Light From the East
Last Moments Before and After Death
Manvantaras, Kalpas, etc.
The Nature of the Buddhic Principle
Reference: Letter LIX, pp. 340-3
When the ancient founders of your philosophical schools came East, to acquire the lore of our predecessors, they filed no claims, except the single one of a sincere and unselfish hunger for the truth. If any now aspire to found new schools of science and philosophy the same plan will win — if the seekers have in them the elements of success. — The Mahatma Letters, p. 342
The reference by the Masters to Occidentals going to the Orient to get truth, to get initiation, does not refer to any one School nor to any particular School of any especial epoch exclusively. I believe this to be the real meaning behind the Master’s words: When the Fifth Root-Race began to settle themselves, race on race began to settle on the then new lands that had risen above the surface of the Atlantic ocean, and which in our time we call Europe and Asia Minor and parts of Hither Asia. When these lands began to be settled, the holy land, the land of initiation and mystery, already existed; it had already been previously settled by the great Lodge even in Atlantean days. It was then, it has ever since been, and it still is and functions as, the Mother Lodge, the spiritual and intellectual and psychical center to which those who are fit and ready travel for further Light.
Ex Oriente Lux: Out of the East light, refers not only to the rising sun or to the present geographical countries of the east, but to the fact, intuitively known as it were by certain humans through all the ages, that in Sambhala, let us say in a tract of land in what is now the high plateau of Tibet, since immemorial times there has been the greatest School of the sages of all the ages, those whom we call the Mahatmans of Wisdom and love and peace. From Atlantis journeyed those who were eager for more light to this center, and either returned as neophytes to bring light to their fellow-men who were ready for it, or continued at that center to become others of the wondrous group of superhumans living there, and living there today.
Thus, ever since the Alps arose above the seas, probably in what in H. P. B.’s time were called the Miocene or even the Eocene periods, the newly settled lands of Europe bore their immigrant populations from the sinking Atlantean countries; and these, at least their own initiated leaders, knew where the greatest occult center on earth is located. So that when any particular one in these European Schools had reached a certain point of spiritual and intellectual and psychical development authorizing him, because he was ready for it, to receive more, he journeyed east as a pilgrim, with reverence and in the atmosphere of holiness. Some returned home to their own countries to give more light to the occult centers there. Those who were the greatest remained in the East, and increased the number of the Elder Brothers of mankind.
And so it was through all the ages down to our present time. The Celtic races through their Druids, the Scandinavians through their occult school, the Greeks and Romans, the Scythians and Shamans of Russia, and the wise men of what are now the plains of Hungary and the mountains of the Carpathians, wherever in the Occidental parts of Europe there were occult centers having links with the Mother School in the East — from all these and in all ages, neophytes were sent forth. These neophytes proved they were ready so to go. They were trained in these Occidental Schools to look to this great center in the land of the sunrise to them, the land of the rising sun. Ex oriente lux. Light from the East. They were trained with reverence to look upon this wonder-place; and from boyhood up through youth and adult manhood, even perhaps into age, those who were the attendants or disciples of the Occidental occult schools looked forwards some day to making this wondrous pilgrimage to this Mother, this spiritual Mother of earth’s children. It was a wondrous thing all through those ages. It was held before the eastern neophytes as the greatest reward that they could possibly have. They were told Yes, here we give you light to a certain point. Beyond that we have not the power to give you more. But more is to be had. It is to be taken by strength, by power within yourself. Go east. And they did.
And as I said, some returned, like Pythagoras and Apollonius and others. A few did not return; they had passed higher, too high as it were to waste their time in the smaller work in the west. Their work had become mundial, world-wide instead of nation-wide. And do you know, Friends and Brothers, this same thing exactly exists today. The same grand hope is held out to our students today. The same possibilities exist for them today. But the wonder is that none can take this pilgrimage successfully until he is ready. Happy the man who succeeds. For him there is the light supernal. There is the freedom of confabulating with the divinities, the men-gods on this earth. For him there is the boundless knowledge, and for him, greatest treasure of all, there is the inestimable privilege of service, service guided by wisdom and love for all mankind, and indeed for all that is, without distinction of race, creed, caste, sex, or color. How wonderful it is!
Reference: Letter XXc, pp. 127-31
One of the things people are most interested in is death: What is going to happen to me when I die? And we have to show men how so to live in the present as to fit themselves for the future, for death, and for the next life. How you live now will determine what happens to you after death, and what your next life will be. The Buddhists phrased this beautifully: every man’s future is the result of his present living. A man’s present life is the result of his past living. So to me really the question of how to live our present life is but another way of saying what is going to happen to us when we die, and what our next life is going to be.
Now as regards the last moments after death, it is so simple really. A man’s life is the result of his past, not of a part of it, not of portions of it, but of it all. Can you omit any part of your past? Can you cut it out of the memory of nature? Can you efface a part of your character which you builded to be your character in your past lives? The answer is obviously No. Therefore we are treasuries of the past. We are builded of thought from the past, which means the past life and the past lives, and all of them. Thus a grown man is the result of every year since he was born, and of every month and of every week and of every day and of every hour, and of every minute and of every second. You cannot wipe out a day or a year or a month of that past. It is all builded into you in your present.
Now apply this rule of nature, this law of karmic consequences. It simply means that what the major force in your past life has been, is going to be the major thought-force in your consciousness when you die. Because it is obvious that ten is greater than six or five or four, and a hundred is greater than ten, and that a strong force will prevail over a weak. Therefore what your predominating thought-current, thought-impulse, feelings, emotions, have been in your past, are going to be the ones which by force of weight, by their energy, by their predominant power, will prevail as your last consciousness flickers on this plane. Isn’t that simple? The meaning is not that the vagrant thoughts that may tramp through our minds when we die are going magically to govern and shape our future existences. That is an absurdity because it is against logic and against the way nature builds. It simply means that the balance of power of all your years before your death hour comes, the prevailing energy in other words, is going to be felt just at your moment of death.
In other words, your character is going to be seen by you in the pre-dying panorama, the panoramic vision which takes place for everyone. The last thoughts of a dying man are simply like the indicator of a machine, for instance a thermometer or barometer. The indicator points to the temperature of the moment when you look at it. The barometer points to the change of pressure, meaning fair weather or foul, when you look at it. Now that indicator is not the magic agent which is going to give your bad weather or your fair weather. It merely tells you what the weather is and probably will be.
It is so with character. What your character is will give you certain thoughts just as you die. Your consciousness will have reached a certain state just as you die, and by those last moments of consciousness, of thinking, you know what your character is, therefore probably what your after-death state of consciousness will be, therefore probably what your next life will be. And as character is an exceedingly complex thing, it is naturally swayed this way and that, backwards and forwards, or upwards and downwards, whichever form of speech you may please.
I am an adult. Death may come to me tomorrow. I may meet it in an automobile accident, in a train accident, in an airplane. I may meet it in almost any way. My time of accounting may come to me before I draw the next ten breaths. My heart may suddenly give up. What is going to happen? Isn’t there an answer to the riddle of the future? And we Theosophists say there is no riddle of the future; that is an idea that has come from the materialistic teaching of the last eighty or one hundred years in the West. It is not logical. It is not sensible when you really think about it. For you have the teaching: As ye live ye make yourselves. None of us has led a spotless, perfect life. We would be gods were that the case; and naturally therefore, men wonder, because they do not know the holy truth, what am I? What shall I be after death? What is going to happen? The churches can tell me nothing. They just teach me to hope and to rely on a God. But something in me tells me the Divine has placed an inextinguishable hope in my heart, an inextinguishable intuition that there is truth in this world, and it can be had by us men; and I will have it. Life is tawdry and not worth living without it. That is what they hope, that is what they think, that is why they are interested in death. They do not want to die. They have not learned enough yet to know that this very plane of earth to which they cling so desperately is the plane of suffering and sorrow and pain and disappointment and wretchedness and misery. Yes, and our School of Experience.
And this brings me to my next point. People talk of immortality. Do you know what they mean in the West? And this is what the Masters had in mind in the passage quoted, which was the subject of study this evening. They were answering these questions to Hume and Sinnett, and they talked to them as you or I would talk to a young untutored child. They did not overburden their minds with what we now know from our studies and our readings and the teachings we have received.
So when these men asked about immortality, the Masters knew perfectly well what Hume and Sinnett had in their minds, because they had no faint conception of immortality. They thought it meant to continue as Hume forever and continue as Sinnett forever; and can you imagine a worse immortality than that, a worse hell, never advancing, never changing, never growing, always Hume, and forever Sinnett, no matter how much he learned, no matter how much he grew, always Hume, always Sinnett? Why, to us Theosophists that would be a consciousness in hell. And show me anything in universal nature that continues unchanged for the fraction of one second: the growing plant, the changes in health, the movements of the planets, the vibrations of the atoms and the electrons and what not, and the changes in growth, the changes in everything, everything changed from what it was a million years ago or ten thousand years ago, a thousand, or a year, or a minute or a second ago, to something new; and, as we see, to something better. Always a movement in evolution and progression forwards. And the historical studies, the geological researches that our scientists have made, show in fact that in very truth there is such an evolutionary advancement if only of form, a form of life. But we say there can be no evolution unless there be evolving beings. Otherwise evolution is just an empty abstraction. The only evolution we know is that of evolving beings, who evolve, who progress, who move. Evolution therefore is merely a name we give to these processes of growth. It is not something that exists somewhere out in the absolute or in the abstract and which pushes things or punches them or moves them. Evolution means growing beings.
Now then, Immortality. Would you like to be forever and forever and forever and forever endlessly what you are? The Gods save me from such a hell! And the answer of the Masters was simply this. They said to themselves: Brother Sinnett, Brother Hume, we understand you, if you understand us not. We know you are speaking of what you think is immortality, in other words your body or at least your soul never changing, always you. Never changing your egoity, always you. Very well, we will give you an answer such as your untutored minds, uninstructed in the archaic wisdom, can comprehend. Yes, there is an immortality of the spiritual ego, and we call it panaeonic immortality, an immortality which endures, that is for all the aeons of the maha-manvantara. And those who have evolved or who have advanced spiritually, who have trained and disciplined themselves to ally themselves with the spirit even now, because of that alliance with the spirit can carry on pretty much as now they are, as great Mahatmans enjoying panaeonic immortality to the end of the manvantara. But then that immortality ends. And then they said: Don’t you see, my brothers, that an immortality which has an ending is not an immortality? Because it is a death. No matter how long it lasts, if it ends sometime, it is not truly immortal.
Now we know that although the Jivanmukta, a high adept, growing in wisdom and experience all the time, might self-consciously endure as an ego to the very end of the manvantara — when that end comes what we call the prakritika pralaya sets in, in which the whole solar-system vanishes; its end has come, and it dies. Its atoms disappear. This is brought about because what we may call the spirit or soul of the solar system goes to higher things. The body dies, the body of the solar system dies, the spirit advances to higher things, repeating in the solar system what a man does when he dies. We men, children of the solar system, die because it is also the destiny of the solar system when its time comes to die. Nature has one law — not one law for the sun, and another law for man, another law for the beast or the plant. Nature has one law throughout, and this one law is as it were a body of laws which we call the laws of nature. So that what takes place in the great, is of necessity copied in the small because the small is a part of the great; and if the small could free itself from the dominance of the great, it would no longer be less than the great, but greater than the great, which is absurd. The part follows the whole.
So then, what is immortality? The only immortal things in the Theosophical sense of the word are spirit and matter — matter I mean as mulaprakriti, or primordial stuff, which is but the shadow of spirit. And even here there are times when I ask myself, can it be said that spirit, that even god-stuff, is eternal? In its essence, yes, everything in its essence is eternal even on this plane. But there are times when I ask myself, is not even purusha, is not even Brahma non-immortal in the absolute sense? And my answer to myself, the whisperings of my intuition to my own soul tell me, ay, even the gods themselves are but immortal for their own life-time as we men are on our plane. And what a blessing this is. Have we not just discussed together the hell that it would be if I was always I, and never could change to something grander than I? Oh no, no such immortality for me. I want it not. I want to advance. I want to change to better things. I want my ego to become grander and greater, and if it changes even by a fraction of consciousness, in other words if it grow and develop, it is no longer the same ego, and therefore is not immortal.
No immortality for me! Let me advance through unceasing change from less to ever greater things. Let me grow greater, let me leave my low-vaulted past and come out into the sunlight, into the very air, into the freedom, into the majesty of the eternal.
Reference: Letter XII, pp. 66-7
In regard to this question of kalpas and manvantaras and time-periods and Brahma’s Days and Nights, etc., there is a good deal of loose thinking, and always has been amongst our Theosophists even from the time of the first debate about the difference between kalpa and manvantara; and it is a strange thing that precisely because we know the master-key of analogy, it has been this master-key that has succeeded in producing so much loose thinking.
It is perfectly true that the expression brahmanda, the Egg of Brahma, can mean almost anything in space, providing you give it the right qualifying adjective. Whether you say the kalpic Brahma, the solar Brahma, the general Brahma, the Globe-Brahma — the term Egg of Brahma, would refer to any one of these things. You must give the right qualifying adjective, and when you do not, I would suggest to make it the rule that you refer then to our own earth-chain. That is one point to remember.
Now the Egg of Brahma, our earth-chain — you notice I am using no qualifying adjective — lives through various and many imbodiments, for a very long period of time which technically should be called the maha-kalpa, the great kalpa; and this great kalpa is frequently called Brahma’s life. Again, no qualifying adjective, therefore the Brahma referred to is our earth-chain. It is 311 trillion, 40 billion years long. I am using the Brahmanical figures as they are practically identical with our own. When Brahma reaches the end of his life, or its life, the maha-kalpa ends, and then Brahma enters into the Brahma-pralaya or pralaya of Brahma, sometimes called prakritika-pralaya, because the very prakritis out of which brahmanda or the Egg of Brahma, our Chain, is builded, then all dissolve.
However, ordinarily when we Theosophists speak of kalpa, we mean one imbodiment of brahmanda, that is of the Egg of Brahma, our earth-chain. That is the real meaning of kalpa, seven rounds; and that period is as you know, 4,320,000,000 years. There is a night which follows it of equal length; just as after the prakritika-manvantara if you wish, or after the maha-kalpa of all Brahma’s life, there is Brahma’s pralaya or the prakritika-pralaya.
It is a very interesting fact which I spoke of years and years ago in the private gatherings from which came my book Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, that the Life of Brahma, in other words the maha-kalpa, is a trifle more than one-half completed; and note that as I use no qualifying adjective like solar or galactic, I am referring to the imbodiments of our earth-chain. Actually our moon, the lunar chain, was the ending of the first half of Brahma’s life or maha-kalpa; and in the Brahmanical teachings (and we can adopt this same expressive word) this was called the padma-kalpa — padma, an adjective from the Sanskrit word padma, a lotus. The present kalpa, the present imbodiment of our earth-chain, including our globe of course, is called the Varaha, from the Sanskrit varaha, meaning a ‘boar.’ These are just technical names as the Hindus used them, and they are very expressive. So instead of inventing words of our own or bringing out the old Senzar words which nobody would understand or know how to pronounce, it was easier to adopt these Brahmanical terms which the Hindus had built into a system of occult Theosophy.
Now, how many years are there in Brahma’s life? He lives one hundred years. Each year of Brahma’s is composed of 360 days. Each such Day of Brahma is a kalpa. All right then. 360 days in one year times 100 years of his life means 36,000 days, in other words in Brahma’s life there will be 36,000 imbodiments of Brahmanda, of our earth-chain. That should be clear. 18,000 such days, or half of Brahma’s life, as already stated, has been completed. The last imbodiment of that first half was our moon — our moon-chain of course I mean, obviously. Its principles are now our earth. This present varaha-kalpa or present imbodiment of brahmanda, is the 18,001 kalpa or Day of Brahma or imbodiment of our earth-chain.
We know thus what the Life of Brahma is, we know how long it lasts; we know where we are in cosmic history, I mean in the history of our earth-chain from the beginning of the maha-kalpa. We are little more than half way through our present imbodiment. We are just beginning the upward arc, back to Brahma. So the point we are now in in the maha-kalpa would represent the ending of the Fourth Race in this Round, a little more than half way around the Fourth Round. You see how low we are in spirituality.
Now we come to figures. I have spoken of all these things time and again, but I thought I would try to weave them as quickly as I could into a consistent whole. What is a manvantara? As you know, a manvantara is the time-period between one manu and the next succeeding manu. Manu-antara, between manus, a peculiar phrase, but that is the meaning. Now a kalpa, as said, is a Day of Brahma, seven rounds of our earth-chain, and in a kalpa fourteen manus reign. Now a kalpa is 4,320,000,000 years long: one imbodiment of our earth-chain, like the present one, the Varaha-kalpa imbodiment of our earth-chain. Fourteen manus come within that period of 4,320,000,000 years. Therefore just how long is a manvantara? We know that there is a root manu at the beginning of a round, and a seed manu at the end of a round. In one round there are two manus therefore. The seed manu at the end of the round is merely called the seed manu because its round ends there and it is the seed for the next forthcoming round. It does not mean it begins to be when the round is ended. Therefore in every round there are two manvantaras, one beginning when the seed manu began his manvantara at least 308 millions and some odd thousands of years, 448,000. When that manvantara or time-period is ended, immediately begins the reign of the next succeeding manu whom H. P. B. in her Secret Doctrine calls the seed manu. When he ends his cycle at the end of the round, then everything is gathered like the fruit of a tree, the fruit the tree produces after the flower is gathered into the fruit; the seed is there till the beginning of the next season of planting, the beginning of the next round of evolution. Therefore the seed-manu actually begins when the reign of the root-manu ends. Therefore how long is a round? Something like 616 odd million years. Multiply this by seven, and you will have almost exactly 4,320,000,000. The little difference of figures comes merely because you have not included the sandhis, the sandhyas, the twilights and dawns.
For instance I will show you. H. P. B. has told us that our manu was Vaivasvata-manu, the root manu of the Fourth Round. He was the 7th manu and yet it is only the Fourth Round. Now how can we explain that? Thus: First Round root manu, First Round seed manu: 2 manus. Second Round, root manu, seed manu: 4 manus. The same with the Third Round, two more making six. We have begun the Fourth Round: the 7th manu, the 7th manvantara. Actually Vaivasvata-manu has ended. But as this is a little point of very private teaching, H. P. B. merely says our Progenitor was Vaivasvata, the 7th Manu. We are now beginning the next manvantara leading us up to what will be the seeds for the future round, the Fifth Round, and that seed manu’s name is Savarna from the Sanskrit. So we are actually in the beginning of savarna, the 8th manu’s beginning.
You will remember in discussing geological periods in The Secret Doctrine, that the time since evolutionary work in this round began — or sedimentation, as H. P. B. said, because she was writing about geology — was some 320,000,000 years. Now as a round is 308,000,000, how about the difference between 308 and 320? There are some 12 or more million years to go. Just think these things out. They are all keys. When did man as man in this round first begin to be? At the middle point of the Third Race, 18 million years ago. And if you count up these rounds you will see that when the 7 rounds are ended 14 manus will have reigned within that time, because in every round there are 2 manus.
Who are the manus? A manu is the collective humanity of his own evolutionary life-cycle. Yet that collective humanity is headed by a chief individual who starts the music. A band always has a bandmaster. He is one of the band and yet he is the leader who starts the music. So manu is at once an individual and a collective mankind of his manvantara. Surely that is clear; just as the cosmic logos is the all-inclusive converging center of emanation, the one out of which everything issues, so is it with the manu.
You have seen migrating birds as the seasons change. They collect together, usually on some lake, mountain-side, or some field; and when the many hundreds of thousands are there, they all rise, and circling around as if to get their direction, finally either as an enormous batch or in detachments, make their formation and go straight to their objective; and they migrate back in the same way when their spring comes or their summer as the case may be.
Now the monads as they migrate from globe to globe, gather as it were just like migrating birds, so that not only can we speak of a class of monads or a group of monads as the manu of that monadic class, but besides that group possessing individuality as a group, there is as well a leader of that group, whom the other birds seem instinctively to follow, and that is what the manu is.
“. . . Once separated from the common influences of Society, nothing draws us to any outsider save his evolving spirituality. He may be a Bacon or an Aristotle in knowledge, and still not even make his current felt a feather’s weight by us, if his power is confined to the Manas. The supreme energy resides in the Buddhi; latent — when wedded to Atman alone, active and irresistible when galvanized by the essence of ‘Manas’ and when none of the dross of the latter commingles with that pure essence to weigh it down by its finite nature. Manas, pure and simple, is of a lower degree, and of the earth earthly: and so your greatest men count but as nonentities in the arena where greatness is measured by the standard of spiritual development.” — Letter LIX, p. 341
Passages out of these wonderful communications from our beloved Teachers are so filled with not only truth but beauty, that one’s mind is held in the enchantment of the thoughts aroused by reading these communications or by hearing them summarized. It is amazing — and yet why should it be so, but it is to us inferior folk — to sense how the majesty of truth and the greatness of soul accompanying such majesty affect us so deeply as to move the inmost core of our being. And I for one know no experience more exalting, no experience more penetrating than this. How vain some of the things of the world when we discern the glory of Reality. I venture to say that no man or woman living, no matter how simple-minded he or she may be, is unsusceptible, is insensible, to such feelings — dare we call them that? — at any rate to such consequences of having received the touch of supernal beauty. It is an experience which in itself is worth lifetimes of ordinary garnering of life’s impressions. I think that this spiritual and intellectual consequence of having these teachings in our inmost must be indeed almighty influences not only on our own characters, but on our future destiny. I am assured from my own observation and from what I feel within myself, that a man’s whole future lives can be changed, because of change occurring here and now within him.
We see the compelling power of the beauty born within us when studying these great Teachers’ communications, for Truth indeed is thus compelling when its exposition is directed by Master Minds; and it is thus compelling not because it is enslaved, but because it gives us freedom, the freedom of brotherhood, the freedom of fellowship, fellowship in understanding, fellowship in fellow-feeling.
The statement has been made that buddhi is negative unless it has the manas or mind to work through, and of course this is true. But don’t imagine for a moment that this means that the buddhi is negative on its own plane, quite the contrary. It is as active on its own plane as the supreme truth within us, the Atman, is forever active on its own plane. The meaning is that the buddhi is negative on this our human plane of experience and action, without the transmitting principle to step it down to us, which is the mind and the psychical elements within us. Then, if the mind be pellucid as the mountain lake, crystal clear, so that it cannot transmit the non-divine, then we have indeed a man who for the time being is like unto a god, for he speaks with power, with the voice of authority; and none who listens unto him, in his heart can say Nay. Our minds are taken captive, mightily persuaded. And why? Because the buddhi in the Teacher speaks to the buddhi within us. Voice as it were calls to voice. Thought evokes correspondential thought. Truth awakens, by its impact on our minds, the spark of truth within us; and it compels us, compels us because our own best is awakened, and we know thereafter that that is freedom, that is truth, that is reality; and no man wants aught else than freedom, truth, love, reality. That is why truth is so compatible. That is why its authority over our hearts and minds is supreme, for it awakens within us itself. Strange paradox and yet so simple.
What is this Buddhic principle? It is so difficult in our awkward European tongues to give to this almost mystical Sanskrit word a proper translation. It is discrimination. It is intuition, it is the organ of direct knowledge, it is the clothing of the divine spark within us which instantly not only knows truth but communicates it, if indeed the barriers be not too thick and heavy between it and our receptive minds. Ay, reception, that is the point. Can our minds receive? If not, it is our own fault for we have enshrouded ourselves with the veils of the lower selfhood so strongly that the light from above, or from the Master mind, cannot reach our own higher mind and descend into the physical brain and into the physical heart where truth abides for all. For mystical fact it is, that although we know it not, the truth is already within us, here in heart, and here in mind; and we are like those spoken of by the Avatara Jesus in the Christian Bible, having ears they hear not, having eyes they see not, having minds they apprehend and comprehend not.
I want to point out one more thought, that the inner God works within its own vehicle, and this vehicle is the buddhi principle, and it is just as easy to come into sympathetic relationship, into companionship with the buddhi as it is with the kama-manas within us. In other words, it is just as easy to yearn for the inspiration of the highest within you as it is to look for the heat and fevers of the lower part of our being.
Now whereas in the old religions and philosophies the God within has always been called a Divinity or God — masculine; the Consort, the Buddhi of the Atman, has always been looked upon as feminine. The German poet Goethe meant more than mere poetry when he uttered that remarkably telling phrase, Das Ewig-Weiblicke ziekt uns kinan. The eternal feminine draweth us ever onward and inward. It does not mean woman, it means that part of our natures to which and in which the god within works. Our own individual Buddhi is that which gives us intuition and insight and sensitiveness and delicacy and the ability in quick response to feel the suffering, the sorrow of others. It is the god within which does this, but it is what in common language we call the feminine side of us which receives it, the sensitized part of us, and carries the thought to the place where dwelleth the Atman. It has naught to do with physical woman or physical man. There is a great and wonderful mystery here, and I may add in closing that one more small and minor phase of this mystery is alluded to by H. P. B. in The Key to Theosophy where she speaks of the buddhi as being the root and the key itself of individuality. There is the remote source why on this low physical plane some of our lifetimes are passed as men and some as women. By each we learn, if we have the wit. It always vexes me when I hear people talk, as I sometimes hear, about which is greater, man or woman. Which really is greater? It is the uttermost poppycock. Where would you be without your mothers? Where would you be without your fathers? Sex of course is but a passing phase. It did not exist some 18 or 19 million years ago, and some 8 million years from now it will again vanish. Its place will be taken by kriyasakti. But at present the most complete men are the men who have a healthy dash of the feminine in them; and the most perfect women are they who have a touch of the masculine. The most courageous man is always the man who feels the most tender towards the weak and helpless.