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A Treatise on Cosmic Fire - Section One - Division E - Motion on the Physical and Astral Planes
4. The Centers and the Senses, Normal and Supernormal

Before at all dealing with the centers and their relationship to the senses, it will be necessary first of all to point out certain facts of interest in connection with those senses,79 and so clear the ground for further information. [186]

What are the senses? How many are there? And what is their connection with the indwelling Man, the Thinker, the Divine Manasaputra? These are questions of vital moment, and in their due comprehension comes the ability wisely to follow the path of knowledge.

The senses might be defined as those organs whereby man becomes aware of his surroundings. We should perhaps express them not so much as organs (for after all, an organ is a material form, existent for a purpose) but as media whereby the Thinker comes in contact with his environment. They are the means whereby he makes investigation on the plane of the gross physical, for instance; the means whereby he buys his experience, whereby he discovers that which he requires to know, whereby he becomes aware, and whereby he expands his consciousness. We are dealing here with the five senses as used by the human being. In the animal these five senses exist but, as the thinking correlating faculty is lacking, as the "relation between" the self and the not-self is but little developed, we will not concern ourselves with them at this juncture. The senses in the animal kingdom are group faculty and demonstrate as racial instinct. The senses in man are his individual asset, and demonstrate:

  1. As the separate realization of self-consciousness.
  2. As ability to assert that individualism.
  3. As a valuable means to self-conscious evolution.
  4. As a source of knowledge.
  5. As the transmuting faculty towards the close of life in the three worlds.

As we know, the senses are five in number and in order of development are as follows:

  1. Hearing.
  2. Touch.
  3. Sight.
  4. Taste.
  5. Smell. [187]

Each of these five senses has a definite connection with one or other plane, and has also a correspondence on all planes.

Let us first take up each of these senses, point out some interesting facts in connection with them, and suggest their subplane correspondence.


  1. Physical - Hearing.
  2. Astral - Touch or feeling.
  3. Mental - Sight.
  4. Buddhic - Taste.
  5. Atmic - Smell.

In the two lower planes in the three worlds - the astral and the physical - the five subplanes of human endeavor are the five highest. The two lowest subplanes, the sixth and seventh, are what we might express as "below the threshold," and concern forms of life beneath the human altogether. We have a corroborating analogy in the fact that the two earliest root-races in this round are not definitely human, and that it is the third root-race which is really human for the first time. Counting, therefore, from the bottom upwards it is only the third subplane on the physical and the astral planes which mark the commencement of human effort, leaving five subplanes to be subdued. On the mental plane the five lower subplanes have to be subjugated during purely human evolution. When the consciousness is centered on the fifth subplane (counting from below upwards) then the planes of abstraction - from the standpoint of man in the three worlds - supervene the two subplanes of synthesis, demonstrating through the synthesis of the five senses. in the evolution of the Heavenly Man we have exactly the same thing: the five planes of endeavor, the five lower planes of the solar system, and the two higher planes of abstraction, the spiritual or monadic and the divine, or logoic. [188]

79 The seven senses or the avenues of perception. - S. D., I, 489, 490, The third or Indriya Creation. - S. D., III, 567.

Indriya - The control of the senses in yoga practice. These are the 10 external agents; the 5 senses which are used for perception are called 'Jnana-indriya' and the 5 used for action 'karma-indriya' - Theosophical Glossary.

"Jnana-indriyas" - literally knowledge-senses... by which knowledge is obtained... They axe the avenues inward.

"Karma-indriyas" - literally action senses... those producing action. They are the avenues outwards. - Study in Consciousness, pp. 166-167.

  1. Sensation is latent in every atom of substance. - S. D., II, 710.
  2. The Sun is the heart of the system and sensation emanates from there. It is due to solar radiation - S. D., I, 590, 662.
  3. Knowledge is the end of sense. - S. D., I, 300.
  4. There is a double set of senses, spiritual and material. - S. D., I, 582; S. D., II, 307, 308.
    This finds its reflection in the double set of physical senses noted in defining the indriyas.
  5. The senses might be enumerated as follows: S. D., I, 583 and note 123; S. D., II, 600, 674, 675, 676.
  6. The elements are the progenitors of the senses. - S. D., II, 112, 113.
    1. Aether - Hearing - Sound - Atmic plane.
    2. Air - Touch - Sound, touch - Buddhic plane.
    3. Fire - Sight - Sound, touch, sight - Mental plane.
    4. Water - Taste - Sound, touch, sight, taste - Astral plane.
    5. Earth - Smell - Sound, touch, sight, taste, smell - Physical plane.
  7. Every sense pervades every other sense... - S. D., III, 569.
    There is no universal order.
    All are on all planes. - S. D., III, 550.
  8. The senses correspond with every other septenate in nature.
    See S. D., III, 448. Compare S. D., III, 497.
    Practical reading... - S. D., I, 288
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