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Feb 03, 1994 12:30 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

This is by Brenda Tucker.

I hope that the following references from THE SECRET DOCTRINE can
give us more freedom in expressing the seven principles and even in
using the term "astral body" without any objection.  H.P.B.  makes
two important points in favor of other systems of classification.  1)
Don't limit theosophy to Buddhism.  2) The esoteric doctrine is "a
thread doctrine" which reconciles the different systems and even
"checks" the findings of science which are corroborated when found in
ancient records.

Here's the quote on the first point.

THE SECRET DOCTRINE Vol I p.  xvi.  "Old truisms are often the
wisest.  The human mind can hardly remain entirely free from bias,
and decisive opinions are often formed before a thorough examination
of a subject from all its aspects has been made.  This is said with
reference to the prevailing double mistake (a) of limiting Theosophy
to Buddhism: and (b) of confounding the tenets of the religious
philosophy preached by Gautama, the Buddha, with the doctrines
broadly outlined in Esoteric Buddhism.  "

Here's the quote for the second point.

On p.  610 Vol I: "Some years ago we remarked that "the Esoteric
Doctrine may well be called the 'thread-doctrine,' since, like
Sutratman, in the Vedanta philosophy, it passes through and strings
together all the ancient philosophical religious systems, and
reconciles and explains them all." We say now it does more.  It not
only reconciles the various and apparently conflicting systems, but
it checks the discoveries of modern exact science, and shows some of
them to be necessarily correct, since they are found corroborated in
the ancient records.  All this will, no doubt, be regarded as
terribly impertinent and disrespectful, a veritable crime of
lese-science; nevertheless, it is a fact.

For your reference, three classifications of Indian Systems are given
on p.  157 of Vol I.

Classification in ESOTERIC BUDDHISM:

1. Sthula-Sarira
2. Prana
3. The vehicle of Prana
4. Kama-Rupa
5. Mind a)volitions and feelings, etc.
      b) Vijnana
6. Spiritual Soul.
7. Atman

Classification in Vedanta:

Annamaya kosa - equivalent to number 1 above
Pranamaya kosa - includes numbers 2 and 3.
Manomaya kosa - includes numbers 4 and 5a from the first list.
Vijnanamaya kosa - includes 5b only from the first list.
Anandamaya kosa - equivalent to number 6
Atman - equivalent to number 7

Classification in Taraka Raja-Yoga

Sthulopadhi - numbers 1, 2, and 3 from top list.
Sukshmopadhi - equivalent to number 5 (there appears to be no Raja Yoga
                                       equivalent to number 4)
Karanopadhi - equivalent to number 6
Atman - the same in all three systems

     "From the foregoing table it will be seen that the third
     principle in the Buddhist classification is not separately
     mentioned in the Vedantic division, as it is merely the vehicle
     of Prana.  It will also be seen that the Fourth principle is
     included in the third Kosa (Sheath), as the same principle is
     but the vehicle of will-power, which is but an energy of the
     mind.  It must also be noticed that the Vijnanamaya Kosa is
     considered to be distinct from the Manomaya Kosa, as a division
     is made after death between the lower part of the mind, as it
     were, which has a closer affinity with the fourth principle than
     with the sixth; and its higher part, which attaches itself to
     the latter, and which is, in fact, the basis for the higher
     spiritual individuality of man.

     We may also here point out to our readers that the
     classification mentioned in the last column is, for all
     practical purposes, connected with Raja Yoga, the best and
     simplest.  Though there are seven principles in man, there are
     but three distinct Upadhis (bases), in each of which his Atma
     may work independently of the rest.  These three Upadhis can be
     separated by an Adept without killing himself.  He cannot
     separate the seven principles from each other without destroying
     his constitution."

This table and two paragraphs are from an article appearing in THE
THEOSOPHIST, Vol V, June, 1884, p.  225.  Cf.  Five Years of
Theosophy, pp.  185-6.

H.P.B.  begins here: "The student will now be better prepared to see
that between the three Upadhis of the Raja Yoga and its Atma, and our
three Upadhis, Atma, and the additional three divisions, there is in
reality but very little difference.  Moreover, as every adept in
cis-Himalayan or trans-Himalayan India, of the Patanjali, the
Aryasanga or the Mahayana schools, has to become a Raja Yogi, he
must, therefore, accept the Taraka Raja classification in principle
and theory whatever classification he resorts to for practical and
occult purposes.  Thus, it matters very little whether one speaks of
the three Upadhis with their three aspects and Atma, the eternal and
immortal synthesis, or calls them the "seven principles.""

There are other places in THE SECRET DOCTRINE where she speaks
comparing the Vedanta and Vedanta terms may have become the terms in
vogue for one reason or another:

"It is, in its secondary stage, the Svbhvat of the Buddhist
philosopher, the eternal cause and effect, omnipresent yet abstract,
the self-existent plastic Essence and the root of all things, viewed
in the same dual light as the Vedantin views his Parabrahm and
Mulaprakriti, the one under two aspects." (p.46, Vol I)

"If, in the Vedanta and Nyaya, nimitta is the efficient cause, as
contrasted with upad na, the material cause, (and in the Sankhya,
pradh na implies the functions of both); in the Esoteric philosophy,
which reconciles all these systems, and the nearest exponent of which
is the Vedanta as expounded by the Advaita Vedantists, none but the
upad na can be speculated upon; that which is in the minds of the
Vaishnavas (the Vasishta-dvaita) as the ideal in contradistinction to
the real or Parabrahm and Isvara can find no room in published
speculations, since that ideal even is a misnomer, when applied to
that of which no human reason, even that of an adept, can conceive."
(p.  55-6 Vol I)

Now I see no reason why we have to strictly adhere to any one system.
If you use one Buddhist term, this doesn't mean that the next time
you have to use a Buddhist term.  In keeping with the spirit of THE
SECRET DOCTRINE, these different systems should be studied
independently and in comparison for their separate benefits to be
best applied to the student's purpose.  I suggest that by studying
the races, we may be able to get some idea of what was needed by
souls coming into incarnation at different times in this Fourth
Round.  It would be a shame to not allow the fullness that H.P.B.  is
presenting in this work to be present also in our studies.  If one
author is permitted to use the term astral body as equivalent to the
Manomaya kosa in the Vedanta Classification System, this can be done
with the full knowledge that he has studied material independently
and arrived at certain conclusions through his or her own thinking
process.  The students weren't just asked to study and elaborate
H.P.B.  They were asked to compare the religions, philosophies and
sciences.  If this has been accomplished and a satisfactory learning
experience has occurred in harmony with the objects of the society,
there is cause to celebrate, for each of us being allowed the freedom
of expression, side by side with other exoteric form expression,
because at heart we have an esoteric, or inward path, which negates
(absorbs) all outward form in the end leaving only the atman as the
true self.

(Vol I, p.  570-1) "The monad a truly "indivisible thing," as defined
by Good, who did not give it the sense we now do is here rendered as
the Atman in conjunction with Buddhi and the higher Manas.  This
trinity is one and eternal, the latter being absorbed in the former
at the termination of all conditioned and illusive life.  The monad,
then, can be traced through the course of its pilgrimage and its
changes of transitory vehicles only from the incipient stage of the
manifested Universe.  In Pralaya, or the intermediate period between
two manvantaras, it loses its name, as it loses it when the, real ONE
self of man merges into Brahman in cases of high Samadhi (the Turiya
state) or final Nirvana; "when the disciple" in the words of Samkara,
"having attained that primeval consciousness, absolute bliss, of
which the nature is truth, which is without form and action, abandons
this illusive body that has been assumed by the atman just as an
actor (abandons) the dress (put on)." For Buddhi (the Anandamaya
sheath) is but a mirror which reflects absolute bliss; and, moreover,
that reflection itself is yet not free from ignorance, and is not the
Supreme Spirit, being subject to conditions, being a spiritual
modification of Prakriti, and an effect; Atman alone is the one real
and eternal substratum of all the essence and absolute knowledge the
Kshetrajna.  It is called in the Esoteric philosophy "the One
Witness," and, while it rests in Devachan, is referred to as "the
Three Witnesses to Karma."" (I wonder who Good is.  There's a nice
footnote here about Spirit, Water and Blood, where the sheaths are
water and blood, or life.)

For further research, on p.242-5 Vol I, the term astral body is found
to mean one thing in the Kabala and something else in esoteric
jargon.  Separately, she compares the occult terms of a kabalist,
Eliphas Levi, with those used by Occultists.  The seven numbered list
under that which the occultists use contain these familiar terms:
Manas, Buddhi, Atman, 4.  The Soul, 5.  Earth, Kama-loka and Devachan
as dwellings for the soul 6.  is agreed upon by the two sides: "The
image (man) is a sphinx that offers the riddle of birth." and 7.
"The astral through Kama (desire) is ever drawing Manas down into the
sphere of material passions...  (etc.)"

In these pages H.P.B.  does use the term in a comparative manner and
not wholly in agreement with the Kabala and Eliphas Levi.  This is
true even to the point that the Kabala says "Astral Body or
Linga-Sarira", with numbered items on the facing page describing this
kabalistic method and H.P.B., speaking for the Theosophists says "Too
uselessly apocalyptic" "astral reflects the good as well as the bad
man" in reference to one of these points and correct to the other.
See for yourself, because it is somewhat misleading in its
presentation here.

P.S.  Maybe this should have been in the last communication:

"In a few words: They CONTAIN the beginning and the end of all human
knowledge, but they have now ceased to REVEAL it, since the day of
Buddha.  If it were otherwise, the Upanishads (STILL, b.tucker) could
not be called esoteric, since they are now openly attached to the
Sacred Brahmnical books, which have, in our present age, become
accessible even to the Mlechchhas (out-castes) and the European
Orientalists." (p.  270 Vol I THE SECRET DOCTRINE)

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