Simplified Scientific


The Vital (Etheric) Body
by Max Heindel
(Part 2)

Part IV
Relation Of Vital Body
To Spiritual Development

I. An Important Factor

  In order to progress spiritually, man must further develop his vital body.

   We are now getting ready for the fast approaching Aquarian Age with its great intellectual and spiritual development. This requires an awakening of the dormant vital body, whose keyword is repetition.

   The Ego has several instruments: a dense body, a vital body, a desire body, and a mind. These are its tools and upon their quality and condition depends how much or how little it can accomplish in its work of gathering experience in each life. If the instruments are poor and dull there will be but little spiritual growth and the life will be a barren one, so far as the Spirit is concerned.

   The higher life (initiation) does not commence, however, until the work on the vital body begins. The means used for bringing that into activity is Love, or rather Altruism. The former word has been so abused that it no longer conveys the meaning here required.

   The second help which humanity how has is the Religion of the Son — the Christian religion, the object of which is union with Christ by purification and control of the vital body.

   While the invisible vehicles, especially the vital body, are asleep, man may pursue a materialistic career; but one this vehicle has been awakened and has tasted the bread of life, it is like the physical body, subject to hunger — soul hunger — and its cravings will not be denied save after an exceedingly hard struggle.

   It has been stated here that humanity, the largest part of them at least, are working today upon their desire bodies, and trying to curb their desires by means of law. Where esoteric development is to take place, however, where a man is to become a pioneer, it is the vital body that is to be worked upon, and the vital body is particular and peculiarly acted upon by repetition.

   It is necessary to work upon and educate the vital body in such a manner that it may be used in soul-flights. This vehicle, as we know, is composed of the four ethers. It is by means of this body that we manipulate the densest of all our vehicles, the physical body, which we usually think of as the whole man. The chemical and life ethers form a matrix for our physical bodies. Each molecule of the physical body is embedded in a meshwork of ether which permeates and infuses it with life.

   Through these ethers the bodily functions, such as respiration, etc., are carried on, and the density and consistency of these matrices of ether determine the state of health. But the part of the vital body formed of the two higher ethers, the light ether and the reflecting ether, is what we may term the soul body; that is to say, it is more closely linked with the desire body and the mind and also more amenable to the Spirit's touch than are the two lower ethers. It is the vehicle of intellect, and responsible for all that makes man, man. Our observations, our aspirations, our character, etc., are due to the work of the Spirit in these two higher ethers, which become more or less luminous according to the nature of our character and habits. Also, as the dense body assimilates particles of food and thus gains in flesh, so the two higher ethers assimilate our good deeds during life and thus grow in volume as well.

   According to our doings in this present life we thus increase or decrease that which we brought with us at birth. If we are born with a good character, expressed in these two higher ethers, it will not be easy for us to change this because the vital body has become very, very set during the myriads of years through which we have evolved it. On the other hand, if we have been lazy and negligent and indulgent in the habits which we call evil, if we have formed a bad character in past lives, then it is difficult to overcome because of this set nature of the vital body, and it will require years of constant effort to change its structure. This is the reason the Western Wisdom Teaching says that all mystic development begins with the vital body.

   Each time we give ourselves in service to others we add to the lustre of our soul bodies which are built of ether. It is the Christ ether that now floats this sphere of ours, and let us remember that if we ever want to work for His liberation, we must in sufficient numbers evolve our own soul bodies to the point where they may float the earth. Thus we may take up His burden and save Him the pain of physical existence.

   Apart from the fact that the Eastern School of Esotericism bases its teachings on Hinduism, while the Western Wisdom School espouses Christianity, the religion of the West, there is one great fundamental, irreconcilable discrepancy between the teachings of the modern representatives of the East and those of the Rosicrucians. According to the version of Eastern Esotericism the vital body — which is called linga sharira — is comparatively unimportant, for it is incapable of development as a vehicle of consciousness. It serves only as an avenue for the solar force, "prana," and as a link between the physical body and the desire body, which is called kama rupa, also the "astral body." This, they say, is the vehicle of the Invisible Helper.

   The Western Wisdom School teaches as its fundamental maxim that all esoteric development begins with the vital body, and the writer, as its public representative, has therefore been busy since the inception of our movement trying to gather and disseminate knowledge concerning the four ethers and the vital body. Much information was given in the Cosmo-Conception and succeeding books, but the monthly lessons and letters give the results of our researches up to date. We are constantly parading this vital body (vital in a double sense) before the minds of the students so that by knowing and thinking about it as well as by reading and heeding the "nice little sermons" which we use to wrap this information in, they may consciously, and unconsciously, weave the Golden Wedding Garment. We would advise all to study these lessons carefully year after year; there may be much dross, but there is gold among them.

   We have here the account of how the stigmata or punctures were produced in the Hero of the Gospels, though the location is not quite correctly described, and the process is represented in a narrative form differing widely from the manner in which these things really happen. But we stand here before one of the mysteries which must remain sealed for the profane, though the underlying mystical facts are as plain as daylight to those who know. The physical body is not by any means the real man. Tangible, solid, and pulsating with life as we find it, it is really the most dead part of the human being, crystallized into a matrix of finer vehicles which are invisible to our ordinary physical sight. If we place a basin of water in a freezing temperature, the water soon congeals into ice, and when we examine the ice, we find that it is made up of innumerable little crystals having various geometrical forms and lines of demarcation. There are etheric lines of forces which were present in the water before it congealed.

   As the water was hardened and molded along these lines, so our physical bodies have congealed and solidified along the etheric lines of force of our invisible vital body, which is thus in the ordinary course of life inextricably bound to the physical body, waking or sleeping, until death brings dissolution of the tie. But as intuition involves the liberation of the real man from the body of sin and death that he may soar into the subtler spheres at will and return to the body at his pleasure, it is obvious that before than can be accomplished, before the object of initiation can be attained, the interlocking grip of the physical body and the etheric vehicle which is so strong and rigid in ordinary humanity, must be dissolved. As they are most closely bound together in the palms of the hands, the arches of the feet, and the head, esoteric schools concentrate their efforts upon severing the connection at these three points, and produce the stigmata invisibly.

   Exoteric Masonry, which is only the husks of the Mystic Order formed by the Sons of Cain, has in modern times attracted the masculine element with its positively polarized physical vehicles, and educated them in industry and statecraft, thus controlling the material development of the world. The sons of Seth, constituting themselves the Priestcraft, have worked their spell over the positive vital bodies, of the feminine element to dominate spiritual development. And whereas, the sons of Cain, working through Freemasonry and kindred movements, have openly fought for the temporal power, the Priestcraft has fought as strenuously and perhaps more effectively by stealth to retain their hold upon spiritual development of the feminine element.

   As mankind advances in evolution, the vital body becomes more permanently positively polarized, giving to both sexes a greater desire for spirituality, and though we change from the masculine to feminine in alternate embodiments, positive polarity of the vital body is becoming more pronounced regardless of sex. This accounts for the growing tendency towards Altruism which is even being brought out by the suffering entailed by the great war we are now fighting (1918), for all agree that the nations are seeking to obtain a lasting peace where the swords may be made into plowshares, and the spears into pruning hooks.

   We know that our dense body gravitates towards the center of the Earth, therefore a change must take place; also Paul tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. But he also points out that we have a soma psuchicon (mistranslated natural body), a soul body, and this is made of ether, which is lighter than air and therefore capable of levitation. This is the Golden Wedding Garment, the Philosopher's Stone, or the Living Stone, spoken of in some of the ancient philosophies as the Diamond Soul, for it is luminous, lustrous, and sparkling — a priceless gem. It was also called the astral body by the medieval alchemists, because of the ability it conferred upon the one who had it to transverse the starry regions. But it is not to be confounded with the desire body which some of the modern pseudo-esotericists mistakenly call the astral body. This vehicle, the soul body, will eventually be evolved by humanity as a whole, but during the change from the Fifth Epoch to the ethereal conditions of the New Galilee, there will be pioneers who precede their brethren as the Original Semites did in the change from Atlantis to the current Fifth Epoch Earth. Christ mentioned this class in Matthew, 11th chapter, 12th verse, when He said: "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." That is not a correct translation. It ought to be, "The Kingdom of the Heavens has been invaded" (the Greek is biaxertai) "and invaders seize on her." Men and women already have learned through a holy, helpful life to lay aside the body of flesh and blood, either intermittently or permanently, and to walk the skies with winged feet, intent upon the business of their Lord, clad in the ethereal wedding garment of the new dispensation.

   Repetition is the keynote of the vital body and the extract of the vital body is the Intellectual Soul, which is the pabulum of the Life Spirit, the true Christ Principle in man. As it is the particular work of the Western World to evolve this Christ Principle, to form the Christ within that it may shine through the material darkness of the present time, reiteration of ideas is absolutely essential.

   A very small impact is made upon the vital body when ideas and ideals filter into it through the auric envelope, but whatever it gets from study, sermons, lectures, or reading is of a more lasting nature, and many impacts in the same direction create impressions which are powerful for good or for ill according to their nature.

   From the Angels she could get no information; they work with the dense body, but not directly; they use the vital body as transmitter, and cannot make themselves understood to a reasoning brain-being. They get their knowledge without reasoning, for they send out their whole love in their work and cosmic wisdom flows in in return. Man also creates by love, but his love is selfish; he loves because he desires cooperation in generation; the other half he selfishly keeps to build his own organ of though, the brain, and he also uses that half selfishly to think, because he desires knowledge. Hence he must work and reason to gain wisdom, but in time he will arrive at a much higher stage than either Angel or Archangel. He will then have passed beyond the need of the lower creative organs; he will create by means of the larynx, and be able to "mask the word flesh."

   Reason is the product of selfishness. It is generated by the mind given by the "Powers of Darkness," in a brain built by selfishly keeping half the sex-force, and promoted by the selfish Lucifers, hence it is "the seed of the serpent," and although transmuted to wisdom through pain and sorrow, it must give way to something higher: to intuition, which means teaching from within. That is a spiritual faculty, equally present in all Spirits, whether functioning for the time being as man or woman, but it expresses itself most prominently in those incarnated in a female organism, for there the counterpart of the Life Spirit — the vital body — is male, positive. Intuition, the faculty of the Life Spirit, may therefore properly be called "the woman's seed," whence all altruistic tendencies spring, and whereby all nations are being slowly but surely drawn together in a Universal Brotherhood of love, regardless of race, sex, or color.

   That which is now the physical body was the first vehicle acquired by man as a thought form; it has undergone an immense period of evolution and organization until it is now the splendid instrument which serves his so well here; but it is hard, set, and difficult to act upon. The next vehicle acquired was the vital body, which has also gone through a long period of development and has condensed to the consistency of ether. The third vehicle, the desire body, has been comparatively lately acquired and is in a state of comparative flux. Lastly, there is the mind, which is only as an unformed cloud, not worthy of the name of vehicle, being as yet but a link between the three vehicles of man and the Spirit.

   These three vehicles, the physical, vital, and desire bodies, together with the link of mind, are the tools of the Spirit in its evolution, and, contrary to the common conception, the ability of the Spirit to investigate the higher realms does not depend upon the finest of these bodies as much as upon the denser. The proof of this assertion is close at hand, and indeed, anyone who has every seriously tried has had this proof himself. If not, he may have it forthwith simply by following the directions for changing the condition of his mind. Let us say that person has formed certain habits of thought which he does not like. Perhaps after a religious experience he finds that in spite of all his desires these habits of thought will not leave him. But if he decides to cleanse his mind so that it shall contain nothing but pure and good thoughts, he may do this by simply refusing to admit impure thoughts. He will find that after a week or two his mind is noticeably cleaner than at the commencement of his effort; that it holds by preference the religious thoughts he is seeking to generate in it. Even a most abnormally degenerate mind can be thoroughly cleansed inside of a few months. This is actual knowledge to many who have tried it, and anyone who wishes and is sufficiently persistent may have the same experience and enjoy a clean mind in a very short time.

   As much of the vital body as has been worked upon by the Life Spirit, becomes the Intellectual Soul, and it builds the Life Spirit, because that aspect of the threefold Spirit has its counterpart in the vital body.

   In ordinary life most people live to eat, they drink, gratify the sex-passion in an unrestrained manner, and lose their tempers on the slightest provocation. Though outwardly these people may be very "respectable," they are, nearly every day of their lives, causing almost utter confusion in their organization. The entire period of sleep is spent by the desire and the vital bodies in repairing the damage done in the day time, leaving no time for outside work of any kind. But as the individual begins to feel the needs of the higher life, control sex force and temper, and cultivate a serene disposition, there is less disturbance caused in the vehicles during waking hours; consequently less time is required to repair damage during sleep. Thus it becomes possible to leave the dense body for long periods during sleeping hours, and function in the inner worlds in the higher vehicles. As the desire body and the mind are not yet organized, they are of no use as separate vehicles of consciousness. Neither can the vital body leave the dense body, as that would cause death, so it is evident that measures must be taken to provide an organized vehicle which is fluidic and so constructed that it will meet the needs of the Ego in the inner worlds as does the dense body in the Physical World.

   The vital body is such an organized vehicle, and if some means could be found to loosen it from the dense body without causing death, the problem would be solved. Besides, the vital body is the seat of memory, without which it would be impossible to bring back into our physical consciousness the remembrance of super-physical experiences and thus obtain the full benefit of them.

   We remember that the Hierophants of the old Mystery Temples segregated some of the people into castes and tribes such as the Brahmins and the Levites, for the purpose of providing bodies for the use of such Egos as were advanced enough to be ready for initiation. This was done in such a manner that the vital body became separable into two parts, as were the desire bodies of all humanity at the beginning of the Earth Period. When the Hierophant took the pupils out of their bodies he left one part of the vital body, comprising the first and second ethers, to perform the purely animal functions (they are the only ones active during sleep), the pupil taking with him a vehicle capable of perception, because of its connection with the sense-centers of the dense body; and also capable of memory. It possessed these capabilities because it was composed of the third and fourth ethers, which are the mediums of sense-perception and memory.

   This is, in fact, that part of the vital body which the aspirant retains from life to life, and immortalizes as the Intellectual Soul.

   Since Christ came and "took away the sin of the World" (not of the individual), purifying the desire body of our planet, the connection between all human dense and vital bodies has been loosened to such an extent that, by training, they are capable of separation as above described. Therefore initiation is open to all.

   The finer part of the desire body, which constitutes the Emotional Soul, is capable of separation in most people (in fact, it possessed that capability even before Christ came) and thus when, by concentration and the use of the proper formula, the finer parts of the vehicles have been segregated for use during sleep, or at any other time, the lower parts of the desire and vital bodies are still felt to carry on the processes of restoration in the dense vehicle, the mere animal part.

   That part of the vital body which goes out is highly organized, as we have seen. It is an exact counterpart of the dense body. The desire body and the mind, not being organized, are of use only because they are connected with the highly organized dense body. When separated from it they are but poor instruments, therefore before man can withdraw from the dense body, the sense-centers of the desire body must be awakened.

   The aspirant to the higher life cultivates the faculty of becoming absorbed at will in any subject he chooses, or rather not a subject usually, but a very simple object, which he imagines. Thus when the proper condition or point of absorption has been reached where his senses are absolutely still, he concentrate his though upon the different sense-centers of the desire body and they start to revolve.

   We should be very thankful for the material instrument which we have, for that is the most valuable of all our vehicles. While it is perfectly true that our physical body is the lowest of all our vehicles, it is also a fact that this vehicle is the most finished of our instruments, and without that the other vehicles would be of little use to us at this time. For while this splendidly organized instrument enables us to meet the thousand and one conditions here, our higher vehicles are practically unorganized. The vital body is formed organ for organ as our dense physical body, but until it has been trained by esoteric exercises it is not a fit instrument to function in alone. The desire body has only a number of sense centers which are not even active in the great majority of people, and as for the mind, it is an unformed cloud with the great majority. We should aim today to spiritualize the physical instrument, and we should realize that we must train our higher vehicles before they can be of use. For the great mass of people that will take a long, long time. Therefore, it is best to do the duty that is close to our hands. Then we hasten the day when we shall be able to use the higher vehicles, for that day depends upon ourselves.

   We have all become so much more impregnated with materialism than we realize, and it hinders us in our quest. As students of transcendental philosophy, we have accustomed ourselves to regard individual and intermittent life in an ethereal body possible for attainment for the few, but that the whole human race may live permanently for a whole epoch in the air! Truly, it made me hold my breath when I realized that the Bible means exactly what it ways when it states that we shall meet the Lord in the air and be with Him for the Age.

   When Christianity shall have fully spiritualized the vital body a still higher step will be the Religion of the Father, who as the highest Initiate of the Saturn Period will help man to spiritualize the dense body which was started in the Saturn Period. Then even brotherhood will be transcended; there will be neither me nor thee, for all will be consciously One in God, and man will have been emancipated by the help of Angels, Archangels, and higher Powers.

II. Effect of Prayer,
Rituals, and Exercises

  Prayer, rituals, and exercises are of value in spiritualizing the vital body.

   If, by continual prayer, we obtain forgiveness for the injuries we have inflicted upon others and if we make all the restitution possible, purify our vital bodies by forgiving those who have wronged us, and eliminate all ill feeling, we save ourselves much postmortem misery, besides preparing the way for Universal Brotherhood, which is particularly dependent upon victory of the vital body over the desire body. In the form of memory, the desire body impresses upon the vital body the idea of revenge. An even temper amid the various annoyances of daily life indicates such a victory, therefore the aspirant should cultivate control of the temper, as it includes such a victory, therefore the aspirant should cultivate control of the temper, as it includes work on both bodies. The Lord's Prayer includes this also, for when we see that we are injuring others, we look about and try to find the cause. Loss of temper is one of the causes and it originates in the desire body.

   Most people leave physical life with the same temperament they bring into it, but the aspirant must systematically conquer all attempts of the desire body to assume mastery. That can be done by concentration upon high ideals, which strengthens the vital body and is much more efficacious than the common prayers of the Church. The esoteric scientist uses concentration in preference to prayer, because the former is accomplished by the aid of the mind, which is cold and unfeeling, whereas prayer is usually dictated by emotion. Where it is dictated by a pure unselfish devotion to high ideals prayer is much higher than cold concentration. It can never be cold, but bears upon the pinions of Love the outpourings of the mystic to the Deity.

   The next highest, the Life Spirit, prays to its counterpart, the Son, for its counterpart in the lower nature, the vital body: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

   The prayer dealing with the needs of the vital body is "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

   The vital body is the seat of memory. In it are stored the subconscious records of all the past events of our life, good or ill, including all injuries inflicted or sustained and benefits received, or bestowed. We remember that the record of the life is taken from those pictures immediately after leaving the dense body at death, and that all the sufferings of post- mortem existence are the results of events these pictures portray.

   The vital body being the storehouse of the panorama of our life, our own sins and the wrong we have suffered at the hands of others are there inscribed, hence the fifth prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," enunciated the needs of the vital body, and be it noted that this prayer teaches the doctrine of the remission of sins in the words, forgive us, and the Law of Consequence in the words, as we forgive, making our own attitude to others the measure of our emancipation.

   That (The Rosicrucian Prayer) is the kind of a prayer that lifts, that ennobles a man, and the more a man or woman cultivates that attitude of mind, and entertains those lofty aspirations, the more he or she is lifting the two higher ethers out of the vital body. The churches say, "pray, pray, pray," and they are well within the esoteric teaching, for in that way the vital body is being worked upon by the constant repetition of lofty aspirations.

   That is the way everything acts that has only a vital body; so when we wish to act upon the vital body we must do it by this method of repetition. We have the four ethers present in our vital body and the two lower ethers take care of the physical functions, as we remember particularly from the lecture on Spiritual Sight and Insight. We saw there that the two higher ethers had to be taken out when we wanted to function in the higher worlds; and this repeated impact is what makes the division between the two lower and the two higher ethers possible. That is where the churches are still factors in spiritual development, because they tell the devotee that he must pray without ceasing. But we are not to pray unselfishly, and in harmony with the Universal Good. When we pray for rain and our neighbor for dry weather chaos must prevail, if prayers were to be granted. Neither let us imagine that God is to be bargained with, as would seem to be the conception of some who are loudest at prayer meetings. There is a certain spiritual attitude attained which the mystic knows so well when he enters into his closet.

   Law is a curb on the desire nature, but where esoteric or rather spiritual advancement is contemplated, the spiritualization of the vital body must also be accomplished. And that is attained by means of art and religion, in oft-repeated impacts, for the keynote of the vital body is repetition, as we can see by looking at the plants which have only a dense body and a vital body. There stem and leaf follow each other in upward succession; the plants keep growing them alternately. It was the vital body that built the vertebrae of the human spine one after the other by constant repetition. And memory, for instance, which is one of the faculties of the vital body, is strengthened and developed by constant iteration and reiteration.

   When the Protestants left the Catholic Church they truly left many of the abuses behind, but they also left almost everything of value. They abandoned the ritual which everyone may know and understand regardless of poor enunciation upon the party of the preacher. Knowing the ritual, the laity could send their thoughts in the same direction as the thought of the priest who as reading, and thus an enormous volume of identical spiritual thought was massed together and projected upon the community for good or evil.

   Those who go to a Catholic church understanding the ritual are still today able to unite their thoughts in spiritual conclave and keep within memory that which has been gone through. Thus they are every time adding a little to the spiritualization of their vital bodies, while the Protestant church members have been affected only in their emotional natures, and that effect is soon thrown out. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, and many have scoffed saying that if God is omniscient He knows whereof we have need without our prayer, and if He is not, He can most likely not be omnipotent, and therefore our prayers are not granted, so that it is useless to pray. But that command was indited from a knowledge of the nature of the vital body, which needs that repetition in order that it may be spiritualized.

   Before a ritual can have its maximum effect, however, those who are to grow thereby must become attuned to it. This involves work on their vital bodies while those vehicles are still in the making.

   It is a matter of esoteric knowledge that birth is a fourfold event, and that birth of the physical body is only one step in the process. The vital body also undergoes a development analogous to the intrauterine growth of the dense body. It is born about the seventh year of life. During the next seven years the desire body is ripened and comes to birth at about the fourteenth year, when adolescence is reached, and the mind is born at twenty-one, when the age of manhood and womanhood commences.

   These esoteric facts are well known to the Catholic Hierarchy, and while the Protestant ministers work upon the emotional nature, which is ever seeking something new and sensational without realizing the futility of the struggle and the fact that it is this most rampant vehicle that drives people from the churches in search of something more new and more sensational, the esoterically informed Catholic Hierarchy concentrates its effort upon the children. "Give us the child up to its seventh year and it is ours forever," they say, and they are right. During these important seven years they impregnate the plastic vital bodies of their charge with their views by means of repetition. The repeated prayers, the time and tune of the various chants, and the incense, all have a powerful effect on the growing vital body.

   Thus all efforts to elevate humanity by work upon the unstable desire body are and must always prove futile. This the esoteric schools of all ages have recognized and they have therefore addressed themselves to the changing of the vital body by working with its keynote, which is repetition. For that purpose, they have written various rituals suited to humanity at the different stages of its development and in that way they have fostered soul growth, slowly but surely, and regardless of whether man was aware that he was being worked upon in that manner or not. The Ancient Atlantean Mystery Temple, which we speak of as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, had certain rites prescribed in the mount by the Divine Hierarch who was their particular teacher. Certain rites were performed during week days. Other rites were used on the Sabbath, and again other rites at the times of the new moons and on the great solar festivals. Nor was it within the province of any one from the high priest down, to alter this ritual, under pain of penalty of death.

   During sleep the currents of the desire body flow, and its vortices move and spin with enormous rapidity. But as soon as it enters the dense body its currents and vortices are almost stopped by the dense matter and the nerve currents of the vital body which carry messages to and from the brain. It is the object of this exercise to still the dense body to the same degree of inertia and insensibility as in sleep, although the Spirit within is perfectly awake, alert and conscious. Thus we make a condition where the sense centers of the desire body can begin to revolve while inside the dense body.

   The latter (concentration an retrospection) will prove barren of result, unless accompanied by constant acts of love, for love will be the keynote of the coming age as law is of the present order. The intense expression of the former quality increases the phosphorescent luminosity and density of the ethers in our vital bodies, the fiery streams sever the tie to the mortal coil, and the man, once born of water upon his emergence from Atlantis, is now born of the spirit into the kingdom of God. The dynamic force of his love has opened a way to the land of love, and indescribable is the rejoicing among those already there when new invaders arrive, for each new arrival hastens the coming of the Lord and the definite establishment of the Kingdom.

   It is a mystic maxim that "all spiritual development begins with the vital body." This is next in density to our dense body. Its keynote is repetition, and it is the vehicle of habits, hence somewhat difficult to change or influence, but once a change has been effected and a habit acquired by repetition, its performance becomes automatic to a certain extent. This characteristic is both good and bad in respect to prayer, for the impression registered in the ethers of this vehicle will impel the aspirant to faithful performance of his devotions at stated times, even though he may have lost interest in the exercise and his prayers are mere forms. If it were not for this habit-forming tendency of the vital body, aspirants would wake up to their danger as soon as the real love began to wane, and it would then be easier to retrieve the loss and keep on the Path. Therefore the aspirant should carefully examine himself from time to time to see if he still has wings and power wherewith swiftly and surely to lift himself to his Father in Heaven. The wings are two in number; love and aspiration are their names, and the irresistible power which propels them in intense earnestness. Without these and an intelligent understanding to direct the invocation, prayer is only a babble; properly performed it is the most powerful method of soul growth known.

   In Eastern Teachings, it is customary to raise this vibratory pitch of the spiritual aspirant's atom so that the vital body, which is the medium of esoteric growth, may to a certain extent be liberated from the deadening force of the physical atom. This result is attained by means of breathing exercises, which in time accelerate the vibration of the atom, and allow the spiritual growth necessary to the individual to take place.

   Years ago, when the writer started on the Path and was inbued with the characteristic impatience common to ardent seekers after knowledge, he read of the breathing exercises published by Swami Vivekananda and commenced to follow directions, with the result that after two days the vital body had been pulled out of the physical. This produced a sensation of walking on air, of being unable to get the feet down on solid ground; the whole body seemed to be vibrating at an enormous pitch. Common sense then came to the rescue. The exercises were stopped, but it was fully two weeks before the normal condition of walking on the ground with a firm step was experienced, and before the abnormal vibrations ceased.

   The vital body is like a mirror or, rather, like the film of a moving picture; it pictures alike the world without according to our faculty of observation, and the ideas of the indwelling Spirit from within according to the clarity and training of the mind. Devotion and discrimination, otherwise emotion and intellect, decide our attitude toward these pictures, and their balanced action leads to a well rounded development. When evolved to a certain point they inevitably bring about a process of purification. The man will realize that in order to attain the goal he must lay aside whatever clogs the wheels of progress. A good mechanic aims to have the best tools and keep them in perfect order, for he knows their value in producing good work. Our bodies are tools of the Spirit, and in proportion as they are clogged they hinder its manifestation. Discrimination teaches us what hinders, and devotion to the higher life helps to eliminate undesirable habits or traits of character by superseding mere desire.

III. Ancient Initiation

  In ancient times, certain ceremonies were performed in the temples to bring about the cleavage of the vital body.

   In the ancient Mystery Temples the main truths now taught by The Rosicrucian Teachings concerning the vital body were given to the aspirant to initiation. He learned that this vehicle was composed of the four ethers: the chemical ether, which is necessary to assimilation; the life ether, which furthers growth and propagation; the light ether, which is the vehicle of sense perception; and the reflecting ether, which is the receptacle of memory.

   The aspirant was thoroughly instructed in the functions of the two lower ethers as compared with the two higher. He knew that all the purely animal functions of the body depended upon the density of the two lower ethers and that the two upper ethers composed the soul body — the vehicle of service in the invisible world. He aspired to cultivate this glorious garment by self-abnegation, curbing the propensities of the lower nature by will power, just as we do today.

   But some, who were overzealous to attain, no matter how, forgot that it is only by service and unselfishness that the Golden Wedding Garment, composed of the two higher ethers, is grown. They thought the esoteric maxim, "Gold in the crucible, dross in the fire; light as the winds, higher and higher," meant only that so long as the dross of the lower nature was expelled, it did not matter how it was done. And they reasoned that as the chemical ether is the agent of assimilation, it could be eliminated from the vital body by starving the physical body. They also thought that as the life ether is the avenue of propagation, they could by living celibate lives starve it out. They would then have only the two higher ethers, or at least these would be much larger in volume than the two lower.

   To that end they practiced all the austerities they could think of, fasting among others. By this unnatural process the body lost its health and became emaciated. The passional nature, which sought gratification by exercise of the propagative function, was stilled by castigation. It is true that in this horrible manner the lower nature seemed to be subjected; and it is also true that when the bodily functions were thus brought to a very low ebb, visions, or rather hallucinations, were the reward of these people; but true spirituality has never been attained by defiling or destroying "the temple of God," the body, and fasting may be as immoral as gluttony.

   There can be no doubt concerning the power of holy water prepared by a strong and magnetic personality. It takes on or absorbs the effluvia from his vital body, an the people who use it become amenable to his rule in a degree commensurate to their sensitiveness. Consequently the Brazen Lavers in the ancient Atlantean Mystery Temples, where the water was magnetized by divine Hierarchs of immeasurable power, were a potent factor in guiding the people in accordance with the wishes of these ruling powers. Thus the priests were in perfect subjection to the mandates and dictates of their unseen spiritual leaders, and through them the people were made to follow blindly. It was required of the priests that they wash their hands and feet before going into the Tabernacle proper. If this command was not obeyed, death would follow immediately on the priest entering the Tabernacle. We may therefore say that as the keyword of the Brazen Altar was "justification," so the central idea of the Brazen Laver was "consecration."

   When death came Moses' face shone and Buddha's body became alight. They all reached the stage when the Spirit begins to shine from within — but they they died.

   The Race Spirit took special care of certain sects of people, for example the Levites among the Jews, who were destined specially for priesthood and they were herded around the temples and were specially bred to be the forerunners and teachers of their brethren. Their system of mating and regulation of the sex life of these special protégées produced a more lax connection between the vital body and the dense body which was necessary in order that initiation might take place and help man to advance. As long as the Race Spirit works with us we are under the law, we are only overcoming the influence of the desire body; therefore, Paul says well, that the law was until Christ — not until Christ came 2,000 years ago, but "until Christ be formed in you." When we release ourselves from the toils of the desire body and live up to the vibrations of the vital body, we become imbued by the Christ Spirit. Then and only then do we rise out of the national, the separating principle. Then do we become capable of being brothers to men.

   When Parsifal started to go with Gurnemanz to the Castle of the Grail, he asked Gurnemanz: "Who is the Grail?" "That tell we not, but if thou hast been of him bidden, From thee the truth will not stay hidden. The search but severs from him wider when he himself is not its guider." That means that in the olden times, in the time before Christ came, only a chosen few could follow the path of initiation. Nobody could seek that path — nobody could get beyond the point where the rest of humanity were — safe a few chosen ones, such as were the priests and the Levites. These were brought to the temples, and there herded together. They were married to one another in a certain way; certain people were mated with a definite end in view, namely, that they might develop the proper laxity between the vital body and the dense body that is necessary to initiation. A separation has to take place in order that we may lift the two higher ethers out, and leave the other two. That could not be done with the ordinary humanity. They were yet much in bondage to the desire body. They must wait until a later time.

   As ether is the avenue of vital, creative forces, and as Angels are such expert builders of ether, we may readily understand that they are eminently fitted to be warders of the propagative forces in plant, animal, and man. All through the Bible we find them thus engaged: Two Angels came to Abraham and announced the birth of Isaac, they promised a child to the man who had obeyed God. Later these same Angels destroyed Sodom for abuse of the creative force. Angels foretold to the parents of Samuel and Samson, the birth of these giants of brain and brawn. To Elizabeth came the angel (not Archangel) Gabriel and announced the birth of John. Later he appeared also to Mary with the message that she was chosen to bear Jesus.

IV. Positive and
Negative Development

  Spiritual development may be positive, as in Adepts, Initiates, and Invisible Helpers; or negative, as in the case of mediumship.

  The vital body of every Initiate is always positively polarized, as that makes it better and more receptive instrument for the vibrations which come from the Life Spirit, whose counterpart the vital body is.

   It is sometimes asked why Initiates are always men. They are not; in the lower degrees there are many women, but when an Initiate is able to choose his sex he usually takes the positive masculine body, as the life which brought him to initiation has spiritualized his vital body and made it positive under all conditions, so that he has then an instrument of the highest efficiency.

   There are women Initiates, and sometimes even Initiates of the Greater Mysteries take upon themselves a feminine body for the sake of a special work which they desire to accomplish. It is true, however, that those who have advanced so far that they have a choice regarding sex usually prefer a male body, an the reason is not far to seek. Woman has a positive vital body but a negative dense body and is, therefore, somewhat at a disadvantage in the world as at present constituted. Striving for the higher ideals and living the higher life, we spiritualize the vital body and transmute it into soul which is always positive — a power usable regardless of sex — and when the Initiate wears a masculine body also, he is thoroughly positive in the Physical World and has a better chance for advancement than when using a feminine vehicle.

   Hence one who lives upon a flesh diet must replenish his food supply very often; such material would therefore be unsuitable for the purpose of building a body that has to wait for some time before the Adept enters it. Food consisting of vegetables, fruits, and nuts, particularly when these are ripe and fresh, is interpenetrated by a great deal of the ether which composes the vital body of the plant. These are much easier to subdue and to incorporate into the polity of the body, also they stay much longer there before the individual cell life can assert itself. Therefore the Adept who wishes to build a body ready to wear before he leaves the old one, naturally builds it of fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts, taking them into the body which he uses daily where they become subjected to his will, a part of himself.

   Regarding the effect from the esoteric standpoint of this polarization, we may learn much from certain customs in so-called secret societies. As you know, such organizations always place at the door a guard who is instructed to deny admittance to anyone not supplied with the proper password and signs, and that words very well so far as the people are concerned who function only in their physical body. But the so-called secrets of these organizations are not in any sense secrets to those who are able to enter their places of assembly in their vital bodies. It is otherwise in a true esoteric order such as, for instance, the Rosicrucians. No guard is on duty at the door of the Temple when the Mystic Midnight Mass is said each night of the week. The door is wide open to all who have learned to speak the open sesame. But that is not a spoken password; the initiate who desire to attend must know how to attune his soul body to the particular rate of vibration maintained on that night. Furthermore, this vibration differs on the various nights of the week so that those who have learned to attune themselves to the vibration maintained on Saturday night when the first degree meets are as effectually barred from entering the Temple with those who carry on the work Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc., as any ordinary person.

   Therefore, "The Path of Preparation" precedes "The Way of Initiation." Persistence, Devotion, Observation, and Discrimination are means of attainment, for by these the vital body is sensitized. By persistence and devotion the chemical and the life ethers become capable of taking care of vital functions in the dense body during sleep. A cleavage takes place between those two ethers and the two higher, the light ether and the reflecting ether. When the latter two have been sufficiently spiritualized by observation and discrimination, a simple formula given by the Teacher enable the disciple to take them out with his higher bodies at will. He is thus equipped with a vehicle of sense perception and memory. Whatever knowledge he possesses in the material world is then available in the spiritual realms, and he brings back to the physical brain, memories of his experience while without the dense body. This is necessary in order to function outside the dense body with full consciousness of both the Physical World and the Desire World, for the desire body is unorganized as yet, and did not the vital body leave its imprint on the desire body at death, we could have no consciousness in the Desire World during post-mortem existence.

   There are various grades of spiritual sight. One grade enables a man to see the ordinarily invisible ether with the myriads of beings that invest that realm. Other and higher variants give him the faculty to see the Desire World and even the World of Thought while remaining in the physical body.

   But these faculties, though valuable when exercised under full control of the human will, are not sufficient to read the "Memory of Nature' with absolute accuracy. To do this and to make the necessary investigations in order that one may understand how the "Web of Destiny" is made and unmade, it is necessary to be able at will to step from the physical body and function outside in that soul body which we have spoken of as composed of the two higher ethers, this being also invested with the desire body and the mind. Thus the investigator is in full possession of all his faculties, he knows all that he knew in the Physical World, and has the ability to bring back into the physical consciousness the things which he has learned without. When he has this ability he must also learn to balance himself, to understand the things which he sees outside, for mark this: It is not enough to be able to step outside the body into another world and to see things there; we do not by that fact become omniscient any more than we understand what everything is used for and how everything works here in this Physical World because we live here from day to day and year to year. It requires study and application to become thoroughly familiar with the facts of the invisible world as it does with the facts of the world in which we are now living in our physical bodies. Therefore the book, the "Memory of Nature," is not read easily at the first attempt, or at the second either, for just as it takes a child time to learn how to read our ordinary books here, so also, it requires time and effort to decipher this wonderful scroll.

   Those who have the true spirituality do not fee saved one day, in the seventh heaven of ecstasy, and the next feel themselves down in the dumps and miserable sinners that can never be forgiven; for their religion is not based upon the emotional nature which feels these things, but is rooted in the vital body which is the vehicle of reason, set and persistent in the path it has once chosen. As new forms are propagated through the second ether of the vital body, so the higher self, the Christ within, is formed through this same vehicle of generation, the vital body, in its higher aspects embodied in the two upper ethers.

   But as a child that is born into the world requires nourishment, so also the Christ that is born within is a babe and requires to be nourished to the full stature of manhood. And as the physical body grows by a continual assimilation of material from the Chemical Region, the solids, liquids, and gases, so also, as the Christ grows, will the two higher ethers grow in volume and form a luminous cloud around the man or woman sufficiently discerning to set his or her face heavenward; it will invest the pilgrim with light so brilliant that he walks in the light, as a matter of actual fact. By the exercises given in the Western Mystery School of the Rosicrucians, it becomes possible in time to detach the two higher ethers, and the man may then step away from his physical body, leaving it for a time invested and vitalized only by the two lower ethers; he is then what we call an Invisible Helper.

   You will remember that Christ gave not the cup to the multitude but to His disciples who were His messengers and servants of the Cross. At the present time those who drink from the cup of self-abnegation that they may use their force in the service of others, are building that organ (an etheric organ in the throat and head) together with the soul body which is the Wedding Garment. they are learning to use it in a small way as Invisible Helpers when they are out of their bodies at night, for then they are taught to speak the word of power which removes disease and builds in healthy tissue.

   There is another class of people in whom the connection between the dense and the vital bodies is more or less loose, so that the ether of their vital bodies vibrates at a higher rate then in the first class mentioned. These people are therefore more or less sensitive to the spiritual world.

   This class of sensitive may again be divided. Some are weak characters, dominated by the will of others in a negative manner, as mediums, who are the prey of disembodied Spirits desirous of obtaining a physical body when they have lost their own by death.

   The other class of sensitive are strong positive characters, who act only from within, according to their own will. They may develop into trained clairvoyants, and be their own masters instead of slaves of a disembodied Spirit. In some sensitives of both classes it is possible to extract part of the ether which forms the vital body. When a disembodied Spirit obtains a subject of that nature, it develops the sensitive as a materializing medium. The man who is capable of extracting his own vital body by an act of will, becomes a citizen of two worlds, independent and free. Such are usually known as Invisible Helpers.

   No Spirit can work in any world without a vehicle made of the material of that world. To function in the Physical World, to fetch and carry, we must have a dense body and a vital body; both are made of various grades of physical matter, solids, liquids, gas, and ether. We may obtain such vehicles in the ordinary way, by going through the womb to birth, or we may extract ether from the body of a medium and temporarily use that to materialize, or we may use the fumes of incense.

   This remnant of the hypnotist's vital body is also the storehouse for commands to be carried out at a future time, involving the performance of a certain act, on a certain day, at a certain hour. When the time arrives the impulse is released like the spring of an alarm clock, and the victim must carry out the command, even to murder, yet has no idea that he is influenced by someone else. Therefore, hypnotism is the greatest crime on earth and the greatest danger to society.

   It is sometimes contended that hypnotism may be used benevolently for the cure of drunkenness and other vices, and it is readily admitted that, viewed solely from the material standpoint, that appears to be true. But from the viewpoint of esoteric science it is far otherwise. Like all other desires, the craving for liquor is in the desire body, and it is the duty of the Ego to master it by will power. That is why he is in the school of experience called life, and no man can do his moral growing for him, any more than he can digest another's dinner for him. Nature is not to be cheated; each must solve his own problems, overcome his own faults by his own will. If, therefore, a hypnotist overpowers the desire body of a drunkard, the Ego in the drunkard will have to learn its lesson in a future life, if he dies before the hypnotist. But if the hypnotist dies first the man will inevitably turn to drink again, for then the part of the hypnotist's vital body which held the evil desire in check gravitates back to its source, and the cure is nil. The only way permanently to master a vice is by one's own will.

   The modus operandi of the invisible manipulator is simply to push the higher vehicles out of the lower bodies of the unresisting medium, step in himself and take control. When he leaves, he also takes part of the medium's vital body to use as a key or lever next time.

   When a materializing medium is used by Spirits for the purpose of showing themselves to an audience, they first extract the vital body, or as much thereof as they dare, from the medium, leaving the dense body in the cabinet in a fearful shrunken state. That is dreadful for people unused to such phenomena to see. With this vital body — which, by the way, has been photographed by scientists, as the camera will register rays that are invisible to the eye — they produce the desired phenomena readily, because it is a living thing and attracts matter greedily so long as it has not collapsed in the manner that it does shortly after death. They interpolate physical atoms of the surrounding atmosphere after making a matrix (mold) of the vital body of the medium, and thereby shape a body into any form that suits the Spirit materializing to take upon itself. The vital body of a medium may be used by any number of Spirits during a séance, each one clothing itself in the plastic substance and filling out with atoms from the surrounding atmosphere, even borrowing from the sitters who very often feel much exhausted upon leaving a seance room.

   In the case of the materializing medium, we may say that the influence is always injurious. The materializing Spirit entrances the victim and then draws the ether of the vital body out through the spleen, for the difference between the materializing medium and the ordinary person is the fact that the connection between the vital body and the dense body is exceedingly lax, so that it is possible to withdraw this vital body to a very great extent. The vital body is the vehicle whereby the solar currents which give us vitality are specialized. Deprived of the vitalizing principle, the body of the medium at the time of a materialization sometimes shrinks to almost one-half its usual size; the flesh becomes flabby and the spark of life burns very low. When the séance is over and the vital body replaced, the medium is awakened and in normal consciousness. He then experiences a feeling of the most terrible exhaustion and sometimes, unfortunately, resorts to drink to revive the vital forces. In that case, of course, the health will very soon suffer and the medium will become a total wreck. At any rate, mediumship should be avoided, for apart from this danger to the instrument there are other and far more serious considerations in connection with the more subtle bodies, and particularly in connection with the after-death state.

   Roughly speaking, we may say that humanity today is divided into two classes — those in whom the connection between the vital body and the dense body is very close, and another class where the connection is more loose. The former class is the ordinary person who is engaged in material pursuits and is altogether out of touch with the spiritual worlds. The latter class is the so-called sensitives, and is again divided into two classes. One class is actuated by the will from within and is positive. From this class comes the trained clairvoyant and the Invisible Helper. The other class is negative ad is amenable to the will of others. From this class mediums are recruited.

   When the connection between the vital body and the dense body of a man is somewhat lax, he will be sensitive to spiritual vibrations, and if positive he will by his own will develop his spiritual faculties, live a spiritual life, and in time receive the teaching necessary to become a trained clairvoyant and a master of his faculty at nay and all times, free to exercise it or not, as he pleases.

   If a person has this slight laxity between the vital and dense bodies, and is of a negative temperament, he is liable to become the prey of discarnate Spirits, as a medium. Where the connection between the vital and dense bodies is very lax, so that it may be withdrawn, an the man is positive, he may become an Invisible Helper, capable of taking the two higher ethers away from his dense body at will and using them as a vehicle for sense perception and memory. He can then function consciously in the spiritual world and bring back a recollection of everything he has done there, so that, for instance, when he leaves his body at night he takes up the life in the invisible world in a fully conscious manner, as we do here when we wake up in the morning after sleep and perform our various duties in the visible world. When a person has this lax connection between the vital body and the dense body and is of a negative temperament, the Spirits which are earth-bound and seek to manifest here may withdraw his vital body by way of the spleen and temporarily use the ether of which it is composed to materialize spirit forms, returning the ether to the medium after the séance is over.

   It is these elementals who are the originators of many of the spiritualistic phenomena, where more intelligence is displayed than can be accounted for by the action of soul-less shells, particularly at materializations. Though shells may take part, phenomena are always directed by a being with intelligence. The difference between a materializing medium and an ordinary person is that the connection between the dense body and the vital body is more lax in the medium, so that from the latter a part of the vital body can be withdrawn, and also some of the gases and even liquids of the medium's dense body may be used to form the bodies of apparitions. This withdrawal and the process of clothing the shells is generally performed by the elemental who extracts the vital body of the medium out through the spleen. As a rule, the body of the medium shrinks horribly in consequence. When the dense body is thus deprived of its vital principle, it becomes terribly exhausted, and unfortunately the medium often seeks to restore the equilibrium by strong drink, becoming a confirmed drunkard.

   God is the Grand Architect of the Universe and the Initiates of the White Schools are also archetektons, builders from the primordial essence in their beneficent work for humanity. These Invisible Helpers require a nucleus from the patient's vital body, which is, as students of The Rosicrucian Teachings know, given to them in the effluvia from the hand, which impregnates the paper when the patient makes application for health and healing. With this nucleus of the patient's vital body they are able to draw upon virgin matter for whatever they need to restore health by building up and strengthening the organism.

   The Black Magicians are despoilers, actuated by hatred and malice. They also need a nucleus for their nefarious operations, and this they obtain most easily from the vital body at spiritualistic or hypnotic séances, where the sitters relax, put themselves into a negative frame of mind, drop their jaws, and sink their individualities by other distinctly mediumistic practices. Even people who do not frequent such places are not immune, for there are certain products of the vital body which are ignorantly scattered by all and which may be used effectively by the Black Magicians. Chief in this category are the hair and finger nails. Practitioners of voodoo magic use the placenta for similar evil purposes. One particularly evil man, whose practice were exposed a decade ago, obtained from boys the vital fluid which he used for his demoniac acts. Even so innocent a thing as a glass of water placed in close proximity to certain parts of the body of the prospective victim, while the Black Magician converses with him can be made to absorb a part of the victim's vital body. This will give the Black Magician the requisite nucleus, or it may be obtained from a piece of the person's clothing. The same invisible emanation contained in the garment, which guides the bloodhound upon the track of a certain person, will also guide the magician, white or black, to the abode of that person and furnish the magician with a key to the person's system whereby the former may help or hurt according to his inclination.

Part V
The Vital Body
of Jesus

I. As A Vehicle
For The Christ

  The vital body of Jesus is very highly developed and was used by the Christ during His three year ministry.

   We know that at death, or at any time when we have to leave this Physical World, we give up our dense body, and our vital body, because they belong to the Physical World. And so Jesus, when he had come to the age of thirty, when he had made his instrument fit for the use of the Great Being, gladly, willingly gave it away. He left it at the Baptism as he would have stepped out at death, that the Christ might step in, and that was seen to descend upon him a a dove.

   Christ, as an Archangel, had learned to build down to the desire body, but he vital body and the dense body He had never learned to build. The Archangels had worked on humanity from without before, as Group Spirits do; but that was not enough. The help had to come from within. That was made possible by the combination of Christ and Jesus, and therefore it is true, in the very highest sense, in the most literal sense, when Paul says: "There is but one mediator between God and man — Christ Jesus, the righteous."

   It is one of our illusions that the body which we inhabit is alive. As a matter of fact it is nothing of the sort. At least there is such a very small portion of this body which can really be said to be alive that our statement is practically true. The larger portion is absolutely asleep if not entirely dead. That is a fact well-known to science, and something that reason must teach us is so. That is because our spiritual power is so weak that it cannot furnish this vehicle with life to a sufficient extent. In the measure that we fail thus to vitalize the body, it seems like a heavy clod of clay, which we must laboriously drag along with us, until after a few years it crystallizes to such an extent that it is impossible for us any longer to keep up the vibratory motion. Then we are forced to leave the body and it is said to die. A slow process of disintegration takes place to restore the atoms to their original free state.

   Contrast now that state of affairs when one of these same earth bodies is taken possession of by a powerful Spirit like that of Christ. You will find an analogy in the case of a man being resuscitated from drowning. There the vital body has been extracted, and the vibratory action of the physical atoms has ceased almost, if not altogether. Then when the vital body is again caused to permeate the physical body it begins to prod every atom into action and vibration.

   This attempt to awaken the sleeping atoms causes the intensely disagreeable prickling sensation which persons who have been resuscitated from drowning describe, and this sensation does not cease until the physical atoms have attained a rate of vibration one octave below that of the vital body. Then they are insensate and nothing is felt save as we ordinarily feel.

   Take now the case of Christ entering the dense body of Jesus. There the atoms were moving at a speed much lower than the vibratory forces of the Christ Spirit. Consequently the acceleration had to take place, and during the three years' ministry this marked acceleration of the vibration of these atoms would have shattered the body had not the powerful will of the Master assisted by the skill of the Essences held it together. Had the atoms been asleep at the time when the Christ left the body of Jesus, the same as our atoms are asleep when we leave our bodies, a long process of purification would have been required to disintegrate the body. They were, however, as we said, highly sensitized and alive, and therefore it was impossible to keep them in bondage when the Spirit had fled. In future ages when we learn to keep our bodies alive we shall not change atoms and, therefore, bodies so often. Nor when we do, will it take so long as at present to complete the process of purification. The tomb was not hermetically sealed, and would not offer obstruction to the passage of atoms.

   This (rapid disintegration of the physical body of spiritual people) the writer has not been able to verify because it is difficult to find men of high spiritual proclivities who have passed out recently, but it would seem that this is so from the fact recorded in the Bible that the body of Christ was not found in the tomb when the people came to look for it. As we have said before in relation to this matter, the Christ spiritualized the body of Jesus so highly, made to so vibrant, that it was almost impossible to keep the particles in place during His ministry. This was a fact known to the writer by the teachings of the Elder Brothers and by what investigation he has made of the subject in the Memory of Nature, but the bearing of this fact upon the general subject of death and the after-existence was not known until lately.

   Upon the death of the dense body of Christ Jesus, the seed atom was returned to the original owner, Jesus of Nazareth, who for some time afterward, while functioning in a vital body which he had gathered temporarily, taught the nucleus of the new faith which Christ had left behind. Jesus of Nazareth has since had the guidance of the esoteric branches which sprang up all over Europe.

   Upon the death of the dense body of Jesus, the seed atoms were returned to the original owner. During the there years' interval between the Baptism, where he gave up his vehicles, and the Crucifixion, which brought the return of the seed atoms, Jesus gathered a vehicle of ether, as an Invisible Helper gathers physical matter whenever it is necessary to materialize all or part of the body. However, material not matched with the seed atom cannot be permanently appropriated. It disintegrates as soon as the will power assembled in it is withdrawn, and this was, therefore, only a makeshift. When the seed atom of the vital body was returned, a new body was formed, and in that vehicle Jesus has been functioning since, working with the churches.

   In 1st These. 5:23, Paul states that man's whole being consists of Spirit, soul, and body. When we shed the dense body finally as Christ did, we shall function in a body called soma psuchicon (soul body) in 1st Cor. 15:44. This is the "vital body" in our literature, a vehicle made of ether, capable of levitation, and of the same nature as the body which Christ used after the Crucifixion. This vehicle is not subject to death in the same sense a our physical body, and it is eventually transmuted to Spirit as taught in our literature and as required by 1st Cor., 15th chapter.

   Thus we see that it is a property of the vital body to attract to itself physical matter, and it is much easier for one who leaves the body unconsciously to allow the physical particles to flow into his soul body than to keep them away. The soul body, of course, is not subject to death, decay, or collapse. Therefore it is very easily understood that the Christ could use that vehicle to go through the walls into the room where the Disciples were gathered and there draw about Him the necessary material to show Himself in a physical vehicle which was disintegrated the moment He wanted to leave. However, it is noteworthy that it is the disintegration that calls forth an effort and not attraction of physical matter.

   Our Elder Brothers have placed the vital body of Jesus in a sarcophagus of glass to protect it from the gaze of the curious or profane. They keep this receptacle in a cavern deep in the earth, where no uninitiated can penetrate. To make assurance doubly sure, however, vigilant watchers keep constant guard over their precious charge; for were that vehicle destroyed, Christ's only avenue of egress would be cut off, and He would have to remain a prisoner in the earth until the Cosmic Night dissolves its chemical elements into chaos. Thus the mission of Christ as Savior would have failed; His suffering would be greatly prolonged, and our evolution would be enormously retarded.

   Christ was free to choose His vehicle of entrance into the Earth where He is now confined, but once having chosen the vehicle of Jesus, He is bound to leave by the same way. Were that vehicle destroyed, Christ must remain in the cramping surroundings till Chaos dissolves the Earth. This would be a great calamity, and therefore, the vehicle He once used is most jealously guarded by the Elder Brothers.

   In the meantime Jesus has been the loser of all the soul growth accomplished during his thirty years on earth prior to the Baptism and contained in the vehicle given the Christ. This was and is a great sacrifice made for us, but like all good deeds, it will rebound to a greater glory in the future. This vehicle will be used by Christ when He comes to establish and perfect the Kingdom of God, and it will be so spiritualized and glorified that when it is again restored to Jesus at the time when Christ turns the Kingdom over to the Father it will be the most wonderful of all human vehicles.

   Of course, the Earth Spirit is not to be thought of as larger man, or as having physical form other than the Earth itself. The vital body of Jesus, in which the Christ Spirit was focused prior to its actual ingress into the earth, has the ordinary human form; it is preserved and is shown to the candidate at a certain point in his progression. Some day in the far future it will again house the benevolent Christ Spirit upon His return from the center of the earth, when we shall have become etheric, and when He is ready to ascend to higher spheres, leaving us to be taught of the Father, whose religion will be higher than the Christian religion.

   New we come to a point involving an important cosmic law which underlies various spiritualistic phenomena and also supports the unique principle of The Rosicrucian Teachings (and the Bible), that Christ will not return in a dense body but in a vital body. It also shows why He must return.

   Before A.D. 33 Jehovah guided our planet in its orbit and mankind on the path of evolution from without. On Golgotha, Christ entered the earth which he now guides from within, and will until a sufficient number of our humanity have evolved the soul power necessary to float the earth and guide our younger brothers. This requires ability to live in vital bodies, capable of levitation. The vital body of Jesus through which Christ entered the earth is His only avenue of return to the Sun. Hence the Second Advent will be in Jesus' vital body.

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Reference: The Vital (Etheric) Body, by Max Heindel (1865-1919)

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