THEOSOPHY, Vol. 54, No. 4, February, 1966
(Pages 114-117; Size: 12K)

THE AGELESS SELF(1)

WHERE there is no struggle, there is no merit. Each Entity must have won for itself the right of becoming divine, through self-experience. The whole of antiquity was imbued with that philosophy which teaches the involution of spirit into matter, the progressive, downward cyclic descent, or active, self-conscious evolution. To become a Self-conscious Spirit, the latter must pass through every cycle of being, culminating in its highest point on earth in Man. Spirit per se is an unconscious negative ABSTRACTION. Its purity is inherent, not acquired by merit; hence to become the highest Dhyan Chohan it is necessary for each Ego to attain to full self-consciousness as a human, i.e., conscious Being, which is synthesized for us in Man.

The absence of self-consciousness and intellect will make of a man an idiot, a brute in human form. Man, philosophically considered, is, in his outward form, simply an animal, hardly more perfect than his pithecoid-like ancestor of the third round. He is a living body, not a living being, since the realization of existence, the "Ego-Sum," necessitates self-consciousness, and an animal can have only direct consciousness, or instinct.

Each class of Creators endows man with what it has to give: the one builds his external form; the other gives him its essence, which later on becomes the Human Higher Self owing to the personal exertions of the individual. The first creators were the Pygmalions of primeval man: they failed to animate the statue -- intellectually. The "Fathers," the lower Angels, are all Nature Spirits and the higher Elementals also possess an intelligence of their own; but this is not enough to construct a THINKING man. "Living Fire" was needed, that fire which gives to the human mind its self-perception and self-consciousness, or Manas. Had not the "sons of Mahat," speaking allegorically, skipped the intermediate worlds, in their impulse toward intellectual freedom, the animal man would never have been able to reach upward from this earth, and attain through self-exertion his ultimate goal.

The Host that incarnated in a portion of humanity, though led to it by Karma or Nemesis, preferred free-will to passive slavery, intellectual self-conscious pain and even torture -- "while myriad time shall flow" -- to inane, imbecile, instinctual beatitude. But while saving man from mental darkness, they inflicted upon him the tortures of the self-consciousness of his responsibility -- the result of his free will -- besides every ill which mortal man and flesh is heir to. Esoteric philosophy teaches that one third of the Dhyanis -- i.e., the three classes of the Arupa Pitris, endowed with intelligence, "which is a formless breath, composed of intellectual not elementary substances" -- was simply doomed by the law of Karma and evolution to be reborn (or reincarnated) on Earth. Some of these were Nirmanakayas from other Manvantaras.

In the esoteric teaching, the Kumaras are the progenitors of the true spiritual SELF in the physical man -- the higher Prajapati, while the Pitris, or lower Prajapati, are no more than the fathers of the model, or type of his physical form, made "in their image." The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddhi, but the higher Manas: the intellectual fruition and the efflorescence of the intellectual self-conscious Egotism --in the higher spiritual sense. The ancient works referred to it as Karana Sarira on the plane of Sutratma, which is the golden thread on which, like beads, the various personalities are strung.

The seventh principle (purusha) alone is the divine SELF, strictly speaking; for, as said in Manu, "He (Brahma) having pervaded the subtile parts of those six of unmeasured brightness," created or called them forth to "Self"-consciousness or the consciousness of that One SELF. The Self is what we call Atma, and thus constitutes the seventh principle, the synthesis of the "six." Kwan-Shi-Yin, literally interpreted, means "the Lord that is seen," and in one sense, "the divine SELF perceived by the Self" (the human) -- the Atman or seventh principle merged in the Universal, perceived by, or the object of perception to, Buddhi, the sixth principle or divine Soul in man. The Atman or Spirit (the Spiritual SELF) passing like a thread through the five subtile bodies (or principles, Koshas) is called "thread-soul," or Sutratman in Vedantic philosophy. In the Spirit or Atma, all forms of life and death are found at once, and he who is at one with the Atma knows the whole manifested Universe at once.

Atma alone is the one real and eternal substratum of all -- the essence and absolute knowledge -- the Kshetragna. It is called in the Esoteric philosophy "the One Witness," and, while it rests in Devachan, is referred to as "the Three Witnesses to Karma." "There is a certain eternal Self, on which the consciousness of selfhood rests; this is the witness of the three fields of consciousness." One has to acquire true Self-consciousness in order to understand the "origin of delusion." Only the liberated Spirit is able to faintly realize the nature of the source whence it sprung and whither it must eventually return.

It is not in the course of natural law that man should become a perfect septenary being, before the seventh race in the seventh round. Yet he has all these principles latent in him from his birth. Nor is it part of the evolutionary law that the Fifth principle (Manas), should receive its complete development before the Fifth Round.

Cosmic Ideation focussed in a principle or upadhi (basis) results as the consciousness of the individual Ego. The principle of our inner nature which develops in us into the Spiritual Ego -- the Higher Self -- is formed of the indissoluble union of Buddhi (the sixth) and the spiritual efflorescence of Manas, the fifth principle. It is not correct to refer to Christ -- as some theosophists do -- as the sixth principle in man -- Buddhi. The latter per se is a passive and latent principle, the spiritual vehicle of Atman, inseparable from the manifested Universal Soul. It is only in union and in conjunction with Self-consciousness that Buddhi becomes the Higher Self and the divine, discriminating Soul. Christos is the seventh principle, if anything. The two higher principles can have no individuality on Earth, cannot be man, unless there is (a) the Mind, or Manas-Ego, to cognize itself, and (b) the terrestrial false personality, or the body of egotistical desires and personal Will, to cement the whole, as if round a pivot (which it is, truly), to the physical form of man.

"Manas is dual -- lunar in its lower, solar in its upper portion," says a commentary. That is to say, it is attracted in its higher aspect towards Buddhi, and in its lower descends into, and listens to the voice of its animal soul full of selfish and sensual desires; and herein is contained the mystery of an adept's as of a profane man's life, as also that of the post-mortem separation of the divine from the animal man. There is no plane in the whole universe with a wider margin, or a wider field of action in its almost endless gradations of perceptive and apperceptive qualities, than the plane of Mentality, which has in its turn an appropriate smaller plane for every "form," from the "mineral" monad up to the time when that monad blossoms forth by evolution into the DIVINE MONAD.

When the Rabbi Jesus was requested (in Pistis Sophia) by his disciples to reveal to them, "the mysteries of the Light of thy [his] Father" (i.e., of the higher SELF enlightened by Initiation and Divine knowledge), Jesus answers: "Do ye seek after these mysteries? No mystery is more excellent than they which shall bring your souls unto the Light of Lights, unto the place of Truth and Goodness, unto the place where there is neither male nor female, neither form in that place but Light, everlasting, not to be uttered...."

It is only by the SELF emancipating itself from the (seven) causes of illusion that one acquires the knowledge (secret wisdom) of the qualities of objects of sense, on their dual plane of manifestation -- the visible and the invisible. "The learned do not suppose their senses to have aught to do with them, any more than with their SELF." (Anugita.) "Man can neither propitiate nor command the Devas," it is said. But, by paralyzing his lower personality, and arriving thereby at the full knowlege of the non-separateness of his higher SELF from the One absolute SELF, man can, even during his terrestrial life, become as "One of Us." Unless the Ego takes refuge in the Atman, the ALL-SPIRIT, and merges entirely into the essence thereof, the personal Ego may goad it to the bitter end.

"That Eternal, which is free from birth and growth and change, waning and sickness and death, everlasting, the cause that puts forth, upholds, destroys the world, 'That thou art'; bring it to consciousness in thy Self." (Vivekachudamani.)


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

THE ETERNAL PRINCIPLE

There is an eternal Principle or Substance which is truly the man and no accident derived from Composition. This is the Deity, the hero, the particular God, the intelligence in, from, and through whom different complexes and bodies are formed and form themselves, so that it continually reappears in different species, names, and fortunes. 


--GIORDANO BRUNO

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(1) NOTE.--A student's collation from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky.
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