‘To ‘know oneself’ is to become conscious of the different bodies of which we are composed, from the subtlest to the densest or most opaque, to be conscious of the principles which inform them, of the needs we experience because of them and of the states of consciousness which correspond to each one.
It should not surprise us to learn that the different religions and philosophical schools of thought have all had different notions of the structure of the human being. Hindus, for instance, consider that a human being is made up of seven component parts, and the Theosophists have adopted the same system. Astrology divides the human being into twelve parts, corresponding to the twelve signs of the zodiac, whereas alchemy divides them into four, corresponding to the four elements.
Cabbalists see four or ten components in the human being, corresponding to the four worlds or the ten sephiroth. In ancient Persia, Mazdaism and Manichaeism divided the human being into two, corresponding to the two principles of good and evil, light and darkness, Ormuzd and Ahriman. As for the Christians, they often divide the human being into three: body, soul and spirit. And, finally, I should add that certain esoterics divide the human being into nine component parts, because nine represents the three in the three worlds: physical, spiritual and divine.
So which system possesses the truth? All of them. It just depends on our point of view.
The Two Trinities of Man’s Higher and Lower Natures
Personally, for the sake of convenience, I often divide the human being into two parts: the lower nature or ‘personality’ and the higher nature or ‘individuality’, because this division makes it easier to understand certain problems.
None of them contradicts the others, because each one is true from its own point of view.’
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Izvor Book 222, Man’s Psychic Life, Elements and Structures,
Chapter 3, Several Souls and Several Bodies