Man is a far more complete being than is generally imagined. He has not only a body and a soul, but he is a spirit possessing a soul, which soul has several vehicles for expression, these several vehicles being of different degrees of density, the body being the lowest form of expression. These different vehicles manifest upon different “planes,” such as the “physical plane,” the “astral plane,” etc., all of which will be explained as we proceed. The real self is pure spirit, a spark of the divine fire. This spirit is encased within numerous sheaths, which prevent its full expression. As man advances in development, his consciousness passes from the lower planes to the higher, and he becomes more and more aware of his higher nature.
The spirit contains within it all potentialities, and as man progresses he unfolds new powers, new qualities, into the light. The Yogi philosophy teaches that man is composed of seven principles – is a sevenfold creature. The best way to think of man is to realize that the spirit is the real self, and that the lower principles are but confining sheaths. Man may manifest upon seven planes, that is, the highly developed man, as the majority of men of this age can manifest only upon the lower planes, the higher planes not having as yet been reached by them, although every man, no matter how undeveloped, possesses the seven principles potentially. The first five planes have been attained by many, the sixth by a few, the seventh by practically none of this race at this time.
THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF MAN.
The seven principles of man, as known to the Yogi philosophy, are herewith stated, English terms being substituted for Sanscrit words, so far as may be:
3. Prana, or Vital Force.
2. Astral Body.
1. Physical Body.
We will briefly run over the general nature of each of these seven principles, that the student may understand future references to them; but we will defer our detailed treatment of the subject until later on in the lessons.