Transaction of the Theosophical Research Center, London 1948

Theosophical Publishing House, London 1948


‘The end of Raj Yog is the attainment of immortality’

T Subba Rao

Other books by the same author

The Web of the Universe
The Play of Consciousness
This World and the Next
A Mystery Scroll and Its Key
The Mysteries
The Nature and Function of the Soul
Fairies: The Cottingley Photographs and Their Sequel



[Page 4] An ' imperishable body' seems at first to be something of a contradiction in terms for, it may well be asked, how can a material body be imperishable and thereby immortal ? One answer is that everything depends on the subtle properties of the body used since it is a leading tenet of occultism that spirit and matter are in essence homogeneous. Their intimate partnership throughout manifestation, founded on an essential oneness, is described in The Secret Doctrine as follows:

Purusha (Spirit) is spoken of, in the Sankhya Philosophy, as something impotent unless it mounts on the shoulders of Prakriti (Matter) , . . But in the Secret Philosophy they are viewed as graduated . . . inseparable yet ever separated. Spirit and Matter stand to each other as the two poles of the same homogeneous Substance, the Root-Principle of the Universe . . . Blending the two potencies, Spirit and Matter, the union will produce that terrestrial symbol of the Heavenly Man — Perfect Man.
Vol. 7, pages 267, 8

Union is the explanatory key-word in the making of Perfect Man and implies that an immortal spirit is then using an imperishable body. Absolute spirit, being unconditioned and utterly free, is neither conscious nor unconscious. Therefore the limitations of a body, dense or subtle, must be accepted if any awareness of living, of consciousness, is to be maintained. Conscious immortality is thus strictly conditional, depending always on the quality of the body that is assembled and built by each monadic unit of spirit during the cycling aeons of its manifestation. And it is in the human kingdom that the foundations of such an imperishable body are laid. [Page 5]



Our terrene Scheme of manifestation is usually described as being five-fold in its constitution, the five kinds of material of which it is composed being named — atmic, buddhic, manasic, astral, physical. But this five-fold system is also in intimate relationship with two higher planes, Adi and Anupadaka, the names meaning the First and the Parentless Second.

These two, the first and the second, are regarded as being beyond our five-fold system for the somewhat paradoxical reason that they are so very intimately involved within it that they are beyond our capacity to identify or to comprehend. There is certainly much truth in this view because the very material of which every form in our universe is made is of the Adi plane, and the spiritual essence that vivifies all is the life of the first and second Logos diffused through Anupadaka. ' Closer is He than breathing and nearer than hands 'and feet' — and we cannot know this objectively, yet.

A further reason for our inability to distinguish the highest planes, yet, is that matter of the Adi plane is pre-solar: it was and is a cosmic plane and existed before the SOLAR LORD defined the sphere of His System.

We may imagine the highest, the Adi, as consisting of so much of the matter of space as the Logos has marked out to form the material basis of the system He is about to produce . . . Similarly we may imagine the Anupadaka as consisting of this same matter, modified by His individual life, colored ... by His all-ensouling Consciousness. [A Study in Consciousness, page 4] [Page 6]

The Adi plane of material, if we may call it such, already a cosmic plane, consists of seven types of atoms. This immaculate material, accepted by the SOLAR LORD, became the basis for His system. Of those seven types of atoms and their molecular compounds every form in the kingdoms of nature is built.

Taken within the ring-pass-not of His sphere of action, many of the pure Adi atoms become infused with the Life of the Logos and, in successive waves, constitute the Monads or ' Sparks of the One Flame' that journey through the worlds.

The Spark hangs from the Flame by the finest thread of Fohat. It journeys through the Seven Worlds of Maya. It stops in the First and is a Metal or a Stone; it passes into the Second and behold — a Plant; the Plant whirls through seven changes and becomes a Sacred Animal. From the combined attributes of these, Manu, the Thinker, is formed .....

"This is thy present Wheel,'said the Flame to the Spark. 'Thou art myself, my image and my shadow. I have clothed myself in thee and thou art my Vahan to the Day Be With Us when thou shall rebecome myself and others, thyself and me'.

[First Book, Stanzas of Dzyan : VII, 5, 7]

The spark-like Monads, in their journeys through the worlds, do not travel alone, detached from the flame; that ' finest thread of Fohat' sustains them. In the Occult Catechism, the Master asks the pupil:

Master: Lift thy head, O Lanoo; dost thou see one, or countless lights above thee, burning in the dark midnight sky ?

Pupil: I sense one Flame, O Gurudeva, I see countless undetached sparks shining in it.

Master: Thou sayest well. And now look around and into thyself. That light which burns inside thee, dost thou feel it different in anywise from the light that shines in thy brother-men?

Pupil: It is in no way different ....

[The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, page 145 - All references are to the Third Edition] [Page 7]


Although opposites have the habit of opposition and one of the pair, according to the point of view, is often regarded as worthy and the other as sinister, they are in fact mutually dependent and indispensable. A mountain top, for example, is meaningless if there be no valley; light is unthinkable without darkness and, to come to my point at once, spirit cannot manifest without its opposite, matter.

Now that material, as such, has been rescued by the research of scientists from undeserved depths and proves to be an expression of energy, and pure energy only, we can with confidence esteem matter to be completely worthy in so far as it provides the necessary and adequate garments for spirit. Spirit and matter are complementary opposites and consequently are the closest and most intimate of companions throughout manifestation. Although, from the point of view of consciousness, an emphasis on one or the other may sometimes be pronounced and needed, spirit and matter are essentially equal.

At the beginnings of our solar system, the material provided for the making of forms was purely atomic. When the Solar Lord encircled His selected sphere of action with a ring-pass-not, there were atoms of seven different kinds, and atoms only, within the ring. In this connection the word atom bears its literal meaning, indivisible within the limits of its plane. It is not the so-called ' atom' of the chemist. The seven kinds of atoms constitute the first sub-plane of each of our great planes — the physical atomic sub-plane, the astral atomic sub-plane and so on, one kind to each. From the seven atomic sub-planes, the molecular compounds of each plane were devised by the devic builders, under the influence of the Third Logos, and of these molecular compounds and the original atoms, all the forms of our universe are constructed. [Page 8]

The original atoms within the solar ring-pass-not are thus the seeds from which all forms have sprung and to them alone may the terms immaculate and virgin be properly applied. Since in their seven-fold entirety they are said to compose a cosmic plane, they may be presumed to form a link for us, throughout the solar system, with the cosmic consciousness.

In the earliest work of our planetary cosmos therefore, the matter for form-building was provided by atomic material and the life side was represented by the devic builders (the numerous gods of mythologies) and the monads inspired by the Logos whose life indeed they, the monads, henceforth expressed.

Monads are uncompounded ... it is the spiritual essence that vivifies them in their degrees of differentiation which properly constitutes the Monad.

[The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, page 201]

Hence the fundamental worth of Spirit and Matter.

' The Spark hangs from the Flame by the finest thread of Fohat' is a description of the monad already given from the Stanzas of Dzyan, and to each spark-like monad the devas attach five of the original atoms, one to link up with each of the five lower planes. The monad retains possession of those five atoms permanently throughout the vast cycles of the terrene Scheme. They are seeds that are fertilised by the monads with the assistance of the devas and around them every sheath and organised body that is used is assembled.

In The Secret Doctrine, these permanently retained atoms seem to be referred to as germs of prajna, the word meaning that they have infinite potentialities in terms of consciousness. In The Voice of the Silence, also, a very significant allusion is made to prajna as the seventh of the Portals :' Prajna, the key to which makes of man a God.' (Page 69)

The awakening of the hidden powers of these causal centres, the permanent-atoms, from seed-like beginnings to the full glory of their flowering, provides and secures for the spiritual monad the possibility of an imperishable, immortal body — and through the vast cycles of involution and evolution, the monad seeks this goal. ' The end of Raj Yog is the attainment of immortality.'

The journey is stated to run into thousands of millions of years, so great is the task.

Some of the evidence relating to this celestial immortal body that may be brought to birth by those who stay the course, is submitted in this essay.[Page 9]


When first introduced to the five planes that constitute the field of action in the terrene Scheme, the student of Theosophy will usually find them presented as one above another, like the rungs of a ladder, with atma at the top and the physical world at the bottom. It is as well perhaps to begin with this, but modifications should follow. The five are divisible into two groups, marked by the distinction between life and form. The buddhic and astral planes are dominantly expressive of life; the planes of atma, manas and of physical matter are more definitely formal. Moreover there is a relationship between atma and the physical world that needs a spirally shaped diagram to indicate it. The figure on the following page is an attempt to display this as well as the over-lapping and interweaving of the planes of life and form.


THE MATERIAL OF THE PLANES of which all forms are built exhibits three qualities, known as the three gunas — rajas, sattva and tamas. These may be regarded as equivalent respectively to the qualities of mobility, rhythm and inertia. In physical material the quality of inertia is specially marked in its solid state. Indeed in the solids of the physical world inertia is emphasised to a degree that seems to be unique within the physical, astral and mental planes. This triumph of occult craftsmanship means that structures in physical solids can for a while outlast the withdrawal of the life that created and originally used them.

The mineral and plant kingdoms present the best examples of this unique quality. The metals and timber that are used for buildings; bridges, machines and tools, indeed for innumerable arts and crafts, are valuable beyond measure because of their endowment of inertia. The quality of stability is so firmly fixed in them that many artificial constructions will endure for long periods, even for centuries and some for thousands of years, although deserted by the life forces that originally built them. Familiar and commonplace as material in this solid state is to us, the worth of its tamasic characteristic is not easy to appreciate fully.

Temporary and evanescent are all astro-mental forms in comparison with the physical solid. The living motive forces of thought and feeling can fashion and use astro-mental forms freely and can hold them intact whilst thus ensouled but, directly the controlling forces are withdrawn. [Page 10]

The figures represent the sub-planes I to 7. If the eye starts at the top on the right at Atma I and travels down the left of the circle and up on the right again, it will be seen that Atma 4 and Physical 4 coincide.

The planes of life are represented inside the circle and the planes of form are outside, and the interweaving numbers represent the overlapping activities of the planes.

Higher Atma and lower Physical sub-planes are shown above the circle. Their relationship will appear more clearly in a larger diagram, later, [Page 11] the forms tend to fade and dissolve like ocean waves that shrink and vanish when the wind that caused them dies away. But just as the waves of the sea can shatter and demolish mountainous cliffs and sink well-built ships if the wind be tempestuous and cyclonic, so can emotional storms, when stirred by a sufficient astral or mental stimulus, strain, weaken and damage the physical body despite its protection of inertia, for the latter has its limits.

For all ordinary purposes and practice, however, the dense physical body is an efficient and stalwart protection and a kindly refuge during our periodic visits through reincarnation to the physical world. During the germination of the permenent-atom seeds, the guardian wall provided by the physical body is invaluable.

The application of all this to the incidents of living in the astro-mental world, after shedding the physical body at its death, is fairly clear. The soul-body then in use, an astro-mental human form, retains its shape and habits for as long as the human life that animates it continues to find it desirable, interesting and worth-while. When interest is withdrawn, the astro-mental vesture droops and fades as a flag will when the wind drops. If coarse and tangled it may even be discarded and left as a shell, able to continue a semi-existence as itself for a while longer. It is, however, only the outer clothing of molecular compounded material that fades or is discarded.

' The dross of the incarnation disintegrates, the good goes to devachan.'

The Secret Doctrine, Vol. Ill, page 591

Human consciousness, released, tends to withdraw to the atomic levels and to store experiences in the permanent-atom centres, infused with pure monadic essence, when the outer vestures are dropped. But it may be a very long while before individual interest is withdrawn — all depends on the desires and the will of the human being concerned.

THE ONE LIFE AND PURE SPIRIT are synonymous terms and no characteristics can be defined, except in measures of volume and pressure. By the use of material forms, variations in the One Life may be contrived though never with any effect on the absolute quality of spirit. That remains in itself unchangeably the same ' for ever and ever.'

The One Life must not be confused of course with any human conceptions of deity or God. The Great Rulers of galactic island universes, of stellar constellations, of solar systems and of planets — [Page 12] a Mighty Hierarchy — are all of that One Life, as are all conscious beings however exalted or humble the rank. Special characteristics doubtless pertain to every such degree of consciousness because forms are being used — but not to the One Life.

The best analogy that we have within physical plane experience is that of fire, particularly in that aspect of fire we call electricity. This, like all that is of fire, eludes any and every description of itself except in the simple terms of volume and pressure, measured in amperes and volts. Whether the pressure be of hundreds of thousands of volts or is reduced through transformers to a few only, as in our domestic services, the quality of the current remains consistent and exactly the same.

Thus similarly Spirit, and whether the volume and pressure be of the ABSOLUTE's infinite magnitude or transformed and modified for the purposes of a particular System by its Ruler, spirit is of one quality throughout. It may be tempered but never changed in itself. The throne of the Spirit in man is the Auric Body, in occultism often described as sacred.

THE AURIC OR CAUSAL BODY is the home of the permanent-atoms. It is described in The Secret Doctrine :

The Auric Body assimilates the essence of buddhi and manas ...It is the Sutratma, the silver ' thread' which ' incarnates ' from the beginning of Manvantara to the end, stringing upon itself the pearls of human existence, in other words, the spiritual aroma of every human personality it follows through the pilgrimage of life.

Vol. Ill, page 446

Every descent into incarnation may be likened to a movement outwards from a centre to a circumference, from the causal body at the centre to the physical world at the periphery and to the physical body used there. And all experiences spiritually worth recording are conveyed back to the centre, the auric body. In A Study in Consciousness, Mrs. Besant gave the following description of the permanent-atoms:

The use of the permanent-atoms is to preserve within themselves, as vibratory powers, the results of the experience through which they have passed. This stable centre, serving for an endless succession of changing complex forms, is gradually awakened by the vibrations of those forms into faint responses, these again thrilling upwards.

[Pages 86,96 ]  [Page 13]

The importance of these atomic nuclei of the causal body, linking human consciousness throughout incarnations with the five planes, will be gathered from the above description. The permanent-atoms, the ' pearls,' constitute in terms of Form the sacred complement of Spirit and they hold the promise of an immortal body-to-be.

A reference to the beginnings of that perfect body in The Secret Doctrine, touches also on the assistance given by the Pitris and the Lipika towards its formation. The elemental builders, when assembling the foetus in the womb, follow a pattern and model that has been created mentally by the Pitris, a ' perfect picture' in etheric material.

The linga sharira (etheric double) in the spleen is the perfect picture of the man and is good or bad according to his own nature ... the first germ in the matrix, the model of the physical body in which the child is formed and developed.

Vol. Ill, pages 588, 9

This ' perfect picture' is probably built of atomic matter around the physical permanent-atom and is linked with the spleen at first. The Lord of Karma assists the prospects of the incarnation by inhibiting certain developments that might be too strenuous to handle and thus eases a possibly too difficult life.

All that could be classed as bad in this perfect picture is due to deficiencies, an absence of ' awakened vibrations,' not to impurities. The latter are discarded and shed after physical death, together with the organized molecular material and this enables the atomic to continue ' pure and undefiled.' Hence :

The Auric Egg of the child is quite pure at birth.

Vol. Ill, page 539

MONADS ARE VIVIFIED BY THE LIFE of the First Logos, modified by the life of the Second; atoms are vivified by the Second Logos, modified by the Third; and the compounded (molecular) matter of the planes is vivified by the Third Logos. Mrs. Besant introduced the term ' monadic essence' to distinguish the life flowing through the atoms, and the term ' elemental essence' to distinguish that of the other sub-planes, the six molecular or compounded. For monads in the human stage of evolution, monadic essence is the immediate field in which the auric or causal body is 'at home'. Elemental essence is the field wherein the first, second and third elemental kingdoms live [Page 14] and function, and of their molecular material they provide humanity, as well as the animal and plant, with his mental, astral and physical bodies.

Consciousness, defined as ' having immediate knowledge,' owes its very being to the differences between monadic and elemental essence or, on a broader scale, to the differences between spirit and matter. In man the differences and consequent friction reach a climax, for his self-consciousness is due to the partial awakening of the causal body, man's 'higher self' (atma-buddhi-manas) and its opposition to the personality, the 'lower-self' (manas-astral-physical).

This opposition spells conflict, strenuous and prolonged. It is from the elemental field (the molecular compounds of the lower mental, the astral and the physical planes) that man's personal sheaths are provided and woven into organized bodies — and the elemental life of the three kingdoms is driving downwards towards the mineral, the turning-point. Elemental essence has an intensely strong purposeful urge towards separative forms and the security of concrete material. There is therefore a pronounced opposition between man ' at home' at the causal-atomic levels of monadic essence and the same man immersed in the vigorous personal desire-life of elemental essence.

This conflict between ' spirit' and matter' in oneself is of course familiar to all of us. It is the burden of the teaching of most religious systems wherein the two opposites have been often personalized as God and the Devil. The Secret Doctrine refers to this conflict very explicitly:

The highest Adept, put into a new body, has to struggle against it and subdue it and finds its subjugation difficult.

Vol. Ill, page 570

The opposition, on broad lines, is the price of self-consciousness. It is perfectly natural and reasonable and provides man with a very necessary resistance, inducing him to evoke his own powers to achieve his goal. In illustration, a sailing vessel manned by good seamen will successfully make its harbour against adverse winds, and will do so because contrary winds can be used with skill for that very purpose; without them the vessel is simply becalmed. Similarly, the harbour of causal self-consciousness, centred ha the permanent-atom ' pearls,' will be successfully made during the fifth Round by those who succeed in the mastery of their craft. Many can be delayed; some can even be wrecked. [Page 15]


In every septenary system there is a vital distinction between the first three factors and the final three. Of seven elements or factors, for example, there will be the first, second and third on the one side and the fifth, sixth and seventh on the other, with the fourth, the middle factor, as a bridge or state of balance between the two triads. If we regard the life stream in the first three as moving downwards (as, say, in involution) and in the final three as moving upwards (as in evolution), then obviously the fifth of such a series will mark the first positive upward step.

Hence the fifth period of a septenary system such as our own — whether it be of sub-races or of root-races, or the fifth globe of a Round, or the fifth Round of a Chain — is a critical phase for the life stream involved. A special task is implicit at every ' fifth', increasing in urgency as the cycles progress. From the point of view of our humanity, as a Creative Hierarchy, it is the fifth Round of our Chain that will be of major importance.

The legend of a ' judgment day' has its roots in this cosmic fact, although wildly distorted by the speculations of religionists. The critical period in the fifth Round ahead involves the transfer of normal self-consciousness in mankind from the circumference to the centre, from the personality to the auric body. The step is one from the lower-self to the higher-self, from the domination of the emotional, passionate nature to the fraternal compassionate atmosphere of buddhi. That which is Above becomes then a stronger influence than that which is Below — reversing the fiat ' in the beginning' alluded to in the Stanzas of Dzyan :

He shuts out the Above and leaves the Below to be seen as the Great Illusion.

First Book, Stanzas of Dzyan: 111,7 [Page 16]

The task set, so to speak, in the fifth Round for our human hierarchy corresponds to the step taken at the first initiation and is the first definite self-directed move in the creation of an imperishable immortal body.

There is an interesting point concerned with the transfer of normal consciousness from a periphery to a centre : there are no limits in terms of consciousness towards the minute any more than there are limits towards the great. When consciousness withdraws towards the permanent-atoms of the causal body, a smaller and ever smaller formal body is used. The diminution in terms of formal size is balanced by an increase in terms of life. When the clothing of elemental essence is dispersed and the atomic, together with its two adjoining sub-planes, is reached, the imperishable causal nucleus will be found to have the freedom of the Solar System.

THE GOAL OF OUR HIERARCHY in our terrene chain. is said to be that of the Asekha Adept, an attainment corresponding to the fifth initiation. Being now in the fourth Round of this Chain and on its fourth globe, we are about half-way through and a little more. This does not mean that the whole of humanity is at the half-way mark. Many lag behind, many are more advanced and some, a few, have actually reached the goal of the Chain. In this connection it must be remembered that some of our hierarchy reached the human status in the preceding Chain and some not till this current Chain was advanced: hence the differences and wide inequalities among human beings today.

Although the fifth Round is a very long way ahead of the present time, the interest in the current period for us is because we are actually in one of the crucial fifths — the fifth root-race on this globe in the fourth Round. Just as our earlier root-races, the first, second and third, recapitulated the much earlier work of the first three Rounds, so do the fifth, sixth and seventh root-races anticipate the work of the future Rounds. Hence the possibility today, during the fifth race period, for the zealous individual human being to qualify for and pass the 'judgment test ' of the fifth Round — the transfer of positive self-consciousness from the lower-self to the higher-self, from personal to egoic control. That which will be the general task in the fifth Round may be accomplished by the individual now.[Page 17]


The word immortality means literally not to be subject to death and implies therefore a continuity of consciousness of infinite duration. In this very literal sense the word and that for which it stands can apply only to the One Life in its absolute totality. Self-conscious units within, and of, that One Life, as human beings, may achieve re active immortality by maintaining clear and undimmed consciousness for very long periods. As a Great Age or Mahakalpa is calculated to be more than three hundred millions of millions of years long, the qualification ' relative' need not detain us! (Mahakalpa= 311,040,000,000,000 years. Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, 68)

The question of immortality is dealt with dearly by the Master Root Hoomi:

We call immortal but the One Life in its universal collectivity and entire or absolute abstraction; that which has neither beginning nor end, nor any break in its continuity.

The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, page 129

The letter then recommends the use of prefixes, for example, ' aeonic immortality,' indicating a period such as that from the birth of a manvantara to its pralaya.

Consciousness, which is born as a result of the inter-action of spirit and matter, obviously begins in time. Self-consciousness also, beginning with individualisation in the human kingdom, begins in time. Both therefore may terminate in time. That consciousness can fade and cease, and that the unit of life involved may be again dissolved in the ocean of Life, is a tenet of occultism. Aeonic immortality and the imperishable abode that ensures it have to be won. [Page 18]

In another passage from the same letter the Master Root Hoomi puts this unmistakably and with that dazzling modesty that makes of the letters such poignant human documents. The letter is to A. P. Sinnett and, still on the question of immortality, the Master writes:

Suffice for you, for the present to know that a man, an Ego like yours and mine, may be immortal from one to the other round . . . Yet, am I truly immortal for all that ? Unless I make the same efforts as I do now to secure for myself another such furlough ... Koot Hoomi will vanish ... when his leave expires.

Ibid, 129,130

In The Secret Doctrine it is repeatedly asserted that immortality is strictly conditional and that the loss of the soul by its return to the' ocean' is possible, and hence its annihilation as a soul.

Unless kama-manas transmits to buddhi-manas such consciousness of its ' I' as can be assimilated by the divine Ego, nothing of that personality can survive in the eternal.

Vol. Ill, 514

Personal immortality is conditional ... such is the philosophical and logical fact. Page 515

The soul, the lower mind ... may become gradually unconscious of its subjective half . . and, sooner or later, it finally loses sight of its divine mission on earth. Page 525

In such cases, the soul ends by dying completely, by being annihilated as a complete immortal soul. Page 526

There is, however, still hope for a person who has lost his higher soul through his vices, while he is still in the body. He may yet be redeemed and made to turn on his material nature. For either an intense feeling of repentance or one single earnest appeal to the Ego that has fled or, best of all, an active effort to amend one's ways, may bring the Higher Ego back again. Page 527

An illuminating passage on this question appears in T. Subba Rao's book, Esoteric Writings :

The monad may be considered as a string on which the experiences of many births are strung ... All human beings whose experiences are brought to the Logos by the travelling monad may be said to gain immortality. But sometimes the monad becomes so opposed in its magnetic effect to the Logos from which it has emanated, that its absorption is impossible. It may live [Page 19] on till the Pralaya arrives and is then merged into the ocean of cosmic matter. Page 177, 1895 Edition

On the one side the soul is under the influence of the physical and astral bodies and on the other side of the sixth and seventh principles (buddhi-atma). When the attraction of the former prevails then the Jiva is subject to all the passions of embodied existence. But the power of these passions grows weaker and weaker as the neutral point is approached. But so long as the neutral barrier is not crossed their attraction is felt. But when once this is effected, the soul is as it were placed under the attraction of the other pole — the Logos.

Pages 251, 2

Immortality must be won by crossing the neutral barrier' between the field of the personality (lower manas, astral, physical) and the spiritual realm (atma, buddhi, higher manas). This neutral barrier to which Subba Rao alludes is the critical laya centre so often mentioned in The Secret Doctrine, and it must be crossed and its difficulties conquered while in incarnation and in full physical consciousness. In his book on The Yoga of the Kathopanishad, Sri Krishna Prem comments on this last point:

We should note also that the eighteenth verse stresses the fact, as do all esoteric writings, that the attainment is one that is to be accomplished here and now . . . while still living on this earth . . . Death as such changes nothing and he who has not gained his immortality while still ' alive' will not achieve it by the mere act of dying.

Page 41

This crossing of the neutral barrier, the laya centre, marked B in the following diagram, corresponds to the judgment day test of the fifth Round. The diagram on the following page, with its commentary, will serve to indicate the position and many relationships of this very important neutral area within every plane. [Page 20]


The above section of a circle shows the five planes diagrammatically spaced in their relations with each other. The center A is at mid-atma and the circumference represents the physical world.

The appropriate colours with which to tint the diagram are as follows:—

Ray above A
Region between A and B
Region between B and C
Region between C and D
Region between D and E
Dense Physical
Zone circles


[Page 21] After the death of the physical body, the regions entered are:

An Astro-Physical Region — purgatorial, cleansing;

An Astro-Mental Region — lower heavens or Devachan;

The Region of Buddhi-Manas — higher Devachan.

The five neutral zones, laya centres, of the five planes are marked A, B, C, D, E. Each is the central area of a plane.

Human consciousness, retiring from physical contacts, normally awakens within one of these zones. The forces above are about equally balanced by those below. Having awakened, each ' goes to his own place,' in other words where conditions are congenial and with which the soul-body is ' in tune.' E=Earth-bound : D='Summer-land.'

The diagram depicts each zone as being itself balanced in the middle of a plane and contacting two neighbouring planes — the highest sub-plane from below and the lowest sub-plane from above.

These neutral zones are natural stations of rest. Long sojourn in them is frequent. To pass beyond them, above them, calls for deliberate effort which must be self-initiated. Then, the molecular material of the ' lower' body is dissolved and atomic material only retained. The barrier is passed through and the higher level entered.

Failing this, a return to physical incarnation follows the sojourn in the zone. The governing factors are the quality, the ability and the initiative of the human being in his aspect as Ego.

During this fourth Round, the zones that concern us specially are those marked D, C and B. Passing beyond C corresponds to reaching the goal of the fourth Round. Passing beyond B, while in physical incarnation, corresponds to passing the judgment-day test of the fifth Round.

On the left of the diagram, the spaced-out lines marked I and 7, 2 and 6, 3 and 5, and 4, indicate the different fields covered by each root-race of our world-occupation. These are averages only.

The highest, or inmost, neutral zone or laya center, marked A, indicates the goal for self-consciousness in our terrene Chain in its seventh Round.

The laya centers marked E and A are at the two extremes of the five planes. They are in the relationship of circumference to center. When united in consciousness, by the mental bridge, they coincide.

In Mrs. Besant's book, Talks with a Class, much information is given about these neutral zones, laya centers, barriers, as they are variously called in literature dealing with the planes.


It will be understood, of course, that, in the use of diagrams, specific localities are given place-names in concession to one's habit of thinking in physical terms. Spatial relations are very insistent in a physical environment, but conditions on the inner planes are different. Also the astro-mental body used is not specialized to the extent to which one is accustomed here. The sense-organs of the physical body are efficient and focused aspects of inner principles. Sight, for example, is the physical sense-expression of the mental principle, an intensely condensed expression of the mind, in the same way that the cutting edge of a chisel is the concentrated expression of the tool, or the point of a needle is the focus of the whole.

The astro-mental body has one and only one rather generalized sense, but the lack of special organs is amply compensated by the sensitiveness of the mental body. Concentration of attention takes the place of the automatic focus of a specialized physical sense-organ. We have, as has often happened before with other faculties, quite recently externalized this astro-mental ' one-sensed' property of hearing and seeing in the invention of the radio for speech and vision. A radio receiving-set has little regard for the limitations of space and can respond to many programs from quite different sources. The soul-body is similarly equipped. There is no need for much movement; attention and concentration are equivalent to adjusting the wavelength marker. Projection and reception are equally available and, normally, at the subtler levels of lower devachan, everyone is in touch with that which suits him best and that which he seeks. It becomes obvious, therefore, that planes, regions and spheres must be understood as implying certain states of consciousness, not necessarily localities. It is equally true, of course, that any and every ' state of consciousness' is influenced largely by the ' body' in use at that level because consciousness itself is born of the inter-action of spirit and matter.

Questions on the reality of experiences under the conditions of the inner planes need arouse no mistrust. Although contacts are differently made and exchanged and are more far-reaching, the relationships between subject and object are as vividly real on the inner planes as they can be here and may be much more so.


[Paradigm: An all-inclusive model, an archetype]

Many myths and allegorical narratives are extant that tell of the creation of man. The scripts adopted in most religious movements carry some record of one or another. Among the allegories in the first book of the Bible is one of an ancient tradition that may be taken as typical:

God said, let us make man in our image and after our likeness.

Genesis I, 26

As the word God, in popular language, is seldom if ever distinguished from the Absolute, a literal meaning in the above statement cannot be accepted because an image and likeness of the Absolute is meaningless. The Hebrew original of the word mistranslated God is, as is well-known, Elohim—a plural noun meaning Architects, Designers, Builders, and this at least is understandable. A reasonable paraphrase of the above might run:

The World Creators said, let us make man in the image of the Most High, the Lord of the heavens and the earth.

In The Pedigree of Man, Mrs. Besant gave the following definition:

Let me define what is meant in occultism by the word Man. Man is that being in the universe ... in whom highest spirit and lowest matter are joined together by Intelligence, thus ultimately making a manifested God who will go forth conquering and to conquer ... Every being in this universe must pass through the human kingdom. If he has passed beyond it he must have passed through it. If he has not reached it he will have to pass through it in the future . . . Such then is Man. Pages 22, 2 [Page 24]

When the above statements are considered together :

' In our image and after our likeness ' and ' Man, ultimately a manifested God '

In The Pedigree of Man, Mrs. Besant gave the following definition:

Let me define what is meant in occultism by the word Man. Man is that being in the universe ... in whom highest spirit and lowest matter are joined together by Intelligence, thus ultimately making a manifested God who will go forth conquering and to conquer ... Every being in this universe must pass through the human kingdom. If he has passed beyond it he must have passed through it. If he has not reached it he will have to pass through it in the future . . . Such then is Man. Pages 22, 2 [Page 24]

When the above statements are considered together :

' In our image and after our likeness ' and ' Man, ultimately a manifested God '

an intimate relationship is obvious, the difference between God and Man being that of degree, however vast, and not of kind. Those who are now of the loftiest rank in Celestial Government, the Great Rulers of systems and planets, have passed through the human kingdom and far beyond it. They will have achieved for Their use the perfected imperishable body of spirit and matter in union, a Body whose foundation must have been well and truly laid when They were human.

Descriptions phrased in intelligible language of the immortal body used by the Gods are very few, but the following can be cited :

He is clad in atomic matter. His own life as Logos ... is clothed only in atomic matter.

A Study in Consciousness, page 70

In The Masters and the Path, C. W. Leadbeater describes the appearance of the Kumaras, the Lord of the World and His Assistants :

Their bodies, though human in appearance, differ widely from ours in constitution, being rather garments assumed for convenience than bodies in the ordinary sense since they are artificial and their particles do not change as do those of the human frame. They require no nourishment and remain unchanged through thousands of years.

Page 363

St. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, described the difference in the well-known words :

This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. I Cor. xv, 53

We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. II Cor. v, i

In The Secret Doctrine, there is one reference also to the mind-built bodies of the God-like pioneers of our third root-race, before the Lemurian:

The Third Race became the Vahan of the Lords of Wisdom. It created Sons by Will and Yoga, by Kriyashakti it created them.

Second Stanzas of Dzyan, VII, 27

In the commentary relating to this passage it is stated that in the third root-race while ' it was yet in its state of purity,' a progeny was [Page 25] produced ' in an immaculate way' and were ' set apart' to form' the nursery for future human adepts.' Vol, 1.228

Although much information is withheld, deliberately withheld said H. P. Blavatsky, concerning these creations by the mighty Androgynes [Androgyne: andro=man, gyne=woman, bi-sexual, undivided] of the early third-root-race, a reasonable inference is that the material of such bodies would be atomic with a magnetically assembled clothing of physical etheric matter. On the rising arc of evolution, beginning with the ' fifths'. the complement of the androgyne is the self-conscious hermaphrodite [Hermaphrodite: Hermes=masculine, Aphrodite=feminine: united in one individual. Can create mentally.] who will create by will and yoga, a fifth Round faculty.

The paradigm, or archetypal model, from which every form in all the kingdoms of nature has descended, is called in The Secret Doctrine the Protologos, Archetypal Man, the Creative Origin of all things. This is, by implication, the Second Logos — and

Every form on earth ... strives in its efforts towards self-formation to follow the model placed for it in the Heavenly Man. Its involution and evolution, its external and internal growth and development, have all one and the same object —

Man. Vol. I, 205, 6

Again, after citing the Jewish Sephiroth, the Hindu Trimurti and many more, there follows:

In their totality they represent primarily the Archetypal Man, the Protologos. Vol. I, 380

Also, following another long citation :

All have an identical meaning and relate to the primordial Archetypal Man, Adam Kadmon, the Creative Origin of all things. Vol. I, 478

The implications of these passages and many others point to an abiding ideal figure of human form that is steadfast and immutable throughout the ages, yet manifest in all that lives, the Heavenly Man, the creative origin of all things — transcendent as Archetype, immanent in all that lives in Form in His universe.

THE PRINCIPLE OF AN ARCHETYPAL ORIGINAL is familiar to us in all works of creative artistry. The architect's design of a building-to-be is first mentally created and then is brought down to the detail of plans for the builders. The edifice existed mentally in form as a whole from the beginning and, as an archetype, supplies the inspiration [Page 26] and direction for every step in its construction. In the terms of manifestation as involution proceeds, the One divides and becomes many — yet as One, the archetype remains. In this sense, the Heavenly Man is evidently synonymous with the Second Logos.

Four Chains of septenary globes and rounds have been occupied in bringing the archetypal form of the Logos out to full manifestation. Four successive humanities, called Creative Hierarchies, have done the pioneer work of demonstrating progressively leading parts of the archetype. The humanity of the first Chain originated the forms that we now find in the mineral kingdom; the humanity of the second Chain the forms now in the plant kingdom; the humanity of the third third Chain developed the forms of the animal kingdom up to and including the reptilia — and our own humanity, on this the fourth Chain, built these last up still further to the mammalian level and then left them for the higher grades of animal life to occupy and use. In every case a humanity did the pioneer work.

Not till the dense physical plane is reached, on this the fourth Chain, is the complex unity of the archetypal original form brought right through and demonstrated as a whole. Unlike all other kingdoms, each of which includes widely varying types, the erect human form of today is universally the one and only type used by humanity. It is a projected, descended Form, the Logos — the Word — made flesh.

The human body, as we know it, is a triumph of cosmic craftsmanship for it expresses cosmic relationships within itself; it is the manifestation of a universe in a microcosm. As such it remains unspecialized, except in the head, for the physical body of a human being though complex is comparatively unextended.

Man has no special need to modify his physical structure because, being endowed with mind, he can view his surroundings objectively apart from himself and create external links to solve his problems by making many kinds of tools and machines. Life, in the other kingdoms, using on this plane the legacy of forms left to them by Man, has specialized parts of them — such as toes into hoofs, nails into talons, teeth into tusks, hair into fur, the extremity if the spine to a tail and many others — in most cases far beyond anything that is usual in the human body, in which such extensions, though potential, are rudimentary only.[Page 27]

Mineral, plant and animal forms are all specialized fragments of the celestial model, the Paradigm, Archetypal Man. The human physical body of today, together with the personal mind and emotional nature and spiritual principles that inform it, make of Man a being of whom it is said that 'he contains in himself every element that is found in the universe'. Vol. III, 584

The Divine Man, Archetypal Man, the Paradigm of all Forms, and the SECOND LOGOS are all one and the same. He it is who permeates, sustains and embraces all that lives in His sacrifice of immanence, yet is transcendent in His own life as LOGOS — clad in atomic matter.


In the literature of occultism there are many references, though often obscurely phrased, to an immortal body in the making within Man in the course of evolution. It is said to be still unborn, it is small in size, yet a mighty being, Lord of past and future. A dwarf, the size of a thumb, are symbols often employed, the 'thumb' probably to denote a diminutive as well as an allusion to the will, to which the thumb corresponds.

The following are selections from the Upanishads and from Hermetic and other sources, mostly taken from Sri Krishna Prem's fine commentary on The Yoga of the Kathopanishad.

Who is this mysterious child ? ... He is the Inner Ruler ... the Central Point, the Focus . . . and is as such essentially unborn. Page 209

The one Central Power ... on the microcosmic scale, the thumb-like Purusha ... the Dwarf, small in size but immense in power. Page 229

When manifesting the qualities of Atma and Buddhi, he is like the point of an awl in size, a mere focal point through which the Sunlight of the Atman streams forth. Maitri Upanishad 6, 38. Page 209 [Page 28]

In the midst of our being stands the Dweller of the size of a thumb, the Lord of Past and Future. Kathopanishad 12. Page 208

The Dweller of the size of a thumb is like Smokeless Flame . . . He alone Is Today and He Tomorrow. Kathopanishad 13. Page 208

He is the homunculus or Little Man, the creation of whom was one of the objects of alchemists such as Paracelsus. Page 209

Together with earlier quotations given, the above allusions would seem indubitably to refer to the causal body and its group of atomic nuclei, the permanent-atoms. Their life is the smokeless flame of spirit, Purusha. Another passage, from Light on the Path, makes reference to a ' divine fragment,' evidently the Focus, the Central Point, of the Upanishads:

Look for the flower to bloom in the silence that follows the storm: not till then. It shall grow . . . but not till the whole personality of the man is dissolved and melted — not until it is held by the divine fragment which has created it ... not until the whole nature has yielded . . . can the bloom open. Light on the Path, page 13

From Hermetic sources the clearest and most direct references are to be found, as the following. Horus asks his Mother, Isis, what is the origin and manner of his birth. Isis replies :

I may not tell the story of this Birth, for it is not permitted to describe the origin of thy Descent, O Horus, son of mighty power, lest afterwards the way-of-birth of the immortal Gods should be known unto man.

Virgin of the World, I, 36 (Prem, page 211)

Sri Krishna Prem comments : In truth the secret is safe enough for it is one that cannot be put into words, as Hermes says :

This Race, my son, is never taught; but when He willeth it, its Memory is restored by God ... I can but tell you this. Whenever I see within myself the Uncompounded Vision brought to birth ... I have passed through myself into a Body that can never die. And now I am not what I was before; but I am born in Mind. The way to do this is not taught and it cannot be seen by the compounded elements by means of which thou seest.

Yoga of the Kathopanishad, page 212
   [Page 29]


Reference has been made to four Chains of Seven Globes each on which, through Rounds and Races, the Monads make their cyclic journey. The play of their life through such periods covers a time sequence of so vast a length that thought is staggered.

In The Earth and its Cycles, by E. W. Preston, the figures in years given in The Secret Doctrine for the various periods of manifestation, and the pralayas between, are listed in tables and compared with many of the orthodox geological and other scientific calculations. There is considerable agreement between them. But even when one contemplates the comparatively brief life of our own planet, the earth, itself about two thousand millions (2,000,000,000) of years old, it is hardly possible to grasp the meaning of the numbers printed. And if we add to the age of the earth the three earlier Chains of Globes before our planet was so much as born, we must envisage at least twenty to thirty thousand millions of years away back to the beginnings of the first Chain of the Terrene Scheme. And we are but half-way through this, our own, Scheme within the Solar System.

Fortunately for one's mental and spiritual peace there is no need to anticipate a future of slow development comparable to the scale of the past. Directly self-initiated growth begins, initiated and directed from the Center, a principle of acceleration comes into play.

A question on this very point was addressed to the Master Koot Hoomi, and the reply was :

When once a person enters upon the path, if he converges all his energies upon it, his progress will be neither by arithmetical nor geometrical progression but by powers.

Talks on the Path of Occultism, page 770

The fact that this principle of acceleration operates after a degree of skill and ability has been acquired is familiar to us all. The would-be performer on a musical instrument spends many dreary hours in the co-ordination of brain and hand but, having mastered the needed technique, progress can be rapid. A slow apprenticeship of some years must be spent to learn a craft but skill in handling tools and swift dexterity follows.

The three modes of progress mentioned in the Master's reply are illustrated in the following :

Step >>>>>>>>
Arithmetical progression, by addition
Geometrical progression, by multiplication
By Powers, by squaring:

The next step by Powers, to the sixth only, runs to millions.

It is apparent from this illustration in terms of figures that when energies are converged the rate of progress may be as amazingly swift as, in the earlier cycles, it has been almost incredibly slow.

Reverting to our diagram of the neutral zones, there is an application of this principle of acceleration that vitally affects the term of the inter-incarnation periods; they may be of very short duration when the goal is, so to speak, in sight. The general rule seems to be that at first also the time between incarnations is but a few years, then, as more and more experiences are gathered and have to be assimilated, the time lengthens and may run to over a thousand years. There are many also who may return to incarnation after a sojourn at one or other of the laya centers when further contacts are found to be getting too high-brow to accept. Averages therefore are misleading, the variations are so great. Ultimately the assimilative process is accomplished astrally and mentally while in physical incarnation and this indeed is the ideal — but far from being the practice at present. When consciousness reaches the stage of definite self-direction from the Center then assimilation and harvesting quickens; the acceleration is pronounced both while embodied and in the after-life.[Page 31]

A time then approaches when the way through to the highest zone is via the atomic stairway itself, the perpendicular path in place of the winding road 'around the mountain'. The principle of acceleration is then fully operative.

THE PERMANENT ATOMS of atmic, buddhic, manasic, astral and of physical matter, the nuclei of the causal body which constitute the foundation of the imperishable body, are of an order of size that is infinitesimal. An elaborate calculation was made recently by a mathematical physicist which seemed to place physical man, in terms of size, about mid-way between our stellar galaxy and the minute electron. Distances within are as great as distances without. Such a picture lends a vivid meaning to such instructions as:

Seek the way by retreating within. Light on the Path, I, 18

The kingdom of God is within you. Luke xvii. 21.

The infinitely great has its opposite and complement in the infinitely small.


The unit of life, called in occult literature a Monad, is, as has been described earlier, an Adi atom vivified by the Solar Lord. Of a pre-solar cosmic plane this atom thus becomes a vehicle of the Solar Logos. It is of a size that is indescribably infinitesimal — yet is endowed with a potency stupendously great.

Said the Flame to the Spark — 'thou art myself, my image and my shadow. I have clothed myself in thee and thou art my vahan'.

The breath of the Solar Lord, called monadic essence, flows also through the atoms attached by the devas — the permanent atoms of the human being. Hence the permanent atoms of atma, buddhi and manas are sometimes referred to as monadic or even as the Monad.

Strictly speaking, the term Monad should be reserved for the original Cosmic Atoms, vivified in their millions ' in the beginning' by the Creative Logos.[Page 32]


Through atma a monadic ray of the One Life streams, sustained by the ' finest thread of Fohat.' Focused by the lens of manas, the ray wins a separated self-conscious existence under the shelter of personal vehicles. The manasic life, exercised with wisdom, leads to the complete development of the vibratory powers of the original atoms attached to the Monad by the devas.

At length the light-ray remembers and, in its robe of glory, seeks its source. Returning through the mental focus, having linked spirit and matter by intelligence, the astral shadows are lost in buddhic fire.

Consciousness thus makes its pilgrimage from a center to a circumference and a return back to the Center again. The journey through the worlds has secured a pearl of price, an imperishable body clad in atomic matter, born of will and yoga, spirit and matter immaculate.

The ray passes outwards and home again, through itself, and achieves a body, poised in mind —

' An inward holy body from fire and light, like pure silver.'

"Pythagorean Fragment (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, 677)

The Dwarf Purusha, the Divine Fragment — small in stature but immense in power — is born. It is the way of birth of the Immortal Gods.

I have passed through myself into a body that can never die. I am not what I was before: I am born in Mind. [Page 33]


(1) Spirit and Matter are primal opposites and are essentially equal.

(2) Consciousness is born of the friction between spirit and matter. Consciousness, therefore, is born in time and may cease in time.

(3) Monads are of the two highest planes of our Solar Scheme, Adi and Anupadaka, and become units of consciousness when the life of the LORD OF THE SUN, through His Three Aspects, the LOGOI, sweeps through them and vivifies them.

(4) To each Monad five further atoms, of differing types, are attached by the devas. These types also constitute the atomic basis, the first sub-plane in each case, of our five planes. Of their molecular compounds the other sub-planes are composed.

(5) The Monads retain these five attached atoms throughout all their cycles of growth and they are therefore called ' permanent-atoms.' The permanent-atoms constitute the seed, potentially, of an immortal body.

(6) The Great Rulers of galaxies, of constellations, of stars, of planets — called Lords, Gods, Logoi — use bodies of atomic matter only.

(7) During the involution and evolution of Monads, bodies of compounded matter are assembled magnetically around the permanent-atoms. These bodily sheaths are adopted, used and discarded periodically.

(8) The permanent-atoms slowly awaken as consciousness responds to the stimuli received through the compounded ' clothing' of the bodies.

(9) This awakening at last gives birth to self-consciousness. The human kingdom is then entered—a critical ' laya-center' kingdom. Further progress is then dependent on self-initiative.[Page 34]

(I0) Within our terrene Scheme all forms derive from Man, functioning through four Creative Hierarchies. The Archetype, the Paradigm of Forms, the Heavenly Man, is the Second Logos, transcendent. He is immanent in forms. In the human form only, in the human kingdom, is the archetype manifested in its complex unity.

(II) When the Monads are passing through the pre-human kingdoms, during the early cycles, the awakening of the atomic nuclei is extremely slow. When self-directed effort begins in the human kingdom then progress may be as correspondingly rapid.

(12) A perfect union of spirit and immaculate atomic matter is the ultimate triumph for the Monads now in the human kingdom, the fourth Creative Hierarchy. This involves the creation ' by will and yoga' of an imperishable body in the service of consciousness, a causal auric body with fully awakened and developed atomic nuclei, the permanent-atoms. In occultism, this embryonic promise of today is called' the Dwarf Purusha — small in stature, but immense in power.' [Page 35]


The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett    
Esoteric Buddhism

Sinnett, A. P.

Man: Whence, How and Whither   Besant, A. and Leadbeater, C.W.
Talks on the Path of Occultism Besant, A. and Leadbeater, C.W.
A Study in Consciousness Besant, Annie
The Pedigree of Man

Besant, Annie

The Secret Doctrine Blavatsky,H P.
The Stanzas of Dzyan Blavatsky,H. P.
The Yoga of the Kathopanishad Prem, Sri Krishna
The Earth and its Cycles Preston.E. W.
Esoteric Writings Rao, T. Subba - or sometimes Row, T.Subba




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