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A Textbook of Theosophy by C W Leadbeater


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Man is therefore in essence a Spark of the divine Fire, belonging to the monadic world.[1] To that Spark, dwelling all the time in that world, we give the name "Monad". For the purposes of human evolution the Monad manifests itself in lower worlds. When it descends one stage and enters the spiritual world, it shows itself there as the triple Spirit having itself three aspects (just as in worlds infinitely higher the Deity has His three Aspects). Of those three one remains always in that world, and we call that the Spirit in man. The second aspect manifests itself in the intuitional world, and we speak of it as the Intuition in man. The third shows itself in the higher mental world, and we call it the Intelligence in man. These three aspects taken together constitute the ego which ensouls the fragment from the group-soul. Thus man as we know him, though in reality a Monad residing in the monadic world, shows himself as an ego in the higher mental world, manifesting these three aspects of himself (Spirit, Intuition and Intelligence) through that vehicle of higher mental matter which we name the causal body.

Footnote 1: The President has now decided upon a set of names for the planes, so for the future these will be used instead of those previously employed. A table of them is given below for reference.

1. Divine World (Ādi Plane)
2. Monadic World (Anupādaka Plane)
3. Spiritual World (Ātmic or Nirvānic Plane)
4. Intuitional World (Buddhic Plane)
5. Mental World (Mental Plane)
6. Emotional or Astral World (Astral Plane)
7. Physical World (Physical Plane)

These will supersede the names given in Vol. II of _The Inner Life._

This ego is the man during the human stage of evolution; he is the nearest correspondence, in fact, to the ordinary unscientific conception of the soul. He lives unchanged (except for his growth) from the moment of individualization until humanity is transcended and merged into divinity. He is in no way affected by what we call birth and death; what we commonly consider as his life is only a day in his life. The body which we can see, the body which is born and dies, is a garment which he puts on for the purposes of a certain part of his evolution.

Nor is it the only body which he assumes. Before he, the ego in the higher mental world, can take a vehicle belonging to the physical world, he must make a connection with it through the lower mental and astral worlds. When he wishes to descend he draws around himself a veil of the matter of the lower mental world, which we call his mental body. This is the instrument by means of which he thinks all his concrete thoughts--abstract thought being a power of the ego himself in the higher mental world.

Next he draws round himself a veil of astral matter, which we call his astral body; and that is the instrument of his passions and emotions, and also (in conjunction with the lower part of his mental body) the instrument of all such thought as is tinged by selfishness and personal feeling. Only after having assumed these intermediate vehicles can he come into touch with a baby physical body, and be born into the world which we know. He lives through what we call his life, gaining certain qualities as the result of its experiences; and at its end, when the physical body is worn out, he reverses the process of descent and lays aside one by one the temporary vehicles which he has assumed. The first to go is the physical body, and when that is dropped, his life is centred in the astral world and he lives in his astral body.