Auric Envelope - Its Constitution
( Originally Published 1908 )
WHEN we talk about the Auric Envelope, which encloses the physical body in " a luminous ovoid mist," within and upon which the colors of the aura play, we are not de-scribing something which is conjectured as possible or probable, but something which has been seen by many eyes. Although to the large majority of people it is invisible, except under extraordinary, and exceptional circumstances, all persons of refined and sensitive perceptions are conscious of a distinction in the atmosphere surrounding different persons. The presence of one is always calming; of another, often exciting when not irritating; the cheerful person radiates happiness and courage upon all; while others are more chilling than a wet blanket, and the impressions received are as varying as the persons receiving them.
This marked something which differentiates our fellows one from another is their personal atmosphere which forms the Auric Envelope extending from some inches to several feet around every human being. That the silent invisible world about us is luminous with the refined colors of the subtle ethers whose vibrations are streaming through and surrounding us, playing upon us ceaselessly, is a fact the proofs of which accumulate daily. When our sixth sense is developed, we shall all see these, and the color-sensitives, here and there - psychically developed persons who are phenomenal now and who see these colors are merely avant coureurs of the evolution to which our race is marching onwards. In growing more spiritual and evolution must lead to this, it is the immutable Law humanity will see through everything, making clairvoyance normal. The X- and N-rays foreshadow this condition when dense matter will be, so to say, non-existent, because man will perceive the withinness of all things.
It is a familiar fact to many now that the colors vibrating in this invisible human aura betray beyond all question to psychic vision the nature of the life lived; for the aura is formed by subtle emanations from the Principles most active in the body, the vibrations of which radiate from its surface. When clairvoyance is universal, every man will stand unveiled in character before his fellows; for every thought, passion, and emotion is registered in his aura in unmistakable colors, and the seeing eye even now knows the man for what he is. There will then be no need for courts and judge and jury. Guilt will proclaim itself and stand confessed before those it has wronged.
Science is anticipating this era when Truth shall stand unveiled (and incidentally preparing the minds of men to receive that Truth graciously in-stead of doubting the testimony of their own eyes) through the invention of instruments of wondrous delicacy that ingeniously enact the role of Grand Inquisitor, but without putting any screws on defy man to conceal the nature of his thoughts, whether he be guilty or innocent, angry or calm, melancholy or gay, studious or idle. And all this, note well, is achieved through registering the vibrating currents of the unspoken thought as well as of the speech of the subject.
Moreover, that these thoughts take body and form as they are sent' forth, is proved by Dr. Baraduc's clever use of the camera. He has seized upon the photographic plate the exact form of these invisible emanations radiating from the human being. Dr. Baraduc calls his photographs, " Portraits of the Soul "; but it were better to recognize them as indisputable, permanent pictures of all the activities of the human subject, whether they be on the lowest physical plane or aspirations of the soul. It is a most important service that these photographs fully establish by material proof the fact that every thought has its distinctive form.
That the rays from the human being are further endowed with the mysterious power of radioactivity was proved nearly five years ago when Professor Goodspeed, of Philadelphia, made photo-graphs in an absolutely dark room by rays from his own hands. You will remember that the discovery of radio-activity is the factor which within a decade has swept from under the scientist's feet most of the firm ground, the ' fixed facts," of nineteenth-century science.
So, little by little, science is penetrating this in-visible world of force; and every discovery but corroborates the Occultist's statements concerning these varying planes of consciousness whence every force emanates. The scientist is coming nearer and nearer to the Tattvic Law which underlies all phenomena. But it is most difficult for him to recognize that the external forces which act upon manas the "waves " of light and of sound which stimulate sense perceptions are them-selves in turn acted upon, that the thoughts, emotions, and passions of man are so many vibratory waves " of physical or mental force going out from him to affect something somewhere! For every thought arranges astral matter in definite forms, the soul of the form being the thought.
It is inevitable that we all are limited in what we see by the media (our own auras) through which we must ever look out. Our judgment, our opinions, must ever be tinged by these media, transparent films of vari-colored vibrations, oscillating with inconceivable velocity; thus the vision of many people is very literally a " seeing through the glass darkly." Let us have confidence always in happy eyes, since their vision must ever be the clearest, looking out as they do through pure, harmonious, and refined emanations.
A very delicate, trained psychic sight is required in order to distinguish accurately hence with authority - the various emanations in the human aura; but it is no uncommon thing now to be able to see the coarser vibrations of the lower sheaths and the five ribbon-like bands of Tattvic colors (from Akāsha to Prithivi) forming a layer next the skin, in which the geometrical forms of the vibrations flowing at the moment can be distinguished. These are beautifully and clearly de-scribed by Dr. Marques in his Human Aura.
Only as the clairvoyant develops personally the Lower Manasic and Causal principles, is the psychic power gained to see the auras of these higher sheaths, for they are increasingly subtle and are alone visible to like refinement of consciousness. As psychic vision penetrates plane after plane, it is as if veil after veil were removed.
It is the desire aura, or emanations from the Kāmic sheath, which extends from ten to twelve inches outside the physical body, with which the lowest grade of psychic sight is Most familiar.
This is referred to as the" Astral Body " by Mr. Leadbeater (Man Visible and Invisible), and as it is composed of astral matter it is an astral body. But the intangible self that travels far from the body during life is the Māyāvi-rūpa, or " illusion form."
According to Mme. Blavatsky, " The Mayāvi Rūpa is composed of the astral body as Upādhi [base], the guiding intelligence of the heart, and the attributes and qualities from the Auric Envelope " (Secret Doctrine, Vol. III, p. 56o). It is created by the intense thought of the person, and on occasions has been done unconsciously. Only Adepts have the power to project this form at will, and they can endow it with strength and impart to it every appearance of tangibility.
Unfortunately, the term astral body has been used very loosely. But instead of any disagreement or controversy as to which, the Etheric double or the Kamic sheath should be thus named, it were better far to understand that there are different astral bodies,- that the term is not specific. Mrs. Besant says : " Any body formed of astral matter is an astral body, but its properties will vary with the principles with which it is in-formed." The astral body is said to be molecular, however etherealized it may be.
The astral world is the next one in refinement of matter to the physical world which normal sight cognizes. The separation, like the different sheaths of our bodies, is one of condition not of place.
The septenary law holds good on every plane, and astral matter is of varying grades of density. There are, so to speak, astral solids, liquids, gases, and ethers as on the physical plane we know best, but all are finer. There is practically no limit to the subdivisions of matter by ever-increasing refinement of its atoms; and life is more highly vitalized, and form is ever more and more plastic as decreasing density presents less resistance to the thought-forces which continually change and re mould it.
Ethereal matter is astral, and the latter name was given because of the luminous or starlike brilliancy of its most refined states. The matter of the lowest subdivision of the astral world, corresponding to our physical, scarce deserves the name, but wanting a better distinction we must use it. To astral sight the astral world is visible; but to denizens of that plane there exist the same limits of condition as here, self-created through the mental activities which in selecting the materials used erect the wall of separation.
The fineness or coarseness of the Kāmic astral body depends upon the emotions and thoughts that play through it during this physical life. In low states of development, desire, stimulated from without, living entirely in external things, rules both body and mind. Such persons are weak-willed, and are at the beck and call of every suggestion and impulse. They build strong Kāmic sheaths which furnish the plasma for en-during Kama-rūpas of the grossest astral matter, the most permanent astral body.
As the person increases in intelligence, if the ethical keeps pace with the mental development, self-control is gained and the activities of the life are prompted from within; thus finer materials are attracted, and the Kamic sheath increases in size, becoming purer and more distinct and stable. The vibrations of all Principles gain in refinement and purity when the mind governs desires instead of responding to the outward stimuli of the senses, and only then can evolution proceed apace. It is the difference in the state of matter which raises all bars of incomprehension and misunderstanding. As we refine the vibrations of our different Principles we refine their constituent matter, and open to ourselves plane after plane of consciousness.
Remember, always, that the separation between these worlds, or planes of consciousness, is one of constitution, not of place. Encircling spheres are constantly alluded to, but they are " concentric, interpenetrating spheres." There is really no separation except of condition, a fact constantly proved in concentration, when consciousness passes successively through these sheaths, withdrawing, as the state of Samadhi approaches, more and more remotely from the purely physical to the highest spiritual.
The Psychic, or Lower Manasic, sheath grows exactly in proportion as the mind develops. With the growth of the higher capacities of the mind, the aura becomes a very beautiful, irradiating one, penetrating and extending beyond the Kamic sheath. The all-pervading Akasha is the medium, or atmosphere, in which the emanations of the several sheaths flow and intermingle; while Atma is both within and without, the force behind force in every vibration. Enveloping all, though limited by the self-development of the individual, even Atma is constrained by the medium, its density or rarity, through which it manifests.
Thus the aura is an absolute revelation of the divinity within. When it emanates from a radiant center nourished by a spiritually alive soul, it pro-claims the purity and light within by the greater size of the separate auras, and by the transcendent radiance of the colors.