Frames of reference...
31 December 2012
I recently came upon yogi, theosophist and Sanskrit scholar Ernest Wood's essay, The Seven Rays, published by The Theosophical Society in America, 1925. Wood's writing reflects the times. Many of his analogies are outdated or politically askew by contemporary standards, but he clearly knows his material and his efforts to explain the schema to a Western audience remain engaging. His introduction to and description of each ray goes to the assertion that, with the evolution of the human soul, every person can identify one of these Seven Rays as a predominant principle within him- or herself, experiencing it as a guide or star to follow, "an ideal, attracting them with irresistible fascination, so that they cannot but make their way towards it as their motive in life". In addition to this predominant principle, every individual also has all of the other six principles as well. The picture becomes increasingly complicated, but let's try to keep it simple.In a man of character, who is not a servant to his body or the personal emotions connected with that body, or the fixed ideas that it has acquired, but has really some active will or love or thought in himself, the ray can be distinguished with comparative ease, and there are certain questions that he may put to himself which will help him to discover his own ray; but these I must reserve until the specific rays have been described. In the common life of men, the rays are exhibited in the following general types:
In the above diagram the Seven Rays are shown as numbers. The upward-pointing triangle is chit (consciousness), and the downward-pointing triangle is sat (existence, being). "The whole is a symbol of the expression, through two related trinities, of seven equal principles, which may be called the seven principles of God." This is a representation of the great Trinity Brahma-Shiva-Vishnu: 1-2-3 . 4 . 5-6-7, with all rays of Shiva, but with Shiva represented as ānanda (happiness, harmony), #4, at center.The question is not how you stand as compared with any other person, but what principle is the leader of the forces within your own soul. [...] Above all, what do you want deep down inside yourself? Put aside all your desires, and ask yourself what it is that you really want, and do not accept any superficial answer, but ask yourself why you give that answer and what is the deeper need that remains behind. If you have liking or disliking, a passing and superficial fancy or repugnance, for any of the rays, it will distort your vision of the truth. You must be absolutely willing to accept anything from the intuition, and never question it while hoping that its answer may be this or that. [...] When you have chosen your guiding star, the following will be the lamps to light your feet through the tangled undergrowth of life, and the powers that will speed you on your way: