by Arthur E. Powell

First published in 1927 by The Theosophical Society


This book, like its two predecessors,
is dedicated with gratitude and appreciation to those
whose painstaking labour and researches
have provided the materials out of which it has been compile

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This book is the third of the series dealing with manТs bodies, its two predecessors having been The Etheric Body and аThe Astral Body. аIn all three, identically the same method has been followed: some forty volumes, mostly from the pens of Annie Besant andа C.W.Leadbeater, recognised to-day as the authorities par excellence on the Ancient wisdom in its guise of modernа Theosophy, have been carefully searched for data connected with the mental body; those data have been classified, arranged and presented to the student in a form as coherent and sequential as the labours of the compiler have been able to make it.

Throughout this series no attempt has been made to prove, or even to justify, the statements made, except in so far as their own internal evidence and reasonability justify them. The bona fides of these veteran investigators and teachers being unquestionable, the results of their investigations and their teachings are here set out, without evasion or reservation of any kind, so far as possible in their own words, modified and abridged only where necessary to suit the requirements of an orderly and logical presentation of the subject-matter.

The question of proof is an entirely separate issue, and one, moreover, of vast dimensions. To have attempted to argue or prove the statements made would have defeated the primary object of these books, which is to lay before the serious student a condensed synthesis, within reasonable compass, of the teachings from the from the sources named regarding the bodies of man and the planes or worlds to which these belong. Those who desire proofs must search for them elsewhere.

аThe fact that, after some two and a half years of intensive study of the writings of the two authors named, no discrepancies or contradictions, beyond, [xii] literally, two or three of trifling moment, have been discovered, constitutes a striking testimonial to the faithfulness in detail of the investigators, and to the coherence of the Theosophical system.

As in the two preceding volumes, marginal references have been given in order that the student may, if he wish, verify for himself any statement made at the original sources. The indices of the series of three books, together with the marginal references, thus virtually constitute in themselves a fairly complete index to everything dealing with the etheric, astral, and lower mental worlds in the writings of Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater.

It is hoped that there will be added to the series in due time a fourth volume, on The Causal Body.

As already mentioned, by far the greater part of the material presented in this book, has been obtainedа directly from the writings of Dr. Besant and Bishop Leadbeater. The works of H. P. Blavatsky are not included in the list of authorities quoted.а To have searched the Secret Doctrine for references to the Mental Body and the Mental Plane would, frankly have been a task beyond the powers of the compiler, and would, also, in all probability have resulted in a volume too abstruse for the class of student for whom this series of books is intended. The debt to H. P. Blavatsky is greater than ever could be indicated by quotations from her monumental volumes. Had she not shown the way in the first instance, later investigators might never have found the trail at all, let alone made it into a path where others may follow with comparative ease and safety.

A.E. Powell.



Before proceeding to describe in detail the mental body of man, its functions, and the part it plays in his life and evolution, it will be useful to give a brief outline of the ground which our study will cover.

First, we shall have to consider the mental body as the vehicle through which the Self manifests as concrete intellect, in which are developed the powers of the mind, including those of memory and imagination, and which, in the later stages of manТs evolution, serves as a separate and distinct vehicle of consciousness, in which the man can live and function quite apart from both his physical and his astral bodies.

At the outset the student must realise quite clearly that in occult psychology the mental equipment of man is divided into two distinct portions: [a] the mental body, which deals with particulars, with what are known as concrete thoughts: eg., a particular book, house, triangle, etc. ; [b] the causal body which deals with principles, with abstract thoughts: eg., books or houses in general, the principle of triangularity common to all triangles.а The mental body thus deals with rupa or form-thoughts, the causal body with arupa or formless thoughts. A rough analogy may be taken from mathematics : arithmetic, dealing with particular numbers, belongs to the lower form aspect of mind : algebra, which deals with symbols representing numbers in general, belongs to the higher or formless aspect of mind. The terms form and formless are, of course, used not in an absolute, but in a relative sense. Thus a cloud or a flame while possessing form are yet formless relatively to, say, a house or a log of wood.аааа

Next we shall have to deal with that strange, semi-intelligent, and intensely active life-substance known as the Mental Elemental Essence, and the part it plays in helping man to think. The details of the structure and composition of the mental body will next engage our attention, and this will be followed by a description of typical examples of mental bodies of men at various stages of development.

A prominent feature in our study will be an examination of Kama-Manas, that association, or entanglement, between Desire and Thought, in terms of which it would perhaps be possible to write a history, both of the human race as a whole, and of every individual man.а So intimate, in fact, is this entanglement that some schools of thought go so far as to class the astral and the mental bodies of man as one vehicle of consciousness, as indeed they are, for practical purposes, for the great majority of mankind.

The twofold action of thought in its own world must be described: viz., the radiation of waves of thought, and the formation, and in many cases the projection into space, of thought-forms. The effects which these two classes of phenomena produce on their creators and on other men must be examined when we come to deal with Thought-Transference, which, for convenience, we shall consider as Unconscious and as Conscious, the later division including Mental Healing, of which a brief outline will be given.

It will be necessary to consider the effect which the physical body, and, in fact, physical surroundings in general, produce on the mental body and its workings; conversely, we must examine the effects which the mental body produces on the physical body and on other physical objects.

Then it will be necessary to treat of the astral body in a similar manner: viz., how it influences the mental body, and how the mental body in its turn influences the astral body.

Then we shall turn to the mental body itself and show how it operates, how its faculties may be developed and trained both when working through the physical brain, and also when it is operating on its own account as an independent vehicle of consciousness.

This naturally leads us to the more deliberate training of the mental body, embracing Concentration, that sine qua non of an effective mental life; Meditation, and finally, Contemplation, leading to mystic consciousness.

The use of the mental body during sleep of the physical body will be briefly dealt with, and then a short description of that artificial and temporary mental body known as the ayavi Rupa will be added.

The life after physical and astral death, i.e.,, on the mental plane itself, will next occupy our attention. This will have to be dealt with at some length, for we have to study the general principles underlying the course of that mental life and many of its details. We must further examine shortly typical examples of life on each of the four lower mental sub-planes, in what the Theosophist calls Devachan, the Christian УHeavenФ.

After proceeding so far we shall be in a position to have grasped the reality and possibilities of the mental plane regarded as a world in itself, and we shall therefore study is as such a world, examining the nature of the life there, and the general character of its phenomena.

Amongst all these we shall find the Thought-Centres, which constitute an interesting and important feature. From these we shall pass to the Akashic Records, that wonderful and infallible Memory of nature in which everything is remembered and recorded, so that it may be read by anyone possessing the necessary qualifications.

A chapter will then be devoted to the inhabitants of the Mental Plane, and then, as man passes out of the lower mental plane on the death of his mental body, we shall follow him just sufficiently to gain a glimpse of his wider and fuller life on the higher mental, or causal plane.

Having thus traced the pilgrimage of the man through physical death [vide The Etheric Double], his course through the astral plane [vide The Astral Body]а and , in this volume, followed him to the threshold of his true home, the causal or higher mental world, we can gain some idea of the relationship between the man in his three lower vehicles, those of the Personality, and the true man in his causal body, the Soul or Individuality.а This aspect of our study will be dealt with in the chapter on the Personality and the Ego.

Then we take up the history once again as the man emerges from his УhomeФ on his descent to re-birth in the lower worlds.

Finally, a chapter will be devoted to the life of the man who has reached the stage where he is worthy to be accepted as a Chela or Disciple by those masters of the Wisdom who, as the Elder Brethren of humanity, serve Their younger brothers with such unerring wisdom, such tireless patience, such never-failing and infinite love. For it is today within the reach of many a man who will address himself to the task of making himself worthy, to be trained by Them to assist, in however small a measure, in Their work for the service of the world, and it is also possible to set out, more or less categorically, the qualifications necessary before that inestimable privilege can be conferred.



Before we can study fruitfully the mental body, either as to its composition, structure, or methods of functioning, it is necessary to describe [though in general outline only] what is known as Mental Elemental Essence.

The student will recollect that after the formation of the atomic states of matter in each of the planes of nature, the Third Aspect of the Trinity [the Holy Spirit the Life giver, in Christian terminology] pours Himself down into the sea of virgin matter [the true Virgin Maria] and, by His vitality, awakens the atomic matter to new powers and possibilities, resulting in the formation of the lower sub-divisions of each plane.

Into matter thus vivified the Second great Outpouring of the Divine Life descends; again in Christian terminology, the Son is Уincarnated of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin MaryФ.

This Outpouring of the Divine Life is called by various names at various stages of Its descent. Regardedа asа aа wholeа itа is often spoken of as a Monadic essence, moreа especiallyа whenа clothedа onlyа inаа atomicа matterа ofа theа variousа planes, becauseа itа hasа thenа become аfitа toа beа usedа toа supplyа permanentа atomsа to Monads.

When it ensouls non-atomic, i.e., molecular matter, it is called Elemental Essenceаааaа name,а borrowedа fromа mediaevalа occultists;а it was bestowed by them on the matterа ofа whichа theа bodies of the nature-spirits were composed, for they spokeааof these as УElementalsФ.

When on its downward courseа itа energises the matter of the three higher levels of the mental plane, it is known as the First Elemental Kingdom.

After spending a whole Chain Period in that evolution, it descends to the four lowerа levelsа ofа theа mentalа plane,а andа thereа ensoulsа theа Second Elemental Kingdom for another Chain period: here it is known as Mental Elemental Essence.

The next Chain Period is spent on the astral plane, where it is called the Third Elemental Kingdom, or Astral Elemental Essence.

[A Chain Period is the timeа occupiedа byа theа passage of the life-wave seven times round the seven globes of a Chain. There are thus forty-nine globe or world periods in each Chain Period. Forа furtherа details,а see A Textbook of Theosophy by C. W. Leadbeater.]

Each of these three is a kingdom of nature, as varied in manifestations of its differentа forms of life as are the animal and vegetable kingdoms, with which we areа moreа familiar. Moreover, on each kingdom there are, of course, the usual seven perfectly distinct types or УraysФ of essence, each with its seven sub-types.

Bothа Mentalа andа Astralа Elemental Essence are intimately connected with man,ааа withа his bodiesа andа hisа evolution, asа we shall see more clearly as we proceed with our study of his mental body.

It is important to realise that both on the astral and mental planes, elemental essence is quite distinct from the mere matter of those planes.

Another point of great importance is that the life animating both mental and astral matter is upon the downward or outward arc of evolution: progress for it, therefore means to descend into denser forms of matter, and to learn to express itself through them.

For man, evolution is just the opposite of this: he has already sunk deeply into matter, and is now rising out of it towards his source. There is consequently a constantа conflictа ofа interestsа between the man within, and the life inhabiting theа matter ofа аhis variousа vehicles. Theа fullа bearing of this supremely important fact we shall see more clearly in later chapters, as our subject unfolds.



The mental body is built of particles of the four lower sub-divisions of the mental world, i.e.,, ofа mentalа matterа which corresponds to the four lower sub-divisions of astralа matter, andа toа solid, liquid, gaseousа andа ethericа matterа ofаа the physical plane.

The three higher grades of mental matter are used to build the Causal, or Higher Mental Body, with which we are not here concerned.

In addition to ordinary mental matter, the mental body contains also mental elemental essence, i.e.,, matter of the Second Elemental Kingdom.

Theа physicalа body, asа weа know,а isа builtа upа ofа cells,а eachа ofа whichа is a tiny separate life animated by the Second Outpouring, which comes fromа the Second Aspect of the Deity. The same thing applies in the astral and mental bodies. In the cellа life which permeates them there is as yet nothing in the way intelligence butа thereа isа a strongа instinct pressing downwards into matter, as we saw in the preceding chapter.

The shape of the mental body is ovoid, following that ovoid section of the causal body which alone of its characteristics can manifest in the lower worlds. The matter of the mental body, however, is not evenly distributed through out the egg. In the midst of the ovoid is the physical body, which strongly attracts astral matter: in its turn the astral matter strongly attracts mental matter. Consequently by far the greater part ofа the matterа of both astral and mental bodiesа isа gatheredа within the physical frame. To clairvoyant sight, therefore, the mental body appears as built of dense mist, of the shape of the physical body, and surrounded by an ovoid of much finer mist. For this reason, in the mental аа world an acquaintance is just as recognisable as in the physical world.

The portion of the mental body which projects beyond the periphery of the physical body forms the mental УauraФ.

The size of both the astral and mental bodies is the same as that of the causal body, or more accurately of the section of the causal body on the lower planes. Thus, unlikeа theа physicalа body, which has remained substantially the same size since Atlantean days, the mental body grows in size as the man himself develops.

The particles of theа mental bodyа areа in ceaseless motion.а Moreover, they are constantly changing ,theа mentalа bodyа automatically drawing to itself, from theа general storehouse, matterа thatа can maintain the combinations already existing in it.

In spite of the intensely rapid motion of the mental particles among themselves, the mental body has yet at the same time a kind of loose organisation. There are in it certain striations which divide it more or less irregularly into segments, each of these corresponding to a certain department of the physical brain, so that every type ofа thoughtа shouldа functionа throughа itsа duly assigned portion. The mentalа bodyа isа yetа soа imperfectlyа developedа in ordinary men, however, that there are manyа in whom a great number of special departments are not yet in activity, and anyа attemptа atа thoughtа belongingа toа thoseа departmentsа hasа toа travelа round through some inappropriate channel which happens to be fully open.а The result is that thought onааа those subjects is for those people clumsy and uncomprehending. That is why ,as we shall see more fully in a later chapter, some peopleа have a headа for mathematics andа others are unable to perform a simple mathematical process Ц whyа someа peopleа instinctivelyа understand,а appreciate and enjoy music, while others do not know one tune from another.

Goodа thoughtsа produceа vibrationsа ofа the finer matter of the body, which by its specific gravity tends to float in theа upper part of the ovoid: whereasа bad thoughts, such as selfishness and avarice, are always oscillations of theаа grosser matter, which tends to gravitate towards the lower part of the ovoid. Consequently, the ordinaryа manа whoа yieldsа himselfа not infrequently to selfish thoughts of various kinds, usually expands the lower part of his mental body, and presents roughly the appearance of an egg with its larger end downwards. The man who has not indulged in those lower thoughts, but has devoted himself to higher ones, tends to expand the upper part of his mental body and therefore presents the appearance of an egg standing in its smaller end.а All such appearances, however, are only temporary, the tendency being for the symmetry of the ovoid to re-assert itself by degrees.

From a study of the colours and striations of a manТs mental body, the clairvoyant can perceive his character and the progress he has made in his present life.а [From similarа featuresа of the causal body he can see what progress the ego has made since its original formation when the man left the animal kingdom.]аааааааа

The mental body is more or less refined in its constituents, according to the stage of intellectual development at which the man has arrived.а It is an object of great beauty, and delicacy and rapid motion of its particles giving it an aspect of living iridescent light, and this beauty becomes an extraordinary radiant and entrancing loveliness as the intellect becomes more highly evolved and is employed chiefly on pure and sublime topics.а As we shall see in detail later, every thought gives rise to vibrations in the mental body, accompanied by a play of colour described as like that of the sprayа ofа a waterfallа asа the аsunlightа strikesа it, raised many degrees in colour and vivid delicacy.

Every mental body has a single molecule or unit, usually called the mental unit, of the fourth mental sub-plane, which remains with the man during the whole of his incarnations. As we shallа see inа theа course of our study, the materials of the mental body are scattered and re-gathered again and again, in life after life but the mental unit remains a stable centre the whole time.

The mental unit may be regarded as the heart and centre of the mental body, and upon the relative activity of the differentа parts ofа thatа unit the appearance of that body as a whole to a great extent depends.

The mental unit may, of course, belong to any one of the seven great Уtypes У or УraysФ of matter: it should be noted that all the permanent atoms and the mental unit of a man belong to the same УtypeФ or УrayФ.

The mental unit thus corresponds, in the mental body, to the permanent atoms in the causal , astral, and etheric bodies.

The use of the permanent atoms, and of the mental unit, is to preserve within themselves, as vibrating powers, the results of all the experiences through which the bodies with which they have been associated have passed.

Theа variousа activitiesа ofа theа mind fall naturally into certain classes or divisions,аааand these divisions are expressed through different parts of the mental unit. Mental units are by no means all the same. They differ greatly, according to the type, and to the development of their owners. If a mental unit lay at rest the force radiating from it would make aа numberа of funnels in the mental body, just as theа light shining through the slide in a magic lantern makes a large radiating funnel of light in the air between the lantern and the sheet.

аIn this case the surface of the mental body may beа likenedа to the sheet because it isа onlyа at the surface that the effect becomes visible to one who is looking at the mental body from the outside; so that, if the mental unit wereа atа rest there would beа seenа onа theа surfaceа ofа theа mentalа bodyа aа numberа ofа pictures in colour, representingаа theаа variousаа typesаа ofаа thoughtаа commonаа toаа theаа personа with, presumably dark spacesа between them. But the mental unit, like all other chemical combinations, is rotating rapidly on its axis, and the effect of this is that in the mental body there isа aа series ofа bands, notа alwaysа quite clearly defined, norа alwaysа ofа theа sameа width,а butа stillаа readilyа distinguishable,а and usually in about the same relative positions.

The student will by now beа familiarа withа coloursа and their meaning, a full list beingаа givenаа [which is not considered necessary to repeat here]аа inа Theа Astral Body pp.11-12.

Where aspirational thought exists it invariably shows itself in a beautiful little violet circle at the top of the ovoid of the mental body. As the aspirant draws near to the gateway ofа the Pathа this circleа increases in size and radiancy, and in the Initiate it is a splendid glowing cap of the most lovely colour imaginable.

Below it often comes the blue ring of devotional thought, usually rather a narrow one, except in the case of the few whose religion is really deep and genuine.

Next to that, thereа may beа the much broader zone of affectionate thought, which may be of any shade of crimson or rose-colour according to the type of affection which it indicates.

Near to the zone of affection, and frequently closely connected with it, there is found the orange band, which expresses proud and ambitious thought.

Again, in intimate relation with pride comes the yellow belt of intellect, commonly divided into two bands, denoting respectively the philosophical and the scientific types of thought. The place of this yellow colour varies much in different men; sometimes it fills the whole upper part of the egg, rising above devotion and affection, and in such a case pride is generally excessive.

Below the group just described, and occupying the middle section of the ovoid, is the broad belt devoted to concrete shapes Цthe part of the mental body from which all ordinary thought-forms issue. [These thought-forms will be described in Chapter VIII].

The principal colour here is green, shaded often with brown or yellow, according to the disposition of the person.

There is no part of the mental body which varies more widely than this. Some people have their mental bodies crowded with a vast number of concreteа images, whereas others have only a few. In some they are clear and well outlined, in others they are vague and hazy to the last degree; in some they are classified, labeled and arranged in the most orderly fashion, in others they are not arranged at all, but are left in hopeless confusion.

In the lower part of the ovoid come the belts expressing all kinds of undesirable thoughts. A kind of muddy precipitate of selfishness often fills the lower third, or even half, of the mental body, and above this is sometimes a ring portraying hatred, cunning or fear. Naturally, as a man develops, this lower part vanishes, the upper part gradually expanding until it fills the whole body, as shown in the illustrations in Man Visible and Invisible, by Bishop Leadbeater.

The general rule is, the stronger the thought the larger the vibration; the more spiritual and unselfish the thought, the higher and more rapid is the vibration. Strength of thought produces brilliancy, spirituality produces delicacy of colour.

In a later chapter, we shall describe a few typical mental bodies, and indicate how various other mental qualities show themselves.



Theа mentalа bodyа is the vehicle through which the Self manifests and expresses itself as the concrete intellect.

Theа mindа isа theа reflectionа ofа theа cognitionalа aspectа of the Self, of the Self as Knower: the mind is the Self working in the mental body.

The majority of people are unable to separate the man from the mind; consequently, to them the Self, which they are seeking, is the mind.

This is the more natural, if not inevitable, because at the present stage of evolution men of the Fifth Race are working especially at the development of the mental body.

In the past the physical body has been vivified as a vehicle of consciousness: the astral body is also at leastа partially vivified by most men: the vivification of the mentalа bodyа isа theа workа uponа which humanity should now be more especially engaged.

The development of the astral body, withа itsа function of expressing kama, or emotion, was the special work of the Fourth Root Race, the Atlantean, as it is the special work of the Fourth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root Race, the Keltic.

Asа statedа above,а theа qualityа which the Fifth Race Цand this applies both to the Fifthа Rootа Raceа andа theа Fifthа Sub-Race Цisа intendedа speciallyа toа develop is manas or mind: that type of intellect that discriminates, that notes the differences between things.

At the present stage of half-development most men look for differences from their own point of view, not in order to understand so much as to resist them, even violently to oppose them.а When the faculty is perfectly developed, however, differences will be noted calmly, solely for the purpose of understanding them and judging what is best.

аWe may go further and say that at the present stage of development of the Fifth Sub-Race, weakness in others is a field to exploit, a thing to enslave, something to trample under foot, in order to rise on it rather than to help it to exist for itself. Nevertheless, unpleasant as it may be in its earlier stages, аthis mental developmentа is essential, for theа trueа critical spiritа isа absolutelyа necessaryа for true progress.

The Sixth Root Race, as well as the Sixth Sub-Race of the Fifth Root Race, will beаа occupied principallyа withа the development of spirituality, synthesis compassion, and eagerness to serve being strongly marked characteristics. ааааааааааа

The stage of development of mind and emotion in the human race at the presentа time, however, calls for a little further explanation. Theа present or Fourth Round is primarily intended for the development of desire or emotion; the Fifth Round is intended for the unfolding of intellect. Owing however to the stimulus providedа byа the УLords of the FlameФ the intellect has already considerably developed a whole Round in advance of what we may call the normal programme. Atа the same time it shouldаа beа understood thatа theа intellectа ofа whichа manа is today so proud is infinitesimalа comparedа withа thatа whichа theа averageа manа willа possessа at the culminating point of the next or Fifth Round.

Theа УLords of FlameФа cameа from the planet Venus to this earth during the Third Root Race, and at once took charge of our evolution. Their Leader is called in Indian books Sanat Kumara: with Him came three lieutenants, and some twenty-fiveа otherа Adeptsа asа assistants.а About 100 ordinary human beings were also brought over from Venus and merged into the ordinary humanity of the earth.

It is these Great Ones who are spoken of in The Secret Doctrine as projecting a spark into the mindless men and awakening the intellect within them. Their action was really rather more in the nature of a magnetic stimulus, their influence drawing humanityа towards Themselves, and enabling men to develop the latent spark and to become individualised.

Returning from this necessary digression, it must ever beа remembered that, although for purposes of analysis and study it is necessary to separate man from the vehicles which he uses, yet the Self is one, however varying may be the forms in which it manifests itself. Consciousness is a unit, and the divisions we make in it are either [1] made for purposes or study, orа [2]а illusionsа dueа toа our perceptive power being limited by the organs through which it works in the lower worlds.

The Self has three aspects: knowing, willing and energising; from these arise severally thoughts, desires and actions. Yet the whole Self knows, wills and acts. Norа areа theа functionsа wholly separated; when he knows, he also acts and wills; when he acts, he also knows and wills; when he wills, he also acts and knows.ааOneа functionа isа predominant, and sometimes to such an extent as wholly to veil theа others;а butа evenа inа theа intensestа concentrationаа ofа knowing Ц theаа most separateа ofа theа threeЦthere is always present a latent energising and a latent willing, discernible as present by careful analysis.

A little further explanation may help towards understanding. When the Self is still, then is manifested the aspect of Knowledge, capable of taking on the likeness of anyа objectа presentedа [asа weа shallа see in detail later on]. When the Self is concentrated,а intentа onа changeа of state, then appears the aspect of Will. When the Self, in presence of any object, puts forth energy, to contact that object, then shows forth the aspect of Action.а Itа will thusа beа seenа thatа these three are not separateа divisions ofа theа Self, not three things joined into one or compounded, but that there is one indivisible whole, manifesting in three ways.

аFrom the standpoint of Eastern Yoga, УmindФ is simply the individualised consciousness Цthe whole of that consciousness, including activities. Yoga describes the process of consciousness thus: [1] awareness of objects, the aspect of intelligence, the dominant note of the mental plane; [2]а desireаа to obtain objects, the aspect of desire, the dominant note of the astral plane; [3] endeavour to attain objects, the aspect of activity, the dominant note of the physicalа plane. On the buddhic plane, cognition, as pure reason, predominates. Each of these aspects is present all the time,а butа one predominates at one time, another at another time.

Returning now to a more detailed examination of mind, we learn that abstract thinkingа isа aа functionа ofа theа Self expressing itself through the higher mental or causalа body :а concreteа thinkingа [as previously stated]а isа performed by the Self working in the mental body Цthe lower mental body, as it is sometimes called. The mechanism of concrete thinking we shall consider in detail presently.

It is also in the mental body that memory and imagination begin. The germ of memoryа liesа inа Tamas,а theа inertiaа ofа matter,а whichа isа aа tendencyа to repeat vibrations once started, when acted upon by energy.

The mental body is thus the vehicle of the ego, of the real Thinker, who himself resides in the causal body.а But,а whileа theа mental body is intended eventually to be theа vehicleа ofа consciousnessа onа theа lower mental plane, it also works on and through theа astralа andа physicalа bodiesа in all manifestationsа that are usually called the УmindФ in ordinary waking consciousness.

In detail the process is as follows : Theа actа ofа concrete thinking sets in vibration the matter of the mental body. This vibration is transferred an octave lower, as it were, toа theа grosserа matterа ofа theа thinkerТsа astralа body;а from that in turn the etheric particles of the brain are affected, and through them finally the denser grey matter of the dense body is brought into action. Thus before a thought can be translated intoаа activeа consciousnessа onа the physical brain all these successive steps must be taken.

The sympathetic nervous system is mostly connected with the astral body, while in theа cerebrospinalа systemа isаа [page 17]а moreа underа theа influence ofа the egoа working through the mental body.

The process described above may be elucidated a little further. Every particle inа theа physicalа brainа hasа itsа astralа counterpart,а and this in turn has its mental counterpart. If then we suppose, for the purposes of our examination, that the whole of the physical brain be spread out so as to be one particle thick, we may further suppose that the corresponding astral and mental matter is also laid out in layers in a similar manner, the astral a little above the physical, the mental a little above the astral.

We thus have three layers of matter of differing density, all corresponding one to ааааааа theаа other, but not joinedа in anyа wayа exceptа that here and there wires of communicationа existа between the physical and astral particles, and between the astralа andа mentalа particles. That would fairly represent the condition of affairs in the brain of the average man.

When, therefore, such a man wishes to send a thought down from the mental to the physical level, the thought Цowing to many channels not yet being open Цmay haveа toа goа outа ofа its way, as it were, going laterally through the brain of mental matter untilа itа canа find a way down, passing eventually through a tube not atа all suited to it, and then,а when it reaches the physical level, having to move laterally again in the physicalа brainа beforeа itа meetsа theа physical particles which areа capable of expressing it.

It is obvious that such a method is awkward and clumsy. We thus can understand why it is that some people have no comprehension of mathematics, or no taste for music, art, etc.а The reasonа isа that in the part of the brain devoted to that particular faculty or subject the communications have not yetа been opened up.

In the Adept, the perfected man, every particle has its own wire or tube, and there is also full communication in every part of the brain alike. Hence every thought has its own appropriate channel, through which it can descend directly to the correspondingly appropriate material in the physical brain.

Ifа weа analyseа theа processа of consciousness, in rough outline, working from the Not-Selfа inwardа to аtheа Self, weа observe first contact on the physical body from without : this contact is converted by the astral body into sensation; the sensation is transformed by theаа mentalаа bodyаа intoаа aаа precept; then the precepts are elaboratedа intoа concepts, thus preserving the ideal form which is the material for all possibility of future thought.

Every contact with the Not-Self modifies the mental body by re-arranging a part of its materials as a picture or image of the external object.

Thinking, on the form-side, is the establishment of relations between these images; on the life-sideа itаа consistsа of corresponding modifications within the Knower himself.

The peculiar work of the Knower is the establishment of relationships between the images formed in his mental body, the addition which he makes changing the images into thoughts.

When the Thinker re-forms the same images over and over again, the time-element, there appear memory and anticipation.

The consciousness thus working is further illuminated from above with ideas that are not fabricated from materials supplied by the physical world, but are reflected into it directly from the Universal Mind [see chapter XXVIII].

When a man reasons he is adding something of his own to the information contributed from outside. As his mind works on the materials supplied to it, it links perceptions together, blending the various streams of sensation onto one, combining them into one image. This work of establishing relations, of synthesising, is, in fact, the peculiar work of the Knower; it is a speciality of the mind.

Such activity of the mental body acts on the astral body as said above, and this, again, onа the etheric and dense bodies, and the nervous matter of the sense body thenа vibratesа underа theаа impulses sentа intoа it. Thisа action showsа itselfа asа electricalа discharges, andа magneticа currents play between the particles causing intricate inter-relations.

These leave what is called a nervous track, a track along which another current canа run, say, across it. Hence, if a group of particles that were concerned in a particular vibration should again be made active by the consciousness repeatingа the same idea, the vibration runs readily along the track already formed, thus re-awakening the otherаа group of particles into activity and presenting to the ааааааа consciousness an associated idea.

This briefly, is the mechanism of associated ideas, the importance of which mentalа phenomenonа isа tooа wellа known to every student of psychology to need emphasis here.

It was indicated above that the peculiar work of the mind is that of establishing relations between objects of consciousness. This phrase covers all the varied processes of the mind. Hence the Hindu speaks of the mind as the sixth sense because it takes in the sensations that enter through the five senses and combines them into a single precept, making from them one idea. The mind has also been spoken of as the УRajahФ of the senses.а

Hence, also, the meaning of the sutra, that the УvrttisФ, or modes of the mind, are pentadsФ. The word pentad is used in the sense in which the chemist speaks of the valency, or power of forming combinations of an element.а For the mind is like a prismа whichа gathersа upа the five diverse rays of sensation from the organs of sense, the fiveа ways of knowing,а the Jnanendriyas, and combines them into one ray.

If we alsoа take into account the five organs of action, the Karmendriyas, as well asаа theа fiveа organsа ofа senseааа theаа Jnanendriyas,а then the mind becomes the eleventh sense; hence in the Bhagavad Gita speaks of the Уtenа sensesа andа the oneФ [XIII.5].

Referring, not to the mind as the sixth or the eleventh УsenseФ, but to the senses ofа theа mentalа bodyа itself,а weа findа thatа theyа differ very much from the senses of the physical body. The mental body comes into contact with the things of the mentalа world asа itа wereа directly,а and over its whole surface, becoming conscious all over itself of everything which is able to impress it at all. There are thus no distinct organsа for sight, hearing,а touch, taste and smell in the mental body; the wordа УsensesФа is,а inа factа a misnomer : it is more accurate to speak of the mental УsenseФ.

From this it is clear that, beingа able to communicate directly by thought -transference,аа without having to formulate thoughts in words, the barrier of language, no longer exists on the mental plane, as it does on the astral plane

If a trained student passes into the mental world and there communicates with an other student, his mind, in УspeakingФ, speaks at once by colour, sound and form, so that complete thought is conveyed as a coloured and musical picture, instead of only a fragment of it being shown, as is the case on the physical plane, by the symbols we call words.

There are certain ancient books written by great Initiates in colour-language, the language of the Gods. Theа language is known to many chelasаа [i.e.,, pupils of Masters] and is taken, so far as form and colour are concerned, from the СspeechТ of the mental world, in which, as already said, a single thought gives rise to form, colour and sound simultaneously.

It isа notа thatа theа mindа thinksа in colour, a sound, or a form: it thinks a thought, which is a complex vibration in mental matter, and that thought expresses itself in all these ways by the vibrations it sets up. In the mental body, therefore, a man is freed from the limitations of his separate sense-organs, and is receptive at every point to every vibration which inа the physicalа worldа wouldаа presentа itself as separate and different from its fellows.

The mental body of the average man today is much less developed, relatively, than the astral and physical bodies.а The normal man, atа theа presentа stageа ofа evolution, identifies himself with the brain - consciousness,а theа consciousness working in the cerebrospinal system. Here heа feelsа himself,а distinctlyаа and consecutively, as СIТ , only on the physical plane; that is, in the waking state.

Except so far as the cerebrospinal system is concerned,а however, the consciousness of the average man works from the astral plane, from the realm of sensation.

But in the more highly evolved men of the Fifth Race the centre of consciousness is in the mental body, working from the lower mental world, the man being moved by ideas more than by sensations.

Thus the average man is conscious but not self- conscious, on the astral and mental planes. He recognises astral and mental changes within himself, but does distinguish between those initiated by himself from within, and those caused by impacts from without on his astral and mental vehicles. To him, they are all alike changes within himself.

Hence, the physical plane alone is the onlyа СrealТ world for him, and all phenomena of consciousness belonging to the astral and mental worlds are what he calls СunrealТ, СsubjectiveТ, СimaginaryТ. He regards them as created by his own СimaginationТ, and not as results of impacts upon his astral and mental bodies from external worlds. He is, in fact, an infant on the astral and mental planes.

Hence, in the undeveloped man, the mental body cannot function separately on the mental plane, as an independent vehicle of consciousness during his earth Цlife. When such a man exercises his mental faculties these must clothe themselves in astral matter before he can become conscious of their activity.

We may tabulate the principle functions of the mental body thus:

[1] To serve as the vehicle of the Self for the purpose of concrete thinking.
[2] To express such concrete thoughts through the physical body, working through the astral body, the etheric brain, and the cerebrospinal system.
[3] To develop the powers of memory and imagination.
[4] To serve, as evolution proceeds, as a separate vehicle of consciousness on the mental plane.

To these, must be added the further function [elucidation of which must perforce be left to a later chapter] : viz.:
[5] To assimilate the results of experience gathered in each earth-life and to pass on their essence to the ego, the real man living in his causal body.

We may here note that the animal kingdom also employs mental matter to some extent. The higher domestic animals at least undoubtedly exercise the power of reason, although naturally the lines along which their reason can work are few and limited, and the faculty itself is far less powerful than is the case with human beings.

In the case of the average animal, only the matter of the lowest sub-division of the mentalа planeа wouldа beа employed,а butа with the highly developed domestic animalа the matterа ofаа theа highestа ofа theа fourа lowerа levelsа might be to some degree utilised.



The mental body of a savage is illustrated in Man Visible and Invisible, Plate VI., opposite p. 87. So far as its colours are the same, the mental body agrees fairly with the astral body in a condition of repose; butа itа isа alsoа much more than this, forаа inаа itаа appearsаа whateverа has been developed in the man of spirituality andа intellectuality. This might not, in the case of the savage, be much, but it would beа of considerable importance later on, as we shall see in due course.

Examining such a body in detail we perceive at the top a dull yellow, which indicates some intellect, though the muddiness of the colour shows that it is applied exclusively selfish ends.

Devotion, denoted by grey-blue, must be a fetish-worship, largely tinged with fear and prompted by considerations of self-interest. Muddy crimson suggests a commencement of affection which must as yet be principally selfish also.ааааааа

A band of dull orange implies pride, but of quite a low order.а A large dash of scarlet expresses a strong tendency to anger, which would evidently blaze out upon very slight provocation.а

A broad band of dirty green, which occupies so great a portion of the body, shows deceit, treachery and avarice Ц the latter quality being indicated by a brownish tint. At the bottom of the aura there is a sort of deposit of mud colour, suggesting general selfishness and the absence of any desirable quality.

In an undeveloped man the mental body contains but a small amount of mental matter, unorganised, and chiefly from the lowest sub-division of the plane. It is played on almost entirely from the lower bodies, being- set vibrating by emotional storms from the astral body. Except when stimulated by these astral vibrations, it remains almost quiescent, and even under their impulse is sluggish. No definite activity isа generatedа fromа within, blowsа from the outer world being necessary to arouse distinct response.

Hence, the more violent the blows, the better for the progress of the man; riotous pleasure, anger, pain, terror, and other passions, causing whirlwinds in the astral body, stir the mental consciousness, which then adds something of its own to the impressions made on it from without.а

The ordinary person uses matter of the seventh or lowest mental sub-plane only;ааthat being very near to the astral plane, allа hisа thoughts are coloured by reflectionsа fromа theа astralа orа emotional world. Very few people can as yet deal with the sixth sub-plane;а great scientificа menа certainlyа use it a good deal, but unfortunately, theyаа oftenа mingleа itа with the matter of the lowest sub-plane, and then they becomeа jealousа ofа otherа peopleТsа discoveriesа and inventions. The matter of the fifth sub-plane is much more free from the possibility of astral entanglement.а The fourth sub-plane, being next to the causal body, is far away from the possibility of entanglement with astral vibrations.ааа

On Plate IX, opposite p. 93 of the work quoted, is illustrated the mental body of an аordinary man.а In it is seen more in proportion of intellect [yellow], love [rose-pink], and devotion [blue]; there is also a marked improvement in their quality, the colours being much clearer.аааааааа

Althoughа theа amountа ofа prideа isа highа as before, it is now at a higher level, theа manа beingа proud of his good qualities instead of merely of his brute force or cruelty.

A good deal of scarlet persists, indicating liability to anger; the green is decidedly better, indicating versatility and adaptability rather than deceit or cunning.а

In the savageа theа greenа wasа lowerа downа theа aura,а belowа theа scarlet, because theа qualities it represented needed for their expression a type of matter coarser than that needed by the scarlet of anger.

In the average man the green is above the scarlet in the aura, indicating that the type of matter it needs is less coarse than that required for the scarlet of anger.а There has thus been an improvement in the general quality of matter in the mental body.

аAlthough there is still a large proportion of the brown of selfishness in the aura, yet the colour is a trifle warmer and less grim than in the case of the savage.

Thus the mental body of the average man is much increased in size, shows a certainа amountа ofа organisation,а andа containsа some matter from the sixth, fifth, and fourth sub-divisions of the mental plane.

As with the physical and astral, so with the mental body; exercise increases, disuse atrophies and finally destroys. Every vibration set up in the mental body causes a change in its constituents, throwing out of it the matter that cannot vibrate sympathetically, and replacing it by suitable materials drawn from the practically illimitable store around.ааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааа ааааааааааа

Plateа XXII, opposite p. 121а inа theа same book, illustrates the mental body of a developedаа man.а From this pride [orange], anger [scarlet], and selfishness [brown] have completelyа disappeared;а the remaining colours have expanded so asа toа fillа theа wholeа oval,а andа haveа also so improved in tone as to give quite a different impression. As all thought of self has vanished from them, they are more ааааааа refined and delicate. In addition there has appeared at the top of the aura a pure violet with golden stars, indicating the acquisition of new and greater qualities Цto wit, spiritual aspiration.

The power from above, which radiates through the causal body of a developed man, acts also through his mental body, though with somewhat less force.

Allowing for the difference between what we may call the octaves of colour, i.e.,, betweenа theа huesа belongingа toа theа lowerа andа the higher levels of the mental plane, the mental body has now become almost a reproduction of the causal body, just as the astral body is almost a copy, at its own lower level, of the mental body.

The mental body of a developed man thus becomes a reflection of the causal, because the man has learned to follow solely the promptings of the higher self, and to guide his reason exclusively by them. The colour in fact, which expresses a certain quality in the causal body expresses itself not only in the mental body but even inа theа astralа body;а the colour however, as already stated, will be less delicate, less luminous and ethereal, as it descends to the lower planes.аааааааааааааа

In a spiritually developed man all the coarser combinations of mental matter have been eliminated so that it contains only the finer varieties of matter of the four lower mental sub-divisions, and of these again the materials of the fourth and fifth sub - planes very much predominate over those of the sixth and seventh sub-planes. Theа mentalа bodyа isа thusа responsiveа toа all the higher workings of the intellect, toа theа delicate contacts of the higher arts, to the pure thrills of the loftier emotions. Such a body is rapidly becoming ready to reproduce every impulse from the real man in the causal body, the Thinker, which is capable of expression in lower mental matter.

Both the astral and mental bodies of a spiritual man should exhibit continually four or five splendid emotions Ц love,devotion,sympathy, and intellectual aspiration among them.

The mental body [and also the astral body] of an Arhat [one who has taken the Fourth Great Initiation] have very little characteristic colour of their own, but are reproductions ofа the causal body in so far as their lower octaves can express it. They have a lovely shimmering iridescence Цa sort of opalescent, mother of pearl effect Цfar beyond either description or pictorial representation.ааааааааа ааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааааа
matter-of-fact personа hasа generallyа muchа of yellow in his mental body, and hisа variousа bandsа ofа colourа areа usuallyа regularа andа in order. He has far less emotionа andа lessа imaginationа thanа theа intuitional man, and, therefore, often in certainа waysа lessа powerа andа enthusiasm; but, on the other hand, he is far less likelyа toа makeа mistakes,а andа whatа he does will generally be well and carefully done.

It may be noted also that the scientific and orderly habit of mind has a distinct influence upon the arrangement of the colours in the astral body; they tend to fall into regularаа bands,а andаа theаа linesа of demarcation between them become more definite.

In the mental body of an intuitional man there is much more of blue, but the colours are generally vague and the whole body is ill regulated. He suffers much more than the steadier type, but sometimes through that suffering he is able to make rapid progress.

In the perfect man, of course, both the glow and enthusiasm, and the steadfastness, and regularity, have their place; it is merely a question which is required first.

In addition to the qualities enumerated above, which are expressed as colours in the mental body, there are a number of other qualities Цsuch as courage, dignity, cheerfulness, truthfulness, and the likeЦwhich are represented broadly speaking rather by form than by colour. They are indicated by differences in the structure of the mental body, or by changes in its surface.аа

аWithin the different rings or zones of colour described above there are usually to be seen more or less clearly marked striations, and many qualities of the man can be judged by an examination of these striations.а

The possession of a strong will, for example, brings the whole mental body into far more level definite lines. All striations and radiations are steady, firm and clearly distinguishable, whereas in the case of a weak and vacillating person this firmness and strength of line would be consequently absent; the lines separating the different qualities would be indeterminate, and the striations would be small, weak and wavy.

аCourage is shown by firm and very strongly-marked lines, especially in the orangeа band connected with pride, and by the calm, steadfast shining of the colours indicating the higher qualities.

When fear over powers a person all the colours are dimmed and overwhelmed by a lividа grey mist, and the striations are lost in a quivering mass of palpitating jelly, theа manа havingа forа theа time,а lost the power of guiding and controlling his vehicles.

Dignity also expresses itself principally in the same part of the mental body as that expressing courage, but by a calm steadiness and assuredness which is quite different from the lines of courage.

Truthfulness and accuracy аare portrayed very clearly by regularity in the striations of the part of the mental body devoted to concrete forms, and by the clearness and correctness of the images which appear there.

Loyalty shows itself by an intensification both of affection and devotion, and by the constant formation in that part of the ovoid, of figures of the person to whom the loyalty is felt. In many cases of loyalty, affection and devotion, there is made a very strong permanent image of the object of those feelings, and that remains floating in the aura of the thinker, so that, when his thought turns towards the loved or adored one, the force which he pours out strengthens that already existing image, instead of forming a new one, as it would normally do.

Joy shows itself in a general brightening and radiancy of both the mental and the astral bodies, as also in a peculiar rippling of the surface of the body.

Generally Cheerfulness shows itself in a modified bubbling form of this, and also in a steady serenity which is pleasant to see.

Surprise, on the other hand, is shown by a sharp constriction of the mental body accompanied by an increased glow in the bands of affection if the surprise is a pleasant one, and by a change of colour usually involving the display of a good deal of brown and grey in the lower part of the ovoid when the surprise is an unpleasant one. аThis constriction is usually communicated to both the astral and the physical bodies, and often causes singularly unpleasant feelings which affect sometimes the solar plexus [resulting in sinking and sickness] and sometimes the heart-centre, in which case it brings palpitation or even death.; so that a sudden surprise may occasionally kill one who has a weak heart.

Awe is the same as wonder, except that it is accompanied by a profound change in the devotional part of the mental body, which usually swells out under this influence and has its striations more strongly marked.

Mystical Thought and the presence of psychic faculties are indicated by colours of which there are no equivalents on the physical plane.

When a man uses any part of his mental body, directing his thought strongly into oneа orа moreа ofа theа channelsа previouslyа mentioned,а the mental body not only vibrates for the time more rapidly, thereby brightening in colour, but the portion of it which corresponds to that thought usually swells out temporarily and increases in size, so disturbing for a time the symmetry of the ovoid.

Inа manyа people suchа bulgingа isа permanent,а andа thatа alwaysа meansа that the amountа ofа thoughtа ofа thatа typeа is steadily increasing. If, for example, a person takes up some scientific study, and therefore suddenly turns his thoughts in that direction much more than before, the first effect will be such protuberance as hasаа been described. But if he keeps the amount of his thoughts on scientific subjects at the same level which he has now adopted, the protruding portion will gradually sink back into the general outline of the ovoid, but the band of its colour will have become wider than before.

If however, the manТs interest in scientific subjects steadily increases in force, the protrusion will still remain in evidence even though the band has widened.

Injury may thus be done to the mental body by over-specialisation leading to a lop Цsided development. It becomes over developed in some parts, and proportionatelyаа undeveloped in other regions, perhaps equally important. Harmonious and proportionate all-round development is the object to be sought, and for this is needed a calm self-analysis and a definite direction of means to ends; this aspect of our subject we shall consider further in a later chapter.

Reference has already been made to the ceaseless motion of the matter in the mental body. The same phenomenon occurs also in the case of the astral body. When forа example, theа astralа bodyа isа disturbedа byа aа sudden emotion all the matterа isа sweptа aboutа as if by a violent hurricane, so that for the time being the colours become very much mixed. Presently, however, by the specific gravity of the different types of matter the whole arrangement will sort itself once more into its usual zones. Even then the matter is by no means at rest as the particles are all the time running round these zones, though comparatively rarely leaving their own belt and intruding on another.а This movement within its own zone is entirely healthy ; inа fact,а oneа inа whomа there аisа noа circulation is a mental crustacean, incapableа ofа growthа untilа itа burstsа itsа shell.а The activity of theа matter in any particularа zoneа increasesа inа proportion to the amount of thought devoted to the subject of which it is an expression.

Disturbances of the mental body are similar to those in the astral body and are equallyа disastrous inа theirа effects.а Thus, if a man allows himself to be greatly worried over someа problem and turns it over and over again in his mind without reaching аanyа conclusion,а he sets up a sort of storm in his mental body; perhaps anа evenа betterа descriptionа wouldа beа aа soreа placeа in the mental body, like an irritation produced by friction .

An argumentative person has his mental body in a state of perpetual inflammation, and the inflammation is liable, on slight provocation, to break out at any moment intoа an actual sore. For such a one there is no hope of any kind of occult progress until he has brought balance and common sense to bear on his diseased condition.

If a man should permit his thought upon any given subject to stagnate, that stagnation will be reproduced in the matter appropriate to the subject. In this manner, by allowing his thought on that subject to set and solidify, a congestion is set up which appears as a prejudice. A small eddy is formed in which the mental matter runs round and round until it coagulates and becomes a kind of wart. Unless and until this wart is worn away, or forcibly rooted out, the man cannot use that particular part of his mental body, and is incapable of rational thought on that subject, The foul thickened mass blocks all free movement either outward or inward; it prevents him, on the one hand from seeingа accurately, and from receiving anyа reliableа newа impressionsа onа theа matterа in question, and on the matterа in question,а andа onаа theа other, from sending out any clear thought with regard to it.

These diseased spots in the mental body are, unfortunately,а also centres of infection; the inability to see clearly therefore increases and spreads. Stagnation in one part ofа theа mental body is thus likely to lead to stagnation in other parts also. So that if a man has a prejudice on one subject he will probably soon develop prejudices on others,а because the healthy flow of mental matter has been checked, and the habit of untruth has been formed.

Religious prejudice is the commonest and the most serious of all, and completely prevents any approach to rational thought with regard to the subject. A very large number ofа people have the whole of that part of the mental body whichа shouldа beа occupiedа withа religious matters inactive, ossified and covered with warts, so that even the most rudimentary conception of what religion really is remains utterly impossible for them until a catastrophic change has taken place.

In general, we may repeat that in all the best of men of the more advanced races atа theа present day, the physical body is fully developed, and fairly under control; theа astralа bodyа isа alsoа fullyа developed,а butа notа byа anyа means under perfect control; the mental body is in process of evolution, but its growth is as yet very far from complete. They have a long way to go before these three bodies are entirely subordinate to the soul. When that happens the lower self will have been absorbed into the higher self, and the ego, or soul, will have dominated the man. In such a man there is no longer conflict between his various bodies; though he is not yet perfect, yet his different vehicles are so far harmonised that they have but one aim.



In theа Astralа Body, p. 23/5,а we considered Kama, or desire, and on pp.26-9, weаdealt withа Kama-Manas,а or the entanglement of desire and mind. In the present book we must again deal with Kama-Manas, taking for granted much of what was said in the Astral Bodyа regardingа Kama, and confining ourselves mainly to the Manas aspect of the subject.

Recapitulating briefly what was said in The Astral Body, Kama is the life manifestingа inа theа astralа vehicle;а itsа characteristicа attribute is that of feeling; it comprisesа animalа appetites, passionsа and desires; it is the Уape and tigerФ in us which most avails to bind us to earth. Kama or Desire is also the reflected, lower aspect of Atma or Will.

Kama is sometimes used in to limited a sense, to imply nothing but gross sensual desire; it means, however, all desire; and desire it the outward-turned aspect of love, the love of the things of the three worlds, love proper being love of life or love of the divine, and belonging to the higher or inward- turning self.

In the Rig Veda [x. 129] Kama is the personification of that feeling which leads and propels to creation. It is essentially the longing for active sentient existence, existence of vivid sensation, the tossing turbulence of passionate life. Thus for the individual as for the Kosmos, Kama becomes the primary cause of reincarnation and, as Desire differentiates into desire, these chain down the Thinker to earth and bring him back, time after time to rebirth.

In the East, this thirst or desire that forces man into incarnation, is known as Trishna, in Pali, Tanha; the realisation or consummation of Trishna is known as Upadana.

Manas comes from the Sanskrit word man, the root of the verb to think: it is the Thinker in us, spoken of vaguely in the West as mind. Manas is the immortal individual, the realУ I У.

Manas, the Thinker, however, himself a spiritual entity living on the higher mental or causal plane, cannot come into direct contact with the lower worlds; he therefore projects from himself the lower manas, which is variously called a reflection, a shadow, a ray, etc.

It is this Ray that plays on and in the brain, manifesting through the brain such mental powers as that brain, by its configuration and other physical qualities, is able to translate. The Ray sets in vibration the molecules of the brain nerve-cells and so gives rise to consciousness on the physical plane.

This lower manas is engulfed in the quaternary, which consists of:-

Kama, or desire
Prana or Vitality
Etheric Double
Physical Body.

It may be regarded as clasping kama with one hand, whilst with the other it retains its hold on its father, higher manas.

During earth life, kama and lower manas are joined together, and are often spoken of as Kama-Manas.Kama supplies, as we have seen, the animal and passional elements; lower manas rationalises these, and adds the intellectual faculties. The two together, Kama-Manas, are so closely interwoven during life that they rarely act separately, for there is scarcely a thought which is uninfluenced by desire; Kama Manas is not a new principle, but the interweaving of the lower part of manas with Kama. Kama-Manas, that is manas with desire, has been well described as manas taking an interest in external things.

The workings of lower manas in man shows themselves as mental ability, intellectual strength, acuteness, subtlety; they comprise comparison, reason, judgement, imagination, and other mental faculties. These may reach us as far as what is often called genius, but what H. P. Blavatsky called Уartificial geniusФ, the outcome of culture and of purely intellectual acuteness.

What we ordinarily call the mind or intellect is, in H.P. BlavatskyТs words, Уa pale and too often distorted reflection of manas itself.Ф Its true nature is often demonstrated by the presence of kamic elements in it, such as passion, vanity, arrogance.

True genius consists of flashes of higher manas penetrating into the lower consciousness. As is said in the Bindopanishat: УManas verily is declared to be twofold, pure and impure; the impure is determined by desire, the pure is desire-free.Ф

Genius, which sees instead of arguing, is thus of the higher manas, or ego; true intuition is one of its faculties. Reason, the weighing and balancing process which arranges the facts gathered by observation, balances them one against another, argues from them, draws conclusions from them-this is the exercise of the lower manas through the brain apparatus; its instrument is ratiocination; by induction it ascends from the known to the unknown, building up by a hypothesis; by deduction it descends again to the known, verifying the hypothesis by fresh experiment.

There is a difference also in the mechanism of ordinary reasoning, and of the peculiar flashes of consciousness known as genius. Reasoning comes to the brain through the successive sub-planes of the astral and mental planes step by step; but genius results from the consciousness pouring downwards through the atomic sub-planes only, i.e., from the atomic astral and the atomic physical.

Reason, the faculty of the physical brain, being wholly dependent on the evidence of the senses, cannot be the quality pertaining directly to the divine spirit in man. The latter knows - hence all reasoning, which implies discussion and argument, is useless to it. The spirit or ego, speaks through the conscience, which is the instantaneous perception between right and wrong. Hence prophesy and vaticination, and the so-called divine inspiration are simply the effects of the illumination from above by a manТs own immortal spirit.а [This aspect of our subject will be further considered in Chapter XXXI].

Kama-Manas, is the personal self of man; in Isis Unveiled it is termed the Уastral soulФ it is lower manas that gives the individualising touch that makes the personality recognise itself as У I У.а It becomes intellectual, it recognises itself as separate from all other selves; deluded by the separateness it feels, it does not realise a unity beyond all that it is able to sense.

Lower manas, swayed by the rush of kamic emotions, passions and desires, attracted by all material things, blinded and deafened by the storm-voices among which it is plunged, is apt to forget the pure and serene glory of its birthplace, and to throw itself into the turbulence which gives rapture but not peace. It is lower manas which gives the last touch of delight to the senses and to the animal nature; for there could be no passion without memory or anticipation, no ecstasy without the subtle force of imagination and the delicate colours of dream and fancy.

Kama thus binds lower manas fast to earth. So long as any action is undertaken with the object of obtaining love, recognition, power or fame, however grand the ambition, however far reaching the charity, however lofty the achievement-manas is tainted with kama, and is not pure at its source.

Kama and manas act and react on each other, each stimulating and arousing the other. The mind is continually impelled by desire, and is made to serve constantly as a minister of pleasure. That which gives pleasure is ever sought by the mind, and it ever seeks to present images that give pleasure and to exclude those that give pain. The mental faculties add to the animal passions a certain strength and quality not apparent in them when they work as purely animal qualities. For the impressions made on the mental body are more permanent than those made on the astral body, and the mental body constantly reproduces them through the agency of memory and imagination. Thus the mental body stimulates the astral, arousing in it the desires that, in the animal, slumber until awakened by a physical stimulus. Hence we find in an undeveloped man a persistent pursuit of sense-gratification never found in the lower animals, a lust, a cruelty, a calculation to which they are strangers. Thus the powers of the mind, yoked to the service of the senses, make of man a far more dangerous and savage brute than any animal.

The part which is the Desire-Elemental, i.e.,, the instinctive life in the astral body, plays in this entanglement of manas with kama, has already been fully described in The Astral Body, pp. 77-8, 108-111 and 207-228, to which the student is referred.

So closely are menТs astral and mental bodies intertwined that it is often said they act as a single body. In the Vedantin classification, in fact, the two are classed together as oneа koshaа or sheath, thus:-

Buddhic Body ЕЕЕЕAnandamayakosha
Causal Body ЕЕЕЕ. Vignanamayakosha

Mental Body}

Astral Bodyа }ЕЕЕЕ Manomayakosha

Etheric Double]

Dense Bodyааа ] ЕЕЕ.Annamayakosha

The student will recollect that the centres of sensation are situated in kama; hence the saying in theа Mundakopanishat [iii,9] that Уthe organ of thinking of every creature is pervaded by the senses.Фа This emphasises the double action of the Manomayakosha, which is the organ of thinking, but is also Уpervaded by the sensesФ.

We may note here the connection between kama-manas and the spirillae of atoms. In the First Round of the Earth-Chain the first set of spirillae of the physical plane atoms were vivified by the life of the Monad; this set is used by the currents of prana [Vitality] affecting the dense physical body.

In the Second Round, the second set of spirillae become active, the prana connected with the etheric double flowing through them.

In the Third Round the third set of spirillae is vivified, the prana connected to the astral body flowing through them, thus making sensibility possible.

In the Fourth Round, the fourth set of spirillae becomes active, the kama-manasic prana flowing through them, thus making them fit to be used for a brain which is to act as the instrument for thought.

The vivification of further sets of spirillae for the use of the higher consciousness, in the case of those preparing for entering the Path, can be brought about by certain Yoga practices.

In the ordinary course of evolution, a new set of spirillae will be developed in each Round, so that in the Seventh Round the entire seven spirillae will be active. Hence the people who live in that Round will find it far easier than people do to-day to respond to inner things and to live the higher life.

In the course of each incarnation, manas may do one of three things: -[1]а it may rise towards its source and by unremitting and strenuous effort become one withа its УFather in heavenФ, i.e.,, higher manas; [2]а it may partially aspire and partially tend downwards, as indeed is mostly the caseа with the average man; [3]а it may become so clogged with kamic elements as to become one with them, and be forcibly wrenched away from its parent and perish.

Whenever lower manas can, for the time being, disconnect itself from kama, it becomes the guide of the highest mental faculties, and is the organ of freewill in physical man. The condition of this freedom is that kama shall be subdued and conquered.

Freewill resides in manas itself; from manas comes the feeling of liberty, the knowledge that we can rule ourselves, that the higher nature can rule the lower, however much that lower nature may rebel and struggle. As soon as the consciousness identifies itself with manas instead of kama, the lower nature becomes the animal which the higher consciousness can bestride, which is no longer the У I У.

Thus the difference between a strong-willed and weak-willed person is that the weak-willed person is moved from outside by outer attractions and repulsions, by desire, which is УWill discrownedФ, while the strong-willed man is moved from inside by pure Will, continually mastering external circumstances by bringing to bear upon them appropriate forces, guided by his store of experiences.

Further, as lower manas frees itself from kama it becomes more and more capable of transmitting to the lower consciousness impulses received from higher manas, and then as we have seen, genius flashes forth, the light from the ego streaming through lower manas into the brain. Of this we may be sure: so long as we are in the vortex of the personality, so long as the storms and desires and appetites surge around us, so long as we are tossed to and fro on waves of emotion Цso long the voice of the higher manas or ego cannot reach our ears. The mandate of the ego comes not in the fire or the whirlwind, not in the thunderclap or the storm, but only when there has fallen the stillness of a silence that can be felt, only when the very air is motionless and the calm is profound, only when the man wraps his face in a mantle which closes his ear even to the silence that is of the earth, then only sounds the voice that is stiller than silence, the voice of his true higher self, or ego.

As an unruffled lake mirrors the moon and stars, but, when ruffled by a passing breeze yields only broken reflections, so may a man, steadying his mind, calming his desires, imposing stillness on his activities, reproduce within himself the image of the higher.а Even so may the disciple mirror the mind of his Master.But if his own thoughts spring up, his own desires arise, he will have broken reflections, dancing lights, that tell him nothing.

In the words of a Master У It is upon the serene and placid surface of the unruffled mind that the visions gathered from the invisible find a representation in the visible world. It is with jealous care we have to guard our mind-plane from all the adverse influences which daily arise in our passage through earth life.Ф

The ego, as part of the Universal Mind, is unconditionally omniscient on its own plane, but only potentially so in the lower worlds because it has to work through the medium of the personal self. The causal body is the vehicle of all knowledge, past, present and future, and it is from this fountain-head that its double, lower manas, catches occasional glimpses of that which is beyond the senses of man, and transmits them to certain brain-cells, thus making the man a seer, a soothsayer and a prophet.

This triumph can be gained only by many successive incarnations, all consciously directed towards this end. As life succeeds life, the physical body becomes more and more delicately attuned to the vibrations of the manasic impulses, so that the lower manas needs less and less of the coarser astral matter as its vehicle. It is part of the mission of the manasic УrayФ. I.e.,, lower manas, gradually to get rid of Уblind deceptive elementФ [kama] which brings it so closely into contact with matter as entirely to becloud its divine nature and stultify its intuitions.

When at last the mastery of kama is achieved, and the body is responsive to manas, lower manas becomes one with its source, higher manas; this in Christian terminology, is the УFather in HeavenФ becoming one with the УSonФ on all planes, as they always have been one in УheavenФ. This of course, is a very advanced stage, being that of an Adept, for Whom incarnation is no longer necessary though it may be voluntarily undertaken.

Hence that great statement in the Mundakopanishat: УThe organ of thinking is pervaded by the senses; that organ purified, Atma manifests Itself.Ф

With most people, lower manas, partially aspires and partially tends downwards. The normal experience of the average man is that life is a battlefield, manas continually wrestling with kama; sometimes aspiration conquers, the chains of sense are broken, and lower manas soars upwards; at other times kama wins and chains lower manas down to earth.

It thus appears, as was briefly indicated in Chapter IV, that for most people the centre of consciousness is embedded in kama-manas. But the more cultured and developed are beginning to govern desire by reason, i.e.,, the centre of consciousnessа is gradually transferring itself from the higher astral to the lower mental. As men progress it will move further up still, men being dominated by principle, rather than by interest and desire.

For, ultimately, manТs intellect demands that his surroundings, both of life and matter, shall be intelligible; his mind demands order, rationality, logical explanation. It cannot live in a chaos without suffering; it must know and understand, if it is to exist in peace.

In extreme cases lower manas becomes entangled so inextricably with kama that the slender link which unites the higher to the lower manas, the Уsilver thread that binds it to the Master, У snaps in two.

Then, even during earth life, the higher nature being severed wholly from the lower, the human being is rent in twain, the brute has broken free, and it goes forth unbridled, carrying with it the reflections of manas, which should have been its guide through life. Such a being, human in form but brute in nature, may now and then be met with in the haunts of men, putrescent while still living, a thing to shudder at, even though with pity.

After physical death such an astral body is an entity of terrible potency, and is known as anа Elementary, a description of it being inа The Astral Body, pp. 144-45.

From the point of view of the ego there has been no harvest of useful experience from that personality; the УrayФ has brought nothing back, the lower life has been a total and complete failure.

In The Voice of The Silence is contained the following injunction: УLet not thy Уheaven bornФ, merged in the sea of Maya, break from the universal Parent [Soul] but let the fiery power retire into the inmost chamber of the heart, and the abode of the worldТs Mother.Ф The Уheaven bornФ is chitta, the lower mind. It is born from the soul above, when manas becomes dual in incarnation. The planes of Atma-Buddhi- Manas are typified by heaven, while those of the personality are spoken of as earth.

It is the presence in man of the Уheaven bornФ that confers on him some freedom, and because he has this liberty and power to go his own way his life is usually more disorderly, less regulated, than that of the lower kingdoms of external nature.

Even with most people some of their mental matter has become so entangled with their astral matter that it is impossible for it to be entirely freed after death. The result of the struggle between their kama and their manas, therefore is that some portion of the mental matter, and even of causal [ higher mental matter] is retained in the astral body after the ego has completely broken away from it.

If, on the other hand, a man has during life completely conquered his lower desires and succeeded in completely freeing the lower mind from desire, there is practically no struggle, and the ego is able to withdraw not only all that he УinvestedФ in that particular incarnation, but also all the УinterestФ, i.e.,, the experiences, faculties, etc. that have been acquired.



When a man uses his mental body, i.e.,, when he thinks, a vibration is set up in the mental body, and this vibration produces two distinct results. The first result is that of radiating vibrations or waves; these we shall deal with in the present chapter, reserving the second result Цthe production of thought-forms Цfor a later chapter.

A vibration in the mental body, like all other vibrations, tends to communicate itself to any surrounding matter which is capable of receiving it precisely as the vibration of a bell communicates itself to the surrounding air. Hence, since the atmosphere is filled with mental matter, which responds very readily to such impulses, there is produced a sort of ripple, a kind of vibrating shell, formed in the matter of the plane, which spreads out through circumambient space exactly as the dropping of a stone into a pond produces ripples which radiate from the centre of impact over the surface of the water in every direction.

In the case of a mental impulse the radiation is not in one plane only but in many dimensions, more like the radiations from the sun or from a lamp.

The rays thrown out cross in all directions without interfering with one another in the slightest degree, just as do rays of light on the physical plane.

Moreover, the expanding sphere of vibrations is many-coloured and opalescent, but its colours grow fainter as it spreads away.

As already said, the mental vibration also tends to reproduce itself wherever opportunity is offered to it. Consequently, whenever the thought-wave strikes upon another mental body it will tend to set up in it vibrations similar to those which gave it birth in the first instance. That is to say, when a manТs mental body is struck by a thought-wave there arises a tendency in his mind to produce a thought similar to that which had previously arisen in the mind of the originator of the wave.

The thought-wave becomes less powerful in proportion to the distance from its source, though it is probable that the variation is proportional to the cube of the distance instead of to the square, because of the additional dimension involved.

Nevertheless, these mental vibrations lose their power very much more gradually than those in physical matter and seem to be exhausted, or at least to become so faint as to be imperceptible, only at an enormous distance from their source.

The distance to which a thought-wave penetrates, the strength and persistence with which it impinges upon the mental bodies of others, depend upon the strength and clearness of the original thought. Thus a strong thought will carry further than a weak and undecided one, but clearness and definiteness are of even greater importance than strength.

Other factors affecting the distance to which a thought-wave may radiate are its nature and the opposition with which it meets. Thus waves in the lower types of astral matter are usually soon deflected or overwhelmed by a multitude of other vibrations at the same level, just as in the midst of the roar of a city a soft sound is entirely drowned.

For this reason the ordinary self-centred thought of the average man, which begins on the lowest of mental levels, and instantly plunges down to correspondingly low levels of the astral, is comparatively ineffective. Its power in both the worlds is limited because, however violent it may be, there is such an immense sea of similar thought surging all around that its waves are inevitably lost and overpowered in the confusion.

A thought generated at a higher level, on the other hand, as a much clearer field for its action, because at the present time the number of thoughts producing such waves is very small. In fact, Theosophical thought is almost a class by itself from this point of view.

There are, of course, other religious people whose thoughts are quite elevated, but never so precise and definite. Even scientific thought is scarcely ever in the same class as Theosophical thought, so that there is practically a clear field for Theosophical thought in the mental world.

Theosophical thought is like a sound in a vast silence; it sets in motion a level of mental matter which is as yet but rarely used, the radiations which it causes impinging upon the mental body of the average man at a point where it is quite dormant. Hence it tends to awaken an entirely new part of the thinking apparatus.

Such a wave does not, of course necessarily convey Theosophical thought to those who are ignorant of it; but in awakening the higher portion of the mental body it tends to elevate and liberalise the manТs thought as a whole, along whatever lines it may be in the habit of moving.

There is, of course, an infinite variety of thoughts; if the thought is perfectly simple there will be in the mental body only the one rate of vibration, and consequently only one type of mental matter will be strongly affected. The mental body, as we have seen, consists of matter of the four lower sub-planes of the mental plane, and in each of these sub-planes there are many sub-divisions of varying densities.

If a man is already deeply engrossed in some other line of thought, a strong wave of thought may sweep past him without affecting him, precisely as a man already occupied in business or pleasure may not hear the voice of another speaker.

As, however, large numbers of men do not think definitely or strongly except when in immediate prosecution of some business which demands their whole attention, they are likely at other times to be considerably affected by the thoughts which impinge upon them. Hence great responsibility rests upon everyone who thinks, because his thoughts, especially if strong and clear, will inevitably affect large numbers of other people.

It is not too much to say that one who harbours impure or evil thoughts thereby spreads moral contagion among his fellow men. Bearing in mind that large numbers of people have within them latent germs of evil, germs which may never bear fruit unless some force from without plays upon them and stirs them into activity, the thought-wave sent out by an impure or unholy thought may be the very factor which awakens a germ into activity and causes it to begin to grow. Hence such a thought may start some soul upon a downward career. This man may in a similar manner affect many others, and so the evil spreads and ramifies in countless directions. Much harm is constantly done in this way; and although it may be done unconsciously, yet the perpetrator of the evil is karmically responsible for what he has done.

It is of course equally true, that a beneficent thought may affect others for good in a similar manner. Hence a man who realises this may set himself to work to be a veritable sun, constantly radiating upon all his friends and neighbours thoughts of love, calm, peace etc. Very few realise how great a force for good they may thus wield, if they choose, through the power of thought.

It often happens that a man is unable to help another man physically; in fact, the physical presence of the would be helper may be even distasteful to the sufferer; his physical brain may be closed to suggestions by prejudice or by religious bigotry. But his astral and mental bodies are far more easily impressible than the physical, and it is always possible to approach these by a wave, of helpful thought, affection, soothing feeling, and so on.

There are many cases where the best will in the world can do nothing physically; but there is no conceivable case in which either in the mental or astral world some relief cannot be given by steady, concentrated, loving thought.

It should be noted that a thought-wave does not convey a definite complete idea, but rather tends to produce a thought of the same character as itself. Thus, for example, if the thought be one of devotion, its vibrations will excite devotion; but the object of the worship may be different in the case of each person upon whose mental body the thought-wave impinges.

A thought Цwave or vibration thus conveys the character of the thought, but not its subject.а If a Hindu sits wrapped in devotion to Krishna, the thought-waves which pour forth from him stimulate devotion in all those who come under their influence, though in the case of a Muslim, that devotion to Allah, while for the Zoroastrian it is to Ahuramazda, or for the Christian to Jesus.

If such a thought-wave touches the mental body of a materialist, to whom the very idea of devotion in any form is unknown, even then it produces an elevating effect, its tendency being to stir a higher part of his mental body into some sort of activity, though it cannot create a type of undulation to which the man is wholly unaccustomed.

A point of great importance, of which the student should take careful note, is that a man who habitually thinks pure, good and strong thoughts is utilising for that purpose the higher part of his mental body, a part which is not used at all by the ordinary man, and is entirely undeveloped in him. Such a one is, therefore, a power for good in the world, and is being of great use to all those of his neighbours who are capable of any sort of response. For the vibrations which he sends out tend to arouse a new and higher part of their mental bodies, and consequently to open before them altogether new fields of thought.

We may take the matter a little further still. A man who day by day is definitely and carefully thinking is not only improving his own thinking powers and sending out helpful thought-waves into the world around him, but he is also developing and improving mental matter itself. For the amount of consciousness which can be brought into the brain is obviously determined by the degree to which the atoms of matter can respond, i.e.,, to the number of spirillae in the atoms which are vivified and active. Normally, in the ordinary physical atom at the present stage of evolution, there are four of these seven spirillae active. The man who is capable of higher forms of thought is helping to develop further spirillae in the atoms, and, as these atoms are continually passing in and out of his bodies, they are available for absorption and use by any other person who is capable of using them. High thinking thus helps the worldТs consciousness by improving the very materials of thought.

There are thus many varieties of mental matter, and it is found that each variety has its own special and appropriate rate of vibration, to which it is most accustomed and to which it most readily responds. A complex thought may, of course, affect many varieties of mental matter simultaneously.

The general principle, underlying the effect of thought on the mental body [and also that of feeling on the astral body] as we saw in Chapter III, is that evil or selfish thoughts are always comparatively slow vibrations of the coarser matter, while good, unselfish thoughts are the more rapid undulations which play only in the finer matter.

The power of the united thought of a number of people is always far greater than the sum of their separate thoughts; it would be much more nearly represented by their product. Hence, it is exceedingly beneficial for any city or community that there should be constantly meeting in its midst a number of people who are capable of generating thoughts at a high level.



We come now to consider the second effect produced when a man uses his mental body in thinking, viz., the formation of thought forms.

As we have seen, a thought gives rise to a set of vibrations in the matter of the mental body. Under this impulse the mental body throws off a vibrating portion of itself shaped by the nature of the vibrations, much in the way that fine particles laid on a disc are thrown into a form when the disc is made to vibrate to a musical note.

The mental matter thus thrown off gathers from the surrounding atmosphere elemental essence of the mental world [i.e.,, of the Second Elemental Kingdom] of the appropriate type, and sets that essence into vibration in harmony with its own rate.

Thus is generated a thought form pure and simple. Such a mental thought-form аresembles an astral or emotional form [described in The Astral Body ], but it is far more radiant and more brilliantly coloured, is stronger and more lasting, and more fully vitalised.

A graphic description of the effect of thought is as follows. УThese [mental] vibrations, which shape the matter of the plane into thought-forms, give rise Цfrom their swiftness and subtlety Цto the most exquisite and constantly changing colours, waves of varying shades like the rainbow hues in mother-of- pearl, etherialised and brightened to an indescribable extent, sweeping over and through every form so that each presents a harmony of rippling, living, luminous, delicate colours, including many not even known on earth. Words can give no idea of the exquisite beauty and radiance shown in combinations of this subtle matter, instinct with life and motion. Every seer has witnessed it, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, speaks in rapturous terms of its glorious beauty and ever confesses his utter inability to describe it; words seem but to coarsen and deprave it however deftly the praise.Ф

A thought form is a temporary living entity of intense activity animated by the one idea that generated it. If made of the finer kinds of matter, it will be of great power and energy, and may be used as a most potent agency when directed by a strong and steady will. Into the details of such use we shall enter later.

The elemental essence is a strange semi-intelligent life which surrounds us, vivifying matter of the mental plane. It responds readily to the influence of human thought so that every impulse sent out from the mental body of a man immediately clothes itself in a temporary vehicle of this essence. It is, in fact, even more instantaneously sensitive, if that be possible, to the action of thought than is astral elemental essence.

But mental elemental essence differs greatly from astral elemental essence; it is a whole chain behind the other, and, therefore, the force in it cannot work quite in the same concentrated way. It is trying to deal with, for it is largely responsible for our wandering thoughts, as it darts constantly from one thingа to another.

A thought, then, as stated, becomes for the time a kind of living creature; the thought-force is the soul, the elemental essence the body. These thought-forms are called elementals, or sometimes artificial elementals.

The principles underlying the production of all thought-forms are:-

[1] Quality of thought determines colour
[2] Nature of thought determines form
[3]Definiteness of thought determines clearness of outline.

Thought-forms may be of infinite variety, both as to colour and shape. With the various colours and their significance the student will now be familiar, as they are in agreement with those existing in the astral and mental bodies as described in The Astral Body and also in an earlier chapter of this book.

Thus for example, affection produces a glowing rose-colour; a wish to heal, a lovely silvery-white; a mental effort to steady and strengthen the mind, a beautiful flashing golden-yellow.

Yellow in any of the vehicles always indicates intellect, but its shades vary much, and it may be complicated by the admixture of other colours.

Generally speaking, it has a deeper and duller tint if it is directed to the lower channels, more especially if the objects are selfish.

In the astral or mental body of an average man of business it would show itself as yellow ochre, while pure intellect devoted to the study of philosophy or mathematics appears frequently as golden; this rises gradually to a beautiful clear and luminous primrose-yellow when a powerful intellect is employed absolutely unselfishly for the benefit of humanity.

Most yellow thought-forms are clearly outlined, a vague cloud of yellow being comparatively rare. It indicates intellectual pleasure such as appreciation of the result of ingenuity, or the delight in clever craftsmanship.

A cloud of this nature betokens the entire absence of any personal emotion, for if that were present it would inevitably tinge the yellow with its appropriate colour.

In many cases, thought Цforms are merely revolving clouds of the colour appropriate to the idea which gave them birth. The student will realise that, at the present stage of humanity, there is a vast preponderance of cloudy and irregularly-shaped thoughts, the product of ill-trained minds of the majority. It is among the rarest of phenomena to see clear and definite forms among the thousands that float about us.

Where a thought is definite a form is created, and a clear-cut and often beautiful shape is assumed. Such shapes while of infinite variety, are often in some way typical of the kind of thought which they express. Abstract ideas usually represent themselves by all kinds of perfect and most beautiful geometrical forms. аIt should be remembered in this connection that the merest abstractions to us down here become definite facts, on the mental plane.

The strength of thought and emotion determines the size of the thought-form as well as its duration as a separate entity.Its duration depends upon the nutriment supplied to it after its generation by the repetition of the thought either by its originator or by others.

If the thought be intellectual and impersonal Цeg. If the thinker is attempting to solve a problem in algebra or geometry Цthen his thought-forms [as well as his thought waves] will be confined to the mental plane.

If his thought is of a spiritual nature, eg., if it be tinged with love and aspiration of deep, unselfish feeling, then it will rise upwards from the mental plane and will borrow much of the splendour and glory of the buddhic levels above. In such a case its influence is most powerful and every such thought is a mighty force for good.

If, on the other hand, the thought has in it something of self or personal desire, at once its vibrations turn downwards, and it draws round itself a body of astral matter in addition to its clothing of mental matter. Such a thought-form Цwhich would be termed more accurately a thought Ц emotion Цform -is, of course, capable of affecting both the mental and the astral bodies of other men.

This type of thought-form is by far the most common, as few thoughts ofа ordinary men and women are untinged with desire, passion, or emotion.

We may consider this class of thought-forms as generated by the activity of kama-manas, i.e.,, by mind dominated by desire.

When a man thinks of any concrete object Цa book, a house, a landscape Цhe builds a tiny image of the object in the matter of his mental body. This image floats in the upper part of that body, usually in front of the face of the man and at about the level of the eye. It remains there as long as the man is contemplating the object, and usually for a little time afterwards, the length of time depending upon the intensity and the clearness of thought. This form is quite objective and can be seen by another person possessed of mental clairvoyance. If a man thinks of another person he creates a tiny portrait in just the same way.

The same result follows any effort of the УimaginationФ. The painter who forms a conception of his future picture builds it up out of the matter of his mental body, and then projects it into space in front of him, keeps it before his mindТs eye, and copies it. The novelist, in the same way, builds images of his characters in mental matter, and by the exercise of his will moves these puppets from one position or grouping to another, so that the plot of the story is literally acted out before him.

As already said, these mental images are so entirely objective that they may not only be seen by a clairvoyant, but they can even be moved about and re-arranged by some one other than their creator. Thus for example, playful nature spirits [vide., The Astral Body, p. 53], or more often a УdeadФ novelist, watching the work of his fellow-author, will move the images or puppets about so that they seem to their creator to have developed a will of their own, the plot of the story thus working out on lines quite different from those originally intended by the author.

A sculptor makes a strong thought-form of the statue he intends to create, plants it in his block of marble, and then proceeds to cut away the marble which lies outside the thought-form until only that portion of it which it interpenetrated by the thought-form remains.

Similarly, a lecturer, as he thinks earnestly of the different parts of his subject, makes a series of thought-forms, usually strong ones, because of the effort. If he fails to make his audience understand him it must be largely because his own thought is not sufficiently clear cut. A clumsy and indefinite thought-form makes but a slight impression, and even that with difficulty, whilst a clearly-cut one forces the mental bodies of the audience to try to reproduce it.

Hypnotism provides examples of the objectivity of thought-forms. It is well known that the thought-form of an idea may be projected onto a blank paper, and there become visible to a hypnotised person. Or it may be made so objective that the hypnotised person will see and feel it as though it were an actual physical object.

Many thought-forms exist, more or less permanently, of characters from history, drama, fiction, etc. Thus for example, popular fancy has strongly depicted characters and scenes from the plays of Shakespeare, from BunyanТs PilgrimТs Progress, from fairy stories such as Cinderella, AladdinТs Lamp, etc. Such thought-forms are collective, having coalesced from the products of the imagination of countless individuals.

Children have vivid and capable imaginations, so books read by them are usually well represented in the world of thought-forms, many excellent and life-like portraits existing of Sherlock Holmes, Captain Kettle, Dr. Nikola, and many others.

On the whole however, the thought-forms evoked from the novels of to-day are by no means as clear as those which our forefathers made of Robinson Crusoe or of the characters of ShakespeareТs plays. This of course, is because people today read more superficially and with less serious attention than was the case formerly.

So much for the genesis of thought-forms. We pass now to consider their effects on their creators and on others.

Each man as he moves through life produces three classes of thought-forms:-

[1] Those which, being neither centred round the thinker nor specially aimed at any person, are left behind him as a sort of trail which marks his route.
[2] Those, which being centred round the thinker, hover round him and follow him wherever he goes.
[3] Those which shoot straight out away from the thinker, aiming at a definite object.

A thought-form of Class I, being neither definitely personal nor specially aimed at someone else, simply floats detached in the atmosphere, all the time radiating vibrations similar to those originally sent forth by its creator. If the form does not come in contact with any other mental body the radiation gradually exhausts its store of energy, and in that case the form falls to pieces.

But if it succeeds in awakening sympathetic vibrations in any mental body near at hand, an attraction is set up and the thought-form is usually absorbed by that mental body.

At the present stage of evolution the majority of the thoughts of men are usually self-centred even when they are not actively selfish. Such self-centred thoughts hang about the thinker. Most men, in fact, surround their mental bodies with a shell of such thoughts. They hover ceaselessly about them and constantly react on them. Their tendency is to reproduce themselves Цi.e.,, to stir up in the man a repetition of the thoughts which he had previously entertained. Many a man feels this pressure upon him from within, this constant suggestion of certain thoughts, especially when he is resting after his labours, and there is no definite thought in his mind. If the thoughts are evil, he frequently thinks of them as tempting demons goading him into sin. Yet they are none the less entirely his own creation; he is his own tempter.

Repeated thoughts of this kind play an important part in working out what is called Prarabda or УripeФ karma. Persistent reiteration of thoughts of the same kind, say of revenge, bring a man at last to a point which may be compared to that of a saturated solution. Just as the addition of further matter of the same kind to the solution will produce the solidification of the whole, so will a slight additional impulse result in the commission of a crime. Similarly, reiterated thoughts of helping others may, when the stimulus of opportunity touches the man, crystallise out as an act of heroism. Under such circumstances, a man may marvel at his own commission of a crime or at his own performance of some heroic act of self-sacrifice, not realising that repeated thought had made the action inevitable. A consideration of these facts goes far towards explaining the old problem of freewill and necessity or destiny.

Furthermore, a manТs thought-forms tend to draw towards the man the thought-forms of others of a similar nature. A man may thus attract to himself large reinforcements of energy from outside; it lies within himself, of course, whether these forces that he draws into himself be of a good or evil kind.

Usually each definite thought creates a new thought-form; but if a thought-form of the same nature is already hovering round the thinker, under certain circumstances a new thought on the same subject, instead of creating a new form, coalesces with and strengthens the old one, so that by long brooding over the same subject a man may sometimes create a thought-form of tremendous power. If the thought be an evil one, such a thought-form may become a veritable malign influence lasting perhaps for many years, and having for a time all the appearance and powers of a real living entity.

A shell of self-centred thought obviously must tend to obscure the mental vision and facilitate the formation of prejudice. Through such a shell the man looks out upon the world, naturally seeing everything tinged with its predominant colours; everything which reaches him from without is thus more or less modified by the character of the shell. Thus, until a man has complete control of thought and feeling he see nothing as it really is, since all his observations must be made through this medium which, like a badly-made glass, distorts and colours everything.

It was for this reason that Aryasangha [now the Master Djwal Kul] said inа The Voice of the Silence that the mind was Уthe great slayer of the realФ. He was drawing attention to the fact that we do not see any object as it is, but only the images that we are able to make of it, everything being thus necessarily coloured for us by these thought-forms of our own creation.

If a manТs thought of another is merely contemplative and involves no feeling [such as affection or dislike], or desire [such as a wish to see the person] the thought does not usually perceptibly affect the man whom he thinks.

If, however, there is feeling, eg., affection, associated with the thought, the thought-form, built out of matter of the thinkerТs mental body, and this astro-mental form leaps out of the body in which it has been generated, goes straight towards the object of the feeling, and fastens itself upon him.

It may be compared to a Leyden jar; the form of elemental essence corresponds to the Leyden jar, and the thought energy to the charge of electricity.

If the man is at the moment in a passive condition, or if he has within him active vibrations of a character harmonious with those of the thought-form, the thought-form will at once discharge itself upon him, and in the act cease to exist. The effect is to provoke a vibration similar to its own, if none such already exists; or to intensify it is it is already to be found there.

If the manТs mind is so strongly occupied along other lines that it is impossible for the vibration to find an entrance, the thought-form hovers about him waiting for an opportunity to discharge itself.

A thought-form sent from one person to another thus involves the actual transference of a certain amount both of force and of matter from the sender to the recipient.

The difference between the effect of a thought-wave and that of a thought-form is that the thought-wave as we saw in Chapter VII, does not produce a definite complete idea, but tends to produce a thought as the same character as itself; a thought-wave is thus much less definite in its action, but reaches a far wider circle.

A thought-form on the other hand, does convey a definite complete idea, transferring the exact nature of the thought to those prepared to receive it, but it can reach only one person at a time.

Thus a thought-wave is eminently adaptable; a wave of devotion, for example, would tend to arouse devotion in the recipient, although the object of the devotion might be quite different in the case of the sender and the receiver. But a thought-form would give rise to a precise image of the being for whom the devotion was originally felt.

If the thought is sufficiently strong, distance makes absolutely no difference to the thought-form, but the thought of an ordinary person is usually weak and diffused, and is, therefore, not effective outside a limited area.

A thought-form, say of love or of desire to protect, directed strongly towards another person, goes to the person thought of, and remains in his aura as a shielding and protecting agent; it will seek all opportunities to serve, and all opportunities to defend, not by a conscious and deliberate action but by a blind following out of impulse impressed upon it, and it will strengthen friendly forces that impinge on the aura and weaken unfriendly ones. Thus are created and maintained veritable guardian angels round those we love. Many a motherТs УprayerФ for a distant child thus circles round him, acting in the manner described.

A knowledge of these facts should make us conscious of the enormous power placed in our hands. We may repeat here what was said when we were dealing with thought-waves, viz., that there are many cases where we may not be able to do anything for a man on the physical plane. The manТs mental [and astral] bodies, however, can be affected, and they are frequently more easily impressible than his physical body. Hence it is always open to us to affect his mental or astral body by helpful thought, affectionate feeling etc.а The laws of thought being what they are, it is certain that results must accrue; there is no possibility of failure, even though no obvious consequence may follow on the physical plane.

The student will readily perceive that a thought-form can affect another person only if in the aura of that person there are materials capable of responding sympathetically to the vibration of the thought-form. In cases where the vibrations of the thought-form are outside the limits within which the personТs aura is capable of vibrating, the thought-form rebounds from it, and that with a force proportional to the energy with which it impinged upon it.

Hence the saying that a pure mind and heart are the best protection against inimical assaults, for a pure mind and heart will construct mental and astral bodies of fine and subtle materials, and these bodies cannot respond to vibrations that demand coarse and dense matter.

If an evil thought, projected with malefic intent, strikes such a purified body, it will rebound and fly back along the magnetic line of least resistance, returning to and striking its projector. He, having matter in his mental and astral bodies similar to that of the thought-form he generated, is thrown into respondent vibrations, and suffers the destructive effects he had intended to cause another. Thus У curses У [and blessings] come home to roost.Фа From this arise also the very serious effects of hating or suspecting a good and highly advanced man; the thought-forms sent against him cannot injure him, and they rebound against their projectors, shattering them mentally, morally, or physically.

аWhen as man thinks of himself as in some distant place, or wishes earnestly to be there, the thought-form, which he makes in his own image, appears in that place. Not infrequently such a form has been seen by others, and has sometimes been mistaken for the astral body or apparition of the man himself. To make this possible, either the seer must have sufficient clairvoyance for the time to be able to see the thought-form, or the thought-form must have sufficient strength to materialise itself i.e.,, to draw round itself temporarily a certain amount of physical matter.

The thought which generates such a form must necessarily be a strong one, and it therefore employs a large proportion of the matter of the mental body, so that though the form is small and compressed when it leaves the thinker, it usually expands to life-size before it appears at its destination. Furthermore, a thought-form such as this, which must essentially be composed of mental matter, in very many cases will also draw round itself a considerable amount of astral matter.In taking on the astral form the mental elemental loses much of its brilliance, though its glowing colour may still be plainly visible inside the shell of lower matter which it assumes. Just as the original thought ensouls the elemental essence of the mental plane, so the same thought, plus its form as a mental elemental, acts as the soul of the astral elemental.

None of the consciousness of the thinker would be included in a thought-form such as that just described. When once sent out from him it would normally be quite a separate entity Цnot, indeed entirely unconnected with its creator, but practically so as far as the possibility of receiving any impression through it is concerned.

There is, however, a type of clairvoyance rather more advanced than ordinary clairvoyance, necessitating a certain amount of control upon the mental plane. It is necessary to retain so much hold over a newly created thought-form as will render it possible to receive impressions by means of it. Such impressions as were made upon the form would be transmitted to the thinker by sympathetic vibration. In a perfect case of this kind of clairvoyance it is almost as though the seer projected a part of his consciousness into the thought-form, and used it as a kind of outpost from which observation was possible. He is able to see almost as well as he would if he himself stood in the place of his thought-form. The figures at which he is looking will appear to him as of life size and close at hand and he will find it possible to shift his point of view if he wishes to do so.

аEveryone who can think at all exercises the power to create thought-forms. Thoughts are things, and very puissant things; everyone of us is generating thought-forms unceasingly night and day. Our thoughts, as many might suppose, are not exclusively our own business. Evil thoughts, in fact, reach much further than evil words, and may affect any other persons who already have germs of evil in them.

As a Master has written:

УMan is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses and passions.Ф

A Master has also written of the Adept being able: УTo project into and materialise in the visible world the forms that his imagination has constructed out of inert cosmic matter in the invisible world. The adept does not create anything new, but only utilises and manipulates materials which Nature has in store around him, and material which, throughout eternities has passed through all forms. He has but to choose the one he wants and recall it into objective existence.Ф

The difference between an undeveloped and a developed man is that the developed man uses thought-power consciously. When such a man can consciously create and direct a thought-form, his powers of usefulness obviously very largely increase; for he can use the thought-form to work in places which, at the moment he cannot conveniently visit in his mental body. He can thus watch and guide his thought-forms and make them the agents of his will.

Perhaps the supreme example of a thought-form is that known in the Christian Church as the Angel of the Presence. This is not a member of the kingdom of the Angels, but a thought-form of the Christ, wearing His likeness and being an extension of the consciousness of the Christ Himself. It is by means of the Angel of the Presence that is made the change in the УelementsФ known as transubstantiation.а

A similar phenomenon occurs, though at a less high level, in Masonic Lodges where a portrait of the H.O.A.T.F. is used. So fully is this thought-form a part of Himself that the Lodge has the benefit of His presence and His blessing just as though He stood there in physical form.

аIt is possible, by an exertion of will-power, instantly to dissipate an artificial elemental, or thought-form, just as it is possible on the physical plane to kill a poisonous snake in order that it may do no further harm. Neither course of action, however, would commend itself to an occultist except in very unusual circumstances. In order to make clear the reason of this, some little explanation regarding the elemental essence is necessary.

Elemental essence, out of which a thought-form is constructed is, as we have already seen, evolving on its own account, i.e.,, it is learning to vibrate at all possible rates. When therefore, a thought holds it for a time vibrating at a certain rate, it is helped to this extent, so that next time a similar vibration strikes it, it will respond more readily than before.

Whether the thought ensouling it is evil or good makes no difference whatever to the essence; all that is required for its development is to be used by thought of some kind. The difference between the good and the evil in the would be shown by the quality of essence which was affected, an evil thought or desire needing for its expression the coarser matter, a higher thought or desire requiring finer matter.

Thus by degrees mental elemental essence is being evolved, through the action on it of the thoughts of men, nature spirits, devas, and even animals so far as they do think.

For this reason, therefore, i.e.,, lest he should in any way impede its evolution, the occultist avoids when possible the destruction of an artificial elemental, preferring rather to defend himself or others against it by using the protection of a shell.

The student should not, of course, imagine it is his duty to think coarse thoughts in order to help the evolution of the coarser types of essence. There are plenty of undeveloped people always thinking the coarser, lower thoughts; the occultist should strive ever to think high and pure thoughts and thus aid the evolution of the finer elemental matter, thus working in a field where there are as yet few labourers.

Before leaving this subject of thought-forms we should note that every sound makes its impression upon astral and mental matter Цnot only what we call musical sounds, but every kind of sound Some of these were described in The Astral Body,а Chapter VII.

The thought-form edifice built up on the higher planes during the celebration of the Christian Eucharist, differs somewhat from ordinary thought-forms, though it has much in common with forms created by music. It consists of a higher plane structure composed of the materials provided by the priest and his congregation during the earlier part of the service at the etheric, astral and mental levels, matter of still higher levels being introduced in the later portion of the service, chiefly from the Angelic host.

The thought-edifice may be compared to the condenser in a plant for the distillation of water. The steam is cooled and condensed into water in the cooling chamber. Similarly, the eucharistic edifice provides a vehicle for the collection and condensation of the materials provided by the worshippers, into which an especial outpouring of the divine force from the very highest levels may descend, and which may enable the Angel- helpers to use that force for certain definite purposes in the physical world.

The ceremonies of all great religions aim at producing such results by some sort of common action. The ceremonies of Freemasonry attain a similar object, though in a different way. The thought-form built up by a Masonic ceremony is the real Уcelestial canopyФ which may also be regarded as the aura of a man lying on his back. This symbolism appears elsewhere as, for example, in JosephТs coat of many colours, in the Robe of Glory which the initiate puts on, and also in the Augoeides [see p. 237] of the Greek Philosophers, the glorified body in which the soul of man dwells in the subtle invisible world.



Before proceeding to consider the phenomenon of thought-transference, and its effects on men, it will be convenient first to describe the mechanism by means of which thought is transmitted from one person to another.

The term telepathy means literally Уfeeling at a distanceФ, and might, therefore, have been appropriately confined to the transmission of feelings and emotions. It is however, now generally used almost synonymously with thought-transference, and may be taken to cover any transfer of an image, thought or feeling from one person to another by non-physical means.

There are three possibilities in telepathy ; there may be direct communication between:

[1] two etheric brains
[2] two astral bodies
[3] two mental bodies

In the first method, which we may call the physical or etheric method, a thought causes vibrations first in the mental body then in the astral body, then in the etheric brain, and finally in the dense molecules of the physical brain. By the brain-vibrations the physical ether is affected and the waves pass outwards till they reach another brain, where they set up vibrations in its etheric and dense particles. These vibration in the receiving brain are then transmitted to the astral and mental bodies attached to it, and so reach the consciousness.

If a person thinks strongly of a concrete form in the physical brain he makes the form in etheric matter; in the effort of making the image he also sends out etheric waves in every direction. It is not the image itself which is sent out, but a set of vibrations which will reproduce the image. The process is somewhat analogous to the telephone, where the voice itself is not conveyed, but a number of electrical vibrations are set up by the voice, which when they enter the receiver, are converted once more into the sounds of the voice.

аThe pineal gland is the organ of thought-transference, just as the eye is the organ of vision.а The pineal gland in most people is rudimentary, but it is evolving, not retrograding, and it is possible to quicken its evolution so that it can perform its proper function, the function which, in the future, it will discharge in all.

If anyone thinks very intently on a single idea, with concentration and sustained attention, he will become conscious of a slight quiver or creeping feeling Цit has been compared to the creeping of an ant Цin the pineal gland. The quiver takes place in the ether which permeates the gland and causes a slight magnetic current which gives rise to the creeping feeling in the dense molecules of the gland. If the thought be strong enough to cause the current, then the thinker knows that he has been successful in bringing his thought to a pointedness and a strength which render it capable of being transmitted.

The vibration in the ether of the pineal gland sets up waves in the surrounding ether like waves of light, only much smaller and more rapid. These vibrations pass out in all directions, setting the ether in motion, and these etheric waves in turn produce vibrations in the ether of the pineal gland in another brain, and from that are transmitted to the astral and mental bodies in regular succession, as previously described, thus reaching consciousness. If the second pineal gland cannot reproduce the undulations then the thought will pass unnoticed, making no impression, any more than waves of light make an impression on the eye of a blind man.

In the second, or astral method of thought-transference, the etheric brain does not enter into the process at all, the communication being direct from one astral body to another.

In the third, or mental method, the thinker, having created a thought on the mental plane, does not send it down to the brain but directs it immediately to the mental body of another thinker. The power to do this deliberately implies a far higher mental evolution than does the physical method of thought-transference, for the sender must be self-conscious on the mental plane in order to exercise knowingly this activity. When mankind is more evolved, this will probably be the common method of communication. It is already employed by the Masters in the instruction of Their pupils, and in this way They can convey with ease the most complicated ideas.



аIn Chapters VII and VIII we have dealt with the generation of thought-waves and thought-forms, and, to some extent, with the effect of these on others. The latter aspect of our subject is sufficiently important to necessitate further elaboration. We will deal first with that kind of thought-transference which is either wholly or partially unconscious.

From what has already been said it is clear that every man, wherever he goes, leaves behind him a trail of thoughts. As we walk along the street, for example, we are walking all the time amidst a sea of other menТs thoughts; the whole atmosphere is filled with them, vague and indeterminate.

If a man leaves his mind a blank for a time, these residual thoughts, generated by other people, drift through it, making in most cases but little impression upon it but occasionally seriously affecting it. Sometimes one arrives which attracts the manТs attention so that his mind seizes upon it and makes it his own for a moment or two, strengthens it by the addition of its force, and then casts it out again to affect someone else.

A man, therefore, is not responsible for a thought which floats into his mind, because it may not be his own, but someone elseТs. He is responsible, however, if he takes it up, dwells upon it, and then sends is out strengthened.

аSuch a mixture of thoughts from many sources has no definite coherence, though any one of them may start a line of associated ideas and so set the mind thinking on its own account. Many men, if they were to examine the stream of thoughts which pass through their minds, would probably be surprised to discover how many idle and useless fancies enter and leave their minds in a short period of time. Not one fourth of these are their own thoughts. In most cases they are quite useless and their general tendency is more likely to be evil than good.

аThus men continually affect each other by their thoughts, sent out mostly without definite intent. Public opinion, in fact, is largely created in this way; for the most part public opinion is thought-transference. Most people think along certain lines not because they have carefully thought questions out for themselves, but because large numbers of others are thinking along those lines and carry others with them. The strong thought of a powerful thinker goes out into the mental world and is caught up by receptive and responsive minds. They reproduce his vibrations, strengthen the thought, and thus help to affect others, the thoughts becoming stronger and stronger and eventually influencing large numbers of people.

If we consider these thought-forms in the mass, it is easy to realise the tremendous effect they have in producing national and race feeling, and thus in biasing and prejudicing the mind. We all grow up surrounded by an atmosphere crowded with thought-forms embodying certain ideas; national prejudices, national ways of looking at things, national types of thoughts and feelings; all these play upon us from our birth, and even before. Everything is seen through this atmosphere, every thought is more or less refracted by it, and our own mental and astral bodies are vibrating in accord with it. Nearly everyone is dominated by the national atmosphere: Уpublic opinionФ, once formed, sways the minds of the great majority, beating unceasingly upon the brains and awakening in them responsive vibrations. Sleeping and waking these influences play upon us, and our very unconsciousness makes them more effective. Most people being receptive rather than initiative in their nature, they act almost as automatic reproducers of the thought which reach them, and thus the national atmosphere is continually intensified.

An inevitable result of this state of affairs is that nations receiving impressions from other nations modify them by their own vibration rates. Hence people of different nations, seeing the same facts, add to them their own existing prepossessions and quite honestly accuse each other of falsifying the facts and practising unfair methods. If this truth, and its inevitability, were recognised, many international quarrels would be smoothed more easily than now is the case, and many wars even would be avoided. Then each nation would recognise the Уpersonal equationФ, and instead of blaming the other for difference of opinion, would seek the mean between the two views, neither insisting wholly on its own.

Most men never make any effort at real discrimination on their own account, being unable to shake themselves free from the influence of the great crowd of thought-forms which constitute public opinion. Hence they never really see the truth at all, nor even know of its existence, being satisfied to accept instead this gigantic thought-form. For the occultist, however, the first necessity is to attain a clear and unprejudiced view of everything; to see it as it really is, and not as a number of people suppose it to be.

To secure this clearness of vision unceasing vigilance is necessary. To detect the influence of the great hovering thought-cloud is not the same as the ability to defy its influence. Its pressure is ever present, and quite unconsciously we may find ourselves yielding to it in all sorts of minor matters, even though we keep ourselves clear from it with regard to the greater points. We were born under its pressure just as we were born under the pressure of the atmosphere, and are just as unconscious of one as of the other. The occultist imperatively must learn to free himself entirely from this influence, and to face the truth as it is, and not distorted through the medium of these gigantic, collective thought-forms.

The influence of aggregated thoughts is not confined to that which they exercise on manТs subtler vehicles. Thought-forms of a destructive type act as a disruptive energy and may often work havoc on the physical plane; they are the fruitful sources of УaccidentsФ, of natural convulsions, storms, cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc.

They may stir up wars, revolutions, and social disturbances and upheavals of every kind. Epidemics of disease and crime, cycles of accidents, have a similar explanation. Thought-forms of anger aid in the perpetration of murder. Thus in every direction, in endless fashions, do menТs evil thoughts play havoc, reacting on themselves and others.

Turning now to the effects produced, more specifically by thoughts of individuals, the student will recollect that in The Astral Body we describedа the effects produced upon a manТs astral body by, eg., a rush of devotional feeling. Such devotional feeling is usually accompanied also by thoughts of devotion; draw round themselves a large amount of astral matter as well, so that they act in both mental and astral worlds. A developed man, therefore, is a centre of devotional waves, which must inevitably influence other people born both in their thoughts and their feelings. The same of course, is true in the case of affection, anger, depression, and all other feelings.

Another typical example is that of the currents of thought flowing out from a lecturer, and other currents of comprehension and appreciation rising from the audience and joining with those from the speaker.

Often it happens that the play of the lecturerТs thoughts awakens sympathetic response in the mental bodies of the audience, so that at the time they are able to understand the speaker; later, however, when the stimulus of the speaker is no longer present, they forget and find they are no longer able to comprehend what at the time seemed clear to them.

Critical thought, on the other hand, sets up a page opposing rate of vibration, breaking up the stream and throwing it into confusion. It is said that anyone who has seen this effect produced is little likely to forget the object lesson.

In reading a book a manТs thoughts may attract the attention of the writer of the book, who may be in his astral body, during sleep of after physical death. The writer may thus be drawn to the student, thus causing him to be enveloped in the atmosphere of the writer quite as potently as though he were physically present.

Similarly, also the thought of the student may attract to himself the thoughts of other persons who have studied the same subject.

An excellent example of the effect on the living of the thoughts of a disembodied man occurs where a man has been executed, say, for murder, and where he takes his revenge by instigating other murders. This is, in fact, one explanation of those cycles of murders of the same type which from time to time occur in communities.

The effect of thoughts on children is especially marked. Just as a childТs physical body is plastic and easily moulded, so are his astral body and mental body. A childТs mental body drinks in thoughts of others as a sponge draws up water, and though it may be too young to reproduce them now, the seed will bear fruit in due season. Hence the immense importance of a child being surrounded with a noble and unselfish atmosphere.

To a clairvoyant it is a terrible sight to see beautiful white child-souls and child-auras in a few years become soiled, smirched and darkened by the selfish, impure and unholy thoughts of the adults around them. Only the clairvoyant knows how enormously and how rapidly child-characters would improve if only adult characters were better.

Whilst it is never right to endeavour to dominate the thought and will of another, even though it may be for what seems to be a good end, it is nevertheless always right to fix the thoughts upon manТs good qualities thus tending to strengthen the good characteristics. Conversely, to dwell in thought upon a manТs defects or bad qualities is to strengthen the undesirable tendencies or even to produce evil qualities where these previously did not exist, or were merely latent germs.

Thus to take a simple example, suppose that a group of people who indulge in gossip and scandal accuse another of jealousy. If the victim has already a tendency towards jealousy, it is obvious that it will be greatly intensified by such a cataract of thought; whilst even if he is entirely free from jealousy those who think and talk about his imagined fault are doing their best to create in the man the very vice over the imagined presence of which they gloat so cruelly.

The injury done by gossip and scandal is almost immeasurable, and the student will recollect the strong indictment launched against these evil practices in At the Feet of The Master. The form which the criticism of a true occultist will take will be that happy kind which grasps at a pearl as eagerly as much of our modern criticism pounces upon a flaw.

Thus the possibility Цor rather the inevitability Цof being able to affect others for good or for ill by thought-power places a tremendous instrument in the hands of all who choose to wield it.

Astro-mental images i.e., thought-forms with which emotion of feeling is also associated, play no inconsiderable part in making karmic links with other people. Thus suppose, to take an extreme example, a man by sending out a thought of bitter hatred and revenge has helped to form in another the impulse which results in murder. The creator of that thought is necessarily linked by his karma to the committor of the crime even though he has never seen him on the physical plane. Ignorance, or the absence of memory, does not cause a failure in the working of karmic law, and a man must therefore reap the results of his thoughts and feelings as well as of his physical actions.

In general, the mental images which a man makes, largely influence his future environment. In such fashion are made the ties which draw people together for good or evil in later lives; which surround us with relations, friends and enemies; which bring across our path helpers and hinderers, people who love us without our earning that love in this life, and who hate us, though in this life we have done nothing to deserve that hatred. Hence our thoughts, by their direct action on ourselves, not only produce our mental and moral character, but they also, by their effects on others, help to determine our human associates in the future.

It is, of course, possible to protect oneself to a great extent from the incursion of thought-forms from outside, by making a wall round oneself of the substance of the aura. Mental matter, as we have seen, responds very readily to the impulse of thought and may easily be moulded into any shape we will. The same things can be done with astral matter, as we saw in The Astral Body.

Nevertheless, to use a shell for oneself is to a certain extent a confession of weakness, the best protection of all being a radiant goodwill and purity which will sweep away everything undesirable in a mighty outpouring stream of love.

The occasions on which it may be necessary to make use of a shell for oneself are:аа [1] when entering a promiscuous crowd; [2] in meditation; [3] when sleep is approaching; [4] under special conditions where without its help lower thoughts would be likely to obtrude themselves.аа [2] will be dealt with in Chapter XVI; [3] in Chapter XVIII; [4] in Chapter XIII.

аA shell has distinct uses when helping other people, and an Уinvisible helperФ will frequently find it invaluable in helping a man who has not yet the strength to protect himself, either against the ever-present swirl of wearisome and wandering thoughts.

There seems no doubt that animals who live in a world of emotion possess a telepathic faculty of sendingа emotional impulses to others of their kind at a distance.In fact, William J. Long, in his fascinating book How Animals Talk, states that he has reason to believe that this method of silent communication is the common language of the whole animal kingdom.

Numerous examples are given by this keen and sympathetic observer of animal life. A setter named Don appeared always to know when his master was returning home, even at unusual and unexpected times.

He knew also when Saturday or holidays came, and when his master intended to take him out into the woods. Another dog named Watch was repeatedly observed to set out to meet his master at times which constantly varied, within a few moments of the time when his master started for home from a place some three or four miles away, driving a trap drawn by a horse between whom and the dog there was a strong friendship.

The way in which fear or nervousness is readily communicated from a rider to his horse is well known to every horseman. If a wolf-cub breaks away from the pack the mother-wolf, instead of chasing the cub, has been observed to remain quiet, lift her head and look steadily in the direction of the cub, whereupon the latter will waver, halt, and speed back to the pack. аA vixen appears to have her family under perfect control at every instant without uttering a sound; one steady look at them, and the cubs instantly cease their play, scamper into the burrow, and remain there until mother returns from her hunting. A wounded wolf, after lying up by itself for a few days, has been knownа to go straight to the carcass of an animal, eight or ten miles, which the pack had killed in the meantime, there being, of course, no trail to follow.

A Captain Rule has observed that the moment he struck a sperm whale, every other sperm whale within ten miles would turn flukes as if he also had been harpooned. Certain wild birds will make their appearance in the back yard at a moment when a number of other birds are eagerly feeding, and at no other time. The Уwing drillФ of starlings is a phenomenon which appears explicable only by the telepathic hypothesis. A similar remark applies to theа movements of flocks of plovers.

аMany huntsmen have observed that if they go out without a gun or any intention to kill, they frequently see and approach very near to wild animals in plenty, but when they go out armed, and with a desire to kill, they find the animals restless suspicious, and unapproachable. One hunter, who has learnt that excitement is transmissible from man to animals, suppressed his own physical and mental excitement, and found that he could then approach his quarry much more easily than he had been able to do before he had learnt his lesson, the truth of this being proved by the tiger skins he had obtained.

Our author goes further, and states that he has met many Indians and others possessed of what certain Africans call УchumfoФ, which acts as though it were a distinct sense, giving warning of approaching danger, etc., often in circumstances which preclude the possibility of any information reaching any of the five normal senses.

Readers who are interested in this subject in particular and animal life in general, are strongly advised to read How Animals Talk, and other books by William J. Long.



It is within the power of almost any two persons, provided they care to devote to the effort sufficient time and perseverance, and are capable of clear and steady thought, to convince themselves of the possibility of thought-transference, and even to become moderately proficient in the art. There is, of course, quite a considerable literature on the subject, such as the Transaction of the Psychical Research Society.

The two experiments should agree on a time mutually convenient, devoting say, ten or fifteen minutes daily to the task. Each should then secure himself from interruption of any kind. One should be the thought-projector or transmitter, and the other the receiver; in most cases it is desirable to alternate these roles in order to avoid the risk of one becoming abnormally passive; moreover, it may be found that one is much better at transmitting, the other at receiving.

The transmitter should select a thought, which may be anything from an abstract idea to a concrete object or a simple geometrical figure, concentrate on it, and will to impress it on his friend. It should scarcely be necessary to insist that the mind should be wholly concentrated, being in the condition graphically described by Patanjali as "one pointed". It is well for the inexperienced not to attempt to concentrate for too long lest the attention waver or wander, and a bad habit thus be set up, or strain develop, leading to fatigue. For many, if not for most, seconds are safer than minutes.

The receiver, making his body as comfortable as possible, least any slight bodily uneasiness serve to distract his attention from the matter in hand, must render his mind a blank –a task by no means easy to the inexperienced, but simple enough once the "knack" of it is acquired –and to note the thoughts that drift into it. These he should write down as they appear, his only care being to remain passive, to reject nothing, to encourage nothing.

The transmitter should of course, also keep a record of the thoughts which he sends, and the two records should at suitable intervals be compared.

Unless the experimenters are abnormally deficient in the use of the will and the control of thought, some power of communication will be established in a few weeks or months at latest. The present writer [A.E.P] has known it happen at the first attempt

The student of "white" occultism, once he has satisfied himself of the possibility of thought-transference, will not be content either with academic experiments such as have been described above, or with merely sending out kind thoughts to his friends, useful as these may be in their own measure. It is possible for him to use his powers of thought to far greater effect.

Thus to take an obvious example, suppose the student wishes to help a man who is under the sway of an injurious habit such as drink. He should first ascertain at what hours the patient's mind is likely to be unemployed –such as his hour for going to bed. If the man should be asleep so much the better.

At such a time he should sit down alone and picture his patient as seated in front of him. Very clear picturing is not essential, but the process is rendered more effective if the image can be pictures vividly, clearly and in detail.

If the patient is asleep he will be drawn to the person thinking of him, and will animate the image of himself that has been formed.

The student should then, with full concentration of mind, fix his attention on the image and address to it the thoughts which he wishes to impress on his patient's mind. He should present these as clear mental images just as he would do if laying arguments before him or pleading with him in words.

Care must be taken not to attempt to control in any way the patient's will; the effort should be solely to place before his mind the ideas which, appealing to his intelligence and his emotions, may help him to form a right judgement and to make an effort to carry it out in action.

If an attempt is made to impose upon him a particular line of conduct, and the attempt succeed, even then little, if anything has been gained. For, in the first place, the weakening effect of the compulsion on his mind may do him more harm than the wrong-doing from which he has been saved. In the second place the mental tendency towards vicious self-indulgence will not be changed by opposing an obstacle in the way of indulging in a particular form of it. Checked in one direction, it will find another, and a new vice will supplant the old. Thus a man forcibly constrained to be temperate by the domination of his will is no more cured of the vice than if he were locked up in prison.

Apart from this practical consideration, it is entirely wrong in principle, for a man to try to impose his will on another, even in order to make him do it right. True growth is not helped by external coercion ; the intelligence must be convinced, the emotions aroused and purified, before real gain is made.

If the student wishes to give any other kind of help by his thought, he should proceed in a similar way. As we saw in Chapter VIII, a strong wish for a friend's good, sent to him as a general protective agency, will remain about him as a thought-form for a time proportional to the strength of the thought, and will guard him against evil, acting as a barrier against hostile thoughts, and even warding off physical dangers. A thought of peace and consolation similarly sent will soothe and calm the mind, spreading around its object an atmosphere of calm.

It is thus apparent that thought-transference is closely associated with mind-cure, which aims at transferring good, strong thoughts from the operator to the patient. Examples of this are Christian Science, mental science, mind-healing etc.

In those methods where an attempt is made to cure a man simply by believing he is well, a considerable amount of hypnotic influence is frequently exercised. The mental, astral, and etheric bodies of man are so closely connected that if a man mentally believes himself, well, his mind may be able to force his body into harmony with his mental state and thus produce a cure.

H. P. Blavatsky considered it legitimate and even wise to use hypnotism to lift a person out of drunkenness, for example, provided the operator knew enough to be able to break the habit and free the will of the patient so that it might set itself against the vice of drunkenness. The will-power of the patient having become paralysed by his addiction to drinking, the hypnotist uses the force of hypnotism as a temporary expedient to enable the man's will to recover and re-assert itself.

Nervous diseases yield the most readily to the power of the will because the nervous system has been shaped for the expression of spiritual powers on the physical plane. The most rapid results are obtained when the sympathetic system is first worked upon because that system is the most directly related to the aspect of will in the form of desire, the cerebrospinal system being more directly related to the aspect of cognition and of pure will.

Another method of healing requires the healer first to discover accurately what is wrong, to picture to himself the diseased organ, and then to image it as it ought to be. Into the mental thought-form he has thus created he next builds astral matter, and then by the force of magnetism he further densifies it by etheric matter, finally building in the denser materials of gases, liquids and solids, using the materials available in the body and supplying from outside any deficiencies.

It is obvious that this method demands at least some idea of anatomy and physiology; nevertheless, in the case of an advanced stage of evolution, the will of an operator who may be lacking in knowledge in his physical consciousness may be guided from a higher plane.

In cures effected by this method there is not the same danger that accompanies those wrought by the easier, and therefore more common, method of working on the sympathetic system alluded to above.

There is, however, a certain danger in healing by the power of will viz., the danger of driving the disease into a higher vehicle. Disease being often the final working out of evil that existed previously on the higher planes, it is better to let it work itself out than forcibly to check it and throw it back into the subtler vehicle.

If it be the result of evil desire or thought, then physical means of cure are preferable to mental, because the physical means cannot cast the trouble back into the higher plane, as could happen if mental means were employed. Hence mesmerism is a suitable process, this being physical [see The Etheric Double Chapter XVIII].

A true method of healing is to render the astral and mental bodies perfectly harmonious; but this method is far more difficult and not as rapid as the will method. Purity of emotion and mind means physical health, and a person whose mind is perfectly pure and balanced will not generate fresh bodily disease, though he may have some unexhausted karma to work off –or he may even take on himself some of the disharmonies caused by others.

There are, of course, other methods of using the power of thought to heal, for the mind is the one great creative power in the universe, divine in the universe, human in man; and as the mind can create so can it restore; where there is injury the mind can turn its forces to the healing of the injury.

In passing we may note also that the power of "glamour" [vide The Astral Body] is simply that of making a clear strong image and then projecting it into the mind of another.

The aid which is often rendered to another by prayer is largely of the character just described, the frequent effectiveness of prayer compared with that of ordinary good wishes being attributable to the greater concentration and intensity thrown by the pious believer into his prayer. Similar concentration and intensity without the use of prayer would bring about similar results. The student will bear in mind that we are speaking here of the effects of prayer brought about by the power of the thought of the one who prays. There are of course other results of prayer, due to a call on the attention of some evolved human, super-human, or even non-human intelligence, which may result in direct aid being rendered by a power superior to any possessed by the one who offers the prayer. With this type of "answers to prayer", however, we are not here immediately concerned.

All that can be done by thought for the living can be done even more easily for the "dead". As was explained in The Astral Body the tendency of a man after death is to turn his attention inwards, and to live in the feelings and mind rather than in the external world. The re-arrangement of the astral body by the Desire- Elemental further tends to shut in the mental energies and to prevent their outer expression.

But the person thus checked as to his outward-going energies becomes all the more receptive of influences from the mental world, and can, therefore, be helped, cheered, and counseled far more effectively than when he was on earth.

In the world of the after-death life, a loving thought is palpable to the senses as is here a loving word or tender caress. Everyone who passes over should therefore, be followed by thoughts of love and peace, by aspirations for his swift passage onwards. Only too many remain in the intermediate state longer than they otherwise should because they have not friends who know how to help them from this side of death.

The occultists who founded the great religions were not unmindful of the service due from those left on earth to those who had passed onwards. Hence the Hindu has his Shraddha, the Christian his Masses and prayers for the "dead".

Similarly, it is possible for thought-transference to take place in the reverse direction. i.e.,, from the disembodied to those physically alive. Thus, for example, the strong thought of a lecturer on a particular subject may attract the attention of disembodied entities interested in that subject; an audience, in fact, often contains a greater number of people in astral than in physical bodies.

Sometimes one of these visitors may know more of the subject than the lecturer, in which case he may assist by suggestions or illustrations. If the lecturer is clairvoyant he may see his assistant and the new ideas will be materialised in subtler matter before him. If he is not clairvoyant, the helper will probably impress the ideas upon the lecturer's brain, and in such a case the lecturer may well suppose them to be his own.
This kind of assistance is often afforded by an "invisible helper" [vide The Astral Body,p.245-6].

The power of the combined thought of a group of people used deliberately to a certain end is well known, both to occultists and to others who know something of the deeper science of the mind. Thus in certain parts of Christendom it is the custom to preface the sending of a mission to evangelise some special district by definite and sustained thinking. In this way a thought-atmosphere is created in the district highly favourable to the spread of the teachings thought about, and receptive brains are prepared for the instruction which is to be offered to them.

The contemplative orders of the Roman Catholic Church do much good and useful work by thought, as do the recluses of the Hindu and Buddhist faiths.

Where in fact, a good and pure intelligence sets itself to work to aid the world by diffusing through it noble and lofty thoughts, there definite service is done to man, and the lonely thinker becomes one of the lifters of the world.

Another example, which we may class as partly conscious and partly unconscious, of the way in which the thought atmosphere of one man can powerfully affect another man, is that of the association of a pupil or disciple with a spiritual teacher or guru.

This is well understood in the East, where it is recognised that the most important and effective part of the training of a disciple is that he shall live constantly in the presence of his teacher and bathe in his aura. The various vehicles of the teacher are all vibrating with a steady and powerful swing at rates both higher and more regular than any which the pupil can maintain, though he may sometimes reach them for a few moments. But the constant pressure of the stronger thought-waves of the teacher gradually raise those of the pupil into the same key. A rough analogy may be taken from musical training. A person who has yet but little musical ear finds it difficult to sing correct intervals alone, but if he joins with another stronger voice which is already perfectly trained his task becomes easier.

The important point is that the dominant note of the teacher is always sounding so that its action is affecting the pupil night and day without the need of any special thought on the part of either of them. Thus it becomes much easier for the growth of the subtle vehicles of the pupils to take place in the right direction.

No ordinary man, acting automatically and without intention, can exercise even one-hundredth part of the carefully directed influence of a spiritual teacher. But numbers may to some extent compensate for lack of individual power, so that the ceaseless though unnoticed pressure exercised upon us by the opinions and feelings of our associates leads us frequently to absorb, without knowing it, many of their prejudices, as we saw in the preceding chapter, when dealing with racial and national thought-influence.

An "accepted" pupil of a Master is so closely in touch with the Master's thought that he can train himself at any time to see what that thought is upon any given subject; in that way he is often saved from error. The Master can at any time send a thought through the pupil either as a suggestion or a message. If for example, the pupil is writing a letter or giving a lecture, the Master is subconsciously aware of the fact, and may at any moment throw into the mind of the pupil a sentence to be included in the letter or used in the lecture. In earlier stages the pupil is often unaware of this, and supposes the ideas to have arisen spontaneously in his own mind, but he very soon learns to recognise the thought of the Master. In fact, it is most desirable that he should learn to recognise it because there are many entities on the mental and astral planes who, with the best intentions and in the most friendly way, are very ready to make similar suggestions, and it is clearly necessary that the pupil should learn to distinguish from whom they come.



There are in the mental world certain definitely localised thought-centres, actual places in space, to which thoughts of the same type are drawn by the similitude of their vibrations, just as men who speak the same language are drawn together. Thoughts on a given subject gravitate to one of these centres, which absorbs any number of ideas, coherent or incoherent, right or wrong, the centre being a kind of focus for all the converging lines of thought about that subject, these again, being linked by millions of lines with all sorts of other subjects.

Philosophical thought, for example, has a distinct realm of its own with sub-divisions corresponding to the chief philosophical ideas; all sorts of curious inter-relations exist between these various centres, exhibiting the way in which different systems of philosophy have linked themselves together. Such collections of ideas represent all that has been thought upon that subject.

Anyone who thinks deeply, say on philosophy, brings himself in touch with this group of vortices. If he is in his mental body, whether he be asleep or "dead", he is drawn spatially to the appropriate part of the mental plane. If the physical body to which he may be attached prevents this, he will rise into a condition of sympathetic vibration with one or other of these vortices, and will receive from them whatever he is capable of assimilating; but this process will be some-what less free than would be the case if he had actually drifted into it.

There is not precisely a thought-centre for drama and fiction, but there is a region for what may be called romantic thought –a vast, but rather ill-defined group of forms, including on one side a host of vague but brilliant combinations connected with the relation of the sexes, on another the emotions characteristic of mediaeval chivalry, and on yet another masses of fairy stories.

The influence of thought-centres on people is one of the reasons why people think in droves like sheep; for it is much easier for a man of lazy mentality to accept a ready-made thought from someone else than to go through the mental labour of considering a subject and arriving at a decision for himself.

The corresponding phenomenon in the astral world works in a slightly different manner. Emotion-forms do not all fly up to one world-centre, but they do coalesce with other forms of the same nature in their own neighbourhood, so that enormous and very powerful "blocks" of feeling are floating about almost everywhere, and a man may very readily come into contact with them and be influenced by them. Examples of such influence occur in cases of panic, maniacal fury, melancholia, etc. Such undesirable currents of emotion reach a man through the umbilical chakram. In a similar manner a man may be beneficially affected by noble emotions operating through the heart chakram.

It is difficult to describe the appearance of these reservoirs of thought; each thought appears to make a track, burrowing a way for itself through the matter of the plane. That way, once established, remains open, or rather may readily be re-opened, and its particles re-vivified by any fresh effort. If this effort be at all in the general direction of the first line of thought it is far easier for it to adapt itself sufficiently to pass along that line that it is for it to hew out for itself a slightly different line, however closely parallel that may be to the one which already exists.

The content of these thought-centres is, of course, far more than enough for any ordinary thinker to draw upon. For those who are sufficiently strong and persevering there are yet other possibilities connected with these centres.

First: It is possible through these thought-centres to reach the minds of those who generated their force. Hence one who is strong, eager, reverent, and teachable, may actually sit at the feet of great thinkers of the past and learn from them of the problems of life . A man is thus able to psychometrise the different thought-forms in a thought-centre, follow them to their thinkers, with whom they are connected by vibration, and acquire other information from them.

Second : There is such a thing as the Truth in itself, or, if that idea is too abstract to be grasped, we may say it is the conception of that Truth in the mind of our Solar Logos. That thought can be contacted by one who has attained conscious union with the deity, but by no one below that level. Nevertheless, reflections of it are to be seen, cast from plane to plane, growing ever dimmer as they descend. Some at least of these reflections are within reach of a man whose thought can soar up to meet them.

From the existence of these thought-centres follows another point of considerable interest. It is obvious that many thinkers may be drawn simultaneously to the same mental region, and may gather there exactly the same ideas. When that happens it is possible also that their expression of those ideas in the physical world may coincide; then they may be accused by the ignorant of plagiarism. That this does not happen more frequently than actually is the case is due to the density of men's brains, which comparatively rarely bring anything learned on higher planes.

This phenomena happens not only in the field of literature, but also in that of inventions, for it is well known in Patent Offices that practically identical inventions often arrive simultaneously.

Other ideas may be obtained by writers from the akashic records; but this aspect of our subject will be dealt with in a later chapter.



In this chapter we shall consider the mental body as it exists and is used during ordinary "waking" consciousness, i.e.,, in ordinary physical life.

It will be convenient to deal seriatim with the three factors which determine the nature and functioning of the mental body in physical life, viz.:-

[1] The Physical Life: [2] The Emotional Life: [3] The Mental Life

[1] The Physical Life

In the Astral Body, Chapter VIII, the factors in the physical life which affect the astral body were enumerated and described. Most of what was written there applies, mutatis mutandis, to the mental body. We shall here, therefore not deal again at any length with those factors, but merely briefly recapitulate them, with a minimum of comment where necessary.

As every part of the physical body has its corresponding astral and mental counterparts, it follows that a coarse and impure physical body will tend to make the mental body also coarse and impure.

In view of the fact that the seven grades of mental matter correspond respectively to the seven grades of physical [as well, of course, as to those of astral] matter, it would seem that the mental body would be more especially affected by the physical solids, liquids, gases, and ethers, i.e.,, by the four orders of physical matter.

It will, of course be clear to the student that a mental body composed of the coarse varieties of mental matter will respond to the coarser types of thought more readily than to the finer varieties.

Coarse food and drink tend to produce a coarse mental body. Flesh foods, alcohol, tobacco are harmful to the physical, astral and mental bodies. The same applies to nearly all drugs. Where a drug, such as opium, is taken in order to relieve great pain, it should be taken as sparingly as possible. One who knows how to do it can remove the evil effect of opium from the mental and astral bodies after it has done its work upon the physical.

Furthermore, a body fed on flesh and alcohol is especially liable to be thrown out of health by the opening up of the higher consciousness; nervous diseases, in fact partly due to the fact that the higher consciousness is trying to express itself through bodies clogged with flesh products and poisoned by alcohol.

Dirt of all kinds is often objectionable in the higher worlds than in the physical. Thus for example, the mental and astral counterparts of the waste matter which is constantly being thrown off by the physical body as invisible perspiration are of the most undesirable character.

Loud, sharp or sudden noises should, as far as possible, be avoided by anyone who wishes to keep his astral and mental bodies in order. This is one of the reasons why the life of a busy city is one to be avoided by an occult student, as well as by children upon whose plastic astral and mental bodies the effects of ceaseless noise are disastrous. The cumulative effect of noise on the mental body is a feeling of fatigue and inability to think clearly.

A man's mental body is affected by almost everything in his environment. Thus for example, the pictures which hang on the walls of his rooms influence him, not only because they keep before his eyes the expression of certain ideas, but also because the artist puts a great deal of himself, of his inmost thought and feeling, into his work. This we term the unseen counterparts of the picture, clearly expressed in mental and astral matter, and these radiate from the picture just as surely as scent inheres in and radiates from a flower.

Books are specially strong centres of thought-forms, and their unnoticed influence in a man's life is often a powerful one. It is, therefore, unwise to keep on one's bookshelves books of an unpleasant or undesirable character.

Talismans or amulets affect a man's life to some extent. They have already been described in The Etheric Double and The Astral Body. Briefly, they operate in two ways: [1] they radiate waves of their own which are intrinsically helpful; [2] the knowledge of the presence and purpose of the talisman awakens the faith and courage of the wearer and thus calls up the reserve strength of his own will.

If a talisman is "linked" with its maker, and the wearer calls upon the maker mentally, the ego will respond and reinforce the vibrations of the talisman by a strong wave of his own more powerful thought.

A talisman strongly charged with magnetism may thus be an invaluable help; the physical nature, as well as the emotions and the mind, have to be mastered, and the physical is, without doubt, the most difficult to deal with. Some people scorn such things as talismans; others have found the path to occultism so arduous that they are glad to avail themselves of any assistance that may be offered to them.

The strongest talisman on this planet is probably the Rod of Power which is kept at Shamballa and used in Initiations and at other times.

A man is affected also by the colours of objects which surround him. For just as a feeling or thought produces in subtler matter a certain colour, so, conversely the presence of a given colour even in physical objects exerts a steady pressure, tending to arouse the feeling or thought appropriate to that colour. Hence the rationale, for example, of the use of certain selected colours by the Christian Church in altar frontals, vestments etc., in the endeavour to superinduce the condition of mind and feeling especially appropriate to the occasion.

A man is affected by the walls and furniture of his rooms because, by his thoughts and feelings he unconsciously magnetises physical objects near him, so that they possess the power of suggesting thoughts and feelings of the same type, either to himself or to any person who puts himself in the way of their influence. Striking instances of this phenomena occur, as is well known, in the case of prison cells and other similar places.

Hence, also, the value of "holy places", where the atmosphere is literally vibrating at a high rate. A room set apart for meditation and high thought soon gains an atmosphere purer and subtler than that of the surrounding world, and the wise student will take due advantage of this fact both for his own sake and for the helping of those around him.

As an example of this kind of thought-force, we may cite the case of certain ships or engines which have the reputation of being "unlucky". Instances have unquestionably occurred where accident after accident occurs in connection with them without apparent reason.

The effect could have been brought about in some such way as the following. Feelings of intense hatred may have been entertained against the builder of the ship or against her first captain. These feelings of themselves would probably not be sufficient actually to cause serious misfortune.

But in the life of every ship there are many occasions on which an accident is only just averted by vigilance and promptitude, in which a single moment's delay or slackness would be sufficient to precipitate a catastrophe.

Such a mass of thought – forms as those described would be amply sufficient to cause that momentary lack of vigilance or momentary hesitation; and that would be the easiest line along which the malignity could work.

It is clear that the reverse is also true, and that a "lucky" atmosphere can be built up about material objects, etc., by the optimistic and cheerful thoughts of those who use the objects.

Similarly with regards to relics. Any article highly charged with personal magnetism may continue to radiate its influence for centuries with practically undiminished force. Even if the relic be not genuine, the force poured into it by centuries of devotional feeling will magnetise it strongly and make it a force for good.

There is thus occult wisdom in the following advice, quaint as it is in expression: "Knead love into the bread you bake; wrap strength and courage in the parcel you tie for the woman with the weary face; hand trust and candour with the coin you pay to the man with the suspicious eyes." The student of the Good Law has abundant opportunities of distributing blessings all about him unobtrusively, although the recipients may be quite unconscious of the source of that which comes to them.

As mentioned in Chapter XI, when dealing with Thought-Transference, physical association with a more highly evolved person may be of considerable help in the development and training of the mental body. Just as the heat radiations from a fire, warm articles placed near the fire, so may the thought-radiations of a thinker stronger than ourselves cause our mental bodies to vibrate sympathetically with him, and for the time being we feel our mental power increased.

An example of this effect often occurs at eg., a lecture; a person in the audience appears whilst he is listening to the speaker to understand fully what is being said, but later the conception seems to grow dim and maybe completely elude the mind when an attempt is made to reproduce it. The explanation is that, the masterful vibrations of the stronger thinker have at the time shaped the forms taken by the mental body of the listener, but afterwards that mental body is unable of its own power to resume those shapes.

A true teacher will thus aid his disciples far more by keeping him near than by any spoken words.

Unseen entities associated with ocean, mountain, forest, waterfalls, etc., radiate vibrations which awaken unaccustomed portions of mental, astral and etheric bodies, and hence, from this point of view, travel may be beneficial to all three bodies.

In general, it may be said that everything which promotes health and well-being of the physical body reacts favourably also upon the higher vehicles

The converse of course, is also true, the emotional and mental life having profound effects upon the physical body. For, while it is true that the mental and physical bodies are obviously, in the very nature of things, more amenable to the power of thought than is the physical body, yet the matter of even the physical body may be moulded by the power of emotion and thought. Thus for example, it is well known that any habitual line of thought, virtue or vice, makes its impress on the physical features, a phenomenon so common that its full significance has not perhaps been adequately realised by most people. Another example is that of the "stigmata", appearing on the bodies of saints, many instances of which are on record. Innumerable other examples may be furnished from the literature of modern psychoanalysis and other sources.

In the highly evolved Fifth Race man of today, in fact, the physical body is largely ruled by mental conditions; hence anxiety, mental suffering and worry, producing nervous tension, readily disturb organic processes and bring about weakness and disease. Right thought and feeling react upon the physical body and increase its power to assimilate prana or vitality.

Mental strength and serenity thus directly promote physical health, for the evolved Fifth Race man lives his physical life literally in his nervous system.


The mental and astral bodies are so closely linked together as to produce profound effects upon one another.

The intimate association between kama [desire] and manas [mind], and their actions and re-actions on each other, have already been dealt with in Chapter VI on Kama-Manas. In this chapter we will deal merely with a few further incidental effects of the astral on the mental body, and also with the effect of the mental body on the astral body.

A flood of emotion sweeping over the astral body does not itself greatly affect the mental body, although for the time it may render it almost impossible for any activity from that mental body to come through into the physical brain. That is not because the mental body itself is affected, but because the astral body, which acts as a bridge between the mental body and the brain, is vibrating so entirely at one rate as to be incapable of conveying any undulation which is not in harmony with that one rate.

A typical example of the effect of powerful emotion on mental activity is afforded by a man "in love"; while in this state the yellow of intellect entirely vanishes from his aura.

Coarse sensuality in the astral body, which is represented by a peculiarly unpleasant hue, is quite incapable of reproducing itself in the mental body. This is an example of the principle that the matter of the various planes, as it becomes finer, gradually loses the power of expressing the lower qualities.

Thus a man may form a mental image which evokes sensual feeling in him, but the thought and the image will express themselves in astral matter, and not in mental. It will leave a very definite impression of its peculiar hue upon the astral body, but in the mental body it will intensify the colours which represent its concomitant evils of selfishness, conceit and deception.

It sometimes happens that certain groups of feeling and thought, some desirable, some undesirable, are closely linked together. Thus for example, it is well known that deep devotion and a certain form of sensuality are frequently almost inextricably mingled.

A man who finds himself troubled by this unpleasant conjunction may reap the benefit of the devotion, without suffering from the ill-effects of the sensuality, by surrounding his mental body with a rigid shell so far as its lower sub-divisions are concerned. In this way he will effectually shut out the lower influences while still allowing the higher to play upon him unhindered.

This is but one example of a phenomenon of which there are many varieties in the mental world.

The effect of the mental body on the astral body is, of course, considerable, and the student should pay close attention to this fact. He will recollect that each body is controlled ultimately by the body next above it. Thus the physical body cannot rule itself, but the passions and desires of the astral body can direct and control it.

The astral body, in its turn, must be trained and brought under control by the mental body, for it is by thought that we can change desire and begin to transmute it into will, which is the higher aspect of desire. Only by the Self as Thought can be mastered the Self as Desire.

The very sense of freedom in choosing between desires indicates that something higher than desire is operative, and that something higher is manas, in which resides freewill, so far as anything lower than itself is concerned.

The student will recollect also that the chakrams or force-centres of the astral body are built and controlled from the mental plane, just as the physical brain centres were built from the astral plane.

Every impulse sent by the mental body to the physical brain has to pass through the astral body, and as astral matter is far more responsive to thought vibrations than is physical matter, the effect on the astral body is proportionately greater. This process was dealt with in The Astral Body, p. 78, to which book the student is referred.

Hence as the vibrations of mental matter excite also those of astral matter, a man's thoughts tend to stir his emotions. Thus –as is well known –a man will sometimes, by thinking over what he considers his wrongs, easily make himself angry. The converse is equally true, though it is often forgotten. By thinking calmly and reasonably a man can prevent or dismiss anger or other undesirable emotions.

An example of the effect of a scientific and orderly habit of mind on the astral body is illustrated in Man Visible and Invisible on Plate XX, which portrays the astral body of a scientific type of man. The astral colours tend to fall into regular bands, and the lines of demarcation between them become clear and definite. In extreme cases the intellectual development leads to the entire elimination of devotional feeling, and considerably reduces sensuality.

The acquirement of concentration and, in general, the development of the mental body, also affects the dream life, and tends to make the dreams become vivid, well-sustained, rational, even instructive.

The astral body, in fact, ought to be, and in a developed man is, merely a reflection of the colours of the mental body, indicating that the man allows himself to feel only what his reason dictates.

Conversely, no emotion under any circumstances ought to affect the mental body in the least, for the mental body is the home, not of passions or emotions, but of thought.


Although some little work in the building and evolution of a man's mind may be done from outside, yet most must result from the activity of his own consciousness, If, therefore a man would have a mental body strong, well-vitalised, active, able to grasp loftier thoughts presented to him, he must work steadily at right thinking.

Each man is the person who most constantly affects his own mental body. Others, such as speakers and writers, affect it occasionally, but he always. His own influence over the composition of his mental body is far stronger than that of anyone else, and he himself fixes the normal vibratory rate of his mind. Thoughts which do not harmonise with that rate will be flung aside when they touch his mind. if he thinks truth, a lie cannot make a lodgment in his mind; if he thinks love, hate cannot disturb him; if he thinks wisdom, ignorance cannot paralyse him.

The mind must not be allowed to lie as it were fallow, for then any thought-seed may take root in it and grow; it must not be allowed to vibrate as it pleases, for that means it will answer to any passing vibration.

A man's mind is his own, and he should allow entrance only to such thoughts as he, the ego, chooses.

The majority of men do not know how to think at all, and even those who are a little more advanced rarely think definitely and strongly, except during the moments when they are actually engaged in some piece of work which demands their whole attention. Consequently large numbers of minds are always lying fallow, ready to receive what ever seed may be sown in them.

The vast majority of people, if they will watch their thoughts closely, will find that they are very largely made up of a casual stream of thoughts which are not their own thoughts at all, but simply the cast-off fragments of other people's. The ordinary man hardly ever knows exactly of what he is thinking at any particular moment, or why he is thinking of it. Instead of directing his mind to some definite point he allows it to run riot, or lets it lie fallow, so that any causal seed cast into it may germinate and come to fruition there.

A student who is earnestly trying to raise himself somewhat above the thought of the average man should bear in mind that a very large proportion of the insurgent thought which is so constantly pressing upon him is at a lower level than his own and, therefore, he needs to guard himself against its influence. There is a vast ocean of thought upon all sorts of utterly unimportant subjects that it is necessary to strive rigidly to exclude it. This is one reason why to "Tyle the Lodge" is the "constant care" of every Freemason.

If a man will take the trouble to form the habit of sustained and concentrated thought, he will find that his brain, trained to listen only to the promptings of the ego –the real Thinker –will remain quiescent when not in use, and will decline to receive and respond to casual currents from the surrounding ocean of thought, so that it will no longer be impervious to influences from the higher planes, where insight is keener and judgement truer than it ever can be down here.

It is only when the man can hold his mind steady, can reduce it to quietude, and keep it in that condition without thinking, that the higher consciousness can assert itself. Then is the man ready to enter on the practice of meditation and Yoga, as we shall see in due course.

That is the practical lesson in training the mental body. The man who practices it will discover that by thinking life can be made nobler and happier, and that it is true that by wisdom an end can be put to pain.

The wise man will watch his thought with the greatest care, realising that in it he possesses a powerful instrument, for the right use of which he is responsible. It is his duty to govern his thought lest it should run riot and do evil to himself and others. It is his duty to develop his thought-power because by means of it a vast amount of good can be done.

Reading does not build the mental body; thought alone builds it. Reading is valuable only as it furnishes materials for thought, and a man's mental growth will be in proportion to the amount of thought he expends in his reading. With regular and persistent –but not excessive –exercise, the power of thinking will grow just as muscle-power grows by exercise. Without such thinking the mental body remains loosely formed and unorganised; without gaining concentration –the power of fixing the thought on a definite point –thought-power cannot be exercise at all.

The law of life, that growth results from exercise, thus applies to the mental body just as it does to the physical body. When the mental body is exercised and made to vibrate under the action of thought, fresh matter is drawn in from the mental atmosphere and is built into the body, which thus increases in size as well as in complexity of structure. The amount of the thought determines the growth of the body, the quality of the thought determines the kind of matter employed in that growth.

We may profitably consider the method of reading a little more in detail. In a book that is carefully written, each sentence or paragraph contains a clear statement of a definite idea, the idea being represented by the author's thought-form. That thought-form is usually surrounded with various subsidiary forms which are the expressions of corollaries of necessary deductions from the main idea.

In the mind of the reader there should be built up an exact duplicate of the author's thought-form, perhaps immediately, perhaps by degrees. Whether the forms indicating corollaries also appear depends on the nature of the reader's mind, i.e.,, whether he is quick to see in a moment all that follows from a certain statement.

A mentally undeveloped person cannot make a clear reflection at all, but builds up a sort of amorphous incorrect mass, instead of a geometrical form. Others may make a recognisable form, but with blunted edges and angles, or with one part out of proportion to the rest.

Others may make a kind of skeleton of it, showing that they have grasped the outline of the idea, but not in any living way and without any details. Yet others may touch one side of the idea and not the other, thus building half the form; or seize upon one point and neglect the rest.

A good student will reproduce the image of the central idea accurately and at once, and the surrounding ideas will come into being one by one as he revolves the central idea in his mind.

One of the principal reasons for imperfect images is lack of attention. A clairvoyant can often see a reader's mind occupied with half-a-dozen subjects simultaneously. In his brain are seething household cares, business worries, memory and anticipation of pleasures, weariness at having to study, and so forth, these occupying nine-tenths of his mental body, leaving the remaining one-tenth to make a despairing effort to grasp the thought-form he is supposed to be assimilating from the book.

The result of such fragmentary and desultory reading is to fill the mental body with a mass of little, unconnected thought-forms like pebbles, instead of building up in it an orderly edifice.

It is clear, therefore, that in order to be able to use the mind and the mental body effectively, training in paying attention and concentration are essential, and the man must learn to clear his mind of all extraneous and irrelevant thoughts whilst he is studying.

A trained student may, through the thought-form of the author, get into touch with the mind of the author, and obtain from him additional information or light on difficult points, though, unless the student is highly developed he will imagine that the new thoughts which come to him are his own instead of those of the author.

Remembering that all mental work done on the physical plane must be done through the physical brain in order to succeed, the physical brain must be trained and ordered so that the mental body can work readily through it.

It is well known that certain parts of the brain are connected with certain qualities in the man, and with his power to think along certain lines: all these must be brought into order and duly correlated with the zones in the mental body.

A student of occultism of course trains himself deliberately in the art of thinking; consequently his thought is much more powerful than that of the untrained man, and is likely to influence a wider circle and to produce a much greater effect. This happens quite outside his own consciousness without his making any specific effort in the matter.

But because the occultist has learned the tremendous power of thought, his responsibility in the right use of it is proportionately the greater, and he will take pains to utilise it for the helping of others.

A warning may not be out of place to those who have a tendency to be argumentative. Those who are easily provoked to argument should recollect that when they rush out eagerly to verbal battle they throw open the doors of their mental fortress, leaving it undefended. At such times any thought- forces which may happen to be in their neighbourhood can enter and possess their mental bodies. While strength is being wasted over points which are often of no importance, the whole tone of their mental bodies is being steadily deteriorated by the influences which are flowing into it.The occult student should exercise great care in permitting himself to enter into arguments. It is a common experience that argument seldom tends to alter the opinion of either side; in most cases it confirms the opinions already held.

Every hour of life gives opportunity for consciousness to build up the mental vehicle. Waking or sleeping we are ever building our mental bodies. Every quiver of consciousness, though it be due only to a passing thought, draws into the mental body some particles of mental matter and shakes out other particles from it. If the mental body is made to vibrate by pure and lofty thoughts, the rapidity of the vibrations causes particles of the coarser matter to be shaken out and their place is taken by finer particles. In this way the mental body can be made steadily finer and purer. A mental body thus composed of finer materials, will give no response to coarse and evil thoughts; a mental body built of gross materials will be affected by evil passers-by and will remain unresponsive to and unbenefited by the good.

The above applies more specifically to the "form-side" of the mental body. Turning to the "life-side", the student should also bear in mind that the very essence of consciousness is constantly to identify itself with the Not-Self, and as constantly to re-assert itself by rejecting the Not-Self. Consciousness, in fact, consists of this alternating assertion and negation – "I am this" –"I am not this". Hence consciousness is, and causes in matter, the attracting and repelling that we call vibration. Thus the quality of the vibrations set up by the consciousness determines the fineness or coarseness of the matter which is drawn into the mental body.

As we saw in Chapter XI, the thought-vibrations of another, whose thoughts are lofty, playing on us tend to arouse vibrations in our mental bodies of such matter as is capable of responding, and these vibrations disturb and even shake out some of that which is too coarse to vibrate at his high rate of activity. Hence the benefit we receive from another is largely dependent upon our own past thinking because, to be beneficially affected, we must first have in our mental bodies some of the higher types of matter which his thought can affect.

The mental body is subject to the laws of habit just as are the other vehicles. Hence, if we accustom our mental bodies to a certain type of vibration, they learn to reproduce it easily and readily. Thus for example, if a man allows himself to think evil of others it soon becomes easier habitually to think evil of them than good. In such ways often arise prejudices which blind a man to the good points of others, and enormously magnify the evil in them.

Many persons, through ignorance, fall into habits of evil thought; it is, of course, equally possible to form habits of good thoughts. It is not a difficult matter to train oneself to look for the desirable rather than the undesirable qualities in the people whom we meet.
Hence will arise the habit of liking, rather than disliking people. By such practices, our minds begin to work more easily along the grooves of admiration and appreciation instead of along those of suspicion and disparagement. A systematic use of thought-power will thus be make life easier and pleasanter, and also build the right kind of matter into our mental bodies.

Many people do not exercise their mental abilities as much as they should do; their minds are receptacles rather than creators, constantly accepting other people's thoughts instead of forming their own from within.

A realisation of this fact should induce man to change the attitude of his consciousness in daily life and to watch the working of his mind. At first considerable distress may be felt when a man perceives that much of his own thinking is not his own at all; that thoughts come to him he knows not whence, and take themselves off again he knows not whither; that his mind is little more than a place through which thoughts are passing.

Having reached this preliminary stage of mental self-consciousness, a man should next observe what difference there is between the condition of thoughts when they come into his mind and when they go out of it –i.e.,, what it is that he himself has added to them during their stay with him. In this way his mind will rapidly become really active and develop its creative powers.

Next the man should choose with the utmost deliberation what he will allow to remain in his mind. When he finds there a thought that is good he will dwell upon it and strengthen it, and send it out again as a beneficent agent. When he finds in his mind a thought that is evil he will promptly eject it.

The careless play of thought on undesirable ideas and qualities is an active danger, creating a tendency towards such undesirable things, and leading to actions embodying them. A man who dallies in thought with the idea of an evil action may find himself performing it before he realises what he is doing. When the gate of opportunity swings open the mental action rushes out and precipitates action.For all action springs from thought; even when action is performed –as we say –without thought, it is nevertheless the instinctive expression of the thoughts, desires and feelings which the man has allowed to grow within himself in earlier days.

After pursuing steadily for some time this practice of choosing what thoughts he will harbour, the man will find that fewer and fewer evil thoughts flow into his mind; that such thoughts, in fact, will be thrown back by the automatic action of the mind itself. His mind also will begin to act as a magnet for all the similar thoughts that are around him. Thus the man will gather into his mental body a mass of good material and his mental body will grow richer in its content every year.

Thus we see that the great danger to be avoided is that of allowing the creation of thought-images to be incited from without, of allowing stimuli from the outer world to call up images in the mental body, to throw the creative mental matter into thought-forms, charged with energy, which will necessarily seek to discharge and thus realise themselves. In this ungoverned activity of the mental body lies the source of practically all our inner struggle and spiritual difficulties. It is ignorance which permits this undisciplined functioning of the mental body; that ignorance should be replaced by knowledge, and we should learn to control our mental bodies, so that they are not roused from without to making images, but are ours to use as we will.

An immense amount of suffering is caused by undisciplined imagination. The failure to control the lower passions [especially sex-desire] is the result of an undisciplined imagination, not of a weak will. Even though strong desire is felt, it is creative thought which brings about action. There is no danger in merely seeing or thinking about the object of desire, but when a man imagines himself as giving way to his desires, and allows the desires to strengthen the image he has made, then his danger begins. It is important to realise that there is no power in objects of desire as such, unless and until we indulge in imaginations which are creative.Once having done this, struggle is certain to ensue.

In this struggle we may call upon what we think is our will, and try to escape from the results of our own imaginings by frantic resistance. Few have learnt that anxious resistance inspired by fear are very different from will. The will should rather be employed to control the imagination in the first instance, thus eradicating the cause of our troubles at its source and origin.

As we shall see in a later chapter, the materials which we gather during the present life are, in the after-death life, worked up into mental powers and faculties which will find further expression in our future lives. The mental body of the next incarnation depends on the work we are doing in our present mental body. Karma brings the harvest according to our sowing; we cannot isolate one life from another, nor miraculously create something out of nothing.

As it is written in the Chandogyopanishat, "Man is a creature of reflection; that which he reflects on in this life he becomes the same hereafter."

To combat and change habits of thought, a process which involves ejecting from the mental body one set of mental particles and replacing them by others of a higher type, is naturally difficult at first, just as it is usually difficult at first to break physical habits. But it can be done and, as the old form changes, right thinking becomes increasingly easy, and finally spontaneous.

There is hardly any limit to the degree to which a man may re-create himself by concentrated mental activity. As we have seen, schools of healing –such as Christian Science, Mental Science, and others –utilise this powerful agency in obtaining their results, and their utility largely depends upon the knowledge of the practitioner as to the forces which he is employing. Innumerable successes prove the existence of the force; failures show that the manipulation of it was not skilful or could not evoke sufficient for the task in hand.

Expressed in general terms, thought is the manifestation of Creativeness, the Third Aspect of the human triplicity. In Christian terminology will is the manifestation of God the Father; love of God the Son; and thought, or creative activity, of God the Holy Ghost. For it is thought in us which acts, which creates, and carries out the decrees of the will. If the will is the King, thought is the Prime Minister.

The occultist applies this creative power to quicken human evolution. Eastern Yoga is the application of the general laws of the evolution of mind to this quickening of the evolution of a particular consciousness. It has been proved, and can ever be re-proved, that thought, concentrating itself attentively on any idea, builds that idea into the character of the thinker, and a man may thus create in himself ant desired quality by sustained and attentive thinking –by meditation.

Knowing this law, a man can build his own mental body as he wishes it to be as certainly as a bricklayer can build a wall. The process of building character is as scientific as that of developing muscular power.
Even death does not stop the work, as we shall see in later chapters.

In this work prayer may be used with great effect, perhaps the most striking instance being found in the life of the Brahman. The whole of that life is practically one continuous prayer. Though much more elaborate and detailed, it is somewhat similar to the form used is some Catholic convents where the novice is instructed to pray every time that he eats, that his soul may be nourished by the bread of life; every time he washes that his soul may be kept pure and clean; every time he enters a church, that his life may be one long service; and so on. The life of the Brahman is similar, except that his devotion is on a larger scale and is carried into much greater detail. No one can doubt that he who really and honestly obeys all these directions must be deeply and constantly affected by such action.

As we saw in Chapter IV, the mental body has this peculiarity, that it increases in size as well, of course, as in activity, as the man himself grows and develops. The physical body, as we know, has remained substantially the same size for long ages; the astral body grows to some extent; but the mental body [as well as the causal body] expands enormously in the later stages of evolution, manifesting the most gorgeous radiance of many-coloured lights glowing with intense splendour when at rest, and sending forth dazzling coruscations when in high activity.

In a very undeveloped person the mental body is even difficult to distinguish; it is so little evolved that some care is needed to see it at all. Large numbers of people are as yet incapable of clear thought, especially in the West with regard to religious matters. Everything is vague and nebulous. For occult development, vagueness and nebulosity will not do. Our conceptions must be clear-cut and our thought-images definite. These apart from other characteristics, are essentials in the life of the occultist.

The student should realise also that each man necessarily views the external world through the medium of his own mind. The result may be aptly compared to looking at a landscape through coloured glass. A man who has never seen except through red or blue glasses would be unconscious of the changes which these made on the true colours of the landscape. Similarly, a man is usually entirely unconscious of the distorting effect due to his seeing everything through the medium of his own mind. It is in this somewhat obvious sense that the mind has been called the "creator of illusion." The student of occultism clearly has the duty of so purifying and developing his mental body, eliminating "warts" [see p.31] and prejudices, so that his mental body reflects the truth with a minimum of distortion due to the defects of the mental body.

The effect of a man on animals is a matter which we should deal briefly in order to make complete our study of the mental body, its actions and reactions.

If a man turns affectionate thought upon an animal, or makes a distinct effort to teach him something, there is a direct and intentional action passing from the astral or mental body of the man to the corresponding vehicle of the animal. This is comparatively rare, the greater portion of the work done being without any direct volition on either side, simply by the incessant and inevitable action due to the proximity of the two entities concerned.

The character and type of the man will have a great influence on the destiny of the animal. If the interaction between them is mainly emotional, the probability is that the animal will develop mainly through his astral body, and that the final breaking of the link with the group-soul will be due to a sudden rush of affection which will reach the buddhic aspect of the monad floating above it, and thus cause the formation of the ego.

If the interaction is mainly mental, the nascent mental body of the animal will be stimulated, and the animal will probably individualise through the mind.

If a man is intensely spiritual or of strong will, the animal will probably individualise through the stimulation of his will.

Individualisation through affection, intellect, and will are the three normal methods. It is also possible to individualise by less desirable means, eg., through pride, fear, hate, or lust for power.

Thus for example, a group of about two million egos individualised in the Seventh Round of the Moon Chain entirely through pride, possessing but little of any quality other than a certain cleverness, their causal bodies consequently showing almost no colour but orange.

The arrogance and unruliness of this group caused all through history constant trouble to themselves and to others. Some of them became the "Lords of the Dark Face" in Atlantis, others became world-devastating conquerors or unscrupulous millionaires, well called "Napoleons of finance".

Some of those who individualised through fear, engendered by cruelty, became the inquisitors of the –[page 110]—Middle Ages, and those who torture children at the present day.

Further details on the mechanisms of individualisation will be found in A Study of Consciousness, by Dr. Besant, pp. 172-3. It will also be dealt with in The Causal Body.



The mental body, like the astral body, can in process of time be aroused into activity, and will learn to respond to the vibrations of the matter of its own plane, thus opening up before the ego an entirely new and far wider world of knowledge and power.

The full development of consciousness in the mental body must not however, be confounded with merely learning to use the mental body to some extent. A man uses his mental body whenever he thinks, but that is very far from being able to utilise it as an independent vehicle through which consciousness can be fully expressed.

As we saw before [p. 20], the mental body of the average man is much less evolved than is his astral body. In the majority of men the higher portions of the mental body are as yet quite dormant, even when the lower portions are in vigorous activity. The mental body of an average man, in fact, is not yet in any true sense a vehicle at all, for the man cannot travel about in it nor can he employ its senses for the reception of impressions in the ordinary way.

Among the scientific men of our time, although the mental body will be very highly developed, yet this will be chiefly for use in the waking consciousness and very imperfectly as yet for direct reception on the higher planes.

Very few, apart from those who have been definitely trained by teachers belonging to the Great Brotherhood of Initiates, consciously work in the mental body; to be able to do so means years of practice in meditation and special effort.

Up to the time of the First Initiation, a man works at night in his astral body, but as soon as it is perfectly under control and he is able to use it fully, work in the mental world is begun. When the mental body is completely organised, it is a far more flexible vehicle than the astral body, and much that is impossible on the astral plane can be accomplished therein.

The power to function freely in the mental world must be acquired by the candidate for the Second Initiation because that Initiation takes place on the lower mental plane.

Just as the vision of the astral plane is different from that of physical plane, so is the vision of the mental plane totally different from either. In the case of mental vision, we can no longer speak of separate senses such as sight and hearing, but rather have to postulate one general sense which responds so fully to the vibrations reaching it that when any object comes within its cognition it at once comprehends it fully, and, as it were, sees it, hears it, feels it, and knows all there is to know about it, its cause, its effects, its possibilities, so far at least as the mental and lower planes are concerned, by the one instantaneous operation. There is never any doubt, hesitation, or delay about this direct action of the higher sense.
If he thinks of a place he is there; if of a friend, that friend is before him. No longer can misunderstandings arise, no longer can he be deceived or misled by any outward appearances, for every thought and feeling of his friend lies open as a book before him on that plane.

If the man is with a friend whose higher sense is also opened their intercourse is perfect beyond all earthly conception. For them distance and separation do not exist; their feelings are no longer hidden, or at best but half expressed by clumsy words; question and answer are unnecessary, for the thought-pictures are read as they are formed, and the interchange of ideas is as rapid as is their flashing into existence in the mind.

Yet even this wonderful faculty differs in degree only and not in kind from those which are at our command at the present time. For on the mental plane, just as –[page 113]—on the physical , impressions are still conveyed by means of vibrations travelling from the object seen to the seer. This condition does not apply on the buddhic plane; but with that we are not concerned in this book.

There is not very much that can or should be said regarding mental clairvoyance, because it is highly improbable that any example of it will be met with except among pupils properly trained in some of the highest schools of occultism. For them it opens up a new world in which all that we can imagine of utmost glory and splendour is the commonplace of existence.

All that it has to give –all of it at least that he can assimilate –is within the reach of the trained pupil, but for the untrained clairvoyant to touch it is hardly more than a bare possibility. Probably not one in a thousand among ordinary clairvoyants ever reach it at all. It has been reached in mesmeric trance when the subject has slipped from the control of the operator, but the occurrence is exceedingly rare, as it needs almost superhuman qualifications in the way of lofty spiritual aspiration and absolute purity of thought and intention upon the part both of the subject and the operator. Even in such cases the subject has rarely brought back more than a faint recollection of an intense but indescribable bliss, generally deeply coloured by his personal religious convictions.

Not only is all knowledge –all, that is, which does not transcend the mental plane –available to those
functioning on the mental plane, but the past of the world is as open to them as the present, for they have access to the indelible memory of nature [see Chapter XXVIII].

Thus for example, for one who can function freely in the mental body there are methods of getting at the meaning of a book quite apart from the process of reading it. The simplest is to read from the mind of one who has studied it; but this, of course, is open to the objection that one reaches only the student's conception of the book.

A second plan is to examine the aura of the book. Each book is surrounded by a thought – aura built up by the thoughts of all who have read and studied it. Thus the psychometrisation of a book generally yields a fairly full comprehension of its contents; though of course, there may be a considerable fringe of opinions held by the various readers but not expressed in the book itself.

As mentioned in Chapter VIII, in view of the fact that few readers at the present day seem to study so thoughtfully and thoroughly as did the men of old, the thought-forms connected with a modern book are rarely so precise and clear-cut as those which surround the manuscripts of the past.

A third plan is to go behind the book or manuscript altogether and touch the mind of the author, as described in Chapter X.

Yet a fourth method, requiring higher powers, is to psychometrise the subject of the book and visit mentally the thought-centre of that subject where all the streams of thought about the subject converge. This matter has been dealt with in Chapter XII on Thought-Centres.

In order to be able to make observations on the mental plane, it is necessary for a man very carefully to suspend his thought for a time, so that its creations may not influence the readily impressible matter around him, and thus alter entirely the conditions so far as he is concerned.

This holding the mind in suspense must not be confounded with the blankness of mind, towards the attainment of which so many Hatha Yoga practices are directed. In the latter case the mind is dulled down into absolute passivity, the condition closely approaching mediumship. In the former the mind is keenly alert and positive as it can be, holding its thought is suspense for the moment merely to prevent the intrusion of a personal equation into the observation which it wishes to make.

Chakrams, or Force-Centres, exist in the mental body just as they do in all the other vehicles. They are points of connection at which force flows from one vehicle to another. The chakrams in the etheric body have been described in the Etheric Body, p. 22, etc., and those in the astral body in The Astral Body, p. 31, etc. At present there is very little information available regarding the chakrams in the mental body.

One item of information is the following: In one type of person the chakram at the top of the head is bent or slanted until its vortex coincides with the atrophied organ known as the pineal gland, which is by people of this type vivified and made into a line of communication directly with the lower mental, without apparently passing through the intermediate astral plane in the ordinary way. It was for this type that Madame Blavatsky was writing when she laid such emphasis upon the awakening of that organ.

Another fact is that the faculty of magnification, called by the Hindus anima, belongs to the chakram between the eyebrows. From the centre portion of that chakram is projected what we may call a tiny microscope, having for its lens only one atom, thus providing an organ commensurate in size with the minute objects to be observed.

The atom employed may be either physical, astral or mental, but whichever it is it needs a special preparation. All its spirillae must be opened up and brought into full working order so that it is just as it will be in the seventh round of our chain.

The power belongs to the causal body, so if an atom of lower level be used as an eye-piece, a system of reflecting counterparts must be introduced. The atom can be adjusted to any sub-plane, so that any required degree of magnification can be applied in order to suit the object which is being examined.

A further extension of the power enables the operator to focus his consciousness in the lens, and then to project it to distant points.

The same power also, by a different arrangement, can be used for diminishing purposes
when one wishes to view as a whole something far too large to be taken in at once by ordinary vision. This is known to the Hindus as Mahima.

There is no spatial limit to mental clairvoyance beyond that of the mental plane itself, which, as we shall see in Chapter XXVII, does not extend to the mental planes of other planets. Nevertheless, it is possible by mental clairvoyance to obtain a good deal of information about other planets.

By passing outside of the constant disturbances of the earth's atmosphere, it is possible to make sight enormously clearer. It is also not difficult to learn how to put on an exceedingly high magnifying power, by means of which very interesting astronomical information may be gained.

Prana or Vitality exists on the mental plane, as it does on all planes of which we know anything. The same is true with regard to Kundalini or the Serpent-Fire, and also with regard to Fohat or electricity, and to the life-force referred to as The Etheric Double as the Primary Force.

Of Prana and Kundalini on the mental plane scarcely anything appears at present to be known. We know, however, that Kundalini vivifies all the various vehicles.

The Primary Force, mentioned above, is one of the expressions of the Second Outpouring from the Second Aspect of the Logos. On the Buddhic level it manifests itself as the Christ-principle in man; in the mental and astral bodies it vivifies various layers of matter, appearing in the higher part of the astral as a noble emotion, and in the lower part as a mere rush of life-force energising the matter of that body. In its lowest embodiment it is clothed in etheric matter, and rushes from the astral body into the chakrams in the surface of the etheric body, where it meets the kundalini which wells up from the interior of the human body.

The student will recollect [vide The Etheric Double p.44] that the stream of violet prana stimulates thought and emotion of a high spiritual type, ordinary thought being stimulated by the action of the blue stream mingled with part of the yellow; also that in some kinds of idiocy the flow of vitality to the brain, both yellow and blue-violet, is almost entirely inhibited.

Since The Etheric Double was published, C.W.Leadbeater's book The Chakras has appeared, containing some new and valuable information regarding the chakras, and particularly regarding the connection between the various centres or chakrams and the planes. The student therefore, may find the following tables useful:-

No. English Name Sanskrit Situation Spokes Group Forces with which associated
1 Roof or Basic Mûlâdhâra Base of Spine
2 Spleen or Splenic --------- Over Spleen
3 Naval or Umbilical Manipûra Navel, over Solar Plexus
-II- Personal
Lower Astral
4 Heart or Cardiac Anahata Over Heart
High Astral
5 Throat or Laryngeal Visuddha Front of Throat
Lower Mental
6 Brow or Frontal Âjnâ Between Eyebrows
-III- Spiritual Higher forces through pituitary body
7 Crown or Coronal Sahasrâra Top of Head
Higher forces through pineal gland

From the above it appears that the Primary Force, Prana and Kundalini, are not directly connected with man's mental and emotional life, but only with his bodily well being. There are, however, also other forces entering the chakrams which may be described as psychic and spiritual. The basal and splenic chakrams exhibit none of these, but the navel and higher chakrams are ports of entry for forces which affect human consciousness.

There seems to be a certain correspondence between the colours of the streams of prana which flow to the several chakrams and the colours assigned by H.P. Blavatsky to the principles of man in the diagram in The Secret Doctrine, Vol. III, p. 452, as shown in the following table.

Colours of Prâna Chakrams entered Colours given
in Secret Doctrine
Principles represented
Light Blue Throat Blue Âtmâ (auric envelope)
Yellow Heart Yellow Buddhi
Dark Blue Brow Indigo or dark blue Higher Manas
Green Navel Green Kâma-Manas:
lower mind
Rose Spleen Red Kâma-Rûpa
Violet Crown Violet Etheric Double
Violet - red (with another violet) Root (afterwards to crown) ---- ----

Kundalini belongs to the First Outpouring, coming from the Third Aspect. In the centre of the earth it operates in a vast globe, only the outer layers of which can be approached; these are in sympathetic relationship with the layers of Kundalini in the human body. Thus the Kundalini in the human body comes from what has been called the "laboratory of the Holy Ghost" deep down in the earth. It belongs to the fire of prana and vitality. Prana belongs to air and light and open spaces; the fire from below is much more material, like the fire in a red-hot iron. There is a rather terrible side to this tremendous force; it gives the impression of descending deeper and deeper into matter, of moving slowly but irresistibly onwards, with relentless certainty.

It should be noted that Kundalini is the power of the First Outpouring on its path of return and it works in intimate contact with the Primary Force already mentioned, and the two together bringing an evolving creature to the point where it can receive the Outpouring of the First Logos and become a human ego.

The premature unfoldment of Kundalini has many unpleasant possibilities. It intensifies everything in the man's nature, and it reaches the lower and evil qualities more readily than the good. In the mental body, for example, ambition is very readily aroused, and soon swells to an incredibly inordinate degree. It would be likely to bring with it a great intensification of the power of intellect, but at the same time it would produce abnormal and satanic pride, such as is quite inconceivable to the ordinary man. No uninstructed man should ever try to arouse it, and if such an one finds that it has been aroused by accident, he should at once consult someone who fully understands these matters.It has been said in the Hathayogapradipika [III. 107] : "It gives liberation to Yogis, and bondage to fools".

The conquest of Kundalini has to be repeated in each incarnation, since the vehicles are new each time, but after it has been thoroughly achieved its repetition will be an easy matter. It must be remembered that its action varies with different types of people; some for example, would see the higher self rather than hear its voice. Again, this connection with the higher has many stages; for the personality it means the influence of the ego, but for the ego it means the power of the monad, and for the monad in turn it means to become a conscious expression of the Logos.

In order to use the faculties of the mental body it is necessary, furthermore, to focus the consciousness in that body. The consciousness of man can be focussed only in one vehicle at a time, though he may be conscious through the others in a vague way. Thus, if a man possessed of astral and mental sight focuses his consciousness in the physical brain, he will see perfectly the physical bodies of his friends, but will at the same time see their astral and mental bodies somewhat dimly. In far less than a moment he can change that focus so that he will see the astral quite fully and perfectly; in that case he will still see the mental and physical bodies, but not in full detail. The same thing is true of the mental sight and of the sight of the higher planes.

In bringing down to the physical brain what has been seen on the mental plane, there has to be performed the difficult operation of a double transference from the higher to the lower, since the memory has to be brought through the intervening astral plane.

Even when the mental faculties can be used whilst awake in the physical body, the investigator is still hampered by the absolute incapacity of physical language to express what he sees.

In order to bring the consciousness of the mental body into the physical brain the links between the different bodies must be developed. These links exist at first without coming into the consciousness of the man and they are not actively vivified, being like what are called in the physical body rudimentary organs that are waiting to be developed by use. Such links connect the dense and etheric bodies with the astral, the astral with the mental body, the mental with the causal body. The action of the will begins to vivify them, and as they commence to function the man uses them for the passing of his consciousness from vehicle to vehicle. The use of the will vivifying the links sets free Kundalini the Serpent-Fire.

The link between the physical and the astral body is the pituitary body; that between the physical and the mental body is the pineal gland. As was mentioned before, some people develop the pituitary body first, some the pineal gland –each must follow the method prescribed by his own guru, or spiritual teacher.

When a man has learnt to leave the physical body in waking consciousness, having developed the links between his vehicles, he has, of course, bridged the gulf between physical life and sleep-life. The bridging of the gulf is facilitated by training the brain to respond to vibrations from the mental body; the brain then becomes more and more the obedient instrument of the man, carrying on its activities under impulses from the will and answering to the lightest touch.

The main preparations to be made for receiving in the physical vehicle the vibrations of the higher consciousness may usefully be summarised as follows: purification of the lower bodies by pure food and pure life; entire subjugation of the passions; the cultivation of an even, balanced temper and mind, unaffected by the turmoil and vicissitudes of external life; the habit of quiet meditation [see Chapters XV to XVII] on lofty topics; the cessation of hurry, especially of that restless, excitable hurry of the mind, which keeps the brain continually at work flying from one thing to another; the genuine love for things of the higher world, so that the mind rests contentedly in their companionship, as in that of a well-loved friend.

When a man is able to use the mental faculties in ordinary waking consciousness he is, of course, able to receive impressions of every kind from the mental world, so that all the workings of others are sensed by him just as he sees their bodily movements. In learning to use the powers of the mental body, a man does not lose those of the lower, for they are included in the higher.

At this stage a man can also increase his powers of usefulness very largely by consciously creating and directing a thought-form, which he can use to do work in places to which, at the moment, it may not be convenient to travel in his mental body. These thought-forms he controls from a distance, watching and guiding them as they work, and making them the agents of his will.

When a man begins to develop along occult lines, the whole of the mental body, as said, must be purified and brought into thorough working order. It is eminently necessary that he should be able to make strong and clear thought-forms; in addition, it is a great help and comfort to him if he is able to visualise them clearly.

The two acts must not be confused. The formation of a thought is a direct action of the will, working through the mental body; visualisation is simply the power to see clairvoyantly the thought-form he has made. If a man thinks strongly of any object, the image of it is in his mental body just as much, whether he can visualise it or not.

The student must also continuously strive to maintain of moral purity and mental balance without which clairvoyance is a curse and not a blessing to its possessor.

Development of mental-body consciousness would make a man's life and memory continuous during the whole of each descent into incarnation.

When a man can thus function consciously in his mental body, experiencing its powers and its limitations, of necessity he also learns to distinguish between the vehicle he is using and himself. The next stage will be for him to perceive the illusory character of the personal "I ", the "I" of the mental body, and to identify himself with the real man, the individuality or ego, living in the causal body.

This further step of raising the consciousness to the level of the ego on the higher mental plane, would confer on the man memory of all his past lives.

But before a man can hope to break the barrier between the mental and astral plane, so that he can have the pleasure of continuous recollection, he must have been for a long time thoroughly practised in the use of the mental body as a vehicle. [Analogy leads us to see that 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 to the physical consciousness].

The mental body, as such, is incapable of fatigue; there is no such thing as fatigue of the mind. What we call by that name is only fatigue of the physical brain through which the mind has to express itself.

Nevertheless, purely physical fatigue can produce an effect upon the mental body. Thus a man who is utterly exhausted has to a large extent lost the power of co-ordination. Every physical cell is complaining, and the effect upon all vehicles –etheric, astral, and mental –is that a vast number of small, separate vortices are set up, each quivering at its own rate, so that all the bodies lose their cohesion and their power to do their work.

At the present state of our knowledge, the exact method by which ordinary memory works is not known, the subject not having been investigated. It is clear, however, that a vibration in the mental body is part of what occurs, and that the causal body is not in any way involved.

Many thousands of years ago, there appears to have been a certain ceremony, aimed at opening the faculties of the higher bodies. The officiant, in a dark room, uttered the word "Om", which brought all those present into close harmony with him, and with the feelings which filled his mind. At the utterance of the word "Bhur", the room was filled, to their senses, with ordinary light. On the sound of another word, astral sight was temporarily opened to them; another word similarly opened their mental sight. Such effects were temporary only, but on a future occasion it would, of course, be easier to produce the same result on those people.

It is important that the student should learn to distinguish between impulse and intuition. As both come to the brain from within, they seem at first exactly alike, and therefore, great care is necessary. It is wise, where circumstances permit, to wait awhile, because impulses usually grow weaker, while intuitions remain unaffected by the passage of time. An impulse is usually accompanied by excitement, and there is something personal about it; a true intuition, though decided, is surrounded by a sense of calm strength. The impulse is a surging of the astral body; an intuition is a scrap of knowledge from the ego impressed upon the personality, coming thus from the higher mental plane, or sometimes even from the buddhic.

To distinguish between the impulse and intuition, until the nature is thoroughly balanced, calm consideration is necessary and delay, as said above, is essential. An impulse dies away under such conditions, whilst an intuition grows clearer and stronger. Calmness and serenity enable the lower mind more clearly to hear the intuition and to feel its power. Intuition thus loses nothing, but rather gains from calm delay.

Furthermore, intuition is always connected with something unselfish. If there is any touch of selfishness, shown in some impulse coming from a higher plane, we may be sure that it is an astral impulse and not a true buddhic intuition.

Intuition, somewhat analogous to the direct vision of the physical plane, eventually takes the place of reason, which may be compared to the physical plane sense of touch. Intuition develops out of reasoning in the same sequential manner, and without change of essential nature, just as the eye develops out of the sense of touch.
But the intuition of the unintelligent is impulse, born of desire, and is lower, not higher, than reasoning.



From what we have already seen regarding the mechanism and the power of thought, it is abundantly clear that the control of the mind is of far greater importance than is ordinarily supposed, both for a man's own sake and also for its influence on the work he is able to do for others.

Thought-control, in fact, is an essential pre-requisite for the development of the powers of the soul.
In The Voice of The Silence it is stated: "The mind is the slayer of the real; let the disciple slay the slayer"" This does not, of course, mean that the mind must be destroyed, for one cannot get along without it, but that it must be dominated and mastered; it is not the man himself, but an instrument for him to train and use.

Obviously the student must exercise the greatest care as to the thoughts and emotions he permits himself to entertain. The ordinary man rarely thinks of attempting to check an emotion –except, perhaps, in its external manifestation; when he feels it surging within him, he yields himself to it, and considers it natural to do so. The occult student, however, must adopt quite a different attitude: instead of allowing his emotions to run away with him, he must take them absolutely under control; and this must be done by developing and controlling his mental body. One of the first steps towards this is the realisation that the mind is not himself, but an instrument which he must learn to use.

The student must thus set himself the task of mastering both his emotions and his mind; he must know exactly what he is thinking about, and why, so that he can use his mind, and turn it, or hold it still just as a practised swordsman turns his weapon where he will, in this direction or that, and is able to hold it as firmly as he wishes. In other words, he must acquire the power of concentration, which is a necessary preliminary to all mental work.

He must learn to think steadily and consecutively, not allowing the mind to run suddenly from one thing to another, nor to fritter away its energies over a large number of insignificant thoughts.

Most men find that all sorts of stray thoughts rush into their consciousness unbidden, and since they are quite unused to controlling the mind they are powerless to stem the torrent. Such people do not know what real concentrated thought is; and it is this utter lack of concentration, this feebleness of mind and will, that makes the early stages of occult development so difficult to the average man. Furthermore, since in the present state of the world there are likely to be more evil thoughts than good ones floating about, this weakness lays a man open to all sorts of temptations which a little care and effort might have avoided altogether.

On the form-side, to concentrate is to keep the mental body shaped in one steady image; on the life-side it is to direct the attention steadily to this form so as to reproduce it within oneself. It is the force of the will which compels the mind to remain in one form, shaped to one image, completely disregarding all other impressions thrown upon it.

More briefly, concentration consists in focussing the mind on one idea and holding it there.

Still more simply, concentration is paying attention. If a man pays attention to what he is doing, then his mind is concentrated.

The throat centre, or chakram, while associated with the higher forms of hearing, is also closely associated with the power of paying attention, to which great importance is always attached in all occult systems. Hence, in the school of Pythagoras, for example, the pupils were kept for several years in the order called Akoustikoi or Hearers, and were strictly forbidden to launch out upon the perilous waters of originality until they were thoroughly grounded in the established principles of philosophy. For similar reasons, in the mysteries of Mithra the lowest order was that of the Ravens, signifying that they were allowed to repeat only that which they had heard, precisely as a raven or parrot does. The Freemason will recognise the correspondence of these orders with the degree of E.A. in his system.

The s … of the E.A., which incidentally calls to the assistance of the man who uses it a particular class of non-human intelligences of the subtle world, needs to be made correctly and at the proper place; if made carelessly and without thinking what is being done, a man may open himself to influences of which he is unaware, and for which he is unprepared. In using all such forms of "magic", a man should be on is guard lest he carelessly open himself to unpleasant influences which might otherwise have passed him by.

The student will also do well to remember that the natural effect of concentrating the mind is to produce tension in the muscles of the body as, for example, in the knitting of the brows. Such tension not only tires the body but also acts as an obstacle to the inflow of spiritual forces. The student should, therefore, periodically in his meditation, and also in his daily life, turn his attention to his body and deliberately "relax".Experience will demonstrate the immense relief to the whole system which follows even a moment of complete relaxation.

People of strong and intense natures should pay special attention to relaxation, and may find it necessary to practise definite exercises with this end in view. Many books on the subject exist; Power Through Repose, by Annie Payson Call, can be confidently recommended as one of the best.

Concentration is not a matter of physical effort; the moment the mind turns to a thought it is concentrated on it. Concentration is less a matter of holding -–page 128]—the mind by force on a certain thought than of letting the mind continue to rest on that thought in perfect stillness and quietude. The student must bear in mind that the seat of thought is not in the brain but in the mental body; hence concentration concerns the mental body more than the physical brain.

Concentration is thus obviously not a state of passivity, but, on the contrary, one of intense and regulated activity. It resembles, in the mental world, the gathering up of the muscles for a spring in the physical world, or their stiffening to meet a prolonged strain.

The man who is beginning real concentration of thought should not at first exceed five or ten minutes at a stretch, otherwise he is apt to overtax the brain. Very gradually the time may be lengthened to fifteen, twenty or thirty minutes.

The student should never practise concentration or meditation to the point of making a feeling of dullness and heaviness in the brain, for dullness and pain are danger signals, indicating that the effort is being made to change the matter of the bodies more rapidly than is consistent with health.

Most people appear to find it more difficult to bridle thought than emotion, probably because they have been brought up to consider it unseemly to allow emotion to disport itself unchecked, whereas they have usually allowed their thoughts to roam as fancy dictated.

When a man begins to attempt to control his mind, he thus finds himself in conflict with the past habits of his mental body. Just as the collective consciousness of his astral body forms what is termed the Desire-Elemental [see Astral Body, p. 77], so is there a Mental Elemental in his mental body. This Mental Elemental has thus become accustomed to have things all his own way, and to drift from subject to subject at his own sweet will.

The struggle with the mental Elemental is in some ways different from that which has been waged against the Desire-Elemental. The mental Elemental, being a whole stage earlier in evolution than the desire-Elemental, is less used to material confinement; consequently he is more active than the Desire-Elemental –more restless, but less powerful and determined.

In the nature of things, he is thus easier to manage, but less used to management; so that it takes far less actual exertion of strength to control a thought than a desire, but it needs a more persistent application of that strength.

It must also be remembered that on the mental plane mind is on its own ground, and is dealing with its own matter, so that it is only a question of practice for it to learn to manage the Mental Elemental perfectly; whereas, when we endeavour to rule the Desire-Elemental we are bringing down the mind into a world which is foreign to it, and imposing an alien ascendancy from without.

So important are the last few facts stated that it may be useful to recapitulate them briefly. Control of mind is in itself far easier than control of the emotions; but we have had a certain amount of practice in emotional control, and as a rule almost no practice in mind control. Hence the mental exercise seems so difficult to us. Both of them together constitute a far easier task than the perfect mastery of the physical body; but this latter we have to some extent been practising during a number of previous lives, though our achievements along that line are even yet notably imperfect. A thorough comprehension of this matter should be distinctly encouraging to the student. One result of such comprehension should be vividly to impress upon him the truth of the remark in The Voice of The Silence that this earth is the only true hell which is known to the occultist.

Lest the above statements may seem untrue or exaggerated, let the student consider the difficulty of banishing, by thought-power, say, a raging toothache [though even this can be done under certain conditions] ; it is clearly much easier by thought-power to banish depression, anger, jealousy, or any other unpleasant emotion, and still easier to deflect the thought from an unpleasant or profitless subject to one more pleasing or useful, or even to stop the mind working altogether.

It will now be useful to consider more in detail the obstacles to concentration; these, as we shall see, divide themselves naturally into two main groups. The first has to do with Kama, or desire; the second with the very nature of mental matter itself.

The difficulty in the control of mind was well expressed 5,000 years ago by Arjuna in the immortal dialogue between him and Shri Krishna [see Bhagavad Gita VI, 34, 35]: -"This Yoga which Thou hast declared to be by equanimity, O slayer of Madhu, I see no stable foundation for it, owing to restlessness; for the mind is verily restless, O Krishna! It is impetuous, strong, and difficult to bend ; I deem it as hard to curb as the wind".

And still is true the answer, the answer pointing out the only way to success:-
"Without doubt, O mighty-armed, the mind is hard to curb; but it may be curbed by constant practice [abhyasa] and by indifference [vairagya] ".

We will take the two obstacles, the remedies for which are italicised above, in the reverse order.
[1] INDIFFERENCE –This reference is clearly to the power of kama, or desire, to attract, sway, and hold the mind. In Chapter VI we studied in detail the relation between Kama and Manas, and saw the manner in which desire continually impels the mind and constantly makes it serve as a minister of pleasure.
Thus is the mind induced to seek that which pleases as well as to avoid that which gives pain. Hence it is only by curbing and mastering the emotions that they can be dominated and prevented from dragging the mind away from the task it has set itself to perform.

It is well that the student should remind himself that a chaos of petty emotions is unworthy of a rational being, and it is to the last degree undignified that man, who is a spark of the Divine, should allow himself to fall under the sway of his Desire-Elemental –a thing that is not even a mineral yet.

There would appear to be two principal ways in which this indifference can be attained and utilised as a means to concentration. These we may term [a] the Philosophical, and [b] the Devotional method.

[a] The Philosophical Method .This consists in so modifying and strengthening one's attitude towards everything that normally attracts and binds men that Kama or desire is brought completely under control; the man thus becomes indifferent to all objects, whether external, or as presented to the mind from within. This method, as observed by the present writer, seems to be difficult to most people of Western temperament, and often tends to create more perplexities than it solves' yet to people of Eastern temperament [to use a rough but useful distinction], it does not appear to present much difficulty.

To expound the method fully would necessitate a treatise on philosophy, which of course, is far beyond the cope of the present book. Let a few words suffice to give a general idea of the method. The philosophy of the system described in Discourses 5 and 6 of the Bhagavad Gita, which are called respectively the Yoga of Renunciation of Action and the Yoga of Self-Subdual.

Under this system the man "neither hateth nor desireth"; …he is free from the pairs of opposites; ..he perceives that the senses move among the objects of sense…he places all actions in the Eternal, abandoning attachment; …he mentally renounces all actions;…he looks equally on a Brahmana adorned with learning and humility, a cow, an elephant and even a dog and out-caste;…he neither rejoiceth on obtaining what is pleasant, nor sorroweth on obtaining what is unpleasant;…he is unattached to external contacts and findeth joy in the Self;……he is able to endure…the force born from desire and passion…harmonised….happy…intent on the welfare of all beings…disjoined from desire and passion.

"He performeth such action as is duty, independently of the fruit of action…with the formative will renounced…controlled and peaceful,...uniform in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, as well as honour and dishonour; …he regards impartially lovers, friends and foes, strangers, neutrals, foreigners and relatives, also the righteous and unrighteous;…he is free from hope and greed; …he is free from longing for all desirable things;…he is as a lamp in a windless place; …he is not shaken even by heavy sorrow;…he abandons without reserve all desire born of the imagination;…little by little he gains tranquility…having made the mind abide in the SELF;…he seeth the SELF abiding in all beings, all beings in the Self; …and he is…completely harmonised.

The above constitutes but a bare outline of what we have termed the philosophical method. The method may, in fact should be, modified and adapted, within very wide limits, to suit the particular individual and the peculiarities of his temperament.

The philosophical method, however, as already said, is for many a hard and perplexing path; as, therefore, "the dharma of another is full of danger", let such follow the second method, less drastic, now to be described.

[b] The Devotional Method: In this method, instead of attempting to eliminate Kama, i.e.,, desire or attachment, the student uses the very force of Kama to fix the mind. This is, par excellence, the method of the devotee, who cultivates Kama, in its highest form, to such a degree of intensity that all other attachments become relatively insignificant, and therefore powerless to disturb or distract his attention.

One who is of a devotional temperament may achieve his end by fixing his mind on a beloved object, or image, the very pleasure which he experiences from a contemplation of that image serving to hold the mind fixed upon it; even if the mind be forcibly dragged away from it, it will return to it again and again. In this way a devotee attains to a considerable degree of concentration.

Whilst the devotee thus utilises the element of attraction to a person, a more philosophically –minded person may take for his attractive image some profound idea, or even problem; thus, for him, the intellectual interest, the deep desire for knowledge, provides the binding power of attraction, and so fixes the mind immovably.

A useful definition of concentration, from this point of view, is as follows: the mental practice of concentration is control of mind, domination of mind by a mood, stamped upon it by the will, so that all the thinking will be bent on the purpose chosen.

For those who are not definitely devotional, the above method may be considerably modified; this modified method, in fact, is perhaps for most people the easiest of all, being, in fact, what one does in ordinary daily life. It consists in becoming so interested and absorbed in the subject selected that all other thoughts are ipso facto excluded from the mind. The mind should become so engrossed as to induce a state of more or less wrapt concentration. The student must learn to accomplish this at will, and will best succeed by cultivating the power and habit of observing and paying attention to outer objects.

An object should be taken, examined and studied minutely in many aspects. No object in nature is in reality dull or uninteresting; if anything seems so, it is rather the failure to appreciate the wonder and beauty of its manifestation lies in our inattentiveness and lack of perception.

Some degree of mastery of the above relatively elementary exercise is necessary to successful visualisation –that is the power of mentally reproducing an object in accurate detail without it being visible to the eyes, and accurate visualisation is a necessary faculty in certain forms of occult work, such, for example, as ceremonial.

If instead, of a concrete object, an idea be chosen eg., a virtue, it should arouse the enthusiasm and devotion of the student, the concentration in this case being chiefly that of the feelings and less conspicuously that of the mind. It is easier to be one-pointed in feeling than in thought, for thought is more subtle and active; but if concentration of feeling can be induced the mind will to a certain extent follow suit.

In the practice of concentration, as well as of meditation, the beginner is apt to find that many little unsatisfied desires and un-thought-out problems, present hungry mouths ever calling aside the attention. To clear away these obstructions it is little use trying to repress or suppress them. A better plan is to give them their due, appoint them a time, and think them out. A mind cannot overcome such vacillation as leaves its problems perpetually unsettled cannot succeed in concentration, let alone meditation.

The student must decide to arbitrate his problems, abide by his own decisions, and then refuse to think the same matter over and over again. The ability to do this grows with practice and with the habit of putting decisions into action.

[2] CONSTANT PRACTICE : -The reference here seems to be the quality of restlessness, which is more or less inherent in mental matter, and in mental elemental essence. The elemental essence, in fact, is largely responsible for our wandering thoughts, as it darts constantly from one thing to another.

But as mental matter is subject to the laws of habit just as is all matter, it is possible to train it, by constant practice, until it becomes habitual for it to be the reverse of restless, and thus to fashion it into the willing and obedient servant of the real man, the Thinker.

The quickest and best way to overcome the wanderings of the mind is, of course, to use the will. Whatever method, in fact, be chosen, the will must be used to some extent. There are some people who rely solely on the force of the will [and there is no limit to the degree to which will may be developed], whilst others prefer to assist and supplement their will-power by philosophy, devotion, or by any other devices that they may be able to discover for themselves.

It is, of course, possible to make a shell around oneself, and thus exclude thoughts from outside; but this method is not recommended as a permanent plan, for shells after all are but crutches.

If, however, such a shell be employed, it must be recognised that it cannot prevent wandering thoughts from arising within the man's own mind; but it can prevent the intrusion from without of casual floating thoughts which have been left about by other people.

It is advisable that only the lower mental matter be employed in the making of such a shell, as otherwise helpful thought may be kept out, or the man's own thought might be hampered as he poured it forth towards his Master.

In Freemasonry, the corresponding process is that of Tyling the Lodge, which is done of course, on the plane appropriate to the Degree which is being worked.

The power of concentration can, and should be, acquired in ordinary daily life. Whatever we are doing we should focus our whole attention upon it, do it with all our might, and as well as it can be done. A letter, for example, should be well and accurately written, no carelessness in detail being allowed to delay it or mar its effects. A book should be read with full attention, and effort to grasp the author's meaning. No day should pass without some definite exercise of the mind. For it is only by exercise that strength comes; disuse means always weakness and atrophy.

The mechanism of worry and the method of eliminating it should be grasped by the student. Work, unless excessive, does not injure the thought-apparatus, but, on the contrary, strengthens it. But the mental process of worry definitely injures it, and after a time produces nervous exhaustion and irritability, which render steady mental work impossible.

Worry is the process of repeating the same train of thought over and over again with small alterations, coming to no result, and often not even aiming at a result. It is the continued reproduction of thought-forms initiated by the mental body and the brain, not by the consciousness, and imposed by them on the consciousness.

The Thinker, having failed to solve his problem, remains unsatisfied; fear of anticipated trouble keeps him in an anxious and restless condition. Under this impulse, which is undirected by the Thinker, the mental body and brain continue to throw up images which have already been shaped and rejected. In worry, the Thinker is the slave instead of the master of his bodies.

Worry being largely due to automatism, the same property of matter can be utilised to overcome it. Perhaps the best way to get rid of a "worry channel" is to dig another of an exactly opposite character. This may be done by dwelling in meditation on such a thought as "The Self is Peace; that Self am I. The Self is Strength; that Self am I". As he thus broods, the Peace he is contemplating will enfold him, and he will be filled with the Strength he has pictured to himself in thought. The precise formulation of ideas for the meditation can of course, be suited to the particular individual.

The student must learn not only to think, but also to cease thinking at will. When the work of thought is over it should be dropped completely and not allowed to drift on vaguely, touching the mind and leaving it, like a boat knocking itself against a rock. A man does not keep a machine running when it is not turning out work, needlessly wearing the machinery. Similarly, the priceless machinery of the mind should not be permitted to turn and turn aimlessly, wearing itself out without useful result. Just as tired limbs luxuriate in complete repose, so may the mind find comfort in complete rest.

When the student has finished his thought-work, he should drop the thought, and then as other thoughts appear in the mind, turn his attention away from them.

Another method, which the present writer employs with success, is not so much to turn the attention away [this itself being a positive act], as to take not interest in thoughts that arise. Let them come as they will, but be entirely indifferent to them. After a short time, no fresh life being infused into them, they cease to appear, and a complete stillness, entirely free from thought of any kind, is experienced, which is exceedingly restful, both to the astral and the mental bodies.[ This plan may be used also to cure sleeplessness; the present writer has found it invaluable in many instances].

Cessation of thought is a necessary preliminary to work on the higher planes. When the brain has learned to be quiescent, then there opens the possibility of withdrawing the consciousness from its physical vesture.

The student will now be in a position to understand the full force of the aphorism of Patanjali that, for the practice of Yoga, the man must stop "the modifications of the thinking principle". The task to be achieved is to acquire such perfect control over the mental body, or "thinking principle", that it can be modified only with consent, deliberately given, of the man himself, the Thinker.

The term used by Patanjali in defining Yoga is –chitta-vritti-nirodha, which means restraint [nirodha], of the whirlpools [vritti ] of the mind [chitta] .

A man must be able to take up and lay down the mind as one does a tool; when that stage is reached, then the possibility arises for the man to withdraw altogether from the mental body.

Yoga is thus the inhibition of all vibrations and changes in the mental body. Hence, in the mental body of a Master there is no change of colour save as initiated from within.

The colour of His mental body is as "moonlight on a rippling ocean". Within that whiteness lie all possibilities of colour, but nothing in the outer world can make the faintest change of hue sweep over its steady radiance. His mental body is merely and outer sheath that He uses when He needs to communicate with the lower world.

A result of concentration is that as the Knower, with concentrated mind, steadily contemplates the one image, he obtains a fuller knowledge of the object than he could obtain by means of any verbal description of it. The rough outline produced by the word-description of an object is filled in more and more detail as the picture is shaped in the mental body, and the consciousness comes more and more into touch with the things described.

For further details of the theory and practice of concentration and thought-power, the student is referred to Thought–Power, Its Control and Culture, by Annie Besant; and for a practical manual on concentration, to Mr Ernest Wood's admirable book Concentration.



Concentration is, of course, not an end in itself, but a means to an end. Concentration fashions the mind into an instrument which can be used at the will of the owner. When a concentrated mind is steadily directed to any object, with a view to piercing the veil and reaching the life, and drawing that life into union with the life to which the mind belongs –then meditation is performed. Concentration is thus the shaping of the organ; meditation is its exercise.

As we have seen, concentration means the firm fixing of the mind on one single point without wandering, and without yielding to any distractions caused by external objects, by the activity of the senses or by that of the mind itself. It must be braced up to an unswerving steadiness and fixity, until gradually it will learn so to withdraw its attention from the outer world and from the body that the senses will remain quiet and still, while the mind is intensely alive and all its energies drawn inwards, to be launched at a single point of thought, the highest to which it can attain. When it is able to hold itself thus with comparative ease it is ready for a further step, and by a strong but calm effort of the will it can throw itself beyond the highest thought it can reach, while working in the physical brain, and in that effort will rise to, and unite itself with, the higher consciousness, and find itself free of the body.

Thus anyone who is able to pay attention, to think steadily on one subject for a little time without letting the mind wander, is ready to begin meditation.

We may define meditation as the sustained attention of the concentrated mind in face of an object of devotion of a problem that needs illumination to be intelligible, of anything, in fact, whereof the life is to be realised and absorbed, rather than the form. It is the art of considering a subject or turning it over in the mind in its various bearings and relationships.

Another definition of meditation is that it consists of the endeavour to bring into the waking consciousness, that is, into the mind in its normal state of activity, some realisation of the super-consciousness, to create by the power of aspiration a channel through which the influence of the divine or spiritual principle –the real man –may irradiate the lower personality. It is the reaching out of the mind and feelings towards and ideal, and the opening of the doors of the imprisoned lower consciousness to the influence of the ideal. "Meditation", said H.P.Blavatsky, "is the inexpressible longing of the inner man for the Infinite". St. Alphonus de ‘ Liguori spoke of meditation as :"the blessed furnace in which souls are inflamed with Divine Love."

The ideal chosen may be abstract, such as a virtue; it may be the Divinity in man; it may be personified as a Master of Divine teacher. But in all cases it is essentially an uplifting of the soul towards its divine source, the desire of the individual self to become one with the Universal Self.

What food is to the physical life, so is meditation to the spiritual life. The man of meditation is ever the most effective man of the world. Lord Rosebery, speaking of Cromwell, described him as a "practical mystic", and declared that a practical mystic is the greatest force in the world. The concentrated intellect, the power of withdrawing outside the turmoil, means immensely increased energy in work, more steadiness, self-control, serenity. The man of meditation is the man who wastes not time, scatters no energy, misses no opportunity. Such a man governs events, because within him is the power whereof events are only the outer expression; he shares the divine life, and therefore shares the divine power.

As was said before, when the mind is kept shaped to one image, and the Knower steadily contemplates it, he obtains a far fuller knowledge of the object than he could obtain by means of any verbal description of it.As concentration is performed, the picture is shaped in the mental body, and concentration on rough out-line, derived from, say, a verbal description, fills in more and more detail, as the consciousness comes more closely in touch with the things described.

All religions recommend meditation, and its desirability has been recognised by every school of philosophy. Just as a man who wishes to be strong uses prescribed exercises to develop his muscles, so the student of occultism uses definite and prescribed exercises to develop his astral and mental bodies.

There are, of course, many kinds of meditation, just as there are many types of men: it is clearly not possible that one method of meditation which is most suited to him.

Meditation has many objects, of which the principal ones are as follows:
[1] It ensures that at least once a day a man shall think of high and holy things, his thoughts being taken away from the petty round of daily life, from its frivolities and its troubles.
[2] it accustoms the man to think of such matter, so that after a time they form a background to his daily life, to which his mind returns with pleasure when it is released from the immediate demands of his business.
[3] It serves as a kind of astral and mental gymnastics, to preserve these higher bodies in health and to keep the stream of divine life flowing through them. For these purposes it should be remembered that the regularity of the exercises is of the first importance.
[4] it may be used to develop character, to build into it various qualities and virtues.
[5] It raises the consciousness to higher levels, so as to include the higher and subtler things; through it a man may rise to the presence of the Divine.
[6] it opens the nature and calls down blessings from higher planes.
[7] It is the way, even though it be only the first halting step upon the way, which leads to higher development and wider knowledge, to the attainment of clairvoyance, and eventually to the higher life beyond this physical world altogether.

Meditation is the readiest and safest method of developing the higher consciousness. It is unquestionably possible for any man in process of time, by meditation, say, upon the Logos or the Master, to raise himself first to the astral and then tot he mental levels; but of course, none can say how long it will take, as that depends entirely upon the past of the student and the efforts he makes.

A man occupied in the earnest study of higher things is for the time lifted entirely out of himself, and generates a powerful though-form in the mental world, which is immediately employed as a channel by the force hovering in the world nest above.

When a body of men join together in thought of this nature, the channel which they make is out of all proportion larger in its capacity than the sum of their separate channels. Such a body of men is, therefore, an inestimable blessing to the community amidst which it works.

In their intellectual studies they may be the cause of an outpouring into the lower mental world of force which is normally peculiar to the higher mental.

If their thought deals with ethics and soul-development in its higher aspects, they may make a channel of more elevated thought through which the force of the buddhic world may descend into the mental.

They are thus able to cause influence to be radiated out upon many a person who would not be in the least open to the action of that force if it had remained on its original level.

This, in fact, is the real and greatest function of, for example, a Lodge of the Theosophical Society –to furnish a channel for the distribution of the Divine Life. For every Lodge of the Theosophical Society is a centre of interest to the Masters of the Wisdom and Their pupils; consequently the thoughts of the members of the Lodge, when engaged in study, discussion, etc., may attract the attention of the Masters, a force being then poured out far more exalted than anything deriving from the members themselves.

Members of the Theosophical Society may be reminded that it has been stated by Dr. Besant that a Master has said that when a person joins the Society he is connected with Them by a tiny thread of life. This thread is the line of magnetic rapport with the Master, and the student may by arduous effort, by devotion and unselfish service, strengthen and enlarge the thread until it becomes a line of living light.

It is possible to call down a blessing from a still higher source. The Life and Light of the Deity flood the whole of His system, the force at each level or plane being normally strictly limited to it. If, however, a special channel be prepared for it, it can descend to, and illuminate a lower level.

Such a channel is always provided whenever any thought or feeling has an entirely unselfish aspect. Selfish feeling moves in a closed curve, and so brings it own response on its own level. An utterly unselfish emotion is an outrush of energy which does not return, but in its upward movement provides a channel for a downpouring of divine Power from the level next above. This is the reality lying at the back of an idea of the answer to prayer.

To a clairvoyant this channel is visible as a great vortex, a kind of gigantic cylinder or funnel. This is the nearest explanation that can be given in the physical world, but it is inadequate, because as the force flows down through the channel it somehow makes itself one with the vortex, and issues from it coloured by it and bearing with it, distinctive characteristics which show through what channel is has come.

By meditation a man's astral and mental bodies gradually come out of chaos into order, slowly expand and gradually learn to respond to higher and higher vibrations. Each effort helps to thin the veil that divides him from the higher world and direct knowledge. His thought-forms grow day by day more definite, so that the life poured into them from above becomes fuller and fuller.

Meditation thus helps to build into the bodies the higher types of matter. It often leads to lofty emotions being experienced, these coming from the buddhic level and being reflected in the astral body. In addition, there is needed also development of the mental and causal bodies, in order to give steadiness and balance; otherwise fine emotions which sway the man in the right direction may very readily become a little twisted and sway him along other and less desirable lines. With feeling alone perfect balance or steadiness can never be obtained. The directing power of mind and will is needed as well as the motive force of emotion.

In practising meditation the student may find useful a knowledge of the five stages of mind as expounded by Patanjali. He should recollect, however, that these stages are not confined to the mental plane, but exist, in appropriate form, on every plane. They are:-

[1] Kshipta: the butterfly mind, which darts constantly from one object to another. It corresponds to activity on the physical plane.

[2] Mudha: the confused stage in which the man is swayed and bewildered by emotions; it corresponds to activity in the astral world.

[3] Vikshipta: the state of pre-occupation of infatuation by an idea; the man is possessed, we might say obsessed, by an idea. This corresponds to activity in the lower mental world. The man should learn Viveka [see p. 294], which has to do with the Cognitional aspect of consciousness.

[4] Ekagrata: one-pointedness; the state of possessing an idea, instead of being possessed by it. This corresponds to activity on the higher mental plane.
The man should here learn Vairagya [see p. 295], which has to do with the Activity aspect of consciousness.

[5] Niruddha: self-control; rising above all ideas, the man chooses as he wills according to his illumined Will. This corresponds to activity on the buddhic plane. The man should here learn Shatsampatti [see p. 294], which has to do with the Will aspect of consciousness.

When complete control has been acquired, so that the man can inhibit all motions of the mind, then he is ready for Samadhi, corresponding to Contemplation, with which we shall deal more fully in our next chapter. Meanwhile, for the sake of completeness, it is desirable to give here a preliminary idea of Samadhi.

Etymologically Samadhi means "fully placing together", and may therefore be rendered into English as "com-posing the mind", i.e.,, collecting it all together, checking all distractions. "Yoga", says Vyasa, "is the composed mind". This is the original meaning of Samadhi, though it is more often used to denote the trance state, which is the natural result of perfect composure.

Samadhi is of two kinds: [1] Samprajnata Samadhi, i.e.,, Samadhi with consciousness, with consciousness turned outwards towards objects; [2] Asamprajnata Samadhi, i.e.,, Samadhi without consciousness, with consciousness turned inwards, withdrawn into itself so that it passes into the next higher vehicle.

For convenience of reference these facts are set out in tabular form on page 146.

The student may also like to have a brief enumeration of the Four States of Mind spoken of in Yoga. They are:

[1] Jagrat : waking consciousness
[2] Svapna : dream consciousness; consciousness working in the astral body and able to impress its experiences upon the brain.
[3] Sushupti : deep-sleep consciousness, working in the mental body, and not able to impress its experiences on the physical brain.
[4] Turiya : trance consciousness, so far separated from the brain that it cannot readily be recalled by outer means.

No. Stages of Mind Quality to be acquired Aspect of Consciousness
Sanskrit English
1 Kshipta Butterfly-mindedness ------ ------
2 Mûdha Confusion    
3 Vikshipta Infatuation Viveka (discrimination) Cognition
4 Ekâgrata One-pointedness Vairâgya (dispassion) Activity
5 Niruddha Self-control Shatsampatti (6-fold mental qualifications) Will
6 Samâdhi Composure of mind, leading to trance ------ ------

It is important to note, however, that these four states of consciousness exist on every plane. The following gives examples of the four states in physical consciousness, and is arranged in tabular form for the sake of compactness and clarity:

SANSKRIT ENGLISH Examples in physical consciousness
Jâgrat Waking To read a book To look at a watch
Svapna Dream To perceive the meaning of the words To imagine the watch
Sushupti Deep Sleep To touch the mind of the writer To conceive the ideal watch
Turlya Trance To enter the mind of the writer To pass to the idea of time in the abstract


It should also be noted that the terms are relative; thus, for most people, Jagrat, or waking consciousness, is that part of the total consciousness which is functioning in the brain and nervous system, and which is definitely self-conscious. We may think of consciousness as a great egg of light, of which one end only is inserted into the brain; that end is the waking consciousness.

But, as self-consciousness is developed in the astral world, and the brain develops sufficiently to answer to its vibrations, astral consciousness becomes a part of the waking consciousness; the mental consciousness would then be the svapna, or dream-consciousness.

Similarly, when mental self-consciousness is developed, and the brain answers to it, the waking consciousness includes the mental. And so on, until all the consciousness on the five planes is included in the waking consciousness.

This enlarging of waking-consciousness involves development in the atoms of the brain as well as the development of certain organs in the brain, and of the connections between the cells.

For the inclusion of astral self-consciousness the pituitary body must be developed, and the fourth set of spirillae in the atoms must be perfected.

For the inclusion of mental self-consciousness the pineal gland must be active, and the fifth set of spirillae in thorough working order.

If these physical developments are not achieved, then the astral and mental consciousness remain super-consciousness, and are not expressed through the brain.

Again, if a man possesses no physical body, then his jagrat or waking consciousness is his astral consciousness. Thus a wider definition of jagrat would be that it is that part of the total consciousness which is working through its outermost vehicle.

We may also reconsider, from the point of view of the above analysis, Samadhi. Samadhi is a state of consciousness in which the body is insensible, but the mind is fully self-conscious, and from which the mind returns to the physical brain with the memory of its super-physical experiences.

If a man throws himself into a trance, and is active on the astral plane, then his Samadhi is on the astral. If he functions on the mental plane, then his Samadhi is on that plane.

The man who can practise Samadhi can thus withdraw from the physical body so as to leave it insensitive while his mind is fully conscious.

Samadhi is therefore a relative term. Thus a master begins His Samadhi on the plane of atma, and rises thence to the higher cosmic planes.

The word Samadhi is also sometimes used to denote the condition just beyond the level where a man can retain consciousness. Thus, for a savage whose consciousness is clear only on the physical plane, the astral plane would be Samadhi. It means that when the man comes back to his lower vehicles he would bring with him no definite additional knowledge and no new power of doing anything of use. This kind of Samadhi, is not encouraged in the highest schools of occultism.

Going to sleep and going into Samadhi are largely the same process ; but while one is due to ordinary conditions and has no significance, the other is due to the action of the trained will and is a priceless power.

Physical means of inducing trance, such as hypnotism, drugs, staring at a black spot on a white ground, or at the point of the nose, and other similar practices, belong to the method of Hatha Yoga, and are never employed in Raja Yoga.

To a clairvoyant, the difference between a mesmerised subject and the self-induced trance of a Yogi is at once apparent. In the mesmerised or hypnotised subject all the "principles" are present, the higher manas paralysed, buddhi severed from it through that paralysis, and the astral body entirely subjected to lower manas and kama.

In the yogi on the other hand, the "principles" of the lower quaternary disappear entirely, except for hardly perceptible vibrations of the golden-hued prana and a violet flame streaked with gold rushing upwards from the head and culminating in a point.

The mesmerised or hypnotised person recollects in his brain nothing of his experiences; the yogi remembers everything that has happened to him.

A few practical examples will perhaps best illustrate some of the methods employed in meditation.

The student will do well to commence by cultivating the thought, until it becomes habitual, that the physical body is an instrument of the spirit. He should think of the physical body, how it is possible to control and direct it, and then should separate himself in thought from it, repudiate it, in fact.

Next, perceiving that he can control his emotions and desires, he should repudiate the astral body, with its desires and emotions; then, picturing himself as in the mental body, and again reflecting that he can control and direct his thoughts, he should repudiate his mind, and should then let himself soar into the free atmosphere of the spirit where is eternal peace; resting there for a moment, let him strive with great intensity to realise that That is the real Self.

Descending again in consciousness, he should endeavour to carry with him the peace of the spirit into his different bodies.

Another exercise would be to direct the meditation to character-building, selecting for the purpose a virtue, let us say harmlessness. The attention having been concentrated, the subject is thought about in its many aspect; eg., harmlessness is act, in speech, in thought, in desire; how harmlessness would be expressed in the life of the ideal man; how it would affect his daily life; how he would treat people if he had fully acquired the virtue, and so forth.

Having thus meditated upon harmlessness, he would carry with him into the daily life a state of mind that would soon express itself in all his action and thoughts. Other qualities could, of course, be similarly treated. A few months of earnest effort along these lines would produce wonderful changes in a man's life, as described in the memorable words of Plotinus. "Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful as yet, do as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful; he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes the line lighter, this other purer, until he has shown a beautiful face upon the statue. So do you also; cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is shadowed, labour to make all glow with beauty, and do not cease chiseling your statue until there shall shine out on you the godlike splendour of virtue, until you shall see the final goodness surely established in the stainless shrine". [Plotinus on the Beautiful, translated by Stephen Mackenna].

Meditation upon a virtue thus causes a man gradually to grow into the possession of that virtue ; as finely said in the Hindu Scriptures : "What a man thinks on, that he becomes; therefore think on the Eternal". And again : "Man is the creation of thought".

An excellent example of what may be done in this manner by meditation is that of a certain man who for forty years meditated daily upon truth; the effect was that he so tuned himself to the mode of truth that he always knew when a man was lying by the jar that he felt in himself. It so happened that the man was a judge, so that his faculty must have stood him in good stead.

In this work a man is employing his imagination – the great tool used in Yoga. If a man imagines in his thought that he has a certain quality, he is half way to possessing that quality; if he imagines himself free from a certain failing, he is half way to being free from that failing. So powerful a weapon is a trained imagination that a man may by its use rid himself of half his troubles and his faults.

It is not wise to brood over faults, as it tends to encourage morbidness and depression which act as a wall, shutting out spiritual influences. In practice it is better to ignore faults of disposition so far as may be done, and to concentrate on building the opposite virtues. Success in the spiritual life is gained less by fierce wrestling with the lower nature than by growing into the knowledge and appreciation of higher things. For once we have sufficiently experienced the bliss and joyousness of the higher life, by contrast the lower desires pale and lose their attractiveness. It was said by a great Teacher that the best form of repentance for a transgression was to look ahead with hopeful courage, coupled with the firm resolve not to commit the transgression again.

Next, suppose the purpose of the meditation is to be intellectual understanding of an object, and the relation of it to other objects.

It is important for the student to recollect that the first work of the Knower is to observe –accurately, for on the accuracy of the observation depends the thought; if the observation is inaccurate, then out of that initial error will spring a number of consequent errors that nothing can put right save going back to the very beginning.

The object having thus been carefully observed, the stream of thought is played upon it so as to grasp it in all its natural, super-physical and metaphysical aspects, an effort being made to make quite clear and definite that level of the consciousness which is still nebular.

Let the subject be, for example, harmony. Consider it in relation to the various senses; consider it in music, in colour, in phenomena of many different kinds; seek to discover the principal features of harmony, and how it differs from other similar and contrasting ideas; what part it plays in the succession of events; what is its use; what results from its absence. Having answered all these, and many other questions, an endeavour should be made to drop all concrete images or thoughts, and to hold in thought the abstract idea of harmony.

The student must bear in mind that mental sight is quite as real and satisfying as is physical sight. Thus it is possible to train the mind to see, say, the idea of harmony, or the square root of two, as clearly and as certainly as one sees a tree or a table with physical vision.

For our third example let us take a devotional meditation. Think of the ideal man, the Master, or, if preferred, the deity, or any manifestation of the deity. Allow the thought to play upon the subject from different aspects, so that it constantly awakens admiration, gratitude, reverence, worship. Ponder upon all the qualities manifested in the subject and take each quality in all its aspects and relationships.

From a general standpoint, an abstract ideal and a personality are equally good for purposes of meditation. A person of intellectual temperament will usually find the abstract ideal the more satisfactory; one of the emotional temperament will demand a concrete embodiment of his thought. The disadvantage of the abstract ideal is that it is apt to fail in compelling aspiration; the disadvantage of the concrete embodiment is that the embodiment is apt to fall below the ideal.

We may here take especial notice of the result of meditating on the Master, this makes a definite link with the Master ,which shows itself to the clairvoyant vision as a kind of line of light. The Master always subconsciously feels the impinging of such a line and sends out along it in response a steady stream of magnetism which continues to play long after the meditation is over.

If a picture is used for purposes of meditation, it may often be observed to change in expression. This is because the will can be trained to act directly upon physical matter, the actual physical particles being unquestionably affected by the power of strong sustained thought.

One other form of meditation may be given, viz., that of mantric meditation.

A mantram is a definite succession of sounds arranged by an occultist in order to bring about certain definite results. Those sounds, repeated rhythmically over and over again in succession, synchronise the vibrations of the vehicles into unity with themselves. A mantram is thus a mechanical way of checking vibrations, or inducing the vibrations that are desired. Its efficacy depends upon what is known as sympathetic vibration [vide The Astral Body, pp. 157-8].

The more a mantram is repeated, the more powerful the result. Hence the value of repetition in Church formulae, and of the rosary, which enables the consciousness to be fully concentrated on what is being said and thought, undistracted by the task of keeping count.

In this method of meditation, practised largely in India, the devotee directs his mind, say, to Shri Krishna, the incarnate God, the Spirit of Love and Knowledge in the world. A sentence is taken and chanted over and over again as a mantram, while its deep and varied meaning is intently pondered upon. Thus the devotee brings himself in touch with the Great Lord Himself.

The above constitutes the briefest outline of certain forms of meditation. For further description and detail the student is referred to that excellent manual Concentration by Ernest Wood, to Meditation For Beginners by J.I. Wedgwood, and to the admirable chapters on Thought-Control and on Building of Character in The Outer Court, by Dr. Besant.

An excellent "Ego Meditation" is given in Gods In Exile, by J.J. van der Leeuw, LL.D., in the Afterword at the end of that admirable little book.

Many people meditate daily alone, with success; but there are even greater possibilities when a group of people concentrate their minds on the one thing. That sets up a strain in the physical ether as well as in the astral and mental worlds, and it is a twist in the direction which we desire. Thus, instead of having to fight against our surroundings, as is usually the case, we find them actually helpful, provided of course, that all present succeed in holding their minds from wandering. A wandering mind in such a group constitutes a break in the current, so that instead of there being a huge mass of thought moving in one mighty flood, there would be eddies in it, like rocks which deflect the water in a river.

A striking example of the tremendous power of collective meditation and thought was that of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. C.W.Leadbeater describes that occasion as one of the most wonderful manifestations of occult force that he ever saw. The crowd became so exalted that people were lifted right out of themselves by their emotions, thus experiencing a tremendous uplift of soul. A similar effect, on a small scale, can be produced by group meditation.

We will now consider the physical adjuncts of meditation. In meditation, posture is not unimportant. The body should be put into a comfortable position, and then forgotten. If it is uncomfortable, it cannot be forgotten, as it would constantly call attention to itself.

Furthermore, just as certain thoughts and emotions tend to express themselves in characteristic movements and gestures of the body, so, by a reversal of the process, positions of the body may tend to induce states of mind and feeling, and so assist the student in dwelling on them.

The majority of Western people will find it most comfortable to sit in an armchair, the back of which does not slope unduly; the hands may be clasped and rest on the legs, or be laid lightly on the knees. The feet may be placed together or crossed with the right over the left. This locking of the extremities of the body helps to prevent the outflow of magnetism from the finger-tips, feet, etc.

The position should be easy and relaxed, the head not sunken upon the chest but lightly balanced; the eyes and mouth closed, the spinal column [along which there is much magnetic flow] erect.

Eastern people usually sit cross-legged on the floor or a low stool, a position which is said to be slightly more effectual since any magnetism liberated tends to rise around the body in a protective shell.

Another factor to be considered in determining the posture for meditation is the possibility of losing physical consciousness. The Indian who is sitting on the floor simply falls backwards without hurting the body; those who meditate in a chair will do well to make use of an armchair so that, in the event of the body losing consciousness, they may not fall out of it.

Except in very rare cases the lying-down position should not be adopted, on account of its natural tendency towards sleep.

A cold bath or a brisk walk beforehand is useful in order to overcome any tendency to sluggish circulation of the blood, which is obviously detrimental to brain activity.

There is an intimate connection between profound meditation and breathing. It is found in practice that as the body becomes harmonised in meditation the breathing grows deeper, regular and rhythmic, until by degrees it becomes so slow and quiet as to be almost imperceptible. Hatha Yoga reverses the process, and by deliberate regulation of the breathing seeks to harmonise the functions of the body, and finally, the workings of the mind.

The student, however, should be warned against the indiscriminate practice of breathing exercises; he will be far better advised to learn to control of thought along the lines of Raja Yoga , leaving his efforts at meditation to work their natural effect on the physical body.

Whilst some breathing exercises are exceedingly dangerous, there is no objection to simple, deep breathing provided undue strain is not placed upon the heart and lungs, and no attempt is made to concentrate the thought on the various centres, or chakrams, of the body.

Good incense is also helpful, as it tends to purify the "atmosphere" from the occult standpoint. The student may also gain assistance from beautiful colours, flowers and pictures in his surroundings, and other means of uplifting the mind and feelings.

He will also find it useful to observe certain dietetic restrictions [vide The Astral Body. p. 65] and, if it can be done without detriment to health, to abstain from flesh-food and alcohol.

If alcohol is taken, meditation is apt to set up inflammatory symptoms in the brain affecting particularly the pituitary body [vide The Astral Body, p. 66].

Early morning is probably the most suitable time for meditation because desires and emotions are usually more tranquil after sleep and before the man plunges into the bustle of the world. But whatever time is chosen it should be when there is assurance of being undisturbed. Moreover, as already pointed out, it should always be at the same time, for regularity is of the essence of the prescription.

The times selected by ancient devotees were sunrise, noon and sunset, these being magnetically the most suitable. It is well to cultivate the habit of turning the mind for a moment at the stroke of every hour during the day to the realisation of oneself as the Spiritual Man. This practice leads to what Christian Mystics called "self-recollectedness", and helps the student to train his mind to revert automatically to spiritual thoughts.

It is not well to meditate immediately after a meal, for the obvious reason that it tends to draw blood away from the digestive organs; neither is meditation at night good, because the bodies are tired and the etheric double is more readily displaceable; in addition, the negative influence of the moon is then operative, so that undesirable results are more liable to occur.

Sometimes meditation may be less successful than usual because of unfavourable astral or mental influences.

It is stated also by some people that at certain times the planetary influences are more favourable than at others. Thus an astrologer has said that when Jupiter had certain relations with the moon this had the effect of expanding the etheric atmosphere and making meditation appear more successful. Certain aspects with Saturn, on the other hand, were said to congest the etheric atmosphere, making meditation difficult.

The system of meditation briefly outlined above has as its object spiritual, mental and ethical development, and control of the mind and feelings. It does not aim at developing psychic faculties "from below upwards"; but its natural result may be to open up a form of intuitive psychism in persons of sufficiently sensitive organisation, which will show itself in increasing sensitiveness to the influence of people and places, in the recalling of fragmentary memories of astral plane experiences in sleep, in greater susceptibility to direct guidance from the ego, in the power to recognise the influence of the Masters and spiritually developed people, and so forth.

Meditation may result in illumination, which may be one of three quite different things:

[1] By intense and careful thinking over a subject a man may himself arrive at some conclusion with respect to it;
[2] he may obtain illumination from his higher self, discovering what his ego really thinks on his own plane about the question;
[3] he may, if highly developed, come into touch with Masters or devas. It is in [1] only that his conclusions would be likely to be vitiated by his own thought-forms; the higher self would be able to transcend these, and so would a Master or a deva.

What we can do in meditation depends upon what we are doing all day long. If we have prejudices, for example, in ordinary life, we cannot escape from them in meditation.

Physical meditation is, of course, for the training of the lower vehicles, not for the ego. During meditation the ego regards the personality much as at any other time –he is usually slightly contemptuous.

If the ego is at all developed he will meditate upon his own level, but that meditation need not, of course, synchronise with that of the personality.

Meditation is one means of acquiring the art of leaving the body in full consciousness. The consciousness being braced up to an unswerving steadiness and fixity, the attention is gradually withdrawn from the outer world and the body, the senses remaining quiet –[page 158]—while the mind is intensely alive, but with all its energies drawn inwards ready to be launched at a single point of thought, the highest to which it can attain. When it is able to hold itself thus with comparative ease by a strong but calm effort of will, it can throw itself beyond the highest thought it can reach while working in the physical brain, and in that effort will rise to, and unite itself with, the higher consciousness and find itself free from the body. When this is done there is no sense of sleep or dream nor any loss of consciousness; the man finds himself outside his body, as though he had slipped off a weighty encumbrance, not as though he had lost any part of himself.

There are other ways of obtaining freedom from the body; for example, by the rapt intensity of devotion, or by special methods that may be imparted by a great teacher to his pupil.

The man can return to his body and re-enter it at will; also, under these circumstances he can impress on the brain, and thus retain while in the physical body, the memory of the experiences he has undergone.

Real meditation means a strenuous effort, not the sensation of happiness which arises from a state of semi-somnolence and bodily luxury. It has, therefore, nothing to do with, and, in fact, is quite different from, the kind of passive mediumship developed in spiritualism.

The student need not be puzzled by the injunction that he should open himself to spiritual influences and at the same time be positive. Positive effort is needed as a preliminary; this uplifts the consciousness the higher levels so that the higher influences can play down; then, and only then, is it safe to relax the upward striving in the realisation of the peace thus attained. The phrase "opening oneself to spiritual influences" may be taken to mean maintaining an attitude of intense stillness at a high spiritual level, much as a bird, though seemingly passive and immobile, poises itself against the gale by a powerful effort continuously maintained in wing and pinion.



is the third of the three stages, of which we have already considered two. The three are :

[1] Concentration –The riveting of the attention on an object.

[2] Meditation –The stirring of the consciousness into activity with reference to that object alone; looking at the object in every possible light, and trying to penetrate its meaning, to reach a new and deep thought or receive some intuitional light upon it.

[3] Contemplation –The active centring of the consciousness on the object, while the lower activities of the consciousness are successfully repressed; the fixation of the attention for a time on the light received. It has been defined as concentration at the top of the line of thought or meditation.

In the Hindu terminology the stages are amplified and named as follows:

[1] Prâtyâhara : the preliminary stage, embracing entire control of the senses.

[2] Dhâranâ : concentration.

[3] Dhyâna : meditation.

[4] Samadhi : contemplation.

Dhâranâ, Dhyâna and Samadhi are known collectively as Sannyama.

In meditation we discover what the object is as compared with other things, and in relation to them. We go on with this process of reasoning and argument until we can reason and argue no more about a object: then we suppress the process, stopping all comparing and arguing, with the attention fixed actively upon the object, trying to penetrate the indefiniteness which for us appears to surround it. That is contemplation.

The beginner should bear in mind that meditation is a science of a lifetime, so that he should not expect to attain to the stage of pure contemplation in his earlier efforts.

Contemplation may be described also as keeping the consciousness on one thing and drawing it into oneself so that the thinker and it become one.

When a well-trained mind can maintain its one-pointedness or concentration for some time, and can then drop the object, maintaining the fixed attention, but without the attention being directed to anything, then the stage of contemplation is reached.

In this stage the mental body shows no image; its own materials are held steady and firm, receiving no impressions, perfectly calm, like still water. This state cannot last for more than a very brief period, being like the "critical" state of the chemist, the point between two states of matter.

Expressed in another way, as the mental body is stilled, the consciousness escapes from it and passes into and out of the "laya centre", the neutral points of contact between the mental and the causal body.

This passage is accompanied by a momentary swoon, or loss of consciousness, the inevitable result of the disappearance of objects of consciousness, followed by consciousness in the higher body. The dropping out of objects of consciousness belonging to the lower worlds is thus followed by the appearance of objects of consciousness in the higher world.

Then the ego can shape the mental body according to his own lofty thoughts, and permeate it with his own vibrations. He can mould it after the visions he has obtained of planes even higher than his own, and can thus convey to the lower consciousness ideas to which the mental body would otherwise be unable to respond.

These are the inspirations of genius, that flash down into the mind with dazzling light and illuminate a world. The very man himself who gives them to the world can scarcely tell, in his ordinary mental state, how they have reached him ; but he knows that in some strange way-----

"the power within me pealing
Lives on my lip and beckons with my hand ".

Of this nature also are the ecstasy and visions of Saints, of all creeds and in all ages; in these cases, prolonged and absorbing prayer, or contemplation, has produced the necessary brain-condition. The avenues of the senses have become closed by the intensity of the inner concentration, and the same state is reached, spasmodically and involuntarily, which the Raja Yogi seeks deliberately to attain.

The transition from meditation to contemplation has been described as passing from meditation "with seed" to meditation "without seed". Having steadied the mind, it is held poised on the highest point of the reasoning, the last link in the chain of argument, or on the central thought or figure of the whole process; that is meditation with seed.

Then the student should let everything go, but still keeping the mind in the position gained, the highest point reached, vigorous and alert. That is meditation without seed. Remaining poised, waiting in the silence and the void, the man is in the "cloud". Then suddenly there will be a change, a change unmistakable, stupendous, incredible. This is contemplation leading to illumination.

Thus, for example, practising contemplation on the ideal man, on a Master, having formed an image of the Master, the student contemplates it with ecstasy, filling himself with its glory and its beauty, and then straining upwards towards Him, he endeavours to raise his consciousness to the ideal, to merge himself in it, to become one with it.

The momentary swoon mentioned above is called in Sanskrit the Dharma-Megha, the cloud of righteousness ; Western mystics speak of it as the "Cloud on the Mount", the "Cloud on the Sanctuary", the "Cloud on the Mercy-Seat". The man feels as though surrounded by a dense mist, conscious that he is not alone, but unable to see. Presently the cloud thins, and the consciousness of the higher plane dawns. But before it does so it seems to the man that his very life is draining away, that he is hanging in the void of great darkness unspeakably lonely. But "Be still, and know that I am God". In that silence and stillness the Voice of the Self shall be heard, the glory of the Self shall be seen. The cloud vanishes and the Self is made manifest.

Before it is possible to pass from meditation to contemplation, wishing and hoping must be entirely given up, at least during the period of practice : in other words, Kâma must be perfectly under control. The mind can never be single while wishes occupy it; every wish is a seed from which may spring anger, untruthfulness, impurity, resentment, greed, carelessness, discontent, sloth, ignorance etc. While one wish of hope remains, these violations of the law are possible.

So long as there are wishes, non-satisfactions, they will call one aside ; the stream of thought is ever seeking to flow aside into little gullies and channels left open by unsatisfied desires and indecisive thought.

Every unsatisfied desire, every un-thought-out problem, will present a hungry mouth ever calling aside the attention ; when the train of thought meets a difficulty it will swing aside to attend to these calls. Tracing out interrupted chains of thought, it will be found that they have their source in unsatisfied desires and unsettled problems.

The process of contemplation commences when the conscious activity begins to run, as it were, at right angles to the usual activity, which endeavours to understand a thing in reference to other things of its own nature and plane ; such movement cuts across the planes of its existence and penetrates into its subtler inner nature. When the attention is no longer divided into parts by the activities of comparing, the mind will move as a whole, and will seem quite still, just as a spinning top may appear to stand still when it is in most rapid motion.

In contemplation one no longer thinks about the object, it is better even not to start with any idea of the self and the object as two different things in relation to one another, because to do so will tend to colour the idea with feeling. The endeavour should be made to reach such a point of self-detachment that the contemplation can start from inside the object itself, the mental enthusiasm and energy being at the same time kept up all along the line of thought. The consciousness is to be held, poised like a bird on the wing, looking forward and never thinking of turning back.

In contemplation the thought is carried inwards until it can go no further ; it is held in that position without going back or turning aside, knowing that there is something there, although it is unable to grasp clearly what it is. In this contemplation there is, of course nothing in the nature of sleep or mental activity, but an intense search, a prolonged effort to see in the indefiniteness something definite, without descending to the ordinary lower regions of conscious activity in which the vision is normally clear and precise.

A devotee would practise contemplation in a similar manner, but in his case the activity would be mainly feeling rather than thought.

In contemplation on his own nature, the student repudiates his identity with the outer bodies and with the mind. In this process he is not divesting himself of attributes, but of limitations. The mind is swifter and freer than the body, and beyond the mind is spirit, which is freer and swifter still. Love is more possible in the quietude of the heart than in any outer expression, but in the spirit beyond the mind it is divinely certain. Reason and judgement ever correct the halting evidence of the senses ; the vision of the spirit discerns the truth without organs and without mind.

The key to success at every step of these practices may be stated thus: obstruct the lower activities, while maintaining the full flow of conscious energy. First, the lower mind must be made vigorous and alert; then its activity must be obstructed while the impetus gained is used to exercise and develop the higher faculties within.

An ancient science of Yoga teaches, when the processes of the thinking mind are repressed by the active will, the man finds himself in a new state of consciousness which transcends the ordinary thinking and governs it, just as thought transcends and selects among desires, and just as desires prompt to particular actions and efforts. Such a superior state of consciousness cannot be described in terms of the lower mind, but its attainment means that the man is conscious that he is something above mind and thought even though mental activity may be going on, just as all cultured people recognise that they are not the physical body, even when that body may be acting.

There is thus another state of existence, or rather another living conception of life, beyond the mind with its laboured processes of discernment, of comparisons and causal relations between things. That higher state is to be realised only when the activities of consciousness are carried, in all their earthly fervour and vigour, beyond the groping cave-life in which they normally dwell. That higher consciousness will come to all men sooner or later; and when it comes all life will suddenly appear changed.

As the student by his meditation grows richer in spiritual experience, he will thus find new phases of consciousness gradually opening up within him. Fixed in aspiration upon his ideal, he will presently become aware of the influence of that ideal raying down upon him, and as he makes a desperate effort to reach the object of his devotion, for a brief moment the floodgates of heaven itself will be opened and he will find himself made one with his ideal and suffused with the glory of its realisation. Having transcended the more formal figures of the mind, an intense effort is made to reach upwards. Then will come the attainment of that state of ecstasy of spirit, when the limits of the personality have fallen away and all shadow of separateness has vanished in the perfect union of object and seeker.

As said in The Voice of The Silence : "Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself…Behold ! thou hast become the light, thou hast become the sound, thou art thy Master and thy God. Thou art thyself the object of thy search; the voice unbroken, that resounds throughout eternities, exempt from change, from sin exempt, the seven sounds in one."

It were idle to attempt further description of such experiences, for they are beyond the reach of formulated utterance. Words serve but as signposts pointing out the way to that which is ineffably glorious, so that the pilgrim may know whither to direct his steps.



Many people find themselves troubled with streams of wandering thought when they are trying to fall asleep. In such cases a mental shell will deliver them from such of these thoughts as come from without. Such a shell need only be temporary, since all that is required is peace for an interval sufficient to allow the man to fall asleep.

The man will carry away with him this mental shell when he leaves his physical body, but its work will then be accomplished, its sole object being to enable him to leave his body.

Whilst he was in the physical body, the mental action on the brain particles may easily have prevented him quitting the body; but when once he is away from the body the same worry or wandering thought will not bring him back to it.

When the shell breaks up, the stream of idle thoughts or mental worry will probably re-assert itself, but as the man will be away from his physical brain this will not interfere with the repose of the body.

It is an extremely rare occurrence for either an ordinary person during sleep, or a psychically developed person in trance condition, to penetrate to the mental plane. Purity of life and purpose would be an absolute pre-requisite, and even when the mental plane was reached there would be nothing that could be called real consciousness, but simply a capacity for receiving impressions.

An example showing the possibility of entering the mental plane during sleep may be given. A person of pure mind and considerable though untrained psychic capacity was approached during sleep, and a thought-picture was presented to her mind. So intense was the feeling of reverent joy, so lofty and so spiritual were the thoughts evoked by the contemplation of the glorious scene that the consciousness of the sleeper passed into the mental body, i.e.,, she rose" to the mental plane. Although she was floating in the sea of light and colour, nevertheless she was entirely absorbed in her own thought, and conscious of nothing beyond it. She remained in that condition for several hours, though apparently unconscious of the passage of time. It is clear in this case, that although the sleeper was conscious on the mental plane, yet she was by no means conscious of it.

It seems probable that a result such as this would be possible only in the case of a person having already some amount of psychic development; the same condition is even more definitely necessary in order that a mesmerised subject could touch the mental plane in trance.

The reason for this, as previously stated, is that in the average man the mental body is not sufficiently developed to be employed as a separate vehicle of consciousness. It can, in fact, be employed as a vehicle only by those who have been specially trained in its use by teachers belonging to the Great Brotherhood of Initiates.

We may repeat here what was said in Chapter XVI, viz., that up to the time of the First Initiation, a man works at night in his astral body; but as soon as it is perfectly under control, and he is able to use it fully, work in the mental body is begun. When this body in turn is completely organised, it is a far more flexible vehicle than the astral body, and much that is impossible on the astral plane can be accomplished therein.

Although a man after death may live in the heaven world, i.e., on the mental plane [as we shall see in later chapters], yet he is shut up in a shell of his own thoughts; this cannot be called functioning on the mental plane, for that involves the ability to move about freely on that plane, and to observe what exists there.

A man who is able to function freely in the mental body has the capacity of entering upon all the glory and beauty of the mental plane, and possesses, even when working on the astral plane, the far more comprehensive mental sense, which opens up to him such marvellous vistas of knowledge, and practically renders error all but impossible.

When functioning in the mental body, a man leaves his astral body behind him along with the physical body; if he wishes to show himself upon the astral plane for any reason, he does not send for his own astral vehicle, but by a single action of his will materialises one for his temporary need. Such an astral materialisation is called a mâyâvirûpa, and to form it for the first time usually needs the assistance of a qualified master. [This subject will be dealt with in our next chapter].

There is another way in which the sleep-life can be usefully employed, viz., for solving problems. The method is, of course, practised by many people, though for the most part unconsciously; it is expressed in the proverb that "The night brings counsel". The problem to be solved should be quietly held in the mind when going to sleep; it should not be debated or argued, or sleep may be prevented; it should be merely stated to the mind and left. Then, when during sleep the Thinker is freed from the physical body and brain, he will take up the problem and deal with it. Usually the thinker will impress the solution on the brain so that it will be in the consciousness on awakening. It is a good plan to keep paper and pencil by the bed in order to note down the solution immediately on waking, because a thought thus obtained is very readily erased by the thronging stimuli from the physical world, and is not easily recovered.



MÂYÂVIRÛPA means literally "body of illusion". It is a temporary astral body made by one who is able to function in the mental body. It may, or may not, resemble the physical body, the form given to it being suitable to the purpose for which it is projected. It may be made, at will, visible or invisible on the physical plane; it can be made indistinguishable from a physical body, warm and firm to the touch, as well as visible, able to carry on a conversation, at all points like a physical being.

The advantage of using the MÂYÂVIRÛPA is that it is not subject to glamour on the astral plane, as is the astral body; no astral glamour can overpower the MÂYÂVIRÛPA, or astral illusion deceive it.

With the power to form the mayavirupa, a man is able to pass instantly from the mental plane to the astral and back, and to use at all times the greater power and keener sense on the mental plane; it is necessary to form the astral materialisation only when the man wishes to become visible to people in the astral world. When he has finished his work on the astral plane he withdraws to the mental plane again, and the mayavirupa vanishes, its materials returning to the general circulation of astral matter, whence they had been drawn by the pupil's will.

When in the MÂYÂVIRÛPA, a man may use the mental plane method of thought-transference so far as understanding another man is concerned; but, of course, the power of conveying the thought in that way to another is limited by the degree of development of that other man's astral body.

It is necessary that the Master shall first show His pupil how to make the MÂYÂVIRÛPA, after which, although it is not at first an easy matter, he can do it for himself.

After the Second Initiation, rapid progress is made with the development of the mental body, and it is at or near this point that the pupil learns to use the MÂYÂVIRÛPA.


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