THEOSOPHY, Vol. 21, No. 7, May, 1933
(Pages 320-322; Size: 10K)
(Number 7 of a 36-part series)
STUDIES IN THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY
CHAPTER one presents the Ideal of Human progression and perfection; chapter two takes up the general principles of universal evolution; chapter three outlines the application of these principles to our planet. In chapter four the Human body and its relation to the Planetary Chain are taken up for consideration. To carry the "army" simile previously employed a little farther: this chapter might be regarded as an invitation to visit the armory and learn what this instrument really is, by which Man contacts the various elements of the planet. Knowing better what it is will make easier the break of self-identification with it. The Warrior deluded into believing himself a physical being is thereby disarmed in battle.
Most important is the perception that Man is not his body, "a product of cosmic or physical laws and substance", "that thing which he has with pain created for his own use" and which has been "evolved during the lapse of ages, like any other physical thing." Success in the battle of life depends upon how thoroughly this is learned and applied. It is not to be counted a mere reasonable hypothesis or a conviction, even, to be laid away among the treasures of the mind and recalled only when convenient or when disappointments befall, used as a tonic to stimulate when personal existence loses its savor and worldly interests grow stale. On the contrary, incessant dwelling upon this fact constitutes the first important step towards self-directed evolution. Otherwise, the sound basis for true living and wise action is absent. Until false identification with body and circumstance is broken, the true Identity can not be realized; and to the extent that this remains unrealized, daily living will continue to be from the personal basis, subject to the lethargic influences of one-life standards and with the outside-personal-god idea playing on the mind. Than these two, there is no more subtle and deadly poison-gas in this warfare here on earth.
Implicit in the orthodox Christian teaching of Spirit, Soul, and Body, lies the fact of individual responsibility. For this reason, doubtless, the church remembers to let its flock forget the tenet. Excepting under pressure of necessity, this teaching of triune man is carefully "kept in the background because its examination might result in the readoption of views once orthodox but now heretical." For if the Soul is responsible, "we must assume that it has powers and functions"; then "it is easy to take the position that the soul may be rational or irrational"; and "then there is but a step to further Theosophical propositions." "This threefold scheme of the nature of man contains, in fact, the Theosophical teaching of his sevenfold constitution."
Time was when the philosophical tenet of septenary Nature and Man was taught and generally held. Priestcraft's present effort at its concealment is the advantage taken of a former, and legitimate, withdrawal of the teaching, "in the early centuries of the Christian era," from a people open to abuse of the knowledge inevitably flowing from it. The Custodians of the True Doctrine know "the meaning and the times of the cycles" and give out such portions of the Teaching as the people of any given period can benefit by and put to constructive use. Never do the Masters conceal -- save as a temporary protection -- any of this Knowledge, which is indeed power. With the advent of H.P.B. and W.Q.J., the era began for revealment of the facts; it now remains for each student to gain knowledge of the facts presented, through efforts for Self-realization. The time is here for the Eternal Warrior to cease identifying himself with his armor and weapons and to reassume his responsibility for their right use upon this battlefield of evolution.
Theosophy sets forth the facts about Man in definite terms and statements "very different from the vague description in the words 'body and soul,' and also boldly challenges the materialistic conception that mind is the product of brain, a portion of the body." What man could live aright who, in his madness, really believed his thought, will, and feeling to arise from that which he still designates as "my body"! The tell-tale possessive adjective bears witness to outraged innate intelligence. Man inwardly knows better than he outwardly believes.
The human body comprises far more than a rank materialist would willingly admit, much more than our scientists have discovered. Modern investigations are confined only to that observable through the outer senses, even when aided by microscope or chemical reaction. But the body so familiar to dissector and histologist is not the real physical form. Far more real and lasting is its astral counterpart, beyond the reach of lens, scalpel, or chemical. It is this invisible body that gives coherency to the gross material vesture, energizes it with the vital life-currents, and permits the functioning of passion and desire. All of these, Theosophy holds to be material, each of a distinct grade of substance. Together, they constitute a fourfold armor for the Immortal Campaigner; and of these four constituents, dense flesh -- alone recognized, on this plane of illusions -- is but the armor's outer plating.
The four sheaths making up the body are: Passions and Desires, Life Principle, Astral Body, and Physical Body. These sheaths interpenetrate each other just as they do the planetary states of substance to which they correspond. Collectively, they are termed the "lower quaternary." Though regarded as a unit, each grade of this quaternary provides instrumentation "for the particular experience belonging to its own field, the body being the lowest, least important, and most transitory of the whole series." Even our ordinary senses "do not pertain to the body but to the second unseen physical man" within it.
All compounds are transitory. So the fourfold lower man, the outer shell of which is too often called "Myself," is a transient vehicle. Its User is the indivisible Higher Man, a Trinity in Unity, a Unit in his three inseparable aspects of Spirit, Discernment, and Mind, or Atma, Buddhi, Manas -- the Spirit, Soul, and Mind of Christian dogma. "Atma is Spirit, Buddhi is the highest power of intellection, that which discerns and judges, and Manas is Mind. This threefold collection is the real man"; the One whose voice is too often drowned in the roar of the senses and whose eternal interests the world constantly sets aside in favor of the fleeting and the vain. "But when the true teaching is known it will be seen that the care of the Soul, which is the Self, is a vital matter requiring attention every day, and not to be deferred without grievous injury resulting to the whole man, both soul and body."
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
The seven fundamental transformations of the globes or heavenly spheres, or rather of their constituent particles of matter, is described as follows: (1) The homogeneous; (2) the aeriform and radiant (gaseous); (3) Curd-like (nebulous); (4) Atomic, Ethereal (beginning of motion, hence of differentiation); (5) Germinal, fiery, (differentiated, but composed of the germs only of the Elements, in their earliest states, they having seven states, when completely developed on our earth); (6) Four-fold, vapoury (the future Earth); (7) Cold and depending (on the Sun for life and light). --S.D. I, pp. 205-6, fn.
STUDIES IN "THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY"
(Part 8 of a 36-part series)
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