Theosophy and the Number Seven

A selection of articles relating to the esoteric

significance of the Number 7 in Theosophy


Brahmanism on the

Sevenfold Principle in Man


T Subba Row


With notes by H P Blavatsky


Number 7 Index


T Subba Row

1856 - 1890




It is now very difficult to say what was the real ancient Aryan

doctrine.  If an inquirer were to attempt to answer it by an analysis

and comparison of all the various systems of esotericism prevailing in

India, he will soon be lost in a maze of obscurity and uncertainty.  No

comparison between our real Brahmanical and the Tibetan esoteric

doctrines will be possible unless one ascertains the teachings of that

so-called "Aryan doctrine," and fully comprehends the whole range of the

ancient Aryan philosophy.  Kapila's "Sankhya," Patanjali's "Yog

philosophy," the different systems of "Saktaya" philosophy, the various

Agamas and Tantras are but branches of it.  There is a doctrine, though,

which is their real foundation, and which is sufficient to explain the

secrets of these various systems of philosophy and harmonize their

teachings.  It probably existed long before the Vedas were compiled, and

it was studied by our ancient Rishis in connection with the Hindu

scriptures.  It is attributed to one mysterious personage called




* The very title of the present chief of the esoteric Himalayan

Brotherhood.--Editor, Theosophist Magazine.



The Upanishads and such portions of the Vedas as are not chiefly devoted

to the public ceremonials of the ancient Aryans are hardly intelligible

without some knowledge of that doctrine. Even the real significance of

the grand ceremonials referred to in the Vedas will not be perfectly

apprehended without its light being throw  upon them.  The Vedas were

perhaps compiled mainly for the use of the priests assisting at public

ceremonies, but the grandest conclusions of our real secret doctrine are

therein mentioned.  I am informed by persons competent to judge of the

matter, that the Vedas have a distinct dual meaning--one expressed by

the literal sense of the words, the other indicated by the metre and the

swara (intonation), which are, as it were the life of the Vedas.

Learned Pundits and philologists of course deny that swara has anything

to do with philosophy or ancient esoteric doctrines;  but the mysterious

connection between swara and light is one of its most profound secrets.


Now, it is extremely difficult to show whether the Tibetans derived

their doctrine from the ancient Rishis of India, or the ancient

Brahrnans learned their occult science from the adepts of Tibet;  or,

again, whether the adepts of both countries professed originally the

same doctrine and derived it from a common source.*  If you were to go

to the Sramana Balagula, and question some of the Jain Pundits there

about the authorship of the Vedas and the origin of the Brahmanical

esoteric doctrine, they would probably tell you that the Vedas were

composed by Rakshasas** or Daityas, and that the Brahmans had derived

their secret knowledge from them.***



* See Appendix, Note I.


** A kind of demons-devil.


*** And so would the Christian padris.  But they would never admit that

their "fallen angels" were borrowed from the Rakshasas;  that their

"devil" is the illegitimate son of Dewel, the Sinhalese female demon;

or that the "war in heaven" of the Apocalypse--the foundation of the

Christian dogma of the "Fallen Angels" was copied from the Hindu story

about Siva hurling the Tarakasura who rebelled against the gods into

Andhahkara, the abode of Darkness, according to Brahmanical Shastras.



Do these assertions mean that the Vedas and the Brahmanical esoteric

teachings had their origin in the lost Atlantis--the continent that once

occupied a considerable portion of the expanse of the Southern and the

Pacific oceans?  The assertion in "Isis Unveiled," that Sanskrit was the

language of the inhabitants of the said continent, may induce one to

suppose that the Vedas had probably their origin there, wherever else

might be the birthplace of the Aryan esotericism.*  But the real

esoteric doctrine, as well as the mystic allegorical philosophy of the

Vedas, were derived from another source again, whatever that may be--

perchance from the divine inhabitants (gods) of the sacred island which

once existed in the sea that covered in days of old the sandy tract now

called Gobi Desert.  However that may be, the knowledge of the occult

powers of Nature possessed by the inhabitants of the lost Atlantis was

learnt by the ancient adepts of India, and was appended by them to the

esoteric doctrine taught by the residents of the sacred island.**  The

Tibetan adepts, however, have not accepted this addition to their

esoteric doctrine;  and it is in this respect that one should expect to

find a difference between the two doctrines.***



* Not necessarily. (See Appendix, Note II.) It is generally held by

Occultists that Sanskrit has been spoken in Java and adjacent islands

from remote antiquity.--Editor, Theosophist Magazine.


** A locality which is spoken of to this day by the Tibetans, and called

by them "Scham-bha-la," the Happy Land. (See Appendix, Note III.)


*** To comprehend this passage fully, the reader must turn to vol. I.

pp. 589-594 of  "Isis Unveiled."



The Brahmanical occult doctrine probably contains everything that was

taught about the powers of Nature and their laws, either in the

mysterious island of the North or in the equally mysterious continent of

the South.  And if you mean to compare the Aryan and the Tibetan

doctrines as regards their teachings about the occult powers of Nature,

you must beforehand examine all the classifications of these powers,

their laws and manifestations, and the real connotations of the various

names assigned to them in the Aryan doctrine.  Here are some of the

classifications contained in the Brahmanical system:


   I. As appertaining to Parabrahmam and existing in the MACROCOSM.


  II. As appertaining to man and existing in the MICROCOSM.


 III. For the purposes of d Taraka Yog or Pranava Yog.


  IV. For the purposes of Sankhya Yog (where they are, as it were,

      the inherent attributes of Prakriti).


   V. For the purposes of Hata Yog.


  VI. For the purposes of Koula Agama.


 VII. For the purposes of Sakta Agama.


VIII. For the purposes of Siva Aqama.


  IX. For the purposes of Sreechakram (the Sreechakram referred

      to in "Isis Unveiled" is not the real esoteric Sreechakram

      of the ancient adepts of Aryavarta).*



* Very true. But who would be allowed to give out the "real" esoteric

one?--Editor, Theosophist Magazine.



   X. In Atharvena Veda, &c.


In all these classifications subdivisions have been multiplied

indefinitely by conceiving new combinations of the Primary Powers in

different proportions.  But I must now drop this subject, and proceed to

consider the "Fragments of Occult Truth" (since embodied in "Esoteric



I have carefully examined it, and find that the results arrived at (in

the Buddhist doctrine) do not differ much from the conclusions of our

Aryan philosophy, though our mode of stating the arguments may differ in

form.  I shall now discuss the question from my own standpoint, though,

following, for facility of comparison and convenience of discussion, the

sequence of classification of the sevenfold entities or principles

constituting man which is adopted in the "Fragments."  The questions

raised for discussion are (1) whether the disembodied spirits of human

beings (as they are called by Spiritualists) appear in the seance-rooms

and elsewhere;  and (2) whether the manifestations taking place are

produced wholly or partly through their agency.


It is hardly possible to answer these two questions satisfactorily

unless the meaning intended to be conveyed by the expression

"disembodied spirits of human beings" be accurately defined. The words

spiritualism and spirit are very misleading.  Unless English writers in

general, and Spiritualists in particular, first ascertain clearly the

connotation they mean to assign to the word spirit, there will be no end

of confusion, and the real nature of these so-called spiritualistic

phenomena and their modus occurrendi can never be clearly defined.

Christian writers generally speak of only two entities in man--the body,

and the soul or spirit (both seeming to mean the same thing to them).

European philosophers generally speak of body and mind, and argue that

soul or spirit cannot be anything else than mind. They are of opinion

that any belief in lingasariram* is entirely unphilosophical.  These

views are certainly incorrect, and are based on unwarranted assumptions

as to the possibilities of Nature, and on an imperfect understanding of

its laws.  I shall now examine (from the standpoint of the Brahmanical

esoteric doctrine) the spiritual constitution of man, the various

entities or principles existing in him, and ascertain whether either of

those entities entering into his composition can appear on earth after

his death, and if so, what it is that so appears.



* The astral body, so called.



Professor Tyndall in his excellent papers on what he calls the "Germ

Theory," comes to the following conclusions as the result of a series of

well-planned experiments:--Even in a very small volume of space there

are myriads of protoplasmic germs floating in ether.  If, for instance,

say water (clear water) is exposed to them, and if they fall into it,

some form of life or other will be evolved out of them.  Now, what are

the agencies for the bringing of this life into existence?  Evidently--


I. The water, which is the field, so to say, for the growth

of life.


II. The protoplasmic germ, out of which life or a living organism

is to be evolved or developed. And lastly--


III. The power, energy, force, or tendency which springs into activity

at the touch or combination of the protoplasmic germ and the water, and

which evolves or develops life and its natural attributes.


Similarly, there are three primary causes which bring the human being

into existence.  I shall call them, for the purpose of discussion, by

the following names


(1) Parabrahmam, the Universal Spirit.


(2) Sakti, the crown of the astral light, combining in itself all the

powers of Nature.


(3) Prakriti, which in its original or primary shape is represented by

Akasa.  (Really every form of matter is finally reducible to Akasa.)*


It is ordinarily stated that Prakriti or Akasa is the Kshetram, or the

basis which corresponds to water in the example we have taken Brahmam

the germ, and Sakti, the power or energy that comes into existence at

their union or contact.**



* The Tibetan esoteric Buddhist doctrine teaches that Prakriti is cosmic

matter, out of which all visible forms are produced;  and Akasa, that

same cosmic matter, but still more subjective--its spirit, as it were.

Prakriti being the body or substance, and Akasa Sakti its soul or



** Or, in other words, "Prakriti, Swabhavat, or Akasa, is SPACE, as the

Tibetans have it;  Space filled with whatsoever substance or no

substance at all--i.e., with substance so imperceptible as to be only

metaphysically conceivable.  Brahman, then, would be the germ thrown

into the soil of that field, and Sakti, that mysterious energy or force

which develops it, and which is called by the Buddhist Arahat of Tibet,

FOHAT.  That which we call form (rupa) is not different from that which

we call space (sunyata)....  Space is not different from form.  Form is

the same as space;  space is the same as form.  And so with the other

skandhas, whether vedana, or sanjna, or sanskara, or vijnana, they are

each the same as their opposite." .... (Book of Sin-king, or the "Heart

Sutra." Chinese translation of the "Maha-Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya-Sutra,"

chapter on the "Avalokiteshwara," or the manifested Buddha.)  So that

the Aryan and Tibetan or Arhat doctrines agree perfectly in substance,

differing but in names given and the way of putting it.



But this is not the view which the Upanishads take of the question.

According to them, Brahamam* is the Kshetram or basis, Akasa or

Prakriti, the germ or seed, and Sakti, the power evolved by their union

or contact.  And this is the real scientific, philosophical mode of

stating the case.



* See Appendix, Note IV.



Now, according to the adepts of ancient Aryavarta, seven principles are

evolved out of these three primary entities. Algebra teaches us that the

number of combinations of n things, taken one at a time, two at a time,

three at a time, and so forth = 2(n)-1.


Applying this formula to the present case, the number of entities

evolved from different combinations of these three primary causes

amounts to 2(3)-1 = 8-1 = 7.


As a general rule, whenever seven entities are mentioned in the ancient

occult science of India, in any connection whatsoever, you must suppose

that those seven entities came into existence from three primary

entities;  and that these three entities, again, are evolved out of a

single entity or MONAD.  To take a familiar example, the seven coloured

rays in the solar ray are evolved out of three primary coloured rays;

and the three primary colours coexist with the four secondary colours in

the solar rays.  Similarly, the three primary entities which brought man

into existence co-exist in him with the four secondary entities which

arose from different combinations of the three primary entities.


Now these seven entities, which in their totality constitute man, are as

follows.  I shall enumerate them in the order adopted in the

"Fragments," as far as the two orders (the Brahmanical and the Tibetan)



Corresponding names in

Esoteric Buddhism.


I. Prakriti.                                 Sthulasariram

(Physical Body).


II. The entity evolved

out of the combination              Sukshmasariram or Lingasariram

of Prakriti and Sakti.                 (Astral Body).


III. Sakti.                                  Kamarupa (the Perispirit).


IV. The entity evolved out

of the combination of                Jiva (Life-Soul).

Brahmam, Sakti and



V. The entity evolved out

of the combination of                Physical Intelligence (or

Brahmam and Prakriti.               animal soul).




VI. The entity evolved

out of the combination of         Spiritual Intelligence (or Soul).

Brahmam and Sakti.


VII. Brahmam.                        The emanation from the ABSOLUTE,

                                               &c. (or pure spirit.)


Before proceeding to examine these nature of these seven entities, a few

general explanations are indispensably necessary.


I. The secondary principles arising out of the combination of primary

principles are quite different in their nature from the entities out of

whose combination they came into existence.  The combinations in

question are not of the nature of mere mechanical juxtapositions, as it

were.  They do not even correspond to chemical combinations.

Consequently no valid inferences as regards the nature of the

combinations in question can be drawn by analogy from the nature

[variety?] of these combinations.


II. The general proposition, that when once a cause is removed its

effect vanishes, is not universally applicable.  Take, for instance, the

following example:--If you once communicate a certain amount of momentum

to a ball, velocity of a particular degree in a particular direction is

the result.  Now, the cause of this motion ceases to exist when the

instantaneous sudden impact or blow which conveyed the momentum is

completed;  but according to Newton's first law of motion, the ball will

continue to move on for ever and ever, with undiminished velocity in the

same direction, unless the said motion is altered, diminished,

neutralized, or counteracted by extraneous causes.  Thus, if the ball

stop, it will not be on account of the absence of the cause of its

motion, but in consequence of the existence of extraneous causes which

produce the said result.


Again, take the instance of subjective phenomena.


Now the presence of this ink-bottle before me is producing in me, or in

my mind, a mental representation of its form, volume, colour and so



The bottle in question may be removed, but still its mental picture may

continue to exist.  Here, again, you see, the effect survives the cause.

Moreover, the effect may at any subsequent time be called into conscious

existence, whether the original cause be present or not.


Now, in the ease of the filth principle above mentioned-the entity that

came into existence by the combination of Brahmam and Prakriti--if the

general proposition (in the "Fragments of Occult Truth") is correct,

this principle, which corresponds to the physical intelligence, must

cease to exist whenever the Brahmam or the seventh Principle should

cease to exist for the particular individual;  but the fact is certainly

otherwise.  The general proposition under consideration is adduced in

the "Fragments" in support of the assertion that whenever the seventh

principle ceases to exist for any particular individual, the sixth

principle also ceases to exist for him.  The assertion is undoubtedly

true, though the mode of stating it and the reasons assigned for it, are

to my mind objectionable.


It is said that in cases where tendencies of a man's mind are entirely

material, and all spiritual aspirations and thoughts were altogether

absent from his mind, the seventh principle leaves him either before or

at the time of death, and the sixth principle disappears with it.  Here,

the very proposition that the tendencies of the particular individual's

mind are entirely material, involves the assertion that there is no

spiritual intelligence or spiritual Ego in him, it should then have been

said that, whenever spiritual intelligence ceases to exist in any

particular individual, the seventh principle ceases to exist for that

particular individual for all purposes.  Of course, it does not fly off

anywhere.  There can never be any thing like a change of position in the

case of Brahmam.*  The assertion merely means that when there is no

recognition whatever of Brahmam, or spirit, or spiritual life, or

spiritual consciousness, the seventh principle has ceased to exercise

any influence or control over the individual's destinies.



* True--from the standpoint of Aryan Exotericism and the Upanishads, not

quite so in the case of the Arahat or Tibetan esoteric doctrine;  and it

is only on this one solitary point that the two teachings disagree, as

far as we know.  The difference is very trifling, though, resting as it

does solely upon the two various methods of viewing the one and the same

thing from two different aspects.  (See Appendix, Note IV.)



I shall now state what is meant (in the Aryan doctrine) by the seven

principles above enumerated.


I. Prakriti.  This is the basis of Sthulasariram, and represents it in

the above-mentioned classification.


II. Prakriti and Sakti.  This is the Lingasariram, or astral body.


III. Sukti.  This principle corresponds to your Kamarupa. This power or

force is placed by ancient occultists in the Nabhichakram.  This power

can gather akasa or prakriti, and mould it into any desired shape.  It

has very great sympathy with the fifth principle, and can be made to act

by its influence or control.


IV. Brahmam and Sakti, and Prakriti.  This again corresponds to your

second principle, Jiva.


This power represents the universal life-principle which exists in

Nature.  Its seat is the Anahatachakram (heart).  It is a force or power

which constitutes what is called Jiva, or life. It is, as you say,

indestructible, and its activity is merely transferred at the time of

death to another set of atoms, to form another organism.


V. Brahma and Prakriti.  This, in our Aryan philosophy, corresponds to

your fifth principle, called the physical intelligence.  According to

our philosophers, this is the entity in which what is called mind has

its seat or basis.  This is the most difficult principle of all to

explain, and the present discussion entirely turns upon the view we take

of it.


Now, what is mind?  It is a mysterious something, which is considered to

be the seat of consciousness--of sensations, emotions, volitions, and

thoughts.  Psychological analysis shows it to be apparently a congeries

of mental states, and possibilities of mental states, connected by what

is called memory, and considered to have a distinct existence apart from

any of its particular states or ideas.  Now in what entity has this

mysterious something its potential or actual existence? Memory and

expectation, which form, as it were, the real foundation of what is

called individuality, or Ahankaram, must have their seat of existence

somewhere.  Modern psychologists of Europe generally say that the

material substance of brain is the seat of mind;  and that past

subjective experiences, which can he recalled by memory, and which in

their totality constitute what is called individuality, exist therein in

the shape of certain unintelligible mysterious impressions and changes

in the nerves and nerve-centres of the cerebral hemispheres.

Consequently, they say, the mind--the individual mind--is destroyed when

the body is destroyed;  so there is no possible existence after death.


But there are a few facts among those admitted by these philosophers

which are sufficient for us to demolish their theory.  In every portion

of the human body a constant change goes on without intermission.  Every

tissue, every muscular fibre and nerve-tube, and every ganglionic centre

in the brain, is undergoing an incessant change.  In the course of a

man's lifetime there may be a series of complete tranformations of the

substance of his brain.  Nevertheless, the memory of his past mental

states remains unaltered.  There may be additions of new subjective

experiences and some mental states may be altogether forgotten, but no

individual mental state is altered.  The person's sense of personal

identity remains the same throughout these constant alterations in the

brain substance.*  It is able to survive all these changes, and it can

survive also the complete destruction of the material substance of the




* This is also sound Buddhist philosophy, the transformation in

question being known as the change of the skandhas.--Editor, Theosophist Magazine.



This individuality arising from mental consciousness has its seat of

existence, according to our philosophers, in an occult power or force,

which keeps a registry, as it were, of all our mental impressions.  The

power itself is indestructible, though by the operation of certain

antagonistic causes its impressions may in course of time be effaced, in

part or wholly.


I may mention in this connection that our philosophers have

associated seven occult powers with the seven principles or entities

above-mentioned.  These seven occult powers in the microcosm correspond

with, or are the counterparts of, the occult powers in the macrocosm.

The mental and spiritual consciousness of the individual becomes the

general consciousness of Brahmam, when the barrier of individuality is

wholly removed, and when the seven powers in the microcosm are placed

en rapport with the seven powers in the macrocosm.


There is nothing very strange in a power, or force, or sakti, carrying

with it impressions of sensations, ideas, thoughts, or other subjective

experiences.  It is now a well-known fact, that an electric or magnetic

current can convey in some mysterious manner impressions of sound or

speech, with all their individual peculiarities;  similarly, I can

convey my thoughts to you by a transmission of energy or power.


Now, this fifth principle represents in our philosophy the mind, or, to

speak more correctly, the power or force above described, the

impressions of the mental states therein, and the notion of

self-identity or Ahankaram generated by their collective operation.

This principle is called merely physical intelligence in the

"Fragments."  I do not know what is really meant by this expression.  It

may be taken to mean that intelligence which exists in a very low state

of development in the lower animals. Mind may exist in different stages

of development, from the very lowest forms of organic life, where the

signs of its existence or operation can hardly be distinctly realized,

up to man, in whom it reaches its highest state of development.


In fact, from the first appearance of life* up to Tureeya Avastha, or

the state of Nirvana, the progress is, as it were, continuous.



* In the Aryan doctrine, which blends Brahmam, Sakti, and Prakriti in

one, it is the fourth principle then, in the Buddhist esotericisms the

second in combination with the first.



We ascend from that principle up to the seventh by almost imperceptible

gradations.  But four stages are recognized in the progress where the

change is of a peculiar kind, and is such as to arrest an observer's

attention.  These four stages are as follows:--


(1) Where life (fourth principle) makes its appearance.


(2) Where the existence of mind becomes perceptible in conjunction with



(3) Where the highest state of mental abstraction ends, and spiritual

consciousness commences.


(4) Where spiritual consciousness disappears, leaving the seventh

principle in a complete state of Nirvana, or nakedness.


According to our philosophers, the fifth principle under consideration

is intended to represent the mind in every possible state of

development, from the second stage up to the third stage.


IV. Brahmam and Sakti.  This principle corresponds to your "spiritual

intelligence."  It is, in fact, Buddhi (I use the word Buddhi not in the

ordinary sense, but in the sense in which it is used by our ancient

philosophers);  in other words, it is the seat of Bodha or Atmabodha.

One who has Atmabodha in its completeness is a Buddha.  Buddhists know

very well what this term signifies.  This principle is described in the

"Fragments" as  an entity coming into existence by the combination of

Brahmam and Prakriti.   I do not again know in what particular sense the

word Prakriti is used in this connection.  According to our philosophers

it is an entity arising from the union of Brahmam and Sakti.  I have

already explained the connotation attached by our philosophers to the

words Prakriti and Sakti.


I stated that Prakriti in its primary state is Akasa.*


If Akasa be considered to be Sakti or power** then my statement as

regards the ultimate state of Prakriti is likely to give rise to

confusion and misapprehension unless I explain the distinction between

Akasa and Sakti.  Akasa is not, properly speaking, the crown of the

astral light, nor does it by itself constitute any of the six primary

forces.  But, generally speaking, whenever any phenomenal result is

produced, Sakti acts in conjunction with Akasa.  And, moreover, Akasa

serves as a basis or Adhishthanum for the transmission of force currents

and for the formation or generation of force or power correlations.***



* According to the Buddhists, in Akasa lies that eternal, potential

energy whose function it is to evolve all visible things out of

itself.--Editor, Theosophist Magazine.


** It was never so considered, as we have shown it.  But as the

"Fragments" are written in English, a language lacking such an abundance

of metaphysical terms to express ever minute change of form, substance

and state as are found in the Sanskrit, it was deemed useless to confuse

the Western reader, untrained in the methods of Eastern expression, more

than is necessary, with a too nice distinctions of proper technical

terms.  As "Prakriti in its primary state is Akasa," and Sakti "is an

attribute AKASA," it becomes evident that for the uninitiated it is all

one.  Indeed, to speak of the "union of Brahmam and Prakriti" instead of

"Brahmam and Sakti" is no worse than for a theist to write that "That

man has come into existence by the combination of spirit and matter,"

whereas, his word, framed in an orthodox shape, ought to read "man is a

living soul was created by the power (or breath) of God over matter."


*** That is to say, the Aryan Akasa is another word for Buddhist SPACE

(in its metaphysical meaning).--Editor, Theosophist Magazine.



In Mantrasastra the letter Ha represents Akasa, and you will find that

this syllable enters into most of the sacred formula intended to be used

in producing phenomenal results.  But by itself it does not represent

any Sakti.  You may, if you please, call Sakti an attribute of Akasa.


I do not think that, as regards the nature of this principle, there can

in reality exist any difference of opinion between the Buddhist and

Brahmanical philosophers.


Buddhist and Brahmanical initiates know very well that mysterious

circular mirror composed of two hemispheres which reflects as it were

the rays emanating from the "burning bush" and the blazing star--the

spiritual sun Shining in CHIDAKASAM.


The spiritual impressions constituting this principle have their

existence in an occult power associated with the entity in question.

The successive incarnations of Buddha, in fact, mean the successive

transfers of this mysterious power, or the impressions thereof.  The

transfer is only possible when the Mahatma* who transfers it has

completely identified himself with his seventh principle, has

annihilated his Ahankaram, and reduced it to ashes in CHIDAGNIKUNDUM,

and has succeeded in making his thoughts correspond with the eternal

laws of Nature and in becoming a co-worker with Nature.  Or, to put the

same thing in other words, when he has attained the state of Nirvana,

the condition of final negation, negation of individual, or separate




* The highest adept.


* In the words of Agatha in the "Maha-pari-Nirvana Sutra,"

     "We reach a condition of rest

     Beyond the limit of any human knowledge"

--Editor, Theosophist Magazine.



VII. Atma.--The emanation from the absolute, corresponding to the

seventh principle.  As regards this entity there exists positively no

real difference of opinion between the Tibetan Buddhist adepts and our

ancient Rishis.


We must now consider which of these entities can appear after the

individual's death in seance-rooms and produce the so-called

spiritualistic phenomena.


Now, the assertion of the Spiritualists, that the "disembodied spirits"

of particular human beings appear in seance-rooms, necessarily implies

that the entity that so appears bears the stamp of some particular



So, we have to ascertain beforehand in what entity or entities

personality has its seat of existence.  Apparently it exists in the

person's particular formation of body, and in his subjective experiences

(called his mind in their totality).  On the death of the individual his

body is destroyed;  his lingasariram being decomposed, the power

associated with it becomes mingled in the current of the corresponding

power in the macrocosm. Similarly, the third and fourth principles are

mingled with their corresponding powers.  These entities may again enter

into the composition of other organisms.  As these entities bear no

impression of personality, the Spiritualists have no right to say that

the disembodied spirit of the human being has appeared in the

seance-room whenever any of these entities may appear there. In fact,

they have no means of ascertaining that they belonged to any particular



Therefore, we must only consider whether any of the last three entities

appear in seance-rooms to amuse or to instruct Spiritualists.  Let us

take three particular examples of individuals, and see what becomes of

these three principles after death.


I. One in whom spiritual attachments have greater force than terrestrial



II. One in whom spiritual aspirations do exist, but are merely of

secondary importance to him, his terrestrial interests occupying the

greater share of his attention.


III. One in whom there exists no spiritual aspirations whatsoever, one

whose spiritual Ego is dead or non-existent to his apprehension.


We need not consider the case of a complete adept in this connection.

In the first two cases, according to our supposition, spiritual and

mental experiences exist together;  when spiritual consciousness exists,

the existence of the seventh principle being recognized, it maintains

its connection with the fifth and sixth principles.  But the existence

of terrestrial attachments creates the necessity of Punarjanmam

(re-birth), the latter signifying the evolution of a new set of

objective and subjective experiences, constituting a new combination of

surrounding circumstances, or, in other words, a new world.  The period

between death and the next subsequent birth is occupied with the

preparation required for the evolution of these new experiences.  During

the period of incubation, as you call it, the spirit will never of its

own accord appear in this world, nor can it so appear.


There is a great law in this universe which consists in the reduction of

subjective experiences to objective phenomena, and the evolution of the

former from the latter.  This is otherwise called "cyclic necessity."

Man is subjected to this law if he do not check and counterbalance the

usual destiny or fate, and he can only escape its control by subduing

all his terrestrial attachments completely.  The new combination of

circumstances under which he will then be placed may be better or worse

than the terrestrial conditions under which he lived;  but in his

progress to a new world, you may be sure he will never turn around to

have a look at his spiritualistic friends.


In the third of the above three cases there is, by our supposition, no

recognition of spiritual consciousness or of spirits;  so they are

non-existing so far as he is concerned.  The case is similar to that of

an organ or faculty which remains unused for a long time.  It then

practically ceases to exist.


These entities, as it were, remain his, or in his possession, when they

are stamped with the stamp of recognition.  When such is not the case,

the whole of his individuality is centred in his fifth principle.  And

after death this fifth principle is the only representative of the

individual in question.


By itself it cannot evolve for itself a new set of objective

experiences, or, to say the same thing in other words, it has no

punarjanmam.  It is such an entity that can appear in seance-rooms;  but

it is absurd to call it a disembodied spirit.* It is merely a power or

force retaining the impressions of the thoughts or ideas of the

individual into whose composition it originally entered.  It sometimes

summons to its aid the Kamarupa power, and creates for itself some

particular ethereal form (not necessarily human).



* It is especially on this point that the Aryan and Arahat doctrines

quite agree.  The teaching and argument that follow are in every respect

those of the Buddhist Himalayan Brotherhood.--Editor, Theosophist Magazine.



Its tendencies of action will be similar to those of the individual's

mind when he was living.  This entity maintains its existence so long as

the impressions on the power associated with the fifth principle remain

intact.  In course of time they are effaced, and the power in question

is then mixed up in the current of its corresponding power in the

MACROCOSM, as the river loses itself in the sea.  Entities like these

may afford signs of there having been considerable intellectual power in

the individuals to which they belonged;  because very high intellectual

power may co-exist with utter absence of spiritual consciousness.  But

from this circumstance it cannot be argued that either the spirits or

the spiritual Egos of deceased individuals appear in seance-rooms.


There are some people in India who have thoroughly studied the nature of

such entities (called Pisacham).  I do not know much about them

experimentally, as I have never meddled with this disgusting,

profitless, and dangerous branch of investigation.


The Spiritualists do not know what they are really doing.  Their

investigations are likely to result in course of time either in wicked

sorcery or in the utter spiritual ruin of thousands of men and women.*



* We share entirely in this idea.--Editor, Theosophist Magazineophist.



The views I have herein expressed have been often illustrated by our

ancient writers by comparing the course of a man's life or existence to

the orbital motion of a planet round the sun. Centripetal force is

spiritual attraction, and centrifugal terrestrial attraction.  As the

centripetal force increases in magnitude in comparison with the

centrifugal force, the planet approaches the sun--the individual reaches

a higher plane of existence.  If, on the other hand, the centrifugal

force becomes greater than the centripetal force, the planet is removed

to a greater distance from the sun, and moves in a new orbit at that

distance--the individual comes to a lower level of existence. These are

illustrated in the first two instances I have noticed above.


We have only to consider the two extreme cases.


When the planet in its approach to the sun passes over the line where

the centripetal and centrifugal force completely neutralize each other,

and is only acted on by the centripetal force, it rushes towards the sun

with a gradually increasing velocity, and is finally mixed up with the

mass of the sun's body. This is the case of a complete adept.


Again, when the planet in its retreat from the sun reaches a point where

the centrifugal force becomes all-powerful, it flies off in a tangential

direction from its orbit, and goes into the depths of void space.  When

it ceases to be under the control of the sun, it gradually gives up its

generative heat, and the creative energy that it originally derived from

the sun, and remains a cold mass of material particles wandering through

space until the mass is completely decomposed into atoms.  This cold

mass is compared to the fifth principle under the conditions above

noticed, and the heat, light, and energy that left it are compared to

the sixth and seventh principles.


Either after assuming a new orbit or in its course of deviation from the

old orbit to the new, the planet can never go back to any point in its

old orbit, as the various orbits lying in different planes never

intersect each other.


This figurative representation correctly explains the ancient

Brahmanical theory on the subject.  It is merely a branch of what is

called the Great Law of the Universe by the ancient mystics.


--T. Subba Row







Note I.


In this connection it will be well to draw the reader's attention to the

fact that the country called "Si-dzang" by the Chinese, and Tibet by

Western geographers, is mentioned in the oldest books preserved in the

province of Fo-kien (the headquarters of the aborigines of China) as the

great seat of occult learning in the archaic ages.  According to these

records, it was inhabited by the "Teachers of Light," the "Sons of

Wisdom" and the "Brothers of the Sun."  The Emperor Yu the "Great" (2207

B.C.), a pious mystic, is credited with having obtained his occult

wisdom and the system of theocracy established by him--for he was the

first one to unite in China ecclesiastical power with temporal

authority--from Si-dzang.  That system was the same as with the old

Egyptians and the Chaldees;  that which we know to have existed in the

Brahmanical period in India, and to exist now in Tibet--namely, all the

learning, power, the temporal as well as the secret wisdom were

concentrated within the hierarchy of the priests and limited to their

caste.  Who were the aborigines of Tibet is a question which no

ethnographer is able to answer correctly at present.  They practice the

Bhon religion, their sect is a pre-and anti-Buddhistic one, and they

are to be found mostly in the province of Kam.  That is all that is

known of them.  But even that would justify the supposition that they

are the greatly degenerated descendants of mighty and wise forefathers.

Their ethnical type shows that they are not pure Turanians, and their

rites--now those of sorcery, incantations, and Nature-worship--remind

one far more of the popular rites of the Babylonians, as found in the

records preserved on the excavated cylinders, than of the religious

practices of the Chinese sect of Tao-sse (a religion based upon pure

reason and spirituality), as alleged by some.  Generally, little or no

difference is made, even by the Kyelang missionaries, who mix greatly

with these people on the borders of British Lahoul and ought to know

better, between the Bhons and the two rival Buddhist sects, the Yellow

Caps and the Red Caps.  The latter of these have opposed the reform of

Tzong-ka-pa from the first, and have always adhered to old Buddhism, so

greatly mixed up now with the practices of the Bhons.  Were our

Orientalists to know more of them, and compare the ancient Babylonian

Bel or Baal worship with the rites of the Bhons, they would find an

undeniable connection between the two.  To begin an argument here,

proving the origin of the aborigines of Tibet as connected with one of

the three great races which superseded each other in Babylonia, whether

we call them the Akkadians (a name invented by F. Lenormant), or the

primitive Turanians, Chaldees, and Assyrians, is out of the question.

Be it as it may, there is reason to call the trans-Himalayan esoteric

doctrine Chaldeo-Tibetan.  And when we remember that the Vedas came,

agreeably to all traditions, from the Mansarawara Lake in Tibet, and the

Brahmins themselves from the far North, we are justified in looking on

the esoteric doctrines of every people who once had or still has it, as

having proceeded from one and the same source;  and to thus call it the

"Aryan-Chaldeo-Tibetan" doctrine, or Universal Wisdom-Religion. "Seek

for the Lost Word among the hierophants of Tartary, China, and Tibet,"

was the advice of Swedenborg the seer.


Note II.


Not necessarily, we say.  The Vedas, Brahmanism, and along with these,

Sanskrit, were importations into what we now regard as India.  They were

never indigenous to its soil.  There was a time when the ancient nations

of the West included under the generic name of India many of the

countries of Asia now classified under other names.  There was an Upper,

a Lower, and a Western India, even during the comparatively late period

of Alexander;  and Persia (Iran) is called Western India in some ancient

classics. The countries now named Tibet, Mongolia, and Great Tartary

were considered by them as forming part of India.  When we say,

therefore, that India has civilized the world, and was the Alma Mater of

the civilizations, arts, and sciences of all other nations (Babylonia,

and perhaps even Egypt, included), we mean archaic, pre-historic India,

India of the time when the great Gobi was a sea, and the lost "Atlantis"

formed part of an unbroken continent which began at the Himalayas and

ran down over Southern India, Ceylon, and Java, to far-away Tasmania.


Note III.


To ascertain such disputed questions, one has to look into and study

well the Chinese sacred and historical records--a people whose era

begins nearly 4,600 years back (2697 B.C.).  A people so accurate, and

by whom some of the most important inventions of modern Europe and its

so much boasted modern science were anticipated--such as the compass,

gunpowder, porcelain, paper, printing, &c.--known and practiced

thousands of years before these were rediscovered by the Europeans,

ought to receive some trust for their records.  And from Lao-tze down to

Hiouen-Thsang their literature is filled with allusions and references

to that island and the wisdom of the Himalayan adepts.  In the "Catena

of Buddhist Scriptures from the Chinese," by the Rev. Samuel Beal, there

is a chapter "On the TIAN-TA'I School of Buddhism" (pp. 244-258) which

our opponents ought to read.  Translating the rules of that most

celebrated and holy school and sect in China founded by Chin-che-K'hae,

called Che-chay (the Wise One), in the year 575 of our era, when coming

to the sentence which reads "That which relates to the one garment

(seamless) worn by the GREAT TEACHERS OF THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS, the schoolof the Haimavatas" (p. 256), the European translator places after thelast sentence a sign of interrogation, as well he may.  The statisticsof the school of the "Haimavatas," or of our Himalayan Brotherhood, arenot to be found in the general census records of India.  Further, Mr.

Beal translates a rule relating to "the great professors of the higher

order who live in mountain depths remote from men," the Aranyakas, or



So, with respect to the traditions concerning this island, and apart

from the (to them) historical records of this preserved in the Chinese

and Tibetan sacred books, the legend is alive to this day among the

people of Tibet.  The fair island is no more, but the country where it

once bloomed remains there still, and the spot is well known to some of

the "great teachers of the Snowy Mountains," however much convulsed and

changed its topography by the awful cataclysm.  Every seventh year these

teachers are believed to assemble in SCHAM-BHA-LA, the "Happy Land."

According to the general belief it is situated in the north-west of

Tibet.  Some place it within the unexplored central regions,

inaccessible even to the fearless nomadic tribes;  others hem it in

between the range of the Gangdisri Mountains and the northern edge of

the Gobi desert, south and north, and the more populated regions of

Khoondooz and Kashmir, of the Gya-Pheling (British India), and China,

west and east, which affords to the curious mind a pretty large latitude

to locate it in.  Others still place it between Namur Nur and the

Kuen-Lun Mountains, but one and all firmly believe in Scham-bha-la, and

speak of it as a fertile fairy-like land once an island, now an oasis of

incomparable beauty, the place of meeting of the inheritors of the

esoteric wisdom of the god-like inhabitants of the legendary island.


In connection with the archaic legend of the Asian Sea and the Atlantic

Continent, is it not profitable to note a fact known to all modern

geologists-that the Himalayan slopes afford geological proof that the

substance of those lofty peaks was once a part of an ocean floor?


Note IV.


We have already pointed out that, in our opinion, the whole difference

between Buddhistic and Vedantic philosophies was that the former was a

kind of Rationalistic Vedantism, while the latter might be regarded as

transcendental Buddhism.  If the Aryan esotericism applies the term

jivatma to the seventh principle--the pure and per se unconscious

spirit--it is because the Vedanta, postulating three kinds of

existence--(1) the paramarthika (the true, the only real one), (2) the

vyavaharika (the practical), and (3) the pratibhasika (the apparent or

illusory life)--makes the first life or jiva, the only truly existent

one.  Brahma, or the ONE'S SELF, is its only representative in the

universe, as it is the universal Life in toto, while the other two are

but its "phenomenal appearances," imagined and created by ignorance, and

complete illusions suggested to us by our blind senses.  The Buddhists,

on the other hand, deny either subjective or objective reality even to

that one Self-Existence.  Buddha declares that there is neither Creator

nor an Absolute Being.  Buddhist rationalism was ever too alive to the

insuperable difficulty of admitting one absolute consciousness, as in

the words of Flint, "wherever there is consciousness there is relation,

and wherever there is relation there is dualism."  The ONE LIFE is

either "MUKTA" (absolute and unconditioned), and can have no relation to

anything nor to any one;  or it is "BADDHA" (bound and conditioned), and

then it cannot be called the absolute;  the limitation, moreover,

necessitating another deity as powerful as the first to account for all

the evil in this world.  Hence, the Arahat secret doctrine on cosmogony

admits but of one absolute, indestructible, eternal, and uncreated

UNCONSCIOUSNESS (so to translate) of an element (the word being used for

want of a better term) absolutely independent of everything else in the

universe;  a something ever present or ubiquitous, a Presence which ever

was, is, and will be, whether there is a God, gods, or none, whether

there is a universe, or no universe, existing during the eternal cycles

of Maha Yugs, during the Pralayas as during the periods of Manvantara,

and this is SPACE, the field for the operation of the eternal Forces and

natural Law, the basis (as Mr. Subba Row rightly calls it) upon which

take place the eternal intercorrelations of Akasa-Prakriti;  guided by

the unconscious regular pulsations of Sakti, the breath or power of a

conscious deity, the theists would say;  the eternal energy of an

eternal, unconscious Law, say the Buddhists.  Space, then, or "Fan,

Bar-nang" (Maha Sunyata) or, as it is called by Lao-tze, the "Emptiness,"

is the nature of the Buddhist Absolute.  (See Confucius' "Praise of the

Abyss.")  The word jiva, then, could never be applied by the Arahats to

the Seventh Principle, since it is only through its correlation or

contact with matter that Fo-hat (the Buddhist active energy) can

develop active conscious life;  and that to the question "how can

unconsciousness generate consciousness?" the answer would be:  "Was the

seed which generated a Bacon or a Newton self-conscious?"


Note V.


To our European readers, deceived by the phonetic similarity, it must

not be thought that the name "Brahman" is identical in this connection

with Brahma or Iswara, the personal God.  The Upanishads--the Vedanta

Scriptures--mention no such God, and one would vainly seek in them any

allusions to a conscious deity. The Brahman, or Parabrahm, the absolute

of the Vedantins, is neuter and unconscious, and has no connection with

the masculine Brahma of the Hindu Triad, or Trimurti.  Some Orientalists

rightly believe the name derived from the verb "Brih," to grow or

increase, and to be in this sense the universal expansive force of

Nature, the vivifying and spiritual principle or power spread throughout

the universe, and which, in its collectivity, is the one Absoluteness,

the one Life and the only Reality.


--H.P. Blavatsky




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