This was posted on Universal Theosophy as one of the
Jewel in the Lotus selections: It says so much
about our theme.
"And, to this day, such Brahmins know that, during its
early beginnings, psychic and physical intellect being
dormant and consciousness still undeveloped, the
spiritual conceptions of that race were quite
unconnected with its physical surroundings. That divine
man dwelt in his animal—though externally human—form;
and, if there was instinct in him, no self-consciousness
came to enlighten the darkness of the latent fifth
principle. When, moved by the law of Evolution, the
Lords of Wisdom infused into him the spark of
consciousness, the first feeling it awoke to life and
activity was a sense of solidarity, of one-ness with his
spiritual creators. As the child's first feeling is for
its mother and nurse, so the first aspirations of the
awakening consciousness in primitive man were for those
whose element he felt within himself, and who yet were
outside, and independent of him. DEVOTION arose out of
that feeling, and became the first and foremost motor in
his nature; for it is the only one which is natural in
our heart, which is innate in us, and which we find
alike in human babe and the young of the animal. This
feeling of irrepressible, instinctive aspiration in
primitive man is beautifully, and one may say
intuitionally, described by Carlyle. "The great antique
heart," he exclaims, "how like a child's in its
simplicity, like a man's in its earnest solemnity and
depth! heaven lies over him wheresoever he goes or
stands on the earth; making all the earth a mystic
temple to him, the earth's business all a kind of
worship. Glimpses of bright creatures flash in the
common sunlight; angels yet hover, doing God's messages
among men . . . . . Wonder, miracle, encompass the man;
he lives in an element of miracle* . . . . A great law
of duty, high as these two infinitudes (heaven and
hell), dwarfing all else, annihilating all else—it was a
reality, and it is one: the garment only of it is dead;
the essence of it lives through all times and all
eternity!" SD vol 1 page 121
The other side of this passage, so to speak, can be
found in volume two of the Secret Doctrine, where HPB
briefly describes those who infused in Man 'the spark of
'The Endowers of man with his conscious, immortal ego,
are the “ Solar Angels ” — whether so regarded
metaphorically or literally. The mysteries of the
Conscious ego or human Soul are great. The esoteric name
of these “ Solar Angels ” is, literally, the “ Lords ”(
“persevering ceaseless devotion”(pranidhâna
). Therefore they of thefifthprinciple(
to be connected with, or to have originated the system
of the Yogis who make ofpranidhânatheirfifthobservance
Shastra, I I., 32.)'
It is difficult to define and to describe but one cannot
help but feel like they know what it is intuitively. For
me it is a combination of these words: love, commitment,
admiration, dedication and gratitude.
I wonder about this too. The feeling of love and
commitment to our mothers and parents in general seem to
be an example of something innate in us. Spiritual
parents ought to be accorded at least as much devotion
one would think from an Occult standpoint. If it is
natural to us how does it get covered up and distorted?
Can we say devotion is a force in our constitution that
finds its expression in a feeling of admiration,
loyalty, and adoration? Essentially, all these
sentiments are shades of love directed at something or
someone. People possess various degree of this quality
depending on their individual temperament.
Looking at the subject more widely, we can see how waves
of emotion sweeping through the human family in some
form of idealism during different times in history.
This force, related to universal sakti, is activated in
accordance with the Law of attraction and repulsion.
It propels us in a particular direction that invariably
shapes our attitudes and lives.
Devotion can be just a feeling towards someone, like a
mother to the son, or a friend to another friend.
It can also be the force that drives us into action.
Devotion becomes a means to an end, like a road that
leads us to either a higher or lower region, and unless
we walk on the road, we will never get to the
The focus of devotion is embodied either in a person or
a cause or an ideal and the magnetizer is largely
dependent on one’s character. A materialistic
person is drawn by materialistic ideals and becomes
devoted to earthly pursuits. We know a lot about a
person just seeing their object of devotion.
There are many mixtures in any emotion - souls whose
manasic principles are strong often find expression of
their devotion in the form of dedication, loyalty in the
form of one-pointedness, and adoration in the form of
Barbara - this is an excellent look at the subject of
‘devotion’ from a wider perspective.
Yes, let’s consider it from the point of view of force
related to universal sakti. After all this
universal sakti is said to be the source of kama (our 4thprinciple)
and whence it returns at some point during the after
death stages (see Letter 13, note 3, for example
in The Mahatma Letters to Sinnett).
Your metaphor of ‘waves of emotions sweeping through the
human family’ is particularly apt. It’s
interesting how particularly powerful emotions can
spread through a group or a community - one might even
say they can becontagious.
Perhaps this isn’t a metaphor at all? Individual
and collective karma may also play a powerful role as to
how the feeling/emotional force may play out.
Yes - I agree with you thatthe
form of devotionis
very much dependent on the character of the person,
which in turn means devotion can turn out to be
spiritually sublime at one end of the spectrum or
materialistic and earthly at the other. Even
devotion to a religious ideal or god can turn out to be
a two edged sword - sadly, too oftenliterally,
as it becomes the force underlying intolerance and
Perhaps one of the problems we have when exploring this
kind of topic is the belief that feelings and emotions
can be parcelled up into neat little packets which can
be clearly labelled and distinguished from one another -
such as ‘anger’, ‘joy’, ‘devotion’, ‘jealousy’,
‘compassion’, ‘loyalty’, ‘envy’, etc, etc.
I wonder whether all we can say is that Love and Hate
are two opposite ends of the spectrum of
feelings/emotions and some feelings are more associated
with one end of the spectrum than the other. Even
so, it isn’t always easy to determine good and bad
between the feelings. It’s certainly the case that
whenever we really listen to another person and the
feelings they share with us, we soon discover that the
nature of feelings is quite complex.
It’s said that from a theosophical point of view
Humanity at this stage of our evolution is developing
the fourth principle, Kama. In which case, you’d
think as theosophists we would want to better understand
kama and the complexity of our feeling nature a lot
better than we do.
Hi Barbara - apologies for the delay in replying. You ask, ‘Do
you know why kama is not one of the triple line of evolution?’
Perhaps one way we could look at it is that the development of kama
is an essential aspect of the Manasic (Intellectual) line of the
triple scheme of evolution? (see note below). The Secret
Doctrine makes reference in a few places to the awakening together
of both principles - Manas and Kama - in the humanity of the 3rdRoot
Race of our 4thRound.
It also make of Kama the vehicle of Manas. For example, when
discussing the relationship between the groups of Solar Hierarchies
(Dhyanis) and our seven principles, the Secret Doctrine states:
“…group Four…endows him [Man] with his Manas and its vehicle — theKama
rupa, or body of passions and desires, the two elements ofAhamkarawhich
(SD I 241)
That our 4thhuman
principle, kama, is an important aspect of our ongoing evolution is
illustrated in the following statements made by the Mahatma M in his
letter to A.P.Sinnett. In my view, it also supports your
suggestion that it might benefit our understanding if we think of
feelings/emotions as aspects of universal force or sakti:
“it is but at his fourth round when arrived at the full possession
of his Kama-energy and is completely matured, that man becomes fully
“Volition and consciousness are at the same time self-determining
and determined by causes, and the volition of man his intelligence
and consciousness will awake but when his fourth principle Kama is
matured and completed by its (seriatim) contact with the Kamas or
energizing forces of all the forms man has passed through in his
previous three rounds.”
“The whole individuality is centred in the three middle or 3rd, 4th
and 5th principles. During earthly life it is all in the fourth the
centre of energy, volition – will. Mr. Hume has perfectly defined
the difference between personality and individuality. The former
latter, to run successfully its seven-fold downward and upward
course has to assimilate to itself the eternal life-power residing
but in the seventh andthen
blend the three (fourth, fifth and seventh) into one–
the sixth. Those who succeed in doing so become Buddhs, Dyan
Chohans, etc. The chief object of our struggles andinitiationsis
to achieve this union while yet on this earth.” (Letter 13,
It appears from the above statement of the Mahatma that our fourth
principle, kama, plays a role up to and including Adeptship.
Just as we have the polarisation of Love and Hate we also have the
polarisation of intense personal self desire/gratification and
universal love, and the field of kama appears to encompass both.
Perhaps this is why we find the following explanation of kama in the
“Kama is pre-eminently the divine desire of creating happiness and
love; and it is only ages later, as mankind began to materialise by
anthropomorphization its grandest ideals into cut and dried dogmas,
that Kama became the power that gratifies desire on the animal
(Note: For the benefit of those who may not be familiar with
the notion of a triple line of evolution, this refers to the
evolutionary triple evolutionary scheme HPB outlines in the Secret
Doctrine vol 1, page 181 (original edition), which consists of the
Monadic (spiritual), the Intellectual (manasic) and the Physical
(the astral double around which the physical body is developed).
I find it difficult to answer your second question,‘Do
you see a difference between feelings and emotions?’ It
partly depends on the way in which we use those two terms.
The term ‘feeling’ appears to be far more flexible and general in
its use in our language: I can say I feel cold or warm (physically).
Or, I can say I feel uneasy, confident, inferior, superior
(attitudes). I can also say I feel, happy, love, hate, angry,
sad & so on (emotions). I can even use it to refer to my
opinion about something - ‘I feel you are right or wrong’.
The term emotion has a far more limited use in our language, often
used to refer toaffective
statesof mind only,
such as love, anger, jealousy, joy, compassion, sorrow etc.
Historically, emotions have been made to contrast with thinking and
being reason-able. When used in this way the implication is that
people labelled as 'emotional' are unreasonable. Women, in
particular, have suffered a lot from this attitude. In more recent
years people have been exploring the notion of ‘Emotional
Intelligence’. One aspect of the notion of ‘emotional
intelligence’ is that our emotions (i.e. not just as our thoughts)
can therefore provide us with enhanced ways of relating,
understanding and responding to people, events and the world around
Before I wander too far afield (I may be missing the point of your
question, entirely) how do you understand the relationship between
feelings and emotions?
Very sorry for the delayed response. Now, I should have more
time devoted to the study. I am always amazed by the depth and
breath you bring to the discussion by seeing the subject from
so many facets. It is truly remarkable.
It may be a matter of personal preference regarding the distinction
I make between emotion and feeling. It is probably more
accurate to view the difference lies in the degree in which the ego
is involved. Anything related to the personality can be
classified as feelings and those that are more lofty, like
compassion, love, honor, etc. as emotions.
I heard a teacher once said that when people feel, the sensation
permeates throughout the body but, as we become more evolved, the
feelings will not spread but become more localized in an organ.
This may be his way of saying feelings of ego activate the solar
plexus and higher emotions in the heart.
In theosophy school for the children a chant was created that
included the words: "To liveforandasthe
Self of all creatures." Might this be what you are thinking
about? I would think and undeviating commitment to the welfare
of all creatures or to the overbrooding Self of all would be an
extremely high state of consciousness indeed. It would be
omething to strive for and imagine in mediation I am sure.
What disturbs this effort is the "me" mind.
Devotion appears to be inseparable from action or service in
relation to the object of devotion - whether person, cause or
If I want to know if I love another person, the only evidence I need
for my love is that I actually do feel it. But can I properly
claim to be devoted to another person, cause or ideal if there is no
accompanying action or service on my part on their behalf?