The Sevenfold Human Structure
In part 1 and 2 of this article we explained that according to the western esoteric tradition, the physical human body is only one single component of a very complex structure that in fact comprises seven members. The physical body is the only one single part of it, which is visible, while the other six parts are invisible for the naked eye. Although the invisible parts of the human body are not at present time observable to people with normal perception, the call of the time is that people raise more and more their level of awareness. This is so, because in the future the direct observation of the human aura and the other invisible (for now) parts of the human body will become something completely natural and normal for the entire humanity. People who want to embark on the road of increased perception even today, which leads eventually to clairvoyance and observation of the other subtle human bodies, can begin doing so by creating mental concepts about the sevenfold human structure. In such a way once later they are in a position to raise their perceptions to a level where they can observe this themselves, they will know what they see and what exactly that means.
It is important to stress, however, that simply developing the ability to see in the spiritual worlds does not mean much. Understanding what you see is far more important. In other words, if someone is given the gift to see other people’s aura, this fact by itself means nothing. Without the understanding of what the colours and shapes mean, the mere observation of the human aura is meaningless. Only a person who knows how to interpret his observations can make sense of it and use this information accordingly. This process is similar to examining Egyptian hieroglyphs. You may be able to observe them, but if you do not know their meanings and how to read them properly, then they remain simply interesting but nevertheless meaningless pictures and wiggly shapes. On the other hand, for the one who have studied them and knows their denotation, the Egyptian hieroglyphs depicted on the doors of the pyramids will reveal spiritual messages and knowledge of enormous importance. Therefore, it is important not to rush to develop quickly clairvoyant abilities as soon as possible, but to prepare ourselves by gaining more knowledge and wisdom first.
The seven human bodies permeate and encompass each other, without interfering with each other’s energies, because they operate at different vibrational levels (or frequencies). In this way the seven human bodies are in a way linked and daisy-chained to each other, forming a hierarchy. Each consecutive higher subtle body permeates the one below and exists at the same time and space within it and around it. This process can be illustrated with the existence of the radio waves. At any given moment of time in the space around us thousands and thousands of various radio waves co-exist and propagate independently from each other. Some of them carry the signal for the TV channel 7; some of them carry the signal for channel 9 or 10. Yet, at the same time other radio frequencies propagate simultaneously the signals for all FM radio stations, others carry the signals for all AM radio stations. In addition, there are specialized frequencies for police services, ambulances and so on. It is apparent that although we cannot see them, there are thousands and thousands of various radio waves that co-exist at every single moment of time, propagating independently of each other in the same space, but at different frequencies. The seven human members co-exist in a similar principle, with the only difference that they do not propagate all over the place, but stay more or less confined in the space surrounding the physical body.
Each one of the seven human bodies has a different shape. For example, the etheric body has a shape which is very similar to that of the physical body, but it is a little bit larger, so it is somewhat projected outside of the physical body. The astral body on the other hand is egg-shaped and is much larger than the ethereal body, reaching about up to 1 or 1.5 meters in diameter. This is the so-called human aura. Recent advancement in technology allows photographing of the human aura and the quality of such photographs is constantly improving. There is no doubt that in the future scientists will make many break-through discoveries in the realm of the spiritual, many more new technologies will be developed that will allow people to observe not only the aura but the other subtle bodies as well. Imagine putting on special glasses that allow you to perceive the aura of the other person directly. We are not too far away from developing this sort of technology.
Each one of the human bodies serves a particular function and can be described with some relevant keyword. In the following text I attempted to categorize the seven human bodies according to their keywords, main functions and their relation to the other kingdoms on our planet (the mineral, the plant and the animal kingdoms). In summary, the sevenfold human structure comprises from the following members:
- Physical body – Its keyword is “I exist”. Through the physical body man is related to the mineral kingdom. The physical body is made up from the same substances as all other minerals on our planet. Without the ethereal body, however, the physical body is doomed to immediate decomposition. This is what actually happens at the moment of death. This is the only member of the sevenfold human structure that can be directly observed with a naked eye. For this reason many people still erroneously assume that this is the only body that really exists. In fact nothing can be further away from the truth. The physical body is merely the outer, physical expression of the other six invisible members of the human structure.
- Etheric body – Its keyword is “I live”. The etheric body has very similar shape to the physical body that slightly expands around it. The etheric body joins and ties together to the physical body approximately at the fourth month of the pregnancy. The definite sign that that has happened is when the baby starts moving for the first time in the womb. From this moment onwards we can say that the foetus is alive. All living organisms on this planet that are alive, such as living plants, animals and people possess etheric bodies. Therefore through its etheric body, man is related to the plants kingdom. All plants possess two bodies – physical (through which they manifest themselves in the material world) and etheric (through which they become alive, i.e. they grow and reproduce themselves). In other words, the presence of the etheric body is what makes the plants different from minerals.
- Astral body – Its keyword is “I feel” and it is the bearer of all emotions and feelings. Due to the astral body all perceptions are also made possible, such as hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching etc. All animals on this planet possess astral bodies and this is what makes them different from the plants. Thus, through its astral body man is related to the animal kingdom. While the etheric body remains connected with the physical body during the entire life of the individual, the astral body does not stay connected with it all the time. In fact, it actually leaves the other two members of the human structure (the physical and the ethereal) every night. During this time it makes a trip around the astral word and that is where its name comes from. There, it is recharged with energy and then returns back in the morning to form one part with the other two members of the human structure. For this reason we are deprived from feeling and emotions during our deep sleep.
- Mental body – Its keyword is “I think”. The first obvious difference between the animals and humans in general is the existence of the mental body. Through it, humans can reason and create a mental picture about the world that surrounds them. Communication and language are also made possible thanks to the mental body. Most people think that the human intellect resides at the highest place in the ladder of human evolution, but the truth is that it occupies only a middle position between the lower human nature (the three bodies described so far) and the three bodies that reside above it (which collectively can be described as the human spirit). Because the human mind and intellect reside below the higher three bodies, it is largely unaware of their existence, but it can form a mental concept about it, if it puts some conscious effort into it.
- Causal body – The causal body determines the karmic experiences that we encounter on a daily basis according to the choices that we make in our daily life, therefore the keyword for it is to act. According to the cosmic law of karma, every single act that we do in our daily activities gets written in a colossal cosmic database, the purpose of which is to ensure that we get back from other people exactly threefold of everything that we send to them. If we send them love, the law of karma (the causal body) ensures that we will get this love back threefold from other people. If we send them hatred, then we better watch out. Every single time when something nice or nasty happens to us, think about it as a direct consequence of deeds done in the recent past. And the causal body is there to ensure that the individual experiences the consequences of all his actions – good or bad.
- Buddhi body – The principle of operation of the buddhi body is very similar to the causal body, except that it works on a much larger scale. The karmic relationships determined by the buddhi body are largely pre-determined by us before the time of our birth and are in direct relationship with our deeds done in previous lives. The buddhi body outlines the major events in our life, the main purpose of which is to teach us some significant life lesson. These can be for example marriage and remarriage, how many children we are going to have and what lessons we are going to learn through them, which city or country we are going to live in, etc. Usually it takes us at least several years to learn one lesson assigned to us by the buddhi body, so the most appropriate keyword for it is life assignments. The number of these life lessons varies from person to person, but in general each human has at least two or three major assignments to complete in their lives. Once they are done successfully, the individual graduates to the next level of development and is assigned easier tasks in the next life. In case people do not do their homework (or what is worst – in case they actively resist their karma!) then in their next life they have to start everything all over again in much more difficult circumstances.
- Athma body (or the Higher Self) – And finally, the Higher self is the only energy that never really dies and that incarnates from one body to another. This is the purest of the spiritual energies. Its essence is related to the God-creator in the same way as the drop of water is related to the ocean. You can think of it, that this seventh body makes man actually similar to Gods. The keyword for it is willpower, because there is a direct correlation between the strength of the human willpower and the level of development of the human Higher self. The will to develop and raise our level of consciousness is the real power that drives us from incarnation to incarnation, although in the everyday life we are normally largely unaware of it.
We see that the human structure is very complex. Not everything is what it seems and this definitely is the case with humans. The visible, physical body accounts for only one of the elements in its structure. Man is positioned in an intermediate place in the Universe between Gods and the lower nature. This fact is clearly observed in the man’s structure. Three of his bodies are connected with the lower world and three of his bodies are connected with the higher world. The three lower bodies are connected to the other kingdoms on our planet as follows; the physical body relates to the mineral kingdom, the ethereal body relates to the plant kingdom and the astral body relates to the animal kingdom. The higher bodies determine Man’s acts, life assignments and willpower. His mental body takes an intermediary position in this structure and is designed to deliver messages from the higher wolds to the lower worlds.
Thus, it can be said that the whole purpose of the human existence is to provide a link between the higher and the lower worlds. In this way man is bound to work on the lower worlds and change them accordingly to the Will of the higher worlds. In this process, man also develops his Higher self and prepares himself to join the higher worlds as an equal partner and co-creator of the Universe.