A Study in Consciousness

A Study in Consciousness

by Annie Besant

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Overview

Attention has frequently been called to the necessity of having clear English equivalents for Sanskrit terms which are now often freely mentioned among students of spiritual philosophy, and wishing to present our readers with as clear and concise an outline as possible of Hindu teaching.

The following interpretations are from "A Study in Consciousness " by Annie Besant in the hope that the few extracts we have taken the liberty to make from that erudite volume will lead many readers to procure and study it themselves.
Though the sub-title of the book is "A Contribution to the Science of Psychology," it is widely different, alike in tone and subject matter, from works on psychology in general, as it is based on Hinduism, and then branches out into all the many fields which Materialists equally with Theosophical psychologists seek to study.

Besant says "We have learned that the matter in a solar system exists in seven great modifications, or planes. On three of these, the physical, emotional (astral) and mental—often spoken of as the three worlds —- the well-known Triloki or Tribhunanam of the Hindu cosmogony is proceeding the normal evolution of humanity. On the next two planes, the spiritual—those of wisdom and power, the Buddhic and the Atmic—goes on the specific evolution of the Initiate, after the first of the Great Initiations. These five planes form the field of the evolution of consciousness, until the human merges in the divine. The two planes beyond the five represent the sphere of divine activity, encircling and enveloping all, out of which pour forth all the divine energies which unify and sustain the whole system. They are at present entirely beyond our knowledge, and the few hints that have been given regarding them probably convey as much information as our limited capacity is able to grasp. We are taught that they are the planes of Divine Consciousness, wherein the Logos, or the divine trinity of Logoi, is manifested and where from He shines forth as the Creator, the Preserver, the Dissolver; evolving a universe, maintaining it during its life-period, withdrawing it into Himself at its ending. We have been given the names of these two planes: the lower is the Anupadaka, that wherein no vehicle has yet been formed; the higher is the Adi; the first, the foundation of a universe, its support, the fount of its life. We have thus the seven planes of a universe, a solar system, which, as we see by this brief description, may be regarded as making up three groups:

1. The field of Logic manifestation only.
2. The field of super-normal human evolution, that of the Initiate.
3. The field of elemental, mineral, vegetable, animal and normal human evolution.

As we are indebted to Annie Besant for this summary of Hindu teaching concerning the system of worlds in which we are at present living, she in turn acknowledges indebtedness to a Sanskrit manuscript called Pranana-vâda. Here we have a very ancient and truly profound exposition of the seven states, or spheres, which are continually being mentioned in connection with spiritual existence. The number seven is the number of the system to which this earth belongs, and throughout all sacred literature, and persistently in spiritualistic statements does this number appear. In the first chapter of Genesis the work of Elohim is accomplished in six periods of activity followed by a seventh period of sublime repose. In the Apocalypse there are seven spirits of God or divine emanations from the Ineffable One, seven seals which have to be broken before the contents of the mystic book can be made known, also a rainbow about the throne, another allusion to the number seven.

The Beast and the False Prophet can never attain to a higher numeral than six; therefore six hundred sixtysix, denoting imperfection of statement and failure to attain to completeness in any direction, is given as the number of all that is doomed in time to pass away. Whoever will study the Christian Scriptures side by side with Sanskrit documents will find a wonderful agreement between them, and it is surely not presumptuous to suggest that the younger have more likely drawn from the elder than that the more ancient have been copied from those of later date.

Investigations of Hindu documents reveal the roots of every doctrine which has been set forth as original with Christianity, and though perversions are found in India as well as in Europe, and we should be foolish indeed did we bow slavishly to all the theories we might pick up in India, the venerable sources whence Brahmanical and Buddhistic noctrines and institutions have sprung are truly wells of living water at which thirsty travelers may refresh themselves to-day, even as did the ancient Aryans long before that decadence set in under which degraded India has suffered for so many centuries.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940014314831
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 03/17/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 558 KB

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