Searchable Theosophical Texts
of The Masters
1 The Planetary Chain
2 Conditions After Death
3 Races and Sub-Races
4 Cosmic Origins
6 Ethics and Philosophy
7 The Universal Mind
9 Our Ideas on Evil
10 Planetary Spirits
11 The Principle of Life
B Devachan and Avitchi
C The Harmonics of Smell
D Some secrets
A new school of thought is arising to challenge long-accepted views of life. Its keynote may be said to be “evolutionary creation.” It is an exposition of the phenomena that surrounds us in terms that are both scientific and idealistic. It offers an explanation of life, of the origin of our fragment of the universe, of hidden and mysterious natural laws, of the nature and destiny of man, that appeals with moving force to the logical mind. This school of thought is at the same time both iconoclastic and constructive, for it is sweeping away old dogmas that are no longer tenable in the light of rapidly developing modern science, while it is building a substantial structure of facts beneath the age-long dream of immortality.
The literature that is growing out of ideas which are so revolutionary in the intellectual realm and yet are so welcome to a world groping through the fogs of materialism, is receiving a warm welcome in other lands and it should be better known here.
The Theosophical Press, Chicago. 1923
During the year 1881, two very
able Englishmen, who were resident in
The instruction given by certain
of the Masters of the Wisdom to A.P. Sinnett and A.O. Hume came in the form of
answers to questions which they propounded. The inquirers wrote their
questions, which were then given or sent to H.P.B., who was in Allahabad, Simla
or Bombay, as the case might be, either residing with them or at a distance.
The procedure adopted by the Masters seems to have been roughly as follows:
Sometimes the Masters, by occult means, brought the letter to Their residences
In answer, letters were sent, mostly phenomenally, in a handwriting which was either in blue or red pencil, or black or red ink. In one case, a letter is in green ink. These letters were not written by hand, but precipitated, that is, not written by hand, but the writing materialised on the paper by a process used by the Adepts which involves the use of fourth dimensional space. In precipitated letters, there is no difference found which distinguishes them from a letter written by hand. There is no difference whatsoever in the handwriting. Each Master has His characteristic handwriting, like any of us.
But the remarkable fact is that, while this handwriting is personal to a Master, it is also like an office handwriting, from a particular office with a particular chief. Thus, certain pupils of the Masters M and K.H. were given the right to precipitate [ The right given is to precipitate by occult means, not to write with the hand.] in Their official handwriting. This is perfectly understandable, if only we realise that the Masters are not ascetics living aloof on the slopes of the snow-clad Himalayas, having nothing to do but to live in the bliss of higher realms, but rather heads of great World Departments of activity, directing many workers, and having very little time to spare. Therefore, just as in a big business organisation there may be a particular typewriter which is used by the head of the organisation, but which it is perfectly allowable for the Private Secretary to use, when once permission is granted, so it is with regard to the handwriting of the two Masters. Sometimes They personally wrote, and this was especially the case with letters which gave directions to aspirants or Chelas whom They were not able to impress by any other occult means. But often instructions were given to an advanced Chela outlining what he was to say in reply to a question. Of course, the Master, like any head of a business office, took the responsibility for the statements of His private secretaries; but this need not mean that the actual words used by a secretary represent the full or even accurate thought of the Master.
It is to a large extent possible to sort out the letters which emanate direct from the Master from those which are written through intermediaries. The answers of the Master M. are short, direct and imperious, being less the exposition of an instructor and more like marginal notes of a sovereign on a state paper. Not infrequently, His answers convey a challenge of the whole basis upon which the inquirer rests with confidence. The style of the Master K.H. is literary, showing a general, and sometimes a very particular, knowledge of Western literature and science. He uses a gentle raillery to make His point, and can at times be extremely witty. Since most of the teachings were given under His direction, all that is in this work, except the teachings of the Master M., bear His impress, whether written directly by Him or only under His supervision.
Needless to say, where a Chela is highly advanced and most closely en rapport with His Master, very few mistakes would be made in transmission, and even the Master’s idiosyncrasies of phrasing might be reproduced in the answer. But we have to clearly understand that, because a letter happens to be in the well-known handwriting of a Master, it is not necessarily always written by that Master himself. In this regard, the following statement of H.P.B. is most illuminating:
Statement By H.P.B
[ The statement is preceded by these words in
Mrs. Gebhard’s handwriting: “Extracts from a letter from H.P.Blavatsky dated
This morning before the receipt of your letter at 6 o’clock, I was permitted and told by Master to make you understand at last, you and all the sincere, truly devoted Theosophists, “as you sow, so you will reap”, the personal and private questions and prayers, answers framed in the mind of those whom such matters can yet interest, whose minds are not yet entirely blank to such worldly terrestrial questions, answers by chelas and novices, often something reflected from my own mind, for the Masters would not stoop for one moment to give a thought to individual, private matters relating but to one or even ten persons, their welfare, woes and blisses in this world of Maya, to nothing except questions of really universal importance. It is all you Theosophists who have dragged down in your minds the ideals of our Masters; you who have unconsciously and with the best of intentions and full sincerity of good purpose, desecrated Them, by thinking for one moment, and believing that They would trouble Themselves with your business matters, sons to be born, daughters to be married, houses to be built, etc. etc. And yet, all those of you who have received such communications, being nearly all sincere (those who were not have been dealt with according to other special laws) you had a right, knowing of the existence of Beings Who you thought could easily help you, to seek help from Them, to address Them once that a monotheist addresses his personal God, desecrating the Great Unknown a million of times above the Masters, by asking Him (or It) to help him with a good crop, to slay his enemy and send him a son or a daughter; and having such a right in the abstract sense, They could not spurn you off, and refuse answering you if not Themselves, then by ordering a chela to satisfy the addresses to the best of his or her’s (the chela’s) ability.
How many a time was I (no Mahatma)
shocked and startled, burning with shame when shown notes written in Their
(two) handwritings (a form of writing adopted for the T.S. And used by chelas,
only never without Their special permission or order to that effect)
exhibiting mistakes in science, grammar and thoughts, expressed in such
language that it perverted entirely the meaning originally intended, and
sometimes expressions that in Tibetan Sanskrit or any other Asiatic language
had quite a different sense, as in one instance I will give. In answer to Mr.
Sinnett’s letter referring to some apparent contradictions in
Two or three times, perhaps more, letters were precipitated in my presence, by chelas who could not speak English, and who took ideas and expressions out of my head. The phenomena in truth and solemn reality were greater at those times than ever! Yet they often appeared the most suspicious, and I had to hold my tongue, to see suspicion creeping into the minds of those I loved best and respected, unable to justify myself or to say one word. What I suffered Master only knew! Think only (a case with Solovioff at Elberfeld) I sick in my bed; a letter of his, an old letter of his received in London and torn by me, rematerialised in my own sight, I looking at the thing; five or six times in the Russian language, in Mahatma K.H.’s handwriting in blue, the words taken from my head, the letter old and crumpled travelling slowly alone (even I could not see the astral hand of the chela performing the operation) across the bedroom, then slipping into and among Solovioff’s papers who was writing in the little drawing-room, correcting my manuscripts; Olcott standing closely by him and having just handled the papers looking over them with Solovioff. The latter finding it, and like a flash I see in his head in Russian the thought: “The old impostor (meaning Olcott) must have put it there!”, and such things by hundreds.
Well, this will do. I have told you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so far as I am allowed to give it. Many are the things I have no right to explain, if I had to be hung for it.
When these letters were received
by Messrs. Sinnett and Hume, copies were sent by order of the Master K.H. To
H.P.B. And Damodar Mavlankar. Often extracts from them were sent to C.C. Massey
In arranging all these letters in the form of a book, I have thought it wise to group, as far as possible, the many topics under six Sections. The grouping in the book tentative, and on further study may be changed in a future edition. I have made no attempt to systematise the transliteration of Sanskrit words. We must not forget that, in 1881, when Sanskrit studies were at an early age, transliteration and the meaning of technical terms had not crystallised into their present shape. In a future edition, which I hope to bring out at greater leisure than has been possible to give to the publication of this edition, the transliteration of Sanskrit words will be systematised.
The effect of these early teachings on the two recipients, Messrs. Sinnett and Hume, was different. We all know how Mr. Sinnett eagerly responded and gained an inner vision of occult realities. The writing of Esoteric Buddhism from the heterogeneous material of the teachings given to him is indeed a most brilliant feat, and a high tribute to Mr. Sinnett’s synthetic ability. His work will always stand out as a brilliant summary of the Ancient Wisdom. Since the beginning, he has stood unwavering in his loyalty to his Master, and has made for himself a name in the annals of the Theosophical Society, and earned the gratitude of thousands.
The effect on Mr. Hume was rather different. Mr. Hume, who was brilliant in intellect and greatly philosophical, found that very sharpness of intellect a handicap, for the simple reason that he was not sufficiently impersonal. He was not so much inquirer as critic. “Your own ego, which has already seized the essentials of every truth,” was the way that the Master K.H., in attempting to draw attention to this vice of intellectual pride, described Mr. Hume’s great weakness. One continuous grievance of his was that he was not told everything fully which he desired to know. And furthermore, he could not adapt himself to credit the existence of another philosophical way of looking at things, which was Eastern, which might have any kind of superiority over the Western scientific standpoint. The result was a continual lack of accommodation on his part to the needs of the work which the Masters wanted done. He could not realise that the Masters were not specially bent on instructing the Western world in occult teachings, but were far more intent on building a great Theosophical Movement, which should break down barriers of race, creed, sex, caste and colour everywhere throughout the world. Mr. Sinnett also partly shared Mr. Hume’s attitude, but finally he adapted himself to some extent to the needs of the T.S. as a Movement, while Mr. Hume, to put it briefly, cared a great deal for occult knowledge, but nothing whatsoever for the T.S.., which to him was but proclaiming the threadbare gospel of Brotherhood.
Slowly within a couple of years,
the divergencies between him and the occult Teachers widened, till finally he
lost interest in the whole movement. Nevertheless, the influence from beyond
I would mention in passing that
all the modern political revival in
Those who are in touch with the work today of Theosophists will be struck very greatly by one phase of Theosophical interests which is not at all represented in this book. Today questions of Brotherhood and Social Reconstruction are so vital in the minds of Theosophists that they will be surprised to see that no question specifically dealing with Reconstruction was propounded to the Masters, The Teachers did not go out of Their way to expound all that They had to give, but merely answered the questions propounded to Them. But we must not forget that even while teachings were being given to Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Hume, the work of the Masters was being done by H.P.B. and Colonel Olcott. The two Founders were all the time proclaiming and applying the gospel of Brotherhood, though both Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Hume were, to put it briefly, very sceptical as to any real usefulness accruing in spiritualising the world by proclaiming the ideas of Brotherhood. They held that, if the Western world was to be affected and weaned from Materialism, it was only by giving it occult knowledge, and that any attempt to “mix up Brotherhood with Occultism” would inevitably mean the collapse in the long run of the T.S. Again and again, wherever any suggestions were thrown out by the Masters as to practical work to be done in order to narrow the gap which existed in India between the Indians and the English, Their hints were rarely taken, and continually the two Englishmen harped on the fact that they knew the Western mind and the ways to affect Western thought better than did the Adepts.
Finally, so insistent were Messrs. Sinnett and Hume in their attitude, that matters early came almost to an impasse. Then it was that the great Master Who is known as the “Mahachohan”, laid down the general principles which underlie the Theosophical Movement which originated from Them. The remarks of the Mahachohan, as reported by the Master K.H. to Mr. Sinnett, appears as “Letter No.1" in the little work Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, First Series.
An earnest student, who wants to gain a comprehensive idea of what was the teaching and directions given by the Masters at this time, should read in connection with this present work the little work mentioned above, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom. Since the publication of that work, many more letters of the Masters have come into my custody, and a second volume will, I hope, appear soon. Quite apart from these publications, a book yet remains to be compiled of the somewhat personal letters to Mr. Sinnett from the Masters M. and K.H. The original letters has always been with Mr. Sinnett, but copies made of them with his permission are at Adyar. When all these volumes, which record the guidance and teaching of the Masters in these early years of the T.S. are read and pondered over together, then it will be possible for us more fully than now to enter into that “Our World”, into which They invited us when They shared with us some of Their priceless knowledge.
Questions. 1- 2. We understand that the man-bearing cycle of necessity of our solar system consists of thirteen objective globes, of which ours is the lowest, six above it in the ascending and six in the descending cycle, with a fourteenth world lower than ours. Is this correct?
Answer - 1. The number is not quite correct.
There are seven objective and seven subjective globes (I have been just permitted for the first time to give you the right figure), the worlds of causes and effects. The former have our earth occupying the lower turning point where spirit and matter equilibrate. But do not trouble yourself to go into calculations even on this correct basis, for it will only puzzle you, since the infinite ramifications of the number seven (which is one of our greatest mysteries) being so closely allied and interdependent with the seven principles of Nature and Man, this figure is the only one I am permitted (so far) to give you. What I can reveal I do so in a letter I am just finishing.
Answer- 2. Below man there are three in the objective and three in the subjective region, with man as a septenary. Two of the three former none but an Initiate can conceive of; the third is the inner kingdom below the crust of the earth, which we could name, but would feel embarrassed to describe. These seven kingdoms are preceded by other and numerous septenary stages and combinations.
Question- 3. We understand that the monad starting in the highest world of the ascending series appears there in a mineral encasement, and there goes through a series of seven encasements representing the seven classes into which the mineral kingdom is divided, and that this done, it passes to the next planet and does likewise. (I purposely say nothing of the worlds of results, where it takes on the development, the result of what it has gone through in the last world and the necessary preparation for the next, and so on through the thirteen spheres making altogether ninety-one mineral existences.) (a) Is this correct? (b) If so, what are the classes we are to reckon in the mineral kingdom? Also (c) in the case of inherbations and incarnations, the plant and animal die, but so far as we know the mineral does not die; so how does the monad in the first Round get out of one immetalisation into another? (d) And has every separate molecule of mineral a monad, or only those groups of molecules where definite structure is observable such as crystals?
Answer - Yes; in our string of worlds it starts at globe A of the descending series, and passing through all the preliminary evolution and combinations of the first three kingdoms, it finds itself encased, in its first mineral form (in what I shall call race when speaking of man, and what we may call class in general) of Class 1. Then only it passes through seven instead of “through the thirteen spheres,” even omitting the intermediate “worlds of results”.
Having passed through its seven great classes of immetalisation (a good word this) with their septenary ramifications, the monad gives birth to the vegetable kingdom, and moves on to the next planet. B. (a) As you now see, except as to the numbers. (b) Your geologist divide, I believe, stones into three great groups of sandstone, granite and chalk, or the sedimentary, organic and igneous, following their physical characteristics, just as the psychologist and spiritualists divide man into the trinity of body, soul and spirit. Our method is totally different. We divide minerals (also the kingdoms) according to their occult properties, i.e., according to the relative proportion of the seven mineral principles which they contain. I am sorry to refuse you, but I am not permitted to answer your question. To facilitate for you a question of simple nomenclature, however, I would advise you to study perfectly the seven principles [The “seven principles in man” were classified as follows in 1881, when these Teachings were first given, (Article “Fragments of Occult Truth,” by A.O. Hume, Theosophist, October 1881):
1. The physical body, composed wholly of matter in its grossest and most tangible form.
2. The Vital principle (or Jiv-atma), a form of force, indestructible and when disconnected with one set of atoms, becoming attracted immediately by others.
3. The Astral body (Linga
Sharira) composed of highly etherealised matter; in its habitual passive state;
the perfect but very shadowy duplicate of the body; its activity, consolidation
and form depending entirely on the
4- The Astral shape (Kama Rupa) or the body of desire, a principle defining the configuration of -
5. The animal or physical intelligence or consciousness of Ego, analogous to, though proportionally higher in degree than, the reason, instinct, memory, imagination, etc., existing in higher animals.
6. The Higher or Spiritual intelligence or consciousness, or Spiritual Ego, in which mainly resides the sense of consciousness in the perfect man, though the lower dimmer animal consciousness coexists in No. 5.
7. The Spirit - an emanation from the ABSOLUTE; uncreated; eternal; a State rather than a being.
This classification was
modified in Esoteric Buddhism (1883) as follows;
1. The Body - Rupa;
2. Vitality - Prana or Jiva;
3. Astral Body - Linga Sharira;
4. Animal Soul - Kama Rupa;
5. Human Soul - Manas;
6. Spiritual Soul - Buddhi;
7. Spirit - Atma.]
in man, and then to divide the seven great classes of the minerals correspondentially; for instance, the group of the sedimentary would answer to the compound (chemically speaking) body of man, or his first principle, the organic to the second (some call it third) principle, or Jiva, etc. You must exercise your own intuitions in that. Thus you might also intuit certain truths even as to their properties. I am more than willing to help you, but things have to be divulged gradually. (c) By occult osmosis. The plant and animal leave their carcasses behind when life is extinct; so does the mineral, only at longer intervals, as its rocky body is more lasting. It dies at the end of every Manvantaric cycle, or at the close of one “Round,” as you would call it. It is explained in the letter I am preparing for you. (d) Every molecule is part of the Universal life. Man’s soul (his fourth and fifth principles) is but a compound of the progressive entities of the lower kingdoms. The superabundance or preponderance of one over another compound will often determine the instincts or passions of a man, unless these are checked by the soothing and spiritualising influence of his sixth principle.
Question-4. Please note, we call the grand cycle that the monad has performed in the mineral kingdom, a “Round,” which we understand to contain thirteen stations, or objective, more or less material worlds; at each of these stations it performs a “world-ring” [ Now termed a ‘world-period’.] which includes seven immetalisations, one in each of the seven classes of that kingdom. Is this accepted for nomenclature and correct?
Answer- I believe it will lead to further confusion. A Round we are agreed to call the passage of the monad from globe A to globe Z (or G) through the encasement in all and each of the four kingdoms, viz., as a mineral, a vegetable, an animal and a man or the Deva kingdom. The “world-ring” [ Now termed a ‘world-period’.] is correct, - advised Mr. Sinnett strongly to agree upon a nomenclature before going any further. A few stray facts were given to you par contrebande and on the smuggling principle hitherto. But now since you are really and seriously determined to study and utilise our philosophy, it is time we should begin to work seriously. Because we are constrained to deny to our friends an insight into the higher Mathematics, it is no reason why we should refuse to teach them Arithmetic. The monad performs not only “world rings,” or seven major immetalisations, inherbations, zoonations (?) and incarnations, but an infinitude of sub-rings, or subordinate whirls, all in series of sevens. As the geologist divides the crust of the earth into great divisions, subdivisions, minor compartments and zones, and the botanist his plants into orders, classes and species, and the zoologist his subjects into classes, orders and families; so we have our arbitrary classifications and our nomenclature. But besides all this being incomprehensible to you, volumes upon volumes out of the books of Kiu-te[ See Secret Doctrine, III, 405, for reference to this archaic work.] and others would have to be written. Their commentaries are worse still. They are filled with the most abstruse mathematical calculations, the keys to most of which are in the hands of our highest adepts only; showing as they do the infinitude of the phenomenal manifestations in the side projections of the one force, they are again secret, therefore I doubt whether I will be allowed to give you for the present anything beyond the mere unitary or root idea; anyhow I will do my best.
Question- 5. We understand that in each of your other kingdoms, a monad similarly performs a complete Round, in each Round stopping in each of the thirteen stations and there performing in each a world ring of seven lives, one in each of the seven classes into which each of the six said kingdoms are divided. Is this correct, and if so will you give us the seven classes of these six kingdoms?
Answer - If by kingdoms the seven kingdoms or reigns of the earth are meant - and I do not see how it can mean anything else - then the query is answered in my reply to your Question-2. And if so, then the five out of the seven are already enumerated. The first two are related, as well as the third, to the evolution of the elementals and of the inner kingdom.
Question- 6. If we are right, then the total existences prior to the man period is 637. Is this correct? Or are there seven existences in each class of each kingdom, 4,459? Or what the total numbers and how divided? One point more; in these lower kingdoms, is the number of lives, so to speak, invariable or does it vary, and if so how, why and within what limits?
Answer - Not being permitted to give you the whole truth or divulge the number of isolated fractions, I am unable to satisfy you, by giving the total number. Rest assured, my dear Brother, that to one who does not seek to become a practical occultist these numbers are immaterial. Even our high chelas are refused these particulars till the moment of initiation into Adeptship. These figures as I have already said are so interwoven with the profoundest psychological mysteries, that to divulge the key to such figures would be to put the rod of power within the reach of all the clever men who would read your book. All that I can tell you is that within the Solar Manvantara the number of existences or vital activities of the monad is fixed, but there are local variations in number, in minor systems and individual world rounds and world rings according to circumstances. And in this connection remember also that human personalities are often blotted out, while the entities, whether single or compound, complete all the minor and major cycles of necessity under whatsoever form.
Question- 7. So far we hope we are tolerably correct but when we come to man we have got muddled.
Answer - And no wonder, since you were not given the correct information.
(a) Does the monad as man (ape-man and upwards) make one or seven Rounds as above defined? We gather the latter.
(a) As a man-ape he performs just as many Rounds and rings as every other race or class, i.e., he performs one Round, and in every planet from A to Z has to go through seven chief races of ape-like man, as many sub-races, etc. (See Supplemental Notes) as the above described race.
(b) In each Round does this world circle consist of seven lives in seven races (49) or only seven lives in one race? We are not certain how you use the word race, whether there is only one race in each station of each Round, i.e. one race to each world circle, or whether there are seven races (with their seven branchlets and a life in each), in either case in each world circle. Nay, from your use of the words, “and through each of these man has to evolve before he passes on to the next higher race and that seven times,” we are not sure that there are not seen lives in each branchlet as you call it, sub-race we will, if you like, say. So now there may be seven Rounds, each with seven races, each with seven sub-races, each with seven incarnations 13x7x7x7x7=31,313 lines, or one Round with seven races and seven sub-races and a life in each = 13x7x7 = 637 lives or 4,459 lives. Please set us right here, stating the normal number of lives (the exact numbers will vary owing to idiots and children as not counting) and how divided.
(b) As the above described race, i.e., at each planet - our earth included - he has to perform seven rings through seven races (one in each) and 7x7 offshoots. There are seven root-races and seven sub-races or offshoots. Our doctrine treats anthropology as an absurd empty dream of the religionists, and confines itself to ethnology. It is possible that my nomenclature is faulty; you are at liberty in such a case to change it. What I call race you will perhaps term “stock,” though sub-race expresses better what we mean than the word family or division of the genus homo. However, to set you right so far I will say: one life in each of the seven root-races, seven lives in each of the 49 sub-races, or 7x7x7=343, and add seven more. And then a series of lives in offshoot and branchlet races, making the total incarnations of man in each station or planet 777. The principle of acceleration and retardation applies itself in such a way as to eliminate all the inferior stocks and leave but a single superior one to make the last ring - not much to divide over some millions of years that man passes on one planet. Let us take but one million of years - suspected and now accepted by your science - to represent man’s entire term upon earth in this Round, and allowing an average of a century for each life, we find that whereas he has passed in all his lives upon our planet (in this Round) but 77,700 years, he has been in the subjective spheres 922,300 years - not much encouragement for the extreme modern reincarnationists who remember their several previous existences! [ French Spiritualists of the Allan Kardec school were at this time taught reincarnation by their “guides” and devotees of Spiritualism began to “remember” their past lives as various historical characters, such as Mary Queen of Scots, etc. All the past personalities were considered, by some of these reincarnationists, as still hovering round the personality of this life, and at times manifesting.] Should you indulge in any calculations, do not forget that we have computed above only full average lives of consciousness and responsibility. Nothing has been said as to failures of nature in abortions, congenital idiots, deaths of children in their first septenary cycle, nor of the exceptions of which I cannot speak. No less have you to remember that average human life varies greatly according to the Round. If you work out any of the problems by yourself it will be my duty to tell you so. Try to solve the problem of 777 incarnations. [ July 9, 1882 ]
The Fifth Round has not commenced on our earth, and the races and sub-races of one Round must not be confounded with those of another. The Fifth Round of mankind may be said to have commenced when there shall not be left on the planet which preceded ours a single man of that Round, and on our earth not one of the Fourth Round. You should know also that the usual Fifth Round men (very few and scarce they are) who come in upon us as avant-couriers, do not beget on earth Fifth Round progeny. Plato and Confucius were Fifth Round men and our Lord [ The Lord Buddha ] a Sixth Round man (though his avatar is a mystery) and not even his son [ Prince Rahula ] was anything but a Fourth Round man. Our mystic terms in their clumsy re-translation from the Sanskrit into English are as confusing to us as to you; unless in writing to you one of us takes his pen as an Adept and uses it from the first word to the last in this capacity, he is quite as liable to slips as any other man. We are not in the Fifth Round, but Fifth Round men have been coming in for the last few thousand years. But what is such a petty stretch of time in comparison with even one million of the several millions of years embraces in man’s occupancy of earth!
Question- Is the sun (a) as Allen Kardec [ The leader of a school of Spiritualists in France who taught reincarnation. Allan Kardec was a nom de plume, his real name being L.H.D. Rivail ] says a habitation of highly spiritualised beings; (b) is it the vertex of our Manvantaric chain, and of all the other chains in this solar system also?
Answer - (a) Most decidedly not. Not even a Dhyan Chohan of the lower orders could approach it without having his body consumed or rather annihilated. Only the highest Planetary can scan it. (b) Not unless we call it the vertex of an angle. But it is the vertex of all the chains collectively. All of us, dwellers of the chains, we will have to evolve, live and run up and down the scales in that highest and last of the septenary chains (on the scale of perfection) before the solar pralaya snuffs out our little system.
Question- Obscurations are a subject at present wrapped in obscurity. They take place after the last man of any given Round has passed on to the next planet. But I want to make out how the next superior Round forms are evolved. When the fifth Round spiritual monads arrive, what fleshly habitations are ready for them? Going back to the only former letter in which you have dealt with obscurations, I find (a) we have traced man out of a Round into the Nirvanic state between Z and A. A was left in the last Round dead. As the new Round begins, it catches the new influx of life, reawakens to vitality, and begets all its kingdoms of a superior order to the last.
Answer - Take into consideration the following facts and put them together if you can: - (1) The individual units of mankind remain a hundred times longer in the transitory spheres of effects than on the globes; (2) the few men of the fifth Round do not beget children of the fifth, but of your fourth Round; (3) that the obscurations are not pralayas, and that they last in a proportion of one to ten, i.e., if a ring or whatever we call it - the period during which the seven Root-races have to develop and reach their last appearance upon a globe during that Round - lasts, say ten millions of years (of course it last far longer) then the obscuration will last no longer than one million. When our globe, having got rid of its last fourth Round men and a few, very few, of the fifth, goes to sleep, during the periods of rest the fifth Round men will be resting in their Devachanic and spiritual lokas - far longer at any rate than the fourth Round “angels” in theirs, since they are far more perfect.
Question- I want to make out how the next superior Round forms are evolved.
Answer - My friend, try to understand that you are putting me questions pertaining to the highest Initiations; that I can give you a general view, but that I dare not nor will I enter upon details, though I would if I could satisfy you. Do not feel that it is one of the highest mysteries, than which there is no higher one?
Question- But has it to begin at the beginning again between each Round and evolve human forms from animal, these last from vegetable, etc.? If so to what Round do the first imperfectly evolved man belong? Ex hypothesi to the fifth, but the fifth Round should be a more perfect race in all respects.
Answer - Of course not, since it is not destroyed, but remains crystallised - so to say, in statu quo. At each Round there are fewer and fewer animals - the latter themselves evoluting into higher forms. During the first Round it is they that were the “Kings of Creation”. During the seventh Round, men will have become gods, and animals intelligent beings. Draw your inferences. Beginning with the second Round, already evolution proceeds on quite a different plan. Everything is evolved and has but to proceed on its cyclic journey. It is only the first Round that man becomes from a human being on Globe B, a mineral, a plant, an animal on globe C. The method changes entirely from the second Round. But I have learned prudence with you and will say nothing before the time for saying it has come.
Question- 1. Some fifth Round men have already begun to appear on earth. In what way are they distinguishable from fourth Round men of the seventh earthly incarnation?
Answer - The natural born seers and clairvoyants of Mrs. A. Kingsford’s and Mr. Maitland’s [ Mrs Anna Bonus Kingsford and Mr. Edward Maitland, authors of The Perfect Way or The Finding of Christ, 1881.] types; the great Adepts of whatsoever country; the geniuses, whether in arts, politics or religious reform. No great physical distinction yet; too early - will come later on.
Question- 2. I suppose they are in the first incarnation of the fifth Round and that a tremendous advance will be achieved when the fifth Round people get to their seventh incarnation?
Answer - Quite so; if you turn to Appendix I, you will find it explained.
Question- 3. But if a first fifth Round man devoted himself to occultism and became an Adept, would he escape further earthly incarnations?
Answer - No; if we except Buddha, a sixth Round being, as he had run so successfully the race in his previous incarnations as to outrun even his predecessors. But then such a man is to be found one in a billion of human creatures. He differed from other men as much in his physical appearance [ i.e., in the nature of the constituents which compose the vehicles of the Lord Buddha, including the physical body, for Buddhist tradition says nothing about any difference of outward appearance. See Secret Doctrine, Vol. III., “The Mystery of Buddha”.] as in spirituality and knowledge. Yet even he escaped further reincarnations but on this earth; and when the last of the sixth Round men of the third ring is gone out of this earth, the great Teacher will have to get reincarnated on the next planet. Only and since he sacrificed Nirvanic bliss and rest for the salvation of his fellow creatures, he will be reborn in the highest, the seventh ring of the upper planet. Till then he will overshadow every decimillennium (let us rather say and add, has overshadowed already) a chosen individual who generally overturned the destinies of nations (See Isis, Vol. I, pp, 34 and 35, last and first paragraphs on the pages.)
Question- 4. Is there any essential spiritual difference between a man and a woman, or is sex a mere accident of each birth, the ultimate future of the individual furnishing the same opportunities?
Answer - A mere accident, as you say. Generally a chance work, yet guided by individual Karma - moral aptitudes, characteristics and deeds of the previous birth.
Question- 5. The majority of the superior classes of civilised countries on earth now, I understand to be seventh ring people (i.e., of the seventh earthly incarnation) of the fourth Round. The Australian aborigines I understand to be of a low ring? and are the lower and inferior classes of civilised countries, of various rings or the rings just below the seventh? And are all seventh ring people born in the superior classes or may not some be found among the poor?
Answer - Not necessarily. Refinement, polishedness, and brilliant education, in your sense of these words have very little to do with the course of nature’s higher Law. Take a seventh ring African or a fifth ring Mongolian, and you can educate him - if taken from the cradle - and transform him (save his physical appearance) into the most brilliant and accomplished English lord. Yet, he will still remain but an outwardly intellectual parrot. (See Appendix No.II.)
Question- 6. The old lady [ Madame Blavatsky was often thus affectionately described by her friends.] told me that the bulk of the inhabitants of this country are in some respects less advanced than Europeans through more spiritual. Are they on a lower ring of the same Round, or does the difference refer to some principle of national cycles which have nothing to do with individual progress?
Answer - Most of the peoples of India belong to the oldest or the earliest branchlet of the fifth human Race. I have desired M [ The Master M., to whom as the Manu of the next Root Race, the Master K.H. often refers questions on races.] to end his letter to you with a short summary of the last scientific theory of your learned ethnographers and naturalists, to save myself work. Read what he writes and then turn to number Appendix III.
Every spiritual Individuality has a gigantic evolutionary journey to perform, a tremendous gyrating progress to accomplish. First, at the very beginning of the great Manvantaric rotation, from first to last of the man-bearing planets, as on each of them, the monad has to pass through seven successive races of man. From the dumb offshoot of the ape (the latter strongly differentiating from the now known specimens) up to the present fifth Race, or rather variety, and through two more races before he has done with this Earth only; and then on to the next higher and higher still. But we will confine our attention but to this one. Each of the seven races send seven ramifying branchlets from the Parent Branch: and through each of these in turn man has to evolve before he passes on to the next higher race; and that seven times. Well may you open wide your eyes, good friend and feel puzzled it is so.
The branchlets typify varying specimens of humanity - physically and spiritually - and no one of us can miss one single rung of the ladder. Please bear in mind, that when I say “man,” I mean a human being of our type. There are other and innumerable Manvantaric chains of globes bearing intelligent beings - both in and out of our solar system - the crowns or apexes of evolutionary and intellectually lower, others immeasurably higher than the man of our chain. But beyond mentioning them we will not speak of them at present. Through every race then, man has to pass making seven successive entrances and exits and developing intellect to degrees from the lowest to the highest in succession.
In short, his earth cycle with its rings and sub-rings is the exact counterpart of the great cycle - only in miniature. Bear in mind again that the intervals even between these special “race-reincarnations” are enormous, as even the dullest of the African Bushmen has to reap the reward of his Karma, equally with his brother Bushmen who may be six times more intelligent.
Your ethnographers and the anthropologists would do well to ever keep in their minds this unvarying septenary law which runs throughout the works of nature. From Cuvier - the late Grand Master of Bible theology - whose Bible-stuffed brain made him divide mankind into but three distinct varieties of races, down to Blumenbach who divided them into five, they were all wrong. Alone Pritchard who prophetically suggested seven comes near the right mark. I read in the Pioneer of June 12, forwarded to me by H.P.B., a letter on the Ape Theory by A. P. W. which contains a most excellent exposition of the Darwinian hypothesis. The last paragraph, p.6, Col 1. would be regarded - barring a few errors - as a revelation in a millennium or so, were it to be preserved. Reading the nine lines from line 21 (counting from the bottom) you have a fact of which few naturalists are yet prepared to accept the proof [ The following is the extract from the Pioneer of June 12, 1882, I have put the nine lines referred to in boldface: Darwin never maintained man’s descent from the ape. He held that man was descended “from an ape-like animal.” ; of which the ape, too, is a branch. In other words, man and ape have a common origin. But it does not follow that the ape will ever develop into man. The differentiation commenced at some remote period; and as time rolls on the gulf between them will widen indefinitely. Darwin illustrated the doctrine of evolution by a genealogical tree, in which the trunk or base represents a common and collective origin; its branches and branchlets, developments and differentiations. The trunk constantly ascending and sending out branches in every direction, and these in turn ramifying branchlets, typifies varying forms of life widely removed from each other in character and time, such that, if contrasted without reference to the base of origin, would be pronounced distinct and specific creations, instead of mere evolutions. Man, as occupying the Kingship of creation, is as a branchlet forming the pinnacle of the tree. But he must ultimately prove only a side branch, and be superseded and topped in turn by superior races of beings developed from him, and as much and more unlike him than he is unlike the ape-like animal from which he is undoubtedly descended - for the tree continues its growth and the end is not yet. The branches and branchlets that have ceased to grow are the arrested forms of life doomed to eventual decay in the “struggle for existence”. Those that show decay, indicate forms that cannot exist under “altered conditions of life,” while those that have perished point to the extinction of many forms whose fossils are entombed in the earth’s strata. “The survival of the fittest” under prevailing conditions, whatever they may be, is the universal law.] The fifth, sixth and seventh races of the fifth Round - each succeeding race evolving with and keeping pace, so to say, with the “great cycle” Rounds - and the fifth Race of the fifth Round, having to exhibit a perceptible physical and intellectual as well as moral differentiation towards its fourth Race or “earthly incarnation,” you are right in saying that “a tremendous advance will be achieved when the fifth Round people get to their seventh incarnation”.
Nor has wealth nor poverty, high nor low birth, any influence upon it, for this is all a result of their Karma. Neither has what you call civilization much to do with the progress. It is the inner man, the spirituality, the illumination of the physical brain by the light of the spiritual or divine intelligence that is the test. The Australian, the Esquimaux, the Bushmen, the Veddahs, etc., are all side-shooting branchlets of that Branch which you call “cavemen,” the third Race (according to your science, the second) that evolved on the globe. They are the remnants of the seventh ring cavemen, remnants “that have ceased to grow and are the arrested forms of life doomed to eventual decay in the struggle of existence,” in the words of your correspondent. See Isis, Chap. 1. - The Divine Essence (Purusha), “like a luminous arc,” proceeds to form a circle - the maha-manvantaric chain: and having attained the highest (or its first starting-point) bends back again and returns to earth (the first globe) bringing a higher type of humanity in its vortex - thus seven times. Approaching our earth, it grows “more and more shadowy, until upon touching the ground it is as black as night,” i.e., it is matter outwardly, the Spirit or Purusha being concealed under a quintuple armour of the first five principles. Now see underlined three lines on p.5. [ “They divided the interminable periods of human existence on this planet into cycles, during each of which mankind gradually reached the culminating point of highest civilization and gradually relapsed into abject barbarism.” Isis, 1, p.5.]. For the word “mankind” read human race, and for “civilization” read spiritual evolution of that particular race, and you have the truth which had to be concealed at that incipient stage of the T.S. See again page 13, last paragraph, and p. 14, first paragraph, [“For lack of comprehension of this great philosophical principle, the methods of modern science, however exact, must end in nullity. In no one branch can it demonstrate the origin and ultimate of things. Instead of tracing the effect from its primal source, its progress is the reverse. Its higher types, at it teaches, are all evolved from antecedent lower ones. It starts from the bottom of the cycle, led on step by step in the great labyrinth of nature by a thread of matter. As soon as this breaks and the clue is lost, it recoils in affright from the Incomprehensible, and confesses itself powerless. Not so did Plato and his disciples. With him the lower types were but the concrete images of the higher abstract ones. The soul, which is immortal, has an arithmetical, as the body has a geometrical beginning. This beginning, as the reflection of the great universal ARCHAEUS, is self-moving, and from the centre diffuses itself over the whole body of the microcosm.” Isis, 1, pp. 13-14. ] and note the underlined lines about Plato. Then see P.32, remembering the difference between the Manvantaras as therein calculated and the Mahamanvantara (complete seven Rounds between two Pralayas, the four Yugas returning seven times, one for each race). Having done so far, take your pen and calculate. This will make you swear - but this will not hurt your Karma much. Lip-profanity finds it deaf. Read attentively in this connection (not with the swearing process, but with that of evolution) p.301, last line, “And now comes a mystery,” and continue on till page 304. Isis was not unveiled but rents [ Isis Unveiled was originally intended to be called The Veil of Isis, and it was only after Vol. 1. had been printed that the name was changed to Isis Unveiled.] sufficiently large were made to afford fitting glances to be completed by the student’s own intuition. In this curry of quotations from various philosophies and esoteric truths purposely veiled, behold our doctrine which is now partially taught to Europeans for the first time.
As I said in my answer on your notes, most of the people of India, with the exception of the Semitic Moguls, belong to the oldest branchlet of the present Fifth human Race, which was evolved in Central Asia more than one million of years ago. Western science finding good reasons for the theory of human beings having inhabited Europe 4000,000 years before your era, this cannot so shock you as to prevent you drinking wine tonight at your dinner. [ Mr. Sinnett was not a total abstainer, and even to the end took light wine like claret at dinner.] Yet Asia has, as well as Australia, Africa, America, and the most northward regions, its remnants of the fourth - even of the third Race (cavemen and Therns). At the same time, we have more of the seventh ring men of the fourth Race than Europe, and more of the first Ring of the Fifth Round, as older than the European branchlets, our men have naturally come in earlier. Their being “less advanced” in civilization and refinement troubles their spirituality but very little, Karma being an animal which remains indifferent to pumps and white gloves. [ Men’s dancing shoes of black patent leather. Men “in Society” when dancing wear white kid gloves.] Neither your knives nor forks, operas and drawing rooms, will any more follow you in your onward progress than will the dead leaf colored robes of the British aesthetics [ Alluding to the “aesthetic” wave which affected one set in London Society, and which was satirised in 1881 by W.S. Gilbert’s comic opera Patience ] prevent the proprietors thereof and wearers from having been born among the ranks of those who will be regarded - do what they may - by the forthcoming sixth and seventh Round men as flesh-eating and liquor-drinking savages “of the Royal Society Period”.
Question- 7. What other planets of those known to ordinary science besides Mercury belong to our system of worlds?
Answer - Mars, and four other planets of which astronomy yet knows nothing. Neither A, B, nor Y, Z are known, nor can they be seen through physical means, however perfected.
The figure [ The figure is found in neither of the MSS.] roughly represents the development of humanity on a planet - say our earth. Man evolves in seven major or Root Races, forty-nine minor races, and in subordinate races or offshoots; the branchlet races coming from the latter are not shown. The arrows indicate the direction taken by the evolutionary impulse. I, II, etc., are the major or Root Races; 1, 2, 3, etc., are the seven minor races; a-a-a, etc., are the subordinate or offshoot races; N, the initial and terminal point of evolution on the planet; S, the axial point where the development equilibrates or adjusts itself in each race evolution; E, the equatorial points where in the descending arc intellect overcomes spirituality, and in the ascending arc spirituality outstrips intellect.
P.S. In his hurry D.K. has made his figure inclined somewhat out of the perpendicular, but it serves as a rough memo; he drew it to represent development on a single planet, but I have added a word or two to make it apply as well (which it does) to a whole Manvantaric chain of worlds.
Whenever any question of evolution or development in any kingdom presents itself to you, bear constantly in mind that everything comes under the septenary rule of series in these correspondences and mutual relations throughout nature. In the evolution of man there is a topmost point, a bottom point, a descending arc and an ascending arc.
Answer - 1. [ The questions for this and the other numbered answers which follow are not recorded in the MS.] Why should it be supposed that Devachan is a monotonous condition, only because some one moment of earthly sensation is indefinitely perpetuated - stretched, so to say, throughout aeons? It is not, it cannot be, so; this would be contrary to all analogies and antagonistic to the Law of Effects, under which results are proportionate to antecedent energies. To make it clear, you must keep in mind that there are two fields of causal manifestations, to wit, the objective and subjective. So the grosser energies, those which operate in the heavier and denser conditions of matter, manifest respectively in physical life, their outcome being the new personality of each birth included within the grand cycle of the evolving individuality.
The moral and spiritual activities find their sphere of effects in Devachan. For example, the vices, physical attractions, etc., of a philosopher, may result in the birth of a new philosopher, a king, a merchant, a rich Epicurean or any other personality, whose make-up was inevitable from the preponderating proclivities of the being in the next preceding birth. Bacon, for instance, whom a poet called “the greatest, wisest, meanest of mankind,” might reappear in his next incarnation as a greedy money-getter with extraordinary intellectual capacities. But the moral and spiritual qualities of the previous Bacon would also have to find a field in which their energies could expand themselves. Devachan is such a field, hence all the great plans of moral reform, of intellectual and spiritual research into abstract principles of nature, all the divine aspirations, would in Devachan come to fruition, and the abstract entity, previously known as the great Chancellor, would occupy itself in this inner world of its own preparation, living, if not quite what one would call a conscious existence, at least a dream of such realistic vividness that none of the life-realities could ever match it. And this dream lasts until Karma is satisfied in that direction, till the ripple of force reaches the edge of its cyclic basin, and the being moves into the next area of causes. This it may find in the same world as before, or another, according to his or her stage of progression through the necessary rings and Rounds of human development.
Then how can you think that but one moment of earthly sensation is selected for preparation? Very true, that moment lasts from first to last, but then it lasts but as the keynote of the whole harmony, a definite tone of appreciable pitch, around which cluster and develop in progressive variations of melody, and as endless variations on a theme, all the aspirations, desires, hopes, dreams, which in connection with that particular moment had ever crossed the dreamer’s brain during his life time, without having ever found their realisation on earth, and which he now finds fully realised in all their vividness in Devachan, without ever suspecting that all that blissful reality is but the progeny begotten by his own fancy, the effects of the mental causes produced by himself. That particular one moment which will be most intense and uppermost in the thoughts of his dying brain, at the time of dissolution will of course regulate all the other “moments,” still, the latter, minor and less vivid though they be, will be there also having their appointed place in this phantasmagoric marshalling of past dreams, and must give variety to the whole.
No man on earth but has some predilection, if not a domineering passion, no person however humble and poor, and often because all that, but indulges in dreams and desires, unsatisfied through though these be. Is this monotony? Would you call such variations ad infinitum on the one theme, and that theme modelling itself on, and taking colour and its definite shape from that group of desires which was the most intense during life, “a blank destitution of all knowledge in the devachanic mind,” seeming in a measure ignoble? Then verily you must have failed, as you say, to take in my meaning, or it is I who am to blame. I must have surely failed to convey the right meaning, and have to confess my inability to describe the indescribable. The latter is a difficult task, good friend, unless the intuitive perceptions of a trained Chela come to the rescue. No amount of description however graphic will help; indeed no words are adequate to express the difference between a state of mind on earth and one outside of its sphere of action; no English terms in existence equivalent to ours; nothing but unavoidable (due to early Western education) preconceptions:- hence lines of thought in a wrong direction in the learner’s mind - to help us in this inoculation of entirely new thoughts! You are right; not only “ordinary people” - your readers - but even idealists and highly intellectual minds will fail, I am afraid, to seize the true idea, will never fathom it to its very depths. Perhaps you may some day realise better than you do now one of the chief reasons for our unwillingness to impart our knowledge to European candidates.
A man in the way to learn something of the mysteries of nature “seems in a higher state of existence to begin with on earth than that which nature apparently provides for him as a reward for his best deeds”; perhaps “apparently,” not so in reality, when the modus operandi of nature is correctly understood. Then that other misconception - the more merit the longer period of Devachan. “But then in Devachan all sense of the lapse of time is lost: a minute is as a thousand years. A quoi bon then,” etc. . . .
This remark and such way of looking at things might as well apply to the whole Eternity, to Nirvana, Pralaya, and what not. Say at once that the whole system of being, of existence, separate and collective, of nature objective and subjective, are but idiotic aimless facts, a gigantic fraud of that nature which, meeting with but little sympathy with Western philosophy, has moreover the cruel disapprobation of its best representatives. A quoi bon in such a case this preaching of our doctrines, all this uphill work and swimming in adverso flumine? Why should the West be so anxious to learn anything from the East, since it is evidently unable to digest that which can never meet the requirements of the special tastes of its aesthetics? A sorry outlook for us, since even you fail to take in the whole magnitude of our philosophy, or to even embrace at one scope a small corner - the Devachan of those sublime horizons of “after life”. I do not want to discourage you, I would only draw your attention to the formidable difficulties encountered by us in every attempt we make to explain our metaphysics to Western minds even among the most intelligent. No, there are no clocks, not timepieces in Devachan, though the whole Cosmos is a gigantic chronometer in one sense. Nor do we mortals - ici bas même - take much, if any, cognisance of time during periods of happiness and bliss, and find them ever too short; a fact that does not in the least prevent us from enjoying that happiness all the same when it does come. Have you given a thought to this possibility, that perhaps it is because their cup of bliss is full to the brim that the “Devanchanee” loses all sense of the lapse of time, and that it is something that those who land in Avitchi do not, though, as much as the “Devachanee,” the “Avitchee” has no cognisance of time - i.e. of our earthly calculations of periods of time?
I may also remind you in this connection that time is something created by ourselves; that, while one short second of intense agony may appear, even on earth, as an Eternity to one man, to another more fortunate, hours, days and sometimes whole years may seem to flit like one short moment; and that finally, of all the sentient and conscious beings on earth, man is the only animal that takes any cognisance of time, although it makes him neither happier nor wiser. How then can I explain to you that which you cannot feel, since you seem unable to comprehend it? Finite similes are unfit to express the abstract and the infinite, nor can the objective ever mirror the subjective. To realise the bliss in Devachan or the woes in Avitchi, you have to assimilate them as we do. Western critical idealism has still to learn the difference which exists between the real being of supersensible objects and the shadowy subjectivity it has reduced them to. Time is not a predicate conception, and can therefore neither be proved nor analysed according to the methods of superficial philosophy; and unless we learn to counteract the negative results of that method of drawing our conclusions as agreeably to the so-called system of pure reason, and to distinguish between the matter and the form of our knowledge of sensible objects, we can never arrive at correct definite conclusions. The case in hand as defended by me against your (very natural) conception is a good proof of the shallowness and even fallacy of that system of pure (materialistic) reason. Space and Time may be, as Kant has it, not the product, but the regulators of the sensations, but only so far as our sensations on earth are concerned, not those in Devachan. There we do not find a priori ideas of Space and Time controlling the perceptions of the denizen of Devachan in respect to the objects of his sense, but on the contrary we discover that it is the Devachanee himself who absolutely creates both and annihilates them at the same time. Thus the “after states” so called can never be correctly judged by practical reason, since the latter can have active being only in the sphere of final causes or ends, and can hardly be regarded with Kant - with whom the term means on one page “reason,” and on the next “will” - as the highest spiritual power in man having for its sphere that Will.
The above is not dragged in, as you may think, for the sake of a (too far stretched perhaps) argument, but with an eye to a future discussion “at home,” as you express it, with students and admirers of Kant and Plato, that you will have to encounter. In plainer language, I will not tell you the following, and it will be no fault of mine if you still fail to comprehend its full meaning. As physical existence has its cumulative intensity from infancy to prime, and its diminishing energy henceforward to dotage and death, so the dream life of Devachan is lived correspondentially. Hence you are right in saying that the “soul” can never awake to its mistake and find itself “cheated by nature” - the more so since strictly speaking the whole of human life and its boasted realities are no better than such “cheating”. But you are wrong in pandering to the prejudices and preconceptions of Western readers. No Asiatic will ever agree with you upon this point. When you add that “there is a sense of unreality about the whole affair which is painful to the mind,” you are the first one to feel that; it is no doubt due much more to an imperfect grasp of the nature of existence in Devachan, than to any defect in our system. Hence my orders to a Chela to reproduce, in an appendix to your article, extracts from this letter, and explanations calculated to disabuse the reader, and to obliterate as far as possible the painful impression this statement of yours is sure to produce upon him.
Believe me, nature cheats no more the Devachanee than she does the living physical man. Nature provides for him far more real bliss and happiness there than she does here, where all the conditions of evil and chance are against him; and his inherent helplessness, that of a straw violently blown hither and thither by every remorseless wind, has made happiness on this earth an utter impossibility for the human being, whatever his chances and condition may be. Rather call this life an ugly horrid nightmare and you will be right. To call the Devachan existence “a dream,” in any other sense but that of a conventional term, well suited to your languages, all full of misnomers, is to renounce for ever the knowledge of the esoteric doctrine, the sole custodian of truth
Let me try once more to explain to you a few of the many states in Devachan and Avitchi. As in actual earth life, so there is for the ego in Devachan the first flutter of psychic life, the attainment of prime, the gradual exhaustion of force passing into semi-consciousness, gradual oblivion and lethargy and - not death - but birth, birth into another personality and the resumption of action, which daily begets new congeries of causes that must be worked out in another term of Devachan, and still another physical rebirth as a new personality. What the lives in Devachan and upon earth shall be respectively in each instance is determined by Karma, and this weary round of birth must be ever and ever run through, until the being reaches the end of the seventh Round, or attains in the interim the wisdom of an Arhat, then that of a Buddha, and thus gets relieved for a Round or two, having learned how to burst through the vicious circles, and to pass into Pari-Nirvana.
But suppose that it is not the case of a Bacon, Goethe, Shelley, or a Howard, but of some humdrum person, some colourless, flavourless personality who never impinged upon the world enough to make himself felt. What then? Simply that his Devachan state is as colourless and feeble as was his personality. How could it be otherwise, since cause and effect are equal? But suppose a cause of a monster of wickedness, sensuality, ambition, avarice, pride, deceit, etc., but who nevertheless has a germ or germs of something better, flashes of more divine nature - where is he to go to? The said spark smouldering under a heap of dirt will counteract nevertheless the attraction of the Eighth Sphere, whither fall but absolute nonentities, failures of nature, to be remodelled entirely, whose divine monad separated itself from the fifth principle during their lifetime (whether in the next preceding birth, since such cases are also on our records) and who have lived as soulless human beings. (See Isis, Vol. II, p.369, the word soul standing there for spiritual soul, of course, which, whenever it leaves a person soulless, becomes the cause of the fifth principle - animal soul - sliding down into the eighth sphere.) Of these persons whose sixth principle has left them, while the seventh, having lost its vehicle, can exist independently no longer, their fifth or animal soul of course goes down into the bottomless pit. This will perhaps make Eliphas Levi’s hints still more clear to you, if you read over what he says, and my remarks on the margin thereon (see Theosophist, October, 1881, “Death,”) and reflect upon the words used, “useless drones,” etc. [ See Appendix A.] Well, the first named entity then cannot with all its wickedness go to the Eighth Sphere, since his wickedness is of a too spiritual, refined nature. He is a monster, not a mere soulless brute. He will not be simply annihilated, but punished, for annihilation, i.e., total oblivion, and the fact of being snuffed out of conscious existence, constitutes, per se, no punishment, and as Voltaire expressed it “ le néant ne laisse pas d’avoir du bon”. Here is no taper glimmer to be puffed out by a zephyr, but a strong, positive, maleficent energy, fed and developed by circumstances, some of which may have actually been beyond his control. There must be for such a nature a state corresponding to Devachan, and this is found in Avitchi, the perfect antithesis of Devachan, vulgarised by the Western nations into Hell and Heaven, and which you have entirely lost sight of in your Fragments. [ See Appendix B.] Remember, to be immortal in good, one must identify oneself with good (or God); to be immortal in evil, with evil (or Satan). Misconceptions of such terms as “Spirit,” “Soul,” “Individuality,” “Personality” and (especially “Immortality” provoke wordy wars between a great number of idealistic debaters, and to complete your Fragment, I found it necessary to add Avitchi to Devachan as its complement, and apply to it the same laws as to the former. This is done with your permission in the appendix. [The “appendix” referred to appears on p. 137, Theosophist, March 1883. It will be found at the end of this work as Appendix B.]
Having explained the situation sufficiently, I may now answer your query No.1 directly. Yes, certainly, there is a change of occupation, a continual change in Devachan, just as much, and far more, as there is in the life of any man or woman who happens to follow, his or her whole life, one sole occupation whatever it may be - with this difference, that to the Devachanee this special occupation is always pleasant and fills his life with rapture. Change, then, there must be, for that dream life is but the fruition, the harvest time, of those psychic seed-germs dropped from the tree of physical existence in our moments of dreams, hopes and fancy, glimpses of bliss and happiness stifled in an ungrateful social soil, blooming in the rosy dawn of Devachan and ripening under its ever-fructifying sky. No failures there, no disappointments. If man had but one single moment of ideal happiness and experience during his life, as you think, even then, if Devachan exists, it could not be, as you erroneously suppose, the indefinite prolongation of that “single moment,” but the indefinite developments of the various incidents and events based upon, and outflowing from, that one single moment or moments, as the case may be - all, in short, that would suggest itself to the dreamer’s fancy. That one note, as I said, struck from the lyre of life, could form but the keynote of the being’s subjective state, and work out its numberless harmonic tones and semitones of psychic phantasmagoria.
There, all unrealised hopes, aspirations and dreams become fully realised, and the dreams of the objective become the realities of the subjective existence. And there, behind the curtain of Maya, its vaporous and deceptive appearances are perceived by the Adept who has learnt the great secret how to penetrate thus deeply into the Arcana of being. Doubtless my question, whether you had experienced monotony during what you consider the happiest moment of your life, has entirely misled you. This letter is thus the just penance for my laziness to amplify the explanation.
Answer - 2. What cycle is meant? The “minor cycle” meant is of course the completion of the seventh Round, as decided upon and explained. Besides that, at the end of each of the seven Rounds, comes a less full remembrance, only of the Devachanic experiences taking place between the numerous births at the end of each personal life. But the complete recollection of all the lives (earthly and Devachanic - omniscience, in short) comes but at the great end of the full seven Rounds (unless one had become in the interim a Bodhisattva, an Arhat), the threshold of Nirvana meaning an indefinite period. Naturally a man, a seventh Rounder (who completes his earthly migrations at the beginning of the last race and ring), will have to wait longer at that threshold, than one of the very last of those Rounds. That life of the Elect between the minor Pralaya and Nirvana - or rather before the Pralaya - is the great reward, the grandest in fact, since it makes of the ego (though he may never have been an Adept, but simply a virtuous worthy man in most of his existences) virtually a God, an omniscient conscious being, a candidate for eternities of aeons as a Dhyan Chohan. Enough, I am betraying the mysteries of Initiation.
But what has “Nirvana” to do with the recollections of objective existences? That is a state still higher, and in which all things objective are forgotten. It is a state of absolute rest and assimilation with Parabrahm, it is Parabrahm itself.
Oh for the sad ignorance of our philosophic truths in the West, and for the inability of your greatest intellects to seize the true spirit of those teachings! What shall we do, what can we do.?
Question- 3. [The answer to this is not in the MS.] You postulate an intercourse of entities in Devachan which applies only to the mutual relationship of physical existence. Two sympathetic souls will each work out its own Devachanic sensations making the other a sharer in its subjective bliss, but yet each is dissociated from the other as regards actual mutual intercourse. For what companionship could there be between two subjective entities which are not even as material as that ethereal body, the Mayavi-rupa?
Answer - 4 Devachan is a state, not a locality. Rupa Loka, Arupa Loka, and Kama Loka are three spheres of ascending spirituality, in which the several groups of subjective entities find their attractions. In the Kama Loka (semi-physical sphere, dwell the shells, the victims and suicides, and the sphere is divided into innumerable regions and sub-regions, corresponding to the mental states of the comers at their hour of death. This is the glorious Summerland of the Spiritualists, to whose horizons is limited the vision of their best seers - vision imperfect and defective because untrained and non-guided by Alaya (hidden knowledge). Who in the West knows anything of true Sahalokadhatu, the mysterious Chiliocosm, [ Mentioned in Beal’s Catena of Buddhism. pp. 101. 116.] out of the many regions of which but three can be given to the outside world, the Tribhuvana (three worlds), namely Kama, Rupa and Arupa Lokas? Yet see the sad mess produced in Western minds by the mention of even these three. From Kama Loka there is the great Chiliocosm. Once awakened from their post mortem torpor, the newly translated “souls” go ( all but the shells) according to their attractions either to Devachan or Avitchi. And these two states are again differentiated ad infinitum, their ascending degrees of spirituality drawing their names from the Lokas in which they are induced. For instance, the sensations, perceptions and ideation of a Devachanee in Rupa Loka will of course be of a less subjective character, than they would be in Arupa Loka, in both of which the Devachanic experiences will vary in their presentation to the subject entity, not only as regards form, colour and substance, but also in their formative potentialities. But not even the highest Devachanic state in Arupa Loka (the last of seven states) is comparable to that perfectly subjective condition of pure spirituality, from which the monad emerged to descend into matter, and to which at the completion of the grand cycle it must return, nor is Nirvana itself comparable to Pari-Nirvana.
Answer - 5. Reviving consciousness begins after the struggle in Kama Loka at the door of Devachan, and only after the “gestation period”. Please turn to my responses on the subject in your “Famous Contradictions”.
Answer - 6. Your deductions, as to the indefinite prolongation in Devachan of some one moment of earthly bliss, having been unwarranted, your question in the last paragraph of this need not be considered. The stay in Devachan is proportioned to the unfinished psychic impulses originating in earth-life. Those whose attractions were preponderatingly material will sooner be drawn back into rebirth by the force of Tanha. [ The “thirst” or craving for existence.] As one London opponent truly remarks, these subjects (metaphysical) are only partly for understanding. A higher faculty belonging to the higher life must see; and it is truly impossible to force it upon one’s understanding merely in words. One must see with his spiritual eye, hear with his Dharma-kayic ear, feel with the sensations of his Astitya Vijnana (spiritual “I”, before one can comprehend this doctrine fully, otherwise it may but increase one’s discomfort and add to his knowledge very little.
Answer - 7. The “reward” provided by nature for men who are benevolent in a large systematic way, and who have not focussed their affections upon an individual or speciality is that, if pure, they pass the quicker for that through the Kama and Rupa Lokas into the higher sphere of Tribhuvana, since it is one where the formation of the abstract ideas and the consideration of general principles fill the thought of its occupants. Personality is the synonym for limitation; and the more contracted the person’s ideas, the closer will he cling to the lower spheres of being, the longer loiter on the plane of selfish social intercourse. The social status of a being is, of course, a result of Karma, the law being that like attracts like. The renascent being is drawn into the gestative current with which preponderating attractions coming over from the last birth make him assimilate. Thus one who died a great ryot [ A cultivator.] may be reborn a king; so a dead sovereign may see the light in a coolie’s hut. This law of attraction asserts itself in a thousand “accidents of birth,” than which there could not be a greater misnomer. When you realise at last the following, that the Skandhas [ The components of a being, according to Buddhism.] are the elements of limited existence, then you will have realised also one of the conditions of Devachan which has such a profoundly unsatisfactory outlook for you. Nor are your inferences ( as regards the well-being and enjoyment of the upper classes being due to a better Karma) quite correct in their general application. They have had a ring about them which is hardly reconcilable with Karmic law, since those “well-being and enjoyments” are oftener the causes of a new and overloaded Karma, than the production or effects of the latter, even, as a broad rule, poverty and humble condition in life are less a cause of sorrow than wealth or high birth. But of that later on. My answers are once more assuming rather the shape of a volume than the decent aspect of a letter.
Question- 1. The remarks appended to a letter in the last “Theosophist.” [ June 1882.] page 226, col 1, strike me as very important and as qualifying ( I do not say contradicting) a good deal of what we have hitherto been told in re Spiritualism. We have heard of a spiritual condition of life in which the redeveloped ego enjoyed a conscious existence for a time before reincarnation in another world, but that branch of the subject has hitherto been slurred over. Now some explicit statements are made about it and these suggest further enquiries. In the Devachan the new ego retains complete recollection of his life on earth, apparently. Is that so, or is there any misunderstanding on that point on my part?
Answer - The Devachan, or land of “Sukhavati” is allegorically described by our Lord Buddha himself. What he said may be found in the Shan-mun-yihtung. Says Tathagata: “Many thousand myriads of systems of worlds beyond this [ours] there is a region of bliss called Sukhavati. This region is encircled within seven rows of railings, seven rows of vast curtains, seven rows of waving trees; this holy abode of Arhats is governed by the Tathagatas [Dhyan Chohans] and is possessed by the Bodhisattvas. It hath seven precious lakes in the midst of which flow crystalline waters having seven and one properties or distinctive qualities [ the seven principles emanating from the One]. This, O Sariputra, is the Devachan. The divine Udambara flower casts a root in the shadow of every earth, and blossoms for all those who reach it. Those born in the blessed region are truly felicitous, there are no more griefs or sorrows in that cycle for them. Myriads of spirits resort there for rest and then return to their own regions [ those who have not ended their earth rings.] Again, O Sariputra, in that land of joy many who are born in it are Avaivartyas,” etc. [ literally, those who will never return, the seventh Round men, etc.] [ For the full discourse in the Chinese version, see Beal’s Catena of Buddhist Scriptures. pp.378.382 ]
Question- 2. Now except in the fact that the duration of existence in the Devachan is limited, there is a very close resemblance between the condition and the Heaven of ordinary religion (omitting anthropomorphic ideas of God).
Answer - Certainly the new ego, once that it is reborn, retains for a certain time, proportionate to its earth life, a “complete recollection of his life on earth” (see your preceding query). But it can never return on earth from the Devachan, nor has the latter, even omitting all “anthropomorphic ideas of God,” any resemblance to Paradise, or Heaven of any religion, and it is H.P.B’s literary fancy that suggested to her the wonderful comparison.
Question- 3. Now the question of importance is, who goes to Heaven, or Devachan? Is this condition only attained by the few who are very good, or by the many who are not very bad, after the lapse in their case of a longer unconsciousness, incubation, or gestation?
Answer - “Who goes to Devachan?” The personal ego, of course, but beatified, purified, holy. Every ego - the combination of the sixth and seventh principles which after the period of unconscious gestation is reborn into the Devachan - is of necessity as innocent and pure as a new born babe. The fact of his being reborn at all shows the preponderance of good over evil in his old personality. And while the Karma (of evil) steps aside for the time being to follow him in his future earth-reincarnation, he brings along with him but the Karma of his good deeds, words and thoughts into this Devachan. “Bad” is a relative term for us - as you were told more than once before - and the law of Retribution is the only law that never errs. Hence all those who have not slipped down into the mire of unredeemable sin and bestiality go to the Devachan. They will have to pay for their sins, voluntary and involuntary, later on. Meanwhile they are rewarded; they receive the effects of the causes produced by them.
Of course it is a state, one, so to say of intense selfishness, during which an ego reaps the reward of his unselfishness on earth. He is completely engrossed in the bliss of all his personal earthly affections, preferences and thoughts, and gathers in the fruit of his meritorious actions. No pain, no grief, nor even the shadow of a sorrow comes to darken the bright horizon of his unalloyed happiness, for it is a state of perpetual “Maya”. Since the conscious perception of one’s personality on earth is but an evanescent dream, that sense will be equally that of a dream in the Devachan, only a hundredfold intensified. So much so indeed, that the happy ego is unable to see through the veil of evils, sorrows and woes to which those it loves on earth may be subjected. It lives in that sweet dream with its loved ones, whether gone before or yet remaining on earth; it has them near itself, as happy, as blissful and as innocent as the disembodied dreamer himself; and yet, apart from rare visions, the denizens of our gross planet feel it not. It is in this, during such a condition of complete Maya, that the souls or astral egos of pure, loving sensitives, labouring under the same illusion, think their loved ones come down to them on earth, while it is their own spirits that are raised towards those in the Devachan. Many of the subjective spiritual communications - most of them when the sensitives are pure indeed - are real; but it is most difficult for the uninitiated medium to fix in his mind the true and correct picture of what he sees and hears. Some of the phenomena called psychography (though more rarely) are also real. The spirit of the sensitive getting odylised, so to say, by the aura of the spirit in Devachan, becomes for a few minutes that departed personality, and writes in the handwriting of the latter, in his language and in his thoughts as they were during his life time. The two spirits become blended in one; and the preponderance of one over the other during such phenomena determines the preponderance of personality in the characteristics exhibited in such writings and trance speaking. What you call the “rapport” is in plain fact an identity of molecular vibration between the astral part of the incarnate medium and the astral part of the disincarnate personality.
I have just noticed an article on Smell by some English professor (which I will cause to be reviewed in Theosophist [ Referring to an article of Professor William Ramsay in Nature, June 22, 1882; a review appears in Theosophist, August, 1882, under the title, “The Harmonies of Smell”. See Appendix C.] and say a few words) and find in it something that applies to our case. As in music two different sounds may be in accord and separately distinguishable - this harmony or discord depending upon the synchronous vibrations and complementary periods - so there is rapport between medium and control when their astral molecules move in accord. And the question whether the communication shall reflect more of the one personal idiosyncrasy or the other is determined by the relative intensity of the two sets of vibrations in the compound wave in the Akasa. The less identical the vibratory impulses the more mediumistic and less spiritual will be the message. So then, measure your medium’s moral state by that of the alleged controlling intelligence, and your tests of genuineness leave nothing to be desired.
Question- 4. Are there great varieties of condition within the limits so to speak of Devachan, so that an appropriate state is dreamed into by all, from which they will be born into lower or higher conditions in the next world of causes? It is of no use to multiply hypotheses: we want some information to go upon.
Answer - Yes, there are great varieties in the Devachan states, and it is all as you say - as many varieties of bliss as on earth there are shades of perception and capability to appreciate such reward. It is an ideated paradise of the ego’s own making, and by him filled with the scenery, crowded with the incidents and thronged with the people he would expect to find in such a state of compensative bliss. And it is that variety which guides the temporary personal ego into the current which will lead him to be reborn in a higher or lower condition in the next world of causes. Everything is so harmoniously adjusted in nature, especially in the subjective world, that no mistake can ever be committed by the Tathagatas, or Dhyan Chohans who guide the impulses.
Question- 5. On the face of the idea, a purely spiritual state would only be enjoyable to the entities highly spiritualised in this life. But where are the myriads of very good people (morally) who are not spiritualised at all? How can they be fitted to pass, with their recollections of this life, from a material to a spiritual condition of existence?
Answer - It is a “spiritual condition” only as contrasted with our own grossly material condition, and, as already stated, it is such degrees of spirituality that constitute and determine the great varieties of conditions within the limits of Devachan. A mother from a savage tribe is not less happy than a mother from a regal palace, with her lost child in her arms; and, although as actual egos, children prematurely dying before the perfection of their septenary entity do not find their way to Devachan, yet all the same the mother’s loving fancy finds her children there, without one missing that her heart yearns for. Say it is but a dream; but after all what is objective life itself but a panorama of vivid unrealities? The pleasure realized by a red Indian in his happy hunting grounds in that land of dreams is not less intense than the ecstasy felt by a connoisseur who passes aeons in the rapt delight of listening to divine symphonies by imaginary angelic choirs. As it is no fault of the former if born a savage with an instinct to kill, though it caused the death of many an innocent animal, why - if with it all he was a loving father, son, husband, - why should not he also enjoy his share of reward? The case would be quite different if the same cruel acts had been done by an educated and civilised person from a mere love of sport. The savage in being reborn would simply take a low place in the scale by reason of his imperfect moral development, while the Karma of the other would be tainted with moral delinquency. Everyone but that ego which, attracted by its gross magnetism, falls into the current that will draw it into “the Planet of Death” - the mental as well as the physical satellite of our earth - is fitted to pass into a relative spiritual condition adjusted by his previous condition in life and mode of thought.
To my knowledge and recollection, H.P.B. explained to Mr. Hume that man’s sixth principle, as something purely spiritual, could not exist or have conscious being in the Devachan, unless it assimilated some of the more abstract and pure of the mental attributes of the fifth principle or the animal soul - its Manas (mind) and memory. When man dies, his second and third principles die with him; the lower triad disappears, and the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh principles form the surviving Quaternary (read again p. 6, in Fragments of O. T.) [ Fragments of Occult Truth. Eight articles with this title appeared in Theosophist, from October, 1881, to May, 1883. The articles are unsigned, but references in these letters, and in letters of Mr. Sinnett, show that they were practically the joint production, in the beginning at least, of Mr. Sinnett and Mr. Hume. No.1 however seems to have been Mr. Hume’s. Seven “Fragments “ appeared as two pamphlets, the first bearing the imprint “Issued by the Parent Theosophical Society,” and the second, “Printed by the Parent Theosophical Society”.] Thenceforth it is a “death” struggle between the upper and lower dualities. If the upper wins, the sixth, having attracted to itself the quintessence of good from the fifth - its nobler affections, its saintly (though they be earthly) aspirations and the most spiritualised portions of its mind - follows its divine Elder of the seventh into the “gestation state”; and the fifth and fourth remain in association as an empty shell (the expression is quite correct) to roam in the earth’s atmosphere with half the personal memory gone, and the more brutal instincts fully alive for a certain period - an “Elementary” in short. This is the “Angel guide” of the average medium. If, on the other hand, it is the upper duality which is defeated, then, it is the fifth principle that assimilates all that there may be left of personal recollection and perception of its personal individuality in the sixth. But with all this additional stock it will not remain in Kama Loka, the world of desire, or our earth’s atmosphere; in a very short time, like a straw floating within the attraction of the vortices and pits of the maelstrom, it is caught up and drawn into the great whirlpool of human egos, while the sixth and seventh, now a purely spiritual individual monad, with nothing left in it of the late personality, having no regular “gestation” period to pass through (since there is no purified personal ego to be reborn), after a more or less prolonged period of unconscious rest in the boundless space will find itself reborn in another personality on the next planet. When arrives the period of full individual consciousness which preceded that of absolute consciousness in Pari-Nirvana, this lost personal life becomes as a torn-out page in the great Book of Lives, without even a disconnected word left to mark its absence. The purified monad will neither perceive nor remember it in the series of its past rebirths, which it would had it gone to the “world of forms” (Rupa Loka), and its retrospective glance will not perceive even the slightest sign to indicate that it has been. The light of Samma-Sambuddha,
That light which shines beyond our mortal ken,
The light of all the lives in all the worlds.
throws no ray upon that personal life in the series of lives forgone. To the credit of mankind I must say that such an utter obliteration of an existence from the tablets of universal Being does not occur often enough to make a great percentage. In fact, like the much mentioned congenital idiot, such a thing is lusus naturae - an exception, not the rule.
Question- 6. And now is a spiritual existence, in which everything is merged into the sixth principle, compatible with that consciousness of individual and personal material life which must be attributed to the ego in Devachan, if he retains his earthly consciousness, as stated in “Theosophist” note?
Answer - The question is now sufficiently explained, I believe. The sixth and seventh principles apart from the rest, constitute the eternal, imperishable, but also unconscious “monad.” To awaken it to life, the latent consciousness, especially that of personal individuality, requires the monad plus the highest attributes of the fifth (the animal soul), and it is that which makes the eternal ego, that lives and enjoys bliss in Devachan. Spirit, or the unalloyed emanation of the One - the latter forming with the seventh and sixth principles the highest triad - neither of the two emanations are capable of assimilating, but that which is good, pure and holy; hence no sensual material or unholy recollection can follow the purified memory of the ego to the region of bliss. The Karma for these recollections of evil deeds and thoughts will reach the ego when it changes personality in the following world of causes. The monad, or the “spiritual individuality,” remains untainted in all cases. No sorrow or pain for those born there (in the Rupa Loka of Devachan) for this is the pure land. All the regions in space posses such lands (Sakwala), but this land of bliss is the most pure. “By personal purity and earnest meditation we overleap the limits of the world of desire, and enter into the world of forms.” (Djnana-prasthana Shastra.)
Question- 7. The period of gestation between death and Devachan has hitherto been conceived, by me at all events, as very long. Now it is said to be in some cases only a few days, in no case (it is implied) more than a few years. This seems plainly stated, but I ask if it can be explicitly confirmed, because it is a point on which so much turns.
Answer - Another fine sample of the habitual disorder in which Mrs. H.P.B’s mental furniture is kept. She talks of “Bardo,” [ In article referred to in Question-1.] and does not even say to her readers what it means; as in her writing room confusion is ten times confounded, so in her mind are crowded ideas piled in such a chaos that when she wants to express them the tail peeps out before the head. “Bardo” has nothing to do with the duration of time in the case you are referring to. “Bardo” is the period between death and rebirth, and may last from a few years to a kalpa. It is divided into three sub-periods: -I- . When the ego, delivered of its mortal coil, enters into Kama Loka (Tibetan tuli-kai), the abode of the elementaries. -II-. When it enters into its “gestation state”. -III-. When it is reborn in the Rupa Loka of Devachan, Sub-period -I-. may last from a few minutes to a number of years (the phrase a “few years” becoming puzzling and utterly worthless without a more complete explanation); sub-period -II-, is very long, as you say, longer sometimes than you may even imagine, yet proportionate to the ego’s spiritual stamina; sub-period -III-, lasts in proportion to the good Karma, after which the monad is again reincarnated. The Agama Sutra saying, “In all these Rupa-Lokas the devas [spirits] are equally subjected to birth decay, old age and death” means only that an ego is borne thither, then begins fading out and finally dies,” i.e., falls into that unconscious condition which precedes rebirth; and ends the sloka with these words, “As the devas emerge from these heavens, they enter the lower world again,” i.e., they leave a world of bliss to be reborn in the world of causes.
Question- 8. In that case, and assuming that Devachan is not solely the heritage of Adepts and persons almost as elevated, there is a condition of existence tantamount to Heaven actually going on, from which the life of earth may be watched by an immense number of those who have gone before.
Answer - Most emphatically the Devachan is not solely the heritage of the Adepts, and most decidedly there is a “heaven,” if you must use this astro-geographical Christian term, for “an immense number of those who have gone before.” But “the life of earth” can be watched by none of these, for reasons of the law of Bliss and Maya already given.
Question- 9. And for how long? Does this state of spiritual beatitude endure for years, for decades, for centuries?
Answer - For years, decades, centuries and millenniums, oftentimes X by something more. It all depends upon the duration of Karma. Fill with oil Denny’s [ Denny Sinnett, Mr. Sinnett’s little boy.] cup and a city reservoir of water, and lighting both, see which burns the longer. The ego is the wick and Karma the oil, the difference in the quantity of the latter (in the cup and in the reservoir) suggesting to you the great difference in the duration of various Karmas. Every effect must be proportionate to the cause. And as man’s term of incarnate existence bears but a small proportion to his periods of internatal existence in the Manvantaric cycle, so the good thoughts, words and deeds of any of these “lives” on a globe are causation of effects, the working out of which requires far more time than the evolution of the causes occupied. Therefore, when you read in the Jatakas and other “fabulous” stories of the Buddhist Scriptures that this or the other good action was rewarded by Kalpas of several figures of bliss, do not smile at the absurd exaggeration, but bear in mind what I have said. From a small seed sprung a tree whose life endures for twenty-two centuries - the Anuradhapura Bo-tree.[ This tree, now in Ceylon, was a cutting from the original tree under which Lord Buddha attained to Buddahood. It was brought by Sanghamitta, the daughter of the Buddhist Emperor Asoka, and planted at Anuradhapura in the third century B.C. It is still flourishing.]
Nor must you laugh if ever you come across Pindadana or any other Buddhist Sutra and read: “Between the Kama Loka and the Rupa Loka there is a locality, the dwelling of Mara [death]. This Mara, filled with passion and lust, destroys all virtuous principles as a stone grinds corn. [This Mara, as you may well think, is the allegorical image of the sphere called ‘the Planet of Death’ - the whirlpool whither disappear the lives doomed to destruction. It is between Kama and Rupa Lokas that the struggle takes place] His palace is 7,000 yojanas square and is surrounded by a seven fold wall.” For you will feel now more prepared to understand the allegory. Also, when Beal, or Burnouf, or Rhys Davids in the innocence of their Christian and materialistic souls indulge in such translations as they generally do, we do not bear them malice for their commentaries, since they cannot know any better. But what can the following mean: “the names of the heavens [ a mistranslation - Lokas are not heavens but localities or abodes] of desire, Kama Loka, so called because the beings who occupy them are subject to desires of eating, drinking, sleeping and love. They are otherwise called the abodes of the five (?) orders of sentient creatures - Devas, men, asuras, beasts, demons.” (Lautan Sutra, translated by S. Beal.) They mean simply that, had the reverend translator been acquainted with the true doctrine a little better, he would have first divided the Devas into two classes - and called them the “Rupa Devas” and the “Arupa Devas” (the “form” or objective, and the “formless” or subjective Dhyan Chohans); and second, would have done the same for his class of “men,” since there are shells and “Mara rupas,” i.e.., bodies doomed to annihilation. All these are: (1) Rupa-devas - Dhyan Chohans having forms (Ex-men). [The Planetary Spirits of our Earth are not of the highest as you may well imagine, since, as Subba Row says in his criticism upon Oxley’s work, no Eastern Adept would like to be compared with an angel or Deva - see May Theosophist. [ “Philosophy of Spirit, with a new version of the Bhagavad-Gita by William Oxley,” was reviewed in Theosophist, December 1881. In May 1882, T. Subba Row writes on the same work, “Examined from the Esoteric and Brahmanical Stand-Point”.] (2) Arupa-devas - Dhyan Chohans having no forms (ex-men). (3) Pisachas (two-principled) ghosts or shells. (4) Mararupas (three-principled) bodies doomed to annihilation. (5) Asuras - elementals having no human form. (6) Beasts - second class animal elementals (these two classes, (5) and (6), are future men). (7) Rakshasas (demons) - souls or astral forms of sorcerers, men who have reached the apex of knowledge in the forbidden art; dead or alive, they have, so to say, cheated nature, but it is only temporary, until our planet goes into obscuration, after which they will have nolens volens to be annihilated. [ In Abidharma Shastra (Metaphysics) we read “Buddha taught that on the outskirts of all Sakwalas, there is a black interval, without sun or moonlight for him who falls into it. There is no rebirth from it. It is the cold Hell, the great Naraka”. This is Avitchi. ] It is these seven groups that form the principal divisions of the dwellers of the subjective worlds around us. It is in stock No.-I- that are the intelligent Rulers of this world of matter, and who, with all their intelligence, are but the blindly obedient instruments of the ONE, the active agents of a Passive Principle.
And thus are misinterpreted and mistranslated nearly all our Sutras; yet even under that confused jumble of doctrines and words, for one who knows even superficially the true doctrine, there is firm ground to stand upon. Thus, for instance, in enumerating the seven Lokas of Kama Loka, the Avatamsaka Sutra gives as the seventh “the Territory of Doubt”. I will ask you to remember the name, as we shall have to speak of it hereafter. Every such world, within the sphere of effects has a Tathagata or Dhyan Chohan to protect and watch over, not to interfere with, it. Of course, of all men, Spiritualists will be the first to reject and throw off our doctrines to the “limbo of exploded superstitions”. Were we to assure them that every one of their “Summerlands” had seven boarding houses in it, with the same number of “Spirit Guides” to “boss” in them, and call these “angels” St. Peters, St. Johns and St. Ernests, they would welcome us with open arms. But whoever heard of Tathagatas and Dhyan Chohans, Asuras, and elementals? Preposterous! Still we are happily allowed by our friends (Mr. Eglington at least) to be possessed “of a certain knowledge of occult sciences” (vide Light), and thus, even this mite of “knowledge” is at your service, and is now helping me to answer your following question:
Question- 10. Is there any intermediate condition between the spiritual beatitude of Devachan, and the forlorn shadow life of the only half-conscious elementary reliquiae of human beings who had lost their sixth principle? Because if so, that might give a locus standi in imagination to the Ernests and Joeys of the spiritual mediums, the better sort of controlling spirits. If so, surely that must be a very popular world from which any amount of spiritual communications might come.
Answer - Alas, no my friend; not that I know of. From Sukhavati down to the “territory of doubt,” there is a variety of spiritual states; but I am not aware of any such “intermediate condition”. I have told you of the Sakwalas (though I cannot be enumerating them since it would be useless); and even of Avitchi, the “Hell” from which there is no return, and I have no more to tell about it. “The forlorn shadow” has to do the best it can. As soon as it has stepped outside the Kama Loka and crossed the “Golden Bridge” leading to the “Seven Golden Mountains,” the ego can confabulate no more with the easygoing mediums. No Ernest or Joey has ever returned from the Rupa Loka, let alone the Arupa Loka, to hold sweet intercourse with mortals.
Of course, there is a better sort of reliquiae, and the “shells,” or the “earth walkers” as they are here called, are not necessarily all bad. But even those who are good are made bad for the time being by mediums. The shells may well not care, since they have nothing to lose anyhow. But there is another kind of “spirits” we have lost sight of: the suicides and those killed by accident. Both kinds can communicate and both have to pay dearly for such visits. And now I have to explain what I mean. Well, this class is the one that the French Spiritualists call les esprits souffrants. They are an exception to the rule, as they have to remain within the earth’s attraction and in its atmosphere, Kama Loka, till the very last moment of what would have been the natural duration of their lives. In other words, that particular wave of life-evolution must run on to its shore. But it is a sin and cruelty to revive their memory and intensify their suffering by giving them a chance of living an artificial life - a chance to overload their Karma, by tempting them into opened doors, viz., mediums and sensitives, for they will have to pay roundly for every such pleasure. I will explain the suicides, who, foolishly hoping to escape life, find themselves still alive, have suffering enough in store for them from that very life. Their punishment is in the intensity of the latter. Having lost by the rash act of their seventh and sixth principles, though not for ever, as they can regain both, instead of accepting their punishment and taking their chances of redemption, they are often made to regret life and tempted to regain a hold upon it by sinful means. In the Kama Loka, the land of intense desires, they can gratify their earthly yearnings but through a living proxy, and by so doing, at the expiration of the natural term, they generally lose their monad forever. As to the victims of accident, these fare still worse. Unless they were so good and pure as to be drawn immediately within the akashic samadhi, - i.e., to fall into a state of quiet slumber, a sleep full of rosy dreams during which they have no recollection of the accident, but move and live among their familiar friends and scenes, until their natural life-term is finished, when they find themselves born in the Devachan - a gloomy fate is theirs. Unhappy shades, if sinful and sensual, they wander about (not shells, for their connection with their two higher principles is not quite broken) until their death hour comes. Cut off in the full flush of earthly passions which bind them to familiar scenes, they are enticed by the opportunities which mediums afford, to gratify them vicariously. They are the Pisachas, the Incubi and Succubi of mediaeval times; the demons of thirst, gluttony, lust and avarice; Elementaries of intensified craft, wickedness, and cruelty; provoking their victims to horrid crimes and revelling in their commission. They not only ruin their victims, but these psychic vampires, borne along by the torrent of their hellish impulses, at last, at the fixed close of their natural period of life, are carried out of the earth’s aura into regions where for ages they endure exquisite suffering and end with entire destruction.
But if the victim of accident and violence be neither very good nor very bad - an average person - then this may happen to him: a medium who attracts him will create for him the most undesirable of things - a new combination of skandhas and a new and evil Karma.
But let me give you a clearer idea of what I mean by Karma in this case. In connection with this, let me tell you before, that since you seem so interested with the subject, you can do nothing better than to study the two doctrines of Karma and Nirvana as profoundly as you can. Unless you are thoroughly well acquainted with the two tenets - the double key to the metaphysics of Abhidharma - you will always find yourself at sea in trying to comprehend the rest. We have several sorts of Karma and Nirvana in their various applications to the universe, the world, Devas, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, men and animals - the second including its seven kingdoms. Karma and Nirvana are but two of the seven great mysteries of Buddhist metaphysics, and but four of the seven are known at all to Western Orientalists, and even those but imperfectly. If you ask a learned Buddhist priest, what is Karma, he will tell you that Karma is what a Christian might call Providence (in a certain sense only) and a Mahommedan Kismet, fate or destiny (again in one sense). That is that cardinal tenet that teaches that, as soon as any conscious or sentient being, whether man, Deva or animal, dies, a new being is produced, and he or it reappears in another birth on the same or another planet, under conditions of his or its own antecedent making. Or, in other words, that Karma is the guiding power, and Trishna (in Pali Tanha), the thirst or desire to sentiently live, the proximate force or energy; the resultant of human (or animal) action - which out of the old Skandhas [ I remark that in the second as well as in the first edition of your Occult World the same misprint appears, in that the word Skandha is spelt Shandba; [This wrong spelling “Shandba” of the word Skandha is still persisted in, even in the last reprint of 1921. For forty-one years the misprint continues, in spite of the Master's correction! The on-line version is fine ] on page 130 as it now stands I am made to express myself in a very original way for a supposed Adept ] produces the new group that form the new being and control the nature of the birth itself. Or, to make it still clearer, the new being is rewarded and punished for the meritorious acts and misdeeds of the old one, Karma representing an entry book, in which all the acts of man good, bad or indifferent are carefully recorded to his debit and credit, by himself, so to say, or rather by these very actions of his. There, where Christian poetical fiction created and sees a “recording” guardian angel, stern and realistic Buddhist logic, perceiving the necessity that every cause should have its effect, shows its real presence. The opponents of Buddhism have laid great stress upon the alleged injustice that the doer should escape, and an innocent victim be made to suffer, since the doer and the sufferer are different beings. The fact is, that while in one sense they may be so considered, yet in another they are identical. The “old being” is the sole parent, the father and mother at once, of the “new being.” It is the former who is the creator and fashioner of the latter in reality; and far more so in plain truth, than any father in flesh. And once that you have well mastered the meaning of the Skandhas you will see what I mean. It is the group of Skandhas that form and constitute the physical and mental individuality we call man (or any being). This group consists (in the exoteric teaching) of five Skandhas, namely Rupa, the material properties or attributes; Vedana, sensations; Sanna, abstract ideas; Sankhara, tendencies both physical and mental; and Vinnana, mental powers, an amplification of the fourth, meaning mental, physical and moral predispositions. We add to them two more, the nature and names of which you may learn hereafter. Suffice it for the present to let you know that they are connected with, and productive of, Sakkaya ditthi, “the heresy or delusion of individuality,” and of Attavada, “ the doctrine of self,” both of which, in the case of the fifth principle, the soul, lead to the Maya of heresy and belief in the efficacy of vain rites and ceremonies, in prayers and intercessions. [ Of the ten “Fetters” on the Path to liberation, the first three are: (1) Sakkayaditthi, the delusion of self, (2) Vichikicheha, doubt, (3) Silabbataparamsa, belief in the efficacy of rites and cermonies.]
Now, returning to the question of identity between the old and the new “ego,” I may remind you once more than even your science has accepted the old, very old, fact distinctly taught by our Lord, [ see the Abhidharma Kosha Vyakhya, the Sutta Pitaka or any Northern Buddhist book, all of which show Gautama Buddha saying that even if these Skandhas are the soul, since the body is constantly changing, and that neither man, animal nor plant is ever the same for two consecutive days or even minutes, “Mendicants! Remember that there is within man no abiding principle whatever, and that only the learned disciple who acquires wisdom in saying ‘ I am’ knows what he is saying”] viz., that a man of any given age, while sentiently the same, is yet physically not the same as he was a few years earlier (we say seven years and are prepared to maintain and prove it); Buddhistically speaking, his Skandhas have changed; at the same time they are ever and ceaselessly at work in preparing the abstract mould, the “privation” of the future new being. Well, then, if it is just that a man of forty should enjoy or suffer for the actions of the man of twenty, so it is equally just that the being of the new birth - who is essentially identical with the previous being, since he is its outcome and creation - should feel the consequences of that begetting self or personality. Your Western law which punishes the innocent son of a guilty father by depriving him of his parent, rights and property; your civilised society which brands with infamy the guiltless daughter of an immoral criminal mother; your Christian Church and Scriptures which teach that the Lord God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation; are not all these far more unjust and cruel than anything done by Karma? Instead of punishing the innocent together with the culprit, the Karma avenges and rewards the former, which neither of your three Western Potentates above mentioned ever thought of doing. But perhaps to our physiological remark the objectors may reply that it is only the body that changes, there is only a molecular transformation which has nothing to do with the mental evolution; and that the Skandhas represent not only a material but also a set of mental and moral qualities. But is there, I ask, either a sensation, an abstract idea, a tendency of mind, or a mental power that one could call an absolutely non-molecular phenomenon? Can even a sensation or the most abstract of thoughts, which is something, come out of nothing, or be nothing?
Now the causes producing the “new being” and determining the nature of Karma are, as already said, Trishna (or Tanha) - thirst, desire for sentient existence, and Upadana, which is the realisation or consummation of Trishna or that desire. And both of these the medium helps to awaken and develop ne plus ultra in an elementary, be he a suicide or a victim (alone the shells and the elementals are left unhurt, though the morality of the sensitives can, by no means, be improved by the intercourse). The rule is that a person who dies a natural death will remain from “a few hours to several short years” within the earth’s attraction, i.e., the Kama Loka. But exceptions are the cases of suicides and those who die a violent death in general. Hence one of such egos, for instance, who was destined to live, say eighty or ninety years, but who either killed himself or was killed by some accident, let us suppose at the age of twenty, would have to pass in the Kama Loka not “a few years” but in his case sixty or seventy years as an elementary, or rather as an “earth walker,” since he is not, unfortunately for him, even a shell. Happy, thrice happy, in comparison, are those disembodied entities, who sleep their long slumber, and live in dream, in the bosom of space! And woe to those whose Trishna will attract them to mediums, and woe to the latter, who tempt them with such an easy Upadana. For in grasping them and satisfying their thirst for life, the medium helps to develop in them - is in fact the cause of - a new set of Skandhas, a new body with far worse tendencies and passions than was the one they lost. All the future of this new body will be determined thus, not only by the Karma of demerit of the previous set or group, but also by that of a new set of the future being. Were the mediums and Spiritualists but to know, as I said, that with every new “angel guide” they welcome with rapture, they entice the latter into an Upadana which will be productive of a series of untold evils for the new ego that will be reborn under its nefarious shadow, and that with every seance, especially for materialisation, they multiply the causes for misery - causes that will make the unfortunate ego fail in his spiritual birth or to be reborn into a worse existence than ever - they would, perhaps, be less lavish in their hospitality.
And now you may understand why we oppose so strongly Spiritualism and mediumship. And you will also see why, to satisfy Mr. Hume at least in one direction, I got myself into a scrape with the Chohan,[ See below] and - mirabile dictu - with both the Sahibs, “the young man of the name of “[ Alluding to the “young man of the name of Guppy,” well-known to readers of Dickens ‘Bleak House’.] - Scott and Banon. [ Ross Scott, of the Bengal Civil Service, who married Mr. Hume’s daughter, and Captain A Banon of the 39th Bengal Native Infantry.] To amuse you I will ask H.P.B. to send you with this a page of the “Banon papyrus,” an article of his that he winds up with a severe literary thrashing of my humble self. Shadows of the Asuras, in what a passion she flew upon reading this rather disrespectful criticism! I am sorry she does not print it, upon considerations of “family honour,” as the “Disinherited” [ Damodar K. Mavlankar was thus nicknamed, as he renounced all his patrimony to attach himself to H.P.B and follow the call of the Masters.] expressed it. As to the Chohan, the matter is more serious; and he was far from satisfied that I should have allowed Eglington to believe it was myself. He had permitted this proof of the power in living man to be given to the Spiritualists through a medium of theirs, [ This incident is narrated in The Occult World, “Conclusion,”] but had left the programme and its details to ourselves: hence his displeasure at some trifling consequences.
I tell you, my dear friend, that I am far less free to do as I like than you are in the matter of the Pioneer. [ Mr. Sinnett was the editor of the Pioneer.] None of us but the highest Chutuktus are their full masters. But I digress. And now that you have been told much and have had explained a good deal, you may as well read this letter to our irrepressible friend, Mrs. Gordon. [ Mrs Alice Gordon, wife of Colonel Gordon, who testifies in The Occult World to the phenomena of H.P.B.] The reasons given may throw some cold water on her spiritualistic zeal, though I have my reasons to doubt it; anyhow it may show her that it is not against true Spiritualism that we set ourselves, but only against indiscriminate mediumship and physical manifestations, materialisations and trance possessions especially. Could the Spiritualists be only made to understand the differences between individual and personal immortality and some other truths, they would be more easily persuaded that Occultists may be fully convinced of the monad’s immortality, and yet deny that of the soul - the vehicle of the personal ego; that they can firmly believe in and themselves practise spiritual communication and intercourse with disembodied egos of the Rupa Loka, and yet laugh at the insane idea of “shaking hands” with a spirit; and that finally, as the matter stands, it is the Occultists and Theosophists who are Spiritualists, while the modern sect of that name is composed simply of materialistic phenomenalists.
And now that we are discussing “individuality” and “personality,” it is curious that H.P.B., when subjecting poor Mr. Hume’s brain to torture with her muddled explanations, never thought, until receiving the explanation from himself, of the difference that exists between individuality and personality, that it was the very same doctrine she had been taught - that of Pachcheka-yana, and Amita-yana. The two terms as above given by him are the correct and literal translation of the Pali, Sanskrit, and even of the Chino-Tibetan technical names for the many personal entities blended in one individuality - the long string of lives emanating from the same immortal monad. You will have to remember then (1) the pachcheka yana (in Sanskrit pratyeka) means literally the “personal vehicle” or personal ego - a combination of the five lower principles; while (2) the amita yana (in Sanskrit amrita) is translated “the immortal vehicle” or individuality - the spiritual soul, or the immortal monad, a combination of the fifth, sixth and seventh principles.
[From A.P. Sinnett to H.P. Blavatsky
Simla, July 25 -1882]
My Dear Old Lady,
I began to try to answer N.D.K’s [ N.D. Khandalawala, still a member of the T.S., and Member of the General Council. This letter appears in Theosophist, Nov. 1882, evidently many months after Mr. Sinnett had read it.] letter at once, so that if K.H. really meant the note to appear in this immediately next appearing Theosophist for August it might just be in time. But I soon got into a tangle. Of course we have received no information that distinctly covers the question now raised, though I suppose we ought to be able to combine bits into an answer. The difficulty turns on giving the real explanation of Eliphas Levi’s enigma in your note in the October Theosophist. 8 [Article, “Death”. See Appendix A.]
If he refers to the fate of this, at present existing, race of mankind, his statement that the intermediate majority of egos are ejected from nature or annihilated, would be in direct conflict with K.H.’s teaching. They do not die without remembrance, if they retain remembrance in Devachan and again recover remembrance (even of past personalities as of a book’s pages) at the period of full individual consciousness preceding that of absolute consciousness in Pari-Nirvana.
But it occurred to me that E.L. may have been dealing with humanity as a whole, not merely with the fourth Round men. Great numbers of fifth Round personalities are destined to perish, I understand, and these might be his intermediate useless portion of mankind. But then the individual spiritual monads, as I understand the matter, do not perish whatever happens, and if a monad reaches the fifth Round with all his previous personalities preserved in the pages of his book awaiting future perusal, he would not be ejected and annihilated because some of his fifth Round pages were “unfit for publication”; so again there is a difficulty in reconciling the two statements. But again is it conceivable that a spiritual monad, though surviving the rejection of the third and fourth Round pages -cannot survive the rejection of fifth and sixth Round pages - that failure to lead good lives in these Rounds means the annihilation of the whole individual, who will never then get to the seventh Round at all? But on the other hand if that were so, the Eliphas Levi’s case would not be met by such hypothesis, for long before then the individuals who had become co-workers with Nature for evil would have been themselves annihilated by the obscuration of the planet between the fifth and sixth Rounds, if not by the obscuration between the fourth and fifth, for to every Round there is an obscuration we are told. There is another difficulty here, because some fifth Rounders being here already, it is not clear when the obscuration comes on. Will it be behind the avant couriers of the fifth Round, who will not count as commencing the fifth, that epoch only beginning after the existing race has totally decayed out - but this would not work.
A. P. S.
[From A.O. Hume to the Master K.H.]
My Dear Master,
In speaking of Fragments No. III, of which you will receive proof soon, I said it was far from satisfactory though I had done my best. It was necessary to advance the doctrine of the Society another stage, so as gradually to open the eyes of the Spiritualists, so I introduced as the most pressing matter the suicide, etc., view given in your last letter to S. Well, it is this that seems to me most unsatisfactory, and it will lead to a number of questions that I shall feel puzzled to reply to. Our first doctrine is that the majority of objective phenomena were due to shells, 1½- and 2½- principled shells, i.e., principles entirely separated from their sixth and seventh principles. But as a further development, we admit that there are some spirits, i.e., fifth and fourth principles not wholly dissevered from their sixth and seventh, which also may be potent in the seance room. These are the spirits of suicides and victims of accident or violence. Here the doctrine is that each particular wave of life must run on to its appointed shore, and with the exception of the very good, that all spirits prematurely divorced from the three lower principles must remain on earth, until the fore-destined hour, of what would have been the natural death, strikes. Now this is all very well, but this being so, it is clear that in opposition to our former doctrine, shells will be few and spirits many.
For what difference can there be, to take the case of suicides, whether these be conscious or unconscious, whether the man blows his brains out or only drinks himself to death or kills himself by overstudy? In each case, equally the normal natural hour of death is anticipated and a spirit and not a shell the result. Or again what difference does it make whether a man is hung for murder, killed in battle, in a railway train or a powder explosion, drowned or burnt to death, or knocked over by cholera, or plague, or jungle fever or any of the other thousand and one epidemic diseases of which the seeds were not ab initio in his constitution, but were introduced therein in consequence of his happening to visit a particular locality or undergo a given experience to that which he might have avoided? Equally in all cases the nominal normal death hour is anticipated, and a spirit instead of a shell the result. In England it is calculated that not 15 per cent of the population reach their normal death-period, and what with fevers and famines and their sequeloe I fear the percentage is not much larger than here even, where the people are mostly vegetarians and, as a rule, live under less unfavourable sanitary conditions.
So then the great bulk of all the physical phenomena of Spiritualists ought apparently to be due to these spirits and not shells. I should be glad to have further information on this point. There is a second point. Very often as I understand, the spirits of very fair average good people dying natural deaths, remain some time in the earth’s atmosphere, from a few days to a few years; why cannot such as these communicate? And if they can, this is a most important point that should not have been overlooked. And thirdly, it is a fact that thousands of spirits do appear in pure circles and teach the highest morality, and moreover tell very closely the truth as to the unseen world (witness X.Y.Z.’s [ I omit the true name and substitute X.Y.Z. See later the reference to this Spiritualist.] books, pages on pages of which are identical with what you yourself teach) and it is unreasonable to suppose that such are either shells or bad spirits. But you have not given us any opening for any large number of pure high spirits; and until the whole theory is perfectly set forth, and due place made for these, which seem to me a thoroughly well-established fact, you will never win over the Spiritualists. I dare say it is the old story - only part of the truth being told to us and the rest reserved - if so it is merely cutting the Society’s throat. Better to tell the outside world nothing than to tell them half truths, the incompleteness of which they detect at once, the result being a contemptuous rejection of what is truth - though they cannot accept it in this fragmentary state.
Except in so far that he constantly uses the terms “God” and “Christ,” which taken in their esoteric sense mean good in its dual aspect of the abstract and the concrete - nothing more dogmatic - Eliphas Levi is not in any direct conflict with our teachings. It is again a straw blown out of a haystack and accused by the wind to belong to a hay-rick. Most of those whom you call “candidates” for Devachan die and are reborn in the Kama-Loka, “without remembrance,” though (and just because) they do get some of it back in the Devachan. Nor can we call it a full, but only a partial remembrance. You would hardly call a “remembrance,” a “dream” of yours, some particular scene or scenes within those narrow limits you would find enclosed a few persons, those whom you loved best with an undying love, that holy feeling alone surviving, and not the slightest recollection of any other events or scenes? Love and hatred are the only immortal feelings, the only survivors from the wreck of te-damina [ So in MS., presumably wrongly copied from the original letter.] or the phenomenal world.
Imagine yourself then, in Devachan with those you may have loved with such immortal love, with the familiar shadowy scenes connected with them for a back ground, and - a perfect blank for everything else relating to your interiors, social, political and literary life; and then, in the face of that spiritual purely cogitative existence, of that unalloyed felicity which, in proportion to the intensity of the feeling that created it, lasts from a few to several thousand years, call it the “personal remembrance of A.P. Sinnett,” if you can. Dreadfully monotonous, you may think; not in the least I answer. Have you experienced monotony during, say, that moment which you considered then and now so consider it, as the moment of the highest bliss you have ever felt? Of course not; well, no more will you experience it there, in that passage through the Eternity in which a million of years is no longer than a second. There, where there is no consciousness of an external world, there can be no discernment to mark differences; hence, no perception of contrasts, of monotony or variety; nothing, in short, outside the immortal feeling, of love and sympathetic attraction whose seeds are planted in the fifth, whose plants blossom luxuriantly in and around the fourth, but whose roots have to penetrate deep into the sixth principle if it would survive the lower groups. (And now I propose to kill two birds with one stone - to answer your letter and Mr. Hume’s questions at the same time.)
Remember, both, that we create ourselves our Devachan, as our Avitchi, while yet on earth, and mostly during the latter days and even moments of our intellectual sentient lives. That feeling which is strongest in us at that supreme hour, when, as in a dream, the events of a long life to their minutest details, are marshalled in the greatest order in a few seconds in our vision (that vision takes place when a person is already proclaimed dead; the brain is the last organ that dies), that feeling will become the fashioner of our bliss or woe, the life principle of our future existence. In the latter we have no substantial being, but only a present and momentary existence, whose duration has no bearing upon, has no effect nor relation to, its being, which as every other effect or a transitory cause will be as fleeting, and in its turn will vanish and cease to be. The real full remembrance of our lives will come but at the end of the minor cycle, not before. In Kama Loka those who retain their remembrance will not enjoy it at the supreme hour of recollection, and these two are the exceptions to the general rule. Those who know they are dead in their physical body can only be either Adepts or sorcerers. Both having been “co-workers with nature,” the former for good, the latter for evil, in her work of creation and that of destruction, they are the only ones who may be called immortal - in the Kabalistic and the esoteric sense, of course. Complete or true immortality, which means an unlimited sentient existence, can have no breaks or stoppages, no arrest of self-consciousness. And even the shells of those good men whose pages will not be found missing in the great Book of Lives at the threshold of the great Nirvana, even they will regain their remembrance of self-consciousness only after the sixth and seventh principles, with the essence of the fifth (the latter having to furnish the material for even that partial recollection of personality which is necessary for the object in Devachan), have gone to their gestation period, not before. Even in the case of suicides and those who have perished by violent death, even in their case consciousness requires a certain time to establish its new centre of gravity and evolve, as Sir W. Hamilton would have it, its “perception proper,” henceforth to remain distinct from “sensation proper”. Thus, when man dies, his “soul” (fifth principle) becomes unconscious and loses all remembrance of things internal as well as external.
Whether his stay in Kama
Loka has to last but a few moments, hours, days, weeks, months, or years;
whether he died a natural or a violent death; whether it occurred in his youth
or old age; and whether the ego was good, bad, or indifferent; his
consciousness leaves him as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick when blown
out. When life has retired from the last particle in the brain matter, his
perceptive faculties become extinct for ever, his spiritual powers of
cogitation and volition (all those faculties, in short, which are neither
inherent in, nor acquirable by organic matter) for the time being. [ So
in MS. But surely some word like “suspended” omitted!] His Mayavirupa
may be often thrown into objectivity, as in the cases of apparitions after
death; but, unless it is projected with the knowledge of (whether latent or
potential) or, owing to intensity of the desire to see or appear to some one,
shooting through the dying brain, the apparition will be simply automatical; it
will not be due to any sympathetic attraction, or to any act of volition, and
no more than the reflection of a person passing unconsciously near a mirror is
due to the desire of the latter.[ The meaning is clear, though some
words seem somewhere omitted in MS.]
Having thus explained the position, I will sum up and ask you again why it should be maintained that what is given by Eliphas Levi and expounded by H.P.B., is “in direct conflict” with my teaching? E.L. is an occultist and Kabalist, and writing for those who are supposed to know the rudiments of the Kabalistic tenets, uses the peculiar phraseology of his doctrine, and H.P.B., follows suit. The only omission she was guilty of was not to add the word “Western” between the last two words, “Occult” and “Doctrine”. (See 3rd line of Editor’s Note.) (See Appendix A ] She is a fanatic in her way and is unable to write with anything like system and calmness to remember that the general public needs all the lucid explanations that, to her, may seem superfluous. And, as you are sure to remark, “but this is also our case and you too seem to forget it”, I will give you a few more explanations. As remarked on the margin of The Theosophist for October, the word immortality has for the Initiates and occultists quite a different meaning.
We call “immortal” but the one Life in its universal collectivity and entire or absolute abstraction - that which has neither beginning nor end, nor any break in its continuity . Does the term apply to anything else? Certainly it does not. Therefore the earliest Chaldeans had several prefixes to the word immortality, one of which is the Greek, rarely-used term panoeonic immortality, i.e., beginning with the Manvantara and ending with the Pralaya of our Solar universe. It lasts the aeon (αιωυ), or “period” of all our Pan, or all “nature”. Immortal then is he, in the panaeonic immortality, whose distinct consciousness and perception of self, under whatever form, undergoes no disjunction at any time, not for one second, during the period of his ego-ship. These periods are several in number, each having its distinct name in the secret doctrines of the Chaldeans, Greeks, Egyptians and Aryans, and were they but amenable to translation - which they are not, at least so long as the idea involved remains inconceivable to the Western mind - I could give them to you. Suffice for you for the present to know, that a man, an ego like yours or mine, may be immortal from one to the other Round. Let us say I begin my immortality at the present fourth Round, i.e., having become a full Adept (which unfortunately I am not) [ The Master K.H. had been for long a “full Adept,” but not “D.K.” who I think writes this part of the letter. It was soon after this, I believe next year, that “D.K.” passed on to his Fifth Initiation of Asekha and became a “full Adept”.] I arrest the hand of death at will, and when finally obliged to submit to it, my knowledge of the secrets of nature puts me in a position to retain my consciousness and distinct perception of self as an object to my own reflective consciousness and cognition; and thus avoiding all such dismemberments of principles, that as a rule take place after the death of average humanity, I remain as K.H. in my ego, throughout the whole series of births and lives across the seven worlds and Arupa Lokas, until finally I land again on this earth among the fifth race men of the full fifth Round beings. I would have been in such a case “immortal” for a period to you inconceivably long, embracing many milliards of years. And yet, am I truly immortal for all that? Unless I make the same efforts as I do now to secure for myself another such furlough from nature’s laws, K.H. will vanish, and may become a Mr. Smith or an innocent Babu, when his leave expires. There are men among us who may become immortal during the remainder of the Rounds, and then take their appointed place among the highest Chohans, the Planetary conscious “ego-spirits”. Of course, the monad “never perishes whatever happens,” but Eliphas Levi speaks of the personal, not of the spiritual ego.
You misconceived the teaching, because you were not aware of what you are now told: (a) who are the true co-workers with nature, and (b) that it is by no means all the evil “co-workers with nature” who drop into the Eighth Sphere and are annihilated (annihilated suddenly as human egos, personalities lasting in that world of pure matter, under various material forms, for an inconceivable time before they are returned to primeval matter). The potency for evil is as great in man, aye greater, than the potentiality for good. An exception to the rule of nature that exception, which in the case of Adepts and sorcerers becomes in its turn a rule, has again its own exceptions. Read carefully the passage that C.C.M. [ C. C. Massey, President of the London Lodge T.S.. one of the original founders of the T.S. in 1875.] left unquoted on pp. 352-3, Isis, Vol. I, paragraph 3. Again she omits to state distinctly that the case mentioned relates only to those powerful sorcerers, whose co-partnership with nature for evil affords to them the means of forcing her hand, and thus accords them panaeonic immortality. But oh, what kind of immortality, and how preferable is annihilation to such lives! Don’t you see that everything you find in Isis is delineated, hardly sketched, nothing completed or revealed? Well, the time has come, but where are the workers for such a tremendous task?
Says Mr. Hume (see affixed letter, marked passages) . . . . And now when you have read the objections to that most unsatisfactory doctrine, as Mr. Hume calls it, - a doctrine which you have to learn first as a whole, before proceeding to study it in parts - at the risk of satisfying you no better I will proceed to explain the latter.
Although not wholly dissevered from their sixth and seventh principles and quite potent in the séance-room, nevertheless to the day when they would have died a natural death, they are separated from the higher principles by a gulf. The sixth and seventh remain passive and negative, whereas, in cases of accidental death, the higher and the lower groups actually attract each other. In cases of good and innocent egos, moreover, the latter gravitate irresistibly towards the sixth and seventh, and thus either slumber surrounded by happy dreams, or sleep a dreamless profound sleep until the hour strikes. With a little reflection and an eye to the eternal justice and fitness of things, you will see why. The victim, whether good or bad, is irresponsible for his death; even if his death were due to some action in a previous life, was an act, in short, of the law of Retribution, still it was not the direct result of an act deliberately committed by the personal ego of that life during which he happened to be killed. Had he been allowed to live longer he might have atoned for his previous sins still more effectually; and even now the ego, having been made to pay off the debt of his maker (the previous ego), is free from the blows of retributive justice. The Dyan Chohans, who have no hand in the guidance of the living human ego, protect the helpless victim when it is violently thrust out of its element into a new one, before it is matured and made fit and ready for it. We tell you what we know, for we are made to learn it through personal experience. You know what I mean, and I can say no more. Yes, the victims, whether good or bad, sleep to awake but at the hour of the last judgement, which is that hour of supreme struggle between the sixth and the seventh and the fourth and the fifth at the threshold of the gestation state. And even after that, when the sixth and seventh, carrying off a portion of the fifth, have gone into their Akashic Samadhi, even then it may happen that the spiritual spoil from the fifth may prove too weak to be reborn in Devachan, in which case it will there and then re-clothe itself in a new body, the subjective “being” created from the Karma of the victim (or no victim as the case may be), and enter upon a new earth-existence, whether upon this or any other planet. In no case then, with the exception of suicides and shells, is there any possibility for any other to be attracted to a séance-room. And it is “clear” that this teaching is not “in opposition to our former doctrine,” and that while shells will be many, spirits very few.
2. There is a great difference in our humble opinion. We, who look at it from a standpoint which would prove very unacceptable to a Life Insurance Company, say that there are very few, if any, of the men who indulge in the above enumerated vices who feel perfectly sure that such a course of action will lead them eventually to premature death. Such is the penalty of Maya. The vices will not escape their punishment, but it is the cause, not the effect, that will be punished, especially an unforeseen though probable effect. As well call a suicide a man who meets his death in a storm at sea, as one who kills himself with “overstudy”. Water is liable to drown a man, and too much brain work to produce a softening of the brain which may carry him away. In such a case no one ought to cross the Kalapani [“Blackwater” - a Hindu designation for the ocean.] nor ever to take a bath for fear of getting faint in it and drowned (for we all know of such cases), nor should a man do his duty, least of all sacrifice himself for even a laudable and highly beneficent cause as many of us (H.P.B. for one) do. Would Mr. Hume call her a suicide were she to drop down dead over her present work? Motive is everything, and man is punished in a case of direct responsibility, never otherwise. In the victim’s case, the natural hour of death was anticipated accidentally, while in that of the suicide, death is brought on voluntarily, and with a full and deliberate knowledge of its immediate consequences. Thus a man who causes his death in a fit of temporary insanity is not a felo-de-se, to the great grief and often trouble of the Life Insurance Companies. Nor is he left a prey to the temptations of the Kama Loka, but falls asleep like any other victim. A Guiteau [ Guiteau on July 2, 1881, shot President Garfield of U.S.A. Garfield died in September from the injuries received. ] will not remain in the earth’s atmosphere with his higher principles over him, inactive and paralysed but still there. Guiteau is gone into a state during the period of which he will be ever firing at his President, and thereby tossing into confusion and shuffling the destinies of millions of persons, where he will be ever tried and ever hung, bathing in the reflection of his deeds and thoughts, especially those he indulged in on the scaffold. As for those who were “knocked over by cholera or plague or jungle fever,” they could not have succumbed had they not had the germs for the development of such diseases in them from birth. “So then the great bulk of all the physical phenomena of Spiritualists,” my dear brother, are not “due to these spirits”, but indeed to “shells”.
3. “The spirits of very fair average good people dying natural deaths, remain some time in the earth’s atmosphere, from a few days to a few years,” the period depending upon their readiness to meet their creature, not their Creator, a very abstruse subject you will learn later on when you too are more prepared. But why should they “communicate”? Do those you love communicate with you objectively during their sleep? Your spirits, in hours of danger, or intense sympathy, vibrating on the same current of thought, which in such cases creates a kind of telegraphic spiritual wires between your two bodies, may meet and mutually impress your memories; but then you are living not dead bodies. But how can such an unconscious fifth principle impress or communicate with a living organism unless it has already become a shell? If for certain reasons they remain in such a state of lethargy for several years, the spirits of the living may ascend to them, as you were already told; and then communication may take place still easier than in Devachan, where the spirit is too much engrossed in his personal bliss to pay much attention to an intruding element. I say they cannot.
4. I am sorry to contradict your statement. I know of thousands of spirits who “do appear” in circles, and “teach the highest morality,” but I do not know of one perfectly pure circle; I hope I may not be classed with slanderers, in addition to other names lately bestowed upon me, but truth compels me to declare that X. Y. Z. was not quite immaculate during his lifetime, nor has he become a very pure spirit since. As to teaching the “highest morality,” we have Dugpa Shaman not far from where I am residing, quite a remarkable man, not very powerful as a sorcerer but excessively so as a drunkard, a thief, a liar - and an orator. In this latter role he could give points to and beat Messrs. Gladstone, Bradlaugh, and even the Rev. H. Ward Beecher, than whom there is no more eloquent preacher of morality and no greater breaker of his Lord’s commandments in the USA. This Shapatung Lama, when thirsty, can make an enormous audience of “yellow cap” laymen weep all their yearly supply of tears with the narrative of his repentance and suffering in the morning, and then get drunk in the evening and rob the whole village by mesmerising them into a dead sleep. Preaching and teaching morality with an end in the view proves very little. Read J.P.T’s article in Light and what I say will be corroborated.
(To A.P.S.) The obscuration comes on only when the last man of whatever Round has passed into the sphere of effects. Nature is too well, too mathematically, adjusted to cause mistakes to happen in the exercise of its functions. The obscuration of the planet on which we are now evolving the races of the fifth Round man, will of course be behind the few avant couriers who are now here. But before that time comes, we will have to part to meet no more, as the editor of the Pioneer and his humble correspondent.
And now having shown that the October number of The Theosophist was not utterly wrong, nor was it at variance with the “later teaching,” may K.H. set you “to reconcile the two”? To reconcile you still more with Eliphas, I will send you a number of his manuscripts that have never been published, in a large, clear, beautiful hand writing, with my comments all through. Nothing better than that can give you a key to Kabalistic puzzles. [ All these were duly published in Theosophist as “Unpublished Writings of Eliphas Levi”. One of them, “The Paradoxes of the Highest Science,” has lately been reprinted by the Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras.]
I have to write to Mr. Hume this week, to give him consolation, and to show that unless he has a strong desire to live he need not trouble himself about Devachan. Unless a man loves well or hates well, he will be neither in Devachan nor Avitchi. “Nature spues the lukewarm out of her mouth,” means only that she annihilates their personal egos (not the shells, nor yet the sixth principle) in the Kama Loka and the Devachan. This does not prevent them from being immediately reborn, and if their lives were not very, very bad, there is no reason why the eternal monad should not find the page of that life intact in the Book of Life.
Question- You say, “Remember that we create ourselves our Devachan, as our Avitchi, while yet on earth, and mostly during the latter days and even moments of our intellectual sentient lives.” It is a widely spread belief among all the Hindus that a person’s future pre-natal state and birth are moulded by the last desire he may have at the time of death. But this last desire, they say, necessarily hinges on to the shape which the person may have given to his desires, passions, etc., during his past life. It is for this very reason, viz., that our last desire may not be unfavourable to our future progress, that we have to watch our actions and control our passions and desires throughout our whole earthly career. But do the thoughts on which the mind may be engaged at the last moment necessarily hinge on to the predominant character of its past life? Otherwise it would seem as if the character of a person’s Devachan or Avitchi might be capriciously and unjustly determined by the chance which brought some special thought uppermost at last.
Answer - It cannot be otherwise. The experience of dying men (by drowning and other accidents) brought back to life has corroborated our doctrine in almost every case. Such thoughts are involuntary, and we have no more control over them than we should have over the retina of the eye to prevent it perceiving that colour which affects it most. At the last moment the whole life is reflected in our memory and emerges from all the forgotten nooks and corners, picture after picture, one event after the other. The dying brain dislodges memory with a strong supreme impulse, and memory restores faithfully every impression that has been entrusted to it during the period of the brain’s activity. That impression and thought which was the strongest naturally becomes the most vivid and survives, so to say, all the rest, which now vanish and disappear forever, to reappear but in Devachan. No man dies insane or unconscious, as some physiologists assert. Even a madman or one in a fit of delirium tremens will have his instant of perfect lucidity at the moment of death, though unable to say so to those present. The man may often appear dead; yet from the last pulsation, from and between the last throbbing of his heart, and the moment when the last spark of animal heat leaves the body, the brain thinks, and the ego lives in these few brief seconds his whole life over again. Speak in whispers, ye who assist at a deathbed, and find yourselves in the solemn presence of Death. Especially have ye to keep quiet just after Death has laid his clammy hand upon the body. Speak in whispers, I say, lest ye disturb the quiet ripple of thought, and hinder the busy work of the Past casting its reflection upon the veil of the Future.
Question- “The real full remembrance of our lives will come but at the end of the minor cycle.” Does the “minor cycle” here mean one Round, or the whole Manvantara of our planetary chain? That is, do we remember our past lives in the Devachan of world Z at the end of each Round, or only at the end of the seventh Round?
Answer - Yes; the full remembrance of our collective lives will return at the end of all the seven Rounds, at the threshold of the long, long Nirvana that awaits us after we leave globe Z. At the end of isolated Rounds, we remember but the sum-total of our last impressions, those we had selected, or rather those that had forced themselves upon us, and followed us in Devachan. Those are all “probationary” lives with large “indulgences” and new trials afforded us with every new life. But at the close of the minor cycle, after the completion of all the seven Rounds, there awaits us no other mercy but the cup of good deeds of merit outweighing that of evil deeds and demerit in the scales of Retributive Justice. Bad, irretrievably bad, must be that ego that yields no mite from its fifth principle, and has to be annihilated, to disappear in the Eighth Sphere. A mite, as I say, collected from the personal ego suffices to save him from this dreary fate. Not so after the completion of the great cycle; either a long Nirvana of bliss (unconscious though it be in his and according to your crude conceptions), after which life as a Dhyan Chohan for a whole Manvantara; or else Avitchi-Nirvana, and a Manvantara of horror and misery as a .............. you must not hear the word, nor I pronounce or write it. But “those” have naught to do with the mortals that pass through the seven spheres. The collective Karma of a future Planetary is as lovely as the collective Karma of a ............ is terrible! Enough! I have said too much already.
Question- And you say, “ And even the shells of those good men whose pages will not be found missing in the great book of lives . . . even they will regain their remembrance of self consciousness only after the sixth and seventh principles with the essence of the fifth have gone to their gestation period.”
Answer - Verily so; until the struggle between the higher and middle duad begins (with the exception of suicides, who are not dead, but have only killed their physical triad, and whose elemental parasites therefore are not naturally separated from the ego, as in real death) until that struggle, I say, has not begun and ended, no shell can realise its position. When the sixth and seventh principles are gone, carrying off with them the finer spiritual portions of that which was once the personal consciousness of the fifth, then only does the shell gradually develop a kind of hazy consciousness of its own from what remains in the shadow of personality. No contradiction here, my dear friend, only haziness in your own perception ( a physical brain, once dead, of course cannot retain its perceptive faculties).
Question- A little later on: “ Whether the ego was good, bad, or indifferent, his consciousness leaves him as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick . . . his perceptive faculties become extinct for ever.” Well, can a physical brain once dead retain its perceptive faculties? That which will perceive in the shell is something that perceives with a borrowed or reflected light (see note) Then what is the nature of the remembrance and self consciousness of the shell? This touches on a matter I have often thought about - wishing for further explanation - the extent of personal identity in elementaries.
Answer - All that which pertains to the materio-psychological attributes and sensations of the five lower skandhas, all that which will be thrown off as refuse by the newly-born ego in the Devachan, as unworthy of and not sufficiently related to the purely spiritual perceptions, emotions and feelings of the sixth, strengthened and, so to say, cemented by a portion of the fifth, (that portion which is necessary in the Devachan for the retention of a divine spiritualised notion of the “I” in the monad, which would otherwise have no consciousness in relation to subject and object at all) - all this “becomes extinct for ever,” namely at the moment of physical death, to return once more, marshalling before the eyes of the new ego at the threshold of Devachan, and to be rejected by it. It will return for the third time fully at the end of the minor cycle, after the completion of the seven Rounds, when the sum-total of collective existences is weighed, merit in one cup and demerit in the other cup of the scales. But in that individual, in the ego - good, bad or indifferent - in the isolated personality, “consciousness leaves as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick.” Blow out your candle, good friend; the flame has left that candle “for ever,” but are the particles that moved, their motion producing the objective flame, annihilated or dispersed for all that? Never, Relight the candle, and the same particles, drawn by a mutual affinity, will return to the wick. Place a long row of candles on your table. Light one and blow it out; then light the other and do the same, then the third and fourth, and so on. The same matter, the same gaseous particles - representing in our case the Karma of the personality - will be called forth by the conditions given them by your match to produce a new luminosity; but can we say that candle No 1 has not had its flame extinguished for ever? Not even in the case of the “failures of nature,” of the immediate reincarnation of children and congenital idiots and so forth, can we call them the identical ex-personalities, though the whole of the same life-principle and identically the same Manas, (fifth principle) re-enters a new body, and may truly be called a “reincarnation of the personality”; whereas in the rebirths of the ego from Devachan and Avitchi into Karmic life, it is only the spiritual attributes of the monad and its Buddhi that are reborn. All we can say of the reincarnated “failures” is that they are the reincarnated Manas, the fifth principle, of Mr. Smith or Miss Grey; but not certainly that these are the reincarnations of Mr. S or Miss. G. “But what is then the nature of the remembrance and self consciousness of the shell?” you ask. As I said in your note, no better than a reflected or borrowed light. Memory is one thing and perceptive faculties quite another. A madman may remember very clearly some portions of his past life; yet he is unable to perceive anything in its true light, for the higher portion of his Manas and his Buddhi are paralysed in him, have left him. Could an animal, a dog for instance, speak, he would prove to you that his memory in direct relation to his canine personality is as fresh as yours; nevertheless his memory and instinct cannot be called “perceptive faculties”. A dog remembers that his master thrashed him when the latter gets hold of a stick; at all other times he has no remembrance of it. Thus a shell; once in the aura of a medium, all he perceives through the borrowed organs of the medium, and of those in magnetic sympathy with the latter, he will perceive very clearly; but not further than what the shell can find in the perceptive faculties and memories of circle and medium; hence often the rational and highly intelligent answers; hence also a complete oblivion of things known to all but that medium and circle. The shell of a highly intelligent but utterly unspiritual man who died a natural death will last longer, and the shadow of his own memory helping (that shadow which is the refuse of the sixth principle left in the fifth), he may deliver discourses through trance-speakers, and repeat parrot-like that which he knew and thought much over in his lifetime.
But find one single instance in the annals of Spiritualism where a returning shell of a Faraday, or a Brewster (were they to fall into the trap of a mediumistic attraction) said one word more that it knew during its lifetime. Where is that scientific shell that ever gave evidence of that which is claimed on behalf of disembodied spirits; namely, that a free soul, the spirit disembodied from its body’s fetters, perceives and sees that which is concealed from living mortal eyes? Let the “spirit” of Zollner, now that he is in the fourth dimension of space and has already put in an appearance with several mediums, tell the last word of his discovery, complete his astrophysical philosophy. No; Zollner when lecturing through an intelligent medium surrounded with persons who read his works and are interested in them, will repeat in various tones that which is known to others (not even that which he alone knew, most probably) the credulous ignorant public confounding the post hoc with the proper hoc, and firmly convinced of the spirit’s identity. Indeed, it will be worth your while to stimulate investigation in this direction. Yes; personal consciousness does leave everyone at death; and whenever the centre of memory is established in the shell, it will remember and speak out its recollections through the brain of some living human being.
Question- Is a shell conscious of losing anything that feels like life as it gradually disintegrates?
Answer - No, it is not conscious of this loss of cohesion. Besides such a feeling in a shell being quite useless for nature’s purposes, it could hardly realize something which could never be dreamt by a medium or its affinities. It is dimly conscious of its own physical death - after a prolonged period of time, though - that is all. The few exceptions to this rule - cases of half-successful sorcerers, of very wicked persons passionately attached to self - offer a real danger to the living. These very material shells, whose last dying thought was self, self, self and to live! to live!, will often feel it instinctively. So do some suicides - though not all. What happens then is terrible, for it becomes a case of post mortem lycanthropy. The shell will cling so tenaciously to its semblance of life that it will seek refuge in a new organism - any beast, a dog, a hyaena, a bird - when no human organism is close at hand, rather than submit to annihilation.
Question- What is the explanation of “Ernest” and Eglinton’s [ William Eglintgon, a spiritualistic medium of great probity, to whom the Master K.H. appeared on board S.S. Vega. See Occult World, “Conclusion”, and also p.75. “Ernest” was one of Eglinton’s spirit “guides,” who offered to C. W. Leadbeater to take a letter to the Master K.H., and failed (see Letters from The Masters of Wisdom, Letter VII, note 10).] other guides? Are they elementaries drawing their conscious vitality from him, or elementals masquerading? When “Ernest” took that sheet of Pioneer note paper, how did he contrive to get it without mediumship at this end? [ In Theosophist, January 1882, appears a letter from J.G. Meugens, the host of Eglinton, that “Ernest has stated that he will try and take a sheet of paper, privately marked by me for identification, to my friend in London, and bring it back to me with a message in my friend’s handwriting. If this is successfully done I will inform you of it”. No further correspondence appears in Theosophist stating that Ernest had done what he promised. Possibly “that sheet of Pioneer notepaper” in the question refers to a similar phenomenon where Ernest was successful.]
Answer - I can assure you it is not worth your while to study the true natures of the “Ernests” and “Joeys” [ Another “guide” of Eglinton was Joey.] and other “guides” as unless you become acquainted with the evolution of the corruptions of elemental dross, and those of the seven principles in man, you would ever find yourself at a loss to understand what they really are. There are no written statutes for them, and they can hardly be expected to pay their friends and admirers the compliment of truth, silence or forbearing. If you are related to them as some soulless physical mediums are, you shall meet. If not, better leave them alone. They gravitate but to their likes - the mediums; and their relation is not made but forced by foolish and sinful phenomena-mongers. They are both elementaries and elementals - at best a low, mischievous, degrading jungle.
Question- You say, it may happen “that the spiritual spoil from the fifth will prove too weak to be reborn in Devachan, in which case it (sixth) will there and then reclothe itself in a new body, and enter upon a new earth existence, whether upon this or any other planet”.
Answer - The “it” relates to the sixth and seventh principles not to the fifth, for the manas will have to remain a shell in each case, only in the one hand it has no time to visit mediums, for it begins sinking down to the Eighth Sphere almost immediately. “Then and there” in the eternity may be a mighty long period; it means only that the monad, having no Karmic body to guide its rebirth, falls into non-being for a certain period, and then reincarnates - certainly not earlier than one or two thousand years. No, it is not an “exceptional case”; save a few exceptional cases in the cases of the initiated, such as our Teshu Lamas, the Bodhisattvas, and a few others, no monad ever got reincarnated before its appointed cycle.
Question- There is a very interesting allusion in your last, when speaking of Hume you speak of certain characteristics he brought back with him from his last incarnation.
Answer - All of us, we bring some characteristics from our previous incarnations. It is unavoidable.
Question- Have you the power of looking back to the former lives of persons now living, and identifying them?
Answer - Unfortunately some of us have. I for one do not like to exercise it.
Question- In that case would it be improper, personal curiosity to ask for any particulars of my own?
Answer - “Man know thyself,” saith the Delphinian oracle. There is nothing “improper” certainly in such a curiosity. Only would it not be still more proper to study our own present personality before attempting to learn anything of its creator-predecessor and fashioner - the man that was? Well, some day I may treat you to a little story - no time now - only I promise no details; a simple sketch and a hint or two to test your intuitional powers.
Question- Is there any way of accounting for what seems the curious rush of human progress within the last two thousand years, as compared with the relatively stagnant condition of the Fourth Round people up to the beginning of modern progress?
Answer - The latter end of a very important cycle. Each Round, each ring, as every race, has its great and its smaller cycles on every planet that mankind passes through. Our Fourth Round humanity has its one great cycle and so have her races and sub-races. The “curious rush” is due to the double effect of the former - the beginning of its downward course - and of the latter (the small cycle of our sub-race) running on to its apex. Remember you belong to the Fifth Race. Yet you are but a Western sub-race. Notwithstanding your efforts, what you call civilisation is confined only to the latter and its offshoots in America. Radiating around, its deceptive light may seem to throw its rays on a greater distance than it does in reality. There is no “rush” in China, and of Japan you make but a caricature.
A student of Occultism ought not to speak of the “stagnant condition” of the Fourth Round people, since history knows next to nothing of that condition “up to the beginning of modern progress” of other nations but the Western. What do you know of America, for instance, before the invasion of that country by the Spaniards? Less than two centuries prior to the arrival of Cortez, there was as great a “rush” toward progress among the sub-races of Peru and Mexico as there is now in Europe and the U.S.A. Their sub-races ended in nearly total annihilation through causes generated by itself; so will yours at the end of its cycle. We may speak only of the stagnant conditions into which, following the law of development, growth, maturity and decline, every race and sub-race falls during its transition periods. It is the latter condition your Universal History is acquainted with, while it remains superbly ignorant of the condition even in India was in, some ten centuries back. Your sub-races are now running towards the apex of their respective cycles, and that history goes no further back than the periods of decline of a few other sub-races belonging most of them to the preceding Fourth Race. And what is the area and the period of time embraced by its universal eye? At the utmost stretch, a few miserable dozens of centuries - a mighty horizon indeed. Beyond all is darkness for it, nothing but hypothesis.
Question- Or has there been any former period during the habitation of the earth by Fourth Round men, civilisations as great as our own in regard to intellectual development that have utterly passed away?
Answer - No doubt there was. Egyptian and Aryan records and especially our Zodiacal tables furnish us with every proof of it, besides our inner knowledge. Civilisation is an inheritance and patrimony that passes from race to race along the ascending and descending paths of cycles. During the minority of a sub-race, it is preserved for it by its predecessor which disappears, dies out gradually, when the former comes of age. At first most of them squander and mismanage their property, or leave it untouched in the ancestral coffers. They reject contemptuously the advice of their elders, and prefer, boy-like, playing in the streets to studying and making the most of the untouched wealth stored up for them in the records of the past. Thus during your transition-period - the Middle Ages - Europe rejected the testimony of antiquity, calling such sages as Herodotus and other learned Greeks “the father of lies,” until she knew better and changed the appellation into that of “father of history”. Instead of neglecting, you now accumulate and add to your wealth; as every other race, you had your ups and downs, your periods of honour and dishonour, your dark midnight, and you are now approaching your brilliant noon. The youngest of the Fifth Race family, you were for long ages the unloved and the uncared-for, the Cendrillon [ Cinderella.] in your home. And now when so many of your sisters have died, and others are still dying while a few of the old survivors, now in their second infancy, wait but their Messiah - the Sixth Race - to rise to a new life and start anew with the arriving stranger along the path of a new cycle, now that the Western Cendrillon has suddenly developed into a proud and wealthy Princess, the beauty we all see and admire, how does she act? Less kind-hearted than the Princess in the tale, instead of offering to her elder and less-favoured sister - the oldest now, in fact, since she is nearly a million years old, and the only one who has never treated her unkindly, though she may have ignored her - instead of offering her, I say, the kiss of peace she applies to her the lex talionis with a vengeance that does not enhance her natural beauty. This, my good friend and brother, is not far-stretched allegory, but history.
Question- Even the Fifth Race (our own) of the Fourth Round began in Asia a million years ago. What was it about for the 998.000 years preceding the last 2.000? During that period have greater civilisations than our own risen and decayed?
Answer - Yes; the Fifth Race - ours - began in Asia a million years ago. “What was it about for the 998,000 years preceding the last 2,000?” A pertinent question, offered moreover in quite a Christian spirit that refuses to believe that any good could ever have come out from anywhere before and save Nazareth. What was it about? Well, it was occupying itself pretty well in the same way as it does now - craving Mr. Grant Allen’s pardon, who would place our primitive ancestor, the “hedge-hoggy” man, in the early part of the Eocene Age! Forsooth, your scientific writers bestride their hypothesis most fearlessly, I see. It will really be a pity to find their fiery steed kicking and breaking their heads some day; something that is unavoidably in store for them. In the Eocene Age - even in its “very first part” - the great cycle of the Fourth Race men , the Atlanteans, had already reached its highest point, and the great continent, the father of nearly all the present continents, showed the first symptoms of sinking, a process that occupied it down to 11,446 [ i.e. 9564 B.C., since the answer was given in A.D. 1882. years ago, when its last island, that, translating its vernacular name, we may call with propriety Poseidonis, went down with a crash. By the bye, whoever wrote the review of Donnelly’s Atlantis is right. Lemuria can no more be confounded with the Atlantic continent than Europe with America. Both sank and were crowned with their high civilisations and “Gods”; yet between the two catastrophes a short period of about 700,000 years elapsed, Lemuria flourishing and ending her career just at about that trifling lapse of time, before the early part of the Eocene Age, since its race was the Third. Behold the relics of that once great nation in some of the flat-headed aborigines of your Australia! No less right is the review in rejecting the kind attempt of the author to people India and Egypt with the refuse of Atlantis. No doubt your geologists are very learned; but why not bear in mind that, under the continents explored and fathomed by them, in the bowels of which they have found the “Eocene Age” and forced it to deliver them its secret, there may be, hidden deep in the fathomless or rather unfathomed ocean beds, other and far older continents whose strata have never been geologically explored; and that they may some day upset entirely their present theories, thus illustrating the simplicity and sublimity of truth connected with inductive “generalisation” in opposition to their visionary conjectures. Why not admit - true no one of them has ever thought of it - that our present continents have, like Lemuria and Atlantis, been several times already submerged, and had the time to reappear again and bear their new groups of mankind and civilisation; and that at the first great geological upheaval at the next cataclysm, in the series of periodical cataclysms that occur from the beginning to the end of every Round, our already autopsized [ This is the word in MSS., but evidently copied wrongly from original Letter.] continents will go down and the Lemurias and Atlantises come up again. Think of the future geologists of the Sixth and Seventh Races. Imagine them digging deep in the bowels of what was Ceylon and Simla, and finding implements of the Veddahs, or of the remote ancestor of the civilised Pahari - every object of the civilised portions of humanity that inhabited these regions having been pulverised to dust by the great masses of travelling glaciers during the next glacial period - imagine him finding only such rude implements as now found among those savage tribes, and forthwith declaring that during that period, primitive man climbed and slept on the trees, and sucked the marrow out of animal bones after breaking them (as civilised Europeans no less than the Veddahs will often do), hence jumping to the conclusion that in the year A.D. 1882 mankind was composed of “manlike animals” black-faced, and whiskered “with prominent prognathous and large, pointed, canine teeth”. True, a Grant Allen of the Sixth Race may not be so far from fact and truth in his conjecture that during the Simla period “these teeth were used in the combats of the males” - for grass widows - but then metaphor has very little to do with anthropology and geology. Such is your Science.
To return to your questions. Of course the Fourth Race had its period of the highest civilisation. Greek and Roman and even Egyptian civilisations are nothing compared to the civilisations that began with the Third Race. Those of the Second were not savages, but they could not be called civilised. And now reading once of my first letters on the races (a question first touched by M.) pray do not accuse either him or myself of some new contradiction. Read it over and see that it leaves out the question of civilisations altogether, and mentions but the degenerate remnants of the Fourth and Third Races, and gives you as a corroboration the latest conclusions of your own science. Do not regard an unavoidable incompleteness as inconsistency. You now ask me a direct question and I answer it. Greeks and Romans were small sub-races, and Egyptians part and parcel of our own “Caucasian” stock. Look at the latter and at India. Having reached the highest civilisation and, what is more, learning, both went down, Egypt as a distinct sub-race disappearing entirely (her Copts are a hybrid remnant), India as one of the first and most powerful offshoots of the Mother Race, and composed of a number of sub-races lasting to these times, and struggling to take once more her place in history some day. That history catches but a few stray, hazy glimpses of Egypt, some 12,000 years back; when having already reached the apex of its cycle thousands of years before, the latter had begun going down. What does or can it know of India 5,000 years ago, or of the Chaldees, whom it confounds most charmingly with the Assyrians, making of them one day “Akkadians,” at another Turanians and what not? We say then that your history is entirely at sea. We are refused by the Journal of Science any claim whatever for “higher knowledge”. Says the reviewer, “Suppose the Brothers were to say ‘Point your telescopes to such and such a spot in the heavens, and you will find a planet yet unknown to you, or dig into the earth . . . etc., and you will find a mineral,’ etc.” Very fine indeed, and suppose that was done, what would be the result? Why a charge of plagiarism, since every thing of that kind, every plant and mineral that exists in space or inside the earth, was known and recorded in our books thousands of years ago; more, many a true hypothesis was timidly brought forward by their own scientific men and as constantly rejected by the majority with whose preconceptions it interfered. Your intention is laudable, but nothing that I may give you in answer will ever be accepted from us. Whenever discovered that “it is verily so,” the discovery will be attributed to him who corroborated the evidence, as in the case of Copernicus and Galileo, the latter having availed himself but of the Pythagorean manuscripts.
But to return to civilisations. Do you know that the Chaldees were at the apex of their occult fame before what you term as the Bronze Age, that the “sons of Ad” or “ the children of the Fire Mist” preceded by hundreds of centuries the Age of Iron, which was an old age already when what you now call the Historical Period - probably because what is known of it is generally no history but fiction - had hardly begun?
But then what warrant can we give the world that we are right, that far “greater civilisations than our own have risen and been destroyed”? It is not enough to say, as some of your modern writers do, than an extinct civilisation existed before Roma and Athens was founded. We affirm that a series of civilisations existed before as well as after the Glacial Period, that they existed upon various points of the Globe, reached the apex of glory and - died. Every trace and memory of the Assyrian and Phoenician civilisations had been lost until discoveries began to be made a few years ago. And now they open a new, though not by far one of the earliest, page in the history of mankind. And yet how far back do those civilisations go in comparison with the oldest? And even them history is shy to accept.
Archaeology has sufficiently demonstrated that the memory of man runs vastly further back than history has been willing to accept, and the sacred records of once mighty nations preserved by their heirs are still more worthy of trust. We speak of civilisations of the ante-glacial period, and (not only in the minds of the vulgar and the profane, but even in the opinion of the highly learned geologist) the claim sounds preposterous. What could you say then to our affirmation that the Chinese - I now speak of the inland, the true Chinaman, not of the hybrid mixture between the Fourth and Fifth Races now occupying the throne - the aborigines who belong in their unalloyed nationality wholly to the highest and last branch of the Fourth Race, reached their highest civilisation when the Fifth had hardly appeared in Asia, and its first offshoot was yet a thing of the future? When was it? Calculate. You cannot think that we, who have a tremendous odds against the acceptance of our doctrine, would deliberately go on inventing races and sub-races (in the opinion of Mr. Hume) were they not a matter of undeniable fact. The group of islands off the Siberian coast discovered by the Nordenskiol of the “Vega” was found strewn with fossils of horses, sheep, oxen, etc., among gigantic bones of elephants, mammoths, rhinoceroses and other monsters belonging to periods when man - says your science - had not yet made his appearance on earth. How came horses and sheep to be found in company with the huge “antediluvians”? The horse, we are taught in schools, is quite a modern invention of nature and no man ever saw its pentadactyle ancestor. The group of Siberian islands may give the lie to the comfortable theory The region now locked in the fetters of eternal winter uninhabited by man - that most fragile of animals - will be very soon proved to have had not only a tropical climate - something your science knows, and does not dispute - but as having been likewise the seat of one of the most ancient civilisations of that Fourth Race, whose highest relics now we find in the degenerated Chinaman, and whose lowest are hopelessly (for the profane scientist) intermingled with the remnants of the Third.
I told you before now, that the highest people now on earth (spiritually) belong to the first sub-race of the Fifth Root race; and those are the Aryan Asiatics; the highest race (in physical intellectuality) is the last sub-race of the Fifth - yourselves, the white conquerors. The majority of mankind belongs to the seventh sub-race of the Fourth Root race - the above mentioned Chinamen and their offshoots and branchlets (Malayan, Mongolians, Tibetans, Javanese, etc., etc.), and to remnants of other sub-races of the Fourth and the seventh sub-race of the Third Race. All these fallen, degraded semblances of humanity are the direct lineal descendants of highly civilised nations, neither the name nor memory of which have survived except in such books as Populvuh and a few others unknown to science.
Question- To what epoch did the existence of the continent of Atlantis belong, and did cataclysmal change which produced its extinction come into any appointed place in the evolution of Round corresponding to the place occupied in the whole Manvantaric evolution by obscurations?
Answer - To the Miocene times. Everything comes in its appointed time and place in the evolution of Rounds; otherwise it would be impossible for the best seer to calculate the exact hour and year when such cataclysms great and small have to occur. All an Adept could do would be to predict an approximate time; whereas now, events that result in great geological changes may be predicted with as mathematical a certainty as eclipses and other revolutions in space. The sinking of Atlantis (the group of continents and isles) began during the Miocene period as certain of your continents are now observed to be gradually sinking; and it culminated first, in the final disappearance of the largest continent, an event coincident with the elevation of the Alps; and second, with that of the last of the fair islands mentioned by Plato. The Egyptian priest of Sais told his ancestor Solon that Atlantis (i.e., the only remaining large island) had perished 9,000 years before their time. This was not a fancy date, since they had for millenniums preserved most carefully their records. But then, as I say, they speak but of the “Poseidonis,” and would not reveal even to the great Greek legislator their secret chronology. As there are no geological reasons for doubting, but on the contrary a mass of evidence for accepting, the tradition, science has finally accepted the existence of the great continent and archipelago, and thus vindicates the truth of one more “fable”. It now teaches, as you know, that Atlantis or the remnants of it lingered down to post-tertiary times, its final submergence occurring within the Palaeozoic ages of American history! Well, truth and fact ought to feel thankful even for such small favours, in the previous absence of any for so many centuries. The deep sea explorations, especially those of the Challenger, have fully confirmed the reports of geology and palaeontology. The great event, the triumph of our “Sons of the Fire Mist,” the inhabitants of Shamballa when yet an island in the Central Asian Sea, over the selfish if not entirely wicked magians of Poseidonis occurred just 11.446 years ago. Read in this connection the incomplete and partially veiled tradition in Isis, Vol. 1, pp. 588 - 94, and something may become still plainer to you. The corroboration of tradition and history brought forward by Donnelly I find in the main correct, but you will find all this and much more in Isis.
Question- I find that the most common question asked about occult philosophy by fairly intelligent people who begin to enquire about it is, “Does it give any explanation of the origin of evil?” That is a point on which you have formally promised to touch and which it might be worth while to take up before long.
Answer - It certainly does, and I have “touched upon” the subject long ago. Strangely enough, I found a European author, the greatest materialist of his time, Baron d’ Holbach, whose views coincide entirely with the views of our philosophy. When reading his Essais sur la nature, I might have imagined I had our book of Kiu-ti before me. In the forthcoming Theosophist you will find a note or two appended to Hume’s translation of Eliphas Levi’s Preface[ Theosophist, November 1882. See Appendix D.] in connection with the lost continent. And now, since I am determined to make of the present answers a volume, bear your cross with Christian fortitude, and then, perhaps, after reading the whole, you will ask for no more for some time to come. But what can I add to that already told? I am unable to give you purely scientific information since we can never agree entirely with Western conclusions, and ours will be rejected as unscientific. Yet both geology and palaeontology bear witness to much we have to say. Of course your science is right in many of her generalities, but her premises are wrong or at any rate very faulty. For instance, she is right in saying that, while the new America was forming, the ancient Atlantis was sinking and gradually wasting away; but she is neither right in her given epochs nor in the calculations of the duration of that sinking. The latter is the future fate of your British Islands, the first on the list of victims that have to be destroyed by fire (submarine volcanoes) and water. France and other lands will follow suit. When they reappear again, the last seventh sub-race of the Sixth Root-race of present mankind will be flourishing on Lemuria and Atlantis, both of which will have reappeared also (their reappearance following immediately the disappearance of the present isles and continents), and very few seas and great waters will be found then on our globe, waters as well as land appearing and disappearing and shifting periodically and each in turn.
Trembling at the prospect of fresh charges of “contradictions” at some future incomplete statement, I rather explain what I mean by this. The approach of every new “obscuration” is always signalled by cataclysms of either fire or water. But apart from this, every “ring” or Root Race has to be cut in two, so to say, by either one or the other. Thus having reached the apex of its development and glory, the Fourth Race, the Atlantean, was destroyed by water; you find now but their degenerated fallen remnants, whose sub-races nevertheless - aye, each of them - had its palmy days of glory and relative greatness. What they are now, you will be some day, the law of cycles being one and immutable.
When your race, the Fifth, will have reached is zenith of physical intellectuality and developed the highest civilisation (remember the difference we make between material and spiritual civilisations), unable to go any higher in its own cycle, its progress towards absolute evil will be arrested (as its predecessors the Lemurians and the Atlanteans, the men of the Third and Fourth Races, were arrested in their progress towards the same) by one of such “cataclysmic changes,” its great civilisation destroyed, and all the sub-races of that race will be found going down their respective cycles after a short period of glory and learning. See the remnants of the Atlanteans, the old Greeks and Romans [The “autochthonous” Greeks and Etruscan Romans.] (the modern belong to all the Fifth Race). See how great and how short, how evanescent were their days of fame and glory! For, they were but sub-races of the seven offshoots of the Root race.
No Mother Race, any more than her sub-races and offshoots, is allowed by the one reigning Law to trespass upon the prerogatives of the Race or sub-race that will follow it; least of all to encroach upon the knowledge and powers for its successor.
-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
On the Hypothetical Absolute and Infinite Final Cause
Note - The following notes down to the end of the page are much abbreviated. So far as the original essay or memorandum of Hume is concerned, M’s notes are just made intelligible by a few lines of the original essay. I am not now abbreviating anything, but am giving you all I thought it necessary to preserve at this time. [A.P.S.] [ I put in italics the parts from Mr. Hume’s essay.]
The Absolute and Infinite is composed of the conditioned and finite. Causes are conditioned in their modes of existence, as attributes and as individual aggregates - unconditioned and eternal in their sum, or as a collective aggregate.
If the Absolute is a blind law how can it give birth to intelligence?
But passive latent intelligence or that principle diffused throughout the universe, which in its pure immateriality is non-intelligence and non-consciousness, and which, as soon as it becomes imprisoned in matter is transformed into both, can . . .[ Sentence not finished in MS.] The Absolute, if intelligent, must be omnipotent, omniscient and all good.
Please give your reasons why.
In the last the Absolute, itself non-conscious, is linked to intelligence by emanations supposed to be conditioned. How far this satisfies the mind as to the possibility of intelligence evolving out of non-intelligence depends on the mind addressed.
What do you know of the gradual development of brain since the Silurian period?
It is useless . . . [Sentence not finished in MS.] Show me the philosopher, who would prove it useless . . . to say that evil is as necessary to make good apparent, as darkness to make light cognizable. To the unconditioned it may be, to the omnipotent nothing is necessary.
Prove him first.
But clearly a conditioned agency is not the final cause. Above it is the law or principle that conditions it.
How’s this? Where? Not unless you create something outside the Absolute and limitless.
Problems lying behind the veil that separates the non-manifested final cause from the manifested universe are beyond the grasp of minds conditioned in that universe.
Indeed they are not.
. . .the Absolute infinite is unthinkable and we can neither comprehend it nor justify its ways to man.
Then why lose time over it? Who commissioned you to do so?
Your all pervading supreme power exists but it is exactly matter, whose life is motion, will, and nerve power electricity. Purusha can think but through Prakriti.
[Following this I have an essay by Hume summing up the previous conclusions, as follows, A.P.S.]:
What you would say would be: “Whether this be so or not (as regards the hypothesis of an absolute beyond the conditioned) it is and must ever remain a pure hypothesis. The highest intelligences in the universe know nothing about it. So far as they can explore, the manifested universe is boundless and infinite. Our philosophy admits only of what is known and knowable. This is admittedly unknowable even to Planetaries, and it is ex hypothesi non-existent. Why then consider it?
“Even were this conception correct how does it concern us? For thousands of years the highest Planetaries have explored the universe; they have found no limits to it, nothing in it is guided or governed by any external impulse, everything on the contrary proceeding from internal impulses which they understand and which suffice to explain everything they have ever had cognizance of. A quoi bon then to introduce the unnecessary conception of a something (which as non-existent for us is a nothing) outside and beyond what for us is limitless and eternal, when whether it exists or not it plays no discoverable part in anything that concerns us?
“The fact is, your western philosophical conceptions are monarchical, ours democratic. You are only able to think of the Universe as governed by a King, while we know it to be a republic in which the aggregate, indwelling intelligence rules.”
We might say more: never better. That is just what we would say.
Who are the artificers of the world?
Dhyan Chohans, Planetaries.
Essay by Hume, with Notes as before from M.
The universe may primarily be conceived as space pervaded by an infinite and eternal and homogeneous congeries of molecules, in which motion, their latent unconscious life, is inherent. In this, its passive, unmanifested state, may it be regarded as chaos?
Yes, if only people were capable of conceiving what real chaos is, which they are not.
Though truly a unity, it may be conceived in its various aspects, as space in regard to its boundless extension, co-existing with eternity in regard to its endless duration, cosmic matter in regard to its molecules, and cosmic force in regard to its all pervading motion. But these four conceptions must be held to indicate not four elements composing a compound, but rather four properties or attributes of one single thing, just as on earth one thing may be hot, luminous, heavy and in motion. This universe, one and indivisible in its passive, unmanifested form, this chaos, is for us non-existent.
For you, but why speak for others?
But throughout it are scattered centers of activity or evolution, and wherever and whenever activity prevails, there portions of the whole differentiate, and where this occurs, homogeneity ceases. This differentiation is due (1) to the greater or less proximity of the molecules, (2) to their greater or less attenuation.
What does (2) mean? How can the primal molecules grow thinner or fatter - ex nihilo, etc.
I was not aware that atoms were considered by you as something nihil. Are not the molecules considered by science as compound atoms? Your science knows only of such compound molecules, and a primal atom is and will remain for ever as a hypothetical abstraction for it. Science can know nothing of the nature of atoms outside the region of effects on her globe, and even that atom she calls indivisible, which we do not, for we know of the existence and properties of the universal solvent, the essence of the Panchamahabhutam, the five elements. Even the existence of the atoms which compose the unseen medium, through which the power which magnetises instantly a short, iron rod placed across the centre of a hoop two yards in diameter, around which a wire thickly covered with India rubber is coiled, even the existence of such atoms, I say, remains an open question, and science remains puzzled and embarrassed to decide whether it is an action at a distance, without or with some mysterious medium, or what?
(3) To changes in their polarity. This differentiation in activity is manifestation, and every thing so differentiated comes into existence or becomes conceivable for us. Each centre of activity (and these centres are countless) marks a solar system, but these are still rari nantes in gurgite vasto, hanging in the all pervading ocean of the unmanifested universe, out of which new manifestations are perpetually evolving, and into the oblivion of which others whose cycle has been completed are ever returning.
Alternations of activity and passivity constitute the cyclic law of the universe. As the microcosm, man, has his days and nights, his waking and his sleeping hours, so has the earth, which, a macrocosm to him, is a microcosm to the solar system, and so has this latter, which, a macrocosm to a single globe, is itself a microcosm to the universe.
That the universe itself must similarly have its days and nights of activity and passivity is probable by analogy, but if so, these cover periods unthinkable, and the fact remains unknowable by the highest intelligences conditioned in the universe.
The night of the solar system, the Pralaya of the Hindoos, the Maha-Bardo or great night of mind of the Tibetans, involves the disintegration of all form, and the return of that portion of the universe occupied by that system to its passive, unmanifested condition, space pervaded by atoms in motion. Everything else passes away for the time but matter, which these ultimate atoms represent (though at times objective, at times potential or subjective, now organised, now unorganised, is eternal and indestructible), and motion is the imperishable life (conscious or unconscious as the case may be) of matter. Even, therefore, during the night of mind, when all other forces are paralysed, when omniscience and ignorance both sleep, and everything else rests, this latent unconscious life unceasingly maintains the molecules in which it is inherent, in blind resultless and purposeless motion inter se.
Why should it be more purposeless and resultless than the unconscious blind motion of the atoms in any foetus preparing for rebirth?
The solar system has disappeared even to the highest intelligences in other solar systems. Is this correct? Can the Planetaries in any way cognize the passive, non-being portions of the universe?
Adepts can at will, I know, create forms out of cosmic matter, but probably this cosmic matter is many degrees from matter as it exists in the passive latent universe, which perhaps should rather be called potential than cosmic matter.
Potentiality is a possibility, not an actuality. Find a better word.
But nothing has been annihilated any more than anything has been ever created, only this recently active, organised, manifested and existing portion of the universe, losing all differentiation of its parts, has passed into its primordial, passive, homogeneous, unmanifested, and, quoad all intelligences, non-existent or unconceivable state. It has resettled into chaos. If it is asked, whence these alternations of activity and passivity, the reply is that they are the law inherent in the universe. (Here as a footnote would come the purport of the argument approved by you against the unnecessary creation of an intelligence outside the self-governed universe.)
If you can show me one being or object in the universe which does not originate and develop through and in accordance with blind law, then only will your argument hold good and footnote be necessary. The doctrine of evolution is an eternal protest. Evolution means unfolding of the evolute from the involute, a process of gradual growth. The only thing that could have possibly been spontaneously created is cosmic matter, and primordium with us means not only primogenitureship but eternalism, for matter is eternal and one of the Hlun dhub, not a Kyen, - a cause, itself the result of some primary cause. Were it so at the end of every Mahapralaya, when the whole cosmos moves into collective perfection, and every atom (that you call primordial, and we, eternal) emanates from itself a still finer atom - every individual atom containing in itself the actual potentiality of evolving milliards of worlds each more perfect and more ethereal - how is it that there is no sign of such an intelligence outside the self-governed universe? You take a last hypothesis - a portion of your God sits in every atom. He is divided ad infinitum, he remains concealed, in abscondito, and the logical conclusion we arrive at is that, as the infinite mind of the Dhyan Chohans knows, the newly emanated atoms are incapable of any conscious or unconscious action, unless they receive the intellectual impulses from them. Ergo, your God is no better than blind matter ever propelled by as blind eternal force, or law, which is that matter’s God, perchance. Well, well, we shall not lose time over such talk.
The period of passivity ends, the night of mind ceases, the solar system awakes and re-emerges into manifestation and existence, and everything throughout it is once more as it was when the night set in. Though a period inconceivable to human minds has passed, it has passed but as a sound and dreamless sleep. The law of activity comes again into operation, the centre of evolution resumes its work, the fount of being commences to flow again. I conclude this must be so, or otherwise the matter ejected from the vortex or central point, would find none in a differentiated state from which to acquire its own impulses of differentiation.
When the hour strikes, the cosmic atoms already in a differentiated state remain in statu quo, as well as globes and everything else in the process of formation. Therefore you have seized the idea. [ I interpolate a warning here that Hume and I got a good deal off the rails at this point. It was not till long afterwards that the impressions suggested by this note, erroneous themselves though the note was afterwards justified, were cleared up. A.P.S.] in the still passive portion of the universe, in which, and interpenetrated by which, hangs the re-manifested solar system in the non-being where subsists the eternal mechanical motion, its uncreated cause or vortex is formed, which in its ceaseless rotation perpetually ejects the polarised active manifested conscious universe, the unpolarised passive unmanifested and unconscious universal element.
Call it motion. cosmic matter, duration, or space, for it is all these and yet one, this is the universe manifested and unmanifested, and there is nothing else in the universe. But the moment it passes out of passivity or non-being into activity or being, it begins to change its state, and differentiate from contact with what had formerly changed; and so the eternal wheel rolls on, the effect of today becoming the cause of tomorrow for ever and ever. But it must ever be remembered that the non-being, the passive, is the eternal, the real; the being, the active, the transitory and the unreal. For longer or shorter as its career may be according to the impulses it receives, sooner or later the manifested disintegrates into the unmanifested, and being fades into non-being.
But how about the highest Planetaries? They surely do not return into non-being, but pass on to higher or at any rate different solar systems?
The highest state of Nirvana is the highest state of non-being. There comes a time when the whole infinitude sleeps or rests, when all is re-immersed in the one eternal and uncreated sum of all, the sum of the latent unconscious potentiality.
It has been stated that a differentiation of the primordial element is the basis of the manifested universe and we must now consider the seven different principles that constitute and govern that universe, or in other words the seven different states or conditions in which this element exists in it.
There is no finite or primordial design but in conjunction with organised matter. Design is Kyen, a cause arising from a primary one. The latent design exists from the eternity in the one unborn eternal atom, or the central point which is everywhere and nowhere, called - (our most secret incommunicable name given at Initiation to the highest Adepts.) So I can give you the six names of the principles of our solar system but have to withhold the rest, and even the name of the seventh. Call it the unknown and explain why. A dam ye (a Brahman) will not give you the name of even the crown of the Akasa, but will speak of the six primary forces in nature represented by the solar light.
I’ll give you the principles by and bye. Study this well first.
Question- I conceive that at the close of a Pralaya the impulse given by the Dhyan Chohans does not develop from chaos a succession of worlds simultaneously, but seriatim. The comprehension of the manner in which each in succession ensues from its predecessor, as the impact of the original impulse, might perhaps be better postponed till after I am enabled to realise the working of the whole machine - the cycle of worlds - after all its parts have come into existence.
Answer - Correctly conceived, nothing in Nature springs into existence suddenly, all being subjected to the same laws of gradual evolution. Realise but once the process of the Maha-cycle of one sphere, and you have realised them all. One man is born like another man. One race evolves, develops and declines like another and all other races. Nature follows the same groove from the “creation” of a universe, down to that of a mosquito. In studying esoteric cosmogony, keep a spiritual eye upon the physiological process of human birth, proceed from cause to effect, establishing as you go along analogies between the birth of a man and that of a world. In our doctrine you will find necessary the synthetic method; you will have to embrace the whole, that is to say, to blend the macrocosm and microcosm together, before you are enabled to study the parts separately, or analyse them, with profit to your understanding. Cosmology is the physiology of the universe spiritualised, for there is but one law.
Question- Taking the middle of a period of activity between two Pralayas, i.e., of a Manvantara, what I understand to happen is this. Atoms are polarised in the . . . [ Question not continued in MS.]
Answer - Polarising themselves during the process of motion, and propelled by the irresistible force at work in cosmogony and the work of Nature, the positive and negative or the active and passive forces correspond to the male and female principles. Your spiritual efflux comes out from behind the veil, but is the male seed falling into the veil of cosmic matter. The active is attracted by the passive principle, and the great Nag, the serpent-emblem of eternity, attracts its tail to its mouth, forming thereby a circle (cycles of the eternity) in that incessant pursuit of the negative by the positive. Hence the emblem of the lingam, the phallus and the eteis. [ So in MS.] The one and chief attribute of the universal spiritual principle, the unconscious but ever active life-giver, is to expand and shed; that of the universal material principle, to gather in and fecundate. Unconscious and non-existing when separated, they become consciousness and life when brought together. Hence again Brahman from the root brih, the Sanskrit for “to expand, grow, or to fructify,” Brahman being but the vivifying expansive force of Nature in its eternal evolution . . . .highest [ First part of sentence omitted in MS.] region of spiritual efflux from behind the veil of primitive cosmic matter. The magnetic impulse which has accomplished this result flits from one universal form to another within the first sphere, till having run the round of existence in that kingdom of the first sphere, it succeeds in a current of attraction to the second sphere.
Question- Do worlds of effects intervene between the worlds of activity in the series of descent?
Answer - The worlds of effects are not Lokas or localities, they are the shadow of the world of causes - their souls - worlds having like men their seven principles which develop and grow simultaneously with the body. Thus the body of man is wedded to and remains for ever within the body of his planet. His individual Jivatma, life principle, returns after death to its source, so that his Linga Sharira will be drawn into Akasa; his Kama Rupa will recommingle with the universal Shakti, the will force or universal energy; his animal soul, borrowed from the breath of universal mind, will return to the Dhyan Chohans; his sixth principle, whether drawn into or ejected from the matrix of the great passive principle, must remain in its own sphere, either as part of the crude material, or as an individualised unity to be reborn in a higher world of causes. The seventh will carry it from the Devachan and follow the new ego to its place of rebirth.
Question- The magnetic impulse, which cannot yet be conceived of as an individuality, enters the second sphere in the same, the mineral kingdom, as that to which it belonged in the first sphere, and runs the round of mineral incarnations, there passing on to the third sphere. Our earth is still a sphere of necessity for it. Hence it passes into the upward series and from the highest of these passes into the vegetable kingdom of the first sphere. Without any new impulse of creative force from above, its career round the cycle of worlds as a universal principle has developed some new attractions or polarisations, which cause it to assume the lowest vegetable form. In vegetable forms, it passes successively through the cycle of worlds, the whole being still a circle of necessity (as no responsibility can yet have accrued to an unconscious individuality and therefore it cannot at any stage of its progress do anything to select one or other of divergent paths); or is there something in the life even of a vegetable which, though not responsibility, may lead it up, or down, at this critical stage of its progress? Having completed the whole cycle as a vegetable, the growing individuality expands on its next circuit into an animal form.
Answer - The evolution of the worlds cannot be considered apart from the evolution of everything created or having being on these worlds. Your accepted conceptions of cosmogony, whether from the theological or scientific standpoints, do not enable you to solve a single anthropological or even ethnical problem, and they stand in your way whenever you attempt to solve the problem of the races on this planet.
When a man begins to talk about creation and the origin of man, he is butting against the facts incessantly. Go on saying, “our planet and man were created,” and you will be fighting against hard facts, for ever analysing and losing time over trifling details, unable to ever grasp the whole. But once admit that our planet and ourselves are no more creations than the iceberg now before me (in our K.H.’s home) but that both planet and man are states for a given time; that their present appearance - geological and anthropological - is transitory, and but a condition concomitant of that state of evolution at which they have arrived in the descending cycle; and all will become plain. You will easily understand what is meant by the “one and only” element or principle in the universe and that androgynous - the seven headed serpent or Manda of Vishnu, the Nag around Buddha, the great dragon of eternity from the emanations of which spring worlds, beings and things; you will comprehend the reason why the first philosopher proclaimed all Maya, but that one principle which rests during the Mahapralayas or the nights of Brahma.
Now think the Nag awakes. He heaves a heavy breath, and the latter is sent like an electric shock all along the wire encircling space. Go to your piano and execute upon the lower register of keys the seven notes of the lower octave, up and down. Begin pianissimo, crescendo from the first key, and having struck fortissimo on the last note, go back diminuendo, getting out of your last note a hardly perceptible sound. The first and last notes will represent to you the first and last spheres in the cycle of evolution. The one you struck once is our planet. The seven vowels chanted by the Egyptian priests to the seven rays of the rising sun to which Memnon responded meant but that. The one life principle when in action runs in circuits, even as known in physical science. It runs the round in the human body where the head represents and is to the microcosmos, (the physical world of matter) what the summit of the cycle is to the macrocosmos (world of universal spiritual forces); so with the formation of worlds and the great descending and ascending circle of necessity. All is one law. Man has his seven principles, the germs of which he brings with him at his birth. So has a plant or a world. From first to last every sphere has its world of effects, the passing through which will afford a place of final rest to each of the human principles, the seventh principle excepted. The world A is born, and with it, clinging like barnacles to the bottom of a ship in motion, evolve from its first breath of life the living beings of its atmosphere, from the germs hitherto inert, now awakening to life with the first motion of the sphere. With sphere A begins the universal kingdom, and runs the round of universal evolution. By the time it is completed, sphere B comes into objectivity and draws to itself the life which has completed its round on sphere A, and has become a surplus (the fount of life being inexhaustible, for it is the true Archnea doomed to spin out its web eternally, save during the period of Pralaya). Then comes vegetable life on sphere A, and the same process takes place. On its downward course life becomes with every state coarser, more material; on its upward, more shadowy.
No; there is not, nor can there be, any responsibility until the time when matter and spirit are properly equilibrized. Up to man, life has no responsibility in whatever form, no more than has a foetus who in his mother’s womb passes through all the forms of life - a mineral, a vegetable, an animal - to become finally man.
Question- Where does it get the animal soul, its fifth principle from? Has the potentiality of this resided from the first in the original magnetic impulse which constituted the mineral, or at every transition from the last world on the ascending side to the first sphere, does it so to speak pass through and ocean of spirit and assimilate some new principle?
Answer - Thus you see his fifth principle is evolved from within himself, man having, as you will say, the “potentiality” of all the seven principles as a germ, from the very instant he appears on the first world of causes as a shadowy breath, which coagulates with, and is hardened together with, its parent sphere. Spirit as life is indivisible, and when we speak of the seventh principle, it is neither quality nor quantity nor yet form that are meant, but rather the space occupied in that ocean of spirit by the results of effects, beneficent as are all those of a co-worker with Nature impressed thereon.
-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
Question- Can you (i.e., is it permitted) ever answer any questions relating to matter of physical science? If so, here are some points that I should greatly like dealt with.
Answer - Most undoubtedly I am so permitted. But then comes the most important point, how far satisfactory will my answers appear even to you? That not every law brought to light is regarded as adding a link to the chain of human knowledge, is shown by the ill grace with which every fact unwelcome, for some reasons, to science is received by its professors. Nevertheless whenever I can answer you I will try to do so, only hoping that you will not send it as a contribution from my pen to the Journal of Science.
Question- Have magnetic conditions anything to do with the precipitation of rain, or is that due entirely to atmospheric currents at different temperatures encountering other currents of different humidities, the whole set of motions being established by pressures, expansions etc., due in the first instance to solar energy? If magnetic conditions are engaged, how do they operate and how could they be tested?
Answer - Most assuredly they have. Rain can be brought on in a small area of space, artificially and without any claim to miracle or superhuman powers, though its secret is no property of mine that I should divulge it. I am now trying to obtain permission to do so. We know of no phenomenon in nature entirely unconnected with either magnetism or electricity - since where there are motion, heat, friction, light, there magnetism and its alter ego (according to our humble opinion) electricity, will always appear either as cause or effect, or rather both, if we but fathom the manifestation to its origin. All the phenomena of earth-currents, terrestrial magnetism and atmospheric electricity are due to the face that the earth is an electrified conductor, whose potential is ever changing owing to its rotation and its annual orbital motion, the successive cooling and heating of the air, the formation of clouds and rainstorms and winds, etc. This you may perhaps find in some text book. But then science would be unwilling to admit that all those changes are due to akasic magnetism, incessantly generating electric currents which tend to restore the disturbed equilibrium. By directing the most powerful of electric batteries - the human frame electrified by a certain process - you can stop rain on some given point by making “a hole in the rain-clouds,” as the occultists term it. By using other strongly magnetic implements within, so to say, an insulated area, rain can be produced artificially. I regret my inability to explain to you the process more clearly. You know the effects produced by trees and plants on rainclouds, and how their strong magnetic nature attracts and even feeds those clouds over the tops of the trees. Science explains it otherwise, may be. Well, I cannot help it, for such is our knowledge and the fruits of millenniums of observation and experience.
Were the present to fall into the hands of Hume, he would be sure to remark that I am vindicating the charge publicly brought by him against us: “Whenever unable to answer your arguments (?) they (we) calmly reply that their (our) rules do not admit of this or that”. I am compelled to answer that, since the secret is not mine, I cannot make of it a marketable commodity. Let some physicist calculate the amount of heat required to vaporise a certain quantity of water; let them compute the quantity of rain needed to cover an area - say one square mile to a depth of one inch. For this amount of vaporisation they will require of course an amount of heat that would be equal to at least five million tons of coal. Now the amount of energy, of which this consumption of heat would be the equivalent, corresponds (as any mathematician could tell you) to that which would be required to raise a weight of upwards of ten million tons one mile high. How can one man generate such an amount of heat and energy? Preposterous, absurd! We are all lunatics and you who listen to us will be placed in the same category if you ever venture to repeat this proposition. Yet I say that one man alone can do it and very easily, if he is but acquainted with a certain “physico-spiritual” lever in himself, far more powerful than that of Archimedes. Even simple muscular contraction is always accompanied by electric and magnetic phenomena, and there is the strongest connection between the magnetism of the earth, the changes of weather, and man, who is the best barometer living, if he but know how to decipher it properly.
Again, the state of the sky can always be ascertained by the variations shewn by magnetic instruments. It is now several years since I had an opportunity of reading the deductions of science upon this subject; therefore, unless I go to the trouble of catching up what I may have remained ignorant of, I do not know the latest conclusions of science. But with us it is an established fact that it is the earth’s magnetism that produces wind, storm, and rain. What science seems to know of it is but secondary symptoms always induced by that magnetism, and she may very soon find out her present errors.
The earth’s magnetic attraction of meteoric dust and the direct influence of the latter upon the sudden changes of temperature, especially in the matter of heat and cold, are not settled questions to the present day. I believe Dr. Plimpson in 1867 and Cowper Ranyard in 1879 both urged the theory, but it was rejected. It was doubted whether the fact of our earth’s passing through a region of space, in which there are more or less of meteoric masses, has any bearing upon the height of our atmosphere’s being increased or decreased, or even upon the state of the weather. But we think we could easily prove it; and since they accept the fact that the relative proportion and distribution of land and water on our globe may be due to the great accumulation upon it of meteoric dust, (snow, especially in our northern regions, being full of meteoric iron and magnetic particles), and deposits of the latter being found even at the bottom of seas and oceans, I wonder how science has not hitherto understood that every atmospheric change and disturbance was due to the combined magnetism of the two great masses between which our atmosphere is compressed. I call this meteoric dust a “mass,” for it is really one. High above our earth’s surface the air is impregnated and space filled with magnetic-meteoric dust which does not even belong to our solar system. Science, having luckily discovered that as our earth with all the other planets is carried along through space, it receives a greater proportion of that dust matter on its northern than on its southern hemisphere, knows that to this are due the preponderating number of the continents in the former hemisphere and the greater abundance of snow and moisture. Millions of such meteors and even of the finest particles reach us every year and every day and all our temple knives are made of this “heavenly” iron, which reaches us without having undergone any change - the magnetism of the earth keeping them in cohesion. Gaseous matter is continually added to our atmosphere from the never ceasing fall of meteoric, strongly magnetic matter, and yet it seems with them still an open question whether the magnetic conditions have anything to do with the precipitation of rain or not. I do not know of any “set of motions established by pressure, expansion, etc., due in the first instance to solar energy”. Science makes too much and too little at the same time of “solar energy” and even of the sun itself; and the sun has nothing whatsoever to do with the rain and very little with heat. I was under the impression that science was aware that the glacial periods, as well as those periods when the temperature was “like that of the carboniferous age,” are due to the decrease and increase, or rather to the expansion, of our atmosphere, which expansion is itself due to the same meteoric presence. At any rate we all know that the heat that the earth receives by radiation from the sun is at the utmost one third, if not less, of the amount received by her directly from the meteors.
Question- Is the Sun's corona an atmosphere of any known gases? and why does it assume the rayed shape always observed in eclipses?
Answer - Call it a chromosphere or atmosphere? It can be called neither; for it is simply the magnetic and ever-present aura of the sun seen by astronomers for a few brief moments only during the eclipses, and by some of our Chelas whenever they like - of course while in a certain induced state. A counterpoint of what the astronomers call the red flames in the corona may be seen in Reichenbach’s crystals, or in any other strongly magnetic body. The head of a man in a strongly ecstatic condition, when all the electricity of his system is centred around the brain, will represent (especially in darkness) a perfect simile of the sun during such periods. The first artist who drew the aureole about the heads of his gods and saints was not inspired, but represented it on the authority of temple pictures and traditions of the sanctuary and the chambers of Initiation where such phenomena took place. The closer to the head or to the aura-emitting body, the stronger and the more effulgent the emanation (due to hydrogen, science tells us, in the case of the flames) hence the irregular red flames around the Sun or the “inner corona”. The fact that these are not always present in equal quantity shows only the constant fluctuation of the magnetic matter and its energy, upon which also depend the number and variety of the spots. During periods of magnetic inertia the spots disappear, or rather remain invisible. The farther the emanation shoots out, the more it loses in intensity, until, gradually subsiding, it fades out; hence the outer corona; its rayed shape being due entirely to the latter phenomenon, whose effulgence proceeds from the magnetic nature of the matter and the electric energy, and not at all from intensely hot particles, as asserted by some astronomers.
All this is terribly unscientific, nevertheless a fact, to which I may add another by reminding you that the Sun we see is not at all the central planet of our little universe, but only its veil or its reflection. Science has tremendous disadvantages against studying that planet, which luckily for us we have not, foremost of all being the constant tremors of our atmosphere, which prevent them from judging correctly the little they do see. This impediment was never in the way of the ancient Chaldee and Egyptian astronomers, nor is it an obstacle to us, for we have the means of arresting or counteracting such tremors, acquainted as we are with all the akasic conditions. No more than the rain secret would this secret, supposing we do divulge it, be of any practical use to your men of science unless they become occultists, and sacrifice long years to the acquirement of powers. Only, fancy a Huxley or a Tyndall studying Yog-Vidya! Hence the many mistakes into which they fall and the conflicting hypotheses of your best authorities. For instance, the Sun is full of iron vapours - a fact that was demonstrated by the spectroscope, showing that the light of the corona considered largely of a line in the green part of the spectrum, very nearly coinciding with an iron line. Yet Professors Young and Lockyer rejected that under the witty pretext, if I remember, that, if the corona were composed of minute particles like a dust cloud (and it is this that we call magnetic matter) these particles would (1) fall upon the Sun’s body; (2) comets were known to pass through this vapour without any visible effect on them; (3) Prof. Young’s spectroscope showed that the coronal line was not identical with the iron one, etc. Why they should call those objections scientific is more than we can tell.
Firstly, the reason why the particles - since they call them so - do not fall upon the Sun’s body is self-evident; there are forces co-existent with gravitation of which they know nothing - besides that other fact that there is no gravitation properly speaking only attraction and repulsion. Secondly, how could comets be affected by the said passage since their “passing through” is simply an optical illusion? They could not pass within the area of attraction without being immediately annihilated by that force of which no vril can give an adequate idea, since there can be nothing on earth that could be compared with it. Passing as the comets do through a “reflection,” no wonder that the said vapour has “no visible effect upon these light bodies”.
Thirdly, the coronal line may not seem identical through the best “grating spectroscopes”; nevertheless the corona contains iron as well as other vapours. To tell you of what it does consist is idle, since I am unable to translate the words we use for it, and that no such matter exists except in the Sun - not in our planetary system, at any rate. The fact is that what you call the Sun is simply the reflection of the huge “storehouse” of our system wherein all its forces are generated and preserved - the Sun being the heart and brain of our pigmy universe. We might compare its faculae - those millions of small intensely brilliant bodies of which the Sun’s surface away from the spots is made up - with the blood corpuscles of that luminary, though some of them, as correctly conjectured by science, are as large as Europe. Those blood corpuscles are the electric and magnetic matter in its sixth and seventh state. What are those long white filaments twisted like so many ropes of which the penumbra of the Sun is made up? What the central part that is seen like a huge flame ending in fiery (threads) spires, and the transparent clouds, or rather vapours formed of delicate threads of silvery light that hang over those flames? What but the magneto-electric aura - the phlogiston of the Sun? Science may go on speculating forever, yet so long as she does not renounce two or three of her cardinal errors she will find herself forever groping in the dark. Some of her greatest misconceptions are to be found in her limited notions of the law of gravitation - her denial that matter may be imponderable, her newly invented term “force,” and the absurd and tacitly accepted idea that force is capable of existing per se, or of acting (any more than life) outside, independent of, or in any way otherwise than through matter; in other words, that force is anything but matter in one of her highest states, the three last on the ascending scale being denied, only because science knows nothing of them - and in her utter ignorance of the universal Proteus, its functions and importance in the economy of nature - magnetism and electricity. Tell science that even in those days of the decline of the Roman Empire, when the tattooed Britisher used to offer to the Emperor Claudius his nazzur [Tributary offering.] of “electron” in the shape of a string of amber beads, that even then there were yet men remaining aloof from the universal masses, who knew more of electricity and magnetism than they, the men of science, do now, and science will laugh at you as bitterly as she now does over your kind dedication to me. [ Mr Sinnett dedicated his Occult World to the Master K.H.]
Verily, when your astronomers, speaking of Sun-matter, term those lights and flames “clouds of vapour” and “gases unknown to science,” chased by mighty whirl-winds and cyclones (whereas we know it to be simply magnetic matter in its usual state of activity), we feel inclined to smile at the expressions. Can one imagine the “Sun’s fires fed with purely mineral matter - with meteorites highly charged with hydrogen giving the Sun a far-reaching atmosphere of ignited gas’? We know that the invisible sun is composed of that which neither has name nor can be compared to anything known by your science on earth; and that its “reflection” contains still less of anything like “gases,” mineral matter, or fire, though even we, when treating of it in your civilized tongue, are compelled to use such expressions as “vapour” and “magnetic matter”. To close the subject, the coronal changes have no effect upon the earth’s climate though the spots have, and Prof. Lockyer is mostly wrong in his deductions. The sun is neither a solid, a liquid, nor yet a gaseous globe, but a gigantic ball of electro-magnetic forces - the storehouse of universal life and motion, from which the latter pulsate in all directions, feeding the smallest atom as the greatest genius with the same material unto the end of the Maha-yuga.
Question- Is the photometric value of light emitted by stars a safe guide to their distance, considered of course in connection with distance as guessed by parallax, and is it true, as astronomy assumes faute de mieux in the way of a theory, that per square mile the Sun’s surface emits as much light as can be emitted from any body?
Answer - I believe not. The stars are distant from us, at least 500,000 times as far as the Sun and some as many times more. The strong accumulation of the meteoric matter and the atmospheric tremors are always in the way. If your astronomers could climb on the height of that meteoric dust, with their telescopes and havannas, they might trust more than they can now in their photometers. How can they? Neither can the real degree of intensity of that light be known on earth. Hence no trustworthy basis for calculating magnitudes and distances can be had, nor have they hitherto made sure in a single instance, except in the matter of one star, which stars shine by reflected and which by their own light. The working of the best double star photometers is deceptive. Of this I have made sure, so far back as in the spring of 1878, while watching the observations made through a Pickering photometer. The discrepancy in the observations upon a star (near Gamma Ceti) amounted at times to half a magnitude. No planets but one have hitherto been discovered outside of the solar system, with all their photometers, while we know with the sole half of our spiritual naked eye a number of them, every completely matured Sun-star having, as in our own system, several companion planets in fact. The famous “polarisation of light” test is about as trustworthy as all others. Of course, the mere fact of their starting from a false premise cannot vitiate either their conclusions or astronomical prophesies, since both are mathematically correct in their mutual relations, and that it answers the given object. Neither the Chaldees nor yet our old Rishis had either your telescopes or photometers, and yet their astronomical productions were faultless - the mistakes, very slight ones in truth, fathered upon them by their modern rivals, proceeding from the mistakes of the latter.
You must not complain of my too long answers to your very short questions, since I answer you for your instruction as a student of occultism, my “Lay” Chela, [ Mr. Sinnett called himself a Lay Chela, as he felt he could not observe the strict disciplines of a true Chela.] and not at all with a view of answering the Journal of Science. I am no man of Science with regard to or in connection with modern learning. My knowledge of your Western sciences is very limited in fact; and you will please bear in mind that all my answers are based upon, and derived from, our Eastern Occult doctrines, regardless of their agreement or disagreement with those of exact science. Hence I say, “the sun’s surface emits per square mile, as much light (in proportion) as can be emitted from any body.” But what can you mean in this case by “light’? The latter is not an independent principle; and I rejoiced at the introduction, with a view to facilitate means of observation, of the “diffraction spectrum”; since by abolishing all these imaginary independent existences, such as heat, actinism, light, etc., it rendered to occult science the greatest service, by vindicating in the eyes of her modern sister our very ancient theory that every phenomenon, being but the effect of the diversified motion of what we call Akasa (not your ether), there was in fact but one element, the causative principle of all. But since your question is asked with a view to settling a disputed point in modern science, I will try to answer it in the clearest way I can. I say then no, and will give you my reasons why.
They cannot know it, for the simple reason that heretofore they have in reality found no sure means of measuring the velocity of light. The experiments made by Fizeau and Corum, known as the two best investigators of light in the world of science, notwithstanding the general satisfaction at the results obtained, are not trustworthy data, neither in respect to the velocity with which sunlight travels nor to its quantity. The methods adopted by both these Frenchmen are yielding correct results (at any rate approximately correct, since there is variation of 227 miles per second between the result of the observation of both experimenters albeit made with the same apparatus) only as regards the velocity of light between our earth and the upper regions of its atmosphere. Their toothed wheel, revolving at a known velocity, records, of course, the strong ray of light which passes through one of the niches of the wheel and then has its points of light observed whenever a tooth passes accurately enough. The instrument is very ingenious and can hardly fail to give splendid results on a journey of a few thousand meters there and back, there being between the Paris observatory and its fortifications no atmosphere, no meteoric masses to impede the ray’s progress, and that ray finding quite a different quality of a medium to travel upon the ether of space, the ether between the Sun and the meteoric continent above our heads, the velocity of light will of course show some 185,000 and odd miles per second, and your physicists shout “Eureka”, nor do any of the other devices contrived by science to measure that velocity since 1887 answer any better. All they can say is that their calculations are so far correct. Could they measure light above our atmosphere they would soon find they were wrong.
Question- Is Jupiter a hot and still partially luminous body, and to what cause, as solar energy has probably nothing to do with matter, are the violent disturbances of Jupiter’s atmosphere due?
Answer - It is, so far; but is fast changing. Your science has a theory, I believe, that if the earth were suddenly placed in extremely cold regions - for instance, were it to exchange places with Jupiter - all our seas and rivers would be suddenly transformed into solid mountains; the air (or rather a portion of the aeriform substances which compose it) would be metamorphosed from their state of invisible fluid, owing to the absence of heat, into liquids (which now exist on Jupiter, but of which men have no idea on earth). Realize or try to imagine the reverse condition and it will be that of Jupiter at the present moment. The whole of our system is imperceptibly shifting its position in space, the relative distance between the planets remaining ever the same, and being in no wise affected by the displacement of the whole system; and the distance between the latter and the stars and other suns being so incommensurable as to produce but little, if any, perceptible change for centuries and millennia to come, no astronomer will perceive it telescopically, until Jupiter and some other planets whose little luminous points hide now from sight millions upon millions of stars (all but some 5,000 or 6,000), will suddenly let us have a peep at a few of the Raja Suns they are now hiding. There is such a King Star right behind Jupiter that no mortal physical eye has every seen during this our Round. Could it be so perceived, it would appear, through the best telescope with a power of multiplying its diameter 10,000 times, still a small dimension less point thrown into the shadow by the brightness of any planet; nevertheless, this world is thousands of times larger than Jupiter. The violent disturbances of its atmosphere and even its red spot that so interest science lately are due (1) to that shifting, (2) to the influence of that Raja Star. In its present position in space, imperceptibly small though it be, the metallic substances of which it is mainly composed are expanding and gradually transforming themselves into aeriform fluids - the state of our own earth and its six sister globes before the first Round - and becoming part of its atmosphere. Draw our own inferences and deductions from this, my dear “Lay Chela,” but beware lest in doing so you sacrifice your humble instructor and the occult doctrine itself, on the alter of your wrathful goddess, modern Science.
Question- Is there any truth in the new Siemens’ theory of solar combination, i.e., that the Sun in its passage through space gathers in at its poles combustible gas (which is diffused through all space in a highly attenuated condition), and throws it off again at the equator, after the intense heat of that region has again dispersed the elements, which combustion temporarily united?
Answer - I am afraid not much, since our Sun is but a reflection. The only great truth uttered by Siemens is that interstellar space is filled with highly attenuated matter, such as may be put in air vacuum tubes, and which stretches from planet to planet and from star to star. But this truth has no bearing upon his main facts. The Sun gives all and takes back nothing from its system. The Sun gathers nothing “at the poles,” which are always free even from the famous “red flames” at all times - not only during eclipses. How is it that with their powerful telescopes they have failed to perceive any such “gathering,” since their glasses show them even “the superlatively fleecy clouds” on the photo-sphere? Nothing can reach the Sun from without the boundaries of its own system in the shape of such gross matter as attenuated gases. Every bit of matter in all its seven states is necessary to the vitality of the various and numberless systems - worlds in formation, suns awakening anew to life, etc, - and they have none to spare even for their best neighbours and next of kin. They are mothers, not step-mothers, and would not take away one crumb from the nutrition of their children. The latest theory of radiant energy which shows that there is no such thing is nature, properly speaking, as chemical, light or heat ray, is the only approximately correct one. For, indeed, there is but one thing - radiant energy which is inexhaustible, and knows neither increase nor decrease, and will go on with its self-generating work to the end of the Solar Manvantara. The absorption of the solar forces by the earth is tremendous, yet it is or may be demonstrated that the latter receives hardly 25 per cent of the chemical power of its rays, for these are despoiled of 75 per cent during their vertical passage through the atmosphere, at the moment they reach the outer boundary of the “aerial ocean,” and even these rays lose about 20 per cent in illuminating and caloric power, we are told. What with such a waste must then be the recuperative power of our Father-Mother Sun? Yes, call it radiant energy, if you will; we call it life, all-pervading omnipresent life, ever at work in its great laboratory - the Sun.
Question- Could any clue be given to the causes of magnetic variations - the daily changes at given places, and the apparently capricious curvature of the isogonic lines which show equal declination? For example, why is there a region in Eastern Asia where the needle shows no variation from the true north, though variations are recorded all round that space? Have your Lordships anything to do with this peculiar condition of things?
Answer - None can ever be given by your men of science, whose “bumptiousness” makes them declare that only to those for whom the word magnetism is a mysterious agent can the supposition that the Sun is a huge magnet account for the production by that body of light, heat and the causes of magnetic variations perceived on our earth. They are determined to ignore and thus reject the theory suggested to them by Jenkins of the R.A.S. of the existence of strong magnetic poles above the surface of the earth; but the theory is the correct one nevertheless, and one of these poles revolves round the North Pole is a periodical cycle of several hundred years. Halley and Handstein, besides Jenkins, were the only scientific men who ever suspected it. Your question is again answered by reminding you of another exploded suggestion. Jenkins did his best some three years ago to prove that it is the north end of the compass needle that is the true north pole and not the reverse, as the current scientific theory maintains. He was informed that the locality in Boothia, where Sir James Ross located the earth’s north magnetic pole, was purely imaginary; it is not there. If he (and we) are wrong, then the magnetic theory that like poles repel and unlike attract must also be declared a fallacy; since if the north end of a dipping needle is a south pole, then its pointing to the ground in Boothia, as you call it, must be due to attraction, and if there is anything there to attract it, why is it that the needle in London is attracted neither to the ground in Boothia nor to the earth’s centre? As very correctly argued, if the north pole of the needle pointed almost perpendicularly to the ground in Boothia, it is simply because repelled by the true north magnetic pole, when Sir James Ross was there about half a century ago.
No; our “Lordships” have nothing to do with the inertia of the needle. It is due to the presence of certain metals in fusion in that locality. Increase of temperature diminishes magnetic attraction, and a sufficiently high temperature destroys it altogether. The temperature I am speaking of is, in the present case, rather an aura, an emanation, than anything that science knows of. Of course this explanation will never hold water with the present knowledge of science. But we can wait and see. Study magnetism with the help of occult doctrines, and then that which now will appear incomprehensible, or absurd in the light of physical science will become all clear.
Question- Could any other planets besides those known to modern astronomy (I do not mean mere planetoids) be discovered by physical instruments if properly directed?
Answer - They must be. Not all of the intra-Mercurial planets, nor yet those in the orbit of Neptune are yet discovered, though they are strongly suspected. We know that such exist and where they exist, and that there are innumerable planets “burnt out,” they say - in obscuration, we say - planets in formation and not yet luminous, and so forth. But then the “we know” is of little use to science when the spiritualists will not admit our knowledge. Edison’s tasimeter, adjusted to its unmost degree of sensitiveness and attached to a large telescope, may be of great use when perfected. When so attached, the “tasimeter” will afford the possibility, not only to measure the heat of the remotest visible stars, but to detect by their invisible radiations stars that are unseen and otherwise undetectable, hence planets also. The discoverer [ Edison became an honorary member of the T.S., and a letter of his exists in the Adyar records acknowledging his diploma of membership, which he promised to put in his “honour box” where he kept his really valued diplomas.] (an F.T.S., a good deal protected by M.) thinks that if at any point in a blank space of heaven - a space that appears blank even through a telescope of the highest power - the tasimeter indicates an accession of temperature and does so invariably, this will be a regular proof that the instrument is in range with a stellar body, either non-luminous or so distant as to be beyond the range of telescopic vision. This tasimeter, he says, “is affected by a wider range of etheric undulations than the eye can take cognizance of”. Science will hear sounds from certain planets before she sees them. This is a prophecy. Unfortunately I am not a planet - not even a “Planetary,” otherwise I would advise you to get a tasimeter from him, and thus avoid me the trouble of writing to you. I would manage then to find myself “in range” with you.
Simple prudence misgives me at the thought of entering upon my new role as instructor. If M. satisfied you but little, I am afraid of giving you still less satisfaction, for there are a thousand things I will have to leave unrevealed by my vow of silence; I have far less time at my disposal than he has. However I will try my best. Let it not be said that I failed to recognize your present sincere desire to become useful to the Society, hence to humanity, for I am deeply alive to the fact that none better than yourself in India is calculated to disperse the mists of superstition and popular error, by throwing light on the darkest problems. But before I answer your questions and explain our doctrine any further, I shall have to preface my replies with a long introduction.
First of all and again I will draw your attention to the tremendous difficulty of finding appropriate terms in English, which would convey to the educated European mind even an approximately correct notion about the various subjects we will have to treat upon. To illustrate my meaning, I will underline in red the technical words adopted and used by your men of science, and which withal are absolutely misleading, not only when applied to such transcendental subjects as on hand, but even when used by themselves in their own system of thought. To comprehend my answers you will have first of all to view the eternal Essence, the Svabhavat, not as a compound element you will call spirit-matter, but as this one element for which the English has no name. It is both passive and active, pure spirit Essence in its absoluteness and repose, pure matter in its finite and conditioned state, even as an imponderable gas, or that great unknown which science has pleased to call force. When poets talk of the shoreless ocean of immutability, we must regard the term as but a jocular paradox, since we maintain that there is no such thing as immutability, in our solar system as least.
Immutability, say the theists and Christians, is an attribute of God, and forthwith they endow that God with every mutable and variable quality and attribute knowable as unknowable, and believe they have solved the unsolvable and squared the circle. To this we reply, if that which the theists call God, and science “Force and Potential energy,” were to become immutable but for an instant, even during the Maha Pralaya - a period when even Brahm the architect of the world is said to have emerged into non being - then there could be no Manvantara, and space alone would reign unconscious and supreme in the eternity of Time. Nevertheless, theism when speaking of mutable immutability is no more absurd than materialistic science talking of “latent potential energy” and the “indestructibility of matter and force”. What are we to believe is indestructible? Is it the invisible something that moves matter, or the energy of moving bodies? What does modern science know of force proper, or say forces, the cause of causes of motion? How can there be such a thing as “potential energy,” i.e., an energy having latent inactive power, since it is energy only while it is moving matter, and that if it ever ceased to move matter it would cease to be, and with it matter itself would disappear? Is force any happier term? Some thirty-five years back a Dr. Mayer offered the hypothesis, now accepted as an axiom, that force, in the sense given it by modern science, like matter, is indestructible, namely, when it ceases to be manifested in one form it still exists, and has only passed into some other form. As yet your men of science have not found a single instance, where one form is translated into another, and Mr. Tyndall tells his opponents that in no case is the force producing the motion annihilated or changed into anything else.
Moreover we are indebted to modern science for the novel of discovery that there exists a quantitative relation between the dynamic energy producing something and the something produced. Undoubtedly there exists a quantitative relation between cause and effect, between the amount of energy used in breaking one’s neighbour’s nose, and the damage done to that nose, but this does not solve one bit more the mystery of what they are pleased to call correlations, since it can be easily proved, and that on the authority of that same science, that neither motion nor energy is indestructible, and that the physical forces are in no way or manner convertible one into another. I will cross-examine them in their own phraseology, and we will see whether their theories are calculated to serve as a barrier to our “astounding doctrines”.
Preparing as I do to propound a teaching diametrically opposed to their own, it is but just that I should clear the ground of scientific rubbish, lest what I have to say should fall on too encumbered soil and only bring forth weeds. “This potential and imaginary materia prima cannot exist without form,” says Raleigh, and he is right, in so far that the materia prima of science exists but in their imagination. Can they say that the same quantity of energy has always been moving the matter of the universe? Certainly not, so long as they teach that when the elements of the material cosmos, elements which had first to manifest themselves in their uncombined gaseous state, were uniting, the quantity of matter-moving energy was a million times greater than it is now when our globe is cooling off. For where did the heat that was generated by this tremendous process of building up a universe go to? To the unoccupied chambers of space, they say. Very well, but if it is gone for ever from the material universe, and the energy operative on earth has never and at no time been the same, then how can they try to maintain the unchangeable quality of energy, “that potential energy which a body may sometimes exert, the force which passes from one body to another producing motion, and which is not yet annihilated or changed into anything else”. “Aye,” we are answered, “but we still hold to its indestructibility; while it remains connected with matter, it can never cease to be, or less or more.” Let me see whether it is so. I throw a brick up to a mason, who is busy building the roof of a temple. He catches it and cements it in the roof. Gravity overcame the propelling energy which started the upward motion of the brick, and the dynamic energy of the ascending brick, until it ceased to ascend. At that moment it was caught and fastened to the roof. No natural force can now move it, therefore it possesses no longer potential energy. The motion and dynamite energy of the ascending brick are absolutely annihilated.
Another example from their own text book: you fire a gun upwards from the foot of a hill, and the ball lodges in a crevice of the rock on that hill. No natural force can, for an indefinite period, move it, so the ball as much as the brick has lost its potential energy. “All the motion and energy which was taken from the ascending ball by gravity is absolutely annihilated, no other motion or energy succeeds, and gravity has received no increase of energy.” It is not true then that energy is indestructible. How then is it that your great authority teaches the world that “in no case is the force producing the motion annihilated or changed into anything else”.
I am perfectly aware of your answer and give you this illustration but to show how misleading are the terms used by scientists, how vacillating and uncertain their theories, and finally how incomplete all their teachings. One more objection and I have done. They teach that all the physical forces, rejocning in specific names, such as gravity, inertia, cohesion, light, heat, electricity, magnetism, chemical affinity are convertible one into another. If so, the force producing must cease to be as the force produced becomes manifest. A flying cannon ball moves only from its own inherited force of inertia. When it strikes, it produces heat and other effects, but its force of inertia is not the least diminished. It will require as much energy to start it again at the same velocity as it did at first. We may repeat the process a thousand times, and as long as the quantity of matter remains the same, its force of inertia will remain the same in quantity. The same in the case of gravity. A meteor falls and produces heat. Gravity is to be held to account for this, but the force of gravity upon the fallen body is not diminished.
Chemical attraction draws and holds the particles of matter together, their cohesion producing heat. Has the former passed into the latter? Not in the least, since the drawing the particles again together, whenever these are separated, proves that it, the chemical affinity, is not decreased, for it will hold them as strongly as ever together. Heat, they say, generates and produces electricity, yet they find no decrease in the heat in the process.. Electricity produces heat, we are told. Electrometers show that the electrical current passes through some poor conductor, a platinum wire say, and heats the latter. Precisely the same quantity of electricity, no decrease; what then has been converted into heat?
Again electricity is said to produce magnetism. I have on the table before me primitive electrometers, in whose vicinity Chelas come the whole day to recuperate their nascent powers. I do not find the slightest decrease in the electricity stored. The Chelas are magnetized, but their magnetism, or rather that of their rods, is not that electricity under a new mask? No more than a flame of a thousand tapers lit at the flame of the one lamp is the flame of the latter. Therefore, if by the uncertain twilight of modern science it is an axiomatic truth that during vital processes the conversion only, and never the creation of matter or force, occurs, (Dr. J. R. Mayer’s organic motion in its connection with nutrition) it is for us but half a truth. It is neither conversion nor creation, but something for which science has yet no name.
Perhaps now you will be prepared to better understand the difficulties with which we have to contend. Modern science is our best ally, yet it is generally that same science which is made the weapon to break our heads with. However, you will have to bear in mind:
(a) That we recognize but one element in nature (whether spiritual or physical) outside which there can be no nature, since it is nature itself (not in the sense of natus, “born,” but Nature as the sum total of every thing visible and invisible, of forms and minds, the aggregate of the known and unknown causes and effects, the universe in short, infinite and uncreated and endless as it is without a beginning), and which as the Akasa pervades our Solar System, every atom being part of itself, pervades throughout space and is space in fact, which pulsates as in profound sleep during the Pralayas, and is the universal Proteus, the ever active nature during the Manvantara;
(b) That consequently spirit and matter are one, being but a differentiation of states, not essences, and that the Greek philosopher who maintained that the universe was a large animal, penetrated the symbolical significance of the Pythagorean monad (which becomes two, then three ,Δ, and finally having become the Tetraktys or the perfect square, thus evolving out of itself four and involving three Δ forms the sacred seven [ the triangle Δ within a box ], and thus was far in advance of all the scientific men of the present time;
(c) That our notions of cosmic matter are diametrically opposed to those of Western science. Perchance if you remember all this, we will succeed in imparting to you at least the elementary axioms of our esoteric philosophy more correctly than heretofore.
Fear not, my kind brother, your life is not ebbing away and it will not be extinct before you have completed your mission. I can say no more, except that the Chohan has permitted me to devote my spare time to instruct those who are willing to learn, and you will have work enough “to drop” your Fragments at intervals of two or three months.
My time is very limited, yet I will do what I can. But I can promise nothing beyond this. I will have to remain silent as to the Dhyan-Chohans, nor can I impart to you the secrets concerning the men of the seventh Round. The recognition of the higher phases of man’s being on this planet is not to be attained by the mere acquirement of knowledge. Volumes of the most perfectly constructed information cannot reveal to man life in the higher regions. One has to get a knowledge of spiritual facts by personal experience and from actual observation, for as Tyndall puts it, “facts looked directly at are vital, when they pass into words half their sap is taken out of them”. And because you recognise this great principle of personal observation, and are not slow to put into practice what you have acquired in the way of useful information, is perhaps the reason why the hitherto implacable Chohan, my Master, has finally permitted me to devote to a certain extent a portion of my time to the progress of the Eclectic. [ The Simla Eclectic Theosophical Society, the local branch of the T.S. at Simla. Mr. Hume was its first President.] But I am but one and you are many, and none of my fellow brothers with the exception of M. will help me in this work, not even our semi-European Greek Brother [The Master Hilarion.] who but a few days back remarked that when “every one of the Eclectics on the hill [i.e., Simla.] will have become a heretic then he will see what he can do for them”. And as you are aware there is very little hope for this.
Men seek often knowledge until they weary themselves to death, but even they do not feel very impatient to help their neighbour with their knowledge; hence there arises a coldness, a mutual indifference, which renders him who knows inconsistent with himself and inharmonious with his surroundings. Viewed from our standpoint, the evil is far greater on the spiritual than on the material side of man; hence my sincere thanks to you and desire to urge your attention to such a course as shall aid a true progression and achieve wider results by turning your knowledge into a permanent teaching in the form of articles and pamphlets.
But for the attainment of your proposed object, viz., for a clearer comprehension of the extremely abstruse and at first incomprehensible theories of our occult doctrine, never allow the serenity of your mind to be disturbed during you hours of literary labour, nor before you set to work. It is upon the serene and placid surface of the unruffled mind that the visions gathered from the invisible find a representation in the visible world; otherwise you would vainly seek those visions, those flashes of sudden light which already helped to solve so many of the minor problems, and which alone can bring the truth before the eye of the soul. It is with jealous care we have to guard our mind-plane from all the adverse influences which daily arise in our passage through earth life. Many are the questions you asked me in you several letters, I can answer but few.
“Thou shalt not eat of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil of the tree that is growing for thy heirs,” we may say with more right than would be willingly conceded us by the Humes of your sub-race. This “tree” is in our safekeeping, entrusted to us by the Dhyan Chohans, the protectors of our race, and the trustees for those that are coming. Try to understand the allegory, and never lose sight of the hint given you in my letter upon the Planetaries. At the beginning of each Round, when humanity reappears under quite different conditions than those afforded for the birth of each new race and its sub-races, a “Planetary” has to mix with these primitive men, and to refresh their memories and to reveal to them the truths they knew during the preceding Round. Hence the confused traditions about Jehovah, Ormuzd, Osiris, Brahm and tutti quanti. But that happens only for the benefit of the first Race. It is the duty of the latter to choose the fit recipients among its sons, who are “set apart” to use a Biblical phrase, as the vessel to contain the whole stock of knowledge to be divided among the future races and generations until the close of that Round. Why should I say more, since you must understand my whole meaning, and that I dare not reveal it in full. Every race has its Adepts; so with every new race we are allowed to give them out as much of our knowledge as the men of that race deserve. The seventh Race, the last, will have its Buddha as every one of its predecessors had; but its Adepts will be far higher than any of the present race, for among them will abide the future Planetary, the Dhyan Chohan whose duty it will be to instruct or refresh the memory of the first race of the fifth Round men, after this planet’s future obscuration. Closely allied to this question would be another often put: “What is the good of the whole cyclic process, if spirit only emerges at the end of all things pure and impersonal, as it was at first before its descent into matter?” My answer is that I am not at present engaged in excusing, but in investigating the operations of Nature, and that perhaps there may be a better answer available.
What emerges at the end of all things is not only pure and impersonal spirit, but the collective “personal” remembrances skimmed off every new fifth principle in the long series of being. And if “at the end of all things’ - say in some millions of years hence - spirit will have to rest in its pure impersonal non-existence as the One or the Absolute, still there must be some good in the cyclic process, since every purified ego has the chance, in the long interims between objective being upon the planets, to exist as a Dhyan Chohan - from the lowest Devachanee to the highest Planetary - enjoying the fruits of its collective lives.
But what is “spirit pure and impersonal,” per se? Is it possible that you should not have realised yet our meaning? Why, such a spirit is a nonentity, a pure abstraction, an absolute blank to our senses - even to the most spiritual. It becomes something only in union with matter; hence it is always something, since matter is infinite and indestructible and non-existent without spirit, which in matter is life. Separated from matter, it becomes the absolute negation of life and being, whereas matter is inseparable from it. Ask those who offer the objection whether they know anything of “life and consciousness” beyond what they now feel on earth. What conception can they have - unless natural born seers - of the state and consciousness of one’s individuality after it has separated itself from the gross earthly body? What is the good of the whole process of life upon earth, you may ask them in your turn, if we are as good, as “pure” unconscious entities before birth, during sleep, and at the end of our career? Is not death, according to the teachings of science, followed by the same state of unconsciousness as the one before birth? Does not life when it quits our body become as impersonal as it was before it animated the foetus?
Life after all - the greatest problem within the ken of human conception - is a mystery that the greatest of your men of science will never solve. In order to be correctly comprehended, it has to be studied in the entire series of its manifestations - otherwise it cannot be fathomed nor even comprehended in its easiest form, life as a state of being upon this earth. It can never be grasped so long as it is studied separately, apart from the universal life. To solve the great problem one has to become an occultist, to analyse and experiment with it personally in all its phases, as life on earth, life beyond the limit of physical death - mineral, vegetable, animal, spiritual life; life in conjunction with concrete matter, as well as life present in the imponderable atom. Let them try to examine and analyse life apart from organism, and what remains of it? Simply a mode of motion; which unless our doctrine of the all-pervading, infinite, and omnipresent life is accepted - though it be accepted on no better terms than a hypothesis only a little more reasonable than their scientific ones, which are all absurd - has to remain unsolved. Shall they object? Well, we will answer them by using their own weapons. We will say that it is and will forever remain demonstrated, that, since motion is all-pervading and absolute rest inconceivable - under whatever form or mask motion may appear, whether as light, heat, magnetism, chemical affinity or electricity - all these must be but phases of one and the same universal omnipotent Force, the Proteus they bow to as the great Unknown (see Herbert Spencer), and which we simply call the One Life, the One Law and the One Element.
The greatest and most scientific minds on earth have been keenly pressing forward towards the solution of the mystery, leaving no by-path unexplored, no thread loose or weak in this darkest of labyrinths for them; and all have come to the same conclusion - that of the occultists when given only partially - viz., that life in its concrete manifestation is the legitimate result and consequence of chemical affinity. As to life in its abstract sense - life pure and simple - well, they know no more of it today than they knew in the incipient stage of the Royal Society. They knew that organisms in certain solutions previously free from life will spring spontaneously (Pasteur and his Biblical piety notwithstanding) owing to certain chemical compositions of such substances.
If, as I hope, I am in a few years entirely my own Master, I may have the pleasure of demonstrating to you on your own writing-table that life, as life, is not only transferable into other aspects or phases of the all-pervading Force, but that it can be transferred actually into an artificial man. A Frankenstein in nature is a possibility, and the physicists and physicians of the last sub-race of the Sixth Race will innoculate life and revive corpses as they now innoculate smallpox and often less comely diseases. Spirit, Life and Matter are not natural principles existing independently of each other, but the effects of combinations produced by eternal motion in space, and they had better learn it.
LETTER No. 1
[Notes from the Book of Kiu-te, the great repository of occult lore in the keeping of the Adepts in Tibet. I believe there are thirty or forty volumes, a great deal shown only to Initiates. What follows is merely some elementary catechism in the very beginning. We began to get these notes through Madame Blavatsky when Mr. Hume and I first set to work together. But we soon got off on to other lines of rail.
The very first thing I ever had in the way of philosophical teaching I sent you a copy of last year; it was a sketch of the chain of worlds which I suppose you have somewhere still. Then we got in a fragmentary way the materials on which Hume wrote the first of the “Occult Fragments” - that relating to the seven principles in man. It is necessary to have an absolute comprehension of that division at starting. It runs through all nature in various shapes and ways. I now copy out of my MS book. A.P.S.]
Question- What are the different kinds of knowledge?
Answer - The real (Dgyu) and the unreal (Dgyu-mi). Dgyu becomes Fohat when in its activity - active agent of will, electricity, no other name.
Question- What is the difference between the two kinds of knowledge?
Answer - Real knowledge deals with eternal verities and primal causes, the unreal only with illusory effects, Dgyu stands independent of the belief or unbelief of man. Dgyu-mi requires faith, rests on authority.
Question- Who possesses the real knowledge?
Answer - The Lhas or Adept alone possesses the real knowledge, his mind being en rapport with the Universal Mind in its fullness, which makes him a divine being existing in the region of absolute intelligence, knowledge of natural laws or Dgyu. The profane cannot become a dang-ma (a purified soul), for he lacks means of perceiving Chhag, genesis, or the beginning of things [ As I go on copying, I see I shall have to interpolate remarks of an explanatory nature now and then. These I shall identify by leaving a broader margin than the copied out parts. [ I put these remarks of Mr. Sinnett in square brackets.] I wanted now to remark that you must not be giving yourself excessive trouble to commit these Tibetan words to memory. We soon got out of the way of using them. A.P.S.]
Question- Is there any difference between what produces primal causes and their ultimate results?
Answer - None. Everything in the occult universe, which embraces all the primal causes, is based upon two principles - Kosmic Energy (Fohat or breath of wisdom) and Kosmic Ideation. [Thyan Kam =the knowledge of bringing about or giving the impulse to cosmic energy in the right direction. In Fohat all that exist on earth as ultimates exist as primates.]
Question- What is the one eternal thing in the universe independent of every other thing?
Answer - Space.
Question- What things are coexistent with space?
3. Motion, for this is the imperishable life (conscious or unconscious as the case may be). Even during the Pralaya, or night of mind ( when Chyang, omniscience, and Chiyang-mi-shi-khon both sleep), this latent unconscious life still maintains the matter it animates in sleepless unceasing motion.
4. The Akasa (Bar-nang) or Kosmic atmosphere (Astral Light or celestial ether), whether in latent or active condition, surrounds and interpenetrates all matter in motion of which it is at once a result and the medium by which the cosmic energy acts on its source.
5. Purusha or the seventh principle of the universe, [ Linga Sharira is composed of the etheral elements of the body’s organism and never leaves the body but at death and remains near. This note, which is disconnected from the immediate subject of the paper was probably added by M. in reply to some current question asked at that time.]
Question- Are we to understand Purusha as another name for space or as a different thing occupying every part of space?
Answer - The same. Svayambhu occupies every part of space, which itself is boundless and eternal, hence must be space in one sense. Svayambhu becomes Purusha when coming in contact with matter.
Question- The universal mind is the aggregate of all the minds of the Dhyan Chohans or Planetaries, the result of the action of Purusha on matter, just as the spiritual soul in Man is the action of spirit on matter.
Answer - Yes.
Question- Are we to look upon the seven principles as all matter or all spirit - one thing, with spirit as it were at one pole and matter at the other ?
Answer - Yes, just so.
Question- If so, are we to view them as different states of matter or spirit or how?
Answer - States, conditions, call it whatever you please. I call it Kyen, i.e., cause, itself a result of previous or some primary cause.
Question- All matter consists of ultimate molecules. How may we conceive the different states of matter?
Answer - As the molecules go on rarefying, so in proportion they become attenuated; and the greater the distance between our globe and them (I do not mean here the region within the reach of your science), the greater the change in their polarity, the negative pole acquiring a stronger property of repulsion, and the positive losing gradually its power of attraction. (And now the time for your men of Dgyu to set me down as a Tibetan ass, and for me to return the compliment.)
[ We were anxious to make out the correspondences between the seven principles of Man and of the Universe. M. wrote out the following table.]
Atman or Mayavi-Rupa
Sien-chan (animated universe)
Brahm (Prakriti-matter lyam, earth
Vivifying universal spirit
Astral kosmic atmosphere
Od, light (the shining active astral light)
Narayana (Spirit brooding over the waters and reflected in the universe)
[This may help to throw light on some Eastern metaphysical writings, but it seems to me an effort to put into words some correspondences that are too subtle for such classification. A.P.S.]
Question- Sien chan=animated universe. SSa=earth as an element. Where then does cosmic or unorganized matter class?
Answer - Zhi gyn (cosmic matter), Thog (span), Nyng (duration, Khon-wa (motion), are all one. Fire, as everything else, has seven principles. Od, one, but not the most material sixth.
Question- All matter cosmic or organised has inherent motion. What then does Zhihna, vital soul or vivifying soul do to it?
Answer - There you see! As well ask “does for human body” when it comes in conjunction with the other five. A dead body is composed of molecules full of life, is it? Yet when the vital soul has deserted the whole, what is it but a dead body? Give up your pansophy and come down to our Dgyu. We believe in spontaneous generation and you do not. We say that Zhihna being positive and Zhi gyn negative, it is only when the two come in contact or the former brought to act on the latter that organised, living, self-acting matter is produced. Every thing invisible, imponderable - the spirit of a thing - is positive, for it belongs to the world of reality, as everything solid and visible is negative. Primate and ultimate, positive and negative. So much in our manifested world. As the forces move on, and the distance between organised and unorganised matter becomes greater, a tendency towards the reverse begins to take place. The powers of attraction and repulsion become gradually weaker. Then a complete exchange of properties takes place, and for a time equilibrium is restored in an opposite order at every grade further onwards, or away towards their primary state; shifts no more mutually its property, but gradually weakens until it reaches the world of non-being, where exists the eternal mechanical motion, the uncreated cause from whence proceed, in a kind of incessant downward and upward rotation, the founts of being from non-being - the latter, the reality, the former, Maya - the temporary from the everlasting, the effect from its cause - the effect becoming in its turn cause ad infinitum. During the Pralaya, that downward and upward motion ceases, inherent unconscious life alone remaining - all creative forces paralysed, and everything resting in the night of mind.
Question- Are we to consider any of the principles as non-molecular?
Answer - There comes a time when polarity ceases to exist or act, as everything else. In the night of mind, all is equilibrised in the boundless cosmos in a state of non-action or non-being.
Question- And is cosmic matter non-molecular?
Answer - Cosmic matter can no more be non-molecular than organised matter. The seventh principle is molecular as well as the first one, but the former differentiates from the latter, not only by its molecules getting wider apart and becoming more attenuated, but also by losing as gradually, its polarity. Try to understand and realise this idea and the rest will become easy. The panspermic and theospermic conceptions will both be in our way as taught by your schools. You will never be able to realise the latter as an absurdity, so long as you comprehend but imperfectly the incessant work of what is called by occult science the central point in both its active and passive states. As I said, we believe in spontaneous generation, in the independent origin of matter whether living or dead, and we prove it, which is more than your Pasteurs and Wyman and Huxleys can say. Did they know that Zhihn cannot be pumped out or shut out a glass vessel like air, and that hence wherever there is Purusha there can be no thermal limit of organic life, they would have bak-baked [ Hindustani for purposeless chatter. A.P.S.] and told the world less absurdities than they have. In short, motion, cosmic matter, duration, space are everywhere, and for perspicuity’s sake, let us place or fancy this multiplicity in or at the top of a circle boundless. They are passive, negative, unconscious, yet ever propelled by their inherent latent life or force. During the day of activity, that cyclic force is ejecting from the causative latent principle cosmic matter, as the wheel of a water-mill ejects showers of water-dust round its rotating circle; put it in contact with the same principles (but whose condition owing to their finding themselves outside the state of primitive passivity of the eternal immutability has already changed). Thus the same principles begin to acquire, so to speak, the germs of polarity, Then coming within the Universal mind Dyan-Kam develops these germs, conceives, and giving the impulse communicates it to Fohat, who, vibrating along Akasa, Od (a state of cosmic matter, motion, force, etc.) runs along the lines of cosmic manifestations and frames all and everything blindly agreed, yet as faithfully in accordance with the prototypes as conceived in the eternal mind as a good mirror reflects your face.
Extract from a Letter by the Master K.H. to A.O. Hume, 1881
Did it ever strike you - and now from the standpoint of your Western science, and the suggestion of your own ego, which has already seized the essentials of every truth, prepare to deride the erroneous idea - did you ever suspect that universal, like finite human, mind might have two attributes or a dual power, one the voluntary and conscious, the other the involuntary and unconscious or mechanical power? To reconcile the difficulties of many theistic and anti-theistic propositions, both these powers are a philosophical necessity. The possibility of the first, or voluntary and conscious attribute in reference to the Infinite Mind, notwithstanding the assertions of all the egos throughout the living world, will remain for ever a mere hypotheses, whereas in the finite mind it is a scientific and demonstrated fact. The highest Planetary Spirit is as ignorant of the first as we are, and the hypothesis will remain one even in Nirvana, as it is a mere inferential possibility whether there or here.
Take the human mind in connection with the body; man has two distinct physical brains—the cerebrum with its two hemispheres at the frontal part of the head (the source of the voluntary nerves), and the cerebellum situated at the back part of the skull, the fountain of the involuntary nerves which are the agents for the unconscious or mechanical powers of the mind to act through. And, weak and uncertain as may be the control of man over his involuntary actions, such as the blood circulation, the throbbing of the heart and respiration, especially during sleep, yet how far more powerful, how much more potential, appears man as the master and ruler over the blind molecular motion, the laws which govern his body (proof of this being afforded in the phenomenal powers of the Adept and even of the common Yogi) than that which you call God shows over the immutable laws of nature. Contrary in that to the finite, the “Infinite Mind”—which we name so but for argument’s sake, for we call it the infinite force—exhibits but the functions of its cerebellum, the existence of the supposed cerebrum being admitted, as above stated, but on the inferential hypothesis deduced from the Kabalistic theory (correct in every other relation) of the Macrocosm being the prototype of the microcosm.
So far as we know, the corroboration of it by modern Science receiving but little consideration—so far as the highest Planetary Spirits have ascertained, who, remember, have the same relations with the trans-cosmical world, penetrating behind the veil of cosmic matter, as we have behind the veil of this our gross physical world—the Infinite Mind displays to them, as to us, no more than the regular unconscious throbbings of the eternal and universal pulse of nature throughout the myriads of worlds, within as without the primitive veil of our Solar System. So far as we know within and to the utmost limit, to the very edge of the cosmic veil, we know the fact to be correct owing to personal experience; for the information gathered as to what takes place beyond we are indebted to the Planetary Spirits, and to our blessed Lord Buddha.
This of course may be regarded as second-hand information. There are those who, rather than yield to the evidence of facts, will prefer regarding even the Planetary Spirits as “erring,” disembodied philosophers, if not actually liars. Be it so. “Every one is master of his own wisdom,” says a Tibetan proverb, and he is at liberty either to honour or degrade his slave. However, I will go on for the benefit of those who may yet seize my explanation of the problem and understand the value of the solution.
It is the peculiar faculty of the involuntary power of the Infinite Mind (whom no one would ever think of calling God) to be eternally evolving subjective matter into objective atoms (you will please remember the two adjectives are used but in a relative sense) or cosmic matter, to be later on developed into form, and it is likewise that same involuntary mechanical power that we see so intensely active in all the fixed laws of nature, which governs and controls what is called the universe or the cosmos. There are some modern philosophers who will prove the existence of a Creator from motion; we say and affirm that that motion—the universal perpetual motion which never ceases, never slackens nor increases its speed, not even during the interludes between the Pralayas or nights of Brahm, but goes on like a mill in motion whether it has anything to grind or not (for the Pralaya means the temporary loss of every form, but by no means the destruction of cosmic matter, which is eternal)—we say then this perpetual motion is the only eternal uncreated deity that we are able to recognise. To regard God as an intelligent spirit, and accept at the same time this absolute un-materiality, is to conceive of a non-entity, of a blank void; to regard God as a Being, an Ego, and to place this intelligence under a bushel for some mysterious reasons, is most consummate nonsense; to endow him with intelligence in the face of blind brutal evil, is to make of him a fiend, a most rascally God. A being, however gigantic, occupying space and having length, breadth and thickness, is most certainly the Mosaic Deity. No-being and a mere principle lands you directly in the Buddhistic Atheism or the Vedantic primitive Acosmism.
What lies beyond and outside the worlds of form and being, in worlds and spheres in their most spiritualised state (and you will perhaps oblige us by telling us where that “beyond” can be, since the universe is limitless and infinite) is useless for anyone to search after, since even Planetary Spirits have no knowledge or perception of it. If our greatest Adepts and Bodhisattvas have never themselves penetrated beyond our Solar System—and the idea seems to suit your preconceived theistic theory wonderfully, my respected brother, they still know of the existence of other such solar systems with as mathematical a certainty as any western astronomer knows of the existence of invisible stars which he can never approach or explore. But of that which lies within the worlds of systems, not in the “trans-infinitude,” (a queer expression to use), but in the cis-infinitude, rather, in the state of the purest and most inconceivable immateriality, no one ever knew or ever will know all; hence it is something non-existent for the universe.
You are at liberty to place in this eternal vacuum the intellectual or voluntary powers of your Deity, if you can conceive of such a thing. Meanwhile we say that it is motion which governs the laws of nature, and that it governs them as the mechanical impulse given to running water, which will profit them either in a direct line or along hundreds of side furrows they may happen to meet on their way, whether those furrows are natural grooves or channels prepared artificially by the hand of man; and we maintain that wherever there is life and being however much spiritualised a form, there is no room for moral government, much less for a moral governor, a Being who at the same time has no form nor occupies space! If verily the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehends it not, it is because such is the natural law; but how much more suggestive and pregnant with meaning for one who knows to say that light can still less comprehend darkness or ever know it, since it kills it wherever it penetrates, and annihilates it instantly. A pure, yet volitional, spirit is an absurdity for volitional mind. The result of organism cannot exist independent of an organized brain, and an organized brain made out of mind is a still greater fallacy. If you ask me, whence then the immutable laws since laws cannot make themselves, then in my turn I will ask: and whence their supposed Creator? A creator cannot create or make himself if the brain did not make itself; for this would be affirming that brain acted before it existed; how could intelligence—the result of an organized brain—act before its Creator was made?
All this reminds me of wrangling for seniorship. [ This refers to the “Senior Wrangler,” the first on the list in the mathematical examination of Cambridge University. In the old days, each scholar proceeding to a degree was a “wrangler,” that is, one ready to defend his thesis by disputation against all comers.] If our doctrines clash too much with your theories, then we can easily give up the subject and talk of something else.
Study the laws and doctrines of the Nepaulese Svabhavikas, the principal Buddhist philosophical school in India, and you will find them the most learned, as the most scientifically logical, wranglers in the world. Their plastic, invisible, eternal, omnipresent and unconscious Svabhavat is force or motion ever generating electricity, which is life. Yes, there is a force as limitless as thought, as potent, as boundless as will, as subtle as the essence of life, so inconceivably awful in its rending force as to convulse the universe to its centre could it but be used as a lever; but this force is not God, since there are men who have learned the secret of subjecting it to their will when necessary. Look around you and see the myriad manifestations of life, so infinitely multiform, of life, of motion, of change. What caused them? From what inexhaustible source come they, by what agency out of the invisible and subjective have they entered our little area of the visible and objective? Children of Akasa, concrete evolution from the ether, it was force which brought them into perceptibility, and force will in time remove them from the sight of man. Why should this plant in your garden, to the right, have been produced with such a shape, and that other one to the left, with one totally dissimilar? Are these not the result of varying action of force—unlike correlations? Given a perfect monotony of activities throughout the world, we should have a complete identity of forms, colours, shapes and properties throughout all the kingdoms of nature.
It is motion with its resulting conflict, neutralization, equilibration, correlation, to which is due the infinite variety which prevails. You speak of an intelligent and good—the attribute is rather unfortunately chosen—Father, a mortal guide and governor of the universe and man . A certain condition of things around us we call normal; under this nothing can occur which transcends our every day experience (“God’s immutable laws”). But suppose we change this condition and have the best of him, without whom even a hair of your head will not fall, as they tell you in the West. A current of air brings cold to me from the lake, near which with my fingers half frozen I now write to you this letter. I change, by a certain combination of electrical magnetic, odyllic or other influences, the current of air which benumbs my fingers into a warm breeze, I have thwarted the intention of the Almighty and dethroned him at my will. I can do that or, when I do not want nature to produce strange and too visible phenomena, I force my nature (seeing nature influencing Self within me) to suddenly awake to new perceptions and feelings, and thus am my own creator and ruler.
But do you think you are right when saying “the laws arise”? Immutable laws cannot arise since they are eternal and uncreated, propelled in the eternity, and God himself, if such a thing existed, could never have the power of stopping them. And when did I say that these laws were fortuitous per se? I meant their blind correlations, never the laws or rather the law, since we recognize but one law in the universe, the law of harmony, of perfect equilibrium.
Then for a man endowed with so subtle a logic, and such a fine comprehension of the value of ideas in general and that of words especially, for a man so accurate as you generally are to make tirades upon an “all-wise, powerful and loveful God” seems to me, to say the least, strange. I do not, protest at all, as you seem to think, against your theism or a belief in an abstract idea of some kind; but I cannot help asking you, “How do you or how can you know that your God is all-wise, omnipotent and loveful, when everything in nature, physical and moral, proves such a being, if he does exist, to be quite the reverse of all you say of him? Strange delusion, and one which seems to overpower your very intellect.
The difficulty of explaining the fact that unintelligent forces can give rise to highly intelligent beings like ourselves is covered by the eternal progression of cycles and the process of evolution ever perfecting the world as it goes on. Not believing in cycles, it is unnecessary for you to learn that which will create but a few pretext for you, my dear brother, to combat the theory and argue upon it ad infinitum. Nor did I ever become guilty of heresy I am accused of in reference to spirit and matter. The conception of spirit and matter as entirely distinct and both eternal could certainly never have entered my head, however little I may know of them. For it is one of the elementary and fundamental doctrines of Occultism that matter and spirit are one, and are distinct but in their respective manifestations and only in the limited perception of the world of our senses. Far from lacking philosophical breadth then, our doctrines show but one principle in nature, spirit-matter or matter-spirit, the third, the ultimate absolute, and quintessence of the two, if I may be allowed to use an erroneous term in the present application, losing itself beyond the view and spiritual perceptions of even the Gods or Planetary Spirits. The third principle, say the Vedantic philosophers, is the only reality, everything else being Maya, as none of the Protean manifestations of spirit-matter, or Purusha and Prakriti, have ever been regarded in any other light than that of temporary delusions of the senses. Even in the hardly outlined philosophy of Isis, this idea is clearly carried out. In the book of Kiu-te spirit is called the ultimate sublimation of matter and matter the crystallization of spirit; and no better illustration could be afforded than the very simple phenomenon of ice-water-vapour, and the final dispersion of the latter, the phenomenon being reversed in its consecutive manifestations, and called the spirit falling into generation or matter, this trinity resolving itself into unity. A doctrine as old as the world of thought was seized upon by some early Christians, who had it in the schools of Alexandria and made it up into the Father or generative Spirit, the Son, or matter-man, and the Holy Ghost, the immaterial essence or the apex of the equilateral Δan idea found to this day in the pyramids of Egypt.
Thus once more it is proved that you misunderstand my meaning entirely whenever, for the sake of brevity, I use a phraseology habitual with western people. But in my turn I have to remark that your idea that matter is but the temporary allotropic form of spirit, differing from it as charcoal does from diamond, is as unphilosophical as it is unscientific from both the eastern and western point of view; charcoal being but a form of residue of matter, while matter per se is indestructible and, as I maintain, can conceive of. Bereaved of Prakriti, Purusha (spirit) is unable to manifest itself, hence ceases to exist, becomes nihil, without spirit or force; even that which science styles as not living matter, the so-called mineral ingredients which feed plants, could never have been called into form.
There is a moment in the existence of every atom and molecule of matter when, for one cause or another, the last spark of spirit or motion or life, call it by whatever name you please, is withdrawn; and in the same instant, with a swiftness that surpasses that of the lightning glance of thought, the atom or molecule or the aggregation of molecules is annihilated to return to its pristine purity of intra-cosmic matter; it is drawn to the mother fount with the velocity of a globule of quicksilver to the central mass. Matter, force and motion are the trinity of physical objective nature, as the trinitarian unity of spirit and matter is that of spiritual subjective nature; motion is eternal because spirit is eternal, but no modes of motion can ever be conceived unless they be in connection with matter.
And now to your extraordinary hypothesis that evil, with its attendant train of sin and suffering is not the result of matter, but may be perchance the wise scheme of the moral Governor of the Universe. Conceivable as the idea may seem to you, trained in the pernicious fallacy of the Christian, that the ways of the Lord are inscrutable, it is utterly inconceivable for me; must I repeat again that the best Adepts have searched the universe during millenniums and found nowhere the slightest trace of such a Machiavellian schemer, but throughout the same immutable inexorable law. You must excuse me therefore if I positively decline to lose my time over such childish speculations. It is not the ways of the Lord but rather those of some extremely intelligent men, in everything but some particular hobby, that are to me incomprehensible.
As you say, this need make no difference between us personally; but it does make a world of difference if you propose to learn and offer me to teach; for the life of me I cannot make out how I could ever impart to you that which I know, since the very A.B.C of what I know to be the rock upon which the secrets of the occult universe, whether upon this or that side of the veil, are encrusted, is contradicted by you invariably and a priori. My dear Brother, either we know something or we do not know anything. In the first case, what is the use of your learning since you think you know better; in the second case, why should you lose your time? You say it matters nothing whether these laws are the expression of the will of an intelligent conscious God, as you think, or constitute the inevitable attributes of an unintelligent unconscious God, as I hold. I say it matters everything, since you earnestly believe that these fundamental questions of spirit and matter, of God and no God, are admittedly beyond both of us, in other words that neither I nor yet our greatest Adepts can know any more than you do.
Then what is there on earth that I could teach you? You know that, in order to enable you to read, you must learn your letters; yet you want to know the course of events before and after the Pralayas, of every event here on this globe on the opening of a new cycle, namely, a mystery imparted at one of the last Initiations, as Mr. Sinnett was told; for my letter to him upon the Planetary Spirits was simply accidental, brought out by a question of his. And now you would say I am evading the direct issue, that I have discoursed upon collateral points but have not explained to you all you want to know, and that you ask me to tell you. You say, “I dodge as I always do”. Pardon me for contradicting you, but it is nothing of the kind; there are a thousand questions I shall never be permitted to answer, and it would be dodging were I to answer to you other than I do. I tell you plainly you are unfit to learn, for your mind is too full, and there is not a corner vacant from whence a previous occupant would not arise to struggle with and drive away a new comer. Therefore I do not evade. I only give you time to reflect and deduce, and first learn well what was already given you, before you seize on something else. The world of force is the world of occultism and the only one whither the highest Initiate goes to probe the secret of being; hence no one but such an Initiate can know anything of these secrets. Guided by his Guru, the Chela first discovers this world and its laws, then their centrifugal evolutions into the world of matter. To become a perfect Adept takes him long years but at last he becomes a Master; the hidden things have become patent and mystery and miracle have fled from his sight for ever; he sees how to guide force in this direction or that, to produce desirable effects; the secret chemical, electric or odic properties of plants, herbs, roots, minerals, and animal tissue are as familiar as the feathers of your birds are to you. [ Mr. Hume was an ornithologist and had a valuable collection of stuffed birds.] No change in the etheric vibrations can escape him; he applies his knowledge, and behold a miracle! and he who started with the repudiation of the very idea that miracle is possible is straightway classed as a miracle worker and either worshipped by the fools as a demi-god or repudiated by still greater fools as a charlatan.
And, to show you how exact a science is Occultism, let me tell you that the means we avail ourselves of are all laid down for us in a code as old as humanity to the minutest details, but every one of us has to begin from the beginning, not from the end. Our laws are as immutable as those of nature, and were known to man an eternity before this strutting gamecock, modern science, was hatched. If I have not given you the modus operandi or begun at the wrong end, I have at least shown you that we build our philosophy upon experiment and deduction, unless you choose to question and dispute this fact equally with all others. Learn first our laws and educate your perceptions, dear brother; control your involuntary powers and develop in the right direction your will, and you will become a teacher instead of a learner. I would not refuse what I have a right to teach, only I had to study for fifteen years before I came to the doctrine of cycles and had to learn simpler things at first. But, do what we may and whatever happens, I trust we shall have no more arguing, which is as profitless as it is painful.
Notes by the Master K.H.
on a Preliminary Chapter headed “God”,
by A.O. Hume, intended to preface an Exposition of Occult Philosophy
Neither our philosophy nor ourselves believe in a God, least of all in one whose pronoun necessitates a capital H. Our philosophy falls under the definition of Hobbes; it is pre-eminently the science of effects by their causes, and of causes by their effects. And since it is also the science of things deduced from first principles, as Bacon defines it, before we admit any new principle, we must know it, and have no right to admit even its probability. Your whole explanation is based upon one solitary admission, made simply for argument’s sake in October last. You were told that our knowledge was limited to this our Solar System: ergo, as philosophers who desired to remain worthy of the name, we could not either deny or affirm the existence of what you termed a supreme omnipotent intelligent being of some sort beyond the limits of that Solar System. But if such an existence is not absolutely impossible, yet, unless the uniformity of Nature’s laws breaks at those limits, we maintain that it is highly improbable. Nevertheless we deny most emphatically the position of Agnosticism in this direction, and as regards the Solar System our doctrine knows no compromise. It either affirms or denies, for it never teaches but that which it knows to be the truth. Therefore we deny God, both as philosophers and Buddhists. We know that there are Planetary and other spiritual lives, and we know that there is in our system no such thing as God, either personal or impersonal. Parabrahm is not a God, but absolute immutable law, and Isvara is the effect of Avidya and Maya, a ignorance based upon the great delusion.
The word “God” was invented to designate the unknown cause of those effects which man has either admired or dreaded without understanding them, and since we claim and are able to prove what we claim, i.e., the knowledge of that cause or those causes, we are in a position to maintain that there is no God or gods behind them. The idea of God is not an innate but an acquired notion, and we have but one thing in common with theologists—we reveal the infinite. But while we assign to all the phenomena that proceed from the infinite and boundless space, duration and motion, material, natural, sensible and known (to us at least) causes; the theists assign them spiritual, supernatural, unintelligible and unknown causes. The God of the theologians is simply an imaginary power, “un loup-garou” as Dolback expresses it, a power which has never yet manifested itself. Our chief aim is to deliver humanity from this nightmare, and to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery. Pantheistic we may be called, agnostic never.
If people are willing to accept and regard as God our “One Life,” immutable and unconscious in its eternity, they may do so, and thus keep to one more gigantic misnomer; but then they will have to say with Spinoza, that there is not, and that we cannot conceive, any other substance than God, or as that famous and unfortunate philosopher says in his fourteenth proposition—Praeter Deum neque dari, neque concipi potest substantia—and thus become Pantheists. Who but a theologian nursed on the most absurd supernaturalism can imagine self-existent being, of necessity infinite and omnipresent, outside the manifested, boundless universe? The word infinite is but a negation with excludes the idea of bounds. It is evident that a being independent and omnipresent cannot be limited by any thing which is outside of himself, that there can be nothing exterior to himself—not even vacuum; then where is there room for matter? for that manifested even though the later limited.[So in MS.] If we ask the theists, “Is your God vacuum space or matter?” they will reply, ‘no.” And yet they hold that their God penetrates matter though he is not himself matter.
When we speak of our “One Life,” we also say that it penetrates, nay, is the essence of every atom of matter, and that therefore it not only has correspondence with matter, but has all its properties likewise, etc., hence is material, is matter itself. “How can intelligence proceed or emanate from non-intelligence? you kept asking last year. “How could a highly intelligent humanity, man the crown of reason, be evolved out of blind unintelligent law or force?” But once we reason on that line I may ask in my turn: “How could congenital idiots, non-reasoning animals, and the rest of the creation have been created by, or evolved from, absolute wisdom, if the latter is a thinking intelligent being, the author and ruler of the universe?” How says Dr. Clarke in his examination of the proof of the existence of the Divinity: “God Who hath made the eye shall He not see, God Who hath made the ear shall He not hear?” But according to this mode of reasoning, they would have to admit that in creating an idiot, God is an idiot, that he who made so many irrational beings, so many physical and moral monsters, must be an irrational being. We are not Adwaitis, but our teaching respecting the One Life is identical with that of the Adwaitis with regard to Parabrahm, and identical in every respect with the universal life and soul, the macrocosm with the microcosm, and he knows that there is no God apart from himself, no Creator as no being. Having found Gnosis we cannot turn our backs on it and become agnostic. Were we to admit that even the highest Dhyan Chohans are liable to err under a delusion, there would be no reality for us indeed, and the occult science would be as great a chimera as that God. If there is an absurdity in denying that which we do not know, it is still more extravagant to assign to it unknown laws. According to logic, nothing is that of which everything can truly be denied, and nothing can be truly affirmed. The idea, therefore, either of a finite or infinite nothing is a contradiction in terms. And yet according to theologians, “God the self-existent Being, is a most simple, unchangeable, incorruptible being, without parts, figure, motion, divisibility or any other such properties as we find in matter; for all such things do plainly and necessarily imply finiteness in their very notion, and are utterly inconsistent with complete infinity.” Therefore the God here offered to the adoration of the nineteenth century lacks every quality upon which man’s mind is capable of fixing any judgement. What is this in fact but a being of whom they can affirm nothing that is not instantly contradicted? Their own Bible, their revelation destroys all the moral perceptions they heap upon him, unless indeed they call those qualities perfections, that every other man’s reason and common sense call imperfections, odious vices and brutal wickedness.
Nay more, those who read our Buddhist scriptures, written for the superstitious masses, will fail to find in them a demon so vindictive, unjust, so cruel and so stupid, as the celestial tyrant upon whom the Christians prodigally lavish their servile worship, and upon whom their theologians heap those perfections that are contradicted on every page of their Bible. Truly and veritably, your theology has created her God but to destroy him piecemeal; your church is a fabulous Saturn who begets children but to destroy them.
A few reflections and arguments ought to support every new idea. For instance, we are sure to be taken to task for the following apparent contradiction. We deny the existence of a thinking conscious God, on the ground that such a God must either be conditioned, limited and subject to change, therefore not infinite, or, if he be represented to us as an eternal, unchangeable and independent being, with not a particle of matter in him; then we answer that it is no-being, but an immutable blind principle, a law. And yet, they will say, we believe in Dhyans or Planetaries (Spirits also) and endow them with a universal mind—and this must be explained. Our reasons must be briefly summed up thus:—
(1) We deny the absurd proposition that there can be, even in a boundless and eternal universe, two infinite, eternal, and omnipresent existences; (2) matter we know to be eternal, i.e., having had no beginning; (a) because matter is nature herself; (b) because that which cannot annihilate itself and is indestructible exists necessarily, and therefore it cannot begin to be, nor cannot it cease to be; (c) because the accumulated experiences of countless ages and that of exact science show to us matter (or nature) acting by her own peculiar energy, of which not one atom is ever in a state of absolute rest, and therefore it must have always existed, i.e., its materials ever changing form, combinations and properties, but its principles or elements being absolutely indestructible; (3) as to God, since no one has ever or at any time seen Him or It, unless He or It is the very essence and nature of this boundless, eternal matter, its energy and motion, we cannot regard him as either eternal or infinite or yet self-existing.
We refuse to admit a being or an existence of which we know absolutely nothing because (a) there is no room for him in the presence of that matter whose undeniable properties and qualities we know thoroughly well (b) because if he or it is but a part of that matter, it is ridiculous to maintain that he is the mover of that of which he is but a dependent part, and (c) because if they tell us that God is a self-existent, pure spirit, independent of matter, an extra cosmic Deity, we answer that, admitting even the possibility of such an impossibility, i.e., his existence, we yet hold that a purely immaterial spirit cannot be an intelligent, conscious ruler, nor can he have any of the attributes bestowed upon him by theology, and thus such a God becomes again but a blind force. Intelligence as found in our Dhyan Chohans is a faculty that can appertain but to organised or animated beings, however imponderable, or rather invisible, the material of their organisations.
Intelligence requires the necessity of thinking; to think one must have ideas; ideas suppose senses, which are physical and material; and how can anything material belong to pure spirit? If it be objected that thought cannot be a property of matter, we will ask, “Why not”? We must have an unanswerable proof of this assumption before we can accept it. Of the theologian we would enquire what was there to prevent his God, since he is the alleged Creator of all, from endowing matter with the faculty of thought, and when answered that evidently it has not pleased him to do so, that it is a mystery as well as an impossibility, we would insist upon being told why is it more improbable that matter should produce spirit and thought, than that the spirit or the thought of God should produce or create matter.
We do not bow our heads in the dust before the mystery of the mind, for we have solved it ages ago. Rejecting with contempt the theistic theory, we reject as much the automaton theory, teaching that states of consciousness are produced by the marshalling of the molecules of the brain; and we feel as little respect for that other hypothesis—the production of molecular motion by consciousness. Then in what do we believe? Well, we believe in the much laughed-at phlogiston (see article “What is Force and What is Matter?” “Theosophist”, September) and in what some natural philosophers would call nisus—the incessant though perfectly imperceptible (to the ordinary senses) motions or efforts one body is making on another—the pulsations of inert matter—its life.
The bodies of the Planetary Spirits are formed of that which Priestly and others called phlogiston, and for which we have another name—this essence in its highest (seventh) state forming that matter of which the organisms of the highest and purest Dhyans are composed, and in its lowest or densest form (so impalpable yet that science calls it energy and force) serving as a cover to the Planetaries of the first or lowest degree.
In other words, we believe in matter alone, in matter as visible nature and matter in its invisibility as the invisible, omnipresent, omnipotent Proteus with its unceasing motion which is its life, and which nature draws from herself, since she is the great whole, outside of which nothing can exist. For as Belfinger asserts: “Motion is a manner of existence that flows necessarily out of the essence of matter, that matter moves by its own peculiar energies, that its motion is due to the force which is inherent in itself, that the variety of motion and the phenomena that result proceed from the diversity of the properties, of the qualities and of the combinations which are originally found in the primitive matter, of which nature is the assemblage”; and of which your science knows less than one of our Tibetan Yak-drivers of Kant’s metaphysics. The existence of matter, then, is a fact; the existence of motion is another fact; then self-existence and eternity or indestructibility is a third fact; and the idea of pure spirit as a Being or an existence—give it whatever name you will—is a chimera, a gigantic absurdity.
Now that you are at the centre of modern Buddhistic exegesis, in personal relations with some of the clever commentators (from whom the holy Devas deliver us), I shall draw your attention to a few things which are really as discreditable to the perceptions of even non-initiates as they are misleading to the general public. The more one reads such speculations as those of Rhys-Davids and Lillie, the less can one bring oneself to believe that the unregenerate western mind can ever get at the core of our abstruse doctrines. Yet hopeless as their cases may be, it would appear well worth the trouble to test the intuition of some of your members by half expounding one or two mysteries, and leaving them to complete the chain themselves. Shall we take Mr. Rhys-Davids as our first subject, and show that, indirectly as he has done it, yet it is himself who strengthened the absurd ideas of Mr. Lillie, who fancies he has proved belief in a personal God in ancient Buddhism. Rhys-Davids’ “Buddhism” is full of the sparkle of our most important esotericism, but always, as it would seem, beyond not only his reach but apparently even his powers of intellectual perception. To avoid “absurd metaphysics” and its “inventions,” he creates unnecessary difficulties and falls headlong into inextricable confusion. He is like the Cape settlers, who lived over diamond fields without suspecting it.
I shall only instance the definition of Avalokitesvara on pp.202-3. There we find the author saying what to any Occultist seems a palpable absurdity: “The name Avalokitesvara, which means ‘ The Lord who looks down from on high,’ is a purely metaphysical invention. The curious use of the past participle avalokita in an active sense is clearly evident from the translation into Tibetan and Chinese.” Now saying that it means “the Lord who looks down from on high,” or as he kindly explains further, “the spirit of the Buddhas present in the Church,” is a complete reversal of the sense. In short, Avalokitesvara literally interpreted means “the Lord that is seen,” “Isvara” implying moreover rather the adjective than the noun,—lordly, self-existent, lordliness—not Lord. It is, when correctly interpreted, in one sense “the divine self perceived or seen by self,” the Atman or seventh principle ridded of its Mayavic distinction from its universal source, which becomes the object of perception, for and by the individuality centred in Buddhi, the sixth principle, something that happens only in the highest state of Samadhi. This is applying it to the microcosm. In the other sense, Avalokitesvara implies the seventh universal principle as the object perceived by the universal Buddhi or “Mind” or Intelligence, which is the synthetic aggregation of all the Dhyan Chohans, as of all other intelligencies, whether great or small, that ever were, are or will be. Nor is it the “spirit of the Buddhas present in the Church,” but the omnipresent universal spirit in the temple of nature in one case, and the seventh principle, the Atman, in the temple of man in the other. Mr. Rhys-Davids might at least have remembered the (to him) familiar simile made by the Christian adept, the Kabalistic Paul: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?” and thus avoided making a mess of the name. Though as a grammarian he detected the use of the “past participle passive,” yet he shows himself far from an inspired Paul in overlooking the true cause, and saving his grammar by raising the hue and cry against metaphysics. And yet he quotes Beale’s Catena as his authority for the invention, when in truth this work is perhaps the only one in English that gives an approximately correct explanation of the word, at any rate, on page 374.
“Self-Manifested”—how? It is asked. “Speech or Vach was regarded as the Son of Manifestation of the Eternal Self, and was adored under the name of Avalokitesvara, the manifested God.” This shows as clearly as can be that Avalokitesvara is both the manifested Father and the manifested Son, the latter proceeded from and identified with the other; namely the Parabrahm and Jivatma, the universal and the individualised seventh principle, the Passive and the Active, the latter the Word, Logos, the “Verb,” call it by whatever name you will; only let these unfortunate deluded Christians know that the real Christ of every Christian is the Vach, the “mystical voice,” while the man Jeshu was but a mortal like any of us, an Adept more by his inherent purity and ignorance of real evil, than by what he had learned from his initiated Rabbis and the already (at that period) fast degenerating Egyptian hierophants and priests. A great mistake is also made by Beal, who says: “This name (Avalokitesvara) in Chinese took the form of Kwan-shai-yin, and the divinity worshipped under that name (was) generally regarded as a female.” Kwan-shai-yin, or the universally manifested voice, is active male, and must not be confounded with Kwan-yin, or Buddhi, the spiritual Soul (the sixth principle) and the vehicle of its “Lord”. It is Kwan-yin that is the female principle or the manifested passive, manifesting itself “to every creature in the universe, in order to deliver all men from the consequences of sin”—as rendered by Beal, this once, quite correctly (p.383)—while Kwan-shai-yin, the Son identical with his Father, is the absolute activity, hence having no direct relation to objects of sense as Passivity.
What a common ruse it is of your Aristotelians! With sleuth-hound persistence they track an idea to the very verge of the impassable chasm; and then, brought to bay, leave the metaphysicians to take up the trail if they can, or let it be lost. It is but natural that a Christian theologian, a missionary, should act upon this line, since, as easily perceived even in the little I gave out just now, a too correct rendering of our Avalokitesvara and Kwan-shai-yin might have very disastrous effects. It would simply amount to showing Christendom the true and undeniable origin of the “awful and incomprehensible mysteries” of its Trinity, Trans-substantiation, Immaculate Conception, as also whence their ideas of the Father, Son, Spiritus—and mother. It is less easy to shuffle at pleasure the cards of Buddhistic chronology than those of Krishna and Christ. They cannot place—however much they would—the birth of our Lord Sangyas Buddha A.D., as they have contrived to place that of Krishna. But why an atheist and a materialist like Mr. Rhys-Davids should so avoid the correct rendering of our dogmas even when he happens to understand them—which does not happen every day—is something surpassingly curious. In this instance the blind and guilty Rhys-Davids leads the blind and innocent Mr. Lillie into the ditch, when the latter catching at the proffered straw rejoices in the idea that Buddhism teaches in reality a personal God.
Does your B. T. S. [ British Theosophical Society] know the meaning of the white and black interlaced triangles of the Parent Society’s seal that it has also adopted? Shall I explain? The double triangle, viewed by the Jewish Kabalists as Solomon’s seal, is, as many of you doubtless know, the Sri-an-tara of the archaic Aryan Temple, the “mystery of mysteries,” a geometrical synthesis of the whole occult doctrine. The two interlaced triangles are the Buddhanymus of creation. They contain the “squaring of the circle,” the “philosopher’s stone,” the great problems of Life and Death—and the mystery of Evil. The Chela who can explain this from every one of its aspects is virtually an Adept. How is it then that the only one among you who has come so near to unravelling the mystery is also the only one who got none of her ideas from books? Unconsciously she gives out to him who has the key, the first syllable of the Ineffable Name! Of course you know that the double triangle, the Salkir Chakram of Vishnu, or the six-pointed
star, is the perfect seven. In all the old Sanskrit works, Vedic and Tantric, you find the number six mentioned more often than seven, this last figure, the central point, being implied, for it is the germ of the six and their matrix. It is then thus: the central point standing for seventh and the circle, the Maha-akasha, endless space for the seventh universal principle. In one sense both are viewed as Avalokitesvara, for they are triangles; the upward pointing one is wisdom concealed, and the downward pointing one wisdom revealed (in the phenomenal world). The circle indicates the bounding, circumscribing quality of the All, the universal Principle, which from any given point expands so as to embrace all things, while embodying the potentiality of every action in the cosmos. At the point there is the centre round which the circle is traced, they are identical and one, though from the standpoint of Maya and Avidya (illusion and ignorance) one is separated from the other by the manifested triangle, the three sides of which represent the three gunas, finite attributes. In symbology the central point is Jivatma, (the seventh principle) whence Avalokitesvara, the Kwan-Shai-yin, the manifested “voice” (or Logos), the germ point of manifested activity; hence, in the phraseology of the Christian Kabalists, “the son of the Father and mother,” and agreeably to ours, “the self manifested in self”, Jih-Sui, the “one form of existence,” the child of Dharmakaya (the universally diffused essence), both male and female, Parabrahm or “Adi Buddha” while acting through that germ point outwardly as an active force, reacts from the circumference inwardly as the supreme but latent Potency. The double triangles symbolize the Great Passive and the Great Active, the male and female, Purusha and Prakriti. Each triangle is a trinity because presenting a triple aspect. The white represents in its straight lines: Jnanam (knowledge), Jnata (the knower), Jneyam (that which is known). The black: form, colour and substance; also creative, preservative and destructive forces, and are mutually correlating, etc.
Well may you admire and more should you wonder at the marvellous lucidity of that remarkable seeress, who, ignorant of Sanskrit or Pali and thus shut out from their metaphysical treasures, has yet seen a great light shining from behind the dark hills of exoteric religions. How, think you, did the writers of “The Perfect Way” come to know that Adonai was the Son and not the Father, or that the third person of the Christian Trinity is female? Verily they lay in that work several times their hands upon the keystone of Occultism. Only does the lady who persists in using without an explanation the misleading term “God” in her writings know how nearly she comes up to our doctrine when saying: “Having for Father, Spirit which is Life (the endless circle or Parabrahm) and for mother, the Great Deep, which is substance, (Prakriti in its indifferentiated condition) Adonai possesses the potency of both and wields the dual powers of all things.” We would say triple, but in the sense as given this will do. Pythagoras had a reason for never using the finite useless figure 2, and for altogether discarding it. The one can when manifesting become only three. The unmanifested when a simple duality remains passive and concealed. The dual monad (the seventh and sixth principles) has, in order to manifest itself as a Logos, the Kwan-shai-yin, first to become a triad (seventh, sixth and one-half of fifth); then, on the bosom of the “Great Deep,” attracting within itself the one circle, form out of it the perfect square, thus “squaring the circle”—the greatest of all the mysteries, friend—and inscribing within the latter the word (the Ineffable Name)—otherwise the duality could never tarry as such, and would have to be reabsorbed into the one. The “Deep” is space, both male and female, “Purusha (as Brahma) breathes in the eternity; when “He” inbreathes, Prakriti (as manifested substance) disappears in his bosom; when “He” outbreathes she reappears as Maya,” says the sloka. The one reality is Mulaprakriti (indifferentiated substance), the “rootless root,” the . . . But we have to stop lest there should remain but little to tell for your own intuitions.
Well may the geometer of the R. S. [ Royal Society.] not know that the apparent absurdity of attempting to square the circle covers a mystery ineffable. It would hardly be found among the foundation stones of Mr. Roden Noel’s speculations upon the Pneumatical Body . . . of our Lord,” nor among the debris of Mr. Farmer’s “A New Basis of Belief in Immortality,” and to many such metaphysical minds it would be more than useless to divulge the fact, that the unmanifested circle, the Father or Absolute Life, is non-existent outside the Triangle and Perfect Square, and is only manifested in the Son, and that it is when reversing the action and returning to its absolute state of unity and the square expands once more into the circle, that the “Son returns to the bosom of the Father”. There it remains till called back by his mother, “the Great Deep,” to remanifest as a triad, the Son partaking at once of the essence of the Father and that of the mother, the active Substance, Prakriti in its differentiated condition. “My mother (Sophia, the manifested wisdom) took me,” says Jesus in a gnostic treatise, and he asks his disciple to tarry till he comes. . . . The true word may only be found by tracing the mystery of the passage inward and outward, of the Eternal Life through the states typified in these three geometric figures.
The criticism of “A Student of Occultism” (whose wits are sharpened by the mountain air of his home) and the answers by S.T. K. Chany (June Theosophist) upon a part of your annular and circular expositions need not annoy or disturb in any way your philosophic calm. As our Pondicherry Chela significantly says, neither you nor any other man across the threshold has had, or ever will have, the “complete theory” of evolution taught him or get it unless he guesses it for himself. If anyone can unravel it from such tangled threads as are given him, very well, and a fine proof it would indeed be of his or her spiritual insight. Some have come very near it. But yet there is always with the best of them just enough error, colouring and misconception—the shadow of manas projecting across the field of Buddhi—to prove the eternal law that only the unshackled spirit shall see the things of the spirit without a veil. No untaught amateur could ever rival the proficient in this branch of research; yet the world’s real Revelators have been few, and its pseudo-Saviours legion; and fortunate it is if their half glimpses of the light are not like Islam enforced at the sword’s point, or like Christian theology amid blazing fagots and in torture chambers. Your Fragments contain some—still very few—errors, due solely to your two preceptors of Adyar, one of whom would not, and the other could not tell you at all. The rest could not be called mistakes—rather, incomplete explanations. Those are due, partly to your own imperfect education in your last theme—I mean the ever threatening obscurations—partly to the poor vehicles of language at our disposal, and in part again to the reserve imposed upon us by rule. Yet, all things considered, they are few, and trivial, while as to those noticed by “A Student,” etc. (the Marcus Aurelius of Simla) in your No.VII, it will be pleasant for you to know that every one of them, however now seeming to you contradictory, can (and if it should seem necessary shall) be easily reconciled with facts.
The trouble is that (a) you cannot be given the real figures and different age in the Rounds, and (b) that you do not open doors enough for explorers. The bright luminary of the B.T.S [ British Theosophical Society.] and the intelligences that surround her (embodied, I mean) may help you to see the plans; at all events, try. “Nothing was ever lost by trying.” You share with all beginners the tendency to draw too absolutely strong inferences from partly caught hints and to dogmatize thereupon as though the last word had been spoken. You will correct this in good time. You may misunderstand us, are more than likely to do so, for our language must always be more or less that of parable and suggestion, when treading upon forbidden ground; we have our own peculiar modes of expression and what lies behind the fence of words is even more important than what you read, but still, Try! Perhaps if Mr. S. Moses [ W. Stainton Moses, the spiritualist, who wrote under the pseudonym “M. A. (Oxon)” could know just what was meant by what was said to him and about his Intelligences, he would find all strictly true. As he is a man of interior growth, his day may come and his reconciliation with “the occultists” be complete. Who knows?
(Copied out at Simla, September 28th, 1882)
Evil has no existence per se, and is but the absence of good and exists but for him who is made its victim; it proceeds from two causes, and no more than good is it an independent cause in nature. Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy, or sends suffering and death, and destroys what she has created. Nature has an antidote for every poison, and her laws have a reward for every suffering. The butterfly devoured by a bird becomes that bird, and the little bird devoured by an animal goes into a higher form. It is the blind law of necessity and the eternal fitness of things, and hence cannot be called evil in nature. The real evil proceeds from human intelligence, and its origin rests entirely with reasoning man, who dissociates himself from Nature.
Humanity alone, then, is the true source of evil. Evil is the exaggeration of good, the progeny of human selfishness and greediness. Think profoundly and you will find that, save death (which is no evil, but a necessary law) and accidents, which will always find their reward in a future life, the origin of every evil, whether small or great, is in human action—in man, whose intelligence makes him the one free agent in nature.
It is not nature that creates diseases, but man. The latter’s mission and destiny in the economy of nature is to die his natural death brought by age. Save by accident, neither a savage nor a wild (free) animal dies of disease. Food, drink, sexual relations, all are necessities of life, yet excess in them brings on disease, misery, suffering, mental and physical, and the latter are transmitted as the greatest evils to future generations, the progeny of the culprits. Ambition, the desire of securing happiness and comfort for those we love by obtaining honour and riches, are praiseworthy natural feelings; but when they transform man into an ambitious, cruel tyrant, a miser or a selfish egoist, they bring untold misery on those around him—on nations as well as on individuals. All this, then, (food, wealth, ambition and the thousand other things we have to leave unmentioned) becomes the source and cause of evil, whether in its abundance or through its absence. Become a glutton, a debauchee, a tyrant, and you become the originator of diseases, of human suffering and misery. Lack all this and you starve, you are despised as a nobody, and the majority of the herd of your fellow-men make you a sufferer for your whole life. Therefore it is neither nature nor an imaginary deity that has to be blamed, but human nature made vile by selfishness. Think well over these few words; work out every cause of evil you can think of and trace it to its origin, and you will have solved one-third of the problems of evil.
And now, after making due allowances for evils that are natural and cannot be avoided—and so few are they that I challenge the whole host of Western metaphysicians to call them evils or trace them to an independent cause—I will point out the greatest, the chief cause of nearly two-thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion, under whatever form or in whatever nation; it is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches. It is in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity and that almost overwhelms mankind; ignorance created gods, and cunning took advantage of the opportunity. Look at India, look at Christendom and Islam, at Judaism and Fetichism. It is priestly imposture that rendered these gods so terrible to man; it is religion that makes of him the selfish bigot, the fanatic, that hates all mankind out of his own sect, without rendering him any better or more moral for it. It is belief in God or gods that makes of two-thirds of humanity the slaves of those who deceive them under the false pretence of saving them. Is not man ever ready to commit any kind of evil, if told that his God or gods demand the crime? Voluntary victim of an illusory god, the abject slave of his crafty ministers, the Irish, Italian or Sclavonian peasant will starve himself, and see his family starving and naked, to feed and clothe his padre or pope.
For 2.000 years India groaned under the weight of caste, Brahmins alone feeding on the fat of the land, and today the followers of Christ and Mahomet are cutting each other’s throats in the name for the greater glory of their respective myths. Remember, the sum of human misery will never be diminished until that day when the better portion of humanity destroy, in the name of truth, morality and universal charity, the alters of their false gods.
If it is objected that we too have temples, we too have priests, and that our Lamas also live on charity, let them know that the objects above named have in communion with their Western equivalents but the name. Thus in our temples there is neither a god nor gods worshipped, only the three sacred memories of the greatest as the holiest man that ever lived. If our Lamas, to honour that fraternity of the Bhikkus established by our Blessed Master himself, go out to be fed by the laity, the latter, often to the number of 5 to 25,000 is fed and taken care of by the Sangha (the fraternity of Lamaic monks) the Lamasery providing for the wants of the poor, the sick and the afflicted. Our Lamas accept food, never money, and it is in these temples that the origin of evil is preached and impressed upon the people. There they are taught the Four Noble Truths (Arya sachchani), and the chain of causation (the twelve Nidanas) gives them a solution of the problem of the origin and destruction of suffering.
Read the Maha-vagga: (Vin. Pit.I.i.1), and try to understand, not with the prejudiced western mind but with the spirit of intuition and truth, what the fully Enlightened One says in the 1st Khandhaka. Allow me to translate it for you. “At the time when the blessed Buddha was at Uruvela on the shores of the river Neranjara, as he rested under the Bodhi-tree of wisdom after he had become Sambuddha; at the end of the seventh day, having his mind fixed on the chain of causation, he spake thus: ‘From ignorance spring the Sankharas of three-fold nature—productions of body, of speech, of thought; from Sankharas spring consciousness; from consciousness springs name and form; and from these spring the six natures (of the six senses, the seventh being the property of but the enlightened); from these spring contact; from this sensation; from this thirst (or desire Kama-tanha); from thirst—attachment, existence, birth, old age and death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and despair. Again by the destruction of ignorance, the Sankharas are destroyed, and their consciousness, name and form, the six regions, contact, sensation, thirst, attachment (selfishness), existence, birth, old age, death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection and despair are destroyed. Such is the cessation of the whole mass of human suffering.’ Knowing this the Blessed One uttered this solemn utterance. When the real nature of things becomes clear to the meditating Bhikkhu, then all his doubts fade away since he has learned what is that nature and what its cause; from ignorance spring all the evils, from knowledge comes the cessation of this mass of misery; then the meditating Brahmin stands dispelling the hosts of Maya like the sun when it illumines the sky.” Meditation here means the superhuman, not supernatural, qualities of Arhatship in its highest or spiritual power.
Alone the Adepts, i.e., the embodied spirits, are forbidden by our wise and intransgressible laws to completely subject to themselves another and a weaker will, that of free-born man. The latter mode of proceeding is the favourite one resorted to by the Brothers of the Shadow, the Sorcerers, the Elementary Spooks and, as an isolated exception, the highest Planetary Spirits, those who can no longer err. But these appear on earth but at the origin of every new human kind at the junction or close of the two ends of the great cycle; and they remain with man no longer than the time required for the eternal truths they teach to impress themselves so forcibly upon the plastic minds of the new races as to warrant them from being entirely lost or forgotten in ages hereafter by the forth-coming generations.
The mission of the Planetary Spirit is but to strike the Key-note of Truth. Once he has directed the vibration of the latter to run its course uninterruptedly along the catenation of the race, and the end of the cycle, the denizen of the highest inhabited sphere disappears from the surface of our planet until the following resurrection of flesh. The vibrations of the primitive truth are what your philosophers term innate ideas. To your question: “May a Planetary spirit have been humanely incarnated?” I will first say that . . . there can be no Planetary Spirit that was not once material, or what you call human. When our great Buddha, the patron of all the Adepts, the reformer and codifier of the Occult System, reached first Nirvana on earth, he became a Planetary Spirit, i.e., his soul 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 enfranchised itself from matter that it could create at will an inner substitute for itself, and leaving it in the human form for days and weeks, sometimes years, affect in no wise by the change either the vital principle or the physical mind of its body. By the way, that is the highest form of Adeptship man can hope for on our planet; but it is as rare as the Buddhas themselves, the last Hobelgan who reached it being Tsong-ka-pa of Rokowr (XIVth century), the reformer of esoteric as well as vulgar Lamaism.
Many are those who break through the egg-shell, few who once out are able to exercise their nirupa namaphen [ So in MS., but evidently wrongly transcribed.] fully, when completely out of the body. Conscious life in spirit is as difficult for some natures as swimming is for some bodies. Though the human frame is lighter in its bulk than water, and though every person is born with the faculty, so few develop in themselves the art of treading water that death by drowning is the most frequent of accidents. The Planetary Spirit of that kind, the Buddha-like, can pass at will into other bodies, of more or less materialized matter, inhabiting other regions of the universe. There are many other grades and orders, but there is no separate and eternally constituted order of Planetary Spirits. I may answer with what I said to G.H. Fechner one day when he wanted to know the Hindu view on what he had written: “You are right; every diamond, every planet and star has its own individual soul besides man and animal . . . and there is a hierarchy of souls from the lowest forms of matter up to the world-soul; but you are mistaken when adding to that the assurance that the spirits of the departed hold sweet communion with souls that are still connected with a human body, for they do not.” The relative position of the inhabited worlds in our solar system would alone preclude such a possibility; for I trust you have given up the queer idea (a natural result of early Christian training) that there can possibly be human intelligences inhabiting purely spiritual regions. You will then as readily understand the fallacy of Christians who would burn immaterial souls in a material physical hell, as the mistake of the more educated spiritualists who lull themselves with the thought that any other than the denizens of the two worlds immediately interlinked with our own can possibly communicate with them. However ethereal and purified of gross matter they may be, the pure spirits are still subject to the physical and universal laws of nature. They cannot, even if they would, span the abyss that separates their world from ours. They can be visited in spirit; their spirit cannot descend and reach us. The attract, they cannot be attracted—their spiritual polarity being an insuperable difficulty in the way.
Once fairly started upon that subject I will endeavour to explain to you still more clearly where lies the impossibility. You will thus be answered in regard to Planetary Spirits and seance room spirits.
The cycle of intelligent existences commences at the highest worlds or planets, the term “highest” meaning here the most spiritually perfect. Evolving from Kosmic matter, which is Akasa, the primeval, not secondary, plastic medium or ether of science, instinctively suspected, improves with the rest. Man first evolves from this matter in its most sublimated state, appearing at the threshold of Eternity, as a perfectly ethereal, not spiritual, entity, says a Planetary Spirit. He is but one removed from the universal and spiritual world-essence—the “Anima Mundi” of the Greeks or that which humanity in its spiritual decadence has degraded into a mythical personal God. Hence at that state the spirit-man is at best an active power—an immutable, therefore, an unthinking principle (the term immutable being again used here but to denote that state for the time being), the immutability applying here but to the inner principle which will vanish and disappear as soon as the spark of the material in him will start on its cyclic work of evolution and transformation. In his subsequent descent, and in proportion to the increase of matter, he will assert more and more his activity.
Now the congeries of the star-worlds (including our own planet) inhabited by intelligent beings may be likened to an orb, or rather an epicycloid, formed of rings like a chain, worlds interlinked together—the totality representing an imaginary endless ring or circle. The progress of man throughout the whole, from its starting to its closing points, meeting on the highest point of the circumference, is what we call Maha-Yuga, or great cycle—the Kyklos whose head is lost in a crown of spirit and its lowest circumference in absolute matter, viz., the point of cessation of action of the active principle. If, using a more familiar term, we call the great cycle the macrocosm and its compound parts or interlinked star-worlds the microcosm, the occultist’s meaning in representing each of the latter as perfect copies of the former will become evident. The great is the prototype of the smaller cycles; and as such, each star-world has in its turn its own cycle of evolution, which starts with a purer and ends with a grosser or more material nature. As they descend, each world presents itself naturally more and more shadowy, becoming at the antipodes absolute matter. 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, to halt at every star-world as he would at a station, and, besides the unavoidable cycle of that particular and every respective star-world, to perform in it his own life-cycle, viz., returning and reincarnating as many times as he fails to complete his round of life in it, as he dies on it before reaching the age of reason, as correctly stated in Isis.
That is what happens. After circling, so to say, along the arc of the cycle, circling along and within it (the daily and yearly rotation of the Earth is as good an illustration as any) when the spirit-man reaches our own planet, which is one of the lowest, having lost at every station some of the ethereal, and acquired an increase of material nature, both spirit and matter have become pretty much equilibrated in him. But then he has the earth’s cycle to perform, and, as in the process of involution and evolution downwards, matter is ever trying to stifle spirit, when, arrived at the lowest point of his pilgrimage, the once pure Planetary Spirit will be found dwindled to what science agrees to call a primitive or primordial man amidst a nature as primordial, speaking geologically; for physical nature keeps pace with the physiological as well as the spiritual man in her cyclic career. At that point the great law begins its work of selection. Matter found entirely divorced from spirit is thrown over into the still lower worlds, into the sixth “gati” or “way of rebirth” of the vegetable and mineral worlds, and of primitive animal forms. From thence, matter, ground over in the workshop of nature, proceeds soul-less back to its Mother-Fount, while the egos purified of their dross are enabled to resume their progress once more onward.
It is here that the laggard egos perish by the millions. It is the solemn moment of the survival of the fittest—the annihilation of those unfit. It is but matter (or material man) which is compelled by its own weight to descend to the very bottom of the “circle of necessity” to then assume an animal form; as to the winner of that race throughout the worlds, the spiritual ego, he will ascend from star to star, from one world to another, circling onward to re-become the once pure Planetary Spirit, then higher still, to finally reach its first starting point, and from thence to merge into Mystery. No Adept has ever penetrated beyond the veil of primitive cosmic matter. The highest, the most perfect vision, is limited to the Universe of Form and Matter.
But my explanation does not end here. You want to know why it is deemed supremely difficult if not utterly impossible for pure disembodied spirits to communicate with men through mediums of Phantomosophy. I say because (1) on account of the antagonistic atmospheres respectively surrounding these worlds; (2) of the entire dissimilarity of the physiological and spiritual conditions; and (3) because that chain of worlds I have just been telling you about is not only an epicycloid but an elliptical orbit of existences, having, as every eclipse, not one but two points—two foci which can never approach each other, man being at one focus of it and pure spirit at the other. To this you might object. I can neither help it nor change the fact. But there is still another and far mightier impediment. Like a rosary composed of white and black beads alternating with each other, so that concatenation of worlds is made up of worlds of causes and worlds of effects—the latter the direct result produced by the former. Thus it becomes evident that every sphere of causes (and our Earth is one) is not only interlinked with, and surrounded by, but actually separated from, its nearest neighbour, the higher sphere of causality, by an impenetrable atmosphere (in its spiritual sense) of effects, bordering on and even interlinking , never mixing with the next sphere; for one is active, the other passive—the world of causes positive, that of effects negative. This passive resistance can be overcome, but under conditions of which you most learned spiritualists have not the faintest idea.
All movement is, so to say, polar. It is very difficult to convey my meaning to you at this point, but I will go on to the end. I am aware of my failure to bring before you these, to us, axiomatical truths, in any other form but that of a simple logical postulate, if so much, they being capable of absolute and unequivocal demonstration but to the highest Seers. But I will give you food for thought if nothing else. The intermediary spheres, being but the projected shadows of the world of causes, are regulated by the last. They are the great halting-places, the stations in which the new self-conscious egos, to be the self-begotten progeny of the old and disembodied egos of our planet, are gestated. Before the new Phoenix, reborn of the ashes of its parent, can soar higher to a better, more spiritually perfect world—still a world of matter—it has to pass through the process of a new birth, so to say, and as on our Earth where two-thirds of infants are either still-born or die in infancy, so in our “world of effects”. On Earth it is the physiological and mental defects, the sins of the progenitors, that are visited upon the issue; in that land of shadows, the new and yet unconscious ego-foetus becomes the just victim of the transgressions of its old self, whose Karma, merit and demerit, will alone weave out its future destiny. In that world we find but unconscious, self-acting, ex-human machines, souls in their transition state, whose dormant faculties and individuality lie as a butterfly in its chrysalis; and spiritualists would yet have them talk sense! Caught at times into the vortex of the abnormal mediumistic current, they become the unconscious echoes of thoughts and ideas crystallized around those present. Every positive, well-directed mind is capable of neutralising such secondary effects in a seance room.
The world below ours is worse yet. The former is harmless at least; it is more sinned against by being disturbed, than sinning; the latter, allowing the retention of full consciousness (as being a hundredfold more material) is positively dangerous. The notions of hell and purgatory, of paradise and resurrection are all caricatured, distorted echoes of the primeval one truth taught humanity in the infancy of its races by every first Messenger—the Planetary Spirit whose remembrance lingered in the memory of man as Elu of the Chaldees, Osiris of the Egyptian, Vishnu, the first Bhuddhas, and so on. The lower world of effects is the sphere of such distorted thoughts, of the most sensual conceptions and pictures, of anthropomorphic deities, the out-creations of their creators, the sensual human minds of people who have never grown out of their brute-hood on Earth. Remembering that thoughts are things—have tenacity, coherence, and life, that they are real entities—the rest will become plain. Disembodied, the creator is attracted naturally to its creation, and creatures sucked in by the maelstrom dug out by their own hands. But I must pause, for volumes would hardly suffice to explain all that is said by me in this letter.
One [ In the MS of C.W.L., these two paragraphs exist in a condensed form. In the MS of F.A. they do not appear at all. The paragraphs as I print them are from a copy of a letter of the Master K.H. which I obtained in Paris in 1916. In this copy the Greek words are wrongly copied. I have tentatively restored autokrates, apeiron, noumena and oiakonomos on the recommendation of a Greek scholar.] of your letters with a quotation from one of my own: “Remember that there is within man no abiding principle”—which sentence I find followed by a remark of yours, “How about the sixth and seventh principles?” To this I answer: Neither Atma nor Buddhi were ever within man— a little metaphysical axiom that you can study with advantage in Plutarch and Anaxagoras; the latter made his nous autokrates—the spirit of self-potent—the apeiron that alone recognized noumena, while the former taught on the authority of Plato and Pythagoras that the Oiakonomos or the nous always remained without the body, that is, floated and overshadowed, so to say, the extreme part of the man’s head. It is only the vulgar who think it is within them, says Buddha; you have to get rid entirely of all the subjects of impermanence composing the body, that your body will become permanent.
The permanent never merges within the impermanent, although the two are one. But it is only when all outward appearances are gone that there is left that one principle of life which exists independently of all external phenomena. It is the fire that burns in the eternal light, when the fuel is expended and the flame extinguished, for that fire is neither in the flame nor in the fuel, nor yet inside either of the two, but above, beneath, and everywhere.
By the late Eliphas Levi
(Theosophist, October 1881)
It is a bath of oblivion. It is the fountain of youth where on one side plunges old age, and whence on the other issues infancy.[ Rebirth of the Ego after death. The Eastern and especially Buddhistic doctrine of the evolution of the new, out of the old Ego.]
Death is the transfiguration of the living; corpses are but the dead leaves of the Tree of Life which will still have all its leaves in the spring. The resurrection of men resembles eternally these leaves.
Perishable forms are conditioned by immortal types.
All who have lived upon earth live there still in new exemplars of their types, but the souls which have surpassed their type receive elsewhere a new form based upon a more perfect type, as they mount ever on the ladder of worlds; [ From one loka to the other; from a positive world of causes and activity, to a negative world of effects and passivity.] the bad exemplars are broken and their matter returned into the general mass.[ Into Cosmic matter, when they necessarily lose their self-consciousness or individuality, or are annihilated, as the Eastern Kabalists say.]
Our souls are as it were a music, of which our bodies are the instruments. The music exists without the instruments, but it cannot make itself heard without a material intermediary; the immaterial can neither be conceived nor grasped.
Man in his present existence only retains certain predispositions from his past existences.
Evocations of the dead are but condensations of memory, the imaginary coloration of the shades. To evoke those who are no longer there, is but to cause their types to reissue from the imagination of nature. [To ardently desire to see a dead person is to evoke the image of that person, to call it forth from the astral light or ether wherein rest photographed the images of the Past. That is what is being partially done in the seance rooms. The spiritualists are unconscious Necromancers.]
To be in direct communication with the imagination of nature, one must be either asleep intoxicated, in an ecstasy, cataleptic, or mad.
The eternal memory preserves only the imperishable; all that passes in Time belongs of right to oblivion.
The preservation of corpses is a violation of the laws of nature; it is an outrage on the modesty of death, which hides the works of destruction, as we should hide those of reproduction. Preserving corpses is to create phantoms in the imagination of the earth [To intensify these images in the astral or sidereal light.] the spectres of the nightmare, of hallucination, and fear, are but the wandering photographs of preserved corpses. It is these preserved or imperfectly destroyed corpses, which spread, amid the living, plague, cholera, contagious diseases, sadness, scepticism and disgust of life. [ People being intuitionally to realize the great truth, and societies for burning bodies and crematories are now started in many places in Europe.] Death is exhaled by death. The cemeteries poison the atmosphere of towns, and the miasma of corpses blight the children even in the bosoms of their mothers.
Near Jerusalem in the Valley of Gehenna a perpetual fire was maintained for the combustion of filth and the carcasses of animals, and it is to this eternal fire that Jesus alluded when he says that the wicked shall be cast into Gehenna; signifying that dead souls will be treated as corpses. The Talmud says that the souls of those who have not believed in immortality will not become immortal. It is faith only which gives personal immortality; [ Faith and will-power. Immortality is conditional, as we have ever stated. It is the reward of the pure and good. The wicked man, the material sensualist only survives. He who appreciates but physical pleasures will not and cannot live in the hereafter as a self-conscious Entity.] science and reason can only affirm the general immortality.
The mortal sin is the suicide of the soul. This suicide would occur if the man devoted himself to evil with the full strength of his mind, with a perfect knowledge of good and evil, and an entire liberty of action which seems impossible in practice, but which is possible in theory, because the essence of an independent personality is an unconditioned liberty. The divinity imposes nothing upon man, not even existence. Man has a right to withdraw himself even from the divine goodness, and the dogma of eternal hell is only the assertion of eternal free-will.
God precipitates no one into hell. It is men who can go there freely, definitely and by their own choice.
Those who are in hell, that is to say, amid the gloom of evil [ That is to say, they are reborn in a “lower world” which is neither “Hell” nor any theological purgatory, but a world of nearly absolute matter and one preceding the last one in the “circle of necessity” from which “there is no redemption, for there reigns absolute spiritual darkness”. (Book of Kiu-te).] and the sufferings of the necessary punishment, without having absolutely so willed it, are called to emerge from it. This hell is for them only a purgatory. The dammed completely, absolutely and without respite, is Satan who is not a rational existence, but a necessary hypothesis.
Satan is the last word of creation. He is the end infinitely emancipated. He willed to be like God of which he is the opposite. God is the hypothesis necessary to reason, Satan the hypothesis necessary to unreason asserting itself as free-will.
To be immortal in good, one must identify oneself with God; to be immortal in evil, with Satan. These are two poles of the world of souls; between these two poles vegetate and die without remembrance the useless portion of mankind.
Editor’s Note: This may seem incomprehensible to the average reader, for it is one of the most abstruse of the tenets of Occult doctrine. Nature is dual: there is a physical and material side, as there is a spiritual and moral side to it; and, there is both good and evil in it, the latter the necessary shadow to its light. To force oneself upon the current of immortality, or rather to secure for oneself an endless series of rebirths as conscious individualities—says the Book of Kiu-te, Vol. XXXI—one must become a co-worker with nature, either for good or bad, in her work of creation and reproduction, or in that of destruction. It is but the useless drones, which she gets rid of, violently ejecting and making them perish by the millions as self-conscious entities. Thus, while the good and pure strive to reach Nipang (nirvana or the state of absolute existence and absolute consciousness—which, in the world of finite perceptions, is non-existence and non-consciousness)—the wicked will seek, on the contrary, a series of lives as conscious, definite existences or beings, preferring to be ever suffering under the law of retributive justice rather than give up their lives as portions of the integral, universal whole. Being well aware that they can never hope to reach the final rest in pure spirit, or nirvana, they cling to life in any form, rather than give up that “desire for life” or Tanha which causes a new aggregation of Skandhas or the individuality to be reborn. Nature is as good a mother to the cruel bird of prey as she is to the harmless dove. Mother nature will punish her child, but since he has become her co-worker for destruction she cannot eject him. There are thoroughly wicked and depraved men, yet as highly intellectual acutely spiritual for evil, as those who are spiritual for good. The Egos of these may escape the law of final destruction or annihilation for ages to come. That is what Eliphas Levi means by becoming “immortal in evil,” through identification with Satan. “I would thou wert cold or hot,” says the vision of the Revelation to St. John (III, 15-16). “So then because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. The Revelation is an absolutely Kabalistic book. Heat and cold are the two “poles,” i.e., good and evil, spirit and matter. Nature spues the “luke-warm” or “the useless portion of mankind” out of her mouth, i.e., annihilates them. This conception, that a considerable portion of mankind may after all not have immortal souls, will not be new even to European readers. Coleridge himself likened the case to that of an oak tree bearing, indeed, millions of acorns, but acorns of which under nominal conditions not one in a thousand ever developed into a tree, and suggested that, as the majority of acorns failed to develop into a new living tree, so possibly the majority of men fail to develop into a new living entity after this earthly death.
(Theosophist, March 1883)
“DEVACHAN” is of course a state not a locality, as much as “Avitchi”—its antithesis (which please not to confound with Hell). Esoteric Buddhist philosophy has three principal lokas so-called namely (1) Kama Loka, (2) Rupa-loka; and (3) Arupa-loka; or in their literal translation and meaning—(1) world of desires or passions, of unsatisfied earthly cravings—the abode of “Shells” and Victims, of Elementaries and suicides; (2) the world of Forms, i.e., of shadows more spiritual, having form and objectivity but no substance; and (3) the formless world, or rather the world of no-Form, the incorporeal, since its denizens can have neither body, shape, nor colour for us mortals, and in the sense that we give to these terms. These are the three spheres of ascending spirituality in which the several groups of subjective semi-subjective entities find their attractions. The time having not yet come to speak of the latter two, we will merely notice the first, namely the Kama-loka. Thence it is, that all but the remaining shells, the suicides and the victims of premature violent deaths, go according to their attractions and powers either into the Devachanic or Avitchi state, which two states form the numberless sub-divisions of “Rupa” and “Arupa” lokas; that is to say, that such states not only vary in degree, or in their presentation to the subject entity as regards form, colour, etc.,—but that there is an infinite scale of such states, in their progressive spirituality and intensity of feeling; from the lowest in the Rupa, up to the highest and the most exalted in the Arupa-loka. The student must bear in mind that personality is the synonym for limitation; and that the more selfish, the more contracted the person’s ideas, the closer will he cling to the lower spheres of being, the longer loiter on the plane of selfish social intercourse.
To use an antiphrasis, “Avitchi” is a state of the most ideal spiritual wickedness, something akin to the state of Lucifer, so superbly described by Milton. Not many, though are there who can reach it, as the thoughtful reader will perceive. And if it is urged that, since there is Devachan for nearly all, for the good, and the bad, and the indifferent, the ends of harmony and equilibrium are frustrated, and the law of Retribution and of impartial, implacable Justice hardly met and satisfied by such a comparative scarcity if not absence of its antithesis, then the answer will show that it is not so. “Evil is the dark son of Earth (matter) and Good the fair daughter of Heaven” (or spirit) says the Chinese philosopher; hence the place of punishment for most of our sins is the Earth—its birth place and playground. There is more apparent and relative than actual evil even on earth, and it is not given to the hoi polloi to reach the fatal grandeur and eminence of a “Satan” every day. See foot-notes in art. “Death” by Eliphas Levi (October Theosophist, Vol. III), the editorial answer to the art: “Death and Immortality” (November Theosophist, p.28); and the words used by the author, when speaking of those who are immortal in good by identification with God (or good), and immortal in evil by identification with Satan (Evil). Although the general rule applies but to “Sorcerers,” i.e., adepts in black Magic, real Initiates and sons of Evil, generally known as “the Brothers of the Shadow,” yet there are exceptions to that rule as to every other. Occasionally men reaching the apex of evil become “unconscious” sorcerers; they identify themselves with “Satan,” and then Avitchi becomes their Fate. Happy they are when thereby they avoid a worse punishment—a loka from which indeed, no traveller—either returns or, once within its dark precincts—pursues his journey!
(Theosophist, August 1882)
The old proverb, that “Truth is stranger than fiction,” is again exemplified. An English scientist—Professor William Ramsay, of University College, Bristol—has just communicated to Nature (see number of June 22), a theory to account for the sense of smell which is likely to attract much attention. As the result of observation and experiment he propounds the idea that smell is due to vibrations similar to, but of a lower period than those which give rise to the sense of light and heat. The sensation of smell, he explains, is provoked by the contact of substances with the terminal organs of the olfactory nerves, which are spread as a network over a mucous membrane lining the upper part of the nasal cavity. The proximate cause of smell is the minute hairlets of the nasal membrane which connect with the nerves through spindle-shaped cells. The sensation is not excited by contact with a liquid or a solid, but always with a gas. Even in the case of smelling metals, such as brass, copper, tin, etc., there is a subtle gas or pungent vapour given off by them at ordinary atmospheric temperatures. The varying intensities of smells depend upon their relative molecular weight. As the smell growing stronger as the gases rises in molecular weight, to the quality of smell; that he thinks may depend upon the harmonics of the vibration. “Thus, the quality of tone in a violin differs from that of a flute by the different harmonics or overtones, peculiar to each instrument. I would ascribe to harmonies the quantity of smell possessed by different substances. . . . Smell, then, may resemble sound in having its quality influenced by harmonics. And just as a piccolo has the same quality as a flute, although some of its harmonics are so high as to be beyond the range of the ear, so smells owe their quality to harmonics, which, if occurring alone, would be beyond sense.” Two sounds heard simultaneously, he remarks, give a discord or a concord, yet the ear may distinguish them separately. Two colours, on the other hand, produce a single impression on the eye, and it is doubtful whether we can analyse them. “But smell resembles sound and not light in this particular. For in a mixture of smells, it is possible, by practice, to distinguish each ingredient,” and—in a laboratory experiment—to match the sensation by a mixture of different ingredients. Apparently astonished at his own audacity, he brings forward “the theory adduced with great diffidence.” Poor discoverer, the elephantine foot of the Royal Society may crush his toes! The problem, he says, is to be solved “by a careful measurement of the ‘lines’ in the spectrum of heat rays, and the calculation of the fundamentals, which this theory supposes to be the cause of smell.
It may be a comfort for Professor Ramsay to know that he is not the first to travel the path he suddenly has found winding from his laboratory-door up the hill of fame. Twenty or more years ago, a novel, entitled Kaloolah, was published in America by one Dr. Mayo, a well-known writer. It pretended, among other things, to describe a strange city, situated in the heart of Africa, where, in many respects, the people were more civilized and perfected than contemporary Europeans. As regards smell, for instance, the prince of that country, for the entertainment of his visitors—the hero of the story and his party—seats himself at a large instrument like an organ, with tubes, stops, pedals and keys, and plays an intricate composition, of which the harmonics are in odours, instead of in sounds as with a musical instrument. And he explains that his people have brought their olfactory sense, by practice, to such an exquisite point of sensitiveness as to afford them, by combinations and contrasts of smells, as high enjoyment as the European derives from a “concourse of sweet sounds.” It is but too plain, therefore, that Mr. Mayo had, if not a scientific, yet at least an intuitive cognition of this vibratory theory of odours, and that his smell harmonicum was not so much the baseless image of a romancer’s fancy as the novel-readers took it for when they laughed so heartily at the conceit. The fact is—as has been so often observed—the dream of one generation becomes the experience of the next. If our poor voice might without profanation invade so sacred a place as the laboratory of University College, Bristol, we would ask Mr. Ramsay to take a glance—just one furtive peep, with closed doors, and when he finds himself alone—at (it requires courage to say the word!) at..at..at Occult Science. (We scarcely dared speak the dreadful word, but it is out at last, and the Professor must hear it.) He will then find his vibratory theory is older than even Dr. Mayo, since it was known to the Aryans and is included in their philosophy of the harmonics of nature. They taught that there is a perfect correspondence, or mutual compensation between all the vibrations of Nature, and a most intimate relation between the set of vibrations which give us the impression of sound, and that other set of vibrations which give us the impression of colour. This subject is treated at some length in Isis Unveiled. The Oriental adept applies this very knowledge practically when he transforms any disagreeable odour into any delicious perfume he may think of. And thus modern science, after so long enjoying its joke over the puerile credulity of the Asiatics in believing such fairy stories about the powers of their Sadhoos, is now ending by being forced to demonstrate the scientific possibility of those very powers by actual laboratory experimentation. “He laughs best who laughs last”—an adage that the graduates of India would do well to remember.
(Notes to Theosophist, Vol. 4, p.37)
A. See Plato’s History of Atlantis, as given by the priests of Sais to his great ancestor Solon, the Athenian law-giver.
Atlantis, the submerged continent and the land of the “Knowledge of Good and Evil” (especially the latter) par excellence, was inhabited by the fourth race of men (we are the fifth), who are credited in the Popol-Vuh (the book of the Guatemalans) with sight unlimited, and “who knew all things at once.” Eliphas Levi refers to the secret tradition, among occultists, about the great struggle that took place in those far-away prehistoric days of Atlantis, between the “sons of God,” the initiated Adepts of Sham-bha-la (once as fair a land, an oasis surrounded by barren deserts and salt lakes)—and the Atlanteans, the wicked magicians of Thevetat, (see Isis, Vol. I, pp. 589-94).
It is a well-established belief among the Eastern and especially the Mongolian and Tibetan occultists, that, towards the end of every race, when mankind reaches its apex of knowledge in that cycle, dividing into two distinct classes, it branches off, one as the “Sons of Light” and the other as “the Sons of Darkness,” or initiated Adepts and natural-born magicians or—mediums. Towards the very close of the race, as their mixed progeny furnishes the first pioneers of a new and higher race, there comes the last and supreme struggle, during which the “Sons of Darkness” are usually exterminated by some great cataclysm of nature, either by fire or by water. Atlantis was submerged: hence the inference that that portion of the mankind of the fifth race which will be composed of “natural-born magicians” will be exterminated in the future great cataclysm—by fire.
B. (37). What was in reality that much maligned and still more dreaded goat, that Baphomet, regarded even now by the Roman Catholics as Satan, the Grand Master of the “Witches Sabbath,” the central figure of their nocturnal orgies? Why, simply Pan or Nature.
C. By “the dogma of elementary forces” Eliphas Levi means “spirit” and “matter,” allegorised by Zoroaster for the common herd into Ormazd and Ahriman, the prototype of the Christian “God” and “Devil”: and epitomised and summed up by the philosophy of Occult Science in the “Human Triad” (body, soul, spirit—the two poles and the “middle nature” of man), the perfect microcosm of the One Universal Macrocosm or Universe. In the Khodah-Avesta the Zoroastrian dualism is contradicted: “Who art thou, O fair being?” inquiries the disembodied soul of one who stands at the gates of its Paradise. “I am, O soul, thy good and pure actions . . . thy law, thy angel, and thy God.”
D. P.38. The seventh state of matter-life. The Fire and Light of the “Astral Virgin” may be studied by the Hindus in the Fire and Light of Akasha.
E. . . .” to avoid seeing what God is,” i.e., seeing that God is but man and vice versa, when he is not the lining of God, the Devil. We know of many who prefer voluntary life-long blindness to plain, sober truth and fact.
F. (38), Cupid, the God, is the seventh principle of the Brahm of the Vedantin and Psyche is its vehicle, the sixth or spiritual soul. As soon as she feels herself distinct from her “consort,” and sees him, she loses him. Study the “Heresy of Individuality” and you will understand.
G. In the Christian legend the Redeemer is the Initiator, who offers his life in sacrifice for the privilege of teaching his disciples some great truths. He who unriddles the Christian Sphinx “becomes the Master of the Absolute,” for the simple reason that the greatest mystery of all the ancient initiations, past, present, and future, is made plain and divulged to him. Those who accept the allegory literally, will remain blind all their life, and those who divulge it to the ignorant masses deserve punishment for their want of discretion in seeking to “feed pigs with pearls.”
The Theosophist, read by the intelligent, who, when they understand it, prove that they deserve as much of the secret knowledge as can be given them, is permitted to throw out a hint. Let him who would fathom the mystery of the allegory of both Sphinx and Cross, study the modes of initiation of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, ancient Jews, Hindus, etc. And then he will find what the word “Atonement,” far older than Christianity, meant as also “the Baptism of Blood.” At the last moment of the supreme initiation, when the Initiator had divulged the last mysterious word, either the hierophant or the “newly-born,” the worthier of the two, had to die, since two Adepts of equal power must not live, and “he who is perfect” has no room on earth. Eliphas Levi hints at the mystery in his volumes without explaining it. Yet he speaks of Moses who dies, mysteriously disappears from the top of Mount Pisgah, after he had laid hands on the initiated Aaron: of Jesus, who dies for the disciple “whom he loved,” John, the author of the Apocalypse: and of John the Baptist, the last of the real Nazars of the Old Testament (see Isis, Vol. II, p.132), who, in the incomplete, contradictory and tortured Gospel accounts, is made to die later through Herodias’ whim, and, in the secret Kabalistic documents of the Nabatheans, to offer himself as an expiatory victim after baptizing (i.e., initiating) his chosen successor in the mystic Jordan.
In these documents, after the
initiation, Aba, the Father, becomes the Son, and the Son succeeds the Father
and becomes Father and Son at the same time, inspired by Sophia Achamoth
(secret wisdom), transformed later on into the Holy Ghost. But this successor
of John the Baptist was not Jesus, the Nazarenes say. But of this anon. To this
day, the initiation beyond the
Searchable Theosophical Texts