Last week I explained how theosophists look at consciousness: how it is mapped. In doing so I almost completely ignored the biological basis of life. The phenomena I want to map today are considered by the sciences of biology and medicine as aspects of the body – to the extent that is that these phenomena are recognized at all.
There are three core concepts theosophists use to talk about these things (from Blavatsky’s Key to Theosophy). I’ll just enumerate them and let the explanation follow:
- Physical body (Rupa or Sthula Sharira)
- Life principle (Prana or Chi)
- Astral body (Linga Sharira)
Biologically speaking of course prana is not a separate principle. I’ve had all kinds of lessons in biology and never did a teacher point to a specific ‘life principle’. Oh well, the same teachers would have talked about healing as ‘suggestion’. I’m pretty sure if one were to ask one of them why yoga or tai chi work, they would point to a combination of the physical exercise and the impact on the central nervous system (my interpretation).
For those who have experienced these things it DOES make sense to refer to prana or chi. That biologists don’t agree, who cares?
It helps to label it prana, because that explains why this energy can go from one person to the next, as in healing practices like reiki.
The concept of an astral body is particularly helpful in describing clairvoyant experiences. For instance: it is said that our bodies grow to fill in as it were the shape of the astral body. The shape of the body is predetermined by the shape of the astral body. This explains why clairvoyants are able to see how a child will look grown up.