Man and his seven principles


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A study on 'Man and his seven principles" presented to the Theosphical Research Group of TSP.

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Man and his seven principles

  1. 1. Man and his Seven Principles TRG Study Group Sundays, 6pm TSP Headquarters Quezon City, Metro Manila
  2. 2. What is Man? <ul><li>“ There are gold men, and tin men, and copper men, and leaden men, and steel men, and so on. And each has the limitations of his nature, his heredities, his training and his environment. </li></ul><ul><li>“ You can make engines out of these metals. But you must not require the weak ones to do equal work with the strong ones. </li></ul><ul><li>“ In each case, to get the best results, you must free the metal from its obstructing prejudicial ones by education – smelting, refining and so forth. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ Man the machine - man the impersonal engine. Whatsoever a man is, is due to his make and to the influences brought upon it by his heredities, his habitats, his associations. </li></ul><ul><li>“ He is moved, directed, commanded by exterior influences – solely. He originates nothing, not even a thought.” (Twain, n.d.) </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Mark Twain spoke of a seed within every man which must be subjected to a training in right directions rather than training in wrong directions. </li></ul><ul><li>It is not of man’s own merit that the seed is there. But the seed becomes a plant because of external influences that resonate to its highest ideals. “No seed, no plant.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>This seed may be likened to that ‘divine spark’ that theosophical literature speaks of. </li></ul><ul><li>Mark Twain proceeds by saying that man is moved towards the direction that will content his spirit. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Therefore, our efforts in training ourselves is to let that ‘divine spark’ ever glowing with such luminosity, to cultivate that seed into a sturdy plant. </li></ul><ul><li>In theosophical parlance, ‘to awaken the higher potential’. This presupposes that in each of us is a dormant dynamism that is inclined to our highest ideals. </li></ul>
  7. 7. How are we to understand this man? <ul><li>If we endeavor to ‘awaken our higher potential’, </li></ul><ul><li>we have to understand our ‘make’. </li></ul><ul><li>Ancient Wisdom or Theosophy helps us understand man </li></ul><ul><li>by the seven principles that constitute him: </li></ul><ul><li>Atma </li></ul><ul><li>Buddhi </li></ul><ul><li>Higher Manas </li></ul><ul><li>Lower Manas </li></ul><ul><li>Kama - astral </li></ul><ul><li>Etheric </li></ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Higher Self <ul><li>Atma – Spirit </li></ul><ul><li>Buddhi – seat of intuition </li></ul><ul><li>Higher manas – higher mental (abstract mind) </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Lower Self <ul><li>Lower mental – concrete mind </li></ul><ul><li>or seat of thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>Astral body – seat of emotions </li></ul><ul><li>and desires </li></ul><ul><li>Physical body – the dense, tangible form </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>An understanding of the condition of man as </li></ul><ul><li>regards his seven principles may help him to dissociate the Self from the garments of the physical, emotional and thoughts with which he so identifies himself. </li></ul><ul><li>Habitually distinguishing these principles as separate from the real Self can help us view our physical body, emotions and thoughts as mere instruments of this real Self and that “we exist in a far fuller consciousness outside and within [these garments], but that we are not in any sense dependent on them” (Besant, n.d.). </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ [This places] us above the daily petty </li></ul><ul><li>troubles which loom so largely to embodied consciousness, showing us the true proportion between the ever-changing and the relatively permanent, and making us feel the difference between the drowning man tossed and buffeted by the waves that smother him, and the man whose feet are on a rock while the surges break harmlessly at its base” (Besant, n.d.). </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Physical Body <ul><li>In the book of Annie Besant, the body consists of the physical dense body and the etheric double. </li></ul><ul><li>The physical body consists of solids, liquids and gases, and the ether consists of ether I, II, III and IV. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>“ [T]he body exists for us, not we for </li></ul><ul><li>the body; the body is ours to use - we do not belong to it to be used by it. The body is an instrument which is to be refined, to be improved, to be trained, to be moulded into such a form and made of such constituents as may best fit it to be the instrument on the physical plane for the highest purposes of the man” (Besant, n.d.). </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>“ [The dense body] is the most outward garment of the man, his lowest manifestation, his most limited and imperfect expression of himself” (Besant, n.d.). </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>The physical body is governed by two nervous systems, i.e., involuntary and voluntary nervous systems. </li></ul><ul><li>Involuntary – that which allows the automatic processes of the physical body like blood circulation, elimination, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary – the cerebro-spinal axis which is important for our mental processes </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Because the physical body is prone to diseases and injury, man is limited in its fuller expression. But he can improve this physical instrument through exercises, e.g., hatha yoga, and diet. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Self-culture as to the Physical Body <ul><li>“ The physical body is brought under control by applying a steady pressure of will in changing its wrong habits and using patience and common sense in its management” (Taimni, 1980). </li></ul>
  18. 18. How? <ul><li>Purification of the body through diet </li></ul><ul><li>Sensitization of the nervous system through meditation </li></ul>
  19. 19. Diet <ul><li>Tamasic foods – promote inertia, e.g., meat, fish, processed foods </li></ul><ul><li>Rajasic foods – promote activity, e.g., stimulants like coffee, tea, sweets, spicy foods, pungent foods like garlic and onions </li></ul><ul><li>Sattvic foods – promote harmony and rhythm, e.g., milk, nuts, fruits, vegetables </li></ul>
  20. 20. Meditation <ul><li>Start with ordinary concentration of the mind combined with the ardent aspiration of the soul, making the passage of subtler vibrations into the physical brain possible (Taimni, 1980). </li></ul>
  21. 21. Etheric Body <ul><li>“ The powers of thought, of movement and of feeling are not resident in physical or ether nerve-substance; they are activities of the Ego working in his inner bodies, and the expression of them on the physical plane is rendered possible by the life-breath as it runs along the nerve-threads and round the nerve-cells; for Prâna, the life-breath, is the active energy of the Self. The function of the etheric double is to serve as the physical medium for this energy, and hence it is often spoken of in our literature as the ‘vehicle of Prâna’ (Besant, n.d.). </li></ul>
  22. 22. Astral Body <ul><li>The astral body functions through the sense organs of the physical body. When an external stimulus is perceived by the sense organs of the physical body, the brain converts the perception into sensations to which we are attracted or repulsed. </li></ul><ul><li>Our attraction to a certain experience or object is stored in the memory and gives rise to desire. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>“ The man who does not understand </li></ul><ul><li>the nature of desire, or is not determined </li></ul><ul><li>to control it, gets constantly caught in these attractions and repulsions and these are bonds that bind him to the lower worlds; while the wise man who has become desireless moves through the world, among these very attractions, passes through the same experiences, yet, because he does not allow his mind to form any connections with the objects of desire, he remains free” (Taimni, 1980). </li></ul>
  24. 24. Self-culture as to the Astral Body <ul><li>“ [Hence], the improvement of the astral body hinges on the one side on the purification of the physical body, and on the other on the purification and development of the mind” (Besant, n.d.). </li></ul><ul><li>The higher form of desire is will or determination. This is that which moves us into steady action to get things done. </li></ul>
  25. 25. How? <ul><li>Deliberate disengagement or dissociation of the consciousness from the astral body by: </li></ul><ul><li>Constant self-recollectedness </li></ul><ul><li>Observation </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection </li></ul><ul><li>If we can, we must practice this while we are at the moment of desire or emotion, not in retrospect. </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Be aware of the dangers of repression. It’s either we divert it the desire or emotion or if we do not want a desire or emotion, then do not generate it (Taimni, 1980). </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>Refine the astral body by tuning into </li></ul><ul><li>the higher forms of desire or emotions like sympathy, love, reverence, devotion, compassion, service. </li></ul><ul><li>It is only when the astral body has been subjugated that the Buddhi can enlighten the mind with a ‘peace that passeth all understanding’ (Taimni, 1980). </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>“ If a person cannot or will not accomplish </li></ul><ul><li>the simple and comparatively easy duty of purifying the physical and astral bodies by using a temporary self-denial to break the bonds of evil habits in eating and drinking, it is idle for him to hanker after more difficult processes...[B]ut with purification...the pupil will find knowledge gradually flowing into him, keener vision will awaken, vibrations will reach him from every side, arousing in him response which could not have been made by him in the days of blindness and obtuseness” (Besant, n.d.) . </li></ul>
  29. 29. Lower Mental <ul><li>The most wonderful thing in creation and the greatest problem of the man trying to tread the Path. </li></ul><ul><li>Center of egoism that feels himself separate </li></ul><ul><li>Creator of illusion </li></ul><ul><li>The organ of concrete thoughts </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>The primary function of the lower mental is to convert astral sensations into mental perceptions of color, sounds, taste, smell, touch. </li></ul><ul><li>Creates composite image </li></ul><ul><li>Storehouse of memory </li></ul><ul><li>Establishes relations between images perceived </li></ul>
  31. 31. Self-culture as to the Lower Mind <ul><li>“ The effort to control the mind and to make it pure and strong by subjecting it to systematic discipline will gradually make a student increasingly conscious of this dualism between the controller and the controlled, [the observer and the observed]” (Taimni, 1980). </li></ul>
  32. 32. How? <ul><li>One-pointedness throughout the activities of the day, no matter whether the task is important or not. The idea is not to let the mind wander. </li></ul><ul><li>Deliberate selection of the thoughts you would allow to enter your mind or constant discrimination whether or not the thought is external or self-initiated </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Recalibrate your mind towards noble thoughts to create a new mental culture that will resonate with the finer vibrations of forces </li></ul><ul><li>Constant alertness to the kind of thoughts that enter the mind </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary attention </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>The aim of concentration is to drop an idea </li></ul><ul><li>from the mind and keep the mind still </li></ul><ul><li>concentrated and alert without that idea in the focus of consciousness. </li></ul><ul><li>Only then can a man gain direct knowledge of his true nature </li></ul><ul><li>This is somehow in preparation for the higher mental </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>“ The Occultist knows the value of </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge but he believes in exercising discrimination in the acquisition of knowledge relating to the phenomenal world. He knows that all knowledge is relative and therefore he does not attach himself to this. But he is more concerned with the knowledge that will serve a higher purpose” (Taimni, 1980). </li></ul>
  36. 36. Higher Mind <ul><li>The Causal Body </li></ul><ul><li>During the Atma-Buddhi’s downpouring, it unites with the causal body and the causal body becomes the receptacle of all which is in accordance with the Law, of every attribute which is noble and harmonious, and therefore enduring. It is that which marks the growth of man, the stage of evolution to which he has attained (Besant, n.d.). </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>The lowest vehicle of the immortal Ego </li></ul><ul><li>Vehicle of abstract thought, which are </li></ul><ul><li>not in themselves vague and indefinite when perceived by the faculty of the higher mind (e.g., the essence of a triangle is abstract but the form of the triangle as having three sides is a concrete thought). When hidden laws of nature are understood, what for the lower mind is abstract is clear to the higher mind. </li></ul>
  38. 38. <ul><li>Vices - the dark bands in the spectrum of our character - are the absence of corresponding virtues not yet unfolded in the Causal Body </li></ul>
  39. 39. Development of the Higher Mental <ul><li>Train the mind to abstract thinking, e.g., study of higher mathematics and study of philosophy </li></ul><ul><li>Character-building aiming for perfection </li></ul>
  40. 40. How? <ul><li>Daily practice of virtues </li></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>“ The Causal Body is like a mirror which can reflect the truths present in the Universal Mind into the lower mind and he whose Causal Body is sufficiently developed and in communication with the lower mental body has the means at his disposal of contacting the Universal Mind to some extent” (Taimni, 1980). </li></ul>
  42. 42. References <ul><li>Besant, A. (n.d.). Man and his Bodies. </li></ul><ul><li>Taimni, I.K. (1980). Self-Culture: The Problem of Self-Discovery and Self-Realization in the Light of Occultism. The Theosophical Publishing House. Adyar, Madras, India. </li></ul><ul><li>Twain, M. (n.d.). What is Man? Retrieved from </li></ul>