The Etheric Vehicle
(The Vital Body)

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Summary: A collection of statements by the Tibetan

"Life itself, the training to be given in the future, the conclusions of science, and a new mode of civilisation, will all increasingly be focussed on this unique (etheric) substance, which is the true form to
which all physical bodies in every kingdom in nature conform. Note that phraseology.
     . . . The etheric body exists in subtle etheric matter, and factually there is no true gap; there is simply the ignoring by humanity of an aspect of the physical body, which is of far more importance than is the dense physical vehicle. The consciousness of men today is physical-astral, and the factor of conditioning energies is ignored, overlooked, and -- from the angle of consciousness -- non-existent.
     One of the main obligations of occult students today, is to testify to the fact of the etheric body; modern science is already testifying because its researches have now landed it in the realm of energy. Electrotherapy, the growing recognition that man is electrical in nature, and the realisation that even the atom, in apparently inanimate objects, is a living vibrant entity, substantiate this occult point of view. Generally speaking, science has preceded esotericism in its recognition of energy as a dominant factor in all form expression. . . . The fact of all manifested forms being forms of energy, and that the true human form is no exception, is the gift of science to humanity and not the gift of occultism." (Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 139/40)

"Here is a basic statement -- one that is so basic that it governs and controls all thinking anent the etheric body:

The etheric body is primarily composed of the dominant energy or energies to which the man, the group, the nation, or the world reacts in any particular cycle or world period.

     If you are to understand clearly, it is essential that I lay down certain propositions anent the etheric body, which should govern all the student's thinking; if they do not, he will be approaching the truth from the wrong angle; this, modern science does not do. The limitation of modern science is its lack of vision; the hope of modern science is that it does recognise truth when proven. Truth in all circumstances is essential, and in this matter science gives a desirable lead, even though it ignores and despises occultism. Occult scientists handicap themselves either because of their presentation of the truth, or because of a false humility. Both are equally bad. There are six major propositions which govern all considerations of the etheric body, and I would like to present them to students as a first step:

i. There is nothing in the manifested universe-solar, planetary, or the various kingdoms in nature-which does not possess an energy form, subtle and intangible yet substantial, which controls, governs, and conditions the outer physical body. This is the etheric body.

ii. This energy form -- underlying the solar system, the planets, and all forms within their specific rings-pass-not -- is itself conditioned and governed by the dominant solar or planetary energy which ceaselessly and without break in time, creates it, changes and qualifies it. The etheric body is subject to ceaseless change. This, being true of the Macrocosm, is equally true of man, the microcosm, and -- through the agency of humanity -- will eventually and mysteriously prove true of all the sub-human kingdoms in nature. Of this, the animal kingdom and the vegetable kingdom are already evidence.

iii. The etheric body is composed of interlocking and circulating lines of force, emanating from one or another, or from one or many, of the seven planes or areas of consciousness of our planetary Life.

iv. These lines of energy, and this close interlocking system of streams of force, are related to seven focal points or centres to be found within the etheric body. These centres are related, each of them, to certain types of incoming energy. When the energy reaching the etheric body is not related to a particular centre, then that center remains quiescent and unawakened; when it is related and the centre is sensitive to its impact, then that centre becomes vibrant and receptive, and develops as a controlling factor in the life of the man on the physical plane.

v. The dense physical body, composed of atoms -- each with its own individual life, light and energy -- is held together by and is expressive of the energies which compose the etheric body. These, as will be apparent, are of two natures:

(a) The energies which form (through interlocked "lines of forceful energy") the underlying etheric body, as a whole and in relation to all physical forms. This form is qualified then by the general life and vitality of the plane on which the Dweller in the body functions, and therefore where his consciousness is normally focussed.

(b) The particularised or specialised energies by which the individual (at this particular point in evolution, through the circumstances of his daily life and his heredity) chooses to govern his daily activities.

vi. The etheric body has many centres of force, responsive to the manifold energies of our planetary Life, but we shall consider only the seven major centres which respond to the inflowing energies of the seven rays. All lesser centres are conditioned by the seven major centres; this is a point which students are apt to forget. It is here that knowledge of the egoic and of the personality rays is of prime usefulness.

     It can be seen, therefore, how exceedingly important this subject of energy becomes, because it controls and makes the man what he is at any given moment, and likewise indicates the plane on which he should function, and the method whereby he should govern his environment, circumstances and relationships. If this is grasped by him, it will enable him to realise that he will have to shift his whole attention from the physical or the astral planes on to the etheric levels of awareness; his objective will then be to determine what energy should control his daily expression (or energies, if he is an advanced disciple). He will realise also that as his attitude, attainment and comprehension shifts to higher levels, his etheric body will be constantly changing and responding to the newer energies. These energies he will be will-fully bringing in; this is the right use of the word 'will-full'." (Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 141/3)

"According to the point in evolution will be the extent of the area which the etheric body covers beyond the outside of the physical body. It may extend for a few or many inches." (Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 145)

"Within the physical body, the network of the etheric body is to be found permeating every single part. It is peculiarly associated at this time with the nervous system, which is fed, nourished, controlled and galvanised by its etheric counterpart. This counterpart is present in millions of tiny streams or lines of energy, to which the Eastern occultist has given the name of 'nadis'. These nadis are the carriers of energy." (Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 145)

"The seven centres are not within the dense physical body. They exist only in etheric matter and in the etheric so-called aura,outside the physical body." (Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 146)

"The powerfull effect of the inflow of energy, via the energy body, has itself automatically created these centres, or these reservoirs of force, these focal points of energy, which the spiritual man must learn to use, and through the means of which he can direct energy where needed." (Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 146)

"Each form (because it constitutes an aggregated area of substantial lives or atoms) is a centre within the etheric body, of the form of which it is a constituent part. It has, as the basis of its existence, a living dynamic point which integrates the form, and preserves it in essential being. This form or centre -- large or small, a man or an atom of substance -- is related to all other forms and expressing energies in the the environing space, and is automatically receptive to some, and repudiates others through the process of non-recognition; it relays or transmits other energies, radiating from other forms, and it thus becomes in its turn, an impressing agent. You see, therefore, where differentiated truths approach each other and blend, forcing us to use the same terminologies in order to express the same factual truths or ideas." (Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 179/80)

"The etheric body . . . has one main objective. This is to vitalise and energise the physical body, and thus integrate it into the energy body of the Earth and of the solar system. It is a web of energy streams, of lines of force and of light. It constitutes part of the vast network of energies which underlies all forms, whether great or small (microcosmic or macrocosmic). Along these lines of energy the cosmic forces flow, as the blood flows through the veins and arteries. This constant, individual -- human, planetary and solar -- circulation of life-forces through the etheric bodies of all forms, is the basis of all manifested life, and the expression of the essential non-separateness of life." (Esoteric Healing, p. 2/3)

"An understanding of what I have said, will lead the earnest student to a more practical application of his attitude to the centres, and also to a fixed endeavour to make his sphere of radiatory activity more useful to his fellow men. The reason for this will be that his attitude will express the quality of the subjective spirit and not the quality -- hitherto rampant -- of objective matter. Forget not that the etheric body is a material and substantial body, and is therefore an integral part of the physical plane; forget not that it is intended, first of all, to carry the energies of the emotional and of the mental plane in the unconscious experimental stage of incarnation; that it is also intended to carry the threefold energies of the soul in the stage of consciously gaining experience; and that also,as the antahkarana is built, it is intended to carry the energies of the Monad in the stage of consciously expressed divinity. See you, therefore, the beauty of the spiritual process, and the planned aid given to the sons of men at all stages of their return to the centre from whence they came?" (Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, p. 176)

"In the etheric body, which is an exact replica of its denser counterpart, we have the organ of active radiatory fire, and . . . the vehicle of prana. Its function is to store up the rays of raditory light and heat which are secured from the sun, and to transmit them, via the spleen, to all parts of the physical body. . . . When the physical furnace burns brightly and when the fuel of the body (pranic rays) is adequately assimilated, the human frame will function as desired." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 57).

"The etheric body is mould of the physical body. . . . The etheric body is archetype upon which the dense physical form is built, whether it is the form of a solar system, or of a human body in any one incarnation. . . . The etheric body is a web or network of fine interlacing channels, formed of matter of the four ethers, and built into a specific form. . . . These pranic emanations when focalised and received, react upon the dense matter which is built upon the etheric scaffolding and framework. . . . This etheric web, during incarnation, forms a barrier between the physical and astral planes, which can only be transcended when consciousness is sufficiently developed to permit escape. . . . When a man has, through meditation and concentration, expanded his consciousness to a certain point, he is enabled to include the subtler planes, and to escape beyond the limits of the dividing web." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 81/82).

"The etheric body is really a net-work of fine channels, which are the component parts of one interlacing fine cord . . . the silver cord. . . . The etheric web is composed for the intricate weaving of this vitalised cord." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 98).

"Etheric congestion may lead to many forms of disease and of mental incompotence . . . once portion of the etheric body being congested may lead to the entire physical condition being upset, resulting in diverse complaints." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 109).

"Remember always that in dealing with the etheric body we are dealing with physical matter." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. III).

"The etheric body is the next aspect of the world substance to be studied by scientists and investigators." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 76).

"The etheric body is composed of force currents, and in it are vital centres linked by lines of force with each other and with the nervous system of the physical man. Through these lines of force, it is connected also with the etheric body of the environing system . . .
     The etheric body is vitalised and controlled by thought, and can (through thought) be brought into full functioning activity. This is done by right thinking and not by breathing exercises and holding the nose. When this is grasped, much dangerous practice will be avoided and people will come into a normal and safe control of that most potent instrument, the vital body. That this is end may rapidly be consummated is my earnest wish." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 77).

"It is through the etheric body that all of the energies flow, whether emanating form the soul, or from the sun, or from a planet." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 105).

"One of the principal objects of endeavour at the present time on the part of those whom you call the Elder Brothers of the race, is to stimulate, purify and co-ordinate the etheric body. This etheric body is not only the transmitter of prana, but is the medium for all the energies which we are considering. Its importance also lies in other directions:

a. Being of physical plane matter, literally, etheric consciousness is the next step ahead of the race. This will demonstrate at first as the ability to see etherically and to cognise etheric matter.

b. It is the field of exploration immediately ahead of the modern scientist. In ten years time, many medical practioners will be recognising it as a fact of nature.

c. Most of the diseases that the physical body suffers from at present, have their roots in the etheric body. There are few, if any, purely physical diseases. Disease has its source in astral and etheric conditions.

d. The etheric emanations of people can be great contaminators. In the purification, therefore, of this body lies the secret of a sweeter and saner humanity.

e. The secret of safe and sane clairvoyance and clairaudience depends upon the purification of the etheric vehicle." (A Treatise on White Magic, p. 372)

"When the man is on the Path of Discipleship and, therefore, upon the reversed wheel, leading to initiation, the etheric body becomes the transmitter of soul energy and not of personality force." (Esoteric Astrology, p. 352)

"The etheric body is fundamentally that most important response apparatus which man possesses, producing not only the right functioning of the five senses, and consequently providing five major points of contact with the tangible world, but it also enables a man to register sensitively the subtler worlds, and, when energised and controlled by the soul, the spiritual realms stand wide open also.
     The etheric body is potent receiver of impressions, which are conveyed to the human consciousness through the medium of the awakened centres. There is, for instance, no true clairvoyance until either the solar plexus or the ajna centre is awakened. These transmitted impressions and information become the incentive whereby conscious activity is initiated. There are many words used to describe these forces and their actuating effects: such as impulses, incentives, influences, potencies, desires, aspirations, and may such terms which are only synonyms for force or energy, and thus convey the same general idea. All of these words refer to forms of activity of the etheric body, but only as the physical body registers them, and acts under their impression. The whole theme of motivating force is one of great interest.
     The vastness of the subject is, however, so real that only little by little can humanity grasp the situation and come to the realisation that man is essentially (through his etheric body) an integral part of a great vibrant Whole; only in time will he learn that, through the processes of evolution, can he hope to register all the different areas of divine expression. Only when the etheric body is swept into activity under the influence and through the 'impressed forces' of the soul, the mind, and temporarily, of the astral body, can man become aware of all the worlds, all phenomena, and all states of consciousness, and so achieve that omniscience which is the birthright of all sons of God." (Esoteric Healing, p. 83/4).

"You are right in your belief that one can be perfectly healthy, but have little resistance to fatigue.
     The principal factors in re-establishing or making a better etheric control are:

1. Sunshine
2. Careful diet, with the emphasis upon the proteins and vitamins.
3. The avoidance of fatigue and worry.

     Against all the above, at this time, climate, world conditions, environment, and our civilisation militate, and the individual has therefore to resign himself to a state of affairs which lies outside his individual control.
     A normal, sane, regulated life is the best means for establishing a better measure of vitality. . . . You need to remember, however, that where there is a devitalised etheric body, and conditions are such that a re-establishment of a vital control seems difficult or impossible, there must be recognition of karmic limitations, and a willingness to submit to them and leave affairs to work themselves out. This particular life is not the only one there is. Frequently, therefore, in any particular incarnation, conditions cannot be changed, and are prolonged by inner rebellion and revolt. A disciple has to learn the lesson of going on, as the expression is, in spite of and not because of circumstances." (Esoteric Healing, p. 326/l7).

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