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Annie Besant

(1847 -1933)





The Ancient Wisdom


Annie Besant


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The Mental Plane



The mental plane, as its name implies, is that which belongs to consciousness working as thought ; not of the mind as it works through the brain, but as it works in its own world, unencumbered with physical spirit-matter. This world is

the world of the real man. The word "man" comes from the Sanskrit root "man" and this is the root of the Sanskrit verb "to think," so that man means thinker; he is named by his most characteristic attribute, intelligence.


In English the word "mind" has to stand for the intellectual consciousness itself, and also for the effects produced on the physical brain by the vibration of that consciousness ; but we have now to conceive of the intellectual consciousness as an entity, an individual – a being, the vibrations of whose life are thoughts, thoughts which are images, not words.


This individual is Manas, or the Thinker ; (Derived from Manas is the technical name, the mânasic plane. Englished as "mental." We might call it the plane of the mind proper, to distinguish its activities from those of the mind working in the flesh.) –he is the Self, clothed in the matter, and working within the conditions, of the higher subdivisions of the mental plane. He reveals his

presence on the physical plane by the vibrations he sets up in the brain and nervous system ; these respond to the thrills of his life by sympathetic vibrations, but in consequence of the coarseness of their material they can reproduce only a small section of his vibrations and even that very imperfectly.


Just as science asserts the existence of a vast series of etheric vibrations, of which the eye can only see a small fragment, the solar light spectrum, because it can vibrate only within certain limits, so can the physical thought-apparatus, the brain and nervous system, think only a small fragment of the vast series of mental vibrations set up by the Thinker in his own world.


The most receptive brains respond up to the point of what we call the great intellectual power ; the exceptionally receptive brains respond up to the point of what we call genius ; the exceptionally unreceptive brains respond only up to the point we call idiocy ; but every one sends beating against his brain

millions of thought-waves to which it cannot respond, owing to the density of its materials, and just in proportion to its sensitiveness are the so-called mental powers of each. But before studying the Thinker, it will be well to consider his world, the mental plane itself.


The mental plane is that which is next to the astral, and is separated from it only by differences of materials, just as the astral is separated from the physical. In fact, we may repeat what was said as to the astral and the physical with regard to the mental and the astral. Life on the mental plane is more

active than on the astral, and form is more plastic. The spirit-matter of that plane is more highly vitalised and finer than any grade of matter in the astral world. The ultimate atom of astral matter has innumerable aggregations of the coarsest mental matter for its encircling sphere-world, so that the disintegration of the astral atom yields a mass of mental matter of the coarsest

kinds. Under these circumstances it will be understood that the play of the life-forces on this plane will be enormously increased in activity, there being so much less mass to be moved by them.


The matter is in constant ceaseless motion, taking form under every thrill of life, and adapting itself without hesitation to every changing motion. "Mind-stuff," as it has been called, makes astral spirit-matter seem clumsy, heavy, and lustreless, although compared with the physical spirit-matter it is so fairy-light and luminous. But the law of analogy holds good, and gives us a clue to guide us through this super astral region, the region that is our birthplace and our home, although, imprisoned in a foreign land, we know it not, and gaze at descriptions of it with the eyes of aliens.


Once again here, as on the two lower planes, the subdivisions of the spirit-matter of the plane are seven in number. Once again, these varieties enter into countless combinations, of every variety of complexity, yielding the solids, liquids, gases, and ethers of the mental plane. The word "solid" seems indeed absurd, when speaking of even the most substantial forms of mind-stuff ; yet as they are dense in comparison with other kinds of mental materials, and as we have no descriptive words save such as are based on physical conditions, we must even use it for lack of a better.


Enough if we understand that this plane follows the general law and order of Nature, which is, for our globe, the septenary basis, and that the seven subdivisions of matter are of lessening densities, relatively to each other, as the physical solids, liquids, gases, and ethers ; the seventh, or highest, subdivision being composed exclusively of the mental atoms.


These subdivisions are grouped under two headings, to which the somewhat inefficient and unintelligible epithets "formless" and "form" have been assigned. (Arűpa, without form: rűpa, form. Rűpa is form, shape, body. ) The lower four – the first, second, third, and fourth subdivisions – are grouped together as "with form" ; the higher three – the fifth, sixth and seventh

subdivisions – are grouped as "formless." The grouping is necessary, for the distinction is a real one, although one difficult to describe, and the regions are related in consciousness to the divisions in the mind itself – as will appear more plainly a little farther on.


The distinction may perhaps be best expressed by saying that in the lower four subdivisions the vibrations of consciousness give rise to forms, to images or pictures, and every thought appears as a living shape ; whereas in the higher three, consciousness, though still, of course, setting up vibrations, seems rather to send them out as a mighty stream of living energy, which does not body itself into distinct images while it remains in this higher region, but which steps up a variety of forms all linked by some common condition when it rushes into the lower worlds.


The nearest analogy that I can find for the conception I am trying to express is that of abstract and concrete thoughts ; an abstract idea of a triangle has no form, but connotes any plane figure contained within three right lines, the angles of which make two right angles ; such an idea, with conditions but without shape, thrown into the lower world, may give birth to a vast variety of figures, right-angled, isosceles, scalene, of any colour and size, but all filling the conditions – concrete triangles each one with a definite shape of its own. The impossibility of giving in words a lucid exposition of the difference in the action of consciousness in the two regions is due to the fact that words are the symbols of images and belong to the workings of the lower mind in the brain, and are based wholly upon those workings ; while the "formless" region belongs to the Pure reason, which never works within the narrow limits of language.


The mental plane is that which reflects the Universal Mind in Nature, the plane which in our little system corresponds with that of the Great Mind in the Kosmos. (Mahat, the Third LOGOS, or Divine Creative Intelligence, the Brahmâ of the Hindus, the Mandjusri of the Northern Buddhists, the Holy Spirit of the Christians.) In its higher regions exist all the archetypal ideas which are now in course of concrete evolution, and in its lower the working out of these into successive forms, to be duly reproduced in the astral and physical worlds.


Its materials are capable of combining under the impulse of thought vibrations, and can give rise to any combination which thought can construct ; as iron can be made into a spade for digging or into a sword for slaying, so can mind-stuff be shaped into thought-forms that help or injure ; the vibrating life of the Thinker shapes the materials around him, and according to his volitions so is his work. In that region thought and action, will and deed, are one and the same thing – spirit-matter here becomes the obedient servant of the life, adapting itself to every creative motion.


These vibrations, which shape the matter of the plane into thought-forms, give rise also from their swiftness and subtlety to the most exquisite and constantly changing colours, waves of varying shades like the rainbow hues of mother-of-pearl, etherialised and brightened to an indescribable extent, sweeping over and through every form, so that each presents a harmony of rippling, living, luminous, delicate colours, including many not ever known to earth.


Words can give no idea of the exquisite beauty and radiance shown in combinations of this subtle matter, instinct with life and motion.


Every seer who has witnessed it, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, speaks in rapturous terms of its glorious beauty, and ever confesses his utter inability to describe it; words seem but to coarsen and deprave it, however deftly woven in its praise.


Thought-forms naturally play a large part among the living creatures that function on the mental plane. They resemble those with which we are already familiar in the astral world, save that they are far more radiant and more brilliantly coloured, are stronger, more lasting, and more fully vitalised. As the higher intellectual qualities become more clearly marked, these forms show very sharply defined outlines, and there is a tendency to a singular perfection of geometrical figures accompanied by an equally singular purity of luminous colour. But, needless to say at the present stage of humanity, there is a vast preponderance of cloudy and irregularly shaped thoughts, the production of the ill-trained minds of the majority.


Rarely beautiful artistic thoughts are also here encountered, and it is little wonder that painters who have caught, in dreamy vision, some glimpse of their ideal, often fret against their incapacity to reproduce its glowing beauty in earth’s dull pigments. These thought-forms are built out of the elemental essence of the plane, the vibrations of the thought throwing the elemental essence into a corresponding shape, and this shape having the thought as its informing life. Thus again we have "artificial elementals" created in a way identical with that by which they come into being in the astral regions. All that is said in Chapter II of their generation and of their importance may be repeated of those of the mental plane, with here the additional responsibility on their creators of the greater force and permanence belonging to those of this higher world.


The elemental essence of the mental plane is formed by the Monad in the stage of its descent immediately preceding its entrance into the astral world, and it constitutes the second elemental kingdom, existing on the four lower subdivisions of the mental plane. The three higher subdivisions, the "formless," are occupied by the first elemental kingdom, the elemental essence there being thrown by thought into brilliant coruscations, coloured streams, and flashes of living fire, instead of into definite shapes, taking as it were its first lessons in combined action, but not yet assuming definite limitations of forms.


On the mental plane, in both its great divisions, exist numberless

Intelligences, whose lowest bodies are formed of the luminous matter and elemental essence of that plane – Shining ones who guide the processes of natural order, overlooking the hosts of lower entities before spoken of, and yielding submission in their several hierarchies to their great overlords of the seven Elements. (These are the Arűpa and Rűpa Devas of the Hindus and the Buddhists, the "Lords of the heavenly and the earthly" of the Zoroastrians, the Archangels and Angels of the Christians and Mahomedans).


They are, as may readily be imagined, beings of vast knowledge, of great power, and most splendid in appearance, radiant, flashing creatures, myriad-hued, like rainbows of changing supernal colours, of stateliest mien, calm energy incarnate, embodiments of resistless strength. The description of the great Christian Seer leaps to mind, when he wrote of a mighty angel: "A rainbow was upon his head, and his face was imperial as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire.( Revelation, x, 1). "As the sound of many waters" are their voices, as echoes from the music of the spheres. They guide natural order, and rule the vast companies of the elementals of the astral world, so that their cohorts carry on ceaselessly the processes of nature with undeviating regularity and accuracy.


On the lower mental plane are seen many Chelâs at work in their mental bodies, (Usually called Mâyâvi Rűpa, or illusory body, when arranged for independent functioning in the mental world.) --- freed for a time from their physical vestures. When the body is wrapped in deep sleep the true man, the Thinker, may escape from it, and work untrammelled by its weight in these higher regions.


From here he can aid and comfort his fellowmen by acting directly on theirminds, suggesting helpful thoughts, putting before them noble ideas, more effectively and speedily than he can do when encased in the body.


He can see their needs more clearly and therefore can supply them more perfectly, and it is his highest privilege and joy thus to minister to his struggling brothers, without their knowledge of his service or any ideas of theirs as to the strong arm that lifts their burden, or the soft voice that whispers solace in their pain.


Unseen, unrecognised, he works, serving his enemies as gladly and as freely as his friends, dispensing to individuals the stream of beneficent forces that are poured down from the great Helpers in higher spheres. Here also are sometimes seen the glorious figures of the Masters, though for the most part They reside on the highest level of the "formless" division of the mental plane ; and other Great Ones may also sometimes come hither on some mission of compassion requiring such lower manifestation.


Communication between intelligences functioning consciously on this plane, whether human or non-human, whether in or out of the body, is practically instantaneous, for it is with:the "speed of thought." Barriers of space have here no power to divide, and any soul can come into touch with any one by merely directing his attention to him.


Not only is communication thus swift, but it is also complete, if the souls are at about the same stage of evolution ; no words fetter and obstruct the communion, but the whole thought flashes from the one to the other, or, perhaps more exactly, each sees the thought as conceived by the other.


The real barriers between souls are the differences of evolution ; the less evolved can know only as much of the more highly evolved as his is able to respond to ; the limitation can obviously be felt only by the higher one, as the lesser has all that he can contain.


The more evolved a soul, the more does he know of all around him, the nearer does he approach to realities ; but the mental plane has also its veils of illusion, it must be remembered, though they be far fewer and thinner than those of the astral and the physical worlds. Each soul has its own mental atmosphere, and, as all impressions must come through this atmosphere, they are all distorted and coloured. The clearer and purer, the atmosphere, and the less it is coloured by the personality, the fewer are the illusions that can befall it.


The three highest subdivisions of the mental plane are the habitat of the Thinker himself, and he dwells on one or other of these, according to the stage of his evolution. The vast majority live on the lowest level, in various stages of evolution ; a comparatively few of the highly intellectual dwell on the second level, the Thinker ascending thither – to use a phrase more suitable to the physical than to the mental plane – when the subtler matter of that region preponderates in him, and thus necessitates the change ; there is of course, no "ascending," no change of place, but he receives the vibrations of that subtler matter, being able to respond to them, and he himself is able to send out forces that throw its rare particles into vibration.


The student should familiarise himself with the fact that rising in the scale of evolution does not move him from place to place, but renders him more and more able to receive impressions. Every sphere is around us, the astral, the mental, the buddhic, the nirvânic, and worlds higher yet, the life of the supreme God ; we need not stir to find them, for they are here; but our dull unreceptivity shuts them out more effectively than millions of miles of mere space.


We are conscious only of that which affects us, which stirs us to responsive vibration, and as we become more and more receptive, as we draw into ourself finer and finer matter, we come into contact with subtler and subtler worlds.


Hence, rising from one level to another means that we are weaving our vestures of finer materials and can receive through them the contacts of finer worlds ; and it means further that in the Self within these vestures diviner powers are waking from latency into activity, and are sending out their subtler thrills of life.


At the stage now reached by the Thinker, he is fully conscious of his surroundings and is in possession of the memory of his past. He knows the bodies he is wearing, through which he is contacting the lower planes, and he is able to influence and guide them to a great extent. He sees the difficulties, the obstacles, they are approaching – the results of past careless living – and he sets himself to pour into them energies by which they may be better equipped for their task.


His direction is sometimes felt in the lower consciousness as an imperiously compelling force that will have its way, and that impels to a course of action for which all the reasons may not be clear to the dimmer vision caused by the mental and astral garments. Men who have done great deeds have occasionally left on record their consciousness of an inner and compelling power, which seemed to leave them no choice save to do as they had done. They were then acting as the real man ; the Thinkers, that are the inner men, were doing the work consciously through the bodies that then were fulfilling their proper functions as vehicles of the individual. To these higher powers all will come as evolution proceeds.


On the third level of the upper region of the mental plane dwell the Egos of the Masters, and of the Initiates who are Their Chelâs, the Thinkers having here a preponderance of the matter of this region in their bodies. From this world of subtlest mental forces the Masters carry on Their beneficent work for humanity, raining down noble ideals, inspiring thoughts, devotional aspirations, streams of spiritual and intellectual help for men.


Every force there generated, rays out in myriad directions, and the noblest, purest souls catch most readily these helpful influences. A discovery flashes into the mind of the patient searcher into Nature’s secrets ; a new melody entrances the ear of the great musician ; the answer to a long studied problem illumines the intellect of a lofty philosopher ; a new energy of hope and love suffuses the heart of an unwearied philanthropist. Yet men think that they are left uncared for, although the very phrases they use ; "the thought occurred to me; the idea came to me; the discovery flashed on me " unconsciously testify to the truth known to their inner selves though the outer eyes be blind.


Let us now turn to the study of the Thinker and his vestures as they are found in men on earth. The body of the consciousness, conditioning it in the four lower subdivisions of the mental plane – the mental body, as we term it – is formed of combinations of the matter of these subdivisions. The Thinker, the individual, Human Soul – formed in the way described in the latter part of this chapter – when he is coming into incarnation, first radiates forth some of his energy in vibrations that attract round him, and clothe him in, matter drawn from the four lower subdivisions of his own plane.


According to the nature of the vibrations are the kinds of matter they attract ; the finer kinds answer the swifter vibrations and take form under their impulse ; the coarser kinds similarly answer the slower ones ; just as a wire will sympathetically sound out a note – i.e., a given number of vibrations – coming from a wire similar in weight and tension to itself, but will remain dumb amid a chorus of notes from wires dissimilar to itself in these respects, so do the different kinds of matter assort themselves in answer to different kinds of vibrations. Exactly according to the vibrations sent out by the Thinker will be the nature of the mental body that he thus draws around him, and this mental body is what is called the lower mind, the lower Manas, because it is the Thinker clothed in the matter of the lower subdivisions of the mental plane and conditioned by it in his further working.


None of his energies which are too subtle to move this matter, too swift for its response, can express themselves through it ; he is therefore limited by it, conditioned by it, restricted by it in his expression of himself. It is the first of his prison-houses during his incarnate life, and while his energies are acting within it he is largely shut off from his own higher world, for his attention is with the outgoing energies and his life is thrown with them into the mental body, often spoken as a vesture, or sheath, or vehicle – any expression will serve which connotes the idea that the Thinker is not the mental body, but formed it and uses it in order to express as much of himself as he can in the lower mental region.


It must not be forgotten that his energies, still pulsing outwards, draw round him also the coarser matter of the astral plane as his astral body ; and during his incarnate life the energies that express themselves through the lower kinds of mental matter are so readily changed by it into the slower vibrations that are responded to by astral matter that the two bodies are continually vibrating together, and become very closely interwoven ; the coarser the kinds of matter built into the mental body, the more intimate becomes this union, so that the two bodies are sometimes classed together and even taken as one.( Thus the Theosophist will speak of Kâma Manas, meaning the mind as working in and with the desire nature, affecting and affected by the animal nature. The Vedântin classes the two together, and speaks of the Self as working in the

Manomayakosha, the sheath composed of the lower mind, emotions, and passions.


The European psychologist makes "feelings" one section of his tripartite division of "mind", and includes under feelings both emotions and sensations.) When we come to study Reincarnation we shall find this fact assuming vital importance.


According to the stage of evolution reached by the man will be the type of mental body he forms on his way to become again incarnate, and we may study, as we did with the astral body, the respective mental bodies of three types of men


a) an undeveloped man


b) an average man


c) a spiritually advanced man.


In the undeveloped man the mental body is but little perceptible, a small amount of unorganised mental matter, chiefly from the lowest subdivisions of the plane, being all that represents it. This is played on almost entirely from the lower bodies, being set vibrating feebly by the astral storms raised by the contacts with material objects through the sense organs. Except when stimulated by these astral vibrations it remains almost quiescent, and even under their impulses its responses are sluggish. No definite activity is generated from within, these blows from the outer world being necessary to arouse any distinct response.


The more violent the blows, the better for the progress of the man, for each responsive vibration aids in the embryonic development of the mental body. Riotous pleasure, anger, rage, pain, terror, all these passions, causing whirlwinds in the astral body, awaken faint vibrations in the mental, and gradually these vibrations, stirring into commencing activity the mental consciousness, cause it to add something of its own to the impressions made on it from without.


We have seen that the mental body is so closely mingled with the astral that they act as a single body, but the dawning mental faculties add to the astral passions a certain strength and quality not apparent in them when they work as purely animal qualities. The impressions made on the mental body are more permanent than those made on the astral, and they are consciously reproduced by it. Here memory and the organ of imagination begin, and the latter gradually moulds itself, the images from the outer world working on the matter of the mental body and forming its materials into their own likeness.


These images, born of the contacts of the senses, draw round themselves the coarsest mental matter; the dawning powers of consciousness reproduce these images, and thus accumulate a store of pictures that begin to stimulate action initiated from within, from the wish to experience again through the outer organs the vibrations that were found pleasant, and to avoid those productive of pain.


The mental body then begins to stimulate the astral, and to arouse in it the desires that, in the animal, slumber until awakened by a physical stimulus ; hence we see in the undeveloped man a persistent pursuit of sense-gratification never found in the lower animals, a lust, a cruelty, a calculation, to which they are strangers. The dawning powers of the mind, yoked to the service of the senses, make of man a far more dangerous and savage brute than any animal, and the stronger and more subtle forces inherent in the mental-spiritual matter lend to the passion-nature an energy and a keenness that we do not find in the animal world.


But these very excesses lead to their own correction by the sufferings which they cause, and these resultant experiences play upon the consciousness and set up new images on which the imagination works. These stimulate the consciousness to resist many of the vibrations that reach it by way of the astral body from the external world, and to exercise its volition in holding the passions back instead of giving them free rein.


Such resistant vibrations are set up in, and attract towards, the mental body, finer combinations of mind-stuff and tend also to expel from it the coarser combinations that vibrate responsively to the passional notes set up in the astral body ; by this struggle between the vibrations set up by passion-images and the vibrations set up by the imaginative reproduction of past experiences, the mental body grows, begins to develop a definite organisation, and to exercise more and more initiative as regards external activities.


While the earth life is spent gathering experiences, the intermediate life is spent assimilating them, as we shall see in detail in the following chapter, so that in each return to earth the Thinker has an increased stock of faculties to take shape as his mental body. Thus the undeveloped man, whose mind is the slave of his passions, grows into the average man, whose mind is a battleground in which passions and mental powers wage war with varying success, about balanced in their forces, but who is gradually gaining the mastery over his lower nature.


In the average man, the mental body is much increased in size, shows a certain amount of organisation, and contains a fair proportion of matter drawn from the second, third, and fourth subdivisions of the mental plane. The general law which regulates all the building up and modifying of the mental body may here be fitly studied, though it is the same principle already seen working in the lower realms of the astral and physical worlds.


Exercise increases, disuse atrophies and finally destroys. Every vibration set up in the mental body causes changes in its constituents, throwing out of it, in the part affected, the matter that cannot vibrate sympathetically, and replacing it by suitable materials drawn from the practically illimitable store around. The more a series of vibrations is repeated, the more does the part affected by them increase in development ; hence, it may be noted in passing, the injury done to the mental body by over-specialisation of mental energies.


Such mistaken direction of these powers causes a lopsided development of the mental body ; it becomes proportionately over developed in the region in which these forces are continually playing and proportionately undeveloped in other parts, perhaps equally important. A harmonious and proportionate all-round development is the object to be sought, and for this we need a calm self-analysis and a definite direction of means to ends. A knowledge of this law, further explains certain familiar experiences, and affords a sure hope of progress. When a new study is commenced, or a change in favour of high morality is initiated, the early stages are found to be fraught with difficulties ; sometimes the effort is even abandoned because the obstacles in the way of its success appear to be insurmountable.


At the beginning of any new mental undertaking, the whole automatism of the mental body opposes it ; the materials habituated to vibrate in a particular way, cannot accommodate themselves to the new impulses, and the early stage consists chiefly of sending out thrills of force which are frustrated, so far as setting up vibrations in the mental body are concerned, but which are the necessary preliminary to any such sympathetic vibrations, as they shake out of the body the old refractory materials and draw into it the sympathetic kinds.


During this process, the man is not conscious of any progress; he is conscious only of the frustration of his efforts and of the dull resistance he encounters. Presently, if he persists, as the newly attracted materials begin to function, he succeeds better in his attempts, and at last, when all the old materials are expelled and the new are working, he finds himself succeeding without an effort, and his object is accomplished.


The critical time is during the first stage ; but if he trust in the law, as sure in its working as every other law in Nature, and persistently repeat his efforts, he must succeed ; and a knowledge of this fact may cheer him when otherwise he would be sinking in despair. In this way, then, the average man may work on, finding with joy that as he steadily resists the promptings of the lower nature he is conscious they are losing their power over him, for he is expelling from his mental body all the materials that are capable of being thrown into sympathetic vibrations. Thus the mental body gradually comes to be composed of the finer constituents of the four lower subdivisions of the mental plane, until it has become radiant and exquisitely beautiful form which is the mental body of the –


Spiritually developed man. From this body all the coarser combinations have been eliminated, so that the objects of the senses no longer find in it, or in the astral body connected with it, materials that respond sympathetically to their vibrations. It contains only the finer combinations belonging to each of the four subdivisions of the lower mental world, and of these again the materials of the third and fourth sub-planes very much predominate in its composition over the materials of the second and first, making it responsive to all the higher workings of the intellect, to the delicate contacts of the higher arts, to all the pure thrills of loftier emotions.


Such a body enables the Thinker who is clothed in it to express himself much more fully in the lower mental region and in the astral and physical worlds ; its materials are capable of a far wider range of responsive vibrations, and the impulses from a loftier realm mould it into nobler and subtler organisation.


Such a body is rapidly becoming ready to reproduce every impulse from the Thinker which is capable of expression on the lower subdivisions of the mental plane ; it is growing into a perfect instrument for activities in this lower mental world.


A clear understanding of the nature of the mental body would much modify modern education, and would make it far more serviceable to the Thinker than it is at present. The general characteristics of this body depend on the past lives of the Thinker on earth, as will be thoroughly understood when we have studied Reincarnation and Karma. The body is constituted on the mental plane, and its materials depend on the qualities that the Thinker has garnered within himself as the results of his past experiences.


All that education can do is to provide such external stimuli as shall arouse and encourage the growth of the useful faculties he already possesses, and stunt and help in the eradication of those that are undesirable. The drawing out of these inborn faculties, and not the cramming of the mind with facts, is the object of true education.


Nor need memory be cultivated as a separate faculty, for memory depends on attention – that is on the steady concentration of the mind on the subject studied – and on the natural affinity between the subject and the mind. If the subject be liked – that is, if the mind has a capacity for it – memory will not fail, provided due attention be paid. Therefore education should cultivate the habit of steady concentration, of sustained attention, and should be directed according to the inborn faculties of the pupil.


Let us now pass into the "formless" divisions of the mental plane, the region which is man’s true home during the cycle of his reincarnations, into which he is born, a baby soul, an infant Ego, an embryonic individuality, when he begins his purely human evolution.( See Chapters VII and VIII, on "Reincarnation").


The outline of this Ego, the Thinker, is oval in shape, and hence H.P. Blavatsky speaks of this body of Manas which endures throughout all his incarnations as the Auric Egg. Formed of the matter of the three highest subdivisions of the mental plane, it is exquisitely fine, a film of rarest subtlety, even at its first inception ; and, as it develops, it becomes a radiant object of supernal glory and beauty, the shining One, as it has been aptly named. ( This is the Augśides of the Neo-Platonists, the "spiritual body" of St. Paul).


What is this Thinker? He is the divine Self, as already said, limited, or individualised, by this subtle body drawn from the materials of the "formless" region of the mental plane. (The Self, working in the Vignyânamayakosha, the sheath of discriminative knowledge, according to the Vedântic classification).


This matter – drawn around a ray of the Self, a living beam of the one Light and Life of the universe – shuts off this ray from its Source, so far as the external world is concerned, encloses it within a filmy shell of itself, and so makes it "an individual." The life is the Life of the LOGOS, but all the powers of that Life are lying latent, concealed ; everything is there potentially, germinally, as the tree is hidden within the tiny germ in the seed.


This seed is dropped into the soil of human life that its latent forces may be quickened into activity by the sun of joy and the rain of tears, and he fed by the juices of the life-soil that we call experience, until the germ grows into a mighty tree, the image of its generating Sire. Human evolution is the evolution of the Thinker; he takes on bodies on the lower mental and astral, and the physical planes, wears then through earthly, astral, lower mental life, dropping them successively at the regular stages of this life-cycle as he passes from world to world, but ever storing up within himself the fruits he has gathered by their use on each plane.


At first, as little conscious as a baby’s earthly body, he almost slept through life after life, till the experiences playing on him from without awakened some of his latent forces into activity; but gradually he assumed more and more part in the direction of his life, until, with manhood reached, he took his life into his own hands, and an ever-increasing control over his future destiny.


The growth of the permanent body which, with the divine consciousness, forms the Thinker is extremely slow. Its technical name is the causal body, because he gathers up within it the results of all experiences, and these act as causes, moulding future lives. It is the only permanent one among the bodies during incarnation, the mental, the astral, and physical bodies being reconstituted for each fresh life ; as each perishes in turn, it hands on its harvest to the one above it, and thus all the harvests are finally stored in the permanent body ; when the Thinker returns to incarnation he sends out his energies, constituted of these harvests, on each successive plane, and thus draws round him a anew body after body suitable to his past.


The growth of the causal body itself, as said, is very slow, for it can vibrate only in answer to impulses that can be expressed in the very subtle matter of which it is composed, thus weaving them into the texture of its being. Hence the passions, which play so large a part in the early stages of human evolution, cannot directly affect its growth. The Thinker can work into himself only the experiences that can be reproduced in the vibrations of the causal body, and these must belong to the mental region, and be highly intellectual or loftily moral in their character ; other wise its subtle matter can give no sympathetic vibration in answer.


A very little reflection will convince any one how little material, suitable for the growth of this lofty body, he affords by his daily life ; hence the slowness of evolution, the little progress made. The Thinker should have more of himself to put out in each successive life, and, when this is the case, evolution goes swiftly forward. Persistence in evil courses reacts in a kind of indirect way on the causal body, and does more harm than the mere retardation of growth ; it seems after a long time to cause a certain incapacity to respond to the vibrations set up by the opposite good, and thus to delay growth for a considerable period after the evil has been renounced.


Directly to injure the causal body, evil of a highly intellectual and refined kind is necessary, the "spiritual evil" mentioned in the various Scriptures of the world. This is fortunately rare, rare as spiritual good, and found only among the highly progressed, whether they be following the Right-hand or the Left-hand Path. (The Right-hand Path is that which leads to divine manhood, to Adeptship used in the service of the worlds. The Left-hand Path is that which also leads to Adeptship, but to Adeptship that is used to frustrate the progress of evolution and is turned to selfish individual ends. They are sometimes called the White and Black Paths respectively.)


The habitat of the Thinker, of the Eternal Man, is on the fifth subplane, the lowest level of the "formless" region of the mental plane. The great masses of mankind are here, scarce yet awake, still in the infancy of their life. The Thinker develops consciousness slowly, as his energies, playing on the lower planes, there gather experience, which is indrawn with these energies as they return to him treasure-laden with the harvest of life. This eternal Man, the individualised Self, is the actor in every body that he wears ; it is his presence that gives the feeling of " I " alike to body and mind, the " I " being that which is self-conscious and which, by illusion, identifies itself with that vehicle in which it is most actively energising.


To the man of the senses the " I " is the physical body and the desire nature ; he draws from these his enjoyment, and he thinks of these as himself, for his life is in them. To the scholar the " I " is the mind, for in its exercise lies his joy and therein his life is concentrated. Few can rise to the abstract heights of spiritual philosophy, and feel this Eternal Man as " I ", with memory ranging back over past lives and hopes ranging forward over future births.


The physiologists tell us that if we cut the finger we do not really feel the pain there where the blood is flowing, but that pain is felt in the brain, and is by imagination thrown outwards to the place of the injury ; the feeling of pain in the finger is, they say an illusion ; it is put by imagination at the point of contact with the object causing the injury ; so also will a man feel pain in an amputated limb, or rather in the space the limb used to occupy.


Similarly does the one " I ", the Inner Man, feel suffering and joy in the sheaths which enwrap him, at the points of contact with the external world, and feels the sheath to be himself, knowing not that this feeling is an illusion, and that he is the sole actor and experiencer in each sheath.


Let us now consider, in this light, the relations between the higher and lower mind and their action on the brain. The mind, Manas, the Thinker, is one, and is the Self in the causal body; it is the source of innumerable energies, of vibrations of innumerable kinds. These it sends out, raying outwards from itself. The subtlest and finest of these are expressed in the matter of the causal body, which alone is fine enough to respond to them ; they form what we call the Pure Reason, whose thoughts are abstract, whose method of gaining knowledge is intuition ; its very "nature is knowledge," and it recognises truth at sight as congruous with itself.


Less subtle vibrations pass outwards, attracting the matter of the lower mental region, and these are the Lower Manas, or lower mind – the coarser energies of the higher expressed in denser matter ; these we call the intellect, comprising reason, judgement, imagination, comparison, and the other mental faculties ; its thoughts are concrete, and its method is logic ; it argues, it reasons, it infers. These vibrations, acting through astral matter on the etheric brain, and by that on the dense physical brain, set up vibrations therein, which are the heavy and slow reproductions of themselves – heavy and slow, because the energies lose much of their swiftness in moving the heavier matter.


This feebleness of response when a vibration is initiated in a rare medium and then passes into a dense one is familiar to every student of physics. Strike a bell in air and it sounds clearly ; strike it in hydrogen, and let the hydrogen vibrations have to set up the atmospheric waves, and how faint the result. Equally feeble are the workings of the brain in response to the swift and subtle impacts of the mind ; yet that is all that the vast majority know as their "consciousness."


The immense importance of the mental workings of this "consciousness" is due to the fact that it is the only medium whereby the Thinker can gather the harvest of experience by which he grows. While it is dominated by the passions it runs riot, and he is left unnourished and therefore unable to develop ; while it is occupied wholly in mental activities concerned with the outer world, it can arouse only his lower energies; only as he is able to impress on it the true object of its life, does it commence to fulfil its most valuable functions of gathering what will arouse and nourish his higher energies.


As the Thinker develops he becomes more and more conscious of his own inherent powers, and also of the workings of his energies on the lower planes, of the bodies which those energies have drawn around him. He at last begins to try to influence them, using his memory of the past to guide his will, and these

impressions we call "conscience" when they deal with morals and "flashes of intuition " when they enlighten the intellect.


When these impressions are continuous enough to be normal, we speak of their aggregate as "genius." The higher evolution of the Thinker is marked by his increasing control over his lower vehicles, by their increasing susceptibility to his influence, and their increasing contributions to growth.


Those who would deliberately aid in this evolution may do so by a careful training of the lower mind and of the moral character, by steady and well directed effort.


The habit of quiet, sustained, and sequential thought, directed to non-worldly subjects, of meditation, of study, develops the mind-body and renders it a better instrument ; the effort to cultivate abstract thinking is also useful, as this raises the lower mind towards the higher, and draws into it the subtlest materials of the lower mental plane.


In these and cognate ways all may actively co-operate in their own higher evolution, each step forward making the succeeding steps more rapid. No effort, not even the smallest, is lost, but is followed by its full effect, and every contribution gathered and handed inwards is stored in the treasure-house of the causal body for future use. Thus evolution, however slow and halting, is yet ever onwards, and the divine Life, ever unfolding in every soul, slowly subdues all things to itself.



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Writings of Annie Besant


Annie Besant Visits Cardiff 1924







A “G” reg  Aug 1968 – July 1969  Wolseley Hornet MK III


The 1960s Wolseley Hornet was produced by the British Motor Corporation

(BMC) from 1961 to 1969 and was upgraded thro’ MKI, II & III models

although the outward design remained the same.

The Wolseley Hornet was similar to the more expensive Riley Elf which ran

for the same period with only the Riley grill and badge to distinguish

it to the casual observer.




More Theosophy Stuff

with these links




Cardiff Theosophical Society meetings are informal

and there’s always a cup of tea afterwards





The Cardiff Theosophical Society Website





The National Wales Theosophy Website

Links to groups in

Bangor, Cardiff, Conwy & Swansea


Cardiff Blavatsky Archive

Life & Work of H P Blavatsky

A Theosophy Study Resource




A 1931 Wolseley Hornet saloon style convertible


The Wolseley Hornet was a lightweight saloon car produced by the Wolseley Motor Company from 1930 to 1935.


It had a six cylinder (1271cc) engine with a single overhead cam, and hydraulic brakes. The engine was modified in 1932 to make it shorter and it was moved forwards on the chassis. In 1935 the engine size was increased to 1378 cc.


Wolseley supplied the firsts cars as either an enclosed saloon with steel or fabric body or open two seater. From 1931 it was available without the saloon body, and was used as the basis for a number of sporting specials for which the customer could choose a styling from a range of coachbuilders. In 1932 Wolsley added two and four seat coupés to the range. For its final year of production the range was rationalised to a standard saloon and coupé.


A three speed gearbox was fitted to the earliest cars but this was upgraded to a four speed in 1932 and fitted with synchromesh from 1933. A freewheel mechanism could be ordered in 1934.The engine was also used in a range of MG cars.



Dave’s Streetwise 

Theosophy Boards

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1930s Wolseley Hornet racing car circuiting the track in modern times




The Most Basic Theosophy

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and the Theosophical Society

If you run a Theosophy Group you 

can use this as an introductory handout.


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to Theosophy


Cardiff Theosophy Start-Up

A Free Intro to Theosophy


Theosophy Cardiff Burn-Up



Wolseley Hornet on a rally circa 1963




Theosophy Wales Burn-Up


Cardiff Theosophical Archive




Theosophy Wales 2008 Changes

A new structure for the

Theosophical Movement in Wales

as it separates into independent

groups that run do their own show


Early 1930s Wolseley Hornet customized roadster design

Basic front mudguards not extending to runner boards.

Only the driver gets a windscreen wiper


Blavatsky Blogger

Independent Theosophy Blog


Patriotic Wolseley Hornet on the race track in 1965



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H P Blavatsky is usually the only

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Early 1930s Customized Wolseley Hornet with integrated front mudguards

and runner boards. Two windscreen wipers on this one.





Visit the Feelgood Lodge

The main criteria for the inclusion of

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relationship (however tenuous) to Theosophy

and are lightweight, amusing or entertaining.

Topics include Quantum Theory and Socks,

Dick Dastardly and Legendary Blues Singers.


Four views of the car in the picture above




Theosophy and Reincarnation

A selection of articles on Reincarnation

by Theosophical writers

Provided in response to the large 

number of enquiries we receive at 

Cardiff Theosophical Society on this subject


Nothing answers questions

like Theosophy can!

The Key to Theosophy


Applied Theosophy

Henry Steel Olcott


Blavatsky Calling

and I Don’t Wanna Shout

The Voice of the Silence Website


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Devachan


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Dreams


The South of Heaven Guide

To Theosophy and Angels


Theosophy and Help From

The Universe



Swallow Wolseley Hornet 1932



Hey Look!

Theosophy in Wales


Theosophy Wales Vanguard


A leaflet promoting the new hydrolastic suspension introduced in the mid sixties.

This became standard on many BMC models including the Mini, 1100, 1300

& 1800 models. Suspension was maintained by means of a sealed fluid system

which was claimed to be very comfortable but appeared to make some people

seasick in the larger cars. As the cars got older, the suspension might burst

causing the car’s suspension to collapse on one side meaning a difficult

drive home or to a garage.




Wales! Wales! Theosophy Wales

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Theosophy Avalon

The Theosophy Wales

King Arthur Pages


1930s Corsica Wolseley Hornet






Theosophy Wales



Ernest Egerton Wood





Theosophy Starts Here






No Aardvarks were harmed in the

preparation of this Website




Heavy Metal Overview




Rock ‘n Roll Chronology




A 1966 Wolseley Hornet convertible by Crayford Engineering

Convertible 1960s Hornets were not standard and were very rare as

were all convertibles in the Mini range.

Crayford did a run of 57 Hornet convertibles for Heinz to be given

as prizes in a competition



Theosophy in the UK



Within the British Isles, The Adyar Theosophical Society has Groups in;




Folkstone*Glasgow*Grimsby*Inverness*Isle of Man*Lancaster*Leeds*Leicester

Letchworth*London*Manchester*Merseyside*Middlesborough*Newcastle upon Tyne

North Devon*Northampton*Northern Ireland*Norwich*Nottingham

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The Tooting Broadway

Underground Theosophy Website

The Spiritual Home of Urban Theosophy


The Mornington Crescent

Underground Theosophy Website

The Earth Base for Evolutionary Theosophy


H P Blavatsky’s Heavy Duty

Theosophical Glossary

Published 1892



Complete Theosophical Glossary in Plain Text Format



Instant Guide to Theosophy

Quick Explanations with Links to More Detailed Info


What is Theosophy ? Theosophy Defined (More Detail)


Three Fundamental Propositions  Key Concepts of Theosophy


Cosmogenesis  Anthropogenesis  Root Races  Karma


Ascended Masters  After Death States  Reincarnation


The Seven Principles of Man  Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


Colonel Henry Steel Olcott William Quan Judge


The Start of the Theosophical Society


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Theosophical Society Presidents


History of the Theosophical Society in Wales


The Three Objectives of the Theosophical Society


Explanation of the Theosophical Society Emblem


Glossaries of Theosophical Terms



Another good example of a 1930s Wolseley Hornet



Elementary Theosophy

An Outstanding Introduction to Theosophy

By a student of Katherine Tingley


Elementary Theosophy Who is the Man?  Body and Soul


Body, Soul and Spirit  Reincarnation  Karma


The Seven in Man and Nature


The Meaning of Death



1960s Riley Elf

Outwardly the same as the Wolseley Hornet except for the badge & grill

A bit more expensive




A Text Book of Theosophy

Charles Webster Leadbeater


What Theosophy Is  From the Absolute to Man


The Formation of a Solar System  The Evolution of Life


The Constitution of Man  After Death  Reincarnation


The Purpose of Life  The Planetary Chains


The Result of Theosophical Study


1930’s Wolseley Hornet on a hill climb trial



An Outline of Theosophy

Charles Webster Leadbeater


Theosophy - What it is  How is it Known?  The Method of Observation


General Principles  The Three Great Truths  The Deity


Advantage Gained from this Knowledge  The Divine Scheme


The Constitution of Man  The True Man  Reincarnation


The Wider Outlook  Death  Man’s Past and Future


Cause and Effect  What Theosophy does for us



Side and rear view of a 1960s Wolseley Hornet




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1960s Wolseley Hornet promotional leaflet







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Pages about Wales

General pages about Wales, Welsh History

and The History of Theosophy in Wales


Wales is a Principality within the United Kingdom and has an eastern

border with England. The land area is just over 8,000 square miles.

Snowdon in North Wales is the highest mountain at 3,650 feet.

The coastline is almost 750 miles long. The population of Wales

as at the 2001 census is 2,946,200.





Hey Look!

Theosophy in Cardiff


Theosophy Wales


Theosophy UK



Bangor Conwy & Swansea Lodges are members

of the Welsh Regional Association (Formed 1993).

Theosophy Cardiff separated from the Welsh Regional

Association in March 2008 and became an independent

body within the Theosophical Movement in March 2010



High Drama & Worldwide Confusion

as Theosophy Cardiff Separates from the

Welsh Regional Association (formed 1993)


Theosophy Cardiff cancels its Affiliation

to the Adyar Based Theosophical Society





National Wales UK Theosophy

Theosophy House

206 Newport Road,

Cardiff, Wales, UK, CF24 – 1DL