Globes, Planes, and Bodies
Dec 24, 1993 12:47 PM
by Gerald Schueler
I would like to discuss the globes, planes, and bodies yet again.
I don't think that the basic ideas are clearly understood yet.
There seems to be a great deal of confusion about just where the
globes are, about what the difference between a body and a
principle is, and about the planes in general.
The 7 principles are not the 7 bodies but for all intents and
purposes, they can be considered identical. As far as I know,
theosophy is the *only* group/religion to distinguish any real
difference. As far as practical application is concerned, they
are one and the same. But I will agree that in theory, a
principle is not a body. rather, a principle informs and oversee
a body. It may help if you think of a body as a crystallized or
The 7 Principles. HPB gives these (without accents) as: Sthula-
Sarira, Linga-Sarira, Kama, Lower Manas, Upper Manas, Buddhi, and
the Auric Egg (see page 529 of Vol XII of her Collected Works).
None of these terms have made it into todays vocabulary, and I
doubt that many theosophists could pronounce them properly.
Anyway, she deletes Atman from the list saying, "we see that
Atman is no "principle" but stands separate from the Man." This
clearly shows us that her 7 principles (as opposed to bodies) are
the components of the manifestation or self-expression of Atman,
which remains spsiritual/divine and "separate." Why separate?
Because Atman is above our planetary chain, while all 7
principles are somewhere within in. This is further amplified on
the very next page (page 530) where she says, "Thus man functions
on, and responds to, seven distinct yet correlated wave-lengths
(this in italics), each of which corresponds to a specific plane
or world of being, while the One Cosmic Life-Consciousness,
binding and permeating everything, flows through all of them."
HPB thus clearly states that we have 7 principles, and there is
one principle for each cosmic plane - not 7 principles for each
Judge says that "Plane of consciousness is used to designate the
stage or metaphysical place the consciousness has reached or may
be on or in ... plane (word is in italics) means a place for
operation or use, and principle (word is in italics) is that
which uses or operates on a plane." (page 325, Echoes of the
Orient, Vol II). I think that Judge pretty well sums it up here.
On the same page, he also points out that "it must be remembered
that the word "principle" is used loosely, and sometimes that
which is not such is so called." Thus different theosophical
authors used the term 'principle' differently and the word should
be read with care.
I may be beating a dead horse bu now, but let me quote HPB again.
She says, "The field of consciousness of the Higher Ego is never
reflected in the Astral Light." (Inner Group Teachings, page 87).
The Higher Ego or Reincarnating Ego is Buddhi-Manas. What she is
saying, is that buddhi-manas does not act on or affect the Astral
Light, which is the aura of our planet Earth - Globe D of our
planetary chain. In short, our higher principles are far above
Globe D and have little intercourse with it.
While we have one and only one principle acting on each plane,
each globe of our planetary chain is sevenfold and does have 7
principles. On Globe D, these are taken together and called the
Astral Light. G de P says, "You cannot make an exact
correspondence between seven material things and the seven
principles of the human being. All the Globes are bodies, all
the Globes are vehicles, temporary composites ... But each Globe
in addition has its own six principles, therefore its own
septenary constitution." (Dialogues, Vol II, page 225).
I personally hate it when someone gives me a lot of quotes from
the experts to support a point, but admittedly there are times
when this is necessary. I feel that this is such a time. I have
provided a few quotes (there are lots more) to support my thesis
that we have one principle per plane, and that each plane has
seven subplanes and that each globe has 7 principles, each on one
of the subplanes of its plane. If we want to get technical and
say that each principle can be divided into seven subprinciples,
one on each subplane of a cosmic plane, then I suppose that this
would be alright, albeit a bit confusing in a topic that seems to
be quite confusing enough.
I hope now that students and others who are relatively new to
theosophy will realize that because a principle is "that which
uses or operates on a plane" there is, in fact, little difference
between a body and a principle, at least in one's experience of
the globes, including our Globe D. We can think of a body as a
vehicle for our principle but only if we agree that our
principles are actually aspects of consciousness. Remember,
Globe D houses or incorporates only our physical body and sthula-
sarira, the only one of our principles that is on the physical
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