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Jan 06, 2006 05:38 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck


H. P. Blavatsky


M. Of course it is most difficult, and, as you say, "puzzling" to understand
correctly and distinguish between the various aspects, called by us the
"principles" of the real EGO. ...   

X. Are you thinking of the Vedantins. They divide our seven "principles"
into five only, I believe? 

M. ... Then there is the Taraka Raja Yoga School. [S D I 157] Its
teaching recognizes only three "principles" in fact; but then, in reality,
their Sthulopadhi, or the physical body in its jagrata or waking conscious
state, their Sukshmopadhi, the same body in svapna or the dreaming state,
and their Karanopadhi or "causal body," or that which passes from one
incarnation to another, are all dual in their aspects, and thus make six.
Add to this Atma, the impersonal divine principle or the immortal element in
Man, undistinguished from the Universal Spirit, and you have the same seven,
again, as in the esoteric division. l 

X. Then it seems almost the same as the division made by mystic Christians:
body, soul and spirit? 

M. Just the same. We could easily make of the body the vehicle of the "vital
Double"; of the latter the vehicle of Life or Prana; of Kamarupa or (animal)
soul, the vehicle of the higher and the lower mind, and make of this six
principles, crowning the whole with the one immortal spirit. 

In Occultism, every qualificative change in the state of our consciousness
goes to man a new aspect, and if it prevails and becomes part of the living
and acting EGO, it must be (and is) given a special name, to distinguish the
man in that particular state from the man he is when he places himself in
another state. 

X. It is just that which is so difficult to understand. 

M. It seems to me very easy, on the contrary, once that you have seized the
main idea, i.e., that man acts on this, or another plane of consciousness,
in strict accordance with his mental and spiritual condition. But such is
the materialism of the age that the more we explain, the less people seem
capable of understanding what we say. 

Divide the terrestrial being called man into three chief aspects, if you
like; but, unless you make of him a pure animal, you cannot do less. Take
his objective body; the feeling principle in him--which is only a little
higher than the instinctual element in the animal--or the vital elementary
soul; and that which places him so immeasurably beyond and higher than the
animal--i.e., his reasoning soul or "spirit." 


Well, if we take these three groups or representative entities, and
subdivide them, according to the occult teaching, what do we get? 

First of all SPIRIT (in the sense of the Absolute, and therefore indivisible
ALL) or Atma. As this can neither be located nor conditioned in philosophy,
being simply that which IS, in Eternity, and as the ALL 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. Rather, and at best, it is that point in metaphysical
Space which the human Monad and its vehicle man, occupy for the period of
every life. Now that point is as imaginary as man himself, and in reality is
an illusion, a maya; but then for ourselves as for other personal Egos, we
are a reality during that fit of illusion called life, and we have to take
ourselves into account--in our own fancy at any rate if no one else does. To
make it more conceivable to the human intellect, when first attempting the
study of Occultism, and to solve the ABC of the mystery of man, 

Occultism calls it the seventh principle, the synthesis of the six, and
gives it for vehicle the Spiritual Soul, Buddhi. Now the latter conceals a
mystery, which is never given to anyone with the exception of irrevocably
pledged chelas, 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" might prove very
fatal to men at large and to the possessor of that faculty in particular, it
is carefully guarded. Alone the adepts, who have been tried and can never be
found wanting, have the key of the mystery fully divulged to them . . . Let
us avoid side issues, however, and hold to 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." 

If we pass on to the Human Soul (MANAS, the mens) everyone will agree that
the intelligence of man is dual to say the least: e.g., the high-minded man
can hardly become low-minded; the very intellectual and spiritual-minded man
is separated by an abyss from the obtuse, dull and material, if not
animal-minded man. 

Why then should not these men be represented by two "principles" or two
aspects rather? 

Every man has these two principles in him, one more active than the other,
and in rare cases, one of these is entirely stunted in its growth; so to say
paralysed by the strength and predominance of the other aspect, during the
life of man. 

These, then, are what we call the two principles or aspects of Manas, the
higher and the lower; the former, the higher Manas, or the thinking,
conscious EGO gravitating toward the Spiritual Soul (Buddhi); and the
latter, or its instinctual principle attracted to Kama, the seat of animal
desires and passions in man. 

Thus, we have four "principles" justified; the last three being 


(1) the "Double" which we have agreed to call Protean, or Plastic Soul; the
vehicle of 

(2) the life principle; and 

(3) the physical body. 

Of course no Physiologist or Biologist will accept these principles, nor can
he make head or tail of them. ...

X. But the scientific materialists assert that after the death of man
nothing remains; that the human body simply disintegrates into its component
elements, and that what we call soul is merely a temporary
self-consciousness produced as a by-product of organic action, which will
evaporate like steam. Is not theirs a strange state of mind? 

M. Not strange at all, that I see. If they say that self-consciousness
ceases with the body, then in their case they simply utter an unconscious
prophecy. For once that they are firmly convinced of what they assert, no
conscious after-life is possible for them. 

X. But if human self-consciousness survives death as a rule, why should
there be exceptions? 

M. In the fundamental laws of the spiritual world which are immutable, no
exception is possible. But there are rules for those who see, and rules for
those who prefer to remain blind. 

X. Quite so, I understand. It is an aberration of a blind man, who denies
the existence of the sun because he does not see it. But after death his
spiritual eyes will certainly compel him to see? 

M. They will not compel him, nor will he see anything. Having persistently
denied an after-life during this life, he will be unable to sense it. His
spiritual senses having been stunted, they cannot develop after death, and
he will remain blind. By insisting that he must see it, you evidently mean
one thing and I another. 

You speak of the spirit from the Spirit, or the flame from the Flame --of
Atma in short --and you confuse it with the human soul --Manas. . . . 

You do not understand me, let me try to make it clear. The whole gist of
your question is to know whether, in the case of a downright materialist,
the complete loss of self-consciousness and self-perception after death is
possible? Isn't it so? I say: It is possible. Because, believing firmly in
our Esoteric Doctrine, which refers to the Post-mortem period, or the
interval between two lives or births as merely a transitory state, I say:--
Whether that interval between two acts of the illusionary drama of life
lasts one year or a million, that post-mortem state may, without any breach
of the fundamental law, prove to be just the same state as that of a man who
is in a dead swoon. 

X. But since you have just said that the fundamental laws of the after-death
state admit of no exceptions, how can this be? 

M. Nor do I say now that they admit of exceptions. But the spiritual law of
continuity applies only to things which are truly real.

.... I will say more: it is sufficient to understand what we mean by Buddhi
and the duality of Manas to have a very clear perception why the materialist
may not have a self-conscious survival after death: because Manas, in its
lower aspect, is the seat of the terrestrial mind, and, therefore, can give
only that perception of the Universe which is based on the evidence of that
mind, and not on our spiritual vision. 

It is said in our Esoteric school that between Buddhi and Manas, or Iswara
and Pragna, 2 there is in reality no more difference than between a forest
and its trees, a lake and its waters, just as Mundakya teaches. One or
hundreds of trees dead from loss of vitality, or uprooted, are yet incapable
of preventing the forest from being still a forest. 

The destruction or post-mortem death of one personality dropped out of the
long series, will not cause the smallest change in the Spiritual divine Ego,
and it will ever remain the same EGO. Only, instead of experiencing Devachan
it will have to immediately reincarnate. 

X. But as I understand it, Ego-Buddhi represents in this simile the forest
and the personal minds the trees. And if Buddhi is immortal, how can that
which is similar to it, i.e., Manas-taijasi, 3 lose entirely its
consciousness till the day of its new incarnation? I cannot understand it. 

M. You cannot, because you will mix up an abstract representation of the
whole with its casual changes of form; and because you confuse
Manas-taijasi, the Buddhi-lit human soul, with the latter, animalized. 

Remember that if it can be said of BUDDHI THAT IT IS UNCONDITIONALLY
IMMORTAL, the same cannot be said of Manas, still less of taijasi, which is
an attribute. 

No post-mortem consciousness or Manas-Taijasi, can exist apart from Buddhi,
the divine soul, because the first (Manas) is, in its lower aspect, a
qualificative attribute of the terrestrial personality, and the second
(taijasi) is identical with the first, and that it is the same Manas only
with the light of Buddhi reflected on it. [see Key, p.135-6, 159] 

In its turn, Buddhi would remain only an impersonal spirit without this
element which it borrows from the human soul, which conditions and makes of
it, in this illusive Universe, as it were something separate from the
universal soul for the whole period of the cycle of incarnation. [see S D I
174-5 footnote on the Monad]

SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS IN ETERNITY, nor the recollection of its previous
incarnations in which the two--i.e., the spiritual and the human soul, had
been closely linked together. [ see H P B Articles III, p. 265; S D I

But it is not so in the case of a materialist, whose human soul not only
receives nothing from the divine soul, but even refuses to recognize its
existence. You can hardly apply this axiom to the attributes and
qualifications of the human soul, for it would be like saying that because
your divine soul is immortal, therefore the bloom on your cheek must also be
immortal; whereas this bloom, like taijasi, or spiritual radiance, is simply
a transitory phenomenon. 

X. Do I understand you to say that we must not mix in our minds the noumenon
with the phenomenon, the cause with its effect? 

M. I do say so, and repeat that, limited to Manas or the human soul alone,
the radiance of Taijasi itself becomes a mere question of time; because both
immortality and consciousness after death become for the terrestrial
personality of man simply conditioned attributes, as they depend entirely on
conditions and beliefs created by the human soul itself during the life of
its body. Karma acts incessantly; we reap in our after-life only the fruit
of that which we have ourselves sown, or rather created, in our terrestrial

X. But if my Ego can, after the destruction of my body, become plunged in a
state of entire unconsciousness, then where can be the punishment for the
sins of my past life? 

M. Our philosophy teaches that Karmic punishment reaches the Ego only in the
next incarnation. 

After death it receives only the reward for the unmerited sufferings endured
during its just past existence. 4 

The whole punishment after death, even for the materialist, consists
therefore in the absence of any reward and the utter loss of the
consciousness of one's bliss and rest. Karma--is the child of the
terrestrial Ego, the fruit of the actions of the tree which is the objective
personality visible to all, as much as the fruit of all the thoughts and
even motives of the spiritual "I"; but Karma is also the tender mother, who
heals the wounds inflicted by her during the preceding life, before she will
begin to torture this Ego by inflicting upon him new ones. 

If it may be said that there is not a mental or physical suffering in the
life of a mortal, which is not the fruit and consequence of some sin in
this, or a preceding existence, on the other hand, since he does not
preserve the slightest recollection of it in his actual life, and feels
himself not deserving of such punishment, but believes sincerely he suffers
for no guilt of his own, this alone is quite sufficient to entitle the human
soul to the fullest consolation, rest and bliss in his post-mortem


For the materialist, who, notwithstanding his materialism, was not a bad
man, the interval between the two lives will be like the unbroken and placid
sleep of a child; either entirely dreamless, or with pictures of which he
will have no definite perception. For the believer it will be a dream as
vivid as life and full of realistic bliss and visions. As for the bad and
cruel man, whether materialist or otherwise, he will be immediately reborn
and suffer his hell on earth. [see Key, pp. 103-4] .... 

X. As far as I remember, the periodical incarnations of Sutratma 5 [see Key,
pp. 163, 168-70] are likened in some Upanishad to the life of a mortal
which oscillates periodically between sleep and waking. This does not seem
to me very clear, and I will tell you why. 

For the man who awakes, another day commences, but that man is the same in
soul and body as he was the day before; whereas at every new incarnation a
full change takes place not only in his external envelope, sex and
personality, but even in his mental and psychic capacities. Thus the simile
does not seem to me quite correct. The man who arises from sleep remembers
quite clearly what he has done yesterday, the day before, and even months
and years ago. But none of us has the slightest recollection of a preceding
life or any fact or event concerning it. . . . 

M. Yet some people do recollect their past incarnations. This is what the
Arhats call Samma-Sambuddha--or the knowledge of the whole series of one's
past incarnations. 

X. But we ordinary mortals who have not reached Samma-Sambuddha, how can we
be expected to realize this simile? 

M. By studying it and trying to understand more correctly the
characteristics of the three states of sleep. Sleep is a general and
immutable law for man as for beast, but there are different kinds of sleep
and still more different dreams and visions. 

X. Just so. But this takes us from our subject. Let us return to the
materialist who, while not denying dreams, which he could hardly do, yet
denies immortality in general and the survival of his own individuality

M. And the materialist is right for once, at least; since for one who has no
inner perception and faith, there is no immortality possible. 

In order to live in the world to come a conscious life, one has to believe
first of all in that life during one's terrestrial existence. On these two
aphorisms of the Secret Science all the philosophy about the post-mortem
consciousness and the immortality of the soul is built. 
The Ego receives always according to its deserts. 

After the dissolution of the body, there commences for it either a period of
full clear consciousness, a state of chaotic dreams, or an utterly dreamless
sleep indistinguishable from annihilation; and these are the three states of
consciousness. Our physiologists find the cause of dreams and visions in an
unconscious preparation for them during the waking hours; why cannot the
same be admitted for the post-mortem dreams? 

I repeat it, DEATH IS SLEEP. 

After death begins, before the spiritual eyes of the soul, a performance
according to a programme learnt and very often composed unconsciously by
ourselves; the practical carrying out of correct beliefs or of illusions
which have been created by ourselves. A Methodist, will be Methodist, a
Mussulman, a Mussulman, of course, just for a time--in a perfect fool's
paradise of each man's creation and making These are the post-mortem fruits
of the tree of life. 
Naturally, our belief or unbelief in the fact of conscious immortality is
unable to influence the unconditioned reality of the fact itself, once that
it exists; but the belief or unbelief in that immortality, as the
continuation or annihilation of separate entities, cannot fail to give
colour to that fact in its application to each of these entities. Now do you
begin to understand it? 

X. I think I do. The materialist, disbelieving in everything that cannot be
proven to him by his five senses or by scientific reasoning, and rejecting
every spiritual manifestation, accepts life as the only conscious existence.
Therefore, according to their beliefs so will it be unto them. They will
lose their personal Ego, and will plunge into a dreamless sleep until a new
awakening. Is it so? 

M. Almost so. Remember the universal esoteric teaching of the two kinds of
conscious existence: the terrestrial and the spiritual. The latter must be
considered real from the very fact that it is the region of the eternal,
changeless, immortal cause of all; whereas the incarnating Ego dresses
itself up in new garments entirely different from those of its previous
incarnations, and in which all except its spiritual prototype is doomed to a
change so radical as to leave no trace behind. 

X. Stop! . . . Can the consciousness of my terrestrial Egos perish not only
for a time, like the consciousness of the materialist, but in any case so
entirely as to leave no trace behind? 
M. According to the teaching, it must so perish and in its fullness, all
except that principle which, having united itself with the Monad, has
thereby become a purely spiritual and indestructible essence, one with it in
the Eternity. But in the case of an out and out materialist, in whose
personal "I" no Buddhi has ever reflected itself, how can the latter carry
away into the infinitudes one particle of that terrestrial personality? Your
spiritual "I" is immortal; but from your present Self it can carry away into
after life but that which has become worthy of immortality, namely, the
aroma alone of the flower that has been mown by death. 

X. Well, and the flower, the terrestrial "I"? 

M. The flower, as all past and future flowers which blossomed and died, and
will blossom again on the mother bough, the Sutratma, all children of one
root of Buddhi, will return to dust. Your present "I," as you yourself know,
is not the body now sitting before me, nor yet is it what I would call
Manas-Sutratma--but Sutratma Buddhi. 

X. But this does not explain to me at all, why you call life after death
immortal, infinite, and real, and the terrestrial life a simple phantom or
illusion; since even that post-mortem life has limits, however much wider
they may be than those of terrestrial life. 

between the hours of life and death. But if these hours marking the periods
of terrestrial and spiritual life are limited in their duration, and if the
very number of such stages in Eternity between sleep and awakening, illusion
and reality, has its beginning and its end, on the other hand the spiritual
"Pilgrim" is eternal.

Therefore are the hours of his post-mortem life--when, disembodied he
stands face to face with truth and not the mirages of his transitory earthly
existences during the period of that pilgrimage which we call "the cycle of
rebirths"--the only reality in our conception. Such intervals, their
limitation not withstanding, do not prevent the Ego, while 


These intervals and stages help towards this final result instead of
hindering it; and without such limited intervals the divine Ego could never
reach its ultimate goal. This Ego is the actor, and its numerous and various
incarnations the parts it plays. Shall you call these parts with their
costumes the individuality of the actor himself? 

Like that actor, the Ego is forced to play during the Cycle of Necessity up
to the very threshold of Para-nirvana, many parts such as may be unpleasant
to it. But as the bee collects its honey from every flower, leaving the rest
as food for the earthly worms, so does our spiritual individuality, whether
we call it Sutratma or Ego.

It collects from every terrestrial personality into which Karma forces it
to incarnate, the nectar alone of the spiritual qualities and
self-consciousness, and uniting all these into one whole it emerges from its
chrysalis as the glorified Dhyan Chohan. So much the worse for those
terrestrial personalities from which it could collect nothing. Such
personalities cannot assuredly outlive consciously their terrestrial

X. Thus then it seems, that for the terrestrial personality, immortality is
still conditional. Is then immortality itself not unconditional? 

M. Not at all. But it cannot touch the non-existent. For all that which
exists as SAT, ever aspiring to SAT, immortality and Eternity are absolute.
Matter is the opposite pole of spirit and yet the two are one. The essence
of all this, i.e., Spirit, Force and Matter, or the three in one, is as
endless as it is beginningless; but the form acquired by this triple unity
during its incarnations, the externality, is certainly only the illusion of
our personal conceptions. Therefore do we call the after-life alone a
reality, while relegating the terrestrial life, its terrestrial personality
included, to the phantom realm of illusion. 

X. But why in such a case not call sleep the reality, and waking the
illusion, instead of the reverse? 

M. Because we use an expression made to facilitate the grasping of the
subject, and from the standpoint of terrestrial conceptions it is a very
correct one. 

X. Nevertheless, I cannot understand. If the life to come is based on
justice and the merited retribution for all our terrestrial suffering, how,
in the case of materialists many of whom are ideally honest and charitable
men, should there remain of their personality nothing but the refuse of a
faded flower! 

M. No one ever said such a thing. No materialist, if a good man, however
unbelieving, can die forever in the fullness of his spiritual individuality.
What was said is, that the consciousness of one life can disappear either
fully or partially; in the case of a thorough materialist, no vestige of
that personality which disbelieved remains in the series of lives. 

X. But is this not annihilation to the Ego? 

M. Certainly not. One can sleep a dead sleep during a long railway journey,
miss one or several stations without the slightest recollection or
consciousness of it, awake at another station and continue the journey
recollecting other halting places, till the end of that journey, when the
goal is reached. Three kinds of sleep were mentioned to you: the dreamless,
the chaotic, and the one so real, that to the sleeping man his dreams become
full realities. If you believe in the latter why can't you believe in the
former? According to what one has believed in and expected after death, such
is the state one will have. He who expected no life to come will have an
absolute blank amounting to annihilation in the interval between the two
rebirths. This is just the carrying out of the programme we spoke of, and
which is created by the materialist himself. But there are various kinds of
materialists, as you say. 

A selfish wicked Egoist, one who never shed a tear for anyone but himself,
thus adding entire indifference the whole world to his unbelief, must drop
at the threshold of death his personality forever. This personality having
no tendrils of sympathy for the world around, and hence nothing to hook on
to the string of the Sutratma, every connection between the two is broken
with last breath. 

There being no Devachan for such a materialists, the Sutratma will
re-incarnate almost immediately. But those materialists who erred in nothing
but their disbelief, will oversleep but one station. Moreover, the time will
come when the ex-material perceive himself in the Eternity and perhaps
repent that he lost even one day, or station, from the life eternal. 

X. Still would it not be more correct to say that death is birth new Life or
a return once more to the threshold of eternity? 

M. You may if you like. Only remember that births differ, and that there are
births of "still-born" beings, which are failures. Moreover with your fixed
Western ideas about material life, the words "living" and "being" are quite
inapplicable to the pure subjective post-mortem existence. It is just
because of such ideas--a few philosophers who are not read by the many and
who lives are too confused to present a distinct picture of it--that all
your conceptions of life and death have finally become so narrow. On the one
hand, they have led to crass materialism, and on the to the still more
material conception of the other life which ritualists have formulated in
their Summer-land. There the souls of men eat, drink and marry, and live in
a Paradise quite as sensual as that of Mohammed, but even less
philosophical. Nor are average conceptions of the uneducated Christians any
better, they are still more material, if possible. What between truncated
Angels, brass trumpets, golden harps, streets in paradisiacal cities with
jewels, and hell-fires, it seems like a scene at a Christmas pantomime. It
is because of these narrow conceptions that you such difficulty in
understanding. And, it is also just because the life of the disembodied
soul, while possessing all the vividness of reality, as in certain dreams,
is devoid of every grossly objective form of terrestrial life, that the
Eastern philosophers have compared it with visions during sleep. 
Lucifer, January, 1889 

------------------------	Footnotes

1 See "Secret Doctrine" for a clearer explanation.
2 Iswara is the collective consciousness of the manifested deity, BrahmÔ,
i.e., the collective consciousness of the Host of Dhyan Chohans; and Pragna
is their individual wisdom. 
3 Taijasi means the radiant in consequence of the union with Buddhi of
Manas, the human, illuminated by the radiance of the divine soul. Therefore
Manas-taijasi may be described as radiant mind; the human reason lit by the
light of the spirit; and Buddhi-Manas is the representation of the divine
plus the human intellect and self-consciousness. 
4 Some Theosophists have taken exception to this phrase, but the words are
those of the Masters, and the meaning attached to the word "unmerited" is
that given above. In the T.P.S. pamphlet No. 6, a phrase, criticised
subsequently in Lucifer was used, which was intended to convey the same
idea. In form however it was awkward and open to the criticism directed
against it; but the essential idea was that men often suffer from the
effects of the actions done by others, effects which thus do not strictly
belong to their own Karma, but to that of other people--and for these
sufferings they of course deserve compensation. If it is true to say that
nothing that happens to us can be anything else than Karma--or the direct or
indirect effect of a cause--it would be a great error to think that every
evil or good which befalls us is due only to our personal Karma. (Vide
further on.)
5 Our immortal and reincarnating principle in conjunction with the Manasic
recollections of the preceding lives is called Sutratma, which means
literally the Thread-Soul; because like the pearls on a thread so is the
long series of human lives strung together on that one thread. Manas must
become taijasi, the radiant, before it can hang on the Sutratma as a pearl
on its thread, and so have full and absolute perception of itself in the
Eternity. As said before, too close association with the terrestrial mind
of the human soul alone causes the radiance to be entirely lost.


Best wishes, 

-----Original Message-----
From: perbain
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 4:08 PM

I do not understand a thing about what I just read on "More on
but found it very interesting. I am trying to learn, therefore, please 
continue me on your mailing list. I do understand reincarnation, but am 
ignorant to India sad as that is.

Thank you,


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