THE ARYAN-ARHAT ESOTERIC TENETS ON THE SEVENFOLD PRINCIPLE IN MAN
T. Subba Row, B.A., B.L.*
[The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 4, January, 1882, pp. 93-99]
[It has been thought advisable to publish here the entire text of this material by T. Subba Row, because H.P.B.’s numerous footnotes and Appendices might not be easily understood with. out the main text to which they are appended.]
. . . Probably the Aryan (we shall for the present call it by that name) and the Chaldeo-Tibetan esoteric doctrines are fundamentally identical and the secret doctrine of the Jewish Kabalists merely an offshoot of these. Nothing, perhaps, can be more interesting now to a student of occult philosophy than a comparison between the two principal doctrines above mentioned. Your letter seems to indicate two divisions in the Chaldeo-Tibetan doctrine: (1) that of the so-called Lamaists; and (2) that of the so-called Arhats (in Buddhism, Arahats, or Rahats) which has been adopted by the Himalayan or Tibetan Brotherhood. What is the distinction between these two systems? Some of our ancient Brahmanical writers have left us accounts of the main doctrines of Buddhism and the religion and philosophy of the Arhats--the two branches of the Tibetan esoteric doctrine being so called by them. As these accounts generally appear in treatises of a polemical character, I cannot place much reliance upon them.
It is now very difficult to say what was the real ancient Aryan doctrine. If an enquirer were to attempt to answer it by an analysis and comparison of all the various systems of esotericism prevailing in India, he will soon be lost in a maze of obscurity and uncertainty.
* We give but extracts from the long letter of the above-named gentleman. [“We” stands for H.P.B. as Editor of The Theosophist.—Compiler.]
No comparison between our real Brahmanical and the Tibetan esoteric doctrines will be possible unless one ascertains the teachings of that so-called “Aryan doctrine,” . . . and fully comprehends the whole range of the ancient Aryan philosophy. Kapila’s “Sankhya,” Patañjali’s “Yoga philosophy,” the different systems of “Sâktya” philosophy, the various Agamas and Tantras are but branches of it. There is a doctrine though, which is their real foundation and which is sufficient to explain the secrets of these various systems of philosophy and harmonize their teachings. It probably existed long before the Vedas were compiled, and it was studied by our ancient Rishis in connotation with the Hindu scriptures. It is attributed to one mysterious personage called Maha.* . . .
The Upanishads and such portions of the Vedas as are not chiefly devoted to the public ceremonials of the ancient Aryans are hardly intelligible without some knowledge of that doctrine. Even the real significance of the grand ceremonials referred to in the Vedas will not be perfectly apprehended without its light being thrown upon them. . . . The Vedas were perhaps compiled mainly for the use of the priests assisting at public ceremonies, but the grandest conclusions of our real secret doctrine are therein mentioned. I am informed by persons competent to judge of the matter, that the Vedas have a distinct dual meaning—one expressed by the literal sense of the words, the other indicated by the metre and the Svara which are, as it were, the life of the Vedas. . . . Learned Pundits and philologists, of course, deny that Svara has anything to do with philosophy or ancient esoteric doctrines. But the mysterious connection between Svara and light is one of its most profound secrets.
Now it is extremely difficult to show whether the Tibetans derived their doctrine from the ancient Rishis of India, or the ancient Bramans learned their occult science from the adepts of Tibet; or again whether the adepts of both countries professed originally the same doctrine and derived it from a common source.† If you were to go the Śramana Balagula and question some of the Jaina Pundits there about the authorship of the Vedas and the origin of the Brahmanical esoteric doctrine, they would probably teal you that the Vedas were
* The very title of the present chief of the Esoteric Himalayan
† See Appendix, Note I.
composed by Rakshasas* or Thytyas, and that the Brahmans had derived their secret knowledge from them.† Do these assertions mean that the Vedas and the Brahmanical esoteric teachings had their origin in the lost Atlantis—the continent that once occupied a considerable portion of the expanse of the Southern and the Pacific oceans? Your assertion in Isis Unveiled that Sanskrit was the language of the inhabitants of the said continent, may induce one to suppose that the Vedas had probably their origin there—wherever else might be the birthplace of the Aryan esotericism.‡ But the real esoteric doctrine as well as the mystic allegorical philosophy of the Vedas were derived from another source, again, whatever that source may be—perchance, from the divine inhabitants-gods of the sacred Island which, as you say, once existed in the sea that covered in days of old the sandy tract now called Gobi Desert. However that may be, the knowledge of the occult powers of nature possessed by the inhabitants of the lost Adantis was learnt by the ancient adepts of India and was appended by them to the esoteric doctrine taught by the residents of the sacred Island.†† The Tibetan adepts, however, have not accepted this addition
* A kind of demon—Devil.
† And so would the Christian padris. But they would never admit that their “fallen angels” were borrowed from the Rakshasas; that their “Devil” is the illegitimate son of Dewel—the Singhalese female demon, or that the “War in Heaven” of the Apocalypse—the foundation of the Christian dogma of the “Fallen Angels”—was copied from the Hindu story about Siva hurling the Târakasurs who rebelled against Brahma into Andhakâra—the abode of Darkness, according to Brahmanical Shastras.
‡ Not necessarily. —See Appendix, Note II. From rare MSS. just received, we will shortly prove Sanskrit to have been spoken in Java and adjacent islands from remote antiquity.
†† A locality which is spoken of to this day by the Tibetans and called by them “Śambhala,” the Happy Land.—See Appendix, Note III.
[The statement referred to in Isis Unveiled is in Vol. I, p. 594 footnote, and is according to L. Jacolliot and not H.P.B.’s own.—Compiler.]
to their esoteric doctrine. And, it is in this respect that one should expect to find a difference between the two doctrines.*
The Brahmanical occult doctrine probably contains everything that was taught about the powers of nature and their laws, either in the mysterious Island of the North, or in the equally mysterious continent of the South. And, if you mean to compare the Aryan and the Tibetan doctrines as regards their teachings about the occult powers of nature, you must beforehand examine all the classifications of these powers, their laws and manifestations and the real connotations of the various names assigned to them in the Aryan doctrine. Here are some of the classifications contained in the Brahmanical system:
Classification of the occult powers
|as appertaining to Parabrahman and
existing in the MACROCOSM.
|II||do.||do.|| as appertaining to man and existing
in the MICROCOSM,
|III||do.||do.||for the purposes of Târaka Yoga or
|IV||do.||do.||for the purposes of Sankhya Yoga
(where they are, as it were, the inherent
attributes of Prakriti).
|V||do.||do.||for the purposes of Hatha Yoga.|
|VI||do.||do.||for the purposes of Kula Agama.|
|VII||do.||do.||for the purposes of Sakta Agama.|
|VIII||do.||do.||for the purposes of Siva Agama.|
|IX||do.||do.|| for the purposes of Srîchakra. (The
Srîchakra you referred to in Isis
Unveiled is not the real esoteric
Srîchakra of the ancient adepts of
|X||do.||do.||in Atharvana Veda, etc.|
In all these classifications, subdivisions have been multiplied indefinitely by conceiving new combinations of the Primary Powers in different proportions. But I must now drop this subject and proceed
* To comprehend this passage fully, the reader must turn to Vol. I, pp. 589-594, of Isis Unveiled.
† Very true. But who would be allowed to give out the “real esoteric one”? [See Isis Unveiled, II, 265.]
to consider the article headed “Fragments of Occult Truth,” in the October number of The Theosophist.
I have carefully examined it, and find that the results arrived at (in the Buddhist doctrine) do not seem to differ much from the conclusions of our Aryan philosophy, though our mode of stating the arguments may differ in form. I shall now discuss the question from my own standpoint, though following for facility of comparison and convenience of discussion the sequence of classification of the sevenfold entities or Principles constituting man which is adopted in your article. The questions raised for discussion are (1) whether the disembodied spirits of human beings (as they are called by Spiritualists) appear in the seance rooms and elsewhere; and (2) whether the manifestations taking place are produced wholly or partly through their agency.
It is hardly possible to answer these two questions satisfactorily unless the meaning intended to be conveyed by the expression “disembodied spirits of human beings” be accurately defined. The words Spiritualism and Spirit are very misleading. Unless English writers in general, and Spiritualists in particular, first ascertain clearly the connotation they mean to assign to the word spirit, there will be no end of confusion, and the real nature of these so-called spiritualistic phenomena and their modus occurrendi can never be clearly defined. Christian writers generally speak of only two entities in man—the body, and the soul or spirit (both seeming to mean the same thing to them). European philosophers generally speak of Body and Mind, and argue that soul or spirit cannot be anything else than mind. They are of opinion that any belief in Linga-śarira* is entirely unphilosophical. These views are certainly incorrect, and are based on unwarranted assumptions as to the possibilities of nature, and on an imperfect understanding of its laws. I shall now examine (from the standpoint of the Brahmanical esoteric doctrine) the Spiritual constitution of man, the various entities or principles existing in him, and ascertain whether either of those entities entering into his composition can appear on earth after his death; and, if so, what is it that so appears.
You have read some of Professor Tyndall’s excellent papers on what he calls “Germ Theory,” giving the facts ascertained by his experiments. His conclusions may be briefly stated thus:—Even in a very
* The Astral Body—so called.
small volume of space there are myriads of protoplasmic germs floating in ether. If, for instance, say—water (clear water) is exposed to them and if they fall into it, some form of life or other will be evolved out of them. Now, what are the agencies for bringing of this life into existence? Evidently:-
I. The water, which is the field, 90 to say, for the growth of life.
II. The protoplasmic germ, out of which life or a living organism is
to be evolved or developed. And, lastly—
III. The power, energy, force or tendency which springs into
activity at the touch or combination of the protoplasmic germ and the
water, and which evolves or develops life and its natural attributes.
Similarly, there are three primary causes which bring the human being into existence. I shall call them for the purpose of discussion by the following names:—
(1) Parabrahman—The Universal Spirit.
(2) Sakti (the crown of the astral light combining in itself all the powers of nature).
(3) Prakriti, which in its original or primary shape is represented by Akâśa (really, every form of matter is finally reducible to Akâśa.)*
It is ordinarily stated that Prakriti or Akâsa is the Kshatra or the basis which corresponds to water in the example we have taken; Brahman the germ, and Sakti the power or energy that comes into existence at their union or contact.†
* The Tibetan esoteric Buddhist doctrine teaches that Prakriti is cosmic matter, out of which all visible forms are produced; and Akâsa that same cosmic matter—but still more imponderable, its spirit, as it were, “Prakriti” being the body or substance, and Akâsa-Sakti its soul or energy.
† Or, in other words, “Prakriti, Svabhavat or Akâśa is—SPACE as the Tibetans have it; Space filled with whatsoever substance or no substance at all; i.e., with substance so imponderable as to be only metaphysically conceivable. Brahmâ, then, would be the germ thrown into the soil of that field, and Sakti, that mysterious energy or force which develops it, and which is called by the Buddhist Arahats of Tibet—FO-HAT. “That which we call form (rupa) is not
But this is not the view which the Upanishads take of the question. According to them, Brahman* is the Kshatra or basis, Akâśa or Prakriti, the germ or seed, and Sakti the power evolved by their union or contact. And this is the real scientific, philosophical mode of stating the case.
Now, according to the adepts of ancient Aryavarta, seven principles are evolved out of these three primary entities. Algebra teaches us that the number of combinations of n things taken one at a time, two at a time, three at a time and so forth= 2n—1.
Applying this formula to the present case, the number of entities evolved from different combinations of these three primary cause amounts to 23—1=8-1=7.
As a general rule, whenever seven entities are mentioned in the ancient occult science of India, in any connection whatsoever, you must suppose that those seven entities came into existence from three primary entities; and that these three entities again, are evolved out of a single entity or MONAD. To take a familiar example, the seven coloured rays in the solar ray are evolved out of three primary coloured rays; and the three primary colours co-exist with the four secondary colours
different from that which we call space (Śûnyatâ) . . . . Space is not different from Form. Form is the same as Space; Space is the same as Form. And so with the other skandhas, whether vedana, or sañjñâ, or samskara or vijñana, they are each the same as their opposite.” . . . (Book of Sin-king or the Heart Sutra. Chinese translation of the Maha-Prajña-Paramita-Hridaya-Sutra. Chapter on the Avalokiteshwara, or the manifested Buddha.) So that, the Aryan and Tibetan or Arhat doctrines agree perfectly in substance, differing but in names given and the way of putting it, a distinction resulting from the fact that the Vedantin Brahmans believe in Parabrahman, a deific power, impersonal though it may be, while the Buddhists entirely reject it.
* See Appendix, Note IV.
in the solar rays. Similarly, the three primary entities which brought man into existence co-exist in him with the four secondary entities which arose from different combinations of the three primary entities
Now these seven entities which in their totality constitute man, are as follows:—I shall enumerate them in the order adopted in your article, as far as the two orders (the Brahmanical and the Tibetan): —
Corresponding names in your
|I||Prakriti.||Sthûlaśarîra (Physical Body).|
|II||The entity evolved out of the combination of Prakriti and Sakti||Sûkshmamśarîra or Linga-śarîra (Astral Body)|
|III||Sakti.||Kâmarupa (the Périsprit)|
|IV||The entity evolved out of the combination of Brahman, Sakti and Prakriti.||Jivâtma (Life-Soul)|
Brahman and Prakriti.
|Physical Intelligence (or animal soul)|
Brahman and Sakti
Spiritual Intelligence (or Soul).
|VII||Brahman.||The emanation from the ABSOLUTE, etc. (or pure spirit.)|
.Before proceeding to examine the nature of these seven entities, a few general explanations are indispensably necessary.
I. The secondary principles arising out of the combination of primary principles are quite different in their nature from the entities out of whose combination they came into existence. The combinations in question are not of the nature of mere mechanical juxtapositions, as it were. They do not even correspond to chemical combinations. Consequently no valid inferences as regards the nature of the combinations in question, can be drawn by analogy from the nature [variety?] of these combinations.
II. The general proposition that when once a cause is removed its effect vanishes, is not universally applicable. Take, for instance, the following example:—if you once communicate a certain amount of momentum to a ball, velocity of a particular degree in a particular direction is the result. Now, the cause of this motion ceases to exist when the instantaneous sudden impact or blow which conveyed the momentum is completed; but, according to the first Law of Motion, the ball will continue to move on for ever and ever with undiminished velocity in the same direction unless the said motion is altered, diminished, neutralized or counteracted by extraneous causes. Thus, if the ball stop, it will not be on account of the absence of the cause of its motion, but in consequence of the existence of extraneous causes which produce the said result.
Again, take the instance of subjective phenomena.
Now the presence of this inkbottle before me is producing in me or in my mind a mental representation of its form, colour and so forth. The bottle in question may be removed, but still its mental picture may continue to exist. Here, again, you see, the effect survives the cause. Moreover, the effect may at any subsequent time be called into conscious existence, whether the original cause be present or not.
Now, in case of the fifth principle above mentioned--the entity L that came into existence by the combination of Brahman and Prakriti,—if the general proposition (in the “Fragments of Occult Truth”) is correct, this principle which corresponds to the physical intelligence must cease to exist whenever the Brahman or the seventh principle should cease to exist for the particular individual; but the fact is certainly otherwise. You stated the general proposition under consideration in support of your assertion that whenever the seventh principle ceases to exist for any particular individual, the sixth principle also ceases to exist for him. The assertion is undoubtedly true though the mode of stating it and the reasons assigned for it are to my mind objectionable.
You said that in cases where tendencies of a man’s mind are entirely material, and all spiritual aspirations and thoughts were altogether absent from his mind, the seventh principle leaves him either before or at the time of death, and the sixth principle disappears with it. Here, the very proposition that the tendencies of the particular individual’s mind are entirely material, involves the assertion that
there is no spiritual intelligence or spiritual Ego in him. You should then have said that, whenever spiritual intelligence should cease to exist in any particular individual, the seventh principle ceases to exist for that particular individual for all purposes. Of course, it does not fly off anywhere. There can never be anything like a change of position in the case of Brahman.* The assertion merely means that there is no recognition whatever of Brahman, or spirit, or life, or spiritual consciousness, the seventh principle has ceased to exercise any influence or control over the individual’s destinies.
I shall now state what is meant (in the Aryan doctrine) by the even principles above enumerated.
I. Prakriti.—This is the basis of Sthûlaarîra and represents it in the above-mentioned classification.
II. Prakriti and Sakti. —This is the Lingaśarira, or astral body.
III. Sakti. —This principle corresponds to your Kâmarupa. This power or force is placed by ancient occultists in the Nâbhichakra. This power can gather akâśa or prakriti and mould it into any desired shape. It has very great sympathy with the fifth principle, and can be made to act by its influence or control.
IV. Brahman, Sakti and Prakriti.—This again corresponds to your second principle, Jîvâtma. This power represents the universal life-principle which exists in nature. Its seat is the Anahatachakra (heart). It is a force or power which constitutes what is called Jîva, or life. It is, as you say, indestructible, and its activity is merely transferred at the time of death to another set of atoms, to form another organism. But it is not called Jîvâtma in our philosophy. The term Jîvâtma is
* True—from the standpoint of Aryan Esotericism, and the Upanishads; not quite so in the case of the Arahat or Tibetan esoteric doctrine; and it is only on this one solitary point that the two teachings disagree, as far as we know. The difference is very trifling though, resting, as it does, solely upon the two various methods of viewing the one and the same thing from two different aspects.—See Appendix Note IV.
generally applied by our philosophers to the seventh principle when it is distinguished from Paramâtma or Parabrahman.*
V. Brahman and Prakriti.—This, in our Aryan philosophy, corresponds to your fifth principle, called the physical intelligence. According to our philosophers, this is the entity in which what is called Mind has its seat or basis. This is the most difficult principle of all to explain, and the present discussion entirely turns upon the view we take of it.
Now, what is mind? It is a mysterious something which is considered to be the seat of consciousness—of sensations, emotions, volitions and thoughts. Psychological analysis shows it to be apparently a congeries of mental states, and possibilities of mental states, connected by what is called memory, and considered to have a distinct existence apart from any of its particular mental states or ideas. Now in what entity has this mysterious something its potential or actual existence? Memory and expectation which form, as it were, the real foundation of what is called individuality, or Ahankâra, must have their seat of existence somewhere. Modern psychologists of Europe generally say that the material substance of Brain is the seat of mind; and that past subjective experiences, which can be recalled by memory, and which in their totality constitute what is called individuality, exist therein in the shape of certain unintelligible mysterious impressions and changes in the nerves and nerve centers of the cerebral hemispheres. Consequently, they say, the mind—the individual mind—is destroyed when the body is destroyed; so there is no possible existence after death.
But there are a few facts among those admitted by these philosophers which are sufficient for us to demolish their theory. In every portion of the human body, a constant change goes on without intermission. Every tissue, every muscular fibre and nerve tube, and
* The Impersonal Parabrahman thus being made to merge or separate itself into a personal “jîvâtma,” or the personal god of every human creature. This is, again, a difference necessitated by the Brahmanical belief in a God whether personal or impersonal, while the Buddhist Arahats, rejecting this idea entirely, recognize no deity apart from man. See Appendix, Note V.
every ganglionic centre in the brain is undergoing an incessant change. In the course of a man’s lifetime there may be a series of complete transformations of the substance of his Brain. Nevertheless the memory of his past mental states remains unaltered. There may be additions of new subjective experiences and some mental states may be altogether forgotten, but no individual mental state is altered. The person’s sense of individuality remains the same throughout these constant alterations in the brain substance. [This is also sound Buddhist philosophy, the transformation in question being known as the change of the skandhas.—Ed. Theos.] It is able to survive all these changes, and it can survive also the complete destruction of the material substance of the brain.
This individuality arising from mental consciousness has its seat of existence, according to our philosophers, in an occult power or force which keeps a registry, as it were, of all our mental impressions. The power itself is indestructible, though by the operation of certain antagonistic causes its impressions may in course of time be effaced, in part or wholly.
I may mention in this connection that our philosophers, have associated seven occult powers with the seven principles or entities above mentioned. These seven occult powers in the microcosm correspond with, or are the counterparts of, the occult powers in the macrocosm. The mental and spiritual consciousness of the individual becomes the general consciousness of Brahman when the barrier of individuality is wholly removed, and when the seven powers in the microcosm are placed en rapport with the seven powers in the macrocosm.
There is nothing very strange in a power or force, or Sakti carrying with it impressions of sensations, ideas, thoughts, or other subjective experiences. It is now a well-known fact, that an electric or magnetic current can convey in some mysterious manner impressions of sound or speech with all their individual peculiarities; similarly, you know very well that I can convey my thoughts to you by a transmission of energy or power.
Now this fifth principle represents in our philosophy the mind, or, to speak more correctly, the power or force above described, the impressions of the mental states therein, and the notion of individuality or Ahankâra generated by their collective operation. This principle is called merely physical intelligence in your article. I do not know what is really meant by this expression. It may be taken to mean
that intelligence which exists in a very low state of development in the lower animals. Mind may exist in different stages of development, from the very lowest forms of organic life, where the signs of its existence or operation can hardly be distinctly realized, up to man, in whom it reaches its highest state of development.
In fact, from the first appearance of life* up to Turiya Avastha, or the state of Nirvana, the progress is, as it were, continuous. We ascend from that principle up to the seventh by almost imperceptible gradations. But four stages are recognized in the progress where the change is of a peculiar kind, and is such as to arrest an observer’s 11 attention. These four stages are as follows:—
(1) Where life (fourth principle) makes its appearance.
(2) Where the existence of mind becomes perceptible in conjunction with life.
(3) Where the highest state of mental abstraction ends, and spiritual consciousness commences.
(4) Where spiritual consciousness disappears, leaving the seventh principle in a complete state of Nirvana, or nakedness.
According to our philosophers, the fifth principle under consideration is intended to represent the mind in every possible state of development, from the second stage up to the third stage.
VI. Brahman and Sakti.—This principle corresponds to your “spiritual intelligence.” It is, in fact, Buddhi (I use the word Buddhi not in the ordinary sense, but in the sense in which it is used by our ancient philosophers); in other words, it is the seat of Bodha or Atmabodha. One who has Atmabodha in its completeness is a Buddha. Buddhists know very well what this term signifies. This principle is described in your article as an entity coming into existence by the combination of Brahman and Prakriti. I do not again know in what particular sense the word Prakriti is used in this connection. According to our philosophers it is an entity arising from the union of Brahman and Sakti. I have already explained the connotation attached by our philosophers to the words Prakriti and Sakti.
* In the Aryan doctrine which blends Brahman, Sakti, and Prakriti in one, it is the fourth principle, then; in the Buddhist esotericism the second in combination with the first.
I stated that Prakriti in its primary state is Akâśa.*
If Akâśa be considered to be Sakti or Power by Theosophists,† then my statement as regards the ultimate state of Prakriti is likely to give rise to confusion and misapprehension unless I explain the distinction between Akâsa and Sakti. Akâsa is not, properly speaking, the Crown of the Astral light, nor does it by itself constitute any of the six primary forces. But, generally speaking, whenever any phenomenal result is produced, Sakti acts in conjunction with Akâsa. And, moreover, Akâsa serves as a basis or Adhisthana for the transmission of force currents and for the formation of force or power correlations.‡
In Mantraśastra the letter “Ha” represents Akâśa, and you will find that this syllable enters into most of the sacred formulae intended to be used in producing phenomenal results. But by itself it does not represent any Sakti. You may, if you please, call Sakti an attribute of Akâsa.
I do not think that as regards the nature of this principle there
* According to the Buddhists in Akâsa lies that eternal, potential energy whose function it is to evolve all visible things out of itself.
† It was never so considered, as we have shown it. But as the “Fragments” are written in English, a language lacking such an abundance of metaphysical terms to express every minute change of form, substance and state as found in the Sanskrit, it was deemed useless to confuse the Western reader untrained in the methods of Eastern expression-more than necessary, with a too nice distinction of proper technical terms. As “Prakriti in its primary state is Akâśa,” and Sakti “is an attribute of AKÂSA,” it becomes evident that for the uninitiated it is all one. Indeed, to speak of the “union of Brahman and Prakriti” instead of “Brahman and Sakti,” is no worse than for a theist to write that “man has come into existence by the combination of spirit and matter,” whereas, his words framed in an orthodox shape, ought to read “man as a living soul was created by the power (or breath) of God over matter.”
‡ That is to say, the Aryan Akâśa is another word for Buddhist SPACE (in its metaphysical meaning).
can, in reality, exist any difference of opinion between the Buddhist and Brahmanical philosophers.
Buddhist and Brahmanical initiates know very well that mysterious circular mirror composed of two hemispheres which reflects as it were the rays emanating from the “burning bush” and the blazing star—the, Spiritual sun shining in CHIDAKASA.
The spiritual impressions constituting this principle have their existence in an occult power associated with the entity in question. The successive incarnations of Buddha, in fact, mean the successive transfers of this mysterious power or the impressions thereon. The transfer is only possible when the Mahatma* who transfers it, has completely identified himself with his seventh principle, has annihilated his Ahankâra and reduced it to ashes in CHIDAGNIKUNDA and has succeeded in making his thoughts correspond with the eternal laws of nature and in becoming a co-worker with nature. Or to put the same thing in other words, when he has attained the state of Nirvana, the condition of final negation, negation of individual or separate existence.†
VII. Atma.—The emanation from the absolute, corresponding to the seventh principle. As regards this entity there exists positively no real difference of opinion between the Tibetan Buddhist adepts and our ancient Rishis.
We must now consider which of these entities can appear after the individual’s death in séance rooms and produce the so-called spiritualistic phenomena.
Now, the assertion of the Spiritualists that the “disembodied spirits” of particular human beings appear in séance rooms necessarily implies that the entity that so appears bears the stamp of some particular individual’s individuality?
So, we have to ascertain beforehand in what entity or entities individuality has its seat of existence. Apparently it exists in the person’s particular formation of body, and in his subjective experiences (called his mind in their totality). On the death of the individual his body is destroyed; his lingaśarîra being decomposed, the power
* The highest adept.
† In the words of a gatha in the Mahâ-pari-nirvâna-Sûtra,
“We reach a condition of Rest
“Beyond the limit of any human knowledge.”
associated with it becomes mingled in the current of the corresponding powers in the macrocosm. Similarly, the third and fourth principles are mingled with their corresponding powers. These entities may again enter into the composition of other organisms. As these entities bear no impression of individuality, the Spiritualists have no right to say that the “disembodied spirit” of the human being has appeared in the séance room whenever any of these entities may appear there. In fact, they have no means of ascertaining that they belonged to any particular individual.
Therefore, we must only consider whether any of the last three entities appear in séance rooms to amuse or to instruct Spiritualists. Let us take three particular examples of individuals and see what becomes of these three principles after death.
1. One in whom spiritual attachments have greater force than terrestrial attachments.
II. One in whom spiritual aspirations do exist, but are merely of secondary importance to him, his terrestrial interests occupying the greater share of his attention.
III. One in whom there exist no spiritual aspirations whatsoever, one whose spiritual Ego is dead or non-existent to his apprehension.
We need not consider the case of a complete Adept in this connection. In the first two cases, according to our supposition, spiritual and mental experiences exist together; when spiritual consciousness exists, the existence of the seventh principle being recognized, it maintains its connection with the fifth and sixth principles. But the existence of terrestrial attachments creates the necessity of Punarjanman, the latter signifying the evolution of a new set of objective and subjective experiences, constituting a new combination of surrounding circumstances or, in other words, a new world. The period between death and the next subsequent birth is occupied with the preparation required for the evolution of these new experiences. During the period of incubation, as you call it, the spirit will never of its own accord appear in this world, nor can it so appear.
There is a great law in this universe which consists in the reduction of subjective experiences to objective phenomena and the evolution of the former from the latter. This is otherwise called “cyclic necessity.” Man is subjected to this law if he does not check and counterbalance the usual destiny or fate, and he can only escape
its control by subduing all his terrestrial attachments completely. The new combination of circumstances under which he will then be placed may be better or worse than the terrestrial conditions under which he lived. But in his progress to a new world, you may be sure he will never turn around to have a look at his spiritualistic friends.*
In the third of the above three cases there is by our supposition, no recognition of spiritual consciousness or of spirit. So they are non-existing so far as he is concerned. The case is similar to that of an organ of faculty which remains unused for a long time. It then practically ceases to exist.
These entities, as it were, remain his or in his possession, when they are stamped with the stamp of recognition. When such is not the ease, the whole of his individuality is centered in his fifth principle. And after death this fifth principle is the only representative of the individual in question.
By itself it cannot evolve for itself a new set of objective experiences, or to say the same thing in other words, it has no Punarjanman. It is such an entity that can appear in séance rooms; but it is absurd to call it a disembodied spirit† It is merely a power or force retaining the impressions of the thoughts or ideas of the individual into whose composition it originally entered. It sometimes summons to its aid the Kâmarûpa power, and creates for itself some particular ethereal form (not necessarily human).
Its tendencies of action will be similar to those of the individual’s mind when he was living. This entity maintains its existence so long as the impressions on the power associated with the fifth principle remain intact. In course of time they are effaced, and the power in question is then mixed up in the current of its corresponding power in the MACROCOSM, as the river loses itself in the sea. Entities like these may afford signs of there having been considerable
* As M.A. (Oxon.) will see, the Spiritualists have still less chance of having their claims recognized by Brahmanical than by Buddhist occultists.
† It is especially on this point that the Aryan and Arhat doctrines quite agree. The teaching and argument that follow are, in every respect, those of the Buddhist Himalayan Brotherhood.
intellectual power in the individuals to which they belonged; because very high intellectual power may co-exist with utter absence of spiritual consciousness. But from this circumstance it cannot be argued that either the spirits or the spiritual Egos of deceased individuals appear in séance rooms.
There are some people in India who have thoroughly studied the nature of such entities (called Piśacha). I do not know much about them experimentally, as I have never meddled with this disgusting, profitless, and dangerous branch of investigation.
Your Spiritualists do not know what they are really doing. Their investigations are likely to result in course of time either in wicked sorcery or in the utter spiritual ruin of thousands of men and women.*
The views I have herein expressed have been often illustrated by our ancient writers by comparing the course of a man’s life or existence to the orbital motion of a planet round the sun. Centripetal force is spiritual attraction and centrifugal terrestrial attraction. As the centripetal force increases in power in comparison with the centrifugal force, the planet approaches the sun—the individual reaches a higher plane of existence. If, on the other hand, the centrifugal force becomes greater than the centripetal force, the planet is removed to a greater distance from the sun, and moves in a new orbit at that distance—the individual comes to a lower level of existence. These are illustrated in the first two instances I have noticed above.
We have only to consider the two extreme eases.
When the planet in its approach to the sun passes over the line where the centripetal and centrifugal forces completely neutralize each other and is only acted on by the centripetal force, it rushes towards the sun with a gradually increasing velocity and is finally mixed up with the mass of the sun’s body. This is the ease of a complete adept.
Again, when the planet in its retreat from the sun reaches a point where the centrifugal force becomes all-powerful it flies off in a tangential direction from its orbit, and goes into the depths of void space. When it ceases to be under the control of the sun, it gradually gives up its generative heat and the creative energy that it originally derived from the sun and remains a cold mass of material wandering through space until the mass is completely
* We share entirely in this idea.
decomposed into atoms. This cold mass is compared to the fifth principle under the conditions above noticed, and the heat, light, and energy that left it are compared to the sixth and seventh principles.
Either after assuming a new orbit or in its course of deviation from the old orbit to the new, the planet can never go back to any point in its old orbit, as the various orbits lying in different planes never intersect each other.
This figurative representation correctly explains the ancient Brahmanical theory on the subject. It is merely a branch of what is called the Great Law of the Universe by the ancient mystics . . .