In the secret wisdom teaching mention is made of certain threads in man. This contemplation has these threads as its subject.
Let us, before taking the specific threads in consideration, have a look at the concept of threads in general first. ‘What is a thread?’ we question ourselves here. Since in the secret wisdom teaching the word ‘thread’ is used interchangeably with the word ‘channel’1, 2 can a thread be understood as such. A thread is a channel. And what it channels is energy or force,3 making a thread also understandable as a line of energy or force.4 Now the secret wisdom teaching does not only make mention of lines of energy or force, but also of centres of energy or force.5 With the threads connecting these centres and transferring energy and force between them can threads thus also be understood as lines of communication or lines of transferrence.6
Here it must be mentioned that symbolically horizontal lines and vertical lines or threads can be depicted. Vertical lines can here be considered as threads connecting centres on different (sub)planes and horizontal lines as threads connecting centres on the same (sub)plane.7 We shall start our more specific consideration of the threads with the vertical ones.
The ‘vertical threads’, as we have named them above, can be best explained by touching upon them in a chronological sketch of human in- and evolution.
The Life Thread
Such a sketch on human in- and evolution starts with the involutionary arc where spirit descends into matter.8 By this descend do the great dualities of spirit and matter unite. This is a cosmological happening which reflects in a human in the descend of the human spirit in the physical body.9 This human spirit, also named ‘monad’, regards the life principle,10 and this life principle unites with the human body in the heart.11 It is this line from the monad to the heart which regards the first vertical thread under consideration. This thread is called the ‘life thread (proper)’ or ‘sutratma (proper)’.12 At this point in our chronological sketch we should not think of the human and the human body as they are now. Actually at this point they are not human at all. The only thing that the descent of spirit in matter has initially enabled is the coming to being of living forms, of life forms.
The Consciousness Thread
Now as has been thematized in an earlier contemplation does the descend of spirit in matter, the union of spirit and matter, bring forth a third given, namely that of consciousness (being the principle of the soul).13 Living beings have some kind of consciousness. This consciousness however is not static. It moves towards a dominance of matter over spirit on the involutionary arc and towards a dominance of spirit over matter on the evolutionary arc.14 Now initially the consciousness of the living beings is not the self-consciousness of a human being. Human consciousness is considered as coherent or coordinated consciousness while that of sub-human beings is considered as incoherend or uncoordinated.15 Sub-human beings thus do not have an individual soul, as do humans, but have a so called ‘group soul’.16 When this group soul has developed the matter of the bodies of the sub-human beings to a certain level of refinement then the group soul individualises and the individual human souls come to being.17 With this individualisation a second thread, the consciousness thread, is anchored from the human soul in the human body, in this case in the head.18
The Creative Thread
The above mentioned individualisation where a human soul comes to being takes place when the lowest level of the soul (higher or abstract mind) unites with the highest level of the personality (lower or concrete mind). This is a microcosmic reflection of the appearance of consciousness in the macrocosmic uniting of spirit with matter.19 And thus shall in humans also a reflected involutionary and evolutionary arc be found. From our chronological perspective can the life thread anchoring in the heart and the consciousness thread anchoring in the head be seen as involutionary because these threads are, so to speak, thrown down from the monad and the soul towards the body and the personality. The situation is however different in case with the creative thread. Man consists of monad, soul and personality, but the personality also consists of a threefold, namely that of the physical together with the etheric, the astral and the mental body.20 Now the creative thread is woven between these three bodies by the personality itself. It is woven between the physical and etheric, the etheric and the astral, and the astral and the mental body.21 This creative thread, when sufficiently constructed, is anchored in the throat.22 From the perspective of the threefold personality this thread may be considered as woven on the evolutionary arc since it is constructed upwards from the physical towards the mental body. However from the perspective of the threefold man consisting of monad, soul and personality the weaving of the creative thread may be seen as a period of equilibrium because no noticeable movement between the three aforementioned principles takes place. The weaving of the creative thread is actually a period of turnaround and of reorientation in which the consciousness moves from being directed towards matter to being directed towards spirit.
When the creative thread is woven the personality becomes coordinated or integrated,23, 24 and its attention is then turned upwards, in first instance towards the soul.25 There however a gap must be bridged. On the involutionary arc the soul has bridged the gap with the personality through the consciousness thread, but now the personality itself must bridge it. This thread which is built by the personality and which connects the personality with the soul is technically called the ‘antahkarana’, (or ‘antaskarana’, also known as the ‘rainbow bridge’).26, 27, 28 This bridge is built between the lower or concrete mind of the personality and the higher or abstract mind of the soul,29 and as such is it considered as an extension of the creative thread.30 However it consists not just of this extension. The antahkarana is threefold and the bridge between the lower and higher mind includes the above thematized life thread and consciousness thread.31 These latter however do not go through the egoic lotus, as does the (extension of the) creative thread.32, 33 In going through the egoic lotus the petals of this lotus (knowledge, love and sacrificial)34 are mediating. The antahkarana connects the atmic permanent atom via the sacrificial petals to the physical permanent atom in the egoic lotus, the buddhic permanent atom via de love petals to the astral permanent atom in the egoic lotus and the manasic permanent atom via the knowledge petals to the mental unit in the egoic lotus.35 Note that this part of the antahkarana regards a threefold division of the extension of the creative thread within the egoic lotus. So we have the antahkarana as threefold consisting of the life thread, the consciousness thread and the (extension of the) creative thread, as a sixfold when the creative thread is considered in its triple constitution,36 and again as a sixfold when within the egoic lotus the extension of the creative thread is considered in its threefold.
Now instead of threefold or sixfold is the antahkarana sometimes also considered as dual in nature consisting only of the consciousness and the (extension of the) creative threads, though this is admitted to be a less accurate view.37 In this view may the term ‘antahkarana’ be used synonymously with the term ‘consciousness thread’.38 In this case is consciousness not just considered in its involutionary movement from soul to personality but also in an evolutionary movement from personality to soul.
So far the antahkarana was viewed only as the bridge between the personality and the soul but this bridge regards only half of the antahkarana39 (being called ‘antahkarana proper’), for the term may apply too to the whole bridge between the personality and the monad40 (whereby eventually at the destruction of the egoic lotus or causal body the soul is by-passed and a direct monad-personality relation is established).41, 42
This view on the threads in the case when the causal body is destroyed may then also give an alternate view on the sutratma. In this case the sutratma is not taken synonymously with the life thread but taken as dual, consisting of the life thread and a thread embodying consciousness.43 Perhaps this latter thread may be thought of as an extension of the consciousness thread between the soul infused personality and the monad, like the creative thread of the antahkarana (between personality and soul) was thought of as an extension of the creative thread of the personality. Note that after the destruction of the causal body the personality on the physical plane is fully soul infused, that no distinction between the two should be made,44 and that the monad now works directly through the personality without a mediating soul.45 Because the distinction between soul and personality has fallen away after the destruction of the causal body does the monad not make use of the (extension of the) creative thread.46 So just as the (extension of the) creative thread is fused with the consciousness thread in the course of evolution,47 so shall the (extension of the) consciousness thread probably also be fused with the life thread. And in this case may the sutratma be viewed as consistent of the life thread and the consciousness thread.
It may be that for some the elucidation on the vertical threads has become somewhat complex. Therefore the above story shall be given an overview in a concise figure. In figure 1 (at the end of this contemplation) we see boxes, arrows and lines, all with three colors applied. The use of the colors is in line with the way they have been used in the earlier contemplation ‘Secret Wisdom Teaching, Triplicities in Man’.48 The blue represents the monadic givens, the rose the soul givens and the yellow the personality givens. The boxes represent principles (or a pseudo-principle in case of the dense physical body49 or a non-principle in case of the causal body50). The blue box 1 represents the monad, the three rose boxes 2, 3 and 4 represent the three soul principles of atma, buddhi and higher manas and the four yellow boxes 6, 7, 8 and 9 represent the personality principles of the lower manas, the astral and the etheric body, with the lowest of these four representing the pseudo-principle of the physical body. Box 5 represents the causal body, which is not a principle either. This box is colored white because the causal body cannot be solely related to either the soul or the personality. The monad is symbolized by one box, signifying its unity. The personality is symbolized by four separated boxes, signifying its diversity. And the soul is symbolized by three unseparated boxes, signifying its unity in diversity. The different lines or threads are colored in blue, rose or yellow, signifying their eventual cause, being either the monad, the soul or the personality. Every thread (or part of a thread) also has an arrow, signifying whether the regarded thread should be considered as involutionary or evolutionary. The threads are coded with letters from a to o. Some threads have combined colors and the arrows of these threads are combined too. This signifies that an integration or fusion between different threads has taken place.
So what can be read from this figure? Let us with help of this figure illustrate the in the previous subparagraphs sketched lines of involution and evolution in relation to the threads. The first thing we see then is the life thread (proper) (blue lines a-f) running downwards (blue arrows a-f) from the monad (blue box 1) to the physical body (yellow box 9) of the personality (yellow boxes 6-9). This descent of spirit into matter brings the soul principle into being. From the individualised soul (rose boxes 2-4) the consciousness thread (rose lines g-k) too runs downwards (rose arrows g-k) to the physical body. Then the creative thread (yellow lines m-o) is woven upwards (yellow arrows m-o) within the personality (yellow boxes 6-9) itself between the physical body (yellow box 9), the etheric body (yellow box 8), the astral body (yellow box 7) and the (lower) mental body (yellow box 6). Then an extension of thecreative thread (yellow lines g, l) is woven from the lower mental through the causal body (white box 5) upwards towards the higher mental (rose box 4) of the soul. Thus the first half of the antahkarana (being the antahkarana proper) (blue, rose and yellow lines b-c, g-h, l) is constructed. When the causal body is destroyed or transcended the extension of the creative thread is integrated into the consciousness thread (rose and yellow line and arrow g). The soul fuses with the personality and the first half of the antahkarana falls away. The monad now directly controls the soul infused personality without a mediating soul through the second half of the antahkarana (blue, rose and yellow line and arrow a) which can also be considered as the life thread with the integrated consciousness thread with the integrated creative thread. The depiction of the integrated colors of this line may also add to the understanding of why the antahkarana is also named ‘rainbow bridge’.
To close off this paragraph on the vertical threads some a remark must be made anent the interpretation of the above, quite analytical, descriptions. In taking notice of these descriptions it must be kept in mind that although the threads are analyzed in their component parts they are forming in reality one whole.51 Also should it not be forgotten that these threads are symbolically contemplated. In reality they are no energy threads but essentially states of awareness.52, 53 With this closure we shall now move on to a consideration of the horizontal threads.
In the above paragraph were three threads mentioned as being constituent of the antahkarana, namely the life thread or sutratma, the consciousness thread and the creative thread. These threads were in this contemplation mentioned to be vertical, meaning that they connect centres on different (sub)planes. Now these three threads are reflected on the physical plane (which consists of gross and subtle or etheric physical matter),54 and are called ‘ida’, ‘pingala’ and ‘sushumna’.55 Because these threads are connecting centres on the same (sub)plane they are in this contemplation regarded symbolically as horizontal threads. In man they are located in the spinal column.56 So although these threads are placed vertical in man in his spinal column are they symbolically horizontal because they connect centres on the same plane. Here however no reference is made to the gross physical spinal column that is under consideration in regular (medical) sciences but to its esoteric and etheric counterpart.57, 58 The centres they connect then are also located in the etheric body and these regard the seven centres of the secret wisdom teaching.59 These centres are basically crossing points of energy60 which is transported by the finer channels called ‘nadis’.61 The whole of the etheric body is constituted of these nadis.62 Thus are the three aforementioned threads through the centres which they connect closely related to the distribution of energy through the nadis throughout the etheric body.63
Now above mention was made of the seven (major) centres of the human etheric body, however only five of these are located on the spinal cord,64 for the other two are found in the head. Thus a gap in connectivity is left between the head centre (which is the highest of the two head centres) and the throat centre (which is the highest of the centres on the spine). In course of evolution this gap must be bridged to bring about the perfected human being and the bridging of this gap is a reflection of the bridging of the antahkarana.65 And like the gap that the antahkarana must bridge consists of two gaps (that between the personality and the soul and that between the soul and the monad) so does the gap between the spinal cord and the head centre consist of a gap between the throat centre and the alta major centre and between the alta major centre and the head centre.66
This bridging threefold antahkarana (consisting of the life thread, the consciousness thread and the (extension of the) creative thread) is horizontally, so to speak, reflected as the threefold channel of the ida, the pingala and the sushumna,67 whereby the ida is the positive reflection of the sutratma or life thread, the pingala the negative reflection of the creative thread and the sushumna the equiliberizing reflection of the consciousness thread (in line with the spirit being positive, the personality negative and the soul balancing).68, 69 It can be deduced from the secret wisdom teaching that the equiliberizing of the ida and pingala falls together with the building of the full antahkarana. For like the monad can directly control the personality only when the antahkarana is fully constructed, so is this the case when the ida and pingala are fully balanced. The sushumna (as one single integration of the three channels)70 then becomes the channel in the etheric body through which the three fires of the monad, the soul and the personality can descend and ascend and blend with each other.71, 72 So although from the horizontal perspective the sushumna may be considered as a reflection of the consciousness thread, the ida of the life thread and the pingala of the creative thread, is from the vertical perspective the sushumna the conductor of the monadic energy, the ida of the soul energy and the pingala of the personality force.73 In figure 2 a tabulated overview of this is given. Confusion will arise when the distinction of the horizontal threads as reflections and as conductors is not kept in view.
Being conductors of the monadic and soul energy and personality force are the threads also responsive to three of the major centres, namely that of head, heart and solar plexus. The sushumna is responsive to the head centre.74 The ida can be induced to be responsive to the heart centre (since the ida is the conductor of soul energy and the heart centre is the centre of love and consciousness).75 And the pingala then can be induced to be responsive to the solar plexus centre (since the pingala is the conductor of personality force and the solar plexus centre is the centre of desire and (mediatory in) physical enlivening and creativity.76
All of the above is closely related to the awakening and raising of the kundalini. When the antahkarana is built the ida and pingala are balanced and integrated into the one sushumna channel, and when the twofold gap between the throat and head centre is bridged then can the kundalini be awakened and rise. This subject of the kundalini shall however be left to be treated in another contemplation. Here only mention is made of it because of its close relation with the threads.
In figure 3 are the horizontal threads symbolically depicted. We see again boxes, arrows and lines, with the familiar three colors applied. The blue represents the monadic givens, the rose the soul givens and the yellow the personality givens. The seven large boxes represent in this figure the major centres and the small box the minor centre under consideration. The blue box 1 represents the head centre, box 2 the ajna centre, box 3 the (minor) alta major centre, box 4 the throat centre, the rose box 5 the heart centre, the yellow box 6 the solar plexus centre, box 7 the sacral centre and box 8 the centre at the base of the spine. Note that it is the box representing the solar plexus centre which is colored yellow and not the box representing the centre at the base at the spine. This latter centre has its significance where the rising of the kundalini or the fire of matter is concerned77, 78 but is, according to the information given in the secret wisdom teaching, not the centre to which the pingala as a conductor of personality force is receptive. The different lines or threads are colored in blue, rose or yellow, signifying of what vertical thread they are a reflection. The blue lines are a reflection of the life thread, the rose ones of the consciousness thread and the yellow ones of the creative thread. The arrows on the lines signify for which energy or force the threads are channels. Blue arrows signify the thread being a channel for monadic energy, rose ones for soul energy and yellow ones for personality force. The direction of the arrows shows in which direction the energy and force is considered to be flowing. The threads are coded with letters from a to o. Some threads have combined colors and the arrows of these threads are combined too. This signifies a necessary integration or fusion between different threads.
So what do we see depicted in this figure 3? Let us start with the blue lines d-g. Being blue these lines represent the ida. That rose arrows are depicted on them shows that the ida is the conductor of soul energy. The yellow lines l-o represent the pingala. Having yellow arrows it is shown as the conductor of personality force. And the rose lines h-k then represent the sushumna. Having blue arrows it is shown to be the conductor of monadic energy. That these three lines are depicted seperate from each other means that they are not necessarily equilibriumized and integrated. All these lines are further depicted between box 8 and 4, showing that these not necessary integrated threads run between the centre at the base of the spine and the throat centre. Between the throat centre (box 4) and the (minor) alta major centre (box 3) is line c drawn in the three colors. This line represents the first half of the sushumna bridge with ida and pingala necessarily balanced and integrated. This necessary integration is also shown in the blue arrow containing the rose and yellow arrows. The lines a-b between the alta major centre (box 3) and the head centre (box 1) then represent the second half of the sushumna bridge with ida and pingala necessarily balanced and integrated. These lines have the same arrows as line c. The totality of lines a-o represents the whole sushumna channel when it is balanced and integrated. All lines and arrows are included.
This contemplation was started with the mentioning of threads as connectors of centres. Those connecting centres on different (sub)planes were called ‘vertical’ and those connecting centres on the same (sub)plane were called ‘horizontal’. In the first paragraph the vertical threads were mentioned to consist of the sutratma or life thread (centred in the heart), the consciousness thread (centred in the head) and the creative thread (centred in the throat). This creative thread in course of human evolution is extended from the lower mental plane of the personality towards the higher mental plane of the soul. And this extension taken together with the consciousness thread and the life thread between the lower mental and the monad (integrated or not) was called the ‘antahkarana’.
In the second paragraph were the horizontal threads considered as being placed in the etheric body where the sushumna, the ida and the pingala are reflections of the consciousness thread, the life thread and the creative thread (in that order). As conductors however they conduct the energy and force of the monad, the soul and the personality (in that order). For the monadic energy to be conducted however the ida and pingala have to be balanced and integrated into the one sushumna (the latter then being held as a horizontal reflection of the vertical antahkarana) by which also the twofold gap between the throat centre and the head centre (with the minor alta major centre being intermediary) is bridged. The kundalini can then safely be awakened and rise. Figure 3 gave an overview.
May the gaps within ourselves thus be bridged.
4: Higher manas.
5: Causal body.
6: Lower manas.
7: Astral body.
8: Etheric body.
9: Physical body.
a-f: Life thread (proper).
g-k: Consciousness thread.
m-o: Creative thread.
l: Extension of creative thread.
b-c, g-h, l: Antahkarana (first half), (proper).
g: Consciousness thread with integrated
(extension of) creative thread.
a: Life thread with integrated (extension of)
consciousness thread with integrated (extension of)
a-c, g-h, l: Antahkarana.
|Vertical thread||Life thread or sutratma||Consciousness thread||(Extension of) creative thread|
|Horizontal thread as reflection||Ida||Sushumna||Pingala|
|Horizontal thread as conductor||Sushumna||Ida||Pingala|
1: Head centre.
2: Ajna centre.
3: Alta major centre.
4: Throat centre.
5: Heart centre.
6: Solar plexus centre.
7: Sacral centre.
8. Centre at the base of the spine.
h-k: Sushumna (proper).
a-o: Sushumna with ida and pingala
a-c: Sushumna bridge with ida and
pingala necessarily integrated.
c: First half of sushumna bridge with
ida and pingala necessarily integrated.
a-b: Second half of sushumna bridge
with ida and pingala necessarily integrated.