The Ancient Wisdom

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The fact is that the Ancient Wisdom is something very definite and specific, while at the same time being unsectarian and universal. It is a full and complete body of Knowledge, a vast, perfect, and unchanging system of information, instruction, and guidance.

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It is the natural unity and synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science. It is something which contains the answer to every question and the solution to every problem. It is timeless Truth. It is also the archaic and primeval source and fountainhead of all the truth which may be found in the various religions, philosophies, and sciences of the world. It has never been given out in its fullness or totality to mankind. For one thing, mankind is at present sufficiently evolved to only be able to understand a relatively small portion of it and for another, the tremendous selfishness and personal focus which characterises so much of humanity would swiftly lead to both desecration and dangerous misuse of such powerful information.

Regardless of how much we may learn, know, and understand from our personal study and practice of the Ancient Wisdom, our knowledge of it is still very limited in comparison with those who have been initiated into its great truths and secrets.

How have such individuals come to be initiated? They have made themselves worthy over the course of numerous lifetimes. They have practiced relentless self-discipline, self-denial, and self-mastery. They have purified themselves of all personal desire, lust, selfishness, and ambition. As a definite and actual act, they have given up and renounced their life, given up and renounced all personal separate existence, having one sole intent and aspiration: They have been made to undergo countless and ever-ongoing tests and trials, to fail some of which could potentially result in the loss of their very soul.

Then, finding themselves at last in actual contact and communication with some of the Masters of the Wisdom, some of the Adepts of that very hidden but very real Brotherhood which guides and watches over the spiritual evolution and advancement of humanity, they have taken solemn oaths and made sacred pledges, entering the Great Brotherhood, to one day become a Master, an Adept, a Teacher, in their own right. From time to time, and always in accordance with cyclic law, one of such initiates is sent forth into the world with a specific mission.

Sometimes their mission is confined to a specific people or nation. Before the advent of the printed page and easy international travel, this was almost inevitable. Sometimes they give out an exoteric teaching to the masses something which they see will be of the most benefit to that particular people at that particular time and reserve a deeper, more powerful, esoteric teaching — a real impartation of the Timeless Truth — to a relatively small group of disciples and students, chosen or permitted to receive such teaching after diligently proving their worthiness and pledging themselves to utter secrecy at any cost.

Such Initiate-Teachers never attempt to draw attention to themselves as individuals. They never claim any personal greatness, nor purport to hold a high spiritual position or to be an initiate of a certain degree. Yet all the time they know who they really are, they know what they have to do, and they know how to do it. Three great cycles all intersected at the same time, a very rare and uncommon occurrence. The first 5, year cycle of the Kali Yuga was due to draw to a close between late and early The Age of Pisces was rapidly fading out and the New Age of Aquarius was to gradually begin its 2, year course from the dawning of the new century in In 14th century Tibet, Tsong Kha-pa — the reincarnation of Gautama Buddha — had ordained that the Esoteric Brotherhood was henceforth to send one of their own to the Western world in the closing quarter of each century, to help bring about further spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

It was known and understood that only a particular 25 years in each century could be actively used for this purpose, such were and are the very real restrictions of Cyclic and Karmic Law. Someone had to appear; someone had to be sent forth into the world; someone with sufficient power, knowledge, and capability to make a real and lasting difference, not only for the West, not only for the East, but for the whole of humanity.

A handful of those who were closest to HPB as she preferred to call herself came to recognise and realise that it was actually a male Eastern Initiate who had assumed that female European personality, in order to fulfill the mission of the Masters to the greatest extent possible. She was later to move to India and finally to London, England.

The Movement was founded with three main objectives.

Study & discussion of the teachings of H. P. Blavatsky & William Q. Judge

First and foremost was to help bring about the actualisation of Universal Brotherhood, which HPB maintained was not merely a noble and lofty ideal but an eternal fact in Nature, due to the Unity and Divinity of all life. Mediums — unless of very pure and noble character — are special objects of attack, and too often the weaker ones, weakened still further by the passive yielding of their bodies for the temporary habitation of other excarnate souls are obsessed by these creatures, and are driven into intemperance or madness.

Executed murderers, furious with terror and passionate revengeful hatred, acting over again, as we have said, their crime and recreating mentally its terrible results, surround themselves with an atmosphere of savage thought-forms, and, attracted to any one harbouring revengeful and violent designs, they egg him on into the actual commission of the deed over which he broods.

Sometimes a man may be seen constantly followed by his murdered victim, never able to escape from his haunting presence, which hunts him with a dull persistency , try he ever so eagerly to escape. The murdered person, unless himself of a very base type, is wrapped in unconsciousness, and this very unconsciousness seems to add a new horror to its mechanical pursuit. It is well once again, to remember, ere quitting this dreary region, that we have no arbitrary punishments inflicted from outside, but only the inevitable working out of the causes set going by each person.

During physical life they yielded to the vilest impulses and drew into, built into, their astral bodies the materials which alone could vibrate in answer to those impulses ; this self-built body becomes the prison house of the soul, and must fall into ruins ere the soul can escape from it. As inevitably as a drunkard must live in his repulsive soddened physical body here, so must he live in his equally repulsive astral body there.

The harvest sown is reaped after its kind. Such is the law in all the worlds, and it may not be escaped. Nor indeed is the astral body there more revolting and horrible than it was when the man was living upon earth and made the atmosphere around him fetid with his astral emanations. But people on earth do not generally recognise its ugliness, being astrally blind.

The lesson they would not learn Page 97 during earth-life, whirled away on the torrent of lusts and desires, is pressed on them here, and will be pressed on them in their succeeding lives, until the evils are eradicated and the man has risen into a better life. Let us pass to a more cheerful region.

The Ancient Wisdom

The second division of the astral world may be said to be the astral double of the physical, for the astral bodies of all things and of many people are largely composed of the matter belonging to this division of the astral plane, and it is therefore more closely in touch with the physical world than any other part of the astral. The great majority of people make some stay here, and a very large proportion of these are consciously awake in it. These latter are folk whose interests were bound up in the trivial and petty objects of life, who set their hearts on trifles, as well as those who allowed their lower natures to rule them, and who died with the appetites still active and desirous of physical enjoyment.

Having largely sent their life outwards in these directions, thus building their astral bodies largely of the materials that responded very readily to material impacts, they are held by these bodies in the neighbourhood of their physical attractions. They are mostly dissatisfied, uneasy, restless, with more or less suffering according to the vigour of the wishes they cannot gratify ; some even undergo positive pain Page 98 from this cause, and are long delayed ere these earthly longings are exhausted.

Many unnecessarily lengthen their stay by seeking to communicate with the earth, in whose interests they are entangled, by means of mediums, who allow them to use their physical bodies for this purpose, thus supplying the loss of their own. As these earth bound souls are generally of small intelligence, their communications are of no more interest- to those already convinced of the existence of the soul after death —than was their conversation when they were in the body, and — just as on earth — they are positive in proportion to their ignorance, representing the whole astral world as identical with their own very limited area.

They think the rustic cackle of their burgh The murmur of the world. It is from this region that people who have died with some anxiety on their minds will sometimes seek to communicate with their friends in order to arrange the earthly matter that troubles them ; if they cannot succeed in showing themselves, or in impressing their wishes by a dream on some friend, they will often cause much annoyance by knockings and other noises directly intended to draw attention Page 99 or caused unconsciously by their restless efforts.

It is a charity in such cases for some competent person to communicate with the distressed entity and learn his wishes, as he may thus be freed from the anxiety which prevents him from passing onwards. The thought-forms set up by these longings throng round them, and oftentimes arouse them if they are peacefully sleeping, or violently draw their thoughts to earth if they are already conscious.

It is especially in the former case that this unwitting selfishness on the part of friends on earth does mischief to their dear ones that they would themselves be the first to regret ; and it may that the knowledge of the unnecessary suffering thus caused to those who have passed through death may, with some, strengthen the binding force of the religious precepts which enjoin submission to the divine law and the checking of excessive and rebellious grief. Souls of somewhat more progressed Page types are found there, and although they are held there by the encasement built by the activity of their earthly interests, their attention is for the most part directed onwards rather than backwards, and, if they are not forcibly recalled to the concerns of earth-life, they will pass on without very much delay.

Still, they are susceptible to earthly stimuli, and the weakening interest in terrestrial affairs may be reawakened by cries from below. Large numbers of educated and thoughtful people, who were chiefly occupied with worldly affairs during their physical lives, are conscious in these regions, and may be induced to communicate through mediums, and, more rarely, seek such communication themselves. Their statements are naturally of a higher type than those spoken of as coming from the second division, but are not marked by any characteristics that render them more valuable than similar statements made by persons still in the body.

It presents a distinctly luminous and radiant appearance, eminently attractive to those accustomed only to the dull hues of the earth, and justifying the epithet astral, starry, given to the whole plane. The happy hunting grounds of the Red Indian, the Valhalla of the Norsemen, the houri-filled paradise of the Muslim, the golden Page jewelled-gated New Jerusalem of the Christian, the lyceum-filled heaven of the materialistic reformer, all have their places here. The religious and philanthropic busybodies, who cared more to carry out their own fads and impose their own ways on their neighbours than to work unselfishly for the increase of human virtue and happiness, are here much to the fore, carrying on reformatories, refuges, schools, to their own great satisfaction, and much delighted are they still to push an astral finger into an earthly pie with the help of a subservient medium whom they patronise with lofty condescension.

People of the same religions flock together and co-operate with each other in various ways, so that communities are formed, differing as widely from each other Page as do similar communities on earth. They are generally aware that there are many possibilities of higher life before them, and that they will, sooner or later, pass away into worlds whence communication with this earth will not be possible.

Religionists also are found here, of a slightly more progressed kind than those in the division immediately below, and with more definite views of their own limitations. They look forward more clearly to passing out of their present sphere, and reaching a higher state.

An Outline of Theosophical Teachings

Blavatsky — literally in the astral library, conning eagerly all books that deal with his favourite subject, and perfectly contented with his lot. Often such men are still sceptical as to the higher possibilities that lie before them, and shrink from the prospect of what is practically a second death — the sinking into unconsciousness ere the soul is born into the higher life of heaven.

Page Politicians, statesmen, men of science, dwell for a while in this region, slowly disentangling themselves from the astral body, still held to the lower life by their keen and vivid interest in the movements in which they have played so large a part, and in the effort to work out astrally some of the schemes from which Death snatched them ere yet they had reached fruition. To all, however, sooner or later — save to that small minority who during earth-life never felt one touch of unselfish love, of intellectual aspiration, of recognition of something or some one higher than themselves — there comes a time when the bonds of the astral body are finally shaken off, while the soul sinks into brief unconsciousness of its surroundings, like the unconsciousness that follows the dropping off of the physical body, to be awakened by a sense of bliss, intense, immense, fathomless, undreamed of, the bliss of the heaven-world, of the world to which by its own nature it belongs.

Low and vile may have been many of its passions, trivial and sordid many of its longings, but it had gleams of a higher nature, broken lights now and then from a purer region, and these must ripen as seeds to the time of their harvest, and however poor and few must yield their fair return. The man passes on to reap this harvest, and to eat and assimilate its fruit. See Chapter V, on Devachan.

Theosophy: The Ancient Wisdom – T H E O S O P H Y

Each shell in turn has disintegrated, until the point is reached when mere scattered fragments of it remain ; these cling by magnetic attraction to the remaining shells, and when one after another has been reduced to this condition, until the seventh or innermost is reached and itself disintegrates, the man himself escapes, leaving behind him these remains. This shell drifts wherever the astral currents may carry it, and may be vitalised, if not too far gone, by the magnetism of embodied souls on earth, and so restored to some amount of activity.

It will suck up magnetism as a sponge sucks up water, and will then take on an illusory appearance of vitality, repeating more vigorously and vibration to which it was accustomed ; these are often set up by the stimulus of thoughts common to the departed soul and friends and relations on earth, and such a vitalised shell may play quite respectably the part of a communicating intelligence; it is however, distinguishable — apart from the use of astral vision — by its automatic repetitions of familiar thoughts, and by the Page total absence of all originality and of any traces of knowledge not possessed during physical life.

Just as souls may be delayed in their progress by foolish and inconsiderate friends, so may they be aided in it by wise and well-directed efforts. They rest on that universal truth of vibration by which the universe is built, modified, and maintained. Vibrations are set up by the uttered sounds, arranging astral matter into definite forms, ensouled by the thought enshrined in the words. With the decay of occult knowledge these ceremonies have become less and less potent, until their usefulness has almost reached a vanishing point. Nevertheless they are still sometimes performed by a man of knowledge, and then exert their rightful influence.

The mental plane, as its name implies, is that which belongs to consciousness working as thought ; not of the mind as it works through the brain, but as it works in its own world, unencumbered with physical spirit-matter. This world is the world of the real man. He reveals his presence on the physical plane by the vibrations he sets up in the brain and nervous system ; these respond to the thrills of his life by sympathetic vibrations, but in consequence of the coarseness of their material they can reproduce only a small section of his vibrations and even that very imperfectly.

But before studying the Thinker, it will be well to consider his world, the mental plane itself. The mental plane is that which is next to the astral, and is separated from it only by differences of materials, just as the astral is separated from the physical. In fact, we may repeat what was said as to the astral and the physical with regard to the Page mental and the astral.

Life on the mental plane is more active than on the astral, and form is more plastic. The spirit-matter of that plane is more highly vitalised and finer than any grade of matter in the astral world. The ultimate atom of astral matter has innumerable aggregations of the coarsest mental matter for its encircling sphere-world, so that the disintegration of the astral atom yields a mass of mental matter of the coarsest kinds. Under these circumstances it will be understood that the play of the life-forces on this plane will be enormously increased in activity, there being so much less mass to be moved by them.

The matter is in constant ceaseless motion, taking form under every thrill of life, and adapting itself without hesitation to every changing motion. But the law of analogy holds good, and gives us a clue to guide us through this super astral region, the region that is our birthplace and our home, although, imprisoned in a foreign land, we know it not, and gaze at descriptions of it with the eyes of aliens. Once again here, as on the two lower planes, the subdivisions of the spirit-matter of the plane are seven in number.

Once again, these varieties enter into countless combinations, of every variety of complexity, yielding the solids, liquids, gases, and ethers of the mental plane. Enough if we understand that this plane follows the general law and order of Nature, which is, for our globe, the septenary basis, and that the seven subdivisions of matter are of lessening densities, relatively to each other, as the physical solids, liquids, gases, and ethers ; the seventh, or highest, subdivision being composed exclusively of the mental atoms.

The distinction may perhaps be best expressed by saying that in the lower four subdivisions the vibrations of consciousness give rise to forms, to images or pictures, and every thought appears as a living shape ; whereas in the higher three, consciousness, though still, of course, setting up Page vibrations, seems rather to send them out as a mighty stream of living energy, which does not body itself into distinct images while it remains in this higher region, but which steps up a variety of forms all linked by some common condition when it rushes into the lower worlds.

The nearest analogy that I can find for the conception I am trying to express is that of abstract and concrete thoughts ; an abstract idea of a triangle has no form, but connotes any plane figure contained within three right lines, the angles of which make two right angles ; such an idea, with conditions but without shape, thrown into the lower world, may give birth to a vast variety of figures, right-angled, isosceles, scalene, of any colour and size, but all filling the conditions — concrete triangles each one with a definite shape of its own.

The mental plane is that which reflects the Universal Mind in Nature, the plane which in our little system corresponds with that of the Great Mind in the Kosmos. In its higher regions exist all the archetypal ideas which are now in course of concrete evolution, and in its lower the working out of these Page into successive forms, to be duly reproduced in the astral and physical worlds.

Its materials are capable of combining under the impulse of thought vibrations, and can give rise to any combination which thought can construct ; as iron can be made into a spade for digging or into a sword for slaying, so can mind-stuff be shaped into thought-forms that help or injure ; the vibrating life of the Thinker shapes the materials around him, and according to his volitions so is his work.

In that region thought and action, will and deed, are one and the same thing — spirit-matter here becomes the obedient servant of the life, adapting itself to every creative motion. Words can give no idea of the exquisite beauty and radiance shown in combinations of this subtle matter, instinct with life and motion. Every seer who has witnessed it, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, speaks in rapturous terms of its glorious beauty, and ever confesses his utter inability to describe it; Page words seem but to coarsen and deprave it, however deftly woven in its praise.

Thought-forms naturally play a large part among the living creatures that function on the mental plane. But, needless to say at the present stage of humanity, there is a vast preponderance of cloudy and irregularly shaped thoughts, the production of the ill-trained minds of the majority. These thought-forms are built out of the elemental essence of the plane, the vibrations of the thought throwing the elemental essence into a corresponding shape, and this shape having the thought as its informing life.

All that is said in Chapter II of their generation and of their importance may be repeated of those of the mental plane, with here the additional responsibility on their creators of the greater force and permanence belonging Page to those of this higher world. The elemental essence of the mental plane is formed by the Monad in the stage of its descent immediately preceding its entrance into the astral world, and it constitutes the second elemental kingdom, existing on the four lower subdivisions of the mental plane.

On the mental plane, in both its great divisions, exist numberless Intelligences, whose lowest bodies are formed of the luminous matter and elemental essence of that plane — Shining ones who guide the processes of natural order, overlooking the hosts of lower entities before spoken of, and yielding submission in their several hierarchies to their great overlords of the seven Elements.

They are, as may readily be imagined, beings of vast knowledge, of great power, and most splendid in appearance, radiant, flashing creatures, myriad-hued, like rainbows of changing supernal colours, of stateliest mien, Page calm energy incarnate, embodiments of resistless strength. The description of the great Christian Seer leaps to mind, when he wrote of a mighty angel: Revelation , x, 1.

They guide natural order, and rule the vast companies of the elementals of the astral world, so that their cohorts carry on ceaselessly the processes of nature with undeviating regularity and accuracy. When the body is wrapped in deep sleep the true man, the Thinker, may escape from it, and work untrammelled by its weight in these higher regions.

Theosophy: The Ancient Wisdom

From here he can aid and comfort his fellowmen by acting directly on their minds, suggesting helpful thoughts, putting before them noble ideas, more effectively and speedily than he can do when encased in the body. He can see their needs more clearly and therefore can supply them more perfectly, and it is his highest privilege and joy thus to minister to his struggling brothers, without their knowledge of his service or any ideas of theirs as to the strong arm that lifts their burden, or the soft voice that whispers solace in their pain.

Unseen, unrecognised, he works, Page serving his enemies as gladly and as freely as his friends, dispensing to individuals the stream of beneficent forces that are poured down from the great Helpers in higher spheres. Communication between intelligences functioning consciously on this plane, whether human or non-human, whether in or out of the body, is practically instantaneous, for it is with: The more evolved a soul, the more does he know of all around him, the nearer does he approach to realities ; but the mental plane has also its veils of illusion, it must be remembered, though they be far fewer and thinner than those of the astral and the physical worlds.

Each soul Page has its own mental atmosphere, and, as all impressions must come through this atmosphere, they are all distorted and coloured. The clearer and purer, the atmosphere, and the less it is coloured by the personality, the fewer are the illusions that can befall it. The three highest subdivisions of the mental plane are the habitat of the Thinker himself, and he dwells on one or other of these, according to the stage of his evolution.

The student should familiarise himself with the fact that rising in the scale of evolution does not move him from place to place, but renders him more and more able to receive impressions. We are Page conscious only of that which affects us, which stirs us to responsive vibration, and as we become more and more receptive, as we draw into ourself finer and finer matter, we come into contact with subtler and subtler worlds. Hence, rising from one level to another means that we are weaving our vestures of finer materials and can receive through them the contacts of finer worlds ; and it means further that in the Self within these vestures diviner powers are waking from latency into activity, and are sending out their subtler thrills of life.

At the stage now reached by the Thinker, he is fully conscious of his surroundings and is in possession of the memory of his past. He knows the bodies he is wearing, through which he is contacting the lower planes, and he is able to influence and guide them to a great extent. He sees the difficulties, the obstacles, they are approaching — the results of past careless living — and he sets himself to pour into them energies by which they may be better equipped for their task.

His direction is sometimes felt in the lower consciousness as an imperiously compelling force that will have its way, and that impels to a course of action for which all the reasons may not be clear to the dimmer vision caused by the mental and astral garments. Men who have done great deeds have occasionally left on record their consciousness of an inner and compelling power, which seemed to leave them no choice save to do as they had done. They were then acting as the real man ; the Thinkers, that are the inner men, Page were doing the work consciously through the bodies that then were fulfilling their proper functions as vehicles of the individual.

To these higher powers all will come as evolution proceeds. From this world of subtlest mental forces the Masters carry on Their beneficent work for humanity, raining down noble ideals, inspiring thoughts, devotional aspirations, streams of spiritual and intellectual help for men. Every force there generated, rays out in myriad directions, and the noblest, purest souls catch most readily these helpful influences. Let us now turn to the study of the Thinker and his vestures as they are found in men on earth. The body of the consciousness, conditioning it in the four lower subdivisions of the mental plane — the mental body, Page as we term it — is formed of combinations of the matter of these subdivisions.

The Thinker, the individual, Human Soul — formed in the way described in the latter part of this chapter — when he is coming into incarnation, first radiates forth some of his energy in vibrations that attract round him, and clothe him in, matter drawn from the four lower subdivisions of his own plane. According to the nature of the vibrations are the kinds of matter they attract ; the finer kinds answer the swifter vibrations and take form under their impulse ; the coarser kinds similarly answer the slower ones ; just as a wire will sympathetically sound out a note — i.

None of his energies which are too subtle to move this matter, too swift for its response, can express themselves through it ; he is therefore limited by it, conditioned by it, restricted by it in his expression of himself. It must not be forgotten that his energies, still pulsing outwards, draw round him also the coarser matter of the astral plane as his astral body ; and during his incarnate life the energies that express themselves through the lower kinds of mental matter are so readily changed by it into the slower vibrations that are responded to by astral matter that the two bodies are continually vibrating together, and become very closely interwoven ; the coarser the kinds of matter built into the mental body, the more intimate becomes this union, so that the two bodies are sometimes classed together and even taken as one.

When we come to study Reincarnation we shall find this fact assuming vital importance. According to the stage of evolution reached by Page the man will be the type of mental body he forms on his way to become again incarnate, and we may study, as we did with the astral body, the respective mental bodies of three types of men —.

This is played on almost entirely from the lower bodies, being set vibrating feebly by the astral storms raised by the contacts with material objects through the sense organs. Except when stimulated by these astral vibrations it remains almost quiescent, and even under their impulses its responses are sluggish. No definite activity is generated from within, these blows from the outer world being necessary to arouse any distinct response. The more violent the blows, the better for the progress of the man, for each responsive vibration aids in the embryonic development of the mental body.

Riotous pleasure, anger, rage, pain, terror, all these passions, causing whirlwinds in the astral body, awaken faint vibrations in the mental, and gradually these vibrations, stirring into commencing activity the mental consciousness, cause it to add something of its own to the impressions made on it from without. We have seen that the mental body is so closely mingled with the astral that they act as a single body, but the dawning mental faculties add to the astral passions a certain Page strength and quality not apparent in them when they work as purely animal qualities.

The impressions made on the mental body are more permanent than those made on the astral, and they are consciously reproduced by it. Here memory and the organ of imagination begin, and the latter gradually moulds itself, the images from the outer world working on the matter of the mental body and forming its materials into their own likeness. These images, born of the contacts of the senses, draw round themselves the coarsest mental matter; the dawning powers of consciousness reproduce these images, and thus accumulate a store of pictures that begin to stimulate action initiated from within, from the wish to experience again through the outer organs the vibrations that were found pleasant, and to avoid those productive of pain.

The dawning powers of the mind, yoked to the service of the senses, make of man a far more dangerous and savage brute than any animal, and the stronger and more subtle forces inherent in the mental-spiritual matter lend to the passion-nature an energy and a keenness that we do not find in the animal world. But these very excesses lead to their own correction by the sufferings which they cause, Page and these resultant experiences play upon the consciousness and set up new images on which the imagination works.

These stimulate the consciousness to resist many of the vibrations that reach it by way of the astral body from the external world, and to exercise its volition in holding the passions back instead of giving them free rein. Such resistant vibrations are set up in, and attract towards, the mental body, finer combinations of mind-stuff and tend also to expel from it the coarser combinations that vibrate responsively to the passional notes set up in the astral body ; by this struggle between the vibrations set up by passion-images and the vibrations set up by the imaginative reproduction of past experiences, the mental body grows, begins to develop a definite organisation, and to exercise more and more initiative as regards external activities.

While the earth life is spent gathering experiences, the intermediate life is spent assimilating them, as we shall see in detail in the following chapter, so that in each return to earth the Thinker has an increased stock of faculties to take shape as his mental body. Thus the undeveloped man, whose mind is the slave of his passions, grows into the average man, whose mind is a battleground in which passions and mental powers wage war with varying success, about balanced in their forces, but who is gradually gaining the mastery over his lower nature.

The general law which regulates all the building up and modifying of the mental body may here be fitly studied, though it is the same principle already seen working in the lower realms of the astral and physical worlds. Exercise increases, disuse atrophies and finally destroys. The more a series of vibrations is repeated, the more does the part affected by them increase in development ; hence, it may be noted in passing, the injury done to the mental body by over-specialisation of mental energies.

Such mistaken direction of these powers causes a lopsided development of the mental body ; it becomes proportionately over developed in the region in which these forces are continually playing and proportionately undeveloped in other parts, perhaps equally important. A harmonious and proportionate all-round development is the object to be sought, and for this we need a calm self-analysis and a definite direction of means to ends. A knowledge of this law, further explains certain familiar experiences, and affords a sure hope of progress.

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When a new study is commenced, or a change in favour of high morality is initiated, the early stages are found to be fraught with difficulties ; sometimes the effort is even abandoned because the Page obstacles in the way of its success appear to be insurmountable. At the beginning of any new mental undertaking, the whole automatism of the mental body opposes it ; the materials habituated to vibrate in a particular way, cannot accommodate themselves to the new impulses, and the early stage consists chiefly of sending out thrills of force which are frustrated, so far as setting up vibrations in the mental body are concerned, but which are the necessary preliminary to any such sympathetic vibrations, as they shake out of the body the old refractory materials and draw into it the sympathetic kinds.

During this process, the man is not conscious of any progress; he is conscious only of the frustration of his efforts and of the dull resistance he encounters. Presently, if he persists, as the newly attracted materials begin to function, he succeeds better in his attempts, and at last, when all the old materials are expelled and the new are working, he finds himself succeeding without an effort, and his object is accomplished.

The critical time is during the first stage ; but if he trust in the law, as sure in its working as every other law in Nature, and persistently repeat his efforts, he must succeed ; and a knowledge of this fact may cheer him when otherwise he would be sinking in despair.

In this way, then, the average man may work on, finding with joy that as he steadily resists the promptings of the lower nature he is conscious they are losing their power over him, for he is expelling from his mental body all the materials that are capable of being thrown Page into sympathetic vibrations. Thus the mental body gradually comes to be composed of the finer constituents of the four lower subdivisions of the mental plane, until it has become radiant and exquisitely beautiful form which is the mental body of the —.

From this body all the coarser combinations have been eliminated, so that the objects of the senses no longer find in it, or in the astral body connected with it, materials that respond sympathetically to their vibrations. It contains only the finer combinations belonging to each of the four subdivisions of the lower mental world, and of these again the materials of the third and fourth sub-planes very much predominate in its composition over the materials of the second and first, making it responsive to all the higher workings of the intellect, to the delicate contacts of the higher arts, to all the pure thrills of loftier emotions.

Such a body enables the Thinker who is clothed in it to express himself much more fully in the lower mental region and in the astral and physical worlds ; its materials are capable of a far wider range of responsive vibrations, and the impulses from a loftier realm mould it into nobler and subtler organisation. A clear understanding of the nature of the mental body would much modify modern education, and would make it far more serviceable to the Thinker than it is at present.

The general characteristics of this body depend on the past lives of the Thinker on earth, as will be thoroughly understood when we have studied Reincarnation and Karma. The body is constituted on the mental plane, and its materials depend on the qualities that the Thinker has garnered within himself as the results of his past experiences. All that education can do is to provide such external stimuli as shall arouse and encourage the growth of the useful faculties he already possesses, and stunt and help in the eradication of those that are undesirable. The drawing out of these inborn faculties, and not the cramming of the mind with facts, is the object of true education.

Nor need memory be cultivated as a separate faculty, for memory depends on attention — that is on the steady concentration of the mind on the subject studied — and on the natural affinity between the subject and the mind. If the subject be liked — that is, if the mind has a capacity for it — memory will not fail, provided due attention be paid.

Therefore education should cultivate the habit of steady concentration, of sustained attention, and should be directed according to the inborn faculties of the pupil. The outline of this Ego, the Thinker, is oval in shape, and hence H. Blavatsky speaks of this body of Manas which endures throughout all his incarnations as the Auric Egg.

Formed of the matter of the three highest subdivisions of the mental plane, it is exquisitely fine, a film of rarest subtlety, even at its first inception ; and, as it develops, it becomes a radiant object of supernal glory and beauty, the shining One, as it has been aptly named. What is this Thinker? This seed is dropped into the Page soil of human life that its latent forces may be quickened into activity by the sun of joy and the rain of tears, and he fed by the juices of the life-soil that we call experience, until the germ grows into a mighty tree, the image of its generating Sire.

The growth of the permanent body which, with the divine consciousness, forms the Thinker is extremely slow. Its technical name is the causal body, because he gathers up within it the results of all experiences, and these act as causes, moulding future lives. It is the only permanent one among the bodies during incarnation, the mental, the astral, and physical bodies being reconstituted for each fresh life ; as each perishes in turn, it hands on its harvest to the one above it, and thus all the harvests are finally stored in the permanent body ; when the Page Thinker returns to incarnation he sends out his energies, constituted of these harvests, on each successive plane, and thus draws round him a anew body after body suitable to his past.

Hence the passions, which play so large a part in the early stages of human evolution, cannot directly affect its growth. The Thinker can work into himself only the experiences that can be reproduced in the vibrations of the causal body, and these must belong to the mental region, and be highly intellectual or loftily moral in their character ; other wise its subtle matter can give no sympathetic vibration in answer.

A very little reflection will convince any one how little material, suitable for the growth of this lofty body, he affords by his daily life ; hence the slowness of evolution, the little progress made. The Thinker should have more of himself to put out in each successive life, and, when this is the case, evolution goes swiftly forward.

This is fortunately rare, rare as spiritual good, and found only among the highly progressed, whether they be following the Right-hand or the Left-hand Path. The Right-hand Path is that which leads to divine manhood, to Adeptship used in the service of the worlds. They are sometimes called the White and Black Paths respectively. The great masses of mankind are here, scarce yet awake, still in the infancy of their life.

The physiologists tell us that if we cut the finger we do not really feel the pain there where the blood is flowing, but that pain is felt in the brain, and is by imagination thrown outwards to the place of the injury ; the feeling of pain in the finger is, they say an illusion ; it is put by imagination at the point of contact with the object causing the injury ; so also will a man feel pain in an amputated limb, or rather in the space the limb used to occupy. Karma by Annie Besant. The Ocean of Theosophy by William Q. Esoteric Buddhism by A. Evolution of Immortality by Rosicruciae.

Invisible Helpers by Charles Webster Leadbeater.