the principles, planes, and bodies
Dec 22, 1993 07:35 AM
Following are some comments on your questions regarding what I've
written. Some differences may be due to terminology, many, though,
are due to our perhaps having different cosmological models of the
nature of how the globes, planes, principles, and monads all fit
There are a few points that I did not have a chance to get in this
time, but will mention in another message.
It's good to be challenged to write our understanding as clearly as
we can. And we don't have to agree. We do have a responsibility to
teach what we've been given, to share with others, to pass on what
Apart from our individual expressions, it's quite possible that a
chela would be taught something entirely different that what either of
us think. We still, though, have a responsibility to pass on what
we've been given, what we've been fortunate enought to be permitted to
know, as our own contributions to the thought of the world.
The only restrictions would come when are lips are sealed by the
Mysteries, when we've been given teachings in confidence rather than
having explored them ourselves. In the former case, it is our own
individual karma, rather than our teacher's and school's karma, that
is involved, so we can do so at our own discretion. In the later case,
we must remain silent.
Consciousness *is* the seven or ten principles. They consist of the
names or descriptions of the coming into being of a life, and the
successive veils of selfhood acquired down and through actually having
a form of some sort. All the principles are needed to be fully
manifest on a plane. On any plane, all the principles are required
in order to have a form and exist and be fully functional.
The only exception to the requirement that all the principles are needed
is the physical body itself, the Sthula Sharira, which is a mere
containing shell. It is possible to exist without it, if one is
sufficiently developed, where one exists as a Nirmanakaya, having
full sensory connection to the world but not required to live in and
through an animal form, which is what the human body is, apart from
the indwelling human being.
On formless planes, the requirement to have a particular body, and for
all the affects of one's life energy to only come out through it, is
gone. We can exist without having to have a body that we can say "this
is me" about. We can affect the environment directly. But this does
not necessarily mean that there are no forms, no objects, no
objectivity to the Sthula Sharira or physical principle of those
The principles are not bodies. On a plane we have a body if we have
all the principles, down to and including the lowest, the "body"
principle. The principles are the fabric of consciousness, and not
bodies. Consciousness is not the action of bodies on differing planes,
but rather exists in its own right. Without physical eyes, for instance,
we can have the consciousness of *seeing* of a distant star; we gaze
upon a star in our consciousness of sense perception, with or without
the physical eyes providing the sensory input. In a world of forms,
we need a body with eyes to see, in a formless world, we can see without
that body as a proxy for our consciousness, we see directly.
Although the principles are each separate aspects of the manifesting
or giving expression to consciousness on a plane, unfolding one from
the next until the actual form or body is produced, it is not required
that we fully come into active existence on a plane. We do not have
to participate in a world, and take on a form, and interact with
beings thereon, in order to experience the nature of *being* on that
We can clothe ourselves in just the higher principles, and not fully
manifest ourselves. Functioning as the higher triad, we have a
sense of existing, and of being interrelated with life, of participation
in the creation of the world, and a sense of personal egoity or
individual identity. As the higher triad alone, we experience a sense
of pure self that is without desire nor thought related to the
happenings thereon, but is absorbed in individuality.
A further clothing of ourselves includes Kama, where we are concerned
with the activities of the world, but have not taken on the necessary
life energies (Prana), sensory connection (Linga-Sharira), nor physical
form (Sthula Sharira) to engage in activity thereon.
Someone in devachan, for instance, would be clothed in Atman, Buddhi,
and Buddhi-Manas, but would have dropped the lower principles. He
would exist apart from any connection with the globe on which he was
withdrawing from, and would continue in that state, clothed in but
the higher principles, as he passed through the other globes, before
returning to his next life on earth.
No longer having all seven principles on this globe, and not taking
on all seven principles on any of the subsequent globes, he would not
participate in the activities of those globes, but rather be in a
dream-like state. He takes on no desire to have activity, nor life
energies to affect the outer world, nor a form to act through, but
rather is a silent visitor to the globe, unseen and not interacted with
by the dwellers thereon.
Even earlier than devachan, he looses his power to affect the outer
world upon the death and dissolution of the vital-astral-physical
nature--particularly when Prana is gone. He can only, with but few
exceptions, affect us if he is awakened from his sleep by a medium,
whom lends him life energies and allows him to engender new karma.
At death we loose our physical body, but we do not immediately find
ourselves in a body on Globe E. The after-death states involve the
letting go of our seven principles for Globe D before we move on to
clothe ourselves in some, but not all, principles on Globe E.
In devachan, as we continue the state from Globe D to the other globes,
we do not take on all seven principles on the other globes. Where we
to do so, we would not be in devachan anymore, but would find ourselves
in full embodiement, including a physical form and the ability to
interact with others and make new karma.
When we die, the physical body goes, but we are still on Globe D.
We are here until we have let go of all of our skandhas, until all of
our principles have returned to the elements, and we had freed
ourselves to clothe our consciousness in the fabric of consciousness
of the next globe.
This thought may be difficult to follow until we free ourselves from
the association of principles and bodies. The principles are not bodies
on different planes, and Manas, for instance, is not literally a
physical form on just a higher plane of being. The principles are the
aspects of consciousness that we clothe ourselves in, not coats of
matter or bodies on a number of planes.
We may have a globe on the mental plane, where the nature of existence
thereon is most responsive to Manas, but the bodies on that globe are
not Manas itself. The nature of existence, the laws of nature, the
way that things work is particularly sensitive to Manas, but the
matter of that world is not Manas itself.
And we must keep clear the distinction between planes and globes.
The globes are the places where existence can happen, whereas the
planes are the spaces of space, the broad spectrum of consciousness
that contain and create those worlds. A plane is not a world or globe.
For each globe that we visit, we have a unique aspect of ourselves
that we've evolved forth. This is carried with us in our consciousness
and also inhers in our skandhas for each respective globe, which we
draw to us as we clothe ourselves in the principles for that globe.
Who and what we are is a difficult subject, because it is not just us,
Human Monads, that come together to form our constitution when we
come into embodied life. There is a whole family of Monads, from the
Divine, Spiritual, down through the Beast and yet lower.
These different Monads are a form of our own personal experience, or a
different way of describing the seven principles. They are distinct
beings in their own right, each as unique, distinct, and individual
as we, the Human Monads, are.
There are a number of mysteries associated with the interaction of
these Monads, including how animals enter the human kingdom, what
happens at initiation, and how humans enter the Dhyani-Chohanic kingdom.
There are some good hints but not a lot directly written about these
In our study of Theosophy, we have to be able to restructure our
framework of ideas a number of times. Each time we come to a deeper
understanding of things. The most-apparent meanings and views that we
first get from our studies are the first to go. There is not a final
view that is the most correct, since there would be still be greater
understandings to come.
Approaching the study with an open mind, with reverence for the
Teachings, with a willingness to stay true to what we have learned
yet to dare to explore uncharted waters, we will find no end or final
stopping point to what we can behold. The only limit is our willingness
to move forward, to grow and expand in our approach to the Teachings!
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application