The Third Eye and The Pineal Gland

Third Eye, Pineal Gland, Theosophy, Blavatsky

Many new terms, concepts, and teachings, were introduced to the Western world by H. P. Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement which she founded at the end of the 19th century. The majority of these have in time become particularly distorted and desecrated, particularly amongst the many thousands of adherents of the New Age Movement.

In other articles on this website, we have shown how the New Age teachings and ideas about the Masters, about Lemuria and Atlantis, about the Higher Self, about Karma and Reincarnation, and numerous other things, are a pale, unphilosophical, and twisted imitation of the pure teachings of Theosophy.

The current New Age obsession with the Third Eye and the Pineal Gland can also be traced directly back to its original presentation in the writings of HPB. Since so much confusion, misunderstanding, and dangerous misinformation exists on this topic, it was thought wise to put together the following excerpts from the Theosophical teachings, in order to show what the real Masters really teach about it.

No respectable, reliable, trustworthy spiritual teacher would ever – under any circumstances – publish information and explanation on how to “awaken,” “open,” or “activate” the Third Eye. It is not the right time for this to happen and the many publications which exist in this regard can at best enable the individual to develop a few psychic faculties (which are not the same as spiritual faculties!) and at worst result in serious psychological and physical damage.

The popular New Age idea that spiritual and especially occult development requires no self-discipline, no self-denial, no purity and holiness of life, is equally dangerous and has led thousands around the world into becoming black magicians without even realising it.

There are actually very few individuals in the world who know the safe and true steps and procedures for awakening the many latent potentialities of the Pineal Gland and they will never say or write anything about this, as they are sworn to secrecy as part of their rules of initiation.


Please note: The abbreviation “SD” below means “The Secret Doctrine” by H. P. Blavatsky. The “Third Race” refers to the Lemurian Root Race and the “Fourth Race” to the Atlantean Root Race. Our present Root Race or Epoch is the Fifth, known as the Aryan or Indo-Caucasian.

(1) In Hindu esotericism it is called the Eye of Shiva, while in the esoteric Buddhism of Tibet and the Trans-Himalayan regions it is referred to as the Eye of Dangma.



[Slokas 8-9 of Stanza I on Cosmogenesis from the Secret Book of Dzyan, SD 1:27]

“Alone the Initiate, rich with the lore acquired by numberless generations of his predecessors, directs the “Eye of Dangma” toward the essence of things in which no Maya can have any influence.” [SD 1:45]

“In India it is called “The Eye of Shiva,” but beyond the great range it is known as “Dangma’s opened eye,” in esoteric phraseology. Dangma means a purified soul, one who has become a Jivanmukta, the highest adept, or rather a Mahatma so-called. His “opened eye” is the inner spiritual eye of the seer, and the faculty which manifests through it is not clairvoyance as ordinarily understood, i.e., the power of seeing at a distance, but rather the faculty of spiritual intuition, through which direct and certain knowledge is obtainable. This faculty is intimately connected with the “third eye,” which mythological tradition ascribes to certain races of men.” [SD 1:46]

“The Puranic histories of all those men are those of our Monads, in their various and numberless incarnations on this and other spheres, events perceived by the “Shiva eye” of the ancient Seers, (the “third eye” of our Stanzas) and described allegorically.” [SD 2:284]

“… Shiva-Rudra – the “Patron Yogi,” whose “third eye,” mystically, must be acquired by the ascetic before he becomes an adept.” [SD 2:615]

(2) The Third Eye was situated in the back of the head, not the front. It is only for illustrative purposes, and often out of ignorance, that it has been portrayed as being between the two physical eyes or in the forehead.

“The third eye was at the back of the head.” [SD 2:294]

“The allegorical expression of the Hindu mystics when speaking of the “eye of Shiva,” the Trilochana (“three-eyed”), thus receives its justification and raison d’etre – the transference of the pineal gland (once that “third eye”) to the forehead, being an exoteric licence.” [SD 2:295]

“In the beginning, every class and family of living species was hermaphrodite and objectively one-eyed. In the animal … the third eye was primarily, as in man, the only seeing organ. The two physical front eyes developed later on in both brute and man, whose organ of physical sight was, at the commencement of the Third Race, in the same position as that of some of the blind vertebrata, in our day, i.e., beneath an opaque skin.” [SD 2:299]

“Let us remember that the First Race is shown in Occult sciences as spiritual within and ethereal without; the second, psycho-spiritual mentally, and ethero-physical bodily; the third, still bereft of intellect in its beginning, is astro-physical in its body, and lives an inner life, in which the psycho-spiritual element is in no way interfered with as yet by the hardly nascent physiological senses. Its two front eyes look before them without seeing either past or future. But the “third eye” “embraces ETERNITY”.” [SD 2:299]

There were four-armed human creatures in those early days of the males-females (hermaphrodites); with one head, yet three eyes. They could see before them and behind them.” [An Esoteric Commentary quoted on SD 2:294]

(3) The Third Eye deteriorated, withdrew inside the head, and ceased to function, during the Atlantean Root Race, which is known as the Fourth Root Race.




[Slokas 40-42 in Stanza X on Anthropogenesis from the Secret Book of Dzyan, SD 2:20]

A KALPA later (after the separation of the sexes) men having fallen into matter, their spiritual vision became dim; and coordinately the third eye commenced to lose its power . . . . When the Fourth (Race) arrived at its middle age, the inner vision had to be awakened, and acquired by artificial stimuli, the process of which was known to the old sages. . . . The third eye, likewise, getting gradually PETRIFIED, soon disappeared. The double-faced became the one-faced, and the eye was drawn deep into the head and is now buried under the hair.” [An Esoteric Commentary quoted on SD 2:294]

Then, “the third eye acted no longer,” says the Stanza, because MAN had sunk too deep into the mire of matter. What is the meaning of this strange and weird statement in Verse 42, concerning the “third eye of the Third Race which had died and acted no longer”? A few more occult teachings must now be given with reference to this point as well as some others. The history of the Third and Fourth Races must be amplified, in order that it may throw some more light on the development of our present humanity; and show how the faculties, called into activity by occult training, restore man to the position he previously occupied in reference to spiritual perception and consciousness. But the phenomena of the third Eye has to be first explained.” [SD 2:288]

“The third eye retreated inwards when its course was run.” [SD 2:295]

“While the “Cyclopean” eye was, and still is, in man the organ of spiritual sight, in the animal it was that of objective vision. And this eye, having performed its function, was replaced, in the course of physical evolution from the simple to the complex, by two eyes, and thus was stored and laid aside by nature for further use in AEons to come.” [SD 2:299]

“Now that which the students of Occultism ought to know is that THE “THIRD EYE” IS INDISSOLUBLY CONNECTED WITH KARMA. The tenet is so mysterious that very few have heard of it. The “eye of Shiva” did not become entirely atrophied before the close of the Fourth Race. When spirituality and all the divine powers and attributes of the deva-man of the Third had been made the hand-maidens of the newly-awakened physiological and psychic passions of the physical man, instead of the reverse, the eye lost its powers. But such was the law of Evolution, and it was, in strict accuracy, no FALL.” [SD 2:302]

“The possession of a physical third eye, we are told, was enjoyed by the men of the Third Root-Race down to nearly the middle period of Third SUB-race of the Fourth Root-Race, when the consolidation and perfection of the human frame made it disappear from the outward anatomy of man. Psychically and spiritually, however, its mental and visual perceptions lasted till nearly the end of the Fourth Race, when its functions, owing to the materiality and depraved condition of mankind, died out altogether before the submersion of the bulk of the Atlantean continent.” [SD 2:306]

(4) It remains latent and dormant within all human beings today, as the Pineal Gland.

“The “deva-eye” exists no more for the majority of mankind. The third eye is dead, and acts no longer; but it has left behind a witness to its existence. This witness is now the PINEAL GLAND.” [SD 2:295]

The double-faced became the one-faced, and the eye was drawn deep into the head and is now buried under the hair. During the activity of the inner man (during trances and spiritual visions) the eye swells and expands. The Arhat sees and feels it, and regulates his action accordingly.” [An Esoteric Commentary quoted on SD 2:294]

“If the odd “eye” in man is now atrophied, it is a proof that, as in the lower animal, it has once been active; for nature never creates the smallest, the most insignificant form without some definite purpose and use. It was an active organ, we say, at that stage of evolution when the spiritual element in man reigned supreme over the hardly nascent intellectual and psychic elements. And, as the cycle ran down toward that point when the physiological senses were developed by, and went pari passu with, the growth and consolidation of the physical man, the interminable and complex vicissitudes and tribulations of zoological development, that median “eye” ended by atrophying along with the early spiritual and purely psychic characteristics in man. The eye is the mirror and also the window of the soul, says popular wisdom, and Vox populi Vox Dei.” [SD 2:298]

“Nor yet does he [i.e. the modern physiologist] know anything of the pineal gland, which he describes as a horny gland with a little sand in it, and which is the very key to the highest and divinest consciousness in man – his omniscient, spiritual and all embracing mind. This seemingly useless appendage is the pendulum which, once the clock-work of the inner man is wound up, carries the spiritual vision of the EGO to the highest planes of perception, where the horizon open before it becomes almost infinite.” [HPB, “Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life”]

“And there was a day when all that which in our modern times is regarded as phenomena, so puzzling to the physiologists now compelled to believe in them – such as thought transference, clairvoyance, clairaudience, etc.; in short, all that which is called now “wonderful and abnormal” – all that and much more belonged to the senses and faculties common to all humanity. We are, however, cycling back and cycling forward; i.e., having lost in spirituality that which we acquired in physical development until almost the end of the Fourth Race, we (mankind) are as gradually and imperceptibly losing now in the physical all that we regain once more in the spiritual re-evolution. This process must go on until the period which will bring the Sixth Root-Race on a parallel line with the spirituality of the Second, long extinct mankind.” [SD 1:536-537]

(5) It is neither safe, easy, nor necessary, for us to try to awaken and activate the Third Eye at this point in time…and to do so safely and properly requires the utmost purity and chastity of life.

The undefiled Lanoo (disciple, chela) need fear no danger; he who keeps himself not in purity (who is not chaste) will receive no help from the ‘deva eye’.” [An Esoteric Commentary quoted on SD 2:295]

“This throws also a light on the mystery – incomprehensible to some – of the connection between abnormal, or Spiritual Seership, and the physiological purity of the Seer. The question is often asked, “Why should celibacy and chastity be a sine qua non rule and condition of regular chelaship, or the development of psychic and occult powers? The answer is contained in the Commentary. When we learn that the “third eye” was once a physiological organ, and that later on, owing to the gradual disappearance of spirituality and increase of materiality (Spiritual nature being extinguished by the physical), it became an atrophied organ, as little understood now by physiologists as the spleen is – when we learn this, the connection will become clear. During human life the greatest impediment in the way of spiritual development, and especially to the acquirement of Yoga powers, is the activity of our physiological senses. Sexual action being closely connected, by interaction, with the spinal cord and the grey matter of the brain, it is useless to give any longer explanation. Of course, the normal and abnormal state of the brain, and the degree of active work in the medulla oblongata, reacts powerfully on the pineal gland, for, owing to the number of “centres” in that region, which controls by far the greater majority of the physiological actions of the animal economy, and also owing to the close and intimate neighbourhood of the two, there must be exerted a very powerful “inductive” action by the medulla on the pineal gland. All this is quite plain to the Occultist, but is very vague in the sight of the general reader.” [SD 2:295-296]

“You cannot develop the third eye. It is too difficult, and until you have cleared up a good deal more on philosophy it would be useless, and a useless sacrifice is a crime of folly. But here is advice given by many Adepts: every day and as often as you can, and on going to sleep and as you wake – think, think, think, on the truth that you are not body, brain, or astral man, but that you are THAT, and “THAT” is the Supreme Soul. For by this practice you will gradually kill the false notion which lurks inside that the false is the true, and the true, the false. By persistence in this, by submitting your daily thoughts each night to the judgment of your Higher Self, you will at last gain light.” [William Quan Judge, “Letters That Have Helped Me” p. 116]

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The February 2014 issue of “The Theosophical Movement” magazine (which can be read online by clicking here) includes an article titled “The “Third-Eye” of Siva” and explains:

“Pineal gland is connected with spiritual visions, while pituitary body with pure psychic visions. Spinal Cord in man connects the Brain with the generative organs. Practical Occultism founded on the Esoteric Philosophy recognizes the direct and intimate connection subsisting between the Pineal Gland and the genitalia. These two are creative poles, and when one is positive and active, a proportionate negative and passive condition is produced in the other. When the North Pole of the Pineal Gland is active, it creates children of ideas and thoughts; when the South Pole of the generative organ is active, children of flesh are created. The Pineal Gland is the Heart of the Mind – the seat of Love without any trace of lust, the seat of Compassion without any trace of passion. In the ordinary individual both the Pineal Gland and the genitalia are active by turns, and therefore, he is a mixture of lust and love, of passion and compassion. The function of pineal gland is also affected by consumption of alcohol and drugs, which prevents the development of the “third-eye” or spiritual intuition. As one advances on spiritual path, abstinence from drugs and drinks, as also, observance of celibacy become absolutely necessary.”

This is what Theosophy teaches and when we stop to think about the fact that it was the increasing materiality and sensuality of human beings that resulted in the obscuration and deterioration of the Third Eye and its faculties in the first place, it becomes plainly obvious that its reawakening or “re-opening” is dependent on the decrease of that materiality and sensuality on the part of the spiritual aspirant.

It may be necessary to clarify the statement quoted above, that “As one advances on spiritual path, abstinence from drugs and drinks, as also, observance of celibacy become absolutely necessary.”

Celibacy and chastity, as explained in the quote from “The Secret Doctrine,” are necessary rules and requirements for the safe and proper development of occult and psychic powers and the Masters require that those who have been accepted as their direct in-person disciples or chelas – in contrast with their “lay chelas,” those who still live and function in the world at large – must abide by this.

But since we are not enjoined or encouraged by Theosophy to be trying to develop such powers at the present time and since the vast majority of us are not direct chelas (those who are, know that they are and do not have a moment’s doubt or query or wondering about the matter) we ought not to feel as though we are expected to become celibates, for this is not so.

To those still engaged in “normal” everyday life in the world at large – i.e. those who have not yet become direct chelas – William Q. Judge wrote these important words:

“Under certain conditions and at a certain time celibacy is a great aid, but if the student is wedded then it is his duty to continue in that condition, and instead of proving a barrier it will be an assistance to his progress if he rightly comprehends its significance. All the lessons which are taught the true occult student are given in daily life and through nature’s laws. The celibate loses some of these lessons – lessons which he must inevitably learn – because he violates a great law of nature. The result of celibacy is that the student works by intellect alone. It is necessary for true occult work that the heart be used also. One of the greater of the “mysteries” can never be learned by the celibate, for he never stands as hand in hand with God, a controller of a creative force.” (“Answers to Questioners,” William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles Vol. 2, p. 451)

So let us fulfill our duties, our Karma and our Dharma, in the mode of life we find ourselves in now, resting assured that in years or more likely lives to come, the opportunities will come about for such practical occultism as leads to the opening of the Third Eye…provided that we have worked on preparing and fitting ourselves for such a thing.

“The Voice of the Silence” emphasises the timeless truth:

“Thou canst not travel on the Path before thou hast become that Path itself.”

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