The Theosophical Forum – March 1936



[At the meeting of the Point Loma Lodge of the T. S. on the evening of June 9, 1935, the usual course of study was followed, including an address on 'The Hierarchy of Man,' delivered by E. J. Dadd, followed by the usual questions and answers, both questions and answers being thrown open by the Chairman to any member of the Lodge present. The evening was as interesting in the rapid transfer of thought from mind to mind as all these meetings of the Point Loma Lodge of the T. S. invariably are. Unfortunately, however, because of lack of space in this issue, and with a desire not to interrupt the series of Transactions, which are printed as often as they can be made available for these pages, it is possible to print in this number only the following, which, since it is a question asked by the Leader himself, and finally after a most interesting discussion, answered by himself in his own way, will unquestionably furnish material for further thought to all students. — Eds.]

Question by G. de P. — Can anyone here tell us just what is the difference between the Monads in man, and the Seven Principles in man? Is the question clear? (Discussion.)

G de P. — I would like to hear a great deal more than I have heard. In fact, I know our people know a great deal more than they have said. I would like to have a clearer picture given of why on the one hand we talk about Monads, and on the other hand we talk about Principles. Are these different and disjunct; or are they identic?


G. de P. — Mr. Chairman, Companions: I always hesitate to make comments upon the answers to questions that have been asked, because I invariably admire and like these answers. They show deep study, profound reflexion; and yet there are times when it seems incumbent upon me, as a fellow-student and listener, to speak with a certain amount of frankness. All the answers that have been given tonight have struck me as being admirably well said, and showing really deep thought; but I for one am not fully satisfied. Of course we can never reach perfection, but I do not think we have yet received a clear picture of why we Theosophists on the one hand divide the Universe and man respectively into septempartite entities or states of being; and almost in the same breath speak of the different Monads in man. The question was: What is the distinction between the different Monads in man, and the Seven Principles — if any? And what are their respective functions? I asked this question because it is really a very important one. It was at the bottom of the dispute between H. P. B. and Subba Row. Each was right, neither was wrong; but the world did not know the 'why' of the dispute. Subba Row desired to follow the teaching of the Brahmanic esoteric school, in fastening attention on individualities of the Universe, on the Monads, looking upon the Universe as a vast aggregate of individuals.

But our great Teachers, through their mouthpiece H. P. B., for that time of the world's history saw that it was needed to give to the then inquiring Western mind, taking a materialistically scientific bent, some real explanation of what the composition of the Universe is as an entity. What is its 'stuff,' what is man as an integral part of it? Now, the Seven Principles are the sevenfold 'stuff' of the Universe, the seven kinds of 'stuffs.' The higher part of each kind is its consciousness-side; the lower part of each 'stuff' or kind is the body-side, that through which its own consciousness expresses itself. But every mathematical point in boundless space can really be looked upon as a Monad, because the Universe is imbodied consciousness in the aggregate; and imbodied consciousnesses, individuals, Monads, distributively. Do you follow me thus far? Good!

To take a picture derived from the scientific view of the Universe as it is held today: our scientists now say that the Universe is builded up of chemical elements amounting almost to one hundred — ninety-two, I believe, up to the present. These together form the 'stuff' of the Universe, divided into so many minor varieties or minor 'stuffs.' Do you catch that thought? Now, replace these different scientific chemical elements with your sevenfold 'stuffs' of the Universe; the Principles or elements of the Universe, all through the Universe, therefore aggregatively forming the 'stuff' or substance of every individual belonging to the Universe. Do you catch that thought?

Therefore, when we speak of the Seven Principles, or seven elements, of man, we mean the septempartite 'stuff' of which the Universe or man is builded, and the same everywhere. Why? Obviously, the part contains what the whole is and contains. If it were different from the whole, it would not be a part of the whole. Therefore, because the whole is sevenfold or contains seven 'stuffs,' which we may reduce to one element-'stuff,' beginning-'stuff,' causal-'stuff,' therefore every portion of the great whole contains just the same. Therefore man has seven (or ten) principles or elements precisely because the Universe has.

Now then, what are these? That is the point that it was so important to bring out in H. P. B.'s time. A background of divinity clothing itself in spirit, these bringing into birth the light of mind; and the light of mind then co-working with the other principles and elements thus far evolved, brought forth 'Cosmic Desire'; and so you go down the scale, until you reach the sthula-sarira, which, by the way, does not mean physical body but substantial body, gross body on whatever plane, concreted, compacted, whether the plane be physical or spiritual or divine or what not. Sthula simply means compacted, concreted, commonly called gross. That is very clear. Even our scientists today teach us that the Universe is builded of radiations, light, energy, the same thing.

Now, these are forces; but when they become enormously concreted and compacted, they become gross stuff, which the higher forms of radiation nevertheless continuously work through. Now then, every mathematical point of space actually we can call a Monad, a point of consciousness, a center of consciousness, because all infinity is infinite consciousness. Therefore every point of Infinity must be conscious; therefore every point is a consciousness-center. Is that clear? Every such point is a Monad — from the Greek word individuality, a consciousness-center. But we have just heard that all the Universe is compacted of a septempartite 'stuff,' which in man is the seven principles or elements — on the higher side, consciousness; on the lower side, vehicle or veil, vesture, sheath. Thus it is that every monad is septempartite, has its Atman, Buddhi, Manas, right down the scale. Why? Because the Universe is builded of these seven 'stuffs,' reducible to one causal 'stuff' — spirit, consciousness, Atman.

I speak with some emphasis about this, because the time will come when we shall have to give an account of this thing, and we must have our own ideas clear and properly co-ordinated. We must not have our minds confused with the idea that the Seven Principles are one thing, and the Monads are something else which work through the seven principles as disjunct from them. That is wrong. Every Monad itself is septempartite. Of what? The seven principles, which form the 'stuff' of being, consciousness in its highest, body in its lowest. It is a subtil point, and yet it is simple, and is a most important point of thought. Just as the chemical elements form the body of the Universe, which nevertheless forms the clothing of hordes of consciousness-beings, humans among them, so in exactly the same way the seven principles, ultimately reducible to one fundamental or causal principle — spirit, are the 'stuff' of the Universe. And this 'stuff,' every mathematical point of it, is a Monad, and each point is septempartite. It must be, because it is builded of the substance of the Universe, of which it is an inseparable part.

I know that many people say that I am verbose, and that I repeat myself, and that I talk about the "core of the core," and "the heart of the heart," and I continuously say that "man is composite." Why? To drive home key-thoughts; and I tell you frankly, dear Companions, the answers given have shown wonderful reflexion, but they show me that I have not sufficiently driven home what I have been and am trying to drive home, and what I have tried again now.

Please remember that we have here a distinction but no real difference. The Monad, every Monad, is builded of the 'stuff' of Infinity, of the seven 'stuffs' of Infinity. The seven 'stuffs' are the Seven Principles or elements. And one point more: every such principle or element likewise can represent one of the cosmic planes, from the highest downwards, or from the outermost inwards, or vice versa. And yet, every one of these 'stuffs' is itself sevenfold. So that the kama, for instance, the 'stuff' of the Universe we call kama, that portion of our own 'stuff' or our principle which we call kama, is sevenfold. Consequently, there is an Atman of the kama, a Buddhi of the kama, and so forth throughout the range of element-principles or 'stuffs.' Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

WITHDRAW into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful; he cuts away here, he smooths there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labor to make all one glow of beauty, and never cease chiseling your statue until there shall shine out on you from it the godlike splendor of virtue, until you shall see the perfect Goodness established in the stainless shrine. — Plotinus: The Enneads

The Theosophical Forum