|Students have been apt to speak simply of the etheric body as
an entire integral entity and as constituted solely of etheric substance, forgetting that
the etheric body is the medium for the transfer of many types of energy. They forget the
following facts: 
centers and focal points for the transmission of energy are connected each with each by
larger channels than the mass of channels which constitute the etheric body as a whole,
because many lesser channels and lines of force or energy merge and blend as they near a
center or a focal point. 
The mass of
the smaller channels or the channeling tubes of energy eventually create in all forms that
layer of corresponding nerves which are not yet recognized by medical science but which
are like an intermediary web or network. These relate the etheric body as a whole to the
entire two-fold nervous system (cerebro-spinal and the sympathetic nervous systems) which
science does recognize. It is this system underlying the nerves which is the true response
apparatus and which - via the brain - telegraphs information to the mind or, via the brain
and the mind, keeps the soul informed. It is this system of nadis which is used in full
consciousness by the initiate who has related the Spiritual Triad and the soul-infused
personality, and has therefore seen the soul-body, the causal body or the egoic lotus
totally disappear, being no longer of any true importance. There is a peculiar and at
present inexplicable relation between this system of nadis and the antahkarana when it is
in process of creation or is created.
body, therefore, like so much else in nature, is itself triple in design. There is:
- That the
etheric body is itself composed of four types of substance, each of which is definitely
specialized and found on one or other of the etheric levels.
- That these
substances, functioning actively in any particular etheric body, create a network of
channels; they produce fine tubes (if I may use so inappropriate a word) which take the
general form of the dense material or tangible form with which they may be associated.
This form underlies every part of the physical body and can be seen extending for a
certain distance outside of the recognizable form. This etheric body is not in reality an
ovoid (as the older occult books teach) but usually takes the form or general outline of
the physical vehicle with which it is associated. When, however, the head center is
awakened and functioning, then the ovoid appearance is far more frequent.
channels or tubes - according to the type of energy they carry - pass to certain areas of
the body, via three main stations:
- The seven major centers, of which you have heard much.
- The twenty-one minor centers, which I outlined for you earlier. (A Treatise on the
Seven Rays, Vol. IV., pp. 72-73.)
forty-nine focal points, scattered all over the body.
- The etheric body.
- The substantial nadis.
- The dense physical body.
These form one unit and in incarnation are inseparable.
in their totality and the many focal points of contact found in the etheric body are
responsible for the creation and preservation of the endocrine glandular system in a form
either limited and inadequate, or representative of the spiritual man and entirely
adequate. The nadis, in their turn,  are responsible for the creation and
precipitation of the twofold nervous system. This is a point most carefully to be borne in
mind and is the clue to the problem of creativity.
The type of
the etheric substance "substanding" any form is dependent upon two factors:
- The kingdom of nature concerned. Basically the four kingdoms draw their pranic life each
from one or other of the four levels of etheric substance, counting upwards from the
- The mineral kingdom is sustained from plane 1.
vegetable kingdom is sustained from plane 2.
- The animal
kingdom is sustained from plane 3.
- The human
kingdom is sustained from plane 4.
the original condition; but as evolution proceeded and there was an interacting emanation
established between all the kingdoms, this automatically changed. It was this
"esoteric emanating change" which, aeons ago, produced animal-man. I give this
as an illustration and a key to a great mystery.
enough, in the human kingdom (and only in the human kingdom) the etheric body is now
composed of all four types of etheric substance. The reason for this is that eventually
(when mankind is spiritually developed) each of these four planes or types of etheric
substance will be responsive to the  four higher levels of the cosmic physical plane
- the etheric levels, to which we give the names: the logoic level, the monadic, the atmic
level and the buddhic. This will happen as a result of conscious growth and
It must also
be remembered that the substance of which these etheric channels or channeling tubes are
composed is planetary prana, the life-giving, health-giving energy of the planet itself.
Through these tubes, however, may flow all or any of the possible energies - emotional,
mental, egoic, manasic, buddhic or atmic, according to the point in evolution which the
man concerned has reached. This always means that several energies are pouring through
these tubes, unless the point in evolution is exceedingly low or unless one is dealing
with a cleavage; these various energies are fused and blended together but find their own
focal points in the etheric body when entering directly within the circumference of the
dense physical body. Just as it can be said of the soul or of the Deity, so it can be said
of the energetic or vital etheric body or entity: "Having pervaded this whole
universe with a fragment of myself, I remain."