Man, the Microcosm; Part 5
The Dweller on the Threshold, "I AM" & the Flame Within
To know Man's Reality, his True Self, the seeker after Truth would first have to know the false self--or that which he calls "self"--for this false ego is the cloud, the veil that hinders true perception of that which is truly the SELF of Man, that which is called "I AM." Before the Master Jesus began his ministry, he engaged upon a period of introspection, fasting, meditation, and prayer upon a "mountain top" where he was tempted by "Satan." In a parallel event in the East, hundreds of years before, Gautama Buddha, before attaining the lofty state of enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree, was tempted by "Mara." Mara and Satan, or in psychology--the alter ego, are the "adversaries" of liberation, of soul-development. In modern occult terminology, they are the Dweller on the Threshold.
The Dweller personifies and represents the carnal mind and desires, the false ego and its manifold vices that constantly tempt Man to stray from the path of Truth, from the Path of Righteousness; it also is the subconscious content of the psychosis, phobias, neurosis, and the morbid sense of sin and guilt that attacks the integrity of the psyche. The Dweller, this pseudo-being, is the non-self considered to be the Self by the lower mind. Most of us are familiar with the term, "the Voice of Silence"; the promptings of the Dweller is the "Voice of Noise" that disrupts the tranquility of the soul. The Dweller is an illusory being that every spiritual aspirant has to overcome; although the strategy for overcoming this seemingly powerful opponent is not by direct attack but by using the spiritualized intellect in understanding the falseness of its assertions, wants, and desires. It is by seeing through the deceptive nature and illusory existence of this false ego, this Dweller, that we triumph over its subtle attack in the form of suggestions. We should appreciate its presence, though, for it has a role to play in our lives; it is, in fact, a fragment of energy of all that we truly are.
Man, when stripped down of all his vestures, down to his essential being, is that Silent Watcher, that great "I AM." Its very nature is Sat-Chit-Ananda, or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. It is the SELF called by some Hindu philosophers "Brahman." It is Man's true reality. This SELF is that which spoke to Moses, the "I Am that I AM" from the burning bush; it is also that which was referred to by the Nazarene Master when he said:
"Before Abraham was, "I AM." (John 8:58)
It is the Divine Presence within Man mentioned in Psalms:
"Be still and know that I AM God." (Psalms 46:10)
In the Qabalah, I AM is referred to as "Yekidah." Kashmiri Shaivism calls the I AM, "Ahamta." Initiates of ancient Egypt represented Ahamta--which in Theosophy is the Monad--by "Ptah," the father of the gods. Ptah is often depicted as creating the lower gods or principles by the light of his Eye. Ptah within the microcosm is the nature of be-ness, or be-ing. It is, was, and ever will be. Its qualities are is-ness, now-ness, and here-ness. It is the true image of deity emanated as a spark from the thought of God, from the Divine Consciousness of Parabrahm. The Ego is the entity within the microcosm growing into that I AM image. I AM is the God immanent within the microcosm. A wise sage once declared:
"Greater is He [I AM] that is in you, then he [the Dweller] that is in this world." (I John 4:4)
The Monad is the SELF that every candidate of the Mystery Schools of the past sought to realize. According to Theosophy, the Monadic core of Man, the I AM, resides in the Paranirvanic, or Anupadaka plane. This is the second highest realm in the Physical Cosmic Plane. Monadic essence is to be found within the Ego in the lower realms, and a minuscule spark of the Spark lies in the depth of Man's physical heart as a channel and conveyor of Life.
The spark in the heart is threefold in aspect: it is will/power, love/wisdom, and intelligence/activity represented in the flame by the fiery colors of blue, pink and yellow, respectively. It is about a quarter of an inch in height and is said to increase in size in proportion to Man's spiritual development. This flame carries the image of deity in its essence. It is the God within the heart. This is probably why some sages declare that the seat of Self, the "I" is in the heart. Followers of Zoroaster honour the flame within their temple three times a day; esoterically speaking, this flame is the luminous essence within the heart. Within this spiritual fire, symbolically, the flame of Vesta--goddess of the hearth, is the Permanent Seed-Atom. Most sages of the past of both East and West, like Paracelsus and Sankaracharya, acknowledged the existence of this inner flame, this inner man. Even the Upanishads speak about it. For instance, in the Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad, the inner flame is called "Akasha," which literally means radiance. In Yogic philosophy it is called "Dahara." In Christian scriptures, Peter also mentions this inner being:
"But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." (I Peter 3:4)
In the well-known Buddhist mantra of Avalokiteshvara, "Om Mani Padme Hum," meaning "I am the Jewel in the Lotus," the flame is represented by the Jewel and its fiery brilliance. In symbolical form, the flame within is represented by the "fleur de lys."
The inner flame is Man's direct connection with his divinity. Its size is increased by the living of spiritual principles. As it grows it raises the vibrations within the microcosm and conveys the abundant life of the Monad to every cell and atom composing Man's being. Practitioners of soul-cultivation should acknowledge its existence daily. It should be stirred into activity by one's focused thoughts, attention, and devotions.
The Rays Governing Man & the Stream of Consciousness
We have previously described how the Great Central Sun is the source of divine energy in our solar system. According to occult wisdom, the Cosmic Energy--the divine Shakti, has twelve qualities in its nature, five of which are considered "secret." This spectrum of energies, the exoteric seven, and the esoteric five, are called "Rays." These Rays are the expression, the very life force of the Deity, and are sometimes called aeons or emanations. The first three Rays of the seven are called "Rays of Aspect"; they are: the First Ray of Will/Power, the Second Ray of Love/Wisdom, and the Third Ray of Intelligence/Activity. The second class of Rays are called "Rays of Attribute." These are: the Ray of Creativity/Harmony--the Fourth Ray; the Fifth Ray of Science/Concrete Knowledge; the Sixth Ray of Idealism/Devotion; and the Seventh Ray of Ceremony/Order. Each of the various realms in our Cosmic Physical Plane is influenced by one or more of the Rays. At this time we know almost nothing about the Secret Rays, and although we know very little of the exoteric Rays, they are sufficient enough to provide us food for thought. It is the Law of Correspondence in particular that gives us a greater view of how the Rays relate to our lives and evolution.
All of the Rays, although having a predominant quality of its own, do possess to a lesser degree the qualities of all of the others. These are called "subrays." The science of rays gets more complex because each of these subrays in turn has its own subrays, ad infinitum. Each life-unit from atom to sun is influenced by a certain Ray-quality. Rays mould and qualify the consciousness of a life-unit along certain lines of activity and mode of expression. Within Man it bestows upon him his temperament, his inclinations, and his idiosyncrasies.
Our sun evolves along the Second Ray of Aspect, the Ray of Love, which reveals in a way why Love is such a powerful force in our lives and in our solar system. The subrays of the primary ray of the sun are embodied by the planets in our solar system; these planets are the chakras in the body of the Solar Logos. In certain ancient writings they are called "Elohim"--the "Spirits before the Throne." Our beloved planet is under the influence of the Third Ray of Aspect--the Ray of Intelligence/Activity, which is a subray of the Solar Ray. Now this Ray of Intelligence has its subrays too, and it is these that directly influence the evolution of mankind, individually and collectively. The rays, however, are not all in the active mode at any given time. Only five predominate, and this produces the interesting changes and turn of direction in the progress of civilization and the psychological and natural bend of mind of humanity.
The microcosm of Man, as we have seen, is triune in aspect and septenary in nature. Each principle of Man embodies a Ray. Sometimes these Rays conflict within Man; they pull him in several directions; it is, therefore, his task to manifest harmony out of their discord, alignment out of their disorder. Once alignment occurs in the Rays of the lower three principles--the Rays of the physical body, the astral form, and the mental sheath, then the Personality Ray emerges and begins to hold sway. Man progresses even further when he allows the Egoic Ray to influence his consciousness by subduing the activity of the predominating Personality Ray. When this is accomplished, the Monadic Ray will make itself felt with a repetition of the subduing process on a higher spiral in the being of Man. The Personality Ray when active, has a strong effect upon the physical body and its Permanent Seed-Atom; it has an affinity with this particular principle more than the others. This means that as the Personality Ray exerts itself, its nature can be perceived clearly in the physical body. What is true for the Personality Ray and the Physical body with its Permanent Seed-Atom is likewise true for the Egoic Ray and the astral body with its Emotional Permanent Seed-Atom, and also on a higher level for the Monadic Ray and the mental sheath with its Permanent Seed-Atom. For some particular reason the Monads of Man are only to be found on the Rays of Aspect, and thus as a divine being, Man expresses either the quality of Power, Love, or Intelligence.
As Man evolves, he responds more frequently to the Rays emanating from higher sources, such as the Rays of the Spiritual Hierarchy, the Planetary Ray, and the Solar Ray, etc. All of the Rays correspond with one of the chakras and glands. The predominating Ray within Man affects the glands which in turn secretes substances that manifest a certain personality and body type. Thus generally speaking, there are types of Man with seven basic temperaments and appearances. For instance, we have the man of a commanding nature--this typifies the First Ray. Another man may express a strong devotion to an ideal--this is a man of the Sixth Ray. Individuals with such natures often choose the type of vocation or occupation most suited to their natures. In the above example, the man of the First Ray may choose to be a soldier; the man of the Sixth Ray may choose to be a priest. We evolve more quickly and fully by knowing the Rays governing us and unfolding their qualities within our soul. Humanity as a whole, however, are not solely influenced by their individual Rays--Rays from various sources affect Mankind; these are the Racial Rays; the Ray of the Human kingdom; National Rays; Rays of Cycles; the Planetary Ray; the Solar Ray, etc.