The Soul And The Bodies
In a book dealing with the resurrection of bodies and the
reincarnations of the Soul, a chapter must be devoted to the
fundamental elements of the question.
We will give the name of Soul to abstract Being, to the Unknown,
that unmanifested Principle which cannot be defined, for it is above
It is the Absolute of Western philosophers, the Parabrahm of the
e Tao of the ancient sages of China, the causeless Cause
of all that has been or ever will be manifested in concrete time and
Some feeble idea of it may perhaps be obtained by comparing it with
electricity, which, though the cause of various phenomena: heat,
movement, chemical action, light, is not, per se, any one of these
phenomena, undergoes no modification from their existence, and
survives them when the apparatus through which they manifest
We shall set up no distinction between this Soul, which may be called
the universal Soul, and the individual soul, which has often been
defined as a ray, a particle of the total Soul, for logically one
cannot imply parts to the Absolute; it is illusion, limitation on our
part, which shows us souls in the Soul.
Bodies are "aspects" of the Soul, results of its activity--if,
indeed, the Infinite can be said to be either active or passive; words
fail when we attempt to express the Inexpressible. These bodies, or,
more precisely, the varied forms assumed by force-matter are
aspects of the Soul, just as light or chemical action are aspects of
electricity, for one cannot suppose anything outside of infinite
Being, nor can anything be imagined which is not a manifestation of
the abstract Whole.
Let us also define Consciousness.
Taken absolutely, it is Being, the Soul, God; the uncaused Cause of
all the states which, in beings, we call states of consciousness.
This limited consciousness may be defined as the faculty a "centre of
life" possesses of receiving vibrations from its surroundings. When,
in the course of evolution, a being is sufficiently developed to
become conscious of a separation between its "I" and the object which
sends it vibrations, consciousness becomes self-consciousness. This
self-consciousness constitutes the human stage; it appears in the
higher animals, but as it descends the scale of being, gradually
disappears in non-individualised consciousness.
In a word, absolute Consciousness is one, though, as in the above
example, it is manifested differently, according to the differences in
the vehicles which express it in the concrete world in which we live.
The Soul, per se, is beyond the reach of beings who have not
finished the pilgrimage of evolution. To know it, one must have
attained to the eternal Centre, the unmanifested Logos. Up to that
point, one can only, in proportion as one ascends, feel it in oneself,
or acknowledge it by means of the logic which perceives it through all
its manifestations as the universal Mover of forms, the Cause of all
things, the Unity that produces diversity by means of the various
vehicles which serve it as methods of expression.
Science says that intelligence, or, to be more generic, consciousness,
results from the action of matter. This is a mistake.
Consciousness does not change in proportion as the cells of the body
are renewed; rather it increases with physical unconsciousness, as in
Thought is not the fruit of the brain; it offers itself to the latter,
ready made, so to speak; the loftiest intellectual or artistic
inspirations are flashes which strike down into the awaiting brain,
when maintaining that passive expectant attitude which is the
condition in which a higher message may be received.
The senses are not the thinking-principle. They need to be controlled
by consciousness; thus, people blind from birth, when suddenly made to
see, cannot judge either distance or perspective; like animals and
primitive men, they see nothing but colours on a surface.
Science says also: the organ is created for the function it has to
perform; again a mistake. The eyes of the foetus are constructed in
the darkness of the womb. The human germ, notwithstanding its
unconsciousness and its simplicity of structure, develops a body that
is complex and capable of a considerable degree of consciousness;
though itself unintelligent, it produces prodigies of intelligence in
this body; here, consequently, the effect would be greatly superior to
the cause, which is absurd. Outside of the body and the germ is a
supreme Intelligence which creates the models of forms and carries out
their construction. This Intelligence is the Soul of the world.
If Consciousness per se, or the Soul, is above all direct proof at
the present stage of human evolution, the vehicles through which it
functions are more or less apparent to us provided they are capable of
affecting the brain. At the present stage of human evolution, this is
the case only with the astral body; the other bodies are too fine to
manifest through the nervous system such characteristics as are
calculated to furnish scientists with a proof of their existence; they
can only be felt and proved in and by Yoga.
It is not without importance, however, to set forth the proofs of the
existence of a vehicle of consciousness immediately above the
physical, for it affords us a wider horizon and throws far more light
on the rest of the subject.