Now we see another interesting aspect of the subtle physical matter. It is a resting ground before the divine energies and thought forms enter into our material sheath. The subtle matter is much more plastic and responsive to the Spirit’s intimations. Here upon earth it turns into something rigid and unconscious.
The meeting of Matter and Soul
In its antechambers of splendid privacy
Matter and soul in conscious union meet
Like lovers in a lonely secret place:
In the clasp of a passion not yet unfortunate
They join their strength and sweetness and delight
And mingling make the high and low worlds one.
Our gross matter completely clouds and blocks the radiance of the soul within. That is why we cannot ordinarily see the soul within the body. Gross matter is too dense and obscure a medium, like an iron cage that does not allow the inside and outside to be viewed easily. But here, matter is much more like a translucent robe that lets the soul radiance come out and imparts it a special earthly hue and a concreteness of outer form for the soul to inhabit.
The spirit’s leap touches ground
Intruder from the formless Infinite
Daring to break into the Inconscient’s reign,
The spirit’s leap towards body touches ground.
During the course and process of involution the spirit’s powers, though successively modified and diminished arrive here as the last substratum before leaping into the utter darkness of the Inconscience.
Outlasting death and birth
As yet unwrapped in earthly lineaments,
Already it wears outlasting death and birth,
Convincing the abyss by heavenly form,
After Death the soul is carried upwards in the subtle physical sheath. This does not perish with the gross body’s falling off but outlasts it. Even though so close to the darkness of the Inconscience, its perfect and faultless beauty seems like a wonder amidst the darkness of terrestrial things.
Endures the rub of Change of Time
A covering of its immortality
Alive to the lustre of the wearer’s rank,
Fit to endure the rub of Change and Time.
This subtle physical envelop is composed, on the one hand by our psychological state and changes depending upon our inner condition; on the other hand, it has a physical component to it that built of matter plastic to the Spirit’s touch and hence shares something of its immortality. It does not lend itself easily to wear and tear and if that happens can be brought back to a healthy state fast. This subtle physical envelop plays an important part in our health and illness. If it stays in a harmonious and healthy state without any breaks or holes then the outer body also stays healthy or else recovers faster.
More real than earthly frame
A tissue mixed of the soul’s radiant light
And Matter’s substance of sign-burdened Force,—
Imagined vainly in our mind’s thin air
An abstract phantasm mould of mental make,—
It feels what earthly bodies cannot feel
And is more real than this grosser frame.
It is more real than earthly matter. This is so because its senses are not blunted with the obscurity of gross matter. It can feel what our earthly sense cannot feel. It can hold the light of the soul as well as the forces released by the mind making all experience a delightful reality and not, as of now, a distorted one.
The bearer of our soul after Death
After the falling of mortality’s cloak
Lightened is its weight to heighten its ascent;
Refined to the touch of finer environments
It drops old patterned palls of denser stuff,
Cancels the grip of earth’s descending pull
And bears the soul from world to higher world,
Till in the naked ether of the peaks
The spirit’s simplicity alone is left,
The eternal being’s first transparent robe.
After the gross body falls off, the soul continues on its upward journey towards the eternal source from which it came, in this subtle sheath. Once it arrives there, it drops off and the original soul-substance alone is left to rest in the Spirit-world.
The hard ensemble
But when it must come back to its mortal load
And the hard ensemble of earth’s experience,
Then its return resumes that heavier dress.
The return is however marked with a taking up once again of the gross material robe and with it all the obscurity and rigidity and darkness that come along with it.
Thus we see the nature and role of this subtle physical sheath in health and illness, life and death.