1. In theosophical literature these selves, written in the three ways, relate to great mysteries. In themselves they epitomize the Ancient Wisdom teachings. Let us see what the literature has to say about them and how the teachings unfold a wonderful story.
When we are awake, each of us is aware of the fact. We are aware of ourselves in our surroundings. We think of ourselves as persons. As persons, we are selves written with a small's'. The literature distinguishes between this personal self, a personality, and an interior Self whence consciousness arises. This is called the individuality.
2. The following passage occurs in Chapter II of The Key to Theosophy, Section The Difference between Theosophy and Spiritualism.
The passage then goes on to liken the individuality to an actor playing many successive 'personality' parts on the stage of life.
Note again, when associated with the "I" or individuality, Ego is usually spelt with a capital 'E'. Similarly when so associated the Self has a capital 'S'.
3. In our title we have three selves. THE SELF is so to speak the Deity of manifested Cosmos, the ONE, the Unity from which sparks of Itself illuminate everything. In man this is focused (via Buddhi) in Manas, making a unit of consciousness. This is the Self in us all. The self is the personal self in a physical body.
Three passages in the The Key to Theosophy will be found particularly helpful in this study:
4. The original edition of the The Key to Theosophy contains a useful Glossary. Two of the terms explained are of particular relevance here:
Note particularly that our feeling of 'I' arises in lower Manas. Higher Manas is orientated to Buddhi which liberates consciousness from the limitations of the personal 'I' and engenders a consciousness of the Universal Unity.
5. So important a subject is this matter of the SELF and the Self that in The Secret Doctrine there are over 100 references listed in the Index (1893 Third edition and Adyar 6-vol. edition). An attempt should be made to explore some of these in the text.
6. The complicated relationships of the SELF, as a Cosmic principle, and the Self, as a human principle, and their common relationship to Alaya, Anima Mundi, Prakriti and Pradhanav the ONE LIFE, Jivâtma . . . the Self of a progressed Adept, are explained in The Secret Doctrine vol.I 49, 50 / I 80, 81 / I 121, 122.
7. The term 'Master' has a special place in the hearts of many members of the Theosophical Society (T.S.). It is usually applied to the great Initiates, Adepts, Mahatmas or Masters of the Wisdom, particularly those associated with the founding of the T.S., but in the context of our title, the term Master has a special relevance.
Let us note the following passage, written for those who aspire to tread 'the Path':
8. For information on the Christos principle referred to in the above passage, see the article on The Esoteric Character of the Gospels (Collected Writings Vol.III 172 et seq.).
9. The following passage, relevant to our theme, occurs as a footnote on page 257 in Collected Writings Vol. IX:
And they correspond to the similar states in Cosmos, man being the complete but miniature reflection of the WHOLE.
There is a small but interesting addendum to the above on the following page: 'It is altruism, not egoism even in its most legal and noble conception that can lead the unit to merge its little Self in the Universal Selves'.
Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky. link
Farthing (1909-2004), author and international lecturer made the study
of Theosophy, and in particular the esoteric writings of H.P. Blavatsky,
his abiding interest for over 60 years. Geoffrey held most positions in
the Theosophical Society in England including General Secretary (1969-72).
He served a term as a member of the Society's General Council at Adyar,
India, and was a member of the Executive Committee of the European Federation
for a number of years. He founded The Blavatsky Trust, an educational
charity, in England in 1974. In the same year he gave the prestigious
Blavatsky Lecture at the Annual Convention of the English Theosophical
Society on Life, Death and Dreams, and in 1996, was awarded the Subba
Row Medal for his significant contribution to theosophical literature.