The Physical Body
Of all the seven principles of humanity, the physical body is of course the most obvious. It is the lowest in the scale, and is the crudest manifestation of the human being. This doesn’t mean that the physical should be despised or neglected. On the contrary, it is a most necessary principle for the growth of humanity in its present stage of development. It is the Temple of the Living Spirit and it should be carefully tended and cared for in order to make it a more perfect instrument of expression. As developing human beings it is our task to train our physical body to the highest degree of perfection in order that it may be used to the greatest advantage. The body should be kept in good health and condition and trained to obey the orders of the mind, rather than to rule the mind, as is so often the case.
The care of the body, under the intelligent control of the mind, is an important branch of Yogi Philosophy, and is known as “Hatha Yoga.” The Yogi philosophy teaches that the physical body is built up of cells, each cell containing within it a miniature “life,” which controls its action. These “lives” are really bits of intelligent mind of a certain degree of growth, which enable the cells to perform their work properly. These bits of intelligence are, of course, subordinate to the control of the central mind of the person, and will readily obey orders from “headquarters”, given either subconsciously or consciously.
These cell intelligences manifest a perfect adaptation for their particular work. The selective action of the cells, extracting from the blood the nourishment needed and rejecting that which is not required, is an instance of this intelligence. The process of digestion, assimilation and so forth shows the intelligence of the cells, either separately or collectively in groups. The healing of wounds, the rush of the cells to the points where they are most needed, and hundreds of other examples known to modern medicine all mean, to the Yogi student, examples of the “life” within each atom. Each atom is to the Yogi a living thing, leading its own independent life.
These atoms combine into groups for some end, and the group manifests a group intelligence, as long as it remains a group. These groups again combine in turn, and form bodies of a more complex nature, which serve as vehicles for higher forms of consciousness.
When death comes to the physical body the cells separate and scatter, and that which we call decay sets in. The force which has held the cells together is withdrawn, and it becomes free to go its own way and form new combinations. Some go into the body of the plants in the vicinity, and eventually find themselves again in the body of an animal. Others remain in the organism of the plant and others remain in the ground for a time. The life of the atom means incessant and constant change. As a leading writer has said: “Death is but an aspect of life, and the destruction of one material form is but a prelude to the building up of another.”