WHO am I? Since time immemorial, man pondered this question in his quest to know his purpose and destiny in this earthly existence. In this work, Brother Annie Besant explains, in mostly Theosophical terms, the sevenfold nature of man. These principles are always seven, but there are many ways to describe each principle. Yet, all begin with our physical nature. What follows is a modern interpretation of these seven principles which we hope will elucidate a deeper understanding of the original text.
The first principle of man is his physical being or body. We are born into this physical vehicle, which has it own desires, wants, and needs. It needs to be fed, clothed, and kept warm from the elements. It wants physical pleasure as well, and some individuals remain stuck in their evolution because their desires remain of a mostly physical nature. The second principle of man can be described as our emotional body or nature. The emotional body also has it desires and needs. We want to be loved, cared for, and validated. However, when one remains focused solely on satisfying his or her emotional nature, the individual is caught in a rollercoaster of emotions: pulled left and right by various states of emotional response. The key to overcoming this emotional rollercoaster is to develop the higher parts of our being: namely, the mental aspect of our being. When we utilize reason and logic, we are able to transcend the pitfalls and traps of a purely emotional and physical existence. The mind or mental body can be divided into two principles: the lower mind and the higher mind. The third principle of man, here described as the lower mind, can also be called the concrete or rational mind. Whereas, the fourth principle of man, the higher mind, is a reference to our abstract or subjective mind. The lower mind deals with facts, figures, and calculations, but the higher mind explores the realms of imagination, imagery, and symbolism. The 3rd deals with knowledge, but the 4th can go beyond to wisdom. This quest for wisdom is aided by the fifth principle of man's nature: his intuition. The intuition provides sparks of insight and links us to our inherent divinity. The final two principles of man deal with his spiritual nature: his Soul and Spirit. Both of these parts of man are immortal and exist beyond his physical life. They represent his link to the Divine both within and without. The sixth principle, the Soul, and the seventh principle, the Spirit, are referred to as the Buddha and Atma in Hindu philosophy. Thus, each of us has a seven-fold constitution, which is honored in Freemasonry in a variety of ways including the seven principal Officers of a Lodge. The Lodge is a symbolical representation of each brother, as well as, the culmination of all members. In the words of the Ancient Oracle of Delphi: "Within you is hidden the treasure of treasures. Oh, man, know thyself, and you shall know the Universe and the Gods!" May the republishing of this book assist you, the reader, in your eternal quest to know yourself, your purpose, and your destiny.
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