“Enq: Do you not lay yourself open to the accusation of preaching annihilation by the language you yourself use? You have just spoken of the Soul of man to its primordial elements.
Theo: But you forget that I have given you the difference between the various meanings of the word “Soul”, and shown the loose way in which the term “Spirit” has been hitherto translated. We speak of an animal, a human, and a spiritual, Soul, and distinguish between them.
Plato, for instance, calls “rational SOUL” that which we call Buddhi, adding to it the adjective of “spiritual”, however; but that which we call the reincarnating Ego, Manas, he calls Spirit, Nous, etc., whereas we apply the term Spirit, when standing alone and without any qualification, to Atma alone.
Pythagoras repeats our archaic doctrine when stating that the Ego (Nous) is eternal with Deity; that the soul only passed through various stages to arrive at divine excellence; while thumos returned to the earth, and even the phren, the lower Manas, was eliminated.
Again, Plato defines Soul (Buddhi) as “the motion that is able to move itself.” “Soul”, he adds (Laws X), “is the most ancient of all things, and the commencement of motion”, thus calling Atma-Buddhi “Soul”, and Manas “Spirit”, which we do not.
“Soul was generated prior to body, and body is posterior and secondary, as being according to nature, ruled over by the ruling soul.”
“The soul which administers all things that are moved in every way, administers likewise the heavens.”
“Soul then leads everything in heaven, and on earth, and in the sea, by its movements – the names of which are, to will, to consider, to take care of, to consult, to form opinions true and false, to be in a state of joy, sorrow, confidence, fear, love, together which all such primary movements as are allied to these….Being a goddess herself, she ever takes as an ally Nous, a god, and disciplines all things correctly and happily; but when with Annoia – not nous – it works out everything the contrary.”
In this language, as in the Buddhist texts, the negative is treated as essential existence. Annihilation comes under a similar exegesis. The positive state is essential being, but no manifestation as such.
When the spirit, in Buddhistic parlance, enters Nirvana, it loses objective existence, but retains subjective being. To objective minds this is becoming absolute “nothing”; to subjective, NO-THING, nothing to be displayed to sense.
Thus, their Nirvana means the certitude of individual immortality in Spirit, not in Soul, which, though “the most ancient of all things”, is still – along with all the other Gods – a finite emanation, in forms and individuality, if not in substance.
Enq: I do not quite seize the idea yet, and would be thankful to have you explain this to me by some illustrations.
Theo: No doubt it is very difficult to understand, especially to one brought up in the regular orthodox ideas of the Christian Church.
Moreover, I must tell you one thing; and that is that unless you have studied thoroughly well the separate functions assigned to all the human “principles” and the state of all these after death, you will hardly realize our Eastern philosophy.”
H. P. Blavatsky