Sacred Texts  Classics  Index  Previous  Next 

Section 2

2. To resume: there is from the first principle to ultimate an outgoing in which unfailingly each principle retains its own seat while its offshoot takes another rank, a lower, though on the other hand every being is in identity with its prior as long as it holds that contact.

In the case of soul entering some vegetal form, what is there is one phase, the more rebellious and less intellectual, outgone to that extreme; in a soul entering an animal, the faculty of sensation has been dominant and brought it there; in soul entering man, the movement outward has either been wholly of its reasoning part or has come from the Intellectual-Principle in the sense that the soul, possessing that principle as immanent to its being, has an inborn desire of intellectual activity and of movement in general.

But, looking more minutely into the matter, when shoots or topmost boughs are lopped from some growing thing, where goes the soul that was present in them? Simply, whence it came: soul never knew spatial separation and therefore is always within the source. If you cut the root to pieces, or burn it, where is the life that was present there? In the soul, which never went outside of itself.

No doubt, despite this permanence, the soul must have been in something if it reascends; and if it does not, it is still somewhere; it is in some other vegetal soul: but all this means merely that it is not crushed into some one spot; if a Soul-power reascends, it is within the Soul-power preceding it; that in turn can be only in the soul-power prior again, the phase reaching upwards to the Intellectual-Principle. Of course nothing here must be understood spatially: Soul never was in space; and the Divine Intellect, again, is distinguished from soul as being still more free.

Soul thus is nowhere but in the Principle which has that characteristic existence at once nowhere and everywhere.

If the soul on its upward path has halted midway before wholly achieving the supreme heights, it has a mid-rank life and has centred itself upon the mid-phase of its being. All in that mid-region is Intellectual-Principle not wholly itself- nothing else because deriving thence [and therefore of that name and rank], yet not that because the Intellectual-Principle in giving it forth is not merged into it.

There exists, thus, a life, as it were, of huge extension, a total in which each several part differs from its next, all making a self-continuous whole under a law of discrimination by which the various forms of things arise with no effacement of any prior in its secondary.

But does this Soul-phase in the vegetal order, produce nothing?

It engenders precisely the Kind in which it is thus present: how, is a question to be handled from another starting-point.