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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

all definition.

It is the Absolute of Western philosophers, the Parabrahm of the

Hindus, t
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[2] 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.[3]

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.