The Theosophical Forum – August 1936

THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF MAN — Frank C. Bereidge

It seems to me that the study of this subject demands the study of all the other teachings of Theosophy. For several years past I have been studying Theosophy principally from the viewpoint of the Seven Principles of Man. Are the seven principles separate entities? Well, Dr. de Purucker says in Fundamentals, page 306: ". . . each of the elements, each of the principles, each of the rudiments to blossom forth later into divinity, is itself a septenary or sevenfold entity"; again, "For instance, the principle of Manas is septenary. It has its own atman, its buddhi, its manas — the manas-manas which is its own particular essence or swabhava." This page 306 is a big key to understanding the seven principles. Then on page 314, G. de P. says, "Our higher principles are actual entities living on their own planes, individual beings, fully conscious and thinking entities. Fix that thought firmly in your minds if you please." And again on page 360, "The monad lives in its own world, in its own logoic activity, with its quasi or semi-divine powers in full action, far more self-conscious on its own plane than you are or I am on this plane of consciousness. And similarly with the god within us, seated within the monad." And yet are the Seven Principles separate entities?

Let us look at it from another point of view. There are human beings, but there is no such entity as humanity. There are manasic entities — the human beings are lower manasic entities — but there is no such entity as the Manas-principle. There are buddhic entities, but no such entity as the Buddhi principle. There are atmic entities, but no such entity as the Atman principle. The principles are planes, are spheres, are worlds. What are we? We are manasic entities, lower manasic entities, sevenfold manasic entities evolving on the manas-plane or principle; and when we have become perfect as a manasic entity we shall then become buddhic entities — sevenfold buddhic entities, and so on upwards forever. What are the seven principles? Are they the seven Kingdoms of Nature? Surely there is a very close analogy; in Fundamentals, page 489, G. de P. says:

These ten families — three of them we will leave without further mention at present — or rather these seven manifest families or stocks of the inflowing Life-Waves, these seven Life-Waves are the seven which left the corresponding globe A of the Moon at its death, and were its ten or seven principles.

These seven principles are evolved one from the other; that is, Atman evolves forth Buddhi and Buddhi evolves forth Manas, and so on down. Buddhi is the child of its parent Atman, Manas is the child of its parent Buddhi and the grandchild of its grandparent Atman, and so on. Each principle contains everything that its parent, either active or latent, so that we as manasic entities contain everything our parent Buddhi or our grandparent Atman has, but mostly latent at present. Now, when in the course of ages we become perfect manasic entities, we shall then be ready to pass up to the Buddhi principle or plane and so will become a Buddhic entity; but we shall not become our parent Buddhi, for our parent Buddhi will have also gone up a step or plane and will then be an Atmic entity and our grandparent Atman will have passed on to a still higher plane.

Now to complete the picture we must think of the Self, the Universal Self permeating all, the great Boundless Ocean, the Boundless All in which everything is bathed. Let us think of man as a center manifesting in a stream of consciousness in this Boundless ocean, this stream having no beginning and no end. And yet, as we look we see branch-streams flowing out from this stream of conciousness in all directions, permeating and intermixing with all other streams of consciousness, connecting us with worlds visible and invisible, with globes, with planets, with solar systems, and with universes; uniting us with Gods, with Monads, with Souls, with Atoms. Truly our stream of consciousness is not only beginningless and endless, but also shoreless in every direction. It is the Boundless All.

As G, de P. so beautifully expresses it:

Examine the boundless spaces; there are no frontiers. Our vision halts; but where our vision halts then thought leaps beyond our vision. Imagination in its turn overleaps thought; and at the outermost limits where imagination fails, the marvelous spiritual consciousness within us wings its flight beyond, and we instinctively recognise our intrinsic oneness with the Boundless.


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