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Apr 16, 2012 08:30 PM
by Ramanujachary

Certain details on Seven Principles of Man

Dr N C Ramanujachary

We are generally aware that there are seven principles constituting the Man, viz. Rupa or Stula-Sarira, Prana, Linga Sharira, Kama rupa, Manas, Buddhi and Atma. These are the Sanskrit terms. (For exoteric meanings and explanatory, see the table appearing at Page 90 of `The Key to Theosophy' by Madame Blavatsky.)
These are reflections of `the seven powers in Nature' at the physical level. Intellectually and spiritually seen they are the `seven Hierarchies of Being.' 
They are broadly divided into three groups, material, ethereal and spiritual, and make the triple nature of man. The grouping may differ in various systems, and yet `the apex of that division will always be the same.'     `There being only three Upadhis (bases) in man, any number of Koshas (sheaths) and their aspects may be built on these without disturbing the harmony of the whole.'
The Esoteric System accepts the seven-fold, division, the Vedantic classification gives five Koshas (Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anndamaya), and the Taraka Raja Yoga simplifies them into four (Sthula, Sukshma, Karana and Atma).
The spiritual or semi-spiritual personality can lead a triple or even dual life, shifting "Higher Selves" at liberty, and the same time can still be the one eternal Monad in the infinity of a Manvantara. This needs explanation thus:
The `Seven Principles' are the manifestation of one indivisible Spirit. Only at the end of the Manvantara, they come to be reunited on the plane of One Reality; and then alone will the Unity appear. 
During the `Pilgrim's ` journey the reflections of that invisible One flame ? which are the aspects of the one eternal Spirit ? have each the power of action on one of the manifested planes of existence, to which it properly belongs. All these planes are the gradual differentiations from the one unmanifested plane.
Our earth affords every Mayavic condition. The purified Egotistical Principle, the astral and personal Self of an Adept ? even as it is an integral whole with the Higher Self (Atma and Buddhi) ? can, for purposes of universal mercy and benevolence, separate itself from the divine Monad, so that it can lead on this plane of illusion and temporary being in a distinct independent conscious life of its own, under a borrowed illusive shape. This serves two purposes:
1.	The exhaustion of its own individual Karma.
2.	Saving of millions of beings less favored than itself from the effects of mental blindness.
When the passage of an Adept thus occurs, where does the original consciousness of such Adept, which animated the body so far, continue to reside, is it in Nirvana or as a Nirmanakaya? - The answer is thus:
That imprisoned consciousness may be a "certain knowledge from observation and experience." But the disembodied consciousness is not an effect, but a cause. It is a part of the whole, or rather a Ray on the gradual scale of its manifested activity, of the one all-pervading, limitless Flame, the reflections of which alone can differentiate. Therefore consciousness is ubiquitous (ever-present) and can be neither localized or centered on or in any particular subject, nor can it be limited.
Its effects alone pertain to the region of matter, for thought is an energy that effects matter in various ways, but consciousness (as understood in Occult Philosophy) is the highest quality of the sentient spiritual principle in us, the Divine Soul ( or Buddhi) and our Higher Ego, and does not belong to the plane of materiality.
After the death of the physical man, if he be an Initiate, it becomes transformed from a human quality into the independent principle itself; the conscious Ego becoming Consciousness, as such, without any Ego. The latter can no longer be limited or conditioned by the senses, or even by space or time.
Therefore it is capable, without separating itself from or abandoning its possessor, Buddhi, of reflecting itself at the same time in its astral man that was, without being under any necessity for localizing itself. This is shown at a far lower stage in our dreams. 
Consciousness can display activity during our visions, while the body and its material brain are fast asleep. Even in those visions the consciousness is ever-present. Its power must be much greater when entirely free from, and having no connection with, our physical brain.
[Adopted from Section 42 (vol.V) of The Secret Doctrine by Madame Blavatsky]

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