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(Ātma-Buddhi-Manas) Spirit, spiritual soul and the mind. The three aspects of the higher individuality in a human being, as opposed to the lower personality composed of the Lower Manas, Kama, Linga-Sarira and Physical Body.

The atman is the true inner Self in every human being, which needs vehicles for it to act in the lower planes. Its first vehicle is the buddhi, or spiritual soul. But Atma-Buddhi alone would still render the Self inert, unless it is able to express itself through manas or mind. Thus, the higher ego of a human being is composed of these three: Atma-buddhi-manas. Without the Manas, the Monad “can have no consciousness or perception of things on this earthly plane. ‘The highest sees through the eye of the lowest’ in the manifested world; Purusha (Spirit) remains blind without the help of Prakrit (matter) in the material spheres; and so does Atma-Buddhi without Manas” (SD II:123 fn.).

This triune self is the reincarnating ego of every human being. It is sometimes referred to as the “three-tongued flame” or the “three-wicked flame” which is immortal. It survives the destruction of the lower personality.

During the after-death state, the higher part of mind or Manas adheres to the Atma-Buddhi, and enters DEVACHAN. When, however, there is extreme egotism in the person, it is possible that the Manas adheres to the kama-rupa and gets detached from Atma-Buddhi. Such a detached personality is called a “lost soul,” and will suffer eventual annihilation. In such a case, the Atma (and Buddhi) will have to wait for another cycle before it can manifest again in the lower worlds.

Atma-Buddhi is sometimes referred to in The Secret Doctrine as the Monad. This is because Buddhi is the vehicle of Atma, and one is unthinkable without the other. Blavatsky states that Atma-Buddhi on the lower plane corresponds to Parabrahman and Mulaprakriti on the higher plane, or to En-soph and Adam-Kadmon in the Kabbalah (SD I:69 fn., 179).

When Buddhi is separated from Atma, then Atma passes into a state of non-manifestation. “The Jewish Kabalists arguing that no Spirit could belong to the divine hierarchy unless Ruach (Spirit) was united to Nephesh (living Soul), only repeat the Eastern Esoteric teaching. ‘A Dhyani has to be an Atma-Buddhi; once the Buddhi-Manas breaks loose from its immortal Atma of which it (Buddhi) is the vehicle, Atman passes into NON-BEING, which is absolute Being’” (SD I:193).

See also Human Constitution.



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