The Seven Rays is a concept that occurs frequently in Theosophy. There are many theosophists who have written about the Seven Rays including T Subba Row, CW Leadbeater, Ernest Wood, and Geoffrey Hodson. The Seven Rays were also elaborately elucidated by Alice A Bailey through her writings.
However, all of these writers share a slightly different understanding and view-point of the concept of the seven rays. For instance, Ernest Wood related each of the Rays with seven universal principles, while Geoffrey Hodson applied the Rays mainly to the different human temperaments. Theosophical literature also specifies that every soul (or more specifically monad) belongs to a certain ray, and hence there are seven types of people. In line with this principle Leadbeater explained that Adepts belong to different Rays; while Bailey stated: “Different aspects of truth can be seen through the Seven Rays. Each Ray sees things differently and has its own way of doing things. Each Ray has a different opinion.”
Some of these diverse viewpoints have often resulted in confusion to the student. Then there are some who believe that while this subject is interesting, it is not immensely practical… and ultimately any knowledge (philosophical or otherwise), need to be applicable in everyday life for it to be of value. Therefore, the objective of this article is to provide a deeper overview of the concept of the Seven Rays (through the lens of the teachings of Master Choa Kok Sui), as well as to provide insights on why an understanding of the Seven Rays is important.
MCKS on the Seven Rays
Master Choa Kok Sui, in his writings clarified the concepts of the seven rays. In his Golden Lotus Sutras (Achieve the Impossible), MCKS states that the seven rays reflect “the seven energies utilized in the process of creation”. A deeper analysis and examination of this statement is adequate to understand the importance and significance of this important concept.
At this point it may also merit the (original) teachings on the Seven Rays as provided by Madam Blavatsky in her magnum opus The Secret Doctrine. One would also do well to note that the teachings of HPB in many cases are significantly different from the other theosophists such as Besant, CW Leadbeater, Hodson, Woods, Bailey etc.
The Seven Rays According to Madam Blavatsky
The Secret Doctrine by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (or HPB) lays the foundation of modern Theosophy. It has been described as “one of the monuments of modern esotericism”. Originally published in 1888, it gave the spiritual history of the development of the Cosmos (or Kosmos, as the author would have it) and of human life on earth. If you are interested in reading The Secret Doctrine then you may want also want to check our article on how to study the book.
The cornerstone to understanding The Secret Doctrine lies in the three fundamental propositions laid out by HPB in the PROEM (or the preface). In the First Fundamental Proposition HPB talks about what she calls the ABSOLUTE. HPB describes the ABSOLUTE as the one infinite eternal divine principle, the supreme and ultimate reality, which is beyond all definition, description, and comprehension. HPB uses the words Parabrahm or Parabrahman as equivalent terms for the ABSOLUTE. In The Secret Doctrine the ABSOLUTE is symbolized as a black circle.
MCKS taught that “A word is like a finger pointing at different things. Do not look at the finger; focus on the essence of the word. Focus on what the finger is pointing at!” The ABSOLUTE according to HPB in particular (and most theosophists in general) is what most people understand as the “Supreme God”. Theosophy uses terms such as “Deity,” “The Divine,” and “The Absolute” but generally avoids the “God” word.
In the first volume of The Secret Doctrine (Cosmogenesis), HPB describes the model for the birth of the universe. While everything proceeds from the ABSOLUTE, HPB teaches that the ABSOLUTE is forever unmanifested, unmanifestable, unconditioned, undifferentiated, and without any attributes, characteristics, form or personality of any kind. While the ABSOLUTE is described in The Secret Doctrine as the “causeless cause”, it is important to note that we should not think that the universe as something which is produced “out of the ABSOLUTE”. As HPB explains later in the Second Fundamental Proposition that both manifestation and dissolution are facets of the ABSOLUTE reality.
Creation takes place by what is called the apprance of the THREE LOGOI. While describing the manifestation of the universe, HPB describes the following sequence or stages of evolution:
- Stage 1: The “appearance” of the FIRST LOGOS is the first stage for the formation of the Kosmos. According to the teachings of HPB, the FIRST LOGOS is a periodic “radiation” from the ABSOLUTE. HPB uses the term Brahman or the Unmanifested Logos for the FIRST LOGOS. The FIRST LOGOS is symbolized as a black circle with a while point in the centre.
- Stage 2: The second stage in the manifestation of the Kosmos is the transformation of the FIRST LOGOS into the SECOND LOGOS. HPB uses the term Father-Mother or the Semi-Manifest Logos. The SECOND LOGOS is symbolized as a black circle with a white line through the diameter.
- Stage 3: The third stage in the manifestation of the Kosmos is the transformation of the SECOND LOGOS into the THIRD LOGOS. HPB uses the term Brahma or the Manifested Logos (HPB also uses the words Ishwar, Prajapati or Elohim for the THIRD LOGOS). The THIRD LOGOS is symbolized as a black circle with a white cross. Do note that Brahma is the name given in the Hindu tradition to the creator.
- Stage 4: In The Secret Doctrine HPB talks about an “emanation” from Brahma (the THIRD LOGOS) of seven celestial beings. HPB uses the term PRIMORDIAL SEVEN to refer these seven beings (which are the first to appear during the process of manifestation). These beings are equivalent to the Archangels of Christianity and the eldest “Mind-born sons ” of Brahma (Veddhas). These beings are responsible for creation of the entire universe and contain the “seeds of everything”. These great celestial beings they see to the fulfillment of the Plan for the construction and building of the Universe. Blavatsky also uses the terms “Ah-hi” or “Dhyani-Buddhas” as equivalent terms for the PRIMORDIAL SEVEN.
Interestingly, in her writing HPB refers to the PRIMORDIAL SEVEN as the Seven Rays. In the Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, HPB describes the PRIMORDIAL SEVEN as “Forces, not human Beings”. These seven forces are “the seven energies utilized in the process of creation”. If anything exists, then it must have been created through a combination of these energies.
So what are the Seven Rays?
As discussed above, a Ray is referred to a particular force or type of energy, with a certain quality that it exhibits. According to HPB, the Seven Rays have their own quality, although the quality of all the other rays are present in each one.
However, HPB in her teachings didn’t assign any names or qualities to the Seven Rays. The qualities of the Rays were elucidated by the (later) writings of Leadbeater, Hodson, Wood, Bailey and others. However, there are differences in the classifications of the qualities of each of the Seven Rays by these writers.
Based on the teachings of MCKS, the following classifications can be applied to the various rays.
- 1st Ray: The Ray of Will and Power
- 2nd Ray: The Ray of Love and Wisdom
- 3rd Ray: The Ray of Active Intelligence
- 4th Ray: The Ray of Harmonizing Conflicting Factors
- 5th Ray: The Ray of Science or Concrete Knowledge
- 6th Ray: The Ray of Devotion or the Power of Focused Love
- 7th Ray: The Ray of Order or Ritual
Why is the knowledge of the Seven Rays Vital?
MCKS states that the seven rays reflect: “the seven energies utilized in the process of creation”. Having understood the teachings of HPB, it might become easier to understand the importance of studying the Seven Rays, their qualities and application. Ultimately, everything in the universe is created using these seven forces. No object can exist without the presence of each of these seven forces. Hence all of these seven forces are also present within us. Therefore, if we want to be successful in our lives, then all these seven forces would also need to be developed within ourselves.
Let’s attempt to understand this using an example. Consider for a moment that you want to accelerate your spiritual development. In order to meet your objective, you need to do multiple things, such as:
- Increasing your discipline to meditate
- Doing more service
- Sharpening your mind to understand deeper spiritual principles and experiences
- Harmonize your work and spiritual schedule to live a balanced life
- Create a structure of powerful spiritual practices to attain your goals
However, if the you were to lack (for instance) the will and discipline to meditate regularly, then spiritual development would be slow. Hence it is important for the aspirant to focus on developing the First Ray qualities of will. Without having a strong focus of the goals backed with the will-power to meditate, it sometimes becomes difficult to meet your spiritual goals.
Let’s take another example. Suppose you would like to improve your financial situation. One of the things that you would need to do is apply intelligence (or the 3rd ray energy). Do you think it possible for you to become rich without using your head? If the intellgence aspect, which manifests as proper planning, is missing then it would be difficult to achieve your financial goals.
Hence, a deeper understanding of the rays would help us in understanding our strengths and areas for improvement. Once you are able to identify your areas for improvement, you would be able to work on removing your weaknesses – concnequently making it easier to meet your goals.
Business Management and the Seven Rays
In an organization different people often provide different interpretations about the same issue (all of which might be correct when viewed from a particular standpoint). One of the reasons behind such diverse conclusions is that people sometimes look at the same situation from different perspectives. According to MCKS, “Understanding the Seven Rays gives you the ability to “see people as they are… by seeing people from different aspects, from different facets, your understanding deepens.”
Specifically, the MCKS Spiritual Business Management workshop delves deeper into the science of how this esoteric teaching can be applied for business management. According to MCKS, “According to ancient esoteric teachings, Management through the Seven Rays reflects the seven energies utilized in the Process of Creation. If you want to be successful, copy the Management System of God!” Interestingly these teachings can also be used for Organizational Design.
You may also read more about the principles of Spiritual Business Management in the Golden Lotus Sutra titled Achieve the Impossible.
Arhatic Yoga and the Seven Rays
According to MCKS (in talk aired on www.globalpranichealing.com on the occasion of Founders Day 2016), the purpose of Arhatic Yoga is to develop all the seven rays within the practitioner. That’s why there are many different types of Yoga. Ordinary people can handle only one type of energy, and therefore they can only practice only one type of Yoga. Arhatic Yoga, is for the advanced students where a practitioner can develop all the facets via the different advanced spiritual practices. For example, the Meditation on the Inner Breath corresponds to the First Ray-dealing with energy and power. Techniques taught in the higher levels of Arhatic Yoga (Level 1, 2 and 3) deal with higher energies and power. These also corresponds to the First Ray. Techniques such as the Meditation on Twin Hearts, the Meditation on the Guru and service (via Karma Yoga) develop the Second Ray and the Fourth Ray. The Understanding Meditation (taught in Arhatic Yoga Level 1) corresponds to the Yoga of Knowledge and corresponds to the Third Ray. The Concretizing Meditation (taught in Arhatic Yoga Level 2) corresponds to the Fifth Ray and the Seventh Ray. Arhatic Yoga is the Yoga of Synthesis. It is not only the Synthesis of Yoga, but it is the Yoga of Synthesis. It is the Yoga where all the Seven Rays (all seven Energies) are manifested and gradually manifested in the practitioner. The practitioner become multi-faceted and a genius. Arhatic Yoga is truly the Yoga of Greatness.
There is also a deep connection between the Seven Ray the Five Virtues and Five Pillars taught in Arhatic Yoga. Unfortunately we are unable to elaborate this in detail on a public website.
This article merely scratches the surface of what is a very deep esoteric teaching. Going forward, a 12-part lecture series on the Seven Rays would form the subject of the New Moon Meditations at the Local Foundation (starting November, 2017). The series would focus on a more detailed understanding of each of the rays, their importance, and (most importantly) practical steps on how to strengthen the qualities of the rays within the practitioner. We look forward to seeing all Pranic Healers at Kolkata in the upcoming events.