The Theosophical Forum – August 1947


[Note: page numbers cited for The Esoteric Tradition are to the 2-vol. Second Edition and do not correspond to the 1-vol. 3rd & Revised Edition.]

Individual Consciousness

The consciousness of the individual is a derivative from that of the Hierarch of which it is a constituent. The relationship may be clarified by paraphrasing the explanation given in The Esoteric Tradition, II, 943. The "children-rays" from the "spiritual Hierarch" of our Globe "are human egos." Thus, in the consciousness of every entity: "The field of vision or of thought is like a sphere whose radii proceed from one's self in every direction, and extend out into space, opening up boundless vistas all around." — The Secret Doctrine, I, 65. For an amplification see p. 429, Ibid. Mathematically, the graph of the four-leafed rose or equation  γ = α sin 2 θ shows on a plane four petals that typify the four stages of consciousness referred to in Study No. 2. The radii from the center of the circle represent either individuals or aggregates of egos, for each radius contains an infinite number of points. As "children-rays" they are subject to tuition, which implies duality as does a point in a line, until they have developed intuition.

No summit to the ascending scale of consciousnesses can be surmised since all are embraced in the incomprehensible totality of Tat, the Boundless. Consequently, no definite point can be assumed at which completely autonomous consciousness is achieved. Otherwise, the "infinite force" mentioned by K. H., p. 137, Mahatma Letters, would exhibit the functions of an "infinite mind." The constitution of the Cosmic psychological organism, as contained in the Boundless "Infinitude of Space and Time" that is both unconsciousness and consciousness, is explained in E. T., II, 952-4. The correspondences for the psychological organism, or "dynamo-psychism," of the "unconscious" Divine Monad that constitutes the complete individual are given on pp. 949-50, Ibid.

In operation, the psychological organism, composed of the upper Triad and the lower Quaternary, functions as an Upper Duad, an Intermediate Duad and a Lower Triad. The lowest element of the latter is the decomposable body that, when allied to animal passion in degeneracy, could be considered as a fourth duad. Actual functioning, then, is seen as proceeding on the normal basis of force in physics as that which acts and that which is acted upon. As indicated on pp. 948-9, Ibid., the Upper Duad consists of Atman and Buddhi, the Intermediate of Manas and Kama, and the Lower Triad of Prana, Linga-sarira and Sthula-sarira. The Intermediate Duad is the psychological apparatus, or Soul, per se. Specifically, it is stated in Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, p. 341, that "in the soul resides that particular part of the psychological processes of intellection, which makes a man self-conscious, a self-conscious being, capable of the ideation of individualized being."

In The Key to Theosophy, p. 92, H. P. Blavatsky quotes Plato as speaking of "the interior man as constituted of two parts — one immutable" and "formed of the same substance as Deity, and the other mortal and corruptible." Commenting thereon she writes:

These "two parts" are found in the upper Triad, and the lower Quaternary. He explains that when the Soul, psuche, "allies herself to the Nous (divine spirit or substance), she does everything aright and felicitously"; but the case is otherwise when she attaches herself to Anoia, (folly, or the irrational animal Soul). Here, then, we have Manas (or the Soul in general) in its two aspects: when attaching itself to Anoia (our Kama rupa, or the "Animal Soul" in "Esoteric Buddhism,") it runs towards entire annihilation, as far as the personal Ego is concerned; when allying itself to the Nous (Atma-Buddhi) it merges into the immortal, imperishable Ego, and then its spiritual consciousness of the personal that was, becomes immortal.

Thus, the Soul may be regarded as a trichotomy of divine, human and animal. This is the same as the doctrine of Huna found in Polynesia, among the Berbers of Africa and elsewhere. In further elucidation, the statement is made in The Key to Theosophy, that "the Spirit (or Buddhi) is the centrifugal and the soul (Manas) the centripetal spiritual energy; and to produce one result they have to be in perfect union or harmony." — pp. 189-90. Also, in E. T., I, 268, it is stated that "this human soul is itself the expression, the individualized Force, of the spiritual ray which is the Reincarnating Ego." Thus, each incarnation may be considered as one point in the infinite number that composes any line or radiant ray, whether that radius be a relatively short terrestrial one or a longer one from a solar or galactic source. As expressed in The Key to Theosophy, p. 184:

In its very essence it is thought, and is, therefore, called in its plurality Manasa putra, "the Sons of the (Universal) mind." This individualised "Thought" is what we Theosophists call the real human Ego, the thinking Entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and bones.

To comprehend the construction of that bodily encasement as engendered by consciousness, reference may be made to the physiological theories of Weissmann, which are noted in The Secret Doctrine, I, 223, and II, 711. In Man in Evolution (Sec. 17) by G. de Purucker, they are described with the "supplementary factor" that brings them into accord with the ancient wisdom embraced by theosophic doctrines. Cellular division and the specialization that takes place for specific types of tissue is not dissimilar to the process of atomic alterations by electronic accretion or diminution. Of particular interest is the fact that brain-cells do not divide to multiply. Apparently, they are "recruited" from highly developed nerve-cells and "die on one plane and are born on another," as P. D. Ouspensky suggests in his chapter on "Esotericism and Modern Thought" in A New Model of the Universe. Thus, consciousness is seen as engaged continuously in creating "vehicles" wherewith it can manifest itself to itself. This is accomplished by polarization of the self-consciousness that is inherent, primarily, as a passive potency of consciousness in the encapsuled droplet of universal, spiritual thought-substance called a Monad. Secondarily, it is capable of evolving, by emanation, the polymorphous, ideoplastic protoplasm that forms the astral model-body. The latter is comparable to "the original protyle" of Sir W. Crookes, F. T. S., mentioned in The Secret Doctrine, I, 581. The former is its noumenal antecedent of thought as "cineritious matter" in the words of H. P. Blavatsky. Successive developments are discussed on pp. 239-41 of Volume II, Ibid. On p. 244, the German materialistic philosopher Moleschott is quoted as saying "without phosphorous no thought." This may be considered in connection with the theory of Crookes on "radiant matter," or the critical states that precede transmutation, for matter that has become crystallized is not ideoplastic in so far as ordinary men are concerned. It must be resolved into a more malleable state, as must the concretions of convictions in the human mind. In both cases the degree of malleability must be proportionately such as to respond to the ideative force exerted.

As B. W. Betts, referred to in Study No. 2, states:

For a determinant to have any effect at all it must be within certain limits of proportion to the activity determined, otherwise no result will arise, interaction being impossible.

This applies to the tabulation of motivating factors that affect individuals given by William James. They are tabulated from A to Z under Material, Social and Spiritual. However, all of them are indicated as having their inception in self-seeking or in self-estimation. He who rules through them as well as he who is motivated by them is, thereby, barred from attaining the states of "Full Individual Consciousness" and "Absolute Consciousness" mentioned by K. H. in The Mahatma Letters, p. 104. This is obvious, since these stages are dependent upon eliminating all sense of separateness in order to expand the consciousness to cosmic proportions. It can be accomplished, to paraphrase G. de Purucker, only by changing the emotional vibration from hatred to love (or from selfishness to unselfishness) at the command of the will. Thereby, the proper faculty and its co-ordinate organ will be trained for the purpose. — E.T., I, 139. The same law of proportion between a determinant and the activity determined applies equally to the motivating factors that affect mankind en masse listed by Gustave Le Bon in The Crowd, A Study of the Popular Mind. They are Biological, Material, Affective, Rational and Mystic. On a still larger scale, the same may be said with respect to the ideologies that alter the destinies of nations, discussed by Le Bon in The Psychology of Peoples. Of national groupments, Dr. de Purucker states that a nation does not have an enduring "over-soul," since all such aggregations are due to affinities, or "karmic similarities" acquired in the evolutionary course of successive lives. He points out, however, that

the collective impulses or qualities which such groups have, together form a sort of psychical atmosphere which these group-individuals live and breathe in. Such an oversoul of a group, however, is not a true entity or Individual. — The Esoteric Tradition, I, 226

From the foregoing theosophic presentation, we may turn to that of a distinguished modern scientist and student of psychology. In From the Unconscious to the Conscious, Dr. Gustave Geley presents a synthesis of the subject based upon scientifically demonstrable facts. From them, he deduces

One single hypothesis — that of an essential dynamo-psychism objectified in representations, and passing, by those representations, from unconsciousness to consciousness — suffices to explain everything, with no other limitations than those natural to the faculties we now possess.

This brings him to accept the necessary corollary to such a conclusion, which is that palingenesis is a fact. He uses this term meaning again-production or "a new and second birth" rather than reincarnation because of "the profound distinction between the Person and the Self." In Physiology, he demonstrates the "thesis of a centralising and directing dynamism" that "explains the building up of the organism" and all that pertains to it. In Psychology, he demonstrates "a superior psychism independent of cerebral functions" which "by distinguishing the Self from states of consciousness" interprets all the "complexities of mentality." In the natural sciences, his premise

reveals the primordial and essential factor of evolution and relegates to their proper places the classical factors of selection and adaptation. It explains the origin of species and disentangles the laws of natural from those of acquired finality. . . . In philosophy, it gives an interpretation of the universe and of the individual, of their destiny and their purpose, which covers all the facts, disencumbered of verbalism and abstractions. It sketches out a great metaphysical hypothesis on the nature of things.

In his own words, Dr. Geley has made a scientific synthesis very closely in accord with the more complete theosophic treatises upon these subjects. His method is to "proceed from the apex to the base, from man to the superior animals, and from them to inferior types. . ." This is the deductive method of synthetic thought in proceeding from the general to the particular. As he states, "If, on the contrary, we proceed from the base to the summit, the conclusion that we draw from the phenomena of life is an opposite one." Verily so, and the analytical method has led to egregious errors that science is commencing to perceive. Predicating that "The subconscious appears as the very essence of individual psychology," Geley comes to the following conclusions:

This psychic activity, powerful in itself, is reinforced by a still more potent and infallible memory which leaves the feeble and limited conscious memory far behind. By the side of the subconscious, the conscious seems but a restricted, limited and truncated psychism; and even this psychism in its more important manifestations is conditioned by that cryptoid portion of the Self which is its foundation.

Truly, the consciousness is truncated when the action of the lower quaternary is deprived of the guidance of the upper triad. Correctly, he observes that "everything happens as though the conscious were but a part, and that the smaller part, of the Self; a part, moreover, entirely conditioned by the more important part which remains cryptoid in the ordinary circumstances of life." Also, "everything in biology takes place as if the physical being were formed of a single primordial substance; organic forms are mere representations."

Pursuant to conclusions drawn from a comparison of his premises and accepted scientific concepts, three terms are advanced in biology. The first "is the essential unity of organic substance." The second "is implied by the necessity of admitting a superior, organizing, centralising, and directing dynamism." "There is a third term, the most important of any: the directing dynamism itself obeys a directing idea." A quotation is given from Camille Flammarion, F. T. S., that manifestations

confirm what we know from other sources: that the purely mechanical concept of nature is insufficient; and there is more in the universe than matter. It is not matter that governs the world, but a dynamic and psychic element.

The term "Cryptopsychism" is used for the Intermediate Duad of Manas and Kama, Soul, or Psyche. Creative work is considered as "initiated by an act of will, and completed partly by considered effort and partly by spontaneous and involuntary inspiration." This is regarded as collaboration between the Conscious and the Unconscious, or "subconscious psychism." "Cryptonesia — the subconscious memory — follows naturally on cryptopsychism. . . . It does not forget; it keeps all integrally." In The Key to Theosophy, p. 124, H. P. B. separates memory in general into Remembrance, Recollection and Reminiscence. We remember when an idea recurs without a sensory stimulation and recollect by an effort of the will. Reminiscence is applied to the memory of the soul, usually called intuition. "And it is this memory which gives the assurance to almost every human being, whether he understands it or not, of his having lived before and having to live again." — p. 125

Specifically, it is stated by Geley that

Cryptonesia records not only external experiences but internal ones also. It retains not only real impressions but also those of an imaginative order. Imagination which plays so large a part in normal psychism, creates and realises fictitious positions, and these, as well as real facts, are registered by cryptonesia. Similarly, of course, all the emotions and states of the soul.

In subsequent studies on psychological symbolism and the mathematical laws governing formation, this creative role of the Imagination will be discussed. Literally, it is the shuttle of the mind that weaves the representations of successive lives on the tapestry of Life. Thus, "everything which has occupied the psychic field, consciously or unconsciously, remains indestructibly even when it seems forever lost." This is viewed as "independent of cerebral contingencies" and its extension is seen as "almost illimitable." Most pertinently, it is observed that "Metaphysic activity is in inverse ratio to functional activity." This is the same as saying that the law thereof is that of the propagation of light in which the intensity of illumination varies inversely as the square of the distance. Further, it is noted that, "In intuition, genius and lucidity, the subconscious stands above the category of representation, that is of time and space." By connecting these two statements of Geley, we may conclude that subconscious representations follow Kepler's third law in which the time periods of the planets vary inversely as the cubes of their mean distances from the sun.

In other words, the Imagination as the vector of the Self sweeps out representations in time upon a plane in proportion to the cube of its mean distance from its spiritual sun or oversoul. The use of the cube is due to the fact that placement in space must involve three coordinates or dimensions. In addition, it is significant that, as a geometrical concept, a shadow is a solid in the sense of being a portion of space from which light is excluded. Succinctly, representations are visualized as occupying such portion of a plane as is proportional to their extension in time, or in plane-tary time. This occurs in space, but in illimitable space that cannot be localized except with respect to some such shadowy solid as the solar system. Herein, lies the essential nature of Einstein's relativity of space and time.

Supernormal physiological manifestations are analyzed in detail as "conditioned by supernormal psychology." In The Esoteric Tradition, this is treated as Pneumatology, or the operation of spirit. Dr. Geley is in accord with this aspect and states:

That which is essential in the universe and the individual is a single "dynamo-psychism" primitively unconscious but having in itself all the potentialities, the innumerable and diverse appearances of things being always its representations The essential and creative dynamo-psychism passes by evolution from unconsciousness to consciousness.

Theosophy adds that it rises from this subliminal status to the sublimity of "Absolute Consciousness." At-one-ment is the goal we seek and Geley remarks that

The Self is not a duality, it is a unity But during terrestrial life cerebral conditions only allow of a restricted and truncated manifestation of the total psychism This limitation hides from the person not only his metaphysical essence, but also the greater part of his conscious realizations.

The course of evolution of consciousness is summed up by the statement

that wherever a rudiment of consciousness appears in the primitive unconscious, individualization has begun. . . . Once this rudiment of consciousness has been acquired, it will be indelible, and will henceforward continue to increase without limit. Thus are constituted individual "monads" by rudimentary accessions of consciousness. From this continual work of analysis and acquisition there result groups of monads which constitute the whole organized representation of the universe.

Inductively, knowledge of the individual is referred back to the Universe "for what is demonstrated for the individual — the microcosm — cannot but appear true for the universe — the macrocosm." It should be recalled, however, that the "island-universes," or meta-galaxies, ascend in an unimaginable immensity of embodied Consciousness. It invites us on into inconceivably beautiful and majestic realms of the Empyrean. Throughout, as Geley asserts, "In the concept of palingenesis the ultimate realization of sovereign justice is assured with absolute and mathematical certainty." Likewise, it may be added, all representations portray the mathematical laws that constitute that "sovereign justice."

Theosophical University Press Online Edition