Evolution of Theosophy
Nov 17, 2004 02:37 PM
by Anand Gholap
" Inquirers attracted to Theosophy by its central doctrine of the brotherhood of man, and by the hopes which it holds out of wider knowledge and of spiritual growth, are apt to be repelled when they make their first attempt to come into closer acquaintance with it, by the to them strange and puzzling names which flow glibly from the lips of Theosophists in conference assembled.
2. They hear a tangle of Ātma-Buddhi, Kāma-Manas, Triad, Devachan, and what not, and feel at once that for them Theosophy is far too abstruse a study. Yet they mighthave become very good Theosophists, had not their initial enthusiasm been quenched with the douche of Sanskrit terms. In the present manual the smoking flax shall be more tenderly treated, and but few Sanskrit names shall beflung in the face of the enquirer.
3. As a matter of fact, the use of these terms has become general among Theosophists because the English language has no equivalents for them, and a long and clumsy sentence has to be used in their stead if the idea is to be conveyed at all. The initial trouble of learning the names has been preferred to the continuedtrouble of using roundabout descriptive phrases - "Kāma," for instance, being shorter and more precise than "the passional and emotional part of our nature."
4. Man according tothe Theosophical teaching is a sevenfold being, or, in the usual phrase, has a septenary constitution. Putting it in another way, man's nature has seven aspects, may be studied from seven different points of view, is composed of seven principles. The clearest and best way of all in which to think of man is to regard him as one, the Spirit or True Self ; this belongs to the highest region of the universe, and is universal, the same for all ; it is a ray of God, a spark from the divine fire. This is to become an individual, reflecting the divine perfection, a son that grows into the likeness ofhis father.
5. For this purposethe Spirit, or true Self, is clothed in garment after garment, each garment belonging to a definite region of the universe, and enabling the Self to come into contact with that region, gain knowledge of it, and work in it. It thus gains experience, and all its latent potentialities are gradually drawn out into active powers. These garments, or sheaths, are distinguishable from each other both theoretically and practically.
6. If a man be looked at clairvoyantly each is distinguishable by the eye, and they are separable each from each either during physical life or at death, according to the nature of any particular sheath. Whatever words may be used, the fact remains the same - that he is essentially sevenfold, an evolving being, part of whose nature has already been manifested, part remaining latent at present, so far as the vast majority of humankind is concerned. Man's consciousness is able to function through as many of these aspects as have been already evolved in him into activity.
7. This evolution, during the present cycle of human development, takes place on five out of seven planes of nature. The two higher planes - the sixth and seventh - willnot be reached, save in the most exceptional cases, by men of this humanity in the present cycle, and they may therefore be left out of sight for ourpresent purpose.
8. As, however, some confusion has arisen as to the seven planes through differences of nomenclature, two diagrams are given at the end of this treatise showing the seven planes as they exist in our division of the universe, in correspondence with the vaster planes of the universe as a whole, and also the subdivision of the five into seven, as they are represented in some of our literature."
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