The science of the Antahkarana is probably the most important science of the coming time but this talk will not claim to cover the whole subject of the Antahkarana or the science of its use. This is a science which is, as yet, unknown to humanity but it will be the coming science of mind of the New Age, the science of building the bridge between lower and higher man, and also a number of other bridges: between the members of the human race as a whole; between one Center, Humanity, and another, Hierarchy; between Hierarchy and Shamballa; between Humanity, through Hierarchy, and Shamballa; and between this planet and other planets, this solar system and other solar systems. All these bridges and connections are the result of the correct use of the science of the Antahkarana, which will be the major educational field for humanity in this coming age.
The best way to study the Antahkarana is to read the Alice Bailey Teachings, in particular the book Education in the New Age, and further references in The Rays and Initiations. You will not get from this talk, or from the Alice Bailey Teachings, the technique of the science of the Antahkarana. That is something which, as far as humanity as a whole is concerned, lies well in the future. It is a gradual process of enlightenment for humanity, but it will become the major science the science of evolving as a race and making the inner connections (which of course already exist but which have to be consciously built by the man or woman in incarnation), to weave the thread of return to the source from which we have originally come. It is really the science of the Path of Return.
For long ages, the soul on its own plane looks down at its reflection, the man or woman on the physical plane, and sees no way to interfere with its development. There is very little the soul can do except create a body, give it its various physical, astral and mental make-up, and leave it to get on with the job of evolution.
Eventually, there comes a life a series of lives in fact in which the soul sees that its reflection, the man or woman, is beginning to respond to the influence of the energy which connects the soul to its reflection, and the process of 'ensouling' begins.
Each individual is really threefold: the Monad, or spark of God, the impersonal Self which reflects itself on the soul plane as the individualized human soul or ego. The soul, again, reflects itself on the dense physical plane as the man or woman in incarnation.
That is the 'way down', the process by which spirit involves itself in its polar opposite, substance. When the spirit, or life, aspect and the matter aspect come together, a third, the consciousness aspect, is born. "The Antahkarana" is, above all, the thread of consciousness. It is the result of the interaction of the life with the form, with substance, with matter; that produces something entirely different. We call it "consciousness". We can also call it "the Christ Principle". It is the process of evolution itself.
Those who study anthropology, the history of evolution on the physical plane the evolution of forms know that in the beginning there were great oceans, teaming with life, nothing on the land, and then gradually some of the more evolved animals: fish, reptiles of all kinds came on to the land and became the early reptiles and mammals. Gradually, there evolved a prehuman type which eventually became early, animal man, separating itself from the animal kingdom. With the germ of mind which could become the nucleus of a mental body at last formed, the human race began. This is denied by Christian fundamentalists and other orthodox religious groups who deny the reality of Darwin's theory of evolution, but esotericist's accept it as a more-or-less accurate account of the growth of the form, the evolution of form, on this planet.
We are not concerned with that; we are concerned, as human beings evolving back to our source, with the evolution not of form, which has come more or less to perfection (though there are some minor adjustments and improvements still to be made), but rather with the evolution of consciousness. The evolution of consciousness is the basis of how we become aware of ourselves and our environment, and create together the evolution of the human race.
The descent from Monad to soul and from soul to personality has to be re-enacted in reverse order. The threefold man physical, astral and mental has to find his way back by a process of at-one-ment, first with the soul and then, through the spiritual triad, the reflection of the Monad, with the Monad itself: the threefold monadic Being. That return journey, or the process by which that return journey is made, is through the creation, the gradual evolvement and building, of the Antahkarana. This is a conscious process and only occurs in stages. As the process downward has been slow, over millions of years, so the process back can be a long, drawn-out process, and for the vast majority of humanity so it is.
We are in the second of a threefold solar system. In other words, this solar system is the second embodiment or manifestation of the great Heavenly Man we call the Solar Logos Who has a Plan for the evolution of all the forms in the solar system.
The first solar system expressed through matter, substance, the quality of active intelligence. It was concerned mainly with the intelligent creation of forms. We are in the second of this threefold expression in which the soul quality the love or consciousness aspect of the Logos is in process of being expressed. The Solar Antahkarana is being built by the Solar Logos and by all the forms, whether they know it or not, who have evolved from the first solar system and are now creating the bridge between that system and this one, and, eventually, between this system and the next. The next solar system will be concerned with the Will aspect, the Monadic aspect, of the Solar Logos. When the correct bridge between these three expressions is built, the Solar Antahkarana is in place. This will lead to the culmination of the Plan of our Solar Logos in its threefold expression.
Each solar system creates a body of expression at a higher level than the one before. The first that to do with form, with substance is, of course, preparatory to the expression of the soul. It is the soul, in all forms, which incarnates. By descending into form, the soul actually the Monad, the spirit aspect, through the soul begins a process of redemption of the soul in form. It begins to spiritualize substance; the underlying purpose of our incarnational experience is, precisely, to spiritualize the substance of this particular solar system. When we have taken the substance the forms created in the previous solar system and energized it with the energy of the soul, the consciousness aspect, in this solar system, we will raise it, redeem it, heighten its vibration and bring it up to the level at which the Will, the Purpose aspect of God (in terms of our Solar Logos), can be expressed.
In this present solar system God is Love, Love is the aspect of the soul, Will of the Atmic level of being. In the next solar system God will be Will and Purpose. We are, all of us, as microcosms, evolving in precisely the same way as the macrocosm, our Solar Logos, through its threefold expression, works out its Plan of evolution in every kingdom and in every planet.
In coming into incarnation, therefore, we are doing something quite extraordinary, something far greater than we as individual human beings possibly realize. But as soon as we do realize the interconnectedness of the microcosm with the macrocosm it deepens our sense of purpose the sense of reality in life, and it is also a stimulus to concentrate more, and to build a direct line of ascent between this low-level (for that is what it is) expression of Deity and bring it into line with the underlying purpose of Deity for its perfectionment.
The energy of each solar system is raised and becomes the basis for the new system, just as in our incarnational experience every incarnation creates an expression through the vehicles up to a certain vibration. That vibration is held exactly at the point we have reached when we die.
There are three 'permanent atoms' around which the new bodies, physical, astral and mental, are formed. These permanent atoms vibrate at exactly the frequency reached in that particular life, and we can understand, therefore, how the vibrational rate reached is the degree to which we have perfected, or spiritualized, matter. The soul infuses the matter of the three bodies with its energy and in this way salvages, redeems that matter. It raises their vibration onto an ever-higher level until the point is reached when the soul is reflecting itself, without resistance, directly, through the personality. That is how we become divine. We do so by raising the vibrational rate of the substance of these three bodies to a point where the Divine Man, the soul on its own plane, can reflect itself relatively purely through its reflection, the man or woman on the physical plane. That is the evolutionary, the return process; the technique of it is the science of the Antahkarana.
There are two major threads which connect the Monad, through the soul, with the man or woman in incarnation. One the Sutratma, the thread of life, is anchored in the heart. It comes directly from the Monad, reflected through the soul, and is fixed in the heart center at the right-hand side of the body. It is reflected through that etheric center to the physical heart and into the bloodstream, which, as you know, is the purifying stream which carries the energy of life to every part of the body. While the lifeblood is pumped correctly through the body and is kept free of poisons, the physical body displays all its ability and accuracy of movement and expression. So, too, the connecting body, the astral-emotional body and the mental body are dependent on the life thread, the Sutratma, for their existence and correct function.
There is another thread, called, indeed, the Antahkarana. This thread in anchored in the center of the head, and through these two threads the threefold expression Monad, soul and physical-plane man or woman, live their lives. These two threads inform all of these and, in a downward flow, bridge the gaps between, first, Monad and soul, and secondly between soul and its reflection, the man or woman on the physical plane.
Eventually, a third thread is built by the man or woman him/herself through the interaction of soul energy, and eventually, monadic energy, through the physical apparatus: the thread of creativity. These three threads wound together eventually produce the bridge between the three levels of existence.
The future science of the Antahkarana will concern itself with this, the path of return. This will be the New Age education. Individuals will be recognized for what they are, souls in incarnation; their point in evolution and ray structure will be ascertained and known; through this science the gaps between the various levels of our being will be bridged. This is only possible now that the human race has reached the present state and, of course, because of the return to the everyday world of the only people in the world who actually know this science: the Masters.
Since the Masters are returning this will become an exoteric science. All children, from the earliest age up until 28, will eventually go through this process of education in the science of Life, the science of building the return channel, or pathway. I would like here to show the inner unity of method and approach of certain terms.
The antahkarana is the bridge built first out of mental matter and later out of light by the evolving aspirant, disciple and initiate, in turn. Until a certain time, the connection between the man or woman and the soul plane is developed by the control of 'mentation', the energy of the mental body. It brings the mental body under control and the thought-patterns create a bridge. The Antahkarana is, therefore, in the first place, a bridge connecting the lower man, the lower mind, with the soul, and then the lower mind, through the soul, with the higher mind which is the lowest aspect of the Spiritual Triad. This is Atma, Buddhi and Manas, the reflection on the soul plane of the threefold Monad, or spark of God.
Path of Return
There are different terms for this and I would like to bring all of these together to show the unity and interconnectedness of these different methods of expressing what is essentially the one process, the return journey: the Path of Return.
The mystic thinks of the Path as the Path to God. He thinks of it generally in terms of his religious or mystical feelings and experiences, his mystical religious beliefs, doctrines, and dogma, his various spiritual practices, the various rituals, all of these to the mystical and devotional type constitute a way of approaching God through belief, a linking in consciousness between the individual man's belief structure (whether that be Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or whatever) and that which lies back of all creation. The religious person sees that as the Path of Return, and of course that is perfectly true, it is. But not everybody is religious, and the Path of Return, to the esotericist, is a path which, literally, is made by the disciple himself. The disciple makes the Path by becoming the Path. It is not something which is already laid down and is whispered into your ear. It is not like that at all. It is the evolutionary process itself. It is that same process which brought the fishes out of the sea onto dry land, from which they evolved into, first, reptiles and then mammals and then the huge variety of animals and eventually, at the peak of that development of form, the human kingdom. Above the human kingdom is the Kingdom of Souls, the kingdom whose nature is consciousness. The plane of consciousness is the plane on which the Masters have hitherto worked exclusively. The Path of Return is the Path by which the consciousness of what is and what might be gradually becomes known to the seeker, the evolving individual.
In other words, as you seek, as you aspire, you create before you, as DK says: the "spider creates out of his own being the silken thread", so, in exactly the same way, the aspirant, the disciple and the initiate are creating before them the Path of Return, the Path which is not yet laid down. It is the path of a growing awareness of what constitutes his/her relationship to the whole. It is a means by which we grasp deeper and deeper realizations and experiences of our connectedness to the whole, to the Macrocosm. This is done by a growing expansion of consciousness.
These expansions of consciousness are marked off on our planet by the five planetary initiations. For the adept there are also four Cosmic initiations. Above these, and on throughout Cosmos, are initiation after initiation upon initiation, on and on eternally, throughout the whole of galactic space. All of that is a process by which, through the building of the Antahkarana, our individual relationship to that totality gradually dawns on us.
The Antahkarana is not a 'form'. Here you have a form which is called "The Antahkarana". It is a lithograph made from one of my paintings, and it is a purely formal and symbolic representation of the Antahkarana. The Monad reflects itself in the soul as the Spiritual Triad: spiritual Will, spiritual Love-Wisdom and spiritual Intelligence, and these are again reflected in the physical being by the soul. The process by which this takes place is the Antahkarana. In this lithograph, the lower shape represents the threefold human being; the white connecting column is the symbolic representation of the threefold thread of the Antahkarana; and the pale-yellow shape at the top represents the soul itself.
This lithograph is not the Antahkarana; the Antahkarana is not a form. Most people thinking about the Antahkarana, because of the nature of the language used, inevitably imagine a bridge. That bridge is built in, first, mental substance and then light, and so they visualize a physical bridge. An artist has to do so, of course; one cannot paint a picture without a form. The artist has to create out of his creative imagination a form which will symbolize a process, but the form is not the process, it is simply a means of expressing the idea of the process.
Anyone who does Transmission Meditation knows about alignment. When that alignment is perfect, symbolically speaking there is a column of light above the head of the meditators. In that light there are three threads, strands, of energy. That is the form, but it is not the Antahkarana. We must realize that the form and the idea of a bridge, the idea of a column of light, the idea of some actual form in substance, is only a way of stating something else. What we are really talking about is awareness.
Awareness, in a sense, is a vague, generalized way of talking about the process of return. We return through a gradual expansion of conscious awareness, through the conscious building of the Antahkarana. This is created firstly in mental matter, between the personality and the soul, and then by the initiate, who has already contacted and come into a close at-one-ment with the soul, in light, between the soul and the Monad, the highest aspect of our threefold being. Then the connectedness eventually is direct between the Monad the divine being, identical with God, the reflection of our Planetary Logos, and the man or woman on the physical plane. By this process our Planetary Logos works out His Plan of evolution through the human kingdom, and of course in the same way the Solar Logos is working out His greater and vaster Plan through all beings on all planets in this, the second, solar system. This process will be completed in the third solar system, in which the Monadic aspect the Will, the Purpose, the essential Love of God will come to its final expression and fulfillment.
Each of us, right now, is engaged in creating the Antahkarana. Another term for the Antahkarana, besides the bridge of light, is Self-realization, which is what Maitreya calls it: "I have come to teach the art of Self-realization," He said. The art of Self-realization is the science of the Antahkarana: they are one and the same.
Maitreya has said that the simplest, most direct path is to practice three things: Honesty of mind; sincerity of spirit, and detachment. These three bring about Self-realization, and they do so by enabling the man or woman to create the Antahkarana. For the vast majority of people in the world this is a process which goes on, up till a certain time, quite unconsciously. Most unevolved individuals are connected only by the Sutratma, the life thread, coming from the Monad through the soul and anchored in the heart. Average humanity are connected also by the thread of consciousness, the Antahkarana, and as the person evolves through the building of the first stage of the Antahkarana, that between the lower man and the soul, the energies of the soul become available to him or her.
Then the creative process begins. This stimulates the mind and the creative imagination, and a life of creativity and of service ensues. Creativity and service are one and the same; service is the life of the soul creatively expressed on the physical plane. This, then, dominates more and more in the life of the individual, and so we get the creation of culture. It is not by accident that the culture of any nation is created by the disciples and the initiates of that nation; they are the ones who have already built the first stage of the connecting link, the bridge, between themselves and their soul.
The initiate, having achieved an integration of the three lower vehicles, physical, astral and mental, that is, having brought them to a point of synchronous vibration, takes the third initiation; the soul, henceforward, controls and dominates its vehicle, which is now negative in relation to the purpose of the soul. The divine man or woman displays his or her divinity on the physical plane in a life of service and creativity. The third-degree and the fourth-degree initiate is usually in incarnation for only one or two lives, depending on astrological factors. But having taken thousands of lives to the first initiation, and perhaps five or six to the second, the third is taken very quickly, and the fourth very quickly after that, probably in the next life. Therefore, by the time a person has reached the state of true creativity, is more or less soul-infused and expressing the purpose of the soul, he or she does not have long in which to do this; only three or four lives at the most. Then, as a Master, the whole of this existence is dedicated to the service of the Plan. Of course, the more one evolves the more one knows. The more one knows, the greater the responsibility of service, and the greater the opportunity for service.
The Masters can serve because They know. Our service is limited, not only because of lack of desire or energy, but because we do not know enough; we can serve in a rather limited way because our consciousness is limited. The more conscious one is, or the higher the level of consciousness, the greater the number of threads of consciousness extending outwards to the world, the greater awareness there will be of the nature of reality. These are the Antahkarana, which is not simply a column of light but threads of awareness spreading outwards from the individual into every sphere of his environment. These threads of awareness multiply endlessly, until, in the Master, they make for omniscience: nothing can happen anywhere of which He is unaware. In this way we reveal the mind of God, become instruments in the furthering of the Plan held in the mind of God. That, really, is the basis of initiation.
When you know consciously, through the building of the Antahkarana, how to link the different levels of expression -- Monadic with soul, soul with the physical (on the downward path) -- when you know this science because you have done it, and done it consciously, when you are a Master, you can use this science to create the Mayavirupa, the self-created body.
The Mayavirupa reverses the process of the Antahkarana. It is the result of the ability to create a body because you know the connecting links between the form. A God-realized Master experiences Himself as God in this physical body. For us that physical body is the closest, most important, aspect, whereas for the Master it is only a transitory aspect of the whole. From His God-realized state, the Master can go backwards down the bridge, the Antahkarana, can repeat the process and bring together, therefore, matter of the mental, the astral-emotional and the etheric physical plane, and precipitate His consciousness into that. That is the secret behind the creation of the Mayavirupa.
The new world religion, when developed, is really the creation of the 'racial' Antahkarana. Maitreya has said the He has not come to build a new religion, to create followers, and so on. This is true. Nevertheless there will be what we have to call, for want of another name, a new world 'religion', but it will be the science of which I am speaking.
The new world religion will be a conscious approach by the human race to the Creator, that which stands back of creation, which, of course, is also ourselves, the essential part of ourselves as the Monad. This will be done through the creation of the racial, group, Antahkarana. The growing experience of aspirants and disciples of working in groups is a preparatory step towards this great racial grouping, to the creation of the 'world' Antahkarana. Eventually the Antahkarana links not only peoples, but planets and solar systems. This is the essential nature of Being throughout Cosmos. All that is higher reflects itself through a lower vehicle. This threefold expression is to be found throughout Cosmos.
At our human level, we experience it consciously, because, as souls, we are the "Sons of Mind". Through the expression of the soul, the consciousness aspect, that awareness takes place by which the racial Antahkarana can be built. As a Being, as a race, as one big grouping of all peoples, all religions, all types and points of evolution, there will be eventually a conscious approach to Deity, especially at the three spiritual festivals in April, May and June and also at the nine other full-moons. This will constitute "the new world religion", or the technique of the new world religion, in which invocation will replace the present process of worship. We can see therefore that it will be a very scientific religion, it will be very difficult to distinguish between what we call science, religion and education.
This is also the education of the New Age. Children will be trained in the creation of the Antahkarana. The science of the Antahkarana will be taught in so far as it can be taught, because it is an experiential thing, to those ready to receive the tuition. Of course, that does not mean all children, but for those more advanced aspirants, for those who are preparing for initiation, this will become the norm. No initiation is possible for anyone without the building of the Antahkarana. Indeed, it is precisely the building of the Antahkarana, the link between the lower man and the soul, which makes initiation possible. Eventually, the link between the integrated lower man and the soul makes possible the higher initiations in which the at-one-ment is with the Spiritual Triad, and, through that, with the Monad. Then the process is complete; the Godlike man, the God-realized or Self-realized man, has achieved: he is a Master.
The Antahkarana is not only the bridge between the different fragments of ourselves, it is the bridge between the worlds: planetary, systemic, and galactic.
The key to the formation of the Mayavirupa is found in the right comprehension of the creation of the Antahkarana. It is important to remember that as these bridges are built the vitalizing process goes on. It is not simply a question of building a bridge; it is through that bridge that the stimulus from the higher levels takes place.
Three major sciences will dominate in the New Age: the science of the Antahkarana, the science of meditation and the science of service. The science of service utilizes the creativity which is achieved through the building of the Antahkarana, and the science of meditation, of course, is a preliminary process leading to, and essential to, the creation of the Antahkarana through its science. So the science of the Antahkarana is very broad indeed, including that of meditation and of service.
The vitalizing agency is, first of all, the soul. The soul opens up on the personality level the Knowledge petals in the crown chakra and vitalizes them; this stimulates the thought processes and galvanizes the man or woman to further creation of the bridge, the Antahkarana, between itself and the soul. Soul at-one-ment gradually takes place, and when this has gone a certain distance initiation leads to the opening of the Love petals, and eventually, as a man or woman approaches the third initiation and that is taken, the opening up of the inner three petals which enclose the "jewel", the "jewel in the heart of the lotus", which is the Will aspect.
The Monad reflects more and more in the man or woman on the physical plane, dominating, therefore, the life of that individual. In this process, what was simply emotional aspiration gradually transforms itself into the Monadic will: the purpose of the life is known. This leads to lives of true value on the physical plane, no time is wasted, the individual knows his or her purpose in life and gets on with it without the wastage of time and wrong thought, wrong action, and delays which occur lower down the line. He discovers the value, uses and purposes of the creative imagination. This is all that remains to him eventually of the intensely active astral life lived for so many lives. The astral body becomes a mechanism of transformation -- desire transformed into aspiration, aspiration into a growing and expressive intuitive faculty.
The intuitive faculty emerges when true soul contact is achieved, when the bridge between the personality and the soul is of such a constancy and intensity that what was simply emotional aspiration is transformed into a direct linking with the higher aspect of which it is a reflection, the Buddhic aspect of the Spiritual Triad. Our astral-emotional body, in terms of evolutionary purpose, is meant to be, and eventually becomes, simply a still, reflecting vehicle for Buddhi. Buddhi is true intuition. It is essentially, group consciousness; intuition is another name for group consciousness. It is the Buddhic, the Love-Wisdom, aspect of the Spiritual Triad. Buddhi eventually reflects itself directly through the astral mechanism as intuition: we know, because we know, because we know. There is no thinking about it; it is a direct, spontaneous response to Buddhi, using the purified astral nature as the medium for that intuitive response. The Antahkarana produces this, inevitably.
There is a relationship between the science of the Antahkarana and Transmission Meditation. Transmission Meditation is a fusion of two Yogas: Karma Yoga, the Yoga of Service, and Laya Yoga, the Yoga of the Chakras, the energies. Essentially, the Antahkarana is concerned with the force centers, the chakras, because it is through the scientific, manipulation of the energies in the chakras, the correct stimulation of these chakras, that the Antahkarana is built. One can say that the science of the Antahkarana is the science of the chakras. The sciences of the future -- of the Antahkarana, of meditation, and of service -- are linked. One leads to the other: correct meditation leads to the building of the Antahkarana; correct building of the Antahkarana leads to the life of service, correct service, directed by soul purpose. The knowledge and creativity of the soul is consciously put at the disposal of the individual who scientifically builds the Antahkarana.
Since Transmission Meditation is a fusion of Karma Yoga and Laya Yoga, what the Masters are actually doing in the Transmission Groups around the world is creating a group Antahkarana. It is being done for us. The average time of real alignment, and therefore of correct transmitting, in any hour is about three-and-a-half to four minutes. It is only because Transmission Meditation is so potent, so scientific, that it is valuable to do even these three-and-a-half minutes. Because of its extraordinary potency, because of the pure, scientific nature of Transmission Meditation, these three-and-a-half to four minutes have an extraordinary value for the world and an extraordinary value for the people doing it. We are gradually having the Antahkarana built for us. It is a gift. The Masters are serving us, spoon-feeding us. The Antahkarana is being created at an extraordinary rate; so much so that, if people are around the 1.5 mark -- between the first and second initiation -- and in reasonable health and youth, it is perfectly possible to take the second initiation in this life; not because of any particular effort being made, either in building the Antahkarana or in service to the world, but simply by sitting enough times in Transmission Meditation, keeping the attention at the Ajna center, for the Masters to help create this channel of light between the different aspects of our being.
This is an extraordinary thing that is happening in the Transmission Groups, and it is one of the major reasons why people in these groups make such extraordinary advancement. Those who have been transmitting for the last 10 years, say, are far more advanced than they could possibly have been. They may not realize it, but the Masters do; They measure and register it, and They know those who are ready, in this incarnation, to take the second initiation (most people doing Transmission Meditation have taken the first). This is only possible because of the exigencies of the time which at the same time presents to the aspirant and the disciple an opportunity for service through Transmission Meditation. It cannot be overemphasized how valuable this is proving.
What is being built in the connecting thread, the channel between the different aspects of oneself, is a Path of Return to the Source, the Monad. We are the Monad, which reflects through the soul as the physical-plane personality. We are on the Path of Return, redeeming the matter of our various bodies, physical, astral and mental. That redeemed, spiritualized, matter produces, in the next solar system, matter of a higher rate of vibration. And so the evolution of the body of the Planetary Logos proceeds; we are all involved in that individually and for the planet, for the solar system. That is why we are here. As one grows and evolves one deepens one's consciousness of that reality.
The Macrocosm, as we begin to intuit its nature, to experience it through conscious awareness, tells us that that is the reality, and, more and more, we lose the sense of the separate self. It is said: Lose yourself in service. The process by which we do this is the building of the bridge. It results in the creativity of service: creativity is service, service is creativity. It is the nature of the soul in the three worlds to express itself in some form of creative service, and as we do this we lose sense of the separate self. We deepen our experience of the Macrocosm and realize that that and ourselves are one. That is the growing experience of the man or woman who builds the Bridge, who creates that unity with the soul. Then the soul becomes in a singular life a reality. Beyond all controversy, all gainsaying, we know that we are the soul.
It is not simply a theoretical or intellectual idea, we know it as part of our being, and we know eventually that the soul itself is a light within an even greater light, a fire within an even greater fire. That fire has consciousness that is the nature of the soul, and the person making contact with the soul eventually realizes that it is a fire within a greater consuming fire, which is Deity itself. It says in the Bible: "God is a consuming fire". That is the reality.
The soul is a great, fiery vortex of forces which are reflected on the lower planes as the man or woman in incarnation. That is what we are: a reflection of these fiery forces, and the bridge that we build -- the Antahkarana -- back to the soul and eventually back to the Monad is the path by which these forces become available to us. They stimulate the mind, the intuition and the creative will, and our life as initiates, knowing initiates, in the process of life, takes place.
The Antahkarana is, above all, the thread of consciousness. It is the result of the interaction of the life with the form, with substance, with matter; that produces something entirely different. We call it "consciousness". We can also call it "the Christ Principle". It is the process of evolution itself.
The Antahkarana is not simply a column of light but threads of awareness spreading outwards from the individual into every sphere of his environment. These threads of awareness multiply endlessly, until in the Master, they make for omniscience: nothing can happen anywhere of which He is unaware.