Theosophy and other such esoteric groups claim that the universe is ordered by the number seven. So, the reincarnating consciousness of our Monad (Spirit) manifests in one of seven forms***:
• The first body is called sthula-sarira : This gross and impermanent body is the lowest substance-principle, manifesting from the harmonious co-working on the physical plane of forces and faculties. These stream through their astral vehicle, or linga-sarira.
• The second body is called Linga-Sarira: This is the pattern or model through which the physical body flows or develops as it grows. This second body also is an impermanent model-body or astral body and is considered only slightly more ethereal than the physical body.
• The third body is prana: In theosophy, this is the breath of life. This life or prana works on, in, and around us, pulsating unceasingly during the term of physical existence.
• The fourth principle is kāma: Desire. This principle is the driving, impelling force. Born from the interaction of atman, buddhi, and manas, kama can be a force of good or evil, based on how it is used by the Mind and Soul. It provides the electrical impulses for our desires, and aspirations.
• The fifth principle is manas: Herein lies the home of the mentation and egoic consciousness. Manas is the human person, the reincarnating ego, immortal in essence, enduring in its higher aspects through the entire manvantara. When embodied, manas is dual. It gravitates toward the higher consciousness of buddhi, the intuitive mind, or towards the lower consciousness of kama , animal and aspects of personality.
• The sixth principle or vehicle is Buddhi : This is a vehicle of pure, universal spirit. It is considered inseparable from Atman, which is the highest plane. In man, buddhi is the spiritual soul! This facility allows us to discern between good or evil and also is the channel through which divine inspiration streams from the atman to the ego. The qualities of the buddhi awaken: higher judgment, instant understanding, discrimination, intuition, boundless love, and universal forgiveness.
• The seventh is called Atman: Self. This “IAM” consciousness. This pure consciousness is linked with buddhi and the other six-stages of manifestation, during incarnation . Because of this bond, atman may take on attributes of the lower aspects through the chain and linkage. For example, the buddhi is linked with manas; the manas is linked with kama; kama is linked to prana; prana is linked to linga-sarira and linga to sthula-sarira.
So even though according to Theosophy, “there’s no other religion but the TRUTH,”the “truth” is not so easy!
But perhaps, while you’re manifesting your Beingness in the linga sarira, sthula-sarira or pranastates, you just might get closer to it.