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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Manas

Sanskrit for “mind.” Manas is dual in nature and has been divided into “Higher” and “Lower” Manas. Modern practice within the Theosophical Society seems to incline towards the use of the terms “CAUSAL BODY” and “Mental Body” rather than the expression “Higher and Lower Manas.” The use of the former terms does, however, tend to obscure the fact that theosophy is referring to a dual aspect of one function.

Helena P. BLAVATSKY classifies the principles in a human being as follows: ĀTMA; BUDDHI; MANAS; KĀMA RŪPA; PRĀNA; LINGA-ŚARĪRA; and Physical body. Here there is no distinction between higher and lower mind, but it does preserve the idea that we have one functional mental area. When that is acted upon by štma-Buddhi we have the consciousness of the Higher Mind or Causal Body; when linked with the feelings and body we have the Lower Mind or Mental Body.

T. SUBBA ROW tabulates the principles in four categories; ātma; Kārana Upādhi; Sūksma Upādhi; and Sthūla Upādhi. Here Kārana Upādhi includes Buddhi and Manas in its higher aspect. Manas in its lower aspect is included in Sūksma Upādhi.

We can say therefore that Higher Manas is that part of us that aspires toward the spiritual realm and receives input of a nature that is sometimes called “intuitional” from the Buddhic level. Lower Manas is the thinking faculty that is an inter-face between consciousness and the exterior physical world. It is Manas that enables the Monad to utilize the “lower quaternary,” that is Lower Mental, Astral and Etheric/Physical and it is “Higher Manas” that provides the factor of continuity between incarnations. Thus, of all the concepts embraced by the Ancient Wisdom, that of Manas is one of the most fundamental to our understanding of the laws surrounding the progressions of the human “life-wave” as it continues its allotted pilgrimage.

P.S.H.

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