by Francesca Arundale (Published in 1916)
CONSCIOUSNESS has been traced through the long path of its manifestation, from the flame to the spark, from the spark to its encasement in the various planes of matter, each downward plane marking an added veil, an added density to be overcome and conquered. The Self of man comes from the first LOGOS, it is a reflection of the Monad; and yet more than a reflection, as it is truly the Self, the germ of all that it will be when, having passed through all limitation, it shall be capable of Self-limitation, of Self-manifestation. Thus we see the spark becoming the threefold manifestation on the three planes of the descending path as Âtmâ, Buddhi, Manas. But the Self has to descend still further into matter, for there are the planes of manifestation even lower than the mãnasic. To conquer these is the work of the Self in its lowest unfoldment, as it reaches out to the astral and the physical. To accomplish this, a further reflection of the Self is necessary, and the mental divides itself into higher and lower, that which can still contact the spiritual and higher Self, and that [Page 2] which reflects it in the lower, the field of concrete matter. There, then, again we get a triad, but this time a triad working in the densest limitation of matter, concrete mind, the feelings and emotions, and their field of action in the physical body. With the long processes of this unfoldment I have nothing to do; they have been fully dealt with in the earlier lectures of this series; it is sufficient for the purpose of this lecture to note that in this lower reflection there is the gradual realization of the Self, and that the effect of evolution through the lower planes is that, while at the beginning of its course this lower looks upon itself as apart and separate from its surroundings, at the end it realizes its spiritual Selfhood and identity with all. Thus the center of consciousness is gradually transferred from the lower physical of the animal and savage man to the emotional and intellectual centers of the civilized and developed entity.
One thing must be remembered, and that is that the reflection of the Self in the lower triad is a trinity, that each of the powers or aspects of the One Self is represented, and that these are being developed simultaneously, so that the mortal man, as we may call this lower triad, unfolds the reflection of Âtmã, Buddhi, Manas, by expanding the centers of consciousness, till at last in the realization of identity they are capable of being drawn into the higher. We have seen in the previous lectures the process of this unfolding; how the concrete, intellectual consciousness of the mortal person at last fixes its center in the intellectual [Page 3] consciousness of the immortal individual; how that which was external and concrete is seen in its inner aspects as internal and abstract, so that the root of knowing is seen as the knower, and that Self-realization involves the knowing of the thing in itself of which the concrete is the manifestation in time.
In the present lecture we have to do with the next stage in the great unfoldment, the realization of the intuitional consciousness, the vehicle through which it works in manifestation in time, and the world of Being to which it belongs. It is again important to remember that in manifestation we are dealing with a reflection, so that, just as we sought for the reflection of the higher intellectual consciousness of the Monad in its concrete aspects, so must we now seek for the next aspect of the Monad, the Buddhi aspect, in the plane that reflects it in its manifestation in time. The bliss aspect of the Monad shows itself in the mortal personality in love and joy, in the attraction that makes men seek one object rather than another. The plane of desire is the reflection of the buddhic plane in time and manifestation, and the nearest expression of the bliss aspect is the condition of pure and intense love which sometimes unites two persons, making them feel as one being in thought, word and action. It is in the astral reflection that we have to look for the first faint stirring of buddhic consciousness, and in this connection we must note that all planes and sub-planes of matter interpenetrate the physical, and are, as we may say, adjacent to it. This is very important, for the [Page 4] consciousness of the Ego, drawn outwards by vibrations of the astral plane, causes responsive vibrations in the astral body, and these arouse faint answering thrills in the buddhic matter of which the astral is the reflection, and in this way the response in the buddhic vehicle is strengthened and developed.
Thus we see that the physical, astral, mental, buddhic, and nirvãnic vehicles are all closely connected, and when we speak of the buddhic plane and the buddhic vehicle, we are not speaking of something that is afar off, but of that which is present with every man, here and now; and by unfolding the reflection of the Self we come into touch with the reality that lies behind it. The buddhic matter, which we call the buddhic body, must not, however, be thought of as a body similar to the physical body, that is to say as an enclosure; there is no hard and fast outline circumscribing the atoms of buddhic matter and thus creating a definite form. It should rather be conceived of as a vibrating center with lines radiating in all directions. We have been told that the causal vehicle, or the body of the higher mental plane, is the only permanent body of the Ego in manifestation. The lower mental, the astral, and the physical disintegrate after each life, but the causal body may be regarded as the storehouse of the experiences garnered by the Ego in its earthly lives.
It is in this causal body that the buddhic sheath or center is formed, and it is the nucleus of those permanent atoms which enable the Ego to descend into matter, carrying its experience from one life to another.[Page 5] We have also been told that it is developed by the exercise of the mental powers of abstract thought, the highly intellectual and moral characteristics, developed in each life. It is the strengthening of this aspect of the Intellect in the causal body which gradually forms the buddhic center, and, so long as the causal body lasts, the center and its radiating lines remain as the nucleus of the permanent atoms.
In the course of the unfoldment of the Ego, however, the great mystery of Initiation takes place, and, when the Ego consciously enters the buddhic plane, the causal body itself disappears, that body which has been the home of the consciousness through life after life, in the higher as well as the physical world. It disappears; that is to say, it disintegrates, and the atoms of which it is composed are lost in the surrounding sea of mental matter.
Thus the buddhic sheath has no form, but is a raying out of matter in all directions, and to the developed seer the buddhic threads can be seen as running through all living organisms and holding them together. It is this disappearance of the causal body when a man passes through the first Initiation which gives the feeling at first, we are told, of having lost every touch with the planes below. The buddhic center and the permanent atoms, however, remain; and these permanent atoms are the links by means of which the Ego can again emerge from the buddhic plane to the lower realms of manifested life. [Page 6]
Having spoken of the buddhic sheath, we may consider the characteristics of the plane from which it emanates. It is only by symbols that we can in any way image the conditions of this glorious realm. It has been described as the Christ plane of the human Spirit, a sphere of knowledge and love, where each man is, most perfectly himself, and yet at the same time includes all others in himself, and is all others. A plane in which there is no exclusion, for all being interpenetrates, and no isolation is possible. It may be compared to a center of energy with no excluding walls, and each entity, as he becomes conscious on this plane, is at once the center as well as the out-raying energy. Truly it is the Christ plane, for it is the plane of at-one-ment and is the foundation of the much misunderstood doctrine of Atonement. The Christ, who is the perfected entity on this plane, shares His life with all, and through Him and from Him come the rays of life and love and wisdom that draw all men up to Him. It is the plane of Saviors, because from here there is no separation, but a constant sharing with others. The entity that has passed through the cross of manifestation in matter has become conscious through all form, and now exists as a conscious center, able to vivify all that is below him, in very truth one with God and man. In no sense, however, is this at-one-ment vicarious; how could it be so if the nature of the Self be understood ? The Christ of the buddhic plane is not a manifestation of the power of the Spirit for one only, it is the condition that is manifest [Page 7] that all may attain, as in the words of the Great Initiate on earth, that they may be one in Us .
The spark is the flame, and the expansion of consciousness that marks the entrance of the Initiate on to the buddhic plane is the realization of the identity of the nature and being of the spark with that which is at once its source and center.
The entering this condition of consciousness is often spoken of as entering the stream, for never can the man who has once realized this condition fall back to the state of worldliness which looks on the external as the real. He has touched the inner side of being, and although he may wander and delay, yet he can never lose the spiritual knowledge that has come to him from the divine plane.
In the title of this lecture mention is made of the intuitional consciousness, its vehicle and its world. We have seen somewhat of the nature of its world in the description of the powers and attributes of the buddhic plane, and the buddhic sheath has been spoken of as a radiating center. Let us now see how that center is related to the man as we know him in the present world of manifestation. What is the intuitional consciousness, how does it manifest in the world of sense and action, and how can it be strengthened and developed so that the Ego can realize itself on the buddhic plane ? In the first place, it must be again noticed that all planes of matter are adjacent and co-existing. Physical, astral, mental, causal, buddhic and the planes beyond — all interpenetrate each other; the matter of which these [Page 8] planes are composed forms the man as we see him in manifestation, and the life functions through all, more or less strongly as that life becomes fully conscious on the various planes. The Ego, triple in its nature as the spark of the flame, manifests this triplicity in the mortal person, and physical consciousness, emotional consciousness and higher mental consciousness reflect the three aspects of the immortal Ego, the Ãtmã, the Buddhi and the Intellect. The emotional consciousness is what we have to deal with as the vehicle through which the Ego cognizes the lower and becomes the master of feeling and desire. The astral plane is the field of buddhic manifestation in its lowest aspect. The principle of love and joy, of attraction, a going forth in desire, is Buddhi reflecting itself in Kãma. It is on the plane of desire that we must seek for the first stirring of vibrations to be carried on to the perfecting and strengthening of the powers of the buddhic vehicle. The characteristic of the buddhic plane is, as we have seen, unity, and it is the desire that makes for unity which is the first expression of the life passing from the lower to the higher form of consciousness. Love, therefore, may be said to be the means by which the buddhic sheath can be stirred into vibration. How faint is the first thrill that pulsates from physical love of wife or child; it is too much mixed with the separated ‘I’ to be translated to the body of bliss where the ‘I’ is as much the all as the center. My wife, my child, my friend is the first reaching out of the separated self in manifestation to the self in union [Page 9] with all. As that love becomes purer, as it expands so that the ‘I’ is not thought of, and no return for its outflowing is desired, when love is given to benefit another and not to gain for self, then and then only does the thrill pass to the center of union, and the buddhic sheath is formed for the expression of the God manifest.
The consciousness that is at first drawn outwards by the vibrations of the lower astral matter gradually responds to the vibrations of the higher, and we see great emotions, such as love and devotion to a superior, to a hero and a great personal ideal. When a man pours out this love to his ideal, looking for no reward, joyous to serve for the joy of giving himself in service, then arise the faint answerings in the buddhic matter, and the center thrills and rays out in response. This may be said to be the aspect of Buddhi, showing itself as love. On the astral plane, it feels the unity; it strives after it. Where an individual has no love there can be no vibration to start the buddhic thrill of response; it is pure, unselfish love which develops the bliss aspect, till at last not only is unity felt and striven for, but seen and known.
The development of this buddhic consciousness will show itself in many ways; we shall not pick out the one or two on whom to lavish our stores of love and devotion, but all will be near and dear, so all will be protected, and helped and reverenced as part of the great life. None so evil that we shrink from trying to draw near in help; none so weak that we would not strengthen.[Page 10]
Another means by which the buddhic consciousness may be developed is the strengthening of the centers of the causal body. As we have seen, the causal body is the vehicle of consciousness on the higher plane of mentality, the characteristic feature being knowledge in its abstract form. It is that aspect of the Self which seeks to know the reality of a thing, what it really is. It is not content with the external, but looks through the external to the reality — to what it is apart from the world of form. This seeking for abstract reality apart from form being the reverse of the process of evolution into form, it links itself to the inward and not the outward, and by retiring inwards it reaches to the plane of love or unity as the only reality, the one basis of all form.
Therefore is it necessary, if we would acquire the buddhic consciousness, not only to let our love pass beyond the external plane, but also our thought, to recognize the one life in all, not as a dead platitude but as a living reality. This recognition of unity will gather all into its mighty embrace, and love and wisdom become one. Meditation is the great unfolder of this power of Intuition. Through constant practice in the endeavor to rise beyond the lower to a higher form of consciousness, the lower begins to partake of the nature of that to which it aspires. All meditation draws the soul beyond the everyday concerns of time and space, it builds the stairway by which we climb to the larger life which awaits us, and enables us to reach that threshold where the unity is seen.[Page 11]
The intuitional consciousness will, therefore, show itself as the constant endeavor to expand the ‘I’, to bring all that which is external into the Self, so that nothing that lives or moves shall remain as separated or apart. The lowest animal, the flower and tree, the stone, the sage, the robber, and the slayer, will all find their place in this great embracing love, as parts in the great whole, my Self in evolution. No anger can disturb, no passions mar the serenity of one who sees himself in all. The changing forms of manifestation will be seen as aspects for time, of that which is beyond, time and beyond manifestation.
The two means, therefore, by which any one may hope to advance to the buddhic unity are love and thought. Unselfish love, that spends itself in service to all, causes vibrations in the buddhic matter. The influences from the plane ray down, and the soul is bathed in joy that knows no words — unspeakable bliss.
This advance is also made possible by the development of the higher manas in the causal body. No thought can conceive the reality of the buddhic power, even within the causal faculties, and, once realized, it breaks up the material of the causal plane and it remains as the body of Buddhi; he who would function on the lower planes then makes anew the vehicles through which he would work. This is the secret of the first Initiation; that which has been the pilgrim through the many countless lives receives its liberation, and henceforward there is the body of bliss, which is the ever present home of the individual who has but to descend at will in a causal body made [Page 12] afresh each time he returns to the lower planes of manifestation. The intuitional consciousness reflects itself as the power to discriminate clearly and immediately, with certainty and knowledge. It is the growth of experience in love and wisdom, just as instinct is the growth of passion and physical desire to live; both Intuition and instinct have a common basis as the reflections of the higher, but it is only the pure emotions, the unselfish love, that can grow the beautiful flower that may bloom in the buddhic region, while instinct arises from desire for self-preservation, and is the guide of the consciousness in the lower worlds only. Pure emotion, loving devotion, unselfish service, are the means of unfoldment, and no one must depend on intuitional knowledge where there is selfish love and desire for personal gain. The Intuition is the all-seeing vision that can catch the light from the plane of Buddhi and so illumine the path that the soul with unerring certainty shall press onwards, sure in its knowledge and power. But who shall tell of the joy that he may feel who has once secured entrance to the glories of that region of unity. Earth and water, land and sea, the grass, the flowers, the insects that flit from blossom to blossom, all are felt and known as one ; there is then the utter certainty that the idea of the separate self is a delusion. Henceforward all nature holds a different meaning for him. He creates a world of beauty around himself, for love is the artist which transforms and transfigures the unreal and the transient so that the real and the immortal can be sensed in [Page 13] all. Blessed indeed is such a one, and blessed are those that can dwell in his presence; he becomes at once a channel through which the greater life may show itself in all its glory, for the love of the Brotherhood of Love can pass unfettered through his pure emotion. The veil has been torn asunder and he has at last reaped the knowledge which comes to the Ego in its first unfoldment on the buddhic plane. Harvested from the experiences of many lives, he has gained the power to sympathize with all, and has become a co-worker with those Saviors of mankind who have their dwelling on the plane of Bliss and Wisdom. Such is the man in whom the faculty of the Intuition shines out, such is the power which he can exercise, beyond the limitations of sense, beyond the critical judgment of the mind. From the realm of wisdom he brings the discriminative vision which unites him in love and sympathy with all, and to him the many have become the One.
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