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the model of the three logoi

Oct 27, 1993 06:44 AM
by eldon

Our theosophical terms are drawn from the various religions and
philosophies of the world, sometimes used in their original sense,
sometimes given a different twist. When there are many terms that
refer to the same thing, my preference is to use the Sanskrit terms.
Sanskrit, the language of the Gods, is said to be special, having
significance even in the sounds that go with the words.

One term that we come across in theosophical texts is "logos", which
is Greek for "word". A word gives manifest expression to an idea.
And we read about three logoi, the first, the second, and the third.
There are three levels or degrees of giving manifest expression to
an original idea.

First we have the idea itself, unmanifest, not given expression or
form in any manner. It is a living, dynamic potential, rather than
being actually present. We have the idea as a part of ourselves, but
it has not been brought forth, it is a karmic seed rather than
an outwardly living part of ourselves.

With the first logos, the first level of putting it in words, the
first step of giving manifestation to the idea, we know it, but
have not yet put it into words. It is an understanding that just is
too vast, too magnificent, too far-removed from our live to use
words to label it. It might very well be lost to us if we try to
grasp it too directly in our minds.

With the next level of expression, the second logos, that formless
idea first takes on form. The idea is clothed in words. It corresponds
to an object that is archetypal, in akasha or the astral light, but
not yet made physical. We have our verbal description of the idea
in our minds, and the words that it is expressed in will grow and
evolve as we continue to think about the idea. And the value of the
idea increases as we inter-relate it to the other ideas in our mind.

At the third logos, the "word" has finally reached physical expression.
We have taken out pen and paper, or starting talking to others about
the idea. It is now clothed in speech and has some expression in the
world of concrete forms.

At times, we will have to break up and discard the words that we
have clothed our ideas in, dissolving the third logos and then
unfolding it again from the second. And at other times, we have to
break up and discard the words in our minds as well, dissolving
the second and third logoi into the first, then unfolding the two
again. And the same with the first into the unexpressed, into
the silence.

This process relates to the manifestation of life and consciousness,
and when we use the term "logos", we're taking an analogy, a way to
describe or compare something to. We're not literally taking about
a "word", although the process is the same. We could be taking about
the coming into manfestation of an idea, a person, a world, the
process is the same.

We have the unmanifest, followed by the formless manifest (first
logos), then by the archetypal or higher worlds of form (second
logos), and finally by the concrete, physical worlds of form
(third logos). Comparing what happens to the stages of knowing
or giving expression to an idea is helpful, but is not the thing
in itself, it's a clue, a facet of what is going on, but just one
jewel in the treasure chest of Theosophy.

Even in this aspect, we see something of the purpose of life: to
seek manifestation in order to obtain self-consciousness. When we
given spoken expression to an idea, we've at the same time given
clarity and additional self-consciousness to it in our minds. And
putting words, in our minds, to a wordless, wonderful, spiritual
truth, does give clarity to that truth, even though at a later
time we will have to discard the words and seek others to better
express it.

                                 Eldon Tucker

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