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 [6:03:28 PM] *** Group call ***
[6:05:11 PM] Thuan Thi Do: CHAPTER XXV


(Page 174) We come now to study the subject of reincarnation, regarding the putting forth by the ego of a personality as an "investment" made by the ego.

This "investment" analogy is not a mere figure of speech, but has a definite and material side to it. When the ego, in his causal body, takes to himself in addition a mental and an astral body, the operation involves the actual entangling of a portion of the matter of his causal body with matter of those lower astral and mental types. This "putting down" of a portion of himself is, therefore, closely analogous to an investment.

As in all investments, the ego hopes to get back more than he puts out: there is a risk however, a risk of disappointment, a possibility that he may lose something of what he invests: in fact, under very exceptional circumstances there may even be a total loss which leaves him, not absolutely bankrupt, but without available capital.

Elaborating on this analogy, we may remind ourselves that the causal body consists of matter of the first, second and third sub-planes of the mental plane. By far the greater portion of it belongs to the first sub-plane: a lesser portion belongs to the second sub-plane, and still less to the third.

For the vast majority of men, there is as yet no activity beyond the lowest of these three types, and even that is usually partial. It is, therefore, only some of the lowest type of causal matter that can be put down to lower levels, and only a small fraction even of that part can be entangled with mental and astral matter. Hence, only a very small portion of the ego is in activity with reference to the personality.

(Page 175) In fact, with people who are unevolved, probably not more than one-hundreth part of the matter of the third sub-plane is active. With occult students, a little of the second sub-plane matter is generally in activity also. More advanced students have a great deal of that sub-plane in activity, and in the stage below that of an Arhat, about one-half of the ego is active.

The ego, being as yet half asleep, has but a very weak and imperfect control of that which he puts down. But,as his physical body grows up, and his astral and mental bodies also develop, the causal matter entangled with them is awakened, by the vigorous vibrations which reach it through them. The fraction of-a-fraction, which is fully entangled, gives life and vigour, and a sense of individuality, to these vehicles, and they in turn react strongly upon it, and arouse it to a keen realisation of life.

This keen realisation of life is, of course, exactly what it needs, the very object, for which it is put down; and it is the longing for this keen realisation which is trishna, with which we have already dealt in a previous chapter.

But just because this small fraction has had these experiences, and is therefore, so much more awake than the rest of the ego, it may often be so far intensified as to think itself the whole, and forget for a time its relation to its "Father in Heaven". It may temporarily identify itself with the matter through which it should be working, and may resist the influence of that other portion which has been put down, but not entangled - that which forms the link with the great mass of the ego on his own plane.

Diagram XXVI may serve to make this matter a little more clear. The causal body is here shown as roughly the shape of a chalice in section. That portion of the ego which is awakened on the third causal sub-plane is itself divided into three parts, which we will call [a],[b]and[c]. [a] is a very small part of the ego, and remains on its one plane: [b] is a small part of [a], is put down, (Page 176) but remains un-entangled with the matter of the lower planes,: it acts as a link between [a] and [c]; [c] in turn is a small part of [b], and is thoroughly entangled with lower matter of the mental and astral bodies.

[a] we may think of as the body of a man; [b] as his arm stretched out; [c] as the hand which grasps, or perhaps rather the tips of the fingers which are dipped in matter.
[6:22:43 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/English/causal/images/Arthur_E_Powell_-_The_Causal_Body___The_Ego_img_35.jpg
[6:25:40 PM] Thuan Thi Do: We have here a very delicately balanced arrangement, which may be affected in various ways. The intention is that the hand [c] should grasp firmly and guide the matter with which it is entangled, being fully directed all the time by the body [a] through the arm [b]. Under favourable circumstances, additional strength, and even additional matter, may be poured from the body [a] through the arm

[b] into the hand[c]. so that the control may become more and The hand [c] may grow in size as well as in strength, and the more it does so the better, so long as the communication through the arm [b] is kept open freely, and the body [a]retains control. For the very entanglement of the causal matter, which constitutes the hand [c], awakens it to a keen activity, and an accuracy of response to fine shades of vibration, which it could gain in no other way, and this, when transmitted through the arm[b], to the body[a], means the development of the ego himself.

Unfortunately the course of events does not always follow the ideal plan of working indicated above. When the control of the body [a] is feeble,it some times happens that the hand [c] becomes so thoroughly enmeshed in lower matter that, as said, it actually identifies itself (Page 177) with that lower matter, forgets for the time its high estate, and thinks of itself as the whole ego.

If the matter be of the lower mental plane, then we shall have a man who is wholly materialistic. He may perhaps be keenly intellectual, but not spiritual; he may very likely be intolerant of spirituality, and quite unable to comprehend, or appreciate it. He may probably call himself practical, matter-offact unsentimental, while in reality he is as hard as the nether-millstone; and, because of that hardness, his life, from the point of view of the ego, is a failure, and he is making no spiritual progress.

If, on the other hand, the matter in which he is so fatally entangled be astral, he will, on the physical plane, be one who thinks only of his own gratification, who is utterly ruthless when in pursuit of soma object which he strongly desires, a man quite unprincipled, and of brutal selfishness. Such a man lives in his passions, just as the man immeshed in mental matter lives in his mind. Cases such as these have been spoken of as "lost souls", though they are not irretrievably lost.

H.P.Blavatsky says of such men: "There is, however, still hope for a person who has lost his Higher Soul through his vices, while he is yet in the body. He may still be redeemed and made to turn on his material nature. For either an intense feeling of repentance, or one single earnest appeal to the Ego that has fled, or best of all, an active effort to amend one's ways, may bring the Higher Ego back again. The thread of connection is not altogether broken, "—[ Secret Doctrine, III 527 ].

In returning to our analogy of the investment, we note that, in making his investment, the ego expects not only to recover the hand[c], but he expects also that it will be improved both in quality and quantity. Its quality should be better, because it should be much more awake, and capable of instant and accurate response to a far more varied gamut of vibrations than before. (Page 178) This capacity the hand [c],when reabsorbed, necessarily communicates,to the body [a], though, of course, the store of energy which made such a powerful wave in the hand (coffee) will be able to create a ripple, when distributed throughout the whole substance of the body [a].

We should remind ourselves here that although the vehicles can respond to, and express, evil thoughts and emotions, and although their excitement under such vibrations can produce perturbation in the entangled causal matter [c], yet it is quite impossible for [c] to reproduce those vibrations itself, or to communicate them to the arm[b] or the body [a], simply because matter of the three higher mental levels can no more vibrate at the rate of the lowest plane than the string of a violin tuned to a certain pitch can be made to produce a note lower than that pitch.

The hand[c] should also be increased in quantity, because the causal body, like all other vehicles, is constantly changing its matter, and, when special exercise is given to a certain part of it, that part grows in size, and becomes stronger, precisely as a physical muscle does, when it is used.

Every earth-life is an opportunity, carefully calculated, for such development in quality and quantity as is most needed by the ego; a failure to use that opportunity means the trouble and delay of another similar incarnation, and sufferings probably aggravated by the additional karma incurred.

Against the increment, which the ego has a right to expect from each incarnation, we must offset a certain amount of loss which, in the earlier stages, is scarcely avoidable. In order to be effective, the entanglement with lower matter must be very intimate, and it is found that when this is so, it is scarcely ever possible to recover every particle, especially from the connection with the astral body.

When the time comes for separation from the astral body, it is almost always a shade and not a mere shell—[vide The Astral Body, pages 170 - 171] that is left behind (Page 179) on the astral plane; and that very distinction means that some of the causal material is lost. Except in the case of an unusually bad life however, this amount should be much smaller than that gained by growth, so that there should be, on the whole, a profit on the transaction.

Diagram XXVII-A illustrates this case, which may be regarded as the normal state of affairs.
[6:39:19 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/English/causal/images/Arthur_E_Powell_-_The_Causal_Body___The_Ego_img_36.jpg
[6:55:18 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/sach/GLBT-NTH/GiaoLyBiTruyen-NTH_Page_190.jpg
[6:55:58 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/sach/GLBT-NTH/GiaoLyBiTruyen-NTH_Page_191.jpg
[6:56:20 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/sach/GLBT-NTH/GiaoLyBiTruyen-NTH_Page_192.jpg
[7:03:34 PM] Thuan Thi Do: It is useless to attempt to explain the mystery in full. Materialists and the men of modern Science will never understand it, since, in order

to obtain clear perception of it, one has first of all to admit the postulate of a universally diffused, omnipresent, eternal Deity in Nature; secondly, to have fathomed the mystery of electricity in its true essence; and thirdly, to credit man with being the septenary symbol, on the terrestrial plane, of the One Great Unit (the Logos), which is Itself the Seven-vowelled sign, the Breath crystallized into the Word.* He who believes in all this, has also to believe in the multiple combination of the seven planets of Occultism and of the Kabala, with the twelve zodiacal signs; to attribute, as we do, to each planet and to each constellation an influence which, in the words of Ely Star (a French Occultist), “is proper to it, beneficent or maleficent, and this, after the planetary Spirit which rules it, who, in his turn, is capable of influencing men and things which are found in harmony with him and with which he has any affinity.” For these reasons, and since few believe in the foregoing, all that can now be given is that in both cases the symbol of Hansa (whether “I,” “He,” Goose or Swan) is an important symbol, representing, for instance, Divine Wisdom, Wisdom in darkness beyond the reach of men. For all exoteric purposes, Hansa, as every Hindu knows, is a fabulous bird, which, when given milk mixed with water for its food (in the allegory) separated the two, drinking the milk and leaving the water; thus showing inherent wisdom — milk standing symbolically for spirit, and water for matter.

That this allegory is very ancient and dates from the very earliest archaic period, is shown by the mention (in Bhagavata Purana) of a certain caste named “Hamsa” or “Hansa,” which was the “one caste” par excellence; when far back in the mists of a forgotten past there was among the Hindus only “One Veda, One Deity, One Caste.” There is also a range in the Himalayas, described in the old books as being situated north of Mount Meru, called “Hamsa,” and connected with episodes pertaining to the history of religious mysteries and initiations. As to the name of Kala-Hansa being the supposed vehicle of Brahma-Prajapati, in the exoteric texts and translations of the

Footnote(s) ———————————————
* This is again similar to the doctrine of Fichte and German Pantheists. The former reveres Jesus as the great teacher who inculcated the unity of the spirit of man with the God-Spirit (the Adwaita doctrine) or universal Principle. It is difficult to find a single speculation in Western metaphysics which has not been anticipated by Archaic Eastern philosophy. From Kant to Herbert Spencer, it is all a more or less distorted echo of the Dwaita, Adwaita, and Vedantic doctrines generally.

Orientalists, it is quite a mistake. Brahma, the neuter, is called by them Kala-Hansa and Brahma, the male, Hansa-Vahana, because forsooth “his vehicle or Vahan is a swan or goose” (vide “the Hindu Classical Dictionary.”) This is a purely exoteric gloss. Esoterically and logically, if Brahma, the infinite, is all that is described by the Orientalists, namely, agreeably with the Vedantic texts, an abstract deity in no way characterised by the description of any human attributes, and it is still maintained that he or it is called Kala-Hansa — then how can it ever become the Vahan of Brahma, the manifested finite god? It is quite the reverse. The “Swan or goose” (Hansa) is the symbol of that male or temporary deity, as he, the emanation of the primordial Ray, is made to serve as a Vahan or vehicle for that divine Ray, which otherwise could not manifest itself in the Universe, being, antiphrastically, itself an emanation of “Darkness” — for our human intellect, at any rate. It is Brahma, then, who is Kala-Hansa, and the Ray, the Hansa-Vahana.

As to the strange symbol chosen, it is equally suggestive; the true mystic significance being the idea of a universal matrix, figured by the primordial waters of the “deep,” or the opening for the reception, and subsequently for the issue, of that one ray (the Logos), which contains in itself the other seven procreative rays or powers (the logoi or builders). Hence the choice by the Rosecroix of the aquatic fowl — whether swan or pelican,* with seven young ones for a symbol, modified and adapted to the religion of every country. En-Soph is called the “Fiery Soul of the Pelican” in the Book of Numbers.† (See Part II. “The Hidden Deity and its Symbols and Glyphs.”) Appearing with every Manvantara as Narayan, or Swayambhuva (the

Footnote(s) ———————————————
* Whether the genus of the bird be cygnus, anser, or pelecanus, it is no matter, as it is an aquatic bird floating or moving on the waters like the Spirit, and then issuing from those waters to give birth to other beings. The true significance of the symbol of the Eighteenth Degree of the Rose-Croix is precisely this, though poetised later on into the motherly feeling of the Pelican rending its bosom to feed its seven little ones with its blood.

† The reason why Moses forbids eating the pelican and swan, classing the two among the unclean fowls, and permits eating “bald locusts, beetles, and the grasshopper after his kind” (Leviticus xi. and Deuteronomy xiv.) is a purely physiological one, and has to do with mystic symbology only in so far as the word “unclean,” like every other word, ought not to be read and understood literally, as it is esoteric like all the [[Footnote continued on next page]]

Self-Existent), and penetrating into the Mundane Egg, it emerges from it at the end of the divine incubation as Brahma or Prajapati, a progenitor of the future Universe into which he expands. He is Purusha (spirit), but he is also Prakriti (matter). Therefore it is only after separating himself into two halves — Brahma-vach (the female) and Brahma-Viraj (the male), that the Prajapati becomes the male Brahma.
[7:20:08 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/sach/GLBT-NTH/GiaoLyBiTruyen-NTH_Page_193.jpg
[7:20:35 PM] TrúcLâm: Chào cả nhà.
[7:20:41 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/sach/GLBT-NTH/GiaoLyBiTruyen-NTH_Page_194.jpg
[7:20:59 PM] TrúcLâm: Xin phép được dự thính
[7:23:38 PM] Thuan Thi Do:
STANZA III. — Continued.
9. Light is cold flame, and flame is fire, and the fire produces heat, which yields water, the water of life in the great mother (Chaos) (angel).

(angel) It must be remembered that the words “Light,” “Fire,” and “Flame” used in the Stanzas have been adopted by the translators thereof from the vocabulary of the old “Fire philosophers,”* in order to render better the meaning of the archaic terms and symbols employed in the original. Otherwise they would have remained entirely unintelligible to a European reader. But to a student of the Occult the terms used will be sufficiently clear.

All these — “Light,” “Flame,” “Hot,” “Cold,” “Fire,” “Heat,” “Water,” and the “water of life” are all, on our plane, the progeny; or as a modern physicist would say, the correlations of electricity. Mighty word, and a still mightier symbol! Sacred generator of a no less sacred progeny; of fire — the creator, the preserver and the destroyer; of light — the essence of our divine ancestors; of flame — the Soul of things. Electricity, the one Life at the upper rung of Being, and Astral Fluid, the Athanor of the Alchemists, at its lowest; god and devil, good and evil. . . .

Footnote(s) ———————————————
[[Footnote continued from previous page]] rest, and may as well mean “holy” as not. It is a blind, very suggestive in connection with certain superstitions — e.g., that of the Russian people who will not use the pigeon for food; not because it is “unclean,” but because the “Holy Ghost” is credited with having appeared under the form of a Dove.

* Not the Mediaeval Alchemists, but the Magi and Fire-Worshippers, from whom the Rosicrucians or the Philosophers per ignem, the successors of the theurgists borrowed all their ideas concerning Fire, as a mystic and divine element.

Now, why is Light called in the Stanzas “cold flame”? Because in the order of Cosmic evolution (as taught by the Occultist), the energy that actuates matter after its first formation into atoms is generated on our plane by Cosmic heat; and because Kosmos, in the sense of dissociated matter, was not, before that period. The first primordial matter, eternal and coeval with Space, “which has neither a beginning nor an end,” is “neither hot nor cold, but is of its own special nature,” says the Commentary (Book II). Heat and cold are relative qualities and pertain to the realms of the manifested worlds, which all proceed from the manifested Hyle, which, in its absolutely latent aspect, is referred to as the “cold Virgin,” and when awakened to life, as the “Mother.” The ancient Western Cosmogonic myths state that at first there was but cold mist which was the Father, and the prolific slime (the Mother, Ilus or Hyle), from which crept forth the Mundane snake-matter, (Isis, vol. i., p. 146). Primordial matter, then, before it emerges from the plane of the never-manifesting, and awakens to the thrill of action under the impulse of Fohat, is but “a cool Radiance, colourless, formless, tasteless, and devoid of every quality and aspect.” Even such are her first-born, the “four sons,” who “are One, and become Seven,” — the entities, by whose qualifications and names the ancient Eastern Occultists called the four of the seven primal “centres of Forces,” or atoms, that develop later into the great Cosmic “Elements,” now divided into the seventy or so sub-elements, known to science. The four primal natures of the first Dhyan Chohans, are the so-called (for want of better terms) “Akasic,” “Ethereal,” “Watery,” and “Fiery,” answering, in the terminology of practical occultism, to scientific definitions of gases, which, to convey a clear idea to both Occultists and laymen, must be defined as Parahydrogenic,* Paraoxygenic, Oxyhydrogenic, and Ozonic, or perhaps Nitr-ozonic; the latter forces or gases (in Occultism, supersensuous, yet atomic substances) being the most effective and active when energising on the plane of more grossly differentiated matter.† These are both electro-positive and electro-negative.

Footnote(s) ———————————————
* [[Para]], “beyond,” outside.

† Each of these and many more are probably the missing links of chemistry. They are known by other names in Alchemy and to the Occultists who practise in phenomenal powers. It is by combining and recombining in a certain way (or dissociating) the “Elements” by means of astral fire that the greatest phenomena are produced.
[7:24:41 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/sach/GLBT-NTH/GiaoLyBiTruyen-NTH_Page_195.jpg
[7:26:44 PM] Thuan Thi Do:
10. Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end is fastened to Spirit (Purusha), the light of the one Darkness, and the lower one to Matter (Prakriti) its (the Spirit’s) shadowy end; and this web is the Universe spun out of the two substances made in one, which is Swabhavat (angel).

(angel) In the Mandukya (Mundaka) Upanishad it is written, “As a spider throws out and retracts its web, as herbs spring up in the ground . . . so is the Universe derived from the undecaying one” (I. 1. 7). Brahma, as “the germ of unknown Darkness,” is the material from which all evolves and develops “as the web from the spider, as foam from the water,” etc. This is only graphic and true, if Brahma the “Creator” is, as a term, derived from the root brih, to increase or expand. Brahma “expands” and becomes the Universe woven out of his own substance.

The same idea has been beautifully expressed by Goethe, who says:

“Thus at the roaring loom of Time I ply,
And weave for God the garment thou see’st Him by.”

STANZA III. — Continued.
11. It (the Web) expands when the breath of fire (the Father) is upon it; it contracts when the breath of the mother (the root of Matter) touches it. Then the sons (the Elements with their respective Powers, or Intelligences) dissociate and scatter, to return into their mother’s bosom at the end of the “great day” and rebecome one with her (angel). When it (the Web) is cooling, it becomes radiant, its sons expand and contract through their own selves and hearts; they embrace infinitude. (beer)

The expanding of the Universe under the breath of Fire is very suggestive in the light of the “Fire mist” period of which modern science speaks so much, and knows in reality so little.

Great heat breaks up the compound elements and resolves the

heavenly bodies into their primeval one element, explains the commentary. “Once disintegrated into its primal constituent by getting within the attraction and reach of a focus, or centre of heat (energy), of which many are carried about to and fro in space, a body, whether alive or dead, will be vapourised and held in “the bosom of the Mother” until Fohat, gathering a few of the clusters of Cosmic matter (nebulae) will, by giving it an impulse, set it in motion anew, develop the required heat, and then leave it to follow its own new growth.

The expanding and contracting of the Web — i.e., the world stuff or atoms — expresses here the pulsatory movement; for it is the regular contraction and expansion of the infinite and shoreless Ocean of that which we may call the noumenon of matter emanated by Swabhavat, which causes the universal vibration of atoms. But it is also suggestive of something else. It shows that the ancients were acquainted with that which is now the puzzle of many scientists and especially of astronomers: the cause of the first ignition of matter or the world-stuff, the paradox of the heat produced by the refrigerative contraction and other such Cosmic riddles. For it points unmistakeably to a knowledge by the ancients of such phenomena. “There is heat internal and heat external in every atom,” say the manuscript Commentaries, to which the writer has had access; “the breath of the Father (or Spirit) and the breath (or heat) of the Mother (matter);” and they give explanations which show that the modern theory of the extinction of the solar fires by loss of heat through radiation, is erroneous. The assumption is false even on the Scientists’ own admission. For as Professor Newcomb points out (Popular Astronomy, pp. 506-508), “by losing heat, a gaseous body contracts, and the heat generated by the contraction exceeds that which it had to lose in order to produce the contraction.” This paradox, that a body gets hotter as the shrinking produced by its getting colder is greater, led to long disputes. The surplus of heat, it was argued, was lost by radiation, and to assume that the temperature is not lowered pari passu with a decrease of volume under a constant pressure, is to set at nought the law of Charles (Nebular Theory, Winchell). Contraction develops heat, it is true; but contraction (from cooling) is incapable of developing the whole amount of heat at any time existing in the mass, or even of maintaining a body at a constant temperature, etc. Professor Winchell tries to reconcile the paradox — only a seeming one in fact, as

Homer Lanes proved, — by suggesting “something besides heat.” “May it not be,” he asks, “simply a repulsion among the molecules, which varies according to some law of the distance?” But even this will be found irreconcileable, unless this “something besides heat” is ticketed “Causeless Heat,” the “Breath of Fire,” the all-creative Force plus absolute intelligence, which physical science is not likely to accept.

However it may be, the reading of this Stanza shows it, notwithstanding its archaic phraseology, to be more scientific than even modern science.

[7:44:15 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://thongthienhoc.net/sach/GLBT-NTH/GiaoLyBiTruyen-NTH_Page_196.jpg
[7:48:07 PM] Thuan Thi Do:
Purusha, ( Sanskrit: “person,” “self,” “spirit,” or “consciousness”) in Indian philosophy, and particularly in the dualistic system (darshan) of Samkhya, the eternal, authentic self.
[7:48:27 PM] Thuan Thi Do: THE WEB OF BEING.
STANZA III. — Continued.
10. Father-Mother spin a web whose upper end is fastened to Spirit (Purusha), the light of the one Darkness, and the lower one to Matter (Prakriti) its (the Spirit’s) shadowy end; and this web is the Universe spun out of the two substances made in one, which is Swabhavat (angel).

(angel) In the Mandukya (Mundaka) Upanishad it is written, “As a spider throws out and retracts its web, as herbs spring up in the ground . . . so is the Universe derived from the undecaying one” (I. 1. 7). Brahma, as “the germ of unknown Darkness,” is the material from which all evolves and develops “as the web from the spider, as foam from the water,” etc. This is only graphic and true, if Brahma the “Creator” is, as a term, derived from the root brih, to increase or expand. Brahma “expands” and becomes the Universe woven out of his own substance.

The same idea has been beautifully expressed by Goethe, who says:

“Thus at the roaring loom of Time I ply,
And weave for God the garment thou see’st Him by.”
[8:03:15 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Secret-Doctrine-by-H.P.-Blavatsky.pdf
[8:12:59 PM] Thuan Thi Do: http://theosophy.org/Blavatsky/Secret%20Doctrine/SD-I/SDVolume_I.htm
[8:21:12 PM] TrúcLâm: http://vn.minghui.org/news/51696-ban-ve-chuyen-bien-quan-niem.html
[9:14:46 PM] Phuc: http://www.vietravel.com.vn/
[9:26:16 PM] *** Group call ***
[9:38:34 PM] Thuan Thi Do: CHAPTER XV


It will now be useful to study the Etheric Double in its connection with the birth and death of the physical body.

Those who have studied the mechanism of reincarnation will be familiar with the fact that, in the case of the etheric body, a factor comes into play which does not operate in the case of the astral or mental bodies. The Etheric Double is actually built in advance for the incoming Ego, by an elemental which is the joint thought-form of the four Devar•jas, each of whom presides over one of the four etheric sub-planes of physical matter. The primary business of this building elemental is to construct the etheric mould into which the physical particles of the new baby-body are to be built.

The form and colour of this elemental vary in different cases. At first it accurately expresses in shape and size the infant body it has to build; clairvoyants sometimes see this doll-like figure hovering about, and afterwards within, the body of the mother, and have occasionally mistaken it for the soul of the coming baby instead of the mould of its physical body.

As soon as the fœtus has grown to the size of the mould, and is ready for birth, the form of the next stage at which it has to aim is unfolded – the size, shape and condition of the body as it is to be, so far as the work of the elemental is concerned, at the time when it proposes to leave it. After the elemental has retired, all further growth of the body is under the control of the Ego himself.

In both these cases the elemental uses itself as the mould. Its colours largely represent the qualities required in the body it has to build, and its form is also usually that destined for it. As soon as its work is done, there is no power left to hold together its particles and the elemental disintegrates.

In determining the quality of etheric matter to be used in building the etheric body, we have two things to consider: first, the type of matter, regarded from the point of view of the seven Rays or vertical divisions, and secondly, the quality of matter, regarded from the point of view of its coarseness or fineness, or horizontal divisions. The former, the ray-type, is determined by the

physical permanent atom, which has the type and subtype impressed upon it. The latter is determined by the past karma of the man, the building elemental being charged with the production of the type of physical body suited to the man’s requirements. The elemental, in fact, consists of that portion of the (prârabda) karma of the individual which is to express itself in the physical body. On the selection made by the building elemental depends, for example, whether the body will be naturally clever or stupid, placid or irritable, energetic or lethargic, sensitive or unresponsive.The potentialities of heredity are latent in the maternal ovum and the paternal spermatozoon, and from these the elemental makes his selection according to the requirements of the case.

Although the elemental in charge of the body from the first, the Ego only comes into contact with his future habitation later, some time before physical birth. If the characteristics the elemental has to impose are few in number, it is able to withdraw early and leave the Ego in full control of the body. Where however, much time is required to develop the limitations needed, the elemental may retain its position until the body is seven years old.

Etheric matter for the infant body is taken from the body of the mother; hence the importance of the latter supplying her body with only the purest materials. Unless the elemental is charged with some special development in the way of features, such as unusual beauty or the reverse, the principal agency at work in this direction will be the thoughts of the mother and the thought-forms which float around her.

The new astral body comes into connection with the Etheric Double at a very early stage, and exercises considerable influence over its formation, the mental body also working through it upon the nervous organisation.