In the three preceding volumes of this series, viz., The Etheric double, The Astral Body, and The Mental Body, the life history of each of the three lower vehicles of man has been studied. In these studies, it has been sufficient for us to take each of the three vehicles as we find it actually existing in man, and to examine its methods of functioning, the laws of its growth, its death, and then the formation, from the nucleus provided by the permanent atoms and mental unit, of new vehicles of the same kind, in order that man’s evolution on the three lower planes can be continued.
When we come to study the causal body of man, we enter upon a new phase of our work, and must take a far wider sweep in our purview of man’s evolution. The reason for this is, that whilst the etheric, astral and mental bodies exist for one human incarnation only, i.e.., are distinctly mortal, the causal body persists throughout the whole of man’s evolution, through many incarnations, and is therefore relatively immortal. We say relatively immortal advisedly because, as will be seen in due course, there is a point where a man, having completed his purely normal human evolution, commences his supernormal human evolution, and actually loses the causal body in which he has lived and evolved during the past ages of his growth.
Hence, in dealing with man’s causal body, we are no longer standing within the personality , looking upon any vehicle of that personality, and seeing from its own standpoint how it is serving the evolution of the real man who uses it, but instead we must take up our stand by the side of the man himself, looking from above on the vehicles of the personality, and regarding them as so many temporary instruments fashioned for the use of the man himself, and discarded, as a broken tool is discarded, when they have served their purpose.
Furthermore, in order to make our study comprehensive, and to round it off in a manner that will be intellectually satisfactory, we must discover and study the origin and birth of the causal body, i.e., how it has formed in the first instance. Finding that it had a beginning, we see at once, not only that it must have an end, but also that there must be some other form of consciousness which uses the causal body, much as the ego in the causal body uses the vehicles of the personality. This other form of consciousness is, of course, the human Monad. Hence, in order that we may fully comprehend the part that the causal body plays in the tremendous story of human evolution, we must study also the human Monad.
Reverting to the birth or formation of the causal body, we are at once plunged into a consideration of the somewhat intricate subject of Group-Souls, with which we shall have to deal. Tracing the origin of Group-Souls, we are led back, step by step, to the Three Great Outpourings of the Divine Life, from which all forms of manifested life arise. Whilst studying the Three Outpourings, we must necessarily consider to some extent the formation of the material world into which the Outpourings are projected.
Thus in order that our study of the Causal Body may be a comprehensive one, we must describe, though in brief outline only, the formation of the field of evolution, the flow into that field of the great streams of life, the coming forth of the Monads, the building of the many kingdoms of life, and the plunging of the Monads, with the assistance of the permanent atoms, into the material universe, and the gradual development of the life in the Group Souls until eventually, after aeons of existence, the point of Individualisation is reached, when the causal body for the first time appears.
Thereafter, our study will follow much the same lines as in the previous books of this series. We shall have to deal in turn with the functions of the Causal Body: its composition and structure; the nature of causal thought; the development and faculties of the causal body; the portion of life after death spent in the causal body in the higher heaven worlds.
Then we must pass to a fuller examination of the entity, the ego to wit, who inhabits and uses the causal body, projecting from it personality after personality into the cycle of reincarnation. We must examine what is known as Trishna, the “thirst”, which is the true cause of reincarnation; the permanent atoms and the mechanism of reincarnation; the attitude which the ego takes toward the whole process of reincarnation and to the personalities which he projects into the lower worlds.
The whole relationship of the ego to the personality, his link with it, and the way in which he uses it, must be carefully examined. A special chapter will be devoted to certain Sacramental aids towards strengthening and improving the link between the ego and the personality, and another chapter to the rationale of the memory of past lives.
Then we pass to describe, so far as is possible, the life of the ego on his own plane. This leads us on to Initiation into the Great White Brotherhood, when the causal body vanishes for a time. Some description of the buddhic consciousness must be attempted, and a succinct epitome of such facts as are known regarding the Second and Higher Initiations.
Finally, we conclude our long history with the relation of the ego to his “Father in Heaven”, the Monad. The field which this book attempts to cover is thus, as already said, a far greater one than that covered in any of the three preceding volumes of the series. The book will, it is hoped, enable the student of Theosophy to obtain a broad grasp of the wonderful panorama of human evolution, and to see in true perspective the part played by each of the four subtler bodies of man – the etheric, the astral, the mental and the causal.