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Annie Besant

(1847 -1933)




The Seven Principles of Man


Annie Besant



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Principle V.

Manas, The Thinker, or Mind


We have reached the most complicated part of our study, and some thought and attention are necessary from the reader to gain even an elementary idea of the relation held by the fifth principle to the other principles in man.


The word Manas comes from the Sanskrit word – man, the root of the verb to think ; it is the Thinker in us, spoken of vaguely in the West as mind. I will ask the reader to regard Manas as Thinker rather than as mind, because the word Thinker suggests some one who thinks, i.e., an individual, an entity. And this is

exactly the Theosophical idea of Manas, for Manas is the immortal individual, the real " I ," that clothes itself over and over again in transient personalities, and itself endures for ever.


It is described in the Voice of the Silence in the exhortation addressed to the candidate for initiation: "Have perseverance as one who doth for evermore endure. Thy shadows [personalities] live and vanish ; that which in thee shall live for ever, that which in thee knows, for it is knowledge, is not of fleeting life; it is the man that was, that is, and will be, for whom the hour shall never strike" (p. 31). H.P.Blavatsky has described it very clearly in the Key to Theosophy: "Try to imagine a ‘Spirit,’ a celestial being, whether we call it by one name or another, divine in its essential nature, yet not pure enough to be one with the ALL, and having, in order to achieve this, to so purify its nature as finally to gain that goal.


It can do so only be passing individually and personally, i.e., spiritually and physically, through every experience and feeling that exists in the manifold or differentiated universe. It has, therefore, after having gained such experience in the lower kingdoms, and having ascended higher and still higher with every rung on the ladder of being, to pass through every experience on the human planes.


In its very essence it is Thought, and is, therefore, called in its plurality Manasaputra, ‘the Sons of (universal) Mind.’ This individualised ‘Thought’ is what we Theosophists call the real human Ego, the thinking entity imprisoned in a case of flesh and bones. This is surely a spiritual entity, not matter (that is, not matter as we know it, on the plane of the objective universe) – and such entities are the incarnating Egos that inform the bundle of animal matter called mankind, and whose names are Manasa or minds" (Key to Theosophy, p. 183-184).


This idea may be rendered yet clearer perhaps by a hurried glance cast backward over man’s evolution in the past. When the quaternary had been slowly built up, it was a fair house without a tenant, and stood empty awaiting the coming of the one who was to dwell therein.


The name Mânasaputra (the sons of mind) covers many grades of intelligence, ranging from the mighty "Sons of the Flame" whose human evolution lies far behind them, down to those entities who gained individualisation in the cycle preceding our own, and were ready to incarnate on this earth in order to accomplish their human stage of evolution.


Some superhuman intelligences incarnated as guides and teachers of our infant humanity, and became founders and divine rulers of the ancient civilisations.


Large numbers of the entities spoken of above, who had already evolved some mental faculties, took up their abode in the human quaternary, in the mindless men. These are the reincarnating Mânasaputra, who became the tenants of the human frames as then evolved on earth, and these same Mânasaputra, reincarnating age after age, are the Reincarnating Egos, the Manas in us, the persistent individual, the fifth principle in man.


The remainder of mankind through successive ages received from the loftier Mânasaputra their first spark of mind, a ray which stimulated into growth the germ of mind latent within them, the human soul thus having its birth in time there. It is these differences of age, as we may call them, in the beginning of the individual life, of the specialisation of the eternal Divine Spirit into a human soul, which explain the enormous differences in mental capacity found in our present humanity.


The multiplicity of names given to this fifth principle has probably tended to increase the confusion surrounding it in the minds of many who are beginning to study Theosophy.


Mânasaputra is what we call the historical name, the name that suggests the entrance into humanity of a class of already individualised souls at a certain point of evolution ; Manas is the ordinary name, descriptive of the intellectual nature of the principle ; the Individual or the " I ," or Ego, recalls the fact that this principle is permanent, does not die, is the individualising principle, separating itself in thought from all that is not itself, the Subject in Western terminology as opposed to the Object ; the Higher Ego puts it into contrast with the Personal Ego, of which something is to be presently said.


The Reincarnating Ego lays stress on the fact that it is the principle that reincarnates continually, and so unites in its own experience all the lives passed through on earth. There are various other names, but they will not be met with in elementary treatises.


The above are those most often encountered, and there is no real difficulty about them, but when they are used interchangeably, without explanation, the unhappy student is apt to tear his hair in anguish, wondering how many principles he has got hold of, and what relation they bear to each other.


We must now consider Manas during a single incarnation, which will serve as the type of all, and we will start when the Ego has been drawn – by causes set a-going in previous earth-lives – the family in which is to be born the human being who is to serve as its next tabernacle. (I do not deal here with reincarnation, since that great and most essential doctrine of Theosophy must be expounded separately).


The Thinker, then, awaits the building of the "house of life" which he is to occupy ; and now arises a difficulty ; himself a spiritual entity living on the mental or third plane upwards, a plane far higher than that of the universe, he cannot influence the molecules of gross matter of which his dwelling is built by the direct play upon them of his own most subtle particles.


So, he projects part of his own substance, which clothes itself with astral matter, and then with the help of etheric matter permeates the whole nervous system of the yet unborn child, to form, as the physical apparatus matures, the thinking principle in man. This projection from Manas, spoken of as its reflection, its shadow, its ray, and by many another descriptive and allegorical name, is the lower Manas, in contradistinction to the higher Manas – Manas, during every period of incarnation, being dual.


On this, H.P.Blavatsky says: "Once imprisoned, or incarnate, their (the Manas) essence becomes dual; that is to say the rays of the eternal divine Mind, considered as individual entities, assume a twofold attribute which is


(a) their essential, inherent, characteristic, heaven-aspiring mind (higher Manas), and


(b) the human quality of thinking, or animal cogitation, rationalised owing to the superiority of the human brain, the Kâma-tending or lower Manas" (Key to Theosophy, p. 184).


We must now turn our attention to this lower Manas alone, and see the part which it plays in the human constitution.


It is engulfed in the quaternary, and we may regard it as clasping Kâma with one hand, while with the other it retains its hold on its father, the higher Manas.


Whether it will be dragged down by Kâma altogether and be torn away from the triad to which by its nature it belongs, or whether it will triumphantly carry back to its source the purified experiences of its earth-life – that is the life-problem set and solved in each successive incarnation.


During earth-life, Kâma and the lower Manas are joined together, and are often spoken of conveniently as Kâma-Manas. Kâma supplies, as we have seen, the animal and passional elements ; the lower Manas rationalises these, and adds the intellectual faculties ; and so we have the brain-mind, the brain-intelligence, i.e.., Kâma-Manas functioning in the brain and nervous system, using the physical apparatus as its organ on the material plane.


In man these two principles are interwoven during life, and rarely act separately, but the student must realise that "Kâma-Manas " is not a new principle, but the interweaving of the fourth with the lower part of the fifth.


As with a flame we may light a wick, and the colour of the flame of the burning wick will depend on the nature of the wick and of the liquid in which it is soaked, so in each human being the flame of Manas set alight the brain and Kâmic wick, and the colour of the light from that wick will depend on the Kâmic nature and the development of the brain-apparatus.


If the Kâmic nature be strong and undisciplined it will soil the pure manasic light, lending it a lurid tinge and fouling it with noisome smoke. If the brain-apparatus be imperfect or undeveloped, it will dull the light and prevent it from shining forth to the outer world.


As was clearly stated by H.P.Blavatsky in her article on "Genius" ; "What we call ‘the manifestations of genius’ in a person are only the more or less successful efforts of that Ego to assert itself on the outward plane of its objective form – the man of clay – in the matter-of-fact daily life of the latter.


The Egos of a Newton, an Ćschylus, or a Shakespeare are of the same essence and substance as the Egos of a yokel, an ignoramus, a fool, or even an idiot ; and the self-assertion of their informing genii depends on the physiological and

material construction of the physical man. No Ego differs from another Ego in its primordial or original essence and nature.


That which makes one mortal a great man and of another a vulgar silly person is, as said, the quality and make-up of the physical shell or casing, and the adequacy or inadequacy of brain and body to transmit and give expression to the light of the real inner man ; and this aptness or inaptness is, in its turn, the result of Karma.


Or, to use another simile, physical man is the musical instrument, and the Ego the performing artist. The potentiality of perfect melody of sound is in the former – the instrument – and no skill of the latter can awaken a faultless harmony out of a broken or badly made instrument.


This harmony depends on the fidelity of transmission, by word and act, to the objective plane, of the unspoken divine thought in the very depths of man’s subjective or inner nature. Physical man may – to follow our simile – be a priceless Stradivarius, or a cheap and cracked fiddle, or again a mediocrity between the two, in the hands of the Paganini who ensouls him" (Lucifer November, 1889, p.228).


Bearing in mind these limitations and idiosyncrasies ([Limitations and idiosyncrasies due to the action of the Ego in previous earth-lives, be it remembered ] imposed on the manifestations of the thinking principle by the organ through which it has to function, we shall have little difficulty in following the workings of the lower Manas in man ; mental ability, intellectual strength, acuteness, subtlety – all these are its manifestations ; these may reach as far as what is often called genius, what H.P. Blavatsky speaks of as "artificial genius, the outcome of culture and of purely intellectual acuteness." Its nature is often demonstrated by the presence of Kâmic elements in it, of passion, vanity and arrogance.


The higher Manas can but rarely manifest itself at the present stage of human evolution. Occasionally a flash from those loftier regions lightens the twilight in which we dwell, and such flashes alone are what the Theosophist calls true genius ; "Behold in every manifestation of genius, when combined with virtue, the undeniable presence of the celestial exile, the divine Ego whose jailer thou art, O man of matter."


For theosophy teaches "that the presence in man of various creative powers" – called genius in their collectivity – is due to no blind chance, to no innate qualities through hereditary tendencies – though that which is known as atavism may often intensify these faculties – but to an accumulation of individual antecedent experiences of the Ego in its preceding life and lives.


For, omniscient in its essence and nature, it still requires experience, through its personalities, of the things of earth, earthly on the objective plane, in order to apply the fruition of that abstract experience to them. And, adds our philosophy, the cultivation of certain aptitudes through out a long series of past incarnations must finally culminate, in some one life, in a blooming forth as genius, in one or another direction" – ( Lucifer November, 1889, p. 229-30). For the manifestation of true genius, purity of life is an essential condition.


Kâma-Manas is the personal self of man ; we have already seen that the quaternary, as a whole, is the personality, "the shadow," and the lower Manas gives the individualising touch that makes the personality recognise itself as " I ". It becomes intellectual, it recognises itself as separate from all other selves ; deluded by the separateness it feels, it does not realise a unity beyond all that it is able to sense.


And the lower Manas, attracted by the vividness of the material-life impressions, swayed by the rush of the Kâmic emotions, passions and desires, attracted to all material things blinded and deafened by the storm voices among which it is plunged – the lower Manas is apt to forget the pure and serene glory of its birthplace, and to throw itself into the turbulence which gives rapture in lieu of peace.


And, be it remembered, it is this very lower Manas that yields the last touch of delight to the senses and to the animal nature ; for what is passion that can neither anticipate nor remember, where is ecstasy without the subtle force of imagination, the delicate colours of fancy and of dream?


But there may be chains yet more strong and constraining, binding the lower Manas fast to the earth. They are forged of ambition, of desire for fame, be it for that of the statesman’s power, or of supreme intellectual achievement. So long as any work is wrought for sake of love, or praise, or even recognition that the work is "mine" and not another’s ; so long as in the heart’s remotest chambers one subtlest yearning remains to be recognised as separate from all ; so long, however grand the ambition, however far reaching the charity, however lofty the achievement, Manas is tainted with Kâma, and is not pure as its source.





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That which is to be shunned is pain not yet come. The past cannot be changed or amended; that which belongs to the experience of the present cannot and should  not be shunned; but alike to be shunned are disturbing anticipations or fears of  the future, and every act or impulse that may cause present or future pain to ourselves or others.

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Blavatsky Quotation


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The Secret Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 108


Blavatsky Quotation


Strength to step forward is the primary need of him who has chosen his path. Where is this to be found? Looking round, it is not hard to see where other men find their strength. Its source is profound conviction.

Practical Occultism, Page 67


Blavatsky Quotation


It is the motive, and the motive alone, which makes any exercise of power become black, malignant, or white, beneficent Magic. It is impossible to employ spiritual forces if there is the slightest tinge of selfishness remaining in the operator .... The powers and forces of animal nature can equally be used by the selfish and revengeful, as by the unselfish and the all-forgiving; the powers and forces of spirit lend themselves only to the perfectly pure in heart — and this is Divine Magic.

Practical Occultism, Page 7


Blavatsky Quotation


Finite reason agrees with science, and says: “There is no God”. But, on the other hand, our Ego, that which lives and thinks and feels independently of us in our mortal casket, does more than believe. It knows that there exists a God in nature, for the sole and invincible Artificer of all lives in us as we live in Him. No dogmatic faith or exact science is able to uproot that intuitional feeling inherent in man, when he has once fully realised it in himself.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 36


Blavatsky Quotation


It may be a pleasant dream to attempt to conceive of the beauties of the spirit world; but the time can be spent more profitably in a study of the spirit itself, and it is not necessary that the subject for study should be in the spirit world.

Modern Panarion Page 70


Blavatsky Quotation


Physical existence is subservient to the spiritual, and all physical improvement and progress are only the auxiliaries of spiritual progress, without which there could be no physical progress.

Modern Panarion Page 78


Blavatsky Quotation


Mankind — the majority at any rate — hates to think for itself. It resents as an insult the humblest invitation to step for a moment outside the old well-beaten tracks and, judging for itself, to enter into a new path in some fresh direction.

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 3, Page 14


Blavatsky Quotation


Even ignorance is better than Head-learning with no Soul-wisdom to illuminate and guide it.

The Voice of the Silence, Page 43


Blavatsky Quotation


Many theosophists have had slight conscious relations with elementals, but always without their will acting, and upon trying to make elementals see, hear or act for them, a total indifference on the part of the nature spirit is all they have got in return. These failures are due to the fact that the elemental cannot understand the thought of the person; it can only be reached when the exact scale of being to which it belongs is vibrated, whether it be that of colour, form, sound, or whatever else

Annotation - The Path, May, 1888


Blavatsky Quotation


Parabrahman is not “God” because It is not a God. “It is that which is supreme, and not supreme”. ....It is supreme as cause, not supreme as effect.

The Secret Doctrine , Proem [Volume 1], Page 35


Blavatsky Quotation


The ancients ..... fully realised the fact that the reciprocal relations between the planetary bodies is as perfect as those between the corpuscles of the blood, which float in a common fluid; and that each one is affected by the combined influence of all the rest, as each in its turn affects each of the others.

Isis, Volume 1, Page 275


Blavatsky Quotation


Strength to step forward is the primary need of him who has chosen his path. Where is this to be found? Looking round, it is not hard to see where other men find their strength. Its source is profound conviction.

Practical Occultism, Page 67


Blavatsky Quotation


There are two kinds of magnetic attraction: sympathy and fascination; the one holy and natural, the other evil and unnatural.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 210


Blavatsky Quotation


In the phenomenal and Cosmic World Fohat is that occult, electric, vital power, which, under the Will of the Creative Logos, unites and brings together all forms, giving them the first impulse, which in time becomes law.

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 1, Page 134


Blavatsky Quotation


Oaths will never be binding till each man will fully understand that humanity is the highest manifestation on earth of the Unseen Supreme Deity, and each man anincarnation of his God; and when the sense of personal responsibility will be so

developed in him that he will consider forswearing the greatest possible insult to himself, as well as to humanity. No oath is now binding, unless taken by one who, without any oath at all, would solemnly keep his simple promise of honour.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 2, Page 374


Blavatsky Quotation


It is the motive, and the motive alone, which makes any exercise of power become black, malignant, or white, beneficent Magic. It is impossible to employ spiritual forces if there is the slightest tinge of selfishness remaining in the operator .... The powers and forces of animal nature can equally be used by the selfish and revengeful, as by the unselfish and the all-forgiving; the powers and forces of spirit lend themselves only to the perfectly pure in heart — and this is Divine Magic.

Practical Occultism, Page 7


Blavatsky Quotation


Woe to those who live without suffering. Stagnation and death is the future of all that vegetates without change. And how can there be any change for the better without proportionate suffering during the preceding stage?

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 2, Page 498


Blavatsky Quotation


The person who is endowed with this faculty of thinking about even the most trifling things from the higher plane of thought has, by virtue of that gift which he possesses, a plastic power of formation, so to say, in his very imagination. Whatever such a person may think about, his thought will be so far more intense than the thought of an ordinary person, that by this very intensity it obtains the power of creation.

Lucifer, December, 1888


Blavatsky Quotation


Finite reason agrees with science, and says: “There is no God”. But, on the other hand, our Ego, that which lives and thinks and feels independently of us in our mortal casket, does more than believe. It knows that there exists a God in nature, for the sole and invincible Artificer of all lives in us as we live in Him. No dogmatic faith or exact science is able to uproot that intuitional feeling inherent in man, when he has once fully realised it in himself.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 36


Blavatsky Quotation


Our voice is raised for spiritual freedom, and our plea made for enfranchisement  from all tyranny, whether of Science of Theology.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, I2.


Blavatsky Quotation


If through the Hall of Wisdom thou wouldst reach the Vale of Bliss, Disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire heresy of Separateness that weans thee from the rest.

Voice of the Silence, Page 23


Blavatsky Quotation


From strength to strength, from the beauty and perfection of one plane to the greater beauty and perfection of another, with accessions of new glory, of fresh knowledge and power in each cycle, such is the destiny of every Ego, which thus becomes its own saviour in each world and incarnation.

The Key to Theosophy, Page 105


Blavatsky Quotation


The assertion that “Theosophy is not a Religion” , by no means excludes the fact that “Theosophy is Religion” itself. A religion in the true and only correct sense is a bond uniting men together — not a particular set of dogmas and beliefs. Now Religion, per se, in its widest meaning is that which binds not only all Men but also all Beings and all things in the entire Universe into one grand whole.

Lucifer, November, 1888


Blavatsky Quotation


The Present is only a mathematical line which divides that part of Eternal Duration which we call the Future from that part which we call the Past

The Secret Doctrine , Volume 1, Page 69


Blavatsky Quotation


The mind receives indelible impressions even from chance acquaintance or persons encountered but once. As a few seconds' exposure of the sensitized photographic plate is all that is requisite to preserve indefinitely the image of the sitter, so is it with the mind.

Isis Unveiled, Volume 1, Page 311


Blavatsky Quotation


 “Beneficent Magic” , so called, is divine magic, devoid of selfishness, love of power, of ambition or lucre, and bent only on doing good, to the world in general and one's neighbour in particular. The smallest attempt to use one's abnormal powers for the gratification of self makes of these powers sorcery or black magic.

The Key to Theosophy, Page 228


Blavatsky Quotation


Believing in a spiritual and invisible Universe, we cannot conceive of it in any other way than as completely dovetailing and corresponding with the material, objective Universe; for logic and observation alike teach us that the latter is the outcome and visible manifestation of the former, and that the laws governing both are immutable.

Modern Panarion Page 137







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Elementary Theosophy

An Outstanding Introduction to Theosophy

By a student of Katherine Tingley


Elementary Theosophy Who is the Man?  Body and Soul


Body, Soul and Spirit  Reincarnation  Karma


The Seven in Man and Nature


The Meaning of Death


Coleg Menai Performing Art students

as ‘human statues’ in Bangor High Street.

This idea began in Covent Garden and spread

round Britain.



Tekels Park


Tekels Park to be Sold to a Developer

Concerns are raised about the fate of the wildlife as

The Spiritual Retreat, Tekels Park in Camberley,

Surrey, England is to be sold to a developer.


Tekels Park is a 50 acre woodland park, purchased

 for the Adyar Theosophical Society in England in 1929.

In addition to concern about the park, many are

 worried about the future of the Tekels Park Deer

as they are not a protected species.





A Text Book of Theosophy

Charles Webster Leadbeater


What Theosophy Is  From the Absolute to Man


The Formation of a Solar System  The Evolution of Life


The Constitution of Man  After Death  Reincarnation


The Purpose of Life  The Planetary Chains


The Result of Theosophical Study



An Outline of Theosophy

Charles Webster Leadbeater


Theosophy - What it is  How is it Known?  The Method of Observation


General Principles  The Three Great Truths  The Deity


Advantage Gained from this Knowledge  The Divine Scheme


The Constitution of Man  The True Man  Reincarnation


The Wider Outlook  Death  Man’s Past and Future


Cause and Effect  What Theosophy does for us


The Ancient Wisdom

Annie Besant


The Unity Underlying all Religions


The Physical Plane  The Astral Plane


Kamaloka  The Mental Plane  Devachan


The Buddhic and Nirvanic Planes  Reincarnation  Karma


The Three Kinds of Karma  Collective Karma


The Law of Sacrifice  Man’s Ascent  Building a Cosmos   





Wyndham Arcade, Cardiff


Esoteric Buddhism

Alfred Percy Sinnett

Annotated Edition Published 1885 


Preface to the Annotated Edition  Preface to the Original Edition


Esoteric Teachers  The Constitution of Man  The Planetary Chain


The World Periods  Devachan  Kama Loca


The Human Tide-Wave  The Progress of Humanity


Buddha  Nirvana  The Universe  The Doctrine Reviewed



A Juggler in action on Colwyn Bay beach

at the 2009 Welsh Juggling convention

held on the pier.




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The Menai Bridge

The Menai Bridge links the Island of Anglesey

with the North Wales coast







Pages about Wales

General pages about Wales, Welsh History

and The History of Theosophy in Wales


Wales is a Principality within the United Kingdom and has an eastern

border with England. The land area is just over 8,000 square miles.

Snowdon in North Wales is the highest mountain at 3,650 feet.

The coastline is almost 750 miles long. The population of Wales

as at the 2001 census is 2,946,200.





Hey Look!

Theosophy in Cardiff


Theosophy Wales


Theosophy UK



Bangor Conwy & Swansea Lodges are members

of the Welsh Regional Association (Formed 1993).

Theosophy Cardiff separated from the Welsh Regional

Association in March 2008 and became an independent

body within the Theosophical Movement in March 2010



High Drama & Worldwide Confusion

as Theosophy Cardiff Separates from the

Welsh Regional Association (formed 1993)


Theosophy Cardiff cancels its Affiliation

to the Adyar Based Theosophical Society