There is nothing arbitrary about the use of seven as applied to the study of our composite constitution, as this number is found to be universal throughout the universe. We discover it everywhere. Some common facts are good instances of this, such as the seven layers of the human skin, the musical scale with its seven notes, and the seven colors which make up a ray of sunlight. Then there is the moon, which theosophy and science both show to have close relation to the generation of physical life on our planet. The moon is governed in its activities by the number seven. Note the recurrence of seven in the gestation period, the phases of the moon, with the week of seven days, etc. The inquirer has only to look observantly into the matter to find many other examples of the septenary in the world about him.
Coming forth from the depths of the One Existence, from the ONE beyond all thought and all speech, a LOGOS, by imposing on Himself a limit, circumscribing voluntarily the range of His own Being, becomes the manifested God, and tracing the limiting sphere of His activity thus outlines the area of His universe. Within that sphere the universe is born, is evolved, and dies ; it lives, it moves, it has its being in Him ; its matter is His emanation ; its forces and energies are currents of His Life ; He is immanent in every atom, all-pervading, all-sustaining, all-evolving ; He is its source and its end, its cause and its object, its centre and circumference ; it is built on Him as its sure foundation, it breathes in Him as its encircling space ; He is in everything and everything in Him. Thus have the sages of the Ancient Wisdom taught us of the beginning of the manifested worlds.
1. THE DIFFICULTY OF REPRESENTATION
2. THE TWO EFFECTS OF THOUGHT
HOW THE VIBRATION ACTS
THE FORM AND ITS EFFECT
3. THE MEANING OF THE COLOURS
4. THREE CLASSES OF THOUGHT-FORMS
FORMS SEEN IN THOSE MEDITATING
5. HELPFUL THOUGHTS
6. FORMS BUILT BY MUSIC
Now Reincarnation is a truth that has swayed the minds of innumerable millions of our race, and has molded the thoughts of the vast majority for uncounted centuries. It dropped out of the European mind during the Dark Ages, and so ceased to influence our mental and moral development—very much, be it said in passing, to the injury of that development. For the last hundred years it has from time to time flashed through the minds of some of the greater Westerns, as a possible explanation of some of life's most puzzling problems: and during recent years, since its clear enunciation as an essential part of the Esoteric Teaching, it has been constantly debated, and is as constantly gaining ground, among the more thoughtful students of the mysteries of life and of evolution.
So is it in the application of the laws of psychology that we call Yoga. Systematized knowledge of the unfolding of consciousness applied to the individualized Self, that is Yoga. As I have just said, it is by the world that consciousness has been unfolded, and the world is admirably planned by the LOGOS for this unfolding of consciousness; hence the would-be yogi, choosing out his objects and applying his laws, finds in the world exactly the things he wants to make his practice of Yoga real, a vital thing, a quickening process for the knowledge of the Self. There are many laws. You can choose those which you require, you can evade those you do not require, you can utilize those you need, and thus you can bring about the result that nature, without that application of human intelligence, cannot so swiftly effect. Take it, then, that Yoga is within your reach, with your powers, and that even some of the lower practices of Yoga, some of the simpler applications of the laws of the unfolding of consciousness to yourself, will benefit you in this world as well as in all others. For you are really merely quickening your growth, your unfolding, taking advantage of the powers nature puts within your hands, and deliberately eliminating the conditions which would not help you in your work, but rather hinder your march forward.
Death consists, indeed, in a repeated process of unrobing, or unsheathing. The immortal part of man shakes off from itself, one after the other, its outer casings, and as the snake from its skin, the butterfly from its chrysalis emerges from one after another, passing into a higher state of consciousness. Now it is the fact that this escape from the body, and this dwelling of the conscious entity either in the vehicle called the body of desire, the kâmic or astral body, or in a yet more ethereal Thought Body, can be effected during earth-life; so that man may become familiar with the excarnated condition, and it may lose for him all the terrors that encircle the unknown. He can know himself as a conscious entity in either of these vehicles, and so prove to his own satisfaction that "life" does not depend on his functioning through the physical body. Why should a man who has thus repeatedly "shed" his lower bodies, and has found the process result, not in unconsciousness, but in a vastly extended freedom and vividness of life why should he fear the final casting away of his fetters, and the freeing of his Immortal Self from what he realises as the prison of the flesh?
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. Any thing more erroneous than this could hardly be imagined. It has enabled our enemies to find an effective weapon against Theosophy, because, as an eminent Pâli scholar very pointedly expressed it, there was in the volume named “neither Esotericism nor Buddhism.” The esoteric truths, presented in Mr. Sinnett's work, ceased to be esoteric from the moment they were made public; nor did the book contain the religion of Buddha, but simply a few tenets from a hitherto hidden teaching, which are now explained and supplemented by many more in the present volumes. And even the latter, though giving out many fundamental tenets from the Secret Doctrine of the East, raise but a small corner of the dark veil. For no one, not even the greatest living Adept, would be permitted to, or could—even if he would—give out promiscuously to a mocking, unbelieving world that which has been so effectually concealed from it for long æons and ages.
Esoteric Buddhism was an excellent work with a very unfortunate title, though it meant no more than does the title of this work, The Secret Doctrine. It proved unfortunate, because people are always in the habit of judging things by their appearance rather than by their meaning, and because the error has now become so universal, that even most of the Fellows of the Theosophical Society have fallen victims to the same misconception. From the first, however, protests were raised by Brâhmans and others against the title; and, in justice to myself, I must add that Esoteric Buddhism was presented to me as a completed volume, and that I was entirely unaware of the manner in which the author intended to spell the word “Budh-ism.”
If you have struggled in the past reading The Bhagavad-Gita, then BookCaps can help you out. This book is a modern translation of the text.
We all need refreshers every now and then. Whether you are a student trying to cram for that big final, or someone just trying to understand a book more, BookCaps can help. We are a small, but growing company, and are adding titles every month.