The Nature of the Buddhic Principle
by G. de Purucker
G. de Purucker mid 1930’s
In his office/study at the Point Loma Theosophical Community
“. . . Once separated from the common influences of Society, nothing draws us to any outsider save his evolving spirituality. He may be a Bacon or an Aristotle in knowledge, and still not even make his current felt a feather’s weight by us, if his power is confined to the Manas. The supreme energy resides in the Buddhi; latent — when wedded to Atman alone, active and irresistible when galvanized by the essence of ‘Manas’ and when none of the dross of the latter commingles with that pure essence to weigh it down by its finite nature. Manas, pure and simple, is of a lower degree, and of the earth earthly: and so your greatest men count but as nonentities in the arena where greatness is measured by the standard of spiritual development.” — Letter LXI, p. 341
Passages out of these wonderful communications from our beloved Teachers are so filled with not only truth but beauty, that one’s mind is held in the enchantment of the thoughts aroused by reading these communications or by hearing them summarized. It is amazing — and yet why should it be so, but it is to us inferior folk — to sense how the majesty of truth and the greatness of soul accompanying such majesty affect us so deeply as to move the inmost core of our being. And I for one know no experience more exalting, no experience more penetrating than this. How vain some of the things of the world when we discern the glory of Reality. I venture to say that no man or woman living, no matter how simple-minded he or she may be, is unsusceptible, is insensible, to such feelings — dare we call them that? — at any rate to such consequences of having received the touch of supernal beauty. It is an experience which in itself is worth lifetimes of ordinary garnering of life’s impressions. I think that this spiritual and intellectual consequence of having these teachings in our inmost must be indeed almighty influences not only on our own characters, but on our future destiny. I am assured from my own observation and from what I feel within myself, that a man’s whole future lives can be changed, because of change occurring here and now within him.
We see the compelling power of the beauty born within us when studying these great Teachers’ communications, for Truth indeed is thus compelling when its exposition is directed by Master Minds; and it is thus compelling not because it is enslaved, but because it gives us freedom, the freedom of brotherhood, the freedom of fellowship, fellowship in understanding, fellowship in fellow-feeling.
The statement has been made that buddhi is negative unless it has the manas or mind to work through, and of course this is true. But don’t imagine for a moment that this means that the buddhi is negative on its own plane, quite the contrary. It is as active on its own plane as the supreme truth within us, the Atman, is forever active on its own plane. The meaning is that the buddhi is negative on this our human plane of experience and action, without the transmitting principle to step it down to us, which is the mind and the psychical elements within us. Then, if the mind be pellucid as the mountain lake, crystal clear, so that it cannot transmit the non-divine, then we have indeed a man who for the time being is like unto a god, for he speaks with power, with the voice of authority; and none who listens unto him, in his heart can say Nay. Our minds are taken captive, mightily persuaded. And why? Because the buddhi in the Teacher speaks to the buddhi within us. Voice as it were calls to voice. Thought evokes correspondential thought. Truth awakens, by its impact on our minds, the spark of truth within us; and it compels us, compels us because our own best is awakened, and we know thereafter that that is freedom, that is truth, that is reality; and no man wants aught else than freedom, truth, love, reality. That is why truth is so compatible. That is why its authority over our hearts and minds is supreme, for it awakens within us itself. Strange paradox and yet so simple.
What is this Buddhic principle? It is so difficult in our awkward European tongues to give to this almost mystical Sanskrit word a proper translation. It is discrimination. It is intuition, it is the organ of direct knowledge, it is the clothing of the divine spark within us which instantly not only knows truth but communicates it, if indeed the barriers be not too thick and heavy between it and our receptive minds. Ay, reception, that is the point. Can our minds receive? If not, it is our own fault for we have enshrouded ourselves with the veils of the lower selfhood so strongly that the light from above, or from the Master mind, cannot reach our own higher mind and descend into the physical brain and into the physical heart where truth abides for all. For mystical fact it is, that although we know it not, the truth is already within us, here in heart, and here in mind; and we are like those spoken of by the Avatara Jesus in the Christian Bible, having ears they hear not, having eyes they see not, having minds they apprehend and comprehend not.
I want to point out one more thought, that the inner God works within its own vehicle, and this vehicle is the buddhi principle, and it is just as easy to come into sympathetic relationship, into companionship with the buddhi as it is with the kama-manas within us. In other words, it is just as easy to yearn for the inspiration of the highest within you as it is to look for the heat and fevers of the lower part of our being.
Now whereas in the old religions and philosophies the God within has always been called a Divinity or God — masculine; the Consort, the Buddhi of the Atman, has always been looked upon as feminine. The German poet Goethe meant more than mere poetry when he uttered that remarkably telling phrase, Das Ewig-Weiblicke ziekt uns kinan. The eternal feminine draweth us ever onward and inward. It does not mean woman, it means that part of our natures to which and in which the god within works. Our own individual Buddhi is that which gives us intuition and insight and sensitiveness and delicacy and the ability in quick response to feel the suffering, the sorrow of others. It is the god within which does this, but it is what in common language we call the feminine side of us which receives it, the sensitized part of us, and carries the thought to the place where dwelleth the Atman. It has naught to do with physical woman or physical man. There is a great and wonderful mystery here, and I may add in closing that one more small and minor phase of this mystery is alluded to by H. P. B. in The Key to Theosophy where she speaks of the buddhi as being the root and the key itself of individuality. There is the remote source why on this low physical plane some of our lifetimes are passed as men and some as women. By each we learn, if we have the wit. It always vexes me when I hear people talk, as I sometimes hear, about which is greater, man or woman. Which really is greater? It is the uttermost poppycock. Where would you be without your mothers? Where would you be without your fathers? Sex of course is but a passing phase. It did not exist some 18 or 19 million years ago, and some 8 million years from now it will again vanish. Its place will be taken by kriyasakti. But at present the most complete men are the men who have a healthy dash of the feminine in them; and the most perfect women are they who have a touch of the masculine. The most courageous man is always the man who feels the most tender towards the weak and helpless. If a man has not a touch of the mother-instinct in him, look out, you cannot trust him! If a woman has not a touch of the father-instinct in her, in my judgment she is incomplete.