SINCE Prâna is the unifying and vitalizing force between all the Principles, its special vehicle, the Etheric body, is subtly related to all, though most closely permeating, in the form of vapor, visible fo psychic sight as a perfect shadow, the physical body of which it is both prototype and counterpart; for not only does it fore-shadow coming disorders, but also it preserves in its etherealized copy the mark of every wound or blemish even after they are effaced from the physical body. No surgeon’s knife can sever the limbs of the Etheric body, and it is this sheath that pre-serves the sensations of an amputated leg or arm. Iamblichas defined this Principle as ” an unchangeable body of light which does not need anything for its sustenance.” It is the evestrum of Paracelsus. Every life has such a body.
The healthful, normal activity of this Principle is of immense importance, for it is the medium through which the higher Principles of the human constitution penetrate the lower ones, and are ever trying to elevate them. This effort, arising in Buddhi, is man’s conscience.
All anaesthetics, narcotics, and nerve tonics disturb the connections and the flow of the Prânic currents between these two shariras, affecting first the brain connections which become partially paralyzed. The resulting low vitality of the visible body is due to this separation from its prototype; the double, half-withdrawing from the left side, where psychic vision sees it as a violet-gray shadow.
Lower Manas is the fourth Principle and Vâyu sheath, under the rule of Jupiter; and it corresponds with two colors and tones according to the influence to which it yields. It is so prone to be ruled by desires that it is often called Kama-Manas, and in this positive state it takes the complementary color of Kâma, green, with the tone Fa. When aspiring, and therefore receptive to vibrations from Higher Manas, it reflects blue with the tone Sol. This Principle is the thinking power of the physical man (the objective mind), functioning in the brain and nervous system. Through opportunity or ambition, a man may acquire marked intellectual ability without possessing even a dawning sense of the powers of Higher Manas. This is the condition of materialists, who may be strong personalities without gaining individuality, being complacently satisfied with the tremendous development of the lower self.
This sheath influences the corpora-quadrigemina, another mark of its pronounced duality, the right ear, and ” throat or navel,” says Mme. Blavatsky; that is, blue vibrations above and green below.
Manas Antakarana which corresponds with the pituitary body is the imaginary line of communication between Higher and Lower Manas,between personality and individuality; that is, it is the base of the triangle or the upper line of the square forming the lower quarternary according as we view it. The battlefield of life is in this Lower Manasic sheath, where desires wrestle with Thought for empire over the Self. You know how the elevation of this thought power develops Will, and uniting with it wins the victory for good. No fact is truer or of more vital significance than that ” everywhere man is what he thinks.”
Higher Manas, the fifth Principle, is the Akâsha sheath, ruled by Saturn; and corresponds with indigo and the tone La. Its physical seats of influence are the pituitary body, pineal gland, and the head as a whole. Activity in the pineal gland leads to the union of Buddhi-Manas. Psychic vision is stimulated in the pituitary body, which is the organ of the psychic plane. By the exercise of free will, and all development of Will is a development of Higher Manas, it has a spiritual influence in the heart. When Lower Manas is completely under the sway of Kâma, or is absorbed in materialism, Higher Manas has little opportunity to betray the fact that it is the vehicle of immortal Truth and Wisdom. It is this Higher Ego whose development Yoga practices encourage. All flashes of intuition, all inspirational conceptions which father inventions, manifestations of pure genius, these come from Higher Manas, which as ” part of the Essence of Universal Mind,” has access to all planes of knowledge and power, and knows independently of the brain’s reasoning.
Buddhi, the Soul, vehicle of Spirit, is the sixth Principle. Its Tattva is Anupâdaki; planet, Mercury; tone Si; colors, violet in positive phase and yellow in negative. Its physical seats of influence are the pineal gland, right eye, a plexus between the shoulders, and the heart; and its spiritual influence is in the Sushumna. The spiritual earth-force is closely related to Buddhi, and its connection with the subtle body is recognized by the col-ors of the latter which are a lower octave and reversed in activities as are all things reflected upon the physical plane of illusion.
You know the seventh Principle as Atma, or Spirit, and also as the Auric Envelope, or Egg. Its subtle Tattva, Adi, forming the Auric Envelope, not merely envelopes but penetrates the whole body, and its source is a ” Spiritual Sun ” of which our sun is a physical reflection, or more probably the vehicle. It manifests as white, or blue of such transcendent delicacy and illumination as only those who have seen the play of inner colors can conceive. Of course this Principle synthesizes all colors as it does all tones, and there-fore all the other sheaths.
The rationality of this classification will be best understood, if the student draw a square beneath a triangle and place the sheaths on the lines in the following order: At the base of the square, Kâma, Tejas (write color and tone also) ; left side, Sthula-sharira, Prithivi; right side Sûkshmasharira, Apas; upper line (and base of triangle), Lower Manas, Vayu, with green below line and blue above; left side of triangle, Higher Manas, Akasha; opposite side, Buddhi, Anupâdaki; apex, Atma, Ili.
Notice particularly that this succession preserves perfectly the interrelations and paramount influence of sheath upon sheath as reflections, shadows, or rays one from another; and therefore does no violence to our previous conceptions of Tattvic activities, being reconciled to them.
With the yellow sheath above moulding its permanent form, and the red below thrilling it with its incitements to activity and emotion, it is most clearly demonstrable that the gross body corresponds with orange. The states of matter ” of these seven Principles from one upward correspond closely with fluid or vapor, solid, liquid, gas, ether, Psychic Force, or magnetism; and Spirit, or electricity.
Bear in mind that a fundamental difference in these sheaths is the character of the vibrations which, proceeding from the lowest to the highest are increasingly subtle and ethereal in the nature of their atomic particles. The highest cannot act directly upon the lowest. The medium of gradually increasing density is indispensable; and only as we purify and refine the lower physical sheaths do we fit them, through making them responsive, for manifestation of the real individuality the Higher Ego and the spiritually alive soul.
The objective form is the only thing that is perishable; the ideal form lives forever. May we not draw the right and hopeful lesson from this fact? We have it in our power to work constantly for betterment to improve our ideal forms; and, by so much as we succeed, to externalize that betterment in our objective physical forms, which are the models of future ideal forms. This is the law of evolution, the law by which the atom is evolved to purer states and to higher power, developing the latent and potential energies, the wisdom and understanding to which our race is marching onward.
Every thought vibrates on the subtle mental plane first, then passes through the astral to the etheric before it rouses vibrations upon the physical plane, in the gray matter of the brain. Thoughts are things, entities, because the fivefold powers of the mind as already developed in our race, are all Tattvic powers of exactly the potency represented by the senses they respectively stimulate; and thus they unitedly impart sound, feeling, form, color, taste, and odor to the thoughts born of their activity (form and color are properties of vision, hence Tejas activities).
It is psychic force working through the mental plane which acts in all overcoming of physical disorder or weakness. It has power when properly directed to build up and invigorate the lower sheaths, restoring all to harmonious co-operation in the complicated functions of the perfect human being. Keep this in mind, too : In this so wonderful structure, when we speak of superiority or subordination of one sheath to anotherthe statement is merely relative. Every sheath is so important in the perfection of its office that it yields nothing to another. They are all mediums of activity putting the Soul in touch with the experiences through which it evolves to the consciousness of its vast inheritance. Trials and sorrows are often necessary experiences to rouse the Soul from inertia, selfishness, weakness, or other wrong doing. None of the sheaths are independent. All are different. Harmony is incomplete with-out every note in the scale.
The Soul atom is mingled with other lower atoms but never combined. To understand this clearly, fixing upon your mind a clear picture of the law, let me explain a fact the chemist knows well: Oxygen in pure air is mixed, not combined with nitrogen. When these two gases are combined, according to the proportions used, the result is one of five deadly poisons. Now, this is exactly the internal process; that is, within the human entity. When the atoms of the various sheaths are mingled harmoniously, the result is physical well-being; when discord ruptures the rhythm of their vibrations and their harmonious (that is, normal) balance, disintegration sets in; the molecules are broken up, the atoms are variously combined, and disease results. It is the use or abuse of everything which makes for good or evil.
The substance of all Souls is the negative phase of Spirit; very literally, indeed, the garment which clothes it. Faith and aspiration are needed for the growth of the Soul, and we must bring the mind up to unison with the Soul. By the regular practice of meditation and concentration, that control of the mind is gained which inclines it habitually to those Kosmic influences which are antagonistic to all evil tendencies in the lower sheaths that check our evolutionary progress. ” Faith,” says Râma Prasâd, ” is nothing more than a mental lucidity in which the yet unknown truths of Nature begin to throw their shadows forward. The mind begins, as it were, to feel truth in any and every place; and, drawn by the taste of bliss (Ananda), proceeds with greater zeal to work out the process of its evolution.”
The macrocosmic psychic center which is the prototype of man’s sixth Principle Buddhi is the great reservoir of every actual force in the Universe.” Therefore, ” by contemplation of the sixth Principle of the Universe, a sympathy is naturally established between it and the human soul. Only that sympathy is necessary for the universal Tattvic law to work with greater effect. The human soul begins to be cleansed of the dust of the world, and in its turn affects the mind in a similar way; and therein the Yogi becomes conscious of this influence by the slackening of the fetters forged by Prakriti [matter], and a daily, hourly strengthening of heavenward aspirations.
The human soul then begins to become a center of power for its own little universe, just as Ishvara [the macrocosmic Soul] is the center of power in His Universe. . . When perfec- > tion is attained, all the mental and physiological Tattvas of the microcosm, and to a certain extent of the surrounding world, become the slaves of the soul ” (Nature’s Finer Forces).
Thus it is that when we cease to fear her, Nature becomes even more than our friend and ally.