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Spring 2009

The Purusha SuktaPart I


Zachary F. Lansdowne

Abstract vealed and who gave expression to it as the


hymn on the Supreme Purusha.2

T he Purusha Sukta is an ancient Hindu


hymn that celebrates the sacrifice of a
God-like entity called Purusha, and it is still
The Purusha Sukta is a small hymn, with only
sixteen verses, and is written in the oldest form
regularly chanted during Hindu worship. Mod- of Sanskrit that has been preserved. Some of
ern scholars, however, find this hymn to be its words have multiple meanings, and some
obscure. This article gives a theosophical in- may have had meanings that were lost during
terpretation, showing that Purusha corresponds the intervening years. Its language is ritualistic
to the concept of the Planetary Logos. Part I of and may seem archaic. Moreover, this hymn
this article covers verses 1 through 10, and Part may have a hidden, or esoteric, significance
II covers verses 11 through 16. that was concealed behind its ritualistic lan-
guage.
Background For these reasons, modern scholars generally
find the Purusha Sukta to be obscure. For ex-
T he Rig Veda, the oldest text in Hinduism,
is a collection of 1,028 Sanskrit hymns
and is often dated between 17001100 BCE.
ample, John Muir refers to it as, Another im-
portant, but in many places obscure, hymn of
The earliest version of the Purusha Sukta is in the Rig Veda.3 Zenaide Ragozin writes, The
the Rig Veda, but subsequent versions of this hymn, as a whole, is exceedingly obscure and
hymn appear elsewhere with some modifica- of entirely mystical import.4 One verse, which
tions and redactions. It is one of the few hymns characterizes something as both the parent and
in the Rig Veda still being used in contempo- progeny of something else, is called a crypto-
rary Hinduism, as reported by the President of gram by Rein Fernhout.5 Another verse seems
the Ramakrishna Mission at Chennai, India: to describe a paradoxical situation in which a
This Sukta finds a place even today in the sacrifice has the same subject and object, so
worship of a deity, in a temple or at home, in Steven Rosen asks, Was the confusion that
the daily parayana [chanting], in establishing naturally bursts forth from this paradox meant
the sacred fire for a Vedic ritual, in various to be like a Zen koan, a mystical riddle, or is it
rituals, and even in the cremation of a dead a product of the Vedas incomprehensibility?6
body.1 On the other hand, Helena Blavatsky, co-
According to the Hindu tradition, the Purusha founder of the Theosophical Society, states
Sukta was written down by an ancient scribe that this hymn has a coherent esoteric mean-
known as Narayana. Swami Krishnananda, the
General Secretary of The Divine Life Society,
reports on this somewhat mythical origin: About the Author
The Seer (Rishi) of the Sukta is Narayana, the
greatest of sages ever known, who is rightly Zachary F. Lansdowne, Ph.D., who served as
proclaimed in the Bhagavata [Purana] as the President of the Theosophical Society in Boston,
has been a frequent contributor to The Esoteric
only person whose mind cannot be disturbed
Quarterly. His book The Revelation of Saint John,
by desire and, as the Mahabharata says, whose which provides a verse-by-verse analysis of the
power not even all the gods can ever imagine. entire Revelation, was reviewed in the Fall 2006
Such is the Rishi to whom the Sukta was re- issue. He can be reached at zackl@sprynet.com.

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ing: It is those scholars only who will master tween Purusha, or the Planetary Logos, and
the secret meaning of the Purushasukta, who human beings.
may hope to understand how harmonious are
1. Thousand-headed is Purusa, thousand-
its teachings and how corroborative of the Eso-
eyed, thousand-footed. Having covered
teric Doctrines. One must study in all the ab-
the earth on all sides, he stood above it
struseness of their metaphysical meaning the
the width of ten fingers.
relations therein between the (Heavenly) Man
Purusha, sacrificed for the production of the The Planetary Logos, whose body incor-
Universe and all in it, and the terrestrial mortal porates all human beings, expresses Him-
man.7 self through the planet Earth but tran-
scends it.
Blavatsky continues: Hence in the Purusha
Sukta of the Rig Veda, the mother fount and Sri V. Sundar provides a slightly different
source of all subsequent religions, it is stated
translation for the last phrase in the verse: He
allegorically that the thousand-headed Pu- stands beyond the count of ten fingers. The
rusha was slaughtered at the foundation of ten fingers in this phrase are the fingers of hu-
the World, that from his remains the Uni- man hands. Sundar explains this symbol:
verse might arise. This is nothing more nor
They are the basis of count, of all mathemat-
less than the foundationthe seed, trulyof ics, of all the logic and science built on
the later many-formed symbol in various mathematics. However, they are all limited
religions, including Christianity, of the sacri-
when it comes to analyzing Purusha. He is
ficial lamb. For it is a play upon the words. transcendent, and beyond such limited under-
Aja (Purusha), the unborn or eternal standing.10
Spirit, means also lamb in Sanskrit. Spirit
disappearsdies, metaphoricallythe more Who or what is Purusha (or Purusa) in this
it gets involved in matter, and hence the sac- hymn? The Sanskrit word Purusha can be
rifice of the unborn, or the lamb.8 translated as man, soul, or spirit. The Purusha
Sukta in its earliest version, which appears in
Blavatsky never published a detailed commen-
the Rig Veda, does not call Purusha by any
tary on the Purusha Sukta. In fact, to our name other than Purusha and so it is not clear
knowledge, the two paragraphs given above what this word actually denotes. Blavatsky,
constitute most of her published comments on
however, offers this clue: In these Hymns, the
this hymn. Alice Bailey, a later theosophical Heavenly Man is called purusha.11 So, who
author, wrote a great deal on subjects related to or what is the Heavenly Man?
the Purusha Sukta but did not write anything
explicitly about this hymn. Bailey uses the terms Heavenly Man and
Planetary Logos,12 and also the plural forms
In what follows, the English translation of each Heavenly Men and Planetary Logoi, as
verse of the Purusha Sukta (as found in the Rig synonyms. She says, Human beings are the
Veda) by Michael Myers, a Professor of the
cells in the body of a Heavenly Man.13 She
Philosophy of Religion, 9 is given in bold, fol- also speaks of the planet Earth, through which
lowed by an interpretation of that verse in ital- our Planetary Logos expresses Himself,14 and
ics showing that Purusha corresponds to the
goes on to say, A Heavenly Man has His
concept of the Planetary Logos. The subse- source outside the solar system.15 Thus, Bai-
quent theosophical commentary, including a leys descriptions of the Planetary Logos are
detailed analysis of the symbols in the verse, is consistent with how the first verse describes
based primarily on the writings of Blavatsky
Purusha. The commentary that follows shows
and Bailey. that interpreting Purusha as the Planetary Lo-
gos also yields a coherent treatment for the
Purusha subsequent verses.

T he first five verses provide us with a de-


tailed description of the relationship be-
2. Only Purusa is all this, that which has
been and that which is to be. He is the

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lord of the immortals, who grow by cycle of rebirth comes to an end. We take these
means of [ritual] food. liberated human beings to be the immortals
because they are no longer born into mortal
The Planetary Logos is the prototype for
physical bodies. Theosophy uses the terms
human beings, the model for their past
spiritual kingdom and Hierarchy to denote
development and future attainment. He is
them.
the lord of the spiritual kingdom and
achieves as human beings sacrifice their The verse designates the Planetary Logos as
own limited ideals and pride. the lord of the immortals. The Planetary Lo-
gos could be regarded in such a way because
A prototype can be defined as an original the spiritual kingdom endeavors to carry out
model after which similar things are patterned. the will of the Planetary Logos, as Bailey ex-
This definition allows the model and similar plains: The Chohans of the Hierarchy now on
things to have different dimensions. We inter- Earth work consciously carrying out the
pret the first sentence to mean that the Plane- Will of the Planetary Logos in the planet, but
tary Logos is the proto- even They are as yet far
type for each human Approximately eighteen mil- from appreciating fully
being even though they the Will and purpose of
have vastly different lion years ago occurred a the Logos as He works
dimensions. Genesis great event that signified, through the system.
1:27 states: So God Glimpses They may get
created man in his own
among other things, the fol- and an idea of the gen-
image, in the image of lowing developments: The eral plan, but the details
God created he him.16 Planetary Logos of our Earth are as19yet unrecogniz-
This quotation supports able. Here, the
our interpretation be- scheme, one of the Seven Chohans denote the
cause the Planetary Lo- Spirits before the throne, presiding officers of the
gos could be regarded took physical incarnation spiritual kingdom.
as the personal God of
our planet.17 Bailey [With Him] came a group of Sacrifice in Hinduism20
says, Man is gradually other highly evolved Entities can be outer or inner.
In the above verse, rit-
achieving that con- to form focal points of ual food is taken as
scious control over mat-
ter in the three worlds planetary force for the help- bits of the lower self
that are surrendered as
that his divine Proto- ing of the great plan for the part of inner sacrifice,
types, the Heavenly
Men, have already
self-conscious unfoldment of but what are those bits?
all life. Bailey encourages the
achieved.18 In other
spontaneous relinquish-
words, human beings
ing of long-held ideals when a greater and
are essentially similar to the Planetary Logos,
more inclusive presents itself and the sacri-
but gradually become in practical manifesta-
fice of pride and the sacrifice of personality
tion what they truly are and what the Planetary
when the vastness of the work and the urgency
Logos has already achieved. If we accept the
of the need are realized.21 Thus, ritual food
premise that the Planetary Logos is the proto-
includes surrendered ideals and pride.
type for human beings, we can make infer-
ences about the Planetary Logos based on Sacrifice, however, does not imply pain and
analogies with human beings. suffering, as Bailey points out: Students
should also bear in mind that they need to rid
The above verse mentions the immortals, but themselves of the usual idea of sacrifice as a
who are they? In Hinduism, human beings are process of giving-up, or renunciation of all that
said to have attained mokshaa Sanskrit word makes life worth living. Sacrifice is, techni-
that means salvation or liberationwhen their cally speaking, the achievement of a state of

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bliss and of ecstasy because it is the realization and from there observe His body. The verse
of another divine aspect.22 states that His body is formed by all beings,
so the Planetary Logos is able to observe those
Myerss translation of the verse, given above,
beings.
suggests that the entire spiritual kingdom
grows by means of ritual food. Rosen, how- Bailey explains the last point in more detail:
ever, translates the last part of the verse as, Let me now expand the concept further, re-
He is the lord of eternal life, and grows by minding you of the phrase so oft employed,
virtue of [ritual] food,23 which suggests only the All-Seeing Eye. This refers to the power
that the Planetary Logos grows by means of of the Planetary Logos to see into all parts,
such food. Bailey writes, When man achieves, aspects, and phases (in time and space) of His
then the Heavenly Men likewise achieve.24 planetary vehicle, which is His physical body,
Thus, when human beings sacrifice their lim- and to identify Himself with all the reactions
ited ideals and pride, the Planetary Logos also and sensitivities of His created world and to
advances. participate with full knowledge in all events
and happenings.27 Proverbs 15:3 has a similar
3. Such is his greatness, yet more than this notion: The eyes of the LORD are in every
is Purusa. One-quarter of him is all be- place, beholding the evil and the good.
ings; three-quarters of him is the im-
mortal in heaven. 4. Three-quarters of Purusa went upward,
one-quarter of him remained here.
Such is the greatness of the Planetary Lo-
From this [one-quarter] he spread in all
gos, and yet He is more than even this.
directions into what eats and what does
The Planetary Logos is also the All-
not eat.
Seeing Eye that sees into His body, in-
cluding every human being, because He The will, love-wisdom, and intelligence of
can be focused within His higher life. the Planetary Logos flow through His vi-
tal body, which includes the human king-
Theosophy considers a human being to con- dom of nature, and then through His
sist of the following four parts: the Monad, or dense physical body, which includes the
divine Self; the Triad, consisting of spiritual animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms.
will, intuition, and higher mind; the causal
body, which is the storehouse for the wisdom The physical body of a human being has both
gained from experience; and the personality, dense and subtle portions. The dense physical
consisting of the mental, emotional, and body contains the muscles, organs, and bones.
physical bodies.25 Accordingly, the personal- The subtle physical body is called the vital or
ity is only one-quarter of these parts; the re- etheric body in theosophy; pranamayakosha, a
maining three-quarters are in higher, or more Sanskrit name, in Hinduism; meridians in Chi-
abstract, realms. Human beings can be self- nese medicine; and biofield in alternative
observant because they can be focused within western medicine.
their higher life and from there observe the
According to theosophy, the manifested uni-
personality. Indeed, Bailey says, The task of
verse consists of seven worlds that are often
the disciple is to become consciously aware
called planes. These planes are arranged
like a detached onlooking Observerof these
metaphorically in a tiered sequence. The men-
energies and their expressing qualities as they
tal, emotional, and physical planes are the
function within himself.26
three lowest planes; and they constitute the
As indicated by the above verse, the body of three worlds of human endeavor. The physical
the Planetary Logos is only one-quarter of Him plane is the lowest plane, and it is said to have
because He mainly consists of higher parts that seven subplanes. The three lowest physical
are in heaven. By analogy, the Planetary Lo- subplanes (called the gaseous, liquid, and
gos can also be self-observant, which means dense subplanes) provide the substance for the
that He can be focused within His higher life dense physical bodies of human beings. The

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four highest physical subplanes (called the body is the remaining one-quarter. Subsequent
etheric subplanes) provide the substance for verses provide examples of how these four
the vital bodies of human beings.28 principles are applied. His dense physical body
is not counted as a principle because its activ-
An analogous situation holds for the Planetary
ity is simply an effect, or outcome, of the four
Logos. Bailey writes, Our seven planes are
manifested principles.
only the seven subplanes of the cosmic physi-
cal plane,29 and speaks of the appropriation The third verse associates one-quarter of him
of a dense physical body by the Planetary Lo- with all beings, while the above verse asso-
gos; this body is composed of matter of our ciates he spread in all directions with what
three lower planes.30 The point is that our eats and what does not eat. Thus, these sym-
mental, emotional, and physical planes, which bols are interpreted as meaning that the vital
are the three lowest cosmic physical subplanes, body of the Planetary Logos includes all hu-
provide the substance for the dense physical man beings, while His dense physical body
body of the Planetary Logos. Similarly, our includes the subhuman kingdoms of nature
four highest planes, which are the four highest namely, the animal, vegetable, and mineral
cosmic physical subplanes, provide the sub- kingdoms.
stance for the vital body of the Planetary Lo-
This interpretation is supported by Baileys
gos. The physical body of the Planetary Logos
descriptions of the planetary bodies: It must
is the combination of His dense physical and
be remembered that the sumtotal of human and
vital bodies.
deva units upon a planet make the body vital of
Human beings have inner streams of energy a Planetary Logos, whilst the sumtotal of lesser
that flow through their vital body and then lives upon a planet (from the material bodies
through their dense physical body. 31 The above of men or devas down to the other kingdoms of
verse depicts the analogous flow of energy for nature) form His body corporeal.36 Here, Bai-
the Planetary Logos. Three-quarters of Purusa ley uses deva, which is the Sanskrit word for
went upward is taken as His streams of en- deity, to denote an angelic builder of the form
ergy that originate within higher cosmic aspect of a planet.37
planes; one-quarter of him remained here as
His vital body, which remains within the cos- 5. From him the shining one was born,
mic physical plane; and he spread in all direc- from the shining one was born Purusa.
tions as the streaming of these energies into When born he extended beyond the
His dense physical body. earth, behind as well as in front.
What is the meaning of the fractions that ap- The Planetary Logos brings about illumi-
pear in the verse? Three-quarters are associ- nation in human beings, and this illumi-
ated with streams of energy, one-quarter with nation brings about an awareness of the
the vital body, and zero-quarters with the Planetary Logos. When the Planetary Lo-
dense physical body. These fractions are based gos for our planet began His work, His
upon the total number of principles that the influence extended beyond the Earth be-
Planetary Logos manifests, as Bailey explains: cause He affected the other Planetary
Only four principles in the Heavenly Men are Logoi within our solar system.
as yet manifesting to any extent.32 She goes
on to point out that a Heavenly Man contains The above verse describes the paradoxical
within Himself three major principleswill, situation in which the shining one is born
love-wisdom, intelligence,33 and that the from Purusha and then Purusha is born from
dense physical body is not a principle for a the shining one. Here, the shining one is a
Heavenly Man34 though the etheric body translation of the Sanskrit word viraj, which
is the principle of coherence in every form.35 could also be translated as splendor, radiance,
Thus, will, love-wisdom, and intelligence are or light. Modern scholars have attempted to
three-quarters of the principles manifested by resolve this paradox by offering differing con-
the Planetary Logos, and His vital, or etheric, ceptions about what viraj denotes. In this

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commentary, the shining one is taken to rep- clarified butter, summer the kindling,
resent psychological illumination because the autumn the oblation.
latter shines forth like an inner light within the
When the divinity hidden within the forms
personality.
of life in the planet sought added life and
Bailey speaks of the great experiment that has illumination, the Planetary Logos sacri-
been inaugurated on Earth by our Planetary ficed Himself by entering into those
Logos in connection with the process of initia- forms, thereby transforming their life cy-
tion38 and says, The objective of the experi- cles into evolutionary cycles.
ment might be stated as follows: It is the intent
of the Planetary Logos to bring about a psy- The above verse may seem complex because it
chological condition that can best be described depicts how the process of invocation and evo-
as one of divine lucidity.39 In other words, cation affected the process of evolution.
the Planetary Logos brings about illumination Invocation is the act of petitioning for help or
in human beings through the process of initia- support from a greater entity; evocation is the
tion. This illumination is a manifestation of the subsequent response of help. The earlier verses
principle of love-wisdom mentioned in the describe the evocation of added life and illu-
fourth verse. Bailey also writes, At initiation, mination from the Planetary Logos. The forms
man becomes aware consciously of the Pres- of life in our planet, however, must have in-
ence of the Planetary Logos through self- voked such help before the corresponding evo-
induced contact with his own divine Spirit.40 cation could have occurred.
Thus, this illumination, which is brought about Bailey describes this process of invocation and
by the Planetary Logos, in turn brings about an evocation as follows:
awareness of the Planetary Logos. That out-
come is also suggested by Psalm 36:9: In thy The basic sacrifice that the Planetary Lo-
light shall we see light. Just as the light from gos made was when He decided to incar-
a lamp enables us to see the lamp itself, the nate or enter into the form of this planet
illumination brought about by the Planetary This sacrifice was imperative in the fullest
Logos enables us to perceive the cause of that sense, owing to the ability of the Planetary
illumination. Logos to identify Himself in full con-
sciousness with the Soul in all forms of
The final phrase, he extended beyond the
life, latent within the planetary substance.
earth, behind as well as in front, means that When He took over this task, He, eso-
the Planetary Logos for our planet affects the terically, had no choice because the deci-
Planetary Logoi for the other planets in our sion was inherent in His own nature. Be-
solar system. Bailey describes how the Plane-
cause of this identification, He could not
tary Logoi may affect each other: Each of the refuse the invocative appeal of the seeds
Heavenly Men pours forth His radiation, or of life, striving within the substance of the
influence, and stimulates in some way some
form, and seeking added life and light, as
other center or globe. To word it otherwise, the Old Commentary puts it. This striving
His magnetism is felt by His Brothers in a and reaching forth evoked His response
greater or less degree according to the work
and the going out of His divinity, as ex-
being undertaken at any one time.41 pressed in will, activated by fixed deter-
mination to meet the deeply hidden divin-
The Sacrifice of Purusha ity within these seeds. 42

V erses six through ten depict for us the ef-


fects of divine sacrifice on the various
forms of life on our planet.
The last part of the verse is concerned with
evolution. The three seasonsspring, summer,
and autumnrepresent the life-cycle of annual
plants: their birth, life, and death. The verse
6. When the gods performed a sacrifice mentions three elements of a sacrificial ritual:
with the offering Purusa, spring was its clarified butter, which brightens the sacrificial

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fire; kindling, which enables the fire to burn; as a sacrifice. With him the gods sacri-
and oblation, which is burned in the fire. Clari- ficed, the demi-gods, and the seers.
fied butter, which is called ghee in India, is
At the beginning of the current Manvan-
butter that has had the milk solids and water
tara, the Planetary Logos for our planet
removed. The verse states that the sacrifice of
became a center within the vital body of
the Planetary Logos transformed the three sea-
the Solar Logos, transmitting streams of
sons into these elements. If the implicit fire in
energy from the other Planetary Logoi to
the verse is interpreted as symbolizing the evo-
the forms of life within the dense physical
lutionary process, then the transformed seasons
body of the Solar Logos.
may be interpreted in the following way:
spring represents the birth of a new form, In Hinduism, a Manvantara is a very long du-
whichlike gheereveals the glory of the ration of time. According to Blavatsky, The
evolutionary process; summer represents the
full period of one Manvantara is
discovery of the forms limitations, which 308,448,000 years.44 Bailey uses the term
like kindlingsupport the continuation of the Manvantara to denote the cycle of physical
evolutionary process; and autumn represents incarnation of a Planetary Logos.45 So, in the
the death of the form, whichlike an obla-
above verse, the beginning refers to the be-
tioninvokes a new and better form to take its ginning of the current Manvantara.
place.
In theosophy, the Solar Logos is the entity
Consequently, the interpretation of the verse is
who expresses Himself through our solar sys-
as follows: The gods represent the divinity tem, just the Planetary Logos expresses Him-
hidden within the forms of life in the planet. self through our planet. The term Grand Man
The gods performed a sacrifice with the offer-
of the Heavens is a synonym for the Solar
ing Purusa means that the hidden divinity per- Logos, just as Heavenly Man is a synonym
formed an invocation that evoked the sacrifice for the Planetary Logos. Moreover, the Solar
of the Planetary Logos. Spring was its clari- Logos is the prototype for the Planetary Logos,
fied butter, summer the kindling, autumn the
just as the Planetary Logos is the prototype for
oblation means that the sacrifice of the Plane- human beings. Bailey says, What is true of
tary Logos transformed the life cycles of the him [a human being] is true of his great proto-
forms into evolutionary cycles.
type, the Heavenly Man, the Planetary Logos,
This interpretation is supported by Baileys and true again of the prototype of his proto-
discussion of cyclic evolution: Cyclic evolu- type, the Grand Man of the Heavens, the Solar
tion is entirely the result of the activity of mat- Logos.46 Thus, we can make statements about
ter, and of the Will or Spirit. It is produced by the Solar Logos based on analogies with hu-
the interaction of active matter and molding man beings.
Spirit The active will, intelligently applied, The Solar Logos has both a vital body and a
of an Entity affects all lesser lives in cyclic
dense physical body, just as a human being has
evolution within the Body of that particular both. According to the Hindu Upanishads, hu-
actively willing Existence No form is as yet man beings have seven major centers, called
perfect, and it is this fact that necessitates cy-
chakras in Sanskrit, within their vital body. 47
clic evolution and the continual production of By analogy, the Solar Logos also has seven
forms until they approximate reality in fact and major centers within His vital body. In the
in deed.43 Here the molding Will or Spirit is above verse, three clues indicate that the
the will of the Planetary Logos, which the
Planetary Logos has become one of those cen-
fourth verse depicts as flowing into the human ters.
and subhuman kingdoms.
First, the sacrifice of the Planetary Logos takes
7. It was Purusa, born in the beginning, place on sacred grass. Grass also appears as
which they sprinkled on the sacred grass a symbol in Revelation 8:7, for which it has
been interpreted as the human vital body be-

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cause it resembles that body in the following lar Logos,51 where etheric is synonymous
way. 48 According to the Upanishads, the hu- with vital.
man vital body consists of an extensive and
intricate network of energy channels, which 8. From that sacrifice completely offered,
are called nadis in Sanskrit. A single nadi is a the clotted butter was brought together.
thin channel of force, so its form is similar to It made the beasts of the air, the forest
that of a blade of grass. The Upanishads con- and the village.
sider this vital body to consist of many nadis As a result from the sacrifice of the Plane-
but do not agree on the exact number of them; tary Logos, the evolutionary changes oc-
the number most often mentioned is 72,000.49
curred much more rapidly. This speedup
Similarly, a field of grass consists of many enabled certain lives to pass relatively
blades of grass. By analogy, a field of grass quickly through the three stages in the evo-
also resembles the vital body of the Solar Lo-
lutionary process for animals and become
gos, so sacred grass in the verse is taken as human beings.
symbolizing that body.
Second, they sprinkled The term clotted butter is
the Planetary Logos. a translation of the Sanskrit
Sundar expands Myerss It is those scholars only word prsadajya, which is
translation, given above, who will master the se- curdled or clotted butter,
with the sentence, Those [or] ghee mixed with co-
achievers sprinkled him
cret meaning of the Pu- agulated milk.52 As in the
with holy water. 50 In rushasukta, who may sixth verse, ghee symbol-
either translation, sprin- hope to understand how izes the birth of a new evo-
kled is taken as depicting lutionary form. According
the transmission of harmonious are its teach- to this association, ghee is
streams of energy, which ings and how corrobora- spread out over the time-
is a key function of a cen- tive of the Esoteric Doc- line, appearing whenever
ter within the vital body. evolutionary change occurs.
trines [including] the Thus, the clotted butter
Third, with him the gods
sacrificed, the demi-gods,
relations therein between was brought together
means that the evolutionary
and the seers. Thus, the the (Heavenly) Man Pu- changes, which would have
other participants in the rusha, sacrificed for the been spread out over a
sacrifice are as follows:
gods, which could sig- production of the Uni- comparatively long time-
line, were brought together
nify macrocosms, or large verse and all in it, and the over a relatively short time-
worlds, are taken as the terrestrial mortal man. line. In other words, those
vital and dense physical
changes occurred much
bodies of the Solar Logos; more rapidly.
demi-gods, which could signify lesser mac-
rocosms, are taken as the other Planetary Bailey describes three stages in the evolution-
Logoi; and seers, which could signify beings ary process for the animal kingdom: First, the
with insight, are taken as the forms of life that higher animals and the domestic animals, such
invoked added life and illumination, as men- as the dog, the horse and the elephant. Sec-
tioned in the sixth verse. ondly, the so-called wild animals, such as the
lion, the tiger, and the other carnivorous and
Consequently, we interpret the verse as saying dangerous wild animals. Thirdly, the mass of
that the Planetary Logos for our planet became lesser animals.53 In the above verse, we take
a center within the vital body of the Solar Lo-
the animals of the air, forest, and village as
gos. This interpretation is supported by Bai- representing Baileys three stages of animal
leys statement, The bodies of the seven evolution, but in their correct temporal se-
Heavenly Men are the etheric centers for a So-

22 Copyright The Esoteric Quarterly, 2009


Spring 2009

quence. By mentioning all three stages and Him] came a group of other highly evolved
indicating that the duration of those stages had Entities to form focal points of planetary
been significantly compressed, the verse sug- force for the helping of the great plan for the
gests that some lives completed their evolution self-conscious unfoldment of all life. Their
as animals and so became human beings. places have gradually been filled by the sons
of men as they qualify, though this includes
This interpretation is supported by Baileys
very few, until lately, from our immediate
historical account: Left to himself for long
Earth humanity.55
eons, animal man would have eventually pro-
gressed out of the animal kingdom into the Bailey also says, The main technique of the
human and would have become a self- Hierarchy is that of conveying inspiration.56
conscious, functioning, rational entity, but how Thus, after being founded by the Planetary Lo-
slow the process would have been The de- gos, the spiritual kingdom, or Hierarchy, in-
cision of the Planetary Logos to take a physical spired human beings to write sacred scriptures,
vehicle produced an extraordinary stimulation such as the Rig Veda.
in the evolutionary process; and, by His incar-
The Sanskrit word mantra, mentioned in the
nation and the methods of force distribution He
above verse, denotes a word or phrase of
employed, He brought about in a brief cycle of
spiritual significance and power. Each verse
time what would otherwise have been incon-
in the Rig Veda is said to be a mantra, be-
ceivably slow. The germ of mind in animal
cause it is thought to carry the truth and crea-
man was stimulated The fourth, or human
tive power that can lead to spiritual realiza-
kingdom, came thus into being; and the self-
tion. A meter, also mentioned in the verse, is
conscious or rational unit, man, began his ca-
the rhythmic pattern of a stanza in a poem.
reer.54
The earliest known metrical texts are the
The above quotation refers to the human king- hymns in the Rig Veda, which are written in
dom as the fourth kingdom of nature. In this a variety of meters. In the Purusha Sukta, the
enumeration, the mineral, vegetable, and ani- first fifteen verses are composed in the same
mal kingdoms are counted as the first, second, meter and the final verse in another meter.
and third kingdoms, respectively, and the spiri-
tual kingdom as the fifth kingdom. 10. From it the horses were born and all
that have cutting teeth in both jaws. The
9. From that sacrifice completely offered, cows were born from it, also. From it
the mantras [Rig Veda] and the songs were born goats and sheep.
[Samaveda] were born. The meters were
As yet another result from the sacrifice of
born from it. The sacrificial formulae
the Planetary Logos, human beings pro-
[Yajurveda] were born from it.
duced farm animals through the training
As another result from the sacrifice of the and selective breeding of wild animals.
Planetary Logos, the spiritual kingdom
appeared and inspired human beings to Selective breeding of animals is the process by
write sacred scriptures containing man- which a breeder develops a cultivated breed
tras, songs, rhythmic patterns, and trans- over time, while selecting qualities within in-
formational techniques. dividuals of the breed that are passed on to the
next generation. Scientific evidence shows that
According to Bailey, the sacrifice of the Plane- selective breeding, rather than mutation or
tary Logos led to the founding of the spiritual natural selection, best explains how domestica-
kingdom for our planet: Approximately eight- tion of animals typically proceeded. Livestock
een million years ago occurred a great event or farm animals are animals that have been
that signified, among other things, the follow- domesticated for food or work.
ing developments: The Planetary Logos of our
In the above verse, it refers to the sacrifice
Earth scheme, one of the Seven Spirits before
of the Planetary Logos, all of the mentioned
the throne, took physical incarnation [With
animals are farm animals, and the word born

Copyright The Esoteric Quarterly, 2009 23


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is a translation of the Sanskrit word that could


also mean made or produced. Conse- 4
Zenaide A. Ragozin, Vedic India as Embodied
quently, this verse is taken as saying that the Principally in the Rig-Veda (New York: G. P. Put-
sacrifice of the Planetary Logos led to the pro- nams Sons, 1902), 280.
duction of farm animals through the training 5
Rein Fernhout, Canonical Texts, Bearers of Abso-
and selective breeding of wild animals. lute Authority: Bible, Koran, Veda, Tipitaka (At-
lanta, GA: Rodopi, 1994), 35.
Bailey makes a similar statement: The true 6
Steven J. Rosen, Essential Hinduism (Westport,
and intelligent training of the wild animals and CT: Praeger, 2006), 55.
their adaptation to the conditions of ordered 7
Helena P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II
living are part of the divine process of integrat- (1888; reprint; Pasadena, CA: Theosophical Uni-
ing the Plan and of producing an ordered and versity Press, 1977), 606.
8
harmonious expression of the divine intent.57 Helena P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings, Vol. XIV
Here, adaptation is taken as selective breed- (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Society in America,
ing, the Plan as a manifestation of the intel- 2002), 397.
9
ligence of the Planetary Logos (mentioned in Paul Brians, et al., Reading About the World, Vol.
1 (3rd ed., Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace College
the fourth verse), and the divine intent as the
Publishing, 2006), 128, http://www.wsu.edu/
will of the Planetary Logos (also mentioned in ~wldciv/world_civ_reader/world_civ_reader_1/rig_
the fourth verse). veda.html (accessed Dec. 20, 2008).
10
As shown by earlier verses, the Purusha Sukta Sri V. Sundar, Purusha Sukta, February 17, 1995,
emphasizes the role of inner design; but this http://www.ramanuja.org/purusha/sukta-1.html
(accessed Dec. 20, 2008).
inner design does not imply a single Designer, 11
Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, 606.
such as a personal God who creates the design. 12
Alice A. Bailey, The Light of the Soul (New York:
Blavatsky explains the last point: The Uni- Lucis Publishing, 1927), 387.
verse is worked and guided from within out- 13
Alice A. Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire (New
wards The whole Kosmos is guided, con- York: Lucis Publishing, 1925), 353.
14
trolled, and animated by almost endless series Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Healing (New York:
of Hierarchies of sentient Beings, each having Lucis Publishing, 1953), 433.
15
a mission to perform, and who are messen- Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 271.
16
gers in the sense only that they are the agents All Biblical verses are taken from the King James
of Karmic and Cosmic Laws.58 So, for exam- Version.
17
Alice A. Bailey, Letters on Occult Meditation
ple, the Planetary Logos is guided by the Solar
(New York: Lucis Publishing, 1922), 357.
Logos (seventh verse); the spiritual kingdom is 18
Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 410.
guided by the Planetary Logos (second verse); 19
Ibid., 732.
the human kingdom is guided by the spiritual 20
Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Dancing with
kingdom (ninth verse); and the animal king- Siva: Hinduisms Contemporary Catechism (Kapaa,
dom is guided by the human kingdom (tenth HI: Himalayan Academy Publications, 2004), 849.
21
verse). Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 2
(New York: Lucis Publishing, 1942), 109.
[Part II covers verses 11 through 16] 22
Alice A. Bailey, The Rays and the Initiations
(New York: Lucis Publishing, 1960), 492.
23
Rosen, Essential Hinduism, 55.
1 24
Swami Amritananda, Sri Rudram and Purushasuk- Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 244.
tam (Chennai, India: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1997), 25
Annie Besant, A Study in Consciousness (Madras,
vii. India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1904), 189-
2
Swami Krishnananda, Daily Invocations 191; Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 260-261.
(Rishikesh, India: Sivananda Ashram, 2008), 6, 26
Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Astrology (New York:
http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/invoc_0.html Lucis Publishing, 1951), 414.
27
(accessed Dec. 20, 2008). Alice A. Bailey, Discipleship in the New Age, Vol.
3
John Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, Vol. V (Lon- 2 (New York: Lucis Publishing, 1955), 291.
28
don: Trubner and Company, 1872), 367. Arthur E. Powell, The Etheric Double (Wheaton,
IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1925), 1; Al-

24 Copyright The Esoteric Quarterly, 2009


Spring 2009

ice A. Bailey, Initiation, Human and Solar (New


York: Lucis Publishing, 1922), 218.
29
Bailey, The Rays and the Initiations, 357.
30
Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 690.
31
Bailey, Esoteric Healing, 34.
32
Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 253.
33
Ibid., 252.
34
Ibid., 253.
35
Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1
(New York: Lucis Publishing, 1936), 54.
36
Ibid., 301.
37
Bailey, Initiation, Human and Solar, 36.
38
Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 1174.
39
Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1, 252-253.
40
Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 752.
41
Ibid., 359.
42
Bailey, Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. 2, 286-
287.
43
Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 275, 393, 925.
44
Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, 69.
45
Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 670.
46
Bailey, The Light of the Soul, 387.
47
Hiroshi Motoyama, Theories of the Chakras
(Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House,
1984), 130-133.
48
Zachary F. Lansdowne, The Revelation of St. John
(York Beach, ME: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2006), 72.
49
Motoyama, Theories of the Chakras, 135.
50
Sundar, Purusha Sukta, http://www.ramanuja.org/
purusha/sukta-3.html (accessed Dec. 20, 2008).
51
Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 352.
52
Sir Monier Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English
Dictionary, http://webapps.uni-koeln.de/tamil/ (ac-
cessed Dec. 20, 2008).
53
Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1, 224, 253.
54
Bailey, Initiation, Human and Solar, 31-32.
55
Ibid., 28-29.
56
Bailey, The Rays and the Initiations, 230.
57
Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1, 255.
58
Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, 274.

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26 Copyright The Esoteric Quarterly, 2009