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Pythagoras and the Philosophy of Number (2 of 5)
Part 2: The Mystery of First Cause
E) Number and the Philosophy of Science
The great philosopher Manly P. Hall defines Pythagorean philosophy as “a system of metaphysical speculation concerning the relationships between numbers and the causal agencies of existence.”
Number is archetypal: it is born out of the inner workings of the Divine Mind. When the Mind of the Creator thinks, He does so in terms of pure number.
All material forms and bodies are “ideations” born out this Divine Mind. Each is fashioned as a “thought form” of this supreme creative power.
The ideations or thought forms fashioned within the Mind of the Creator are initially conceived in a pure, subjective form. Here, they exist as archetypal seed-ideas and are conceived in terms of pure number, mathematics, geometry, and music.
After its initial conception as an archetypal idea, the Creator projects his image for Life outward onto the plane of matter, where it is gradually made objective - meaning, it is gradually brought into a state of actualization and realization within the domain of Matter.
Through Matter, the subjective is made objective. But the objective form is not immediately perfect: it must evolve toward perfection through the fullness of Time.
So in the process of projecting its own image into Matter, this image loses its initial perfection and becomes expressed in a relatively imperfect state. This imperfection must be overcome through growth, experience, and evolution.
Ultimately, the material Universe is created as a divine ritual in which Cosmic Consciousness gradually forgets, but then incrementally re-awakens to, the fact of its own Oneness.
Mathematics, the study of the relationship between numbers, is revered in philosophy as the “Master Science”, with all further sciences built upon its foundation.
There is a single, archetypal framework of number that exists throughout creation;.all life forms that are born within the Universe exist as manifestations of this single numerical design.
It is because of the ubiquity and universality of this numerical archetype that science is possible: different teams of scientists can independently perform an experiment numerous times in different locations and find similar patterns in their measurements because one universal numerical pattern is manifesting universally throughout Nature.
Number is the foundation of science: it provides the universe with a single, objective standard through which forms and beings of various type, scale, and quality can be compared and contrasted.
This truth explains why forms at every level of creation - from the atom to the solar system - can be studied scientifically: each lends itself to objective numerical analysis because each is divinely designed according to numerical principles.
To study and probe manifest creation in search of Divine Number is to be a true scientist. And to be a true scientist, one must be a philosopher, for science is actually a branch of philosophy and not a separate, independent institution (at least in its original design).
Science, in its measurement of nature, discovers numbers manifesting in regular, repeating patterns everywhere they look. This truth - the fact that scientists find number manifesting in identical patterns everywhere - is proof that the Universe is ensouled with and guided by a supreme spiritual intelligence - an intelligence who thinks and ideates in terms of number.
Science’s confirmation of the omnipresence of Number throughout the universe is an objective confirmation of the ultimate truth revered by religion: that Deity is omnipresent throughout creation, is in fact creation itself, and is purposefully guiding and evolving the Universe toward a state of ultimate fulfillment.
This ultimate completion of universal life is attained when life fulfills the total design of the archetype or seed-idea for its own existence. This an ultimate achievement that is to be accomplished only at the final culminating point of the Universe’s grand evolutionary life cycle.
F) Intellectual and Sciential Numbers
In their philosophy of number, the Pythagoreans recognized that the creation of the Universe as an objective entity involves the polarization of Unity into higher-and-lower (or superior-and-inferior) categories of Number.
The higher and superior aspect of Number is devoted to the mystery of First Cause, while the lower and inferior aspect of Number is involved with the manifest world of material Effect.
In Pythagorean philosophy, the superior numbers involved with Cause are give the title Intellectual and the inferior numbers involved with Effect are termed Sciential.
A. Intellectual Numbers:
Intellectual numbers are formless and without measurable quantity, referring instead to transcendent principles that exist as pure, spiritual ideas or archetypes.
As MPH describes them, intellectual numbers are “archetypal patterns which exist eternally in the Divine Mind.” More specifically, they describe a sequence of spiritual emanations (i.e. unfoldments in cosmic consciousness) that culminate in the formation of the universe as an ensouled material entity.
The esoteric aspect of the Pythagorean doctrine - its inner cabalastic teachings reserved tis most advanced students - are rooted in the study of intellectual numbers. But before this more advanced level of the doctrine is made accessible to the student, they must first master the aspects of the teaching associated with sciential number.
To differentiate one from the other, sciential numbers were given the familiar names “One, Two, Three, Four, etc.”, while intellectual numbers were given names Monad, Duad, Triad, Tetrad, Pentad, Hexad, Heptad, Ogdoad, Ennead, and Decad.
B. Sciential Numbers:
Material forms originate as archetypal ideas held in the Divine Mind and come into existence as extensions of these archetypal ideas into Matter. In this process of extension, intellectual numbers become “clothed” in matter, becoming sciential numbers.
In other words: the Divine Mind thinks and plans in terms of intellectual number. Once the Plan is fashioned, it is brought into objective manifestation by means of sciential number.
Sciential numbers measure material forms in both their space and time dimensions.
While intellectual numbers are primarily qualitative and refer to principles, sciential numbers are primarily quantitative and are what is used in mathematics and geometry.
Beginning with the number Three, sciential numbers are divided into odd and even, odd numbers being creative and of the Gods, even numbers being receptive and of the Earth.
Using the number Eight as an example, Manly Hall explains how the two categories of number differ:
“The sciential number 8 signifies 8 ones or 8 parts. But the Ogdoad, which is the intellectual concept of 8, is an undivided principle. Meaning, it is the symbolic name for an order of divine procedure.”
To give another example of the difference between intellectual and sciential numbers, let’s consider the difference between the Pythagorean definition of the Monad (intellectual) verse its definition of the One (sciential).
Hall explains that the Monad is the “seminal reason for the One,” while the One is the Monad “amongst things numbered.”
Let’s unpack this statement: Monad is the cause; One is the effect. Therefore, the reason or cause for the One’s existence can be found in the Monad.
The One, once it emerges out of the Monad, becomes the One over the All; the first and ultimate of created things. For this reason, in its capacity of “All-ness”, it is the Monad “amongst things numbered”.
G) Supreme, Superior, and Inferior
In Pythagorean philosophy, the terms “Unity, Monad, and One” refer to three gradations of the same principle: God. They work together as a Trinity: they are three faces of one underlying spiritual Truth.
The human mind, unable to grasp the Unity of God in its essential state, must intellectually partition this Unity into a Trinity in order to comprehend it.
In the Pythagorean system, the three principles that comprise this ultimate Trinity are termed Unity, the Monad, and the One. In this Trinity:
The Monad is the superior principle of Cause;
The One is the inferior principle of Effect; and
Unity is the supreme principle of ultimate truth and reality that plays host to both Cause and Effect, mediating their interaction and eventually bringing them into mutual equilibrium.
As creation proceeds, it does so as a mathematical process of bringing the inherent potential of intellectual number into objective expression as sciential number.
The manifestation of sciential number from its archetype (intellectual numbers) takes place through the unfoldment of mathematics and its offshoots: geometry and music.
For this reason, the Pythagoreans viewed mathematics as a bridge uniting the polarities of Heaven and Earth, Heaven being a transcendent, incorporeal realm governed by intellectual number and Earth a dense, material realm of bodily form and physical motion ruled by sciential number.
H) First Principles of Number
0: The Absolute; Infinite Unity
Pythagorean philosophy establishes its foundation on the abstract principle of Infinite Unity.
This abstract state of pure spiritual existence is termed The Absolute and is given the symbol Zero.
The Pythagorean symbol for Zero is a depiction of an empty circle. Perhaps even more accurately, it is an Ouroboros: an archetypal religious symbol of a snake or dragon spinning round on itself, eating its own tail.
The Absolute is the ultimate God-concept of Philosophy. As Manly Hall explains, “there is but one superior to God, and that is the Absolute itself.”
Zero references “the existence of an Unconditioned State, which is neither a being nor an entity, but which is Being and Entity.” Meaning: zero references an eternal and infinite principle of pure quality.
The eternal Absolute - the supreme of all qualities - is the foundation of quantity, implying that quality is primary to and superior to quantity.
In our previous series of articles on Mahayana Buddhism, I discussed how the cyclic “awakening” of the supreme principle Adi-Buddhi into Adi-Buddha marks First Cause - the beginning of cosmic existence. In the same way, the awakening of Unity in relation to Zero (an abstract state of Infinite Unity) marks the onset of cosmic creation in the Pythagorean doctrine.
Adi-Buddhi means “Infinite Unity”, referencing a supreme principle which is perceived as an ultimate state of perfect and complete existence. Everything that exists does so in relation to it.
Periodically, in relation to the eternal and infinite reality of Zero, is awakened a supreme Unity that emerges to play host to lesser Unities.
The Buddhists viewed Adi-Buddha as the outer face of Adi-Buddhi, the principle of Infinite Unity. So from Infinite Unity comes Unity. It is Unity that plays host to creation, not Infinite Unity, which is beyond creation.
Adi-Buddha, as the aspect of Unity that interfaces with manifest creation, plays host to a series of internal unfoldments within its consciousness. These unfoldments are products of its internal power of Mind.
At the culmination of these internal unfoldments that are taking place within Consciousness through Mind, eventually an experience of Self-existence is fashioned, where a Divine Being is born that experiences itself as “a Buddha” - meaning, a self-consciousness, a Divine Self existing in relation to an external field of Not-Self.
Before moving on to explore how creation takes place within the context of Unity, let’s spend a little more time unpacking the relationship between Infinite Unity (Zero) and Unity.
The difference between the supreme Buddhist principles of Adi-Buddhi and “Adi-Buddha”. is the same difference as that implied in Hindu philosophy with the principles of Brahman (also sometimes called “Parabrahm”) and Brahma.
Brahman is eternally unmanifest; but periodically within Brahman, Brahma awakens within the infinite field of its Space. It is Brahma, emerging within Brahman, who then plays host to further creative unfoldments and actives.
The difference between Zero and Unity, or Adi-Buddhi and Adi-Buddha, is also the same as the difference articulated in Taoist philosophy between the two states of the Tao: the “Tao-that-can’t-be-named” and the “Tao-that-can-be-named”.
The “Tao-that-can-be-named” is Adi-Buddha, which the Mahayana Buddhists described as an infinite “Buddha-Field” of enlightened consciousness that plays host, within its infinite and eternal expanse, to lesser microcosmic Buddhas. Each is seated in its midst upon a budding Lotus, meditating an internal Universe into being within the space of its inner consciousness.
Manly P. Hall on the Mystery of Zero
On the subject of Zero and its archetypal symbol of the empty circle (or “Ouroboros”), Manly Hall writes:
“Pythagoras simply described First Cause by the symbol 0, which represents nought, the circle, containing within itself all things, with the center everywhere and the circumference nowhere.”
“The field of the circle, by its blankness, infers that there is no condition present within it. Yet, as Pythagoras states, this Eternal Absolute is not impoverished. It is lacking in nothing and it is abundant in all things. Therefore, it may properly be said, in the Absolute abides all forms.”
“According to Pythagoras, this Absolute Infinity of Being extended beyond all boundaries of created things - beyond all the forms and bodies that exist in nature. Properly and appropriately, it may be referred to as similar to but greater than Space.”
“This Absolute, conditioned, unqualified, eternal Principle is neither born nor dies. It is subject neither to age nor youth and therefore is Time in suspension. For this reason the Egyptians termed it ‘Unpassing Time’.”
The Philosopher reveres the Absolute - Zero and its outer face, Unity - as “a mysterious Invisible Power in which all faiths can live, move, and have their being.”
The Absolute is unknown and unknowable even to the most enlightened of sages: only God may contemplate it. Therefore, the Absolute - Zero - is beyond any sectarian god or religious idol possible for man to fight over.
Writes MPH: “The wise man is one who is no longer willing to believe in creedal limitations of Truth. He recognizes one Sovereign and Superior Being - called by the ancient Greeks the Principle of Principles, the Absolute.”
Hall explains that “you do not pray to the Absolute anymore than you would pray to the ocean. The tides obey no man; likewise, nothing man can do or say can in any way change, modify, or placate the Absolute. Like the tide, it sees nothing, hears nothing, answers nothing, and knows all.”
“This Eternal Principle, neither male nor female, neither above nor below, neither great nor small, neither visible nor invisible, neither tangible nor intangible, may be appropriately termed The Absolute.”
“It is diversified equally throughout the entire vicissitudes of time and all space. It is distributed without conditions, quality, or limitation. It has neither summit nor depth; no dimensions may be ascribed to it, but dimensions exist within it. It can neither be circumscribed nor bound, because it possesses within itself the principle of formless Infinity.”
“It is all Life, but not alive. It does not possess any quality of One-ness or Being-ness, but is eternally a condition present in all nature and all forms. Therefore, it is properly denominated as the Absolute, the Infinite, the Summit, the Closed Eye, the Crown, that which Is, Was, and Ever Shall Be. For the First Cause, there is no appropriate, positive definition.”
In conceptual terms, Manly Hall writes that “Space is the nearest thing to the Absolute we can conceive of physically: … You take hold of it; when you speak, your voice is speaking through it; everything that exists, exists in it.”
Infinite Being is imminent and eminent everywhere in Eternity. Everywhere that exists, exists because of it. It is “the great emptiness that goes on beyond the stars. It is the dark, hidden root of all visible things, appropriately termed in Egypt the Thrice-Deep Darkness, from which emanated gods and men.”
“Space is like a placid pool in which many forms of life are growing, each according to its own kind. … It is the mysterious ground from which all things grow downward, even as the plants grow upward from this little Earth of ours.”
“Within Absolute Space, Time lives and dies of old age, and yet it is not one whit older than it was before.”
The Absolute is “Infinite Existence, Infinite Space, infinitely diversified. All that exists is merely the Absolute objectified. … It is the abiding place of the stars and planets, manifested to us in everything we perceive.”
“The Absolute is like the dark soil planted with the Seeds of Life. … Downward from the Absolute grows the Universe, with its roots in the Dark Abyss which is neither good nor bad, but Is, and Ever Shall Be.”
1: Unity; the Monad; the One
As we discussed previously, in Pythagorean philosophy, the terms Unity, Monad, and One refer to three gradations of the same principle: God. They function together as a Trinity: three faces of one underlying spiritual Truth.
The human mind, unable to grasp the Unity of God in its essential state, must intellectually partition this Unity into a Trinity of interconnected principles and qualities in order to comprehend it. In the Pythagorean system, these three principles are termed Unity, the Monad, and the One.
In this Trinity, the Monad is the superior principle of Cause, the One the inferior principle of Effect; and Unity the supreme principle of ultimate truth and reality, which plays host to both Cause and Effect and eventually equilibrates them.
Cause and Effect (the Monad and the One) together emerge out of the mystery of Unity, which itself awakens with the context of Infinite Unity (the Absolute).
In Pythagorean philosophy, First Cause is preceded by the cyclic re-awakening of Unity within the context of the Absolute (Zero; Non-Existence).
Once awakened, Unity plays host to all further numerical emanations, the first being the Monad.
If Unity is symbolized by the Ouroboros or empty circle, then the birth of the Monad within Unity represents the placing of a dot in the center of the circle. In this way, through the Monad, “Divine Unity is established in Place.”
The Monad is born within the womb in Unity. “It floats, lives, and moves within, and is supported and sustained by, the very Cause of itself.” (MPH)
Hall further explains: “All that is manifested, is manifested within the body of that God (the Monad; the Divine Self) who came out of Space (Unity).” This God “is the Eternal Being which is properly denominated the Father: the supreme God of our consciousness. It is indeed the God in whom we live, move, and have our being.”
The Monad is created as a localization of Unity’s consciousness and is therefore limited in relation to Unity.
With the Monad, we find pure abstract qualities such as Being and Consciousness becoming objectified as "a Divine Being” or “a Universal Consciousness”.
In Hindu terminology, the Monad is Brahma, while Unity is Parabrahm: that which is beyond Brahma, gives birth to Brahma, and receives Brahma back into its infinitude at the culmination of Time.
The Monad is God made manifest as an active, creative power - as a Spiritual Self:
As Hall explains, “About the central axis of the 1, or Tree of Being, moves the whole order of numbers, which are suspended from the 1 even as the 1 itself is suspended from the principle of Unity, of which it is the primary mathematical manifestation.”
Once established, the Monad becomes "the imperishable whole, which can never increase or decrease, and is always the sum of conceived or conceivable parts.”
All further numbers beyond the Monad exist within the Monad. They are “fractional parts of its primordial wholeness.” Thus, “Two is in reality Unity considered in terms of halves, Three is Unity considered in terms of thirds”, etc.
The Monad cannot be divided. Hence, diversity must be understood as a division that takes place within the Monad. Number is the measure of this division: intellectual numbers measuring qualitative division and sciential numbers quantitive division.
In sum: the Monad is not subject to change, because it represents all-ness or totality. And though parts may emerge, wholeness always remains overtop.
From the Monad emerges the One. The One is really the downward reflection of the Monad upon the plane of Matter; it is the image that the Self perceives as it peers into the depths of the Not-Self.
As Manly Hall explains, “the numeral 1 is the Spirit of the Numbers: it is universal life limited to the sphere of generation”. Once born, it becomes “the apex of the pyramid of phenomena.”
In the religious philosophy of Hinduism, the One is Ishwara - the manifest Deity born into creation. This Deity is a living, omnipresent Buddha experiencing and evolving its divine spiritual consciousness through the development and unfoldment of the World Soul.
To the Pythagoreans, the Monad and the One are the two manifest aspects of God: one spiritual, one material.
As MPH explains: “the first motion of Deity (the Monad) established Number (the One), which becomes the mode whereby the magnitude and duration of that motion is rendered conceivable to man.”
He continues, "Number is divine and founded in the archetypal sphere, from whence its radiations descend into the sensible world, there to manifest as the exactitudes of mathematical procedure.”
In this view, Number is the measure of God: through the study of Number, the anatomy and psychology of God is made sensible to the human intellect.
2: Duality; the Duad; Mind
Within Unity exists the potential for duality, which is the basis of self-existence. In philosophical terms, the primordial duality is that between Spirit and Matter, Self and Not-Self, Heaven and Earth, etc. Each arises as a result of the archetypal partitioning of the Monad into the Duad.
In Pythagorean philosophy, the principle of Two - the Duad - symbolizes the capacity of Unity to express itself in a polarized state, where one whole is divided into two halves that oppose each other like oil and water.
In terms of the polarity between intellectual and sciential numbers discussed previously, Duality initially manifests within Unity as the polarity between the Monad and the One, with the Monad being the first-born cause of the One.
The Pythagoreans associated the principle of the Duad with the power of Mind.
Mind emerges within Consciousness as the second stage or Logos of the cosmic creation process - the initial awakening of Adi-Buddha from Adi-Buddhi, or Unity from Zero, being the First Logos.
Once Mind emerges, it acts upon Consciousness, partitioning it into the dialectic of Self and Not-Self, Monad and One, Spirit and Matter, Heaven and Earth, etc.
Mind is a “power reflex” of Consciousness: it is an inner power that is activated within Unity at the onset of creation in order that a self-contained, self-existing Divine Being - a “Universal Self” - may be born.
As Manly Hall explains, through Mind, “Being becomes localized as a center of self-consciousness existing in space” - i.e. it becomes “a Being”.
If the perspective of God in its absolute state is that of an empty circle, then the birth of a Divine Self within the context of the that circle is like a dot being placed in its center. However, while, to the Absolute, God may be a dot, to us (from our perspective), God is the ALL: meaning, the Divine Being; the Universal Self; the World Soul.
When Self is born from Mind, it also specifies a corollary state of “Not-Self”. This dimension of Not-Self - the equivalent of darkness in relation to light - is synonymous with what is often called Matter.
In relation to Self, Matter is the Void: a dimension of spiritual absence that emerges in dialectic polarity to the Self.
As Manly Hall describes it, ancient philosophy imagined the universe as an Infinite Being that gradually retired or restricted itself toward its own center. The creation of this center resulted in the corresponding creation of a surrounding area of darkness or “spiritual privation". This darkness is the “Not-Self” leftover from the withdrawal of “pure Being” into “a Being” or “a Self”.
Mind is associated with interval - i.e. with the intermediary space between two objects or the line between two points.
This power of interval is what allows for individuality to be discerned: by making an interval between two objects and creating a space between them, one creates the condition to compare and contrast them with the benefit of perspective.
For Self to exist as “an individual Deity”, an interval must be placed between itself and Absolute Consciousness. Mind’s function is to specify this Interval; this is its unique power.
While interval is necessary to the experience of Self, it is also the beginning of illusion.
Unity is reality; diversity is illusion. But the appearance of diversity is necessary in order for an experience of “Self” to take place.
Acceptance of duality results in the Self falling into a state of illusion. From this initial illusion all further categories of illusion follow. This is the essential teaching of Buddhism: that acceptance of a personal Self leads to corruption of infinite consciousness.
The ultimate truth is undifferentiated Unity or Zero. In relation to this supreme Truth, all other truths are relative. The Self’s belief that it is a unique and separate part of Absolute Consciousness is one of these relative beliefs - it is not based on fact but rather on a distorted self-perspective.
Therefore, while interval is necessary to the formation of Self-Consciousness, it is also the beginning of the Self falling into a web of material illusion. This illusion is based on the acceptance of Matter as the Not-Self.
In Truth, there is no “Not-Self”; everything is actually infinite consciousness. Instead, Not-Self is a relative perception of the Infinite experienced by the Self. It is a necessary projection, for without it, the Self would have nothing to define itself against in order to experience its own uniqueness.
The perception of illusion by Self is like Light looking out into Space and perceiving Darkness or Blackness.
In reality there is no darkness, but for Self to perceive itself as Light, then it must by necessity also perceive a corresponding area of Not-Light or Darkness.
Darkness therefore represents the Not-Self: it symbolizes the boundary of Self in relation to the Absolute.
Darkness symbolizes Self’s inability to perceive Infinite Unity: instead of seeing fullness, it perceives emptiness and Darkness, a reflection of its own limitation.
In sum, the designation of Self within Consciousness requires the corresponding designation of a domain of “Not-Self”. It is this fundamental polarity between Self and Not-Self that Mind serves to partition within Consciousness.
Referencing back to the Pythagorean symbol for Zero, the empty circle, we can add a new feature to this symbol: a dot in the circle. This is an archetypal symbol of Deity.
Placing of the dot in the center of an empty circle symbolizes the emergence of Self within Consciousness. The interval that separates the dot from the circumference of the circle represents Mind, the intermediary.
3. Trinity; the Triad; Self
As we discussed above, Self is a creation of Mind acting upon Consciousness.
Self is first created during the second act of creation (the 2nd Logos), in which Mind creates a partition within Unity, creating the dialectic of Self and Not-Self.
Born from this establishment of duality by Mind, Self exists always in relation to a corresponding domain of Not-Self. In this capacity, Self is synonymous with Spirit and Not-Self with Matter.
Creation takes place when the Self projects or meditates its powers of consciousness into Matter in order to create an objective image of itself. This image is manifested in the form of the World Soul and World Body.
The World Soul, once manifested within the Divine Self, manifests as a Triad - i.e. as three interconnected principles or powers.
1. The Spirit of the World Soul is Unity;
2. The World Soul itself is the Monad, the seed-image or Archetype established as a metaphysical power in the beginning of Time. This seed-image grows into physical form gradually through the course of Time, becoming, at the end of its cycle of evolution, a mature, objective, fully realized statement of its own initial Archetype.
3. The body or material form of the World Soul begins with the One - the first and ultimate of all material creations.
The One simultaneously means “the One over the All” and “the First” or “the Beginning”.
As with the developing human embryo, the first cell that is conceived becomes the parent to all further division.
Thus, One is simultaneously the first form and the total of all form.
As the All, the One contains and envelopes a diverse anatomy of internal parts. As humans, we are parts of this wholeness and therefore are held within the body of an ALL.
Typically, we speak of this all-ness as Mother Nature. Sometimes we also refer to it as the Solar System or Galaxy.
Each is a relative Oneness that exists as a part within the anatomy of a greater Oneness.
In Pythagorean terminology: the One is held within the superior being of the Monad, which in turn is held within the supreme being of Unity.
In the terminology of Christianity, this Trinity is expressed as follows: Unity is “God the Father”; the Monad is “Christ”; and the One is the “Holy Ghost”.
Based on this way of diagraming the relationships between these terms, we discover that it is a perfectly acceptable statement to say that “each human is held within the being of Christ, who is God made incarnate in the form of the One.” Philosophically, this is a true statement.
Let’s unpack the statement: God manifests into creation through Christ, who personifies the the Divine Self and World Soul. Within Christ is the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the power to (like Shiva) create, build, and destroy material forms.
The sciential number One emerges as the first and ultimate of all created forms. It is a divine thought form or image planted by the Divine Self into the dark earth of Matter at the beginning of Time.
Through Time, this manifest Self experiences life, growth, and evolution. In the fullness of Time, it is destined to evolve itself toward becoming the full realization of its own archetypal potential - a potential that was first designed and established by the Divine Mind.
In sum: Three represents the rulership of unity over diversity.
Duality can only exist within the superior context of Unity. Therefore, there is always a Unity overtop, within, and throughout diversity.
This is why it is appropriate to revere Christ as an imminent presence within Creation: Christ, as the Monad, is the unity above, within, and throughout diversity. Christ is also, in his lower nature, the One, the first and ultimate among material creations.
The higher, spiritual nature of Christ exerts a subtle influence upon his lower material form. In time, Christ synthesizes the polarization that drives this separation and, in the fullness of Time, promises to restore all opposing principles to a state of mutual equilibrium, thereby restoring balance and unity among the parts.
I) Case Study: The Hindu Trimurti
In the above diagram, featured in Manly Hall’s pamphlet “Superfaculties and their Culture”, we find the Hindu version of the Pythagorean teachings regarding Zero, the Monad, the Duad, and the Triad.
In ancient Hindu philosophy, the Divine Self is described as manifesting its consciousness through the triune deities Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva.
Philosophically, these three deities represents principles, not persons: Brahma personifies the Monad, Vishnu personifies both the Duad and Triad, and Shiva personifies the triad in terms of its three creative powers and potentials.
Brahma is the first and highest principle in this Trinity; its supreme factor.
In Pythagorean terms, Brahma represents Unity. This deity is the objectification of Brahman: Infinite Unity or Zero.
In Sanskrit, Brahma is termed “Adi” or “Atma” and is described the first objectification of Atman, the Supreme Truth.
Brahma’s initial manifestation is as “Eternity”, which “presides over all Space” and is before Time.
Vishnu is the second person of this Trinity. He represents the Self distinguished from the Not-Self.
Vishnu is born during the second act of creation (the 2nd Logos) and manifests its being into material creation during the third act or 3rd Logos.
Vishnu is a threefold entity: it is an aspect of the Universal Spirit, it manifests through the Universal Soul, and fashions a Universal Form as an objective, material image of itself.
Vishnu, as the World Soul, plays host to the manifest Universe of material form. The power within Vishnu to build the material forms of this Universe resides with Shiva, the 3rd person of the Creative Triad.
Shiva is a power reflex of Vishnu. The principle He personifies, termed “Manas” in Sanskrit, is referred to as either the “Holy Ghost” or “Jehova” in the Bible. In all cases, the same principle and power is being referenced: the form-building power of the Creator.
More specifically, Shiva is associated with Vishnu’s inner masculine or Yang principle. He is a creative, form-building power whose purpose is to actively generate and evolve the Soul’s (Vishnu’s) material form.
Though Shiva is regarded as the Third power of the Creative Triad, philosophy treats it as a secondary power of Divinity.
Shiva personifies what Plato called the “Demiurgus”, the Romans “Jupiter”, and the Christians “Jehova”. In Saskrit, this principle is termed Manas and represents the power of the Soul to create, preserve, and destroy material forms or bodies.
Shiva manifests not directly within Brahma but instead within Vishnu, who serves as the intermediary between the two. Shiva is the form-generating power of Vishnu. But Vishnu also has a higher aspect that is detached from material form. This is the aspect of Vishnu that interfaces directly with Brahma.
The material forms that Shiva generates are measured as sciential numbers. The full expanse of Vishnu’s being cannot be measured by sciential numbers alone, however; intellectual numbers, which elude Shiva’s grasp, are also an aspect (the superior aspect) of Vishnu’s being.
Like Vishnu, Shiva manifests as a threefold being. The three aspects of Shiva’s nature represent the three modes of relationship he has to the world of material form:
Shiva creates or generates bodily forms by building out the archetype or seed-design that is initially established by Brahma within Vishnu at the origin of creation.
Shiva also preserves the forms it creates within Vishnu for the duration of their lifespan so that they do not dissolve against the backdrop of entropy, which is an inherent aspect of the Not-Self’s (i.e. Matter’s) reaction upon the Self.
Finally, at the appointed time of a life form’s death, Shiva, as Rudra, destroys the material form, releasing its compounds back to their essential elements so that they can be recycled in the generation of new, more evolved forms.
In this way, Shiva oversees a process of spiritual creative destruction, ensuring that, in the end, nothing will interfere with the Soul’s ability to attain its own endgame: the generation of a perfect life form existing in perfect harmony and equilibrium across all three dimensions of its being: Spirit, Soul and Body.