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Esoteric Psychology I - Section One - II. Certain Questions and their Answers
D. The soul is the principle of sentiency, underlying all outer manifestation, pervading all forms, and constituting the consciousness of God Himself. When the soul, immersed in substance, is simply sentiency, it produces through its evolutionary interplay an addition, and we find emerging quality and capacity to react to vibration and to environment. This is the soul as it expresses itself in all the subhuman kingdoms in nature.

When the soul, an expression of sentiency and quality, adds to these the capacity of detached self-awareness, there appears that self-identified entity which we call a human being.

When the soul adds to sentiency, quality and self-awareness, the consciousness of the group, then we have identification with a ray-group, and there appears the disciple, the initiate and the master.

When the soul adds to sentiency, quality, self-awareness and group consciousness, a consciousness of divine synthetic purpose (called by us the Plan), then we have that state of being and knowledge which is distinctive of all upon the Path of Initiation, and includes those graded Lives, from the more advanced disciple up to the planetary Logos Himself.

But forget not that when we make these distinctions it is nevertheless one Soul that is functioning, acting through vehicles of varying capacities, of differentiated refinements and of greater and lesser limitations, in just the same sense as [54] a man is one identity, working sometimes through a physical body and sometimes through a feeling body or a mental body, and sometimes knowing himself to be the Self - a rare and unusual occurrence for the majority.

Every form in manifestation does two things:

  1. Appropriates, or is pervaded by, as much of the world soul as its capacity will permit. The atom of substance, the molecule or the cell all have soul, but not in the same degree as has an animal; and an animal has soul, but not in the same degree as has a Master, and so on up or down the scale.
  2. Through the interaction between the indwelling soul and the form, two things occur:
    1. Sentiency and quality are expressed according to the type of body and its point of evolution.
    2. The pervading soul drives the body nature into activity, and forces it forward along the path of development, and thus provides for the soul a field of experience and for the body the opportunity to react to the higher soul impulse. Thus the field of expression is benefited, and the soul masters the technique of contact which is its objective in any particular form.

The soul therefore, viewed from one angle, is an aspect of the body, for there is a soul in every atom comprising all bodies in all kingdoms in nature. The subtle coherent soul which is the result of the bringing together of spirit and matter exists as an entity apart from the body nature, and constitutes (when separated from the body) the etheric body, the double, as it is sometimes called, or the counterpart of the physical body. This is the sum total of the soul of the atoms constituting the physical body. It is the true form; it is the principle of coherence in every form.

The soul, in relation to the human being, is the mind principle [55] in two capacities, or the mind expressing itself in two ways. These two ways are registered and become part of the organized equipment of the human body when it is adequately refined and sufficiently developed:

  1. The lower concrete mind, the mental body, the "chitta" or mind stuff.
  2. The higher spiritual or abstract mind.

These two aspects of the soul, its two basic qualities, bring into being the human kingdom and enable man to contact both the lower kingdoms in nature and the higher spiritual realities. The first, the quality of mind in its lower manifestation, is owned potentially by every atom in every form in every kingdom in nature. It is a part of the body nature, inherent and potential, and is the basis of brotherhood, of absolute unity, of universal synthesis and divine coherence in manifestation. The other, the higher aspect, is the principle of self-awareness, and when combined with the lower aspect produces the self-consciousness of the human being. When the lower aspect has informed and pervaded the forms in the subhuman kingdoms, and when it has worked upon those forms and their latent sentiency so as to produce adequate refinement and sentiency, the vibration becomes so potent that the higher is attracted and there is a fusion or at-one-ing. This is like a higher recapitulation of the initial union of spirit and matter which brought the world into being. A human soul is thus brought into existence and begins its long career. It is now a differentiated entity.

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