The Blavaysky Lecture
delivered at the Annual Convention of
The Theosophical Society in England, 25 May 1974
Published by The Theosophical Society in England 1974
Revised and reprinted 1995
In devising this lecture, it was felt that as its statements ought to be justified in terms of the teaching as given us, this should be done by illustrative quotations. These could have been included in the text, put as footnotes or collected together in a separate part. This last has been done, not only to keep the narrative as uninterrupted as possible but to give longer quotations so that more of their context can be seen.
It must be stressed that only a small sample selection of material from the literature has been made. There is many times as much, of at least equal relevance and significance, to discover and study. It is hoped however that the passages chosen will show to those otherwise unfamiliar with it something of the quality of the original writing both as regards knowledge and language. Its authority should also be noticed. In many places H.P.B. lets us know we are being given the facts, although we are quite free to believe what we like. It is further hoped that students will appreciate these excerpts and will seek them out in the books and read the passages from which they are extracted. Surely no serious student could fail to be impressed with the teaching as given, nor could he fail to feel gratitude to those who made it available to us.
APPENDIX I - LIFE - Jiva, Prana, Jivatman
In the literature in connection with life we come across the words prana, jiva and jivatman. We also come across Monad, monads and atoms. These words introduced us to ideas on what we might call interior physics, metaphysics. In the absolute state, in the primordial state, 'before the world began', before there was manifestation at all, that from which life comes is said to be homogeneous, like space, all of a piece, the same all through.
This condition applies during the mahapralayic state. When activity, mahamanvantara starts, differentiation occurs. Life homogeneous becomes hosts of lives. Root substance is born and becomes in its turn differentiated atomic substance. In one sense Life is distinct from the atoms of matter which give it an operating vehicle. Substance, however, also derives from the Universal THAT, sometimes called Spirit. The dichotomy of Spirit and Matter is only apparent: they are two faces or aspect of the same ONE THING. There cannot be one without the other.
Here are some quotations which now become relevant.
"Without any doubt Jiva or Prana is quite distinct from the atoms it animates. The latter belong to the lowest or grossest state of matter
the objectively conditioned; the former - to its highest state; that state which the uninitiated, ignorant of its nature, would call the 'objectively finite' but which to avoid any future misunderstanding, we may, perhaps be permitted to call the Subjectively Eternal, though at the same time and in one sense the subsistent existence - however paradoxical and unscientific the term may appear. Life, the occultist says, is the eternal uncreated energy, and it alone represents in the infinite universe, that which the physicists have agreed to name, the principle, or the law of continuity ... "
" life, according to the occult doctrine - is the one energy acting Proteus-like under the most varied forms ... "
"Life is ever present in the atom of matter, whether organic or inorganic, conditioned or unconditioned - a difference that the occultists do not accept. Their doctrine is that life is as much present in the inorganic as in the organic matter: when life-energy is active in the atom, that atom is organic; when dormant or latent, then the atom is inorganic ... hence the fallacy that a living thing can only be produced from a living thing, as though there ever was such a thing as dead matter in Nature!"
"The 'Jiva' or life principle which animates man, beast, plant or even a mineral, certainly is "a form of force indestructible" since this force is the one life or anima mundi, the universal living soul, and that the various modes in which the objective things appear to us in nature in their atomic aggregations, such as minerals, plants, animals etc., are all the different forms or states in which this force manifests itself ... " (C.W.V. 111/112)
" ... The Ocean of Life is ... the "One Life," Paramatma, when the transcendental supreme Soul is meant; and Jivatma, when we speak of the physical and animal "breath of life" or, so to speak, the differentiated soul, that life in short, which gives being to the atom and the universe, the molecule and the man, the animal, plant and mineral (T.B.L. 83)
" ... Thus it was, that the second or vital Principle in man (Life) is there in [Fragment of Occult Truth, No.1] named Jivatma instead of Jiva, and left to stand without the explanation that the esoteric Buddhists or Arhats, recognizing but one life, ubiquitous and omnipresent, call by the name of "Jiv", the manifested life, the second principle; and by Atman or Jivatman the seventh principle or unmanifested life; where as the Vedantees give the name but to the seventh and identify it with
Paramatman or Parabrahm ... The Occultist and the Vedantee ... know that the neutral, sexless, and passive Paramatman and its ray Jivatman which can be manifested only through its connection with object and form, does not, nor can it "disappear" or "perish" [on the death of personality ] as a totality; but that both the words relating to the Manas or antahkarana, those organs of personal conscious sense which belonging only to the body are quite distinct from the spiritual soul mean no more than the temporary withdrawal of the ray from the manifested, back into the unmanifested world; and that this soul is short, which is said to have disappeared and perished, is not the eternal total Individuality, but the temporary personality, one of the numberless beads strung on the rosary, the long thread of the manifested lives." (C.W.IV. 547/48)
APPENDIX II LIFE SYMBOLS
The symbology of the Point, the Circle and Disc, in its relation to Life, the One Life, is given at the beginning of the Proem to The Secret Doctrine. Many students find it hard to sense the significance of symbols but for those who can accustom themselves to their use, they are a convenient way of saying much in a very concentrated form. The following examples may be found illustrative and helpful.
White Disc: Space and Eternity in Pralaya, Kosmos in Eternity before the re-awakening of still slumbering Energy ...
Point: The germ within the Mundane Egg which will become the Universe, the All, the boundless, periodical Kosmos ... A Germ which is latent and active, periodically and by turns.
Circumference: The one circle is divine Unity, from which all proceeds, whither all returns: its circumference ... indicates the abstract ever incognisable PRESENCE ...
Plane: The Universal Soul ... one with the circumference ... with the face of the disc being white, and the surrounding ground black, ... shows that its plane is the sole knowledge, dim and hazy though it still is, that is attainable by man ...
Continuing with this symbol of the disc;
"It is on this plane that the Manvantaric manifestations begin; for it is in this SOUL that slumbers, during the Pralaya, the Divine Thought, (Unlike anything we can conceive ... See H. P. B.'s footnote) wherein lies concealed the plan of every future Cosmogony and Theogony ." ... (S.D. Proem 1)
"It is the ONE LIFE, eternal, invisible, yet Omnipresent, without
beginning or end, yet periodical in its regular manifestations, between which periods reigns the dark mystery of non-Being; unconscious, yet absolute Consciousness; unrealisable, yet the one self-existing reality; truly, "a chaos to the sense, a Kosm9s to the reason". Its one absolute attribute, which is ITSELF, eternal, ceaseless Motion, is called in esoteric parlance the Great Breath, which is the perpetual motion of the universe, in the sense of limitless, ever-present SPACE. That which is motionless cannot be Divine. But then there is nothing in fact and reality absolutely motionless within the universal soul." (S. D. Proem 2)
" ... Thus from Spirit, or Cosmic Ideation, comes our consciousness, from Cosmic Substance the several vehicles in which that consciousness is individualized and attains to self - or reflective - consciousness; while Fohat, in its various manifestations, is the mysterious link between Mind and Matter, the animating principle electrifying every atom into life." (S. D. Proem 16)
APPENDIX III LIFE and the Lives
"Who forms Manu (the Man) and who forms his body? The LIFE and the LIVES ... Here Manu stands for the spiritual, heavenly Man, the real and non-dying Ego in us, which is the direct emanation of the 'One Life' or the Absolute Deity." (S.D.1, 248)
" All is LIFE, and every atom of even mineral dust is a LIFE, though beyond our comprehension and perception, because it is outside the range of the laws known to those who reject Occultism." (S. D.1, 248)
"The Worlds, to the profane, says a commentary, are built up of the known Elements. To the conception of an Arhat, these elements are themselves collectively a divine Life; distributively, on the plane of manifestations, the numberless and countless crores of lives. Fire alone is, ONE, on the plane of the One Reality: on that of manifested, hence illusive, being, its particles are fiery lives which live and have their being at the expense of every other life that they consume. Therefore they are named the "DEVOURERS" ... Every visible thing in this Universe was built by such LIVES, from conscious and divine primordial man down to the unconscious agents that construct matter ... From the ONE LIFE, formless and Uncreate, proceeds the Universe of lives. First was manifested from the Deep (Chaos) cold luminous fire (gaseous light?), which formed the curds in Space
(Irresolvable nebulae, perhaps?) ... These fought, and a great heat was developed by the encountering and collision, which produced rotation. Then came the first manifested MATERIAL, Fire, the hot f1an1es, the wanderers in heaven (comets) ... " (S. D.1, 249, 250)
APPENDIX IV LIFE. Laya, Life-Germs and Globes
"Whatsoever quits the Laya State, becomes active life; it is drawn into the vortex of MOTION (the alchemical solvent of Life); Spirit and Matter are the two States of the ONE, which is neither Spirit nor Matter, both being absolute life, latent ... Spirit is the first differentiation of (and in) SPACE; and Matter the first differentiation of Spirit. That, which is neither Spirit nor matter - that is IT - the Causeless CAUSE of Spirit and Matter, which are the Cause of Kosmos. And THAT we call the ONE LIFE, or the Intra-Cosmic Breath." (S. D.1, 258)
" ... and there is life even if laya, just as a man in a profound cataleptic state - to all appearances a corpse - is still a living being."
" ... The fire atoms ... become life-germs, which aggregate according to the laws of cohesion and affinity. Then the life-germs produce lives of another kind, which work on the structure of our globes." (S. D.1, 259)
APPENDIX V DEATH - from a Japanese Story
As well as the technical teaching on the matter of death and after, there are interesting and illustrative passages in H.P.B.'s less formal writings. The following is an extract from a story A Bewitched Life .
An old Japanese priest is talking to a materialistic and atheistic European.
"We cannot," said he paradoxically one day, "hope to live hereafter in the full enjoyment of our consciousness, unless we have built for it beforehand a firm and solid foundation of spirituality One who has never taught himself to live in Spirit during his conscious and responsible life on earth, can hardly hope to enjoy a sentient existence after death, when, deprived of his body, he is limited to that Spirit alone."
"What can you mean by life in Spirit?" I enquired.
"Life on a spiritual plane Man can create such a blissful existence for himself between two births, by the gradual transference onto that plane of all the faculties which during his sojourn on earth manifest through his organic body and, as you call it, animal brain."
" ... And how can man do this?"
"Contemplation and a strong desire to assimilate the blessed gods, will
enable him to do so."
" And if man refuses this intellectual occupation ... what becomes of him after the death of his body?"
He will be dealt with according to the prevailing state of his consciousness, of which there are many grades. At best, immediate rebirth; at worst the state of avitchi, a mental hell. Yet one need not be an ascetic to assimilate spiritual life which will extend to the hereafter. All that is required is to try and approach Spirit."
"How so? Even when disbelieving in it?"
"Even so! One may disbelieve and yet harbour in one's nature room for doubt, however small that room may be, and thus try one day, were it but for one moment, to open the door of the inner temple; and this will prove sufficient for the purpose."
" ... Will you kindly explain to me a little more of the mystery?" "There is none; ... Suppose for a moment that some unknown temple to which you have never been before, and the existence of which you think you have reason to deny, is the 'spiritual plane' of which I am speaking. Someone takes you by the hand and leads you towards its entrance, curiosity makes you open its door and look within. By this simple act, by entering it for one second, you have established an ever lasting connection between your consciousness and the temple. You cannot deny its existence any longer, nor obliterate the fact of your having entered it. And according to the character and the variety of your work, within its holy precincts, so will you live in it after your consciousness is severed from its dwelling of flesh."
"What do you mean? And what has my after-death consciousness - if such a thing exists - to do with the temple?"
"It has everything to do with it," solemnly rejoined the old man. "There can be no self-consciousness after death outside the temple of spirit. That which you will have done within its plane will alone survive. All the rest is false and an illusion. It is doomed to perish in the Ocean of Maya ... "
According to his [the old priest's] ideas, we have to train ourselves for spirituality in another world - as for gymnastics. Carrying on the analogy between the temple and the 'spiritual plane' he tried to illustrate his idea. He had himself worked in the temple of Spirit two thirds of his life, and given several hours daily to 'contemplation'. Thus he knew (?!) that after he had laid aside his mortal casket - a 'a mere illusion,' he explained - he would in his spiritual consciousness live over again every feeling of ennobling joy and divine bliss he had ever had or ought to have had - only a hundred-fold intensified.'
"But suppose [one] ... had only peeped into the sanctuary never to set his foot therein again. What then?"
"Then," he answered, "you would have only this short minute to record in your future self-consciousness and no more. Our life here after records and repeats but the impressions and feelings we have had in our spiritual experience and nothing else. Thus, if instead of reverence at the moment of entering the abode of Spirit, you had been harbouring in your heart anger, jealousy or grief, then your future spiritual life would be a sad one, in truth. There would be nothing to record, save the opening of a door, in a fit of bad temper." (C. W.VI, 363/365)
APPENDIX VI DEATH, and after
"The world of effect [the realms occupied by the 4th and lower 5th principles of man after death] are not lokas or localities. They are the shadow of the world of causes their souls - worlds having like men their seven principles which develop and grow simultaneously with the body. Thus the body is wedded to and remains for ever with the body of his planet. His individual jivatma life-principle that which is called in physiology animal spirits returns after death to it source Fohat; his linga shariram will be drawn into Akasa; his Kamarupa will recommingle with the Universal Sakti - the Will Force, or universal energy; his" animal soul" borrowed from the breath of Universal Mind will return to the Dhyan-chohans; his sixth principle - whether drawn into or ejected from the matrix of the Great Passive Principle must remain in its own sphere - either as part of the crude material or as an individualized entity to be reborn in a higher world of causes. The seventh will carry it from the Devachan and follow the new Ego to its place of re-birth." (M. L. 2nd & 3rd editions, 71/72)
" ... when man dies, his 'Soul' (fifth prin.) becomes unconscious and loses all remembrance of things internal as well as external. Whether his stay in Kama-loka has to last but a few moments, hours, days, weeks, month or years; whether he died a natural or a violent death; whether it occurred in his young or old age, and whether the Ego was good, bad or indifferent, - his consciousness leaves him as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick when blown out." (M. L. 128)
" ... the period between death and re-birth ... may last from a few years to a kalpa. It is divided into three sub-periods (1) when the Ego delivered
to its mortal coil enters into Kama-Loka (the abode of the Elementaries); (2) when it enters into its 'Gestation State'; (3) when it is reborn in the Rupa-Loka of Deva-chan. Sub-period (1) may last from a few minutes to a number of years ... (2) is ‘very long'; proportionate to the Ego's spiritual stamina; sub-period (3) lasts in proportion to the good Karma, after which the monad is again reincarnated ... 'in all these Rupa-Lokas, the Devas (Spirits) are equally subjected to birth, decay, old age and death' means only that an Ego is borne thither then begins fading out and finally 'dies' i.e., falls into that unconscious condition which precedes rebirth ... " (M. L. 105)
" ... A mother dies, leaving behind her helpless children, whom she adores, perhaps a beloved husband also. We say that her spirit or Ego, that individuality which is now wholly impregnated, for the entire devachanic period, with the noblest feelings held by its late personality, with love for her children, pity for those who suffer, and so on - is now entirely separated from 'the vale of tears,' that its future bliss consists in the blessed ignorance of all the woes it left behind. Spiritualists, on the contrary, say that it is as vividly aware of them, and more so than before, for 'spirits see more than mortals in the flesh do' .We say that the bliss of the devachani consists in its complete conviction that it has never left the earth, and that there is no such thing as death at all; that the post mortem spiritual consciousness of the mother will cause her to think that she lives surrounded by her children and all those whom she loved; that no gap, no link, will be missing to make her disembodied state the most perfect and absolute happiness ... " (Key [3rd edition], 99)
APPENDIX VII DEATH and Immortality
There are many references in theosophical literature to personalities, souls, "perishing by the million" as useless drones. There are also references to immortality, who attains its and how it is attained. Sometimes there is difficulty in reconciling these apparently conflicting ideas. H.P.B. makes a letter, raising this point, an opportunity to give some valuable explanations in an article entitled Death and Immortality. Here are some extracts:
"The apparent discrepancy between the two statements ... does not involve any real contradiction at all ... The confusion arises from the unfamiliarity of ordinary thinkers, unused to Occult ideas, with the distinction between the personal and individual entities in Man."
Quoting from Isis Unveiled:
"Man and soul had to conquer their immortality by ascending towards the unity with which, if successful, they were finally linked ... The individualization of man after death depended on the spirit, not on his soul and body. Although the world "personality", in the sense in which it is usually understood, is an absurdity, if applied literally to our immortal essence, still the latter is a distinct entity, immortal and eternal per se; ... "
" A person may have won his immortal life, and remain the same inner-self he was on earth, throughout eternity; but this does not imply necessarily that he must either remain the Mr. Smith or Mr. Brown he was on earth ... " (Isis 1, 315/16)
" ... Now as regards the personalities, the 'useless portion of mankind’ ... is the great bulk thereof. The permanent preservation of a personal identity beyond death is a very rare achievement, accomplished only by those who wrest her secrets from Nature, and control their own super-material development ... the preservation of personal identity beyond death ... is accomplished by adepts and sorcerers - the one class having acquired the supreme secret knowledge by holy methods, and with benevolent motives; the other having acquired it by unholy methods, and for base motives. But that which constitutes the inner self, the purer portions of the earthly personal soul united with the spiritual principles and constituting the essential individuality, is ensured a perpetuation of life in new births, whether the person, whose earthly surroundings are its present habitat, becomes endued with the higher knowledge or remains a plain ordinary man all his life." (C.W.IV, 253/54)
"Now, most people [p. 255] will be but too apt to feel that unsatisfactory as the circumstances may be, which constitute their present personalities, these are after all themselves - 'a poor thing, Sir but mine own' - and that the inner spiritual monads, of which they are but very dimly conscious, by the time they are united with entirely different sets of circumstances in new births, will be other people altogether in whose fate they cannot take any interest. In truth when the time comes they will find the fate of those people profoundly interesting, as much so as they find their own fates now ... "
"It has been explained, [p. 256] in more than one paper ... that the passage
of the spiritual monad into a rebirth does not immediately follow its release from the fleshly body last inhabited here. In the Kama-Ioka, or atmosphere of this earth, the separation of the two groups of ethereal principles takes place, and in the vast majority of cases in which the late personality - the fifth principle - yields up something which is susceptible of perpetuation and of union with the sixth, the spiritual monad, thus retaining consciousness of its late personality for the time being, passes into the state described as Devachan, where it leads, for very long periods indeed as compared with those of life on this earth, an existence of the most unalloyed satisfaction and conscious enjoyment. Of course this state is not one of activity nor of exciting contrast between pain and pleasure, pursuit and achievement, like the state of physical life, but it is one in which the personality of which we are speaking is perpetuated, as far as that is compatible with the non-perpetuation of that which has been painful in its experience. It is from this state that the spiritual monad is reborn into the next active life, and from the date of that rebirth the old personality is done with. But for any imagination, which finds the conception of rebirth and new personality uncomfortable, the doctrine of Devachan - and these 'doctrines', be it remembered, are statements of scientific fact which Adepts have ascertained to be as real as the stars though as far out of reach for most of us - the doctrine of Devachan, we say, will furnish people who cannot give up their earth-like memories all at once - with a soft place to fall upon." (C.W. IV, 250/56)
"In using the term 'planes of non-being' it is necessary to remember that those planes are only spheres of non-being, but those of being and matter to higher intelligences than ourselves. The highest Dhyan Chohans of the Solar System can have no conception of that which exists in higher systems, i.e., on the second "septenary" Kosmic plane, which to Beings of the ever invisible Universe is entirely subjective." (T.B.L. 82)
APPENDIX VIII DREAMS, Egoic Consciousness and the Absolute
"Therefore, we say, man, in addition to the physical, has also a spiritual brain. If the former is wholly dependent for the degree of its receptivity on its own physical structure and development, it is, on the other hand, entirely subordinate to the latter, in as much as it is the spiritual Ego alone, and accordingly as it leans more towards its two higher principles, (Footnote: The sixth principle, or spiritual soul and the seventh
- its purely spiritual principle, the 'Spirit' or parabrahm, the emanation from the unconscious ABSOLUTE [see Fragments of Occult Truth No. I]) or towards its physical shell, that can impress more or less vividly the outer brain with the perception of things purely spiritual or immaterial. Hence it depends on the acuteness of the mental feelings of the inner Ego, on the degree of spirituality of its faculties, to transfer the impression of the scenes its semi-spiritual brain perceives, the words it hears and what it feels, to the sleeping physical brain of the outer man. The stronger the spirituality of the faculties of the latter, the easier it will be for the Ego to awake the sleeping hemispheres, arouse into activity the sensory ganglia and the cerebellum, and to impress the former - always in full inactivity and rest during the deep sleep of man, with the vivid picture of the subject so transferred. In a sensual, unspiritual man, in one whose mode of life and animal proclivities and passions have entirely disconnected his fifth principle or animal, astral Ego, from its higher 'Spiritual Soul'; as also in him whose hard, physical labour has so worn out the material body as to render him temporarily insensible to the voice and touch of his Astral Soul - during sleep the brains of both these men remain in a complete state of anemia (sic) or full inactivity. Such persons rarely, if ever, will have any dreams at all, least of all 'visions that come to pass.' In the former, as the waking time approaches, and his sleep becomes lighter, the mental changes beginning to take place, they will constitute dreams in which intelligence will play no part; his half-awakened brain suggesting but pictures which are only the hazy grotesque reproductions of his wild habits in life; while the latter - unless strongly preoccupied with some exceptional thought, his ever-present instinct of active habits will not permit him to remain in that state of semi-sleep during which, consciousness beginning to return, we see dreams of various kinds, but will arouse him at once, and without any interlude to full wakefulness. On the other hand, the more spiritual a man, the more active his fancy, and the greater probability of his receiving in vision the correct impressions conveyed to him by his all-seeing, his ever wakeful Ego, The spiritual senses of the latter, unimpeded as they are by the interference of the physical senses, are in direct intimacy with the highest spiritual principle; and the latter, though per se quasi-unconscious - part of the utterly unconscious, because utterly immaterial Absolute - yet has in itself inherent capabilities of Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence which, as soon as the pure essence comes in contact with pure sublimated and (to us) imponderable matters,
imparts these attributes in a degree to the as pure Astral Ego. Hence highly spiritual persons, will see visions and dreams during sleep and even in their hours of wakefulness: these are the sensitives, the natural-born seers, now loosely termed 'spiritual mediums,' there being no distinction made between a subjective seer, a neuronpnological subject, and even an adept - one who has made himself independent of his physiological idiosyncrasies and has entirely subjected the outer to the inner man. Those less spiritually endowed will see such dreams but at rare intervals, the accuracy of the latter depending on the intensity their feeling in regard to the perceived object. "Footnote: To this teaching every kind of exception will be taken by the Theists and various objections raised by the Spiritualists. It is evident that we can not be expected to give within the narrow limits of a short article a full explanation of this highly abstruse and esoteric doctrine. To say that the ABSOLUTE CONSCIOUSNESS is Unconscious of its consciousness, hence to the limited intellect of man must be 'ABSOLUTE UNCONSCIOUSNESS', seems like speaking of a square triangle. We hope to develop the position more fully ... To do so, we will have to regard the 'Absolute' merely as the aggregate of intelligences, the totality of all existences, incapable of manifesting itself but through the interrelationships of its parts, as It is absolutely incognizable and non-existent outside its phenomena and depends entirely on its ever-correlating Forces, dependent in their turn on the ONE GREAT LAW." (C.W.III, 435/37)
APPENDIX IX DREAMS. From the Transactions of Blavatsky Lodge
Q. "What are the 'principles' which are active during dreams?"
A. "The 'principles' active during ordinary dreams - which ought to be distinguished from real dreams, and called idle visions - are Kama, the seat of the personal Ego and of desire awakened in chaotic activity by the slumbering reminiscences of the lower Manas."
In answer to another question, "What is lower Manas?", H.P.B. says, “This aspect of 'dreams' however, has been sufficiently observed and is described correctly enough in modem physiological and biological works, as such human dreams do not differ much from those of the animals. That which is entirely terra incognita for Science is the real dreams and experiences of the higher Ego, which are also called dreams, but ought not to be so termed, or else the term for the other sleeping 'visions' changed."
Q. "How do these differ?"
A. "The nature and functions of real dreams cannot be understood unless we admit the existence of an immortal Ego in mortal man, independent of the physical body, for the subject becomes quite unintelligible unless we believe - that which is a fact - that during sleep there remains only an animated form of clay, whose powers of independent thinking are utterly paralysed.
But if we admit the existence of a higher or permanent Ego in us which Ego must not be confused with what we call the 'Higher Self, we can comprehend that what we often regard as dreams, generally accepted as idle fancies, are, in truth, stray pages tom out from the life and experiences of the inner man, and the dim recollection of which at the moment of awakening becomes more or less distorted by our physical memory. The latter catches mechanically a few impressions of the thoughts, facts witnessed and deeds performed by the inner man during its hours of complete freedom. For our Ego lives its own separate life within its prison of clay whenever it becomes free from the trammels of matter, i .e ., during the sleep of the physical man. This Ego it is which is the actor, the real man, the true human self. But the physical man cannot feel or be conscious during dreams; for the personality, the outer man, with its brain and thinking apparatus, are paralysed more or less completely." (T.B.L. 49)
Q. "Do not the thoughts of the one impress themselves upon the other?"
A. "Not during sleep, at all events; for the real Ego does not think as his evanescent and temporary personality does. During the waking hours the thoughts and Voice of the Higher Ego do or do not reach his gaoler - the physical man, for they are the Voice of his Conscience, but during his sleep they are absolutely the 'Voice in the Desert'. In the thoughts of the real man, or the immortal 'Individuality,' the pictures and visions of the Past and Future are as the Present; nor are his thoughts like ours, subjective pictures in our cerebration, but living acts and deeds, present actualities. They are realities ... "
"All such are reflected on the brain of the sleeper, like outside shadows on the canvas walls of a tent, which the occupier sees as he wakes ... "
"Since dreams are in reality the actions of the Ego during physical sleep, they are, of course, recorded on their own plane and produce their appropriate effects on this one. But it must be always remembered that dreams in general, and as we know them, are simply our waking and hazy recollections of these facts." (T.B.L. 51/52)
"During sleep the physical memory and imagination are of course passive,
because the dreamer is asleep: his brain is asleep, his memory is asleep, all his functions are dormant and at rest. It is only when they are stimulated, as I told you, that they are aroused. Thus the consciousness of the sleeper is not active, but passive, the inner man, however, the real Ego, acts independently during the sleep of the body; but it is doubtful if any of us - unless thoroughly acquainted with the physiology of occultism - could understand the nature of its action."
Q. "What relation have the Astral Light and Akasha to memory?"
A. "The former is the 'tablet of the memory' of the animal man, the latter the spiritual Ego. The 'dreams' of the Ego, as much as the acts of the physical man, are all recorded since both are actions based on causes and producing results. Our 'dreams', being simply the waking state and actions of the true Self, must be, of course, recorded somewhere ... "
Q. "What, in reality, is the Astral Light?"
A. "As the Esoteric Philosophy teaches us, the Astral Light is simply the "dregs of Akasa or the Universal Ideation in its metaphysical sense. Though invisible, it is yet, so to speak, the phosphorescent radiation of the latter, and is the medium between it and man's thought faculties. It is these which pollute the Astral Light, and make it what it is -the storehouse of all human and especially psychic iniquities. In its primordial genesis, the astral light as a radiation is quite pure, though the lower it descends approaching our terrestrial sphere, the more it differentiates, and becomes as a result impure in its very constitution. But man helps considerably to this pollution, and gives it back its essence far worse than when he received it ... " (T.B.L. 53)
" ... The Astral Light has been taken too literally to mean some sort of a second blue sky. This imaginary space, however, on which are impressed the countless images of all that ever was, is and will be, is but a too sad reality. It becomes in, and for, man - if at all psychic - and who is not? - a tempting Demon, his 'evil angel' and the inspirer of all our worst deeds. Its acts on the will of even the sleeping man, through visions impressed upon slumbering brain (which visions must not be confused with the 'dreams'), and these germs bear their fruit when he awakes." (T.B.L. 54)
GLOSSARY Extracts are from the T.G. except where otherwise stated
Akasha. The subtle, supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space; the primordial substance; the Universal Space in which lies inherent the eternal Ideation of the Universe in its ever-changing aspects on the planes of matter and objectivity, from which radiates the First Logos, or expressed thought ... This power [which lies latent at the bottom of every magical operation] is the Akasha - in another aspect, Kundalini occult electricity, the alkahest of the alchemists in one sense, or the universal solvent, the same anima mundi on the higher plane as the astral light is on the lower.
Alkahest. The universal solvent in Alchemy but in mysticism, the Higher Self, the union with which makes of matter (lead), gold, and restores all compound things such as the human body and its attributes to their primeval essence.
Anima mundi. "Soul of the World" ... divine essence which permeates, animates and informs all, from smallest atom of matter to man and god. When it is said that every human soul was born by detaching itself from the anima mundi, it means, esoterically, our higher Egos are of an essence identical with It, which is a radiation of the ever unknown Universal ABSOLUTE.
Astral Light. Invisible region that sU1TOunds our globe, as it does every other, and corresponding to the second Principle of Kosmos (third being Life, of which it is the vehicle) to the Linga Sharira or Astral Double in man. A subtle Essence visible only to a clairvoyant eye, and the lowest but one (viz., the earth), of the Seven Akasic or Kosmic Principles.
Atma. The Universal Spirit, the divine Monad, the 7th Principle, so-called, in the septenary constitution of man. The Supreme Soul.
Buddhi. Universal Soul or Mind. Mahabuddhi is a name of Mahat ... also the spiritual Soul in man (the sixth principle), the vehicle of Atma.
Devachan. "The dwelling of the gods." A state intermediate between two earth-lives, into which the Ego (Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or the Trinity made One) enters, after its separation from Kama Rupa, and the disintegration of the lower principles on earth.
Fohat. Represents the active (male) potency of the Sakti (female reproductive power) in nature. Essence of cosmic electricity. Occult Tibetan term for Daiviprakriti, primordial light: and in the universe of manifestation ever-present electrical energy, ceaseless destructive and formative power. Esoterically, it is the same, Fohat being the universal propelling Vital Force, at once the propeller and the resultant.
Jiva. Life, as the Absolute; the Monad also or 'Atma-Buddhi.'
Jivatma. The ONE universal life, generally; but also the divine Spirit in Man.
Kama. Desire, passion, lust, volition; cleaving to existence. Identified with Mara, the tempter.
Kamaloka. Semi-material plane, to us subjective and invisible, where disembodied "personalities", astral forms, called Kamarupa remain, until they fade out from it by the complete exhaustion of the effects of mental impulses that created these eidolons of human and animal passions and desires. (See Kamarupa.). The Hades of the ancient Greeks and the Amenti of the Egyptians, the land of Silent Shadows; division of the first group of the Trailokya.
Kamarupa. Metaphysically, and in our esoteric philosophy, it is the subjective form created through the mental and physical desires and thoughts in connection with
things of matter, by all sentient beings, a form which survives the death of their bodies. After that death three of the seven "principles" - or let us say planes of senses and consciousness on which the human instincts and ideation act in turn - viz., the body, its astral prototype and physical vitality, - being of no further use, remain on earth; the three higher principles, grouped into one, merge into the state of Devachan (q.v.), in which state the Higher Ego will remain until the hour for a new reincarnation arrives; and the eidolon of the ex-Personality is left alone in its new abode. Here, the pale copy of the man that was, vegetates for a period of time, the duration of which is variable and according to the element of materiality which is left in it, and which is determined by the past life of the defunct. Bereft as it is of its higher mind, spirit and physical senses, if left alone to its own senseless devices, it will gradually fade out and disintegrate. But, if forcibly drawn back into the terrestrial sphere whether by the passionate desires and appeals of the surviving friends or by regular necromantic practices - one of the most pernicious of which is mediumship - the “spook" may prevail for a period greatly exceeding the span of the natural life of its body. Once the Kama-rupa has learnt the way back to living human bodies, it becomes a vampire, feeding on the vitality of those who are anxious for its company. In India these eidolons are called Pisachas, and are much dreaded ...
Karma. Physically, action: metaphysically, the LAW OF RETRIBUTION, the Law of cause and effect of Ethical Causation. Nemesis, only in one sense, that of bad karma ... it is the power that controls all things, the resultant of moral action, the metaphysical Samskara, or the moral effect of an act committed for the attainment of something which gratifies a personal desire. Karma neither punishes nor rewards, it is simply the one Universal LAW which guides unerringly, and, so to say, blindly, all other laws productive of certain effects along the grooves of their respective causations ... there remains nought after each Personality but the causes produced by it; causes which are undying, i.e., which cannot be eliminated from the Universe until replaced by their legitimate effects, and wiped out by them, so to speak, and such causes - unless compensated during the life of the person who produced them with adequate effect, will follow the reincarnated Ego, and reach it in its subsequent reincarnation until harmony between effects and causes is fully re-established. No "personality" - a mere bundle of material atoms and of instinctual and mental characteristics - can of course continue, as such, in the world of pure Spirit. Only that which is immortal in its very nature and divine in its essence, namely, the Ego, that self which is the "moral kernel" referred to and embodied karma, "which alone survives death " .
Laya. From the root Li "to dissolve, to disintegrate" a point of equilibrium (zero point) in physics and chemistry. In occultism, that point where substance becomes homogeneous and is unable to act or differentiate.
Linga Sharira. The "body," i.e., the aerial symbol of the body. Designates the doppelganger or "astral body" of man or animal ... reflection of the man of flesh. Born before and dies or fades out, with disappearance of last atom of the body.
Loka. A region, place; also applied to the world, or even the universe. In metaphysics, a world, sphere or plane ... (G. of S. T.)
Mahat. "The great one." The first principle of Universal Intelligence and Consciousness ... The producer of Manas the thinking principle, and of Ahankara, egotism or the feeling of "I am I" (in the lower Manas).
Mayavi Rupa. "illusive form"; the "double" in esoteric philosophy; doppelganger or perisprit, in German and French.
Monad. The Unity, the one; but in Occultism it often means the unified triad, AtmaBuddhi Manas, or the duad, Atma-Buddhi, that immortal part of man which reincarnates in the lower kingdoms, and gradually progresses through them to Man and then to the final goal - Nirvana.
Planets. The planets here called sacred are: - Sun, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Mercury, Mars, Moon. The Sun and Moon are substitutes for planets not named otherwise. The sacred planets were the primitive or primordial houses of the seven Logoi. They correspond to "the seven distinct rays", they also have correspondence to the seven globes (A to G) of a planetary chain, the seven planetary Dhyanis, etc. (See refs. in SD II. 602; II. 28/9; I. 576/6.)
Prana. Life-Principle; the breath of Life. Quaternary .Four lower "principles" in man, those which constitute his personality (i.e. body, astral double, Prana or life, organs of desire, and lower Manas or brain mind), as distinguished from the higher ternary or triad, composed of the higher spiritual soul, mind and Atman (Higher Self). (Key)
Triad or Trinity .In every religion and philosophy - the three in one. Eastern Occultists recognize but one triad - the upper one (corresponding to Atma-Buddhi and the "Envelope" which reflects their light ... )
T. G. = Theosophical Glossary by H. P. Blavatsky
G. of S. T. = Glossary of Sanskrit Terms by G. A. Barborka
Key = The Key to Theosophy (original edition) by H. P. Blavatsky
S. D. = The Secret Doctrine
C. W. = The Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky, (ed. Boris de Zirkoff)
M. L. = The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (2nd edition)
T. B. L. = Transactions of Blavatsky Lodge
1st & 2nd
References to The Secret Doctrine in this work are from the 1st and 2nd Editions.