THEOSOPHY, Vol. 47, No. 4, February, 1959
(Pages 178-182; Size: 14K)


"PILGRIM" is the appellation given to our Monad (the two in one) during its cycle of incarnations. It is the only immortal and eternal principle in us, being an indivisible part of the integral whole, the Universal Spirit, from which it emanates, and into which it is absorbed at the end of the cycle. The Monad is the Unity, the one. In Occultism it often means the unified triad Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or the duad Atma-Buddhi, that immortal part of man which reincarnates in the lower kingdoms, and gradually progresses through them to Man and then to the final goal -- Nirvana. "The thread of radiance which is imperishable and dissolves only in Nirvana, re-emerges from it in its integrity on the day when the Great Law calls all things back into action."

"The Spark hangs from the FLAME by the finest thread of Fohat. It journeys through the Seven Worlds of Maya. It stops in the first Kingdom, and is a metal and a stone. It passes into the second Kingdom, and behold -- a plant. The plant whirls through seven forms and becomes a sacred animal -- the first shadow of the physical man. From the combined attributes of these, Manu (man) the Thinker is formed." What is the Spark that hangs from the Flame? It is Jiva, the Monad in conjunction with Manas, or rather its aroma -- that which remains from each personality, when worthy, and hangs from Atma-Buddhi, the Flame, by the thread of life. The Flames, the Agnishwattha Dhyanis, were those who, esoterically, were destined -- most of them -- to incarnate as the Egos of the forthcoming crop of Mankind. The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddhi, but the higher Manas. The ancient works refer to it as Karana Sarira on the plane of Sutratma, which is the golden thread on which, like beads, the various personalities of this higher Ego are strung.

Metaphysically speaking, it is of course an absurdity to talk of the "development" of a Monad, or to say that it becomes "Man." It stands to reason that a Monad cannot either progress or develop, or even be affected by the changes it passes through. The Monad or Jiva per se cannot even be called spirit. It is a ray, a breath of the Absolute, or the Absoluteness rather; and the Absolute Homogeneity, having no relation with the conditioned and relative finiteness, is unconsciousness on our plane. It is not of this world, and may be compared to an indestructible star or divine light and fire, thrown down on to our Earth as a plank of salvation for the personalities in which it dwells. It is for the latter to cling to it; and thus partaking of the divine nature, obtain immortality. Left to itself, the Monad will cling to no one; but like the "plank," be drifted away to another incarnation by the unresting current of evolution.

Life is something more than the mere interaction of molecules and atoms. There is a vital principle without which no molecular combinations could ever have resulted in a living organism, least of all in the so-called "inorganic" matter of our plane of consciousness. Akasha, Jivatma, or the "Soul of the World" -- are one. Jivatma is the one universal life, generally, but also the divine spirit in Man. That which propels towards, and forces evolution, i.e., compels the growth and development of Man towards perfection, is (a) the Monad, or that which acts in it unconsciously through a force inherent in itself; and (b) the lower astral body or the personal self. The former, the Monad, whether imprisoned in a vegetable or animal body, is endowed with, is indeed itself that force. The Monad or Jiva is first of all shot down by the law of Evolution into the lowest form of matter -- the mineral. After a sevenfold gyration encased in the stone (or that which will become mineral and stone in the fourth Round), it creeps out, say, as a lichen. Passing thence through all the forms of vegetable matter into what is now termed animal matter, it has then reached the point in which it has become the germ, so to speak, of the animal, that will become the physical man. All this, up to the third Round, is formless, as matter, and senseless, as consciousness.

Each rational creature receives only the temporary loan of that which has to return to its source, while his physical body is shaped by the lowest terrestrial lives, through physical, chemical and physiological evolutions. Like alone produces like. The Earth gives Man his body, the gods (Dhyanis) his five inner principles, the psychic Shadow, of which those gods are often the animating principle. (Atman) is one -- and indiscrete. The Monad is impersonal and a god per se, albeit unconscious on this plane. For, divorced from its third (often called fifth) principle, Manas, it can have no consciousness or perception of things on this earthly plane. "The highest sees through the eyes of the lowest" in the manifested world; Purusha (Spirit) remains blind without the help of Prakriti (matter) in the material spheres; and so does Atma-Buddhi without Manas. The Monad has passed through, journeyed and been imprisoned in every transitional form throughout every kingdom of nature during the three preceding Rounds. All the time it is still one and the same Monad, differing only in its incarnations, throughout its ever succeeding cycles of partial or total obscuration of spirit, or the partial or total obscuration of matter -- two polar antitheses -- as it ascends into the realms of mental spirituality, or descends into the depths of materiality.

But the monad which becomes human is not the Man. Can man, a god in animal form, be the product of material Nature by evolution alone, even as is the animal, which differs from man in external shape, but by no means in the materials of its physical fabric, and is informed by the same, though undeveloped Monad -- seeing that the intellectual potentialities of the two differ as the sun from the glow-worm? And what is it that creates such difference, unless man is an animal plus a living god within its physical shell? Let us pause and ask ourselves seriously this question, regardless of the vagaries and sophisms of both the materialistic and psychological modern sciences. Between man and the animal -- whose Monads (or Jivas) are fundamentally identical -- there is the impassable abyss of Mentality and Self-consciousness. What is human mind in its higher aspect, whence comes it, if it is not a portion of the essence -- and, in some rare cases of incarnation, the very essence -- of a higher Being; one from a higher and divine plane?

Besides the material which will be needed for its future human form, the Monad requires (a) a spiritual model or prototype for that material to shape itself into; and (b) an intelligent consciousness to guide its evolution and progress, neither of which is possessed by the homogeneous monad, or by senseless though living matter. The evolution of the external form or body round the astral is produced by the terrestrial forces, just as in the case of the lower kingdoms. But the evolution of the internal or real Man is purely spiritual. It is now no more a passage of the impersonal Monad through many and various forms of matter -- endowed at best with instinct and consciousness on quite a different plane -- as in the case of external evolution, but a journey of the "pilgrim-soul" through various states of not only matter but self-consciousness and self-perception, or of perception from apperception.

The mystery attached to the highly spiritual ancestors of the divine man within the earthly man is very great. That creator who is called in the second chapter of Genesis the "Lord God," is in the original the Elohim, or Gods (the Lords), in the plural. While one of them makes the earthly Adam of dust, the other breathes into him the breath of life, and the third makes of him a living soul, all of which readings are implied in the plural number of the Elohim. "The first is of the Earth, the second (the last, or rather highest) is from heaven," says Paul in Corinthians. The higher Dhyanis had no hand in his physical creation. Primeval man, issued from the bodies of his spiritually fireless progenitors, is described as aeriform, devoid of compactness, and Mindless. The Pitris (the lower Elohim), are lunar deities and our ancestors, because they created the physical man. Those Dhyanis or Pitris, though possessed of creative fire, were devoid of the higher Mahatmic element. Being on a level with the lower principles -- those which precede gross objective matter -- they could give birth only to the outer man, or rather to the model of the physical, the astral man.

The Agnishwattha Dhyanis, devoid of the grosser creative fire, were unable to create physical man, having no double, or astral body to project, since they were without any form. Yet it is they alone who could complete man -- the Kumara, solar deities, the "fashioners of the Inner Man" -- they alone who could make of him a self-conscious, almost a divine being, a god on Earth. To complete the septenary man, to add to his three lower principles and cement them with the spiritual Monad -- which could never dwell in such a form otherwise than in an absolutely latent state -- two connecting principles were needed: Manas and Kama. He had no middle principles to serve him as medium between the highest and the lowest, the spiritual man and the physical brain, for he lacked Manas.

The Monads which incarnated in the Shadows -- empty shells -- remained as unconscious as when separated from their previous incomplete forms and vehicles. Without this quickening spirit, or human Mind or soul, there would be no difference between man and beast; as there is none, in fact, between animals with respect to their actions. Without this principle -- the emanation of the pure divine principle Mahat (Intelligence), which radiates direct from the Divine Mind -- we would surely be no better than animals. "The functions of Jiva on this earth are of a five-fold character. In the mineral atom it is connected with the lowest principle of the Spirits of the Earth (the six-fold Dhyanis). In the vegetable particle it is connected with their second -- the Prana (life); in the animal, with all these plus the third and the fourth. In man, the germ must receive the fruition of all the Five. Otherwise he will be born no higher than an animal"; namely, a congenital idiot. Thus in man alone the Jiva is complete.

The Fall was the result of man's knowledge, for his "eyes were opened." Indeed, he was taught Wisdom and the hidden knowledge by the "Fallen Angel," for the latter had become from that day his Manas, Mind and Self-consciousness. In each of us that golden thread of continuous life -- periodically broken into active and passive cycles of sensuous existence on Earth, and super-sensuous in Devachan -- is from the beginning of our appearance upon this earth. It is the Sutratma, the luminous thread of immortal impersonal monadship, on which our earthly lives or evanescent Egos are strung as so many beads. Sutratma is literally "the thread of spirit," the immortal Ego, the Individuality which reincarnates in men one life after the other, and upon which are strung, like beads on a string, the countless Personalities. The Atman or Spirit (the Spiritual Self) passing like a thread through the five subtle bodies (or principles), is called "thread-soul" in Vedantic philosophy.

Thus, according to The Secret Doctrine teaching, for the first three and one-half root-races, up to the middle or turning point in this fourth Round, it is the astral shadows of the lunar Progenitors, the Pitris, which are the formative powers in the races, and which build and gradually force the evolution of the physical form towards perfection -- this, at the cost of a proportionate loss of spirituality. Then, from the turning point it is the Higher Ego, or incarnating principle, the nous or Mind, which reigns over the animal Ego, and rules it whenever it is not carried down by the latter. In short, spirituality is on its ascending arc, and the animal or physical impedes it from steadily progressing on the path of its evolution only when the selfishness of the Personality has so strongly infected the real inner man with its lethal virus, that the upward attraction has lost all its power on the thinking, reasonable man.

Next article:

Back to the complete list of the

Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".


(1) NOTE.--Collated from The Secret Doctrine.
Back to text.

Main Page | Introductory Brochure | Volume 1--> Setting the Stage
Karma and Reincarnation | Science | Education | Economics | Race Relations
The WISDOM WORLD | World Problems & Solutions | The People*s Voice | Misc.