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Re: The Greek "Book of the Dead" by Plutarch

Oct 14, 2012 12:30 PM
by Daniel

In Isis, Vol. ii, pp. 283-284, quotes Plutarch.

In the translation, Nous is translated by the word "understanding".

The Greek word Psyche is translated by the word Soul".

Nous is what Madame Blavatsky in her later writing would label Buddhi-manas.or possibly even Atman-buddhi or even Atman-Buddhi-Manas.

Psyche is Kama-manas.

Kama-manas is what Blavatsky would call the "personality." 

In the Key to Theosophy I would suggest that HPB's remarks in parentheses should actually be reversed.  

Quoting from The Key:

" 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."

The word "understanding" is Nous or "the upper Triad" using HPB's phrase.
The word "soul" is psyche  or "brain intellect" or the Lower Manas (kama-manas) filtered thru the brain/physical body, hence HPB's phrase "brain intellect."

I would change Mark's chart to read as follows:

Sun  -----> Nous --- Buddhi-manas
Moon -----> Psyche --- Kama-manas
Earth -----> Soma--- Physical Body-Prana-Model Body

At the first death (physical death), Soma is discarded....all 3 parts returning to Mother Earth.

The Psyche is now in what Master KH calls Kamaloka, the realm of the Moon.

It is in this realm that the psyche undergoes what is described in great detail in the Mahatma Letters.  
KH describes what happens in "this land of shadows".


See especially Photos 3 thru 10.

See also:

Kamaloka "this land of shadows" is also described in THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE:

Thy shadows live and vanish; that which in thee shall live for ever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge, is not of fleeing life: it is the man that was, that is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike.

The name of Hall the second is the Hall of Learning.  In it thy Soul will find the blossoms of life, but under every flower a serpent coiled.

If thou would'st cross the second safely, stop not the fragrance of its stupefying blossoms to inhale. If freed thou would'st be from the Karmic chains, seek not for thy Guru in those Mayavic regions.

The WISE ONES heed not the sweet-tongued voices of illusion.

And having learnt thine own Agnyana, flee from the Hall of Learning. This Hall is dangerous in its perfidious beauty, is needed but for thy probation. Beware, Lanoo, lest dazzled by illusive radiance thy Soul should linger and be caught in its deceptive light.

This light shines from the jewel of the Great Ensnarer, (Mara). The senses it bewitches, blinds the mind, and leaves the unwary an abandoned wreck.

The name of the third Hall is Wisdom, beyond which stretch the shoreless waters of AKSHARA, the indestructible Fount of Omniscience.

Seek for him who is to give thee birth, in the Hall of Wisdom, the Hall which lies beyond, wherein all shadows are unknown, and where the light of truth shines with unfading glory.

Notice the language of light .... sunlight of unfading glory versus
the moonlight....its illusive radiance...its deceptive light....

The Moon symbolizes the psychic manasic realm of the personality.

The Sun symbolizes the realm of spirit.

KH writes to Hume or Sinnett:
One of your letters begins with a quotation from one of my own . . . "Remember that there is within man no abiding principle" ? which sentence I find followed by a remark of yours "How about the sixth and seventh principles?" To this I answer, neither Atma nor Buddhi ever were within man, ? a little metaphysical axiom that you can study with advantage in Plutarch and Anaxagoras. The latter made his ? nous autochrates ? the spirit self-potent, the nous that alone recognised noumena while the former taught on the authority of Plato and Pythagoras that the semomnius or this nous always remained without the body; that it floated and overshadowed so to say the 
extreme part of the man's head, it is only the vulgar who think it is within them . . .

See also:

Below is another translation of Plutarch's passage:

Man most people rightly think a composite being, but wrongly think a composite of two parts only, for they reckon the mind as only a part of the soul, being no less in error than they who think the soul to be only part of the body; for the mind is as much better and more divine than the soul, as the soul is superior to the body. For the conjunction of body and soul produces . . . . Reason, whereof the one is the origin of pleasure and pain, the other, of vice and virtue. Of these three combined things, the earth furnished for the birth the body, the moon the soul, the sun the mind, just as he supplies light to the moon. The death which we die makes the man two instead of three, the second (death) makes him one out of two. The first takes place in the region of Demeter [because the earth] and also the dead are subject to her, whence the Athenians of old used to call the [dead] "Demetrians." The second [death] takes place in the moon, the dominion of Persephone; and of the former the consort is the Earthly Hermes, of the latter, the Heavenly. The former separates the soul from the body, hastily and with violence; but Persephone gently and slowly loosens the mind from the soul, and for this reason she has been named the "Only-begotten," because the best part of the man becomes single when separated from the rest by her means. Each of these changes happens, according to nature, as follows: every soul, whether without mind, or joined to mind, on departing from the body, is ordained to wander in the region lying between the moon and earth for a term, not equal in all cases; but the wicked and incontinent pay a penalty for their sins; whereas the virtuous, in order, as it were, to purify themselves and to recover breath, after the body, as being the source of sinful pollution, must pass a certain fixed time in the mildest region of air, which they call the "Meadow of Hades." Then, as though returning to their native land after enforced banishment, they taste of joy, such as the initiated into mysteries feel, mingled with trouble and apprehension, joined with a peculiar hope, for it drives off and tosses away many of them when already making for the moon; and they [the virtuous] also see the ghosts of people there turned upside down, and, as it were, descending into the abyss. Such as are arrived above, and have got firm footing there [on the moon], like victors in the games, crowned with wreaths, encircle their heads with crowns called crowns of "Constancy," made of feathers, because the irrational and passionate part of the soul they have in life presented to Reason, manageable and kept in restraint. In the next place, their sight resembles a sunbeam, and the soul, wafted on high by the air surrounding the moon, gains tone and vigor from the same, just as here below steeled tools gain it by the tempering.........

This change they suffer, some sooner, some later, when the mind has been separated from the soul. The mind separates itself out of a desire of reaching the Image in the sun, through which shines forth the Desirable, and Beautiful, and Divine, and Blissful, to which every unmixed nature aspires in different ways. For the moon herself, out of desire for the sun, revolves round and comes in contact with him, because she longs to derive from him the generative principle. The nature of the soul is left behind in the moon, retaining vestiges as it were and dreams of life; and on this account you must suppose it rightly said:

"`Like to a dream, the soul took wing and fled.'
For the soul does not suffer this all at once; nor as soon as separated from the body, but afterwards when she has become desolate and solitary, when the mind is departed. And Homer (said he) appears to have spoken especially through divine inspiration about the whole question:

"`There midst the rest strong Hercules I marked,
His spectre?for himself dwells with the gods.'
For each individual of us is not anger, nor fear, nor desire, just as he is neither pieces of flesh nor humors; but that wherewith we think and understand is the soul, impressed by the mind, and in its turn impressing the body, and impinging upon it from all parts it models the form; so that, though it may continue a long time separated from both (the mind and the body), yet as it retains the likeness and imprint, it is properly denominated the "Image" (or Spectre). Of these images the moon is the element: for they are resolved into her substance, like as bodies into earth, of the dead. Quickly resolved are the temperate, such as have led a tranquil, philosophic, and leisurely life on earth; for being let go from the mind, and no longer subject to the passions, they wither away. Of those ambitious, busy, amorous, and irascible when in the body, the souls are visited, like dreams, with recollections of their past life, and are troubled with them; like that of Endymion of old. For their restless and passionate character stirs them up, and draws them away from the moon towards a second birth; she suffers them not, however [to escape], but recalls them to herself, and soothes them to remain. For it is far from quiet or orderly work, when souls, separated from mind, get possession of a body subject to passions. Of such souls came perchance the Tityi and the Typhons, and that Typhon who used to hinder and trouble the oracular power at Delphi: for they are destitute of reason, and actuated by the passionate part, puffed up with pride and self-conceit. But, in time, even these the moon absorbs into herself, and reduces to order. In the next place, the sun having impregnated the mind with vital force, produces new souls. And, thirdly, earth furnishes a body: for earth takes back after death that which she gave at birth; whereas the sun takes nothing, only takes back the mind, which he gave: but the moon both takes and gives, and puts together, and separates; in virtue of two different powers, of which the combining power is named `Elithyia,' the separative one `Artemis.' And of the Three Fates, Atropos, seated in the sun, supplies the origin of birth; Clotho, moving about the moon, unites together and mingles the various parts; lastly, Lachesis, on earth, who has most to do with Fortune, puts her hand to the work. For the inanimate part is powerless, and liable to be acted upon by others; but the mind is impassive and independent; and the soul is of mixed nature, and intermediate between the two: just as the moon hath been made by the Deity a mixture of things above and of things below, `a great, full horn,' bearing the same relation to the sun that the earth bears to the moon.
Quoted from:


--- In, "Mark" <marcusaurelius09@...> wrote:
> > 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:
> (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.
> Fraternally,
> Mark 
> > 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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