The total human being exists of seven principles. The hierarchy or ‘top-to-bottom’ – spiritually, arrangement of the human constitution grows or ‘flows over’ from the immanent or permanent self. The seven layers of this hierarchy here mentioned, from high to low (there are some variations relating to the teaching to be conveyed) are Ātman (the Self), Buddhi (spiritual understanding or intuition), Higher Manas (the higher mind), Lower Manas (the lower mind), Kāma (Desire), the Prāṇa (Life energy or energies) and finally the Liṅga or Astral body (which is the etheric model according to which the physical molecules are placed thus forming the physical body.)
The permanent (but not unchanging) Self or ātman, this is the very seed of essential egoity. A māyāvi [Illusion-born] ego will be formed on each of the planes of matter (Of which physical matter is but one, and the lowest, coarsest example) and therefore on all the planes or layers of the human constitution; the seed of egoity manifesting itself in each successive vehicle and thus producing there an ego, permanent or impermanent according to its distance from the permanent self.
Thus we have: ātman, the divine monad, giving birth to the divine ego, which latter evolves forth the monadic envelope or divine soul. Jīva, the spiritual monad, has its child, which is the spiritual ego, and this in turn evolves forth the spiritual soul or individual; and the combination of these two, considered as a unit, generally speaking, is ātma–buddhi; then bhūtātman, the human ego — the higher human soul, including the lower buddhi and higher manas; prāṇātman, the vital or personal ego — the ordinary human soul or person — including manas, kāma, and prāṇa, which is the one people mean when they say ‘ego’ in daily language; and finally the beast or animal ego — the vital-astral soul: kāma and prāṇa. This has the physical body as its lowest (coarsest) vehicle or upādhi.
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