This term is generally applied in theosophical literature to classes of celestial beings in charge of planets or globes. They have attained to a high level of spirituality and have already evolved from the lowest matter. The name, however, is also used to refer to beings in the higher cosmic planes but which are still in their involutionary stages and have just emanated from ĀKĀŚA. Except where indicated, this article is about the first meaning of the term.
Planetary spirits belong to hierarchies of evolved beings who have dominion over planets and chains of globes. They are equivalent to the non-anthromorphized concept of archangels in Christian theology, as well as the DHYĀNI-CHOHAN and DHYĀNI-BUDDHAS of MAHĀYĀNA BUDDHISM. They have passed through human stages of evolution in previous cycles. Helena P. BLAVATSKY stated that “The highest planetary spirit ruling over any globe is in reality the ‘Personal God’ of that planet and far more truly its ‘over-ruling providence’ than the self-contradictory Infinite Personal Deity of modern Churchianity” (Theos. Glossary, “Planetary Spirits”). Our earth, according to her, is too young to produce high planetary spirits, being as yet in the fourth round, although Gautama BUDDHA is said to have become one.
There are many classes and levels of Planetary Spirits. The Planetary Spirit of the Earth for example is regarded as an inferior one compared to the Seven Planetary Spirits of esotericism and Christianity. It is said that the highest ADEPTS can even be superior to the lowest Planetary Spirits. As “Builders” they should be considered as a collective host and not an entity.
Planetary Spirits as planetary regents differ from Dhy€ni-Buddhas in that the former are concerned with material evolution, whereas the latter are concerned with the spirit. Thus the Planetary Spirits are also called Cosmocratores, as they fashion cosmic matter (CW X:341). They deal with the lower four principles of human beings, whereas the Dhyāni-Buddhas are concerned with the higher triad. It is in the latter sense that the Voice of the Silence states that “Every spiritual EGO is a ray of a ‘Planetary Spirit.’”
The Planetary Spirits do not go into dormancy or PRALAYA during each round but only after the seventh round.
The Mahātma KOOT HOOMI wrote that the mission of the Planetary Spirit is “to strike the Key Note of Truth” which becomes the “innate ideas” of humanity (ML, pp. 59-60). Alfred P. SINNETT, in his Esoteric Buddhism, wrote that the Planetary Spirit incarnates among the forerunners of a new humanity and impresses the first principles of right and wrong as well as the first truths of the esoteric doctrine “to ensure the continued reverberation of the ideas . . . through successive generations of men” (Esoteric Buddhism, 172). This divine incarnation is the first of the root-race AVATARS in our humanity. He was followed by four BUDDHAS, of which Gautama Buddha was the latest for the fifth root race. Gautama Buddha, adds the Mahātma, became a Planetary Spirit when he reached NIRVĀNA.
His spirit could at one and the same time rove the interstellar spaces in full consciousness, and continue at will on Earth in his original and individual body. For the divine Self had so completely disfranchised itself from matter that it could create at will an inner substitute for itself, and leaving it in the human form for days, weeks, sometimes years, affect in no wise by the change either the vital principle or the physical mind of its body. (ML, p. 62)
This state is rarely reached by human beings, the last one of whom was TSONG-KA-PA who lived in the 14th century and reformed Buddhism in Tibet (ibid.).
The Mahātma Koot Hoomi similarly used the word “Planetary Spirit” for beings in the involutionary stage, that is, those who had not yet passed through gross matter and humanity.
Evolving from cosmic matter — which is akasa . . . , appearing at the threshold of Eternity as a perfectly Etherial — not Spiritual entity, say — a Planetary Spirit. He is but one remove from the universal and Spiritual World Essence — the Anima Mundi. . . .
Propelled by the irresistible cyclic impulse the Planetary Spirit has to descend before he can reascend. On his way he has to pass through the whole ladder of Evolution, missing no rung. . .” (Ibid. pp. 63-4)
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