[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]


Jan 18, 2006 05:32 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck

1/18/2006 5:12 AM

On Astral . Physical body relations

Of interest:


Q From J. V. - "There are two ways to ascend and descend, the direct and
indirect." Tea Table, Oct. Path. (I) What are these ways?

Answer - The thistle down is blown hither and thither with every
breath of wind: The arrow speeds straight to the mark from the powerful bow.

The indirect way is that of the thistle down; the Astral going out when the
body is asleep, does so in a diffused condition - a passive state - with no
adequate force to control it or master unseen forces. It floats at the mercy
of every current in the Astral, gleaning here and there as a butterfly but
taking the good and bad indiscriminately. It may reach high spheres, but is
more likely to remain in those nearest to the physical. This way is
travelled by all when asleep, and there dreams are made. It is the passive
state where desire is the ruler, and sometimes travelled in the waking
conscious state, but is uncontrollable and unreliable.

The direct way is that of the arrow from the bow. The Astral speeds directly
to the sphere which holds the knowledge it is to receive. It does so in
obedience to an irresistible force - the Will: Will in accordance with
divine law. It is concrete going and returning in obedience to this force,
bringing little with it from intermediate spheres other than that for which
it is seeking. This occurs in dreamless slumber and the knowledge acquired
is not communicated in a dream. This way is travelled in the conscious state
for it is the way of the student of the Occult. Unless the man's thought and
motive are pure, he is incapable of using the true will, and his Astral goes
where other wills or forces drive it. It pauses when other forces interfere
- learns from the place it happens to be in, and brings back a horrible
jumble sometimes.

(2) Where do these ways lead?

One way leads to Theosophia - Illumination - when traveled awake or asleep.

The other to consideration of self - ordinary living with its erroneous
conceptions - as an Occult way, to love of phenomena and spiritism.

They lead to spheres within the astral, for the astral body passes not
beyond astral limits. Only when the soul is freed from the astral and
material bodies does it pass to higher spheres. These ways also lead to
planets, stars, and other worlds, for all these may be within the astral of
this globe.

Path, November, 1887



Q	(2) May one walk for any distance along the Path without being able
to see into the Astral Light, or without recognizing anything extraordinary?

Answer - One may journey an entire life time on "The Path" and not
see into the Astral Light consciously. All men see into it, for all who
dream are looking there, the body being asleep and not receptive.

One may journey a long distance and not see, for all do not work in the same
manner. Some may hear "ages before they see," or may feel a long time before
either seeing or hearing. The tool most efficient at a certain period is the
one used.
We may journey the entire way without recognizing anything extraordinary or
encountering phenomena. The most extraordinary things are found in the most
ordinary, and are overlooked because of their seeming familiarity. When the
understanding is directed to the natural, one finds the supra-natural or
supra-human things.

All questions are vital so long as they remain unsolved but all will be
answered. It requires patience in ourselves, for many times the answers do
not come until years after the question has been propounded. If I can be of
further use to you please consider me at your service.

[ W Q J ART II P. 451 ]





We had been looking at this passage from the Secret Doctrine:

"Those who believe in Karma have to believe in destiny, which, from birth to
death, every man is weaving thread by thread around himself, as a spider
does his cobweb; and this destiny is guided either by the heavenly voice of
the invisible prototype outside of us, or by our more intimate astral, or
inner man, who is but too often the evil genius of the embodied entity
called man. Both these lead on the outward man, but one of them must
prevail; and from the very beginning of the invisible affray the stern and
implacable law of compensation steps in and takes its course, faithfully
following the fluctuations. When the last strand is woven, and man is
seemingly enwrapped in the net-work of his own doing, then he finds himself
completely under the empire of this self-made destiny. It then either fixes
him like the inert shell against the immovable rock, or carries him away
like a feather in a whirlwind raised by his own actions, and this is-KARMA."
SD I 639


It seems to this student that there may be more to the first sentence than
just a beautiful metaphor. What is it that each of us "is weaving thread by
thread around himself, as a spider does his cobweb"? What is this
"net-work" of our own doing which eventually enwraps us, which eventually
imprisons us or which may set us free?



Is it not the good or evil we have done in past lives that has affected the
Monads of lesser development we call "skandhas?" They carry our Karma as the
imprint on them of any distortion we may have then imposed.  

They are attracted to us in this life under our mutual karma, and form our
present "tools" on various planes (physical, astral, pranic, psychic and
Kamic). If we distorted them then, they now give us imperfect tools to live
in (the quality of the 4 lower planes is thus determined by us, (knowingly
or unknowingly).

We understand something about this in terms of the kama-rupa (the result of
the strands of selfish and personal desire, and the passions we develop and
weave throughout our lives). It is these that form after death the
coalesced astral body and Kama, into a "rupa" form, and when the EGO
(Buddhi-Manas) retires to Devachan, it is left behind in the kama-loka
(region/state) to disintegrate soon or late, depending on the force of the
impresses we made. It (Kama-Rupa) remains behind when the spiritualised
consciousness is withdrawn into the higher triad (Atma-Buddhi-Manas) and
goes into Devachan.

Although that Kamarupic form eventually disintegrates completely in
Kama-loka, (the EGO is no longer there to serve as a focus of attraction),
by the process of a gradual wafting or floating away upon the force lines of
karmic links and attractions with, or to, other entities,,.

When the Reincarnating Ego returns once more to 'earth' those strands are
drawn back into its atmosphere or "magnetic" aura, so to speak, and become
part and parcel of the building up of a new 'personality form'. We (as the
EGO then become enwrapped in them. Our present circumstances and the
present personality "is" the destiny we wove for ourselves in previous




There are two question that arise, for me. The reader will no doubt have
better ones.

1) When reflecting upon the nature of the kama-rupa and how it is formed
after death, 'is there some deeper law in this process?'. Are we meant to
be weaving something, but so far we just haven't been working with the right
material, we haven't lifted our sights above the realm of personal desire?
Hence what is created, i.e. the Kama Rupa, is only fit for disintegration?



I would say you are right. Since MOTIVE and the moral factor are the
primary criteria, what we see here is the division into two types of memory
that survive the physical death.

1.	Of selfishness and viciousness, ( and then allied to the astral form
they for the "kama-rupa, which, bereft of Prana/Jiva and the EGO begins to
disintegrate, and

2.	Of Spiritual purity, because universal, impersonal, benevolent and
generous -- in sum: MONADIC and brotherly in the true sense. (These go into
the Devachanic state as the memory environment of the EGO, and as the seeds
for its mediations there.  

In the "Key," H P B says that only those go there to form (during and after
the meditative state) the only record of the life we have just lived. All
the rest (the base, selfish, vicious and kamic) disintegrates and scatters.
None of it is "lost." Next incarnation all those are "summoned back" to
their Egoic "parent." And when under Karma they return, they, as the
skandhas that either help or hinder our progress then, become our current

Val sys to tell you the Mayavirupa and the Kamarupa are like the alpha and
omega -- polar opposites.



2) Is there a different kind of desire (energy) with which we may weave a
different kind of destiny or 'form'? Is there more to KAMA than just
personal desire and gratification? Is that "all" that KAMA is?

With regards the first question the passage in the SD (I, 169) above,
suggests "yes". We have a choice about this destiny which we weave out of
our own Being, like the spider weaves its web out of the substance of its
own being. Later we will look at a different kind of woven creation.

With regards to the second question, in the Secret Doctrine and other works
of HPB we learn that there is a more profound kind of Desire - KAMA. For

[Under KAMADEVA we find ]
"Kama is the first conscious, all embracing desire for universal good, love,
and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness; the first feeling
of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the Consciousness of
the creative ONE FORCE, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from
the ABSOLUTE. Says the Rig Veda, "Desire first arose in IT, which was the
primal germ of mind, and which Sages, searching with their intellect, have
discovered in their heart to be the bond which connects Entity with
non-Entity", or Manas with pure Atma-Buddhi. There is no idea of sexual love
in the conception. Kama is pre-eminently the divine desire of creating
happiness and love; and it is only ages later... that Kama became the power
that gratifies desire on the animal plane." (T. Glossary 171)

So, how might we bring these two ideas together. 

Namely that the true nature of KAMA is the "all embracing desire for
universal good. . . the first feeling of infinite tender compassion and
mercy that arose in Consciousness of the creative ONE FORCE..."  

And secondly, that the whole process of working with Kama (which *for us*
ends up in the pretty seedy, if not terrible, creation of a Kama-Rupa) may
be part of a larger design of 'weaving a body', one which is woven out of
the incorruptible essence of our true Being rather than out of the
corruptible essence of the astral. First of all, let's look again at KAMA.


It is interesting that HPB gives a definition of the real nature of KAMA, of
DESIRE, as one which includes "infinite tender COMPASSION" (my caps), "the
desire for universal good".   

Are we really surprised that such a FORCE is the first thing to arise as a
ray from the ABSOLUTE when manifestation begins? Perhaps this is why THE

" Compassion stands here as an abstract, impersonal law whose nature, being
absolute Harmony, is thrown into confusion by discord, suffering and sin."
(note 31, Glossary to Fragment Three)

Below is the text which the above glossary note refers to.

" There [on the path of the Arhat] Klesha is destroyed for ever, Tanha's
roots torn out. But stay, Disciple . . . Yet, one word. Canst thou destroy
divine COMPASSION? Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of LAWS --
eternal Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of
everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal. 

The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the
more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou wilt become
COMPASSION ABSOLUTE (31)." [Voice, pp. 75-6]

In the above we see the difference between KAMA, "the law of love eternal"
or as put in the Glossary, "the desire for universal good", "infinite
tender compassion" and 'Kama', that degraded aspect of Kama which we have
turned into personal desire, the passion etc. This personalised and
corrupted Kama is referred to as "Klesha" in "THE VOICE", that which is to
be "destroyed for ever". The glossary note (29) refers to Klesha as the
love of pleasure or of worldly enjoyment, evil or good.



That is the corruption of selfishness.  

In the LIGHT OF ASIA, Book 5, (p. 103-6) the first "SIN" is 

1.	selfishness, ATTAVADA, this is followed by 

2.	DOUBT -- doubt of the spiritual nature and the HIGHER SELF within.  

3.	Third arises FAITH that binds reason to forms and traditions, that
are ill explained. 

And then,

4: Kama personal passion, etc... Follows 

5	: HATE; and 


7, follows, DESIRE FOR FAME is next; and, then 

8.	PRIDE, hubris and HAUGHTINESS.  

9 is "SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS," and finally, 


This speaks to the debasement of Kama when its purity is exaggerated and
thus transformed from a list of virtues into their corresponding vices.




So, to return to our question, in what deeper more fundamental way is KAMA
related to weaving our destiny? What is the Law that underlies our misuse
of Kama resulting in, among other things, a Kama-rupa? Is there an
incorruptible body what we may eventually learn to weave? HPB gives us a
clue, once again in the VOICE OF THE SILENCE, when referring to the
Nirmanakaya. This is the first of the three vestures of a Buddha, or Arhat
who renounces Nirvana.

"[The Nirmanakaya]... is that ethereal form which one would assume when
leaving his physical he [the Arhat] would appear in his astral body --
having in addition all the knowledge of an Adept. The Bodhisattva develops
it in himself as he proceeds on the Path. Having reached the goal and
refused its fruition, he remains on Earth, as an Adept; and when he dies,
instead of going into Nirvana, he remains in that glorious body he has woven
for himself, invisible to uninitiated mankind, to watch over and protect
it." (Glossary Note 34 to Fragment III)

An important point here is that the Nirmanakaya (kaya meaning form, vesture,
vehicle) is a created body, but it is not just created at some point in the
future when the individual becomes an Arhat (Adept). It is developed WITHIN
the Bodhisattva "as he proceeds on the Path." Perhaps, then, this is the
other side of the destiny each of us might weave.

The term Bodhisattva is a complex one as used in different places in HPB's
writings. However, one thing we know about it is that it is the heart of
the Mahayana teachings where the aim is not to attain liberation for
oneself, but to work for the liberation of all beings. A Bodhisattva is
such a being, but even before that individual reaches the stage of Adeptship
this vow to help all beings has been nurtured in his/her heart for many
ages. We do not need to reach Nirvana and renounce it in order to help our
fellow beings. Each of us can make an intention to work for the
enlightenment of others any where along the path. Such is the Bodhisattva

Might we say that such an intention and its subsequent action is also a
means of putting ourselves in harmony with what HPB describes as the true
nature of KAMA, namely:

"Kama is the first conscious, all embracing desire for universal good, love,
and for all that lives and feels, needs help and kindness; the first feeling
of infinite tender compassion and mercy that arose in the Consciousness of
the creative ONE FORCE, as soon as it came into life and being as a ray from

The 'Nirmana-kaya' is the vesture/vehicle born out of compassion and the
desire to help others. It is woven out of the true Being (Monad)of the
Bodhisattva, just as the spider weaves its web out of its own substance. As
we look into this we may see parallels with the process underlying our
misuse of Kama (desire) and its subsequent formation after death of the
corruptible Kama-rupa. Here is the other side of the coin:

"... after the physical translation [i.e. death of the body] of such a saint
or Bodhisattva, his astral principles cannot be subjected to a natural
dissolution like those of any common mortal. They remain in our sphere and
within human attraction and reach" [my note: they cannot because they are
too pure] (BCW XIV 382-383)

" The form [Nirmanakaya] is that of the adept or yogi who enters, or
chooses, that Post mortem condition in preference to the Dharmakaya or
absolute Nirvanic state. As a Nirmânakâya... the man leaves behind him only
his physical body, and retains every other “principle” save the Kamic--for
he has crushed this out for ever from his nature, during life, and it can
never resurrect in his post mortem state." (Theosophical Glossary,

"Having reached the goal and refused its fruition, he remains on Earth, as
an Adept; and when he dies, instead of going into Nirvana, he remains in
that glorious body he has woven for himself, invisible to uninitiated
mankind, to watch over and protect it." (The Voice of the Silence, see

As a last word I would invite those interested to look back at the first
paragraph in this post, the passage from the SD, and wonder if the
Bodhisattva is putting him/herself in harmony with what HPB calls the
"creative ONE FORCE" namely the true nature of KAMA, what connection does
KARMA have with that KAMA, and with compassion, "the Law of Laws".

regards, P M 

'We do not “require a passive mind” but on the contrary are seeking for
those most active, which can put two and two together once that they are on
the right scent.'  
(Mahatma Letter No. 49)


DTB	I agree with you fully. Great thought and writing



THERE is such a thing as being intoxicated in the course of an unwise
pursuit of what we erroneously imagine is spirituality. In the Christian
Bible it is very wisely directed to "prove all" and to hold only to that
which is good; this advice is just as important to the student of occultism
who thinks that he has separated himself from those "inferior" people
engaged either in following a dogma or in tipping tables for messages from
deceased relatives - or enemies - as it is to spiritists who believe in the
"summerland" and "returning spirits."

The placid surface of the sea of spirit is the only mirror in which can be
caught undisturbed the reflections of spiritual things. When a student
starts upon the path and begins to see spots of light flash out now and
then, or balls of golden fire roll past him, it does not mean that he is
beginning to see the real Self - pure spirit. 

A moment of deepest peace or wonderful revealings given to the student, is
not the awful moment when one is about to see his spiritual guide, much less
his own soul. Nor are psychical splashes of blue flame, nor visions of
things that afterwards come to pass, nor sights of small sections of the
astral light with its wonderful photographs of past or future, nor the
sudden ringing of distant fairy-like bells, any proof that you are
cultivating spirituality. 

These things, and still more curious things, will occur when you have passed
a little distance on the way, but they are only the mere outposts of a new
land which is itself wholly material, and only one remove from the plane of
gross physical consciousness.

The liability to be carried off and intoxicated by these phenomena is to be
guarded against. We should watch, note and discriminate in all these cases;
place them down for future reference, to be related to some law, or for
comparison with other circumstances of a like sort. 

The power that Nature has of deluding us is endless, and if we stop at these
matters she will let us go no further. It is not that any person or power in
nature has declared that if we do so and so we must stop, but when one is
carried off by what Boehme calls "God's wonders," the result is an
intoxication that produces confusion of the intellect. 

Were one, for instance, to regard every picture seen in the astral light as
a spiritual experience, he might truly after a while brook no contradiction
upon the subject, but that would be merely because he was drunk with this
kind of wine. 

While he proceeded with his indulgence and neglected his true progress,
which is always dependent upon his purity of motive and conquest of his
known or ascertain-able defects, nature went on accumulating the store of
illusory appearances with which he satiated himself.

It is certain that any student who devotes himself to these astral
happenings will see them increase. But were our whole life devoted to and
rewarded by an enormous succession of phenomena, it is also equally certain
that the casting off of the body would be the end of all that sort of
experience, without our having added really anything to our stock of true

The astral plane, which is the same as that of our psychic senses, is as
full of strange sights and sounds as an untrodden South American forest, and
has to be well understood before the student can stay there long without

While we can overcome the dangers of a forest by the use of human
inventions, whose entire object is the physical destruction of the noxious
things encountered there, we have no such aids when treading the astral
labyrinth. We may be physically brave and say that no fear can enter into
us, but no untrained or merely curious seeker is able to say just what
effect will result to his outer senses from the attack or influence
encountered by the psychical senses.

And the person who revolves selfishly around himself as a center is in
greater danger of delusion than any one else, for he has not the assistance
that comes from being united in thought with all other sincere seekers. 

One may stand in a dark house where none of the objects can be distinguished
and quite plainly see all that is illuminated outside; in the same way we
can see from out of the blackness of our own house our hearts - the objects
now and then illuminated outside by the astral light; but we gain nothing.
We must first dispel the inner darkness before trying to see into the
darkness without; we must know ourselves before knowing things extraneous to

This is not the road that seems easiest to students. Most of them find it
far pleasanter and, as they think, faster work, to look on all these outside
allurements, and to cultivate all psychic senses, to the exclusion of real
spiritual work.

The true road is plain and easy to find, it is so easy that very many would
- be students miss it because they cannot believe it to be so simple.

"The way lies through the heart";
Ask there and wander not;
Knock loud, nor hesitate
Because at first the sounds
Reverberating, seem to mock thee.
Nor, when the door swings wide,
Revealing shadows black as night,
Must thou recoil.
Within, the Master's messengers
Have waited patiently:
That Master is Thyself!
W Q J	PATH, October, 1887





PERHAPS those who have engaged in discussions about whether it is more
advisable to become acquainted with the Astral Plane and to see therein than
to study the metaphysics and ethics of theosophy, may be aided by the
experience of a fellow student. 

For several years I studied about and experimented on the Astral Light to
the end that I might, if possible, develop the power to look therein and see
those marvelous pictures of that place which tempt the observer. But
although in some degrees success followed my efforts so far as seeing these
strange things was concerned, I found no increase of knowledge as to the
manner in which the pictures were made visible, nor as to the sources from
which they arose. A great many facts were in my possession, but the more I
accumulated the farther away from perception seemed the law governing them.
I turned to a teacher and he said:

"Beware of the illusions of matter."

"But," said I, "is this matter into which I gaze?"

"Yes; and of grosser sort than that which composes your body; full of
illusions, swarming with beings inimical to progress, and crowded with the
thoughts of all the wicked who have lived." 

"How," replied I, "am I to know aught about it unless I investigate it?"

"It will be time enough to do that when you shall have been equipped
properly for the exploration. He who ventures into a strange country
unprovided with needful supplies, without a compass and unfamiliar with the
habits of the people, is in danger. Examine and see." 

Left thus to myself, I sought those who had dabbled in the Astral Light, who
were accustomed to seeing the pictures therein every day, and asked them to
explain. Not one had any theory, any philosophical basis. All were confused
and at variance each with the other. Nearly all, too, were in hopeless
ignorance as to other and vital questions. 

None were self-contained or dispassionate; moved by contrary winds of
desire, each one appeared abnormal; for, while in possession of the power to
see or hear in the Astral Light, there were unregulated in all other
departments of their being. Still more, they seemed to be in a degree
intoxicated with the strangeness of the power, for it placed them in that
respect above other persons, yet in practical affairs left them without any

Examining more closely, I found that all these "seers" were but
half-seers-and hardly even that. One could hear astral sounds but could not
see astral sights; another saw pictures, but no sound or smell was there;
still others saw symbols only, and each derided the special power of the

Turning even to the great Emanuel Swedenborg, I found a seer of wonderful
power, but whose constitution made him see in the Astral world a series of
pictures which were solely an extension of his own inherited beliefs. And
although he had had a few visions of actual everyday affairs occurring at a
distance, there were so few as only to be remarkable. 

One danger warned against by the teacher was then plainly evident. It was
the danger of becoming confused and clouded in mind by the recurrence of
pictures which had no salutary effect so far as experience went. So again I
sought the teacher and asked:

"Has the Astral Light no power to teach, and, if not, why is it thus? And
are there other dangers than what I have discovered?"

"No power whatever has the astral plane, in itself, to teach you. It
contains the impressions made by men in their ignorance and folly. Unable to
arouse the true thoughts, they continue to infect that light with the virus
of their unguided lives. 

And you, or any other seer, looking therein will warp and distort all that
you find there. It will present to you pictures that partake largely of your
own constitutional habits, weaknesses, and peculiarities. Thus you only see
a distorted or exaggerated copy of yourself. It will never teach you the
reason of things, for it knows them not. 

"But stranger dangers than any you have met are there when one goes further

The Dweller Of The Threshold is there, made up of all the evil that man has
done. None can escape its approach, and he who is not prepared is in danger
of death, of despair, or of moral ruin. 

Devote yourself, therefore, to spiritual aspiration and to true devotion,
which will be a means for you to learn the causes that operate in nature,
how they work, and what each one works upon."

I then devoted myself as he had directed, and discovered that a
philosophical basis, once acquired, showed clearly how to arrive at
dispassion and made exercise therein easy. 

It even enables me to clear up the thousand doubts that assail those others
who are peering into the Astral Light. They compelled the disciple to abjure
all occult practices until such time as he had laid a sure foundation of
logic, philosophy, and ethics; and only then was he permitted to go further
in that strange country from which many an unprepared explorer has returned
bereft of truth and sometimes despoiled of reason. 

Further, I know that the Masters of the Theosophical Society have written
these words: 

"Let the Theosophical Society flourish through moral worth and philosophy,
and give up the pursuit of phenomena." 

Shall we be greater than They, and ignorantly set the pace upon the path
that leads to ruin?



Best wishes,


[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application