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theos-talk Re: The Greek "Book of the Dead" by Plutarch

Oct 13, 2012 10:24 PM
by Mark

> Dear friends,
> I have a doubt concerning the presentation of the text written by Plutarch in HPB's "The Key to Theosophy".

> My question is why does she call the "soul", the upper triad?
> In the version Daniel brought us "soul" is psyche, which I believe can be described as kama-manas.
> Since this Greek words (nous, psyche, etc..) can have different interpretations (just check the Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary) is this a case of double meaning?

She gives a lot of interesting comparisons with Greek philosophy in the Key. A lot of it is taken from Isis, for example, page 282:

The Plutarch passage is probably the one that is closest to the theosophical model and comes mainly from Moralia XII "Concerning the Face Which Appears in the Orb of the Moon", one of his more esoteric essays:*/Introduction.html#1

(I think the neoplatonist Synesios' work "On Dreams" has an account of reincarnation that is even closer to the theosophical scheme).

The chart below is a simplified compilation from various parts of the Key (there's a lot of overlapping and combining of principles in her explanations):
Nous ?--Sun --- Intellect/Spirit--Spiritual Soul---Buddhi-Atma 
Psyche--Moon ?- Soul--------------Human Soul-------Manas
Soma--- Earth - Body ?------------Animal Soul------Astral-Kama-Manas

Keeping in mind the the following passage (Key 121-22):
"Therefore, 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."

So I think when she refers to the soul as the upper triad, she is referring to the spiritual soul.



> In page 97 she writes:
 "Man," says Plutarch, "is compound; and they are mistaken who think him to be compounded of two parts only. For they imagine that the understanding (brain intellect) is a part of the soul (the upper Triad), but they err in this no less than those who make the soul to be a part of the body, i.e. those who make of the Triad part of the corruptible mortal quaternary. For the understanding (nous) as far exceeds the soul, as the soul is better and diviner than the body. Now this composition of the soul (psyche) with the understanding (nous) makes reason; and with the body (or thumos, the animal soul) passion; of which the one is the beginning or principle of pleasure and pain, and the other of virtue and vice. Of these three parts conjoined and compacted together, the earth has given the body, the moon the soul, and the sun the understanding to the generation of man."

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