by Geoffrey Farthing

Part 2, Chapter III The Occult Constitution of Cosmos and Man

Original EditionDeity Cosmos and Man Centenary Edition


In a system that functions as a single unit - a true unity - everything is related to everything else. Divisions are made for purposes of presentation and study must inevitably be arbitrary, and in treating the parts as though they were separate, some repetition will also be inevitable. The understanding of the Hermetic axiom - "as above, so below" - is of paramount importance in this instance. The universe is sevenfold, and man likewise is sevenfold, each of his principles or aspects having its correspondence with the planes of the Cosmos; hence the insistence on the law of analogy, as is shown in the following paragraphs.

There is an eternal concatenation of causes and effects, and a perfect analogy which runs through, and links together, all the lines of evolution. One begets the other - globes as personalities. Secret Doctrine (I 171, I 194, I 224)

Everything in the Universe follows analogy. "As above, so below"; Man is the Microcosm of the Universe. That which takes place on the spiritual plane repeats itself on the Cosmic plane. Concretion follows the lines of abstraction; corresponding to the highest must be the lowest; the material to the spiritual. Secret Doctrine (I 177, I 200, I 230)

It thus becomes apparent how perfect is the analogy between the processes of Nature in the Kosmos and in the individual man. The latter lives through his life-cycle, and dies. His "higher principles", corresponding in the development of a planetary chain to the cycling Monads, pass into Devachan, which corresponds to the "Nirvana" and states of rest intervening between two chains. The


Man's lower "principles" are disintegrated in time and are used by Nature again for the formation of new human principles, and the same process takes place in the disintegration and formation of Worlds. Analogy is thus the surest guide to the comprehension of the occult teachings. Secret Doctrine (I 173, I 196, I 226)

This chapter elaborates the information given in Part I and introduces further aspects of the subject. However, because of the vastness and the intricacies of the scheme, it is possible to give only pointers towards these further aspects - a syllabus for study rather than a complete exposition.

The principles of man are variously classified according to different systems. See the tables given in The Secret Doctrine (I 157, I 181, I 212) and Key to Theosophy 91. The esoteric Instructions offer further classifications, with one demonstrating the correspondence in the Cosmos. Here the seventh principle is given as the Auric Egg or Auric Envelope, that which demarks him as an individual from the whole, as a drop of water from the ocean. It is thus called because

the substratum of the Aura around man is the universally diffused primordial and pure Akasha, the first film on the boundless and shoreless expanse of Jiva, the immutable Root of all. Secret Doctrine Addendum (493,471,607,392)

Although it is now referred to as "the chief 'principle' of all", the Auric Egg was not mentioned in the earlier published literature. Such mention "was not permitted ... on account of its being so sacred." Secret Doctrine Addendum (446,427,526,356) The "Luminous Egg" is described as "the invisible magnetic sphere in which every man is enveloped" - to which statement a footnote adds, "so are the animals, the plants, and even the minerals." Secret Doctrine Addendum (445,427 fn,526,356) In this way all units of life, simple or complex, are entities.

If we bear in mind what has already been learned of the Astral Light, the lowest regions of the Akasha, the function of the Auric Egg will be more


readily understood. We learn that it reflects all the thoughts, words and deeds of the individual; it preserves every karmic record; it is "the storehouse of all the good and evil powers of man, receiving and giving out at his will - nay, at his very thought - every potentiality, which becomes, then and there, an acting potency"; furthermore, "it furnishes man with his Astral Form, around which the physical entity models itself, first as a foetus, then as a child and man." Secret Doctrine Addendum (495,472,608,394)

An aspect of the correspondence between man and his world is summarized in the statement, "The Auric Egg is to the Man as the Astral Light is to the Earth." Secret Doctrine Addendum (539,512,omitted,omitted) There is a similar correspondence with the total manifested Kosmos, represented diagrammatically as the six kosmic planes within the seventh, the Auric Egg. See Diagram 1, Part 1 (page 59), which particularly relates to the Auric Envelope as it applies in both man and Kosmos, - GAF As with the Auric Egg of the individual, so "in the Kosmic Auric Envelope is all the Karma of the manifesting Universe." Secret Doctrine Addendum (555,528,657,436)

To help us to understand the way in which each human principle reflects the cosmic principles, and similarly the way in which each plane reflects the sevenfold Kosmos, we may think of the label that used to appear on bottles of coffee essence. It showed a man holding a bottle with a label showing a man holding a bottle with a label ... and so on, theoretically ad infinitum. This is indeed the Hermetic axiom: as the Kosmos exists on seven planes, of which the lowest is called (in the Instructions) the terrestrial or Prakritic, this Kosmic Prakritic is similarly divided into seven, of which the lowest only is the objective terrestrial plane sensed by the five physical senses. Likewise this, "the lowest plane of Prakriti, or the true terrestrial", is "divisible into seven planes, and these again into seven, making the forty-nine." Secret Doctrine Addendum (551,524,omitted,omitted)

There is a warning, repeated here and there in different words, against interpreting the teachings concerning the superphysical, suprasensuous


worlds in terms of our sensory experience of a three-dimensional time-bound world.

It has often been explained that neither the cosmic planes of substance nor even the human principles - with the exception of the lowest material plane or world and the physical body, which as has been said, are no 'principles' - can be located or thought of as being in Space and Time. As the former are seven in ONE, so are we seven in ONE - that same absolute Soul of the World, which is both Matter and non-Matter, Spirit and non-Spirit, Being and non-Being. Impress yourselves well with this idea, all those of you who would study the mysteries of SELF. Secret Doctrine Addendum (447,428,528,357)

A similar warning against the misuse of diagrams is given in Instruction III:

The Diagrams and Plates are intended to familiarize students with the leading ideas of occult correspondences only, the very genius of metaphysical, or macrocosmic and spiritual Occultism, forbidding the use of figures or even symbols further than as temporary aids. Once define an idea in words, and it loses its reality; once figure a metaphysical idea, and you materialize its spirit. Figures must be used only as ladders to scale the battlements, ladders to be disregarded once the foot is put upon the rampart. Let the Esotericists, therefore, be very careful to spiritualize the Instructions and avoid materializing them; let them always try to find the highest meaning possible, confident that in proportion as they approach the material and visible in their speculations on the Instructions, so far are they from the right understanding of them. This is especially the case with these first Instructions and Diagrams, for as in all true arts, so in Occultism, we must first learn the theory before we are taught the practice. Secret Doctrine Addendum (486,464,600,387)

The sevenfold pattern is found again in the human organism and in the Auric Envelope. Potentially, man has seven senses, two of which are latent and therefore remain unrecognized.


These seven senses of ours correspond with every other septenate in nature and in ourselves. Physically, though invisibly, the human Auric Envelope (the amnion of the physical man in every age of life) has seven layers, just as Cosmic Space and our physical epidermis have. It is this Aura which, according to our mental and physical state of purity or impurity, either opens for us vistas into other worlds, or shuts us out altogether from anything but this three-dimensional world of Matter

Each of our seven physical senses (two of which are still unknown to profane Science), and also of our seven states of consciousness - viz.: (1) waking; (2) waking-dreaming; (3) natural sleeping; (4) induced or trance-sleep; (5) psychic; (6) super-psychic; (7) and purely spiritual - corresponds with one of the seven Cosmic Planes, develops and uses one of the seven super-senses, and is connected directly, in its use on the terrestro-spiritual plane, with the cosmic and divine centre of force that gave it birth, and which is its direct creator. Each is also connected with, and under the direct influence of, one of the seven sacred Planets. Secret Doctrine Addendum (448,429,532,358)

This passage is preceded by a warning against misplaced reliance on either the physical or the psychic senses in what concerns the higher planes.

Remember that with our physical senses alone at our command, none of us can hope to reach beyond gross Matter. We can do so only through one or another of our seven spiritual senses, either by training, or if one is a born Seer. Yet even a clairvoyant possessed of such faculties, if not an Adept, no matter how honest and sincere he may be, will, through his ignorance of the truths of Occult Science, be led by the visions he sees in the Astral Light, only to mistake for God or Angels the denizens of those spheres of which he may occasionally catch a glimpse, as witness Swedenborg and others. Secret Doctrine Addendum (448,429,528,357)


The inter-relatedness of the evolution of the senses, the Elements and the Root-Races, is shown in the story of Anthropogenesis, where it is stated that

... with the Ancients, the evolution of man, and the growth and development of his spiritual and physical senses, were subordinate to the evolution of the Elements on the Cosmic plane of this earth. Secret Doctrine (II 107,II 113,III 116)

As each Element evolves, it "adds to its own characteristics those of its predecessor", and similarly, as each Root-Race evolves, it "adds the characterizing sense of the preceding Race". Thus man is seen to evolve "gradually in seven stages, and on the same principles". The relevant information is outlined in a brief table:

The following table on parallel lines may be found in the evolution of the Elements and the Senses; or in Cosmic Terrestrial "Man" or "Spirit", and mortal physical man:

Ether Hearing Sound
Air Touch Sound and Touch
Fire, or Light Sight Sound, Touch and Colour
Water Taste Sound, Touch, Colour and Taste
Earth Smell Sound, Touch, Colour, Taste and Smell

In the simple analysis of the constitution of man as a Triad (the three higher principles) and a Quaternary (the four lower ones), mention was made of Antahkarana, sometimes described as a bridge between Upper and Lower Manas. Antahkarana is defined more fully in the Instructions as


"that path or bridge of communication which serves as a link between the personal being whose physical brain is under the sway of the lower animal mind, and the reincarnating Individuality, the spiritual Ego, Manas, Manu, the "Divine Man"." Secret Doctrine Addendum (511,487,623,406) A further elaboration of the teaching emphasizes the fact that in incarnation there are effectively two Egos, the Divine and the human, which rebecome one in Devachan or Nirvana. Here Mme Blavatsky makes use of a practical illustration: using a lamp to represent the Divine Ego, the light it throws out to be the lower Manas, and the wall on which the light falls to be the man in his physical body, the Antahkarana is then seen as "that portion of the atmosphere which transmits the ray from the lamp to the wall. Secret Doctrine Addendum (519,495,631,412) The illustration is carefully developed to show not only the importance of the "imaginary bridge" between the human and the Divine Ego but also the power of the human Ego to ensure the maintenance of the connection. In the Key, discussion of the question of immortality makes it clear that "man and soul have to conquer their immortality", a teaching that is found again here in the statement that the human Soul becomes immortal by being "grafted on" the Monad - and in no other way. The Voice of the Silence, which was published in the same year as the Key, speaks of the merging of "the two into the One" and the consequent destruction of Antahkarana. In the Instructions, Mme Blavatsky refers to the Glossary of the Voice, in which this definition is given:

Antahkarana is the lower Manas, the Path of commmunication or communion between the personality and the higher Manas or human Soul. At death it is destroyed as a Path or medium of communication, and its remains survive in a form as the Kama-rupa - the "shell". The Voice of the Silence , Frag.3, v 222, note 9

Ultimately, then, the bridge is to be transcended with the merging of the individual with the Universal Soul; nevertheless it is a mistake to attempt to achieve that end by ignoring the Higher Mind.

No single rung of the ladder leading to knowledge can be skipped. No personality can ever reach or bring itself into communication


with Atma, except through Buddhi-Manas; to try to become a Jivanmukta or a Mahatma before one has become an Adept or even a Narjol (a sinless man) is like trying to reach Ceylon from India without crossing the sea. Therefore we are told that if we destroy Antahkarana before the personal is absolutely under the control of the impersonal Ego, we risk to lose the latter and be severed for ever from it, unless indeed we hasten to re-establish the communication by a supreme and final effort.

It is only when we are indissolubly linked with the essence of the Divine Mind, that we have to destroy Antahkarana. Secret Doctrine Addendum (522,497,634,414)

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