“Enq: Don’t you think it is because there are no definite and fixed terms to indicate each “Principle” in man, that such a confusion of ideas arises in our minds with respect to the respective functions of these “Principles”?
Theo: I have thought of it myself. The whole trouble has arisen from this: we have started our expositions of, and discussion about, the “Principles”, using their Sanskrit names instead of coining immediately, for use of Theosophists, their equivalent in English. We must try and remedy this now.
Enq: You will do well, as it may avoid further confusion; no two theosophical writers, it seems to me, have hitherto agreed to call the same “Principle” by the same name.
Theo: The confusion is more apparent than real, however. I have heard some of our Theosophists express surprise at, and criticize several essays speaking of these “principles”; but, when examined, there was no worse mistake in them than that of using the word “Soul” to cover the three principles without specifying the distinctions.
The first, as positively the clearest of our Theosophical writers, Mr. A. P. Sinnett, has some comprehensive and admirably-written passages on the “Higher Self”. His real idea has also been misconceived by some, owing to his using the word “Soul” in a general sense.
Yet here are a few passages which will show to you how clear and comprehensive is all that he writes on the subject:
…”The human soul, once launched on the streams of evolution as a human individuality (the “reinacrnating Ego”, or “Human Soul”, or “Causal Body”), passes through alternate periods of physical and relatively spiritual existence.
It passes from the one plane, or stratum, or condition of nature to the other under the guidance of its Karmic affinities; living in incarnations the life which its Karma has pre-ordained; modifying its progress within the limitations of circumstances, and – developing fresh Karma by its use or abuse of opportunities – it returns to spiritual existence (Devachan) after each physical life – through the intervening region of Kamaloka – for rest and refreshment and for the gradual absorption into its essence, as so much cosmic progress, of the life’s experience gained “on earth” or during physical existence.
This view of the matter will, moreover, have suggested many collateral inferences to anyone thinking over the subject; for instance, that the transfer of consciousness from the Kamaloka to the Devachanic stage of this progression would necessarily be gradual
(the length of this “transfer” depends, however, on the degree of spirituality in the ex-personality of the disembodied Ego. For those whose lives were very spiritual this transfer, though gradual, is very rapid. The time becomes longer with the materialistically inclined)
that in truth, no hard and fast line separates the varieties of spiritual conditions, that even the spiritual and physical planes, as psychic faculties in living people show, are not so hopelessly walled off from one another as materialistic theories would suggest; that all states of nature are all around us simultaneously, and appeal to different perceptive faculties; and so on…
It is clear that during physical existence people who possess psychic faculties remain in connection with the planes of super physical consciousness; and although most people may not be endowed with such faculties, we all, as the phenomena of sleep, even, and especially….those of somnambulism or mesmerism, show, are capable of entering into conditions of consciousness that the five physical senses have nothing to do with.
We – the souls within us – are not as it were altogether adrift in the ocean of matter. We clearly retain some surviving interest or rights in the shore from which, for a time, we have floated off.
The process of incarnation, therefore, is not fully described when we speak of an alternate existence on the physical and spiritual planes, and thus picture the soul as a complete entity slipping entirely from the one state of existence to the other.
The more correct definitions of the process would probably represent incarnation as taking place on this physical plane of nature by reason of an efflux emanating from the soul.
The Spiritual realm would all the while be the proper habitat of the Soul, which would never entirely quit it; and that non-materializable portion of the Soul which abides permanently on the spiritual plane may fitly, perhaps, be spoken of as the HIGHER SELF.””
H. P. Blavatsky