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Ecology in a Theosophical Perspective

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The concept of ecology is widely known in the modern world. But not everyone knows very precisely what is meant by it. In fact in its social use the concept of ecology may have a variety of meanings. Let me first briefly mention ecology in the scientific sense. A scientific ecologist mainly studies the relationship between flora, the plants, fauna, the animals and the so-called non-living environment. The non-living environment may include the substratum (the soil) with its structure and chemical components, the hydrological conditions, availability of water and atmospheric conditions, like temperature, and seasonality. For ecosystems that are partly Or totally under water of course all the specific properties of water, like streams and soluble chemicals play an important role. The relation between the plant kingdom and the non-living environments, which we may also call the mineral kingdom is obvious: plants taken CO2 from the air and add oxygen to the air. They take minerals and water from the soil. and so on. The relation between plants and animals – is also clear: animals eat plants, some plants eat it animals, birds build their nests of plant and mineral materials. And then of course animals eat other animals. And so I, could go on mentioning hundreds of examples of relationships in nature.

But as you see, all these relations which modern science studies, are material relations. About eating and being eaten, about procreation and destruction. I myself was trained as such an ecologist on the universities. I went to South America to study the savannas of Suriname, formerly Dutch Guyana. I had to learn some 500 Latin names of plants and I had to make a soil classification. I gathered thousands of data during my fieldwork. When I came home I had only a long lists of Latin names, I put everything in the computer and this instrument turned it into more complicated lists of Latin names. And I wrote a book about it that is unreadable, save by a few experts. I could give you a lecture about my research results. Then I would be sure of one thing: at the end of my lecture you would he sound asleep.

But when I was walking there alone on the savanna and in the forest I started to think. I realized that modern science teaches us a lot about classifications and nutrient cycles, but nothing about nature as a living experience or about life itself. Actually if you want to study a plant, the scientist picks it first, kills it, dries it and then compares this dry dead body of the plant with the information in his books, Drive life out to study life, how is that possible?

Then, beside the scientists there is a second type of ecologists. They are the one s who may not be interested in the first place in all the detailed facts of the nature and environment, but are very involved in concern for the environment. ‘They see the destruction of tropical forests, the pollution of and air and water, the acid rain and many other problems. And they want to do something about it. They form working groups, action groups, societies to protect nature, to protest against many forms of human behavior, or to produce educational materials to educate people and make the general public as well as sleeping experts aware of the precariousness of the situation.

They make use of the scientific data that have come available through research, and give “them a practical application. They also may work out alternative forms of technology that are less polluting and destructive. They may also work in the field of economics or of politics. Because of their own awareness of the awkward situation and fear for the future of humanity some form of compassion has been invoked in them. And nowadays there is a tremendous number of people the world over in all fields of the society who spend all their available time for the betterment of plant-, animal, and human life, of ten as volunteers without asking any money for it. I myself have been active for several years in an environmental group for the conservation of tropical rainforests. From my experience of taking part in many meetings I know that all these people the world over feel themselves connected in an invisible network that covers the whole earth. They may not phrase it that way, and they may not be perfect, but they form a real practical brotherhood in their compassion for the earth.

Most of them however, due to their western-style education are only able to see the material side of nature. They think about the atmosphere in terms of chemicals, but they are not always aware that there is also such a things as a mental atmosphere, and mental pollution which lies behind and is the cause of the actions that lead to environmental pollution and destruction, as well as to other problems with which mankind struggles. There is however a growing group of people who call themselves eco-philosophers or ecosophists or something like that/who see all the manifestations of life as one interpene­trating and cooperating wholeness -. Nothing can be done without in some way affecting all other things. We can not harm nature without harming ourselves, They are the so-called holistic thinkers. Holistic thinking does not only include the natural environment, but also the human body and psyche, and this to a holistic approach, in the medical sciences, in the society, in physics and sometimes even in the economical and financial world.

In this connection it is interesting to mention a biological theory that was developed in the last ten years or so, and which is known as the Gaia – hypothesis. Gaia is the Greek goddess of the earth. The man who designed this hypothesis was not a religious person but a classical scientist, James Lovelock) a chemist of the older generation who worked many years for NASA and a big oil company. Doing research on certain artificial chemicals in the atmosphere which have an influence on the ozone layer surrounding the earth, the same man also found that related chemicals were also produced by algae in the sea, on the continental f1ats along the coasts the world over. The ozone layer is of tremendous importance, as we know nowadays. Were it too thick, plants wouldn’t grow, were it to thin, we would get skin cancer. But some tiny organisms in the sea take care of the ozone balance in the atmosphere. What does that little plant under water know about the ozone layer which protects the animals on land? In doing further research and thinking many examples of perfect balances exist on earth) which are kept stable. as much as our blood pressure or body temperature are kept stable. But we humans are living beings, in which the soul presides over the functions of the body. Then, many of Lovelock’s readers, though perhaps not he himself – I don’ t know, drew an obvious conclusion: The earth itself is a living being, with a soul and an intelligent organization. This is not a strange thought for a theosophist or a Hindu, but for the western materialistic scientific world this may become a breakthrough in thinking about our planet and all that is on it.

I think that it is one of the most important tasks we theosophists can do for the world: to spread the thought that consciousness and intelligence in some form of manife­station are omnipresent in the universe. Let us never forget that we theosophists are an innate part of humanity, equal to all others. We are not an elite above those other people who do not know about formal theosophy. Every human being is in his heart as divine as each of us. The only thing that we have more than some others is duty and responsibility. Many of those workers for the living environment and for humanity have voluntarily a load of duties and responsibilities on their shoulders and in that sense they are as much theosophists as we are.

Other accomplishments of the work of the theosophical movement are the implantation of the thought-seeds of holism and unity of all life in the human mind at large. Now humanity is beginning to respond to these thoughts on a wide scale, even though they will not recognize that the original impulses were given by laborers within the theosophical framework. It is my opinion that theosophists and other serious seekers of truth for the betterment of humanity have done great things in the more than a century since the founding of the Theosophical Society. But very, very much remains to be done for the future.

As long as theosophy is a living philosophy we have the great responsibility to be an example in practicing in daily life the highest ethics we are able to, based in the deepest philosophy which is available for mankind in this time. This applies to the little things we encounter in daily life as everyone knows.

If we look in Webster’s Third International Dictionary we find the following definition of ecology: “Ecology is a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environment especially as manifested by natural cycles and rhythms and interaction between different kinds of organisms.”

This definition gives us indeed more room than the limitations of formal science. This definition allows us to investigate all kinds of relations between all kinds of organisms. According to theosophy there are many more types of living beings than only humans, animals and plants. And there are many more types of interaction than those of eating and being eaten.

We will now touch briefly on most of the fundamental theosophical teachings and bring them in relation with ecology. and see what the consequences of there thoughts are.

At first I mention a doctrine which is sometimes called the Doctrine of Hierarchies. It deals with the hierarchical structure of the, universe, the constitution of man and all forms of life in general, which are all intimately related. In the first place there is the hierarchical classification of the kingdoms of nature. Science recognizes only the plant, animal and human kingdom, and sometimes even includes man in the animal kingdom. The rest is non-living matter. Theosophy recognizes several kingdoms of living beings be Low the plant kingdom and above the human kingdom and theosophy recognizes no absolute dead matter. Even the tiniest atom is endowed with life.

Below the plant kingdom is the mineral kingdom. Below the mineral kingdom is the elemental kingdom. The beings of the elemental kingdom are completely unrecognized by western science, because they are invisible, This kingdom itself is subdivided into a number of subkingdoms, according to the theosophical classification of elements (earth, water, fire air, ākāśa1, aupapāduka2 and ādi-tattva3). However the human kingdom is the kingdom of what are called the dhyāni-chohans4. They are as far beyond man in evolution as man is beyond the animals. They do not commonly make use of physical bodies as we do, and are therefore invisible and unrecognized by science. But they are most important for us. “More important even than the plants or animals that feed us, Because they represent our future, our purpose of evolution and our present higher nature which is greatly dormant in us, but fully awakened in them. They are filled with compassion and if the right time is there, they descend to the human kingdom and teach us. They are known in Sanskrit as avatāras5, which means ‘those who descend.’ Each of the kingdoms I mentioned exists objectively, but at the same time represents an aspect of our own human constitution.

The elemental kingdoms represent the elements themselves of which nature is build, and also the are the forces of nature, such as gravity, magnetism, etc. including the physical forces, muscle power an so on. The mineral kingdom builds our astral-physical body, and the stage of evolution of the minerals consciousness itself takes place on the astral-­physical level. The plants represent the vital principle on earth, and are therefore related to the prāṇas6 in the human constitution. The animals have their main development in the realm of kāma7, or desire and represent the desire, or animal or kāmic nature of man. We all know how strong the animal within us is and that it sometimes takes the lead. In man the emphasis of evolution lays in manas, mind The English word ‘man’ is derived from the Sanskrit ‘manas.’ Manas represents our struggle to understanding. We want; to know ourselves, the world, the universe. Animals are not interested in under­standing, and whatever mind they have they use only for gratification of their desires. But we all know that the mind is the revealer of knowledge, but also the creator of problems. Wars, pollution, and social inequality all come from the mind and the greater the mind becomes, the more sophisticated our weapons and other unpleasant; things. This is because we make our mind the servant of desire. It can also be the other way round: the animal is us should become the servant of the mind, of the higher mind. Not by suppressing it, but by allowing it its full bloom in its noblest properties. There are two ways to educate a dog. One is by suppressing and beating him and he will obey you with his tail between his legs out of fear. But when he sees his chance he may attack others, The other way is to teach him through patience and love, and he will be come your best comrade and helper where his abilities lie.

.Those among us who follow only the impulses of the higher mind, which has opened itself for wisdom, and who have complete control over their lower nature are those we call masters, mahātma(n)s8), ṛṣis9 and so on. They are Men in the real noble sense of the word. They are the kind of humans we can all become if we develop our noble qualities. But above them are the beings which represent in fullness what is only beginning to awaken in the human kingdom: the buddhi10, the pure intuition and wisdom. These are the dhyāni-chohans11, or lords of meditation. They are the wisest and most responsible beings within our cosmic ecosystem, They come down to u s to reach us a hand and to kindle the first spark of genuine intuition in the best of man. Those in who such a spark is kindled are filled with wisdom and compassion and become the human helpers of mankind, and therewith of the Lower kingdoms. The outward kingdoms of nature and the inner constitution of man, are intimately connected. If we deal with the animal kingdom within us in harmony with the higher Laws of nature we also help the outward animal kingdom. If we think lofty thoughts we are helping our fellow human beings, even if our thoughts never reach our lips. If we live as noble theosophists and listen to the voice of the silence in the heart of our he ar-c we help the highest purpose of the dhyāni-chohans or gods.

So you see, if you really care for ecology, really want to help nature: live in harmony with her constitution and laws in the most spiritual sense. Do not only control your physical habits, but also your desires, your mind and attune to the gods. If the scientific and environmental ecologists are going to grasp something of the spiritual, genuine intuitional aspect of the human as well as outward nature, this would be a tremendous leap forward. Then humanity would no longer kill his younger brothers and sisters for food or fun, or cut trees for economic gain, but wonder their beauty and revere them as divine manifestations and teachers of the laws and habits of nature. May we, as theosophists, keep this wonderful teaching alive.

This doctrine of the hierarchies is only one of the seven theosophical doctrines I wanted to mention to-night. But, just as in the ecosystem of a forest or lake, everything is interconnected and every aspect contains in more or less developed form all the other aspects. This particular doctrine contains in a sense all the others. I will mention. It is not an ecosystem of physical bodies, but an ecosystem of thoughts.

The second doctrine I want to mention is the Doctrine of Cycles, also known as the Doctrine of Reembodiment or Punarjanman12.

In the definition of Ecology from Webster’s Dictionary which I mentioned earlier we found that ecology especially studies the natural cycles and rhythms of nature. Cycles in nature we see everywhere: day and night, the seasons, the movements of celestial bodies and atoms. For the Red Indians of North America the circle is the most sacred of all symbols. It represents the Great Spirit in both its unmanifested and its manifested aspect, it represents brotherhood, oneness and unity with them. Some tribes place their tipis or tents in a circle to emphasize the sacredness of this symbol. Also modern science recognizes many examples or cycles in nature. But contrary to the Red Indians and the theosophists, the scientists do not see this as a universal law. In their view for example, evolution is a linear process: from dead matter to primitive life, then to plant, animal, man and finally perhaps self-destruction. But as the Red Indians say: We all came from the Great Spirit, our Father, and to the Great Spirit will we all return. For the scientist every individual life is a one-time unique occurrence. It all begins with the seed of a man which reaches more or less by chance to the ovum of a woman; then growth, development and finally death, the absolute end and failure of life. No wonder that there are so many desperate human beings in the world who choose for crime, suicide or the use of destructive drugs. Present life is only suffering and afterwards nothing. But the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, the Red Indians ancient Greeks and Egyptians all taught reincarnation as theoso­phy does. But a better word than reincarnation – which means coming into the flesh and thus applies only to animals and humans – is reembodiment. It is the teaching of theosophy that reembodiment is a universal process.. Not only man and animals, but everything in nature, including stars, planets, atoms and gods do go through cycles of involution into matter and then evolution from matter. It means that for every individual creature as well as for nature as a whole, the highest spiritual essence, the monadic essence, evolves the more material levels of nature from itself and at the same time embodies them as its vehicles. Then when the most material point of the evolutionary cycle or of any particular life cycle is reached., the direction is upwards, towards the spiritual, so that finally all creatures re-emerge into their monadic essence. Then we have returned to our Father and Grandfather Great spirit, as the Red Indians would express it. At the same time all individual conscious beings, that means all beings living beings which exist in the universe are spiritualized by the divine essence that had involved itself with them.

Therefore all creatures are interconnected by and enwrapped in one infinite network of compassion. wherein continuously the spiritual comes down to enlighten, those that are Less evolved. This invisible network of compassion, if I may call it by that name, is the most noble and stimulating aspect of the spiritual ecosystem, These thoughts are tremendously important. Compare these thoughts with the dark clouds that hang over the western minds who believe in Darwinism. The force behind evolution according to Darwinism is the struggle for life and the survival of the fittest. In other words: utter selfishness. The force behind evolution according to theosophy is compassion: utter unselfishness. So this is briefly the theosophical Doctrine of Evolution, which is so intimately connected with the Doctrine of the Cycles that I could not separate the two.

The fourth doctrine I like to mention is the Doctrine of Karma. Karma means action. In ecological phrasing we speak about interaction, thus expressing that every event taking place in en ecosystem effects other components and therefore the whole ecosystem.

The ecosystem is a dynamic, ever-changing pattern of inter­actions, scientists recognize this on the physical level. But it is above all the human mind which as a part of the spiritual e co system has the widest impact. Therefore if we learn to control our mind in constant remembrance of our responsibility towards all creatures, we are doing the best we can f oz’ nature. It has even been stated, that because of the close link between our inner nature and the outward nature, the so-called cruelties within the animal kingdom would decrease if our human passions of cruelty and selfishness would decrease.

Another very important; doctrine of theosophy which is less known than karma, reembodiment and evolution is called by the Sanskrit name svabhāva13 which means self-becoming or the development from within outwards of the fundamental characteristic of a particular species. Though the term svabhāva is not generally known even among theosophists it is very important if one wants to understand the variety of nature. We see ourselves surrounded by hundreds of thousands of species of animals and plants, varieties of minerals and so on. Within the human kingdom we see thousands of different faces, different minds, different specializations. For example if I see the hoopoes here in the garden, those beautiful brown birds with their black and white wings and their elegant crests, you see the expression of the svabhāva of a hoopoe, in a most beautiful way. I could not imagine how a hoopoe could be more beautiful an perfect than it is now But the same we could say about the white herons wading in the river. They express the svabhāva of heron in utmost perfection. Can one therefore say that a hoopoe is better or more beautiful or perfect a white heron? No, they have a fundamentally different svabhāva, but they have the same degree of perfection in their own field.

Why is there such a tremendous variety of species on earth? Why not just one or a few? We know that all exist within brahman14, the one, so why are there so many different expressions of· the divine? Why do we as ecologists have to protect that variety? would it not be more economic to cover the whole earth with some food crops and pine or eucalyptus trees? An important question, because some government and private institutions want to cut the rich natural forests and replace them with plantations of a few tree species with economic value.

One aspect of a theosophical answer to these questions is: Every single creature, every single expression of brahman is built of the same seven elements or the seven tattvas. But every tattva is again subdivided into seven, and these subdivisions again. so that there is an endless combination possible in which one form of expression has more of this and less of that.

But all the seven elements are always there. Now all the millions of different souls, which are all in there own particular phase of experience and evolution find a vehicle that is appropriate for them in one of the species. Now you see that it can really be a great obstruction for a particular evolving soul if his particular form· is no more available, because it was completely destroyed by man. In some way the soul has to seek other, perhaps less appropriate forms. Therefore, if scientists would learn to understand svabhāva, this would be of great benefit to the world.

Then finally, the most beautiful aspect of ecology is that the ecosystem has the inbuilt possibility to know itself. Because mind is inherent in nature, and especially developed in man and higher beings, by means of man – the carrier of mind – it can study itself. And the individual human being can unify itself with the highest essence of nature, which is compassion. Then he becomes an amṛta-buddha15, cooperating which nature on its deepest level.

In reality there is no difference between ecology and theosophy. It is all about oneness of, and interrelations between conscious beings. In fact nature herself is our greatest theosophical teacher, if we only have eyes to look and ears to hear. Even if one can not read or write, if one is prepared to listen and to look, the book of nature opens itself and can teach us on all levels of being. It can teach us the mystery of silence and harmony. It can teach us the subtlety of spiritual mind, of which it is a manifestation of the intelligence of structures, physical and functional the cruelty of greed and passion in the struggle of life and death between creature is the miracle of functionality and cooperation of every tiny aspect of the whole, It can teach us humility by its grandeur and respect by its infinite detail; and how to practice chemistry and physics in a beautiful creative way, instead of in an ugly destructive way. We can learn to cooperate in harmony. This will evolve our intuition, and we will learn to feel devotion for something that is greater than ourselves. We should have the greatest reverence for nature, our teacher.

  1. Akasa (Ākāśa [from ā + the verbal root kāś to be visible, appear, shine, be brilliant] The shining; ether, cosmic space, the fifth cosmic element. The subtle, supersensuous spiritual essence which pervades all space. See further: ETG []
  2. The term Anupadaka (Aupapaduka), ‘parentless,’ or without progenitors, is a mystical designation having several meanings in the philosophy. By this name celestial beings, the Dhyan-Chohans or Dhyani-Buddhas, are generally meant. But as these correspond mystically to the human Buddhas and Bodhisattwas, known as the ‘Manushi (or human) Buddhas,’ the latter are also designated ‘Anupadaka,’ once that their whole personality is merged in their compound sixth and seventh principles — or Atma-Buddhi, and that they have become the ‘diamond-souled’ (Vajra-sattvas), the full Mahatmas. . . . The mystery in the hierarchy of the Anupadaka is great, its apex being the universal Spirit-Soul, and the lower rung the Manushi-Buddha; and even every Soul-endowed man is an Anupadaka in a latent state. Hence, when speaking of the Universe in its formless, eternal, or absolute condition, before it was fashioned by the ‘Builders’ — the expression, ‘the Universe was Anupadaka’ ” (The Secret Doctrine 1:52).

    Indeed, not only are there aupapaduka divinities of the solar system, but also of every organic entity, because the core of any such entity is aupapaduka — a mystical way of stating the doctrine of the inner god from ETG []

  3. Āditattva [from ādi first + tattva thatness, essence] Original principle; used in theosophical literature to denote the first or highest of seven tattvas or principles in the descending arc of nature’s structure; in the numeration of the kosmic principles āditattva corresponds to the First Logos. []
  4. dhyāni-chohan, from Sanskrit dhyāni contemplation + Tibetan chohan lord] Lords of meditation. In theosophical literature, dhyani-buddhas are the intellectual architects, the higher and more spiritual beings of the god-world. Dhyani-chohans, as a generalizing term, includes both the higher classes which take a self-conscious, active part in the architectural ideation of the universe, and the lower classes, some of which are self-conscious, but in their lower representations progressively less on on a descending scale. The lowest of these builders are little more than merely conscious or semi-conscious beings following almost servilely the ideation of the cosmic spirit transmitted to them by the higher class of the architects. See further ETG []
  5. Avatāra [from ava down + the verbal root tṛ to cross over, pass] That which passes down or descends; the passing down of a celestial energy or an individualized complex of celestial energies — a celestial being — in order to overshadow and illuminate a human being who, at the time of such connection of divinity with matter, possesses no human soul karmically destined to be the inner master of the body thus born. “Hence an avatāra is one who has a combination of three elements in his being: an inspiring divinity; a highly evolved intermediate nature or soul, which is loaned to him and is the channel of that inspiring divinity; and a pure, clean, physical body” (Occult Glossary p. 16). []
  6. Prāṇa (Sanskrit) [from pra before + the verbal root an to breathe, live] In theosophy, the breath of life; the third principle in the ascending scale of the sevenfold human constitution. This life or prāna works on, in, and around us, pulsating unceasingly during the term of physical existence. Prāna is “the radiating force or energy of ātma — as the Universal Life and the One Self, — Its lower or rather (in its effects) more physical, because manifesting, aspect. Prāna or Life permeates the whole being of the objective Universe; and is called a ‘principle’ only because it is an indispensable factor and the deus ex machina of the living man” (from: Key to Theosophy p. 176). []
  7. Kāma [from the verbal root kam to desire] Desire; the fourth substance-principle of which the human constitution is composed: its desire principle or the driving, impelling force. Born from the interaction of ātman, buddhi, and manas, kāma per se is a colorless force, good or bad according to the way the mind and soul use it. It is the seat of the living electric impulses, desires, aspirations, considered in their energic aspect. When a person follows his lower impulses and centers his consciousness in the body and astral nature, he is directing that force downwards. When he aspires and opens his heart and mind to the influence of his higher manas and buddhi, he is directing that force upwards and thus progressing in evolution. See further ETG []
  8. Mahātman [from mahā great + ātman self] Great soul or self; relatively perfected human beings, also called teachers, elder brothers, Masters, sages, seers, etc. They are human beings who, through self-directed evolution and spiritual striving over many lifetimes, have attained a lofty spiritual and intellectual state. They are farther advanced evolutionarily than the majority of people, possessing great knowledge and powers; but their primary duty is the instruction and protection of mankind. From this body of advanced human beings, which has existed since humanity attained self-consciousness, have come the great teachers and the wisdom at the root of the world’s great religious, philosophic, and scientific systems. (Used in India as an honorary title for any great or revered man. []
  9. Ṛṣi (rishi) An adept, seer, inspired person; in Vedic literature, used for the seers through whom the various mantras or hymns of the Veda were revealed. In later times the rishis were regarded as a particular class of beings, distinct from gods and men, the patriarchs or creators: thus there were the ten mahārshis — the mind-born sons of Prajapati. []
  10. Buddhi [from the verbal root budh to awaken, enlighten, know] The spiritual soul, the faculty of discriminating, the channel through which streams divine inspiration from the ātman to the ego, and therefore that faculty which enables us to discern between good and evil — spiritual conscience. The qualities of the buddhic principle when awakened are higher judgment, instant understanding, discrimination, intuition, love that has no bounds, and consequent universal forgiveness. See further ETG []
  11. Dhyāni-chohans (Sanskrit-Tibetan) [from Sanskrit dhyāni contemplation + Tibetan chohan lord] Lords of meditation. In theosophical literature, dhyāni-buddhas are the intellectual architects, the higher and more spiritual beings of the god-world. Dhyāni-chohans, as a generalizing term, includes both the higher classes which take a self-conscious, active part in the architectural ideation of the universe, and the lower classes, some of which are self-conscious, but in their lower representations progressively less on on a descending scale. The lowest of these builders are little more than merely conscious or semi-conscious beings following almost servilely the ideation of the cosmic spirit transmitted to them by the higher class of the architects. see further ETG []
  12. Punarjanman [from punar again, anew + janman generation, birth, coming into being] Regeneration, rebirth, reimbodiment; it deals with the successive reimbodiments of nature and of all that it comprises, with death and initiation, and with spiritual birth. The Greek equivalent is palingenesis. []
  13. Svabhāva [from sva self + bhū to become, grow into] Self-becoming, self-generation, self-growing into something; the unfolding of the self or monadic essence by inner impulse, rather than by merely mechanical activity in nature — self-becoming or self-directed evolution. Each entity is the result of what it is in its own higher nature. “Its Svabhāva can bring forth only that which itself is, its essential characteristic, its own inner nature. Svabhāva, in short, may be called the essential Individuality of any monad, expressing its own characteristics, qualities, and type, by self-urged evolution. . . . Consequently, each individual Svabhāva brings forth and expresses as its own particular vehicles its various svarupas, signifying characteristic bodies or images or forms” (Occult Glossary 166-7). The essential self, like a sun, sends a ray from itself into manifestation, and the vehicles formed by this ray express its own unique individual essence and path of evolutionary growth and experience. Every entity, in all ranges of its being, reflects its own essential individuality which is stamped on its inmost essence. []
  14. Brahman [from bṛh to expand] Sometimes Brahma or Brahm. The one reality, “the impersonal, supreme and uncognizable Principle of the Universe from the essence of which all emanates, and into which all returns, which is incorporeal, immaterial, unborn, eternal, beginningless and endless. It is all-pervading, animating the highest god as well as the smallest mineral atom” (Theosophical Glossary p 62 See CTG). It involves both essential consciousness and substance, and is the spiritual background of the kosmos, the Cause of all Causes, what is commonly called the Unmanifest Logos See further ETG. []
  15. Amṛta-buddha, lit. immortal Buddha – a Buddha of Compassion []