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Title: A Textbook of Theosophy
Author: Leadbeater, C. W. (Charles Webster), 1847-1934
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Textbook of Theosophy" ***






     I. What Theosophy Is
    II. From the Absolute to Man
   III. The Formation of a Solar System
    IV. The Evolution of Life
     V. The Constitution of Man
    VI. After Death
   VII. Reincarnation
  VIII. The Purpose of Life
    IX. The Planetary Chains
     X. The Result of Theosophical Study


Chapter I


"There is a school of philosophy still in existence of which modern culture
has lost sight." In these words Mr. A.P. Sinnett began his book, _The
Occult World_, the first popular exposition of Theosophy, published thirty
years ago. [Namely in 1881.] During the years that have passed since then,
many thousands have learned wisdom in that school, yet to the majority its
teachings are still unknown, and they can give only the vaguest of replies
to the query, "What is Theosophy?"

Two books already exist which answer that question: Mr. Sinnett's _Esoteric
Buddhism_ and Dr. Besant's _The Ancient Wisdom_. I have no thought of
entering into competition with those standard works; what I desire is to
present a statement, as clear and simple as I can make it, which may be
regarded as introductory to them.

We often speak of Theosophy as not in itself a religion, but the truth
which lies behind all religions alike. That is so; yet, from another point
of view, we may surely say that it is at once a philosophy, a religion and
a science. It is a philosophy, because it puts plainly before us an
explanation of the scheme of evolution of both the souls and the bodies
contained in our solar system. It is a religion in so far as, having shown
us the course of ordinary evolution, it also puts before us and advises a
method of shortening that course, so that by conscious effort we may
progress more directly towards the goal. It is a science, because it treats
both these subjects as matters not of theological belief but of direct
knowledge obtainable by study and investigation. It asserts that man has no
need to trust to blind faith, because he has within him latent powers
which, when aroused, enable him to see and examine for himself, and it
proceeds to prove its case by showing how those powers may be awakened. It
is itself a result of the awakening of such powers by men, for the
teachings which it puts before us are founded upon direct observations made
in the past, and rendered possible only by such development.

As a philosophy, it explains to us that the solar system is a
carefully-ordered mechanism, a manifestation of a magnificent life, of
which man is but a small part. Nevertheless, it takes up that small part
which immediately concerns us, and treats it exhaustively under three
heads--present, past and future.

It deals with the present by describing what man really is, as seen by
means of developed faculties. It is customary to speak of man as having a
soul. Theosophy, as the result of direct investigation, reverses that
dictum, and states that man _is_ a soul, and _has_ a body--in fact several
bodies, which are his vehicles and instruments in various worlds. These
worlds are not separate in space; they are simultaneously present with us,
here and now, and can be examined; they are the divisions of the material
side of Nature--different degrees of density in the aggregation of matter,
as will presently be explained in detail. Man has an existence in several
of these, but is normally conscious only of the lowest, though sometimes in
dreams and trances he has glimpses of some of the others. What is called
death is the laying aside of the vehicle belonging to this lowest world,
but the soul or real man in a higher world is no more changed or affected
by this than the physical man is changed or affected when he removes his
overcoat. All this is a matter, not of speculation, but of observation and

Theosophy has much to tell us of the past history of man--of how in the
course of evolution he has come to be what he now is. This also is a matter
of observation, because of the fact that there exists an indelible record
of all that has taken place--a sort of memory of Nature--by examining which
the scenes of earlier evolution may be made to pass before the eyes of the
investigator as though they were happening at this moment. By thus studying
the past we learn that man is divine in origin and that he has a long
evolution behind him--a double evolution, that of the life or soul within,
and that of the outer form. We learn, too, that the life of man as a soul
is of, what to us seems, enormous length, and that what we have been in the
habit of calling his life is in reality only one day of his real existence.
He has already lived through many such days, and has many more of them yet
before him; and if we wish to understand the real life and its object, we
must consider it in relation not only to this one day of it, which begins
with birth and ends with death, but also to the days which have gone before
and those which are yet to come.

Of those that are yet to come there is also much to be said, and on this
subject, too, a great deal of definite information is available. Such
information is obtainable, first, from men who have already passed much
further along the road of evolution than we, and have consequently direct
experience of it; and, secondly, from inferences drawn from the obvious
direction of the steps which we see to have been previously taken. The goal
of this particular cycle is in sight, though still far above us but it
would seem that, even when that has been attained, an infinity of progress
still lies before everyone who is willing to undertake it.

One of the most striking advantages of Theosophy is that the light which it
brings to us at once solves many of our problems, clears away many
difficulties, accounts for the apparent injustices of life, and in all
directions brings order out of seeming chaos. Thus, while some of its
teaching is based upon the observation of forces whose direct working is
somewhat beyond the ken of the ordinary man of the world, if the latter
will accept it as a hypothesis he will very soon come to see that it must
be a correct one, because it, and it alone, furnishes a coherent and
reasonable explanation of the drama of life which is being played before

The existence of Perfected Men, and the possibility of coming into touch
with Them and being taught by Them, are prominent among the great new
truths which Theosophy brings to the western world. Another of them is the
stupendous fact that the world is not drifting blindly into anarchy, but
that its progress is under the control of a perfectly organized Hierarchy,
so that final failure even for the tiniest of its units is of all
impossibilities the most impossible. A glimpse of the working of that
Hierarchy inevitably engenders the desire to co-operate with it, to serve
under it, in however humble a capacity, and some time in the far-distant
future to be worthy to join the outer fringes of its ranks.

This brings us to that aspect of Theosophy which we have called religious.
Those who come to know and to understand these things are dissatisfied with
the slow æons of evolution; they yearn to become more immediately useful,
and so they demand and obtain knowledge of the shorter but steeper Path.
There is no possibility of escaping the amount of work that has to be done.
It is like carrying a load up a mountain; whether one carries it straight
up a steep path or more gradually by a road of gentle slope, precisely the
same number of foot-pounds must be exerted. Therefore to do the same work
in a small fraction of the time means determined effort. It can be done,
however, for it has been done; and those who have done it agree that it far
more than repays the trouble. The limitations of the various vehicles are
thereby gradually transcended, and the liberated man becomes an intelligent
co-worker in the mighty plan for the evolution of all beings.

In its capacity as a religion, too, Theosophy gives its followers a rule of
life, based not on alleged commands delivered at some remote period of the
past, but on plain common sense as indicated by observed facts. The
attitude of the student of Theosophy towards the rules which it prescribes
resembles rather that which we adopt to hygienic regulations than obedience
to religious commandments. We may say, if we wish, that this thing or that
is in accordance with the divine Will, for the divine Will is expressed in
what we know as the laws of Nature. Because that Will wisely ordereth all
things, to infringe its laws means to disturb the smooth working of the
scheme, to hold back for a moment that fragment or tiny part of evolution,
and consequently to bring discomfort upon ourselves and others. It is for
that reason that the wise man avoids infringing them--not to escape the
imaginary wrath of some offended deity.

But if from a certain point of view we may think of Theosophy as a
religion, we must note two great points of difference between it and what
is ordinarily called religion in the West. First, it neither demands belief
from its followers, nor does it even speak of belief in the sense in which
that word is usually employed. The student of occult science either _knows_
a thing or suspends his judgment about it; there is no place in his scheme
for blind faith. Naturally, beginners in the study cannot yet _know_ for
themselves, so they are asked to read the results of the various
observations and to deal with them as probable hypotheses--provisionally to
accept and act upon them, until such time as they can prove them for

Secondly, Theosophy never endeavours to convert any man from whatever
religion he already holds. On the contrary, it explains his religion to
him, and enables him to see in it deeper meanings than he has ever known
before. It teaches him to understand it and live it better than he did, and
in many cases it gives back to him, on a higher and more intelligent level,
the faith in it which he had previously all but lost.

Theosophy has its aspects as a science also; it is in very truth a science
of life, a science of the soul. It applies to everything the scientific
method of oft-repeated, painstaking observation, and then tabulates the
results and makes deductions from them. In this way it has investigated the
various planes of Nature, the conditions of man's consciousness during life
and after what is commonly called death. It cannot be too often repeated
that its statements on all these matters are not vague guesses or tenets of
faith, but are based upon direct and oft-repeated _observation_ of what
happens. Its investigators have dealt also to a certain extent with
subjects more in the range of ordinary science, as may be seen by those who
read the book on _Occult Chemistry_.

Thus we see that Theosophy combines within itself some of the
characteristics of philosophy, religion and science. What, it might be
asked, is its gospel for this weary world? What are the main points which
emerge from its investigations? What are the great facts which it has to
lay before humanity?

They have been well summed up under three main heads.

"There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but
yet may remain silent for lack of speech.

"The soul of man is immortal and its future is the future of a thing whose
growth and splendour has no limit.

"The principle which gives life dwells in us and without us, is undying and
eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen or smelt, but is perceived by
the man who desires perception.

"Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to
himself, the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.

"These truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the
simplest mind of man."

Put shortly, and in the language of the man of the street, this means that
God is good, that man is immortal, and that as we sow so we must reap.
There is a definite scheme of things; it is under intelligent direction and
works under immutable laws. Man has his place in this scheme and is living
under these laws. If he understands them and co-operates with them, he will
advance rapidly and will be happy; if he does not understand them--if,
wittingly or unwittingly, he breaks them, he will delay his progress and be
miserable. These are not theories, but proved facts. Let him who doubts
read on, and he will see.

Chapter II


Of the Absolute, the Infinite, the All-embracing, we can at our present
stage know nothing, except that It is; we can say nothing that is not a
limitation, and therefore inaccurate.

In It are innumerable universes; in each universe countless solar systems.
Each solar system is the expression of a mighty Being, whom we call the
LOGOS, the Word of God, the Solar Deity. He is to it all that men mean by
God. He permeates it; there is nothing in it which is not He; it is the
manifestation of Him in such matter as we can see. Yet He exists above it
and outside it, living a stupendous life of His own among His Peers. As is
said in an Eastern Scripture: "Having permeated this whole universe with
one fragment of Myself I remain."

Of that higher life of His we can know nothing. But of the fragment of His
life which energises His system we may know something in the lower levels
of its manifestation. We may not see Him, but we may see His power at work.
No one who is clairvoyant can be atheistic; the evidence is too tremendous.

Out of Himself He has called this mighty system into being. We who are in
it are evolving fragments of His life, Sparks of His divine Fire; from Him
we all have come; into Him we shall all return.

Many have asked why He has done this; why He has emanated from Himself all
this system; why He has sent us forth to face the storms of life. We cannot
know, nor is the question practical; suffice it that we are here, and we
must do our best. Yet many philosophers have speculated on this point and
many suggestions have been made. The most beautiful that I know is that of
a Gnostic philosopher:

"God is Love, but Love itself cannot be perfect unless it has those upon
whom it can be lavished and by whom it can be returned. Therefore He put
forth of Himself into matter, and He limited His glory, in order that
through this natural and slow process of evolution we might come into
being; and we in turn according to His Will are to develop until we reach
even His own level, and then the very love of God itself will become more
perfect, because it will then be lavished on those, His own children, who
will fully understand and return it, and so His great scheme will be
realized and His Will, be done."

At what stupendous elevation His consciousness abides we know not, nor can
we know its true nature as it shows itself there. But when He puts Himself
down into such conditions as are within our reach, His manifestation is
ever threefold, and so all religions have imaged Him as a Trinity. Three,
yet fundamentally One; Three Persons (for person means a mask) yet one God,
showing Himself in those Three Aspects. Three to us, looking at Them from
below, because Their functions are different; one to Him, because He knows
Them to be but facets of Himself.

All Three of these Aspects are concerned in the evolution of the solar
system; all Three are also concerned in the evolution of man. This
evolution is His Will; the method of it is His plan.

Next below this Solar Deity, yet also in some mysterious manner part of
Him, come His seven Ministers sometimes called the Planetary Spirits. Using
an analogy drawn from the physiology of our own body, Their relation to Him
is like that of the ganglia or the nerve centres to the brain. All
evolution which comes forth from Him comes through one or other of Them.

Under Them in turn come vast hosts or orders of spiritual beings, whom we
call angels or devas. We do not yet know all the functions which they
fulfil in different parts of this wonderful scheme, but we find some of
them intimately connected with the building of the system and the unfolding
of life within it.

Here in our world there is a great Official who represents the Solar Deity
and is in absolute control of all the evolution that takes place upon this
planet. We may image Him as the true KING of this world and under Him are
ministers in charge of different departments. One of these departments is
concerned with the evolution of the different races of humanity so that for
each great race there is a Head who founds it, differentiates it from all
others, and watches over its development. Another department is that of
religion and education, and it is from this that all the greatest teachers
of history have come--that all religions have been sent forth. The great
Official at the head of this department either comes Himself or sends one
of His pupils to found a new religion when He decides that one is needed.

Therefore all religions, at the time of their first presentation to the
world, have contained a definite statement of the Truth, and in its
fundamentals this Truth has been always the same. The presentations of it
have varied because of differences in the races to whom it was offered. The
conditions of civilization and the degree of evolution obtained by various
races have made it desirable to present this one Truth in divers forms. But
the inner Truth is always the same, and the source from which it comes is
the same, even though the external phases may appear to be different and
even contradictory. It is foolish for men to wrangle over the question of
the superiority of one teacher or one form of teaching to another, for the
teacher is always one sent by the Great Brotherhood of Adepts, and in all
its important points, in its ethical and moral principles, the teaching has
always been the same.

There is in the world a body or Truth which lies at the back of all these
religions, and represents the facts of nature as far as they are at present
known to man. In the outer world, because of their ignorance of this,
people are always disputing and arguing about whether there is a God;
whether man survives death; whether definite progress is possible for him,
and what is his relation to the universe. These questions are ever present
in the mind of man as soon as intelligence is awakened. They are not
unanswerable, as is frequently supposed; the answers to them are within the
reach of anyone who will make proper efforts to find them. The truth is
obtainable, and the conditions of its attainment are possible of
achievement by anyone who will make the effort.

In the earlier stages of the development of humanity the great Officials of
the Hierarchy are provided from outside, from other and more highly evolved
parts of the system, but as soon as men can be trained to the necessary
level of power and wisdom these offices are held by them. In order to be
fit to hold such an office a man must raise himself to a very high level,
and must become what is called an Adept--a being of goodness, power and
wisdom so great that He towers above the rest of humanity, for He has
already attained the summit of ordinary human evolution; He has achieved
that which the plan of the Deity marked out for Him to achieve during this
age or dispensation. But His evolution later on continues beyond that
level--continues to divinity.

A large number of men have attained the Adept level--men not of one nation,
but of all the leading nations of the world--rare souls who with
indomitable courage have stormed the fortresses of nature, and captured her
innermost secrets, and so have truly earned the right to be called Adepts.
Among Them there are many degrees and many lines of activity; but always
some of Them remain within touch of our earth as members of this Hierarchy
which has in charge the administration of the affairs of our world and of
the spiritual evolution of our humanity.

This august body is often called the Great White Brotherhood, but its
members are not a community all living together. Each of Them, to a large
extent, draws Himself apart from the world, and They are in constant
communication with one another and with Their Head; but Their knowledge of
higher forces is so great that this is achieved without any necessity for
meeting in the physical world. In many cases They continue to live each in
His own country, and Their power remains unsuspected among those who live
near Them. Any man who will may attract Their attention, but he can do it
only by showing himself worthy of Their notice. None need fear that his
efforts will pass unnoticed; such oversight is impossible, for the man who
is devoting himself to service such as this, stands out from the rest of
humanity like a great flame in a dark night. A few of these great Adepts,
who are thus working for the good of the world, are willing to take as
apprentices those who have resolved to devote themselves utterly to the
service of mankind; such Adepts are called Masters.

One of these apprentices was Helena Petrovna Blavatsky--a great soul who
was sent out to offer knowledge to the world. With Colonel Henry Steel
Olcott she founded The Theosophical Society for the spread of this
knowledge which she had to give. Among those who came into contact with her
in those early days was Mr. A.P. Sinnett, the editor of _The Pioneer_, and
his keen intellect at once grasped the magnitude and the importance of the
teaching which she put before him. Although Madame Blavatsky herself had
previously written _Isis Unveiled_, it had attracted but little attention,
and it was Mr. Sinnett who first made the teaching really available for
western readers in his two books, _The Occult World_ and _Esoteric

It was through these works that I myself first came to know their author,
and afterwards Madame Blavatsky herself; from both of them I learned much.
When I asked Madame Blavatsky how one could learn still more, how one could
make definite progress along the Path which she pointed out to us, she told
me of the possibility that other students might be accepted as apprentices
by the great Masters, even as she herself had been accepted, and that the
only way to gain such acceptance was to show oneself worthy of it by
earnest and altruistic work. She told me that to reach that goal a man must
be absolutely one-pointed in his determination; that no one who tried to
serve both God and Mammon could ever hope to succeed. One of these Masters
Himself had said: "In order to succeed, a pupil must leave his own world
and come into ours."

This means that he must cease to be one of the majority who live for wealth
and power, and must join the tiny minority who care nothing for such
things, but live only in order to devote themselves selflessly to the good
of the world. She warned us clearly that the way was difficult to tread,
that we should be misunderstood and reviled by those who still lived in the
world, and that we had nothing to look forward to but the hardest of hard
work; and though the result was sure, no one could foretell how long it
would take to arrive at it. Some of us accepted these conditions joyfully,
and we have never for a moment regretted the decision.

After some years of work I had the privilege of coming into contact with
these great Masters of the Wisdom; from Them I learnt many things--among
others, how to verify for myself at first hand most of the teachings which
They had given. So that, in this matter, I write of what I know, and what I
have seen for myself. Certain points are mentioned in the teaching, for the
verification of which powers are required far beyond anything which I have
gained so far. Of them, I can say only that they are consistent with what I
do know, and in many cases are necessary as hypotheses to account for what
I have seen. They came to me, along with the rest of the Theosophical
system, upon the authority of these mighty Teachers. Since then I have
learnt to examine for myself by far the greater part of what I was told,
and I have found the information given to me to be correct in every
particular; therefore I am justified in assuming the probability that that
other part, which as yet I cannot verify, will also prove to be correct
when I arrive at its level.

To attain the honour of being accepted as an apprentice of one of the
Masters of the Wisdom is the object set before himself by every earnest
Theosophical student. But it means a determined effort. There have always
been men who were willing to make the necessary effort, and therefore there
have always been men who knew. The knowledge is so transcendent that when a
man grasps it fully he becomes more than man and he passes beyond our ken.

But there are stages in the acquirement of this knowledge, and we may learn
much if we will, from those who themselves are still in process of
learning; for all human beings stand on one or other of the rungs of the
ladder of evolution. The primitive stand at its foot; we who are civilized
beings have already climbed part of the way. But though we can look back
and see rungs of the ladder below us which we have already passed, we may
also look up and see many rungs above us to which we have not yet attained.
Just as men are standing even now on each of the rungs below us, so that we
can see the stages by which man has mounted, so also are there men standing
on each of the rungs above us, so that from studying them we may see how
man shall mount in the future. Precisely because we see men on every step
of this ladder, which leads up to a glory which as yet we have no words to
express, we know that the ascent to that glory is possible for us. Those
who stand high above us, so high that They seem to us as gods in Their
marvellous knowledge and power, tell us that They stood not long since
where we are standing now, and They indicate to us clearly the steps which
lie between, which we also must tread if we would be as They.

Chapter III


The beginning of the universe (if ever it had a beginning) is beyond our
ken. At the earliest point of history that we can reach, the two great
opposites of spirit and matter, of life and form, are already in full
activity. We find that the ordinary conception of matter needs a revision,
for what are commonly called force and matter are in reality only two
varieties of Spirit at different stages in evolution and the real matter or
basis of everything lies in the background unperceived. A French scientist
has recently said: "There is no matter; there are nothing but holes in the
æther." This also agrees with the celebrated theory of Professor Osborne
Reynolds. Occult investigation shows this to be the correct view, and in
that way explains what Oriental sacred books mean when they say that matter
is an illusion.

The ultimate root-matter as seen at our level is what scientists call the
æther of space. [This has been described in _Occult Chemistry_ under the
name of koilon.] To every physical sense the space occupied by it appears
empty, yet in reality this æther is far denser than anything of which we
can conceive. Its density is defined by Professor Reynolds as being ten
thousand times greater than that of water, and its mean pressure as seven
hundred and fifty thousand tons to the square inch.

This substance is perceptible only to highly developed clairvoyant power.
We must assume a time (though we have no direct knowledge on this point)
when this substance filled all space. We must also suppose that some great
Being (not the Deity of a solar system, but some Being almost infinitely
higher than that) changed this condition of rest by pouring out His spirit
or force into a certain section of this matter, a section of the size of a
whole universe. This effect of the introduction of this force is as that of
the blowing of a mighty breath; it has formed within this æther an
incalculable number of tiny spherical bubbles, [The bubbles are spoken of
in _The Secret Doctrine_ as the holes which Fohat digs in space.] and these
bubbles are the ultimate atoms of which what we call matter is composed.
They are not the atoms of the chemist, nor even the ultimate atoms of the
physical world. They stand at a far higher level, and what are usually
called atoms are composed of vast aggregations of these bubbles, as will be
seen later.

When the Solar Deity begins to make His system, He finds ready to His hand
this material--this infinite mass of tiny bubbles which can be built up
into various kinds of matter as we know it. He commences by defining the
limit of His field of activity, a vast sphere whose circumference is far
larger than the orbit of the outermost of His future planets. Within the
limit of that sphere He sets up a kind of gigantic vortex--a motion which
sweeps together all the bubbles into a vast central mass, the material of
the nebula that is to be.

Into this vast revolving sphere He sends forth successive impulses of
force, gathering together the bubbles into ever more and more complex
aggregations, and producing in this way seven gigantic interpenetrating
worlds of matter of different degrees of density, all concentric and all
occupying the same space.

Acting through His Third Aspect He sends forth into this stupendous sphere
the first of these impulses. It sets up all through the sphere a vast
number of tiny vortices, each of which draws into itself forty-nine
bubbles, and arranges them in a certain shape. These little groupings of
bubbles so formed are the atoms of the second of the interpenetrating
worlds. The whole number of the bubbles is not used in this way, sufficient
being left in the dissociated state to act as atoms for the first and
highest of these worlds. In due time comes the second impulse, which seizes
upon nearly all these forty-nine bubble-atoms (leaving only enough to
provide atoms for the second world), draws them back into itself and then,
throwing them out again, sets up among them vortices, each of which holds
within itself 2,401 bubbles (49^2). These form the atoms of the third
world. Again after a time comes a third impulse, which in the same way
seizes upon nearly all these 2,401 bubble-atoms, draws them back again into
their original form, and again throws them outward once more as the atoms
of the fourth world--each atom containing this time 49^{3} bubbles. This
process is repeated until the sixth of these successive impulses has built
the atom of the seventh or the lowest world--that atom containing 49^{6} of
the original bubbles.

This atom of the seventh world is the ultimate atom of the physical
world--not any of the atoms of which chemists speak, but that ultimate out
of which all their atoms are made. We have at this stage arrived at that
condition of affairs in which the vast whirling sphere contains within
itself seven types of matter, all one in essence, because all built of the
same kind of bubbles, but differing in their degree of density. All these
types are freely intermingled, so that specimens of each type would be
found in a small portion of the sphere taken at random in any part of it,
with, however, a general tendency of the heavier atoms to gravitate more
and more towards the centre.

The seventh impulse sent out from the Third Aspect of the Deity does not,
as before, draw back the physical atoms which were last made into the
original dissociated bubbles, but draws them together into certain
aggregations, thus making a number of different kinds of what may be called
proto-elements, and these again are joined together into the various forms
which are known to science as chemical elements. The making of these
extends over a long period of ages, and they are made in a certain definite
order by the interaction of several forces, as is correctly indicated in
Sir William Crookes's paper, _The Genesis of the Elements_. Indeed the
process of their making is not even now concluded; uranium is the latest
and heaviest element so far as we know, but others still more complicated
may perhaps be produced in the future.

As ages rolled on the condensation increased, and presently the stage of a
vast glowing nebula was reached. As it cooled, still rapidly rotating, it
flattened into a huge disc and gradually broke up into rings surrounding a
central body--an arrangement not unlike that which Saturn exhibits at the
present day, though on a far larger scale. As the time drew near when the
planets would be required for the purposes of evolution, the Deity sets up
somewhere in the thickness of each ring a subsidiary vortex into which a
great deal of the matter of the ring was by degrees collected. The
collisions of the gathered fragments caused a revival of the heat, and the
resulting planet was for a long time a mass of glowing gas. Little by
little it cooled once more, until it became fit to be the theatre of life
such as ours. Thus were all the planets formed.

Almost all the matter of those interpenetrating worlds was by this time
concentrated into the newly formed planets. Each of them was and is
composed of all those different kinds of matter. The earth upon which we
are now living is not merely a great ball of physical matter, built of the
atoms of that lowest world, but has also attached to it an abundant supply
of matter of the sixth, the fifth, the fourth and other worlds. It is well
known to all students of science that particles of matter never actually
touch one another, even in the hardest of substances. The spaces between
them are always far greater in proportion than their own size--enormously
greater. So there is ample room for all the other kinds of atoms of all
those other worlds, not only to lie between the atoms of the denser matter,
but to move quite freely among them and around them. Consequently, this
globe upon which we live is not one world, but seven interpenetrating
worlds, all occupying the same space, except that the finer types of matter
extend further from the centre than does the denser matter.

We have given names to these interpenetrating worlds for convenience in
speaking of them. No name is needed for the first, as man is not yet in
direct connection with it; but when it is necessary to mention it, it may
be called the divine world. The second is described as the monadic, because
in it exist those Sparks of the divine Life which we call the human Monads;
but neither of these can be touched by the highest clairvoyant
investigations at present possible for us. The third sphere, whose atoms
contain 2,401 bubbles, is called the spiritual world, because in it
functions the highest Spirit in man as now constituted. The fourth is the
intuitional world, [Previously called in Theosophical literature the
buddhic plane.] because from it come the highest intuitions. The fifth is
the mental world, because from its matter is built the mind of man. The
sixth is called the emotional or astral world, because the emotions of man
cause undulations in its matter. (The name astral was given to it by
mediæval alchemists, because its matter is starry or shining as compared to
that of the denser world.) The seventh world, composed of the type of
matter which we see all around us, is called the physical.

The matter of which all these interpenetrating worlds are built is
essentially the same matter, but differently arranged and of different
degrees of density. Therefore the rates at which these various types of
matter normally vibrate differ also. They may be considered as a vast gamut
of undulations consisting of many octaves. The physical matter uses a
certain number of the lowest of these octaves, the astral matter another
group of octaves just above that, the mental matter a still further group,
and so on.

Not only has each of these worlds its own type of matter; it has also its
own set of aggregations of that matter--its own substances. In each world
we arrange these substances in seven classes according to the rate at which
their molecules vibrate. Usually, but not invariably, the slower
oscillation involves also a larger molecule--a molecule, that is, built up
by a special arrangement of the smaller molecules of the next higher
subdivision. The application of heat increases the size of the molecules
and also quickens and amplifies their undulation, so that they cover more
ground, and the object, as a whole expands, until the point is reached
where the aggregation of molecules breaks up, and the latter passes from
one condition to that next above it. In the matter of the physical world
the seven subdivisions are represented by seven degrees of density of
matter, to which, beginning from below upwards, we give the names solid,
liquid, gaseous, etheric, superetheric, subatomic and atomic.

The atomic subdivision is one in which all forms are built by the
compression into certain shapes of the physical atoms, without any previous
collection of these atoms into blocks or molecules. Typifying the physical
ultimate atom for the moment by a brick, any form in the atomic subdivision
would be made by gathering together some of the bricks, and building them
into a certain shape. In order to make matter for the next lower
subdivision, a certain number of the bricks (atoms) would first be gathered
together and cemented into small blocks of say four bricks each, five
bricks each, six bricks or seven bricks; and then these blocks so made
would be used as building stones. For the next subdivision several of the
blocks of the second subdivision cemented together in certain shapes would
form building-stones, and so on to the lowest.

To transfer any substance from the solid condition to the liquid (that is
to say, to melt it) is to increase the vibration of its compound molecules
until at last they are shaken apart into the simpler molecules of which
they were built. This process can in all cases be repeated again and again
until finally any and every physical substance can be reduced to the
ultimate atoms of the physical world.

Each of these worlds has its inhabitants, whose senses are normally capable
of responding to the undulations of their own world only. A man living (as
we are all doing) in the physical world sees, hears, feels, by vibrations
connected with the physical matter around him. He is equally surrounded by
the astral and mental and other worlds which are interpenetrating his own
denser world, but of them he is normally unconscious, because his senses
cannot respond to the oscillations of their matter, just as our physical
eyes cannot see by the vibrations of ultra-violet light, although
scientific experiments show that they exist, and there are other
consciousnesses with differently-formed organs who _can_ see by them. A
being living in the astral world might be occupying the very same space as
a being living in the physical world, yet each would be entirely
unconscious of the other and would in no way impede the free movement of
the other. The same is true of all other worlds. We are at this moment
surrounded by these worlds of finer matter, as close to us as the world we
see, and their inhabitants are passing through us and about us, but we are
entirely unconscious of them.

Since our evolution is centred at present upon this globe which we call the
earth, it is in connection with it only that we shall be speaking of these
higher worlds, so in future when I use the term "astral world" I shall mean
by it the astral part of our own globe only, and not (as heretofore) the
astral part of the whole solar system. This astral part of our own world is
also a globe, but of astral matter. It occupies the same place as the globe
which we see, but its matter (being so much lighter) extends out into space
on all sides of us further than does the atmosphere of the earth--a great
deal further. It stretches to a little less than the mean distance of the
moon, so that though the two physical globes, the earth and the moon, are
nearly 240,000 miles apart, the astral globes of these two bodies touch one
another when the moon is in perigee, but not when she is in apogee. I shall
apply the term "mental world" to the still larger globe of mental matter in
the midst of which our physical earth exists. When we come to the still
higher globes we have spheres large enough to touch the corresponding
spheres of other planets in the system, though their matter also is just as
much about us here on the surface of the solid earth as that of the others.
All these globes of finer matter are a part of us, and are all revolving
round the sun with their visible part. The student will do well to accustom
himself to think of our earth as the whole of this mass of interpenetrating
worlds--not only the comparatively small physical ball in the centre of it.

Chapter IV


All the impulses of life which I have described as building the
interpenetrating worlds come forth from the Third Aspect of the Deity.
Hence in the Christian scheme that Aspect is called "the Giver of Life",
the Spirit who brooded over the face of the waters of space. In
Theosophical literature these impulses are usually taken as a whole, and
called the First Outpouring.

When the worlds had been prepared to this extent, and most of the chemical
elements already existed, the Second Outpouring of life took place, and
this came from the Second Aspect of the Deity. It brought with it the power
of combination. In all the worlds it found existing what may be thought of
as elements corresponding to those worlds. It proceeded to combine those
elements into organisms which it then ensouled, and in this way it built up
the seven kingdoms of Nature. Theosophy recognizes seven kingdoms, because
it regards man as separate from the animal kingdom and it takes into
account several stages of evolution which are unseen by the physical eye,
and gives to them the mediæval name of "elemental kingdoms".

The divine Life pours itself into matter from above, and its whole course
may be thought of in two stages--the gradual assumption of grosser and
grosser matter, and then the gradual casting off again of the vehicles
which have been assumed. The earliest level upon which its vehicles can be
scientifically observed is the mental--the fifth counting from the finer to
the grosser, the first on which there are separated globes. In practical
study it is found convenient to divide this mental world into two parts,
which we call the higher and the lower according to the degree of density
of their matter. The higher consists of the three finer subdivisions of
mental matter; the lower part of the other four.

When the outpouring reaches the higher mental world it draws together the
ethereal elements there, combines them into what at that level correspond
to substances and of these substances builds forms which it inhabits. We
call this the first elemental kingdom.

After a long period of evolution through different forms at that level, the
wave of life, which is all the time pressing steadily downwards, learns to
identify itself so fully with those forms that, instead of occupying them
and withdrawing from them periodically, it is able to hold them permanently
and make them part of itself, so that now from that level it can proceed to
the temporary occupation of forms at a still lower level. When it reaches
this stage we call it the second elemental kingdom, the ensouling life of
which resides upon the higher mental levels, while the vehicles through
which it manifests are on the lower.

After another vast period of similar length, it is found that the downward
pressure has caused this process to repeat itself; once more the life has
identified itself with its forms, and has taken up its residence upon the
lower mental levels, so that it is capable of ensouling bodies in the
astral world. At this stage we call it the third elemental kingdom.

We speak of all these forms as finer or grosser relatively to one another,
but all of them are almost infinitely finer than any with which we are
acquainted in the physical world. Each of these three is a kingdom of
Nature, as varied in the manifestations of its different forms of life as
is the animal or vegetable kingdom which we know. After a long period spent
in ensouling the forms of the third of these elemental kingdoms it
identifies itself with them in turn, and so is able to ensoul the etheric
part of the mineral kingdom, and becomes the life which vivifies that--for
there is a life in the mineral kingdom just as much as in the vegetable or
the animal, although it is in conditions where it cannot manifest so
freely. In the course of the mineral evolution the downward pressure causes
it to identify itself in the same way with the etheric matter of the
physical world, and from that to ensoul the denser matter of such minerals
as are perceptible to our senses.

In the mineral kingdom we include not only what are usually called
minerals, but also liquids, gases and many etheric substances the existence
of which is unknown to western science. All the matter of which we know
anything is living matter, and the life which it contains is always
evolving. When it has reached the central point of the mineral stage the
downward pressure ceases, and is replaced by an upward tendency; the
outbreathing has ceased and the indrawing has begun.

When mineral evolution is completed, the life has withdrawn itself again
into the astral world, but bearing with it all the results obtained through
its experiences in the physical. At this stage it ensouls vegetable forms,
and begins to show itself much more clearly as what we commonly call
life--plant-life of all kinds; and at a yet later stage of its development
it leaves the vegetable kingdom and ensouls the animal kingdom. The
attainment of this level is the sign that it has withdrawn itself still
further, and is now working from the lower mental world. In order to work
in physical matter from that mental world it must operate through the
intervening astral matter; and that astral matter is now no longer part of
the garment of the group-soul as a whole, but is the individual astral body
of the animal concerned, as will be later explained.

In each of these kingdoms it not only passes a period of time which is to
our ideas almost incredibly long, but it also goes through a definite
course of evolution, beginning from the lower manifestations of that
kingdom and ending with the highest. In the vegetable kingdom, for example,
the life-force might commence its career by occupying grasses or mosses and
end it by ensouling magnificent forest trees. In the animal kingdom it
might commence with mosquitoes or with animalculæ, and might end with the
finest specimens of the mammalia.

The whole process is one of steady evolution from lower forms to higher,
from the simpler to the more complex. But what is evolving is not primarily
the form, but the life within it. The forms also evolve and grow better as
time passes; but this is in order that they may be appropriate vehicles for
more and more advanced waves of life. When the life has reached the highest
level possible in the animal kingdom, it may then pass on into the human
kingdom, under conditions which will presently be explained.

The outpouring leaves one kingdom and passes to another, so that if we had
to deal with only one wave of this outpouring we could have in existence
only one kingdom at a time. But the Deity sends out a constant succession
of these waves, so that at any given time we find a number of them
simultaneously in operation. We ourselves represent one such wave; but we
find evolving alongside us another wave which ensouls the animal kingdom--a
wave which came out from the Deity one stage later than we did. We find
also the vegetable kingdom, which represents a third wave, and the mineral
kingdom, which represents a fourth; and occultists know of the existence
all round us of three elemental kingdoms, which represent the fifth, sixth
and seventh waves. All these, however, are successive ripples of the same
great outpouring from the Second Aspect of the Deity.

We have here, then, a scheme of evolution in which the divine Life involves
itself more and more deeply in matter, in order that through that matter it
may receive vibrations which could not otherwise affect it--impacts from
without, which by degrees arouse within it rates of undulation
corresponding to their own, so that it learns to respond to them. Later on
it learns of itself to generate these rates of undulation, and so becomes a
being possessed of spiritual powers.

We may presume that when this outpouring of life originally came forth from
the Deity, at some level altogether beyond our power of cognition, it may
perhaps have been homogeneous; but when it first comes within practical
cognizance, when it is itself in the intuitional world, but is ensouling
bodies made of the matter of the higher mental world, it is already not one
huge world-soul but many souls. Let us suppose a homogeneous outpouring,
which may be considered as one vast soul, at one end of the scale; at the
other, when humanity is reached, we find that one vast soul broken up into
millions of the comparatively little souls of individual men. At any stage
between these two extremes we find an intermediate condition, the immense
world-soul already subdivided, but not to the utmost limit of possible

Each man is a soul, but not each animal or each plant. Man, as a soul, can
manifest through only one body at a time in the physical world, whereas one
animal soul manifests simultaneously through a number of animal bodies, one
plant soul through a number of separate plants. A lion, for example, is not
a permanently separate entity in the same way as a man is. When the man
dies--that is, when he as a soul lays aside his physical body--he remains
himself exactly as he was before, an entity separate from all other
entities. When the lion dies, that which has been the separate soul of him
is poured back into the mass from which it came--a mass which is at the
same time providing the souls for many other lions. To such a mass we give
the name of "group-soul".

To such a group-soul is attached a considerable number of lion bodies--let
us say a hundred. Each of those bodies while it lives has its hundredth
part of the group-soul attached to it, and for the time being this is
apparently quite separate, so that the lion is as much an individual during
his physical life as the man; but he is not a permanent individual. When he
dies the soul of him flows back into the group-soul to which it belongs,
and that identical lion-soul cannot be separated again from the group.

A useful analogy may help comprehension. Imagine the group-soul to be
represented by the water in a bucket, and the hundred lion bodies by a
hundred tumblers. As each tumbler is dipped into the bucket it takes out
from it a tumblerful of water (the separate soul). That water for the time
being takes the shape of the vehicle which it fills, and is temporarily
separate from the water which remains in the bucket, and from the water in
the other tumblers.

Now put into each of the hundred tumblers some kind of colouring matter or
some kind of flavouring. That will represent the qualities developed by its
experiences in the separate soul of the lion during its lifetime. Pour back
the water from the tumbler into the bucket; that represents the death of
the lion. The colouring matter or the flavouring will be distributed
through the whole of the water in the bucket, but will be a much fainter
colouring, a much less pronounced flavour when thus distributed than it was
when confined in one tumbler. The qualities developed by the experience of
one lion attached to that group-soul are therefore shared by the entire
group-soul, but in a much lower degree.

We may take out another tumblerful of water from that bucket, but we can
never again get exactly the same tumblerful after it has once been mingled
with the rest. Every tumblerful taken from that bucket in the future will
contain some traces of the colouring or flavouring put into each tumbler
whose contents have been returned to the bucket. Just so the qualities
developed by the experience of a single lion will become the common
property of all lions who are in the future to be born from that
group-soul, though in a lesser degree than that in which they existed in
the individual lion who developed them.

That is the explanation of inherited instincts; that is why the duckling
which has been hatched by a hen takes to the water instantly without
needing to be shown how to swim; why the chicken just out of its shell will
cower at the shadow of a hawk; why a bird which has been artificially
hatched, and has never seen a nest, nevertheless knows how to make one, and
makes it according to the traditions of its kind.

Lower down in the scale of animal life enormous numbers of bodies are
attached to a single group-soul--countless millions, for example, in the
case of some of the smaller insects; but as we rise in the animal kingdom
the number of bodies attached to a single group-soul becomes smaller and
smaller, and therefore the differences between individuals become greater.

Thus the group-souls gradually break up. Returning to the symbol of the
bucket, as tumbler after tumbler of water is withdrawn from it, tinted with
some sort of colouring matter and returned to it, the whole bucketful of
water gradually becomes richer in colour. Suppose that by imperceptible
degrees a kind of vertical film forms itself across the centre of the
bucket, and gradually solidifies itself into a division, so that we have
now a right half and a left half to the bucket, and each tumblerful of
water which is taken out is returned always to the same section from which
it came.

Then presently a difference will be set up, and the liquid in one half of
the bucket will no longer be the same as that in the other. We have then
practically two buckets, and when this stage is reached in a group-soul it
splits into two, as a cell separates by fission. In this way, as the
experience grows ever richer, the group-souls grow smaller but more
numerous, until at the highest point we arrive at man with his single
individual soul, which no longer returns into a group, but remains always

One of the life-waves is vivifying the whole of a kingdom; but not every
group-soul in that life-wave will pass through the whole of that kingdom
from the bottom to the top. If in the vegetable kingdom a certain
group-soul has ensouled forest trees, when it passes on into the animal
kingdom it will omit all the lower stages--that is, it will never inhabit
insects or reptiles, but will begin at once at the level of the lower
mammalia. The insects and reptiles will be vivified by group-souls which
have for some reason left the vegetable kingdom at a much lower level than
the forest tree. In the same way the group-soul which has reached the
highest levels of the animal kingdom will not individualize into primitive
savages, but into men of somewhat higher type, the primitive savages being
recruited from group-souls which have left the animal kingdom at a lower

Group-souls at any level or at all levels arrange themselves into seven
great types, according to the Minister of the Deity through whom their life
has poured forth. These types are clearly distinguishable in all the
kingdoms, and the successive forms taken by any one of them form a
connected series, so that animals, vegetables, minerals and the varieties
of the elemental creatures may all be arranged into seven great groups, and
the life coming along one of those lines will not diverge into any of the

No detailed list has yet been made of the animals, plants or minerals from
this point of view; but it is certain that the life which is found
ensouling a mineral of a particular type will never vivify a mineral of any
other type than its own, though within that type it may vary. When it
passes on to the vegetable and animal kingdoms it will inhabit vegetables
and animals of that type and of no other; and when it eventually reaches
humanity it will individualize into men of that type and of no other.

The method of individualization is the raising of the soul of a particular
animal to a level so much higher than that attained by its group-soul that
it can no longer return to the latter. This cannot be done with _any_
animal, but only with those whose brain is developed to a certain level,
and the method usually adopted to acquire such mental development is to
bring the animal into close contact with man. Individualization, therefore,
is possible only for domestic animals, and only for certain kinds even of
those. At the head of each of the seven types stands one kind of domestic
animal--the dog for one, the cat for another, the elephant for a third, the
monkey for a fourth, and so on. The wild animals can all be arranged on
seven lines leading up to the domestic animals; for example, the fox and
the wolf are obviously on the same line with the dog, while the lion, the
tiger and the leopard equally obviously lead up to the domestic cat; so
that the group-soul animating a hundred lions mentioned some time ago might
at a later stage of its evolution have divided into, let us say, five
group-souls each animating twenty cats.

The life-wave spends a long period of time in each kingdom; we are now only
a little past the middle of such an æon, and consequently the conditions
are not favourable for the achievement of that individualization which
normally comes only at the end of a period. Rare instances of such
attainment may occasionally be observed on the part of some animal much in
advance of the average. Close association with man is necessary to produce
this result. The animal if kindly treated develops devoted affection for
his human friend, and also unfolds his intellectual powers in trying to
understand that friend and to anticipate his wishes. In addition to this,
the emotions and the thoughts of the man act constantly upon those of the
animal, and tend to raise him to a higher level both emotionally and
intellectually. Under favourable circumstances this development may proceed
so far as to raise the animal altogether out of touch with the group to
which he belongs, so that his fragment of a group-soul becomes capable of
responding to the outpouring which comes from the First Aspect of the

For this final outpouring is not like the others, a mighty outrush
affecting thousands or millions simultaneously; it comes to each one
individually as that one is ready to receive it. This outpouring has
already descended as far as the intuitional world; but it comes no farther
than that until this upward leap is made by the soul of the animal from
below; but when that happens this Third Outpouring leaps down to meet it,
and in the higher mental world is formed an ego, a permanent
individuality--permanent, that is, until, far later in his evolution, the
man transcends it and reaches back to the divine unity from which he came.
To make this ego, the fragment of the group-soul (which has hitherto played
the part always of ensouling force) becomes in its turn a vehicle, and is
itself ensouled by that divine Spark which has fallen into it from on high.
That Spark may be said to have been hovering in the monadic world over the
group-soul through the whole of its previous evolution, unable to effect a
junction with it until its corresponding fragment in the group-soul had
developed sufficiently to permit it. It is this breaking away from the rest
of the group-soul and developing a separate ego which marks the distinction
between the highest animal and the lowest man.

Chapter V


Man is therefore in essence a Spark of the divine Fire, belonging to the
monadic world.[1] To that Spark, dwelling all the time in that world, we
give the name "Monad". For the purposes of human evolution the Monad
manifests itself in lower worlds. When it descends one stage and enters the
spiritual world, it shows itself there as the triple Spirit having itself
three aspects (just as in worlds infinitely higher the Deity has His three
Aspects). Of those three one remains always in that world, and we call that
the Spirit in man. The second aspect manifests itself in the intuitional
world, and we speak of it as the Intuition in man. The third shows itself
in the higher mental world, and we call it the Intelligence in man. These
three aspects taken together constitute the ego which ensouls the fragment
from the group-soul. Thus man as we know him, though in reality a Monad
residing in the monadic world, shows himself as an ego in the higher mental
world, manifesting these three aspects of himself (Spirit, Intuition and
Intelligence) through that vehicle of higher mental matter which we name
the causal body.

Footnote 1: The President has now decided upon a set of names for the
planes, so for the future these will be used instead of those previously
employed. A table of them is given below for reference.

NEW NAMES                       OLD NAMES
1. Divine World                 Âdi Plane
2. Monadic World                Anupâdaka Plane
3. Spiritual World              Âtmic or Nirvânic Plane
4. Intuitional World            Buddhic Plane
5. Mental World                 Mental Plane
6. Emotional or Astral World    Astral Plane
7. Physical World               Physical Plane

These will supersede the names given in Vol. II of _The Inner Life._

This ego is the man during the human stage of evolution; he is the nearest
correspondence, in fact, to the ordinary unscientific conception of the
soul. He lives unchanged (except for his growth) from the moment of
individualization until humanity is transcended and merged into divinity.
He is in no way affected by what we call birth and death; what we commonly
consider as his life is only a day in his life. The body which we can see,
the body which is born and dies, is a garment which he puts on for the
purposes of a certain part of his evolution.

Nor is it the only body which he assumes. Before he, the ego in the higher
mental world, can take a vehicle belonging to the physical world, he must
make a connection with it through the lower mental and astral worlds. When
he wishes to descend he draws around himself a veil of the matter of the
lower mental world, which we call his mental body. This is the instrument
by means of which he thinks all his concrete thoughts--abstract thought
being a power of the ego himself in the higher mental world.

Next he draws round himself a veil of astral matter, which we call his
astral body; and that is the instrument of his passions and emotions, and
also (in conjunction with the lower part of his mental body) the
instrument of all such thought as is tinged by selfishness and personal
feeling. Only after having assumed these intermediate vehicles can he come
into touch with a baby physical body, and be born into the world which we
know. He lives through what we call his life, gaining certain qualities as
the result of its experiences; and at its end, when the physical body is
worn out, he reverses the process of descent and lays aside one by one the
temporary vehicles which he has assumed. The first to go is the physical
body, and when that is dropped, his life is centred in the astral world and
he lives in his astral body.

The length of his stay in that world depends upon the amount of passion and
emotion which he has developed within himself in his physical life. If
there is much of these, the astral body is strongly vitalized, and will
persist for a long time; if there is but little, the astral body has less
vitality, and he will soon be able to cast that vehicle aside in turn. When
that is done he finds himself living in his mental body. The strength of
that depends upon the nature of the thoughts to which he has habituated
himself, and usually his stay at this level is a long one. At last it comes
to an end, and he casts aside the mental body in turn, and is once more the
ego in his own world.

Owing to lack of development, he is as yet but partially conscious in that
world; the vibrations of its matter are too rapid to make any impression
upon him, just as the ultra-violet rays are too rapid to make any
impression upon our eyes. After a rest there, he feels the desire to
descend to a level where the undulations are perceptible to him, in order
that he may feel himself to be fully alive; so he repeats the process of
descent into denser matter, and assumes once more a mental, an astral and a
physical body. As his previous bodies have all disintegrated, each in its
tarn, these new vehicles are entirely distinct from them, and thus it
happens that in his physical life he has no recollection whatever of other
similar lives which have preceded it.

When functioning in this physical world he remembers by means of his mental
body; but since that is a new one, assumed only for this birth, it
naturally cannot contain the memory of previous births in which it had no
part. The man himself, the ego, does remember them all when in his own
world, and occasionally some partial recollection of them or influence from
them filters through into his lower vehicles. He does not usually, in his
physical life, remember the experiences of earlier lives, but he does
manifest in physical life the qualities which those experiences have
developed in him. Each man is therefore exactly what he has made himself
during those past lives; if he has in them developed good qualities in
himself, he possesses the good qualities now; if he neglected to train
himself, and consequently left himself weak and of evil disposition, he
finds himself precisely in that condition now. The qualities, good or evil,
with which he is born are those which he has made for himself.

This development of the ego is the object of the whole process of
materialization; he assumes those veils of matter precisely because through
them he is able to receive vibrations to which he can respond, so that his
latent faculties may thereby be unfolded. Though man descends from on high
into these lower worlds, it is only through that descent that a full
cognizance of the higher worlds is developed in him. Full consciousness in
any given world involves the power to perceive and respond to all the
undulations of that world: therefore the ordinary man has not yet perfect
consciousness at any level--not even in this physical world which he thinks
he knows. It is possible for him to unfold his percipience in all these
worlds, and it is by means of such developed consciousness that we observe
all these facts which I am now describing.

The causal body is the permanent vehicle of the ego in the higher mental
world. It consists of matter of the first, second and third subdivisions of
that world. In ordinary people it is not yet fully active, only that matter
which belongs to the third subdivision being vivified. As the ego unfolds
his latent possibilities through the long course of his evolution, the
higher matter is gradually brought into action, but it is only in the
perfected man whom we call the Adept that it is developed to its fullest
extent. Such matter can be discerned by clairvoyant sight, but only by a
seer who knows how to use the sight of the ego.

It is difficult to describe a causal body fully, because the senses
belonging to its world are altogether different from and higher than ours
at this level. Such memory of the appearance of a causal body as it is
possible for a clairvoyant to bring into his physical brain represents it
as ovoid, and as surrounding the physical body of the man, extending to a
distance of about eighteen inches from the normal surface of that body. In
the case of primitive man it resembles a bubble, and gives the impression
of being empty. It is in reality filled with higher mental matter, but as
this is not yet brought into activity it remains colourless and
transparent. As advancement continues it is gradually stirred into
alertness by vibrations which reach it from the lower bodies. This comes
but slowly, because the activities of man in the earlier stages of his
evolution are not of a character to obtain expression in matter so fine as
that of the higher mental body; but when a man reaches the stage where he
is capable either of abstract thought or of unselfish emotion the matter of
the causal body is aroused into response.

When these rates of undulation are awakened within him they show themselves
in his causal body as colours, so that instead of being a mere transparent
bubble it gradually becomes a sphere filled with matter of the most lovely
and delicate hues--an object beautiful beyond all conception. It is found
by experience that these colours are significant. The vibration which
denotes the power of unselfish affection shows itself as a pale
rose-colour; that which indicates high intellectual power is yellow; that
which expresses sympathy is green, while blue betokens devotional feeling,
and a luminous lilac-blue typifies the higher spirituality. The same scheme
of colour-significance applies to the bodies which are built of denser
matter, but as we approach the physical world the hues are in every case by
comparison grosser--not only less delicate but also less living.

In the course of evolution in the lower worlds man often introduces into
his vehicles qualities which are undesirable and entirely inappropriate for
his life as an ego--such, for example, as pride, irritability, sensuality.
These, like the rest, are reducible to vibrations, but they are in all
cases vibrations of the lower subdivisions of their respective worlds, and
therefore they cannot reproduce themselves in the causal body, which is
built exclusively of the matter of the three higher subdivisions of its
world. For each section of the astral body acts strongly upon the
corresponding section of the mental body, but only upon the corresponding
section; it cannot influence any other part. So the causal body can be
affected only by the three higher portions of the astral body; and the
oscillations of those represent only good qualities.

The practical effect of this is that the man can build into the ego (that
is, into his true self) nothing but good qualities; the evil qualities
which he develops are in their nature transitory and must be thrown aside
as he advances, because he has no longer within him matter which can
express them. The difference between the causal bodies of the savage and
the saint is that the first is empty and colourless, while the second is
full of brilliant, coruscating tints. As the man passes beyond even
saint-hood and becomes a great spiritual power, his causal body increases
in size, because it has so much more to express, and it also begins to pour
out from itself in all directions powerful rays of living light. In one who
has attained Adeptship this body is of enormous dimensions.

The mental body is built of matter of the four lower subdivisions of the
mental world, and expresses the concrete thoughts of the man. Here also we
find the same colour-scheme as in the causal body. The hues are somewhat
less delicate, and we notice one or two additions. For example, a thought
of pride shows itself as orange, while irritability is manifested by a
brilliant scarlet. We may see here sometimes the bright brown of avarice,
the grey-brown of selfishness, and the grey-green of deceit. Here also we
perceive the possibility of a mixture of colours; the affection, the
intellect, the devotion may be tinged by selfishness, and in that case
their distinctive colours are mingled with the brown of selfishness, and so
we have an impure and muddy appearance. Although its particles are always
in intensely rapid motion among themselves, this body has at the same time
a kind of loose organization.

The size and shape of the mental body are determined by those of the causal
vehicle. There are in it certain striations which divide it more or less
irregularly into segments, each of these corresponding to a certain
department of the physical brain, so that every type of thought should
function through its duly assigned portion. The mental body is as yet so
imperfectly developed in ordinary men that there are many in whom a great
number of special departments are not yet in activity, and any attempt at
thought belonging to those departments has to travel round through some
inappropriate channel which happens to be fully open. The result is that
thought on those subjects is for those people clumsy and uncomprehending.
This is why some people have a head for mathematics and others are unable
to add correctly--why some people instinctively understand, appreciate and
enjoy music, while others do not know one tune from another.

All the matter of the mental body should be circulating freely, but
sometimes a man allows his thought upon a certain subject to set and
solidify, and then the circulation is impeded, and there is a congestion
which presently hardens into a kind of wart on the mental body. Such a wart
appears to us down here as a prejudice; and until it is absorbed and free
circulation restored, it is impossible for the man to think truly or to see
clearly with regard to that particular department of his mind, as the
congestion checks the free passage of undulations both outward and inward.

When a man uses any part of his mental body it not only vibrates for the
time more rapidly, but it also temporarily swells out and increases in
size. If there is prolonged thought upon a subject this increase becomes
permanent, and it is thus open to any man to increase the size of his
mental body either along desirable or undesirable lines.

Good thoughts produce vibrations of the finer matter of the body, which by
its specific gravity tends to float in the upper part of the ovoid; whereas
bad thoughts, such as selfishness and avarice, are always oscillations of
the grosser matter, which tends to gravitate towards the lower part of the
ovoid. Consequently the ordinary man, who yields himself not infrequently
to selfish thoughts of various kinds, usually expands the lower part of his
mental body, and presents roughly the appearance of an egg with its larger
end downwards. The man who has repressed those lower thoughts, and devoted
himself to higher ones, tends to expand the upper part of his mental body,
and therefore presents the appearance of an egg standing on its smaller
end. From a study of the colours and striations of a man's mental body the
clairvoyant can perceive his character and the progress he has made in his
present life. From similar features of the causal body he can see what
progress the ego has made since its original formation, when the man left
the animal kingdom.

When a man thinks of any concrete object--a book, a house, a landscape--he
builds a tiny image of the object in the matter of his mental body. This
image floats in the upper part of that body, usually in front of the face
of the man and at about the level of the eyes. It remains there as long as
the man is contemplating the object, and usually for a little time
afterwards, the length of time depending upon the intensity and the
clearness of the thought. This form is quite objective, and can be seen by
another person, if that other has developed the sight of his own mental
body. If a man thinks of another, he creates a tiny portrait in just the
same way. If his thought is merely contemplative and involves no feeling
(such as affection or dislike) or desire (such as a wish to see the person)
the thought does not usually perceptibly affect the man of whom he thinks.

If coupled with the thought of the person there is a feeling, as for
example of affection, another phenomenon occurs besides the forming of the
image. The thought of affection takes a definite form, which it builds out
of the matter of the thinker's mental body. Because of the emotion
involved, it draws round it also matter of his astral body, and thus we
have an astromental form which leaps out of the body in which it has been
generated, and moves through space towards the object of the feeling of
affection. If the thought is sufficiently strong, distance makes absolutely
no difference to it; but the thought of an ordinary person is usually weak
and diffused, and is therefore not effective outside a limited area.

When this thought-form reaches its object it discharges itself into his
astral and mental bodies, communicating to them its own rate of vibration.
Putting this in another way, a thought of love sent from one person to
another involves the actual transference of a certain amount both of force
and of matter from the sender to the recipient, and its effect upon the
recipient is to arouse the feeling of affection in him, and slightly but
permanently to increase his power of loving. But such a thought also
strengthens the power of affection in the thinker, and therefore it does
good simultaneously to both.

Every thought builds a form; if the thought be directed to another person
it travels to him; if it be distinctly selfish it remains in the immediate
neighbourhood of the thinker; if it belongs to neither of these categories
it floats for awhile in space and then slowly disintegrates. Every man
therefore is leaving behind him wherever he goes a trail of thought forms;
as we go along the street we are walking all the time amidst a sea of other
men's thoughts. If a man leaves his mind blank for a time, these residual
thoughts of others drift through it, making in most cases but little
impression upon him. Sometimes one arrives which attracts his attention, so
that his mind seizes upon it and makes it its own, strengthens it by the
addition of its force, and then casts it out again to affect somebody else.
A man therefore, is not responsible for a thought which floats into his
mind, because it may be not his, but someone else's; but he _is_
responsible if he takes it up, dwells upon it and then sends it out

Self-centred thought of any kind hangs about the thinker, and most men
surround their mental bodies with a shell of such thoughts. Such a shell
obscures the mental vision and facilitates the formation of prejudice.

Each thought-form is a temporary entity. It resembles a charged battery,
awaiting an opportunity to discharge itself. Its tendency is always to
reproduce its own rate of vibration in the mental body upon which it
fastens itself, and so to arouse in it a like thought. If the person at
whom it is aimed happens to be busy or already engaged in some definite
train of thought, the particles of his mental body are already swinging at
a certain determinate rate, and cannot for the moment be affected from
without. In that case the thought-form bides its time, hanging about its
object until he is sufficiently at rest to permit its entrance; then it
discharges itself upon him, and in the act ceases to exist.

The self-centred thought behaves in exactly the same way with regard to its
generator, and discharges itself upon him when opportunity offers. If it be
an evil thought, he generally regards it as the suggestion of a tempting
demon, whereas in truth he tempts himself. Usually each definite thought
creates a new thought-form; but if a thought-form of the same nature is
already hovering round the thinker, under certain circumstances a new
thought on the same subject, instead of creating a new form, coalesces with
and strengthens, the old one, so that by long brooding over the same
subject a man may sometimes create a thought-form of tremendous power. If
the thought be a wicked one, such a thought-form may become a veritable
evil influence, lasting perhaps for many years, and having for a time all
the appearance and powers of a real living entity.

All these which have been described are the ordinary unpremeditated
thoughts of man. A man can make a thought-form intentionally, and aim it at
another with the object of helping him. This is one of the lines of
activity adopted by those who desire to serve humanity. A steady stream of
powerful thought directed intelligently upon another person may be of the
greatest assistance to him. A strong thought-form may be a real guardian
angel, and protect its object from impurity, from irritability or from

An interesting branch of the subject is the study of the various shapes and
colours taken by thought-forms of different kinds. The colours indicate the
nature of the thought, and are in agreement with those which we have
already described as existing in the bodies. The shapes are of infinite
variety, but are often in some way typical of the kind of thought which
they express.

Every thought of definite character, such as a thought of affection or
hatred, of devotion or suspicion, of anger or fear, of pride or jealousy,
not only creates a form but also radiates an undulation. The fact that,
each one of these thoughts is expressed by a certain colour indicates that
the thought expresses itself as an oscillation of the matter of a certain
part of the mental body. This rate of oscillation communicates itself to
the surrounding mental matter precisely in the same way as the vibration of
a bell communicates itself to the surrounding air.

This radiation travels out in all directions, and whenever it impinges upon
another mental body in a passive or receptive condition it communicates to
it something of its own vibration. This does not convey a definite complete
idea, as does the thought-form, but it tends to produce a thought of the
same character as itself. For example, if the thought be devotional its
undulations will excite devotion, but the object of the worship may be
different in the case of each person upon whose mental body they impinge.
The thought-form, on the other hand, can reach only one person, but will
convey to that person (if receptive) not only a general devotional feeling,
but also a precise image of the Being for whom the adoration was originally

Any person who habitually thinks pure, good and strong thoughts is
utilizing for that purpose the higher part of his mental body--a part which
is not used at all by the ordinary man, and is entirely undeveloped in him.
Such an one is therefore a power for good in the world, and is being of
great use to all those of his neighbours who are capable of any sort of
response. For the vibration which he sends out tends to arouse a new and
higher part of their mental bodies, and consequently to open before them
altogether new fields of thought.

It may not be exactly the same thought as that sent out, but it is of the
same nature. The undulations generated by a man thinking of Theosophy do
not necessarily communicate Theosophical ideas to all those around him; but
they do awaken in them more liberal and higher thought than that to which
they have before been accustomed. On the other hand, the thought-forms
generated under such circumstances, though more limited in their action
than the radiation, are also more precise; they can affect only those who
are to some extent open to them, but to them they will convey definite
Theosophical ideas.

The colours of the astral body bear the same meaning as those of the higher
vehicles, but are several octaves of colours below them, and much more
nearly approaching to such hues as we see in the physical world. It is the
vehicle of passion and emotion, and consequently it may exhibit additional
colours, expressing man's less desirable feelings, which cannot show
themselves at higher levels; for example, a lurid brownish-red indicates
the presence of sensuality, while black clouds show malice and hatred. A
curious livid grey betokens the presence of fear, and a much darker grey,
usually arranged in heavy rings around the ovoid, indicates a condition of
depression. Irritability is shown by the presence of a number of small
scarlet flecks in the astral body, each representing a small angry impulse.
Jealousy is shown by a peculiar brownish-green, generally studded with the
same scarlet flecks. The astral body is in size and shape like those just
described, and in the ordinary man its outline is usually clearly marked;
but in the case of primitive man it is often exceedingly irregular, and
resembles a rolling cloud composed of all the more unpleasant colours.

When the astral body is comparatively quiet (it is never actually at rest)
the colours which are to be seen in it indicate those emotions to which the
man is most in the habit of yielding himself. When the man experiences a
rush of any particular feeling, the rate of vibration which expresses that
feeling dominates for a time the entire astral body. If, for example, it be
devotion, the whole of his astral body is flushed with, blue, and while the
emotion remains at its strongest the normal colours do little more than
modify the blue, or appear faintly through a veil of it; but presently the
vehemence of the sentiment dies away, and the normal colours re-assert
themselves. But because of that spasm of emotion the part of the astral
body which is normally blue has been increased in size. Thus a man who
frequently feels high devotion soon comes to have a large area of the blue
permanently existing in his astral body.

When the rush of devotional _feeling_ comes over him, it is usually
accompanied by _thoughts_ of devotion. Although primarily formed in the
mental body, these draw round themselves a large amount of astral matter as
well, so that their action is in both worlds. In both worlds also is the
radiation which was previously described, so that the devotional man is a
centre of devotion, and will influence other people to share both his
thoughts and his feelings. The same is true in the case of affection,
anger, depression--and, indeed, of all other feelings.

The flood of emotion does not itself greatly affect the mental body,
although for a time it may render it almost impossible for any activity
from that mental body to come through into the physical brain. That is not
because that body itself is affected, but because the astral body, which
acts as a bridge between it and the physical brain, is vibrating so
entirely at one rate as to be incapable of conveying any undulation which
is not in harmony with that.

The permanent colours of the astral body react upon, the mental. They
produce in it their correspondences, several octaves higher, in the same
manner as a musical note produces overtones. The mental body in its turn
reacts upon the causal in the same way, and thus all the good qualities
expressed in the lower vehicles by degrees establish themselves permanently
in the ego. The evil qualities cannot do so, as the rates of vibrations
which express them are impossible for the higher mental matter of which the
causal body is constructed.

So far, we have described vehicles which are the expression of the ego in
their respective worlds--vehicles, which he provides for himself; in the
physical world we come to a vehicle which is provided for him by Nature
under laws which will be later explained--which though also in some sense
an expression of him, is by no means a perfect manifestation. In ordinary
life we see only a small part of this physical body--only that which is
built of the solid and liquid subdivisions of physical matter. The body
contains matter of all the seven subdivisions, and all of them play their
part in its life and are of equal importance, to it.

We usually speak of the invisible part of the physical body as the etheric
double; "double" because it exactly reproduces the size and shape of the
part of the body that we can see, and "etheric" because it is built--of
that finer kind of matter by the vibrations of which light is conveyed to
the retina of the eye. (This must not be confused with the true æther of
space--that of which matter is the negation.) This invisible part of the
physical body is of great importance to us, since it is the vehicle through
which flow the streams of vitality which keep the body alive, and without
it, as a bridge to convey undulations of thought and feeling from the
astral to the visible denser physical matter, the ego could make no use of
the cells of his brain.

The life of a physical body is one of perpetual change and in order that it
shall live, it needs constantly to be supplied from three distinct sources.
It must have food for its digestion, air for its breathing, and vitality
for its absorption. This vitality is essentially a force, but when clothed
in matter it appears to us as a definite element, which exists in all the
worlds of which we have spoken. At the moment we are concerned with that
manifestation of it which we find in the highest subdivision of the
physical world. Just as the blood circulates through the veins, so does the
vitality circulate along the nerves; and precisely as any abnormality in
the flow of the blood at once affects the physical body, so does the
slightest irregularity in the absorption or flow of the vitality affect
this higher part of the physical body.

Vitality is a force which comes originally from the sun. When an ultimate
physical atom is charged with it, it draws round itself six other atoms,
and makes itself into an etheric element. The original force of vitality is
then subdivided into seven, each of the atoms carrying a separate charge.
The element thus made is absorbed into the human body through the etheric
part of the spleen. It is there split up into its component parts, which at
once low to the various parts of the body assigned to them. The spleen is
one of the seven force centres in the etheric part of the physical body. In
each of our vehicles seven such centres should be in activity, and when
they are thus active they are visible to clairvoyant sight. They appear
usually as shallow vortices, for they are the points at which the force
from the higher bodies enters the lower. In the physical body these centres
are: (1) at the base of the spine, (2) at the solar plexus, (3) at the
spleen, (4) over the heart, (5) at the throat, (6) between the eyebrows,
and (7) at the top of the head. There are other dormant centres, but their
awakening is undesirable.

The shape of all the higher bodies as seen by the clairvoyant is ovoid, but
the matter composing them is not equally distributed throughout the egg. In
the midst of this ovoid is the physical body. The physical body strongly
attracts astral matter, and in its turn the astral matter strongly attracts
mental matter. Therefore by far the greater part of the matter of the
astral body is gathered within the physical frame; and the same is true of
the mental vehicle. If we see the astral body of a man in its own world,
apart from the physical body we shall still perceive the astral matter
aggregated in exactly the shape of the physical, although, as the matter is
more fluidic in its nature, what we see is a body built of dense mist, in
the midst of an ovoid of much finer mist. The same is true for the mental
body. Therefore, if in the astral or the mental world we should meet an
acquaintance, we should recognise him by his appearance just as instantly
as in the physical world.

This, then, is the true constitution of man. In the first place he is a
Monad, a Spark of the Divine. Of that Monad the ego is a partial
expression, formed in order that he may enter evolution, and may return to
the Monad with joy, bringing his sheaves with him in the shape of qualities
developed by garnered experience. The ego in his turn puts down part of
himself for the same purpose into lower worlds, and we call that part a
personality, because the Latin word _persona_ means a mask, and this
personality is the mask which the ego puts upon himself when he manifests
in worlds lower than his own. Just as the ego is a small part and an
imperfect expression of the Monad, so is the personality a small part and
an imperfect expression of the ego; so that what we usually think of as the
man is only in truth a fragment of a fragment.

The personality wears three bodies or vehicles, the mental, the astral and
the physical. While the man is what we call alive and awake on the physical
earth he is limited by his physical body, for he uses the astral and mental
bodies only as bridges to connect himself with his lowest vehicle. One of
the limitations of the physical body is that it quickly becomes fatigued
and needs periodical rest. Each night the man leaves it to sleep, and
withdraws into his astral vehicle, which does not become fatigued, and
therefore needs no sleep. During this sleep of the physical body the man is
free to move about in the astral world; but the extent to which he does
this depends upon his development. The primitive savage usually does not
move more than a few miles away from his sleeping physical form--often not
as much as that; and he has only the vaguest consciousness.

The educated man is generally able to travel in his astral vehicle wherever
he will, and has much more consciousness in the astral world, though he has
not often the faculty of bringing into his waking life any memory of what
he has seen and done while his physical body was asleep. Sometimes he does
remember some incident which he has seen, some experience which he has had,
and then he calls it a vivid dream. More often his recollections are
hopelessly entangled with vague memories of waking life, and with
impressions made from without upon the etheric part of his brain. Thus we
arrive at the confused and often absurd dreams of ordinary life. The
developed man becomes as fully conscious and active in the astral world as
in the physical, and brings through into the latter full remembrance of
what he has been doing in the former--that is, he has a continuous life
without any loss of consciousness throughout the whole twenty-four hours,
and thus throughout the whole of his physical life, and even through death

Chapter VI


Death is the laying aside of the physical body; but it makes no more
difference to the ego than does the laying aside of an overcoat to the
physical man. Having put off his physical body, the ego continues to live
in his astral body until the force has become exhausted which has been
generated by such emotions and passions as he has allowed himself to feel
during earth-life. When that has happened, the second death takes place;
the astral body also falls away from him, and he finds himself living in
the mental body and in the lower mental world. In that condition he remains
until the thought-forces generated during his physical and astral lives
have worn themselves out; then he drops the third vehicle in its turn and
remains once more an ego in his own world, inhabiting his causal body.

There is, then, no such thing as death as it is ordinarily understood.
There is only a succession of stages in a continuous life--stages lived in
the three worlds one after another. The apportionment of time between these
three worlds varies much as man advances. The primitive man lives almost
exclusively in the physical world, spending only a few years in the astral
at the end of each of his physical lives. As he develops, the astral life
becomes longer, and as intellect: unfolds in him, and he becomes able to
think, he begins to spend a little time in the mental world as well. The
ordinary man of civilized races remains longer in the mental world than in
the physical and astral; indeed, the more a man evolves the longer becomes
his mental, life and the shorter his life in the astral world.

The astral life is the result of all feelings which have in them the
element of self. If they have been directly selfish, they bring him into
conditions of great unpleasantness in the astral world; if, though tinged
with thoughts of self, they have been good and kindly, they bring him a
comparatively pleasant though still limited astral life. Such of his
thoughts and feelings as have been entirely unselfish produce their results
in his life in the mental world; therefore that life in the mental, world
cannot be other than blissful. The astral life, which the man has made for
himself either miserable or comparatively joyous, corresponds to what
Christians call purgatory; the lower mental life, which is always entirely
happy, is what is called heaven.

Man makes for himself his own purgatory and heaven, and these are not
planes, but states of consciousness. Hell does not exist; it is only a
figment of the theological imagination; but a man who lives foolishly may
make for himself a very unpleasant and long enduring purgatory. Neither
purgatory nor heaven can ever be eternal, for a finite cause cannot produce
an infinite result. The variations in individual cases are so wide that to
give actual figures is somewhat misleading. If we take the average man of
what is called the lower middle class, the typical specimen of which would
be a small shopkeeper or shop-assistant, his average life in the astral
world would be perhaps about forty years, and the life in the mental world
about two hundred. The man of spirituality and culture, on the other hand,
may have perhaps twenty years of life in the astral world and a thousand in
the heaven life. One who is specially developed may reduce the astral life
to a few days or hours and spend fifteen hundred years in heaven.

Not only does the length of these periods vary greatly, but the conditions
in both worlds also differ widely. The matter of which all these bodies are
built is not dead matter but living, and that fact has to be taken into
consideration. The physical body is built up of cells, each of which is a
tiny separate life animated by the Second Outpouring, which comes forth
from the Second Aspect of the Deity. These cells are of varying kinds and
fulfil various functions, and all these facts must be taken into account if
the man wishes to understand the work of his physical body and to live a
healthy life in it.

The same thing applies to the astral and mental bodies. In the cell-life
which permeates them there is as yet nothing in the way of intelligence,
but there is a strong instinct always pressing in the direction of what is
for its development. The life animating the matter of which such bodies are
built is upon the outward arc of evolution, moving downwards or outwards
into matter, so that progress for it means to descend into denser forms of
matter, and to learn to express itself through them. Unfoldment for the man
is just the opposite of this; he has already sunk deeply into matter and is
now rising out of that towards his source. There is consequently a constant
conflict of interests between the man within and the life inhabiting the
matter of his vehicles, inasmuch as its tendency is downward, while his is

The matter of the astral body (or rather the life animating its molecules)
desires for its evolution such undulations as it can get, of as many
different kinds as possible, and as coarse as possible. The next step in
its evolution will be to ensoul physical matter and become used to its
still slower oscillations; and as a step on the way to that, it desires the
grossest of the astral vibrations. It has not the intelligence definitely
to plan for these; but its instinct helps it to discover how most easily to
procure them.

The molecules of the astral body are constantly changing, as are those of
the physical body, but nevertheless the life in the mass of those astral
molecules has a sense, though a very vague sense, of itself as a whole--as
a kind of temporary entity. It does not know that it is part of a man's
astral body; it is quite incapable of understanding what a man is; but it
realizes in a blind way that under its present conditions it receives many
more waves, and much stronger ones, than it would receive if floating at
large in the atmosphere. It would then only occasionally catch, as from a
distance, the radiation of man's passions and emotions; now it is in the
very heart of them, it can miss none, and it gets them at their strongest.
Therefore it feels itself in a good position, and it makes an effort to
retain that position. It finds itself in contact with something finer than
itself--the matter of the man's mental body; and it comes to feel that if
it can contrive to involve that finer something in its own undulations,
they will be greatly intensified and prolonged.

Since astral matter is the vehicle of desire and mental matter is the
vehicle of thought, this instinct, when translated into our language, means
that if the astral body can induce us to think that _we_ want what _it_
wants, it is much more likely to get it. Thus it exercises a slow steady
pressure upon the man--a kind of hunger on its side, but for him a
temptation to what is coarse and undesirable. If he be a passionate man
there is a gentle but ceaseless pressure in the direction of irritability;
if he be a sensual man, an equally steady pressure in the direction of

A man who does not understand this usually makes one of two mistakes with
regard to it: either he supposes it to be the prompting of his own nature,
and therefore regards that nature as inherently evil, or he thinks of the
pressure as coming from outside--as a temptation of an imaginary devil. The
truth lies between the two. The pressure is natural, not to the man but to
the vehicle which he is using; its desire is natural and right for it, but
harmful to the man, and therefore it is necessary that he should resist it.
If he does so resist, if he declines to yield himself to the feelings
suggested to him, the particles within him which need those vibrations
become apathetic for lack of nourishment, and eventually atrophy and fall
out from his astral body, and are replaced by other particles, whose
natural wave-rate is more nearly in accordance with that which the man
habitually permits within his astral body.

This gives the reason for what are called promptings of the lower nature
during life. If the man yields himself to them, such promptings grow
stronger and stronger until at last he feels as though he could not resist
them, and identifies himself with them--which is exactly what this curious
half-life in the particles of the astral body wants him to do.

At the death of the physical body this vague astral consciousness is
alarmed. It realizes that its existence as a separated mass is menaced, and
it takes instinctive steps to defend itself and to maintain its position as
long as possible. The matter of the astral body is far more fluidic than
that of the physical, and this consciousness seizes upon its particles and
disposes them so as to resist encroachment. It puts the grossest and
densest upon the outside as a kind of shell, and arranges the others in
concentric layers, so that the body as a whole may become as resistant to
friction as its constitution permits, and may therefore retain its shape as
long as possible.

For the man this produces various unpleasant effects. The physiology of the
astral body is quite different from that of the physical; the latter
acquires its information from without by means of certain organs which are
specialized as the instruments of its senses, but the astral body has no
separated senses in our meaning of the word. That which for the astral body
corresponds to sight is the power of its molecules to respond to impacts
from without, which come to them by means of similar molecules. For
example, a man has within his astral body matter belonging to all the
subdivisions of the astral world, and it is because of that that he is
capable of "seeing" objects built of the matter of any of these

Supposing an astral object to be made of the matter of the second and third
subdivisions mixed, a man living in the astral world could perceive that
object only if on the surface of his astral body there were particles
belonging to the second and third subdivisions of that world which were
capable of receiving and recording the vibrations which that object set up.
A man who from the arrangement of his body by the vague consciousness of
which we have spoken, had on the outside of that vehicle only the denser
matter of the lowest subdivision, could no more be conscious of the object
which we have mentioned than we are ourselves conscious in the physical
body of the gases which move about us in the atmosphere or of objects built
exclusively of etheric matter.

During physical life the matter of the man's astral body is in constant
motion, and its particles pass among one another much as do those of
boiling water. Consequently at any given moment it is practically certain
that particles of all varieties will be represented on the surface of his
astral body, and that therefore when he is using his astral body during
sleep he will be able to "see" by its means any astral object which
approaches him.

After death, if he has allowed the rearrangement to be made (as from
ignorance, all ordinary persons do) his condition in this respect will be
different. Having on the surface of his astral body only the lowest and
grossest particles, he can receive impressions only from corresponding
particles outside; so that instead of seeing the whole of the astral world
about him, he will see only one-seventh of it, and that the densest and
most impure. The vibrations of this heavier matter are the expressions only
of objectionable feelings and emotions, and of the least refined class of
astral entities. Therefore it emerges that a man in this condition can see
only the undesirable inhabitants of the astral world, and can feel only its
most unpleasant and vulgar influences.

He is surrounded by other men, whose astral bodies are probably of quite
ordinary character; but since he can see and feel only that which is lowest
and coarsest in them, they appear to him to be monsters of vice with no
redeeming features. Even his friends seem not at all what they used to be,
because he is now incapable of appreciating any of their better qualities.
Under these circumstances it is little wonder that he considers the astral
world a hell; yet the fault is in no way with the astral world, but with
himself--first, for allowing within himself so much of that cruder type of
matter, and, secondly, for letting that vague astral consciousness dominate
him and dispose it in that particular way.

The man who has studied these matters declines absolutely to yield to the
pressure during life or to permit the rearrangement after death, and
consequently he retains his power of seeing the astral world as a whole,
and not merely the cruder and baser part of it.

The astral world has many points in common with the physical; just like the
physical, it presents different appearances to different people, and even
to the same person at different periods of his career. It is the home of
emotions and of lower thoughts; and emotions are much stronger in that
world than in this. When a person is awake we cannot see that larger part
of his emotion at all; its strength goes in setting in motion the gross
physical matter of the brain. So if we see a man show affection here, what
we can see is not the whole of his affection, but only such part of it as
is left after all this other work has been done. Emotions therefore bulk
far more largely in the astral life than in the physical. They in no way
exclude higher thought if they are controlled, so in the astral world as in
the physical a man may devote himself to study and to helping his fellows,
or he may waste his time and drift about aimlessly.

The astral world extends nearly to the mean distance of the orbit of the
moon; but though the whole of this realm is open to any of its inhabitants
who have not permitted the redistribution of their matter, the great
majority remain much nearer to the surface of the earth. The matter of the
different subdivisions of that world interpenetrates with perfect freedom,
but there is on the whole a general tendency for the denser matter to
settle towards the centre. The conditions are much like those which obtain
in a bucket of water which contains in suspension a number of kinds of
matter of different degrees of density. Since the water is kept in
perpetual motion, the different kinds of matter are diffused through it;
but in spite of that, the densest matter is found in greatest quantity
nearest to the bottom. So that though we must not at all think of the
various subdivisions of the astral world as lying above one another as do
the coats of an onion, it is nevertheless true that the average arrangement
of the matter of those subdivisions partakes somewhat of that general

Astral matter interpenetrates physical matter precisely as though it were
not there, but each subdivision of physical matter has a strong attraction
for astral matter of the corresponding subdivision. Hence it arises that
every physical body has its astral counterpart. If I have a glass of water
standing upon a table, the glass and the table, being of physical matter in
the solid state, are interpenetrated by astral matter of the lowest
subdivision. The water in the glass, being liquid, is interpenetrated by
what we may call astral liquid--that is, by astral matter of the sixth
subdivision; whereas the air surrounding both, being physical matter in the
gaseous condition, is entirely interpenetrated by astral gaseous
matter--that is, astral matter of the fifth subdivision.

But just as air, water, glass and table are alike interpenetrated all the
time by the finer physical matter which we have called etheric, so are all
the astral counterparts interpenetrated by the finer astral matter of the
higher subdivisions which correspond to the etheric. But even the astral
solid is less dense than the finest of the physical ethers.

The man who finds himself in the astral world after death, if he has not
submitted to the rearrangement of the matter of his body, will notice but
little difference from physical life. He can float about in any direction
at will, but in actual fact he usually stays in the neighbourhood to which
he is accustomed. He is still able to perceive his house, his room, his
furniture, his relations, his friends. The living, when ignorant of the
higher worlds, suppose themselves to have "lost" those who have laid aside
their physical bodies; but the dead are never for a moment under the
impression that they have lost the living.

Functioning as they are in the astral body, the dead can no longer see the
physical bodies of those whom they have left behind; but they do see their
astral bodies, and as those are exactly the same in outline as the
physical, they are perfectly aware of the presence of their friends. They
see each one surrounded by a faint ovoid of luminous mist, and if they
happen to be observant, they may notice various other small changes in
their surroundings; but it is at least quite clear to them that they have
not gone away to some distant heaven or hell, but still remain in touch
with the world which they know, although they see it at a somewhat
different angle.

The dead man has the astral body of his living friend obviously before him,
so he cannot think of him as lost; but while the friend is awake, the dead
man will not be able to make any impression upon him, for the consciousness
of the friend is then in the physical world, and his astral body is being
used only as a bridge. The dead man cannot therefore communicate with his
friend, nor can he read his friend's higher thoughts; but he will see by
the change in colour in the astral body any emotion which that friend may
feel, and with a little practice and observation he may easily learn to
read all those thoughts of his friend which have in them anything of self
or of desire.

When the friend falls asleep the whole position is changed. He is then also
conscious in the astral world side by side with the dead man, and they can
communicate in every respect as freely as they could during physical life.
The emotions felt by the living react strongly upon the dead who love them.
If the former give way to grief, the latter cannot but suffer severely.

The conditions of life after death are almost infinite in their variety,
but they can be calculated without difficulty by any one who will take the
trouble to understand the astral world and to consider the character of the
person concerned. That character is not in the slightest degree changed by
death; the man's thoughts, emotions and desires are exactly the same as
before. He is in every way the same man, minus his physical body; and his
happiness or misery depends upon the extent to which this loss of the
physical body affects him.

If his longings have been such as need a physical body for their
gratification, he is likely to suffer considerably. Such a craving
manifests itself as a vibration in the astral body, and while we are still
in this world most of its strength is employed in setting in motion the
heavy physical particles. Desire is therefore a far greater force in the
astral life than in the physical, and if the man has not been in the habit
of controlling it, and if in this new life it cannot be satisfied, it may
cause him great and long-continued trouble.

Take as an illustration the extreme case of a drunkard or a sensualist.
Here we have a lust which has been strong enough during physical life to
overpower reason, common sense and all the feelings of decency and of
family affection. After death the man finds himself in the astral world
feeling the appetite perhaps a hundred times more strongly, yet absolutely
unable to satisfy it because he has lost the physical body. Such a life is
a very real hell--the only hell there is; yet no one is punishing him; he
is reaping the perfectly natural result of his own action. Gradually as
time passes this force of desire wears out, but only at the cost of
terrible suffering for the man, because to him every day seems as a
thousand years. He has no measure of time such as we have in the physical
world. He can measure it only by his sensations. From a distortion of this
fact has come the blasphemous idea of eternal damnation.

Many other cases less extreme than this will readily suggest themselves, in
which a hankering which cannot be fulfilled may prove itself a torture. A
more ordinary case is that of a man who has no particular vices, such as
drink or sensuality, but yet has been attached entirely to things of the
physical world, and has lived a life devoted to business or to aimless
social functions. For him the astral world is a place of weariness; the
only thing for which he craves are no longer possible for him, for in the
astral world there is no business to be done, and, though he may have as
much companionship as he wishes, society is now for him a very different
matter, because all the pretences upon which it is usually based in this
world are no longer possible.

These cases, however, are only the few, and for most people the state after
death is much happier than life upon earth. The first feeling of which the
dead man is usually conscious is one of the most wonderful and delightful
freedom. He has absolutely nothing to worry about, and no duties rest upon
him, except those which he chooses to impose upon himself. For all but a
very small minority, physical life is spent in doing what the man would
much rather not do; but he has to do it in order to support himself or his
wife and family. In the astral world no support is necessary; food is no
longer needed, shelter is not required, since he is entirely unaffected by
heat or cold; and each man by the mere exercise of his thought clothes
himself as he wishes. For the first time since early childhood the man is
entirely free to spend the whole of his time in doing just exactly what he

His capacity for every kind of enjoyment is greatly enhanced, if only that
enjoyment does not need a physical body for its expression. If he loves the
beauties of Nature, it is now within his power to travel with great
rapidity and without fatigue over the whole world, to contemplate all its
loveliest spots, and to explore its most secret recesses. If he delights in
art, all the world's masterpieces are at his disposal. If he loves music,
he can go where he will to hear it, and it will now mean much more to him
than it has ever meant before; for though he can no longer hear the
physical sounds, he can receive the whole effect of the music into himself
in far fuller measure than in this lower world. If he is a student of
science, he can not only visit the great scientific men of the world, and
catch from them such thoughts and ideas as may be within his comprehension,
but also he can undertake researches of his own into the science of this
higher world, seeing much more of what he is doing than has ever before
been possible to him. Best of all, he whose great delight in this world has
been to help his fellow men will still find ample scope for his
philanthropic efforts.

Men are no longer hungry, cold, or suffering from disease in this astral
world; but there are vast numbers who, being ignorant, desire
knowledge--who, being still in the grip of desire for earthly things, need
the explanation which will turn their thought to higher levels--who have
entangled themselves in a web of their own imaginings, and can be set free
only by one who understands these new surroundings and can help them to
distinguish the facts of the world from their own ignorant
misrepresentation of them. All these can be helped by the man of
intelligence and of kindly heart. Many men arrive in the astral world in
utter ignorance of its conditions, not realizing at first that they are
dead, and when they do realize it fearing the fate that may be in store for
them, because of false and wicked theological teaching. All of these need
the cheer and comfort which can only be given to them by a man of common
sense who possesses some knowledge of the facts of Nature.

There is thus no lack of the most profitable occupation for any man whose
interests during his physical life have been rational; nor is there any
lack of companionship. Men whose tastes and pursuits are similar drift
naturally together there just as they do here; and many realms of Nature,
which during our physical life are concealed by the dense veil of matter,
now lie open for the detailed study of those who care to examine them.

To a large extent people make their own surroundings. We have already
referred to the seven subdivisions of this astral world. Numbering these
from the highest and least material downwards, we find that they fall
naturally into three classes--divisions one, two and three forming one such
class, and four, five and six another; while the seventh and lowest of all
stands alone. As I have said, although they all interpenetrate, their
substance has a general tendency to arrange itself according to its
specific gravity, so that most of the matter belonging to the higher
subdivisions is found at a greater elevation above the surface of the earth
than the bulk of the matter of the lower portions.

Hence, although any person inhabiting the astral world can move into any
part of it, his natural tendency is to float at the level which corresponds
with the specific gravity of the heaviest matter in his astral body. The
man who has not permitted the rearrangement of the matter of his astral
body after death is entirely free of the whole astral world; but the
majority, who do permit it, are not equally free--not because there is
anything to prevent them from rising to the highest level or sinking to the
lowest, but because they are able to sense clearly only a certain part of
that world.

I have described something of the fate of a man who is on the lowest level,
shut in by a strong shell of coarse matter. Because of the extreme
comparative density of that matter he is conscious of less outside of his
own subdivision than a man at any other level. The general specific gravity
of his own astral body tends to make him float below the surface of the
earth. The physical matter of the earth is absolutely non-existent to his
astral senses, and his natural attraction is to that least delicate form of
astral matter which is the counterpart of that solid earth. A man who has
confined himself to that lowest subdivision will therefore usually find
himself floating in darkness and cut off to a great extent from others of
the dead, whose lives have been such as to keep them on a higher level.

Divisions four, five and six of the astral world (to which most people are
attracted) have for their background the astral counterpart of the physical
world in which we live, and all its familiar accessories. Life in the sixth
subdivision is simply like our ordinary life on this earth minus the
physical body and its necessities while as it ascends through the fifth and
fourth divisions it becomes less and less material and is more and more
withdrawn from our lower world and its interests.

The first, second and third sections, though occupying the same space, yet
give the impression of being much further removed from the physical, and
correspondingly less material. Men who inhabit these levels lose sight of
the earth and its belongings; they are usually deeply self-absorbed, and to
a large extent create their own surroundings, though these are sufficiently
objective to be perceptible to other men of their level, and also to
clairvoyant vision.

This region is the summerland of which we hear in spiritualistic
circles--the world in which, by the exercise of their thought, the dead
call into temporary existence their houses and schools and cities. These
surroundings, though fanciful from our point of view, are to the dead as
real as houses, temples or churches built of stone are to us, and many
people live very contentedly there for a number of years in the midst of
all these thought-creations.

Some of the scenery thus produced is very beautiful; it includes lovely
lakes, magnificent mountains, pleasant flower gardens, decidedly superior
to anything in the physical world; though on the other hand it also
contains much which to the trained clairvoyant (who has learned to see
things as they are) appears ridiculous--as, for example, the endeavours of
the unlearned to make a thought-form of some of the curious symbolic
descriptions contained in their various scriptures. An ignorant peasant's
thought-image of a beast full of eyes within, or of a sea of glass mingled
with fire, is naturally often grotesque, although to its maker it is
perfectly satisfactory. This astral world is full of thought-created
figures and landscapes. Men of all religions image here their deities and
their respective conceptions of paradise, and enjoy themselves greatly
among these dream-forms until they pass into the mental world and come into
touch with something nearer to reality.

Every one after death--any ordinary person, that is, in whose case the
rearrangement of the matter of the astral body has been made--has to pass
through all these subdivisions in turn. It does not follow that every one
is conscious in all of them. The ordinarily decent person has in his astral
body but little of the matter of its lowest portion--by no means enough to
construct a heavy shell. The redistribution puts on the outside of the body
its densest matter; in the ordinary man this is usually matter of the sixth
subdivision, mixed with a little of the seventh, and so he finds himself
viewing the counterpart of the physical world.

The ego is steadily withdrawing into himself, and as he withdraws he leaves
behind him level after level of this astral matter. So the length of the
man's detention in any section of the astral world is precisely in
proportion to the amount of its matter which is found in his astral body,
and that in turn depends upon the life he has lived, the desires he has
indulged, and the class of matter which by so doing he has attracted
towards him and built into himself. Finding himself then in the sixth
section, still hovering about the places and persons with which he was most
closely connected while on earth, the average man, as time passes on, finds
the earthly surroundings gradually growing dimmer and becoming of less and
less importance to him, and he tends more and more to mould his entourage
into agreement with the more persistent of his thoughts. By the time that
he reaches the third level he finds that this characteristic has entirely
superseded the vision of the realities of the astral world.

The second subdivision is a shade less material than the third, for if the
latter is the summerland of the spiritualists, the former is the material
heaven of the more ignorantly orthodox; while the first or highest level
appears to be the special home of those who during life have devoted
themselves to materialistic but intellectual pursuits, following them not
for the sake of benefiting their fellow men, but either from motives of
selfish ambition or simply for the sake of intellectual exercise. All these
people are perfectly happy. Later on they will reach a stage when they can
appreciate something much higher, and when that stage comes they will find
the higher ready for them.

In this astral life people of the same nation and of the same interest tend
to keep together, precisely as they do here. The religious people, for
example, who imagine for themselves a material heaven, do not at all
interfere with men of other faiths whose ideas of celestial joy are
different. There is nothing to prevent a Christian from drifting into the
heaven of the Hindu or the Muhammadan, but he is little likely to do so,
because his interests and attractions are all in the heaven of his own
faith, along with friends who have shared that faith with him. This is by
no means the true heaven described by any of the religions, but only a
gross and material misrepresentation of it; the real thing will be found
when we come to consider the mental world.

The dead man who has not permitted the rearrangement of the matter of his
astral body is free of the entire world, and can wander all over it at
will, seeing the whole of whatever he examines, instead of only a part of
it as the others do. He does not find it inconveniently crowded, for the
astral world is much larger than the surface of the physical earth, while
its population is somewhat smaller, because the average life of humanity in
the astral world is shorter than the average in the physical.

Not only the dead, however, are the inhabitants of this astral world, but
always about one-third of the living as well, who have temporarily left
their physical bodies behind them in sleep. The astral world has also a
great number of non-human inhabitants, some of them far below the level of
man, and some considerably above him. The nature-spirits form an enormous
kingdom, some of whose members exist in the astral world, and make a large
part of its population. This vast kingdom exists in the physical world
also, for many of its orders wear etheric bodies and are only just beyond
the range of ordinary physical sight. Indeed, circumstances not
infrequently occur under which they can be seen, and in many lonely
mountain districts these appearances are traditional among the peasants, by
whom they are commonly spoken of as fairies, good people, pixies or

They are protean, but usually prefer to wear a miniature human form. Since
they are not yet individualized, they may be thought of almost as etheric
and astral animals; yet many of them are intellectually quite equal to
average humanity. They have their nations and types just as we have, and
they are often grouped into four great classes, and called the spirits of
earth, water, fire and air. Only the members of the last of these four
divisions normally confine their manifestation to the astral world, but
their numbers are so prodigious that they are everywhere present in it.

Another great kingdom has its representatives here--the kingdom of the
angels (called in India the devas). This is a body of beings who stand far
higher in evolution than man, and only the lowest fringe of their hosts
touches the astral world--a fringe whose constituent members are perhaps at
about the level of development of what we should call a distinctly good

We are neither the only nor even the principal inhabitants of our solar
system; there are other lines of evolution running parallel with our own
which do not pass through humanity at all, though they must all pass
through a level corresponding to that of humanity. On one of these other
lines of evolution are the nature-spirits above described, and at a higher
level of that line comes this great kingdom of the angels. At our present
level of evolution they come into obvious contact with us only very rarely,
but as we develop we shall be likely to see more of them--especially as the
cyclic progress of the world is now bringing it more and more under the
influence of the Seventh Ray. This Seventh Ray has ceremonial for one of
its characteristics, and it is through ceremonial such as that of the
Church or of Freemasonry that we come most easily into touch with the
angelic kingdom.

When all the man's lower emotions have worn themselves out--all emotions, I
mean, which have in them any thought of self--his life in the astral world
is over, and the ego passes on into the mental world. This is not in any
sense a movement in space; it is simply that the steady process of
withdrawal has now passed beyond even the finest kind of astral matter; so
that the man's consciousness is focussed in the mental world. His astral
body has not entirely disintegrated, though it is in process of doing so,
and he leaves behind him an astral corpse, just as at a previous stage of
the withdrawal he left behind him a physical corpse. There is a certain
difference between the two which should be noticed, because of the
consequences which ensue from it.

When the man leaves his physical body his separation from it should be
complete, and generally is so; but this is not the case with the much finer
matter of the astral body. In the course of his physical life the ordinary
man usually entangles himself so much in astral matter (which, from another
point of view, means that he identifies himself so closely with his lower
desires) that the indrawing force of the ego cannot entirely separate him
from it again. Consequently, when he finally breaks away from the astral
body and transfers his activities to the mental, he loses a little of
himself he leaves some of himself behind imprisoned in the matter of the
astral body.

This gives a certain remnant of vitality to the astral, corpse, so that it
still moves freely in the astral world, and may easily be mistaken by the
ignorant for the man himself--the more so as such fragmentary consciousness
as still remains to it is part of the man, and therefore it naturally
regards itself and speaks of itself as the man. It retains his memories,
but is only a partial and unsatisfactory representation of him. Sometimes
in spiritualistic séances one comes into contact with an entity of this
description, and wonders how it is that one's friend has deteriorated so
much since his death. To this fragmentary entity we give the name "shade".

At a later stage even this fragment of consciousness dies out of the astral
body, but does not return to the ego to whom it originally belonged. Even
then the astral corpse still remains, but when it is quite without any
trace of its former life we call it a "shell". Of itself a shell cannot
communicate at a séance, or take any action of any sort; but such shells
are frequently seized upon by sportive nature-spirits and used as temporary
habitations. A shell so occupied _can_ communicate at a séance and
masquerade as its original owner, since some of his characteristics and
certain portions of his memory can be evoked by the nature-spirit from his
astral corpse.

When a man falls asleep, he withdraws in his astral body, leaving the whole
of the physical vehicle behind him. When he dies, he draws out with him the
etheric part of the physical body, and consequently has usually at least a
moment of unconsciousness while he is freeing himself from it. The etheric
double is not a vehicle and cannot be used as such; so when the man is
surrounded by it, he is for the moment able to function neither in the
physical world nor the astral. Some men succeed in shaking themselves free
of this etheric envelope in a few moments; others rest within it for hours,
days or even weeks.

Nor is it certain that, when the man is free from this, he will at once
become conscious of the astral world. For there is in him a good deal of
the lowest kind of astral matter, so that a shell of this may be made
around him. But he may be quite unable to use that matter. If he has lived
a reasonably decent life he is little in the habit of employing it or
responding to its vibrations, and he cannot instantly acquire this habit.
For that reason, he may remain unconscious until that matter gradually
wears away, and some matter which he _is_ in the habit of using comes on
the surface. Such an occlusion, however, is scarcely ever complete, for
even in the most carefully made shell some particles of the finer matter
occasionally find their way to the surface, and give him fleeting glimpses
of his surroundings.

There are some men who cling so desperately to their physical vehicles that
they will not relax their hold upon the etheric double, but strive with all
their might to retain it. They may be successful in doing so for a
considerable time, but only at the cost of great discomfort to themselves.
They are shut out from both worlds, and find themselves surrounded by a
dense grey mist, through which they see very dimly the things of the
physical world, but with all the colour gone from them. It is a terrible
struggle for them to maintain their position in this miserable condition,
and yet they will not relax their hold upon the etheric double, feeling
that that is at least some sort of link with the only world that they know.
Thus they drift about in a condition of loneliness and misery until from
sheer fatigue their hold fails them, and they slip into the comparative
happiness of astral life. Sometimes in their desperation they grasp blindly
at other bodies, and try to enter into them, and occasionally they are
successful in such an attempt. They may seize upon a baby body, ousting the
feeble personality for whom it was intended, or sometimes they grasp even
the body of an animal. All this trouble arises entirely from ignorance, and
it can never happen to anyone who understands the laws of life and death.

When the astral life is over, the man dies to that world in turn, and
awakens in the mental world. With him it is not at all what it is to the
trained clairvoyant, who ranges through it and lives amidst the
surroundings which he finds there, precisely as he would in the physical or
astral worlds. The ordinary man has all through his life been encompassing
himself with a mass of thought-forms. Some which are transitory, to which
he pays little attention, have fallen away from him long ago, but those
which represent the main interests of his life are always with him, and
grow ever stronger and stronger. If some of these have been selfish, their
force pours down into astral matter, and he has exhausted them during his
life in the astral world. But those which are entirely unselfish belong
purely to his mental body, and so when he finds himself in the mental world
it is through these special thoughts that he is able to appreciate it.

His mental body is by no means fully developed; only those parts of it are
really in action to their fullest extent which he has used in this
altruistic manner. When he awakens again after the second death, his first
sense is one of indescribable bliss and vitality--a feeling of such utter
joy in living that he needs for the time nothing but just to live. Such
bliss is of the essence of life in all the higher worlds of the system.
Even astral life has possibilities of happiness far greater than anything
that we can know in the dense body; but the heaven-life in the mental world
is out of all proportion more blissful than the astral. In each higher
world the same experience is repeated. Merely to live in any one of them
seems the uttermost conceivable bliss; and yet, when the next one is
reached, it is seen that it far surpasses the last.

Just as the bliss increases, so does the wisdom and the breadth of view. A
man fusses about in the physical world and thinks himself so busy and so
wise; but when he touches even the astral, he realizes at once that he has
been all the time only a caterpillar crawling about and seeing nothing but
his own leaf, whereas now he has spread his wings like the butterfly and
flown away into the sunshine of a wider world. Yet, impossible as it may
seem, the same experience is repeated when he passes into the mental world,
for this life is in turn so much fuller and wider and more intense than the
astral that once more no comparison is possible. And yet beyond all these
there is still another life, that of the intuitional world, unto which even
this is but as moonlight unto sunlight.

The man's position in the mental world differs widely from that in the
astral. There he was using a body to which he was thoroughly accustomed, a
body which he had been in the habit of employing every night during sleep.
Here he finds himself living in a vehicle which he has never used before--a
vehicle furthermore which is very far from being fully developed--a vehicle
which shuts him out to a great extent from the world about him, instead of
enabling him to see it. The lower part of his nature burnt itself away
during his purgatorial life, and now there remain to him only his higher
and more refined thoughts, the noble and unselfish aspirations which he
poured out during earth-life. These cluster round him, and make a sort of
shell about him, through the medium of which he is able to respond to
certain types of vibrations in this refined matter.

These thoughts which surround him are the powers by which he draws upon the
wealth of the heaven-world, and he finds it to be a storehouse of infinite
extent, upon which he is able to draw just according to the power of those
thoughts and aspirations; for in this world is existing the infinite
fullness of the Divine Mind, open in all its limitless affluence to every
soul, just in proportion as that soul has qualified itself to receive. A
man who has already completed his human evolution, who has fully realized
and unfolded the divinity whose germ is within him, finds the whole of this
glory within his reach; but since none of us has yet done that, since we
are only gradually rising towards that splendid consummation, it follows
that none of us as yet can grasp that entirety.

But each draws from it and cognizes so much of it as he has by previous
effort prepared himself to take. Different individuals bring very different
capacities; they tell us in the East that each man brings his own cup, and
some of the cups are large and some are small, but small or large every cup
is filled to its utmost capacity; the sea of bliss holds far more than
enough for all.

A man can look out upon all this glory and beauty only through the windows
which he himself has made. Every one of these thought-forms is such a
window, through which response may come to him from the forces without. If
during his earth-life he has chiefly regarded physical things, then he has
made for himself but few windows through which this higher glory can shine
in upon him. Yet every man who is above the lowest savage must have had
some touch of pure unselfish feeling, even if it were but once in all his
life, and that will be a window for him now.

The ordinary man is not capable of any great activity in this mental world;
his condition is chiefly receptive, and his vision of anything outside his
own shell of thought is of the most limited character. He is surrounded by
living forces, mighty angelic inhabitants of this glorious world, and many
of their orders are very sensitive to certain aspirations of man and
readily respond to them. But a man can take advantage of these only in so
far as he has already prepared himself to profit by them, for his thoughts
and aspirations are only along certain lines, and he cannot suddenly form
new lines. There are many directions which the higher thought may
take--some of them personal and some impersonal. Among the latter are art,
music and philosophy; and a man whose interest lay along any one of these
lines finds both measureless enjoyment and unlimited instruction waiting
for him--that is, the amount of enjoyment and instruction is limited only
by his power of perception.

We find a large number of people whose only higher thoughts are those
connected with affection and devotion. If a man loves another deeply or if
he feels strong devotion to a personal deity, he makes a strong mental
image of that friend or of the deity, and the object of his feeling is
often present in his mind. Inevitably he takes that mental image into the
heaven-world with him, because it is to that level of matter that it
naturally belongs.

Take first the case of affection. The love which forms and retains such an
image is a very powerful force--a force which is strong enough to reach and
to act upon the ego of his friend in the higher part of the mental world.
It is that ego that is the real man whom he loves--not the physical body
which is so partial a representation of him. The ego of the friend, feeling
this vibration, at once and eagerly responds to it, and pours himself into
the thought-form, which has been made for him; so that the man's friend is
truly present with him more vividly than ever before. To this result it
makes no difference whatever whether the friend is what we call living or
dead; the appeal is made not to the fragment of the friend which is
sometimes imprisoned in a physical body, but to the man himself on his own
true level; and he always responds. A man who has a hundred friends can
simultaneously and fully respond to the affection of every one of them, for
no number of representations on a lower level can exhaust the infinity of
the ego.

Thus every man in his heaven-life has around him all the friends for whose
company he wishes, and they are for him always at their best, because he
himself makes for them the thought-form through which they manifest to him.
In our limited physical world we are so accustomed to thinking of our
friend as only the limited manifestation which we know in the physical
world, that it is at first difficult for us to realize the grandeur of the
conception; when we can realize it, we shall see how much nearer we are in
truth to our friends in the heaven-life than we ever were on earth. The
same is true in the case of devotion. The man in the heaven-world is two
great stages nearer to the object of his devotion than he was during
physical life, and so his experiences are of a far more transcendent

In this mental world, as in the astral, there are seven subdivisions. The
first, second and third are the habitat of the ego in his causal body, so
the mental body contains matter of the remaining four only, and it is in
those sections that his heaven-life is passed. Man does not, however, pass
from one to the other of these, as is the case in the astral world, for
there is nothing in this life corresponding to the rearrangement. Rather is
the man drawn to the level which best corresponds to the degree of his
development, and on that level he spends the whole of his life in the
mental body. Each man makes his own conditions, so that the number of
varieties is infinite.

Speaking broadly, we may say that the dominant characteristic observed in
the lowest portion is unselfish family affection. Unselfish it must be, or
it would find no place here; all selfish tinges, if there were any, worked
out their results in the astral world. The dominant characteristic of the
sixth level may be said to be anthropomorphical religious devotion; while
that of the fifth section is devotion expressing itself in active work of
some sort. All these--the fifth, sixth and seventh subdivisions--are
concerned with the working out of devotion to personalities (either to
one's family and friends or to a personal deity) rather than the wider
devotion to humanity for its own sake, which finds its expression in the
next section. The activities of this fourth stage are varied. They can best
be arranged in four main divisions: unselfish pursuit of spiritual
knowledge; high philosophy or scientific thought; literary or artistic
ability exercised for unselfish purposes; and service for the sake of

Even to this glorious heaven-life there comes an end, and then the mental
body in its turn drops away as the others have done, and the man's life in
his causal body begins. Here the man needs no windows, for this is his true
home and all his walls have fallen away. The majority of men have as yet
but very little consciousness at such a height as this; they rest dreamily
unobservant and scarcely awake, but such vision as they have is true,
however limited it may be by their lack of development. Still, every time
they return, these limitations will be smaller, and they themselves will be
greater; so that this truest life will be wider and fuller for them.

As this improvement continues, this causal life grows, longer and longer,
assuming an ever larger proportion as compared to the existence at lower
levels. And as he grows, the man becomes capable not only of receiving but
also of giving. Then indeed is his triumph approaching, for he is learning
the lesson of the Christ, learning the crowning glory of sacrifice, the
supreme delight of pouring out all his life for the helping of his
fellow-men, the devotion of the self to the all, of celestial strength to
human service, of all those splendid heavenly forces to the aid of the
struggling sons of earth. That is part of the life that lies before us;
these are some of the steps which even we who are still so near the bottom
of the golden ladder may see rising above us, so that we may report them to
those who have not seen as yet, in order that they too may open their eyes
to the unimaginable splendour which surrounds them here and now in this
dull daily life. This is part of the gospel of Theosophy--the certainty of
this sublime future for all. It is certain because it is here already,
because to inherit it we have only to fit ourselves for it.

Chapter VII


This life of the ego in his own world, which is so glorious and so fully
satisfying for the developed man, plays but a very small part in the life
of the ordinary person, for in his case the ego has not yet reached a
sufficient stage of development to be awake in his causal body. In
obedience to the law of Nature he has withdrawn into it, but in doing so he
has lost the sensation of vivid life, and his restless desire to feel this
once more pushes him in the direction of another descent into matter.

This is the scheme of evolution appointed for man at the present
stage--that he shall develop by descending into grosser matter, and then
ascend to carry back into himself the result of the experiences so
obtained. His real life, therefore, covers millions of years, and what we
are in the habit of calling a life is only one day of this greater
existence. Indeed, it is in reality only a small part of one day; for a
life of seventy years in the physical world is often succeeded by a period
of twenty times that length spent in higher spheres.

Every one of us has a long line of these physical lives behind him, and the
ordinary man has a fairly long line still in front of him. Each of such
lives is a day at school. The ego puts upon himself his garment of flesh
and goes forth into the school of the physical world to learn certain
lessons. He learns them, or does not learn them, or partially learns them,
as the case may be, during his schoolday of earth-life; then he lays aside
the vesture of the flesh and returns home to his own level for rest and
refreshment. In the morning of each new life he takes up again his lesson
at the point where he left it the night before. Some lessons he may be able
to learn in one day, while others may take him many days.

If he is an apt pupil and learns quickly what is needed, if he obtains an
intelligent grasp of the rules of the school, and takes the trouble to
adapt his conduct to them, his school-life is comparatively short, and when
it is over he goes forth fully equipped into the real life of the higher
worlds for which all this is only a preparation. Other egos are duller boys
who do not learn so quickly; some of them do not understand the rules of
the school, and through that ignorance are constantly breaking them; others
are wayward, and even when they see the rules they cannot at once bring
themselves to act in harmony with them. All of these have a longer
school-life, and by their own actions they delay their entry upon the real
life of the higher worlds.

For this is a school in which no pupil ever fails; every one must go on to
the end. He has no choice as to that; but the length of time which he will
take in qualifying himself for the higher examinations is left entirely to
his own discretion. The wise pupil, seeing that school-life is not a thing
in itself, but only a preparation for a more glorious and far wider life,
endeavours to comprehend as fully as possible the rules of his school, and
shapes his life in accordance with them as closely as he can, so that no
time may be lost in the learning of whatever lessons are necessary. He
co-operates intelligently with the Teachers, and sets himself to do the
maximum of work which is possible for him, in order that as soon as he can
he may come of age and enter into his kingdom as a glorified ego.

Theosophy explains to us the laws under which this school-life must be
lived, and in that way gives a great advantage to its students. The first
great law is that of evolution. Every man has to become a perfect man, to
unfold to the fullest degree the divine possibilities which lie latent
within him, for that unfoldment is the object of the entire scheme so far
as he is concerned. This law of evolution steadily presses him onward to
higher and higher achievements. The wise man tries to anticipate its
demands--to run ahead of the necessary curriculum, for in that way he not
only avoids all collision with it, but he obtains the maximum of assistance
from its action. The man who lags behind in the race of life finds its
steady pressure constantly constraining him--a pressure which, if resisted,
rapidly becomes painful. Thus the laggard on the path of evolution has
always the sense of being hunted and driven by his fate, while the man who
intelligently co-operates is left perfectly free to choose the direction in
which he shall move, so long as it is onward and upward.

The second great law under which this evolution is taking place is the law
of cause and effect. There can be no effect without its cause, and every
cause must produce its effect. They are in fact not two but one, for the
effect is really part of the cause, and he who sets one in motion sets the
other also. There is in Nature no such idea as that of reward or
punishment, but only of cause and effect. Anyone can see this in connection
with mechanics or chemistry; the clairvoyant sees it equally clearly with
regard to the problems of evolution. The same law obtains in the higher as
in the lower worlds; there, as here, the angle of reflection is always
equal to the angle of incidence. It is a law of mechanics that action and
reaction are equal and opposite. In the almost infinitely finer matter of
the higher worlds the reaction is by no means always instantaneous; it may
sometimes be spread over long periods of time, but it returns inevitably
and exactly.

Just as certain in its working as the mechanical law in the physical world
is the higher law, according to which the man who sends out a good thought
or does a good action receives good in return, while the man who sends out
an evil thought or does an evil action, receives evil in return with equal
accuracy--once more, not in the least a reward or punishment administered
by some external will, but simply as the definite and mechanical result of
his own activity. Man has learnt to appreciate a mechanical result in the
physical world, because the reaction is usually almost immediate and can be
seen by him. He does not invariably understand the reaction in the higher
worlds because that takes a wider sweep, and often returns not in this
physical life, but in some future one.

The action of this law affords the explanation of a number of the problems
of ordinary life. It accounts for the different destinies imposed upon
people, and also for the differences in the people themselves. If one man
is clever in a certain direction and another is stupid, it is because in a
previous life the clever man has devoted much effort to practise in that
particular direction, while the stupid man is trying it for the first time.
The genius and the precocious child are examples not of the favouritism of
some deity but of the result produced by previous lives of application. All
the varied circumstances which surrounded us are the result of our own
actions in the past, precisely as are the qualities of which we find
ourselves in possession. We are what we have made ourselves, and our
circumstances are such as we have deserved.

There is, however, a certain adjustment or apportionment of these effects.
Though the law is a natural law and mechanical in its operation, there are
nevertheless certain great Angels who are concerned with its
administration. They cannot change by one feather-weight the amount of the
result which follows upon any given thought or act, but they can within
certain limits expedite or delay its action, and decide what form it shall

If this were not done there would be at least a possibility that in his
earlier stages the man might blunder so seriously that the results of his
blundering might be more than he could bear. The plan of the Deity is to
give man a limited amount of free-will; if he uses that small amount well,
he earns the right to a little more next time; if he uses it badly,
suffering comes upon him as the result of such evil use, and he finds
himself restrained by the result of his previous actions. As the man learns
how to use his free-will, more and more of it is entrusted to him, so that
he can acquire for himself practically unbounded freedom in the direction
of good, but his power to do wrong is strictly restricted. He can progress
as rapidly as he will, but he cannot wreck his life in his ignorance. In
the earlier stages of the savage life of primitive man it is natural that
there should be on the whole more of evil than of good, and if the entire
result of his actions came at once upon a man as yet so little developed,
it might well crush the newly evolved powers which are still so feeble.

Besides this, the effects of his actions are varied in character. While
some of them produce immediate results, others need much more time for
their action, and so it comes to pass that as the man develops he has above
him a hovering cloud of undischarged results, some of them good, some of
them bad. Out of this mass (which we may regard for purposes of analogy
much as though it were a debt owing to the powers of Nature) a certain
amount falls due in each of his successive births; and that amount, so
assigned, may be thought of as the man's destiny for that particular life.

All that it means is that a certain amount of joy and a certain amount of
suffering are due to him, and will unavoidably happen to him; how he will
meet this destiny and what use he will make of it, that is left entirely to
his own option. It is a certain amount of force which has to work itself
out. Nothing can prevent the action of that force, but its action may
always be modified by the application of a new force in another direction,
just as is the case in mechanics. The result of past evil is like any other
debt; it may be paid in one large cheque upon the bank of life--by some one
supreme catastrophe; or it may be paid in a number of smaller notes, in
minor troubles and worries; in some cases it may even be paid in the small
change of a great number of petty annoyances. But one thing is quite
certain--that, in some form or other, paid it will have to be.

The conditions of our present life, then, are absolutely the result of our
own action in the past; and the other side of that statement is that our
actions in this life are building up conditions for the next one. A man who
finds himself limited either in powers or in outer circumstances may not
always be able to make himself or his conditions all that he would wish in
this life; but he can certainly secure for the next one whatever he

Man's every action ends not with himself, but invariably affects others
around him. In some cases this effect may be comparatively trivial, while
in others it may be of the most serious character. The trivial results,
whether good or bad, are simply small debits or credits in our account with
Nature; but the greater effects, whether good or bad, make a personal
account which is to be settled with the individual concerned.

A man who gives a meal to a hungry beggar, or cheers him by a kindly word,
will receive the result of his good action as part of a kind of general
fund of Nature's benefits; but one who by some good action changes the
whole current of another man's life will assuredly have to meet that same
man again in a future life, in order that he who has been benefited may
have the opportunity of repaying the kindness that has been done to him.
One who causes annoyance to another will suffer proportionately for it
somewhere, somehow, in the future, though he may never meet again the man
whom he has troubled; but one who does serious harm to another, one who
wrecks his life or retards his evolution, must certainly meet his victim
again at some later point in the course of their lives, so that he may have
the opportunity, by kindly and self-sacrificing service, of
counterbalancing the wrong which he has done. In short, large debts must be
paid personally, but small ones go into the general fund.

These then are the principal factors which determine the next birth of the
man. First acts the great law of evolution, and its tendency is to press
the man into that position in which he can most easily develop the
qualities which he most needs. For the purposes of the general scheme,
humanity is divided into great races, called root-races, which rule and
occupy the world successively. The great Aryan or Indo-Caucasian race,
which at the present moment includes the most advanced of Earth's
inhabitants, is one of these. That which came before it in the order of
evolution was the Mongolian race, usually called in Theosophical books
Atlantean because the continent from which it ruled the world lay where now
roll the waters of the Atlantic ocean. Before that came the Negroid race,
some of whose descendants still exist, though by this time much mingled
with offshoots of later races. From each of these great root-races there
are many offshoots which we call sub-races--such, for example, as the Roman
races or the Teutonic; and each of the sub-races in turn divides itself
into branch-races, such as the French and the Italians, the English and the

These arrangements are made in order that for each ego there may be a wide
choice of varying conditions and surroundings. Each race is especially
adapted to develop within its people one or other of the qualities which
are needed in the course of evolution. In every nation there exist an
almost infinite number of diverse conditions, riches and poverty, a wide
field of opportunities or a total lack of them, facilities for development
or conditions under which development is difficult or well-nigh impossible.
Amidst all these infinite possibilities the pressure of the law of
evolution tends to guide the man to precisely those which best suit his
needs at the stage at which he happens to be.

But the action of this law is limited by that other law of which we spoke,
the law of cause and effect. The man's actions in the past may not have
been such as to deserve (if we may put it so) the best possible
opportunities; he may have set in motion in his past certain forces the
inevitable result of which will be to produce limitations; and these
limitations may operate to prevent his receiving that best possible of
opportunities, and so as the result of his own actions in the past he may
have to put up with the second best. So we may say that the action of the
law of evolution, which if left to itself would do the very best possible
for every man, is restrained by the man's own previous actions.

An important feature in that limitation--one which may act most powerfully
for good or for evil--is the influence of the group of egos with which the
man has made definite links in the past--those with whom he has formed
strong ties of love or hate, of helping or of injury--those souls whom he
must meet again because of connections made with them in days of long ago.
His relation with them is a factor which must be taken into consideration
before it can be determined where and how he shall be reborn.

The Will of the Deity is man's evolution. The effort of that nature which
is an expression of the Deity is to give the man whatever is most suitable
for that evolution; but this is conditioned by the man's deserts in the
past and by the links which he has already formed. It may be assumed that a
man descending into incarnation could learn the lessons necessary for that
life in any one of a hundred positions. From half of these or more than
half he may be debarred by the consequences of some of his many and varied
actions in the past. Among the few possibilities which remain open to him,
the choice of one possibility in particular may be determined by the
presence in that family or in that neighbourhood of other egos upon whom he
has a claim for services rendered, or to whom he in his turn owes a debt of

Chapter VIII


To fulfil our duty in the divine scheme we must try to understand not only
that scheme as a whole, but the special part that man is intended to play
in it. The divine outbreathing reached its deepest immersion in matter in
the mineral kingdom, but it reaches its ultimate point of differentiation
not at the lowest level of materiality, but at the entrance into the human
kingdom on the upward arc of evolution. We have thus to realize three
stages in the course of this evolution.

(a) The downward arc in which the tendency is towards differentiation and
also towards greater materiality. In this stage spirit is involving itself
in matter, in order that it may learn to receive impressions through it.

(b) The earlier part of the upward arc, in which the tendency is still
towards greater differentiation, but at the same time towards
spiritualization and escape from materiality. In this stage the spirit is
learning to dominate matter and to see it as an expression of itself.

(c) The later part of the upward arc, when differentiation has been finally
accomplished, and the tendency is towards unity as well as towards greater
spirituality. In this stage the spirit, having learnt perfectly how to
receive impression through matter and how to express itself through it, and
having awakened its dormant powers, learns to use these powers rightly in
the service of the Deity.

The object of the whole previous evolution has been to produce the ego as a
manifestation of the Monad. Then the ego in its turn evolves by putting
itself down into a succession of personalities. Men who do not understand
this look upon the personality as the self, and consequently live for it
alone, and try to regulate their lives for what appears to be its temporary
advantage. The man who understands realizes that the only important thing
is the life of the ego, and that its progress is the object for which the
temporary personality must be used. Therefore when he has to decide between
two possible courses he thinks not, as the ordinary man might: "Which will
bring the greater pleasure and profit to me as a personality?" but "Which
will bring greater progress to me as an ego?" Experience soon teaches him
that nothing can ever be really good for him, or for anyone, which is not
good for all, and so presently he learns to forget himself altogether, and
to ask only what will be best for humanity as a whole.

Clearly then at this stage of evolution whatever tends to unity, whatever
tends to spirituality, is in accord with the plan of the Deity for us, and
is therefore right for us, while whatever tends to separateness or to
materiality is equally certainly wrong for us. There are thoughts and
emotions which tend to unity, such as love, sympathy, reverence,
benevolence; there are others which tend to disunion, such as hatred,
jealousy, envy, pride, cruelty, fear. Obviously the former group are for us
the right, the latter group are for us the wrong.

In all these thoughts and feelings which are clearly wrong, we recognize
one dominant note, the thought of self; while in all those which are
clearly right we recognize that the thought is turned toward others, and
that the personal self is forgotten. Wherefore we see that selfishness is
the one great wrong, and that perfect unselfishness is the crown of all
virtue. This gives us at once a rule of life. The man who wishes
intelligently to co-operate with the Divine Will must lay aside all thought
of the advantage or pleasure of the personal self, and must devote himself
exclusively to carrying out that Will by working for the welfare and
happiness of others.

This is a high ideal, and difficult of attainment, because there lies
behind us such a long history of selfishness. Most of us are as yet far
from the purely altruistic attitude; how are we to go to work to attain it,
lacking as we do the necessary intensity in so many of the good qualities,
and possessing so many which are undesirable?

Here comes into operation the great law of cause and effect to which I have
already referred. Just as we can confidently appeal to the laws of Nature
in the physical world, so may we also appeal to these laws of the higher
world. If we find evil qualities within us, they have grown up by slow
degrees through ignorance and through self-indulgence. Now that the
ignorance is dispelled by knowledge, now that in consequence we recognize
the quality as an evil, the method of getting rid of it lies obviously
before us.

For each of these vices there is a contrary virtue; if we find one of them
rearing its head within us, let us immediately determine deliberately to
develop within ourselves the contrary virtue. If a man realizes that in the
past he has been selfish, that means that he has set up within himself the
habit of thinking of himself first and pleasing himself, of consulting his
own convenience or his pleasure without due thought of the effect upon
others; let him set to work purposefully to form the exactly opposite
habit, to make a practice before doing anything of thinking how it will
affect all those around him; let him set himself habitually to please
others, even though it be at the cost of trouble or privation for himself.
This also in time will become a habit, and by developing it he will have
killed out the other.

If a man finds himself full of suspicion, ready always to assign evil
motives to the actions of those about him, let him set himself steadily to
cultivate trust in his fellows, to give them credit always for the highest
possible motives. It may be said that a man who does this will lay himself
open to be deceived, and that in many cases his confidence will be
misplaced. That is a small matter; it is far better for him that he should
sometimes be deceived as a result of his trust in his fellows than that he
should save himself from such deception by maintaining a constant attitude
of suspicion. Besides, confidence begets faithfulness. A man who is trusted
will generally prove himself worthy of the trust, whereas a man who is
suspected is likely presently to justify the suspicion.

If a man finds in himself the tendency towards avarice, let him go out of
his way to be especially generous; if he finds himself irritable, let him
definitely train himself in calmness; if he finds himself devoured by
curiosity, let him deliberately refuse again and again to gratify that
curiosity; if he is liable to fits of depression, let him persistently
cultivate cheerfulness, even under the most adverse circumstances.

In every case the existence of an evil quality in the personality means a
lack of the corresponding good quality in the ego. The shortest way to get
rid of that evil and to prevent its reappearance is to fill the gap in the
ego, and the good quality which is thus developed will show itself as an
integral part of the man's character through all his future lives. An ego
cannot be evil, but he can be imperfect. The qualities which he develops
cannot be other than good qualities, and when they are well defined they
show themselves in each of all his numerous personalities, and consequently
those personalities can never be guilty of the vices opposite to these
qualities; but where there is a gap in the ego, where there is a quality
undeveloped, there is nothing inherent in the personality to check the
growth of the opposite vice; and since others in the world about him
already possess that vice, and man is an imitative animal, it is quite
probable that it will speedily manifest itself in him. This vice, however,
belongs to the vehicles only and not to the man inside. In these vehicles
its repetition may set up a momentum which is hard to conquer; but if the
ego bestirs himself to create in himself the opposite virtue, the vice is
cut off at its root, and can no longer exist--neither in this life nor in
all the lives that are to come.

A man who is trying to evolve these qualities in himself will find certain
obstacles in his way--obstacles which he must learn to surmount. One of
these is the critical spirit of the age--the disposition to find fault with
a thing, to belittle everything, to look for faults in everything and
everyone. The exact opposite of this is what is needed for progress. He who
wishes to move rapidly along the path of evolution must learn to see good
in everything--to see the latent Deity in everything and in everyone. Only
so can he help those other people--only so can he get the best out of those
other things.

Another obstacle is the lack of perseverance. We tend in these days to be
impatient; if we try any plan we expect immediate results from it, and if
we do not get them, we give up that plan and try something else. That is
not the way to make progress in occultism. The effort which we are making
is to compress into one or two lives the evolution which would naturally
take perhaps a hundred lives. That is not the sort of undertaking in which
immediate results are to be expected. We attempt to uproot an evil habit,
and we find it hard work; why? Because we have indulged in that practice
for, perhaps, twenty thousand years; one cannot shake off the custom of
twenty thousand years in a day or two. We have allowed that habit to gain
an enormous momentum, and before we can set up a force in the opposite
direction we have to overcome that momentum. That cannot be done in a
moment, but it is absolutely certain that it _will_ be done eventually, if
we persevere, because the momentum, however strong it may be, is a finite
quantity, whereas the power that we can bring to bear against it is the
infinite power of the human will, which can make renewed efforts day after
day, year after year, even life after life if necessary.

Another great difficulty in our way is the lack of clearness in our
thought. People in the West are little used to clear thought with regard to
religious matters. Everything is vague and nebulous. For occult development
vagueness and nebulosity will not do. Our conceptions must be clear-cut and
our thought-images definite. Other necessary characteristics are calmness
and cheerfulness; these are rare in modern life, but are absolute
essentials for the work which we are here undertaking.

The process of building a character is as scientific as that of developing
one's muscles. Many a man, finding himself with certain muscles flabby and
powerless takes that as his natural condition, and regards their weakness
as a kind of destiny imposed upon him; but anyone who understands a little
of the human body is aware that by continued exercise those muscles can be
brought into a state of health and the whole body eventually put in order.
In exactly the same way, many a man finds himself possessed of a bad temper
or a tendency to avarice or suspicion or self-indulgence, and when in
consequence of any of these vices he commits some great mistake or does
some great harm he offers it as an excuse that he is a hasty-tempered man,
or that he possesses this or that quality by nature--implying that
therefore he cannot help it.

In this case just as in the other the remedy is in his own hands. Regular
exercise of the right kind will develop a certain muscle, and regular
mental exercise of the right kind will develop a missing quality in a man's
character. The ordinary man does not realize that he can do this, and even
if he sees that he can do it, he does not see why he should, for it means
much effort and much self-repression. He knows of no adequate motive for
undertaking a task so laborious and painful.

The motive is supplied by the knowledge of the truth. One who gains an
intelligent comprehension of the direction of evolution feels it not only
his interest but his privilege and his delight to co-operate with it. One
who wills the end wills also the means; in order to be able to do good work
for the world he must develop within himself the necessary strength and the
necessary qualities. Therefore he who wishes to reform the world must first
of all reform himself. He must learn to give up altogether the attitude of
insisting upon rights, and must devote himself utterly to the most earnest
performance of his duties. He must learn to regard every connection with
his fellow-man as an opportunity to help that fellow-man, or in some way to
do him good.

One who studies these subjects intelligently cannot but realize the
tremendous power of thought, and the necessity for its efficient control.
All action springs from thought, for even when it is done (as we say)
without thought, it is the instinctive expression of the thoughts, desires
and feelings which the man has allowed to grow luxuriantly within himself
in earlier days.

The wise man, therefore, will watch his thought with the greatest of care,
for in it he possesses a powerful instrument, for the right use of which he
is responsible. It is his duty to govern his thought, lest it should be
allowed to run riot and to do evil to himself, and to others; it is his
duty also to develop his thought-power, because by means of it a vast
amount of actual and active good can be done. Thus controlling his thought
and his action, thus eliminating from himself all evil and unfolding in
himself all good qualities, the man presently raises himself far above the
level of his fellows, and stands out conspicuously among them as one who is
working on the side of good as against evil, of evolution as against

The Members of the great Hierarchy, in whose hands is the evolution of the
world, are watching always for such men in order that They may train them
to help in the great work. Such a man inevitably attracts Their attention,
and They begin to use him as an instrument in Their work. If he proves
himself a good and efficient instrument, presently They will offer him
definite training as an apprentice, that by helping Them in the
world-business which They have to do he may some day become even as They
are, and join the mighty Brotherhood to which They belong.

But for an honour so great as this mere ordinary goodness will not suffice.
True, a man must be good first of all, or it would be hopeless to think of
using him, but in addition to being good he must be wise and strong. What
is needed is not merely a good man, but a great spiritual power. Not only
must the candidate have cast aside all ordinary weaknesses but he must have
acquired strong positive qualities before he can offer himself to Them with
any hope that he will be accepted. He must live no longer as a blundering
and selfish personality, but as an intelligent ego who comprehends the part
which he has to play in the great scheme of the universe. He must have
forgotten himself utterly; he must have resigned all thought of worldly
profit or pleasure or advancement; he must be willing to sacrifice
everything, and himself first of all, for the sake of the work that has to
be done. He may be _in_ the world, but he must not be _of_ the world. He
must be careless utterly of its opinion. For the sake of helping man he
must make himself something more than man. Radiant, rejoicing, strong, he
must live but for the sake of others and to be an expression of the love of
God in the world. A high ideal, yet not too high; possible, because there
are men who have achieved it.

When a man has succeeded in unfolding his latent possibilities so far that
he attracts the attention of the Masters of the Wisdom, one of Them will
probably receive him as an apprentice upon probation. The period of
probation is usually seven years, but may be either shortened or lengthened
at the discretion of the Master. At the end of that time, if his work has
been satisfactory, he becomes what it commonly called the accepted pupil.
This brings him into close relations with his Master, so that the
vibrations of the latter constantly play upon him, and he gradually learns
to look at everything as the Master looks at it. After yet another
interval, if he proves himself entirely worthy, he may be drawn into a
still closer relationship, when he is called the son of the Master.

These three stages mark his relationship to his own Master only, not to the
Brotherhood as a whole. The Brotherhood admits a man to its ranks only when
he has fitted himself to pass the first of the great Initiations.

This entry into the Brotherhood of Those who rule the world may be thought
of as the third of the great critical points in man's evolution. The first
of these is when he becomes man--when he individualizes out of the animal
kingdom and obtains a causal body. The second is what is called by the
Christian "conversion", by the Hindu "the acquirement of discrimination",
and by the Buddhist "the opening of the doors of the mind". That is the
point at which he realizes the great facts of life, and turns away from the
pursuit of selfish ends in order to move intentionally along with the great
current of evolution in obedience to the divine Will. The third point is
the most important of all, for the Initiation which admits him to the ranks
of the Brotherhood also insures him against the possibility of failure to
fulfil the divine purpose in the time appointed for it. Hence those who
have reached this point are called in the Christian system the "elect", the
"saved" or the "safe", and in the Buddhist scheme "those who have entered
on the stream". For those who have reached this point have made themselves
absolutely certain of reaching a further point also--that of Adeptship, at
which they pass into a type of evolution which is definitely Superhuman.

The man who has become an Adept has fulfilled the divine Will so far as
this chain of worlds is concerned. He has reached, even already at the
midmost point of the æon of evolution, the stage prescribed for man's
attainment at the end of it. Therefore he is at liberty to spend the
remainder of that time either in helping his fellow-men or in even more
splendid work in connection with other and higher evolutions. He who has
not yet been initiated is still in danger of being left behind by our
present wave of evolution, and dropping into the next one--the "æonian
condemnation" of which the Christ spoke, which has been mistranslated
"eternal damnation". It is from this fate of possible æonian failure--that
is, failure for this age, or dispensation, or life-wave--that the man who
attains Initiation is "safe". He has "entered upon the stream" which now
_must_ bear him on to Adeptship in this present age, though it is still
possible for him by his actions to hasten or delay his progress along the
Path which he is treading.

That first Initiation corresponds to the matriculation which admits a man
to a University, and the attainment of Adeptship to the taking of a degree
at the end of a course. Continuing the simile, there are three intermediate
examinations, which are usually spoken of as the second, third, and fourth
Initiations, Adeptship being the fifth. A general idea of the line of this
higher evolution may be obtained by studying the list of what are called in
Buddhist books "the fetters" which must be cast off--the qualities of which
a man must rid himself as he treads this Path. These are: the delusion of
separateness; doubt or uncertainty; superstition; attachment to enjoyment;
the possibility of hatred; desire for life, either in this or the higher
worlds; pride; agitation or irritability; and ignorance. The man who
reaches the Adept level has exhausted all the possibilities of moral
development, and so the future evolution which still lies before him can
only mean still wider knowledge and still more wonderful spiritual powers.

Chapter IX


The scheme of evolution of which our Earth forms a part is not the only one
in our solar system, for ten separate chains of globes exist in that system
which are all of them theatres of somewhat similar progress. Each of these
schemes of evolution is taking place upon a chain of globes, and in the
course of each scheme its chain of globes goes through seven incarnations.
The plan, alike of each scheme as a whole and of the successive incarnation
of its chain of globes, is to dip step by step more deeply into matter, and
then to rise step by step out of it again.

Each chain consists of seven globes, and both globes and chains observe the
rule of descending into matter and then rising out of it again. In order to
make this comprehensible let us take as an example the chain to which our
Earth belongs. At the present time it is in its fourth or most material
incarnation, and therefore three of its globes belong to the physical
world, two to the astral world, and two to the lower part of the mental
world. The wave of divine Life passes in succession from globe to globe of
this chain, beginning with one of the highest, descending gradually to the
lowest and then climbing again to the same level as that at which it began.

Let us for convenience of reference label the seven globes by the earlier
letters of the alphabet, and number the incarnations in order. Thus, as
this is the fourth incarnation of our chain, the first globe in this
incarnation will be 4A, the second 4B, the third 4C, the fourth (which is
our Earth) 4D, and so on.

These globes are not all composed of physical matter. 4A contains no matter
lower than that of the mental world; it has its counterpart in all the
worlds higher than that, but nothing below it. 4B exists in the astral
world; but 4C is a physical globe, visible to our telescopes, and is in
fact the planet which we know as Mars. Globe 4D is our own Earth, on which
the life-wave of the chain is at present in action. Globe 4E is the planet
which we call Mercury--also in the physical world. Globe 4F is in the
astral world, corresponding on the ascending arc to globe 4B in the
descent; while globe 4G corresponds to globe 4A in having its lowest
manifestation in the lower part of the mental world. Thus it will be seen
that we have a scheme of globes starting in the lower mental world,
dipping through the astral into the physical and then rising into the lower
mental through the astral again.

Just as the succession of the globes in a chain constitutes a descent into
matter and an ascent from it again, so do the successive incarnations of a
chain. We have described the condition of affairs in the fourth
incarnation; looking back at the third, we find that that commences not on
the lower level of the mental world but on the higher. Globes 3A and 3G,
then, are both of higher mental matter, while globes 3B and 3F are at the
lower mental level. Globes 3C and 3E belong to the astral world, and only
globe 3D is visible in the physical world. Although this third incarnation
of our chain is long past, the corpse of this physical globe 3D is still
visible to us in the shape of that dead planet the Moon, whence that third
incarnation is usually called the lunar chain.

The fifth incarnation of our chain, which still lies very far in the
future, will correspond to the third. In that, globes 5A and 5G will be
built of higher mental matter, globes 5B and 5F of lower mental, globes 5C
and 5E of astral matter, and only globe 5D will be in the physical world.
This planet 5D is of course not yet in existence.

The other incarnations of the chain follow the same general rule of
gradually decreasing materiality; 2A, 2G, 6A and 6G are all in the
intuitional world; 2B, 2F, 6B and 6F are all in the higher part of the
mental world; 2C, 2E, 6C and 6E are in the lower part of the mental world;
2D and 6D are in the astral world. In the same way 1A, 1G, 7A and 7G belong
to the spiritual world; 1B, IF, 7B and 7F are in the intuitional world; 1C,
1E, 7C and 7E are in the higher part of the mental world; 1D-and 7D are in
the lower part of the mental world.

Thus it will be seen that not only does the life-wave in passing through
one chain of globes dip down into matter and rise out of it again, but the
chain itself in its successive incarnations does exactly the same thing.

There are ten schemes of evolution at present existing in our solar system,
but only seven of them are at the stage where they have planets in the
physical world. These are: (1) that of an unrecognized planet Vulcan, very
near the sun, about which we have very little definite information. It was
seen by the astronomer Herschel, but is now said to have disappeared. We at
first understood that it was in its third incarnation; but it is now
regarded as possible that it has recently passed from its fifth to its
sixth chain, which would account for its alleged disappearance; (2) that of
Venus, which is in its fifth incarnation, and also therefore, has only one
visible globe; (3) that of the Earth, Mars and Mercury, which has three
visible planets because it is in its fourth incarnation; (4) that of
Jupiter, (5) that of Saturn, (6) that of Uranus, all in their third
incarnations; and (7) that of Neptune and the two unnamed planets beyond
its orbit, which is in its fourth incarnation, and therefore has three
physical planets as we have.

In each incarnation of a chain (commonly called a chain-period) the wave of
divine Life moves seven times round the chain of seven planets, and each
such movement is spoken of as a round. The time that the life-wave stays
upon each planet is known as a world-period, and in the course of a
world-period there are seven great root-races. As has been previously
explained, these are subdivided into sub-races, and those again into
branch-races. For convenience of reference we may state this in tabular

7 Branch-Races           make   1  Sub-Race
7 Sub-Races              make   1  Root-Race
7 Root-Races             make   1  World-Period
7 World-Periods          make   1  Round
7 Rounds                 make   1  Chain-Period
7 Chain-Periods          make   1  Scheme of Evolution
10 Schemes of Evolution  make   1  Our Solar System

It is clear that the fourth root-race of the fourth globe of the fourth
round of a fourth chain-period would be the central point of a whole scheme
of evolution, and we find ourselves at the present moment only a little
past that point. The Aryan race, to which we belong, is the fifth root-race
of the fourth globe, so that the actual middle point fell in the time of
the last great root-race, the Atlantean. Consequently the human race as a
whole is very little more than half-way through its evolution, and those
few souls who are already nearing Adeptship, which is the end and crown of
this evolution, are very far in advance of their fellows.

How do they come to be so far in advance? Partly and in some cases because
they have worked harder, but usually because they are older egos--because
they were individualized out of the animal kingdom at an earlier date, and
so have had more time for the human part of their evolution.

Any given wave of life sent forth from the Deity usually spends a
chain-period in each of the great kingdoms of Nature. That which in our
first chain was ensouling the first elemental kingdom must have ensouled
the second of those kingdoms in the second chain, in the third of them in
the Moon-chain, and is now in the mineral kingdom in the fourth chain. In
the future fifth chain it will ensoul the vegetable kingdom, in the sixth
the animal, and in the seventh it will attain humanity.

From this it follows that we ourselves represented the mineral kingdom on
the first chain, the vegetable on the second, and the animal on the lunar
chain. There some of us attained our individualization, and so we were
enabled to enter this Earth-chain as men. Others who were a little more
backward did not succeed in attaining it, and so had to be born into this
chain as animals for a while before they could reach humanity.

Not all of mankind, however, entered this chain together. When the lunar
chain came to its end the humanity upon it stood at various levels. Not
Adeptship, but what is now for us the fourth step on the Path, was the goal
appointed for that chain. Those who had attained it (commonly called in
Theosophical literature the Lords of the Moon) had, as is usual, seven
choices before them as to the way in which they would serve. Only one of
those choices brought them, or rather a few of them, over into this
Earth-chain to act as guides and teachers to the earlier races. A
considerable proportion--a vast proportion, indeed--of the Moon-men had not
attained that level, and consequently had to reappear in this Earth-chain
as humanity. Besides this, a great mass of the animal kingdom of the
Moon-chain was surging up to the level of the individualization, and some
of its members had already reached it, while many others had not. These
latter needed further animal incarnations upon the Earth-chain, and for the
moment may be put aside.

There were many classes even among the humanity, and the manner in which
these distributed themselves over the Earth-chain needs some explanation.
It is the general rule that those who have attained the highest possible in
any chain on any globe, in any root-race, are not born into the beginning
of the next chain, globe or race, respectively. The earlier stages are
always for the backward entities, and only when they have already passed
through a good deal of evolution and are beginning to approach the level of
those others who had done better, do the latter descend into incarnation
and join them once more. That is to say, almost the earlier half of any
period of evolution, whether it be a race, a globe or a chain, seems to be
devoted to bringing the backward people up to nearly the level of those who
have got on better; then these latter also (who, in the meantime, have been
resting in great enjoyment in the mental world) descend into incarnation
along with the others, and they press on together until the end of the

Thus the first of the egos from the Moon who entered the Earth-chain were
by no means the most advanced. Indeed they may be described as the least
advanced of those who had succeeded in attaining humanity--the animal-men.
Coming as they did into a chain of new globes, freshly aggregated, they had
to establish the forms in all the different kingdoms of Nature. This needs
to be done at the beginning of the first round in a new chain, but never
after that; for though the life-wave is centred only upon one of the seven
globes of a chain at any given time, yet life has not entirely departed
from the other globes. At the present moment, for example, the life-wave of
our chain is centred on this Earth, but on the other two physical globes of
our chain, Mars and Mercury, life still exists. There is still a
population, human, animal and vegetable, and consequently when the
life-wave goes round again to either of those planets there will be no
necessity for the creation of new forms. The old types are already there,
and all that will happen will be a sudden marvellous fecundity, so that the
various kingdoms will quickly increase and multiply, and make a rapidly
increasing population instead of a stationary one.

It was, then, the animal-men, the lowest class of human beings of the
Moon-chain, who established the forms in the first round of the
Earth-chain. Pressing closely after them were the highest of the lunar
animal kingdom, who were soon ready to occupy the forms which had just been
made. In the second journey round the seven globes of the Earth-chain, the
animal-men who had been the most backward of the lunar humanity were
leaders of this terrene humanity, the highest of the moon-animals making
its less developed grades. The same thing went on in the third round of the
Earth-chain, more and more of the lunar animals attaining individualization
and joining the human rank, until in the middle of that round on this very
globe D which we call the Earth, a higher class of human beings--the Second
Order of Moon-men--descended into incarnation and at once took the lead.

When we come to the fourth, our present round, we find the First Order of
the Moon-men pouring in upon us--all the highest and the best of the lunar
humanity who had only just fallen short of success. Some of those who had
already, even on the Moon, entered upon the Path soon attained its end,
became Adepts and passed away from the Earth. Some few others who had not
been quite so far advanced have attained Adeptship only comparatively
recently--that is, within the last few thousand years, and these are the
Adepts of the present day. We, who find ourselves in the higher races of
humanity now, were several stages behind Them, but the opportunity lies
before us of following in Their steps if we will.

The evolution of which we have been speaking is that of the Ego himself, of
what might be called the soul of man; but at the same time there has been
also an evolution to the body. The forms built in the first round were very
different from any of which we know anything now. Properly speaking, those
which were made on our physical earth can scarcely be called forms at all,
for they were constructed of etheric matter only, and resembled vague,
drifting and almost shapeless clouds. In the second round they were
definitely physical, but still shapeless and light enough to float about in
currents of wind.

Only in the third round did they begin to bear any kind of resemblance to
man as we know him today. The very methods of reproduction of those
primitive forms differed from those of humanity today, and far more
resembled those which we now find only in very much lower types of life.
Man in those early days was androgynous, and a definite separation into
sexes took place only about the middle of the third round. From that time
onward until now the shape of man has been steadily evolving along
definitely human lines, becoming smaller and more compact than it was,
learning to stand upright instead of stooping and crawling, and generally
differentiating itself from the animal forms out of which it had been

One curious break in the regularity of this evolution deserves mention. On
this globe, in this fourth round, there was a departure from the
straightforward scheme of evolution. This being the middle globe of a
middle round, the midmost point of evolution upon it marked the last moment
at which it was possible for members of what had been the lunar animal
kingdom to attain individualization. Consequently a sort of strong effort
was made--a special scheme was arranged to give a final chance to as many
as possible. The conditions of the first and second rounds were specially
reproduced in place of the first and second races--conditions of which in
the earlier rounds these backward egos had not been able fully to take
advantage. Now, with the additional evolution, which they had undergone
during the third round, some of them were able to take such advantage, and
so they rushed in at the very last moment before the door was shut, and
became just human. Naturally they will not reach any high level of human
development, but at least when they try again in some future chain it will
be some advantage to them to have had even this slight experience of human

Our terrestrial evolution received a most valuable stimulus from the
assistance given to us by our sister globe, Venus. Venus is at present in
the fifth incarnation of its chain, and in the seventh round of that
incarnation, so that its inhabitants are a whole chain-period and a half in
front of us in evolution. Since, therefore, its people are so much more
developed than ours, it was thought desirable that certain Adepts from the
Venus evolution should be transferred to our Earth in order to assist in
the specially busy time just before the closing of the door, in the middle
of the fourth root-race.

These august Beings have been called the Lords of the Flame and the
Children of the Fire-mist, and They have produced a wonderful effect upon
our evolution. The intellect of which we are so proud is almost entirely
due to Their presence, for in the natural course of events the next round,
the fifth, should be that of intellectual advancement, and in this our
present fourth round we should be devoting ourselves chiefly to the
cultivation of the emotions. We are therefore in reality a long way in
advance of the programme marked out for us; and such advance is entirely
due to the assistance given by these great Lords of the Flame. Most of Them
stayed with us only through that critical period of our history; a few
still remain to hold the highest offices of the Great White Brotherhood
until the time when men of our own evolution shall have risen to such a
height as to be capable of relieving their august Visitors.

The evolution lying before us is both of the life and of the form; for in
future rounds, while the egos will be steadily growing in power, wisdom and
love, the physical forms also will be more beautiful and more perfect than
they have ever yet been. We have in this world at the present time men at
widely differing stages of evolution, and it is clear that there are vast
hosts of savages who are far behind the great civilized races of the
world--so far behind that it is quite impossible that they can overtake
them. Later on in the course of our evolution a point will be reached at
which it is no longer possible for those undeveloped souls to advance side
by side with the others, so that it will be necessary that a division
should be made.

The proceeding is exactly analogous to the sorting out by a schoolmaster of
the boys in his class. During the school year he has to prepare his boys
for a certain examination, and by perhaps the middle of that school year he
knows quite well which of them will pass it. If he should have in his class
some who are hopelessly behind the rest, he might reasonably say to them
when the middle period was reached:

"It is quite useless for you to continue with your fellows, for the more
difficult lessons which I shall now have to give will be entirely
unintelligible to you. It is impossible that you can learn enough in the
time to pass the examination, so that the effort would only be a useless
strain for you, and meantime you would be a hindrance to the rest of the
class. It is therefore far better for you to give up striving after the
impossible, and to take up again the work of the lower class which you did
not do perfectly, and then to offer yourselves for this examination along
with next year's class, for what is now impossible for you will then be

This is in effect exactly what is said at a certain stage in our future
evolution, to the most backward egos. They drop out of this year's class
and come along with the next one. This is the "æonian condemnation" to
which reference was made a little while ago. It is computed that about
two-fifths of humanity will drop out of the class in this way, leaving the
remaining three-fifths to go on with far greater rapidity to the glorious
destinies which lie before them.

Chapter X


"Members of the Theosophical Society study these truths and Theosophists
endeavour to live them." What manner of man then is the true Theosophist in
consequence of his knowledge? What is the result in his daily life of all
this study?

Finding that there is a Supreme Power who is directing the course of
evolution, and that He is all-wise and all-loving, the Theosophist sees
that everything which exists within this scheme must be intended to further
its progress. He realizes that the scripture which tells us that all things
are working together for good, is not indulging in a flight of poetic fancy
or voicing a pious hope, but stating a scientific fact. The final
attainment of unspeakable glory is an absolute certainty for every son of
man, whatever may be his present condition; but that is by no means all.
Here and at this present moment he is on his way towards the glory; and all
the circumstances surrounding him are intended to help and not to hinder
him, if only they are rightly understood. It is sadly true that in the
world there is much of evil and of sorrow and of suffering; yet from the
higher point of view the Theosophist sees that terrible though this be, it
is only temporary and superficial, and is all being utilized as a factor in
the progress.

When in the days of his ignorance he looked at it from its own level it was
almost impossible to see this; while he looked from beneath at the under
side of life, with his eyes fixed all the time upon some apparent evil, he
could never gain a true grasp of its meaning. Now he raises himself above
it to the higher levels of thought and consciousness, and looks down upon
it with the eye of the spirit and understands it in its entirety, so he can
see that in very truth all is well--not that all will be well at some
remote period, but that even now at this moment, in the midst of incessant
striving and apparent evil, the mighty current of evolution is still
flowing, and so all is well because all is moving on in perfect order
towards the final goal.

Raising his consciousness thus above the storm and stress of worldly life,
he recognizes what used to seem to be evil, and notes how it is apparently
pressing backwards against the great stream of progress; but he also sees
that the onward sweep of the divine law of evolution bears the same
relation to this superficial evil as does the tremendous torrent of Niagara
to the fleckings of foam upon its surface. So while he sympathizes deeply
with all who suffer, he yet realizes what will be the end of that
suffering, and so for him despair or hopelessness is impossible. He applies
this consideration to his own sorrows and troubles, as well as to those of
the world, and therefore one great result of his Theosophy is a perfect
serenity--even more than that, a perpetual cheerfulness and joy.

For him there is an utter absence of worry, because in truth there is
nothing left to worry about, since he knows that all must be well. His
higher Science makes him a confirmed optimist, for it shows him that
whatever of evil there may be in any person or in any movement, it is of
necessity temporary, because it is opposed to the resistless stream of
evolution; whereas whatever is good in any person or in any movement must
necessarily be persistent and useful, because it has behind it the
omnipotence of that current, and therefore it must abide and it must

Yet it must not for a moment be supposed that because he is so fully
assured of the final triumph of good he remains careless or unmoved by the
evils which exist in the world around him. He knows that it is his duty to
combat these to the utmost of his power, because in doing this he is
working upon the side of the great evolutionary force, and is bringing
nearer the time of its ultimate victory. None will be more active than he
in labouring for the good, even though he is absolutely free from the
feeling of helplessness and hopelessness which so often oppresses those who
are striving to help their fellow-men.

Another most valuable result of his Theosophical study is the absence of
fear. Many people are constantly anxious or worried about something or
other; they are fearing lest this or that should happen to them, lest this
or that combination may fail, and so all the while they are in a condition
of unrest; and most serious of all for many is the fear of death. For the
Theosophist the whole of this feeling is entirely swept away. He realizes
the great truth of reincarnation. He knows that he has often before laid
aside physical bodies, and so he sees that death is no more than
sleep--that just as sleep comes in between our days of work and gives us
rest and refreshment, so between these days of labour here on earth, which
we call lives, there comes a long night of astral and of heavenly life to
give us rest and refreshment and to help us on our way.

To the Theosophist death is simply the laying aside for a time of this robe
of flesh. He knows that it is his duty to preserve the bodily vesture as
long as possible, and gain through it all the experience he can; but when
the time comes for him to lay it down he will do so thankfully, because he
knows that the next stage will be a much pleasanter one than this. Thus he
will have no fear of death, although he realizes that he must live his life
to the appointed end, because he is here for the purpose of progress, and
that progress is the one truly momentous matter. His whole conception of
life is different; the object is not to earn so much money, not to obtain
such and such a position; the one important thing is to carry out the
divine plan. He knows that for this he is here, and that everything else
must give way to it.

Utterly free also is he from any religious fears or worries or troubles.
All such things are swept aside for him, because he sees clearly that
progress towards the highest is the divine Will for us, that we cannot
escape from that progress, and that whatever comes in our way and whatever
happens to us is meant to help us along that line; that we ourselves are
absolutely the only people who can delay our advance. No longer does he
trouble and fear about himself. He simply goes on and does the duty which
comes nearest in the best way that he can, confident that if he does this
all will be well for him without his perpetual worrying. He is satisfied
quietly to do his work and to try to help his fellows in the race, knowing
that the great divine Power behind will press him onward slowly and
steadily, and do for him all that can be done, so long as his face is set
steadfastly in the right direction, so long as he does all that he
reasonably can.

Since he knows that we are all part of one great evolution and all
literally the children of one Father, he sees that the universal
brotherhood of humanity is no mere poetical conception, but a definite
fact; not a dream of something which is to be in the dim distance of
Utopia, but a condition existing here and now. The certainty of this
all-embracing fraternity gives him a wider outlook upon life and a broad
impersonal point of view from which to regard everything. He realizes that
the true interests of all are in fact identical, and that no man can ever
make real gain for himself at the cost of loss or suffering to some one
else. This is not to him an article of religious belief, but a scientific
fact proved to him by his study. He sees that since humanity is literally a
whole, nothing which injures one man can ever be really for the good of any
other, for the harm done influences not only the doer but also those who
are about him.

He knows that the only true advantage for him is that benefit which he
shares with all. He sees that any advance which he is able to make in the
way of spiritual progress or development is something secured not for
himself alone but for others. If he gains knowledge or self-control, he
assuredly acquires much for himself, yet he takes nothing away from anyone
else, but on the contrary he helps and strengthens others. Cognizant as he
is of the absolute spiritual unity of humanity, he knows that, even in this
lower world, no true profit can be made by one man which is not made in the
name of and for the sake of humanity; that one man's progress must be a
lifting of the burden of all the others; that one man's advance in
spiritual things means a very slight yet not imperceptible advance to
humanity as a whole; that every one who bears suffering and sorrow nobly in
his struggle towards the light is lifting a little of the heavy load of the
sorrow and suffering of his brothers as well.

Because he recognizes this brotherhood not merely as a hope cherished by
despairing men, but as a definite fact following in scientific series from
all other facts; because he sees this as an absolute certainty, his
attitude towards all those around him changes radically. It becomes a
posture ever of helpfulness, ever of the deepest sympathy, for he sees that
nothing which clashes with their higher interests can be the right thing
for him to do, or can be good for him in any way.

It naturally follows that he becomes filled with the widest possible
tolerance and charity. He cannot but be always tolerant, because his
philosophy shows him that it matters little what a man believes, so long as
he is a good man and true. Charitable also he must be, because his wider
knowledge enables him to make allowances for many things which the ordinary
man does not understand. The standard of the Theosophist as to right and
wrong is always higher than that of the less instructed man, yet he is far
gentler than the latter in his feeling towards the sinner, because he
comprehends more of human nature. He realizes how the sin appeared to the
sinner at the moment of its commission, and so he makes more allowances
than is ever made by the man who is ignorant of all this.

He goes further than tolerance, charity, sympathy; he feels positive love
towards mankind, and that leads him to adopt a position of watchful
helpfulness. He feels that every contact with others is for him an
opportunity, and the additional knowledge which his study has brought to
him enables him to give advice or help in almost any case which comes
before him. Not that he is perpetually thrusting his opinions upon other
people. On the contrary, he observes that to do this is one of the
commonest mistakes made by the uninstructed. He knows that argument is a
foolish waste of energy, and therefore he declines to argue. If anyone
desires from him explanation or advice he is more than willing to give it,
yet he has no sort of wish to convert anyone else to his own way of

In every relation of life this idea of helpfulness comes into play, not
only with regard to his fellowmen but also in connection with the vast
animal kingdom which surrounds him. Units of this kingdom are often brought
into close relation with man, and this is for him an opportunity of doing
something for them. The Theosophist recognizes that these are also his
brothers, even though they may be younger brothers, and that he owes a
fraternal duty to them also--so to act and so to think that his relation
with them shall be always for their good and never for their harm.

Pre-eminently and above all, this Theosophy is to him a doctrine of common
sense. It puts before him, as far as he can at present know them, the facts
about God and man and the relations between them; then he proceeds to take
these facts into account and to act in relation to them with ordinary
reason and common sense. He regulates his life according to the laws of
evolution which it has taught him, and this gives him a totally different
standpoint, and a touchstone by which to try everything--his own thoughts
and feelings, and his own actions first of all, and then those things which
come before him in the world outside himself.

Always he applies this criterion: Is the thing right or wrong, does it help
evolution or does it hinder it? If a thought or a feeling arises within
himself, he sees at once by this test whether it is one he ought to
encourage. If it be for the greatest good of the greatest number then all
is well; if it may hinder or cause harm to any being in its progress, then
it is evil and to be avoided. Exactly the same reason holds good if he is
called upon to decide with regard to anything outside himself. If from that
point of view a thing be a good thing, then he can conscientiously support
it; if not, then it is not for him.

For him the question of personal interest does not come into the case at
all. He thinks simply of the good of evolution as a whole. This gives him a
definite foothold and the clear criterion, and removes from him altogether
the pain of indecision and hesitation. The Will of the Deity is man's
evolution; whatever therefore helps on that evolution must be good;
whatever stands in the way of it and delays it, that thing must be wrong,
even though it may have on its side all the weight of public opinion and
immemorial tradition.

Knowing that the true man is the ego and not the body, he sees that it is
the life of the ego only which is really of moment, and that everything
connected with the body must unhesitatingly be subordinated to those higher
interests. He recognizes that this earth-life is given to him for the
purpose of progress, and that that progress is the one important thing. The
real purpose of his life is the unfoldment of his powers as an ego, the
development of his character. He knows that there must be evolvement not
only of the physical body but also of the mental nature, of the mind and of
the spiritual perceptions. He sees that nothing short of absolute
perfection is expected of him in connection with this development; that all
power with regard to it is in his own hands; that he has everlasting time
before him in which to attain this perfection, but that the sooner it is
gained the happier and more useful will he be.

He recognizes his life as nothing but a day at school, and his physical
body as a temporary vesture assumed for the purpose of learning through it.
He knows at once that this purpose of learning lessons is the only one of
any real importance, and that the man who allows himself to be diverted
from that purpose by any consideration whatever is acting with
inconceivable stupidity. To him the life devoted exclusively to physical
objects, to the acquisition of wealth or fame, appears the merest
child's-play--a senseless sacrifice of all that is really worth having for
the sake of a few moments' gratification of the lower part of his nature.
He "sets his affection on things above and not on things of the earth", not
only because he sees this to be the right course of action, but because he
realizes so clearly the valuelessness of these things of earth. He always
tries to take the higher point of view, for he knows that the lower is
utterly unreliable--that the lower desires and feelings gather round him
like a dense fog, and make it impossible for him to see anything clearly
from that level.

Whenever he finds a struggle going on within him he remembers that he
himself is the higher, and that this which is the lower is not the real
self, but merely an uncontrolled part of one of its vehicles. He knows that
though he may fall a thousand times on the way towards his goal, his reason
for trying to reach it remains just as strong after the thousandth fall as
it was in the beginning, so that it would not only be useless but unwise
and wrong to give way to despondency and hopelessness.

He begins his journey upon the road of progress at once--not only because
he knows that it is far easier for him now than it will be if he leaves the
effort until later, but chiefly because if he makes the endeavour now and
succeeds in achieving some progress, if he rises thereby to some higher
level, he is in a position to hold out a helping hand to those who have not
yet reached even that step on the ladder which he has gained. In that way
he takes a part, however humble it may be, in the great divine work of

He knows that he has arrived at his present position only by a slow process
of growth, and so he does not expect instantaneous attainment of
perfection. He sees how inevitable is the great law of cause and effect,
and that when he once grasps the working of that law he can use it
intelligently in regard to mental and moral development, just as in the
physical world we can employ for our own assistance those laws of Nature
the action of which we have learnt to understand.

Understanding what death is, he knows that there can be no need to fear it
or to mourn over it, whether it comes to himself or to those whom he loves.
It has come to them all often before, so there is nothing unfamiliar about
it. He sees death simply as a promotion from a life which is more than half
physical to one which is wholly superior, so for himself he unfeignedly
welcomes it; and even when it comes to those whom he loves, he recognizes
at once the advantage for them, even though he cannot but feel a pang of
regret that he should be temporarily separated from them so far as the
physical world is concerned. But he knows that the so-called dead are near
him still, and that he has only to cast off for a time his physical body in
sleep in order to stand side by side with them as before.

He sees clearly that the world is one, and that the same divine laws rule
the whole of it, whether it be visible or invisible to physical sight. So
he has no feeling of nervousness or strangeness in passing from one part of
it to another, and no feeling of uncertainty as to what he will find on the
other side of the veil. He knows that in that higher life there opens
before him a splendid vista of opportunities both for acquiring fresh
knowledge and for doing useful work; that life away from this dense body
has a vividness and a brilliancy to which all earthly enjoyment is as
nothing; and so through his clear knowledge and calm confidence the power
of the endless life shines out upon all those round him.

Doubt as to his future is for him impossible, for just as by looking back
on the savage he realizes that which he was in the past, so by looking to
the greatest and wisest of mankind he knows what he will be in the future.
He sees an unbroken chain of development, a ladder of perfection rising
steadily before him, yet with human beings upon every step of it, so that
he knows, that those steps are possible for him to climb. It is just
because of the unchangeableness of the great law of cause and effect that
he finds himself able to climb that ladder, because since the law works
always in the same way, he can depend upon it and he can use it, just as he
uses the laws of Nature in the physical worlds. His knowledge of this law
brings to him a sense of perspective and shows him that if something comes
to him, it comes because he has deserved it as a consequence of actions
which he has committed, of words which he has spoken, of thought to which
he has given harbour in previous days or in earlier lives. He comprehends
that all affliction is of the nature of the payment of a debt, and
therefore when he has to meet with the troubles of life he takes them and
uses them as a lesson, because he understands why they have come and is
glad of the opportunity which they give him to pay off something of his

Again, and in yet another way, does he take them as an opportunity, for he
sees that there is another side to them if he meets them in the right way.
He spends no time in bearing prospective burdens. When trouble comes to him
he does not aggravate it by foolish repining but sets himself to endure so
much of it as is inevitable, with patience and with fortitude. Not that he
submits himself to it as a fatalist might, for he takes adverse
circumstances as an incentive to such development as may enable him to
transcend them, and thus out of long-past evil he brings forth a seed of
future growth. For in the very act of paying the outstanding debt he
develops qualities of courage and resolution that will stand him in good
stead through all the ages that are to come.

He is distinguishable from the rest of the world by his perennial
cheerfulness, his undaunted courage under difficulties, and his ready
sympathy and helpfulness; yet he is at the same time emphatically a man who
takes life seriously, who recognizes that there is much for everyone to do
in the world, and that there is no time to waste. He knows with utter
certainty that he not only makes his own destiny but also gravely affects
that of others around him, and thus he perceives how weighty a
responsibility attends the use of his power.

He knows that thoughts are things and that it is easily possible to do
great harm or great good by their means. He knows that no man liveth to
himself, for his every thought acts upon others as well; that the
vibrations which he sends forth from his mind and from his mental nature
are reproducing themselves in the minds and the mental natures of other
men, so that he is a source either of mental health or of mental ill to all
with whom he comes in contact.

This at once imposes upon him a far higher code of social ethics than that
which is known to the outer world, for he knows that he must control not
only his acts and his words, but also his thoughts, since they may produce
effects more serious and more far-reaching than their outward expression in
the physical world. He knows that even when a man is not in the least
thinking of others, he yet inevitably affects them for good or for evil. In
addition to this unconscious action of his thought upon others he also
employs it consciously for good. He sets currents in motion to carry mental
help and comfort to many a suffering friend, and in this way he finds a
whole new world of usefulness opening before him.

He ranges himself ever on the side of the higher rather than the lower
thought, the nobler rather than the baser. He deliberately takes the
optimistic rather than the pessimistic view of everything, the helpful,
rather than the cynical, because he knows that to be fundamentally the true
view. By looking continually for the good in everything that he may
endeavour to strengthen it, by striving always to help and never to hinder,
he becomes ever of greater use to his fellow-men, and is thus in his small
way a co-worker with the splendid scheme of evolution. He forgets himself
utterly and lives but for the sake of others, realizing himself as a part
of that scheme; he also realizes the God within him, and learns to become
ever a truer expression of Him, and thus in fulfilling God's Will, he is
not only blessed himself, but becomes a blessing to all.


Adept, causal body of 45-8
  further evolution of 13
  is on summit of human evolution 13
  level of 13, 119-21
  work of 119-20

Adepts, as members of Hierarchy 13
  first of Earth 129
  from Venus 131-2
  Great Brotherhood of 12-4, 117-8, 132
  many degrees of 13
  men have become 13
  some are Masters 14
  some remain with mankind 22
  some take apprentices 100

Adeptship, older egos nearing 126

Æonian condemnation 119-20, 133

Æther, breath, blown into 19
  bubbles in 19-22, 23
  density of 19
  mean pressure of 19
  of space 18
  ultimate atoms formed in 19

Age or dispensation 13

Air, nature spirits of 84

_Ancient Wisdom, The_ 1

Androgynous man 130

Angels, approach men through ceremonial 85
  guardian 54
  hosts of 11
  Kingdom of 84
  of the law of cause and effect 100

Animals, additional evolution of 131
  are our younger brothers 141
  distinction between man and 40
  domestic 38
  heads of types of 38
  individualization of 38-40
  man's emotions act on 38
  man's thoughts act on 38
  Moon-, came to Earth chain 128
  Moon-, individualize 126, 131
  seven types of 37, 38
  souls of 33

Animal kingdom 31-2, 37, 141

Animal-men of Moon-chain 127-8

Apprentice upon probation 118

Apprentices, to Masters 14-7
  accepted 118
  men may become 18, 116-7
  qualifications necessary for 116-8
  three stages of 118

Aryan root-race 105, 125

Aspects, three, of the Logos 11
  three, of man 11, 41

Astral body, after death 68-71, 73-5, 81, 86
  cell-life of 65
  colours of 56-8
  disintegration of 86
  effect of thought on 51-2
  ego casts off 42, 63
  ego takes an 42, 61
  entity occupying 66-72
  is bridge to mental body 58
  man in his, during sleep 62, 71
  matter of, is in constant motion 70
  never fatigued 62
  no separate senses in 69-70
  of animal 32
  of group-soul 32
  permanent colours of 58
  reacts on causal body 47
  reacts on mental body 47
  shape of 56, 61
  shell around 68, 70, 78-80, 81
  simile of boiling water 69-70
  size of 56
  temptations caused by 66-8
  vibrations of 56-8, 65-7, 75-6

Astral corpse 86
  counterparts 72-3, 78-80
  entity 66-8
  shell 68, 78-81, 86-7
  shell, result of 70
  vitality of 86-7

Astral globe of Earth 26-7, 71-2
  globe of Moon 26-7
  globes of Earth-chain 122

Astral matter, arrangement of 71-3
  attracts mental matter 60
  physical body attracts 60
  vibrations of 24

Astral sight 68-9

Astral world, the appearance of 71, 78-83
  death in 89
  delights of 76-8
  descent of ego to 42-3
  extent of 26-7, 71
  inhabitants of 83
  the, is the home of emotions 71
  is the home of lower thoughts 71
  life period in, after death 43, 64-5, 81
  man in, during sleep 62, 70
  man's freedom in 73, 76
  matter, simile of onion 72
  nature spirits in 84
  no measurement of time in 75
  non-human inhabitants of 84
  of Moon 27
  scenery of 77, 81
  second outpouring enters 30
  second outpouring indrawn to 31
  sections of 78-83
  the sixth plane is named 23, 41
  the summerland of 80
  withdrawal of ego from 82

Astro-mental forms 51, 57

Atlantean root-race 105, 125

Atomic matter 25

Atoms charged with vitality of interpenetrating worlds 20-1
  physical ultimate 25
  ultimate 19-22

Attainment is certain for all 132

Besant, Dr. 1
  author of _The Ancient Wisdom_ 1

Birth of man, factors determining 104-5

Blavatsky, H.P. 14
  author of _Isis Unveiled_ 15
  was a founder of the T.S. 14
  was an apprentice to a Master 14

Bliss of the higher worlds 89-91

Books, oriental sacred 18

Brain, connection with astral body 59
  connection with ego 59
  connection with mental body 49
  etheric part of 62

Branch-races 104-5, 125

Bridges to ego 59, 61

Brotherhood, the Great, of Adepts 12-4, 116-9, 132
  entry into 119
  Great White, the 12
  Head of 12
  Lords of the Flame hold highest office in 132
  man may join in 116

Brotherhood of humanity, the universal 138-9

Bubbles in space 19-21
  aggregations of 19-22, 23-4
  form material of nebula 19

Casual body, the, abstract thoughts arouse 46
  appearance of 45-9
  bad qualities do not affect 47, 58
  colours in 46-8
  composition of 45
  is the vehicle of ego 42
  life in 95-6
  mental body reacts upon 58
  of Adept 45, 48
  of developed man 48
  of primitive man 46
  of saint 48
  of savage 48
  only good affects 47, 58
  permanent vehicle of ego 45
  unselfish emotions arouse 47

Cause and effect, law of 100-7
  adjustment of 101
  angels connected with 101
  cannot be modified 101
  exactness of 100-1
  explains problems of life 100-1

Cause and effect, is universal 100
  simile of debts and 102-7

Cell-life of astral body 65
  of mental body 65
  of physical body 65

Centres of force 60

Ceremonial, angels approach men through 85

Chain, a, consists of seven rounds 124
  life-wave of a 121, 123-5
  lunar, the 123, 126-7
  periods 125

Chains of globes 121
  descent of, into matter 121-4
  incarnation of 121-5

Character and simile of muscles 114
  how, is formed 111-5

Chemical elements 21, 28

Children of the Fire-mist 131
  (also see Lords of Flame)

Christ, the, learning the lesson of 96
  spoke of the "æonian condemnation" 119, 133

Church, the angels approach men through 85

Clairvoyant sight 46
  character seen by 50
  force-centres seen by 60

Colours of astral body 56-8
  of causal body 46-8
  of mental body 48
  of thoughts 54

Consciousness, development of 45-6
  of developed man 62-3
  states of 64

Corpse, astral 86
  physical 86
  the Moon is a 123

Counterparts, astral 73-4
  of globes 122

Crookes, Sir William 22

Dead, the, can be helped 77-9
  can continue studies 77
  can help their fellowmen 77
  communicate with living 74
  cravings of the 75-7
  first feeling of 76
  friends of, in mental world 93-4
  have no measurement of time 75
  in astral world 73-89
  in mental world 89-95
  in the three sections of astral world 74-5, 78-83
  most of, are happy 76
  period in astral world, 64-5, 82
  period in mental world 64
  relation of, to Earth 73-4
  some seize other bodies 88
  thought-creations of 80
  what they see 73

Death, a second 63, 89
  artists after 77
  average men after 64-5
  character not changed by 74
  conditions of life after 74
  cultured men after 65
  etheric double at 87
  happiness after 74, 76
  in astral world 68, 89
  lovers of music after 77
  misery after 75
  philanthropists after 77
  primitive men after 63
  sensualists after 75-6
  spiritual men after 65
  students of science after 77
  what is 3, 63, 137, 144

Deity (see Solar Deity)

Demons, tempting 53, 67

Departments of the world 11

Devas, hosts of 11
 (also see Angels)

Discrimination 118

Divine Life 29
  ensouls matter 29-40
  responds to vibrations 33

Divine world, extent of 26-7
  first plane named 23, 41
  "Door, shutting the" 131

Dreams 62

Earth, Adepts from Venus come to 131
  astral globe of 26-7
  -chain 121
  first men of the 125-30
  nature spirits of the 85
  purpose of life on 142

Earth-chain, the 121
  animal-men build early
  forms on 127-8
  explained 121-4
  incarnation of 122-5
  Moon-animals come to 128

Education, department of 11-2

Ego, the, assumes bodies 42, 61
  bridges of to physical body 58, 61
  connection of, with brain 59
  desire of, for vivid life 97
  drops lower bodies 43
  ensouls fragment of group-soul 42
  fills mental images of himself 93
  gains qualities 43
  habitat of 94
  is a part expression of Monad 61
  is the manifestation of the triple Spirit in man 42
  life of, in causal body 95-7
  life of, in lower bodies 63-4
  lives for millions of years 97
  loses part of his life sometimes 86
  object of descent of 45, 98
  only good affects 47-8, 58, 112
  origin of 39, 109
  passes to mental world 85
  remembers past lives 44
  sheaves of 61
  sight of 45
  the, simile of day at school and 98
  succession of personalities of 109
  withdraws from astral plane 82

Elemental kingdoms, the three 29-30
  seven types of each of 37

Elemental creatures 37

Elements, chemical 21, 28
  proto- 21

Emotions affect life after death 64, 67-8
  of the living react on the dead 74
  selfish and unselfish 110
  should be developed in
  fourth round 131
  the home of the 71

Emotional world (see astral world)

Entity, astral body 66-8

Etheric, bodies of early humanity 129
  bodies of nature spirits 84
  matter 25

Etheric double, the 59
  at death 87-8
  force-centres in 60
  is a bridge 59
  is not a vehicle 87-8
  some dead cling to 88
  vitality flows through 59

Evil, is transitory 48, 58, 135-6
  is utilized for progress 135
  man's powers of, are
  restricted 102
  simile of Niagara Falls, and 135

Evolution, additional, for animals 131
  advanced state of 131
  animal 31-40
  break in regularity of 130
  central point of 125, 130
  early stages of, for backward entities 127
  examining scenes of early 3
  is the Will of the Deity 11, 142
  ladder of 17
  man restrains law of 105
  mineral 30-1
  object of human 99
  of human forms 129-30
  of life 28-40
  other schemes of 121, 123
  pressure of 99, 105
  resistless stream of 136
  scheme of, a 32, 122-5
  summit of human 13
  super-human 13, 119
  Theosophy explains laws of 99
  three stages of 108-9
  vegetable 30-1

Eye-brows, force-centre between 60

Failure is impossible 5

Fairies (see Nature-spirits)

'Fetters' to be cast off 120

Fire-mist, Children of the 131

Fire, nature-spirits of 84
  Sparks of divine 10, 41, 61

Flame, Lords of the 131

Fohat 19

Forces, the higher, Adepts' knowledge of 14

Force-centres 60

Founder of each race 11

Founders of the Theosophical Society 14

Fragment of life of the Logos 9
  of group-soul 39, 42
  of the Monad 61

Freemasonry, angels approach men through 85

Free-will 99

Free-will, limitation of unbounded 102-3

_Genesis of Elements, The_ 22

Globe, astral, of Earth 27
  astral of, Moon 27
  mental 27

Globes, chains of 121
  seven, of Earth-chain 122-3
  'God is Love' 10
  Word of 9
  (see also Solar Deity)

Group of egos 106

Group-soul, fragment, from, is ensouled 39-42
  of domestic animals 38-40
  numbers of bodies attached to one 34-7
  Spark hovers over 40

Group-souls 36-9
  seven types of 37
  simile of bucket of water and 34-6

Guardian angel 54

Head, force-centre in 60
  of each race 11
  of human evolution 11
  of religion and education 11-2
  of the White Brotherhood 14

Heart, force-centre in 60

Heaven, is a state of consciousness 64
  simile of capacity of cups and 91-2
  varying capacities of men in 91-2

Hell, non-existence of 64, 71, 74, 75

Hierarchy, The 5
  controls the world 5, 13
  Head of 14
  man can join 13
  Members of, watch for helpers 116-7
  Human evolution, beginning of 32-8
  division of races of 104-5
  the central point in 118-9
  the half-way point of 125
  the summit of 13

Humanity, bodies of early 128-9
  early, was androgynous 130
  races of 11
  receives help from Venus 131
  service of, by thought 53-4
  spiritual unity of 139

Immortal, the soul of man 8

Incarnations of Earth-chain 122-5

Individuality, a permanent 39

Individualization, is the first critical point of man's life 118
  of animals 37-40
  of Moon-animals 126-7, 130-1

Indo-Caucasian root-race 105

Inhabitants of finer worlds 26

Initiations, the great 118, 119-20
  simile of university degrees 120

Instincts, of animals 35
  of cell-life 65

Intellect is a fifth round development 131

Intelligence in man 42

Intuition in man 23, 42

Intuitional world, the 23, 42
  extent of 27
  Monad manifests in 42
  second outpouring in 33
  third outpouring descends to 39-40

_Isis Unveiled_ 15

Jupiter, the planet 124

King of the World, The 11

Kingdom, animal 30-1, 37-9
  first elemental 29
  mineral 30-3, 40
  of angels 84-5
  of nature-spirits 84-5
  second elemental 30
  seven types of each 38
  third elemental 30
  vegetable 30-1, 38

Kingdoms of nature ensouled by life-waves 38, 126
  the elemental 29-30
  the seven, of nature 28, 38-9

Koilon 18

Ladder of evolution, the 17, 145
  golden 96
  rungs of 17

Law, the, of evolution 99, 104-5
  of cause and effect 100-7

Laws, the immutable 8

Liberated man 5-6

Life, cell- 65-6
  conditions of, after death 74
  divine 23, 29, 121
  man's continuous 63
  the purpose of 98-9, 108-20

Life-waves, the 28-40
  constant-successions of 32
  ensoul the kingdoms of nature 33, 37
  of chains 121-2, 123-5
  two stages of 29

Life-wave, the, now centred on Earth 128
  period of, in each kingdom 38-9

Logos, the (see Solar Deity)

Lords of the Flame, assistance given by 132
  come to Earth 131
  some still remain on Earth 132
  of the Moon 126

'Love, God is' 10

Lunar-chain (see Moon-chain)

Man, after death 63-96
  can kill out vices 110-5
  conflict of interest between, and his vehicles 66
  constitution of 41-62
  distinction between animals and 40
  during sleep 61-2, 70, 74
  early, was androgynous 130
  evolves through different races 104-5
  exists in other worlds 2-3, 42-3
  factors determining birth of 104-5
  free will of 99-100, 102
  has latent powers 2
  has many lives 2-4, 42
  has powers of evil restricted 102
  has several bodies 2-3, 42
  is always affecting others 138-9, 147
  is a Monad 42
  is a soul 2-3
  is a Spark of divine Fire 41
  is divine in origin 3
  is his own law-giver 8
  is immortal 8
  is influenced by his astral body-entity 68
  is not changed by death 74
  is separate from animal kingdom 28
  is the outcome of his past 44-5
  learns to use his powers in service 108-9
  liberated 5-6
  makes his own destiny 147
  may be apprenticed to a Master 14-5, 117
  past history of 2-3
  physical body of, is evolved from animal forms 130
  reaps result of his action 100-1
  represents mineral kingdom of first chain 126
  the Triple Spirit in 41
  the triumph of 96
  three aspects of 11, 41-2
  why, does not remember past lives 44
  (also see primitive man and savages)

Mars, the planet 122, 124
  life exists on 128

Master, son of a 118
  the 13-7
  are Adepts Who take apprentices 14
  take apprentices 14-7, 117-8
  the great knowledge of 14
  "Their world" 15

Matter, all, is living 30, 65
  astral 15, 26, 31, 43, 51, 66-7
  atomic 25
  different densities of 20, 25
  etheric 25, 59
  formation of root- 18-9
  intermingling of 21
  mental 23, 27, 29, 33, 42
  molecules of 24-5
  power of attraction of 60
  root- 81

Matter, seven types of 21, 24
  starry 24
  sub-atomic 25
  sub-divisions of 24-5
  super-etheric 25
  the senses respond to vibrations in 26
  ultimate 18-21
  vibrations of 24-6, 33, 44-7
  whirling sphere of, a 19-21

Memory of nature 3
  of past lives 44

Men, backward, drop out 132-3
  bodies of first Earth-chain 129-30
  first, of Earth-chain 126-7
  Moon- 126-9

Mental, globe 26-7
  globes of Earth-chain 122
  images of friends 93-4
  shell 53, 91
  warts 49
  (also see mental world)

Mental body, the, after death 90-1
  bridge from, to physical body 58
  cell-life of 65
  composition of 48
  connection of brain with 49
  description of 48-9, 60-1
  effect of prejudice upon 49
  effect of thoughts upon 48-51
  expresses concrete thoughts 48
  reacts on causal body 58
  shell 53, 91
  sight of 50-1
  striations in 49-50
  the astral body reacts upon 58
  the dead are unused to 90-1
  the ego casts aside his 43-4, 63
  the ego takes a 42-3
  the memory of 44-5
  thoughts shown as colours in 48-50
  vibrations of 50, 53-4
  warts on 49

Mental matter, globe of 26-7
  the causal body is built of 45
  the mind is built of 23
  vibrations of 24

Mental world, average life in, after death 64-5
  bliss of 90
  effect of higher thought in 92-3
  ego formed in higher 39
  extent of 27
  formation of 20-3
  friends of dead in 93-4
  higher 29-30, 33, 39-42
  levels of 94
  lower 29-30
  man in, after death 63-4, 89-95
  the fifth plane named 24-41
  the Monad manifests in higher 42
  the second outpouring descends to 29-30
  wealth of 91

Mercury, the planet 122, 124
  life exists on 128

Mind, the divine 91
  the, of man 23
  (also see mental body)

Mineral, the kingdom 30-1, 37, 108, 126
  man represents, of first chain 126
  seven types of 37
  the first out-pouring ensouls 30

Ministers in charge of departments 11
  the seven, of Solar Deity 11

Monad, the, descent of 41

Monad, origin of 41, 61

Monads, the home of human, 23, 41

Monadic world, the, extent of 27
  man belongs to 41
  the second plane named 23, 41-2

Mongolian root-race 105

Moon, the, astral globe of 27, 71
  human goal on 126
  individualization on 125
  is a corpse 123
  Lords of the 126

Moon-animals 126-7
  individualize on Earth 128-9

Moon-chain, animal-men of 127-8
  human goal on 126
  men of 126
  men come to Earth-chain 126-9
  was the third incarnation of our chain 123

Moon-men 126-9
  distribution of, on Earth-chain 126-9
  first order of 129
  second order of 129
  some entered the Path 129

Motive, the, for self-effort 115

Nature, memory of 3
  planes of 7
  seven kingdoms of 28

Nature-spirits, are not individualized 84
  are sometimes seen by men 84
  four classes of 84
  many wear etheric bodies 84
  the kingdom of 84
  where they exist 83-4

Nebula, cooling of 22
  planets formed from 22
  rings of 22
  subsidiary vortices of 22
  vortex of 20

Negroid, the, race 105

Neptune, the planet 124

Nerves, vitality flows along 59

_Occult Chemistry_ 7

_Occult World, The_ 1, 15

Occultism, how to progress in 113-7

Official, pupils of great 11
  representing Solar Deity 11

Officials of the Hierarchy 13

Olcott, Colonel H.S. 14
  a founder of T.S. 14

Oriental sacred books 18

Origin, divine, of man 3, 10, 39-40

Outpouring, the first 20-8
  the second 28-39, 65
  the third 39-40

Path, the, conditions of 15
  fetters to be cast off on 119-20
  fourth step on 126
  Moon-men entered 129
  simile of mountain 5
  steeper 5, 119-20

Peers of Logos 9

Perfect men 5

Perseverance necessary for progress 113

Personality 61
  the purpose of the 109

Philosophy, Theosophy is a 1

Physical body, attracts astral matter 60
  cells of the 65-6
  during sleep man leaves his 62, 70
  early evolution of the 129-30
  ego, drops his 43, 63

Physical body, ego takes a 43, 61
  etheric part of 59-60
  future perfection of the 132
  of first round 129-30
  of man is evolved from animal forms 130
  requirements of the 59-60

Physical matter, subdivisions of 25
  vibrations of 24, 33

Physical world, the, descent of ego to 42-3
  formation of 21-3, 23-6
  second outpouring enters 30-1
  seven sub-divisions of 25

_Pioneer, The_, Mr. A.P. Sinnett, editor of 15

Planes of nature, the 7
  formation of 20-1
  investigation of 7
  naming of 41

Planets, formation of 22
  future 20
  life on other 128

Planetary chains 121-33

Planetary Spirits, the seven 11
  simile of ganglia and 11

Powers latent in man 2
  are for use in service 109
  observation of history by 3
  observation of other worlds by 2-3

Prejudices shown in mental body, 49

Primitive man, causal body of 46-8
  during sleep 62
  life of, after death 64
  result of action of 102
  types of 37

Principle, undying, in man 8

Probation, apprentice upon 118
  period of 118

Promptings of lower nature 66-8

Proto-elements 21

Pupils, accepted, of Master 118
  of Great Officials 11
  of Masters 14-7, 116-8
  (see also apprentices)

Purgatory is a state of consciousness 64-5

Quotations from, a French Scientist 18
  a Gnostic Philosopher 10
  a Master 15
  an Eastern Scripture 9
  _The Occult World_ 1

Race, Founder of each 11
  Head of each 11
  of life 99

Races, branch- 105, 125
  man evolves through different 105
  object of 105
  of humanity 14
  root- 105, 125-6
  sub- 105, 125

Ray, the seventh 85

Record, indelible 3

Reincarnation 42-4, 97-107
  desire of ego for 97
  simile of days at school and 98-9
  Theosophy explains 99

Religion, Adepts, Teachers of 12
  department of 12
  Founders of new 11

Religions, have one source 12
  start with basic truths 12
  the sending forth of 11

Reproduction, early methods of 130

Reynolds, Prof. O. 18-9

Right and wrong, the test of 142

Roman races, the 105

Root-matter 18

Root-races 105, 125

Round, a 125
  first, differs from others 128

Rounds, conditions, of early reproduced in fourth round 130-1
  human forms on first three 128-30

Saturn, rings of, simile of 22

Savages, causal bodies of 46-7, 48-9
  during sleep 62
  types of 37

'Saved, The' 119

Scheme of evolution, a 32, 121-2
  central point of 125

School, of philosophy, there is a 1
  of life, none fail in the 98

Séances 87

_Secret Doctrine, The_ 19

Seers can use sight of the ego 46

Senses, the, of astral body 68-9
  respond to vibrations of matter 26

Service, man learns to use his powers in 109
  the joy of 96

Seven, 'bubbles' combine in powers of 20-1, 23
  choices of Lords of the Moon 127-8
  degrees of density of matter 24-5
  force-centres in man's bodies 60
  globes of a chain 121-2
  impulses of force 19-20
  incarnations of chains 121
  interpenetrating worlds 20, 22
  kingdoms of nature 28
  life-waves 33
  Ministers of Solar Deity 11
  Planetary Spirits 11
  sub-divisions of matter 24-5
  sub-divisions of vitality 60
  types of animals 37-9
  types of elemental creatures 37-8
  types of group-souls 37-8
  types of matter 21, 24
  types of men 43
  types of minerals 37
  types of vegetables 37

Sexes, separation of 130

Shade, the 86

Sheaves of the ego 61

Shell, of astral body 68, 78-80, 81, 86-7
  of thoughts 53, 91

Sight, astral 68-9
  clairvoyant 46
  mental 51
  of ego 46

Simile of, boiling water 69-70
  brick 25
  bucket of water 34-5
  charged battery 53
  cups of varying capacities 91-2
  days at school 97-8, 143
  dense fog 143
  developing muscles 114
  flame in a dark night 14
  ganglia 11
  matter diffused in water 72
  Niagara Falls 135
  onion 72
  overtones of musical notes 58
  path up mountain 5
  payment of a debt 102-4
  rungs of a ladder 17
  Saturn's rings 22
  shutting a door 131
  sorting out school-boys 132
  university degrees 120
  vibrations of a bell 55
  warts 49

Sinnett, Mr. A.P. 1, 15
  author of _The Occult World_ 1, 15
  author of _Esoteric Buddhism_ 1, 15
  editor of _The Pioneer_ 15

Sleep 61-2, 70, 87
  man during 61-2, 70
  the dead are met during 74

Solar Deity, the, a Being higher than 19
  builds His system 9-10, 19
  field of activity of 19
  first Aspect of 39
  fragment of Life of 9-10
  future planets of 19
  impulses of force of 20-1, 28
  is a Trinity 11
  Official representing 11
  Peers of 9
  Plan of 11, 13
  second Aspect of 28, 32, 65
  Self-limitation of 10
  seven Ministers of 11
  seven Planetary Spirits 11
  the King of the World represents 11
  third Aspect of 20-1, 28
  threefold manifestation of 10

Solar plexus, force-centre, the 60

Solar System, evolutionary table of 125
  formation of 18-27
  inhabitants of the 85
  Logos of a 9
  origin of 19
  ten chains of 121-3

Solar systems, countless 9

Son of Master 118

Soul, the group 33-9, 42
  man is a 2, 33
  of an animal 33-4
  of domestic animals 37-40
  of grasses 31
  of insects 37
  of lions 33-4
  of man 8, 33, 55
  of reptiles 42
  of trees 31
  plant- 33
  World- 33

Space, between atoms 23
  Fohat digs holes in 19
  the æther of 18-9
  worlds not separate in 2

Sparks, of divine Fire 39-40, 61
  of divine Life 23, 29

Spine, force-centre at base of 60

Spirit, and matter 18
  in man 23, 41
  the triple, in man 41-2

Spiritual world, the extent of 26-7
  is the name of third plane 23, 41
  Monads descend to 41

Spleen, the, vitality flows through 60

Stream, those who have entered the 119

Sub-atomic matter 25

Sub-races of humanity 105, 125

Summerland, the, of astral world 80

Sun, vitality comes from the 60

Super-etheric matter 25

Table of evolution of Solar System 125

Teachers, authority of 16
  of earlier races 126
  of religion 11-2

Tempting demons 53, 67

Test, the, of right and wrong 142

Teutonic sub-race 105

Theosophy, demands no belief 6
  explains reincarnation 99
  explains religions 7
  first popular exposition of 1
  is a philosophy 1
  is a religion 1, 5-7
  is a science 1, 7
  never converts 7
  solves problems of life 4
  statements of, based on observation 6
  tells of past history 3
  the gospel of 96
  the great facts of 8
  what, does for us 134-148

Theosophist, the, cheerfully faces trouble 146
  conception of life of 137
  does not try to convert 140
  has no fear of death 137
  knows the power of thought 147
  relation of, to animals 141
  sees purpose of life 142
  test of right and wrong of 141

Thought, abstract 46
  all actions spring from 116
  concrete 48, 50
  coupled with feeling 51
  -forces after death 63
  is a powerful instrument 116
  necessity for clear 114
  necessity for control of 116
  prolonged 50
  shell of 53

Thoughts, are things 147
  as a power for good 55
  build forms 52
  distance no hindrance to 52
  effect of, after death 63-4, 80
  humanity helped by 54-5
  meaning of colours of 46, 54-7
  meaning of shapes of 54
  on Theosophy 55-60
  others affected by 50-51
  self-centred 53-4
  selfish and unselfish 110
  transmission of 52

Thought-forms 50-4
  are temporary entities 53
  as guardian angels 54
  as tempting demons 53
  astro-mental 51, 57
  duration of 53-4
  effect on others of 51-2
  move through space 51

Thought images (see Thought-forms)

Three, Aspects of the Logos 10-1
  aspects of man 41
  critical points in man's evolution 117-9
  elemental kingdoms 28-9
  great truths 8
  in One 10
  outpourings 28-39
  Persons 10
  stages of apprenticeship 118
  stages of evolution 108-9

Throat, the force-centre in 60

Time, no measure of, in astral world 75

Trinity of Solar Logos 10

Triple Spirit in man 41-2

Triumph, the, of man 96

Trust begets trust 111

Truth, one in diverse forms 12
  the, is obtainable 12

Truths, basic, of religions 12-3
  the three great 8

Types of, animals 37-8
  elemental creatures 37
  group-souls 37
  life 37
  matter 21
  men 37-9
  minerals 37
  reptiles 37
  vegetables 38

Ultimate atoms 19
  physical atoms 25
  root-matter 18

Ultra-violet light 26-44

Unity, the, of humanity 138-9
  what tends to 109

Universe, the, beginning of 18

Universes, innumerable 9

Universal brotherhood of humanity, the 138

Uranium 22

Uranus, the planet 124

Vegetable, the, kingdom 30-1, 37-8
  seven types of 37

Vehicles, man's conflict of interest with his 66-9

Venus, the planet 124
  Adepts from, come to Earth 131
  stage of evolution of 131

Vibrations, of astral body 56-7, 65-6, 75-6
  of mental body 44
  of thought-forms 53, 55

Vibrations, in matter 24, 33, 59
  causal body affected by 47-9
  ego responds to 45
  life learns to generate 33
  octaves of 24
  the senses respond to 25-6

Vices, belong to the vehicles 112
  how to kill out 110-5

Vitality, circulates along the nerves 59
  of astral corpse 86
  sub-division of 59-60
  what it is 59

Vortices, force-centres appear as 60
  in matter 20
  in nebular 19-22

Vulcan, the planet, was seen by Herschel 124

Warts on mental body 49

Water, nature-spirits of 84

Waves, life- (see life-waves)

Wealth of the heaven world 91

Whirling sphere of matter 19-21
  vortex in 20

Will, the divine 6, 11
  evolution is 11, 120
  fulfilment of 118

Wisdom, Masters of the (see Masters)

Word of God, the 9

World, departments of the 11
  King of this 11
  -period 124

Worlds, bliss of the higher 89-90
  inhabitants of finer 25-6
  man exists in several 2-3
  of different densities 3
  seven interpenetrating 20, 23-4

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