This group discusses the practical applications of the theosophical philosophy and the therapeutics of the wisdom of the ages.
The art of living study group intends to discuss the relevance and connection of theosophical ideas to the challenges and hurdles of daily life. This group will focus on the ethical issues, psychological challenges and artistic applications of theosophy to the daily round and the common task. While the other three groups freely move back and forth between the universal and the particular, the theoretical and the practical, this group will make an attempt to stay focused on the practical side of the art of living equation.
Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Pentagram
December 24, 2016 at 6:11 pm #4115
Theme for Contemplation: The Pentagram
“Only as a five-pointed star can man become a living link between the celestial and terrestrial, an antaskarana bridge.” — Aquarian Almanac
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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Pentagram
ModeratorTN December 24, 2016 at 6:21 pm #4119
December 24, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Pentagram
“Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art.”
— John Keats
“For rigorous teachers seized my youth,
And purged its faith, and trimmed its fire,
Showed me the high, white star of Truth,
There bade me gaze, and there aspire.”
— Matthew Arnold
ModeratorTN December 24, 2016 at 6:27 pm #4120
December 25, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Pentagram
” When you know yourselves, you will be known.”
“Each man should first recognize and be loyal to his real entity within… for it is this alone which will enable him to belong and owe allegiance to that Entity which is greater, vaster and more permanent than his individual self.”
— Anwar Sadat
AnonymousAnonymous December 26, 2016 at 2:24 am #4127
Is it man who is the pentagram?
Pierre Wouters December 26, 2016 at 2:39 am #4128
The Pentagram is the Human soul, inner man or lower manas which as HPB points out IS the antaskaranic sevenfold bridge. Sometimes she also refers to the human soul as higher manas depending on the context. Lower manas is very much underrated because we often confuse it with kama-manas or the 99.9 percent of our waking existence 🙂 As HPB points out in the Voice, p. 17, before we put our foot upon the ladder’s lowest rung, the lower desires residing in kama-manas need to be pretty much completely under control. She also says that lower manas contains many mysteries.
Pierre Wouters December 27, 2016 at 12:04 am #4140
“(f) The Fifth group is a very mysterious one, as it is connected with the Microcosmic Pentagon, the five-pointed star representing man. In India and Egypt these Dhyanis were connected with the Crocodile, and their abode is in Capricornus. These are convertible terms in Indian astrology, as this (tenth) sign of the Zodiac is called Makara, loosely translated “crocodile.” The word itself is occultly interpreted in various ways, as will be shown further on. In Egypt the defunct man—whose symbol is the pentagram or the five-pointed star, the points of which represent the limbs of a man—was shown emblematically transformed into a crocodile: Sebakh or Sevekh “or seventh,” as Mr. Gerald Massey says, showing it as having been the type of intelligence, is a dragon in reality, not a crocodile. He is the “Dragon of Wisdom” or Manas, the “Human Soul,” Mind, the Intelligent principle, called in our esoteric philosophy the “Fifth” principle.
The more mystic meaning of 5 is given in an excellent article by Mr. Subba Row, in “Five Years of Theosophy” (pp. 110, et seq.)—”The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac,” in which he gives some rules that may help the inquirer to ferret out “the deep significance of ancient Sanskrit nomenclature in the old Aryan myths and allegories.” Meanwhile, let us see what has been hitherto stated about the constellation Capricornus in theosophical publications, and what is known of it generally. Every one knows that is the tenth sign of the Zodiac into which the Sun enters at the winter solstice, about December 21st. But very few are those who know—even in India, unless they are initiated—the real mystic connection which seems to exist, as we are told, between the names Makara and Kumâra. The first means some amphibious animal called flippantly ‘crocodile,’ as some Orientalists think, and the second is the title of the great patrons of Yogins (See “Saiva Purânas,”) the Sons of, and even one with, Rudra (Siva); a Kumâra himself. It is through their connection with Man that the Kumâras are likewise connected with the Zodiac. Let us try to find out what the word Makara means.
The word Makara, says the author of “The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac,” “contains within itself the clue to its correct interpretation. The letter Ma is equivalent to No. 5, and Kara means hand. Now in Sanskrit Thribhujam means a triangle, bhujam or Karam (both synonyms) being understood to mean a side. So Makaram or Panchakaram means a Pentagon” — the five-pointed star or pentagon representing the five limbs of man.* Under the old system, we are told, Makara was the eighth instead of the tenth sign.† It is “intended to represent the faces of the Universe, and indicates that the Universe is bounded by Pentagons,” as the Sanskrit writers “speak also of Ashtadisa or eight faces bounding Space,” referring thus to the loka-palas, the eight points of the compass (the four cardinal and the four intermediate points) . . . “From an objective point of view the Microcosm is represented by the human body. Makaram may be taken to represent simultaneously both the microcosm and the macrocosm, as external objects of perception.” (pp. 113, 115).
* What is the meaning and the reason of this figure? Because, Manas is the fifth principle, and because the pentagon is the symbol of Man — not only of the five-limbed, but rather of the thinking, conscious MAN.
† The reason for it becomes apparent when Egyptian symbology is studied. See further on.”
We can connect this “five-limbed” pentagram or pentacle or “the thinking, conscious MAN” with the footnote in SD II:254*
“* “Follow the law of analogy” — the Masters teach. Atma-Buddhi is dual and Manas is triple; inasmuch as the former has two aspects, and the latter three, i.e., as a principle per se, which gravitates, in its higher aspect, to Atma-Buddhi, and follows, in its lower nature, Kama, the seat of terrestrial and animal desires and passions. Now compare the evolution of the Races, the First and the Second of which are of the nature of Atma-Buddhi, their passive Spiritual progeny, and the Third Root-Race shows three distinct divisions or aspects physiologically and psychically; the earliest, sinless; the middle portions awakening to intelligence; and the third and last decidedly animal: i.e., Manas succumbs to the temptations of Kama.”
So the Pentagram from a more esoteric perspective would also represent Atma, Buddhi, Higher manas, lower manas and kama-manas.
and with the footnote in SD I:335*
“* Ahamkara, as universal Self-Consciousness, has a triple aspect, as also Manas. For this conception of “I,” or one’s Ego, is either sattwa, “pure quietude,” or appears as rajas, “active,” or remains tamas, “stagnant,” in darkness. It belongs to Heaven and Earth, and assumes the properties of either.”
So the triple Manas corresponds relatively speaking with Higher manas (sattwa), Lower manas (rajas) and kama-manas (tamas)
Odin TownleyParticipantOdin Townley December 26, 2016 at 3:21 am #4129
H. P. Blavatsky wrote (The Secret Doctrine 2:546) that “the pentagon is the symbol of Man—not only of the five-limbed, but rather of the thinking, conscious MAN”. She elaborated further as follows:
The six-pointed star which is the figure of the macrocosm . . . is made to represent the universal spirit and matter. . . . The Pentagram also represents spirit and matter but only as manifested upon earth. Emblem of the microcosm (or the “little universe”) faithfully mirroring in itself the macrocosm (or the great cosmos), it is the sign of the supremacy of human intellect or spirit over brutal matter.
Most of the mysteries of Kabalistic or ceremonial magic, the gnostical symbols and all the Kabalistic keys of prophecy are summed up in that flamboyant Pentagram, considered by the practitioners of the Chaldeo-Jewish Kabala as the most potent magical instrument.
H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Vol. 3 Page 250
THE FIVE-POINTED STAR
[The following comment was written by H. P. Blavatsky on letter by Mr. S. T. Venkatapaty, who claimed to have successfully used the five-pointed star, drawn on paper with the name of a Hindu god written in the spaces, for healing or mitigating the effect of scorpion bites.]
Of late numerous letters have been received in The Theosophist office concerning the efficacy of the mysterious Pentagram. Our Eastern readers are perhaps unaware of the great importance given by the Western Kabalists to that sign, and, therefore, it may be found expedient to say a few words about it just now, when it is coming so prominently before the notice of our readers. Like the six-pointed star which is the figure of the macrocosm, the five-pointed star has its own deep symbolic significance, for it represents the microcosm. The former—the “double triangle” composed of two triangles respectively white and black—crossed and interlaced (our Society’s symbol)—known as “Solomon’s Seal” in Europe—and as the “Sign of Vishnu” in India—is made to represent the universal spirit and matter, one white point which symbolizes the former ascending heavenward, and the two points* of its black triangle inclining earthward.*
* [Should read: “the lower point,” as corrected by H. P B. herself. Vide footnote on page 315 of the present Volume.—Compiler.]
The Pentagram also represents spirit and matter but only as manifested upon earth. Emblem of the microcosm (or the “little universe”) faithfully mirroring in itself the macrocosm (or the great cosmos), it is the sign of the supremacy of human intellect or spirit over brutal matter.
- This reply was modified 2 years, 8 months ago by Odin Townley.
LauraParticipantLaura December 26, 2016 at 4:53 pm #4135
The attached article helps us to contemplate the Mystery of Manas. It is difficult to draw all the pieces together. Especially between Akasa and Manas. Is it possible to see the Lower Manas as the sacrifice, the fulcrum for Matter?
THEOSOPHY, Vol. 23, No. 9, July, 1935
(Pages 409-411; Size: 10K)
WHAT IS MANAS?
SOME SECRET DOCTRINE STATEMENTS
COSMIC Ideation focussed in a principle or upadhi (basis) results as the consciousness of the individual Ego. Its manifestation varies with the degree of upadhi, e.g., through that known as Manas it wells up as Mind-Consciousness. (I, 329 footnote).
Occult Science has been teaching for ages that Akasa … the fifth universal Cosmic Principle (to which corresponds and from which proceeds human Manas) is … creative in its physical nature, correlative in its grossest aspects and portions, immutable in its higher principles. … In its higher aspect it is the Soul of the World; in its lower — the DESTROYER. (I, 13 foot-note).
“Follow the law of analogy” — the Masters teach. … Manas is triple; … i.e., as a principle per se, which gravitates, in its higher aspect, to Atma-Buddhi, and follows, in its lower nature, Kama, the seat of terrestrial and animal desires and passions. (II, 254 foot-note ).
Manas is immortal, because after every new incarnation it adds to Atma-Buddhi something of itself, and thus, assimilating itself to the Monad, shares its immortality. … The astral through Kama (desire) is ever drawing Manas down into the sphere of material passions and desires. But if the better man or Manas tries to escape the fatal attraction and turns its aspirations to Atma — Spirit — then Buddhi … conquers, and carries Manas with it to the real of eternal Spirit. (I, 243-245).
The mind is Manas … for it is Manas that springs from Ahamkara or (Universal) Self-Consciousness, as Manas in the microcosm springs from Mahat, or Maha-Buddhi (Buddhi, in man). For Manas is dual, and … “is serving both for sense and action, is an organ by affinity, being cognate with the rest.” “The rest” means, here, that Manas, our fifth principle (the fifth, because the body was named the first, which is the reverse of the true philosophical order) is in affinity both with Atma-Buddhi and with the four lower principles. Hence, our teaching: namely, that Manas follows Atma-Buddhi to Devachan, and that the lower (dregs, the residue of) Manas remains with Kama rupa, in Limbus, or Kama-loka, the abode of the “Shells.” (I, 334).
“Manas is dual — lunar in the lower, solar in its upper portion,” says a commentary. That is to say, it is attracted in its higher aspect towards Buddhi, and in its lower descends into, and listens to the voice of its animal soul full of selfish and sensual desires; and herein is contained the mystery of an adept’s as of a profane man’s life, as also that of the post-mortem separation of the divine from the animal man. (II, 495-6).
The human Ego is neither Atman nor Buddhi, but the higher Manas: the intellectual fruition and the efflorescence of the intellectual self-conscious Egotism — in the higher spiritual sense. The ancient works refer to it as Karana Sarira on the plane of Sutratma, which is the golden thread on which, like beads, the various personalities of this higher Ego are strung. (II, 79).
It is a strange law of Nature that, on this plane, the higher (Spiritual) Nature should be, so to say, in bondage to the lower. Unless the Ego takes refuge in the Atman, the ALL-SPIRIT, and merges entirely into the essence thereof, the personal Ego may goad it to the bitter end. This cannot be understood unless the student makes himself familiar with the mystery of evolution, which proceeds on triple lines — spiritual, psychic and physical. (II, 109).
It is the Fifth and Fourth principles — Manas and Kama rupa — that contain the dual personality: the real immortal Ego (if it assimilates itself to the two higher) and the false and transitory personality, the mayavi or astral body, so-called, or the animal-human Soul — the two having to be closely blended for purposes of a full terrestrial existence. (II, 241-2).
It does not mean that Monads entered forms in which other Monads already were … but their “Egos,” or Manas … had to pass through earthly human experiences to become all-wise, and be able to start on the returning ascending cycle. The Monads are not discrete principles, limited or conditioned, but rays from that one universal absolute Principle. The entrance into a dark room through the same aperture of one ray of sunlight following another will not constitute two rays, but one ray intensified. It is not in the course of natural law that man should become a perfect septenary being, before the seventh race in the seventh Round. Yet he has all these principles latent in him from his birth. Nor is it part of the evolutionary law that the Fifth principle (Manas), should receive its complete development before the Fifth Round. All such prematurely developed intellects (on the spiritual plane) in our Race are abnormal. … Even in the coming seventh Race, at the close of this Fourth Round, while our four lower principles will be fully developed, that of Manas will be only proportionately so. This limitation, however, refers solely to the spiritual development. The intellectual, on the physical plane, was reached during the Fourth Root-Race. (II, 167).
… the conscious Manas [is] the connecting link between Spirit and Matter, heaven and earth. (II, 98).
… Manas, Mind and Self-consciousness. In each of us that golden thread of continuous life — periodically broken into active and passive cycles of sensuous existence on Earth, and super-sensuous in Devachan — is from the beginning of our appearance upon this earth. It is the Sutratma, the luminous thread of immortal impersonal monadship, on which our earthly lives or evanescent Egos are strung as so many beads. … it is our Mind — our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour from pure animalism. Without this principle — the emanation of the very essence of the pure divine principle Mahat (Intelligence), which radiates direct from the Divine mind — we would be surely no better than animals. … Without this quickening spirit, or human Mind or soul, there would be no difference between man and beast … (II, 513).
Pavel AxentievParticipantPavel Axentiev December 28, 2016 at 1:25 am #4143
To quote from the Introduction to the Abridgment of The Secret Doctrine by Katharine Hillard (N.Y., 1907):
“The esoteric symbol of Kali-Yuga, or the present Black Age, is the five-pointed star reversed, with its two points, or horns, turned heavenward, the sign of human sorcery, a position which every Occultist will recognize as one of ‘the left hand,’ and used in ceremonial magic.”
ModeratorTN December 28, 2016 at 7:15 am #4145
December 27, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Pentgram
“The Triads become Pentagons on earth.”
— H.P. Blavatsky
“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.”
— Thomas Gray
ModeratorTN December 28, 2016 at 7:16 am #4146
December 20, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Parables of Jesus
“God guideth whom He will to His light, and God setteth forth parables to men.”
“God Himself does not speak prose, but communicates with us by hints, omens, inference, and dark resemblances in objects lying all around us.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
ModeratorTN December 28, 2016 at 7:20 am #4147
December 28, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Pentagram
“Man is the secret sense of all which seems;
That other doctrines are but idle dreams,
Let Nature, far from all contention, own.”
—Claude de St.-Martin
“Both life and mind are manifestations of the same set of systematic properties.“
— Fritjof Capra
Pierre Wouters December 29, 2016 at 9:12 pm #4167
It sometimes gets a bad rap when it is being mistaken for kama-manas. When the human soul (sometimes referred to as higher manas depending on the context) succeeds in divesting itself from its lower desires, then it is referred to as lower manas or the Antaskarana, the bridge that leads to higher manas. In the Voice (p. 55 footnote 1), HPB says:
“Antaskarana is the lower Manas, the Path of communication or communion between the personality and the higher Manas or human Soul. At death it is destroyed as a Path or medium of communication, and its remains survive in a form as the Kamarupa—the “shell.””
When lower manas gives in to its desires, then it becomes kama-manas which is usually the condition in which our consciousness resides. The Antaskaranic path is the Path that leads to adeptship and consists in itself of 7 steps, sometimes also referred to as the “inner man”.
Here’s an example of “human soul” used in connection with lower manas from The Key to Theosophy, p. 180:
“As to the physical consciousness, as it is a quality of the sentient but lower “principle,” (Kama-rupa or animal instinct, illuminated by the lower manasic reflection), or the human Soul ―it must disappear.”
So “what role does it play in transmitting the spiritual into the material”?
The Antaskarana or bridge (lower manas) forms thus “the Path” or connection over which the devotion and psycho-spiritual longings can be absorbed into the higher triad (it happens – so to speak – automatically during the process of death, providing the “substance” or “material” for Devachan). During life however, this process of connecting the lower to the higher has to be arrived at self-consciously through willpower, self-induced and self-devised efforts and be made permanent, resulting into adeptship.
ModeratorTN December 30, 2016 at 1:34 am #4173
December 29, 2016 Theme for Contemplation: The Pentagram
“Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which flows into you as life, place yourself in the full centre of that flood, then you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson