THE CAUSAL BODY AND THE EGO ΔΔ
By Arthur E. Powell
THE FIELD OF EVOLUTION
THE COMING FORTH OF MONADS
THE FORMATION OF THE FIVE PLANES
THE KINGDOMS OF LIFE
THE ATTACHMENT OF THE ATOMS : HIGHER TRIAD
THE ATTACHMENT OF THE LOWER ATOMS : LOWER TRIAD
THE CREATIVE HIERARCHIES
MINERAL GROUP SOULS
INDIVIDUALISATION : MECHANISM AND PURPOSE
INDIVIDUALISATION :METHODS AND DEGREES
FUNCTIONS OF THE CAUSAL BODY
COMPOSITION & STRUCTURE OF THE CAUSAL BODY
DEVELOPMENT AND FACULTIES OF THE CAUSAL BODY
LIFE AFTER DEATH: THE FIFTH HEAVEN
THE SIXTH HEAVEN
THE SEVENTH HEAVEN
TRISHNA: THE CAUSE OF REINCARNATION
PERMANENT ATOMS ANDTHE MECHANISM OF REINCARNATION
The following is in this section II which follows.
EGO AND REINCARNATION
THE EGO AND HIS "INVESTMENT"
THE EGO AND THE PERSONALITY
THE EGO IN THE PERSONALITY
THE EGO & THE PERSONALITY: SACRAMENTAL AIDS
MEMORY OF PAST LIVES
THE EGO ON HIS OWN PLANE
THE EGO AND THE MONAD
THE SECOND AND HIGHER INITIATIONS
THE EGO AND REINCARNATION
come now to deal more specifically with the attitude which the ego takes up
towards his incarnation in a personality.
Since the appointed method for the evolution of the latent qualities of the ego is by means of impacts from without, it is clearly necessary that the ego should descend far enough to enable him to meet such impacts as can affect him. The method of achieving this result is, as we know, that of reincarnation, the ego putting forth part of himself into the lower planes for the sake of the experience to be gained there, and then withdrawing back again into himself, bearing with him the results of his endeavour.
It must not be thought, however, that the ego makes any movement in space. It is rather that he endeavours to focus his consciousness at a lower level, to obtain an expression through a denser variety of matter.
This putting forth
of part of himself into incarnation has often been compared with an investment.
The ego expects, if all goes well, to reclaim not only the whole of his capital
invested, but also a considerable amount of interest, and he usually obtains
this. But, as with other investments, there is occasionally loss instead of
gain; for it is possible that some portion of that which he puts down may become
so entangled with the lower matter that it may be impossible wholly to reclaim
it. With this "investment" aspect of reincarnation we shall deal in
full detail in our next chapter.
The student will by now have fully realised that each stage of the descent of the ego into incarnation (Page 164) means submission to limitation: consequently no expression of the ego upon any of the lower planes can ever be a perfect expression. It is merely an indication of its qualities, just as a picture is a representation, on a two-dimensional surface, of a three dimensional scene. In exactly the same way the true quality, as it exists in the ego, cannot be expressed in matter of any lower level. The vibrations of the lower matter are altogether too dull and sluggish to represent it, the string is not sufficiently taut to enable it to respond to the note which resounds from above. It can however, be tuned to correspond with it in a lower octave, like a man's voice singing in unison with a boy's, expressing the same sound, as nearly as the capabilities of the inferior organism permit.
It is not possible in physical language to express exactly this matter of the descent of the ego; but until we are able to raise our own consciousness to those levels, and see exactly what takes place, the best impression we can have of it is perhaps the idea of the ego putting down part of himself, like a tongue of fire, into planes of matter grosser than his own.
The ego, belonging as he does to a higher plane, is a much greater and grander thing than any manifestation of him can be. His relation to his personalities is that of one dimension to another - that of a square to a line, or a cube to a square. No number of squares could ever make a cube, because the square has only two dimensions, while the cube has three. So no number of expressions on any lower plane can ever exhaust the fulness of the ego. Even if he could take a thousand personalities, he could still not sufficiently express all that he is. The most for which he can hope is that the personality will contain nothing which is not intended by the egothat the personality will express as much of the ego as can be expressed in this lower world.
Whilst the ego may
have but one physical body, for that is the law, he can ensoul any number of
thought-forms which friends who love him may make of him, and he is only too
pleased to have these additional opportunities of manifesting himself, as he
is able, through those thought forms, to develop qualities in himself.
(Page 165) Just as in physical consciousness a man may be simultaneously conscious of many physical contacts, as well as of emotions, and of thoughts, without any confusion, so may the ego be simultaneously conscious and active through both his own personality, and also through any number of thought-forms which his friends may make of him.
The wise man thus
recognises that the true man is the ego, not the personality, or the physical
body, and he sees that it is the life of the ego only which is really of moment,
and that everything connected with the body must unhesitatingly be subordinated
to those higher interests. He
recognises that this earth-life is given to him for purposes of progress, and
that that progress is the one important thing. The real purpose of life is the
unfoldment of his powers as an ego, the development of his character. He recognises
that this development is in his own hands, and that the sooner it is perfected
the happier, and more useful will he be.
Furthermore, he soon learns by experience that nothing can be really good for him, as an ego, or for any one, which his not good for all: in due time he thus learns to forget himself altogether, and to ask only what will be best for humanity as a whole.
The development of the ego is thus the object of the whole process of descent, into matter: the ego assumes veils of matter precisely because through them he is able to receive vibrations to which he can respond, so that his latent faculties may thereby be unfolded.
The whole object of the ego putting himself down is that he may become more definite, that all his vaguely beautiful feelings may crystallise into a definite resolution to act. All his incarnations form a process by means of which he may gain precision and definiteness.
(Page 166) Hence specialisation is his way of advancement. He comes down into each race or sub-race in order that he may acquire the qualities for the perfection of which that sub-race is working. The fragment of the ego which is put down is highly specialised. When a certain quality is developed, the ego absorbs it into himself in due course, and he does that over and over again. The personality scatters something of its special achievement over the whole , when it is withdrawn into the ego, so that the ego becomes a little less vague than before.
In The Key to Theosophy,(pages 183-184), H.P.Blavatsky describes the objective of reincarnation in vivid language: "Try to imagine a Spirit', a celestial being whether we call it by one name or another, divine in its essential nature, yet not pure enough to be one with the ALL, and having, in order to achieve this, so to purify its nature as finally to gain its goal. It can do so by passing individually and personally, i.e., spiritually and physically, through every experience and feeling that exists in the manifold or differentiated universe. It has, therefore, after having gained such experience in the lower kingdoms, and having ascended higher and still higher with every rung of the ladder of being, to pass through every experience on the human planes. In its very essence it is Thought, and is, therefore, called in its plurality, "Manasaputra",the Sons of [universal] Mind'. This individualised Thought' is what we Theosophists call the real human Ego, the thinking entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and bones. This is surely a spiritual entity, not matter [that is not matter as we know it on the plane of the objective universe], and such entities are the incarnating Egos that inform the bundle of animal matter called mankind, and whose names are Manasa or minds".
The student should note that the term Manasaputra, which means literally the "Sons of Mind", is used in the above quotation in a special sense. The term is a wide one, and covers many grades of intelligences, from the "Sons of Flame" Themselves, down to the entities who individualised the Moon Chain, and took their first purely human incarnation in the Earth Chain.
(Page 167) Many similes and metaphors have from time to time been employed, to illustrate, the relation between the the ego and his personalities, or incarnations. Thus, each incarnation has been compared to a day at school. In the morning of each new life the ego takes up his lessons again, at the point where he left it the night before. The time taken by the pupil in qualifying himself is left entirely to his own discretion and energy. The wise pupil perceives that school life is not an end in itself, but merely a preparation for a more glorious and far wider future. He co-operates intelligently with his Teachers, and sets himself to the maximum of work which is possible for him, in order that as soon as he can he may come of age and enter into his kingdom as a glorified ego
The dipping down
of the ego into the physical world, for brief snatches of mortal life, has been
likened to the diving of a bird into the sea after a fish. Personalities are
also like the leaves put forth by a tree; they draw in material from outside,
transform it into useful substance, and send it into the tree as sap, by which
the tree is nourished. Then the leaves, having served for their season, wither
and drop off, to be in due time succeeded by a fresh crop of leaves.
As a diver may plunge into the depths of the ocean, to seek a pearl, so the ego plunges into the depths of the ocean of life to seek the pearl of experience,: but he does not stay there long, for it is not his own element. He rises up again, into his own atmosphere,and shakes off the heavier element,which he leaves behind. Therefore it is truly said that the Soul that has escaped from earth has returned to its own place, for its home is the "land of the Gods " and on earth it is an exile and a prisoner.
The ego may be regarded as a labourer who goes out into a field, toiling in rain and sunshine, in cold and heat, returning home at night. But the labourer is also the proprietor, and all the results of his labour fill (Page 168) his own granaries, and enrich his own store. Each personality is the immediately effective part of the individuality, representing it in the lower world. There is no injustice in the lot that falls to the personality, because the ego sowed the karma in the past, and the ego must reap it. The labourer that sowed the seed must harvest it, though the clothes in which he worked as sower may have worn out during the interval between the sowing and the reaping. He who reaps is the same as he who sows, and, if he sowed but little seed or seed badly chosen, it is he who will find but a poor harvest when, as reaper, he goes again into the field.
The ego has been
described as moving in eternity like a pendulum between the periods of life
terrestrial and life posthumous. The hours of the posthumous life, to one who
really understands, are the only reality. So very often, the ego really
begins his personal life-cycle with the entry into the heaven-world , and pays
a minimum of attention to the personality during its period of collecting materials.
As we have seen, in the cycle of incarnation, the period spent in devachan, which, for all except for the very primitive, is of enormous duration compared with the breaks in it spent on earth, may fairly be called the normal state. A further reason for regarding this as the normal, the earth life as the abnormal, is that in devachan the man is much nearer the source of his Divine life.
The ego may be regarded as the actor, his numerous and different incarnations, being the actor's parts. Like an actor, the ego is bound to play many such parts, which often are disagreeable to him: but like a bee, collecting honey from every flower, the ego collects only nectar of mortal qualities and consciousness, from every terrestrial personality in which he has to clothe himself, until at last he unites all these qualities in one, and becomes a perfect, being, sometimes termed a Dhyan Chohan.
(Page 169) In The Voice of The Silence the personalities are spoken of as "shadows": the candidate for initiation is exhorted thus : "Have perseverance as one who doth evermore endure. Thy shadows live and vanish; that which in thee shall live for ever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge, is not of fleeting life; it is the man that was, that is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike."
Thus through the ages the ego, the Immortal Thinker, patiently toils at his work of leading the animal-man upwards, till he is fit to become one with the Divine. Out of any one life he may win but a mere fragment for his work, yet on that slightly improved model will be moulded the next man, each incarnation showing some advance, though in the early stages it may be almost imperceptible. Slowly is accomplished the task of lessening the animal, of increasing the human. At a certain stage in this progress, the personalities begin to become translucent, to answer to the vibrations from the Thinker, and dimly to sense that they are something more than isolated lives, are attached to something permanent and immortal. They may not quite recognise, their goal: but they begin to thrill and quiver, under the touch of the ego. Thereafter, progress becomes more swift, the rate of development increasing enormously in the later stages.
The above are but analogies, useful perhaps, but crude, for it is a matter of exceeding difficulty to express the relation of the ego to the personality. On the whole, perhaps the best way to put it is to say that the personality is a fragment of the ego, a tiny part of him expressing itself under serious difficulties. When we meet another person on the physical plane, it would be somewhere near the truth to say that we know a thousandth part of the real man: moreover, the part that we see is the worst part. Even if we are able to look at the causal body of another man, we see but a manifestation of the ego on his own plane, and are still far from seeing the true man.
Regarding the ego as the real man, and looking at him on his own plane, we see him to be indeed a glorious being. The only way in which down here we can form a conception (Page 170) of what he really is, is to think of him as some splendid angel. But the expression of this beautiful being on the physical plane may fall far short of all this: in fact, it must do so: first, because it is only a tiny fragment; secondly, because it is so cramped by its conditions.
If a man puts his
finger into a hole in the wall, or into a small metal pipe, so that he cannot
even bend the finger, it is obvious that he could express but very little of
himself through that finger. Much like this is the fate of that fragment of
the ego which is put down into this dense body.
We may carry the analogy a little further, by supposing that the finger has a considerable amount of consciousness of its own, so that, shut off as it is from the rest of the body, it temporarily forgets that it is merely a part of the whole body. Forgetting the freedom of the wider life, it tries to adapt itself to the hole, it gilds its sides and makes it an enjoyable hole by acquiring money, property, fame and so forth,not realising that it only begins really to live when it withdraws itself from the hole altogether, and recognises itself as a part of the body. Clumsy as is the image, it may yet give some sort of idea of the relation of the personality to the ego.
Other, and more picturesque
analogies are to be found in certain ancient myths. Thus Narcissus was a youth
of great beauty, who fell in love with his own image reflected in the water,
and was so attracted by it that he fell in and was drowned, and was afterwards
changed by the gods into a flower and bound to earth. This of course refers
to the ego looking down upon the waters of the astral plane and the lower world,
reflecting itself in the personality, identifying itself with that personality,
falling in love with its image, and being bound to earth.
So also Proserpine, while picking the narcissus, was seized and carried off by Desire to the underworld; and although she was rescued from complete captivity by the efforts of her mother, yet after that she (Page 171) had to spend her life half in the lower world and half in that above: that is to say, partly in material incarnation, and partly out of it.
Another old mystery-teaching was that of the Minotaur, which signified the lower nature in manthe personality which is half man and half animal. This was eventually slain by Theseus, who typifies the higher self, or the individuality, which has been gradually growing and gathering strength, until at last it can wield the sword of its Divine Father, the Spirit.
Guided through the labyrinth of illusion, which constitutes these lower planes, by the thread of occult knowledge given him by Ariadne [who represents - intuition], the higher self is enabled to slay the lower, and to escape safely from the web of illusion. Yet there still remains for him the danger that, developing intellectual pride, he may neglect intuition, even as Theseus neglected Ariadne, and so fail for a time to realise his highest possibilities.
It is abundantly clear that a view of reincarnation can be obtained, in proper perspective, only if we regard it from the point of view of the ego. Each movement of the ego towards the lower planes is a vast circular sweep. The limited vision of the personality is apt to take a small fragment of the lower arc of the circle, and regard it as a straight line, attaching quite undue importance to its beginning and ending, while the real turning point of the circle entirely escapes it.
From the point of view of the ego, during the earlier part of that little fragment of existence on the physical plane, which we call life, the outward force of the ego is still strong: at the middle of it, in ordinary cases, that force becomes exhausted, and the great inward sweep begins.
Nevertheless, there is no sudden or violent change, for this is not an angle, but still part of the curve of the same circle - exactly corresponding to the moment of aphelion in a planet's course round its orbit. Yet it is the real turning point of that little cycle of evolution, though with us it is not marked in any way. (Page 172) In the old Indian scheme of life it was marked as the end of the grihasta or "householder" period of the man's earthly existence.
In that ancient system, a man spent the first twenty-one years of his life in education, and the next twenty-one in doing his duty as householder and head of the family. But then, having attained middle life, he gave up altogether his worldly cares, resigned his house and property into the hands of his son, and retired with his wife into a little hut near by, where he devoted the next twenty-one years to rest and spiritual converse and meditation. After that came the fourth stage, of perfect isolation and contemplation in the jungle, if he wished it. In all this, the middle of life was the real turning-point, and it is evident that it is a much more important point than either physical birth or death, for it marks the limit of the outgoing energy of the ego, the change, as it were, from his out-breathing to his in-breathing.
From this point,
there should be nothing but a steady drawing inward of the whole force of the
man and his attention should be more and more withdrawn from mere earthly things
and concentrated on those of higher planes. Such considerations cannot fail
to impress upon us how exceedingly ill-adapted to real progress are the conditions
of modern European life.
In this arc of evolution, the point at which the man drops his physical body is not a specially important one: by no means so important, in fact, as the next change, his death on the astral plane,and his birth into the heaven-world, or otherwise expressed, the transfer of his consciousness from the astral to mental matter, in the course of the steady withdrawal mentioned.
As was mentioned
in Chapter XIII, the whole course of the movement down into matter is called
in India the pravritti marga, literally the path of pursuit of forthgoing;
the nivritti marga is the path of return, of retirement of renunciation.
These terms are relative, and can be applied to the whole course of the (Page
of the ego, to an individual incarnation in a personality, etc..
On the pravritti marga, on which are the vast majority of men, desires are necessary and useful, these being the motives that prompt him to activity. On the nivritti marga desire must cease. What was desire in the privritti marga, becomes will on the nivritti marga: similarly thought, alert, flighty, changing becomes reason: work, activity, restless action, becomes in its turn sacrifice, its binding force thus being broken.
THE EGO AND HIS "INVESTMENT"
come now to study the subject of reincarnation, regarding the putting forth
by the ego of a personality as an "investment" made by the ego.
This "investment" analogy is not a mere figure of speech, but has a definite and material side to it. When the ego, in his causal body, takes to himself in addition a mental and an astral body, the operation involves the actual entangling of a portion of the matter of his causal body with matter of those lower astral and mental types. This "putting down" of a portion of himself is, therefore, closely analogous to an investment.
As in all investments, the ego hopes to get back more than he puts out: there is a risk however, a risk of disappointment, a possibility that he may lose something of what he invests: in fact, under very exceptional circumstances there may even be a total loss which leaves him, not absolutely bankrupt, but without available capital.
Elaborating on this
analogy, we may remind ourselves that the causal body consists of matter of
the first, second and third sub-planes of the mental plane. By far the greater
portion of it belongs to the first sub-plane: a lesser portion belongs to the
second sub-plane, and still less to the third.
For the vast majority of men, there is as yet no activity beyond the lowest of these three types, and even that is usually partial. It is, therefore, only some of the lowest type of causal matter that can be put down to lower levels, and only a small fraction even of that part can be entangled with mental and astral matter. Hence, only a very small portion of the ego is in activity with reference to the personality.
fact, with people who are unevolved, probably not more than one-hundreth part
of the matter of the third sub-plane is active. With occult students, a little
of the second sub-plane matter is generally in activity also. More advanced
students have a great deal of that sub-plane in activity, and in the stage below
that of an Arhat, about one-half of the ego is active.
The ego, being as yet half asleep, has but a very weak and imperfect control of that which he puts down. But,as his physical body grows up, and his astral and mental bodies also develop, the causal matter entangled with them is awakened, by the vigorous vibrations which reach it through them. The fraction of-a-fraction, which is fully entangled, gives life and vigour, and a sense of individuality, to these vehicles, and they in turn react strongly upon it, and arouse it to a keen realisation of life.
This keen realisation
of life is, of course, exactly what it needs, the very object, for which it
is put down; and it is the longing for this keen realisation which is trishna,
with which we have already dealt in a previous chapter.
But just because
this small fraction has had these experiences, and is therefore, so much more
awake than the rest of the ego, it may often be so far intensified as to think
itself the whole, and forget for a time its relation to its "Father in
Heaven". It may temporarily identify itself with the matter through which
it should be working, and may resist the influence of that other portion which
has been put down, but not entangled - that which forms the link with
the great mass of the ego on his own plane.
Diagram XXVI may serve to make this matter a little more clear. The causal body is here shown as roughly the shape of a chalice in section. That portion of the ego which is awakened on the third causal sub-plane is itself divided into three parts, which we will call [a],[b]and[c]. [a] is a very small part of the ego, and remains on its one plane: [b] is a small part of [a], is put down, (Page 176) but remains un-entangled with the matter of the lower planes,: it acts as a link between [a] and [c]; [c] in turn is a small part of [b], and is thoroughly entangled with lower matter of the mental and astral bodies.
[a] we may think
of as the body of a man; [b] as his arm stretched out; [c] as the hand which
grasps, or perhaps rather the tips of the fingers which are dipped in matter.
We have here a very delicately balanced arrangement, which may be affected in various ways. The intention is that the hand [c] should grasp firmly and guide the matter with which it is entangled, being fully directed all the time by the body [a] through the arm [b]. Under favourable circumstances, additional strength, and even additional matter, may be poured from the body [a] through the arm [b] into the hand[c]. so that the control may become more and more perfect.
The hand [c] may
grow in size as well as in strength, and the more it does so the better, so
long as the communication through the arm [b] is kept open freely, and the body
[a]retains control. For the very entanglement of the causal matter, which constitutes
the hand [c], awakens it to a keen activity, and an accuracy of response to
fine shades of vibration, which it could gain in no other way, and this, when
transmitted through the arm[b], to the body[a], means the development of the
Unfortunately the course of events does not always follow the ideal plan of working indicated above. When the control of the body [a] is feeble,it some times happens that the hand [c] becomes so thoroughly enmeshed in lower matter that, as said, it actually identifies itself (Page 177) with that lower matter, forgets for the time its high estate, and thinks of itself as the whole ego.
If the matter be of the lower mental plane, then we shall have a man who is wholly materialistic. He may perhaps be keenly intellectual, but not spiritual; he may very likely be intolerant of spirituality, and quite unable to comprehend, or appreciate it. He may probably call himself practical, matter-of-fact unsentimental, while in reality he is as hard as the nether-millstone; and, because of that hardness, his life, from the point of view of the ego, is a failure, and he is making no spiritual progress.
If, on the other hand, the matter in which he is so fatally entangled be astral, he will, on the physical plane, be one who thinks only of his own gratification, who is utterly ruthless when in pursuit of soma object which he strongly desires, a man quite unprincipled, and of brutal selfishness. Such a man lives in his passions, just as the man immeshed in mental matter lives in his mind. Cases such as these have been spoken of as "lost souls", though they are not irretrievably lost.
H.P.Blavatsky says of such men: "There is, however, still hope for a person who has lost his Higher Soul through his vices, while he is yet in the body. He may still be redeemed and made to turn on his material nature. For either an intense feeling of repentance, or one single earnest appeal to the Ego that has fled, or best of all, an active effort to amend one's ways, may bring the Higher Ego back again. The thread of connection is not altogether broken, "[Secret Doctrine, III 527].
In returning to our
analogy of the investment, we note that, in making his investment, the ego expects
not only to recover the hand[c], but he expects also that it will be improved
both in quality and quantity. Its quality should be better, because it
should be much more awake, and capable of instant and accurate response to a
far more varied gamut of vibrations than before. (Page
capacity the hand [c],when reabsorbed, necessarily communicates,to the body
[a], though, of course, the store of energy which made such a powerful wave
in the hand (c) will be able to create a ripple, when distributed throughout
the whole substance of the body [a].
We should remind ourselves here that although the vehicles can respond to, and express, evil thoughts and emotions, and although their excitement under such vibrations can produce perturbation in the entangled causal matter [c], yet it is quite impossible for [c] to reproduce those vibrations itself, or to communicate them to the arm[b] or the body [a], simply because matter of the three higher mental levels can no more vibrate at the rate of the lowest plane than the string of a violin tuned to a certain pitch can be made to produce a note lower than that pitch.
The hand[c] should
also be increased in quantity, because the causal body, like all other
vehicles, is constantly changing its matter, and, when special exercise is given
to a certain part of it, that part grows in size, and becomes stronger, precisely
as a physical muscle does, when it is used.
Every earth-life is an opportunity, carefully calculated, for such development in quality and quantity as is most needed by the ego; a failure to use that opportunity means the trouble and delay of another similar incarnation, and sufferings probably aggravated by the additional karma incurred.
Against the increment,
which the ego has a right to expect from each incarnation, we must offset a
certain amount of loss which, in the earlier stages, is scarcely avoidable.
In order to be effective, the entanglement with lower matter must be very intimate,
and it is found that when this is so, it is scarcely ever possible to recover
every particle, especially from the connection with the astral body.
When the time comes for separation from the astral body, it is almost always a shade and not a mere shell[vide The Astral Body, pages 170 - 171] that is left behind (Page 179) on the astral plane; and that very distinction means that some of the causal material is lost. Except in the case of an unusually bad life however, this amount should be much smaller than that gained by growth, so that there should be, on the whole, a profit on the transaction.
Diagram XXVII-A illustrates this case, which may be regarded as the normal state of affairs.
The student should not allow the analogy of the arm and the hand to mislead him into thinking of the arm [b] and hand [c] as permanent appanages of the ego. During a life period they may certainly be considered as separate, but at the end of each life-period, they withdraw into the body [a], and the result of the experience is distributed, as it were, through the whole mass of its substance. When, therefore, the time comes for the ego again to put part of himself into incarnation, he does not, nor can he, stretch out again the old arm [b], and the old hand [c], for they have become absorbed in him and become part of him, just as a cupful of water emptied into a bucket becomes part of the water in the bucket, and cannot be separated from it.
Any colouring matter - symbolising the qualities developed by experience - which was present in the cup is distributed though in paler tint, through the whole bucketful of water. The plan is, therefore, exactly parallel to that we have already studied in the case of group-souls, (Page 180) except that a group-soul may put down many tentacles simultaneously, while the ego puts forth only one at a time. In each incarnation, therefore, the personality is obviously quite a different one from those preceding it, though, of course, the ego behind it remains the same.
In the case of men, such as those described above, men living entirely in their passions or their minds, there would be no gain, either in quality or quantity, since the vibrations would not be such as could be stored in the causal body. And, on the other hand, as the entanglement has been so strong, there would certainly be considerable loss when the separation took place.
In cases where the hand [c] has asserted itself against the arm [b] and pressed it back towards the body [a], the arm [b], has become attenuated, and almost paralysed, its strength and substance being withdrawn into the body, while the hand [c] has set up for itself, and makes on its own account jerky and spasmodic movements, which are not controlled by the brain. If the separation could become perfect, it would correspond to an amputation at the wrist; but this very rarely takes place during physical existence, although only so much communication remains as is necessary to keep the personality alive. Diagram XXVII-B illustrates the case we have been describing.
Such a case is not hopeless, for even at the last moment fresh life may be poured through the paralysed arm, if a sufficiently strong effort be made, and thus the ego may be enabled to recover some proportion of the hand [c], just as he has already recovered most of the arm [b].Nevertheless, such a life has been wasted, for, even if the man just contrived to escape serious loss, at any rate nothing has been gained, and much time has been frittered away.
The most disastrous catastrophe which can occur to an ego is that in which the personality captures the part of the ego which is put down, and actually causes it to break away. Such cases are exceedingly rare, but they have happened. (Page 181) This time, the hand [c], instead of repelling the arm [b], and driving it gradually back into the body [a], by degrees absorbs the arm [b] and detaches it from the body [a]. Diagram XXVIII-C illustrates such a case. This could be accomplished only by determined persistence in deliberate evil, in short, by black magic. Continuing the analogy, this is equivalent to amputation at the shoulder, or to the loss by the ego of nearly all his available capital. Fortunately for him, he cannot lose everything, because the arm[b] and the hand[c] together are only a small proportion of the body[a], and behind [a] is the great undeveloped portion of the ego,on the first and second mental sub-planes. Mercifully a man, however incredibly foolish or wicked, cannot completely wreck himself, for he cannot bring that higher part of the causal body into activity, until he has reached a level at which such evil is unthinkable.
There are certain men, who deliberately set them selves in opposition to nature and, instead of working for unity, towards which the whole force of the universe is pressing, they debase every faculty they possess for purely selfish ends. They spend their lives striving for separateness, and for a long time they attain it : it is said that the sensation of being utterly alone in space is the most awful fate that can ever befall a man.
This extraordinary development of selfishness is, (Page 182 )of course, the characteristic of the black magician, and it is among their ranks only that men can be found who are in danger of this terrible fate. Many and loathsome as are their varieties, they may all be classed in one or other of two great divisions. Both classes use such occult arts as they possess for selfish purposes, but these purposes differ.
In the commoner and less formidable type, the object pursued is the gratification of sensual desire of some sort: naturally, the result of such a life is to centre the man's energy in his astral body. Having succeeded in killing out from himself every unselfish or affectionate feeling, every spark of higher impulse, nothing is left but a remorseless, ruthless monster of lust,who finds himself after death neither able nor desiring to rise above the lowest subdivisions, of the astral plane. The whole of such mind as he has is absolutely in the grip of desire, and, when the struggle takes place , the ego can recover none of it, and in consequence finds himself seriously weakened.
For the time being he has cut himself off from the current of evolution, and so, until he can return to incarnation, he stands - or so it seems to him -outside that evolution, in the condition of avichi, the waveless. Even when he does return to incarnation, it cannot be among those whom he has known before, for he has not enough available capital left, to provide ensoulment for a mind and body at his previous level. He must now be content, therefore, to occupy vehicles of a far less evolved type, belonging to some earlier race. He has thus thrown himself far back in evolution, and must climb over again many rungs of the ladder.
He will probably
be born as a savage, but will most likely be a chief among them, as he will
still have some intellect. It has been said that he may even throw himself so
far back that he may be unable to find in the world, in its present condition,
any type of human body low enough for the manifestation which he now requires,
so that he may be incapacitated from taking any further part in the Scheme of
evolution, and may therefore have (Page
wait, in a kind of condition of suspended animation, for the commencement of
Meanwhile, the amputated personality, having broken the "silver thread that binds it to the Master", is, of course, no longer a permanent evolving entity, but remains full of vigorous and wholly evil life, entirely without remorse or responsibility. As it is destined to disintegrate amidst the unpleasant surroundings of the "eighth sphere", it tries to maintain some sort of existence on the physical plane as long as possible. The sole means of prolonging its baneful existence is vampirism of some sort:when that fails, it has been known to seize upon any available body, driving out the lawful owner. The body chosen might very probably be that of a child, both because it might be expected to last longer, and because an ego, which had not yet really taken hold, could be more easily dispossessed.
In spite of its frenzied
efforts, its power seems soon to fail, and it is said there is no instance on
record of its successfully stealing a second body, after its first theft is
worn out. The creature is a demon of the most terrible type, a monster for whom
there is no permanent place in the Scheme of evolution to which we belong.
Its natural tendency, therefore, is to drift out of this evolution and to be drawn into that astral cesspool known as the "eighth sphere", because what passes into it stands outside the ring of our seven worlds, or globes, and cannot return, into their evolution. There, surrounded by loathsome relics of all the concentrated vileness of the ages that are past, burning ever with desire, yet without the possibility of satisfaction, this monstrosity slowly decays, its mental and causal matter being thus at last set free. Such matter will never rejoin the ego from which it has torn itself, but will be distributed among the other matter of the plane, to enter gradually into fresh combinations, and so be put to better uses. Such entities are, as already stated, (Page 184) exceedingly rare: and, moreover, they have power to seize only those who have in their nature pronounced defects of a kindred type.
The other type of black magician, in outward appearance more respectable, is yet really even more dangerous, because more powerful. This is the man who, instead of giving himself up altogether to sensuality, sets before himself the goal of a more refined but not less unscrupulous selfishness. His object is the acquisition of occult power higher and wider, but still to be used always for his own gratification and advancement, to further his own ambition, or satisfy his own revenge.
In order to gain this, he adopts the most rigid asceticism as regards mere fleshly desires, and starves out the grosser particles of his astral body, as perseveringly as does the pupil of the Great White Brotherhood. But, though it is only a less material kind of desire, with which he will allow his mind to become entangled, the centre of his energy is none the less entirely in his personality. When therefore, the separation, at the end of the astral life, takes place, the ego is unable to recover any of his investment. For this man the result is, therefore, much the same as in the former case, except that he will remain in touch with the personality much longer, and will to some extent share its experiences, so far as it is possible for an ego to share them.
The fate of that personality, however, is very different. The comparatively tenuous, astral integument is not strong enough to hold it for any length of time on the astral plane, and yet it has entirely lost touch with the heaven-world, which should have been its habitat. For the whole effort of the man's life has been to kill out such thoughts as naturally find their result at that level. His one endeavour has been to oppose natural evolution, to separate himself from the great whole, and to war against it ; and, as far as the personality is concerned, he has succeeded. It is cut off from the light and life of the solar system,: (Page 185) all that is left to it is the sense of absolute isolation, of being alone in the universe.
Thus, in this rare
case, the lost personality practically shares the fate of the ego from which
it is in process of detaching itself. But, in the case of the ego, such an experience
is only temporary, although it may last for what we would call a very long time,
and the end of it will be reincarnation, and a fresh opportunity.
For the personality, however, the end is disintegration - the invariable end, of course, of that which has cut itself off from its source.
In a case of this kind, involving the loss of an entire personality, the ego does no evil intentionally. He has let the personality get out of hand, and for that he is responsible. He is therefore responsible for weakness, rather than for direct evil. Whilst the ego has fallen back terribly, yet he does go on: probably not immediately, because he seems to be stunned at first.
After such an experience, an ego would always be peculiar. He would be dissatisfied, and would have recollections of something higher and greater than now he could reach. It is a fearful condition, but still the ego has to take the karma of it, and realise that he has brought it upon himself.
It is reported that
there is another even more remote possibility. Just as the hand [c] may absorb
the arm[b] and revolt against the body [a], setting up on its own account and
breaking away altogether, it is [or at any rate has been in the past] just possible
that the disease of separateness and selfishness, may infect the body[a] also.
Even if it is then absorbed into the monstrous growth of evil, and may be torn
away from the undeveloped portion of the ego, so that the causal body itself
may be hardened and carried away, instead of only the personality. Diagram
XXVIII-D illustrates this case.
This class of case would correspond, not to an amputation, but an entire destruction of the body. Such an ego could not reincarnate in the human race ; (Page 186) ego though it be, it would fall into the depths of animal life, and would need at least a whole Chain period to regain the status which it had lost. This, though theoretically possible, is practically scarcely conceivable. It will be noted, however, that even in this case the undeveloped part of the ego remains as the vehicle of the monad.
Whilst some ancient scriptures speak of men sinking back into the animal kingdom, there is no direct evidence of any such cases. There are other cases in which man may come into touch with animal consciousness, and suffer terribly through It [vide The Astral Body, p.142] but to reincarnate as an animal is not possible now, whatever may have been possible in the distant past.
We may here make
a slight digression,in order to explain how it is that even in cases such as
those described above a really serious loss is no easy matter.
Owing to the fact that good thoughts and emotions work in the higher types of matter, and that finer matter is far more easily moved than coarser matter, it follows that a given amount of force spent in good thought or feeling produces perhaps a hundred times as much effect as precisely the same amount of force sent out into coarser matter. If this were not so, it is obvious that the ordinary man would make no progress at all.
If a man throws a certain amount of energy into some evil quality, it has to express itself through the lower and heavier astral matter; and, whilst any kind of astral matter is exceedingly subtle as compared with anything on the physical plane, yet, as compared with higher matter of its own plane, it is just as gross as lead is on the physical plane, when compared with the finest ether.
If therefore, a man should exert exactly the same amount of force in the direction of good, it would have to move through much finer matter of the higher sub-planes, and would produce, as said, at least a hundred times as much effect, or, (Page 187) if we compare the lowest with the highest, probably more than a thousand times as much.
Whilst we are probably entitled to assume that 90 percent of the thought and feeling of the undeveloped man is self-centred, even if not actually selfish, yet, if 10 percent of it is spiritual and unselfish, the man must already be rising somewhat above the average. In fact, if these proportions did produce commensurate results, the vast majority of humanity would take nine steps backwards for everyone forward, and we should have retrogression so rapid that a few incarnations would deposit us in the animal kingdom, out of which we evolved.
Happily for us, however, the effect of the 10 percent of force, directed to good ends, enormously outweighs that of the 90 percent, devoted to selfish purposes, and so, on the whole, such a man makes an appreciable advance from life to life.
A man who can show
even 1 percent of good makes a slight advance, so it will be readily understood
that a man whose account balances exactly, so that there is neither advance
nor retrogression, must have been living a distinctly evil life; while to obtain
an actual descent in evolution, a person must be an unusually consistent villain.
Apart from these considerations, we have to bear in mind that the Logos Himself is, by His resistless power, steadily pressing the whole system onwards and upwards, and that, however slow this cyclic progression may seem to us, it is a fact which cannot be neglected, for its effect is, that a man who accurately balances his good and evil, comes back, not to the same actual position, but to the same relative position, and therefore even he has made some slight advance, and is, as it were, in a position just a little better than that which he has actually deserved and made for himself.
It is thus clear, that if any one is so foolish as to want to go really backwards against the stream, he will have to work hard and definitely towards evil. There is no fear of "sliding back". That is one of the old delusions, which (Page 189) remains from the times of the belief in the orthodox "devil" who was so much stronger than the Deity that everything in the world was working in his favour. The fact is that the exact opposite is the case, and everything round a man is calculated to assist him, if only he understands it.
The Mental Body we examined the relationship between the personality
and the ego, principally from the point of view of the personality. It is now
necessary to study more deeply the relationship between the ego and the personality,
this time from the point of view of the ego.
Let us recapitulate the main facts regarding the constitution of man as Monad, Ego and Personality.
The fragment of The
Divine Life, which we know as the Monad, manifests itself upon the plane of
Âtma as the triple spirit [vide -Diagram XII,
Of these three aspects, one, the spirit itself, remains upon its own plane, that of Âtma. The second, that of intuition, or pure reason, as it is sometimes called, puts itself down one stage, and expresses itself through the matter of the plane of Buddhi. The third aspect, that of intelligence,puts itself down two planes, and expresses itself through the matter of the higher mental plane.
This expression of the Monad, on the planes of Âtma., Buddhi and manas, is the ego, or individuality.
The ego expresses itself on the lower planes as a personality, which is also triple in its manifestation, and is, moreover, an accurate reflection of the arrangement of the ego. But, like other reflections, it reverses itself.
higher manas, reflects itself in lower manas. Pure reason, or Buddhi, reflects
itself in the astral body: and, in some way much more difficult to comprehend,
the spirit of Âtma. reflects itself upon the physical plane.
There is always a link or line of communication (Page 190) between the higher self, or ego, and the lower self, or personality. This link is known as antahkarana. This Samskrit word means the inner organ, or inner instrument. H.P.Blavatsky spoke of it as the link, channel or bridge between higher manas and kama-manas during incarnation. Speaking of one who can unite kama-manas with higher manas, through the lower manas, she speaks of lower manas, when pure and free from kama, as the antahkarana.
The antahkarana may
be regarded as the arm stretched out, between the little piece of the ego that
is awakened, and the part put down, the hand. When the two are perfectly joined,
i.e., when the ego and the personality are perfectly in tune,and united,then
the attenuated thread of antahkarana cease to exist. Its destruction implies
that the ego no longer needs an instrument, but works directly on the
personality: when one will operates the ego and the personality, then there
is no longer any need for antahkarana.
The term antahkarana, or internal agency, is used also in another sense, to denote the whole of the triple higher self or ego, because this is the channel or bridge between the Monad and the lower self.
In its earlier stages,
man's evolution consists in the opening of this antahkarana, or line of communication,
so that the ego may be increasingly able to assert himself through it, and finally
entirely to dominate the personality, so that it may have no separate thought
or will, but may be merely, as it should be, an expression of the ego on the
lower planes, so far , of course as the limitations of the lower planes permit.
The link that binds the lower to the higher self is often spoken of as a thread - a thread of silver, as befits an emblem of purity.
The heart is the centre in the body for the higher triad, Âtma., buddhi, manas, so that when the consciousness is centred in the heart, during meditation, it is most susceptible to the influence of the higher self,or ego. The head is the seat of the psycho-intellectual man; it has its various functions in seven cavities, including the (Page 191) pituitary body and the pineal gland. He who in concentration can take his consciousness from the brain to the heart should be able to unite kama-manas to the higher manas, through the lower manas, which, when pure and free from kama, is the antahkarana. He will then be in a position to catch some of the promptings of the higher triad.
The man who is absolutely untrained has practically no communication with the ego: the Initiate on the other hand, has full communication. Consequently we find, as is to be expected, that there are men at all stages between these two extremes.
The student will
by this time have appreciated the enormous importance of realising the existence
of this connection between the higher and lower self, and of doing everything
that he can to strengthen that link so that the ego and the personality may
gradually come to function as one entity. To help him in this task may, perhaps,
be regarded as the grand motif of this series of four books, explanatory
of man's constitution, and the various bodies through which he functions.
Whilst endeavouring in many ways and by many devices, to appreciate and realise the great difference between the viewpoints of the personality and the ego, we must ever bear in mind, as has been repeatedly said, that there is only one consciousness; yet often we clearly feel two, and are led to wonder, whether the ego is entirely dissociated from the physical body. We must, however, realise that there is only one consciousness, the apparent difference being caused by the limitations of the various vehicles.
We should not therefore, imagine that there are two entities in man. There never is any lower self as a separate being, but, as we have seen, the ego puts down a tiny portion of himself into the personality, in order to experience the vibrations of the lower planes.
The fundamental identity between higher and lower manas must be kept constantly in mind. For convenience' sake, we distinguish between them; but the difference is one of functioning activity, not of nature. (Page 192) Lower manas is one with higher manas, in the same way that the ray is one with the sun.
The tiny fragment
of the ego, which is put down into the personality, is the point of consciousness
which clairvoyants can see moving about in the man. According to one system
of symbology, it is seen as "the golden man the size of a thumb,"
who dwells in the heart. Others, however, see it rather in the form of a star,
a brilliant star of light.
A man may keep his Star of Consciousness where he will; that is to say, in any one of the seven principal chakrams or centres of the body. Which of these is most natural to a man depends largely upon his type or "ray", and probably also upon his race and sub-race.
Men of the Fifth Root Race nearly always keep this consciousness in the brain, in the centre dependent upon the pituitary body. There are, however men of other races to whom it comes more natural to keep it habitually in the heart, the throat or solar plexus.
The Star of Consciousness
is thus the representative of the ego in the lower planes, and, as it manifests
through the lower vehicles, we call it the personality, the man as he is known
to his friends down here.
Although, as we have seen, the ego is but a fragment of the Monad, yet he is complete as an ego in his causal body, even when his powers are undeveloped; whereas in the personality there is but a touch of his life.
Furthermore, whilst in the case of the ordinary man, the consciousness of the ego on his own plane is only partial and vague, yet so far as it is active, it is always on the side of good, because it desires that which is favourable to its own evolution as a soul.
In fact, the never-changing desire of the ego is for progress, for the unfoldment of the higher self, and for bringing of the lower vehicles into tune as its instruments.
Any of those thoughts
that we call evil are for the ego impossible; for, in the ego, so far as any
quality is developed, it is pure. If, for example, affection is there, (Page
is utterly untainted by jealousy, envy or selfishness. It is a mirror of the
divine love, in so far as the ego can reproduce it at his level.
Furthermore, the ego is never likely to be wrong. He is, apparently, not deceived, about anything; but that he is ignorant of certain matters is quite clear for indeed the very purpose of incarnation is to remove that ignorance.
But, as we have seen, the fragment of the ego, which has been put down into lower matter, becomes so keenly and vividly conscious in that matter, that it thinks and acts as though it were a separate being; it forgets that it belongs to the less developed, but far wider consciousness of the ego, and sets up in the business of life on its own account, and tries to go as it wants, rather than as the ego wishes.
Furthermore, the ego, with all his mighty powers, is very much less accurate than the lower mind, and the personality, valuing above all the discriminating, powers of the lower mind which it is intended to develop, often comes in consequence to despise the far higher but vaguer self, and acquires a habit of thinking of itself as an independent ego.
We may note here
that all through the course of our evolution there is always a danger that a
man should identify himself with that point at which, or that vehicle in which,
he is most fully conscious.
Hence, as we have seen, sometimes it seems as though the fragment worked against the whole; but the man who is instructed declines to be deluded and reaches back through the keen, alert consciousness of the fragment, to the true consciousness behind, which is as yet so little developed. That is what Mr. Sinnett called "giving allegiance to the higher self".
We have already seen that in the nature of things, there can be no evil in the causal body, or in the ego. But wherever there is a gap in the causal body there is a possibility that the lower vehicles may run into some sort of evil action. Thus for example, the astral elemental may take possession of the man and rush him (Page 194) into the commission of a crime. In such a case the ego is not sufficiently awake to step in and prevent the action, or perhaps he does not understand that the passion or greed of the astral body may force the lower self into commission of the crime. Evil, therefore,does not come from the Higher Self : it comes from a lack in the Higher Self: because, if the ego were more developed, he would check the man on the brink of the evil thought, and the crime would not be committed.
In ordinary men, the ego has not much grasp of the personality, nor a clear conception of his purpose in sending it forth; and, as we have seen, the small piece which meets us in the personality grows to have ways and opinions of its own. It is developing by the experience it gains, and this is passed on to the ego; but, together with this real development , it usually gathers a good deal which is hardly worthy of that name. It acquires knowledge, but also prejudices, which are not really knowledge at all. It does not become quite free of those prejudicesprejudices, be it noted, of knowledge, of feeling and of action - until the man reaches Adeptship. Gradually it discovers these things to be prejudices, and progresses through them; but it has always a great deal of limitation, from which the ego is entirely free.
In order to assist
the ego in controlling his vehicles and to help to utilise them for his own
purposes, a very great deal can be done by parents and teachers, during infancy
and childhood. For it makes a vast difference when the good, rather than the
evil germs in the child's bodies are aroused first. If by exceeding care before
birth, and for several years after it, the parents are able to excite only the
good tendencies, then the ego will naturally find it easy to express himself
along those lines, and a decided habit is set up in that direction. Then, when
an evil excitation comes, it finds a strong momentum in the direction of good,
which strives in vain to overcome.
Similarly, if the evil tendencies have been aroused first, (Page 195) then excitations towards what is good have to struggle against the predisposition towards evil. In this case, there is in the personality a taste for evil, a readiness to receive and indulge in it. In the other case, however, there is strong natural distaste for evil, which makes the work of the ego much easier.
In the average man there is a perpetual strain going on between the astral and mental bodies, and also neither of these bodies is in the least in tune with the ego, or prepared to act as his vehicle. What is needed is the purification of the personality, and also the channel between it and the ego must be opened and widened.
Until this is done,
the personality sees everything and everybody from its own very limited point
of view. The ego cannot see what is really going on; he perceives only the distorted
picture of the personality, which is like a camera, with a defective lens, that
distorts the light-rays, and a faulty plate, which makes the result blurred,
indistinct, and unequal.
Hence, in the case of most people, the ego cannot derive any satisfaction from the personality, until it is in the heaven-world. The ego himself knows the true from the false: he recognises truth when he sees it, and rejects the false. But, generally, when he casts an eye downwards into the personality, he finds so crazy a confusion of inconsequent thought-forms, that he can distinguish nothing definite. He turns away in despair, and decides to wait for the quietude of the heaven-world, before attempting to pick up the fragments of truth out of this unseemly chaos.
Under more peaceful
conditions of devachan, as the emotions and thoughts of recent physical life
come up one by one, and envisage themselves in the vivid light of that world,
they are examined with clear vision, the dross is thrown away, and the treasure
The disciple should, of course, try to bring about that condition, while still in the physical body, body purifying the personality, and harmonising it with the ego or soul. (Page 196)
Although the ego is undoubtedly only very partially expressed by his physical body, yet it would be inaccurate to speak of him as dissociated from that body. If we imagine the ego as a solid body, and the physical plane as a surface, then, if the solid is laid on the surface, obviously the plane figure, representing the contact of the solid with the surface, would be an exceedingly partial expression of the solid. Further, if the various sides of the solid were laid on the surface successively, we might obtain impressions which differed considerably from one another. All of them would be imperfect and partial, because in all cases the solid would have an extension in an entirely different direction, which could in no way be expressed on the flat surface.
In the case of an ordinary man, we shall obtain a nearly accurate symbolism of the facts if we suppose the solid to be conscious, only so far as it is in contact with the surface. Nevertheless, the results gained, through the expression, of such consciousness, would inhere in the solid considered as a whole, and would be present in any later expression of it, even though that might differ considerably from previous expressions.
When the ego is still undeveloped, he cannot respond to more than a very few of the extremely fine vibrations of the higher mental plane, so that they pass through him practically without affecting him. At first it needs powerful and comparatively coarse vibrations to affect him: as these do not exist on his own plane, he has to put himself down to lower levels in order to find them.
Hence full consciousness comes to him at first only in the lowest and densest of his vehicles, his attention being focussed for a long time in the physical plane; so that although that plane is so much lower than his own, and offers so much less scope for activity, yet in those early stages he feels himself much more alive when he is working there.
As his consciousness
increases, and widens its scope, he gradually begins to work more and more in
stage higher, i.e., in astral matter. At a much later stage, when he
has attained to clear working in astral matter, he begins to be able also to
express himself through the matter of his mental body. Still later, the end
of his present effort is achieved when he works as fully and clearly in the
matter of the causal body on the higher mental plane as he does now on the physical
When an ego becomes sufficiently developed to come under the direct influence of a Master, the amount of that influence, which can be passed on to the personality, depends upon the connection between that personality and the ego, which is very different in different cases: there is, in fact, an infinite variety in human life.
As the spiritual force rays upon the ego, something of it must flow through to the personality always, because the lower is attached to the higher, just as the hand is attached to the body by the arm. But the personality can receive only what it has made itself able to receive.
There is also another
important factor which comes into operation. The Master often plays upon the
qualities in the ego which are much obscured in the personality, so that, in
such a case, very little comes down to the personality. Just as only those experiences
of the personality can be handed on to the ego, which are compatible with the
nature and interests of the ego, so only those impulses, to which the personality
can respond, can express themselves in it. We must also bear in mind that whilst
the ego tends to exclude the material, and receive the spiritual, so the general
tendency of the personality - at least in the earlier stagesis to exclude
the spiritual, and receive the material.
A clairvoyant may sometimes see these influences at work. Thus, on a certain day, he may notice a characteristic of the personality much intensified, with no outward reason. The cause is often to be found in what is taking place at some higher levelthe stimulation of that quality in the ego. A man may find himself for (Page 198) example, overflowing with affection or devotion, and quite unable on the physical plane to explain why. The cause is usually the stimulation of the ego or, on the other hand,it may be that the ego is taking some special interest in the personality for the time being.
between a pupil and his Master is not at all unlike that of the personality
to the ego. Just as the ego may be considered to put down a small fragment of
himself into the personality, and express himself - however imperfectlythrough
that personality, so in the same sort of way the pupil not merely represents
the Master, but is the Master in a very real sense, but the Master under
tremendous limitations; those limitations consist, not only of the conditions
of the lower planes themselves, but also, of course, of the personality of the
pupil, which is by no means transcended.
Furthermore, even if the pupil's ego had gained perfect control of his lower vehicles, there would still be the difference between the size of the ego of the pupil and of the ego of the Master, because the pupil is naturally a smaller ego than the Master whom he follows, and therefore can be only an incomplete, representative of Him.
Meditation is a method of drawing the attention of the ego: it should however be born in mind that, in the practice of meditation, instead of trying to interrupt the ego, and draw him down to the personality, we should strive to reach up to him in his higher activity. Higher influence is certainly invited by meditation, which is always effective, even though on the physical plane things may seem to be very dull, and quite without zest. The feeling of dullness in the personality may, in fact, be due to the reaching upwards of the ego, and his consequent neglect to send energy down to the personality.
Meditation and the study of spiritual subjects in this earthly life undoubtedly make a very great difference in the life of the ego: for meditation, conscientiously (Page 199) done, opens the channel between the personality and the ego, and keeps it open. It should, however, be borne in mind that the physical meditation is not directly for the ego, but for the training of the various vehicles to be a channel for the ego. In fact, during physical meditation, the ego regards the personality much as at any other time - he is usually slightly contemptuous. Nevertheless the force which comes down is always that of the ego, but as it is only a small part, it tends to give a one-sided conception of things.
The ordinary person, who has not taken up spiritual matters seriously, has a thread of connection between the personality and ego: in fact this channel is often so narrow that sometimes it appears to be almost choked up. On some special occasion - as, for example, that of "conversion"the force may break through again. For more developed persons, there is a constant flow, in some measure, between ego and personality.
should bring home to us that it is by no means always accurate to judge the
ego by his manifestation in the personality. Thus, for example, an ego of an
intensely attractive type may make more show, on the physical plane, than another
of far higher development, whose energy happens, to be concentrated almost exclusively
upon the causal or buddhic levels. Hence people who judge merely by physical
plane appearances are frequently entirely wrong, in their estimation of the
relative development of others.
Each of the successive descents of the ego into the lower planes is a limitation so indescribable that the man, whom we meet down here on the physical plane, is at best a fragment of a fragment, and as an expression of the real man is so inadequate as to furnish us with nothing even remotely resembling,a conception of what that man will be at the end of his evolution.
Until one can see
the ego, one has no conception of how great he really is, how infinitely wiser
and stronger than the incarnate entity. Every one, in reality, (Page
very much better than he ever seems to be. The greatest saint can never fully
express his ego; on that higher plane he is a still greater saint than he can
ever be down here. But, magnificent as he is, he is still, if we may say so,
vague in his magnificence.
There are really three ways in which the ego may be developed, and may influence the life.  The way of the scientist and philosopher: these develop not only the lower mind, but also the higher, so that a great deal of its more abstract and comprehensive kind of thought comes down into their consciousness.
For such as these, the development of the buddhic consciousness will come later.
 The method of using the higher emotions, such as affection, devotion or sympathy , and so awakening the buddhic principle to a great extent without developing especially the intermediate causal body. Nevertheless, the causal body will be affected, since all buddhic development reacts very powerfully on the causal body. These people are not necessarily developing a buddhic vehicle in which they can permanently live: but the use of the higher emotions unquestionably evokes vibrations in the buddhic matter. Hence there is a stir in the as yet unformed buddhic vehicle, so that many of its vibrations come down and brood over the astral body. Thus the man may receive a considerable amount of influence from the buddhic plane before the vehicle is at all fully developed.
 The more obscure method in which the will is called into activity, the physical body in some way reacting on âtmic matter. Very little is known as to how this operates.
The method of most students is through devotion, and keen sympathy with their fellow men.
A fairly advanced ego may sometimes be rather inconsiderate of his body because whatever is put down into the personality means so much taken from the ego, and he may therefore grudge such expenditure of force. An ego may be somewhat impatient, and withdraw himself somewhat from the personality: in such cases, however, (Page 201) there would always be a flow between the ego and personality, which is not possible with the ordinary man. In the ordinary man the fragment of the ego is, as it were, put down, and left to fend for itself, though, it is not completely cut off. At the more advanced stage mentioned, however, there is a constant communication between the two along the channel. The ego can therefore, withdraw himself whenever he chooses, and leave a very poor representation of the real man behind. So we see that the relations between the lower and higher self vary much in different people, and at different stages of development.
An ego busy with his own occupations on his own plane, may forget for a time to pay his personality proper attention, just as even a good and thoughtful man may occasionally. under some special pressure of business, forget his horse or his dog. Sometimes, when that happens, the personality reminds him of its existence by blundering into some foolishness, which causes serious suffering.
One may notice that
sometimes, after the completion of a special piece of work, that has needed
the co-operation of the ego to a large extent - as for example, lecturing to
a large audience - the ego takes away his energy, and leaves the personality
with only enough to feel rather dispirited. For a time, he admitted that there
was some importance in the work, and therefore poured down a little more of
himself, but afterwards he leaves the unfortunate personality feeling rather
We must ever recollect that the ego puts down into the personality only a very small part of himself: and as that part constantly becomes entangled in the interests which, because they are so partial, are often along lines different from the general activities of the ego himself, the ego does not pay any particular attention to the lower life of the personality, unless something rather unusual happens to it.
In the physical life
of the ordinary man of the world (Page
is little of interest to the ego, and it is only now and then that something
of real importance occurs, that may for a moment attract his attention, so that
from it he draws whatever is worth taking.
The ordinary man lives in patches; more than half the time he is not awake to the real and higher life at all. If a man complains that his ego takes very little notice of him, let him ask himself how much notice he has taken of his ego. How often, for example, in any given day, has he even thought of the ego?
If he wishes to attract the attention of the ego, he must make the personality useful to him. As soon as he begins to devote the greater part of his thought, to higher things - in other words, as soon as he really begins to live - the ego will be likely to take somewhat more notice of him.
The ego is well aware
that certain necessary parts of his evolution can be achieved only through his
personality, in its mental, astral and physical bodies. He knows, therefore,
that he must some time attend to it, must take it in hand, and bring it under
But we can well understand that the task may often seem uninviting, that a given personality may appear anything but attractive or hopeful. If we look at many of the personalities around us, their physical body full of drugs and poisons, their astral bodies reeking with greed and sensuality, and their mental bodies having no interests beyond moneymaking, and perhaps "sport" of the cruder varieties, it is not difficult to see why an ego, surveying them from his lofty height, might decide to postpone his serious effort to another incarnation, in the hope that the next set of vehicles might be more amenable to influence than those upon which his horrified gaze now rests. We can imagine that he might say to himself: "I can do nothing with that; I will take my chance of getting something better next time; it can hardly be worse, meantime I have much more important business to do up here".
A similar state of
affairs not infrequently happens (Page
the early stages of a new incarnation. As we have already seen, from the birth
of the child the ego hovers over it, and, in some cases, begins to try to influence
its development while it is still very young. But, as a general rule, he pays
little attention to it until about the age of seven, by which time the work
of the karmic elemental should be practically finished.
But children differ so widely, that it is not surprising to find that the relation between the egos, and the personalities involved, differs widely also. Some child personalities are quick and responsive, some are dull and wayward. When dullness and unresponsiveness are prominent, the ego often withdraws his active interest for the time, hoping that, as the childish body grows, it may become cleverer or more responsive.
To us such a decision may seem unwise, because, if the ego neglects his present personality, it is unlikely that the next will be an improvement upon it; and if he allows the child body to develop without his influence, the undesirable qualities which have been manifested may quite possibly grow stronger, instead of dying out. But we are hardly in a position to judge, since our knowledge of the problem is so imperfect, and we can see nothing of the higher business, to which the ego is devoting himself.
From this it will
be seen how impossible it is to judge, with any precision, the position in evolution
of any one whom we see on the physical plane. In one case, karmic causes may
have produced a very fair personality having an ego of only moderate advancement
behind it. In another case those causes, may have given rise to an inferior
or defective personality, belonging to a comparatively advanced ego.
When the ego decides to turn the full force of his energy upon the personality the change which he can produce is very great. No one who has not personally investigated the matter cannot imagine how wonderful, how rapid, how radical, such a change may be, when conditions are favourable - that is, when the ego is (Page 204) reasonably strong, and the personality not incurably viciousmore especially, when a determined effort is made by the personality, on its side, to become a perfect expression of the ego, and make itself attractive to him.
To understand how this can be, it is, of course, necessary to look at the matter simultaneously from two points of view. Most of us here are very emphatically personalities, and think and act exclusively as such; yet we know all the time that in reality we are egos, and those of us who, by many years of meditation, have rendered ourselves more sensitive to finer influences, are often conscious of the intervention of the higher self.
The more we can make
a habit of identifying ourselves with the ego, the more clearly and sanely shall
we view the problems of life. But, in so far as we feel ourselves to be personalities,
it is obviously our duty, and our interest, to open ourselves to the ego, to
reach up towards him, and persistently to set up within ourselves such vibrations
as will be of use to him. At least we should be sure that we do not stand in
the way of the ego, that we always do our best for him, according to our lights.
Since selfishness is the intensification of the personality, the first step should be to rid ourselves of that vice. Next, the mind should be kept filled with high thoughts; for, if it is continually occupied with lower matterseven though those lower matters may be quite estimable in their waythe ego cannot readily use it as a channel of expression.
When the ego makes
a tentative effort, when he puts down, as we might say, an explanatory finger,
he should be received with enthusiasm, and his behests,should be instantly obeyed
that he may more and more take possession of the mind, and so come into his
inheritance, so far as the lower planes are concerned.
The personality should, so to speak, stand aside, and let the ego, the "warrior", fight in him.
In so doing, however, the personality must take care (Page 205) that he is devoted to the work, and not to his personal share or part in it. He must take care that, in a rush of personality, he remembers all the time that it is the ego that is working in him.
Although the vagueness of the ego, unless he were developed, may perhaps preclude him from indicating a particular line of work, yet when the personality, being more definite, has found the work, the ego can and does pour himself down into it, and enables him to do it in a much better manner and in an altogether grander frame of mind than the personality could attain unaided.
"But if thou [the personality] look not for him [the ego], if thou pass him by, then there is no safeguard for thee. Thy brain will reel, thy heart grow uncertain, and in the dust of the battlefield thy sight and senses will fail, and thou wilt not know thy friends from thy enemies". [Light on the Path] This is what happens when the personality does not look for the higher guidance of the ego.
This is a step necessary to be taken, but man who intends to set his feet upon the Path which leads to Initiation, for, at Initiation, the lower and the higher become one, or rather the lesser is absorbed by the greater, so that there should be nothing left in the personality, which is not a representation of the ego, the lower being merely an expression of the higher. With this, however, we shall deal more fully in Chapter XXXI, which deals specifically with Initiation.
It is obvious, therefore, that the personality should endeavour to ascertain what the ego desires, and provide him with the opportunities he wants. The study of inner things, as mentioned, and living the spiritual life, wakes up the ego, and attracts his attention. To take an example: suppose you have an ego whose principal method of manifesting himself is by affection. That quality is what he wants to exhibit by his personality: consequently, if the personality tries to feel strong affection, and makes a specialty of that, the ego will promptly throw more of himself into the personality, (Page 206) because he finds in it exactly what he desires.
In the savage, the
self expresses itself in all kinds of emotions and passions of which the ego
could not possibly approve, but, in the developed man, there are no emotions
but such as he chooses to have. Instead of being swayed by emotions, and carried
off his feet, he simply selects them. He would say, for example: "Love
is a good thing: I will allow myself to feel love. Devotion is a good thing:
I will allow myself to feel devotion. Sympathy is beautiful: I will allow myself
to feel sympathy. "This he does with his eyes open, intentionally. The
emotions are thus under the dominion of the mind, and that mind is an expression
of the causal body, so that the man is coming very near to the condition of
complete unity of the higher and lower self.
The connection between the ego and the mental body is of the greatest importance, and every effort should be made to keep it active and alive. For the ego is the force behind, which makes use of the qualities and powers of the personality. In order that we may think of anything we must remember it; in order that we may remember it, we must have paid attention to it; and the paying attention is the descent of the ego into his vehicles in order to look through them.
Many a man with a fine mental body and a good brain makes little use of them, because he pays little attention to lifethat is to say, because the ego is putting but little of himself down into these lower planes, and so the vehicles, are left to run riot at their own will. The remedy for this has already been stated: it is to give the ego the conditions he requires, when there will be no reason to complain of his response.
It appears that the actual experiences of the personality cannot be transmitted to the ego: but the essence of them may be passed to him. The ego cares little for details, but does want the essence of experiences. This being so, it is evident (Page 207) that the ordinary man has in his life very little that appeals to the ego.
The system of yielding
up results of the lower work, but not the detailed experiences, proceeds all
the time until Adeptship is attained.
The student will do well to follow the advice given in Light on The Path : watch for the ego, and let him fight through you: but at the same time remember, always that you are the ego. Therefore identify yourself with him, and make the lower give way to the higher. Even if you fall many times, there is no reason to be disheartened, for even failure is to a certain extent success, since by failure we learn, and so are wiser to meet the next problem. It is not expected that we should invariably succeed, but only that we shall always do our best.
Moreover, we must
recollect that the ego has associated himself with the personality because he
has a hunger,or thirst [Trishna] for vivid experience. As he develops, the hunger
abates little by little,and sometimes,when he is advanced, and has become more
sensitive to the delights and activities of his own plane,he goes to the other
extreme of neglecting his personality, caught as it is in the grip of karma,
sunk in conditions which are now full of sorrow or of boredom to the ego, because
he feels that he has outgrown them.
This diminution of the thirst has taken place as he developed his personality. When he gained full consciousness on the astral plane,the physical began to appear dull by comparison; reaching the lower mental world, he found the astral dark and dismal; and all four of the lower levels lost their attraction when he began to enjoy the still more vivid and luminous life of the causal body.
As has already been pointed out, it is necessary ever to bear in mind that consciousness is one: it is, therefore, quite mistaken to conceive of the ego, or higher-self, as something "above", something essentially foreign to ourselves, and consequently hard to reach. (Page 208) Often we speak of the "tremendous effort" required to reach the higher self: at other times of the inspiration, etc.,which comes from the higher self to us down below. In all these cases, we make the fundamental mistake of identifying, ourselves with that which we are not, instead of that which we fundamentally are. The first condition of spiritual achievement is the certainty, beyond any doubt that we are the ego of higher self: the second condition is that we have full confidence in our own powers as the ego, and the courage to use them freely.
Instead, therefore, of looking upon the consciousness of the personality as usual and normal, we should accustom ourselves to look upon the consciousness of the personality as abnormal and unnatural, and the life of the ego as our own true life, from which by continuous effort we keep ourselves estranged.
This attitude to the various bodies should be adopted in practical life. Thus, the physical body should not be permitted to work of its own accord, but should be deliberately and consciously trained to obey the behests of the ego. In this way will be brought about what the Hermetic philosophers called the "regeneration" of the body. This is a real change which, when accomplished for ever breaks the dominion of the physical body over the consciousness, making it instead an instrument for the use of the ego.
A similar change
should be brought about with regard to the astral body. Instead of permitting
the world of emotion to influence it and determine its activity, the ego should
himself decide and determine what emotions he will entertain, what feelings
he permits himself to radiate from his astral body. Thus the consciousness of
the ego becomes disentangled from the astral body, and that body becomes subservient
to the wishes of the ego.
Perhaps most essential of all is control of the mental body, because thought is the manifestation of the supreme Creative Energy. We should never allow thought images to be incited from without: (Page 209) instead, when thought images are made, they should be created by the deliberate, self-conscious action of the ego himself.
Great danger lies in the undisciplined imagination. Were it not for the imagination, external objects of desire would have no power over us. The ego should therefore acquire full control over the imagination, and permit it to exercise its function only in such directions as he determines.
acts also as a powerful factor in undermining and weakening the will. Only too
often, after some resolution has been made, the imagination is allowed to play
with the unpleasant aspects of what it has been decided to do, until eventually
it is made to appear so unpleasant that the idea of doing it is given up altogether.
Shakespeare uttered deep psychological, truth when he made Hamlet say : "the
native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought."
The remedy for this unfortunate habit is obvious: the will and attention should be irrevocably concentrated, not on the difficulties or unpleasantnesses which we imagine confront us, but on the task which is to be done. "Nerve us with constant affirmatives", said Emerson.
Pursuing the analysis a little further, we should abandon the widespread idea that the will does things, that we carry through something by an effort of the will. To do and carry out is not the function of the will, but of a quite different aspect of the ego, the creative activity.
The will is the Ruler,
the King who says "this shall be done," but who does not go and do
things Himself. Psychologically speaking, the will is the power to hold the
consciousness focussed on one thing and exclude everything else. In itself,
it is perfectly serene, quiet, and unmoving, being, as said, just the power
to hold one thing and exclude all else.
It is scarcely possible to fix the limits of the power of the human will when properly directed. It is so ( Page 210 ) much more far-reaching than the ordinary man ever supposes, that the results, gained by its means appear to him astounding and supernatural. A study of its powers brings one gradually to realise what was meant by the statement that if faith were only sufficient, it could remove mountains, and cast them into the sea; and even that oriental description seems scarcely exaggerated when one examines authenticated instances of what has been achieved by this marvellous power. Perhaps the most important factor in a successful use of the will is perfect confidence, which of course, may be gained in various ways, according to the type of person concerned.
As soon as man realises that there is the inner and spiritual world of the ego, which is of enormously more importance in every way than that which is external, he may well adopt the attitude of an actor, who plays his part in the world, only because of the true life inside. An actor takes various parts at different times, just as we come back in other incarnations and wear other kinds of bodies. But all the time the actor has his real life as a man and as an artist as well, and, because he has that life of his own, he wants to play his part well, in the temporary life of the stage. Similarly, we should wish to do well, in our temporary life here, because of the great reality behind, of which it is a very small fragment.
If this is clearly realised, we shall see what is the relative importance of this outer life: that its only value to us is that we shall play our part well, whatever that part may be. What kind of part it is, and what happens to us in this mimic existence - these things matter little. It may be an actor's business to go through all sorts of pretended sorrows and difficulties; but these do not trouble him in the least. He may, for example, have to be killed every night in a duel; what does the feigned death matter to him? The only thing that concerns him is that he should acquit himself well.
Hence, it should not be difficult to realise that the ( Page 211) world about us is a mimic world, and that it really does not matter what experiences may come to us. All things that happen to people from the outside are a result of their karma. The causes were set up going long ago in other lives, and cannot now be altered. Therefore it is useless to worry about the things that happen: they should be borne philosophically. The way in which they are borne moulds the character for the future, and that is the only important thing. One should use karma to develop courage, endurance and various other good qualities, and then dismiss it from the mind.
Thus the groping, striving, struggling divine Self becomes, as evolution proceeds, the true Ruler, the inner Ruler Immortal. A man who grasps that he is himself that Immortal Ruler, seated within his Self-created vehicles of expression, gains a sense of dignity and power which grows ever stronger, and more compelling on the lower nature. The knowledge of the truth makes us free.
The Inner Ruler may still be hampered by the very forms he has shaped for self-expression, but, knowing himself as the Ruler, he can work steadfastly to bring his realm into complete subjection. He knows that he has come into the world for a certain purpose, to make himself fit to be a co-worker with the Supreme Will, and he can do and suffer all which is necessary to that end.
He knows himself divine, and that his Self-realisation is only a matter of time. Inwardly, the divinity is felt, though outwardly it is not yet expressed; his task is to become in manifestation what he is in essence. He is king de jure, not yet de facto.
As a Prince, born to a crown, patiently submits to the discipline which is fitting him to wear it, so the sovereign Will in us is evolving to the age when royal powers will pass into its grasp, and may therefore patiently submit to the necessary discipline of life.
A correct view of the relationship, between the ego and his successive personalities, should suffice to clear up ( Page 212 ) the misunderstandings which have arisen regarding the teachings of the Lord Buddha. The Buddha preached constantly against the idea which was evidently prevalent in His time, of the continuation of the personality. But while He taught that nothing of all that, with which men generally identify themselves, lasts forever, He made most unequivocal statements about the successive lives of men. He gave examples of preceding lives, and compared, successive incarnations to days that one may have spent in this village or in that.
Nevertheless, the Southern Church of Buddhism now teaches that only karma persists, not an ego; as though man in one life made a certain amount of karma, and then died, and nothing was left of him, but another person was born, and had to bear the karma which that person did not make.
With curious illogicality, however, in spite of the formal teaching to the contrary, a practical belief in the continued existence of the individual persists, because, for example, the Buddhist monks speak of attaining nirvana, and recognise that this will take many lives.
The real significance
of this teaching of the Buddha lies in the great emphasis, He laid on the external
temporary part of man which does not endure, and the implication that
the parts of man which are not temporary or external, do survive as the enduring
ego, the real man.
His teaching, however, went still deeper than this. There is a passage in the Shri Vakya Sudha which warns the aspirant that when he repeats the great formula "I am That", he must take care what he means by " I ". It explains that the separate individual should be understood as threefold, and that it is the union of Brahman only of the highest of these three that is proclaimed by "Thou art That", and such sayings. We have already abundantly seen that the personality is not "I": and even the "you" in me is not "I" : the " I " is some thing indistinguishable ( Page 213 ) from the universal Self, in which the many and the One are one. The Lord Buddha's teaching denies the permanency of the "you", that men call " I ".
Much wisdom is often wrapped up in etymology. Thus the very word "person" is compounded of the two Latin words per and sona, and therefore signifies, "that through which the sound comes"- i.e., The mask worn by the Roman actor to indicate the part which he happened at the moment to be playing. Thus we very appropriately speak of the group of temporary lower vehicles, which an ego assumes when he descends into incarnation, as his "personality".
Almost equally instructive are the words individual and individuality which are highly appropriate when applied to the ego. For individual means that which is not divisible without loss of identity: subsisting as one; and individuality is defined as separate and distinct existence. Going a stage further still, the word exist derives from ex , out, and sistere, to make to stand. Thus the ego or individuality is made to stand out [ from the Monad ], and manifests itself through the mask of the personality.
Diagram XXIX is an attempt to illustrate one aspect of the relationship between the ego and his successive personalities. We see in the diagram, first, the Monad deriving his life from the Unmanifest, and projecting below himself his ego, with his threefold characteristics or aspects. The ego in turn projects ( Page 214 ) from himself into the lower planes a series of successive personalities. These are shown in the drawing as gradually widening out, as they develop, until eventually the last personality is equilateral, being fully and symmetrically developed, thereby expressing, as fully as its inherent limitations permit, the nature and powers of the ego.
As people develop, the personal consciousness may be unified with the life of the egoas far as that is possible - and then there is only one consciousness: even in the personal consciousness there will be the consciousness of the ego, who will know all that is going on. But, as already said, with many people, at the present day, there is often considerable opposition between the personality and the ego.
A man who has succeeded
in raising his consciousness to the level of the causal body, and thereby unifying
the consciousness of the lower and the higher selves, of the personality with
the individuality or ego has, of course, the consciousness of the ego at his
disposal during the whole of his physical life. This will not be at all affected
by the death of the physical body, nor even by the second and third deaths in
which he leaves behind him the astral and mental bodies respectively.
His consciousness, in fact, resides in the ego all the time, and plays through whatever vehicle he may happen at any given moment to be using.
For him the whole
series of his incarnations is only one long life: what we call an incarnation
is to him a day in that life. All through his human evolution, his consciousness
is fully active. Incidentally, we may note that he is generating karma just
as much at one period as at another; and while his condition at any given moment
is the result of the causes he has set in motion in the past, yet there is no
instant at which he is not modifying his conditions by the exercise of thought
and will. Whilst
this consideration applies to all men, yet it is clear that one who possesses
the ego consciousness is in a position to modify his karma more deliberately,
and with (
Page 215 ) more
calculated effect, than one who has not achieved continuous ego-consciousness.
H.P.Blavatsky speaks of the Higher Self as the "great Master", though she is here using the term Master in an unusual sense, different from that in which it is mostly employed today. It is, she says, the equivalent of Avalokiteshvara, and the same as Adi-Buddha with the Buddhist occultists, Âtma. with the Brahmanas, and Christos with the ancient Gnostics.
( Page 216 ) There are a number of ways in which the activity of the ego may be more specifically observed as operating through the consciousness of the personality. In the first place, as has been pointed out more than once, anything evil or selfish cannot, by the very mechanism of the higher planes affect the ego, and we may therefore say that he has nothing to do with it. Unselfish thoughts and feelings alone can affect the ego: all the lower thoughts and feelings affect the permanent atoms, not the ego: and as we have seen, corresponding to them we find gaps in the causal body, not "bad" colours. The ego is concerned only with purely unselfish feelings and thoughts.
Most people are conscious
of times when they are filled with splendid inspiration, and exaltation, with
glowing devotion and joy. These moments, of course, are precisely those when
the ego succeeds in impressing himself upon the lower consciousness; but that
which is then felt is, in reality, there all the time, though the personality
is not always conscious of it. The aspirant should endeavour to realise, both
by reason and by faith, that it is always there, and it will then appear
as though he actually felt it, even at times when the link is imperfect, and
when he does not feel it in the personal consciousness.
Moreover, it is obvious that while the mind is responding to the appeals of he physical, astral and lower mental planes, it is not likely to hear the message, that the ego is trying to transmit to the personality from his own higher planes.
An emotional impulse belonging to the astral plane, is sometimes mistaken for real spiritual aspiration ( Page 217 ) because what happens in the buddhic vehicle, if brought down to the personality, is reflected in the astral body. A standard example of this phenomenon is to be found in religious revivalist meetings. Such great emotional upheavals, whilst sometimes beneficial, are in many instances harmful, tending to throw people off their mental balance.
Two simple but excellent rules may be given for differentiating between a true intuition and mere impulse. First: if the matter be laid aside for a while, and "slept on" an impulse will probably die away: a genuine intuition will remain as strong as ever. Second: true intuition is always connected with something unselfish; if there is any touch of selfishness it may be taken as certain that it is only as astral impulse, and not a true buddhic intuition.
The influence of the ego is often felt on occasions when one seems to know by inner conviction that a thing is true without being able to reason it out. The ego knows, and has good reason for his knowledge; but sometimes he cannot impress his reasons on the physical brain, though the bare fact that he knows manages to come through. Hence, when a new truth is presented to us, we know at once whether we can accept it or not.
That is not superstition, but an intense inner conviction. Superficially, it may appear to be abandoning reason in favour of intuition; but then it must be remembered that buddhi, which we translate "intuition" is as known in India as "pure reason". It is the reason of the ego, which is a type higher than that which we have on the lower planes.
we may say that manas gives inspiration: buddhi gives intuition as to right
and wrong: Âtma. is the directing conscience, commanding that the
man should follow that which he knows to be best, often when the mind is trying
to invent some excuse to do otherwise.
Again, the manifestation of genius are but the momentary grasping of the brain by the large ( Page 218 ) consciousness of the ego, forcing it into an insight, a strength of grip, and a width of outlook, that causes its noble reach. This large consciousness is the real Self, the real man. Many things that we see around us, or that happen to us, are hints of this larger consciousness, whisperings, scarcely articulate as yet, but with all the promise of the future, that come from the land of our birth, from the world to which we truly belong. They are the voice of the living spirit, unborn, undying, ancient, perpetual, constant. They are the voice of the inner God, speaking in the body of man.
Life teaches us in two ways, by tuition that the world gives us, and by intuition the working of the inner self. As men develop, their intuition increases, and they do not depend so much as before on the instruction that the world gives. That is another way of saying that the man who uses his inner powers can learn much more from a little experience than other men can from a great deal. Because of the activity of his innate intelligence, the developed man is able to see the great significance of even small things; but the undeveloped mind is full of curiosity. It is eager for novelty, because, not being good at thinking, it soon exhausts the obvious significance of commonplace things. This mind is the one that craves miracles in connection with its religious experience, as it is blind to the countless miracles that surround it all the time.
What we call the
dictates of conscience come from above, and represent usually the knowledge
of the ego on the subject. But here a word of caution is necessary. The ego
himself is as yet but partially developed. His knowledge on any given subject
may be quite small, or even inaccurate, and he can reason only from the information
Because of this, a man's conscience often misleads him, for an ego who is young, and knows but little, may yet be able to impress his will upon the personality. But as a general rule the undeveloped ego is also undeveloped in his power of impressing himself ( Page 219 ) upon his lower vehicles; and perhaps this is just as well.
Sometimes however, as said, an ego, who lacks development in tolerance and wide knowledge, may yet have a will sufficiently strong to impress upon his physical brain orders which show that he is a very young ego, and does not understand.
Hence, when conscience seems to dictate something which is clearly against the great laws of mercy and truth and justice [as, possibly, was the case with some of the inquisitors], the man should think carefully whether the universal rule is not a greater thing than the particular application which seems to conflict with it. The intellect should always be used in such a way that it will be an instrument of the ego, not an obstacle in the path of his development.
A curious example
of the way in which an ego may manifest himself to the personality is that described
in The Mental Body, p.280. A certain orator whilst speaking one sentence
of a lecture, habitually sees the next sentence actually materialise in the
air before her, in three different forms, from which she consciously selects
that one which she thinks the best. This is evidently the work of the ego, though
it is a little difficult to see why he takes that method of communication, instead
of himself selecting the form he thinks best, and impressing that form alone
on the personal consciousness.
That which is known to mystics as the "Voice of the Silence" differs for people at different stages. The voice of the silence for any one is that which comes from the part of him which is higher than his consciousness can reach, and, naturally that changes as his evolution progresses.
For those now working with the personality, the voice of the ego is the voice of the silence, but when one has dominated the personality entirely, and has made it one with the ego, so that the ego may work perfectly through it, it is the voice of Âtma. - the triple spirit on the nirvanic plane. When this is ( Page 220 ) reached, there will still be a voice of the silencethat of the Monad. When the man identifies the ego and the Monad, and attains Adeptship, he will still find a voice of the silence coming down to him from above, but then it will be the voice, perhaps, of one of the Ministers of the Deity, one of the Planetary Logoi. Perhaps for Him in turn it will be the voice of the Solar Logos Himself. The "Voice of the Silence", therefore, from whatever level it may come, is always essentially divine.
The ego works in the physical body through the two great divisions of the nervous system - the sympathetic and the cerebrospinal. The sympathetic system is connected mostly with the astral body, the cerebrospinal system with the mental body, this system coming more and more under the influence of the ego as he advances in intellectual power.
As the cerebrospinal system developed, the ego passed on to the sympathetic system more and more of the parts of his consciousness, definitely established, towards which he no longer needed to turn his attention, in order to keep them in working order. It is possible, by the methods of Hatha Yoga, for example for the ego to re-establish direct control over portions of the sympathetic system: to do so, however, is obviously not a step forward, but a step backward, in evolution.
The student should recollect that the ego is always striving upwards, trying to get rid of the lower planes, endeavouring to throw off the burdens which prevent his climbing. He does not want to be troubled, for example, with looking after the vital functions of the body, and gives his attention to the machinery only when anything goes wrong. As previously said, all such workings are recoverable, but it is not worth while to do so. On the contrary, the more we can hand over to that automatism, the better; for the less we have to utilise the waking consciousness, for the things that are constantly recurring, the more shall we have to work for the things that really need attention, ( Page 221 ) and that are probably vastly more important, at any rate from the point of view of the ego.
Occasionally a man may become dominated by a "fixed idea", this resulting in some cases in madness, in other cases, in the unshakable devotion or determination of the saint or the martyr. These two classes of cases have diverse psychological origins, which we may now study.
A fixed idea that is madness is an idea which the ego has handed over to the sympathetic system, so that it has become part of the "subconscious". It may be a past mood or notion, that the ego has outgrown; or a forgotten fact, suddenly reasserting itself, unaccompanied by its proper surroundings;or the connection of two incongruous ideas; and so on.
There are countless
such ideas, with which the ego has had to do in the past, and which he has not
entirely thrown out of the mechanism of consciousness so that they have lingered
there, though the ego himself has outgrown them. So long as any part of the
mechanism of consciousness can respond to them, for so long those ideas may
emerge above the horizon, or "threshold" of consciousness.
When such an idea comes up, as it does, without reason, without rationality, with the rush and surge and passionate strength of the past, it overbears the subtler mechanism that the ego has evolved for his higher purposes. For ideas,such as those we are considering, are stronger on the physical plane than those we call the ordinary mental ideas, because, their vibrations being slower and coarser, they produce more result in the denser matter. It is far easier to affect the physical body, for example, by the surge of a barbaric emotion, than by the subtle reasoning of a philosopher.
We may state, then, that the fixed idea of the madman is usually an idea which has left its trace on the sympathetic system, and which, during some disturbance or weakening of the cerebrospinal system, is able to assert itself in consciousness. It arises from below. ( Page 222 )
The fixed idea of the saint or martyr, on the other hand, is a very different thing. This comes down from the ego himself, who is striving to impress upon the physical brain his own loftier emotion, his own wider knowledge. The ego, who can see further on the higher planes than he can in the physical encasement, tries to impress upon that physical encasement his own will, his own desire for the higher and nobler. It comes with all-dominating power; it cannot approve itself to the reason, for the brain is not yet ready to reason on those lines of higher knowledge and of deeper vision and intuition; but it comes down, with the force of the ego on a body prepared for it, and thus asserts itself as the dominant power, guiding the man to heroic action, to martyrdom, to saintship. Such fixed ideas come, not, as in the previous class, from below, but from above; not from the subconscious but from the super-conscious.
As was said in The
Mental Body, p. 279, we need not shrink from the fact that there is frequently
a psychological instability associated with genius, as expressed in the saying
that genius is akin to madness, and in the statement of Lombroso and others
that many of the saints were neuropaths. The more delicate the machinery, the
more easily may it be overstrained, or thrown out of gear; hence it is sometimes
true that the very instability of the genius or the saint is the very condition
of inspiration, the normal brain being not yet sufficiently developed, nor delicate
enough, to answer to the subtle waves coming from the higher consciousness.
Thus those impulses, which we call the promptings of genius, come down from the super-conscious, from the realm of the ego himself. Not only do these inspirations from the higher consciousness sometimes cause brain instability, but, as is well known, they are frequently accompanied by great irregularity of moral conduct. The reason for this is interesting and important.
When any force comes down, from a higher to a lower plane, ( Page 223 ) it is subject to transmutation in the vehicle into which it comes. According to the nature of the vehicle will be the transmutation of the force,a portion of the force being changed by the vehicle, into which it plays, into the form of energy to which that vehicle lends itself most readily.
Hence, for example, if an organism have a tendency to sexual excitement, the down flow of the force of genius will immensely increase the force of sexuality, by that part of which is transmitted into vitality. We may note here, as an example of the working of this principle, that in the Third Race, the down flow of the spiritual life, into the channels of the animal man, so enormously increased his animal powers, that it was necessary that the Sons of Mind should come to his assistance, or humanity would have plunged down into the vilest of animal excesses, the very force of the spiritual life increasing the depth of the plunge into degradation. The lesson to be learnt here is clearly, that before we invite the inflow of the higher forces, it is all-important first to purify the lower nature. As the Buddha taught, the first rule is: "Cease to do evil".
In the words of The
Voice of the Silence: "Beware lest thou shouldst set a foot still
soiled upon the ladder's lowest rung. Woe unto him who dares pollute one rung
with miry feet. The foul and viscous mud will dry, become tenacious, then glue
his feet unto the spot; and like a bird caught in the wily fowler's lime, he
will be stayed from further progress. His vices will take shape and drag him
down. His sins will raise their voices like as the jackal's laugh and sob after
the sun goes down; his thoughts become an army, and bear him off a captive slave.
"Kill thy desires, Lanoo, make thy vices impotent, ere the first step is taken on the solemn journey.
"Strangle thy sins, and make them dumb forever, before thou dost lift one foot to mount the ladder.
"Silence thy thoughts, and fix thy whole attention on thy Master, whom yet thou dost not see, but whom thou feelest".
224 ) The
student will scarcely need to be told that one meaning of "thy Master"
is his own ego.
A man on the Path must do his work thoroughly. On the threshold mistakes can easily be corrected. But unless the disciple gets rid entirely, for example, of the desire for power, in the early stages of his spiritual apprenticeship, it will become stronger and stronger. If he does not weed it out where it is based in the physical, astral and mental planes, but allows it to take root in the spiritual plane of the ego, he will find it very difficult to eradicate. Ambition thus established in the causal body is carried on from life to life. So the pupil should beware of permitting spiritual ambition to touch the causal body, and so build into it elements of separateness, which more and more encase the life.
A man who is a genius
on some line may often find it easy to apply tremendous, concentration to his
particular line of work; but,when he relaxes from that, his ordinary life may
quite possible be still full of whirlpools in his mental and astral bodies.
Such whirlpools may and do constantly crystallise into permanent prejudices,
and make actual congestions of matter closely resembling warts upon the mental
body [vide The Mental Body,p.31]. This of course is not what is required: the
student of occultism aims at nothing less than the complete destruction of the
whirlpools, so as to comb out the lower mind and make it the calm and obedient
servant of the higher self at all times.
During the sleep of the physical body, although the ego leaves the body, yet he always maintains a close connection with it, so that under ordinary circumstances, he would be quickly recalled to it by any attempt that might be made upon it, e.g.. ,to obsess it.
Whilst there are
several widely different causes of sleepwalking [vide The`Astral Body
p.90-91] there are some instances in which it appears that the ego is able to
act more directly upon his physical body during the absence of the intermediate
mental and astral vehicles (
Page 225 )instances
in which the man is able, during his sleep, to write poetry or to paint pictures,
which would be far beyond his powers when awake.
The ego often impresses his ideas upon the personality in dreams, using sets of symbols, of which each ego has his own system, though some forms seem general in dreams. Thus it is said that to dream of water signifies trouble of some sort, although there does not seem any real connection between the two.
But, even though there be no real connection, an ego - or for that matter some other entity who desires to communicatemay use the symbol, merely because it is understood by the personality, and, by means of it, warn the personality of some impending misfortune.
Prophetic dreams must be attributed exclusively to the action of the ego,who either foresees for himself, or is told of some future event, for which he wishes to prepare his lower consciousness. This may be of any degree of clearness and accuracy, according to the power of the ego to assimilate it himself, and having done so, to impress it upon his waking brain.
Sometimes the event is one of serious moment, such as death or disaster, so that the motive of the ego, in endeavouring to impress it, is obvious. On other occasions, however, the fact foretold is apparently unimportant, so that it is difficult to understand why the ego should take any trouble about it. But in such cases, it must be borne in mind that the fact remembered may be merely a trifling detail of some far larger vision, the rest of which has not come through to the physical brain. Stories of such prophetic dreams are, of course, quite common. Several are to be found in Dreams, by C.W.Leadbeater,p. 52 et seq.
In order to bring through, into the physical brain, impressions from the ego ,It is obvious that the brain must be calm. Everything from the causal body must pass through the mental and astral bodies, and, if either of these is disturbed it reflects imperfectly, just as the least rippling of the surface of a lake will break up and distort images reflected in it. It is necessary ( Page 226 ) also to eradicate absolutely all prejudices, otherwise they will produce the effect of stained glass, colouring everything which is seen through them, and so giving a false impression.
a man is to hear the "still small voice" with certainty and accuracy,
he must be still: the outer man must be unshaken by all external things,
by the clamour of the big breakers of life that dash against him, as well as
by the delicate murmur of the softer ripples. He must learn to be very still,
to have no desires and no aversions. Except on rare occasions, when it is unusually
strong, it is only when personal desires and aversions have ceased to exist,
when the voice of the outer world can no longer command him, that a man can
hear the inner voice which should be his unfailing guide.
THE EGO AND THE PERSONALITY: SACRAMENTAL AIDS
( Page 227 ) The sacraments of the Christian religion, and also the ceremonies of Freemasonry, have such an intimate bearing on the relationship between the ego and the personality, as to justify a separate chapter being devoted to considering this important aspect of our subject.
We will consider first the sacraments of Christianity, as they are performed in the Liberal Catholic Church.
The Christian Church sets out to meet the soul or ego, as soon as he comes into his new set of bodies, offering him welcome and assistance: this is achieved through the ceremony of baptism.
As it is not practicable to get at the ego himself, his vehicles are dealt with on the physical plane. As we have seen, what the ego most needs is to get his new set of vehicles in order, so that he can work through them. Coming, as he does, laden with the results of his past lives,he has within him seeds of good qualities, and also seeds of evil qualities. Those seeds of evil have often, been called "original sin", and quite wrongly connected with the fabled action of Adam and Eve.
It is obviously of great importance to the child that everything possible should be done to starve out the germs of evil, and to encourage those of good: it is to this end that the sacrament of baptism is especially designed. The water used is magnetised, with a special view to the effect of its vibrations upon the higher vehicles, so that all the germs of good qualities, in the unformed astral and mental bodies of the child, may thereby receive a strong stimulus, while at the same time the germs of evil may be isolated and deadened.
228 ) The
ceremony has also another aspect, that of consecrating and setting apart the
new vehicles to the true expression of the soul within, and when it is properly
and intelligently performed, there can be no doubt that its effect is a powerful
one, which may affect the whole future life of the child.
The baptismal ceremony brings a new force into activity, on the side of the ego, in order to influence his vehicles in the right direction. Underlying the belief, that at baptism a guardian angel is given to the child, is the fact that a new thought-form, or artificial elemental is built,which is filled by the divine force, and also ensouled by a higher kind of nature-spirit known as a sylph. This remains with the child as a factor on the side of good, so that to all intents and purposes it is a guardian angel. Incidentally, through this work the sylph becomes individualised, and grows from a sylph into a seraph, through its association with a thought-form, permeated by the life and thought of the Head of the Church Himself.
The sacrament of
baptism cannot alter the disposition of the man, but it can make his vehicles
a little easier to manage. It does not suddenly make a devil into an angel,
or a very evil man into a good one, but it certainly gives the man a better
chance. This is what it is intended to do, and that is the limit of its power.
In addition, and more specifically, the baptismal ceremony is intended to open up the chakrams, or force-centres, and to set them moving much more rapidly. When this has been done [for details the student is referred to The Science of the Sacraments], and the "guardian angel" thought form has been built, the pouring in of the triple spiritual force takes place at the actual baptism itself, through the medium of consecrated water.
As the names of the Trinity are invoked, the force unquestionably flows from the Three Persons of the Solar Deity Himself, though it reaches us through the intermediate stages of the Christ, Who is the Head of the Church, ( Page 229 ) and the ordained priest. The thought which fills the guardian angel thought-form is, in fact really that of the Christ Himself.
Baptism is primarily intended for infants, and its commission in infancy cannot be fully supplied by baptism is later life. This adult has necessarily long ago verified the matter of his vehicles for himself, and his currents are flowing much in the same way as baptism would have caused them to flow; but it will usually be found that the "corners" are not cleaned up, much of the aura seems unvivified, and there is a large amount of indeterminate matter, with which nothing is being done; it has, therefore, a tendency to get out of the general circulation, to settle and form a deposit, and so gradually to clog the machinery and interfere with its efficient working. Baptism in infancy obviates much of this unpleasant result.
In the case of older people, quite a different type of sylph is given, a more worldly-wise entity, capable of development into a keener intelligence. About him there is something half-cynical: he has unwearying patience, but he does not seem to be expecting much, while the angel of the baby is optimistic - vaguer , it may be,than the other, but full of love and hope, and schemes for the future.
Still, a wholesome and beneficent influence is exercised by the baptism of adults; the anointing with the sacred chrism is not without its use, in cleansing the gateway through which the man passes in and out of his body in sleep, and even in the making of the shield, before and behind, is good, especially for those who are young and unmarried.
In the sacrament
of Confirmation, the bishop pronounces a preliminary blessing, which is intended
to widen out the connection between the ego and his vehicles, in order to prepare
the way for what is coming. We might say that the object is to stretch both
soul and vehicles to their utmost capacity, that they may be able to receive
more of the Divine outpouring.(
Page 230 )
As he makes the sign of the cross, at the appropriate places, the bishop pours into the candidate power, which is definitely that of the Third Person of the Trinity. This comes in three waves, and acts at the three levels, upon the principles of the candidate.
The divine power rushes through the ego of the bishop, into the higher mind of the candidate: then it pushes upward into Buddhi and finally presses upwards into the Âtma. In each case, it is through the Third-Person aspect of each of these principles that the work is done.
Some candidates are, of course, far more susceptible to the process of opening-up than others. Upon some the effect produced is enormous and lasting; in the case of others, it is often but slight, because as yet that which has to be awakened is so little developed as to be barely capable of any response.
When the awakening, so far as it may be, has been achieved, there comes what may be called the filling and sealing of Âtma., buddhi and manas. The effect on Âtma. is reflected in the etheric double, so far as the development allows, that on buddhi is reproduced in the astral body, and that on higher manas is mirrored in the mental body.
The intention of
Confirmation is thus to tighten the links all the way up, to bring about a closer
connection between the ego and the personality, and also between the ego and
the monad. The result is not merely temporary; the opening up of the connections
makes a wider channel, through which a constant flow can be kept going. Confirmation
arms and equips a boy or girl for life, and makes it easier for the ego to act
on and through his vehicles.
Passing to the Minor Orders, we find the Cleric is intended to aim at the control of his physical body: the Doorkeeper to purify and control his astral body; the Reader has to learn to wield the forces of his mind: the ordination of the Exorcist is aimed at the causal body, and is intended to develop the will, and to give the ego fuller control of the lower vehicles. The degree of Acolyte ( Page 231 ) is intended to help the man to quicken his intuition, the buddhic faculty.
In this series of diagrams, the following symbols are employed:--
( Page 232 ) In Diagram XXXI we have illustrated the condition of an intelligent and cultured, layman. The true man, the Monad, is shown on his own plane, that of Anupadaka. He expresses, or manifests himself in his three aspects on the plane of Âtma.: these we will term Âtma. , Âtma.  and Âtma. , and have marked on the diagrams as A1, A2 and A3 respectively.
Of these three aspects, the first [ A1] remains on the plane of Âtma.: the second descends, or moves outwards, to the plane of buddhi, where we will call it Buddhi , marking, it B1. The third descends or moves out through the two planes, and shows, itself in the higher mental world as Manas, or M: this aspect, also, as it descends or moves through the plane of Buddhi, we will call it Buddhi  or B2.
These three outer or lower manifestations, A1, B1 and M, taken together, constitute, as we know, the soul or ego, in his causal body, as indicated in the diagram by the dotted line which encloses them.
Thus we see that, in addition to the principles of Âtma., buddhi and manas, expressed in the ego as A1, B1 and M, there is also , still latent and undeveloped, another aspect of Buddhi [B2], and two aspects of Âtma. [A1 and A2], making three further aspects still to be brought out of latency, and developed into activity.
Now in the Christ Himself, the Perfect Man, these principles also exist, in exactly the same order: but in His case, they are, of course, fully developed, and, moreover, mystically one with the second Person of the Trinity. One of the gifts conferred by ordination is the linking of certain of these principles, in the ordinand, ( Page 233 ) with the corresponding principles of the Christ, so that a definite channel is made, down which spiritual strength and wisdom flow, up to the fullest limit of the ordinand's receptivity.
The Ordination to the degree of Sub-Deacon confers no powers, but assists in preparing the way for Ordination to the degrees of Deacon, the lowest of the three Major Orders. The bishop therefore attempts gently to widen the connection [the antahkarana, see p.190] between the ego and the lower vehicles of the Sub-Deacon [see Diagram XXXII-A].
the Ordination of a deacon, the link between the ego and his vehicles is widened,
to become a channel, and also the higher manas [M] is linked with the corresponding
principle of the Christ. In some cases buddhi [B1] may also be awakened, and
made to glow slightly, thereby establishing a slight line of connection between
it and the higher manas. These effects are indicated in Diagram
This opening of the channel is so great a departure from ordinary life that it can be done only by stages, and the first step towards it, in the Ordination of a deacon, may be regarded as practically a psychic surgical operation.
The threefold influence, of which a bishop is so especially the custodian `[as we shall see presently], is called strongly into manifestation, and poured forth, so that, by playing upon the corresponding principles of the ordinand, it stirs them into sympathetic vibration; they therefore become, at any rate for the time, enormously more active and receptive than ever before.
At the conclusion
of the ceremony of ordination the bishop makes a final cross, of which the express
purpose is to thicken the walls of the much-expanded link between the ego and
the personality, to harden (
Page 234 ) them,
and hold them more firmly in their new form. It is as though a sort of framework
were erected within, a lining to prevent the widened channel from contracting.
The establishment of the link between the deacon and the Christ enables the higher manas of the Christ to influence that of the deacon, and to stir it into beneficent activity. Needless to say, it does not all follow that it will so affect it; that depends on the deacon. At least the way is laid open, the communication is established, and it is for him to make of it what he can.
In the case of the
priest, the connection is carried a stage further, and several important developments
At the first imposition of the hands, Âtma. and buddhi in the priest [A1,B1 and M] are made to glow with indescribable fervour, by sympathetic vibration, in harmony with the blinding light of the corresponding principles in the Christ. The glow is usually slight in Âtma., but more marked in buddhi. The influx rushes into the ordinand's Âtma., buddhi and manas, through the corresponding principles of the bishop himself.
Further, a line between
Âtma. and buddhi is established, while that already existing between buddhi
and higher manas is intensified. The channel between higher manas and the lower
vehicles is also widened [see Diagram-XXXIII-C]
At the second imposition of the hands, the hitherto latent principle of buddhi [B2] is called into activity, and linked with that of the Christ, while the link between it and higher manas is strengthened.
The link between
the priest's own Âtma., buddhi and manas, [A1,B1 and M] is opened still
more, to permit the flow of more force [see Diagram XXXIII-D].
Thus the priest becomes, in a very real sense, an outpost of the consciousness of the Christ, so that he becomes "His man"the "parson" in fact, that word meaning the same as the person [see p.213] who represents the Christ in a certain parish.
At the ordination of the priest, his ego is more ( Page 235 ) definitely awakened, so that he can act directly upon other egos at the level of the causal body. It is, in fact, this relation which gives him that power to straighten out the distortion, caused by deviation from the path of right, which in ecclesiastical terminology, is known as the power to "remit sin".
The anointing of
the hands of the priest,with oil of catechumens,which is constructive in its
effects, is a setting of them apart for the purpose of his office and a moulding
of them for the transmission of the power of the Christ. The hand of the priest
is thus a specialised instrument that can transmit a blessing. The anointing
brings the opening forces to bear upon the hands, and endues them with power,
whereby, along the lines that are made in the anointing, the influence can pour
The process is something
like the magnetisation of steel: the anointing operates so that forces can pass
through the hands, and at the same time tempers the hands, so that they can
bear the forces, and transmit the power safely.
The bishop makes one cross, which is intended to arrange for the distribution, of the force which rushes down the diagonal line between Âtma., Buddhi and Manas, and a second cross which arranges for the dispensing of the force which flows from Buddhi .
The development of
an ideal priest is possible to a man of great determination, who for years works
at strengthening the connections between his own principles and those of the
Christ. He can intensify the link made with Buddhi and Manas, and can arouse
to vigorous action Âtma. and Buddhi,thereby making himself a channel
of extraordinary power [vide Diagram XXXIIIE].
At the consecration of a bishop, when the actual ( Page 236 ) words of consecration are said, a connection is made between Buddhi  and Âtma. , and the channels between Buddhi  and Manas, and the corresponding principles of the Christ, are enormously widened [vide Diagram, XXXIV-F.
Thus through Âtma.
- Buddhi is linked directly with the Triple Spirit of the Christ, so that
blessing from that level flows through him for those Three Aspects are of course,
truly one: hence the rationale of the bishop signing the people with a triple
cross, instead of with one, as the priest does.
The priest draws his blessing down through his own principles, Âtma., Buddhi and Manas, and emits through his causal body. The bishop, being more fully developed, is able to let the power shine through more immediately, and therefore far more strongly.
In the case of the
bishop, an entirely new line is also opened, linking the bishop's Buddhi
directly with that of the Christ, and thus giving it the potentiality of a development
far beyond our imagination.. It is this wonderful Christ-force which enables
him to hand on his powers to others.
Next, the way is opened for the influence of the amazing development of Buddhi, which has just been made possible, to pour down into the mental and astral vehicles.
At the anointing of the head of the bishop with chrism, the power of reflection of the triple spirit in the lower vehicles is intensified, the triple spirit Âtma.  Âtma.  and Âtma. , glowing, and the way being cleared, down into the physical brain, for the flow of the new forces [see Diagram XXXIV-G]
The three lines connecting Âtma., Buddhi  and Manas [see Diagram XXXIV], indicate that a bishop can draw ( Page 237 )into the causal body, and thus ray forth in blessing, the threefold power of the Triple Spirit.
The action of the chrism tends in the direction of making the force-centre at the top of the headthe brahmarandra chakram - which in most men is a saucer-like depression - into a rapidly rotating cone, projecting upwards from the head.
The anointing of
the hands of the bishop with chrism arranges the mechanism, of the distribution
of the three kinds of force, from the Three Aspects of the Trinity.
The direct line of communication between Buddhi and the astral body is opened fully, so that if and when that Buddhi, or intuition, is developed, it may flow through at once, into what is intended to be its expression in physical life.
The development of the ideal bishop is possible to one who takes advantage, of every opportunity. All of his principles become responsive channels to the power of the Christ, and he becomes a veritable sun of spiritual energy and blessing. This stage is indicated in Diagram XXXIV-H].
The Perfect Man is
not only linked with the Christ, and with his own Highest Self, the Monad, but
becomes ever more and more an epiphany of the Logos Or Deity, who brought forth
the solar system. He becomes the Master, for Whom incarnation is no longer necessary.
Diagram XXXV indicates this stage.
Another provision in the Christian religion is the power of Absolution, vested in the priests. As this affects the relations between the various bodies of man, we may usefully consider it briefly here.
The bodies of man are not, of course, separate in space, but interpenetrating. Looked at from below, however, they give the impression of being joined by innumerable fine wires or lines of fire. Every action which works against evolution puts an unequal strain upon these twists and entangles them. When a man goes badly wrong, the confusion becomes such that communication between the higher and lower bodies is seriously impeded; he is no longer his real self, ( Page 238 ) and only the lower side of the character is able to manifest itself fully.
Whilst the natural forces will straighten out the distortion in due time, yet the Church provides for the work being done more speedily, for the power of straightening out this tangle in higher matter is one of those powers specifically conferred upon a priest at ordination. The co-operation of the man himself is, of course, also needed: for, "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
The effect of "absolution" is strictly limited to the correction of the distortion above described. It reopens certain channels, which have been to a large extent closed by evil thought or action; but it in no way counteracts the physical consequences of that action, nor does it obviate the necessity of restitution, where wrong has been done. The priest's action straightens out the etheric, astral and mental entanglement, produced by the wrong action, or rather by the mental attitude which made that action possible; but it does not in any way relieve the man from the karmic penalty of his action. "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".
One other item of
information, regarding the work of the priest in the Holy Eucharist, may be
mentioned. In making the three crosses, at "bless, approve, and ratify,"
over the offerings, the priest pushes his "tube" through the etheric,
astral and lower mental matter respectively, and the two crosses made separately
over the wafer and the chalice, carry the same tube, now in two branches, on
through the higher mental into the plane above. (
Page 239 )
In doing this, he should use the forces of his own causal body, pressing his
thought upward to the highest possible level.
Turning now to Freemasonry, we find that the three Principal Officers represent, Âtma., Buddhi and Manas in man , and that the three Assistant Officers represent the lower mind, the emotional nature or the astral body, and the etheric double: the O.G. or Tyler represents the physical body. As we are in this book concerned principally with the causal body, we may note especially, that the higher mind is represented by the J.W.
In the devas,nature-spirits and elementals associated with the J.W.,a golden hue predominates.
When the R.W.M creates ,receives and constitutes the candidate as an E.A.F., the three touches of the f s convey different aspects of power, corresponding to the three Aspects of Trinity, the first conveying strength to the brain, the second love to the heart, and the third executive ability to the right arm.
The general effect
of this downpouring of force is to widen somewhat the channel of communication
between the ego and the personality of the candidate.
The degree of E.A.F. corresponds to the sub-deacon in the Christian system.
At a similar point
in the Second Degree ceremony, there is a more decided widening of the link
between the ego and the personality, so that it is opened up as a definite channel
for the downpouring of force. This channel the candidate can utilise with marked
effect, if he sets himself to work upon it and through it.
In this Degree, there is a certain parallel between the Passing of a F.C and the ecclesiastical ordination to the diaconate. At the same time, a link is made between the candidate and the H.O.A.T.F, in those Lodges where He is acknowledged.
As in the case of the widening of consciousness, the link that is made is for the candidate to utilise as he pleases. It may be of greatest benefit to him; it may change the whole of his life, and enable him to ( Page 240 ) make rapid progress along the path that leads to Initiation. Or, on the other hand, if he entirely neglects it, it may make but very little difference to him.
The proving of the M.M. by the square and the compasses indicate that a M.M may be tested and known by the fact that both the higher self and the lower self are in working order, are functioning together and in harmony.
The M.M. is symbolical of the Initiate of the fourth degree, the Arhat. At that stage of attainment, on the occult path, the battle against the lower quaternary is practically over, and the latter has become an obedient instrument in the hands of the higher triad, which is awake and active in all its three parts.
The M.M. has to find the g..s on the c : in other words, it is by finding in himself that deeper Self, which is the Monad, beyond even the higher triad, that the M.M. will at last discover the supreme secret of life, and will then find in very truth, by his own living experience, that he is, and always has been, one with God.
In earlier Degrees, the consciousness of the candidate had to be raised from the s to the c , that is, from the quadrilateral to the triangle, from the lower to the higher self. But now, as a M.M. it has to be raised from the triangle, to the point - as is clearly indicated by the W.T. - from the higher self to the Monad.
The Monad is now
beginning to work his will in the higher self, as before the higher self worked
his will in the lower. The s
t represents the action of that Monad, as
it turns upon a centre pin, and sends out a line from its own body as it spins
the web of life, just as a spider spins its web from its own body.
The p marks that chosen path, or ray of the Monad,the line of life and work which the Arhat must discover, and on which he must specialise, in order to make rapid progress. And the c once more represent the triangle, the powers of the triple spirit, which he must use in his work.
The currents of etheric force, which flow through and ( Page 241 ) around the spine of every human being, are stimulated into activity, in Freemasonry, in order that the evolution of the candidate may be quickened. This stimulation is applied at the moment when the R.W.M. creates, receives and constitutes. In the First Degree, it affects Ida, the feminine aspect of the force, thus making it easier for the candidate to control passion and emotion. In the Second Degree, it is the Pingala, or masculine aspect, which is strengthened, in order to facilitate the control of mind. The Third Degree, the central energy itself ,the Sushumna, is aroused, thereby opening the way for the pure spirit from on high.
It is by passing up this channel of the Sushumna that a yogi leaves his physical body at will, in such a manner that he can retain full consciousness on higher planes, and bring back into his physical brain a clear memory of his experiences.
Ida is crimson in colour, Pingala is yellow and Sushumna is deep blue.
The stimulation of these nerves, and the forces which flow through them, is only a small part of the benefit conferred by the R.W.M.,when he wields the sword at the moment of admission. The widening of the connection between the individuality and the personality has already been mentioned, also the formation, of a link between certain principles of the candidate and the corresponding, vehicles of the H.O.A.T.F. The changes induced are somewhat of the same nature as those described on p.233 et seq.,but of less pronounced character.
Whilst these effects are real, unmistakable and universal, yet their result in the spiritual life of the candidate depends, of course, on himself.
The E.A. should , as a personality, be employed on organising his physical life for higher use; but at the same time, as an ago, he should be developing active intelligence in his causal body, exactly as does the pupil of a Master, who is preparing himself for Initiation.
In the same way, the F.C. is organising his emotional life, ( Page 242 ) while he unfolds intuitional love, in his buddhic body.
The M.M., while arranging his mental life down here, should, as an ego, be strengthening his spiritual will, or Âtma.
MEMORY OF PAST LIVES
( Page 243 ) A glance at Diagram XXV on p.147 should be sufficient to indicate the mechanical reason why the physical brain of a man cannot normally remember his past lives. For it is obvious that the physical body can have neither a memory, nor a record, of a past incarnation in which it did not participate. Precisely the same consideration applies to his astral and mental bodies, since all these vehicles are new for each incarnation.
We thus see that,
as the causal body is the only one that persists from one incarnation to another,
the lowest level, at which we can hope to get really reliable information about
past lives, is that of the causal body, for nothing below, that can give us
first hand evidence.
In these past lives, the ego in his causal body was present - or rather a certain small part of him was present - and so he is an actual witness. All the lower vehicles, not being witness, can report only what they may receive from the ego. Consequently, when we bear in mind how imperfect is the communication between the ego and the personality in the ordinary man, we shall see at once how entirely unreliable such second, third, or fourth-hand testimony is likely to be.
Although one may sometimes obtain from the astral and mental bodies isolated pictures of events in a man's past life, we cannot get a sequential and coherent account of it; and even those pictures are but reflections from the causal body, and probably very dim and blurred reflections, which occasionally find their way through to the lower consciousness.
It is thus abundantly clear that, in order to read accurately past lives, it is necessary first of all ( Page 244 ) to develop the faculties of the causal body. The thing, however, could be done at lower levels, by psychometrisation of the permanent atoms, but, as this would be a much more difficult feat than unfolding of the senses of the causal body, it is not at all likely to be attempted successfully.
Including the method just mentioned, there are four methods of reading past Lives:---
of the permanent atoms
 To take the ego's own memory of what happened
 To psychometrise the ego, or rather his causal body, and see for ourselves the experiences through which he has passed. This method is safer than , because even an ego, having seen things through a past personality, may have imperfect or prejudiced impressions of them.
 To use the buddhic faculties, becoming completely one with the ego under investigation, and to read his experiences as though they were our own i.e., from within, instead of from without. This method obviously demands much higher development.
Methods  and  have been employed by those who prepared the series of incarnations, which have been published during the past few years in The Theosophist, some of them having also been produced in book form. The investigators had also the advantage of the intelligent co-operation of the ego, whose incarnations were described.
The physical presence of the subject, whose lives are being read, is an advantage, but not a necessity. He is useful, provided he can keep his vehicles perfectly calm, but, if he becomes excited, he spoils everything.
are not specially important, but quiet is essential, because, if impressions
are to be brought through clearly, the physical brain must be calm.
It is necessary also to eradicate absolutely all prejudices, otherwise they will produce the effect of stained glass, colouring everything which is seen through them, and so giving a false impression. ( Page 245 )
We may say that there are two sources of error possible:  personal bias;  limited views.
In view of the fact that there are fundamental differences of temperament, these cannot but colour the views taken of other planes. Every one below the level of an Adept is sure to be influenced in this manner to some extent. The man of the world magnifies unimportant details, and omits the important things being in the habit of doing this in daily life. On the other hand, a man starting on the Path may, in his enthusiasm lose for a time his touch with the ordinary human life, from which he has emerged. But even so, he has the advantage, for those who see the inside of things are nearer the truth than those who see only the outside.
In order to minimise this sort of error, it is usual for people, of radically different types, to work together at these investigations.
The second danger we have mentioned is that of a limited view, of taking a part for the whole. Thus, one may take a view of a small portion of a given community, and apply it to the whole community, i.e., one may fall into the common error of generalising on insufficient basis of observation.
There is however, a general aura of a time or a country, which usually prevents any great mistakes of this sort. A psychic, who has not been trained to sense this general aura, is often unconscious of it, and may thus fall into many errors. Long continued observation shows that all untrained psychics are sometimes reliable, and sometimes unreliable, and those who consult them therefore run the risk of being misled.
In looking at past lives, it is safer to retain full physical consciousness, so as to be able to make a note of everything, while it is being observed, than to leave the physical body during the observations, and trust to memory to their reproduction. This latter plan, however, has to be adopted when the student, though able to use the causal body, can do so only while the physical body is asleep.( Page 246 )
The identification of egos is sometimes difficult, because egos naturally change considerably in the course of some thousands of years. Some investigators feel an intuition as to the identity of a particular ego, and, although such an intuition may often be right, it may certainly also sometimes be wrong. The safer, but more laborious, method of identification, is to pass the records rapidly in review, and trace the ego concerned through them, until he is found at the present day.
In some cases, the egos of ordinary people are instantly recognisable, even after thousands of years: that does not speak particularly well of the people concerned, because it means that they have made but little progress. To try to recognise, twenty thousand years ago,one whom one knows at the present day, is somewhat like meeting as an adult some one whom one knew long ago as a child. Sometimes recognition is possible, sometimes the change has been too great.
Those who have since become Masters of the Wisdom are often instantly recognisable, even thousands of years ago, but that is for a different reason. For, when the lower vehicles are already fully in harmony with the ego, they form themselves into the likeness of the Augoeides, and so change little from life to life. Similarly, when the ego himself is becoming a perfect reflection of the Monad ,he also changes but little, though he gradually grows: hence he is readily recognisable.
The nature of the
Akashic Records having been already described in The Mental Body, a few
of the more immediately relevant points only will be mentioned here.
In examining a past life, the easiest way is to let the record drift past at its natural rate: but, as this would mean a day's work to look up the events of each day, it is clearly impracticable, except for short periods. It is, however, possible to accelerate or retard the passage of events to any degree required, so that a period of thousands of years may be run through rapidly, ( Page 247 ) or any particular picture may be held as long as desired.
What is described
as the unrolling of the record is, in reality, not a movement of the record,
but of the consciousness of the seer. But the impression which it gives is exactly
as though the record itself were unrolled. The records may be said to lie upon
one another in layers, the more recent on top and the older ones behind. Yet
even this simile is misleading, because it suggests the idea of thickness, whereas
the records occupy no more space than does the reflection on the surface of
a mirror. The consciousness does not really move in space at all, but rather
puts on itself, as a kind of cloak, one or other of the layers of the record,
and, in doing so, it finds itself in the midst of the action of the story.
The method of arriving at dates has been described in The Mental Body, page 242.
It is, on the whole, somewhat easier to read lives forwards than backwards, because in that case we are working with the natural flow of time, instead of against it.
The languages employed are almost always unintelligible to the investigator but, as the thoughts behind the words lie open before him, that matters little. On several occasions, investigators have copied down public inscriptions, which they could not understand, and have afterwards had them translated on the physical plane, by someone to whom the ancient language was familiar.
The records must not be thought of as originally inhering in matter of any kind, though they are reflected in it. In order to read them, it is not necessary to come into direct contact with any particular grouping of matter, since they can be read from any distance, when a connection has once been made.
Nevertheless, it is true that each atom contains the record, or perhaps possesses the power to put a clairvoyant en rapport with the record, of all that has ever ( Page 248 ) happened within sight of it. It is in fact, on account of this phenomenon that psychometry is possible.
But there is attached to it a very curious limitation, in that the psychometer sees, by means of it, only what he would have seen if he had been standing at the spot from which the object psychometrised has been taken.
For example, if a man psychometrises a pebble, which has been lying for ages in a valley, he will see only what has passed during those ages in that valley. His view will be limited by the surrounding hills, just as if he had stood for all those ages where the stone lay, and had witnessed all those things.
There is, however, an extension of psychometric power, by which a man may see the thoughts and feelings of the actors in his drama, as well as their physical, bodies. There is also another extension by which, having first established himself in that valley, he may make it the basis of further operations, and so pass over the surrounding hills and see what lies beyond them, and also what has happened there since the stone was removed, and even what occurred before it in some manner arrived there.
But the man who can do all this will soon be able to dispense with the stone altogether.
When using the senses of the causal body, it is seen that every object is throwing off pictures of the past.
We have already seen that, as the inner faculties are developed, life becomes continuous. Not only can the consciousness of the ego be reached but it is possible to travel back, even as far as the animal group-soul, and look through animal eyes at the world which then exited. The difference of outlook is said to be so different as to make description impossible.
Short of such continuous consciousness, there is no detailed memory of the past, not even of the most important facts. There is, however, this fact, that whatever we have known in the past we are almost sure to recognise and instantly accept, as soon as it is again presented to us in the present. ( Page 249 )
Hence, though one may appreciate intellectually the truth of reincarnation, actual proof can be obtained only in the causal body, where the ego is cognisant of his past.
When a man, using
the consciousness of his causal body, has always with him the memory of all
his past lives, he is of course, capable of consciously directing the various
lower manifestations of himself at all points of his progress.
During the stages in which the man is not yet fully capable of this, the ego can nevertheless impress his purpose upon his permanent atoms, so that that purpose will be carried over from life to life. Knowledge of this will not be born inherent in the man, as part of his stock-in-trade, so to speak , but the moment it comes before him, in any form, in his next incarnation, he will immediately recognise its truth, seize upon it, and act accordingly.
In the case of a very quick rebirth, the possibility of recovering the memory of the past incarnation is considerably increased. Diagram XXV,p.147, should make the mechanism of this possibility easy to understand. There have been a large number of atoms and molecules, in the old mental and astral bodies, which have preserved a certain affinity with the mental unit and astral permanent atom, and consequently a good deal of the old material may be used in building the new mental and astral bodies. With their assistance, it is clear that memory of the last incarnation should be more easily attained than in cases where there has been a long interval between lives, and the old materials have all been dissipated and spread through the various planes.
We do not yet understand the laws which govern the power to impress the detailed knowledge of one life upon the physical brain of the next. Such evidence as is at present available seems to show that details are usually forgotten, but that broad principles appear to the new mind as self-evident.
It is a common experience, on hearing of a truth ( Page 250 ) for the first time, to feel that one has known it before, though one has never been able to formulate it in words. In other cases, there is scarcely even that degree of memory: yet when the new truth is presented, it is instantly recognised as true.
Assuming the truth
of tradition, even the Buddha Himself, who incarnated with the definite intention
of helping the world, knew nothing clearly of His mission after He had entered
His new body, but regained full knowledge only after years of searching for
it. Undoubtedly He could have known from the first, had He so chosen, but He
did not so choose, submitting Himself rather to what seems to be the common
On the other hand, it may be that the Buddha did not take the body of Prince Siddartha from birth, but only when it fainted, after the long austerities of the of the six years searching for truth. If this be so, there would be no memory, because the entity in the body was not the Buddha, but some one else.
In any case , however, we may be sure that the ego, who is the true man, always knows what he has once learned: but he is not always able to impress it upon his new brain without the help of a suggestion from without.
It seems to be an invariable rule that one who has accepted occult truth in one life always comes into contact with it in the next, and so revives his dormant memory. We may say, perhaps, that the opportunity of thus recovering the truth is the direct karma of having accepted and of having earnestly tried to live according to it in the previous incarnation.
THE EGO ON HIS OWN PLANE
( Page 251 ) We come now to consider the ego as a conscious entity on his own plane, i.e.., in the higher mental or causal world, quite apart from the partial expressions of himself on the lower planes.
From the moment that the ego breaks off from his group-soul, and commences his separate existence as a human being, he is a conscious entity: but the consciousness is of an exceedingly vague nature. The forces of the higher mental world pass through him practically without affecting him, because he cannot as yet respond to more than a very few of such extremely fine vibrations. The only physical sensation, to which this condition is at all comparable, is that which occasionally comes to some persons, at the moment of awakening in the morning. There is a state, intermediate between sleeping and waking, in which a man is blissfully conscious that he exists, and yet is not conscious of any surrounding objects, nor capable of any movement. Indeed, he sometimes knows that any movement would break the spell of happiness, and bring him down into the ordinary waking world, and so he endeavours to remain still as long as possible.
This condition, which
is a consciousness of existence, and of intense bliss, closely resembles that
of the ego of the average man upon the higher mental plane. As we have seen
previously, he is wholly centred there, only for the short time intervening
between the end of one life in devachan and the commencement, of his next descent
into incarnation. During that short period, he obtains a fleeting glimpse of
his past and his future, a flash of retrospect and prospect, and for many ages
these glimpses are his only
moments of full-awakening: and, (
Page 252 ) after
this momentary awakening, he falls asleep again. As we have seen, it is his
desire for a more perfect manifestation, his desire to feel himself more thoroughly
alive, that drives him into the effort of incarnation.
A stanza in the Book of Dzyan states that "Those who received but a spark remained destitute of knowledge: the spark burned low"; H.P.Blavatsky then explains that "those who received but a spark constitute the average humanity, which have to acquire their intellectuality during the present manvantaric evolution." [Secret Doctrine, II,177]. In the case of most men the spark is still smouldering, and it will be many an age before its slow increase brings it to the stage of steady and brilliant flame.
The causal body of
the average man has thus as yet almost no consciousness of anything, external
to itself, on its own plane. The immense majority of egos are but dreamily semi
-conscious, though few are now in the condition of mere colourless films. The
majority are not yet sufficiently definite, even in such consciousness as they
possess, to understand the purpose or the laws of the evolution in which they
Although the ordinary ego is still in a sleepy condition, he is yet, during physical life, capable to some extent of brooding watchfully over the personality, and of a little effort.
The average ego in his causal body may be compared to the chicken within the egg, the chicken being entirely unconscious of the source of the heat, which nevertheless stimulates its growth.
When an ego reaches the stage where he breaks through his shell, and becomes capable of some sort of response, the whole process takes on a different form, and is enormously quickened.
The awakening process is greatly helped by the Masters of Wisdom, who pour out their spiritual force like sunlight, flooding the entire plane, and affecting to some extent everything within its radius. As mentioned in Chapter XXI, even the group-souls of ( Page 253 ) animals on the lower mental plane are greatly affected and assisted by this influence.
It is on the mental plane that much of the most important work of the Masters is done: this is more especially the case upon the causal plane, where the individuality, or ego, can be acted upon directly. It is from this plane that They shower the grandest spiritual influences upon the world of thought: from it. They impel great and beneficial movements of all kinds. Here, again, much of the spiritual force poured out by the glorious self-sacrifice of the Nirmanakayas is distributed. Here also direct teaching is given to those pupils who are sufficiently advanced to receive it in this way, since it can be imparted far more readily and completely here than on the lower planes.
With a developed man, the ego is fully awake. In course of time the ego discovers that there are a good many things which he can do, and, when this happens, he may rise into a condition in which he has a definite life on his own plane, though in many cases it is even then but dreamy.
The ego of the ordinary person, as we have seen, has rather a vegetable consciousness or life, and seems to be only just aware of other egos. But, as the ego becomes sufficiently developed, he can not only help other egos, but lives a life of his own among his peers, among the great Arupadevas, among all kinds of splendid Angels or Devas. The young ego is probably but little awake, as yet, to all that glorious life, ,just as a baby in arms knows little of the interests of the world surrounding him; but, as his consciousness gradually unfolds, he awakens to all this magnificence, and becomes fascinated by its vividness and beauty.
Such a developed ego enjoys the companionship of all the brightest intellects that the world has ever produced ,including, as said, the Deva or angel kingdom as well as the human. The life of the ego on his own plane is glorious beyond any conception possible to the personality. If one could imagine an existence in the company of the great men of the world - artists, poets, ( Page 254 ) scientists, and even the Masters Themselves - and add to all that an understanding unattainable down here - then only would one begin to have some idea of the life of the ego.
The personality would not, of course, know what the ego does, unless the personality and ego have been unified. Thus, the ego may know the Master, while the personality does not. The ego must have been fully conscious and active on his own plane for a long time before any knowledge of that existence can come through into his physical life.
This ego-consciousness must not be confused with the consciousness which comes from the unification of the higher and lower selves, mentioned in Chapter XXVI. When unification has been achieved, the man's consciousness resides in the ego all the time, and from the ego it plays through whatever vehicle he may happen to be using. But, in the case of a man who has not yet achieved that union, the consciousness of the ego on his own plane comes into activity only when he is no longer hampered by any lower vehicles, and exists only until he puts himself down into incarnation; for as soon as he takes up a lower body, his consciousness can manifest for the time only through that body.
The causal plane is the true and relatively permanent home of the ego , for here he is free of the limitations of the personality, and is simply himself, the reincarnating entity. Although his consciousness may be dim, dreamily unobservant, and scarcely awake, yet his vision is true, however limited it may be. Not only is he free from the illusions of the personality, and the refracting medium of the lower self, but thought itself no longer assumes the same limited forms which it takes upon itself, at levels below the causal.
In some of the older literature, there are statements which seem to imply that the higher ego needs no evolution, being already perfect and godlike on his own plane. Whatever such expressions are used, whatever may be the terminology employed, they must be taken to apply only to the Âtma, the true "god" within man, ( Page 255 ) which is certainly far beyond the necessity of any kind of evolution of which we can know anything.
Again, H.P. Blavatsky states that Manas, or the higher Ego, as "part of the Universal Mind, is unconditionally omniscient on its own plane" : the meaning of course, is that this is so only when it has fully developed self-consciousness, by its evolutionary experiences, and "is the vehicle of all knowledge of the past and present and future".
The reincarnating ego most undoubtedly does evolve, as is perfectly evident to those who possess causal sight. At first, he has very little active power on any plane, and it is his purpose to become fully active on all planes, even the physical.
An ego who is awakened,
and is truly alive upon his own plane, is a glorious object, giving us for the
first time some idea of what man is intended to be. Such developed egos are
still separate , yet intellectually they fully realise their inner unity, for
they see one another as they are, and can no longer blunder, or fail to comprehend.
It is not easy to explain, in physical words, the differences which exist between egos, since all of them are in many ways much greater than anything to which we are accustomed down here. Some faint reflection of the impression, produced by intercourse with them, may be conveyed by saying that an advanced ego reminds one of a dignified, stately and most courteous ambassador,, full of wisdom and kindliness, while the less developed man has more of the type of the bluff, hearty, country squire. An ego who is already on the Path, and is nearing Adeptship, has much in common with the great Angels, and radiates spiritual influences of prodigious power.
It is, therefore, not to be wondered at that the ego throws himself energetically into the whirl of intense activity on his own plane, and that it seems to him immensely more important and interesting than the faint, far-distant struggles of a cramped and half-formed personality, veiled in the dense obscurity of the lower world.( Page 256 )
One ego has been
described, by a person who saw him as a radiant youth, like a Greek Apollo carved
out of glistening marble, and yet immaterial, with inspiration as his keynote.
Another ego appeared somewhat like the sculpture of Demeter in the British Museum,
a dignified, serene and peaceful figure, brooding as it were over the world
which he helped to foster and protect. Thus every ego has his own radiantly
beautiful appearance, expressing his particular mission or genius.
Among such beings, thoughts no longer take form and float about as they do at lower levels, but pass like lightening flashes from one to another. Here we are face to face with the enduring body of the ego, a body older than the hills, an actual expression of the Divine Glory which ever rests behind it, and shines through it more and more in the gradual unfolding of its powers. Here we deal no longer with outer forms, but we see the things in themselves, the reality which lies behind the imperfect expression. Here cause and effect are one, clearly visible in their unity, like two sides of the same coin. Here we have left the concrete for the abstract; we no longer have the multiplicity of forms, but the idea which lies behind all those forms.
The ego, on his own plane, is able to perceive with absolute instantaneity, without, of course, the use of nerves: hence arises a certain class of dream, where a man is awakened from sleep by a physical sound or touch. In the minute space of time, between the impact and awakening of the man, the ego will often compose a kind of drama, or series of scenes ,leading up to and culminating in the event which awakens the physical body. This habit, however, seems to be peculiar to the ego which, as far as spirituality is concerned, is still comparatively undeveloped. As the ego develops, and comes to understand his position and his responsibilities , he rises beyond these graceful sports of his childhood.
It seems that, just as primitive man casts every natural phenomenon into the form of a myth, so the primitive ego dramatises every event that comes under his notice. ( Page 257 ) But the man who has attained full consciousness finds himself so fully occupied in the work of the higher planes that he devotes no energy to such matters, and therefore dreams no more in this fashion.
The use of symbols seems to be a characteristic of the ego, when out of the body during sleep: that is to say, that what in the physical world would be an idea, requiring many words to express, is perfectly conveyed to the ego by a single symbolical image. When such a thought is remembered in the physical, brain unless its key is recollected, there is likely to be confusion. The activities of the ego on his own plane thus sometimes give rise to another class of dream; but there are, of course, many other causes of dreams [vide The Astral Body, page 93].
The ego on his own plane uses abstractions just as we on the physical plane deal with concrete facts. On his plane, the essence of everything is available; he is no longer concerned with details: he need no longer talk round a subject or endeavour to explain it. He takes up the essence or the idea of a subject and moves it as a whole, as one moves a piece when playing chess. His world is a world of realities, where not only is deception impossible, but also unthinkable. He no longer deals with emotions, ideas, or conceptions, but with the thing in itself.
It is impossible to express in words the ordinary traffic between men in fully developed causal bodies. What down here would be a system of philosophy, needing many volumes to explain it, is there a single definite object a thought which can be thrown down as one throws a card upon a table.
An opera or an oratorio, which here would occupy a full orchestra for many hours in the rendering, is there a single mighty chord. The methods of a whole school of painting are condensed into one magnificent idea. And ideas such as these are the intellectual counters, which are used by egos in their converse with one with another.
On this plane, as we have said previously, ( Page 258 ) the ego has fully unrolled before him all the lives he has lived on this globe, the actual living records of the past. He see his lives as one vast whole, of which his descents into incarnation have been but the passing days. He sees the karmic causes which have made him what he is: he sees what karma still lies in front of him, to be worked out before "the long sad count is closed", and thus he realises, with unerring certainty, his exact place in evolution. Here he perceives the great scheme of evolution, and what is the Divine will for him.
When dealing with matters on his own plane, and those below him, all the ideas of the ego are complete ideas, properly rounded off and perfect.
Furthermore, anything incomplete would be to him unsatisfactory, would, in fact, hardly be counted as an idea at all. For him a cause includes its effect, and therefore , in the longer view which he is able to take, poetic justice is always done, and no story can ever end badly.
These characteristics of his reflect themselves to a certain extent in his lower vehicles, and we find them appearing in ourselves in various ways. Thus, children always demand that fairy tales shall end well, that virtue be rewarded, and that vice shall be vanquished; and all unsophisticated and healthy-minded people feel a similar desire. Those who clamour for an evil realism are precisely those whose views of life have become unhealthy and unnatural, because ,in their short-sighted philosophy, they can never see the whole of any incident, but only the fragment of it which shows in one incarnation, and usually only the merest outside husk even of that.
In the Fourth Root- Race, which is concerned chiefly with the development of the astral body and its emotions, this characteristic of rounding off stories, and exaggeration, is often very marked: this is clearly seen for example, in old Keltic stories. The desire for scientific accuracy and truth is comparatively a recent development, and belongs more specifically to the Fifth Root-Race which is concerned principally ( Page 259 ) with the development of mind and the mental body. Fifth Race people thus demand first that a thing shall be true, otherwise it is of little interest to them: the old races, on the other hand, demand first of all that it shall be pleasing, and decline to be limited in their appreciation, by any such consideration as whether the thing had ever materialised, or could ever materialise, on the physical plane.
The desire for accuracy is thus the coming through of another quality of the ego, of his power to see truly, to see a thing as it is, as a whole and not only in part. Understanding this, we should clearly encourage and insist on the quality of accuracy, and keep our record of facts distinct from our thoughts and desires with regards to those facts.
Yet, in cultivating truthfulness ,there is no need to extinguish romance. It is necessary to be accurate: it is not necessary to be a Gradgrind. We need not lose sight of the beauty and romance which lie behind things, merely because we have acquired a scientific knowledge of details, many of which may be arid and superficial. Thus sugar does not cease to be sweet and pleasant to the taste because we have learned that its chemical formula is C 12 H 22 O11.
The ego's measure
of time and space is so entirely different from that which we use in waking
life, that from our point of view it seems as though neither time nor space
existed for him.
Events which, on the physical plane, take place in succession, appear on the mental plane to be occurring simultaneously, and at the same point. That, at least, is the effect on the consciousness of the ego, though it appears probable that absolute simultaneity is the attribute of a still higher plane, and that the sensation of it on the mental plane is simply the result of a succession, so rapid that the infinitesimally minute spaces of time are indistinguishable, just as the eye receives the impression of a continuous ring of fire, if a stick with one end burning, is whirled round rapidly. The reason for this, of course , is that ( Page 260 ) the human eye is not able to distinguish, as separate, similar impressions which follow one another at intervals of less than about a tenth part of a second.
Particular examples of what we may call the immense speed, at which the consciousness of the ego operates on its own plane, may be found in Dreams by C.W.Leadbeater, pages 36-40, where a number of dreams dependent on this phenomenon, are recounted and explained.
A result, which follows
from the ego's supernormal method of time-measurement, is that in some degree
prevision is possible to him. If he knows how to read them, the present, the
past and to a certain extent the future lie , is open before him. He undoubtedly
thus foresees, occasionally, events that will be of interest or importance to
the lower personality, and makes more or less successful endeavours to impress
them upon it.
Man undoubtedly possesses freewill: hence prevision is possible only to a certain extent. In the case of the ordinary man, it is probably possible to a very large extent, since the man has developed no will of his own worth speaking of, and is consequently very largely the creature of circumstances. His karma places him amid certain surroundings, and their action upon him is so much the most important factor in his history, that his future course may be foreseen with almost mathematical certainty.
When we consider the vast number of events which can be but little affected by human action, and also the complex and wide-spreading relation of causes to their effects, it should not seem wonderful to us that, on the plane where the result of all causes at present in action is visible, a very large portion of the future may be foretold with considerable accuracy, even as to detail. That this can be done, has been proved again and again, not only by prophetic dreams, but by the second-sight of the Highlanders, and the predictions of clairvoyants; and it is on the forecasting of effects, from the causes already in existence, that the scheme of astrology is largely based. ( Page 261 )
When, however, we come to deal with a developed man, then prophecy fails us, for he is no longer the creature of circumstances, but to a great extent their master. The main events of his life may certainly be arranged beforehand, by his past karma; but the way in which he will allow them to affect him, the method by which he will deal with them, and perhaps triumph over them - these are his own, and they cannot be foreseen, except as probabilities. Such actions of his, in their turn, becomes causes, and thus there are produced, in his life chains of effect which were not provided for by the original arrangement, and, therefore, could not have been foretold with any exactitude.
We may say, therefore, that the course of the ordinary undeveloped man, who has practically no will of his own worth speaking of, may often be foreseen clearly enough, but, when the ego boldly takes his future in his own hands, exact prevision becomes impossible.
An ego, who is at all developed, will meditate upon his own level, such meditation not necessarily synchronising with any meditation that the personality may be performing. The yoga of a fairly well-developed ego is to try to raise his consciousness, first into the buddhic plane, and then through its various stages. This he does, without reference to what the personality may be doing at the time. Such an ego would probably also send down a little of himself at the personal meditation, though his own meditations are very different.
It should ever be remembered that the ego is not manas or mind only, but the spiritual Triad of Atma-Buddhi-Manas. At our present stage of consciousness, the ego rests in the causal body on the higher mental plane, but, as he develops, his consciousness will be centred on the buddhic plane: later still, when he attains Adeptship, it will be centred on the plane of Âtma
But it is not to be supposed, that when this further development takes place, the manas is in any way lost. For, ( Page 262 ) when the ego draws himself up into the buddhic plane, he draws up manas with him, into that expression of manas which has all the time existed on the buddhic plane, but has not been fully vivified until now.
Similarly, when he
draws himself up into the plane of Âtma, manas and buddhi exist within
him, just as fully as ever, so that now the triple spirit is in full manifestation,
on its own plane, in all three aspects.
The spirit is, therefore, truly sevenfold, for he is triple on his own plane, that of Âtma, dual on the buddhic, and single on the mental, the unity which is his synthesis making seven. Thus, though he draws himself into the higher, he retains, the definiteness on the lower.
What has been stated to be the clearest and best description of the human trinity, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, is to be found in The Key to Theosophy by H.P.Blavatsky:---
THE HIGHER SELF is Âtma,the inseparable ray of the Universal and ONE SELF. It is the God above more than within us. Happy the man who succeeds, in saturating his inner Ego with it.
THE SPIRITUAL divine EGO is the spiritual soul, or Buddhi, in close union with Manas, the mind principle, without which it is no Ego at all, but only the Atmic vehicle.
INNER OR HIGHER EGO is Manas, the fifth principle, so called,
independently of Buddhi. The mind-principle is the Spiritual Ego only when merged,
into one with Buddhi
It is the permanent individuality, or the reincarnating
Ego [The Key to Theosophy, pages, 175-176.]
As soon as an ego becomes at least partially conscious of his surroundings, and other egos, he leads a life , and has interests and activities, on his own plane. But even then we must remember, as we have seen in earlier chapters, that he puts down into the personality only a very small part of himself,and that, that part constantly becomes entangled in interests which, because they are so partial, are often along lines different ( Page 263 ) from the general activities of the ego himself, who consequently does not pay any particular attention to the lower life of the personality unless something rather unusual happens to it.
When this stage is reached, the ego usually comes under the influence of a Master. In fact often his first clear consciousness, of anything outside himself, is his touch with that Master. The tremendous power of the Master's influence magnetises him, draws his vibrations into harmony with its own, and multiplies many-fold the rate of his development. It rays upon him like sunshine upon a flower, and he evolves rapidly under its influence. This is why, while the earlier stages of progress are so slow as to be almost imperceptible, when the Master turns His attention upon the man, develops him, and arouses his own will to take part in the work, the speed of his advancement increases in geometrical progression.
In the chapters on devachan, we saw that an ego, who is much loved by many people,may have part in many heavens simultaneously,ensouling the thought images which his friends make of him. These images are,of course, of great evolutionary benefit to the ego concerned, affording him additional opportunities of developing qualities,such, for example,as affection. This is clearly the direct result and reward of those loveable qualities, which draw towards the man the affectionate regard of so many of his fellowmen.
Occasionally the action of such a force, upon the ego of a surviving friend, may manifest even in the personality of that friend upon the physical plane. For, while the action is upon the ego, through the special thought-image, yet the personality of the surviving friend is a manifestation of that same ego, and, if the ego be considerably modified it is at least possible that that modification may show itself in the physical manifestation on this lower plane.
It is obvious, however, that there are two possible limitations to the perfection of the intercourse between the ego concerned, and those who make images of him. ( Page 264 ) First, the image may be partial and imperfect, so that many of the higher qualities of the ego may not be represented, and may therefore be unable to show themselves through it.
Secondly, it is just possible that the ego is not in reality, so to speak, as good as the image which has been made of him, so that he is unable to fill it completely. This, however is unlikely to occur, and could take place only when a quite unworthy object had been unwisely idolised. These aspects of the matter have, however, been fully dealt with in The Mental Body, pages 197-198.
The more highly the ego is developed, the more fully is he able to express himself through the thought-images, these becoming steadily fuller expressions of himself. When he gains the level of a Master, he consciously employs them as a means of helping and instructing his pupils.
To assist the student in obtaining a thoroughly clear grasp of the mechanism and results of thought-images in devachan, Diagrams XXXVI and XXXVII are appended.
Diagram XXXVI illustrates an ego X, in his mental body x, in devachan,surrounded by thought images a', b', c', d', e', and f' of his six friends A, B, C, D, E, and F respectively.
Of these A and F
are also in devachan, in their respective mental bodies a and f : B and E are
on the astral plane, in their respective astral bodies b and e; C and D are
still "alive" in the physical world in their physical bodies c and
The diagram shows that the thought-images, made by X, of his six friends, are ensouled by, and therefore directly connected with, the egos A, B, C, D, E and F. not with the personal expressions ( Page 265 ) of those egos, whether those personal expressions be on the physical, astral or mental planes.
It is also clear from the diagram that the personalities a,b,c, etc., can know nothing of what is happening through the thought-images a', b', c', etc., except, through their own egos A, B, C, etc..
Diagram XXXVII illustrates four egos A, B, C and D, all mutual friends, A, B, and C being in devachan, whilst D is still in his physical body.
Each of A, B and C makes a thought-image of each of his three friends, these images being ensouled by the respective egos.
A,B and C each possess three expressions of themselves: one through their own mental bodies, and two through the thought-images in the devachan of the others.
D, on the other hand, possesses four expressions of himself: one through his own physical personality, and three more through the thought-images which his three friends have made of him.
An understanding of the way in which an ego can appear simultaneously in the devachanic images of a number of people [as well, of course, as other phenomena of the ego world] shows that, in order to go from one place to another, travelling is not necessary for the ego.
In The Mental Body [page 236] we described the chord of a man, and explained, how this chord is used to find a man, wherever in the three worlds he may be. That chord consists of his own note, ( Page 266 ) and those of the three lower vehicles - mental , astral and physical. If the man has none of these lower vehicles at the time, the same mechanism holds good, for the causal body has always attached to it the mental unit, and the astral and physical permanent atoms, these being quite sufficient to give out the distinctive sound.
The combination of sounds, which produce a man's chord, is his true occult name. This must not be confused with the hidden name of the Augoeides, which is the chord of the three principles of the ego, produced by the vibrations of the atoms of Âtma, buddhi and manas, and the Monad behind them.
( Page 267 ) In The Astral Body and The Mental Body the subject of Discipleship was dealt with, so far as it concerns the astral and mental bodies of the disciple, or pupil, of a Master. It will now be desirable briefly to recapitulate the leading facts concerning the stages of Probation, Acceptance and Sonship, because, in each of these the causal body is also in some degree affected: then we shall proceed to describe, so far as the ego is his causal body is concerned, the great step of Initiation, which is the culmination of Discipleship.
In the stage of Probation, the Master makes a living image of the pupil, moulding out of mental, astral and etheric matter an exact counterpart of the causal, mental, astral and etheric bodies of the neophyte, and keeps this image at hand, so that He may look at it periodically. This image is placed in magnetic rapport with the man himself, so that every modification of thought or feeling, in the man's own vehicles, is faithfully reproduced in the image. The Master is thus able to follow the progress of the pupil, and estimate when he will be ready to take the next step.
When the pupil is Accepted, the Master dissolves the "living images", because, they are no longer necessary. The consciousness of the pupil is then united with that of his Master, in such a way that whatever the pupil feels or thinks is within the astral and mental bodies of his Master. If and when necessary, the Master can erect a barrier, and so for the time shut off the consciousness of the pupil from His own consciousness.
At the stage of Sonship, the link with the Master is such that not only the lower mind, but also the ego in the causal body of the pupil, is enfolded within that ( Page 268 ) of the Master, and the Master can no longer draw a veil to shut off the pupil.
Whilst these stages naturally help very greatly , in preparing a man to take the first great Initiation, yet, technically speaking, they have nothing to do with Initiation, or steps on the Path, which belong to an entirely different category. Probation, Acceptance and Sonship represent the relationship of the pupil to his own Master : Initiations, on the other hand, are tokens of his relation to the Great White Brotherhood, and to its august Head.
therefore, the Great White Brotherhood has nothing to do with the relations
between the Master and His pupil; that is a matter solely for the private consideration
of the Master Himself.
Whenever the Master considers that the pupil is fit for the first Initiation, He gives notice of that fact, and presents him for it, and the Brotherhood asks only whether he is ready for Initiation, and not what is the relationship between him and any Master.
At the same time, it is true that a candidate for Initiation must be proposed and seconded by two of the higher members of the Brotherhood, and it is certain, that the Master would not propose a man for the tests of Initiation unless He had, with regard to him, the certainty of his fitness, which could come only from such close identification with his consciousness as that of which we have spoken.
It has already been mentioned [see Chapter XIII page 80] that, in a man's existence, there are three great stages which outweigh in importance all others: they are:--
when the man begins his career as a human ego
II THE FIRST INITIATION: when the man becomes a member of the Great White Brotherhood
III THE FIFTH INITIATION : when he leaves the human kingdom, and enters the superhuman stage: this is the goal which is set before all humanity.
A man who has taken the First Initiation is said to ( Page 269 ) "enter the stream." The words used in admitting the candidate to the Brother hood include this statement: "You are now safe for ever; you have entered upon the stream; may you soon reach the further shore". The Christian calls him the man who is "saved" or "safe". The meaning is, that he is quite sure to go on, in this present stream of evolution, that he is certain not to drop out at the "day of judgement", or the "great separation" in the next [fifth] Round, like a child in school who is too backward to go on with the rest of his class.
The importance of Initiation does not lie in the exaltation of the individual, but in the fact that he has now become definitely one with a great Order, the "Communion of Saints", as it is called in the Christian terminology.
The candidate has now become more than individual man, because he is a unit in a tremendous force. The Brotherhood is not only a body of men, each of whom has his own duties to perform; it is also a stupendous unity - a flexible instrument in the hand of the Lord of the World, a mighty weapon that He can wield. No unit in the whole scheme loses the least fraction of his individuality, but he has added to it something a thousand times greater.
When an ego is Initiated the student will notice that it is the ego who is initiated, not the personality - he becomes part of the closest organisation in the world, one with the great sea of consciousness of the Great White Brotherhood. For a long time the new Initiate will not be able to understand all that this union implies, and he must penetrate far into the sanctuaries before he can realise how close is the link, and how great is the consciousness of the King Himself, the Lord of the World, which all Brothers to a certain extent share with Him. It is incomprehensible and inexpressible down here; metaphysical and subtle it is beyond words, but, nevertheless, a glorious reality, real to such an extent that, when we begin to grasp it, everything else seems unreal. ( Page 270 )
We saw previously [vide The Mental Body, page 302 ] that the Accepted pupil may lay his thought beside that of his Master; so now the Initiate may place his thought beside of the Brotherhood, and draw into himself just as much of that tremendous consciousness as he, at his level, is able to respond to.
At the point of the great ceremony when the Star of Initiation appears, a line of dazzling light extends from the Star to the heart of the Initiator, and from Him to the heart of the candidate. Under the influence of that tremendous magnetism, the tiny Silver Star of Consciousness, which represents the Monad, in the candidate, swells out in glowing brilliancy, until it fills his causal body, and for a wonderful moment the Monad and the ego are one, even as they will be permanently one when Adeptship is attained.
On this occasion, the Monad identifies himself for the time with the fraction of himself that is the ego, and it is he, the Monad, who takes the vows.
The effect of Initiation on the astral body has already been described in The Astral Body, page 254.
So wonderful is the expansion of the consciousness of the Initiate, that it is most apt to speak of the change as a new birth. He begins to lead a new life "as a little child", the life of the Christ ; the Christ, the buddhic or intuitional consciousness, is born within his heart.
He has now also the power to give the blessing of the Brotherhood, a tremendous and overwhelming force, which he is able to give or send to anyone,as he judges to be most appropriate and useful. The power of the Brotherhood will flow through him just as much as he will let it flow. It is for him to use the power, and to remember that he has the entire responsibility of directing it, for whatever purpose he may choose. The blessing given by the Officiant at Initiation means: " I bless you; I pour my force and blessing into you; see that you in your turn constantly pour out this blessing to others".
If the Initiate possesses the qualification of Shradda - perfect trust ( Page 271 ) in his Master and in the Brotherhood, and the utter certainty that, because he is one with Them, all things are possible to him - he may go through the world as a veritable Angel of light, shedding joy and benediction around his path.
Before Initiation, the pupil has probably already practised himself in the development of the buddhic consciousness, so that he has usually had experience at that level. But if he has not, then at Initiation his first experience takes place.
Nevertheless, at Initiation the man does not attain the full buddhic consciousness, nor does he in any way develop a buddhic vehicle at that time. But in view of the fact that some of the teachings which must be given at the buddhic level could not otherwise be understood, a certain amount of development of the buddhic vehicles seems to be required.
When the consciousness is raised to the buddhic vehicle, a very remarkable thing happens to the causal body: it vanishes, and the Initiate is under no compulsion ever again to take it up; but naturally this cannot be done until all the karma of the lower planes is exhausted.
For a man is not free from binding results, on lower planes until he is perfectly selfless on those planes. If a man, when helping another, feels perfectly the unity with him, then he obtains the result of his action on the buddhic plane only, and not on any of the lower planes.
Another interesting factor to bear in mind is that there is always a general karma, belonging to an order or a nation, and that each individual is, to a certain extent, responsible for the action of the whole. Thus, for example, a priest has a certain responsibility for all that the collective priesthood does, even though he may not personally approve of it.
It is the mere act of focussing oneself in the buddhic vehicle that causes the causal body to vanish. As soon, however, as the consciousness is brought down again on to the higher mental plane, the causal body reappears. ( Page 272 ) It is not the same as it was before, because the particles have been dissipated, but it seems in every way exactly the same body.
On the buddhic plane, the finest thread which we can conceive represents the ordinary man. As soon as he regularly thinks of higher matters, and turns his attention to them, the thread begins to thicken. It becomes more and more like a cable, and later on it appears as a funnel, because, as it seems to clairvoyant vision, it widens out above, and comes down into the causal body. Later on, the causal body is enlarged by the in-rushing of forces, and the funnel becomes very much larger ,widening out at the bottom as well as the top. At the First Initiation [for many, however, this experience comes before that], the man, as we have seen, abandons the causal body, and plunges into the buddhic plane. When that occurs, the funnel shapes itself into a sphere. At that level there are, of course, more dimensions, so that the phenomenon cannot be fully described, but this is how it appears to one who is able to see it.
In view of what was said above i.e.. that there is no compulsion to re-form the causal body, it follows that the time which remains to the Initiate, before he reaches the level of Adeptship, need not involve a descent to the physical plane at all, and therefore he may not take what we ordinarily mean by incarnations.
Nevertheless, in the great majority of cases, incarnations upon the physical plane are taken, because the man has work to do, upon that plane, for the Great Brotherhood.
The buddhic consciousness gives one a realisation of the One Consciousness, penetrating allthe One Consciousness of God, in fact. Such realisation gives a sense of the utmost safety and confidence ,the most tremendous impulse and stimulus imaginable. Yet at first it might be alarming, because a man might feel that he was losing himself. This is, of course, not the case. The Christ said : "He that loseth his life for My sake shall find it". Christ represents the buddhic ( Page 273 ) principle, and is saying : "He who, for My sake - i.e., for the development of the Christ within him - will put aside the causal vehicle, in which he has been living for so long, will find himself, will find the far grander and higher life". To do this needs some courage, and it is a startling experience the first time that one is wholly in the buddhic vehicle, and finds that the causal body, upon which one has been depending for thousands of years, has vanished. But, when the experience does come, the man will know with absolute certainty that the Self is one. The idea cannot be conveyed, but it will be known when experienced, and nothing will ever again shake that certainty.
When the buddhic consciousness fully impresses the physical brain, it gives such a new value to the factors of life that a man no longer looks upon a person or object, but is that person or object. He is able to recognise the motives of others as his own motives, even though he perfectly understands that another part of himself, possessing more knowledge, or a different view point, may act quite differently.
It must not, however, be supposed that when a man enters upon the lowest subdivision of the buddhic plane he is at once fully conscious of his unity with all that lives. That perfection of sense comes only as the result of much toil and trouble, when he has reached the highest subdivision of the buddhic plane. Step by step, sub-plane by sub-plane, the aspirant must win his way for himself, for, even at that level, exertion and effort are still necessary, if progress is to be made.
This work of developing
himself on sub-plane after sub-plane now lies before the candidate. He is now
definitely upon the Path of Holiness, and is described in the Buddhist system
as the Sotapatti or Sohan, "he who has entered the stream"; among
the Hindus he is called the Parivrajaka, which means the "wanderer",
one who no longer feels that any place in the three lower worlds is his abiding-place
The subject of buddhic consciousness will be considered rather more fully in the next chapter. ( Page 274 )
Three factors, all interdependent, are involved in a man's fitness for first Initiation. First : he must be in possession of a sufficient amount of the well known "Qualifications" [vide The Mental Body, page 294]. Second : the ego must have so trained his lower vehicles that he can function perfectly through them, when he wishes to do so: expressed in another way, he must have effected what is called the junction of the lower and higher selves. Third : he must be strong enough to stand the great strain involved, which extends even to the physical body.
All Initiates, however, are by no means equal in development, any more than all men who take the degree of Master of Arts are equal in knowledge. Whilst there is a certain attainment required for Initiation, some may have achieved far more than the minimum demanded in some directions.
Hence, for similar reasons, there may be considerable variation in the interval between Initiations. A man who has just taken the First Initiation may, nevertheless, possess a considerable share of the qualifications for the Second; therefore for him the interval between the two may be unusually short. On the other hand, a candidate who had only just sufficient strength in all directions to enable him to pass through the First, would have slowly to develop within himself all the additional faculties and knowledge necessary for the Second, so his interval would probably be long.
Initiation has the effect of altering the "polarity" of the man's mental and causal vehicles, so that he can be used as others cannot, however highly they may be developed along other lines.
Comparing the First with the Fifth Initiation, we have seen that for the First the higher and lower self must be unified, so that there shall be nothing but the ego working in the personality: for the Fifth, there shall be nothing in the ego that is not approved or inspired by the Monad.
Whenever the Monad touches our lives down here, he comes as a god from above. In all cases of Initiation he ( Page 275 ) flashes down, and for a moment becomes one with the ego, just as the Monad and ego will be permanently one when Adeptship is attained. At certain other important and critical times the Monad flashes down, as in the case mentioned in The Lives of Alcyone, when Alcyone took a pledge to the Lord Buddha.
Thus, at the First Initiation, the personality ceases to have a will of its ownexcept when it forgets - and lives only to serve the higher. The ego is now active through the personality in the lower planes, and is beginning to realise the existence of the Monad, and to live according to its will. The Monad himself has determined the path for the ego's evolution; and he can choose no other, because he is becoming himself, gaining release from the bondage even of the higher planes.
Another way of expressing this truth is to say that, ,just as the man on the Probationary Path has to learn to get rid of all that we speak of as the personality, so the Initiate must get rid of his individuality, of the reincarnating ego, so that at the end of the Path his life will be entirely under the direction of the Monad.
The individuality, or ego, is a very wonderful thing - complex , exceedingly beautiful and marvellously adapted to its surroundings, a glorious being indeed. The idea of the separated self is ingrained in us, and is part of the very ego which is the one permanent thing about us, so far as we know. In the earlier stages this idea of the separated self had to be developed and strengthened, it being, in fact, the source of our strength in the past. But nevertheless, this "giant weed" has to be killed out at one time or another. The strong can tear it out from themselves at the beginning of their development. The weak must wait and let it go on growing while they are developing sufficient strength to kill it out. For them that is unfortunate, because the longer it is allowed to persist the more closely it becomes intertwined with the nature of the man.
Hence, all systems of occult teaching agree in advising students to try from the very beginning to get rid of the ( Page 276 ) illusion of separateness. The man has to learn that behind the individuality itself there is the Monad; that will seem the true Self, when he has laid aside the individuality. Beyond even that he will in due time learn to realise for himself that even the Monad is but a spark in the Eternal Flame.
Only as the lower self or personality becomes pure from all breath of passion as the lower manas frees itself from kama, can the "shining one" impress it. H.P.Blavatsky writes : "It is when the trinity - Atma-Buddhi-Manas - in anticipation of the final triumphant reunion beyond the gates of corporeal death became for a few seconds a unity, that the candidate is allowed, at the moment, of initiation, to behold his future self. Thus we read in the Persian Desatir of the "resplendent one"; in the Greek philosopher- Initiates of the Augoeidesthe self-shining "blessed vision resident in the pure light"; in Porphyry, that Plotinus was united to his god' six times during his lifetime, and so on." [Isis Unveiled II, pages 114-115].
This "trinity" made into unity is the "Christ" of all mystics. When, in the final Initiation, the candidate has been outstretched on the floor, or altar stone, and has thus typified the crucifixion of the flesh, or lower nature, and when from this "death" he has "risen again" as the triumphant conqueror over sin and death, he then, in the supreme moment, sees before him the glorious presence, and becomes "one with Christ", is himself the Christ. Thenceforth he may live in the body, but it has become his obedient instrument; he is united to his true Self, Manas made one with Atma-Buddhi, and, through the personality which he inhabits, he wields his full powers, as an immortal spiritual intelligence.
While he was struggling in the toils of the lower nature, Christ, the spiritual ego, was daily crucified in him; but, in the full adept, the Christ has risen triumphant, lord of himself and of nature. The long pilgrimage of manas is over, the cycle of necessity is ( Page 277 ) trodden, the wheel of rebirth ceases to turn, the Son of Man has been made perfect by suffering.
Until this point is reached, "the Christ" is the object of aspiration. The "ray" is ever struggling to return to its source, the lower manas ever aspiring to rebecome one with the higher. It is this continual yearning towards reunion which clothes itself as prayer, as inspiration, as "seeking after God". "My soul is athirst for God, for the living God", cries the eager Christian. This cry is the inextinguishable impulse upwards of the lower self to the higher. Whether the person pray to the Buddha, to Vishnu, to Christ, to the Virgin, to the Father, is of course, merely a question of dialect, not of essential fact.
In all, the Manas united to Atma-Buddhi is the real object, variously called the ideal man, the personal God, the God-Man, God Incarnate, the Word made flesh, the Christ who must be "born in" each, with Whom the believer must be made one.
When once a man enters upon the Path, and converges all his energies upon it, his rate of progress is enormously accelerated. His progress will not be by arithmetical progression, i.e., in the ratio 2,4,6,8 etc., nor by geometrical progression, i.e., in the ratio 2,4,8,16, etc., but by powers, in the ratio 2,4,16,256, etc.,. This fact should afford great encouragement to the serious student.
C H A P T E R - X X X I I
B U D D H I C - C O N S C I O U S N E S S
( Page 278 ) In view of the fact that the First Initiation involves experiencing the buddhic consciousness, it is desirable to amplify what was said in the preceding chapter regarding the nature of consciousness on the buddhic plane.
The student will
scarcely need to be told that all description of buddhic consciousness is necessarily
and essentially defective. It is impossible in physical words to give more than
the merest hint of what the higher consciousness, is, for the physical brain
is incapable of grasping the reality.
It is difficult enough to form a conception even of astral plane phenomena, there being four dimensions in the astral world. In the buddhic world there are no less than six dimensions, so that the difficulties are evidently enormously, enhanced.
There is an ingenious diagram [for which the present writer is indebted to the unknown designer], reproduced as Diagram XXXVIII,on p.279, which illustrates graphically the fundamental difference between the buddhic plane and all the planes below it.
The diagram is seen
to consist of a number of spikes or spokes which overlap at a certain point.
That point of overlap is the beginning of the buddhic plane.
The tips of the spokes represent the physical consciousness of men: they are separate and distinct from one another. Passing up the spokes towards the centre, we see that the astral consciousness is a little wider, so that the consciousness of separate men approach a little nearer to one another. The lower mental consciousness approach still more nearly to one another, whilst the higher mental consciousness at their very ( Page 279 ) highest level, meet at the point where the buddhic consciousness commences.
It will now be seen that the buddhic consciousness, of each individual and separate "man" overlaps that of the other separate consciousness on either side of him. This is a graphic illustration of the "overlapping" aspect of buddhic consciousness, where a sense of union with others is experienced.
As the consciousness rises still further up into the higher planes, it will be seen that it overlaps those on either side of it more and more, until eventually when the "centre" is reached, there is practically a complete merging of consciousness. Nevertheless, each separate spoke still exists, and has its own individual direction and outlook. Looking out towards the lower worlds, each consciousness looks in a different direction :it is an aspect of the one central consciousness. Looking inwards, on the other hand, these diverging directions all meet together, and become one with one another.
The sense of union is characteristic of the buddhic plane. On this plane, all limitations begin to fall away, and the consciousness ( Page 280 ) of man expands until he realises, no longer in theory only, that the consciousness of his fellows is included within his own, and he feels and knows and experiences, with an absolute perfection of sympathy, all that is in them, because it is in reality a part of himself.
On this plane a man knows, not by mere intellectual appreciation, but by definite experience, the fact that humanity is a brotherhood, because of the spiritual unity which underlies it all. Though he is still himself, and his own consciousness is his own, yet it has widened out into such perfect sympathy with the consciousness of others that he realises he is truly only part of a mighty whole.
As a being, standing in the sun, suffused with its light, and pouring it forth, would feel no difference between ray and ray, but would pour forth along one as readily and easily as along another, so does a man on the buddhic plane feel brotherhood and pours himself into any one who needs his help. He sees all beings as himself, and feels that all he has is theirs as much as his: in many cases, more theirs than his, because their need is greater, their strength being less.
As the predominant element in the causal body is knowledge, and ultimately wisdom, so the predominant element of consciousness in the buddhic body is bliss and love. The serenity of wisdom marks the one, whilst tenderest compassion streams forth inexhaustibly from the other.
Hence the buddhic body is called by the Vedantins the Anandamayakosha, or bliss sheath. This is "the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens", of which St. Paul, the Christian Initiate spoke. He raised charity, pure love, above all other virtues, because by that alone can man on earth contribute to that glorious dwelling. For a similar reason is separateness called the "great heresy" by the Buddhists, and "union" or yoga is the goal of the Hindu.
A selfish man could not function on the buddhic ( Page 281 ) plane, for the essence of that plane is sympathy and perfect comprehension, which excludes selfishness.
There is a close connection between the astral and the buddhic bodies,the astral being in some ways a reflection of the buddhic. But it must not therefore be supposed that a man, can leap from the astral consciousness to the buddhic, without developing the intervening vehicles.
Although, on the highest levels of the buddhic plane, a man becomes one with all others, we must not therefore assume that he feels alike to all. There is, in fact, no reason to suppose that we shall ever feel absolutely alike towards everybody. For even the Lord Buddha had His favourite disciple Ananda, and the Christ regarded St John the Beloved in a different way from the rest. What is true is that presently men will love every one as much as they now love their nearest and dearest, but by that time they will have developed, for those nearest and dearest, a type of love of which they have no conception now.
There is no separation on the buddhic plane. On that plane, as said, consciousnesses do not necessarily merge instantly at the lowest level, but they gradually grow wider and wider until, when the highest level is reached, a man finds himself consciously one with humanity. That is the lowest level at which the separateness is absolutely non-existent; in its fullness the conscious unity with all belongs to the atmic or nirvanic plane.
To each ego, who can reach this state of consciousness, it would seem that he had absorbed or included all others; he perceives that all are facets of a greater Consciousness ; he has , in fact , arrived at the realisation of the ancient formula : "Thou art That".
It must be recollected that, whilst the buddhic consciousness brings a man in to union with all that is glorious and wonderful in others, into union, in fact, with the Masters Themselves, yet it also, and necessarily, brings him into harmony with the vicious and the criminal. Their feelings must be experienced, ( Page 282 ) as well as the glory and the splendour of the higher life. When separateness is abandoned, and unity is realised, a man finds that he is merged in the Divine Life, and that the attitude of love is the only one which he can adopt, towards any of his fellowmen, whether they be high or low.
An ego, whilst living in the causal body, already recognises the Divine Consciousness in all; when he looks upon another ego, his consciousness leaps up, as it were, to recognise the Divine in him.
But, on the buddhic plane, it no longer leaps to greet him from without, for it is already enshrined in his heart. He is that consciousness, and it is his. There is no longer the "you" and the "I ", for both are onefacets of something which transcends, and yet include them both.
It is not only that we understand another man, but that we feel ourselves to be acting through him, and we appreciate his motives as our own motives, even though. as said in the preceding chapter, we may perfectly understand that another part of ourselves, possessing more knowledge, or a different viewpoint, might act quite differently.
The sense of personal property in qualities and in ideas is entirely lost, because we see that these things are truly common to all, because they are part of the great reality which lies equally behind all.
Hence personal pride in individual development becomes an utter impossibility, for we see now that personal development is but as the growth of one leaf, among the thousands of leaves on one tree, and that the important fact is not the size or shape of that particular leaf, but its relation to the tree as a whole; for it is only of the tree as a whole that we can really predicate permanent, growth.
We have ceased altogether to blame others for their differences from ourselves,: instead we simply note them as other manifestations of our own activity, for now we see reasons which before were hidden from us. Even the evil man is seen to be part of ourselves ( Page 283 ) a weak part; so our desire is not to blame him, but to help him by pouring strength into that weak part of ourselves - , so that the whole body of humanity may be vigorous and healthy.
Thus, when a man rises to the buddhic plane, he can gain the experience of others ; hence it is not necessary for every ego to go through every experience, as a separate individual. If he did not want to feel the suffering of another, he could withdraw: but he would choose to feel it, because he wants to help. He enfolds in his own consciousness one who is suffering, and although the sufferer would know nothing of such enfoldment, yet it will, to a certain extent, lessen his sufferings.
On the buddhic plane there is a quite new faculty, having nothing in common with faculties on the lower planes. For a man recognises objects by an entirely different method, in which external vibrations play no part. The object becomes part of himself, and he studies it from the inside instead of from the outside.
With such a method of apprehension, it is clear that many familiar objects become entirely unrecognisable. Even astral sight enables one to see objects from all sides at once, as well as from above and below: adding to that the further complication that the whole inside of the body is laid out before us, as though every particle were separately placed upon a table: adding to that again the fact that, while we look at these particles, we are yet at the same time within each particle, and are looking through it, it is apparent that it becomes impossible to trace any resemblance to the object which we knew in the physical world.
Whilst the intuition
of the causal body recognises the outer, the intuition of buddhi recognises
the inner. Intellectual intuition enables one to realise a thing outside
oneself: with buddhic intuition, one sees a thing from inside.
Thus if, when working in the causal body, we want to understand another person, in order to help him, we turn our consciousness upon his causal body, and ( Page 284 ) study its peculiarities; they are quite well marked, and plainly to be seen, but they are always seen from without. If, wanting the same knowledge, we raise our consciousness to the buddhic level, we find the consciousness of the other man as part of ourselves. We find a point of consciousness which represents him - we might call it a hole rather than a point. We can pour ourselves down that hole, and enter into his consciousness, at any lower level that we wish, and therefore can see everything precisely as he sees it - from inside him, instead of from outside. It will easily be understood how much that lends itself to perfect understanding and sympathy.
Yet, as has been
said, in all this strange advance, there is no sense of loss of individuality,
even though there is an utter loss of sense of separateness. Whilst that may
seem a paradox, yet it is true. The man remembers all that lies behind him.
He is himself the same man who did this action, or that, in the far-off past.
He is in no way changed, except that now he is much more than he was then, and
feels that he includes within himself many other manifestations as well.
If, here and now, a hundred of us could simultaneously raise our consciousness into the buddhic world, we should all be one consciousness, but to each man, that consciousness would seem to be his own, absolutely unchanged, except that now it included all others as well.
Buddhic vision reveals a person, not as an enclosure, but as a Star radiating out in all directions : the rays of that star pierce the consciousness of the observer, so that it is felt to be a part of himself, and yet not perfectly so. All observers agree that it is impossible, except by a series of contradictions to describe the buddhic state of consciousness.
The power of identification is gained, not only with regard to the consciousness of people, but with regard to everything else, on the buddhic plane. Everything is learnt, as said, from the inside, instead of from the outside. That which we are examining has become a ( Page 285 ) part of ourselves; we examine it as a kind of symptom in ourselves. This characteristic obviously constitutes a fundamental difference. Before it can be attained, utter selflessness must be acquired, because so long as there is anything personal in the disciple's point of view, he cannot make any progress with the buddhic consciousness, which depends on the suppression of the personality.
that : "Buddhi is the faculty of cognising, the channel through which divine
knowledge reaches the Ego, the discernment of good and evil, also divine conscience,
and the spiritual Soul, which is the vehicle of Âtma" [The Secret
Doctrine , I, p. 2]. It is often spoken of as the principle of spiritual
In the Yoga system, turiya, a lofty state of trance, is related to the buddhi consciousness, just as sushupti is related to the mental consciousness,svapna to the astral, and jagrat to the physical. These terms, however, are used also with other significances, being relative rather than absolute, vide The Mental Body, p. 146.
In the Six Stages of Mind, given in The Mental Body, p. 146, that of niruddha , or Self-controlled, corresponds to activity on the buddhic plane.
In the physical body,
the yellow prana which enters the heart chakram or force centre represents the
principle of buddhi.
Although at the buddhic level, a man still has a definite body, yet his consciousness seems equally present in vast numbers of other bodies. The web of life, which is constructed of buddhic matter, is extended so that it includes these other people, so that, instead of many small separate webs there is one vast web, which enfolds them all in one common life.
Many of these others may, of course, be entirely unconscious of this change, and to them their own private little part of the web will still seem as much separated as everor would do so if they knew anything about the web of life. So, from ( Page 286 ) this standpoint, and at this level, it seems that all mankind are bound together by golden threads, and make one complex unit, no longer a man, but man in the abstract.
On the buddhic plane, in some manner which is naturally quite incomprehensible to the physical brain ,past, present and future all exist simultaneously. Neither is a man, on this plane, any longer subject to limitations of space such as we know on the physical plane. Hence, in reading the Akashic Records, [vide The Mental Body, p.238] he no longer needs, as on the mental plane, to pass a series of events in review because, as said, past, present and future are simultaneously present to him.
With consciousness fully developed on the buddhic plane, therefore, perfect prevision is possible, though, of course, the man may not - in fact, will notbe able to bring the whole result fully through into his lower consciousness. Nevertheless, a great deal of clear foresight is obviously within his power, whenever he chooses to exercise it; and even when he is not exercising it, frequent flashes of foreknowledge come through into his ordinary life, so that he often has an instantaneous intuition as to how things will turn out, even before their inception.
The extension of
the buddhic plane is so great, that what may be called the buddhic bodies of
the different planets of our chain meet one another, so that there is one buddhic
body for the whole chain. Hence it is possible for a man, in his buddhic body,
to pass from one of these planets to another.
We may note here that an atom of buddhic matter contains 49 to the 3rd or 117,649 "bubbles in koilon."
A man who can raise his consciousness to the atomic level of the buddhic plane finds himself so absolutely in union with all other men that, if he wishes to find another man, he has only to put himself out along the line of that other person in order to find him.
The following may be taken as an example of the working of buddhic consciousness. All beauty, whether it be of form or colour, whether it be in nature or ( Page 287 ) in the human frame, in high achievements of art or in the humblest household utensil, is but an expression of the One Beauty; and therefore, in the lowliest thing that is beautiful, all beauty is implicitly contained, and so, through it, all beauty may be realised, and He Who Himself is Beauty, may be reached. To understand this fully needs the buddhic consciousness, but even at much lower levels the idea may be useful and fruitful.
As a Master has expressed it : "Do you not see that there is but One Love, so there is but One Beauty? Whatever is beautiful, on any plane, is so because, it is part of that Beauty, and, if it is pushed back far enough, its connection will become manifest. All Beauty is of God, as all Love is of God; and through these His Qualities the pure in heart may always reach Him".
The full development
of the buddhic vehicle, however, belongs to the stage of the Arhat, though those
who are as yet far from that level can gain in various ways touches of the buddhic
Buddhi in the human spirit is the pure and compassionate Reason, which is the Wisdom Aspect, the Christ in man.
In the normal course of evolution, the buddhic consciousness will be gradually unfolded in the sixth sub-race of the Fifth Root Race, and still more so in the Sixth Root Race itself.
One may trace the
coming of the sixth sub-race in the scattered people found in the fifth sub-race,
in whom tenderness is the mark of power. It is a synthesising spirit which characterises
the sixth-sub race; its members are able to unite diversity of opinion and of
character, to gather round them the most unlike elements, and blend them into
a common whole, having the capacity to take into themselves diversities, and
send them out again as unities, utilising the most different capacities, finding
each its place, and welding all together into a strong whole.
Compassion is strongly marked; it is that quality which is at once affected by the presence of weakness answering ( Page 288 ) to it with patience, with tenderness, and with protection. The sense of unity and compassion will be a strength and a power which will be used for service, the measure of strength being the measure of responsibility and of duty.
C H A P T E R - X X X I I I-
THE EGO AND THE MONAD
( Page 289 ) In chapter III we studied the Coming Forth of the Monads, and considered briefly the general nature of the Monads. In the chapter on Initiation, we dealt with the effects which Initiation produces on the relation between the Monad and the ego. It will now be fitting to consider such further information as is available regarding the relation between the ego and the Monad, and also deal a little more fully with the nature of the Monad himself, and his attitude towards his manifestations in the lower worlds.
Turning first to the nature of the Monad himself, we are confronted with the difficulty that no direct observation of the Monad, on his own plane, is at present, possible to our investigators. The plane on which the Monad residesthe Anupadaka plane - is at present beyond the reach of our clairvoyant investigators, the highest which those investigators can actually know of man, from direct observation, being the manifestation of the Monad as the Triple Spirit on the plane of Âtma Even at that stage he is incomprehensible : for his three aspects are quite distinct and apparently separate, and yet are all fundamentally one and the same.
Whilst no one below the rank of the Adept can see the Monad, yet the Arhat can know of its existence. For, on the plane of Âtma, the triple manifestation can be perceived, and the rays which make that triple manifestation are obviously converging as they rise to the highest point. It can therefore be seen that they must become one, though the actual unity is out of the sight.
We have already referred [vide p. 124] to the ( Page 290 ) possibility of focussing the consciousness in the highest level of the causal body, looking up the line that joins the ego and the Monad, and, through that vision , realising the identity with the Deity.
Perhaps the least misleading manner, in which we can imagine the true nature, of the Monad to ourselves, is to think of him as part of God - a part, however, of That which cannot be divided. Although, unfortunately, this is a paradox, to the finite intellect, yet it enshrines an eternal truth which is far beyond our comprehension.
For each Monad is literally a part of God, apparently temporarily separated from Him, while he is enclosed in the veils of matter, though in truth never for one moment really separated. He can never be apart from God, for the very matter in which he veils himself is also a manifestation of the Divine. Although matter seems to us evil, because it weighs us down, clogs our faculties, and holds us back upon the road, yet this is only because as yet we have not learned to control it, because we have not realised that it also is divine in its essence, because there is nothing but God.
It is a mistake to
think of the Monad as something very far away. For the Monad is very near to
us, is our SELF, the very root of our being, the one and
only reality. Hidden, unmanifest, wrapt in silence and darkness though he be,
yet our consciousness is the limited manifestation of that SELF,
the manifested God in our bodies, which are his garments.
The Monad has been variously described as the Eternal Man: a fragment of the Life of God: a Son of God, made in His image: a spark in the Divine Fire : the "hidden God " as he was known to the Egyptians : he is the God within us, our personal God: our true Self : a fragment of the Eternal : the real and only permanent " I " in man. The Monads have been described also as centres of force in the Logos.
Instead of speaking
of human Monads, it might perhaps be more accurate to speak of "the Monad
manifesting in the human kingdom", though such pedantic (
Page 291 ) accuracy
might be still more puzzling. H.P.Blavatsky wrote : "The Spiritual Monad
is one, universal, boundless, and impartite, whose rays, nevertheless, form
what we, in our ignorance, call the "individual Monads' of men". [The
Secret Doctrine, I, 200].
At the Occult Catechism expresses it :-
"I sense one
Flame, O Gurudeva; I see countless undetached sparks burning in it ."
Thou sayest well. And now look around and into thyself. That light which burns inside thee, dost thou feel it different in any wise from the light that shines in thy brother-men?
"It is in no way different, though the prisoner is held in bondage by Karma, and though its garments delude the ignorant into saying, thy soul' and my soul'." [The Secret Doctrine, I , 145]
To take a physical
plane analogy, we recognise that electricity is one all the world over;
and though it may be active in this machine or in that, the owner of no machine
can claim it as distinctively his electricity. So also is the Monad one
everywhere, though manifesting in different directions, through apparently separate
and different human beings.
But, in spite of having the same source, and the same fundamental nature, yet each Monad possesses a very distinct individuality of his own : in his manifestation on the plane of Âtma, as a triple light of blinding glory, even at that stage, each Monad possesses certain qualities which make him distinct from every other Monad.
The Consciousness of the Monad on his own plane is complete: he shares the divine knowledge in his own world. But, in the lower world, he is to all intents and purposes unconscious: he cannot in any way touch the lower planes of life, the matter there being of a character which is not amenable to his influences. He, who has been in union with all around him, would, if plunged into denser matter, find himself in uttermost isolation, as in empty space, unconscious of all impacts and contacts of matter.( Page 292 )
Nevertheless, everything is in him, by virtue of the One Life that he shares: but it has to be brought out : hence we speak of awakening the latent consciousness into life. Literally everything is in the Monad, all divine knowledge ; but, to bring that out, so that on any plane of matter he may know, is the whole work of evolution.
Hence the rationale of his evolutionary journey, down and again upwards, is for the purpose of acquiring that consciousness, of subjugating matter completely as a vehicle, until on each plane he answers to the vibrations of similar matter outside, and is able to bring out moods of consciousness, which answer to those outside impressions, and thereby make it possible for him to be conscious of them.
Geo.S.Arundale gives an interesting account of the appearance and evolution of the Monads. Looking upon the world, he writes, he sees our Lord the Sun expressed in myriad suns. Each Monad is a sun in miniature, the Sun Divine throwing off sparking suns, charged with all His attributes . The process of evolution begins, and these sparks burst into colour ; rainbows with sun hearts, or centres. Every atom of light is an atom of unconscious Divinity, slowly but surely fulfilling the will of the Sun that it shall become unfolded into self-conscious Divinity. Every atom is a Sun unconscious, and shall become a Sun self-conscious.
begins, the Monad is "thrown downwards into matter",to propel forwards
and force evolution [vide The Secret Doctrine. II, 115]: it is the mainspring
of all evolution, the impelling force at the root of all things.
This accounts for that mysterious pressure, which so much puzzles orthodox science, as to why things move onwards : as to what is the force which makes evolution : as to what gives rise to all the variety we find in this world, and the ever-present "tendency to variation".
The Monad knows from the first what is his object ( Page 293 ) in evolution, and he grasps the general trend of it. But, until that portion of him, which expresses itself in the ego, has reached a fairly high stage, he is scarcely conscious of the details down here, or at any rate he takes little interest in them. He seems at that stage not to know other Monads, but rests in indescribable bliss, without any active consciousness of his surroundings.
The purpose, then, of the descent of the Monad into matter, is that through his descent he may obtain definiteness and accuracy in material detail. To this end, as we have seen in the earlier chapters of this book, an atom of each of the planes of Âtma, Buddhi and Manas is attached to the Monad : the distinction of these atoms gives a precision that did not exist in the consciousness, of the Monad on his own plane.
But, it may be asked, if the Monad is of the essence of divinity in the beginning, and returns to divinity at the end of his long pilgrimage, if the Monad is all-wise and all-good, when he starts on his journey through matter, why is it necessary for him to go through all this evolution, including, as it does, much sorrow and suffering, simply to return to his source in the end?
The question is based on a misconception of the facts. When that which we call the human Monad came forth from the Divine, it was not, in reality, a human Monad, still less an all-wise and all-good Monad: it returns, eventually, in the form of thousands of millions of mighty Adepts, each capable of himself, developing into a Logos.
As a man who cannot swim, flung into deep water, at first is helpless, yet eventually learns to swim and move freely in the water, so is the Monad. At the end of his pilgrimage of immersion in matter, he will be free of the Solar System, able to function in any part of it, to create at will, to move at pleasure. Every power that he unfolds through denser matter, he retains for ever under all conditions: the implicit has become explicit, the potential the actual. It his own Will to ( Page 294 ) live in all spheres, and not in one only, that draws him into manifestation.
For there was no developed individualisation in the Monad at first: it was simply a mass of monadic essence. The difference between its condition when issuing forth, and when returning, is exactly like that between a great mass of shining nebulous matter, and the solar system which eventually formed out of it. The nebula is beautiful, undoubtedly, but vague and, in a certain sense, useless. The sun formed from it by slow evolution pours forth life, heat and light upon many worlds and their inhabitants.
Or we may take another analogy. The human body is composed of countless millions of tiny particles, and some of them are constantly being thrown off from it. Suppose that it were possible for each of these particles to go through some kind of evolution, by means of which it would in time become a human being, we would not say that, because it had been, in a certain sense, human at the beginning of that evolution, it had therefore not gained anything when it reached the end.
So, the monadic essence comes forth as a mere outpouring of force, even though it be Divine force.
The appearance and evolutionary course of the Monad may be compared with the appearance of the long day of Brahma, of the Saguna-Brahman Sachchidananda, the Divine Triplicity. That coming forth into cosmic manifestation we have reproduced, in our solar system, by the Solar Logos, and again by the Monad, who is a fragment of the Logos. When the human evolution, is over, he gathers himself up again, and the superhuman evolution begins. Thus we have the long swing of the opening life, from the nirvanic, back to the nirvanic, the whole of human evolution lying between these two. It is completed with the Initiation of the Jivanmukta, the Master, where superhuman evolution begins.
Whilst the Monad in his own world is practically without limitations, at least so far as our solar system is concerned, ( Page 295 ) yet at every stage of his descent into matter he not only veils himself more and more deeply in illusion, but he actually loses his powers.
If, in the beginning of his evolution, we may suppose the Monad able to move and to see, in an infinite number of those directions in space which we call dimensions, than at each downward step he cuts off one of these, until, for the consciousness of the physical brain, only three of them are left. Thus, by involution into matter, the Monad is cut off from the knowledge of all but a minute part of the worlds which surround him. Furthermore, even what is left to him is but imperfectly seen. For those who can train themselves to appreciate more than three dimensions, there is available an excellent method of arriving at some sort of comprehension of what consciousness on planes higher than the physical is like, and what it involves : though at the same time such a method of approach brings home the hopelessness of expecting fully to understand the Monad, who is raised by many planes and dimensions above the point from which we are attempting to regard him.
All the sacrifices and limitations, caused by descent into matter, may rightly be described as necessitating suffering. But as soon as the ego fully understands the situation, they are undertaken gladly : the ego has not the perfection of the Monad, and so he does not fully understand at first: he has to learn. Thus the quite tremendous limitation at each further descent into matter is an unavoidable fact, so that there is that much of suffering inseparable, from manifestation. We have to accept that limitation as a means to an end, as part of the Divine Scheme.
There are two senses in which all manifested life is sorrowful, unless man knows how to live it. One of these is to a certain extent inevitable, but the other is an entire mistake, and is easily to be avoided. As we have seen, to the Monad, who is the true Spirit of man, all manifested life is a sorrow, just because it is a limitation: a limitation which we in our physical ( Page 296 ) brain cannot in the least conceive, because we have no idea of the glorious freedom of the higher life.
It is in this sense that it has always been said that the Christ - the Second Person of the Trinity - offers Himself as a Sacrifice, when He descends into matter. Undoubtedly it is a sacrifice, because it is an inexpressibly great limitation, for it shuts off from Him all the glorious powers which are His, on His own level.
The same is true of the Monad of man ; undoubtedly he makes a great sacrifice, when he brings himself in connection with lower matter, when he hovers over it through the long ages of its development up to the human level, when he puts down a tiny fragment of himself, a fingertip as it were, and thereby makes an ego, or individual soul.
The second kind of sorrow, which it is possible entirely to avoid, is due to "desire", using that word in the wide sense to include all desires for lower things, such as craving for power, money, position, and so forth. All such desires necessarily cause disturbance and suffering: hence, from this point of view, what is most needed for progress is serenity.
Hence we have the two first of the Four Noble Truths which the Lord Buddha taught : the Existence of Sorrow, and the Cause of Sorrow.
Passing now to consider, more specifically, the ego in his relation to the Monad, we should realise that the individualising process, by means of which the ego comes into being, does not take place on the spiritual plane, but that Atma-Buddhi, as seen through Manas, appears to share in the individuality of Manas.
Even the ego is not the true, eternal man : for the ego had a beginninghe came into existence at the moment of individualisation : and whatever has a beginning must also have an end. Therefore even the ego, which has lasted since emergence from the animal kingdom, is also impermanent. The Monad, and the Monad alone, is the only real, permanent man.
We may look upon the ego as a manifestation of the Monad on the higher mental plane: but we ( Page 297 ) must understand that he is infinitely far from being a perfect manifestation. Each descent from plane to plane means much more than a mere veiling of the Spirit: it means also an actual diminution in the amount of Spirit expressed.
Although to speak of Spirit in terms of quantity is inaccurate and misleading, yet, if an attempt is to be made to express these higher matters in human words at all, such incongruities cannot be wholly avoided. The nearest that we can come, in the physical brain, to a conception of what happens to the Monad, when he involves himself in matter, is to say that only part of him can be shown, and even that part must be shown in three separate aspects, instead of in the glorious totality which he really is in his own world.
So, when the second aspect of the triple spirit comes down a stage, and manifests as buddhi or intuition, it is not the whole of that aspect which so manifests, but only a fraction of it. So again when the third aspect descends two planes, and manifests as intellect, it is only a fraction of a fraction of what the intellect aspect of the the Monad really is. Therefore the ego is not a veiled manifestation of the Monad, but a veiled representation of a minute fraction of the Monad.
Following the ancient maxim, "as above, so below", as the ego is to the Monad, so is the personality to the ego. By the time we have reached the personality, the fractionisation has been carried so far that the part we are able to see bears no appreciable proportion to the reality of which, nevertheless, it is the only possible representation, to us. Yet with and from this hopelessly inadequate fragment, we strive to comprehend the whole. Our difficulty in trying to understand the Monad is the same in kind, but much greater in degree, as that which we found when we tried really to grasp the idea of the ego.
Diagram XXXIX is an attempt, however inadequate, to represent graphically the relationship between the Monad, the ego and the personality.
The Monad has been compared with the flame : ( Page 298 ) the ego or triple spirit with the fire : and the personality with the fuel.
The correspondence between the Monad in its relation to the ego, and the ego in its relation to personality, will bear a little further amplification. As the ego is triple, so is the Monad : the three constituents of the Monad exist on the first three planes of our System, viz., the Adi, the Anupadaka and the Âtma planes. On the atmic plane the Monad takes to itself a manifestation, which we call the Monad in its atmic vesture, or sometimes the triple Âtma, or triple spirit. This is for the Monad what the causal body is for the ego.
Just as the ego takes on three lower bodies [mental, astral, and physical] the first of which [the mental] is on the lower part of his own plane, and the lowest [the physical] two planes below, so the Monadregarding him now as the triple Âtma or spirittakes on three lower manifestations [ Âtma, buddhi manas ] the first of which is on the lower part of his own plane, and the lowest two planes below that.
It will thus be seen that the causal body is to the Monad what the physical body is to the ego. If we think of the ego as the soul of the physical body, we may consider the Monad as the soul of the ego in turn.
For, just as the causal body takes, from the personality, whatever is of a nature to help its growth, ( Page 299 ) so the causal body, through its inner or upper side, passes on, into the third aspect of Âtma, the essence of all experiences which may have entered into it. What is thus poured into the mânasic aspect of Âtma renders it capable of acting without the causal body, that is, without a permanent vehicle which limits it. This throws light on the phenomenon of the perishing of the causal body, or individuality, with which we have already dealt in Chapter XXXI.
Diagram XL is an attempt to illustrate these somewhat complex correspondences and relationships.
The entire higher triad, atma-buddhi-manas, may also be regarded as the buddhi of the still more inclusive triad of Monad, Ego and Personality. That larger buddhi is triple - will , wisdom and activityand its third aspect, Kriyashakti, in due course comes into operation in the body, to awaken its organs and liberate its latent powers.
The statement, in Light On The Path, that the "warrior" in man is "eternal and sure", may be taken as relatively true of the ego in relation to the lower self and absolutely true with regard to the Monad in relation to the ego. The ego, as we have seen, may make mistakes at an earlier stage, but is far less likely to do so than is the personality. The Monad, on the other hand, makes no mistakes, although his knowledge of conditions down here may be somewhat vague. But his instinct must be on the side of right, for he is divine. Neither the ego nor the Monad have as yet accurate knowledge, because their evolution is not complete. They are for us as guides, and one cannot ( Page 300 ) do other than follow them. But even as guides they are themselves unfolding.
We may note here
that the triple manifestations of the Monad is that which Christianity speaks
of as the "three persons in one God," teaching, in the Athanasian
creed, that men should worship "One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity,
neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance"---that is to
say, never confusing the work and function of the three separate manifestations,
each on its own plane, yet never for a moment forgetting the eternal unity of
the "substance" that which lives behind all alike, on the highest
plane, where these three are one.
Such considerations are not merely of theoretical value, but have also some practical bearing on life. Although we cannot grasp the full meaning of such teaching ,yet we should at least know that there are these three lines of force and yet that all the force is one and the same. Without knowing that, we cannot grasp the method by which our world came into existence, nor can we understand man, whom "God made in His own image," and who therefore is also three and yet one - atma-buddhi-manas, and yet one Spirit.
We may regard the three parts of the higher self as three aspects of a great consciousness or mind. They are all three modes of cognition. Âtma is not the Self, but is this consciousness knowing the Self. Buddhi is this consciousness, knowing the life in the forms, by its own direct perception. Manas is the same consciousness looking out upon the world of objects. Kama-Manas is a portion of the last, immersed in that world, and affected by it. The true self is the Monad, whose life is something greater than consciousness, which is the life of this complete mind, the Higher Self.
The same truth may be expressed in a slightly different formindeed in many forms. Âtma, Buddhi and Manas in man reflect in their smaller spheres the characteristics of the great Trinity. Âtma is the consciousness of self, and also the will, which gives ( Page 301 )self-direction. Manas, at the other pole, is consciousness of the world, and its thought power does all our work, even that which is effected through the hands. But buddhi, between the two, is the very essence of consciousness, of subjectivity.
Beyond this middle member, triple in character, is the Monad in man,representative of Him Parabrahman, the state of his true and absolute nirvana, beyond consciousness. The Âtma is the state of his false and relative nirvana, of the nirvanic or atmic plane, his last illusion, that persists between the Fourth [Arhat] and Fifth [Adept] Initiations.
As the Monad lies above the trinity of consciousness, so the personal bodies lie outside or beneath it - they are known only in reflection in manas.
We may perhaps presume - though here we are going far beyond actual knowledge - that when we have finally and fully realised that the Monad is the true man, we shall find, beyond that again, a yet further and more glorious extension. We shall find that the Spark has never been separated from the Fire, but that, as the ego stands behind the personality, as the Monad stands behind the ego, so a Planetary Angel stands behind the Monad, and the Solar Deity Himself stands behind the Planetary Angel. Perhaps, even further still, it may be that, in some way infinitely higher, and so at present utterly incomprehensible, a greater Deity stands behind the Solar Deity, and behind even that, through many stages, there must rest the Supreme over all. But here even thought fails us, and silence is the only true reverence.
In the average man the Monad is, of course, but little in touch with the ego and the lower personality, although both of these are yet somehow expressions of him .Just as it is evolution for the personality to learn to express the ego more fully, so it is evolution for the ego to learn to express the Monad more fully. And just as the ego in time learns to control and dominate the personality, so the Monad, in his turn, learns to dominate the ego.
( Page 302 ) Diagram XLI is a rough illustration of the relation between Monad, Ego and Personality, and the stages by which these three gradually come more and more into touch with one another.
At the left-hand
side of the diagram, we see the ego represented as very small : he is just a
baby ego : complete, but small and undeveloped: the personality is also slender,
indicating its primitive condition. As evolution proceeds, the personality gradually
widens out, until eventually it becomes equilateral, indicating that it is well
developed, all-round, symmetrical. Also, it will be observed, the link between
the personality and the ego, at first very narrow, has widened out, until it
becomes almost as wide as the full width of the personality.
Whilst this has been going on, at the same time, the ego has been steadily growing in size, and the channel between him and the Monad has also been steadily increasing in width.
Thus, at the right-hand
side of the diagram, we have a strong and wide channel between the Monad and
Ego, the Ego himself being fully developed, exercising, through a wide and well-developed
link, full control over a symmetrically developed personality.
Finally, the time will come when, just as the personality and ego have become one, the Monad and ego also become one. This is the unification of the ego with the Monad, and when that is achieved the man has attained ( Page 303 ) the object of his descent into matter, he has become the Superman, the Adept.
|Diagram XLII- Monad, Ego and Personality: "At-one-ment".|
|This diagram is an attempt to indicate:-|
|1||The complete alignment, or unification of Monad, Ego and Personality|
|2||The consequent one centre of consciousness|
|3||The one life flowing through all three|
|4||The limitation imposed upon the manifestations of the one life by the outline-barriers of Personality, Ego and Monad.|
|5||The fact that Personality, Ego and even Monad are but mayavic or illusory veils imposed upon the Divine Life|
|6||The fact that the One Life itself is unlimited and universal, as indicated by the circularity of the aura of radiation, thus transcending its expressions through Monad, Ego and Personality. "With one portion of Myself I manifest, but I remain".|
Diagram XLII illustrates this consummation. Here we see the Monad, Ego and Personality in perfect alignment, veritably an "at-one-ment" The same life permeates all three of its manifestations, but the personality, owing to its size and its constitution, is able to express less of the one life than the ego is able to do, and the ego, in his turn , for similar reasons, is able to express less than can the Monad.
Even the Monad cannot confine, contain, or express the whole of the divine life which radiates out from and beyond that veil, however thin, of separative matter - which makes him a distinct being.
When this consummation is reached, then only, for the first time, does the entity enter upon ( Page 304 ) his real life, for the whole of this stupendous process of evolution is but a preparation for that true life of the spirit, which begins only when man becomes more than man. Humanity is the final class of the world-school, and, when a man passes out of this, he enters the life of the glorified Spirit, the life of the Christ.
That life has a glory and a splendour beyond all comparison and all comprehension, : but the attainment of it by every one of us is an absolute certainty, from which we cannot escape even if we would. If we act selfishly, if we set ourselves against the current of evolution, we can delay our progress: but we cannot finally prevent it.
There is thus a very close correspondence between the relationship of the Monad to the ego, and the ego to the personality. Just as the ego is for long ages the ensouling force of the personality, so there comes a time eventually when the ego himself becomes a vehicle, ensouled by the Monad, now fully active and awakened. All the manifold experiences of the ego, all the splendid qualities developed in him, all these pass into the Monad himself, and find there a vastly fuller realisation than even the ego could have given them.
The question arises, does the Monad, in the case of the ordinary man, ever do anything which affects, or can affect, his personality down here? Such interference appears to be most unusual. The ego is trying on behalf of the Monad, to obtain perfect control of the personality, and to use it as an instrument, : but, because that object is not yet fully achieved, the Monad may well feel that the time has not yet come for him to intervene from his own level, and to bring the whole of his force to bear, when that which is already in action is more than strong enough for the required purpose. But, when the ego is already beginning to succeed, in his effort to manage his lower vehicles, then the Monad does sometimes intervene.
In the course of investigating some thousands of human beings, traces of such intervention were found in only in a few. The most prominent instance is that ( Page 305 ) given in the twenty-ninth life of Alcyone, when he pledged himself to the Lord Buddha to devote himself in future lives to the attainment of the Buddhahood in order to help humanity.
This being a promise for the far-distant future, it was obvious that the personality, through which it was given, could by no means keep it. Investigation revealed that even the ego, though full of enthusiasm at the idea, was being impelled by a mightier force from within which , he could not have resisted, even had he wished to do so. Following the clue still further, it was found that the impelling force came forth unmistakably from the Monad. He had decided, and he registered his decision. His will, working through the ego, will clearly have no difficulty in bringing all future personalities into harmony with his great intention.
Other examples of the same phenomenon were found. Certain Monads had already responded to the call of the higher Authorities, and had decided that their representative personalities should assist in the work of the Sixth Root Race in California, some hundreds of years hence. Because of that decision nothing that these personalities might do during the intervening time could possibly interfere with the carrying out of that decision.
The compelling force
is thus not from without, but from within, from the real man himself. When the
Monad has decided, the thing will be done, and it is well for the personality
to yield gracefully and readily, recognising the voice from above, and co-operating
gladly. If he does not do this, then he will lay up for himself much useless
suffering. It is always the man himself who is doing this thing; and he, in
the personality has to realise that the ego is himself, and he has for
the moment to take it for granted that the Monad is still more himselfthe
final and greatest expression, of him.
What is known as the great Company of Servers affords another instance; the Servers are a type apart, to which Monads seem to be attached ab intitio, however ( Page 306 )long it may take for the type to be expressed in the outer consciousness. In a certain sense, it is a kind of predestination, the Monad having taken the resolve. [For further account of the Servers, vide article, entitled The Servers by C.W Leadbeater, in The Theosophist, September 1913.]
In view of the general consideration that in a perfectly ordered universe there is no room for chance, it seems probable that the very mode of individualisation, from the animal kingdom was somehow predetermined, either for or by the Monad himself, with a view to preparation for whatever portion of the great work he is to undertake in the future.
For there will come a time when we shall all be part of the great Heavenly Man: not in the least as a myth or a poetic symbol, but as a vivid and actual fact, which certain investigators have themselves seen. That celestial body has many members ; each of these members has its own function to fulfil, and the living cells which are to form part of them need widely different experiences to prepare them. It may well be that, from the dawn of evolution, the parts have been chosen, that each Monad has his destined line of evolution, and his freedom of action is concerned chiefly with the rate at which he shall move along that line.
In the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, there is a good deal of symbolism concerned with the Monad, the Ego and the Personality. Briefly speaking first of the Three Persons of the Trinity, the Host typifies God the Father, and also stands for the Deity, whole and indivisible; the Wine stands for God the Son , Whose life is poured down into the chalice of material form ; the Water represents God the Holy Ghost, the Spirit Who brooded over the face of the waters , and yet at the same time is Himself symbolised by water.
Speaking next of the Deity in man, the Host signifies the Monad, the totality, the unseen cause of all: the paten means the Triple Âtma or Spirit through which the Monad acts on matter : the Wine indicates ( Page 307 )the individuality, poured into the chalice of the causal body : the Water represents the personality which is so intimately mixed with it.
Passing to the effect of Communion upon the communicant, the force of the Host is essentially Monadic, and acts most powerfully upon whatever within the man represents the direct action of the Monad : the force of the Chalice is more that of the ego : the Wine has a very powerful force upon the higher astral levels, and the Water sends out even etheric vibrations.
the priest makes the three crosses with the Host over the Chalice, he wills
strongly that the influence from the Monadic level should descend into the ego
in its threefold manifestation of Âtma, Buddhi and Manas: and then, as
he makes the two crosses between the Chalice and his own breast, he draws that
influence into his own mental and astral bodies, that through him it may radiate
fully upon his people.
This symbolises the earlier stages of evolution, when the Monad hovers over his lower manifestations, brooding ( Page 308 )over them, acting upon them, but never touching them. So the priest holds the Host above the Chalice, yet never touches the one with the other until the appointed time has come.
When the priest drops the fragment of the Host into the Chalice, he thereby signifies the descent of a ray of the Monad into the ego.
To facilitate memorisation of this system of symbols, Diagram XLIII is appended.
C H A P T E R -X X X I V -
THE SECOND AND HIGHER INITIATIONS
( Page 309 ) Each stage of the Path proper is divided into four steps :--
The first is its
Maggo, or way, during which the student is striving to cast off the fetters.
The Second is its Phala, literally fruit or result, when the man finds the result of his efforts showing themselves more and more.
The Third is its Bhavagga, or consummation, the period when, the result having culminated, he is able to fulfil satisfactorily the work belonging to the step on which he now firmly stands.
The Fourth is its Gotrabhu, which means the time when he has arrived at a fit state to receive the next Initiation. This means complete and entire freedom from the fetters of his stage on the Path.
The first of the three fetters, or Samyojana, which have to be cast off, before the candidate can take the Second Initiation, is Sakkayaditthi, the delusion of self. This is the "I - am - I " consciousness which, as connected with the personality, is nothing but an illusion, and must be got rid of at the very first step of the real upward Path. But to cast off the fetter completely means even more than this, for it involves the realisation of the fact that the individuality also is, in very truth, one with the All, that it can therefore never have any interests opposed to those of its brethren, and that it is most truly progressing when it most assists the progress of others.
The second fetter is Vichikichcha, doubt or uncertainty. The candidate must arrive at the certainty of conviction, founded on individual experiment, or mathematical reasoning. He believes, not ( Page 310 ) because he has been told, but because facts are now self-evident. This is the only method of resolving doubt known to occultism.
The third fetter is Silabbataparamasa, or superstition. This includes all kinds of unreasoning and mistaken belief, and all dependence upon outward rites and ceremonies to purify the heart. The man must realise that within himself deliverance must be sought, and that, however valuable aids such as ceremonies, etc., may be in developing will, wisdom and love, yet they can never take the place of that personal effort by which alone he can achieve. The knowledge of the spiritual permanence of the true ego brings reliance on one's own spiritual strength, and so dispels superstition.
The buddhic consciousness
is directly related to these three fetters, for they are all dispelled by that
consciousness. Recognising the unity, the man can have no delusion of separateness.
Seeing for himself the great laws of life in operation, he can no longer doubt.
He sees all the roads that lead to the one Bliss, and that all roads are good,
so that he can no longer hold to the superstition that any one form of belief
is necessary, to one who has attained that level.
The Second Initiation takes place in the lower mental world, so that the candidate must have developed the power to function freely in his mental body.
This Initiation rapidly continues the development of the mental body, and at or near this point the pupil learns to use the mayavirupa [vide The Mental Body, p. 169] .
At the Second Initiation, the Key of Knowledge is given, the Initiator pouring out, from His own mental and causal bodies, rays of power which, falling on the mental and causal bodies of the Initiate, stimulate into sudden and splendid growth, the germs of similar powers therein existing. As though a bud, stimulated by the sun-rays, should suddenly burst into all the glory of the opened flower, so do the mental and causal bodies suddenly unfold the powers latent within them, ( Page 311 ) expanding into radiant beauty. Through them, now expanded, buddhi or intuition can play freely, the great new power being thus set free to work.
The period after
the Second Initiation is in many ways the most dangerous anywhere on the Path
: it is at this stage that, if there is any weakness in a candidate's character,
it will find him out. In nearly all cases, the danger comes through pride. It
is indicated in the Gospel story by the temptation in the wilderness.
As the First Initiation corresponds to a new birth, so may the Second Initiation, be compared to the baptism of the Holy Ghost and Fire, for it is the power of the Third Person of the Trinity that is outpoured at that moment, in what may but inadequately be described as a flood of fire.
The man at this stage is known to the Buddhists as a Sakadagamin,the man who returns but once, the meaning being that he should need but one more incarnation before attaining Arhatship, the Fourth Initiation.
The Hindu name for this step is the Kitichaka, the man who builds a hut, he who builds a hut, he who has reached a place of peace.
At this stage no additional fetters are cast off, but it is usually a period of considerable psychic and intellectual advancement. The man must have the astral consciousness at his command during physical waking life, and, during sleep, the heaven-world will be open before him.
When the Third Initiation is passed, the man becomes the Anagamin, which means literally, "he who does not return", for it is expected of him that he will attain the next Initiation in the same incarnation. The Hindu name for this stage is the Hamsa, which means a swan, but the word is also considered to be a form of the sentence So-Ham , "That am I ". There is a tradition, too, that the swan is able to separate milk from water, and the Sage is similarly able to realise the true value, for living beings, of the phenomenon of life.
This Initiation is typified, in the Christian symbolism, ( Page 312 ) by the Transfiguration of the Christ. He went up into a high mountain apart, and was transfigured before His disciples : "his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light", exceeding white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them". This description suggests the Augoeides, the glorified man, and it is an accurate picture of what happens at this Initiation, for, just as the Second Initiation is principally concerned with the quickening of the lower mental body, so at this stage the causal body is especially developed. The ego is brought more closely into touch with the Monad, and is thus transfigured in very truth.
Even the personality
is affected by that wondrous outpouring. The higher and the lower self became
one at the First Initiation, and that unity is never lost but the development
of the higher self, that now takes place, can never be measured in the lower
worlds of form, although the two are one to the greatest, possible extent.
At this stage, the man is brought before the Spiritual King of the World, the Head of the Occult Hierarchy, Who, at this step, either confers the initiation Himself , or deputes one of His Pupils, the three Lords of the Flame, to do so. In the latter event, the man is presented to the king soon after the Initiation has taken place. Thus the "Christ" is brought into the presence of His "Father" ; the buddhi in the Initiate is raised, until it becomes one with its origin on the nirvanic plane, and a very wonderful union between the first and second principles in man is thus effected.
The Anagamin enjoys, while moving through the round of his daily work, all the splendid possibilities given by full possession of the faculties of the higher mental plane, and during the sleep of the body, he enters the buddhic plane.
In this stage, he has to throw off any lingering remains of the fourth and fifth fetters- attachment to the enjoyment of sensation, typified by earthly love, and all possibility of anger or hatred. He must become free from the possibility of being enslaved in ( Page 313 ) any way by external things. He must rise above all considerations connected with the mere personality of those around him, recognising that the affection which flourishes upon the Path is an affection between egos. Therefore it is strong and permanent, without fear of diminution or fluctuation, for it is that "perfect love which casteth out fear".
The Fourth Initiation is known as that of the Arhat, which means the worthy, the capable, the venerable or perfect. The Hindus call the Arhat the Paramahamsa, the one above and beyond the Hamsa. In the Christian system the Fourth Initiation is indicated by the suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of the Christ.
This Initiation differs from the others in that it has the double aspect of suffering, and victory, hence a series of events has been employed to represent it. The type of suffering, which accompanies the Initiation, clears off any arrears of karma which may still stand in the Initiate's way. The patience and joyousness, with which he endures them, have great value in the strengthening, of his character, and help to determine the extent of his usefulness in the work which lies before him.
The Initiate has
to experience for a moment the condition called Avichi, which means the
"waveless", that which is without vibration. The man stands absolutely
alone in space, and feels cut off from all life, even from that of the Logos;
it is without doubt the most ghastly experience that it is possible for any
human, being to have. It seems to have two results:
 that the candidate may be able to sympathise with those to whom Avichi comes as a result of their actions: and--
 that he may learn to stand cut off from everything external, and test and realise his own utter certainty that he is one with the Logos, and that any such feeling of loneliness must be but an illusion.
Avichi for the black magician corresponds to nirvana for the White Adept. Both of these types of men, antithesis of each other, are yogis, and each gets the ( Page 314 ) result of the law he has followed. One attains the kaivalyam - realisation of oneness, complete isolation - of Avichi, the other the kaivalyam of Nirvana.
For the Arhat, while still in the physical body, the consciousness of the buddhic plane is his, this being its normal home.
In fact, to stand
at the level of the Arhat involves the power fully to use the buddhic vehicle.
When the Arhat draws himself up into the buddhic plane, it must not be supposed that manas is in any way lost. For he draws up manas with him into that expression of manas which has all the time existed on the buddhic plane but has not been fully vivified until now. He still remains triple, but instead of being on the three planes, he is now on two, with atma developed on its own plane , buddhi on its own plane, and manas level with buddhi, drawn up into the intuition. Then he discards the causal body, because he has no further need of it. When he wishes to come down again, and manifest on the mental plane, he has to make a new causal body, but otherwise he does not need one.
Much in the same way, at a later stage, the buddhi and the glorified intellect will be drawn up into the atmic plane, and the triple spirit will be fully vivified. Then the three manifestations will converge into one. That is a power within the reach of the Adept, because, as we shall see in due course, He unifies the Monad and the ego, just as the disciple is trying to unite the ego with the personality.
This drawing up of the higher manas from the causal body, so that it is on the buddhic plane side by side with the buddhi, is the aspect or condition of the ego which H.P.Blavatsky called the spiritual ego, which is buddhi plus the manasic aspect of the One, which was drawn up into buddhi when the causal vehicle was cast aside. That state - that of the Arhatis called by Christian mystics that of spiritual illumination, of the Christ in man.
H. P. Blavatsky has also a classification in which she speaks of four divisions of the mind : ( Page 315 )
 Manas taijasi,
the resplendent or illuminated manas, which is really buddhi, or at least that
state of man when his manas has become merged in buddhi, having no separate
will of its own.
 Manas proper, the higher manas, the abstract thinking mind.
 Antahkarana, the link of channel or bridge between the higher manas and kama manas during incarnation.
 Kama-manas which, on this theory, is the personality.
When the Arhat leaves
the physical body in sleep or trance, he passes at once into the unutterable
glory of the nirvanic plane. His daily effort is now to reach further and further
up into the nirvanic plane, up the five lower sub-planes on which the human
ego has being. He has a number of planes open to him, and can focus his consciousness
at any particular level he chooses, although there will always be a background
of the buddhic and nirvanic consciousness.
Even at the atmic level, there is a sheath of some sort for the Spirit, for in one sense it seems as though it were an atom, and yet in another it seems to be the whole plane. The man feels as if he were everywhere, but could focus anywhere within himself, and wherever for a moment the outpouring of force diminishes, that is for him a body.
The Arhat has to
work at the casting off of the remaining five of the ten great fetters, which
 Ruparagadesire for beauty of form, or for physical existence in a form, even including that in the heaven world.
 Aruparaga - desire for formless life.
 Uddhachcha - agitation or irritability, the possibility of being disturbed by anything.
 Avijja - ignorance .
The Arhat Initiation may be thought of as a halfway between the First and the Fifth Initiations.
On the first half of the Path - from the First to the ( Page 316 ) Fourth Initiationthe man is busy shaking himself free from those personal limitations, from the illusion of "it". On the second half, he is engaged in releasing himself from the illusion of "you". It is usually said that seven lives are occupied, in the average case, at normal times, between the First and Fourth Initiations, and seven lives also between the Fourth and Fifth. But these figures are capable of very great reduction or increase. In most cases the actual period is not very great, since usually the lives are taken in immediate succession, without interludes in the heaven world.
The Arhat, whose ego is working perfectly in the causal body, need not incarnate again in a physical body, and go through the wearisome round of birth and death, which is so unpleasantat any rate, from the point of view of the ego himself. He must , however, descend as far as the astral plane. While in the astral body, he may at any moment that he chooses enjoy the nirvanic consciousness. If he is in the physical body, he can reach that nirvanic consciousness only when he leaves the body in sleep or trance,as already explained above.
Nirvanic consciousness means consciousness anywhere in the solar system.
The Fifth Initiation makes a man a Master, an Adept, a Superman. The Buddhists call Him the Asekhaliterally, the not-disciplebecause He has no more to learn, and has exhausted the possibilities of the human kingdoms of nature. The Hindus speak of Him as the Jivanmukhta, a liberated life, a free being, because His will is one with the Universal Will, that of the One without a second. He stands ever in the light of Nirvana, even in His waking consciousness, should He choose to remain on earth in a physical body. When out of that, He rises still higher into the Monadic plane, beyond not merely our words but our thought .
As the Secret Doctrine expresses it: the Adept "begins his Samadhi on the Atmic plane," all planes below the atmic being one to Him.
( Page 317 ) A man attains Adeptship when he raises His ordinary consciousness to the nirvanic level: the fact that differentiates Him, and makes Him an Adept, is that He has unified the Monad with the ego. And, since He has become one with the Monad, He has already reached the level of the third or lowest manifestation of the Deity or Logos.
In Christian symbolism, the Ascension and the Descent of the Holy Spirit stand for the attainment of Adeptship, for the Adept does ascend above humanity, beyond this earth, although, if He chooses, as did the Christ, He may return to teach and help. As He ascends, he becomes one with the Holy Spirit , and invariably the first thing He does, with His new power, is to pour it down upon His disciples, even as the Christ poured down tongues of fire upon the heads of His followers at the Feast of Pentecost.
At the Asekha Initiation, the atma is seen as a clear light, a star, and, when it spreads out, at the last breaking down of the wall, it becomes the infinite light.
Before that, the Arhat can feel the underlying peace of atma when in meditative mood, but constantly he returns to the sorrow. But when a man rises to the atmic plane in full consciousness, and the buddhic consciousness merges into that, there is but one light seen. This is expressed in The Voice of The Silence : "The Three that dwell in glory and in bliss ineffable, now in the world of Maya have lost their names. They have become one star, the fire that burns but scorches not, that fire which is the Upadhi of the flame."
While the man was in the causal body, he saw the Sacred Three separate, but now he sees them as the three aspects of the triple atma. Buddhi and manas, which were "twins upon a line" in the buddhic consciousness of the previous stage, are now one with atma, the fire which is the vehicle of the Monadic flame.
Then says the Teacher : "Where is thy individuality, Lanoo, where the Lanoo himself? It is the spark lost in the fire, the drop within the ocean, the ever present ray become the All and the eternal Radiance".( Page 318 ) He who was a disciple is now a Master. He stands in the centre, and the triple Atma radiates from Him.
The Adept has the power to get at any knowledge that He wants, almost in a moment. He can make Himself one with it, and get at the core of it instantly, and then observe the surrounding details as He may require them. Somewhere on the buddhic or nirvanic plane, He would grasp the idea that lies at the back for example, of any particular science or department of knowledge and make Himself one with that. Then, from that point of view, He would reach down into any details He might require.
A Master does not appear to need all the knowledge stored within His brain as we do, but is able to turn a certain faculty on to anything that is wanted, and, by the use of that faculty, then and there, to know all about it. He would not need to read up a subject, but He would turn His all-seeing eye on the subject , and thereby somehow absorb the knowledge.
This may be the explanation of getting rid of avidya - ignorance. With the buddhic faculty, as we have seen, it is no longer necessary to collect facts from outside, but one plunges into the consciousness of anything, whether it be mineral or plant or Deva, etc., and understands it from inside.
H. P . Blavatsky has pointed out that a Master's physical body is a mere vehicle. It hands nothing on, but is simply a point of contact with the physical plane, a body kept as an instrument, needed for the work He does, and dropped when done with. The same consideration applies to the astral and mental bodies.
The Masters aid, in countless ways, the progress of humanity. From the highest sphere, They shed down on all the world light and life, that may be taken up and assimilated, as freely as the sunshine, by all who are receptive enough to take it in. As the physical world lives by the life of God, focussed by the sun, so does the spiritual world live by that same Life, focussed by the Occult Hierarchy. ( Page 319 )
Certain Masters are
specially connected with religions, and use these religions as reservoirs, into
which They pour spiritual energy, to be distributed to the faithful in each
religion through the duly appointed "means of grace".
Then there is the great intellectual work, wherein the Masters send out thoughts of a high intellectual power, to be caught up by men of genius, assimilated by them and given out to the world. On this level, also, They send out their wishes to Their disciples, notifying them of the tasks to which they should set their hands.
In the lower mental world, the Masters generate the thought-forms which influence the concrete mind, and guide it along useful lines of activity in this world, and teach those who are living in the heavenly world.
In the intermediate
world, They undertake the work of the helping of the so-called dead, generally
direct and supervise the teaching of the younger pupils, and send out aid in
numberless cases of need.
In the physical world, They watch the tendencies of events, correct and neutralise, so far as law permits, evil currents, constantly balance forces that work for and against evolution, strengthening the good and weakening the evil. They work also in conjunction with the Angels and Devas of the Nations, guiding the spiritual forces as the others guide the material.
The whole earth is divided into special areas,each in the charge of a Master. These areas, consisting of huge countries or even continents, correspond somewhat to "parishes" in the Church organisation. Thus one Adept may be said to be in charge of Europe: another looks after India : and so on.
The Adept has all
the different grades and forms of evolution to regardnot only humanity,
but also the great kingdom of the Angels and Devas, the various classes of nature-spirits,
the animals, vegetables and minerals, the elemental kingdoms, and many others
of which so far nothing has been heard by mankind.
A large part of the work of the Adepts lies at levels far beyond the physical as They are engaged ( Page 320 ) in pouring out their own power, and also the force from the great store filled by the Nirmankayas. It is the karma of the world that it shall have a certain amount of this uplifting force at its service; on account of this, humanity is evolving as a unit, the fact of brotherhood enabling every one to make much more progress, than would be even remotely possible were he standing entirely by himself.
The Great White Brotherhood rays out the supply of force from the great reservoir upon all egos, without exception, on the higher mental plane, thus giving the greatest possible assistance to the unfolding of the indwelling life.
Whilst an Adept may ray out His force upon enormous numbers of people, running often into many millions simultaneously, yet such is the wonderful quality of this power, which He pours forth, that it adapts itself to each one of these millions, as though he were the only object of its influence, and it appears as though what, for us, would be full attention, were being given to that one.
This arises from the fact that the Master's nirvanic or atmic consciousness is a kind of point, which yet includes the entire plane. He can bring that point down through several planes, and spread it out like a kind of bubble. On the outside, of that huge sphere are all the causal bodies, which He is trying to affect, and He , filling the sphere, appears all in all to each individual.
In this way, He fills with His life the ideals of millions of people, and is for them respectively the ideal Christ, the ideal Rama, the ideal Krishna, an Angel, or perhaps a spirit guide.
In this department of Their work, the Masters frequently take advantage of special occasions, and of places where there is some strong magnetic centre. Where some holy man has lived and died, or where some relic of such a person creates a suitable atmosphere, They take advantage of such conditions , and cause Their own force to radiate along the channels already ( Page 321 )prepared. When some vast assemblage of pilgrims comes together in a receptive attitude, again They take advantage of the occasion , by pouring Their forces out upon the people, through the channels by means of which they have been taught to expect help and blessing.
Another example of the methods of work of the Masters at the causal level is afforded in the case of talismans, which a Master may link with His own causal body, so that its influence will last through the ages. This was done with certain physical objects, buried at various points of future importance, by Apollonius of Tyana.
The Adept having become one with the Third Aspect of the Logos, manifesting on the plane of atma, His next step is to become one with that Aspect which is represented by the Christ in the bosom of the Father. Later on, it maybe presumed that He will draw ever nearer and nearer to the Deity of the Solar system.
When human life is completed, the Perfected Man usually drops his various material bodies, but He retains the power to take up any of them, if ever He should need them in the course of His work. In the majority of cases, one who gains that level no longer needs a physical body. He no longer retains an astral, a mental, or even a causal body, but lives permanently at His highest level.
Of those who attain Adeptship, comparatively few remain on our earth as members of the Occult Hierarchy, as will be explained more fully presently.
Beyond the Fifth or Asekha Initiation, the higher Path opens up in seven great ways, among which the Adept must take His choice. These seven are as follows:--
 He may enter into the blissful omniscience and omnipotence of Nirvana with activities far beyond our knowing, to become, perhaps, in some future world, an Avatara, or Divine Incarnation. This is sometimes called "taking the Dharmakaya vesture" . The Dharmakaya keeps nothing below the Monad, though what the vesture of the Monad may be on its own plane we do not know.( Page 322 )
[II ] He may enter on "the Spiritual Period"-a phrase covering unknown meanings, among them probably that of "taking the Sambhogakaya vesture". He retains His manifestation as a triple spirit, and probably can reach down and show Himself in a temporary Augoeides.
[ III ] He may become part of that treasure-house of spiritual forces, on which the Agents of the Logos draw for their Work, "taking the Nirmanakaya vesture". The Nirmanakaya appears to preserve His Augoeides, that is, His causal Body, and keeps all His permanent atoms, and therefore has the power to show Himself at whichever level He chooses. The Nirmankayas are Spoken of in The Voice of The Silence as forming a Guardian Wall, which preserves the world from further and far greater misery and sorrow.
[IV] He may remain a member of the Occult Hierarchy, which rules and guards the world in which He has reached perfection.
[V ] He may pass on to the next Chain, to aid in building up its forms.
[VI ] He may enter the splendid Angel or Deva Evolution.
[ VII ] He may give Himself to the immediate service of the Logos, to be used by Him in any part of the Solar System: His Servant and Messenger, who lives but to carry out His will, and do His work over the whole of the System which He rules. This is called joining the "Staff". It seems to be considered a very hard path, perhaps the greatest sacrifice open to the Adept, and is therefore as carrying with it great distinction.
A member of the General Staff has no physical body, but makes one for Himself by Kriyashakti - the "power to make"of the matter of the globe to which He is sent. The Staff contains Beings at very different levels, from that of Arhatship upwards.
Above the Initiation of the Adept lies the Sixth Initiation, that of Chohan, word which means ( Page 323 )"Lord". The same word is used also for the Heads of Rays Three to Seven.
The Ray to which an Adept belongs affects not only His appearance, but also that work that He has to do.
The following table sets out briefly certain facts regarding the Rays:-
|1||Chohan Morya||Strength||The Master Jupiter is also on this Ray, and is the Guardian of India. He is a great student of the abstruser sciences, of which chemistry and astronomy are the outer shells.|
|2||Chohan Kuthumi: formerly He was Pythagoras ( 6th Century, B.C.||Wisdom||This Ray gives great Teachers to the world|
|3||The Venetian Chohan||Adaptability: Tact||Astrology is concerned with this Ray|
|4||Chohan Serapis||Beauty and Harmony||Many artists are on this Ray|
|5||Chohan Hilarion: formerly Iamblichus (4th century).||Science: detailed knowledge.|
|6||Chohan Jesus: formerly Apollonius of Tyana (1st century), and also Ramanujacharya (11th century).||Bhakti or Devotion||The Ray of Mystics|
|7||Chohan Rakoczi: formerly the Comte de St.Germain (18th century); Francis Bacon (17th century): Robertus the monk ( 16th century); Hunyadi Janos(15th century); Christian Rosencreuz (14th century); Roger Bacon (13th century); Proclus the Neo-Platonist (5th century); St. Alban (3rd century).||Ordered Service: Ceremonial||Works through ceremonial magic, and employs the services of great Angels|
( Page 324 )The following are examples of the methods likely to be employed by representatives of the different Rays:----
The First Ray man
would attain his object by sheer force of resistless will, without condescending
to employ anything in the nature of means at all.
The Second Ray man would also work by force of will, but with the full comprehension of the various possible methods, and the conscious direction of his will into the channel of the most suitable one.
The Third Ray Man would use the forces of the mental plane, noticing very carefully the exact time when the influences were most favourable to success.
The Fourth Ray Man would employ the finer physical forces of the ether.
The Fifth Ray man would set in motion the currents of what used to be called the astral light.
The Sixth Ray man would achieve his result by the strength of his earnest faith in his particular Deity, and in the efficacy of prayer to Him.
The Seventh Ray man would use elaborate ceremonial magic, and probably invoke the aid of non human spirits, if possible.
In attempting the
cure of disease:--
The First Ray man would simply draw health and strength from the great fountain of Universal Life.
The Second Ray man would thoroughly comprehend the nature of the malady, and know precisely how to exercise his will-power upon it to the best advantage.
The Third Ray man would invoke the Great Planetary Spirits, and choose a moment when astrological influences were beneficent for the application of his remedies.
The Fourth Ray man would trust chiefly to physical means, such as massage.
The Fifth Ray man would employ drugs.
The Sixth Ray man would employ faith-healing.( Page 325 )
The Seventh Ray man would use mantras, or magical invocations.
Beyond the Chohan Initiation, on Rays Three to Seven, the highest Initiation that can be taken on our globe is that of the Mahachohan: it is possible, however, to go further on the First and Second Rays, as is indicated in the following table of Initiations, in which it will be seen that the Buddha initiation is possible on the Second and First Rays, and that the Adept may go still further on the First.
|9||LORD OF THE WORLD|
|4||FIRST RAY||SECOND RAY||THIRD RAY||FOURTH RAY||FIFTH RAY||SIXTH RAY||SEVENTH RAY|
The Occult Government is in three departments, ruled by three officials, who are not merely reflections of the Three Aspects of the Logos, but are in a very real way actual manifestations of Them. These three are  Lord of the World , who is one with the First Aspect, on the Adi plane, and wields the divine will on earth;  the Lord Buddha, who is one with the Second Aspect, which dwells on the Anupadaka plane, and sends the divine Wisdom down to mankind; and  the Mahachohan, who is one with the Third Aspect, which resides on the nirvanic or atmic plane, and ( Page 326 ) exercises the divine Activity - representing the Holy Ghost. The following table sets out these facts:----
|Logos||Divine Powers||Planes of Nature||Triangles of Agents||Ray|
|First Aspect||Will||Adi or Originating||The Lord of the World||1|
|Second Aspect||Wisdom||Anupadaka or Monadic||The Lord Buddha||2|
|Third Aspect||Activity||Atmic or Spiritual||The Mahachochan||3-7|
In this great Triangle, the Lord of the World and the Lord Buddha are different from the Mahachohan, being engaged in work that does not descend to the physical plane, but only to the level of the buddhic body, in the case of the Lord Buddha, and the atmic plane, in that of the Lord of the World. Yet, without Their work, none of that at lower levels would be possible, so They provide for the transmission of Their influence, even to the lowest plane, through Their representatives, the Manu and the Bodhisattva, respectively. ( Page 327 )
The Manu and the Bodhisattva stand parallel with the Mahachohan, thus forming another Triangle, to administer the powers of the Logos down to the physical plane. These two triangles are expressed in Diagram XLIV.
|The Occult Hierarchy|
The various relationships
described above are summarised in Diagram XLV,
which is reproduced, with very slight modifications, from The Masters and the
C H A P T E R -X X X V-
( Page 328 ) In bringing to a close this series of four books, dealing with man's etheric, astral, mental and causal bodies, together with a considerable mass of phenomena, of the various planes to which these bodies belong, it may be useful, to glance over the whole ground we have covered, and draw a few general, conclusions.
Turning to the important matter of clairvoyant research, it seems to be a fact just at present, that what we may term objective clairvoyance is comparatively, rare. By objective clairvoyance, we mean that definite and definitive type of higher sight, or apprehension, which objectivises the things which are perceived; which in fact, makes things of them, as objective, in their own degree, as are the ordinary phenomena of the physical plane.
There is, however, another type of clear-seeing, which we may term subjective clairvoyance. In this type, there is a form of perception, perhaps more accurately termed apprehension , which does not objectify that which is being observed, but which rather feels or cognises it in a more subtle, and a more interior manner. Let a simple illustration suffice.
Whilst relatively few people are able to see auras, so that they can become perfectly objective, far more seem to be able to "sense" auras, and to know without actually seeing, what are their general characteristics, such as size, quality, colour, and so forth. They appear to see, quite literally, with the "mind's eye".
In both cases of clear-seeing, the wise and experienced student will be extremely, cautious and prudent, and will always take a strictly conservative view, either of what he seesor thinks he seesor of ( Page 329 ) what he feelsor thinks he feels. Whilst it would be highly foolish, and contrary to all the canons of scientific method, to ignore, or discount too severely, that which is seen of apprehended, it is equally as foolish, and certainly more dangerous, to accept rashly, and without careful corroboration, everything that is seen or apprehended. The student must, in entering the unknown, strive to maintain that careful balance, between caution and rashness, which alone leads to true knowledge and keeps him on that "middle path" which has so often been described as narrow as the edge of a razor.
As mentioned in a previous volume, to have attempted to give proofs of the statements made in these books would have been, for many reasons, quite impossible, or at least impracticable. For a very large proportion of the contents of these volumes, rigid, intellectual proof could most certainly not be given, because it is not at present available. Comparatively few things - some would say no thingscan be proved absolutely: facts, phenomena, observations, statements, are one thing; proof of those facts, etc., and, still more, ability to appreciate such proof, are a totally different thing. Men do not as yet seem to have been able to devise a system of proving whether certain things are true or are not true, a system as reliable, shall we say, as is a pair of scales for ascertaining weights of objects.
And yet, amongst
all the phenomena of life are many things, of supreme importance, upon which
man must form an opinion, if he is to live as a rational being, and direct
his life truly. He cannot afford to wait until clear, unequivocal, proof is
forthcoming. To do so is to incur the risk of rejecting, merely on account of
insufficient proof, information which, if true, may be of immeasurable importance
and value to him.
Only one attitude seems reasonable and just. We must, as just said, make up our minds one way or the other, even when proof is not forthcoming. When intellectual proof happens to be deficient, it is often as ( Page 3330 ) stupid to disbelieve, as to believe. There is a superstition of disbelief, as there is a superstition of belief : and it is doubtful from which form of superstition the human race at the present time suffers most.
Proof today, perhaps always, is an individual matter for each man. There is a theory, and it is a theory by no means unsupported by evidence and by experience, that it is possible for a man to so train himself that, when a true fact is presented to him for the first time, something within him leaps to greet it, and he knows it is true. We may call this intuition, or anything else we choose : it has many names : but it is a phenomenon open to any one to observe, and to test for himself as a true phenomenon.
As Annie Besant has said: "As the higher sense in you which knows truth at sight gradually unfolds, you will be able to take in more and more of the truth. Then there grow up in you a deep inner conviction, and when a truth is presented to you, you will know it is true. This sense corresponds to eyesight on the physical plane. It is the faculty of buddhi, pure reason". [Talks on the Path of Occultism, p.210].
So, the wise man
observes instances of this phenomenon in himself, and in others, and, recognising
its tremendous and far-reaching importance, deliberately sets to work to train
and perfect the faculty in himself. Obviously it can become of incalculable
value to him, more particularly in his psychological and spiritual life.
Strange and extraordinary, perhaps even impossible, as many of the statements made in these four books may seem, to some readers, it would surely be a wiser policy [seeing that they are all made by sincere and honest investigators,] not to reject them, merely because they cannot be proved, but if they do not awaken a responsive thrill that feels them to be true, to set them aside for the time being, to "file" them for "future reference". Whereas, if they do awaken that responsive thrill, which, in those who have developed the faculty referred to above, is often quite unmistakable, ( Page 331 ) they may be accepted, tentatively at least for the time, as probably true.
More and more students of occultism are finding that, as time goes on and they develop their own inner powers, they are able to verify for themselves many statements which, years or months previously, they had accepted in this manner, on the authority of others.
So much for the abstruse and complicated question of proof of the teachings of the Ancient Wisdom, in its guise of modern Theosophy.
Turning to the ethical aspect of what has been said in these four books, the reader will no doubt have observed that moral and ethical considerations, arising from a study of the occult constitution of man, have been touched upon only occasionally, and quite secondarily. This has been done deliberately, the view having been taken that facts speak for themselves, and point out their own moral. If man is constituted as described, if he has etheric, astral, mental and causal bodies of the nature stated, surely there can be no two opinions as to the way in which he ought, even in his own interest, to live and conduct his relations with other men, and with the world in general. Whether he does so or not is, of course, his own affair entirely.
And now a few words directed more specifically to occult students, and to the general method of approach to the subjects dealt with in these four volumes.
The Ancient Wisdom
can no doubt be presented in many ways, ways utterly diverse from one another.
A mechanic would present them in one fashion: an artist in quite another way
: a scientist would describe them in a manner very different from that which
a poet or a mystic would adopt. According to the types or temperaments of men,
and their qualifications and knowledge, so will be their presentations of the
Hence, there may be danger for one in the method of presentation of another. To be quite specific, the presentation adopted in these books many would say is mechanical, even materialistic. So be it: but, in the nature of things, ( Page 332 ) there must be a mechanical and a material aspect of every phenomenon, no matter how spiritual, for there can be no spirit without matter. But the true occult student will guard against shutting himself up in any rigid mechanical system. Whilst his "tidy" mind may delight in categories, and precise tabulations of facts, yet he must not let these become a prison-house, with barred windows, limiting and restricting his views to certain narrow directions only.
Dissection, analysis, categorisation are necessary for the intellect : but they are, after all, but scaffolding by means of which the structure, complete in all its parts is raised. Moreover, as H.G.Wells has admirably stated : "these thingnumber, definition, class and abstract formI hold, are merely unavoidable, conditions of mental activity; regrettable conditions rather than essential facts. The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps, and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it". [First and Last Things, book I, "Metaphysics,-page 19].
The structure of knowledge is one whole, made up, it is true, of its manifold parts, yet greater than the arithmetical sum of all its parts, and, in its totality fulfilling a function which none of its parts, nor any group of its parts, can perform.
So with man: we may, for purposes of study and understanding, divide him into Monad, Ego and Personality, his bodies into physical, etheric, astral, mental, and causal: yet the man himself is no one of these things , nor even all of them together. These are all but means through which he expresses portions, aspects, or functions of himself : but he himself "remains", an entity, a mystery, if the truth be told, different from, and greater than, all of these categories into which we divide him.
C.W. Leadbeater [in The Science of the Sacraments, p. 547] gives an analogy which may be useful here. If an electric current be made to flow round a bar of soft iron, through a coil of German-silver wire, and within a tube filled with mercury vapour, it will give rise respectively ( Page 333 ) to magnetism, heat and light. The current is the same, but its manifestations vary according to the nature of the matter through which it is acting. So with man : the current of life flowing in him is split up into different varieties of manifestation, according to the bodies through which it expresses itself. We study the bodies in turn, and their methods of functioning : but the man himself, that which results in consciousness of various kinds in the various bodies is the noumenon behind all these external phenomena : and be it noted, just as the true nature of electricity still eludes our scientists, so does man himself, in his true nature, still elude us.
Hence, it is quite conceivable, nay probable, that it would be possible to give a fair and full presentation, shall we say solely from the point of view of consciousness, rather than of form, of the truths of the Ancient Wisdom, without any mention of atma, buddhi, manas, or the hosts of other technical terms with which these pages are so liberally sprinkled. The real student, the genuine lover of truth, will recognise truth, no matter in what guise, or in what "jargon," to use an unpleasant wordit may be expressed, or veiled. But let him above all things, be tolerant and kindly: all roads lead to one goal : let each pilgrim find and follow his own path, offering goodwill, friendship and kindliness, without stint and without patronage, to pilgrims who prefer other paths.
In view of what was said above, regarding the inherent defects of intellectual processes and categorisation, the student must, à fortiori, guard himself against placing too much faith in diagrams, useful as these may be to the labouring mind. Let the student by all means employ them as scaffolding, as ladders up which he climbs, but let him be on his guard lest they become cages which imprison him. Here is a test : if his understanding be genuine, and full, the synthetic conception, which he has generated, will belong to a world far above the world of form or diagram: but the moment he casts his conception into the lower, ( Page 334 ) categorising mind, it will project itself into countless forms and shapes, varying according to the materials he selects, from his store of knowledge, for the expression of that which is, in its own nature, incapable of being imprisoned in any graph, no matter how ingenious or appropriate. Diagrams, like all forms of categories, are admirable servants, but tyrannical masters.
It is the hope of the compiler that the years of work he has spent on these volumes will help to bring to many of his readers at least as much clarification of ideas, and, above all, enthusiasm and ever-deepening love for the Brahma-Vidya, the noble science, the knowledge of God and of man, as they have brought to the compiler himself. From knowledge comes understanding: from understanding comes that serenity and peace which are so immeasurably greater than all knowledge and all understanding.
"The value of knowledge," wrote Annie Besant, "is tested by its power to purify and ennoble the life, and all earnest students desire to apply the theoretical, knowledge acquired in their study of Theosophy to the evolution of their own character and to the helping of their fellowmen The emotion which impels to righteous living is half wasted if the clear light of the intellect does not illuminate the path of conduct ; for as the blind man strays from the way unknowing till he falls into a ditch, so does the Ego, blinded by ignorance, turn aside from the road of right living till he falls into the pit of evil action. Truly is Avidyathe privation of knowledgethe first step out of unity into separateness, and only as it lessens does the separateness diminish, until its disappearance restores the Eternal Peace."
|ANCIENT WISDOM||A. BESANT||1897||AW|
|DEATH & AFTER||A. BESANT||1901||DA|
|DEVACHANIC PLANE||C.W. LEADBEATER||1902||DP|
|INNER LIFE VOL. II||C.W. LEADBEATER||1910||IL II|
|INTRODUCTION TO YOGA||A. BESANT||1908||IY|
|LIFE AFTER DEATH||C.W. LEADBEATER||1917||LAD|
|INNER LIFE VOL. I||C.W. LEADBEATER||1910||ILI|
|IN THE OUTER COURT||A. BESANT||1910||IOC|
|HIDDEN SIDE OF THINGS VOL. II||C.W. LEADBEATER||1913||HS II|
|HIDDEN SIDE OF THINGS VOL.I||C.W. LEADBEATER||1913||H S I|
|HIDDEN LIFE IN FREEMASONRY||C.W. LEADBEATER||1926||HLF|
|GODS IN EXILE||J.J.VAN DER LEEUW||1926||GE|
|EVOLUTION OF LIFE AND FORM||A. BESANT||1899||ELF|
|MAN & HIS BODIES||A. BESANT||1900||MB|
|MAN VISIBLE & INVISIBLE||C.W. LEADBEATER||1902||MVI|
|MAN: WHENCE, HOW AND WHITHER||BESANT/LEADBEATER||1913||MWHW|
|MASTERS AND THE PATH||C.W. LEADBEATER||1925||MP|
|OTHER SIDE OF DEATH||C.W. LEADBEATER||1904||OSD|
|PEDIGREE OF MAN||A. BESANT||1908||PM|
|SCIENCE OF THE SACRAMENTS||C.W. LEADBEATER||1920||SOS|
|SELF AND ITS SHEATHS||A. BESANT||1902||SS|
|SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF MAN||A. BESANT||1904||SP|
|SOME GLIMPSES OF OCCULTISM||C.W. LEADBEATER||1909||SGO|
|STUDY IN CONSCIOUSNESS||A.BESANT||1904||SC|
|TALKS ON THE PATH OF OCCULTISM||BESANT / LEADBEATER||1926||TPO|
|TALKS WITH A CLASS||A. BESANT||1921||TC|
|TEXT BOOK OF THEOSOPHY||C.W. LEADBEATER||1914||TB|
|THEOSOPHY & NEW PSYCHOLOGY||A. BESANT||1909||TNP|
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