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RE: Astral Plane, Astral Body, and Astral Light

Sep 15, 2004 08:53 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

Sept 15 2004

"Outdated writings ?

To me this is a kind of prod.  

I say:  

Try the Bible, or Shakespeare. How about Milton, Mallory or Chaucer? How
about Bacon, Newton, Thomas Taylor, Max Mueller, Darwin, etc... not to
mention hundreds of competent and erudite writers in other contemporary
languages Goethe, Leibnitz, Galileo, Archimedes, Kepler, Descartes, Plato,
Pythagoras, Lao-Tse, . I do not praise "elitism," I am in search of real
scholarship, with data to prove their standpoints. 

I disagree. HPB is not obsolete. Nor do the modern "theosophists" so-called
seem to have achieved an "advances." They haven't proved HPB wrong, but have
simply ceased studying what she offered. 

"Original texts" (in this particular case) do not need the interposition of
transducers or interpreters who themselves know little of occultism and even
less of esotericism. Do they know precisely what THEOSOPHY is ? Can they
define it tersely? Can they project what tits objectives are and what goals
are offered in a logical and cohesive way?

It is like studying symbolism. The images and designs are often millennia
old. They avoid the trap of language and fixed ideas as to what words mean.

Lets take a "for instance." THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY pp 170-1:

KAMADEVA (Sk.). In the popular notions the god of love, a Visva-deva,
[Universal God] in the Hindu is Kama a most mysterious and
metaphysical subject. The earlier Vedic description of Kama alone gives the
key-note to what he emblematizes. 

Kama is the first conscious, all embracing desire for universal good, love,
and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness, the first feeling
of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the consciousness of
the creative ONE Force, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from

Says the Rig Veda, 

“Desire first arose in IT, which was the primal germ of mind, and which
Sages, searching with their intellect, have discovered in their heart to be
the bond which connects Entity with non-Entity”, or Manas with pure

There is no idea of sexual love in the conception. 

Kama is pre-eminently the divine desire of creating happiness and love; and
it is only ages later, as mankind began to materialize by
anthropomorphization its grandest ideals into cut and dried dogmas, that
Kama became the power that gratifies desire on the animal plane. This is
shown by what every Veda and some Brahmanas say: In the Atharva Veda, Kama
is represented as the Supreme Deity and Creator. In the Taitarîya Brahmana,
he is the child of Dharma, the god of Law and Justice, of Sraddha and faith.
In another account he springs from the heart of Brahmâ. Others show him born
from water, i.e., from primordial chaos, or the “Deep”. Hence one of his
many names, Irâ-ja, “the water-born”; and Aja, “unborn” ; and Atmabhu or
“Self-existent”. Because of the sign of Makara (Capricornus) on his banner,
he is also called “ Makara Ketu”. The allegory about Siva, the “GreatYogin
,” reducing Kama to ashes by the fire from his central (or third) Eye, for
inspiring the Mahadeva with thoughts of his wife, while he was at his
devotions—is very suggestive, as it is said that he thereby reduced Kama to
his primeval spiritual form.

So here we have primordial Love and desire for spiritual wisdom -- which in
terms of the immortal MONADS that through SPACE, implies the LOVE-LIFE that
supports all of them.  

It is: the MONADS and their MOTIVES. It is universality and unity. It is
the SELF and the many Selves. It implies cooperation, and a love that can
only be expressed by "Brotherhood." 

It also shows how ideas derived from the plane of the Buddhi-Manas can
percolate and be considered by the Lower Manas -- Kama-Manas. It is in that
transit, from Higher to lower Manas that ideals become reversed, that
virtues sink into the isolation of selfish vices. 

And what of "chakras" and "nadis?" What do HPB and the Masters have to say
of these? I would like to see some references. Is their study recommended
by those "sources?" 

And what does the tantrik lore on those provide to the aspirations of the
Higher Mind? Is any of that information reliable and proved to be an
unselfish and universal set of ideals that are of general assistance ? 

This is easily to be perceived if we probe our own inner Selves and reflect
on our memories. 

But to get back to the subject: 

The English of 125 / 150 years ago is not outdated. What has actually
happened is that modern readers have been systematically "dummied" down by
the kind of primary and secondary education offered. 

However there is hope. Those who are truly interested will make the effort
to learn and amass wisdom. Those who are daunted by the word-net and
word-trap are failing the first tests.

Fortunately the Inner Ego [Buddhi-Manas] is an immortal, and has lived
through many climes and languages and situations.  

It is the inner Heart that matters and not the outer brain-mind enmeshed in
likes and dislikes. And desirous of quick time wasting entertainment and
easy access to the "carrot" of "Power without or with little payment."

Let me be a little blunt ( and this is not aimed at anyone in particular,
please) -- it is an attempt to try to show how a divergence arose and what
its consequences after some 100 years or so are. 

I can see that if students have adopted the confusing nomenclature that CWL
and others originated, and did not adhere to what HPB originally taught, the
present dichotomy and confusion was inevitable. Jerry you illustrate this
very well.

If you reverse the matter and let HPB's definition stand, then, what happens
to the divergent line CWL originated? What is its coherence to THEOSOPHY ?

THEOSOPHY is monolithic in its whole being and statement. Its logic is
invulnerable. On the other hand, what can "neo-theosophy" and its "new
definitions" offer ? Where does it go? 

Now, if current "students of occultism" want to follow CWL's trend, then,
what has been achieved? Can this be compared with those who might try to
follow the Path that HPB and the Masters showed?

Each has to do this for themselves. But I also found that Margaret Thomas'


helped to pin-point those places where divergence was allowed to creep in.  

Primarily the fault (if any) lies with those students who failed to follow
the teachings and reasonings of HPB and the Masters. Who among those who
now carp are equally and as powerfully equipped with a thorough knowledge of
what HPB and the Masters have written?

I can also see where the "Spiritual line" was altered into the
"Psychic-line." That is discipline of a high moral and ethical character
vs. the 'indiscipline' of confused "likes and dislikes." One need only ask
of the two schools what their objectives and goals are.

Best wishes,


-----Original Message-----
From: Gerald 
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2004 7:52 AM
Subject: Astral Plane, Astral Body, and Astral Light

Dallas quoted:

"ASTRAL BODY, OR ASTRAL "DOUBLE." The ethereal counterpart or shadow
of man or animal. The Linga Sharira, the "Doppelganger." The reader must
not confuse it with the Astral Soul, another name for the lower Manas, or
Kama-Manas so-called, the reflection of the Higher Ego." T. GLOS p. 37

"That this astral light permeates the whole cosmos, lurking in its latent
state even in the minutest particle of rock, they demonstrate by the
phenomenon of the spark from flint and every other stone, whose spirit when
forcibly disturbed springs to sight spark-like, and immediately disappears
in the realms of the unknowable..."


GS	The "astral light" of Blavatsky is the "etheric plane" of modern

Her "astral body" as defined in the above quote is the "etheric
body" of modern Western Occultism. 

This is the subtle body that contains the chakras and nadis. I suspect that
this confuses the heck out of many students. 

I use the terminology of modern Western Occultism rather than
HPB's "original" teachings because she is not only outdated but confusing.

In this regard, I think CWL did a great service, he straightened out the
terminology of the planes and bodies and it is his terminology that is used
by most modern occultists.  

For example, in the above quote she defines the
astral body as being below her own astral plane, the sixth plane downwards
and the one first up from the physical. Why place "astral body" on the
etheric plane? And what "body" do we then place on the astral plane? 

The term "astral light" is a hold-over term from 17th and 18th century
occultists and is way outdated --frankly no one uses it today except
die-hard Theosophists. I have never come across this term in modern

When Blavatsky talks about astral planes and astral light and
astral bodies, we have to take these in context with what she is saying in
order to tell exactly what she means. This is one of the reasons why I have
trouble with the idea that we need to stick with the "original teachings."

Some of those "original teachings" are downright outdated and confusing to
people today.

Jerry S.

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