Re: Comments on Subtle Bodies RE:Jerry S, Rich T and Eldon T
Oct 12, 1995 09:11 AM
by Jerry Schueler
Daniel C:<If any new students of Theosophy are reading the exchange between
Rich and Jerry S., they may be thinking about how to find the closest exit and
get the hell out of the Theosophy building! Are you three guys talking in the
I sometimes wonder myself.
Daniel:<Rich speaks of the "astral" and Jerry S. speaks of the "astral" but are
two of you referring to the same idea?>
I suspect not.
Daniel C:<But the word psychic or psyche can mean more than just mental and some
dictionaries will define it as involving both mind and emotions. The psyche
is mento-emotional personality or the kama-manas personality. And certainly
in one definition, psychology can be defined as the study of a human being's
thoughts and emotions. Agreed this is a simplistic definition.>
Agreed, except that Jung defines the psyche as higher than
the mind or ego, which he sees as a "complex" within the psyche itself.
I personally use the term psychic as equivalent to mental (i.e.,
manas). If theosophists want to include kama (desire or emotions) then
thats ok, and I have been trying to keep this in my mind when responding to
I see the astral body as the "desire body" and the mental
body as the psyche (in its usual definition, not the Jungian). But Rich
is right in a way, when he says that there is only one subtle body.
Occultism and magic, for example, usually only speak of one subtle
body which they call the Body of Light or Astral Body. It is theosophy
that breaks the Body of Light into the astral, mental, causal, etc.,
divisions, and I can't get over the idea that Rich says he is unaware
of these divisions while stating that he has carefully studied all
of the theosophical literature. Eldon has never said that he is
"unaware" of these bodies, only that he disagrees with the concept.
I find it very interesting that when you actually go out-of-body
or try astral traveling as HPB defines it (see the last chapter of Isis)
these fine-tuned intellectual distinctions don't make a hill of difference.
It is only after the experiences, when the human mind tries to find
a reasonable "explanation," that these models come into play. I
can live with one single Body of Light, or with multiple bodies. Its
all the same to the experience itself, but I think that the multibody
model gives a fuller account of what is going on. I can say this
because I have some experience. Without personal experience,
I don't see how anyone can make these technical distinctions,
and I suspect that this is why Rich keeps bringing up the literature
(which is ok by me, because whatever is going on in these
experiences should be addressed in the literature, and it is, but
it is somewhat subject to interpretation). Anyway, after such an
experience, I usually ask myself if I experienced any emotions
at all. If so, I conclude that I was in my astral body. If not, I
conclude that I was in my mental body. So, its kind of like using
a green thumb here. There is no note attached to you at the time
saying "I am your astral body" or whatever. So there is no way
of really knowing what body you are in until you later buck the
experience against your model. Also, as you note from HPB,
there is no real clear cutoff between astral and mental, and
sometimes the mental carries a little of the astral with it. But
when you rise higher, into the causal or beyond, it is pretty clear,
because there is little or no sense of "body" at all, and no emotions
or thoughts either. The whole personality is left behind. Just
intense images and degrees of what could be called "bliss" but
this is not an emotional blissfulness, but something else altogether.
I think that most people who practice Yoga will understand this.
< Anyway, HPB speaks of three doubles or bodies:
<(1) The Protean or Plastic Body (the linga-sarira);
<(2) The Mayavi-Rupa or Thought or Dream body; and
<(3) The true Ego, Casual Body or Karmic Body.
Here, as usual, she is being very technical. I would call
these three the astral, mental, and causal bodies for simplicity,
while acknowledging that some of the finer points are lost in the
process (I believe that this is exactly what CWL did). As I have
already said (somewhere?) the third, or causal body, is the vehicle
of the Reincarnating Ego and so Karmic Body is an apt name (but
one that is simply not used much). Calling the astral body the
Protean Body is misleading because the same could be said for
all three of them. The Mayavi-Rupa is the body that our
consciousness focuses in when we are alseep, and so Dream
Body is apt. It is also the Bardo Body of the Tibetan Bardo Thodol
and the body we take with us into Devachan. Names are sometimes
confusing, I agree. But these bodies were given different names
to indicate their function, so the mental body can have several
appropriate names depending on how it is being used, or what it
is doing. For example, it is the mayavi-rupa when we do astral
traveling and it is the dream body when we are asleep and it is
the bardo body during the after-death state, and so on. Same
body or vehicle, but different names according to usage.
Daniel C:<These projections whether in the
linga sarira or in the mayavi rupa are quite different (at least for me)
than being in the physical body and yet in deep thought or meditation and
all of the former three pale in comparison to mystical states of consciousness
that I have experienced whether in or out of the body. These mystical states
(to my perception at least) are totally superior to the former three. In these
mystical states I have experienced there are no bodies, no distinction between
inner and outer, just a consciousness of supreme bliss that flows through
your being. Your sense of self is merged with a greater self which includes
everything. Bliss, intense love and compassion wells up within "you" from
an inexhaustible source. These mystical experiences make projections in the
linga sarira or the mayavi rupa almost of no consequene whatsoever.>
I absolutely agree with you here. BTW, I wrote all of the
above stuff before getting to this part (I am commenting on the fly). I think
its great that your descriptions tally so well with my own.
Daniel C:<Sorry for getting sidetracked and relating some of my personal
experiences which I usually try to avoid doing.>
I noticed that after avoiding personal stuff for so long, I can't
describe the planes and bodies without bringing my own in somehow.
Don't apologise, I appreciate hearing your experiences.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application