Theosophy – July 1897


The centres of action in the inner man have always been a profound mystery to many students. This inner man in one of its aspects might be called the body of the mind. It may be well to point out that it is contrary to reason to conceive of the mind acting directly upon the physical nervous system; there must be some medium of action, some etheric body, composed of so subtle an order of matter that while able to affect the gross body it can yet be directly affected by the forces of the mind or Ego. I must, however, for the purposes of this article, take it for granted that this inner man exists, referring my readers to The Ocean of Theosophy, Septenary Man, and other similar works for arguments and evidences concerning its existence and nature. I must also take it for granted that this inner man has certain well defined centres of action.

These centres of action are intimately related to the Tattvas — sometimes defined as "subtle elements" — and are constructed by the Ego in order to relate itself to these forces, which in their totality constitute the manifested Cosmos. They may be thought of as telegraph stations, from which the Ego receives intelligence from without and within and governs itself accordingly. Those impressions coming from without constitute the Senses, with which all are familiar. Those coming from within constitute the "finer forces of nature," which it is so important that the student should learn to recognize and control.

Take for example the Desire centre, represented, let us say, by the Sacral plexus (physically), and radiating thence to all portions of the body, but having its greatest affinities, or effects, in the stomach and liver. It is a real thing, having its physical representation in the body, and its definite function and office. It relates the Ego to the Desire Principle in nature, or places him en rapport, or in actual contact, with all "desiring" entities. Just so much of this universal desire as is capable of finding expression through his organism will be developed within him and manifested by him. This will be a purely automatic effect following upon the arousing to activity of this centre. It follows just as certainly as the electric current does upon completing the electrical circuit. He who arouses this centre receives the forces flowing from all desiring entities whose desires are upon the particular plane to which he descends.

This constitutes one of the finer forces of nature, and indicates its mode of action. And these forces are terrific in their potencies. Take the man who begins, let us say, a trivial dispute with another. His vanity is touched by opposition; he becomes angry, and so opens communication with the destructive auger of all the entities within the hierarchy to which he thus relates himself. Though normally he would be utterly incapable of such a deed, this force overwhelms him, and he stains his soul with murder in consequence.

Nothing can come out of nothing. The forces functioning through the desire centre of such a man are just as real, and more powerful, than is the energy exhibited in the explosion of dynamite. They have for the time entirely dominated all other centres, have made it impossible for them to act. The Ego itself is not responsible for the mad deed which followed upon the arousing of the centre, although it must suffer the inevitable consequences. Its connection with the deed lies in the fact that it has failed in preventing the original calling into activity of the centre.

And once the automatic action of these centres is fully recognized, and man has so far at least learned to "know himself," the responsibility increases a hundred fold. The student must learn to look upon his body as he would upon a partially tamed animal which must be kept under strict control, the slightest relaxation of which is fraught with danger. When anger is felt approaching, the thought should be made to arise by the patient association of ideas that a mechanical portion of his physical mechanism is being aroused into undue activity, and he should dissociate himself from it, and control it as dispassionately and as deliberately as he would a restive horse which threatened to "bolt."

These centres, in a similar manner, relate the Ego to the entire Cosmos. Communication may be had with the highest principles in nature just as surely as with desire-filled entities. The Ego has ever the choice as to what portions of its complex machinery it will utilize. The thinking centre acts equally automatically, once aroused into activity. The brain is just as much a mechanical mechanism for a definite purpose as is the heart. The brain-mind is only a superior kind of tool which the Ego uses, and it may be overwhelmed by the finer forces with which it places itself en rapport, just as completely, although not in the same manner, as the desire centre is when murder is committed. Thought must be controlled even more sternly than desire; its force is more subtle, its evil effects not so immediately apparent. In ordinary dreams we see its automatic action fully demonstrated. Let each student beware, then, how he relates his thinking centre with the vibrations flowing from similar centres. Many an honest student of life has descended into the slough of materialism because he invited the united forces of all the materialistic minds of his age. The finer force so evoked was overwhelming, and as real as dynamite.

Let each student, therefore, habitually think of himself as apart from all these centres. He is the Mystery-Ego, the Ray of the Infinite, who relates himself to his Cosmos with these divinely complex centres which constitute his real body. All are his servants; none are himself. All are to be utilized; but all are to be controlled.

They must be made servants; must not be permitted to usurp the function of Master. Without the desire centre the Ego would be cut off from all knowledge of desire in himself or others, and, how, then, could he develop compassion? It is the same with all these centres. They have not been idly or uselessly constructed. All are divine, and all necessary to complete the divine harmony of perfected being.

Let them be studied; let the student learn to recognize them, and their modes of action, their location as centres, their automatic nature, and he will find them as an open door upon the threshold of the Temple wherein the Mysteries of Being are enacted.