Understanding Our Seven Principles

The article The Sevenfold Nature of Man provides a brief and clear, yet simplified, introduction to the Theosophical teaching about what are called the “Seven Principles” of the human constitution. Reference to our Seven Principles is made all throughout the original Theosophical literature, both in terms of those Principles collectively and individually, such as mention of Atma or of the Higher or Lower Manas or Kama or Linga Sharira (the astral double) etc. It is obviously essential for anyone who wishes to understand what Theosophy teaches to accurately comprehend in some depth what each of these Seven Principles is and how they relate to one another.

The following compilation was prepared for a study meeting of the London (UK) Lodge of the United Lodge of Theosophists in 2017. Due to the time limits of the meeting, the lower four principles (called our “lower quaternary,” the mortal part of us, in contrast with our “higher triad,” which is spiritual, immortal, and endures from life to life) could not be covered in the compilation at any great length. But what is provided here will still be valuable food for thought, study, reflective contemplation, and meditation.

It should also be remembered that as extensive and detailed as this compilation is, it is still only a fraction of all that the Esoteric Philosophy or Occult Doctrine of Theosophy has to say on these subjects. If you find it useful, please share it with others and encourage its use in Theosophical groups. It can also be found as a PDF here. The quotes are all from the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and her closest colleague and co-worker, William Q. Judge, who was one of the principal founders of the modern Theosophical Movement.


A compilation from H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge
(all quotes are from HPB except those specified as from WQJ)

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“Pure universal Spirit.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 92]

Higher Self. The Supreme Divine Spirit overshadowing man. The crown of the upper spiritual Triad in man – Atman.” [“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 141, Entry for “Higher Self”]

Atma, the “Higher Self,” is neither your Spirit nor mine, but like sunlight shines on all. It is the universally diffused “divine principle,” and is inseparable from its one and absolute Meta-Spirit, as the sunbeam is inseparable from the sunlight.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 135]

“This “Higher Self” is ATMA, and of course it is “non-materializable” . . . Even more, it can never be “objective” under any circumstances, even to the highest spiritual perception. For Atman or the “Higher Self” is really Brahman, the ABSOLUTE, and indistinguishable from it.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 174]

“THE HIGHER SELF is – Atma, the inseparable ray of the Universal and ONE SELF. It is the God above, more than within, us. Happy the man who succeeds in saturating his inner Ego with it!” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 175]

“We apply the term Spirit, when standing alone and without any qualification, to Atma alone.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 115]

“In hours of Samadhi, the higher spiritual consciousness of the Initiate is entirely absorbed in the ONE essence, which is Atman, and therefore, being one with the whole, there can be nothing objective for it. Now some of our Theosophists have got into the habit of using the words “Self” and “Ego” as synonymous, of associating the term “Self” with only man’s higher individual or even personal “Self” or Ego, whereas this term ought never to be applied except to the One universal Self.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 174]

“In reality it is no “human” but the universal absolute principle of which Buddhi, the Soul-Spirit, is the carrier.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 93]

“We say that the Spirit (the “Father in secret” of Jesus), or Atman, is no individual property of any man, but is the Divine essence which has no body, no form, which is imponderable, invisible and indivisible, that which does not exist and yet is, as the Buddhists say of Nirvana. It only overshadows the mortal; that which enters into him and pervades the whole body being only its omnipresent rays, or light, radiated through Buddhi, its vehicle and direct emanation.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 101]

“First of all, Spirit (in the sense of the Absolute, and therefore, indivisible ALL), or Atma. As this can neither be located nor limited in philosophy, being simply that which IS in Eternity, and which cannot be absent from even the tiniest geometrical or mathematical point of the universe of matter or substance, it ought not to be called, in truth, a “human” principle at all.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 119]

“Atma in reality is not a unit, but the one universal principle.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 550]

“[We] limit the term “Higher Self” to the Universal Divine Principle, …” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 175]

“You have got no Atma, distinct from others. It is not yours; it is common property.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 624]

“Atma is nothing; it is all absolute, and it cannot be said that it is this, that, or the other. It is simply that in which we are – not only that we live and breathe and have our being, but in the whole universe, and during the whole Manvantaric period. Therefore, Atma is said to have Buddhi for a vehicle, because Buddhi is already the first differentiation after the evolution of the universe. It is the first differentiation, and it is the Upadhi, so to say, of Atma. Then Buddhi is nothing, per se, but simply the first differentiation.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 592]

“Understand me, Atman cannot be called infinite consciousness. It is the one Absolute, which is conscious non-consciousness. It contains everything, the potentiality of all; therefore, it is nothing and all. It is Ain-Soph, and it is the Parabrahm and so on; many names you can give it. It is “No Thing,” you understand?” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 593]

“How can you give experience to that which is absolute? How is it possible to fall into such a philosophical error as that? The Atma no more belongs to you than to this lamp. It is common property.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 625]

“You must never say: “my Atma”; you have no Atma. This idea is the curse of the world. It has produced this tremendous selfishness, this egotism. … we say “we are,” “my Atma,” “my Buddhi.” Who are you? You are nobodies; you are something today, and tomorrow you are not. Even that disappears at the end of the Manvantara in the ONE.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 627]

“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. This cannot be thoroughly understood unless the student makes himself familiar with the mystery of evolution, which proceeds on triple lines – spiritual, psychic and physical. . . . the Atman alone warms the inner man; i.e., it enlightens it with the ray of divine life and alone is able to impart to the inner man, or the reincarnating Ego, its immortality.” [“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 109, 110]

Atma neither progresses, forgets, nor remembers. It does not belong to this plane: it is but the ray of light eternal which shines upon and through the darkness of matter – when the latter is willing.” [“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 244]

“The spirit of St. Paul may be taken for our purposes to be the Sanskrit Atma. Spirit is universal, indivisible, and common to all. In other words, there are not many spirits, one for each man, but solely one spirit which shines upon all men alike . . . This spiritual identity is the basis of the philosophy; upon it the whole structure rests; to individualize spirit, assigning to each human being his own spirit, particular to him and separate from the spirit of any other man, is to throw to the ground the whole Theosophic philosophy, will nullify its ethics and defeat its object.” [WQJ, “Echoes from the Orient” p. 58]

“. . . the one process is to enquire into and attempt to understand the law of spiritual unity and the fact that no one is separate but that all are one in the plane of spirit, and that no single person has a particular spirit of his own, but that atman, called the “seventh principle,” is, in fact, the synthesis of the whole and is the common property of every being high and low, human, animal, animate, inanimate, or divine.” [WQJ, “Theosophical Study and Work” article]


“I have never boasted of any knowledge of Sanskrit, and, when I came to India last, in 1879, I knew very superficially the philosophies of the six schools of Brahminism. I never pretended to teach Sanskrit or explain Occultism in that language. I claimed to know the esoteric philosophy of the trans-Himalayan Occultists and no more. What I knew again, was that the philosophy of the ancient Dwijas and Initiates did not, nor could it, differ essentially from the esotericism of the “Wisdom-religion,” any more than ancient Zoroastrianism, Hermetic philosophy, or Chaldean Kabbala could do so. I have tried to prove it by rendering the technical terms used by the Tibetan Arhats of things and principles, as adopted in trans-Himalayan teaching (and which when given to Mr. Sinnett and others without their Sanskrit or European equivalents, remained to them unintelligible, as they would to all in India) – in terms used in Brahmanical philosophy. I may have failed to do so correctly, very likely I have, and made mistakes, – I never claimed infallibility – but this is no reason why the seven-fold division should be regarded as “unscientific.” . . . The question then is not, whether I may or may not have made use of wrong Sanskrit terms, but whether the occult tenets expounded through me are the right ones – at any rate those of the “Aryan-Chaldeo-Tibetan doctrine” as we call the “universal Wisdom-religion.” . . . There are Sanskrit words used – “Jiva,” for one – by trans-Himalayan adepts, whose meaning differs greatly in verbal applications, from the meaning it has among the Brahmins in India.” [HPB, “Re-Classification of Principles” article]

“. . . the same identical term is used in quite a different sense by different philosophies . . . For instance, Buddhi has one meaning in the Esoteric and quite a different sense in the Sankhya philosophy . . . and quite a different sense in the Vishnu Purana, which speaks of seven Prakritis emanating from Mahat and calls the latter Maha-Buddhi. Fundamentally, however, the ideas are the same, though the terms differ with each school, and the correct sense is lost in this maze of personifications.” [“Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge” p. 6]

“. . . Buddhi . . . conceals a mystery, which is never given to any one, with the exception of irrevocably pledged chelas, or those, at any rate, who can be safely trusted. Of course, there would be less confusion, could it only be told; but, as this is directly concerned with the power of projecting one’s double consciously and at will, and as this gift, like the “ring of Gyges,” would prove very fatal to man at large and to the possessor of that faculty in particular, it is carefully guarded. But let us proceed with the “principles.” This divine soul, or Buddhi, then, is the vehicle of the Spirit. In conjunction, these two are one, impersonal and without any attributes (on this plane, of course), and make two spiritual “principles.”” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 119-120]

“The Buddhi in man is the vehicle of Atman, which vehicle is of the essence of the highest plane of Akasha and therefore does not differentiate. The difference between Manas and Buddhi in man is the same as the difference between the Manasa-Putra and the Ah-hi in Kosmos.” [“Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge” p. 28]

Buddhi becomes conscious by the accretions it gets from Manas after every new incarnation and the death of man. . . . The body follows the whims, good or bad, of Manas; Manas tries to follow the light of Buddhi, but often fails. Buddhi is the mould of the “garments” of Atma, because Atma is no body, or shape, or anything, and because Buddhi is its vehicle only figuratively.” [“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 244, 245]

“. . . the 6th principle or the intellectual divine Soul, Buddhi, made conscious by its union with the higher faculties of Manas . . .” [“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 318]

Buddhi, receiving its light of Wisdom from Atma, gets its rational qualities from Manas. Per se, as something homogeneous, it is devoid of attributes.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 102]

“Atman is the Universal ALL, and becomes the HIGHER-SELF of man only in conjunction with Buddhi, its vehicle, which links IT to the individuality (or divine man).” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 121]

“Neither Atma nor Buddhi are ever reached by Karma.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 135]

“The Buddhi, per se, has nothing to do with any qualification of anything; it is simply the vehicle of Atman, of spirit; and spirit is nothing. It cannot be said that it is something. It is that which has neither beginning nor end. It is the one thing.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 620]

“Atma and Buddhi cannot be predicated as having anything to do with a man, except that man is immersed in them. So long as he lives he is overshadowed by these two; but it is no more the property of that than of anything else.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 625]

“Take the human septenary. Atma alone is nothing; it is not only a breath, but it is simply an idea, nothing, because it is absoluteness; it is the essence of Ain-Soph or Parabrahm; Buddhi is its vehicle, and yet Buddhi, even in conjunction with Atma, is still nothing on this plane. . . . The mission of Buddhi is simply to shadow divine light on Manas, otherwise Manas will be always falling into the Kamic principle; into the principle of matter; it will become the lower Manas, and act as the lower Manas or mind.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 438-439]

“Intuition is in Manas for the more or less light shed on it by Buddhi, whether it is assimilated much or little with Buddhi. . . . Buddhi by itself can neither have intuition, nor non-intuition, nor anything; it is simply the cementing link, so to say, between the higher Spirit and Manas. . . . Intuition belongs to Manas. . . . “Q. Is the apprehension of highest abstract ideas the function of Manas, or of Buddhi?” – “A. Buddhi can have the apprehension of nothing.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 621, 633]

Bodha means the innate possession of divine intellect or “understanding”; “Buddha,” the acquirement of it by personal efforts and merit; while Buddhi is the faculty of cognizing the channel through which divine knowledge reaches the “Ego,” the discernment of good and evil, “divine conscience” also; and “Spiritual Soul,” which is the vehicle of Atma. “When Buddhi absorbs our EGO-tism (destroys it) with all its Vikaras, Avalokiteshvara becomes manifested to us, and Nirvana, or Mukti, is reached,” “Mukti” being the same as Nirvana, i.e., freedom from the trammels of “Maya” or illusion.” [“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, Introductory, p. xix]

Kundalini . . . is Buddhi considered as an active instead of a passive principle (which it is generally, when regarded only as the vehicle, or casket of the Supreme Spirit ATMA). It is an electro-spiritual force, a creative power which when aroused into action can as easily kill as it can create.” [“The Voice of the Silence” footnote on p. 10, Theosophy Company U.S. edition]

“And when we either wholly or now and then become consciously united with Buddhi, the Spiritual Soul, we behold God, as it were. This is what the ancients all desired to see, but what the moderns do not believe in, the latter preferring rather to throw away their own right to be great in nature, and to worship an imaginary god made up solely of their own fancies and not very different from weak human nature.” [WQJ, “The Ocean of Theosophy” p. 58]

“Although reincarnation is the law of nature, the complete trinity of Atma-Buddhi-Manas does not yet fully incarnate in this race. They use and occupy the body by means of the entrance of Manas, the lowest of the three, and the other two shine upon it from above, constituting the God in Heaven. This was symbolized in the old Jewish teaching about the Heavenly Man who stands with his head in heaven and his feet in hell. That is, the head Atma and Buddhi are yet in heaven, and the feet, Manas, walk in hell, which is the body and physical life. For that reason man is not yet fully conscious, and reincarnations are needed to at last complete the incarnation of the whole trinity in the body. When that has been accomplished the race will have become as gods, and the godlike trinity being in full possession the entire mass of matter will be perfected and raised up for the next step. . . . It is because the trinity is not yet incarnate in the race that life has so many mysteries . . .” [WQJ, “The Ocean of Theosophy” p. 66]


“The “principles,” as already said, save the body, the life, and the astral eidolon, all of which disperse at death, are simply aspects and states of consciousness. There is but one real man, enduring through the cycle of life and immortal in essence, if not in form, and this is Manas, the Mind-man or embodied Consciousness.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 100]

“Q. But what is it that reincarnates in your belief? A. The Spiritual thinking Ego, the permanent principle in man, or that which is the seat of Manas. It is not Atma, or even Atma-Buddhi, regarded as the dual Monad, which is the individual, or divine man, but Manas; . . . Soul being a generic term, there are in men three aspects of Soul – the terrestrial, or animal; the Human Soul; and the Spiritual Soul; these, strictly speaking, are one Soul in its three aspects. Now of the first aspect, nothing remains after death; of the second (nous or Manas) only its divine essence if left unsoiled survives, while the third in addition to being immortal becomes consciously divine, by the assimilation of the higher Manas.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 121-122]

“I have just explained that the re-incarnating Principle, or that which we call the divine man, is indestructible throughout the life cycle; indestructible as a thinking Entity, and even as an ethereal form. . . . Manas is a “principle,” and yet it is an “Entity” and individuality or Ego. He is a “God,” and yet he is doomed to an endless cycle of incarnations, for each of which he is made responsible, and for each of which he has to suffer. . . . Our incarnating Ego was a God in its origin, as were all the primeval emanations of the One Unknown Principle. But since its “fall into Matter,” having to incarnate throughout the cycle, in succession, from first to last, it is no longer a free and happy god, but a poor pilgrim on his way to regain that which he has lost. . . . In its very essence it is THOUGHT, and is, therefore, called in its plurality Manasa putra, “the Sons of the (Universal) mind.” This individualised “Thought” is what we Theosophists call the real human EGO, the thinking Entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and bones. This is surely a Spiritual Entity, not Matter, and such Entities are the incarnating EGOS that inform the bundle of animal matter called mankind, and whose names are Manasa or “Minds.” But once imprisoned, or incarnate, their essence becomes dual: that is to say, the rays of the eternal divine Mind, considered as individual entities, assume a two-fold attribute which is (a) their essential inherent characteristic, heaven-aspiring mind (higher Manas), and (b) the human quality of thinking, or animal cogitation, rationalised owing to the superiority of the human brain, the Kama-tending or lower Manas. One gravitates toward Buddhi, the other, tending downward, to the seat of passions and animal desires.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 177, 183, 182, 184]

“Let is not forget that in the human system – even according to those philosophies which ignore our septenary division – the EGO or thinking man is called the Logos, or the Son of Soul and Spirit. “Manas is the adopted Son of King _____ and Queen _____” (esoteric equivalents for Atma and Buddhi), says an occult work. He is the “man-god” of Plato, who crucifies himself in Space (or the duration of the life cycle) for the redemption of MATTER. This he does by incarnating over and over again, thus leading mankind onward to perfection, and making thereby room for lower forms to develop into higher.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 188]

“THE INNER, or HIGHER “Ego” is – Manas, the “Fifth” Principle, so called, independently of Buddhi. The Mind-Principle is only the Spiritual Ego when merged into one with Buddhi, . . . It is the permanent Individuality or the “Re-incarnating Ego.” . . .

“THE SPIRITUAL divine EGO, is – the Spiritual soul or Buddhi, in close union with Manas, the mind-principle, without which it is no EGO at all, but only the Atmic Vehicle.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 176]

“. . . the higher or permanent Ego . . . must not be confused with what we call the “Higher Self,” . . .” [“Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge” p. 60]

“. . . the Higher Ego – Manas, Mind.” [“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 195, Entry for “M.”]

“. . . the human Manas, or the higher Ego.” [“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 375, Entry for “Yaho”]

“The dove, that descends on “Jesus” at his baptism is typical of the conscious “descent” of the “Higher Self” on Manas, the Higher Ego; or in other words, the union during initiation of the Christos, with Chrēstos, or the imperishable “Individuality” in the All, with the transcendent Personality – the Adept.” [Commentary on the Pistis Sophia]

“MAHAT or the “Universal Mind” is the source of Manas. The latter is Mahat, i.e., mind, in man. Manas is also called Kshetrajna, “embodied Spirit,” because it is, according to our philosophy, the Manasa-putras, or “Sons of the Universal Mind,” who created, or rather produced, the thinking man, “manu,” by incarnating in the third Race mankind in our Round. It is Manas, therefore, which is the real incarnating and permanent Spiritual Ego, the INDIVIDUALITY, and our various and numberless personalities only its external masks. . . . Manas, the derivation or product in a reflected form of Ahamkara, “the conception of I,” or EGO-SHIP. It is, therefore, when inseparably united to the first two [i.e. Atma-Buddhi], called the SPIRITUAL EGO, and Taijasi (the radiant). This is the real Individuality, or the divine man. . . . It is that Ego, that “Causal Body,” which overshadows every personality Karma forces it to incarnate into; and this Ego which is held responsible for all the sins committed through, and in, every new body or personality – the evanescent masks which hide the true Individual through the long series of rebirths.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 135-136]

“Let us understand ourselves first if we want to be understood by our readers. Let us halt at a fixed and invariable definition of the terms which we employ in Theosophy; because otherwise instead of order and clarity, we would only bring a greater confusion into the already existing chaos of the ideas of the profane world.” [“A Signal of Danger” article]

“If outsiders as well as Theosophists would agree to it [i.e. the specific definitions of terms for the Human Principles provided in the section “DEFINITE WORDS FOR DEFINITE THINGS”], it would certainly make matters much more comprehensible.” [“The Key to Theosophy” p. 176]

(Hence “Higher Self” applies specifically to Atma; “Higher Ego,” “Ego” (sometimes spelt as “ego” since the term is only ever used in a positive sense in Theosophical literature, the pronunciation as “eego” or “eggo” thus not being especially important, since it always means the same thing, namely the Higher and reincarnating Principle), and “Individuality” apply specifically to Higher Manas; and “Spiritual/Divine Ego” is the Taijasi state attained when the Higher Ego permanently unites with Atma-Buddhi.)

“THE EGO. Two phases, higher and lower. In theosophical terminology differs from the Higher Self. Key to Theosophy should be carefully studied for such definition. The ego commonly called manas or human mind or soul. . . . Mind was needed to “embrace the universe,” not to dwarf it; hence needed to verify and to interpret intuition, the resulting experience being the true doctrine of the heart.” [WQJ, “Subjects for Discussion” p. 14, 11]

“ANTASKARANA. The link between the higher and lower manas. Important for study as being the one approach to spirituality in the mind of man. Only acts when the consciousness is normal. During sleep it has no existence. A mode of consciousness, not a principle. Higher manas and lower manas separated during the period of incarnation, save in the case of an Initiate. Antaskarana, the link between them, is a projection of the lower manas toward the higher. All persons project this condition of soul into spiritual regions. The link increases in power if the energy which produced it is steadily maintained. Liable to be temporarily cut off however if not energized perpetually. . . . Through antaskarana come all the higher impulsions during any life. Music, art, poetry, if truly spiritual, come from this source as much as philosophy. Careful distinction to be made between sentimentality and true inspiration. Antaskarana may be so strengthened as eventually to awaken the full nature of the human being, and a link thus formed between higher and lower manas cannot be readily broken. If once accomplished it is always possible for the lower manas to unite itself with its “father” again at any moment.” [WQJ, “Subjects for Discussion” p. 16-17]

“. . . the metaphysics of Occult physiology and psychology postulate within mortal man an immortal entity, “divine Mind,” or Nous, whose pale and too often distorted reflection is what we call “Mind” and intellect in men – virtually an entity apart from the former during the period of every incarnation . . . These two we distinguish as the Higher Manas (Mind or Ego), and the Kama-Manas . . . The latter “principle” is the Lower Self, or that which, manifesting through our organic system, acting on this plane of illusion, imagines itself the Ego Sum, and thus falls into what Buddhist philosophy brands as the “heresy of separateness.” The former we term INDIVIDUALITY, the latter Personality. From the first proceeds all the noetic element, from the second, the psychic, i.e., “terrestrial wisdom” at best, as it is influenced by all the chaotic stimuli of the human or rather animal passions of the living body. The “Higher Ego” cannot act directly on the body, as its consciousness belongs to quite another plane and planes of ideation: the “lower” Self does: and its action and behaviour depend on its free-will and choice as to whether it will gravitate more towards its parent (“the Father in Heaven”) or the “animal” which it informs, the man of flesh. The “Higher Ego,” as part of the essence of the UNIVERSAL MIND, is unconditionally omniscient on its own plane, and only potentially so in our terrestrial sphere, as it has to act solely through its alter ego – the Personal Self.” [HPB, “Psychic and Noetic Action” article]

Kama, Prana, Linga Sharira, Sthula Sharira

“THE FOURFOLD LOWER MAN. Is called the Quaternary. Composed of (1) body, (2) vital principle or jiva; (3) astral body, ethereal double, linga sharira; (4) desires and passions, kama rupa, kama manas or mind ensnared in and tinctured by desires and passions.

Body is a limitation and not a cause. Is the physical instrument needed for this plane? All bodies belong on this plane, our instrument therefore is wholly animal. Its particles constantly changing as admitted by scientific observers.

Vital principle, Jiva, Life. It is universal; pervades every point of space; is derived from the supreme jiva and hence universal; exchanged among all living beings.

Astral body; the ethereal double; Linga Sharira. Its functions and powers: the form or matrix on which the physical is built; it partakes of the nature of the astral matter; describe the latter. Is the seat of the purely personal, but there is reflex automatic action on it from the body as a person. New astral body general rule for each birth, but some carried over from prior birth.

Desires and passions, Kama, and Kama Manas. The turning point; shared with animals, except that, they have but little if any manas. This battlefield for man, resembling the Earth itself. Reincarnation; the wheel of rebirth due to the action and reaction of desire and passion.” [WQJ, “Subjects for Discussion” p. 2]

Psyche (Gr.). The animal, terrestrial Soul; the lower Manas.” [HPB, “The Theosophical Glossary” p. 263, Entry for “Psyche”]

“Strictly speaking, Prana is breath; and as breath is necessary for continuance of life in the human machine, that is the better word. Jiva means “life,” and also is applied to the living soul, for the life in general is derived from the Supreme Life itself. Jiva is therefore capable of general application, whereas Prana is more particular.” [WQJ, “The Ocean of Theosophy” p. 37-38]

“The remaining “Principle” “Prana,” or “Life,” is, strictly speaking, the radiating force or Energy of Atma – as the Universal Life and the ONE SELF, – ITS lower or rather (in its effects) more physical, because manifesting, aspect. Prana or Life permeates the whole being of the objective Universe; and is called a “principle” only because it is an indispensable factor and the deus ex machina of the living man.” [HPB, “The Key to Theosophy” p. 176]

“For Prana (or life) has, strictly speaking, two vehicles, as Manas is double: Linga-sharira, or astral body, is the vehicle of the life principle, or spirit life; while Kama-rupa is the vehicle of the physical or material essence. In other words, the three higher principles of the septenary of Prana reside in the astral body, while the four lower principles have their seat in Kama-rupa. You have learnt something new tonight, because I discovered, to my great surprise, that Mr. Bert Keightley did not know what I meant, that Kama-rupa was the vehicle of the life essence and that there was a difference between it and Prana, which has seven principles. Therefore, as Kama-rupa is the vehicle of the grossest of that form, that Prana the astral body has got is a vehicle of the spirit of the life principle, because it is connected with the higher principles of the triad and not with the quaternary.” [“The Secret Doctrine Dialogues” p. 479]

Linga Sharira (Sk.). The “body”; i.e., the aerial symbol of the body. This term designates the doppelganger or the “astral body” of man or animal. It is the eidolon of the Greeks, the vital and prototypal body; the reflection of the man of flesh. It is born before and dies or fades out, with the disappearance of the last atom of the body.” “Astral Body, or Astral “Double”. The ethereal counterpart or shadow of man or animal. The Linga Sharira, the “Doppelganger”. The reader must not confuse it with the ASTRAL SOUL, another name for the lower Manas, or Kama-Manas so-called, the reflection of the HIGHER EGO.” [“The Theosophical Glossary” p. 189-90, 37, Entries for “Linga Sharira” and “Astral Body”]

“It is not molecularly constituted matter – least of all the human body (sthulasarira) – that is the grossest of all our “principles,” but verily the middle principle, the real animal centre; whereas our body is but its shell, the irresponsible factor and medium through which the beast in us acts all its life. Every intellectual theosophist will understand my real meaning.” [“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 260]

“Why do the seven nervous plexuses of the body radiate seven rays? Why are there these seven plexuses, and why seven distinct layers in the human skin?” [“The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 2, p. 92]

“Nor has it [i.e. the personal ego, the Lower Manas] any direct dealings on this physical plane with either our brain or our heart – for these two are the organs of a power higher than the Personality – but only with our passional organs, such as the liver, the stomach, the spleen, etc. . . . Indeed, every organ in our body has its own memory. For if it is endowed with a consciousness “of its own kind,” every cell must of necessity have also a memory of its own kind, as likewise its own psychic and noetic action. . . . every Theosophist must understand when told that there are Manasic as well as Kamic organs in him, although the cells of his body answer to both physical and spiritual impulses. Verily that body, so desecrated by Materialism and man himself, is the temple of the Holy Grail, the Adytum of the grandest, nay, of all, the mysteries of nature in our solar universe. That body is an Aeolian harp, chorded with two sets of strings, one made of pure silver, the other of catgut. When the breath from the divine Fiat brushes softly over the former, man becomes like unto his God – but the other set feels it not. It needs the breeze of a strong terrestrial wind, impregnated with animal effluvia, to set its animal chords vibrating. . . . Occultism teaches that the liver and the spleen cells are the most subservient to the action of our “personal” mind, the heart being the organ par excellence through which the “Higher” Ego acts – through the Lower Self. . . . the brain [is] the direct recipient of the impressions of the heart.” [“Psychic and Noetic Action” article]


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