Copyright © 1974 by Theosophical University Press. All rights reserved.
Every being or thing throughout the universe, and indeed the universe itself, has, or rather is, its own auric egg. Its primal substance is the akasa of which the cosmic ether is the grossest aspect. This akasa concretes itself progressively from its highest to its lowest part, so that the auric egg in its most material aspect is but slightly more ethereal than the physical body, and is in fact astral substance. It is fundamentally life; it is not only the seat of the pranas or life-forces, but the auric egg is itself concreted life, for akasa is life, and life is akasa.
The auric egg originates in the monad which is its heart or core, and from which, when manifestation begins, it emanates forth in streams of vital effluvia. On the different planes which the auric egg traverses as a pillar of light, from the atmic to the physical, each such auric or pranic effluvium is a principle or element, commonly reckoned in man as seven in number. When the auric egg is viewed on any one plane of the human constitution, we discover that this plane or 'layer' not only corresponds to, but actually is, one of the unfolded six principles of man; it would appear to be ovoid or somewhat egg-shaped in outline, and to be a more or less dense, extremely brilliant, central portion surrounded by an enormously active interworking cloud of pranic currents. If we look at the sun we get a sublimely beautiful picture of what the solar auric egg is on this plane, and this gives some idea of what the auric egg of a human being looks like when considered on any one of its six planes or layers emanated from the atmic or monadic source.
These immensely active and interworking clouds or vital effluvia are actually the pranas of the auric egg on any one plane expressing themselves as auras. Thus, in illustration, all the pranas in and of man's astral-physical body are simply the vital auras of his physical being, and similarly so on any other layer of his constitution.
The auric egg, originating in the atman or the true naked monad, flows forth from the heart of the monad, clothing itself first in its highest veil, the substances and energies of buddhi. As the consciousness stream descends farther into manifestation, the buddhic auras with the atmic energies working in and through them produce manas, the second veil or garment; and this in its turn flows forth in the next auric attribute, the kama, including its various substances and forces, until finally the physical body is formed from the matters and forces of the astral auric egg as its lees or dregs.
Each such layer or plane of the stream of consciousness called the auric egg is emanated from a center or core which itself is a child monad emanated from its superior, and so on upwards until we reach the atmic monad again, out of the heart of which all flows. Thus, each of these children monads aids in producing in its fullness the whole auric egg of a septenary being, by pouring forth from within its heart the particular swabhavic pranic essences belonging to itself as a monad on that plane.
All manifestations of human life, from gestation to death, originate in the auric egg, and pass out through the physical body. Every part of the body, every different organ, is a deposit from an equivalent layer of the auric egg. Blood, as an illustration, is the physical representative of what in the auric egg manifests itself as the vital streams. It is concreted or materialized vitality, and the various cells with which it is filled represent on this plane the as yet unevolved life-atoms which exist equivalently and causally in the auric egg. Just as blood is the dregs of the pranic streams flowing through the auric egg, so is the physical brainstuff the dregs of the manasic substance which composes a part of the auric egg, i.e. a deposit from those layers of the auric egg in which the manasic principle functions.
Mentality thus originates on the mental plane of the auric egg, spiritual thought and impulses on the spiritual planes, animal impulses on the grosser planes. The astral body has its source in the auric egg also; and even the physical body is a deposit of it, being but the shell of the auric egg — born out of it, built up from its life, and deriving therefrom all its vitality.
It is through their auric egg that the spiritual adepts (and even the Brothers of the Shadow) perform the wonders which they can work, for it is the center of their vitality. An adept in these mysteries, by the power of will and by wisdom, could surround himself with a cloak of invisibility — a concealing veil of part of his auric substance — so that he could pass through a crowd in broad daylight, and be totally unseen. Again, he could so harden or strengthen his auric egg as to cast around himself an impenetrable garment that nothing known to man could pierce. Neither bullet nor sword could pass this protecting veil of akasa, which nevertheless is so ethereal that it is utterly invisible. And yet, because it is composed of pure energy, it is the same, fundamentally, as pure substance. The atoms composing the bullet or the sword are unable to penetrate it, for to those atoms this protecting veil is made incomparably denser by the strength of will of the one who so shields himself, or someone else. It is by a knowledge of the powers and energies latent and residing in the auric egg that an adept, by using his will, can also levitate himself or, on the other hand, make his body so heavy that fifty men could not lift it.
The size of the auric egg is not always the same. When it is in full manifestation, the pranic essences poured forth from the different centers are greater than when it is in a state of inactivity. Thus, after death, the auric egg — otherwise the constitution — shrinks very considerably as concerns the reach of the pranic auras, and this is especially the case in its lower layers, which break up into their component atoms and are dissipated. In fact, mere size or extension of an auric egg has nothing to do with the intrinsic functions of consciousness; for when a monad is in certain spiritual states, as happens after death, the extent of the pranic or vital outflow may be at times infinitesimal in character. This, however, does not apply with equal force to the spiritual and divine layers of the auric egg, for these, being relatively immortal, are not affected in any especial degree by the death of a being such as a man.
Thus we see that the auras of a man's astral-physical body are merely those portions of the pranas which during incarnation surround the body as a mist or shining cloud; and these auras are invariably characterized by marvelously shifting and changing scintillations and flashings of color.
In principle, then, the higher the layer in the auric egg the farther-reaching are its various pranic auras, so that actually the higher layers are characterized by auric extensions which range far beyond the limits of our own planetary chain, to the sun and other planets — indeed, the reach of the auric egg in its divine aspects embraces in varying degrees of power and largeness different parts of the galaxy. It is just by these 'touchings' or 'contacts' of the auras of the different layers that we interweave our vitality with the beings and things that surround us, and this on all planes of our constitution. And herein lies the cause of the ordinary sympathies and antipathies that we are constantly experiencing: our pranic auras touch or contact the world around us, enabling us to become cognizant of our environs by means of our sensory apparatuses both outer and inner.
As a matter of fact, no entity could cognize any other entity in the universe unless his auric egg reached that entity. We could not see the stars unless our auric egg were already there, and transmitted to us along the pathways of the ether the touch that we have of those distant objects. There is actually no such thing as action at a distance, to quote the favorite phrase of the scientists of our grandfathers' day. All things are connected together everywhere, not merely those that are in the vicinage of each other. Every human being is as closely and straitly allied with Sirius or with the Polar Star as he is with his own skin, and his divine essence extends even farther.
The sun, for example, may be said to 'feel' and to 'embrace' whatever is contacted by its rays flashing forth from itself; and it is precisely the intellectual and spiritual and divine reach of the forces and energies of the auric egg of the solar chain, linking themselves in eternal and unbreakable bonds with the surrounding galaxy, which thus permits the solar chain to come into contact with the galaxy, its home. Indeed, the reason that one man can understand another is that the manasic layers of the auric egg of the one touch and interweb with those of the other, thus bringing about intellectual contact; and when there is such synchrony of vibration, we have intellectual sympathy and understanding; but when the manasic wavelengths are not of the same frequency, we have the cases of inability of men to understand each other, antipathetic feelings, etc.
However, let us not be too literal and falsely imagine that here is a reason for indulging in hatreds as being 'according to natural law,' or some other such tommyrot. Of course, we should try to synchronize our 'vibrations' with those of others — not by descending to a lower level than our own best, but by endeavoring through impersonal will and spiritual aspiration to apply the grand old rule of cosmic ethics that love harmonizes all things, that hatred is always destructive. It is our duty to replace antipathies by the sympathies that we can in fact always attain to by rising to higher planes of feeling and thought. This is possible because all monads, in their own high status, are permanently on the plane of spirit, and hence vibrate in harmonic and synchronous spiritual rhythms.
No sensitive man can go into a crowd without being strongly affected by its emanations — an efflux of vitality which leaves every human being constantly, day and night — and these emanations literally poison the outer layers of the auric egg. However, help is afforded by nature's automatic closing of the doors of entrance, and thus the auric atmosphere receives protection. Just as the pores of the skin involuntarily close and open — a process which aids in keeping the body healthy and in preventing the entrance of disease — so are there certain psychic adjustments, automatic in type, which take place in one's auric atmosphere when in crowds.
Now if one were strong enough in love and in universal sympathy, as the higher adepts are, he could enter safely into places heavily charged with the emanations of matter and evil, and do so with perfect security to inner health, because his auric egg, on account of its innate purity, would then automatically close its 'pores' against such emanations; the heart and the mind meanwhile expanding in compassionate understanding so largely as to see hid beauty and to sense natural sympathy even with one's most uncompromising foe, because we are all united on the higher planes of our being.
From the foregoing, we can see the reason for H.P.B.'s statement (The Key to Theosophy, p. 176) to the effect that the pranas are the direct emanations from an atmic layer of the auric egg, and similarly so from the atmic essence of the different children monads in the human constitution. Furthermore, it is the auric egg as a whole which is the actual ever-enduring compound vehicle of man considered as a peregrinating entity. It is in his auric egg, in its many and various planes or layers, that a man throughout eternity lives and moves and has his consciousness, and all the other attributes and faculties and powers that characterize him in any one of the many episodes of his immensely long evolutionary journey.
In connection with this last thought, we should remember that the size of the auric egg is of no importance, because during incarnation it is variously extensive, while after death its pranic auras may all be withdrawn into the heart of the different monads from which they originally emanated. Thus, on any one plane, such as the astral-physical, the auric egg may be infinitesimal in extent, possibly even smaller than an anu or an atom; and at the same time in its spiritual and divine reaches coextensive with the universe. This explains the phrase in the Upanishads which describes Brahman as "smaller than the atomic, vaster than the universe."
The various souls, element-principles, and egos, which are all comprised in the constitution of a human being, are of necessity enwrapped within the layers of the different substances and energies which form the auric egg, itself the field of evolutionary activity. Indeed, the whole work of evolution is conducted in and upon the auric egg, because all its layers are modified or refined in consequence of the growth and change taking place in the monadic centers.
I will endeavor now to be more specific as regards the terms monadic essences, monads, egos, and souls. Monadic essence has been commonly used to signify the essential or divine substance of a monad, of which the monad is an individualized expression in time and space. Hence, monadic essence is virtually equivalent to the term god, there being as many gods as there are monads. We have thus the series: gods (or monadic essences), monads, egos, souls (or vehicles); and this series is likewise chronological in that from the god emanates the monad, from the monad the ego, from the ego comes the soul, and from the soul the body. It is to this that H.P.B. alludes in The Secret Doctrine when, in giving the three fundamental bases of consciousness and the structural framework of the universe, she speaks of "Gods, Monads, Atoms."
Taking up next in order the term ego, we can briefly describe this highly important part of a man, on whatever plane of his constitution it may be native, as the stored-up fund of conscious evolutionary experience acquired during the continuously repetitive imbodiments of a monad in the worlds of manifestation. As an illustration, the reincarnating ego is the gatherer and the storehouse of all the spiritual and intellectual experiences gained by the human monad in its many incarnations — and it is just because of this fact that the experiences garnered by the ego after the death of man were called by H.P.B. the 'aroma' of a spiritual and intellectual and nobler psychical character, treasured up after each life on earth.
The term soul we can define as the sentient, sensitive vehicle or garment, itself of living substance, with which the ego surrounds itself during any embodiment. Another term for soul is body — not necessarily a body of flesh, but any vehicle in and through which, and on whatever plane of the human constitution, an ego may be expressing itself. Hence the usage of the various terms, spiritual soul, human soul, animal soul, and even physical soul — meaning the body of flesh.
Thus we have the divine-spiritual stuff or essence, itself a god, which when expressing itself as an individual on the next inferior plane we call a monad; such monad expresses itself on the plane on which it may be manifesting through its appropriate manasic garment or egoic focus which is its ego; and each such ego in its turn surrounds itself with its own pranic auras or characteristic veil of living substance and sensitive stuff, its soul.
Man being a microcosm of the macrocosm, we can by analogy understand the constitution of a universe by transferring to a cosmic scale these points of teaching concerning the constitution or auric egg of man. We then infer that a universe has its monadic essence, its cosmic monad, its cosmic ego as an individual, and likewise its cosmic soul or anima mundi.
The following two diagrams are symbolic representations of certain structural and interpenetrating parts of nature, and should not be read as exact or photographic pictures, but only as suggestive of related entities or qualities.
We notice in this diagram six centers or atmic foci, each one triadic, and each such triad containing its respective monad, ego, and soul, enclosed by the auric egg, the seventh and 'universal' element or principle in this scheme. Furthermore, the septenary auric egg is represented as a pendant hanging from the kosmic or galactic Paramatman, the supreme self or hierarch of the galaxy, which in its turn is a pendant from the irradiating superkosmic focus, itself symbolic of an indefinite group of galaxies. Indeed, this focus at the top of the diagram can likewise stand for the limitless fields of Infinitude, for it is obvious that any such group of galaxies merely suggests innumerable other such galactic groups in endless Space.
The straight line originating in this irradiating focus is an attempt to show the individuality of the superkosmic monad which, running like the sutratman or thread-self through all things, links all together in permanent and inseparable unity. Pausing a moment on this sublime thought, we see that the fundamental essence of every being and thing in the galactic aggregate of hierarchies originates in the superkosmic monad; and hence even the smallest life-atom in such a hierarchy is irradiated by and is the same in essence as the hyparxis or supreme of the supreme in the galaxy.
This diagram is not drawn up specifically on either a sevenfold or a twelvefold basis; rather it sets forth in a generalizing way the relations and interrelations of the different monads, egos and souls in man and, analogically, in any cosmic unit, and also their connections with the human principles. As to their relation with the globes of the earth chain and the sacred planetary chains of the solar system, it is as follows: Paramatman is kosmic or galactic; Atman is cosmic or appurtenant to the solar system; Jivatman, to the sacred planetary chains; Bhutatman, to the earth planetary chain; and Pranatman, to globe D alone. By analogy the same interrelations will apply by increase of magnitude to the universal solar system. The Atman and the Jivatman constitute together the inner god of man's constitution. One could say that the superdivine principles in man, or, equivalently, in another sense, the five highest and secret globes of a planetary chain, are the respective links with the divine principles of our solar system and through this last with the galaxy.
Sanskrit names are given for the three higher triadic foci or atmans in the human constitution, but the three lower foci are grouped under the one term Pranatman, since there exist no proper terms to describe the particular atmic quality which belongs to the beast monad and to the astral-physical monad, these two lowest foci having not yet evolved forth sufficient egoic manifestation. Nevertheless, it is the destiny of both the beast monad and the astral-physical monad in a future manvantara to bring forth from themselves an atmic focus. When this happens, each will have advanced: one step higher for the beast monad, and two steps higher for the astral-physical, each thus becoming what in the diagram is called a psychic monad.
This shows the fluidic character of these different egos and souls, for each one during the long, long evolutionary pilgrimage will 'move up' into the next higher 'plane.' The astral-physical monad will become a beast monad, the latter in due course will unfold from itself the already latent psychic monad, which in evolutionary time will become a manasic monad, and so forth for the remaining two monads. However, such advancement in evolution does not mean that any monad 'moves up' a step by mere accretions to itself from outside, but only that that which is already latent within will unfold ever larger measures of its own sublime monadic essence.
For the benefit of those whose minds are fond of connections in teaching, I may add that this diagram indicates that for an individual human being we should place the dhyani-buddha of his constitution in the topmost triadic focus, but with constant links in and with the second triadic focus; the dhyani-bodhisattva in the second of these foci but with links in and with the third triadic focus; and that when such a dhyani-bodhisattva in a man becomes the manushya-buddha it is therefore seated in the third focus, but with links in and through the fourth triadic focus, thus enabling the manushya-buddha to manifest his glorious powers and faculties on our globe D. When our life-wave shall have moved to the next globe, or indeed to any other globe during a chain-round, the same teaching applies to such new globe-habitat of the life-wave and the human individuals thereof.
This first diagram also contains many hints as to just which portions of the constitution of a human being belong to our globe D, or to our earth planetary chain, or again to the sacred planetary chains, and likewise which portions of a man's constitution make the inner rounds, and which ones make the outer rounds.
The second diagram given here is analogically the same in general as the first one, but differs enormously in particulars. The proper way, therefore, of studying these two schematic constructions, on the one hand of a cosmic unit, and of a human being on the other, is to do so on the lines of nature herself, taking each instance as it is, and not trying to force analogies. We can liken a cosmic unit, such as a solar system, to the ocean of intelligent life with its psycho-vital-astral structure which surrounds us, and from this cosmic ocean there flow forth in manifold ways innumerable tiny rivulets, each being identical with its cosmic parent in fundamental force or substance, yet not identical either in function or in consequent action, and usually not in framework. Just as the oceans of earth are the ultimate source of the rivers of the globe and of the streams and brooks which enchant our landscapes, all finally returning to the oceans from which they came; and just as these minor streams or 'rays' are identical in substance and in other ways with their great parent, but are not identities in locality, function or attributes; so exactly do all the hosts of microcosmic units, such as we men, derive from the cosmic ocean, being as it were the 'rays' or rivulets therefrom, and destined ultimately to return to the cosmic Paramatman at the close of the mahamanvantara.
Now if we make false analogies, all we shall finally succeed in doing will be to project upon the cosmic unit merely an image of ourselves as we are at the present stage of our evolutionary pilgrimage. We should simply be building in our minds a picture of the cosmic unit as being an immensely enlarged man, and thus almost automatically we would attribute to such imaginary cosmic being our own weaknesses and particularized varieties of imperfect development — all of which is absurd, and would lead us into the same fatal fault that many of the exoteric religions fell into when man created his personal Gods.
The following passage, from H.P.B.'s E.S. Instructions (III), deals not only with our human principles and what she calls their transitory aspects, but also with the auric egg:
Speaking metaphysically and philosophically, on strict esoteric lines, man as a complete unit is composed of Four basic Principles and their Three Aspects on this earth. In the semi-esoteric teachings, these Four and Three have been called Seven Principles, . . .
THE ETERNAL BASIC PRINCIPLES.
1. Atman, or Jiva, "the One Life,' which permeates the Monadic Trio. (One in three and three in One.)
2. Auric Envelope; because the substratum of the Aura around man is the universally diffused primordial and pure Akasa, the first film on the boundless and shoreless expanse of Jiva, the immutable Root of all.
3. Buddhi; for Buddhi is a ray of the Universal Spiritual Soul (ALAYA).
4. Manas (the Higher Ego); for it proceeds from Mahat, the first product or emanation of Pradhana, which contains potentially all the Gunas (attributes). Mahat is Cosmic Intelligence, called the "Great Principle." (1)
TRANSITORY ASPECTS PRODUCED BY THE PRINCIPLES.
1. Prana, the Breath of Life, the same as Nephesh. At the death of a living being, Prana, re-becomes Jiva. (2)
2. Linga Sarira, the Astral Form, the transitory emanation of the Auric Egg. This form precedes the formation of the living Body, and after death clings to it, dissipating only with the disappearance of its last atom (the skeleton excepted).
3. Lower Manas, the Animal Soul, the reflection or shadow of the Buddhi-Manas, having the potentialities of both, but conquered generally by its association with the Kama elements.
As the lower man is the combined product of two aspects: physically, of his Astral Form and psycho-physiologically of Kama Manas, he is not looked upon even as an aspect, but as an illusion.
The Auric Egg, on account of its nature and manifold functions, has to be well studied. As Hiranyagarbha, the Golden Womb or Egg, contains Brahma, the collective symbol of the Seven Universal Forces, so the Auric Egg contains, and is directly related to, both the divine and the physical man. In its essence, as said, it is eternal; in its constant correlations and transformations, during the reincarnating progress of the Ego on this earth, it is a kind of perpetual motion machine.
As given out in the Secret Doctrine, the Egos or Kumaras, incarnating in man, at the end of the Third Root-Race, are not human Egos of this earth or plane, but become such only from the moment they ensoul the animal man, thus endowing him with his Higher Mind. Each is a "Breath" or Principle, called the Human Soul, or Manas, the Mind. As the teachings say: "Each is a Pillar of Light. Having chosen its vehicle, it expanded, surrounding with an Akasic Aura the human animal, while the Divine (Manasic) Principle, settled within that human form."
Ancient Wisdom teaches us, moreover, that from this first incarnation, the Lunar Pitris, who had made men out of their Chhayas or Shadows, are absorbed by this auric essence, and a distinct Astral Form is now produced for each forthcoming Personality of the reincarnating series of each Ego.
Thus the Auric Egg, reflecting all the thoughts, words and deeds of man, is:
(a) The preserver of every Karmic record.
(b) The storehouse of all the good and evil powers of man, receiving and giving out at his will — nay, at his very thought — every potentiality, which becomes, then and there, an acting potency: this aura is the mirror in which sensitives and clairvoyants sense and perceive the real man, and see him as he is, not as he appears.
(c) As it furnishes man with his Astral Form, around which the physical entity models itself, first as a foetus, then as a child and man, the astral growing apace with the human being, so it furnishes him during life, if an Adept, with his Mayavi Rupa, or Illusion Body, which is not his Vital Astral Body; and after death, with his Devachanic Entity and Kama Rupa, or Body of Desire, (the Spook). (3)
In the case of the Devachanic Entity, the Ego, in order to be able to go into a state of bliss, as the "I" of its immediately preceding incarnation, has to be clothed (metaphorically speaking) with the spiritual elements of the ideas, aspirations and thoughts of the now disembodied Personality; otherwise what is it that enjoys bliss and reward? Surely not the impersonal Ego, the Divine Individuality. Therefore it must be the good Karmic records of the deceased, impressed upon the Auric Substance, which furnish the Human Soul with just enough of the Spiritual elements of the ex-personality, to enable it to still believe itself that body from which it has just been severed, and to receive its fruition, during a more or less prolonged period of "spiritual gestation." For Devachan is a "spiritual gestation" within an ideal matrix state, a birth of the Ego into the world of effects, which ideal, subjective birth precedes its next terrestrial birth, the latter being determined by its bad Karma, into the world of causes. (4)
We should note that in this passage only four basic principles are mentioned: atman, its auric envelope, buddhi, and manas — the last really being the higher manas; and three transitory aspects: prana, linga-sarira, and the lower manas or animal soul. Certain students have wondered about this, and also why the second principle is given as the auric envelope; and, again, why kama does not enter into the picture.
First, kama is inherent in every one of those four basic principles and their three aspects, because, in the human constitution, it is representative of cosmic kama — the universal and fundamental principle-attribute which is the intrinsic force or energy of the universe. For we should always remember that every one of the seven principles in man, whether a basic principle or an aspect, is itself septenary.
These four principles are considered 'basic' because they are the highest and therefore the most powerful and enduring in the entire constitution of man. They survive the great drama which takes place at death leading to the dissolution of the lower quaternary, or what H.P.B. calls the three aspects plus the physical vehicle — these lower three aspects being reunited only preceding and at the time of the next reincarnation. This applies with equal force and propriety to the constitution and 'death' of any cosmic entity, such as a planet or a galaxy.
By placing the principles in parallel columns H.P.B. suggests that each of them has its particular corresponding aspect on earth during the lifetime of a complete septenary man. To illustrate: various pranas in man correspond with the atman; for, when traced back to their ultimate origin, the pranas will be found to be emanations from the atmic monad. In similar fashion, the linga-sarira is coupled with the 'auric envelope' enclosing the atman as its spiritual aura; and likewise the third aspect or lower manas, the animal soul, is in the imbodied man the reflection of his buddhi. We can carry the analogy one step farther by pointing out that, just as manas is the focal center of the egoic human individual, so it has its correspondence on earth in the sthula-sarira, which is the focus of the powers and faculties making the physical man an individual separate from others.
Now all these principles and aspects, and indeed everything in the human constitution, are enclosed within the auric egg, which is at one and the same time the aggregated effluvia from all the different monads and, because of this, the conjoined representative expression of the forces and energies of the septenary imbodied human being. Yet, when death ensues, the lower part of the auric egg, because built largely of the effluxes from the aspects, dissipates in that part of the astral light which is called the kama-loka of earth; although even here the more ethereal life-atoms or appurtenant forces and substances are drawn upwards into latency to become the tanhic (5) elementals in the higher parts of the auric egg enclosing the permanent basic principles mentioned by H.P.B. Hence, the auric egg, because continuously functioning and perennially enduring, in one sense is the most important of all the principles or parts of the human constitution. Outside of anything else, it is the field, or composite fields, of the different phases of human consciousness on all its septenary planes. Thus at each new incarnation the various 'aspects' are formed out of the substances and forces of the auric egg — even the physical body or sthula-sarira being the dregs or lees, so to speak, of the auric egg through and by means of the linga-sarira, itself a condensed emanation of the lower layers of the auric egg.
Further, H.P.B. points out that the mayavi-rupa, or body of thought and feeling projected by the adept at his will, is formed of the substances and energies of appropriate layers of the auric egg; and just because all such projections of the auric substance are for temporary purposes, the mayavi-rupa possesses its name, 'illusion-body.'
It is from the auric egg that the actual rupa or shape which surrounds the devachanic entity is formed, so that we can properly speak of this part of the auric egg, vibrating with the relatively spiritual consciousness of the devachani, as being the field for the play of its consciousness. These layers of the auric egg, which we may perhaps rather graphically call the 'body' of the devachani, give to the devachanic ego the illusion that it is in a beautiful spiritual vehicle. The kama-rupa after death, whether before or after it becomes the spook, is likewise formed of the appropriate substances drawn from the lower layers of the auric egg.
From the foregoing we see how very important is the role that the auric egg plays in the human constitution, for it not only is the field of all the different ranges of consciousness of the imbodied man, but it is likewise the ethereal and astral and even spiritual substance or auric envelope out of which are formed every one of the vehicles of the human entity including his linga-sarira, his mayavi-rupa, his devachanic auric shell, and his kama-rupa after death.
There are two basic ways of viewing man: one, as being compounded of the seven cosmic elements, as H.P.B. at first presented it; and the other, as being a composite of interacting monads or centers of consciousness working in and through and by means of the instrumental aid of the seven cosmic elements which give to man his seven principles.
What, then, is the distinction between the different monads in man and the seven principles, and what are their respective functions? This very question was at the bottom of the dispute between H.P.B. and Subba Row. Subba Row followed the teaching of the Brahmanic esoteric school in fastening attention on the monads, looking upon the universe as a vast aggregate of individualities; while H.P.B. for that time of the world's history saw the need to give to the inquiring Western mind, then taking a materialistically scientific bent, some real explanation of what the composition of the universe is as an entity — what its 'stuff' is, and what man is as an integral part of it. Now the seven principles are the seven kinds of 'stuff' of the universe. The higher part of each kind is its consciousness side; the lower part of each is the body side through which its own consciousness expresses itself. Yet every mathematical point in boundless Space can really be looked upon as a monad, because the universe is imbodied consciousness collectively; and imbodied consciousnesses or monads individually.
Our scientists say that the universe is built up of chemical elements amounting to around one hundred, these together making up the stuff of the universe, divided into so many minor stuffs. Just as the chemical elements form the body of the universe, which nevertheless forms the clothing of hordes of consciousness-beings, humans among them, so in exactly the same way the seven principles of both cosmos and man, ultimately reducible to one causal principle-spirit, are the sevenfold stuff of which the universe is built throughout.
Now then, what are these seven (or ten) principles? That is the point which was so important to bring out in H.P.B.'s time. A background of divinity clothing itself in spirit, these bringing into birth the light of mind; and the light of mind, coworking with the other principles and elements thus far evolved, brought forth cosmic desire; and so on down until we reach the sthula-sarira. (This word, by the way, does not mean physical but rather substantial or concreted body on whatever plane, whether physical, spiritual or divine; sthula simply means compacted, gross.) As the universe is built of radiations, light and energy, these radiations, manifesting in a graded scale, can from one point of view be considered as forces; but when they become enormously concreted, they become gross stuff, which the higher forms of radiation nevertheless continuously work through.
Every mathematical point of space is a monad, a point of consciousness, because all Infinity is infinite consciousness. Therefore every point of Infinity must be a consciousness-center, a sevenfold monad, which has its atman, buddhi, manas, right on down, because the universe is built of these seven stuffs reducible to one causal stuff — spirit, consciousness, atman. I emphasize this point because we must not have our minds confused with the idea that the seven principles are one thing, and the monads are something else which work through the principles as disjunct from them. That is wrong.
Every one of the seven principles or elements of a monad can represent one of the cosmic planes, and is itself sevenfold. For instance, there is an atman of the kama, a buddhi of the kama, and so forth throughout the range of element-principles or stuffs. What differentiates one man from another, or a man from a beast? The differences do not lie in their respective seven principles, because these enter and form the compound constitution of all entities, but arise from the relative degree of evolution of the individual monads. The human monad is far more evolved than is that of an animal or of a plant, or than are the highly unified monads which, due to their relative stages of development, distinguish granite from marble or sandstone.
The seven principles which compose man — atman, buddhi, manas, kama, prana, linga-sarira, sthula-sarira — are identic with those which compose our solar cosmos, man's seven principles interblending and interacting in more or less the same fashion as the cosmic principles do. For instance, just as the astral light of our earth is its fluidic astral double, so in man the linga-sarira is the astral double of the human body; and just as the various cosmic pranas are the compound vitality of our globe, so is the compounded prana of the human constitution the element of vitality in man.
For purposes of study the constitution of man may be viewed in various ways. Thus, when we are considering the after-death states, we can divide man's constitution into a lower triad, made up of his physical body, fluidic double and pranic vitality; into an intermediate duad formed of the interworking manas and kama; and then into a spiritual duad, formed of atman veiled in its own especial sheath of consciousness, buddhi.
Even our physical body has its own septenary composition formed almost wholly of the seven classes of elementals working on the physical plane, these seven classes or grades being derived from nature's fundamental elements. The linga-sarira is likewise formed of these same seven classes of elementals, distributed into their seven different types; and man's pranic elements are composed of the seven classes of elementals in their own pranic characteristics. Indeed, all the sheath-aspects of every one of man's sevenfold principles are formed in a similar manner. Further, every principle or element of man is subject, more or less, to the one immediately superior to it, and is likewise more or less well controlled or governed by the highest and all the higher principles attempting to manifest through it.
It is not a mere figure of speech when we speak of man as having in his constitution different monads. A monad means an indivisible center of life-consciousness-substance, a spiritual ego. Therefore man has within him a divinity, a Buddha or Christos, a manasaputra, a human being, an astral entity; and he is housed in an astral-vital-physical body. All these collectively make up his constitution, through which the sutratman or thread-self extends from the inmost core of the universe — through all these different monads, from the highest downwards till it touches the physical brain. For man is both legion and unit. The Silent Watcher in him is the dhyani-buddha, an actual, entitative, living ego of divine type.
The sutratman — the term signifying a thread or ray or current of consciousness emanating from a monad — traverses whatever is below it, which thus forms its field of action, and finally touches and acts upon the appropriate organ or organs in the physical body. The fundamental sutratman — to wit, the ray from the divine monad — passes through all the layers of the auric egg of the human constitution, thereby forming the backbone of the septenary human being around which are gathered, and interplaying with it, the other subordinate monads, each one of which rays forth its own minor sutratmic emanation.
To particularize, we have in man the sutratman of his own humanhood, emanating from the manasaputric or human ego overenlightened by and enclosed within the comprising essence of the divine monad, its Father in Heaven. Similarly, and on a much lower plane, we could speak of the as yet feebly developed sutratman of the vital-astral monad. It is the aggregation of these interworking sutratmic activities in man which makes him the compound entity he is, with one sutratmic channel into his own human monadic consciousness, another sutratman along which he can rise into his spiritual monadic consciousness, and still another by means of which he can ascend to commune with his own individualized inner god.
Another and more familiar explanation is that the sutratman, or thread-self, passes from life to life, on which the serial reincarnations are strung like beads on a string. The term as thus used is succinctly described by H.P.B. as the monad or the atman-buddhi-manas in the human constitution; in other words, we may say that the sutratman is the reincarnating ego.
Now, then, the human ego is one of those particular monads as yet relatively unevolved. Above it there is the spiritual monad, and above that there is the divine monad. For karmic reasons any one of us happens to be a certain stream of consciousness, a sutratman; yet you or I as human individuals are the human monad. As such, we are only in the intermediate part of that stream of consciousness which is our constitution, whose upper part links us with Infinity, and whose lower part enables us to learn on this plane.
The divinity in the solar system is both one and an army, of which we are component parts. It has a life-consciousness-substance-energy, which flows through all of us, and is our substantial, conscious background; and all that particular range of monads or egos which forms the stream of consciousness of any one of us is spiritually housed in this solar divinity in whom we have our being.
When our human monad shall have brought out from within itself its undeveloped powers, it will become a spiritual monad, and we shall be buddhas. We shall then work through what is now the animal nature in us, which then will be human. Each monad will have stepped up a degree, and be more highly evolved. Or take any portion of man's constitution, such as the evolving human ego: it will become a spiritual ego, and afterwards a divine ego; and yet at the same time shot through and through with forces streaming down into man from egos superior to him, of which he is the child. This is the esoteric basis for the old saying, that at the flame of a candle you can light all the fires of the world, and the flame is undiminished. Consciousness is just like that.
There is one point concerning the different classes of monads which seems important to mention here. It deals with the individual monads of whatever class as being, on the one hand, those merely monadic consciousness-points which are monads in potency and fact but as yet relatively unevolved; and, on the other hand, those already highly developed spiritual entities evolving on their own planes which are in full possession of their monadic faculties and powers.
Strictly speaking, a monad is an 'independent' spiritual or divine entity in continuous evolution on its own plane; in other words, a relatively full-blown god. Only of a life-atom can it be said that it is a mere consciousness-point, although, again, every life-atom on whatever plane is but the manifestation of its own parent monad, connected with it by a ray of consciousness or sutratman. So that we have the monad in its realm, then the ray issuing forth from it and running 'downwards' through the intermediate realms or spheres, to find its terminus on whatever plane it may be as a life-atom, which then clothes itself with its own effluvia, thus forming the physical or chemical atom, the sthula-sarira of the life-atom.
The monad of a beast or of a mineral, or, again, of a man or of a buddha, is a divinity living and evolving throughout the manvantara on this its own spiritual or divine plane; hence every individualized entity in the lower realms, from elemental or life-atom to the highest god, is but the expression on its own plane of its indwelling parent monad.
Every life-atom in the human constitution not only helps to build it structurally, but likewise is the expression therein of its own individual parent monad, such parent monad on its own plane being in all likelihood the equal in dignity and spiritual unfoldment of the highest monad in man's own constitution. Everything interpenetrates and interblends with everything else, and thus aids in building its framework, in 'feeding' it, and in enabling it to express itself. It is a case of all for one and one for all; and I might add in passing that this is the inner significance of the teaching concerning universal brotherhood.
In addition to the immense multitude of life-atoms which compose man's constitution, there are the particularly evolved monadic foci or centers which we may call the monadic hierarchs, one for each of the seven or twelve 'planes' of the human constitution. As an illustration, the buddhic monad is really not a life-atom, but is the buddhic focus in us surrounding itself with its outflowing waves of effluvia forming its auric envelope. This auric envelope, however, is composed of buddhic life-atoms, largely children of this monad, but likewise the field for the play and interplay of other buddhic monads peregrinating through it, exactly as most of the atoms in the physical body are also the vital-astral atoms of monads coming in and going forth on their peregrinations.
Similarly, our solar system is filled mainly with the effluvia from the sun, but it is likewise the field for life-atoms coming from cosmic space, thus providing an electromagnetic field connecting sun with sun, or solar system with solar system; or, on the smaller scale, the twelve mansions of the zodiac with our sun. Human beings are likewise interconnected by psychovital, magnetic, and physical bonds, by exchanging life-atoms which do not belong to us but are peregrinating through us. It is the same on every plane of the human constitution. Each contributes its quota to that part of the auric egg to which it has an affinity: the buddhic life-atoms to the buddhic, the manasic to the manasic, and so forth.
It should be borne in mind that each ray from a divine monad is not merely a portion of it, but likewise passes through and from that divine monad as a monadic focus itself. The divine monad is composite in its high vehicles on the divine plane, these vehicles being 'atomic'; they are the descending rays or monads which pass through and from the divine monad in order to become manifesting monads in the constitution of a man and thus collaborate in building that constitution. The divine monad is, as it were, a monadic sun, a 'creative' or emanative focus of these rays which in a sense are of its own characteristic divine essence; and yet they are not of the monadic essence of that sun but pass through it, this atmic sun being thus their temporary host or container. Each such ray in itself is a monad, destined to evolve into a being of the nature of the divine monad, its parent.
This is what K.H. referred to in The Mahatma Letters (p. 89), where he says that each such monadic focus is a creative center which we can call A, B, etc.; each giving birth in its turn to offsprings A1, B1, etc.; these latter in turn giving birth to A2, B2, and so forth.
When we loosely describe the different monadic classes as being unevolved, latent, germinal, etc., we are not speaking of the monads themselves, but only of their respective vehicles, some of them but slightly developed, others fully efficient instruments. The monads, as monads, are, each one of them, a spark or droplet of the essence of the monadic essence of the universe — or it may be of a sun or a planetary chain — each such 'highest essence' being of the very substance and nature of the atman out of which the monads belonging to it emanate. We may think of a monad per se as a divine or spiritual elemental, because belonging by its origin to the highest cosmic element, i.e. to the hierarchy's atman or paramatman. Thus an elemental, of whatever class, is an emanation or a spark from the cosmic element-principle from which it emanates; and this applies even to the lowest elemental classes which we have called life-atoms.
It might be asked what our relationship as a human life-wave is to the hierarch of our planetary chain. To answer this is not as easy as may appear on the surface. The difficulty lies in the fact that the human life-wave, considered not as a unit but as a vast number of individual entities, is composed of monads which as a class have reached the human stage in their evolution and therefore are linked together by tremendous bonds of karmic sympathy. Actually, however, the monads of our life-wave when traced to their parent-sources are found not to be, all of them, derivative from one hierarch. Certain monads are derivatives of the chief planetary spirit or the hierarch of our earth planetary chain; others are to be traced back to the hierarch of one of the other sacred planetary chains.
The life-wave as a whole is passing through our present earth chain as the cosmic station in which we are now living and evolving; but, because we are cosmic pilgrims, when the time comes for us as a life-wave to pass to some other one of the sacred planetary chains, we shall then for long aeons live and work in the auric egg of the hierarch of that planetary chain; and thus along the arc and the immense periods of the grand outer rounds.
Similarly, but on a smaller scale, as long as our human life-wave is undergoing its evolutionary pilgrimage on our present globe D as a station, we shall be held within the protecting and guiding hospitality of the minor hierarch which oversees our globe D; and when we pass to the other globes of this chain in regular serial order, we shall for millions and millions of years at each such station live in the auric egg of the respective hierarchs of these other globes.
Now a few words with regard to the statement elsewhere made by me that we as humans are higher evolutionally than is our globe D, earth. The truth is that the spiritual parts of the planetary spirit of globe D are higher in evolution than the spiritual monad of any human being; but we human beings as such are higher than our globe D which is the outermost veil of our globe's planetary spirit. In other words, the human hierarchy represents a rather more evolved stage on the ladder of life than has been attained by the earth, because at the present time we are the manifestations in quasi-astral, almost gelatinous bodies, of life-atoms of a spiritual type, which stage the globe, considered as an entity, has not yet attained. Human beings collectively thus represent the buddhi-manasic quality of the earth (Cf. The Mahatma Letters, p. 94).
Antaskarana is the name of that imaginary bridge, the path which lies between the divine and the human Egos, for they are Egos, during human life, to rebecome one Ego in Devachan or Nirvana. This may seem difficult to understand, but in reality, with the help of a familiar, though fanciful, illustration, it becomes quite simple. Let us figure to ourselves a bright lamp in the middle of a room, casting its light upon the wall. Let the lamp represent the divine Ego, and the light thrown on the wall the lower Manas, and let the wall stand for the body. That portion of the atmosphere which transmits the ray from the lamp to the wall, will then represent the Antaskarana. We must further suppose that the light thus cast is endowed with reason and intelligence, and possesses, moreover, the faculty of dissipating all the evil shadows which pass across the wall, and of attracting all brightnesses to itself, receiving their indelible impressions. Now, it is in the power of the human Ego to chase away the shadows, or sins, and multiply the brightnesses, or good deeds, which make these impressions, and thus, through Antaskarana, ensure its own permanent connection, and its final reunion with the divine Ego. Remember that the latter cannot take place while there remains a single taint of the terrestrial, or of matter, in the purity of that light. On the other hand, the connection cannot be entirely ruptured, and final reunion prevented, so long as there remains one spiritual deed, or potentiality, to serve as a thread of union; but the moment this last spark is extinguished, and the last potentiality exhausted, then comes the severance. — H.P.B.'s E.S. Instructions, III
In studying H.P.B.'s writings we must remember that she often had to invent words and phrases which would express with fair approximation the highly mystical terms of the Secret Language and of other ancient Oriental tongues in which the doctrines of the esoteric philosophy were imbodied. She herself explains the difficulties of teaching the individuals of her day, who had not the remotest conception of the sevenfold nature of man nor of the after-death conditions. There were then no words or terms in which to describe what had been for thousands of years typically doctrines of the Sanctuary.
For example, the two quite distinct types of entities, 'lost souls' and 'soulless men,' were more or less fused together in H.P.B.'s descriptions of the different destinies that ensued to men who follow the left-hand path; and very frequently she referred to both categories under the inclusive phrases 'soulless person' and 'second death.'
Lost souls are those human entities who, through a series of lives of almost uninterrupted evil living, and because of lack of aspiration towards their god within, have become so heavily involved in the lower quaternary, with its intense and unceasing attractions to absolute matter, that the 'link' or antahkarana connecting the personal man with the spiritual man has been snapped, thus freeing the spiritual monad, and leaving the personal ego relatively completely involved in the energies and substances of matter. Hence lost souls are human beings divorced from their higher natures.
Soulless men, on the contrary, are still septenary human beings, in whom the spiritual nature is but feebly or only occasionally active; they are not ensouled by the spiritual life flowing forth from the spiritual soul. Soulless people are exceedingly common, for they comprise all who pass their lives almost entirely absorbed in the emotions and thoughts of the mere personality, in its whimsies and wants and its restricted outlooks and selfish egoisms. Obviously this does not mean that they have no soul, but merely that the spiritual soul is not functioning within them accurately and continuously, due to their own lack of inner yearning.
A continued series of lifetimes of such 'soulless' living could and very probably would result in the dread destiny of the loss of the soul. For when the spiritual soul finds no fit habitat in its series of personalities, and the personalities have no attractions spiritwards, there will result a breaking of the antahkarana, thus producing a lost soul. From this we see why there is the utmost need of cultivating the higher nature by aspiring towards it and by living the life in accordance with the mandates received from within, and by letting no single day pass without some inner spiritual yearning. The daily aspiration to live an ever better and increasingly higher life is true yoga and will finally result in making one more fully ensouled. Indeed, chelaship is just this and nothing more. Chelas are more ensouled than average men, mahatmas more ensouled than are their chelas, and the buddhas still more so than the mahatmas. When a man is fully ensouled, he is then an incarnate god.
Now the destiny of those human beings who have become lost souls is dreadful almost beyond description. Quite outside of the awful inner agony that they suffer, the mental torture and psychic pain and horror which overwhelm them, they can become veritable human devils wreaking evil upon their fellowmen and, because of their own despair, joying in it. Meanwhile, they themselves are rushing downwards with increasing velocity with each new reimbodiment and finally are drawn to the Pit or Planet of Death and, dropping therein, pass out of the earth's sphere of attraction and are heard and seen no more. In the Pit their destiny is, because they are failures, to be broken up as human remnants and to be ground over and over in this one of nature's laboratories.
The statement has been made elsewhere that the astral monad can become so degenerate, humanly speaking, that it is attracted to the lower kingdoms. And as we have just said that the lost soul enters the current of fate which carries it to the Pit, it may be asked, what is it then that goes to the Planet of Death if the astral monad disappears first in the bodies of the beast kingdom, then in the plant world, and finally in the mineral kingdom?
The answer lies in the fact that man is composed of a group of monads, each one of which follows its own pathway through the ages; and therefore when karmic destiny falls heavily upon any one of these monadic centers, that center rises or falls to the sphere towards which its attractions draw it. Do not confuse the astral-vital monad of the man with the human monad. When we speak of a lost soul we mean a human soul, the human monad. After death the astral monad has one destiny for itself, the human monad has its devachanic interlude, the spiritual monad has its peregrinations through the spheres, the divine monad re-enters the bosom of the divine. That which goes to the Eighth Sphere or Planet of Death, sometimes called Mara, is the degenerate lost human soul. Thus abandoned not only by its spiritual part but also by its human soul part, the vital-astral soul enters the beast and the vegetable kingdoms. It has to do so. It cannot rise, the link with the above having been snapped. It is a derelict and drifts like a bit of flotsam in the astral light and naturally seeks the spheres which are most attractive to it.
Remember that a monad in the beginning of a world projects from itself a ray, and does so because of the karma of a past universe impelling it to manifest once more all the karmic seeds that it carries within itself. This ray passes through multiform and manifold experiences in matter, building up slowly through the ages an ego; and should this ego — sprung forth from its monadic parent and therefore having its parent's qualities — choose the left-hand path, it then begins to 'descend' towards the sphere of absolute matter and spiritual death, which means that when a black magician reaches the Eighth Sphere the remaining faint glimmering of the monadic ray has been withdrawn. There remains naught but a soul-shell, which falls apart into its component atoms, atoms that are withdrawn into the womb of nature with the rapidity of lightning once the last flickering gleam of the monadic ray has gone. This monadic ray is withdrawn into its monadic parent and remains there in its nirvana for aeons and aeons.
Meanwhile the monad sends forth another ray. What really once was is not destroyed. But the evolutionary work must be done all over again. A new ego must be built up. New peregrinations and transmigrations through the lower kingdoms of nature must follow before a new ego, a fit temple for the monadic divinity, is again evolved.
Yet even for the lost souls, although the antahkarana has been broken, there is yet a chance for reunion with the god within, at least in the beginning and before the distance between the inner god and the personality has become too great. Even a single desperate spiritual thought or yearning will be enough to draw together again the dissevered portions of the human constitution and thus, happily, enable the reunited upper triad and the lower quaternary to rebecome the full septenary entity. Should such reunion take place, it may become permanent, provided that thenceforwards, by intense upward striving, the personal man knits ever more closely the higher personal aspects into the webbing of his spiritual being. Should, however, the lower nature finally prove the stronger, then the rupture again takes place and with even less possibility of reunion than before.
All the archaic scriptures and philosophical schools have references to beings on spiritual planes who are centers and workers of evil. There are in the spiritual realms beings who are distinctly evil because falling or descending to lower regions through their attractions thither; and in certain cases they are of characteristically evil power, and even possibly possess such power in large measure. This somber and dread fact of nature was the basis of what became a superstitious legend in Christianity about "evil angels" or "beings of spiritual wickedness."
Many have found it difficult to reconcile the idea of an entity's being spiritual and at the same time evil. As said earlier, good and evil are not things in themselves, but are relative conditions or ways of life which entities create or follow and in which they consequently live. Hence a spiritual or quasi-spiritual entity who has reached a certain evolutionary stage in spiritual realms, but in whom the instinct for harmony, altruism, etc., gives place to the attractions of the nether pole of those realms, thus bringing about disharmony, egoism, and selfishness, may be considered as being spiritually evil. Any being or entity on whatever plane, whose tendencies are towards the nether pole, is 'evil' in its own surroundings, and therefore can be productive of similar 'evil' to others. Every plane or world of the universe has its upper and lower poles, the light side and the night side of nature.
Alluding more specifically to human beings, there are two kinds of evil-doing: one caused by ordinary weakness in character; and the other by deliberate choice, where evil seems a flowery path and the fruits of selfish victory are considered as of larger worth than to walk with the gods. This is the path of the Brothers of the Shadow. It is the direction of action of our choice and will, which determines whether we shall become a black or a white magician. It matters not what the stage of progress may be that we have reached: if our direction is to the 'left,' we belong to the dark forces; and if the choice is to the 'right,' we belong to the forces of the sun. The division line is this: when we work and live for self, we are on the left-hand path; when we work impersonally for all, we are on the right-hand path.
Now when a being has willfully chosen the path of the shadows, it means that he has chosen with each day that passes to try to cut off one more feeble gleam from the spirit within. It is a mania with him. It is spiritual suicide; just as in the case of some other maniacs, he knows what he is doing, and yet he wills to do it.
There are certain human beings, although corrupt enough to desire to do evil in the world and to tempt others, and who love to see a fellow man fall and suffer, who yet feel an inner glow of gladness when the one so tempted refuses to succumb. This is one of the curious psychological paradoxes of human character. There are indeed beings who take a horrible delight in causing pain to others; yet even while they do it there may be remorse in the soul, a yearning for the one who is in torture and tempted, to turn and to stand up and to refuse. The Brothers of the Shadow are of many degrees, of many kinds, just as are the Brothers of Light. Indeed, there are human beings among us who are Brothers of the Shadow unconsciously to themselves! They have no noble permanent thoughts which fill their minds, and few unselfish impulses which touch their hearts. Hence they are said to live in the shadows. Then there are other Brothers of the Shadow by profession and by knowledge, who have chosen the path of evil-doing, of the dark wisdom of matter.
It should be remembered that, so far as the spiritual principles or faculties are concerned, the Brothers of the Shadow have no hold upon any human being, sane or insane. Their work is in seduction: a man falls from within. There is the secret. The hosts of Light govern and control the hosts of the Shadow, although the former never interfere with the destiny of the latter, strange as it sounds. The Brothers of the Shadow, contrariwise, have no hold on the Sons of Light, but actually receive from the hosts of Light their very life which they use and abuse.
The Brothers of the Shadows, who have deliberately chosen evil, are our worst foes. They are often men and women of charming personality, apparently loving and unselfish, sometimes seemingly devoted friends. Were they repulsive, their evil work of disintegration and of the bringing of misery upon the race, would kill itself. They succeed by wiles, by temptings; never by being repulsive and horrible, for evil succeeds at times only on account of its fictitious beauty.
Men do not fail through the works of others; they fail from within themselves. The Brothers of the Shadow work by temptation, by mental pictures, by suggestion, by quoting scripture, by appealing to their victims' vanity as if their plea were made to the high virtues, by playing upon their egoism, and by arousing ignoble passions. Innocence is no sufficient protection. Gain knowledge, seek for wisdom; strengthen the heart by love, and learn to forgive — nothing acts to reduce evil so quickly as trusting and following these ancient rules. The methods of the black magicians vary, and these Brothers of the Shadows are of many grades and degrees; they range from high and evilly illuminated beings of "spiritual wickedness" down the scale which ends in their victims who have been ensnared in ignorance of the danger that they run.
The fate of the unfortunate Brothers of the Shadows is annihilation; for they have set their wills against the evolutionary current rising in nature's heart and flowing through every atom; and thus their structure of selfhood is ultimately worn away. But preceding this final stage of annihilation nature's currents sweep them into the eddies of dense matter which are the portals of Tartarus or avichi.
The ultimate fate of the Sons of the Sun, of the Brothers of Light, is divinity, self-consciously realized: an expansion of self into sublime impersonal selfhood, when the personal becomes the impersonal, when the rushlight becomes the splendor of the sun. Such is the destiny of the white magician: to become a cooperator with the ever-enduring laws of nature; and these laws are the actions on this plane of the working of the wills of the gods, reflecting cosmic consciousness.
In theosophical literature reference is often made to the "moment of choice," particularly to that one which will take place at the midpoint of the fifth round. A similar moment of choice applies to the middle of the fourth round, which took place ages ago at the midpoint of the fourth or Atlantean root-race.
In the fifth round manas will undergo its especial evolution, and there will come a time when the evolving races will reach a stage where they will be subjected to two contrary attractions both at their manasic maximum: the attraction towards the higher spiritual nature opposing the pull towards matter. This will occur, so far as this globe D is concerned, at the middle point of the fourth subrace of the fourth root-race of the fifth round. There and then will come the supreme choice of the evolving egos. If they find the attractions to the nether pole, towards absolute matter, to be too strong, they will be drawn to or towards the Pit in the worst cases; or if the pull is less strong, they will sink into utter intellectual oblivion and must wait their turn for future evolution until the new imbodiment of our chain. But if, on the contrary, spirit prevails over matter, the evolving egos will keep the link unbroken with the spiritual soul within them, and thus be able to go forwards to the succeeding sixth and seventh rounds. They will reach the culmination of the present chain-manvantara as dhyani-chohans, imbodied human buddhas, with the light of atman, of the inner god, shining in and through them.
This moment of choice is not something which will come upon us suddenly and unexpectedly when we are fifth rounders, but is a 'moment' which will have been in the making for aeons previously, even from the fourth round. We are right now making our characters to be fit or unfit to meet in safety that moment of choice when it comes upon us — as it infallibly will.
True knowledge is of Spirit and in Spirit alone, and cannot be acquired in any other way except through the region of the higher mind, the only plane from which we can penetrate the depths of the all-pervading Absoluteness. . . . If man by suppressing, if not destroying, his selfishness and personality, only succeeds in knowing himself as he is behind the veil of physical Maya, he will soon stand beyond all pain, all misery, and beyond all the wear and tear of change, which is the chief originator of pain. . . . All this may be achieved by the development of unselfish universal love of Humanity, and the suppression of personality, or selfishness, which is the cause of all sin, and consequently of all human sorrow. — H.P.B.'s E.S. Instructions, I
It is with reluctance that I deal with occult physiology, not at all because knowledge of whatever kind is wrong, but because of the very real danger of the misuse of teaching concerning the human body and its various organs, chakras, nadis, etc. It is precisely these relatively unimportant facts of occult physiology which seem to exercise on the perverse minds of some people a sort of psychic fascination, as if it is with the body and its functions and organs that the really sublime teachings of the esoteric philosophy mainly deal — when in fact they almost totally ignore the body, for it is regarded as a merely temporary or mayavi vehicle of the higher attributes of the real man.
Not alone in the West does this craving for knowledge of the secrets of the human frame have currency; for innumerable ages the masses of the East, as for instance in India and China, have been just as greatly addicted to running after powers, self-advantages, and the acquiring of influence over others. There are all too many who want to know the mysteries of these various nadis, chakras or ganglionic force-centers, for selfish gain; and not a few for the purpose of strengthening the body or stimulating certain of its organs so that straightway such knowledge may be misused or perhaps even prostituted to evil and soul-destroying ends.
Is it any wonder, then, that all the great teachers from immemorial time have taught their chelas or disciples to concentrate undivided attention upon the really great powers and functions of the spiritual, intellectual, and higher psychical parts of the human constitution?
In India, due to ages of high philosophical teachings, these truths are far better known than they are in the West; yet most of the Oriental countries are simply overrun with the practices of a quasi-occultism, whose proponents in India are the lower classes of yogins or fakirs. Most of their whole life is given up to a study and practice of the elaborate rules for psychophysical development contained in the hatha-yoga as well as in the often infamous tantrika works. But in India the dangers of these works are more or less clearly appreciated by educated people and those who have been trained in the loftier branches of philosophical thought, whereas in the Occident there is little if any such protective knowledge.
Any attempt to apply to his own body what one may read in these exoteric tantrika or hatha-yoga works, by breathing exercises or otherwise, and thereby evoking secret powers or stimulating the body in usually illicit directions, is fraught with the very gravest peril — involving not only the risk of the loss of physical health or power, but likewise possible loss of mind. Pulmonary tuberculosis is one of the most common results of such dabbling, and one of the least harmful, for there are others far more serious, such as cancer, which could readily follow upon a disturbance of the equilibrium of the pranas through an attempt to arouse into abnormal activity one or another of the chakras.
The attention should not be fastened upon the body and its organs, but should be centered upon the higher nature where, by aspiration and spiritual yearning, the individual may awaken his spiritual-intellectual and higher psychical capacities which in most men lie latent from birth until death — partly through ignorance of their existence, and partly through inherent laziness which most have no desire to overcome. Consequently these observations are by way of attempting to elevate our notions of what the body is: a wonderful psychophysical mechanism, an instrument of the spiritual monad within.
The human body as a microcosm may be looked upon as containing every power or attribute or energy in the solar system. In other words, all the seven (or twelve) logoic forces that originally emanate from the sun, and pass in and through the various sacred planets, are transmitted to us as human beings and directly to the physical body. Thus each one of these solar logoic forces has its corresponding focus or organ in the human body, and these are the chakras.
There is a complete science regarding the chakras, but it is mostly studied by the black magicians, or by those who are unconsciously aspiring to become such, because what they want is to gain 'powers.' Even chelas are not allowed to cultivate the powers of the chakras by concentrating upon them. In fact, most chelas are not interested in these nerve centers, many not even knowing the names of them. Because they have become evolved men, they simply use the powers which flow through the chakras, precisely as we use our brains and our wills, although most people do not know which portion of the brain is the organ of the highest part; and most men do not know through what part of the body the spiritual influence flows, and yet we use it. This is raja-yoga, jnana-yoga, kingly union, wisdom-union.
The powers that we need we shall acquire by living the life. The powers that the unfortunate hatha-yoga seekers long for, and occasionally acquire in small degree, almost invariably work moral mischief with their natures, and psychical and physical harm to their constitutions, because they have gained these powers before they are able to control themselves. The way of jnana-yoga and raja-yoga is the path of a man who is a king in his own right by the spiritual divinity within him.
Six chakras and their respective seats are commonly named in most exoteric Hindu writings. These are the ganglia or foci wherein six of the different pranas have their centers of activity and gather in volume, each one in its own chakra. Now the names for these chakras not only vary, but likewise their respective positions in the body are not always uniformly given. Moreover, in most cases, the seventh is entirely omitted; yet, in one sense, it is the most important of all.
Hereunder is a list of the seven chakras, in a somewhat different and more correct form, with a translation of the Sanskrit names:
As said, this list varies somewhat from the one usually given. For instance, the anahata is occasionally said to be located in the throat or neck (as is the udana among the pranas), at other times at the root of the nose, and still again, as shown above, in the region of the heart. Furthermore, the manipura and the svadhishthana are often interchanged in position by different writers; which proves the lack of knowledge even in the tantrika writings of the real and proper locations of some of these chakras and even of their names. Agni or the sixth chakra is sometimes called ajnakhya and said to occupy the region of the fontanelle; the word means 'commanding or willing,' a fair description of the occult function of the pituitary body.
As already explained, these seven chakras are the foci or knots or condensations of the seven differently functioning pranas or vital streams in the human physical vehicle, each prana having its respective chakra. Although only five pranas and six chakras are named exoterically, actually there are ten or even twelve pranas in man's constitution, and they find their respective outlets or functional organs in ten or twelve seats in the human body.
We should bear in mind that each of the chakras is a focus for one of the solar logoi as this logoic force passes through its planetary transmitter to the human physical vehicle. In exoteric Hinduism these forces are often spoken of as rays; for instance, sushumna is referred to as one of the seven principal rays, i.e. logoic energies, of the sun. This ray has its seat or focus of action in the spinal cord, rooted as this is in the chakra at the lowest part of the body called muladhara, and running upwards along the tubular cavity of the spinal column to end in the brain, more exactly in the chakra therein called sahasrara or the pineal gland.
Now on each side of the central tube of the spinal cord are located respectively ida (called Ila in Vedic literature, the consort of Budha, god of wisdom) and pingala. Hindu writers are not unanimous with regard to the respective positions of ida and pingala, because many place pingala on the right of sushumna and others on the left. All three are called nadis, a Sanskrit word signifying tubular vessel. The meaning of pingala is reddish brown, and ida implies refreshment, the higher vital and stimulating spiritual essence; whereas the sushumna represents the solar vitality modified by lunar influences.
Hence the spinal column and the accompanying sushumna its tubular vessel with pingala and ida, are the main channels of the psychovital economy of the body, with which all the chakras are intimately connected by the nervous and sympathetic systems as well as by the blood vessels. In occultism the spinal column is not only an organ, but it is actually threefold in its functions, being the foundation of the pranic vitality of the body, driven by the kama of pingala and more or less controlled by the higher manasic or directing attributes of ida. This is why the adept at will and with his great knowledge can use these various nadis. It may be added that the 'soul' leaves the body at death through the brahmarandhra at the summit of the skull, which last is in intimate connection with the three tubular vessels of the spinal column, and therefore with the sahasrara and ajna, these two chakras being the pineal gland and the pituitary body respectively.
Due to the tremendous activity of these three nadis of the spinal column and the immense role they play in the economy of the physical body, they are destined to manifest as a double spinal column in the human beings of the far distant ages to come, for then ida and pingala will have developed into cartilaginous or semi-bony structures, i.e. two spinal columns connected by the central nadi or sushumna, which now is surrounded by the vertebrae of the spinal column.
Furthermore, the bodily chakras are the extensions or representatives of their respective principal foci or 'roots' in the brain and various appurtenances thereof contained in the skull, whether of the cerebrum or of the cerebellum. This is H.P.B.'s meaning when she says: "Our seven Chakras are all situated in the head, and it is these Master Chakras which govern and rule the seven (for there are seven) principal plexuses in the body, besides the forty-two minor ones to which Physiology refuses that name" (E.S.Instructions, III).
Every artery and every vein, as well as every tiny capillary, in the human body can technically be called nadis of the blood; and it is with reference to this that certain exoteric works of tantrika or hatha-yoga physiology speak of their number as being 72,000 — which may or may not be accurate but which actually refers to every kind of 'tubular vessel' or nadi in the human body.
The blood of a man or of a beast, or indeed the sap of the plants, is a deposit of the pranic vitality suffusing throughout the physical body and emanating from the different sources of the seven (or ten or twelve) pranas in the auric egg. Thus blood really is the pranas condensed; whereas we may call the nervous fluids the condensed psychomental vital fluids of the higher portions of the auric egg expressing themselves on the astral and physical planes.
There is a constant and unceasing exchange and interchange of ethereal substances and forces between ida and pingala, and between these two and sushumna, and through these last again with all the other chakras and nadis, which is as much as saying with the sympathetic and/or nervous systems in the body and also its reticulated structure of blood vessels.
As by far the larger part of these Hindu writings are strongly influenced in one way or another by the tantrika thought, I again emphasize the warning to leave the chakras and their respective pranas alone, because very serious peril to both mental and physical health will almost certainly be incurred by foolish yoga experimentation with them, such as attempting to control the breath. No one was more keenly aware of the situation than was H.P.B., who wrote in her E.S. Instructions:
He who has studied both systems, the Hatha and Raja Yoga, finds an enormous difference between the two: one is purely psycho-physiological, the other purely psycho-spiritual. — III
When we correlate all these physiological functions with the cosmic powers, we recognize that every human being is truly a miniature universe; and that every element and force in the solar system and therefore of the sun itself has its respective focus in man, in his auric egg, and hence in his astral-physical frame. This sublime truth can give spiritual dignity to our thoughts, and lead us to regard our bodies as temples of the god within us.
Section 10, Part 1
Main Table of Contents
1. Remember that our reincarnating Egos are called in the Secret Doctrine the Manasaputras, "Sons of Manas" (or Mahat) Intelligence, Wisdom. — H.P.B. (return to text)
2. Prana, on earth at any rate, is thus but a mode of life, a constant cyclic motion from within outwardly and back again, an out-breathing and in-breathing of the ONE LIFE, or Jiva, the synonym of the Absolute and Unknowable Deity. Prana is not abstract life, or Jiva, but its aspect in a world of delusion. In the Theosophist, May, 1888, p. 478, Prana is said to be "one stage finer than the gross matter of the earth." — H.P.B. (return to text)
3. It is erroneous to call the fifth human principle "Kama Rupa." It is no Rupa, or form at all, until after death, but stands for the Kamic elements in man, his animal desires and passions, such as anger, lust, envy, revenge, etc., etc., the progeny of selfishness and matter. — H.P.B. (return to text)
4. Here the world of effects is the Devachanic state, and the world of causes, earth life. — H.P.B. (return to text)
5. Tanha, a Buddhist term signifying "thirst for life." (return to text)