All rights reserved. This edition may be downloaded for off-line viewing without charge. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial or other use in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Theosophical University Press.
For ease in searching, no diacritical marks appear in the electronic version of the text. Chapter 5 : Kama-Manas — The Personality. Seven is one of the most important numbers in the teachings of theosophy, the wisdom-religion. It is a key by which are revealed and explained many of the mysteries of nature, for in theosophy it is taught that number and numbers underlie all the processes of creation.
This numerical key of seven lies at the root of all evolution, whether physical or spiritual. It is therefore important both in its meanings and application. There is nothing arbitrary about the use of seven as applied to the study of our composite constitution, as this number is found to be universal throughout the universe. We discover it everywhere. Some common facts are good instances of this, such as the seven layers of the human skin, the musical scale with its seven notes, and the seven colors which make up a ray of sunlight. Then there is the moon, which theosophy and science both show to have close relation to the generation of physical life on our planet.
The moon is governed in its activities by the number seven. Note the recurrence of seven in the gestation period, the phases of the moon, with the week of seven days, etc. The inquirer has only to look observantly into the matter to find many other examples of the septenary in the world about him. In Christianity we find the human nature divided by the apostle Paul into three elements: body, soul, and spirit. This division includes, however, the other four principles.
Christian theology, while accepting this threefold division, tells us little about what soul really is, or what is the difference between soul and spirit. Nor can present-day psychology help us. The best known modern psychologists take into account only the lower ranges of soul activity. They study almost exclusively our physiological mentality, such emotions as fear, passional desires, and the like. However, this is not surprising. For over a century science has regarded the human being as merely a developed ape whose inner life consists of highly specialized reactions to his environment, though a change in this point of view is now seen to be on the way.
A number of psychologists are discovering that to regard the human soul as a complex of merely semi-physiological reactions does not begin to cover the ground. They acknowledge that such a point of view is destructive to all moral and spiritual aspiration.
- East Contra Costa County (Postcard History Series).
- The Significance of the Seven Principles of Man | Theosophy!
- See a Problem?.
It does not take into account the nature of our spiritual-mental activities. And they are beginning to admit that it is this higher side which is the more important. Present-day psychology is the newest and most incomplete branch of modern science. How different it was in the great ancient civilizations!
They were built around the Mystery-schools as a nucleus. And those great esoteric colleges taught a complete science of the soul, a subject which we moderns name psychology. These schools or colleges were the guardians of a sacred science which included everything about life, death, man, and the universe. It included the truths of religion, science, and philosophy in all their immense ranges. Our present religions, philosophies, and sciences are but pale reflections of that ancient knowledge; or else they are new and incomplete growths arising from its remnants.
This ancient system, which is referred to in theosophical works as the wisdom-religion, the secret doctrine, the esoteric philosophy or tradition, the archaic wisdom, etc. Clear evidence of this fact can be found by a study and comparison of the basic doctrines and symbologies of all the old world-religions, including even the Bible. The same is true of the ancient great philosophies.
Pythagoras, with his esoteric school at Crotona; Plato in his Academy at Athens; and the Stoics, of whom Marcus Aurelius is a celebrated example, all show, in spite of differences in the form of their systems, that they were teachers of the wisdom-religion. Evidence can also be found in archaeological remains the world over and in many other fields of research, should the reader be interested in this fascinating subject. See also The Esoteric Tradition by G. One of the most important of the teachings of these Mystery-schools was the sevenfold nature of the manifested universe, and of its offspring, man.
An explanation of our composite nature with its seven principles must include a brief outline of what theosophy tells us about evolution. Evolution, as taught by the wisdom-religion, means an unwrapping, a rolling out; in other words, it is the growth into manifestation or activity of qualities which are latent and invisible in the inner nature of any being. The qualities of a living seed when first dropped into the soil are invisible and latent. But when the time and the conditions are ripe for growth these latent qualities begin to develop, to unwrap or roll out into visibility.
An acorn, for example produces first a tiny shoot and then at last the magnificent and sturdy oak.
The Seven Principles of Man
All organisms, that is, all living beings — plants, animals, men — grow from seeds. In the case of humans and most animals these seeds are so minute as to be invisible to any eye but that of the microscope. And yet one of these infinitesimal vital cells may grow into a six-foot man with all his complex faculties, or into the enormous elephant with its highly specialized organs. What is it that causes this truly magical growth of an invisible seed into a wondrous individual, such as a great musician or inventor?
Why is it that the law of development from within outwards, from invisibility into visibility, is at the root of evolution? It is because at the heart of every seed there is a living spirit-soul, atma-buddhi. This spirit-soul is a spark of the universal life-spirit. It is the urge to self-expression of this invisible spirit-soul at the core of every organism which causes it to expand, to unfold its own powers through the outward development of faculty and function. Of course it is fed and helped forwards by the stimulation of its environment.
But unless there were this living spiritual urge present at its core, the seed would not expand and fructify. A dead seed will not grow, no matter how favorable its environment. Again, modern science in its theories of evolution has confined its studies to the visible side of nature — the physical; although there are scientists whose researches are bringing them to a more comprehensive view.
Not only the bodies, however, but the minds and souls of creatures, are subject to evolution. For if evolution is a law of nature then nothing can be excluded from the action of that law. In every particle of matter there is imprisoned a spark of the universal, indestructible LIFE. This spark is named in theosophy the monad, a word which means a "unit," an "individual.
- Lesson Plans Enchanted April.
- OMAN - TWO DOZEN ARAB IMPRESSIONS?
- The Seven Principles of Man!
- Item Preview.
Such a monad lives at the core of every organism, from an atom to a star. But these monads are in vastly differing degrees of evolution. The monad at the heart of, say, an atom in the mineral kingdom is much less evolved or unfolded than one which has reached, on its upward evolutionary journey of self-unfoldment, the vegetable or the animal kingdom.
The monad at the core of a human being is immeasurably more advanced than either. The reason is that, during the ages of its progressive self-development through the stages of matter in all the lower kingdoms, it has now reached the point where it has so highly evolved its own latent intellectual and spiritual powers that it can at last manifest as a human being.
The difference between this process, which is a spiritual one, and some of the erroneous ideas of Darwinian evolution is fully explained in Man in Evolution by G. There is a monad at the core of every physical atom. The physical atom is the outmost body or vehicle through which the monad works and expresses itself. When it ensouls a chemical atom, the monad is starting near the bottom of the evolutionary ladder.
- Set On Fire.
- The New Face of Recovery?
- On Patience and Gratitude (Great Books of the Islamic World).
And slowly through countless ages that monad passes from kingdom to kingdom of nature, advancing ever upward. We can understand something of this process if we remember how a plant grows. Back of every plant is what may be called a plant-monad, in other words a spiritual monad passing through the vegetable phase of its evolutionary journey. A seed is dropped in the soil and immediately that conditions are right, the sleeping or latent energy locked within it begins the process of building up from the soil a plant-vehicle for itself.
Similarly does the monad make for itself higher and higher vehicles as it passes upwards through the elemental, mineral, vegetable, animal, and human kingdoms — someday to blossom forth in the vesture of humanhood. The reader will now begin to see that it is these monads whose activities not only produce, but are the very stuff of evolution. The monadic hosts, high, intermediate, and low in their scale of development, ensoul and build all manifestations of life visible and invisible to us — spiritual, intellectual, psychic, and physical.
And they do this because of the spiritual urge at the heart of each monad, this urge being generated in its origin in the central universal fount of life. It is these monads, with their inner life of urges, activities, and slowly unfolding characteristics, which make up the invisible parts of nature — that invisible world of inconceivably greater scope and range than our visible.
Here in these inner realms work the vast hosts of invisible monads which are thus the cause of visible evolution. Before passing on to consider ourselves as seven-principled beings, we shall answer a question that may have arisen in the mind of the student. He may ask: What is the purpose of all this monadic evolution from kingdom to kingdom and from range to range or plane to plane of evolving being?
This purpose can be stated as follows: Each great solar period of evolution is called in theosophy a manvantara. In this solar period or manvantara the monad starts out at the very beginning as an unself-conscious god-spark. And the object of its passage through all the forms of life in that particular solar manvantara is that it may emerge from them as a fully self-conscious god.
When the end of that solar period comes, a monad which has successfully completed its evolution will have first-hand knowledge of — will in fact have been — all the life-forms in that manvantara. It will have absorbed to itself at last the power self-consciously to understand and assimilate and use all those experiences. So it becomes a self-conscious god, a master of wisdom and life in that manvantara which it has just rounded out. In a later solar manvantara, the monad will go on to experience still higher levels of evolution and knowledge.
The monad at the center of each one of us is far on its way to becoming such a self-conscious god. And this of course means that you and I, who are in reality our own monads if we could only realize it, are destined to emerge at the close of this solar manvantara through which we are now passing as fully-fledged, all-understanding gods. One of the most beautiful aspects of this teaching is that in thus mounting the evolutionary ladder of being we awaken and stimulate the evolutionary potencies of all the atoms and creatures which we contact on all the planes of experience.
It is a law of the universe — in other words it is in the very nature of things — that we cannot ourselves rise without lifting everything else to some degree. The ethical implications in responsibility and karmic consequences are easily apparent. But let us now go back to our subject of the seven human principles.
We ourselves, however, are not just a monad working through a physical body. We are the product of several different lines of evolution combined into that composite nature with which we are all so familiar. It would not be possible for a monad to work directly through a human body. The monad is pure spirit-consciousness, but the body is made of matter which is too dense and sluggish for the monad to work upon it directly. It would burn the body up, just as electricity would consume the physical flesh. So intermediate elements between the monad and body are needed.
These must be of a more ethereal and spiritually sensitive nature than physical matter because they have to act as transformers. They must step down or conduct the spiritual energies of the monad into the physical organism. Then the directing power of the monad can inspire and shape our evolution through the experiences of human life. It must be remembered too that the monad which works through a human being is immensely more evolved and powerful than the comparatively unevolved monad acting, for example, through the form of a vegetable atom. One of the more ethereal forms of energy-substance used by the monad as a vehicle to step down or transfer its energies to this earth plane is mind.
Mind is a very definite line of human evolution. Our minds are developing all the time on their own lines while our bodies are growing and developing along theirs. And we also carry on mental evolution side by side with the spiritual evolution of the monad above, as well as the evolution of the body and its vital energies below. Mind is the link between the body and the monad.
And now we understand something more of Paul's meaning when he divided human nature into body, soul, and spirit. Soul is the intermediate portion of human nature, and the higher part of that soul is mind or intellect. Before going farther and showing how these three elements resolve themselves naturally into seven, a question which has probably already occurred to the reader should be answered. Where do these human principles come from?
The monad, as we have already seen, takes its rise, and is an emanation from, the universal cosmic life or spirit. It is in one sense the person himself, his immortal root-principle. But what is the origin of the mind? Mind as a principle is latent in the monad. For the monad, springing as it does from the central fire of cosmic spirit, contains within itself the seeds or possibilities of everything, even as everything is contained within its cosmic origin. The part contains everything that the whole contains. One spark is of the same nature throughout as the flame which throws it off.
One drop of the ocean is in miniature all that the whole ocean is. So each monad holds within itself, as being a part of the cosmic whole, all the elements and potencies and possibilities that evolution can unfold in the life span of this our universe. But in the beginning of this universal life span these potencies are latent, asleep, undeveloped. Then, as the ages pass, and the monad journeys on its evolutionary pilgrimage from the invisible spiritual and causal worlds "outward" into the visible world of forms and effects, latent potencies — mineral, vegetable, animal — are gradually unwrapped, unfolded, evolved.
Finally the time comes when the monad is ready to take upon itself humanhood. It has advanced to the point where it has completely developed all its lower faculties and is now ready for evolution along mental and intellectual lines. It was at this point then, ages ago in our evolution, that occurred what H. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine calls "the incarnation of the manasaputras. For this reason at first the manasic or mind element was then still "asleep. Thus the intellect of the now almost human being overshadowed by its monad needed a spark, an impulse to awaken it into consciousness of itself.
This spark or awakening touch was given to those evolved human vehicles of the monad by the sons of universal mind. They are called in esoteric tradition the manasaputras, or "sons of mind. They perfected their intellectual evolution in a long, long past cycle of what was equivalent to human experience in a now vanished system of worlds.
For this reason the highest of these manasaputras are by this time advanced in their evolution to the status of cosmic gods. They are great consciousnesses who make up, who are, the hierarchy of intellectual self-consciousness in our universe. As a great hierarchy or group they are what Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine referred to as mahat, or the universal mind. It was these manasaputras or sons of cosmic mind who gave the spark, the creative impulse, which awakened mind in the human vehicle already evolved for that purpose by the monad.
This process was something like the lighting of a candle. You cannot have a flame unless you have the fuel prepared in some definite form ready for lighting. Even a bonfire must be started from carefully laid fuel. In the case of the lighting of mind in the evolved human vehicle, man might thus be compared to a candle. He was a psychological vehicle or instrument evolved by the overshadowing monad through long ages of evolution. The forces of nature also contributed, so that when the time came that the creative flash could be given by the manasaputras, a flame would spring up, never again to be extinguished.
Thus what then was human only in form became in actuality manas , a thinker. And this thinking principle linked the monad more or less directly to the animal nature, and human evolution was thus immensely quickened. It was then, as said, that man first became truly man. For what differentiates a human being from an animal? Is it not mind, the power to think, to reason, to plan? Man is not guided by instinct alone as the beasts are.
He is self-conscious. Sharply developed in him is the ego, the part which realizes, "I am I, and not anyone else.
The Seven Principles of Man by Annie Besant (eBook) - Lulu
I am myself, not my environment. I am separate from all other things. I can influence or control these other things and bend them to my own uses, and so control my environment. Thus I can shape my destiny to suit myself. Man alone has this power of self-conscious free will. He has the power of self-directed choice. And this he derives from manas the ego, the self-conscious thinker, awakened in him by the manasaputras.
But, if this is the case, why is it, at present at least, that we do not show more power of free will over ourselves and our destiny? For the answer to this important question the reader is referred to Mahatmas and Chelas and The Key to Theosophy, pp. Besant perplexed her critics and admirers when, in , she abandoned her atheistic stance and embraced Theosophy. Olcott and had its international headquarters in India. Theosophy's outlook affirmed the mystical components of each of the world's religions, but it was influenced especially by Hindu and Buddhist thought. By the mids, Annie Besant had made India her home, and she was elected the second president of the Theosophical Society subsequent to the death of Olcott in In India, Besant made it her special mission to uplift Hindu self-esteem, which had been severely battered by British imperialism and Christian missionaries.
Abhilasha marked it as to-read Jul 18, Bharath Sundaram marked it as to-read Aug 02, Ronda marked it as to-read Aug 18, Rodier added it Sep 14, Samuel Vive marked it as to-read Sep 18, Wuyangyuanzi marked it as to-read Oct 29, Eileen Berman marked it as to-read Jan 15, Mohammad Tariq marked it as to-read Jan 20, JJ marked it as to-read Feb 08, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Annie Besant. Annie Besant. Annie Besant 1 October — 20 September was a prominent British socialist, theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self-rule.
She married aged 20 to Frank Besant, but separated from him over religious differences. In they were prosecuted for publishing a book by birth control campaigner Charles Knowlton. The scandal made them famous, and Bradlaugh was elected M.
Study & discussion of the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky & William Q. Judge
She became involved with union actions including the Bloody Sunday demonstration and the London matchgirls strike of She was elected to the London School Board for Tower Hamlets, topping the poll even though few women were qualified to vote at that time. In Besant met Helena Blavatsky and over the next few years her interest in theosophy grew while her interest in secular matters waned. She became a member of the Theosophical Society and a prominent lecturer on the subject.
As part of her theosophy-related work, she travelled to India.
Over the next few years she established lodges in many parts of the British Empire. In she became president of the Theosophical Society, whose international headquarters were in Adyar, Madras, Chennai. She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. This led to her election as president of the Indian National Congress in late After the war, she continued to campaign for Indian independence and for the causes of theosophy, until her death in She fought for the causes she thought were right, starting with freedom of thought, women's rights, secularism she was a leading member of the National Secular Society alongside Charles Bradlaugh , birth control, Fabian socialism and workers' rights.
Once free of Frank Besant and exposed to new currents of thought, she began to question not only her long-held religious beliefs but also the whole of conventional thinking. She began to write attacks on the churches and the way they controlled people's lives. In particular she attacked the status of the Church of England as a state-sponsored faith. Soon she was earning a small weekly wage by writing a column for the National Reformer, the newspaper of the NSS. The NSS stood for a secular state and an end to the special status of Christianity, and allowed her to act as one of its public speakers.
Public lectures were very popular entertainment in Victorian times. Besant was a brilliant speaker, and was soon in great demand. Using the railway, she crisscrossed the country, speaking on all of the most important issues of the day, always demanding improvement, reform and freedom. Bradlaugh, a former soldier, had long been separated from his wife; Besant lived with him and his daughters, and they worked together on many issues. He was an atheist and a republican; he was also trying to get elected as Member of Parliament MP for Northampton.
Besant and Bradlaugh became household names in when they published a book by the American birth-control campaigner Charles Knowlton.