Astral & Psychic Planes Part 1
Dec 28, 2004 08:33 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Dec 28 2004
Astral & Psychic Planes Part 1
THEOSOPHY on the ASTRAL WORLD or PLANE and the PSYCHIC WORLD or
THEOSOPHICAL DOCTRINES on EVOLUTION
This is a necessary introduction to the Theosophical concept of
“Astral Plane and the Astral Man.”
The cosmic and human chronology of the Hindus is laughed at by western
Orientalists, yet they can furnish nothing better and are continually
disagreeing with each other on the same subject… They could find in the
story of the building of Solomon's temple from the heterogeneous materials
brought from everywhere, and its erection without the noise of a tool being
heard, the agreement with these ideas of their Egyptian and Hindu brothers.
For Solomon's Temple means MAN whose frame is built up, finished and
decorated without the least noise. But the materials had to be found,
gathered together and fashioned in other and distant places... Man could not
have his bodily temple to live in until all the matter in and about his
world had been found by the Master, who is the Inner Man, when found, the
plans for working it required to be detailed. They then had to be carried
out until all the parts should be perfectly ready and fit for placing in the
So in the vast stretch of time which began after the first almost intangible
matter had been gathered and kneaded, the material and vegetable kingdoms
had sole possession here with the Master -- MAN -- who was hidden from sight
within, carrying forward the plans for the foundations of the human temple.
All of this requires many, many ages, since we know that nature never leaps.
And when the rough work was completed, when the human temple was erected,
many more ages would be required for all the servants, the priests, and the
counsellors to learn their parts properly so that MAN, the Master, might be
able to use the temple for its best and highest purposes.
The ancient doctrine is far nobler than the Christian religious one or that
of the purely scientific school. The religious gives a theory which
conflicts with reason and fact, while science can give for the facts which
it observes no reason which is in any way noble or elevating.
Theosophy alone, inclusive of all systems and every experience, gives the
key, the plan, the doctrine, the truth.
The real age of the world is asserted by Theosophy to be almost
incalculable, and that of man as he is now formed is over eighteen millions
of years. What has become at last man is of vastly greater age, for before
the present two sexes appeared the human creature was sometimes of one shape
and sometimes of another, until the whole plan had been fully worked out
into our present form, function, and capacity.
During all these ages before our man came into being, evolution was carrying
on the work of perfecting various powers which are now our possession. This
was accomplished by the Ego or real man going through experience in
countless conditions of matter all different one from the other, and the
same plan in general was, and is pursued, as prevails in respect to the
general evolution of the universe.
That is, DETAILS WERE FIRST WORKED OUT IN SPHERES OF BEING VERY ETHEREAL,
metaphysical in fact. Then the next step brought the same details to be
worked out on a plane of matter a little more dense, until at last it could
be done on our present plane of what we miscall gross matter.
In these anterior states the senses existed in germ, as it were, or in idea,
until the Astral Plane which is next to this one was arrived at, and then
they were concentrated so as to be the actual senses we now use through the
agency of the different outer organs.
SENSES AND POWERS HOW EVOLVED
The outer organs of sight, touch and hearing, and tasting, are often
mistaken by the unlearned or the thoughtless for the real organs and senses,
but he who stops to think must see that the senses are interior and that
their outer organs are but mediators between the visible universe and the
real perceiver within. And all these various powers and potentialities being
well worked out in this slow but sure process, at last man is put upon the
scene a sevenfold being just as the universe and earth itself are sevenfold.
Each of his seven principles is derived from one of the great first seven
divisions… So the first sevenfold differentiation is important to be borne
in mind, since it is the basis of all that follows; just as the universal
evolution is septenary so the evolution of humanity, sevenfold in its
constitution, is carried on upon a septenary Earth. [ S D I 157 ]
This is spoken of in Theosophical literature as the Sevenfold Planetary
Chain, and is intimately connected with Man's special evolution.
The earth is one of seven Globes, in respect to man's consciousness only,
because when he functions on one of the seven he perceives it as a distinct
globe and does not see the other six. This is in perfect correspondence with
man himself who has six other constituents of which only the gross body is
visible to him because he is now functioning on the Earth -- or the fourth
Globe -- and his body represents the Earth. [ S D I 200; II 596]
The whole seven "Globes" constitute one single mass or great Globe and they
all interpenetrate each other. But we have to say "Globe," because the
ultimate shape is globular or spherical…. H P B and her Adept teachers say,
that the seven Globes of our chain are in "coadunition with each other but
not in consubstantiality." (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 166.) This is
further enforced by cautions not to rely on plane surface diagrams, but to
look at the metaphysical and spiritual aspect of the theory as stated in
English. Thus, these Globes are united in one mass though differing from
each other in substance, and that this difference of substance is due to
change of center of consciousness.
OUR EARTH IS A REINCARNATION
The Earth Chain of seven Globes as thus defined is the direct reincarnation
of a former chain of seven Globes, and that former family of seven was the
moon chain, the moon itself being the visible representative of the fourth
Globe of the old chain.
When that former vast entity composed of the Moon and six others, all united
in one mass, reached its limit of life it died just as any being dies. Each
one of the seven sent its energies into space and gave similar life or
vibration to cosmic dust -- matter, -- and the total cohesive force of the
whole kept the seven energies together. This resulted in the evolving of the
present Earth Chain of seven centers of energy or evolution combined in one
mass. As the Moon was the fourth of the old series it is on the same plane
of perception as the Earth, and as we are now confined in our consciousness
largely to Earth we are able only to see one of the old seven -- to wit: our
HUMANITY : AN ARMY OF EGOS -- MONADS
The stream or mass of Egos which evolves on the seven Globes of our chain is
limited in number, yet the actual quantity is enormous. For though the
universe is limitless and infinite, yet in any particular portion of Cosmos
in which manifestation and evolution have begun there is a limit to the
extent of manifestation and to the number of Egos engaged therein. And the
whole number of Monads now going through evolution on our Earth Chain came
over from the old seven planets or Globes which I have described…as a "life
wave," which means the stream of Monads.
“GLOBES” REPRESENT STATES OF “CONSCIOUSNESS”
It reached this planetary mass, represented to our consciousness by the
central point our Earth, and began on Globe A or No. I, coming like an army
or river. The first portion began on Globe A and went through a long
evolution there in bodies suited to such a state of matter, and then passed
on to B, and so on through the whole seven greater states of consciousness
which have been called Globes. When the first portion left A, others
streamed in and pursued the same course, the whole army proceeding with
regularity round the septenary route.
This journey went on for four circlings round the whole, and then the whole
stream or army of Egos from the old Moon Chain had arrived, and being
complete, no more entered after the middle of the Fourth Round. The same
circling process of these differently arrived classes goes on for seven
complete “Rounds” of the whole seven planetary centers of consciousness, and
when the seven are ended as much perfection as is possible in the immense
period occupied will have been attained, and then this chain or mass of
"globes" will die in its turn to give birth to still another series.
Each one of the Globes is used by evolutionary law for the development of
seven races, and of senses, faculties and powers appropriate to that state
of matter: the experience of the whole seven globes being needed to make a
Hence we have the Rounds and Races. The Round is a circling of the seven
centers of planetary consciousness; the Race the racial development on one
of those seven. There are seven races for each Globe, but the total of
forty-nine races only makes up seven great races, the special septenate of
races on each globe or planetary center composing in reality one race of
seven constituents or special peculiarities of function and power.
And as no complete race could be evolved in a moment on any Globe, the slow,
orderly processes of nature, which allow no jumps, must proceed by
appropriate means. Hence sub-races have to be evolved one after the other
before the perfect Root Race is formed, and then the Root Race sends off its
offshoots while it is declining and preparing for the advent of the next
As illustrating this, it is distinctly taught that on the Americas is to be
evolved the new -- sixth -- race; and here all the races of the earth are
now engaged in a great amalgamation from which will result a very highly
developed sub-race, after which others will be evolved by similar processes
until the new one is completed.
A PERIOD OF REST BETWEEN EARTH INCARNATIONS
Between the end of any great race and the beginning of another there is a
period of rest, so far as the Globe is concerned, for then the stream of
human Egos leaves it for another one of the chain in order to go on with
further evolution of powers and faculties there.
But when the last, the seventh, race has appeared and fully perfected
itself, a great dissolution comes on… and then the world disappears as a
tangible thing, and so far as the human ear is concerned there is silence.
This, it is said, is the root of the belief so general that the world will
come to an end, that there will be a judgment-day, or that there have been
universal floods or fires.
EARLY ASPECTS OF MATTER
Taking up evolution on the Earth, it is stated that the stream of Monads
begins first to work up the mass of matter in what are called elemental
conditions when all is gaseous or fiery. For the ancient and true theory is
that no evolution is possible without the Monad as vivifying agent. In this
first stage there is no animal or vegetable. Next comes the mineral when the
whole mass hardens, the Monads being all imprisoned within.
Then the first Monads emerge into vegetable forms which they construct
themselves, and no animals yet appear. Next the first class of Monads
emerges from the vegetable and produces the animal, then the human astral
and shadowy model, and we have minerals, vegetables, animals and future men,
for the second and later classes are still evolving in the lower kingdoms.
When the middle of the Fourth Round is reached no more Monads emerge into
the human stage and will not until a new planetary mass, reincarnated from
ours, is made. This is the whole process roughly given, but with many
details left out….
MANIFESTATION : UNIVERSAL PLAN -- MAHAT -
The plan comes first in the Universal Mind, after which the Astral Model or
basis is made, and when that astral model is completed, the whole process is
gone over so as to condense the matter, up to the middle of the Fourth
Subsequent to that, which is our future, the whole mass is spiritualized
with full consciousness and the entire body of Globes raised up to a higher
plane of development. In the process of condensing above referred to there
is an alteration in respect to the time of the appearance of man on the
planet. But as to these details the teachers have only said, … “but the
variation will not be given to this generation." Hence it is impossible to
give it. But there is no vagueness on the point that seven great races have
to evolve here on this planet, and that the entire collection of races has
to go seven times round the whole series of seven Globes.
Human beings did not appear here in two sexes first. The first were of no
sex, then they altered into hermaphrodite, and lastly separated into male
and female. And this separation into male and female for human beings was
over 18,000,000 years ago. For that reason is it said, in these ancient
schools, that our humanity is 18,000,000 years old and a little over.
SOUL -- EGO -- MIND
Nearly everyone says he has a soul and a body, and there it ends. What the
soul is, and whether it is the real person or whether it has any powers of
its own, are not inquired into, the preachers usually confining themselves
to its salvation or damnation. And by thus talking of it as something
different from oneself, the people have acquired an underlying notion that
they are not souls because the soul may be lost by them. From this has come
about a tendency to materialism causing men to pay more attention to the
body than to the soul, the latter being left to the tender mercies of the
priest of the Roman Catholics, and among dissenters the care of it is most
frequently put off to the dying day. But when the true teaching is known it
will be seen that the care of the soul, which is the Self, is a vital matter
requiring attention every day, and not to be deferred without grievous
injury resulting to the whole man, both soul and body….
THE 7-FOLD CLASSIFICATION
H. P. Blavatsky directly from the Great Lodge of Initiates…places…the old
doctrine [of seven-fold Man] before western civilization. The
1. The Body, or Rupa.
2. Vitality, or Prana-Jiva.
3. Astral Body, or Linga-Sarira.
4. Animal Soul, or Kama-Rupa
5. Human Soul, or Manas.
6. Spiritual Soul, or Buddhi.
7. Spirit, or Atma,
The words in the Sanskrit language are adopted the English terms. This
classification stands to this day for all practical purposes, but it is
capable of modification and extension.
For instance, a later arrangement which places ASTRAL BODY second instead
of third in the category does not substantially alter it. It at once gives
an idea of what man is, very different from the vague description by the
words "body and soul," and also boldly challenges the materialistic
conception that mind is the product of brain, a portion of the body.
No claim is made that these principles were hitherto unknown, for they were
all understood in various ways not only by the Hindus but by many Europeans.
Yet the compact presentation of the sevenfold constitution of man in
intimate connection with the septenary constitution of a chain of Globes
through which the being evolves, had not been given out…
Considering these constituents in another manner, we would say that the
lower man is a composite being, but in his real nature is a unity, or
immortal being, comprising a trinity of Spirit, Discernment, and Mind which
requires four lower mortal instruments or vehicles through which to work in
matter and obtain experience from Nature.
This trinity is that called Atma-Buddhi-Manas in Sanskrit, difficult terms
to render in English. Atma is Spirit, Buddhi is the highest power of
intellection, that which discerns and judges, and Manas is Mind. This
threefold collection is the real man; and beyond doubt the doctrine is the
origin of the theological one of the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The four lower instruments or vehicles are shown in this table:
The “Real Man” is :
His “Lower Vehicles” are :
• The Passions and Desires,
• Life Principle,
• Astral Body,
• Physical Body.
These four lower material constituents are transitory and subject to
disintegration in themselves as well as to separation from each other. When
the hour arrives for their separation to begin, the combination can no
longer be kept up, the physical body dies, the atoms of which each of the
four is composed begin to separate from each other, and the whole collection
being disjointed is no longer fit for one as an instrument for the real man.
DEATH of the PHYSICAL
This is what is called "death" among us mortals, but it is not death for the
real man because he is deathless, persistent, immortal. He is therefore
called the Triad, or indestructible trinity, while they are known as the
Quaternary or mortal four.
This quaternary or lower man is a product of cosmic or physical laws and
substance. It has been evolved during a lapse of ages, like any other
physical thing, from cosmic substance, and is therefore subject to physical,
physiological, and psychical laws which govern the race of man as a whole.
Hence its period of possible continuance can be calculated just as the limit
of tensile strain among the metals used in bridge building can be deduced by
the engineer. Any one collection in the form of man made up of these
constituents is therefore limited in duration by the laws of the
evolutionary period in which it exists. Just now, that is generally seventy
to one hundred years, but its possible duration is longer. Thus there are in
history instances where ordinary persons have lived to be two hundred years
of age; and by a knowledge of the occult laws of nature the possible limit
of duration may be extended nearly to four hundred years.
• The visible physical man is: Brain, Nerves,
Blood, Bones, Lymph, Muscles, Organs of Sensation and Action, and Skin.
• The unseen physical man is: Astral Body,
Passions and Desires, Life Principle (called prana or jiva).
It will be seen that the physical part of our nature is thus extended to a
second department which, though invisible to the physical eye, is
nevertheless material and subject to decay.
REAL AND UNREAL
Because people in general have been in the habit of admitting to be real
only what they can see with the physical eye, they have at last come to
suppose that the unseen is neither real nor material. But they forgot that
even on the earth plane noxious gases are invisible though real and
powerfully material, and that water may exist in the air held suspended and
invisible until conditions alter and cause its precipitation.
Let us recapitulate before going into details. The Real Man is the trinity
of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or Spirit and Mind, and he uses certain agents and
instruments to get in touch with nature in order to know himself.
These instruments and agents are found in the lower Four -- or the
Quaternary -- each principle in which category is of itself an instrument
for the particular experience belonging to its own field, the body being the
lowest, least important, and most transitory of the whole series.
For when we arrive at the body on the way down from the Higher Mind, it can
be shown that all of its organs are in themselves senseless and useless when
deprived of the man within.
Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smelling do not pertain to the body but to
the second unseen physical man, the real organs for the exercise of those
powers being in the ASTRAL BODY, and those in the physical body being but
the mechanical outer instruments for making the coordination between nature
and the real organs inside.
[ CONTINUED IN PART 2 ]
[Adapted from THE OCEAN OF THEOSOPHY ]
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