral kingdom; three stages in the objective physical side—these are the seven links of the evolutionary chain. A descent of spirit into matter, equivalent to an ascent in physical evolution; a re-ascent from the deepest depths of materiality (the mineral) towards its status quo ante, with a corresponding dissipation of concrete organisms up to Nirvana—the vanishing point of differentiated matter. Perhaps a simple diagram will aid us:
The line A D represents the gradual obscuration of spirit as it passes into concrete matter; the point D indicates the evolutionary position of the mineral kingdom from its incipient (d) to its ultimate concretion (a); c, b, a, on the left-hand side of the figure, are the three stages of elemental evolution; i.e., the three successive stages passed by the spiritual impulse (through the elementals—of which little is permitted to be said) before they are imprisoned in the most concrete form of matter; and a, b, c, on the right-hand side, are the three stages of organic life, vegetable, animal, human. What is total obscuration of spirit is complete perfection of its polar antithesis—matter; and this idea is conveyed in the lines A D and D A. The arrows show the line of travel of the evolutionary impulse in entering its vortex and expanding again into the subjectivity of the Absolute. The central thickest line, d d, is the Mineral Kingdom.
The monogenists have had their day. Even believers in a personal god, like Professor Agassiz, teach now that, “There is a manifest progress in the succession of beings on the surface of the earth. The progress consists in an increasing similarity of the living fauna, and among the vertebrates especially, in the increasing resemblance to man. Man is the end towards which all the animal creation has tended from the first appearance of the first Palæozoic. fishes” (“Principles of Zoology,” pp. 205-6). The mineral “monad” is not an individuality latent, but an all-pervading Force which has for its Present vehicle matter in its lowest and most concrete terrestrial state; in man the monad is fully developed, potential, and either passive or absolutely active, according to its vehicle, the five lower and more physical human principles. In the Deva kingdom it is fully liberated and in its highest state—but one degree lower than the ONE Universal Life.6
[Note: for further replies in this series, see “Some Inquiries Suggested by Mr. Sinnett’s ‘Esoteric Buddhism’”]
6. The above diagram represents a logical section of the scheme of evolution, and not the evolutionary history of a unit of consciousness. [This note was added when republished in Five Years of Theosophy]