Quotes on the Septenary in Nature and Man
Apr 13, 1999 11:07 AM
by W. Dallas TenBroeck
April 13th 1999
Some quotes from Theosophical sources offered for
consideration and comment:
SEVEN in Nature and in Man
"...the number seven, as well as the doctrine of the septenary
constitution of man, was pre-eminent in all the secret systems.
It plays as important a part in Western Kabala as in Eastern
Occultism." SD I 241
"...the Point in the Circle is the Unmanifested Logos, the
Manifested Logos is the Triangle. Pythagoras speaks of the never
manifested Monad which lives in solitude and darkness; when the
hour strikes it radiates from itself One, the first number. This
number descending, produces Two. the second number, and Two, in
its turn, produces Three, forming a triangle, the first complete
geometrical figure in the world of form.
It is this ideal or abstract triangle which is the Point in the
Mundane Egg, which, after gestation, and in the third remove,
will start from the Egg to form the Triangle. This is
Brahma-Vach-Viraj...and Kether-Chochmah-Binah in the Zohar.
The First Manifested Logos is the Potentia, the unrevealed Cause;
the Second, the still latent thought; the Third, the Demiurgos,
the active Will evolving from its universal Self the active
effect, which in its turn, becomes the cause on a lower
plane." -- HPB Transactions, p. 83
"A distinction has to be made between the Absolute Mind, which is
ever present, and its reflection and manifestation in the Ah-hi,
who, being on the highest plane, reflect the universal mind
collectively at the first flutter of Manvantara. After which
they begin the work of evolution of all the lower forces
throughout the seven planes, down to the lowest--our own. The
Ah-hi are the primordial seven rays, or Logoi, emanated from the
first Logos, triple, yet one in essence. Universal or absolute
mind always is during Pralaya as well as Manvantara: it is
Transactions, pp. 19-20
"The mystic Decad 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 is a way of expressing this
idea. The One is God, the Two, matter; the three, combining
Monad and duad, and partaking of the nature of both, is the
phenomenal world; the Tetrad, or form of perfection, expresses
the emptiness of all; and the Decad, or sum of all, involves the
entire cosmos. The universe is the combination of a thousand
elements, and yet the expression of a single spirit--a chaos to
the sense, a cosmos to the reason." ISIS I p. xvi
"...geometry, of all sciences the only one which proceeds from
universals to particulars...The sacred numbers of the universe in
their esoteric combination solve the great problem and explain
the theory of radiation and the cycle of the emanations." Isis
I p. 7
"...the teaching about the Septenary constitution of the sidereal
bodies and of the macrocosm--from which the septenary division of
the microcosm, or Man--has until now been among the most
esoteric. In olden times if used to be divulged only at the
Initiation and along with the most sacred figures of the
cycles...the key to their teaching is furnished by
Atma-Vidya...for outside of metaphysics no occult philosophy, no
esotericism is possible." SD I 168-9
"The universe evolves from the unknown, into which no man or
mind, however high, can inquire, on seven planes or in seven ways
or methods in all worlds, and this seven-fold differentiation
causes all the worlds of the universe and the beings thereon to
have a septenary constitution...the little worlds and the great
are copies of the whole, and the minutest insect as well as the
most highly developed being are replicas in little or in great of
the vast inclusive original.
The divisions of the sevenfold universe may be laid down roughly
The Absolute, [or Space--that which ever is and in which all
manifestation must take place...we can do no more than say It Is.
None of the great teachers of the School ascribe qualities to the
Absolute although all qualities exist in It.]
Spirit, Mind, Matter, Will, Akasa or AEther, [ Akasa is used in
place of AEther because English...has no word to properly
designate that tenuous state of matter], and Life.
Our knowledge begins with differentiation, and all manifested
objects, beings, or powers are only differentiations of the Great
Unknown. The most that can be said is that the Absolute
periodically differentiates itself, and periodically withdraws
the differentiation into itself.
The first differentiation--speaking metaphorically as to time--is
Spirit, with which appears Matter and Mind. Akasa is produced
from Matter and Spirit. Will is the force of spirit in action
and Life is a resultant of the action of Akasa moved by spirit,
But the Matter here spoken of is not that which is vulgarly known
as such. It is the real Matter which is always invisible, and
has sometimes been called Primordial Matter...Mulaprakriti
…we see or perceive only the phenomena but not the essential
nature, body or being of matter.
Mind is the intelligent part of the Cosmos, and in the collection
of seven differentiations above roughly sketched.
This plan was brought over from a prior period of manifestation
which added to its ever increasing perfectness, and no limit can
be set to its evolutionary possibilities in perfectness. Because
there was never any beginning to the periodical manifestations of
the Absolute, there will never be any end, but forever the going
forth and withdrawing into the Unknown will go on." Ocean, pp.
"We find...two distinct beings in man; the spiritual and the
physical, the man who thinks, and the man who records as much of
these thoughts as he is able to assimilate.
Therefore we divide him into two distinct natures: the upper or
the spiritual being, composed of three "principles" or aspects;
and the lower or the physical quaternary, composed of four--in
all seven." Key, p. 90
"As the prime declaration of theosophy is that all these
so-called bodies and appearances are for the purpose of enabling
the ONE--the Atma--to fully comprehend nature and "bring about
the aim of the soul," why not denominate all that it uses for
that purpose vehicles?...Or if greater clearness is desired, let
us say that there is one principle which acts through six
vehicles. The scheme will then stand thus:
ATMA (spirit), one principle, indivisible
Its vehicles are
Buddhi . . . . Spiritual Soul
Manas . . . . Human Soul
Kama Rupa . . . Animal Soul
Linga Sarira . . . Astral Body
Prana or Jiva . . . Vitality
Rupa . . . . The Body " (from WQJ Articles I 299)
"...Soul (or Ego)...is Atma-Buddhi-Manas...(collectively as the
upper Triad) lives on three planes, besides its fourth, the
terrestrial sphere; and it exists eternally on the highest of
Manas is immortal, because after every new incarnation it adds
to Atma-Buddhi something of itself, and thus assimilating itself
to the Monad, shares its immortality...
Buddhi becomes conscious by the accretions it gets from Manas
after every new incarnation...Buddhi is the mould of Atma,
because Atma is no body, or shape, or any-
thing, and because Buddhi is its vehicle only figuratively...
Atma neither progresses, forgets, nor remembers. It does not
belong to this plane; it is but the ray of light eternal which
shines upon and through the darkness of matter--when the latter
The astral through Kama (desire) is ever drawing Manas down into
the sphere of material passions and desires. But if the better
man or Manas tries to escape the fatal attraction and turns its
aspirations to Atma--Spirit--then Buddhi (Ruach) conquers, and
carries Manas with it to the realm of eternal spirit...
The body follows the whims, good or bad, of Manas; Manas tries
to follow the light of Buddhi, but often fails.
The Monad becomes a personal ego when it incarnates; and
something remains of that personality through Manas, when the
latter is perfect enough to assimilate Buddhi.
[Extracts from SD I 243-245 ]
"To avoid henceforth...misapprehensions, I propose to translate
literally from the Occult Eastern terms their equivalents in
English, and off these for future use.
The HIGHER SELF is Atma, the inseparable ray of the Universal and
ONE SELF. It is the God above, more than
within, us. Happy is the man who succeeds in
saturating his inner Ego with it!
The SPIRITUAL divine Ego is the Spiritual soul or Buddhi, in
close union with Manas, the mind-principle,
without which it is no Ego at all, but only
the Atmic Vehicle.
The Inner, or Higher "Ego" is Manas, the "Fifth" Principle,...
independently of Buddhi. The Mind-Principle is only
the Spiritual Ego when merged into
one with Buddhi,--no materialist being sup-
posed to have in him such an Ego, however
great his intellectual capacities. It is
the permanent Individuality or the
The Lower or Personal "Ego" is the physical man in conjunction
with his lower Self, i.e., animal instincts,
passions, desires, etc. It is called the
"false personality," and consists of the
lower Manas combined with Kama-rupa, and
operating through the Physical body and its
phantom or "double."
The remaining "Principle" Prana," or "Life, is strictly speaking,
the radiating force or energy of Atma-- as the Universal Life
and the One Self,--Its lower or rather (in its effects) more
physical, because manifesting, aspect.
Prana or Life permeates the whole being of the objective
Universe; and is called a "principle: only because it is an
indispensable factor and the deus ex machina of the living
man." Key to Theosophy pp. 175-6
CHARTS, TABLES, DIAGRAMS
Correspondence of the 7 Cosmic and 7 Human "principles."
Human aspects or Cosmic aspects or
Triple aspect of the Deity
1. Universal Spirit (Atma) The Unmanifested Logos
2. Spiritual Soul (Buddhi) Universal (latent) Ideation
(see Fnote p. 597)
3. Human Soul, Mind (Manas) Universal (or Cosmic) active
Spirit of the Earth
4. Animal Soul (Kama-Rupa) Cosmic Chaotic energy
5. Astral Body (Linga-Sarira) Astral Ideation, reflecting
6. Life Essence (Prana) Life Essence or Energy
7. Body (Sthula Sarira) The Earth. [ from: SD II 596-7]
Sanskrit Exoteric Explanatory
Terms Meaning (KEY, p. 91-2)
a) Rupa or Physical Is the vehicle of all the other
Sthula-Sarira body "principles" during life.
b) Prana Life or Necessary only to a) c) d), and
Vital the functions of the lower Manas,
principle which embrace all those limited to
the (physical) brain.
c) Linga- Astral body The Double, the phantom body.
d) Kama rupa The seat of This is the center of the animal
animal des- man, where lies the line of
ires and demarcation which separates the
passions. mortal man from the immortal
THE UPPER IMPERISHABLE TRIAD
e) Manas --a Mind. In- The future state and the Karmic
dual prin- telligence: destiny of man depend on whether
ciple in which is the Manas gravitates more downward to
functions higher human Kama-rupa, the seat of animal
mind, whose passions, or upwards to Buddhi, t.
light, or rad- Spiritual Ego. In latter case,
iation links the higher consciousness of in-
the MONAD, for dividual spiritual aspirations of
the lifetime, mind (Manas), assimilating Buddhi,
to the mortal are absorbed by it and form t. Ego
man. which goes into Devachanic bliss.
f) Buddhi The The vehicle of pure universal
g) Atma Spirit One with the Absolute as its
[From: Key to Theosophy pp 91-2]
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application