The Scott Memorial,
an outstanding introductory work on
Theosophy by a Student of Katherine Tingley entitled “Elementary Theosophy”
1847 – 1929
Founder & President of the
Point Loma Theosophical Society 1896 -1929
She and her students produced a series of informative
Theosophical works in the early years of the 20th century
A Student of Katherine Tingley
The Seven in
Man and Nature
When, as children, we begin our study of science, we are told that matter exists in three states: solid, liquid and gaseous. That does very well as a first step.
In the same way the student of Theosophy will begin by Paul's division of human nature into body, soul and spirit.
But in both cases, as soon as we come close to the subject, we find that the three will not do, will not carry us far beyond the threshold of our study.
Human nature, and nature without, are alike sevenfold. The number seven runs across the pattern in every direction. Science knows of many sevens, but she has not yet learned to regard seven as a sort of abstract map by means of which she could walk much faster in every field of investigation. For ages, Theosophy has known it to be one of the keys to which the universe is tuned. Let us study it first in the nature which is outside us.
The finest particles of ordinary matter are called molecules. Sometimes these fly free from each other; that we call the gaseous state of matter. But short of that entire freedom there is the liquid state, where the molecules move readily around each other, but remain in closer contact.
And thirdly there is the solid state. But of this there are two divisions, the crystalline and the colloid or gelatinous. And again, of the colloid there are two conditions, living and not living. The flesh of man and animals and the growing tissues of plants are composed of living colloid.
In all these states matter is molecular, exists as molecules. But under certain conditions the molecules break up into the still smaller particles called atoms. We then have atomic matter, said to constitute one of the sets of rays emitted by radium.
And again, the atoms themselves may break up into the still finer particles called corpuscles or electrons. These constitute still another set of rays.
So from this point of view the seven states of matter are:
Corpuscular or subatomic
with numbers 3 through 7 being molecular.
But the seven runs across nature in another way. A famous Russian chemist found that if all the elements known to chemistry were arranged one after another in the order of their atomic weights, beginning with the lightest, the eighth, fifteenth, twenty-second, and so on, had similar properties to the first; the ninth, sixteenth, and so on, to the second. Thus it became clear that there was a natural arrangement of all the chemical elements into seven great families. The seven notes of the musical scale, and the seven colors of the prismatic scale, are of course familiar to every one.
In respect to motion, the American mathematician Southwell, dealing with the nebular theory, has also worked out a natural seven which he thus states:
If two masses are moving in the same plane and at the same mean distance from the sun and are situated at an angular distance greater than 60° and less than 180° from each other, as viewed from the sun, their mutual perturbations will cause them to approach each other until the distance becomes equal to 60°.
But if they are nearer than 60° to each other,
their mutual perturbations will cause them to recede from each other until their distance apart becomes equal to 60°; and they will always remain in a condition of stable equilibrium at that distance apart, and will revolve around the sun forever free from mutual disturbance.
Sixty degrees is of course a sixth of a circle, which with the controlling center occupied by the sun, gives the seven.
Theosophy goes further than any of this. To the higher students it is shown that one form of matter which, as we have seen, exists in seven states, is itself the seventh of a greater series. And that that white light (white to our vision) which breaks up into our seven colors, is itself a member of a set of seven lights, none really white, but standing to ultimate light as one of our spectrum colors stands to the light we call white.
But here we are of course far beyond the realm of present human senses. Yet in the course of special training, and much more slowly, yet inevitably, for us all in the normal course of our evolution, all these scales will become evident to us.
Theosophy also concurs with the proverb which gives man seven senses, two of which in most people are almost inactive, dealing with finer forms and essences.
Some idea of the sixth of these may be gained from a study of the life of the woman known as the Seeress of Prevorst. In her, however, it was abnormally and prematurely unveiled by a peculiar form of ill-health.
Man as a part of greater nature must of course exhibit the seven in many ways. Most obvious of the seven is of course one's body, called in Theosophy by the
Sanskrit word sthula-sarira. But within it is another, made of altogether subtler matter, the astral model-body or linga-sarira. And it is because of the presence of this other, which is, as it were, a sort of architect's plan, that the millions of separate cells are able to arrange themselves in harmony, to form coherent organs, and to assume separate forms for the discharge of separate kinds of work. It is this which translates latent life, omnipresent in space, into life or prana, adapted for the use of the cells. Shortly after death its remains are occasionally visible as the spook of so many ghost stories.
Here then we have three of the human principles the visible body, the subtler architect's plan body, and the vital force. The last Theosophy, disagreeing on this point with current physiology, teaches to be a form of energy peculiar to itself.
Let us note now, for the fourth principle, that by body Paul meant the animal desires of the body or kama-rupa. These, in too many cases, dominate the man.
But if he would be really man, would really show himself to be a soul, he must reverse that. It is through thought that he begins to establish himself as a man. Mind or manas is the fifth of the human principles. Animals show the first traces of it, but they cannot even begin that inquiry which seeks an answer to the question, What am I? They are living units, and inwardly indestructible; but they are not yet self-conscious souls.
The sixth principle or buddhi, is the crown of mind, that department of man's conscious nature from which come the inspirations of genius.
Towards it ascend in their highest moments the musician, the poet, the artist. It is the soul in its own essentially spiritual nature. What it knows and feels when it is there, what it sees of divine truth, it must as far as possible bring down to the mind for expression on earth. Much is necessarily lost on the way. We all know that there are things which we feel but to which we can give no expression.
Lastly, the highest of the seven is spirit or atma, that which sustains all the rest and is their life; that which may be felt and known in the heart, but whose being is inexpressible in any kind of language. All the religious wars and quarrels that have ever rent mankind have come from attempts to dogmatize in words and terms about this indescribable presence and sustainer.
Theosophy as a whole, says H. P. Blavatsky, is based absolutely on the ubiquitous presence of God, the Absolute Deity; and if it itself is not speculated upon, as being too sacred and yet incomprehensible as a unit to the finite intellect, yet the entire philosophy is based upon its divine powers as being the source of all that lives and breathes and has its existence. Man, however, is not limited to his finite intellect, the fifth of his seventh. He can know with another faculty which to intellect is unknowable, that which by language is inexpressible.
The path to this knowledge lies through aspiration renewed from day to day, meditation, duty, compassion towards all that lives, self-mastery, and study.
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