STRICTLY PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
NOT THE PROPERTY OF ANY MEMBER, AND TO BE RETURNED ON
DEMAND TO THE AGENT OF THE HEAD OF THE E.S.T.
INSTRUCTION NO. III
The following “Preliminary Explanations” were written by H. P. B. at the time of a grave crisis, or rasher series of crises, through which the T.S. passed in 1889-90. Treachery within the E.S. itself and persistent and relentless attacks on the T.S. from without, especially in America, necessitated the striking of a fresh keynote and giving directions for the closing up of the ranks of the E.S. At the time of reprinting the Instructions in London in 1890-91, certain portions of these “Preliminary Explanations” dealing with the details of the matter were purposely omitted by those of H.P.B.’s pupils who were constituted the editors, these portions being deemed by them of too personal a character to remain. This was done when H.P.B. was too ill to supervise, without her sanction and, as she afterwards said, much against her wishes. The “Preliminary Explanations” are therefore now printed exactly as they originally stood, those portions previously omitted being now put between square brackets: [ ].
PRELIMINARY EXPLANATIONS TO NO. III OF
[BROTHERS and SISTERS in THEOSOPHY:
Many of you who, having joined the E.S., expected to receive their papers every two months, at least, but received only those for Jan.-Feb. and March April, must have felt disappointed, perhaps displeased. For this I am sincerely sorry, but owing to the present state of things in America, treachery from the first, and still worse treachery recently, the betrayal by one who joined the E.S. with the determined object of getting possession of its supposed secrets, in order to upset the Theosophical Society, and, by crushing me, crush the E.S. out of existence, has put an unavoidable stop to the teachings.
You have read in my “Open Letter to all Theosophists” the true and sad history of an ex-brother, who, whether from personal or other motives, consented to undertake the mission of a Judas. Though having failed in finding out what he so diligently sought by coming to London, he has nevertheless since then done us the greatest harm by substituting falsehoods and slander for facts, and even succeeded in turning several honourable men away from us. (Since I began writing this, two more prominent members of Boston have been upset by the joint efforts of
our enemies’ “league,” and dropped out of the fold, labouring under the most false suggested impressions.) How, then, could I continue under such circumstances? Yet I had begun preparing No. III of the papers, which would have been sent to you long ago had not a third obstacle arisen.
A full reorganization was necessary, and our Brother W. Q. Judge, together with a few of the American Council of the E.S., kindly undertook it. But now the poisonous shafts of our persevering enemies are turned against him; and it is, as I know, partly owing to the same slanderous and underhand work that several of you have refused to comply with the new Rules issued by him in my name.
Of the chief reason, however, for stopping the teachings, few, except those in my immediate surroundings, know, and you have to learn it now.]
Of the fact that no such large and ever-growing body as the E.S. has now become could remain without its traitors, secret and open, I was aware from the beginning. I knew what I had to expect from the first day. I knew that the task I had undertaken would lead to more obloquy and misrepresentations for me than ever; that it was sure to create a large amount of bad feeling among the members of the main (exoteric) body of the T.S., which would be finally vented, in particular, if not solely, upon myself. And all came to pass as I knew it would. But if it is, in a great measure, owing to this that the delivery of instructions was delayed, it was not, as said, the sole reason. There came a more serious impediment––to me the bitterest of all. I received two letters and a reproof from the Masters. These reached me in no such way as to allow the hope that it was less serious than had at first appeared. That which I received both times, was a letter in plain language, sent by post and mailed quite prosaically at the Sikkim frontier, one in March, the other in August. The last of these left me no ephemeral hope that I had misunderstood or even exaggerated the facts. In their first, our Masters were displeased, and in their last, which arrived just as the news of M. A. Lane’s treachery came from New York, that displeasure became still more apparent.
It was at the end of August, and I was told to keep No. III of the Papers back, until further developments, and then to make those portions of the contents of the Masters’ letter that related to the E.S. known to all its members of both continents, without even omitting to show them how mistaken and dangerous had been my policy in the E.S. from its beginning. I had been warned by the Council and my trusted friends, of the danger there was in admitting such a number of persons, scattered so widely over the world, who, it was added, knew me not, except on hearsay, and each of whom I had no other
means, as they supposed, of studying than through their auras and photographs. I myself realized that danger, but had no means of averting it, since the “Book of the Discipline and Rules” states that: “No one shall be refused admission, or the chance of learning truth and thereby improving his life, only because some one, or even all his neighbors think ill of him.” Such is the rule. Therefore, the larger the number of applicants who take the pledge, the greater the possibility of helping the masses. A member of the T.S. may be utterly unfit for the higher sciences and never grasp the true teachings of occultism and esoteric philosophy; but yet, if he has the true spark and faith in the real presence of the HIGHER SELF in him, he will remain loyal to his pledge and will try to model his life in accordance with the rules of the E.S., and thereby become nobler and better in every case. Membership in the E.S., and “pledges” sent, accepted and signed, are no warrants for a high success, nor do these pledges aim at making of every student an adept or a magician. They are simply the seeds in which lurks the potentiality of every truth, the germ of that progress which will be the heirloom of only the seventh perfect Race. A handful of such seeds was entrusted to me by the keepers of these truths, and it is my duty to sow them there, where I perceive a possibility of growth. It is the parable of the Sower put once more into practice, and a fresh lesson to be derived from its new application. The seeds that fall into good ground will bring forth fruit an hundredfold, and thus repay in each case the waste of those seeds which will have fallen by the wayside, on stony hearts and among the thorns of human passions. It is the duty of the Sower to choose the best soil for the future crops. But he is held responsible only so far as that ability is directly connected with the failures, and that such are solely due to it; it is the Karma of the individuals who receive the seeds by asking for them, that will repay or punish those who fail in their duties to their HIGHER SELF. Nature is ever struggling even in its so-called inorganic and inanimate kingdoms towards progress and perfectibility by production; how much more the nature of conscious thinking man! Each of us, if his nature is not productive or deep enough per se, may borrow and derive material for soil from the seeds themselves which he receives; and every one has the means to avoid the scorching sun, and to force the seeds to strike root, or prevent the thorns choking them, with a very little effort indeed. Therefore, my mistake did not lie in that I accepted too readily applications to join the E.S.
Nor have I sinned even in accepting men and women of whom I have not felt quite sure, though the opportunity of discerning their inner natures was possible and given to me in almost every instance. I have not sinned, in this, I say, as some think, because the rules teach
again that the grand ethics taught in the secret Âryâsanga schools are not for the benefit or perfection of saints, but verily of sinners who need moral and intellectual help.
In what particular, then, have I failed to do my duty? Simply in this, as I am shown: I have begun to give out Eastern teachings to those who were unacquainted with the Eastern discipline; to Westerners, who, had they been thoroughly versed in the laws of that discipline so unfamiliar to cultured Christian-born people, would have thought twice before joining the E.S. Being taught to rely on their Saviour and scapegoat instead of themselves, they have never stopped to think that their salvation and future incarnation depend entirely on themselves, and that every transgression against the Holy Ghost (their Higher Self) will indeed become unpardoned in their present life––or their next incarnation: for Karma is there to watch their actions, and even thoughts. In short, I have begun to instruct them in spelling before I had taught them the letters of the Occult alphabet. Instead of solemnly warning those who signed their pledge that, by breaking it and becoming guilty of that which they had sworn to avoid, they incurred thereby the most dangerous responsibilities, entailing sooner or later the most terrible consequences, and proving this to them by living examples from their own and other people’s lives, I left them to their own devices. Instead of such warning, I have given out to them the preliminary knowledge that leads to the most hidden secrets of nature and the old Wisdom-Religion––and which but very few can appreciate. I have, finally, neglecting to prepare them by first placing each and all on a twelve-month’s or so probation, given them an opportunity of going quite easily, and in most cases, unconsciously to themselves, astray. It is in consequence of this that there has been such a number of members caring for nothing but new instructions to amuse them, and several backsliders who have already done the greatest harm to the Theosophical Society, let alone the E.S. This is the result and consequence of my neglect to conform with and enforce the rules; and I now confess it, in all humility, to all my friends who will read this.
How true are these words in Master’s letter:
“Experience but too clearly proves that any departure from the time-honored rules for the government and instructions of the disciple to suit Western custom and prejudices, is a fatal policy.”
“Before the pupil can be taught, he must learn how to conduct himself as regards the world, his teacher, the sacred science, and his INNER SELF,” the letter adds, quoting the Eastern aphorism that:
“The ruffled water-surface reflects naught but broken images:” the Master meaning that so long as the learners have not mastered their world-passions and remain ignorant of the Truth, their unprepared
minds will perceive everything in the light of their worldly, not of their truly spiritual, esoteric judgment.
“How can they be expected, then” it asks, “to see aught but the broken truths, that such judgment is sure to suggest and distort the more? Violation of ancient usages is sure to result in evil.”
How true are these words is shown in our own case. For what have the violations of that time-honored usage which prohibits to speak in public or before the ignorant masses of sacred things, of which we, the two Founders, have been guilty, brought upon the T.S. and individual aspirants, even before the E.S. had been established, but grief and scandal? In blind foolishness, without warrant and reflection, have we, Col. Olcott and I, chiefest of all, lifted some of the veils of Truth, given some flitting glimpses of the secret laws of Nature and of Being, to a blind, ignorant, sense-ruled public, and thus provoked the hatred, deepened the skepticism, and excited the malevolent activity of many opponents who, otherwise, would have left us alone. Ah, friends, it was a wise law and a prudent restriction that ancient rule that kept the sacred, but dangerous knowledge (dangerous, because it cuts both ways) confined to the few, and these few pledged by a vow, which, if broken, led them almost to perdition. And to this day it is these few who run the greater risk. Some of the Theosophists, yet quite recently almost adorers of the T.S., and especially of its Masters, have lost or are losing unconsciously to themselves their moral balance; some because of the venomous words spoken in their ears by traitors, while others are flinging aside to the four winds their good Karmic chances, and turning into bitter and unprincipled enemies. Of the rude public one should have expected this, but from friends, brothers, and associates!
Well, as it now appears, so far as the members of the E.S. are concerned, it is in a great measure, if not entirely, my fault; and it is a bitter draught that Karma compels me to drink out of her iron cup. Had I instead of showing such hopeful confidence and belief in the inviolability of people’s word of honor, and almost a blind faith that the sacredness of their pledge would prove the surest guarantee of the good faith of any pledged member; had I instead of that, gone on the old occult lines of the Eastern discipline, such things as have taken place could never have happened. But I never permitted myself to even dream that a double pledge of such sanctity as the one taken in the name of the HIGHER SELF could ever be broken, however little one may make even of his “most sacred word of honor.” Even in the few cases when a dark and ominous aura around the face of a photograph plainly warned me, I still tried to hope against all hope. I could not bring myself to believe any man or woman capable of such deliberate treachery. I rejected as an evil, sinful thought, the idea that conscious
depravity could ever remain on the best of terms with a man, after the signing of such a sacred promise; and, I have learned now for the first time the possibility of what has been truthfully dubbed by some Theosophists “only a lip-pledge.” Had I strictly enforced the rules, I would have, no doubt, lost the two-thirds of our pledged members––those who had signed it as they would any circular letter––but then at least, those few who will remain true to their vows to the bitter end, would have more profited than they have now. Having omitted, however, the usual precautions of the probationary period, I have but myself to thank; and therefore, it is but just that I should also be myself the first to suffer for it at the hands of the inexorable Karmic law. For this, ironclad as I have been made by daily and almost hourly unjust attacks, I would have cared but very little; but that which I deplore the most––with a bitterness few of you will ever realize––is the fact that such a number of thoroughly earnest, good, and sincere men and women should be made to suffer for the guilt of the few. For, though but a fault of omission on my part, still that guilt, as I feel, is due to my neglect. Behold! my Karma appeared as a warning almost from the beginning of the E.S.
I had started well. Several of those whom I knew to be entirely unfitted to take the pledge have been refused from the first; but I proved unable to withstand their prayers when certain of them declared to me that it was their “last chance in life.” The “pledge fever” made short work of their promises. One broke her vows only four days after signing her pledge, becoming guilty of the blackest treachery and disloyalty to her HIGHER SELF. And when I could no longer keep in the E.S. either herself or her friend, the two convulsed the whole Society with their calumnies and falsehoods. Then it was that the old wondering query, “How is it that ‘poor H.P.B.,’ notwithstanding the Masters at her back, and her own insight, is so evidently unable to know her friends from her foes?” ran once more the round of theosophical circles, both here and in America.
Brothers, if you will judge from appearances, and from the worldly standpoint, you are right; but if you take the trouble of looking into the inner causes producing outward results, you will find that you are decidedly in the wrong. That you should no longer do me injustice, let me explain what I mean.
Take for an instant for granted (you, who still doubt at moments in your hearts), that I am doing the work of a real, living Master. And if I am, then surely I would not have been entrusted with such a mission unless I had pledged myself irrevocably to the laws of the Ethics, Sciences, and Philosophy THEY teach. Come whatever may, I have to abide by these laws and rules even in the face of condemnation
to death. Now, if the law, in common legislature even, holds that no person should be condemned before his guilt is proven, or becomes manifest, how much more strict must this law be in our Occult Code? Have I the right––in special cases when I see that a person has in him the germs of, or even a decided proclivity toward, evil doing, deception, ingratitude, or revenge, that, in short, he is not a reliable man or woman; but that, on the other hand, he is earnest and sincere, for the time being, in his interest and sympathy for Theosophy and Occultism; have I the right, I ask, to deny him the chance of becoming a better man, merely out of fear that he may one day turn round? I will say more. Knowing, as I do, that no earthly forces combined can destroy the T.S. and its truths, even if they can and do, in each case, hurt more or less my outward and miserable personality, that shell that I am solemnly pledged to use as a buffer of the cause I serve, have I the right, think you, out of mere personal cowardice and in self-defence, to refuse anyone the chance of profiting by the truths I can teach him, and of thereby becoming better? That many are called, but few chosen, is something I knew from the beginning; that he who speaks the truth is turned out of nine cities, is an old saying; and that the man (and especially the woman) who preaches new truths, whether in religion or science, is stoned and made a martyr by those to whom they are unwelcome––all this is what I have bargained for, and no more. Let me give you an illustration out of real life. When the notorious Madame Coulomb came to me in Bombay, with her husband, to ask for bread and shelter, though I had met her in Cairo, and knew her to be a treacherous, wicked, and lying woman, nevertheless I gave her all she needed, because such was my duty. But when, in course of time, I saw she hated me, envied my position and influence, and slandered me to my friends while flattering me to my face, my human nature revolted. We were very poor then, poorer even in fact than we are now, both the Society and ourselves, and to keep two enemies at our expense seemed hard. Then I applied to my Guru and Master, who was then at three days’ distance from Bombay, and submitted to his decision whether it was right and theosophical to keep two such Serpents in the house; for she, at any rate, if not her husband, threatened the whole Society. Would you know the answer I received? These are the words verbatim, the reply beginning with an aphorism from the Book of Precepts:
“‘If thou findest a hungry Serpent creeping into thy house, seeking for food, and, out of fear it should bite thee, instead of offering it milk thou turnest it out to suffer and starve, thou turnest away from the Path of Compassion. Thus acteth the fainthearted and the selfish.’ You know,” went on the message, “that you are PERSONALLY threatened;
you have still to learn that SO LONG AS THERE ARE THREE MEN WORTHY OF OUR LORD’S BLESSING IN THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY––IT CAN NEVER BE DESTROYED. . . . Your two Karmas [her’s and mine] run in two opposite directions. Shall you, out of abject fear of that which may come, blend the two [Karmas] and become as she is? . . . They are homeless and hungry; shelter and feed them, then, if you would not become participant in her Karma.”
Since then I have acted more than ever on this principle of trying to help everyone irrespective of what I personally may have to suffer for it. It is not, therefore, the utter incapacity for right discrimination in me, but something quite different that compelled me to lay aside all thought of possible consequences in this case of selection of fit members of the E.S. No; I sinned on a different plane. Neglecting to profit by my personal experience, I allowed myself in this instance to be more prompted by an easily understood delicacy and regard for Western feeling than by my duty. In one word, I was loath to apply to Western students the rigorous rules and discipline of the Eastern school; afraid of seeing any demand on my part of strict submission to the rules, misinterpreted into a desire of claiming papal and despotic authority.* Read your pledges and the Preliminary Memoranda, and study them; and then, finding the amount of authority you have yourselves conferred on me by signing the pledge––say honestly which of you, if any, can come and complain, not only that I have ever abused, but even used that authority over any probationer? In one case only––that of a friend who could hardly misinterpret my action––I have insisted that he should leave for a certain time America. And to emphasize this the more, no sooner have I heard from several of those members in whom I have the greatest confidence that the pledge, as now worded, was open to a dead-letter construction, than I have immediately altered it, of which I now notify you. The 2nd and 3rd clauses now stand––
* [And just because I have ever avoided to exercise my legitimate authority in the E.S., and sinned thereby, I am now punished at the hands of an earnest and sincere member of the E.S. who has just resigned, and is now denouncing in print, over his signature, those whom he is pleased to call my “personal worshippers” for “hero worship,” and of calling out to the T.S. on my behalf, “Behold your god . . . bow and worship!!” This is supremely unjust, and I hope in no case whatever true. The protest originated in the sudden unwillingness of this member, whose fine and sensitive nature has been worked upon in that direction by our enemies, to submit to the rules worked out by the Council of the American E.S.––rules absolutely obligatory with the pledged members, and which have to be followed or I will have to give up the Esoteric instructions altogether. Now, I ask, if a member once signed his pledge without protest, why should he object to repeat it once more to his lodge, the members of which have to be pledged to each other for common and mutual security? Karmic work all round, I say. “Pledge fever’’ is raging.]
(2) I pledge myself to support before the world, the Theosophical movement, and those of its leaders and members, in whom I place full confidence; and in particular to obey, without cavil or delay, the orders given through the Head of the Section in all that concerns my theosophical duties and esoteric work, so far as my pledge to my Higher Self and my conscience sanction.*
(3) I pledge myself never to listen, without protest, to any evil thing spoken falsely or yet unproven, against a brother Theosophist, and to abstain from condemning others.†
I have done this because I think it right to explain the true spirit of the pledge. But it is precisely that unwillingness in me to ever guide any one of you more than is strictly necessary that is now shown as having been productive of evil, and as that wherein my fault lies. As the same letter says, addressing me:
“You have spoken to them before their ear was trained to listen, and begun showing things, before the eye of the learner was prepared to see. And just for this reason, hearing but indistinctly and seeing each in his own way, more than one [member of the E.S.] has turned round and tried to rend you [me] for your pains.”
[And now I sincerely hope that you will––some of you, at least––learn a lesson from my weakness, and show your appreciation of this by not judging me too unkindly if I now change somewhat my policy. For I have to either do so, or to drop the Esoteric teachings altogether, for those at any rate, who will disagree with this arrangement. To avoid repeating the mistake, this is what I propose doing. Each Paper will be sent as it was hitherto, only it will appear as a Supplement to the Ethics and teachings which will impart the rules of Discipline and the laws of Discipleship, as in the case of all Probationers.] Those who accept the new arrangement will have to study the latter, or they cannot receive any more teachings from me. For, as saith the Book of Discipline in the Schools of Dzyan:
* As this qualification may possibly be abused, the decision shall rest with seven members of the E.S. as arbitrators, four of whom shall be chosen by the Probationer and three by the Head of the Section.
The above rule will be incorporated in the Preliminary Memorandum.
† The second and third clauses of the original Pledge ran as follows:
“2. I pledge myself to support, before the world, the Theosophical movement, its leaders and its members, and in particular to obey, without cavil or delay, the orders of the Head of the Esoteric Section in all that concerns my relation with the Theosophical movement.
“3. I pledge myself never to listen, without protest, to any evil thing spoken of a brother Theosophist, and to abstain from condemning others.”
“Speak not the mysteries to the common vulgar, nor to the casual friend, or new disciple. With prudent eye to the possible consequences, keep locked within your breast the teachings received, until you find a listener who will understand your words and sympathize with your aspirations.”
This does not mean that you are at liberty to repeat what you have learned to anyone whom you believe to answer that description, but that you can exchange views with your co-disciples who are pledged as you are yourself.
I can do no better, I believe, than give at once some of the oral and written precepts from the same book above mentioned, and as pointed out by the Master.
“1. To the earnest Disciple his Teacher takes the place of Father and Mother. For, whereas they give him his body and its faculties, its life and casual form, the Teacher shows him how to develop the inner faculties to the acquisition of the Eternal Wisdom.
“2. To the Disciple each Fellow-Disciple becomes a Brother and Sister, a portion of himself.* For his interests and aspirations are theirs his progress helped or hindered by their intelligence, morality, and behavior through the intimacy brought about by their co-discipleship.
“3. A co-disciple cannot backslide or fall out of the line without affecting those who stand firm through the sympathetic tie between themselves and the psychical currents between them and their Teacher.
“4. Woe to the deserter, woe also to all who help to bring his soul to the point where desertion first presents itself before his mind’s eye as the lesser of two evils. Gold in the crucible is he who stands the melting heat of trial, and lets only the dross be burnt out of his heart; accursed by Karmic action will find himself he, who throws dross into the melting-pot of discipleship for the debasement of his fellow-pupil. As the members to the body, so are the disciples to each other, and to the Head and Heart which teach and nourish them with the life stream of Truth.
“5. As the limbs defend the head and heart of the body they belong to, so have the disciples to defend the head and the heart of the body they belong to [in this case Theosophy] from injury.”
Before I proceed, let me explain, for fear of being misunderstood again, that by “Teacher” I neither mean myself––as I am but the humble mouthpiece of the true Teacher––nor do I write the above in order to stimulate any one to defend or stand by my own personality, but verily to make it clear, once for all, that to defend the E.S. and Theosophy
* “So shalt thou be in full accord with all that lives, bear love to men as though they were thy brother-pupils, disciples of one Teacher, the sons of one sweet mother.” (Vide Fragment III in The Voice of the Silence, p. 49.)
(the heart and the soul of the T.S., its visible body) is the duty of every good Theosophist, of the E.S. especially. So is it his “bounden duty” to protect from attack and defend every fellow-brother, if he knows him to be innocent, and try and help him morally, if he thinks he is guilty. Nor is verse 5 intended to convey the idea that aggressiveness is the best course to take, for it is not: passive resistance and a firm refusal to listen to any slanderous reports about one another, in the case of a member as well as of a stranger or an ex-Fellow, is all that would be necessary in some cases to defeat entirely conspiracy and malevolence.
And now hoping that no misunderstanding is any longer possible, I resume in this hope the Rules, quoting a few more remarks upon them from the said letter. They come as a comment on art. 5, and I quote them verbatim.
“. . . And if the limbs have to defend the head and heart of their body, then why not so, also, the Disciples their Teachers as representing the SCIENCE of Theosophy which contains and includes the ‘head’ of their privilege, the ‘heart’ of their spiritual growth? Saith the Scripture:
“He who wipeth not away the filth with which the parent’s body may have been defiled by an enemy, neither loves the parent nor honors himself. He who defendeth not the persecuted and the helpless, who giveth not of his food to the starving, nor draweth water from his well for the thirsty, hath been born too soon in human shape.
“Behold the truth before you: a clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a brotherliness for one’s co-disciple, a readiness to give and receive advice and instruction, a loyal sense of duty to the Teacher, a willing obedience to the behests of TRUTH, once we have placed our confidence in, and believe that Teacher to be in possession of it; a courageous endurance of personal injustice, a brave declaration of principles, a valiant defence of those who are unjustly attacked, and a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection which the secret science (Gupta-Vidy) depicts––these are the golden stairs up the steps of which the learner may climb to the Temple of Divine Wisdom. Say this to those who have volunteered to be taught by you.”
These are the words of great Teachers, and I but do the bidding of one of these in repeating them to you. What is found in the letter, I, H.P.B., now say to you in the authentic words, which are: “THINK; and thinking, TRY: the goal is indeed worth all the possible effort.” Much of what the Book of Discipline contains you may find in the fragments just translated by me from The Book of the Golden Precepts, and published for the benefit of the “Few.” These rules are as old as the world. And it is these, as I now see, that I was expected to impress
upon the minds of all those who applied to me for instruction. This duty I knew well, and yet omitted doing it. I will not excuse myself by saying that I forgot to do so, for this would not be the truth, but I say and confess that I skipped it, out of an idiotic regard to Western prejudices and habits of thought. I knew that a code of preliminary ethics such as is obligatory with, and enforced upon, Eastern disciples would grate upon, even offend, the feelings of many American and European probationers. Ever misunderstood, judged by appearances, vilified, slandered and persecuted, I feared to hurt the Society by forcing several, if not many, of our members to sever their connection with it, if they found that I made the rules too exacting. For the first time in my life, I acted like a coward in my own sight, and almost a traitor to my duties by such compromise with my conscience. Therefore, though the first punished, I do not complain, and only hope that no one else will suffer through my weakness.
It is of the second and last letter in relation to the E.S. that I speak. The first was to the effect that those who desired to receive Eastern teaching had to conform to Eastern rules, and that I had better suspend my instructions until I had notified them of that; reminding them also of Rule 3 of their Pledge, which, if I had not the courage to enforce I had better change, as it only caused the members to become untrue to their vows. This was repeated by me to the Council of the E.S., and it led to their sending that joint advice to the Esotericists, which was surreptitiously handed over to the R.P.J. [Religio-Philosophical Journal] office and published.
Behold, all of you, the work of never failing, prompt Karma! Had I not departed from the old Rules of the Book of Discipline, such a sad case would not have happened, for there would have been no need of such a document as framed by the Council. For the Rule says, to the Chela:
“If thou canst not fulfil thy pledge, refuse to take it, but once thou hast bound thyself to any promise, carry it out, even if thou hast to die for it.”
And to the Teacher:
“Thou shalt not remind the Disciple who shows himself whether willingly or inadvertently disloyal to the letter and spirit of any law––more than TWICE: at the third time thou shalt separate him from the Body,”––i.e., ask him to resign or expel him.
But as unfortunately in general, though very fortunately in this case, every handful of mud thrown at the T.S. reaches only myself, and that the members of the E.S. had no opportunity of defending any one but myself, I was loath to enforce this rule. I felt a great unwillingness to even pass a message in which I was personally concerned.
But after the second letter I could no longer remain silent; it is the law and I have but to obey, taking now this opportunity to implore every pledged member of the E.S. who feels incapable of allowing himself to be subjected to such a discipline, to resign. Knowing, indeed, as I do, the free American and the free Briton, how can I come and tell either of them, for instance:
“The office of Teacher was always considered as a very solemn and responsible one among our Asiatic ancestors, and the pupil was always enjoined to obedience and loyalty. This is what you have to tell them, advising them to study Manu.” (From the letter.)
And how could I hope to make them understand that by Teacher it was the Master who was meant and not myself, when I knew that many, many of them while knowing of me, and luckily not having any reason to doubt my existence, still doubted that of the Mahtmas, with the exception of the very few? Such is my only excuse. Unable to transfuse my certain knowledge of the reality of the Masters as men, into the consciousness of the Theosophists and even of pledged members, for the last fourteen years, I have ever avoided pressing this truth upon them. Yet unwilling to play the part of the crow in peacock’s feathers, I had to assert the existence of Teachers who had taught me all I know.
And yet the rules of Discipleship being so very strict upon the subject of the personal and other relations between the Teachers and the pupils, I have no choice. A Guru was ever considered as the chela’s benefactor, because he imparted that which was more precious than worldly wealth or honors, that which money could not buy and which concerned the welfare of the pupil’s soul and future weal or woe. Yet the Guru is not the only one pointed out to the chela’s consideration, but also all those who help a disciple one way or the other to pursue and progress in his studies.
[Here, I have to say a few words with regard to these. And now again it is not myself who is concerned, but I speak of other “helpers.” In the worst case, I can always take care of myself personally, and really need no one’s defence, though I shall feel always thankful to those who have offered it. But I mean by “helpers” such as William Q. Judge; and I now call upon all those who will remain true to their pledges to do their duty by both, when the time comes, and especially by their American brother. Both are threatened and both are hated by certain persons as unjustly as I am by some unprincipled enemies who would still call themselves Theosophists.
Ingratitude is a crime in Occultism, and I shall illustrate the point by citing the case of W. Q. Judge. He is one of the three founders of the Theosophical Society, the only three who have remained as true as rock to the Cause. While others have all turned deserters or enemies,
he has ever remained faithful to his original pledge. If one wants to know how the Masters would feel towards him, let him read what one of them writes about the fidelity of Colonel Olcott and their appreciation of it, in a letter published in The Occult World. Though strong pressure was used to displace him and his associates (Judge along with them) in favor of another––a newcomer––and all manner of boons were promised for the T.S., Mahtma “K.H.” flatly refused, saying that ingratitude had never been one of their vices. Now that which Colonel Olcott has accomplished in India and Asia, W. Q. Judge has done in America. He is the Recuscitator of Theosophy in the United States, and is working to the best of his means and ability, and at a great sacrifice, for the spread of the movement; and he is now being infamously attacked and schemed against for this by one who has never done a thing for the T.S., but is now trying to crush it out of existence.* From the first this enemy of the cause, though he has never believed in any Mahtmas, their powers, or even existence, has worked for an object; hence he boasted for over two years of his own marvellous powers and intercourse with our Masters. He it is who published the shameful forgery under the Master K.H.’s name in the Chicago Tribune; he who made all those who would, believe that he was in regular communication with the “Adepts.” And now, when his object––to rule despotically over the whole American Section––has been defeated; when the flat denial by one of the Masters (K.H.) of having written a single line to any one in England or America for the last five years has shown him a deceiver, and that neither Mr. Judge nor myself would help him to deceive the public, or join him in a conspiracy of still worse deception with regard to Theosophists, he now turns round, repudiates Masters and Mahtmas, and tries to substitute for them some bogus adepts in the Rocky Mountains, and thus ruin the Cause. Having vainly tried to crush me, and finding me unmalleable, he now fastens his poison fangs on Brother Judge. He has cunning, indomitable energy, never relaxing vindictiveness, and a great command of money. These are grave charges, and may appear “untheosophical” to many, as they would undoubtedly be were there only danger for some units in the Society. But it is the Society itself, our CAUSE, so dear and so sacred to many of us, which is threatened––nay, attacked; and to save it I for one would not hesitate one moment to be regarded as untheosophical twenty times over, by the whole
* [An excerpt from a letter of H.P.B.’s, regarding which we have no further information, was published in Vol. II of Letters That Have Helped Me (Radlett, Herts, 1905), pp. 110-11; in it H.P.B. says: ‘‘. . . Let them read Master’s letter in the preliminary. All that which I said about W.Q.J. was from HIS words in HIS letter to me . . . Do with this letter what you like . .”––Compiler.]
world. For, understand well; unless we unite all our forces against this enemy, we cannot win the day, or even have one hour of full peace and security for, or in, the Society. He is wealthy and we are poor; he is unscrupulous, and we feel bound by our pledges and theosophical duty. He lies with an ease worthy of the admiration of the Sons of Loyola; and we Theosophists hold that, whosoever lies, even to conquer an enemy, or save himself from a condemnation, is not worthy to call himself one. He attacks us by every available means and foul play; we can only be on our defensive, and defeat him by truth and nothing but the truth. Yet that truth must not be withheld, if, owing to his unrelenting hatred and alliance with every enemy who has hitherto attacked us, openly or secretly (I speak on knowledge), we would not now have the very name of Theosophy and its Society become very soon a public household word of opprobrium.
Brother Judge refuses to defend himself, even more than I have refused to defend myself after the Coulomb conspiracy. No man who knows himself innocent ever will. But is that a reason why we should let him go undefended? It is our bounden duty to support him, in every way, with our sympathy and influence, energetically, not in a half-hearted, timid way. Let our protest be on merely defensive lines, and not of an aggressive character. For, if the spirit of true Theosophy does not permit of aggressiveness being used, yet it does demand in some cases active defence, and it does impose on everyone of us the duty of taking an active interest in the welfare of a brother, especially of a persecuted brother, as Mr. Judge is now. Is it the part of a “Brother-Fellow” to remain indifferent and inactive when one who has done so much for the noble and sacred CAUSE is vilified for its sake, hence, for that of every Theosophist; when he is selected by the enemy as the mark of all the lying and damaging attacks of those who wish to destroy the Society in order to build on its ruins another, a bogus Body of the same name, and to enshrine therein an idol with feet of clay and a heart full of selfishness and evil, for the admiration and worship of credulous fools? Can we allow them to achieve this object when they seek to ensure success by ruining the character of this most unselfish champion of our T.S.? Put yourselves in the victim’s place, and then act as you think your Brothers should act towards you under similar circumstances. Let us protest, I say, all of us; protest by word and deed. Let every one who can hold the pen expose every lie said about our friend and Brother, in every case we know it to be a lie.
You all profess the wish to acquire esoteric knowledge, and some of you––those who believe in the blessed Masters––to win the regards of our Teachers. Know then, Brothers, that they have regard for only such as square their behavior with the rules hinted at, with our Master’s
permission, by me in The Voice of the Silence in the Second and Third Treatises. The reputation of the Theosophical Society is in the keeping of each one of you, and as you regard or neglect it, so will it prosper. But you have to remember that the life of the E.S. too depends on that of the body. The moment the T.S. falls in America (it cannot die in India, or even Europe, so long as the Colonel or I are alive) through your apathy or carelessness, every member of the E.S. who has not done his duty will go down with it. From that day there will be no more hope of acquiring true Eastern secret knowledge till the end of the XXth century.
If I am asked, What kind of protest on defensive lines would I have? and reminded that neither Brother Judge consents to make of his Path the field of controversy, nor do the majority of the daily and weekly papers consent to insert such letters from Theosophists––I answer plainly and sincerely:––There are means to do so, but there is neither the willingness nor the energy to accomplish that which is required for this among the American members of the E.S., and Theosophists who refuse to even support The Path as it ought to be supported. And yet look around you, my brothers and sisters. Not a sect, not a guild, or Society, however insignificant and useless, and far smaller than our Theosophical body, but has its recognized organ. Adventists, Christian Scientists, mind curers, Swedenborgians, tradesmen, and who not, have their dailies, weeklies, and monthlies. One weekly or even monthly sheet of only four pages is better than none; and if we had not an absolute and immediate necessity for such a defensive organ now, it would serve at all times for the dissemination of our theosophical teachings, the popularization of Theosophy and Eastern Ethics suited for the intelligence of the masses. Neither The Path nor Lucifer––least of all The Theosophist, are for the masses. To understand them requires educated readers, and, in most cases, high metaphysicians; and, therefore, none of these magazines can ever become popular. What you American Theosophists require, indeed, are extracts and a weekly paper as cheap as you can make them. Have an organ wherein to defend the Cause from insidious attacks, from misrepresentation and lies, and teach people the truth, and very soon the enemy will have no hold upon us. Teach the common laborer the truths he fails to find in the churches, and you will soon have saved half of the mankind of civilized countries, for the PATH is easier to the poor and the single of heart, than to the cultured and the rich.]
“Observe,” writes the Master, “that the first of the steps of gold which mount towards the Temple of Truth is––A CLEAN LIFE. This means a purity of body, and a still greater purity of mind, heart, and spirit.”
And the latter are found more in the poor country-classes than among the cultured and the rich. That the Master’s eye is upon you, Theosophists, is evidenced by the following lines from the same pen:
“How many of them [you] violate one or more of these conditions (of the right Path), and yet expect to be freely taught the highest Wisdom and Sciences, the Wisdom of the gods. As pure water poured into the scavenger’s bucket is befouled and unfit for use, so is divine Truth when poured into the consciousness of a sensualist, of one of selfish heart and a mind indifferent and inaccessible to justice and compassion.” . . . “There is a very, VERY ancient maxim, far older than the time of the Romans or the Greeks, more ancient than the Egyptians or Chaldeans. It is a maxim all of them (Theosophists) ought to remember and live accordingly. And it is that a sound and pure mind requires a sound and pure body. Bodily purity every adept takes precautions to keep. . . . Most of you (Theosophists) know this.”
And yet, knowing it, how few live up to this! I had rather not say whether the letter includes in this reproof Theosophists generally, or only Esotericists. It means a few, but this is for my own private information; meanwhile, these are the words addressed to all.
“. . . But though they have been repeatedly told of this sine qua non rule on the Path of Theosophy and chelaship, how few of them have given attention to it. Behold, how many of them are sluggards in the morning and time-wasters at night; GLUTTONS, eating and drinking for the sensual pleasure they give; indolent in business; selfish as to the keeping of their neighbors’ (brothers’) interests in view; borrowing from brother-Theosophists, making money out of the loan and failing to return it; lazy in study and waiting for others to think for and teach them; denying themselves nothing, EVEN OF LUXURIES, for the sake of helping poorer brothers; forgetting the Cause in general and its volunteer, hard workers,-–and even debauchees, GUILTY OF SECRET IMMORALITY in more than one form. And yet all call themselves Theosophists; all talk with outsiders about ‘Theosophical ethics’ and things, with a puffed up, vain conceit in their hearts. . .”
Alas! if these words apply to the Theosophical Society in general, to the selfish coldness and supreme indifference of most members to the future of the cause they belong to but will not go out of their way to serve, do not most of the cases cited apply also to some Esotericists, if not to all? Do not we find among them envy and hatred for their colleagues, suspicion and slanderous talk? Who of you who read this, is prepared to say that not one out of the above enumerated faults concerns you?
Ah, friends, brothers, and many of you beloved co-workers, indeed, indeed little do you know of the eternal, unchangeable conditions of
soul-development, and chiefly of the inexorable occult laws! Believe the Teacher from whose letter I quote, if you will not believe me, that:
“Though such a person with any of the faults as above declared should fill the world with his charities, and make his name known throughout every nation, he would make no advancement in the practical occult sciences, but be continually slipping backward. The ‘six and ten transcendental virtues.’ the Pâramitâs, are not for full-grown yogis and priests alone, but for all those who would enter the ‘Path.’”
If, explaining this, I add that gentle kindness to all beings, strict honesty (not according to the world-code, but that of Karmic action), virtuous habits, strict truthfulness, and temperance in all things; that these alone are the keys that unlock the doors of earthly happiness and blissful peace of mind, and that fit the man of flesh to evolve into the perfect Spirit-Ego––many of you will feel inclined, I fear, to mock me for saying this. You may think that I am carrying coals to Newcastle, and that each of you knows this, at least, as well as I do. You may remark, perhaps, that I am taking my rôle of “teacher” on a too high tone altogether, regarding and treating you, grown up, intelligent men and women, as I would little school-boys and girls. And some of you may indulge in the thought that it is useless for me to be teaching you to be “goody-goody” instead of going on with my Instructions and give you explanations about “that occult jumble of color and sound, and their respective relations to the human principles,” as some have already complained. But I say again, if you are ignorant of the real occult value of even such trite truths as are contained in my “grandmother’s sermon,” how can you hope to understand the science which you are studying? Can an electrician, however well familiarized with the electric fluid and its variable currents, apply them to himself, or the body of any living man unless he knows human anatomy and is a good physician at the same time, without risking to kill his patient or himself? What is the good of knowing all about the occult relations between the forces of nature and the human principles if, by remaining deliberately ignorant of SELF, we remain thereby as ignorant of what does or what does not affect each distinct principle? Are you aware that by starving, so to speak, one principle or even centre, at the expense of another principle or centre, we may lose the former and injure hopelessly the latter? That by forcing our Higher Ego (not Self, mind you) to remain inactive and silent, which is easily achieved by overfeeding the lower Manas ever gravitating down to Kâma-rûpa, we risk utter annihilation of our present personality?
As this may be questioned by some members who are not very strong even in the exoteric Theosophical doctrines, in order to make my meaning more clear, I will supplement the present explanation,
which had become unavoidable, by incorporating a paper on this subject in the next Instructions, which explains the case in hand. Let the dreadful possibility of losing one’s “soul,” not a rare occurrence, and vouchsafed, moreover, by the experience of a long series of seers and clairvoyant teachers, become known to all. This dogma of the inner schools has been often hinted at in our literature, yet never till now explained. It can be done only to the few who are pledged not to make the details of it known.
Those who still desire to remain working members of the E.S. will henceforth receive their Instructions as regularly as this can be done. No. III is ready, and being multiplied: it will be sent very shortly.
And now I must close. For some of you, I have little doubt, this will turn out to be a “parting” farewell letter. Such I may as well thank now for the confidence they have shown, and with which they have honored me, if even for a few months; and so I wish them “God speed” in some other Science made less heavy by discipline and rules. But those, whom no hardships, providing they lead them to the eternal TRUTH, can ever discourage, I address in the words of the great American poet, whose lips are now cold and mute: “Up and onward for evermore!” Let this be the motto of the E.S., applied to Death of Selfishness and Sin through the bright dawn of the resurrection of the Divine Science now known as THEOSOPHY.
A WORD CONCERNING THE EARLIER INSTRUCTIONS
As many Esotericists have written and almost complained to me that they could find no practical, clear application of certain diagrams appended to the first two Nos. of Instructions, and others have spoken of their abstruseness, a short explanation is necessary.
The reason of this difficulty, in most cases, has been that the point of view taken was erroneous; the purely abstract and metaphysical was mistaken for, and confused with, the concrete and the physical. Let us take for example the diagrams on page 564 of Instruction II, and say that these are entirely macrocosmic and ideal. It must be remembered that the study of Occultism proceeds from Universals to Particulars, and not the reverse, as accepted by Science. As Plato was an Initiate, he very naturally used the former method, while Aristotle, never having been initiated, scoffed at his master, and, elaborating a system of his own, left it as an heirloom to be adopted and improved by Bacon. Of a truth the aphorism of the Hermetic Wisdom, “as above, so below,”
applies to all esoteric instruction; but we must begin with the above; we must learn the formula before we can sum up the series.
The two figures, therefore, are not meant to represent any two particular planes, but are the abstraction of a pair of planes, explanatory of the law of reflection, just as the Lower Manas is a reflection of the Higher in Plate I. They must therefore be taken in the highest metaphysical sense. This warning applies equally to Diagram I, where the Microcosm must be taken as the Microcosm of the Macrocosm, and not as the paradigm of man.
The Diagrams and Plates are intended to familiarize students with the leading ideas of occult correspondences only, the very genius of metaphysical, or macrocosmic and spiritual Occultism forbidding the use of figures or even symbols further than as temporary aids. Once define an idea in words, and it loses its reality; once figure a metaphysical idea, and you materialize its spirit. Figures must be used only as ladders to scale the battlements, ladders to be disregarded once the foot is set upon the rampart. Let the Esotericists, therefore, be very careful to spiritualize the Instructions and avoid materializing them; let them always try to find the highest meaning possible, confident that in proportion as they approach the material and visible in their speculations on the Instructions, so far are they from the right understanding of them. This is especially the case with these first Instructions and Diagrams, for, as in all true arts, so in Occultism, we must learn the theory before we are taught the practice.
CONCERNING THE SECRECY REQUIRED
[The superior numbers in the following pages refer to corresponding numbers in the quoted material at the end of this Instruction.]
Students ask: Why such secrecy about the details of a doctrine the body of which has been publicly revealed, as in Esoteric Buddhism and The Secret Doctrine?
To this Occultism would reply: For two reasons:
(a) The whole truth is too sacred to be given out promiscuously.
(b) The knowledge of all the details and missing links in the exoteric teachings, too dangerous in profane hands.
The truths revealed to man by the “Planetary Spirits” (the highest Kumâras, those who incarnate no longer in the universe during this Mahâmanvantara), who appear on earth as Avatâras only at the beginning
of every new human race, and at the junction or close of the two ends of the small and great cycle, were made in time to fade away from the memory of man as he became more animalized. Yet, though these Teachers remain with man no longer than the time required to impress upon the plastic minds of child-humanity the eternal verities they teach, the spirit of the teachings remains vivid though latent in mankind. The full knowledge of the primitive revelation having, however, remained always with a few Elect, has been transmitted, from that time up to now, from one generation of Adepts to another. As the Teachers say in the Occult Primer: “This is done so as to ensure them (the eternal truths) from being utterly lost or forgotten in ages hereafter by the forthcoming generations. . .” The mission of the Planetary Spirit is but to strike the keynote of Truth. Once he has directed the vibration of the latter to run its course uninterruptedly along the concatenation of the race to the end of the cycle––he disappears from our earth until the following Planetary Manvantara. The mission of any teacher of esoteric truths, whether he stands at the top or at the foot of the ladder of knowledge, is precisely the same: as above, so below.1 I have only orders to strike the keynote of the various esoteric truths among the learners as a body. Those units among you who will have raised themselves on the “Path” over their fellow-students in their esoteric sphere, will, as the “Elect” spoken of did and do in the PARENT BROTHERHOODS, receive the last explanatory details and the ultimate key to what they learn. No one, however, can hope to gain this privilege before the MASTERS (not my humble self) find him or her worthy.
If you wish to know the real raison d’être for this policy, I now give it to you. No use showing and explaining that which all of you know as well as I do; at the very beginning, events have shown that no caution can be dispensed with. Of our body of several hundred men and women, many did not seem to realize either the awful sacredness of the pledge taken (which some took at the end of their pen), or the fact that their personality has to be entirely disregarded, when brought face to face with their HIGHER SELF, or that all their words and professions went for naught unless corroborated by actions. This was human nature, and no more; therefore it was passed leniently by, and a new lease accorded by the MASTER. But apart from this there is a danger lurking in the nature of the present cycle itself. Civilized Humanity, however carefully guarded by its invisible Watchers, the Nirmnakayas––who watch over our respective races and nations––owing to its collective Karma, is terribly under the sway of the traditional opposers of the Nirmnakayas, the “Brothers of the Shadow,” embodied and disembodied; and this, as already told you, will last to the end
of the first Kali-Yuga cycle (1897), and a few years beyond, as the smaller dark cycle happens to overlap the great one. Thus, all efforts notwithstanding, terrible secrets are often revealed to entirely unworthy persons, by the efforts of the “Dark Brothers” and their working on human brains, owing to the simple fact that in certain privileged organisms what Western philosophy would term innate ideas, and Occultism “flashes of genius,”* are the vibrations of the primitive truths set in motion by the Planetary Beings. Some such idea based on eternal truth is awakened, and all that the watchful Powers can do is to prevent its entire revelation. You see such an instance in America in the person of John W. Keely, of Philadelphia; of Dr. Babbitt, and the worthy associate of Hiram Butler who went under the alias of Vidyâ Nyaiaka. All three tend in various degrees toward BLACK MAGIC, either unconsciously and with good intentions, or deliberately and with the most abominable objects in view.
Everything in this Universe of differentiated matter has its two aspects––the light and the dark side––which two attributes applied practically, lead, the one to use, the other to abuse. Every man may become a botanist without apparent danger to his fellow-creatures; and many a chemist who has mastered the science of essences knows that each can both heal and kill. Not an ingredient, not a poison, but can be used to do both––aye, from harmless wax to deadly prussic acid, from the saliva of the infant to that of the cobra de capella. This every tyro in medicine knows––theoretically, at any rate. But where is that learned chemist in our day who has been permitted to discover the “night side” of an attribute of any substance that enters into the three kingdoms of Science, let alone the seven of the Occultists, i.e., who of them has penetrated into its Arcana, into the innermost Essence of things and its primary correlations? Yet it is this knowledge alone which makes of an Occultist a genuine practical Initiate, whether he turns out a Brother of Light or a Brother of Darkness. The essence of that subtle, traceless poison, the most potent in nature, which entered into the composition of the so-called Medici and Borgia poisons, if used with discrimination by one well versed in the septenary degrees of its potentiality on each of the planes accessible to man on earth, could heal or kill every man in the world; the result depending, of course, on whether the operator was a Brother of the Light or a Brother of the Shadow. The former is prevented from doing the good he might, by racial, national, and individual Karma; the second is impeded in his
* See article “Genius” [by H.P.B.], in Lucifer, Vol. V, November, 1889, pp. 227-33. [Published in the present volume.]
fiendish work by the joint efforts of the human “Stones” of the “Guardian Wall.”*
It is incorrect to think that there exists any special “powder of projection,” or “philosopher’s stone,” or “elixir of life.” The latter lurks in every flower, in every stone and mineral throughout the globe. It is the ultimate essence of everything on its way to higher and higher evolution. As there is no good or evil per se, so there is neither “elixir of life” nor “elixir of death,” nor poison, per se, but all this is contained in one and the same Universal Essence, this or the other effect, or result, depending on the degree of its differentiations and various correlations. The light side of it produces life, health, bliss, divine peace, etc.; the dark side brings death, disease, sorrow and strife. This is proven by the knowledge of the nature of the most violent poisons; of some of them even a large quantity will produce no evil effect on the organism, whereas a grain of the same poison kills with the rapidity of lightning; while the same grain, again, altered by a certain combination, though its quantity remains almost identical––will heal. The number of the degrees of its differentiation is septenary, as are the planes of its action, each degree being beneficent or maleficent in its effects, according to the system into which it is introduced. He who is skilled in these degrees is on the highroad to practical Adeptship; he who acts at hap-hazard––as the enormous majority of the “Mind Curers,” whether “Mental” or “Christian Scientist”––is likely to rue the effects on himself as well as on others. Put on the track by the example of the Indian Yogis, and of their broadly but incorrectly outlined practices, which they have only read about, but have had no opportunity to study––these new sects have rushed guideless and headlong into the practice of denying and affirming. Thus they have done more harm than good. Those who are successful owe it to their innate magnetic and healing powers, which very often counteract that which would otherwise be conducive to much evil. Beware, I say; Satan and the Archangel are more than twins; they are one body and one mind––Deus est daemon inversus.
IS THE PRACTICE OF CONCENTRATION BENEFICENT?
Such is another question asked by members of the E.S.T. I answer: Genuine concentration and meditation, conscious and cautious, upon one’s lower self in the light of the inner divine man and the Pâramitâs, is an excellent thing. But to “sit for Yoga,” with only a superficial and
* See The Voice of the Silence, pp. 68 and 94 (Note 28 to Part III).
often distorted knowledge of the real practice, is almost invariably fatal; for ten to one the student will either develop mediumistic powers in himself or lose time and get disgusted both with practice and theory. Before one rushes into such a dangerous experiment and seeks to go beyond a minute examination of one’s lower self and its walk in life, or that which is called in our phraseology, “The Chela’s Daily Life Ledger,” he would do well to learn at least the difference between the two aspects of “Magic,” the White or Divine, and the Black or Devilish, and assure himself that by “sitting for Yoga,” with no experience, as well as with no guide to show him the dangers, he does not cross daily and hourly the boundaries of the Divine to fall into the Satanic. Nevertheless, the way to learn the difference is very easy; one has only to remember that no esoteric truths entirely unveiled will ever be given in public print, in book or magazine.
In the Book of Rules I advise students to get certain works, as I shall have to refer to and quote from them repeatedly. I reiterate the advice and ask them to turn to The Theosophist [Vol. IX] of November, 1887. On page 98 they will find the beginning of an excellent article by Mr. Râma Prasad on “Nature’s Finer Forces.”* The value of this work is not so much in its literary merit, though it gained its author the gold medal of The Theosophist––as in its exposition of tenets hitherto concealed in a rare and ancient Sanskrit work on Occultism. But Mr. Râma Prasad is not an Occultist, only an excellent Sanskrit scholar, a university graduate and a man of remarkable intelligence. His Essays are almost entirely based on Tântra works, which, if read indiscriminately by a tyro in Occultism, will lead to the practice of most unmitigated Black Magic. Now, since the difference of primary importance between Black and White Magic is simply the object with which it is practised, and that of secondary importance, the nature of the agents and ingredients used for the production of phenomenal results, the line of demarcation between the two is very, very thin. The danger is lessened only by the fact that every occult book, so called, is
* The references to “Nature’s Finer Forces” which follow have respect to the eight articles which appeared in the pages of The Theosophist [Vol. IX, November, 1887; February, May, June, August, 1888; Vol. X, October, November, 1888; March, 1889], and not to the fifteen essays and the translation of a chapter of the Śaivâgama, which are contained in the book called Nature’s Finer Forces. The Śaivâgama in its details is purely Tântric, and nothing but harm can result from any practical following of its precepts. I would most strongly dissuade a member of the E.S. from attempting any of these Ha˜ha-Yoga practices, for he will either ruin himself entirely, or throw himself so far back that it will be almost impossible to regain the lost ground in this incarnation. The translation referred to has been considerably expurgated, and even now is hardly fit for publication. It recommends Black Magic of the worst kind, and is the very antipodes of spiritual Râja-Yoga. Beware, I say.
occult only in a certain sense; that is, the text is occult merely by reason of its blinds. The symbolism has to be thoroughly understood before the reader can get at the correct sense of the teaching. Moreover, it is never complete, its several portions each being under a different title and each containing a portion of some other work; so that without a key to these no such work divulges the whole truth. Even the famous Śaivâgama, on which “Nature’s Finer Forces” is based, “is nowhere to be found in complete form,” as the author tells us. Thus, like all others, it treats of only five Tattvas instead of the seven in esoteric teachings.
Now, the Tattvas being simply the substratum of the seven forces of nature, how can this be? There are seven forms of Prakriti, as Kapila’s Sânkhya, [the] Vishnu-Purâna and other works teach. Prakriti is nature, matter (primordial and elemental); therefore logic demands that the Tattvas should be also seven. For, whether Tattvas mean, as Occultism teaches, “forces of nature” or, as the learned Râma Prasad explains, “the substance out of which the universe is formed” and “the power by which it is sustained,” it is all the same; they are force and matter, Prakriti. And if the forms, or rather planes, of the latter are seven, then its forces must be seven also; that is, the degrees of the solidity of matter and the degrees of the power that ensouls it must go hand in hand. “The Universe is made out of the Tattva, it is sustained by the Tattva, and it disappears into the Tattva,” says Śiva, as quoted from the Śaivâgama in “Nature’s Finer Forces.” This settles the question; if Prakriti is septenary, then the Tattvas must be seven, for, as said, they are both substance and force, or atomic matter and the spirit that ensouls it.
This is explained here to enable the student to read between the lines of the so-called occult articles on Sanskrit philosophy, by which they must not be misled. Every Esotericist who reads The Theosophist must remember how bitterly Subba Row, a learned Vedântin Brahman, arose against the septenary principles in man. He knew well I had no right to and dared not to explain in The Theosophist, a public magazine, the real numeration, and simply took advantage of my enforced silence. The doctrine of the seven Tattvas (the principles of the universe as in man) was held in great sacredness, and therefore secrecy, by the Brahmans in days of old, by whom now the teaching is almost forgotten. Yet it is taught to this day in the schools beyond the Himalayan Range, but it is now hardly remembered or heard of in India except through rare Initiates. The policy has been changed gradually; Chelas began to be taught the broad outlines of it, and at the advent of the T.S. in India, in 1879, I was ordered to teach it in its exoteric
form to one or two, and obeyed. To you who are pledged, I give it out esoterically.
Knowing that some of the members of the E.S.T. try to follow a system of Yoga in their own fashion, guided in this only by the rare hints they find in Theosophical books and magazines, which must naturally be incomplete, I chose one of the best expositions ever written upon ancient occult works, “Nature’s Finer Forces,” in order to point out how very easily one can be misled by their blinds.
The author seems to have been himself deceived. The Tântras read esoterically are as full of wisdom as the noblest occult works. Studied without a guide and applied to practice, they may lead to the production of various phenomenal results, on the moral and physiological planes. But let anyone accept their dead-letter rules and practices, let him try with some selfish motive in view to carry out the rites prescribed therein, and––he is lost. Followed with pure heart and unselfish devotion merely for the sake of the latter, either no results will follow, or such as can only throw back the performer. Woe, then, to the selfish man who seeks to develop occult powers only to attain earthly benefits or revenge, or to satisfy his ambition; the separation of the Higher from the Lower Principles and the severing of Buddhi-Manas from the Tântrist’s Personality will speedily follow, the terrible Karmic results of the dabbler in Magic.
In the East, in India and China, soulless men and women are as frequently met with as in the West, though vice is, in truth, far less developed than it is here.
It is Black Magic and oblivion of their ancestral wisdom that leads them thereunto. But of this I will speak later, now merely adding––you have to be warned and know the danger.
Meanwhile, in view of what follows, the real occult division of the Principles in their correspondences with the Tattvas and other minor forces has to be well studied.
ABOUT “PRINCIPLES” AND “ASPECTS”
Speaking metaphysically and philosophically, on strict esoteric lines, man as a complete unit is composed of Four basic Principles and Three Aspects produced by them on this earth. In the semi-esoteric teachings, these Four and Three have been called Seven Principles, to facilitate the comprehension of the masses.
THE ETERNAL BASIC PRINCIPLES
2. Auric Envelope; because the substratum of the Aura around man is the universally diffused primordial and pure Âkaúa, the first film on the boundless and shoreless expanse of Jîva, the immutable Root of all.
3. Buddhi; because Buddhi is a ray of the Universal Spiritual Soul (ALAYA).
4. Manas (the Higher Ego); for it proceeds from Mahat, the first product or emanation of Pradhâna, which contains potentially all the Gunas (attributes). Mahat is Cosmic Intelligence, called the “Great Principle.”†
TRANSITORY ASPECTS PRODUCED BY THE PRINCIPLES
1. Prâna, the Breath of Life, the same as Nephesh. At the death of a living being, Prâna re-becomes Jîva.*
2. Linga-Sarira, the Astral Form, the transitory emanation of the Auric Egg. This form precedes the formation of the living Body, and after death clings to it, dissipating only with the disappearance of its last atom (the skeleton excepted).
3. Lower Manas, the Animal Soul, the reflection or shadow of the Buddhi-Manas, having the potentialities of both, but conquered generally by its association with the Kâma elements.
As man is the combined product of two aspects: physically, of his Astral Form, and psycho-physiologically of Kâma-Manas, he is not looked upon even as an aspect, but as an illusion.
* Prâna, on earth at any rate, is thus but a mode of life, a constant cyclic motion from within outwardly and back again, an out-breathing and in-breathing of the ONE LIFE, or Jîva, the synonym of the Absolute and Unknowable Deity. Prâna is not abstract life, or Jîva, but its aspect in a world of delusion. In The Theosophist, May, 1888, p. 478, Prna is said to be “one stage finer than the gross matter of the earth.”
† Remember that our Egos, the Principle which reincarnates, are called in The Secret Doctrine the Mânasaputras, “Sons of Manas” (or Mahat), or Intelligence, Wisdom.
The Auric Egg, on account of its nature and manifold functions, has to be well studied. As Hiranyagarbha, the Golden Womb or Egg, contains Brahmâ, the collective symbol of the Seven Universal Forces, so the Auric Egg contains, and is directly related to, both the divine and the physical man. In its essence, as said, it is eternal; in its constant correlations, it is a kind of perpetual motion machine during the reincarnating progress of the Ego on this earth.
As given out in The Secret Doctrine, the Egos or Kumâras, incarnating in man, at the end of the Third Root-Race, are not human Egos of this earth or plane, but became such only from the moment they ensouled the animal man, thus endowing him with his Higher Mind. They are “Breaths” or Principles, called the Human Soul, or Manas, the Mind. As the teachings say: “Each is a Pillar of Light. Having chosen its vehicle, it expanded, surrounding with an Âkâúic Aura the human animal, while the Divine (Mânasic) Principle, settled within that human form.”
Ancient Wisdom teaches, moreover, that from this first incarnation, the Lunar Pitris (who had made men out of their Chhâyâs, or Shadows) are absorbed by this auric essence, and a distinct Astral Form is now produced for each forthcoming Personality of the reincarnating series of each Ego.
Thus the Auric Egg, reflecting all the thoughts, words and deeds of man, is:
(a) The preserver of every Karmic record.
(b) The storehouse of all the good and bad powers of man, receiving and giving out at his will––nay, at his very thought––every potentiality, which becomes, then and there, an acting potency: this aura is the mirror in which sensitives and clairvoyants sense and perceive the real man, and see him as he is, not as he appears
(c) As it furnishes man with his Astral Form, around which the physical entity models itself, first as a foetus, then as a child and man, the astral growing apace with the human being, so it furnishes him during his life, if an Adept, with his Mâyâvi-Rûpa, Illusion Body (which is not his Vital Astral Body); and after death, with his Devachanic Entity and Kâma-Rûpa, or Body of Desire (the Spook).*
In the former case, that of the Devachanic Entity, the Ego, in order to be able to go into a state of bliss, as the “I” of its immediately preceding incarnation, has to be clothed (metaphorically speaking) with the spiritual elements of the ideas, aspirations and thoughts of the
* It is erroneous, when speaking of the fifth human principle, to call it “the Kâma-Rûpa.” It is no Rûpa, or form at all, except after death, but the Kâmic elements, animal desires and passions, such as anger, lust, envy, revenge, etc., etc., the progency of selfishness and matter.
now disembodied Personality; otherwise what is it that enjoys bliss and reward? Surely not the impersonal Ego, the Divine Individuality. Therefore it must be the good Karmic records of the deceased, impressed upon the Auric Substance, which furnish the Human Soul with just enough of the Spiritual elements of the ex-personality to enable it to still believe itself that body from which it has just been severed, and to receive its fruition, during a more or less prolonged period of “spiritual gestation.” For Devachan is a “spiritual gestation” within an ideal matrix state, that ends in the new birth of the Ego into the world of effects, which ideal, subjective birth precedes its next terrestrial birth––the latter being determined by its bad Karma––into the world of causes.*2 In the second case, that of furnishing the Kama-Rupa for the ghost or spook of the Entity, it is from the animal dregs of the Auric Envelope, with its daily Karmic record of animal life, so full of animal desires and selfish aspirations, that it is furnished.† Now, the Linga-Śarîra remains with the Physical Body, and fades out along with it. An astral entity then has to be created (a new Linga-Sarîra provided) to become the bearer of all the past Tânhas and future Karma. How is this accomplished? The mediumistic “spook,” the “departed angel,” fades out and vanishes also in its turn‡ as an entity or full image of the Personality that was, and leaves in the Kâmalokic world of effects only the records of its misdeeds and sinful thoughts and acts, known in the phraseology of the Occultists as Tnhic or human “Elementals.” It is these Elementals which––upon entering into the composition of the “astral form” of the new body, into which the Ego, on its quitting the Devachanic state, is to enter according to Karmic decree––form that new astral entity which is born within the Auric Envelope, and of which it is often said “Karma, with its army of Skandhas, waits at the threshold of Devachan.”§ For no sooner is the
* Here the world of effects is the Devachanic state, and the world of Causes, earth life.
† And it is this Kama-Rupa alone that can materialize in mediumistic séances, which it occasionally does when it is not the Astral Double, or Linga-Śarîra, of the medium himself which appears. Therefore, how can this bundle of vile moral passions and terrestrial lusts, resurrected by, and gaining consciousness only through, the organism of the medium, be accepted as a “departed angel” or the spirit of a once human body? As well say of the microbe pest which fastens upon a person that it is a sweet departed angel.
‡ This is accomplished in more or less time, according to the degree that the Personality (whose dregs it now is) was spiritual or material. If spirituality prevailed, then the Larva, “spook,” will fade out very soon; but if it was very materialistic, the Kâma-Rûpa may last centuries and––even survive with the help of some of its scattered Skandhas, which are all transformed in time into Elements. See The Key to Theosophy, pp 141 et seq., in which work it was impossible to go into details, but where the Skandhas are spoken of as the germs of Karmic effects.
§ The Key to Theosophy, p. 141.
Devachanic state of reward ended, than the Ego is indissolubly united with (or rather follows in the track of) the new Astral Form. Both are Karmically propelled towards the family or woman from which is to be born the animal child chosen by Karma to become the vehicle of the Ego which has just awakened from the Devachanic state. Then the new Astral Form, composed partly of the pure Âkâúic Essence of the Auric “Egg,” and partly of the terrestrial elements of the punishable sins and misdeeds of the last Personality, is drawn into the woman. Once there, Nature models the foetus of flesh around the Astral, out of the growing materials of the male seed in the female soil. Thus grows out of the essence of a decayed seed the fruit or eidôlon of the dead seed, the physical fruit producing in its turn within itself another and other seeds for future plants.3
And now we may return to the Tattvas, and see what they mean in nature and man, showing thereby the great danger of indulging in fancy, amateur Yoga, without knowing what we are about.
THE TATTVIC CORRELATIONS AND MEANING
In nature, then, we find seven Forces, or seven Centres of Force, and everything seems to respond to that number, as for instance, the septenary scale in music, or Sounds, and the septenary spectrum in Colors. In The Secret Doctrine I have not exhausted its nomenclature and proofs, yet enough is given to show every thinker that the facts adduced are no coincidences, but very weighty testimony.
There are several reasons why five Tattvas only are given in the Indian systems. One of these I have already mentioned; another is that, owing to our having reached only the Fifth Race and being (so far as Science is able to ascertain) endowed with only five senses, the two remaining senses that are still latent in man can have their existence proven only on phenomenal evidence, which to the materialist is no evidence at all. The five physical senses are made to correspond with the five lower Tattvas, the two yet undeveloped senses in man, and the two forces, or Tattvas, forgotten by Brahmans and still unrecognized by Science, being so subjective, and the highest of them so sacred, that it can only be recognized by, and through, the highest Occult Sciences. It is easy to see that these two Tattvas and the two senses (the sixth and the seventh) correspond to the two highest human Principles, Buddhi and the Auric Envelope, impregnated with the light of Âtman. Unless we open in ourselves, by occult training, the sixth and seventh senses, we can never comprehend correctly their corresponding
types. Thus the statement in “Nature’s Finer Forces” that, in the Tattvic scale, the highest Tattva of all is Âkâúa* (followed by [only] four, each of which becomes grosser than its predecessor), if made from the esoteric standpoint, is erroneous. For once Âkâúa, an almost homogeneous and certainly universal principle, is translated Ether, then Âkâúa is dwarfed and limited to our visible universe, for assuredly it is not the Ether of Space. Ether, whatever modern Science makes of it, is differentiated Substance; Âkâúa, having no attributes save one––SOUND, of which it is the substratum––is no substance even exoterically and in the minds of some Orientalists,† but rather Chaos, or the Great Spatial Void.‡ Esoterically, Âkâúa alone is Divine Space, which becomes Ether only on the lowest and last plane, or our visible Universe and Earth. In this case the blind is in the word “attribute,” which is given as Sound! It is no attribute at all, but the primal correlation of Âkâúa; its primordial manifestation, the Logos, or Divine Ideation made WORD, and that “Word” made flesh. Sound may be considered an “attribute” of Âkâúa only on the condition of anthropomorphizing the latter. It is not a characteristic of it, though it is certainly as innate in it as the idea “I am I” is innate in our thought.
Occultism teaches that Âkâúa contains and includes the seven Centres of Force, therefore the seven Tattvas of which Âkâúa is the seventh, or rather their synthesis. But if Âkâúa be taken––as we believe is the fact in this case to represent only the exoteric idea, then the author is right; because (as Âkâúa is universally omnipresent), following the Purânic limitation, he places its commencement, for the better comprehension of our finite intellects, only beyond the four planes of our Earth Chain,§ the two higher Tattvas being as concealed to the average mortal as the sixth and seventh senses are to the materialistic mind.
Therefore, while Hindu, Sanskrit and Purânic philosophy speaks only of five Tattvas, Occultists name seven, making them correspond with every septenary in nature. The Tattvas stand in the same order as the seven macro- and microscosmic Forces. These as taught in Esotericism, are as follows:
* Following Śaivâgama, the said author enumerates the correspondence in this wise: Âkâúa (or Ether) is followed by Vâyu (Gas), Tejas (Heat), Âpas (Liquid), and Prithivî (solid).
† See Fitz-Edward Hall’s notes on the Vishnu-Purâna.
‡ The pair which we refer to as the One Life, the Root of All, and Âkâúa in its pre-differentiating period answers to the Brahma (neuter) and Aditi of some Hindus, and stands in the same relation as the Parabrahman and Mûlaprakriti of the Vedântins.
§ See The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, Diagram No. 3, p. 200.
(1) ÂDI TATTVA, the primordial universal Force, issuing at the beginning of manifestation (or creative period) from the eternal immutable SAT, the substratum of ALL. It corresponds with the Auric Envelope or “Brahmâ’s Egg,” surrounding every globe, as every man, animal and thing. It is the vehicle containing potentially everything––Spirit and Substance, Force and Matter. It is Âdi Tattva that we refer to in Esoteric Cosmogony, as the Force which proceeds from the First or Unmanifested Logos.
(2) ANUPAPÂDAKA TATTVA,* the first differentiation on the plane of being––the first being an ideal one––or that which is born by transformation from something higher than itself. With the Occultists, the Force proceeds from the Second Logos.
3) ÂKÂSA TATTVA. It is at this point that all the exoteric philosophies and religions start from. Âkâúa Tattva is explained in them as the Etheric Force, Ether. Hence the name given to Jupiter, the “highest” god, or Pater Aether; Indra, once the highest god in India, as the etheric or heavenly expanse, Uranus, etc., etc., and the Biblical God as the Holy Ghost, Pneuma, rarified wind or air. The Occultists call the Force of the Third Logos, the Creative Force in the already Manifested Universe.
(4) VÂYU TATTVA (Air-Force), the aërial plane where substance is gaseous.
(5) TAIJASA TATTVA (from tejas, luminous) the plane of our atmosphere.
(6) ÂPAS TATTVA, watery or liquid substance or force.
(7) PRITHIVŸ TATTVA, solid earthly substance––the terrestrial spirit or force, the lowest of all.
All these correspond to our principles, and to the seven senses and forces in man. According to the Tattva or Force generated or induced in us, so will our bodies act.
Now, what I have to say here is addressed especially to those members who are anxious to develop powers by “sitting for Yoga.” You see, from what has been already said, that in the development of Râja-Yoga, no extant works made public are of the least good; they can at best give inklings of Ha˜ha-Yoga, something that may develop mediumship at best, and in the worst case––consumption. If those who practice “meditation,” and try to learn the “Science of Breath,” will read attentively “Nature’s Finer Forces,” they will find that it is by
* Anupapâdaka, in Pâli Opapâtika (Tibetan: Brdus-te-skyas-pa), meaning the “parentless,” born without father or mother, from itself,” as a transformation e.g., the god Brahmâ sprang from the Lotus (the symbol of the Universe) that grows from Vishnu’s navel, Vishnu typifying eternal and limitless space, and Brahmâ the universe and Logos; the mythical Buddha is also born from a Lotus.
utilizing the five Tattvas only that this dangerous science is acquired. For in the exoteric Yoga Philosophy, and the Ha˜ha-Yoga practice, Âkâúa Tattva is placed in the head (or physical brain) of man; Tejas Tattva in the shoulders; Vâyu Tattva in the navel (the seat of all the phallic gods, “creators” of the universe and man); Âpas Tattva in the knees; and Prithivi Tattva in the feet. Hence the two higher Tattvas and their correspondences are ignored and excluded; and––as they are the chief factors in Râja-Yoga––no spiritual or intellectual phenomena of highest nature can take place; but, the psycho-physiological system being developed simply, the best results obtainable are physical phenomena and no more. As the “Five Breaths,” or rather the five states of the human breath, correspond in Ha˜ha-Yoga to these terrestrial planes and colors, what spiritual results can be obtained? They are the very reverse of the plane of Spirit, or the higher macrocosmic plane, reflected as they are in the Astral Light upside down. This is proven in the Tântra work, Śaivâgama, itself. Let us compare.
First of all, remember that the Septenary of visible as of invisible Nature is said in Occultism to consist of the three (and four) Fires, which grow into forty-nine Fires. This shows that as the Macrocosm is divided into seven great planes of various differentiations of Substance––from the spiritual, or subjective, to the fully objective or material, from Âkâúa down to the sin-laden atmosphere of our earth––so, in its turn, each of these great planes has three aspects, based on four principles, as already shown above. This seems to be quite natural, as even modern Science has her three states of matter and what are generally called the “critical” or intermediate states between the solid, the fluidic, and the gaseous.
Now, the Astral Light is not a universally diffused stuff, but pertains to our earth and all other bodies of the system on the same plane of matter with it. Our Astral Light is, so to speak, the Linga-Sarîra of our earth; only instead of being its primordial prototype, as in the case of our Chhâyâ, or Double, it is the reverse. While the human and animal bodies grow and develop in the model of their antetypal Doubles, it is the Astral Light that is born from the terrene emanations, grows and develops after its prototypal parent, and reflects everything reversed in its treacherous wave (both from the upper planes and from its lower solid plane, the earth). Hence the confusion of its colors and sounds in the perception and clairaudience of the sensitive who trusts to its records––be that sensitive a Ha˜ha-Yogi or a medium. The parallel between the Esoteric and the Tântra Tables of the Tattvas in relation to Sounds and Colors shows this very clearly in the accompanying table.
Such, then, is the occult science on which the modern ascetics and
Yogis of India base their soul development and powers. They are known as the Ha˜ha-Yogis. Now, the science of Ha˜ha-Yoga rests upon the “suppression of breath,” or Prânâyâma, to which exercise our Masters, are unanimously opposed. For what is Prânâyâma? Literally translated, it means the “death of (vital) breath.” Prâna, as said, is not Jîva, the eternal fount of life immortal, nor is it connected in any way with Pranava, as some think, for Pranava is a synonym of AUM in a mystic sense. All that has ever been taught publicly and clearly about it is to be found in “Nature’s Finer Forces.” If such directions, however, are followed, they can only lead to black magic and mediumship. Several impatient Chelas, whom we knew personally in India, went in for the practice of Ha˜ha-Yoga, notwithstanding our warnings. Of these, two developed consumption, of which one died; the others became almost idiotic; another committed suicide; and one developed into a regular Tântrika, a black magician, but his career, fortunately for himself, was cut short by death.
The science of the five breaths––the moist, the fiery, the airy, etc., etc.––has a twofold significance and two applications. By the Tântrikas it is accepted literally, as relating to the regulation of the vital, lung breath, but by the ancient Râja-Yogis as referring to the mental or “will” breath, which alone leads to the highest clairvoyant powers, to the function of the Third Eye and the acquisition of the true Râja-Yoga occult powers. The difference between the two is enormous. The former, as shown, use the five lower Tattvas; the latter begin by using the three higher alone––for mental and will development––and the rest only when they have completely mastered the three; hence, they use only one (Âkâúa Tattva) out of the Tântric five. As well said in the above stated work, “Tattvas are the modifications of Svara.” Now, the Svara is the root of all sound, the substratum of the Pythagorean music of the spheres, Svara being that which is beyond spirit, in the modern acceptation of the word––the spirit of the spirit, or as very properly translated, the “current of the life wave,” the emanation of the One Life. The Great Breath spoken of in Volume I of The Secret Doctrine is ÂTMAN, the etymology of which is “eternal motion.” Now, while the ascetic-chela of our school follows carefully, for his mental development, the process of the evolution of the Universe, that is, proceeds from universals to particulars, the Ha˜ha-Yogi reverses the conditions and begins by sitting for the suppression of his (vital) breath. And if, as Hindu philosophy teaches, at the beginning of cosmic evolution, “Svara threw itself into the form of Âkâúa,” and thence successively into the forms of Vâyu (air), Agni (fire), Âpas (water), and Prithivî (solid matter),* then it stands to reason that we have to begin by the
* See The Theosophist, Vol. IX, February 1888, p. 276.
higher supersensuous Tattvas. The Râja-Yogi does not descend on the planes of substance beyond Sûkshma (subtle matter); while the Ha˜ha-Yogi develops and uses his powers only on the material plane. A good proof of this is found in the fact that the Tântrika locates the three “Nâdis,” (Sushumna, Idâ, and Pingala) in the medulla oblongata, the central line of which he calls Sushumna, and the right and left divisions, Pingala and Idâ––and also the heart, to the divisions of which he applies the same names. The Trans-Himâlayan school, of the ancient Indian Râja-Yogis, with which the modern Yogis of India have little to do, locates Sushumna, the chief seat of these three Nâdis, in the central tube of the spinal cord, and Idâ and Pingala on its left and right sides. Sushumna is the Brahmadanda. It is that tube (of the two along the spinal cord) of the use of which physiology knows no more than it does of the spleen and the pineal gland. Idâ and Pingala are simply the sharp and flat of that Fa (of human nature), the keynote and the middle key in the scale of the septenary harmony of the principles––which, when struck in a proper way, awakens the sentries on both sides, the spiritual Manas and the physical Kâma, and subdues the lower through the higher. But this effect has to be produced by exercise of will-power, not through the scientific or trained suppression of the breath. Take a transverse section of the spinal cord, and you will find that the shaded parts show sections across the tube, the one side of which tube transmits the volitional orders, and the other a life current of Jîva––not of Prâna, sent down to animate the lower extremities of man––during what is called Samâdhi and like states.
He who has studied both systems, the Ha˜ha and Râja-Yoga, finds an enormous difference between the two: one is purely psycho-physiological, the other purely psycho-spiritual. The Tântrists do not seem to go higher than the six visible and known plexuses, with each of which they connect the Tattvas; and the great stress they lay on the chief of these, the Mûladhâra Chakra (the sacral plexus), shows the material and selfish bent of their efforts towards the acquisition of powers. Their five Breaths and five Tattvas are chiefly concerned with the prostatic, epigastric, cardiac, and laryngeal plexuses. Almost ignoring the Agneya, they are positively ignorant of the synthesizing pharyngeal plexus. But with the followers of the old school it is different. We begin with the mastery of that organ which is situated at the base of the brain, in the pharynx, and called by Western anatomists the Pituitary Body. In the series of the objective cranial organs, corresponding to the subjective Tattvic principles, it stands to the “Third Eye” (Pineal Gland) as Manas stands to Buddhi; the arousing and awakening of the Third Eye must be performed by that vascular organ, that insignificant little body,
of which, once again, physiology knows nothing at all. The one is the Energizer of WILL, the other that of Clairvoyant Perception.
Those among the students of the E.S.T. who are physicians, physiologists, etc., will understand me better than the rest in the following explanation.
Now, as to the functions of the Pineal Gland, or Conarium, and of the Pituitary Body, we find no explanations vouchsafed by the standard authorities. Indeed, on looking through the works of the greatest specialists, it is curious to observe how much confused ignorance on the human vital economy, physiological as well as psychological, is openly confessed. In fact, the following is all that can be gleaned from the authorities upon these two important organs.
(1) The Pineal Gland, or Conarium, is a rounded, oblong body, from three to four lines long, of a deep reddish grey, connected with the posterior part of the third ventricle of the brain. It is attached at its base by two thin medullary cords, which diverge forward to the Optic Thalami (or the posterior cerebral ganglia). Remember that the latter are found by the best physiologists to be the organs of reception and condensation of the most sensitive and sensorial incitations from the periphery of the body (according to Occultism, from the periphery of the Auric Egg, which is our point of communication with the higher, universal Planes). We are further told that the “two bands of the Optic Thalami, which are inflected to meet each other, unite on the median line, where they become the two Peduncles of the Pineal Gland.”
(2) The Pituitary Gland, or Hypophysis Cerebri, is a small and hard body about six lines broad, three long and three high. It is always formed of an anterior bean-shape, and a posterior and more rounded lobe, which are uniformly united. Its component parts, we are told, are almost identical with those of the Pineal Gland; yet not the slightest connection can be traced between the two. To this, however, Occultists take exception; they know that there is a connection, and this even anatomically and physically. Dissectors, on the other hand, have to deal with corpses; and, as they themselves admit, brain-matter, of all tissues and organs, collapses and changes form the soonest––in fact, a few minutes after death. When, then, the pulsating life which expanded the mass of the brain, filled all its cavities and energized all its organs, vanishes, the cerebral mass shrinks into a sort of pasty condition, and once open passages become closed. But the contraction and even interblending of parts in this process of shrinking, and the subsequent pasty state of the dead brain, do not imply that there is no connection between these two glands before death. In point of fact, as Professor Owen has shown, a connection as objective as a groove and tube, exists in the crania of the human foetus and of certain fishes. When
a man is in his normal condition, the introspective Adept can see the golden Aura pulsating in both the glands, a pulsation, like that of the heart, never ceasing throughout life. This motion, however, under the abnormal condition of effort to develop clairvoyant faculties, becomes intensified, and the Aura takes on a stronger vibratory and pulsating or swinging action. The arc (of the Pituitary Gland) mounts upward, more and more, toward the Pineal Gland, until finally the current striking it, just as when the electric current strikes some solid object, the dormant organ is awakened and set all aglowing with the pure Âkâúic Fire. This is the psycho-physiological illustration of two organs on the physical plane, which are the concrete symbols of, and represent respectively, the metaphysical concepts called Manas and Buddhi. The latter, in order to become conscious on this plane, needs the more differentiated fire of Manas; but once the sixth sense has awakened the seventh, the light which radiates from it illuminates the fields of infinitude: for a brief space of time, man becomes omniscient; the Past and the Future, Space and Time, disappear and become for him the Present. If an Adept, he will store that knowledge he thus gains, in his physical memory and nothing––save the crime of indulging in Black Magic––can obliterate the remembrance of it. If only a Chela, portions alone of the whole truth will impress themselves on his memory, and he will have to repeat the process for years, never allowing one speck of impurity to stain him mentally or physically, before he becomes a fully initiated Adept.
It may seem strange, almost incomprehensible, that the chief success in Gupta-Vidyâ, or Occult Knowledge, should depend upon such flashes of clairvoyance, and that the latter should depend in man, on two insignificant, almost imperceptible excrescences in his cranial cavity, “two horny warts covered with grey sand (acervulus cerebri),” as expressed by Bichat in his Traité d’Anatomie Descriptive; yet so it is. But this sand is not to be despised; nay, in truth, it is only this landmark of the internal, independent activity of the Conarium (Pineal Gland) that prevents physiologists from classifying it with the absolutely useless atrophied organs, the relics of a previous and now utterly changed anatomy of man during some period of his unknown evolution. This “sand” is very mysterious, and baffles the inquiry of every materialist. In the cavity on the anterior surface of this gland, in young persons only, and in its substance, in people of advanced years, is found “a yellowish substance, semi-transparent, brilliant and hard, the diameter of which does not exceed half a line.”* Such is the acervulus cerebri
* S.T. von Sömmerring, De acervulo cerebri (1785), Vol. III, p. 322.
This brilliant “sand” is the concretion of the gland itself, so say the physiologists. Perhaps not, we answer. The Pineal Gland is that which the Eastern Occultist calls Devaksha, the “Divine Eye,” or the “Third Eye.” To this day, it is the chief and foremost organ of spirituality in the human brain, the seat of genius, the magical Sesame uttered by the purified Will of the mystic, which opens all the avenues of truth for him who knows how to use it. The Esoteric Science teaches that Manas, the Mind Ego, does not accomplish its full union with the child before he is six or seven years of age, before which period, even according to the canon of the Church and Law, no child is deemed responsible.* Manas becomes a prisoner, one with the body, only at that age. Now, a strange thing was observed in several thousand cases by the famous German anatomist Wengel. With a few extremely rare exceptions, this “sand,” or golden-colored concretion, is found only in subjects after the completion of their seventh year; and it is absent in the head of children under six years. In the case of fools these calculi are very few; in congenital idiots they are completely absent. Morgagni,† Greding,‡ and Günz§ were wise men in their generation, and are wise men today, since they are the only physiologists, so far, who connect these calculi with mind. For, sum up the facts, that they are absent in young children, in very old people, and in idiots, and the unavoidable conclusion will be that they must be connected with mind.
Now, since every mineral, vegetable and other atom is only a concretion of crystallized Spirit, or Âkâúa, the Universal Soul, why, asks Occultism, should the fact that these concretions of the Pineal Gland are, upon analysis, found to be composed of animal matter, phosphate of lime and carbonate, serve as an objection to the statement that they are the result of the work of mental electricity upon surrounding matter?
Our seven Chakras are all situated in the head, and it is these Master Chakras which govern and rule the seven (for there are seven) principal plexuses in the body, and the forty-two minor ones to which Physiology refuses that name. The fact that no microscope can detect such centres on the objective plane goes for nothing; no microscope has ever yet detected, nor ever will, the difference between the “motor” and “sensory” nerve-tubes, the conductors of all our bodily and psychic sensations; and yet physiological logic alone would show that such difference
* In the Greek Eastern Church no child is allowed to go to confession before the age of seven, after which he is considered to have reached the age of reason.
† G. B. Morgagni, De sedibus, et causis morborum, etc., Vol XII.
‡ J. E. Greding, Adversaria medica practica.
§ J. G. Günz, Prolusio capillos glandulae pinealis in quinque mente alienatis proponit, Lipsiae, 1753.
exists. And if the term plexus, in this application, does not represent to the Western mind the idea conveyed by the term of the anatomist, then call them Chakras or Padmas, or the Wheels, the Lotus Hearts and Petals. Remember that Physiology, imperfect as it is, shows septenary groups all over the exterior and interior of the body; the seven head orifices, the seven “organs” at the base of the brain, the seven plexuses (the pharyngeal, laryngeal, cavernous, cardiac, epigastric, prostatic, and the sacral plexus), etc., etc.
When the time comes, the members of the E.S.T. will be given the minute details about the Master Chakras and taught to use them; till then, less difficult subjects have to be learned. If asked whether the seven plexuses, or Tattvic centres of action, are the centres where the seven rays of the Logos vibrate, I answer in the affirmative, simply remarking that the rays of the Logos vibrate in every atom, for the matter of that.
In The Secret Doctrine it is almost revealed that the “Sons of Fohat” are the personified forces known, in a general way as Motion, Sound, Heat, Light, Cohesion, Electricity (or Electric) Fluid, and Nerve Force (or Magnetism). This truth, however, cannot teach the student to attune and moderate the Kundalini of the Cosmic plane with the vital Kundalini, the Electric Fluid with the Nerve Forces, and unless he does so, he is sure to kill himself; for the one travels at the rate of about 90 feet, and the other at the rate of 115,000 leagues a second. The seven Śaktis respectively called Para Śakti, Jnâna-Śakti, etc., etc., are synonymous with the “Sons of Fohat,” for they are their female aspects. At the present stage, however, as their names would only be confusing to the Western student, it is better to remember the English equivalents as translated above. As each force is septenary, their sum is, of course, forty-nine.
The question now mooted in Science, whether a sound is capable of calling forth impressions of light and color in addition to its natural sound impressions, has been answered by Occult Science ages ago. Every impulse or vibration of a physical object producing a certain vibration of the air––that is, causing the collision of physical particles, the sound of which is capable of affecting the ear––produces at the same time a corresponding flash of light, which will assume some particular color. For, in the realm of hidden Forces, an audible sound is but a subjective color; and a perceptible color, but an inaudible sound; both proceed from the same potential substance, which Physicists used to call ether, and now refer to under various other names; but which we call plastic, though invisible, SPACE. This may appear a paradoxical hypothesis, but facts are there to prove it. Complete deafness, for instance does not preclude the possibility of discerning sounds; and
medical science has several cases on record which prove that these sounds are received by, and conveyed to, the patient’s organ of sight, through the mind, under the form of colored chromatic impressions. The very fact that the intermediate tones of the chromatic musical scale were formerly written in colors, shows an unconscious reminiscence of the ancient occult teaching that color and sound are two out of the seven correlative aspects, on our plane, of one and the same thing, viz. Nature’s first differentiated Substance.
Here is an example of the relations of color to vibration well worthy of the attention of Occultists. Not only Adepts and advanced Chelas, but also the lower order of psychics, such as clairvoyants and psychometrists, can perceive a psychic Aura of various colors around every individual, corresponding to the temperament of the person within it. In other words the mysterious records within the Auric Egg are not the heirloom of trained Adepts alone, but sometimes also of natural psychics. Every human passion, every thought and quality, is indicated in the Aura by corresponding colors and shades of color, and certain of these are sensed and felt rather than perceived. The best of such psychics, as shown by Galton, can also perceive colors produced by the vibrations of musical instruments, every note suggesting a different color. As a string vibrates and gives forth an audible note, so the nerves of the human body vibrate and thrill in correspondence with various emotions under the general impulse of the circulating vitality of Prâna, thus producing undulations in the psychic Aura of the person which results in chromatic effects.
The human nervous system as a whole, then, may be regarded as an Aeolian Harp, responding to the impact of the vital force (which is no abstraction, but a dynamic reality) and manifests the subtlest shades of the individual character in color phenomena. If these nerve vibrations are made intense enough and brought into vibratory relation with an astral element, the result is––sound. How, then, can anyone doubt the relation between the microcosmic and macrocosmic forces?
And now that I have shown that the Tântric works as explained by Râma Prasad, and other Yoga treatises of the same character which have appeared from time to time in Theosophical journals––for note well that those of true Râja-Yoga are never published––tend to Black Magic and are most dangerous to take for guides in self-training, I hope that the American Esotericists will be on their guard.
For, considering that no two authorities up to the present day agree as to the real location in the body of the Chakras and Padmas, and, seeing that the colors of the Tattvas as given are reversed, e.g.:
(a) Âkâúa is shown black or colorless, whereas, corresponding to Manas, it is indigo;
(b) Vâyu is made blue, whereas, corresponding to the Lower Manas, it is green;
(c) Âpas is made white, whereas, it is violet, the color of the Astral Body, with a silver, moonlike white substratum; Tejas, red, being the only color given correctly––from such considerations, I say, it is easy to see that these disagreements are dangerous blinds.
Further, the practice of the Five Breaths results in deadly injury, both physiologically and psychically, as already shown. It is indeed that which it is called, Prânâyâma, or the “death of the breath,” for it results, for the practicer, in death––in moral death always, and in physical death very frequently.
EXOTERIC “BLINDS” AND “THE DEATH OF THE SOUL”
As a corollary to this and before going into still more abstruse teachings, I must redeem my promise already given to you in my last letter. I have to illustrate by tenets you already know, the awful doctrine of personal annihilation. Banish from your minds all that you have hitherto read and thought you understood, in such works as Esoteric Buddhism, of such hypotheses as the eighth sphere and the moon, and that man shares a common ancestor with the ape. Even the details occasionally given out by myself in The Theosophist and Lucifer were nothing like the whole truth, but only broad general ideas, hardly touched upon in their details. Certain passages, however, give out hints, especially my footnotes on articles translated from Éliphas Lévi’s “Letters on Magic.”*
Nevertheless, personal immortality is conditional, for there is such a thing as “soulless man,” a teaching barely mentioned, yet still spoken of in Isis Unveiled;† and there is an Avichi, rightly called Hell, though it has no connection with, or similitude to, the good Christian Hell, either geographically or psychically. The truth known to Occultists and Adepts in every age could not be given out to a promiscuous public; hence, though almost every mystery of occult philosophy lies half concealed in Isis and The Secret Doctrine, I had no right to amplify or correct Mr. Sinnett’s details. You may now compare these four volumes and especially Esoteric Buddhism with the diagrams and written explanations in the Instructions, and see for yourselves.
* See “Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan” [Notes and Footnotes by H. P. B.], The Theosophist, Vol. III, October, 1881, pp. 12-15 [Collected Writings, Vol. III pp. 287-91]; also “Fragments of Occult Truth,” The Theosophist, Vols. III and IV
† Volume II, pp. 368 et seq.
I have, first of all, to draw your attention to Plate I. The numbering, as you have already been told, is exoteric, and you have to leave it out of your calculations and consideration. But examine well the Auric Egg, containing the picture of the Microcosm within the Macrocosm, Man within the Universe, and try to retain that which I have now to reveal in all its details.
You find here Paramâtman, the Spiritual Sun, outside of the human Auric Egg, as also outside the Macrocosmic or Brahmâ’s Egg. Why? Because, though every particle and atom are, so to speak, cemented with and soaked through by this Paramâtmic essence, yet it is wrong to call it a “human” or even a “universal” principle, for the term is very likely to give rise to naught but an erroneous idea of the philosophical and purely metaphysical concept; it is not a principle, but the cause of every principle, the latter term being applied by Occultists only to its shadow––the Universal Spirit that ensouls the boundless Kosmos whether within, or beyond, Space and Time.
The Plate shows, moreover, Buddhi, the yellow semi-disc, serving as a vehicle to that Paramâtmic shadow, to be universal, and so also is the human Âtman, the Sun or white sphere above Buddhi. Within the blue Auric Egg we find the orange macrocosmic pentacle of LIFE, Prâna, containing within itself the (red) pentagram which represents man. Have you noticed that while the universal pentacle has its point soaring upwards (the sign of White Magic), in the human red pentacle it is the lower points which are upward, forming the “Horns of Satan,” as the Christian Kabalists call it? This is the symbol of matter, that of personal man, and the recognized pentacle of the black magician. For the red pentacle does not stand only for Kâma, the fifth principle exoterically, but is made also to represent physical man, the animal of flesh with its desires and passions. So far, I have given you only one of its explanations, namely, that which refers to human and not to macrocosmic principles. The orange pentacle may be taken for both the universe and man; but for the present we shall consider the latter only.
Now, mark well, in order to understand that which follows, that the upper (indigo blue) Manas is connected with the lower (green) Manas by a thin line which binds the two together. This is the Antaskarana, that path or bridge of communication which serves as a link between the personal being whose physical brain is under the sway of the lower (animal) mind, and the reincarnating Individuality, the spiritual Ego, Manas-Manu, the “Divine Man.” This thinking Manu, therefore, is that which alone reincarnates. In truth and in nature, the two Minds (the spiritual and the physical or animal) are one, but separate at reincarnation. For, while that portion of the divine which goes to animate consciously the personality, separating itself, like a dense but
pure shadow, from the divine Ego,* wedges itself into the brain and senses† of the uterine babe (at the completion of its seventh month), the Higher Manas does not unite itself with the child before the completion of the first seven years of its life. This detached essence, or rather the reflection or shadow of the Higher Manas, becomes, as the child grows, a distinct thinking principle in man, its chief agent being the physical brain. No wonder the materialists who perceive only this “rational soul,” or mind, will not disconnect it with the brain and matter. But occult philosophy has evolved [solved?], ages ago, the problem of mind, and discovered the duality of Manas. Look at the Plate; see the divine Ego tending with its point upwards towards Buddhi, and the human Ego gravitating downwards, immersed in matter and connected with its higher, subjective half only by that Antaskarana. You will remember the name, as it is the connecting link during life between the two minds––the higher consciousness of the Ego and the human intelligence of the lower mind.
To understand this abstruse metaphysical doctrine fully and correctly, one has to be thoroughly impressed with an idea, which I have in vain endeavored to impart to Theosophists at large, namely, the great axiomatic truth that the only eternal and living reality is that which the Hindus call Paramâtman and Parabrahman. This is the one ever-existing Root-Essence, immutable and unknowable to our physical senses, but manifest and clearly perceptible to our spiritual natures. Once imbued with that basic idea and the further conception that if it is omnipresent, universal and eternal, like abstract Space itself, we must have emanated from it and must, some day, return into it, and all the rest becomes easy.
* The essence of the divine Ego is “pure flame,” an entity to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken, it cannot, therefore be diminished even by countless numbers of lower minds, detached from it like flames from a Flame. This is in answer to an objection by an Esotericist who asked whence was that inexhaustible essence of one and the same Individuality which was called upon to furnish a human intellect for every new personality in which it incarnated.
† The brain, or thinking machinery, is not only in the head and skull, but, as every physiologist who is not quite a materialist, will tell you, every organ in man, heart, liver, lungs, etc., down to every nerve and muscle, has, so to speak, its own distinct brain, or thinking apparatus. As our brain has naught to do in the guidance of the collective and individual work of every organ in us, what is that which guides each so unerringly in its incessant functions, that makes these struggle and that too with disease, throw it off and act, each of them even to the smallest not in a clock-work manner, as alleged by some materialists (for, at the slightest disturbance or breakage the clock stops), but as an entity endowed with instinct? To say that it is Nature is to say nothing, if not a fallacy; for Nature, after all, is but a name for these very same functions, the sum of the qualities and attributes, physical, mental, etc., in the universe and man, the total of agencies and forces guided by intelligent laws.
If so, then it stands to reason that life and death, good and evil, past and future, are all empty words, or, at best, figures of speech. If the objective universe itself is but a passing illusion on account of its beginning and finitude, then both life and death must also be aspects and illusions. They are changes of state, in fact, and no more. Real life is in the spiritual consciousness of that life, in a conscious existence in Spirit, not Matter; and real death is the limited perception of life, the impossibility of sensing conscious or even individual existence outside of form, or, at least, of some form of matter. Those who sincerely reject the possibility of conscious life divorced from substance, and a brain––are dead units. The words of Paul, an Initiate, become comprehensible. “Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God,” which is to say: Ye are personally dead matter, unconscious of its own spiritual essence, and your real life is hid with your divine Ego (Christos) in, or merged with, God (Âtman); now it has departed from you, soulless people.* Speaking on esoteric lines, every irrevocably materialistic person is a dead MAN, a living automaton, in spite of his being endowed with great brain power. Listen to what Âryâsanga says, stating the same fact:
“That which is neither Spirit nor Matter, neither Light nor Darkness, but is verily the container and root of these, that thou art. The Root projects at every Dawn its shadow on ITSELF, and that shadow thou callest Light and Life, O poor dead Form. (This) Life-Light streameth downward through the stair of the seven worlds, the stair, of which each step becomes denser and darker. It is of this seven-times-seven scale that thou art the faithful climber and mirror, O little man! Thou art this, but thou knowest it not.”
This is the first lesson to learn. The second is to study well and know the principles of both the Kosmos and ourselves, dividing the group into the permanent and impermanent, the higher and immortal, and the lower and mortal; for thus only can we master and guide the lower cosmic and personal, then the higher cosmic and impersonal.
Once we can do that, we have secured our immortality. But some may say: “How few are those who can do so! All such are great Adepts, and none can reach such Adeptship in one short life.” Agreed; but there is an alternative. “If Sun thou canst not be, then be the humble Planet,” says the Book of the Golden Precepts. And if even that is beyond our reach, then let us at least endeavor to keep within the ray of some lesser star, so that its silvery light may penetrate the murky darkness, through which the stony path of life trends onward; for without this divine radiance one risks losing more than he imagines.
With regard, then, to “soulless” men and the “second death” of the “Soul,” mentioned in Isis Unveiled,† you will there find that I have
* Colossians, iii. 3.
† Vol. II, pp. 367-70.
spoken of such soulless people, and even of Avichi, though I leave the latter unnamed. Read from the last paragraph on page 367 to the end of the first paragraph on page 370, and then collate what is there said with what I have now to say.
The higher triad, Âtma-Buddhi-Manas, may be recognized from the first lines of the quotation from the Egyptian papyrus. In the Ritual (now the Book of the Dead), the purified Soul (the dual Manas) appears as “the victim of the dark influence of the Dragon Apophis” (the physical personality of Kâma-Rûpic man, with his passions). If it has attained the final knowledge of the heavenly and the infernal mysteries, the Gnôsis––the divine and terrestrial mysteries of White and Black Magic––then the defunct personality “will triumph over its enemy”––death. This alludes to the case of a complete reunion, at the end of earth life, of the Ego with its lower Manas, full of “the ‘harvest’ of life.” But if “Apophis” conquers the “Soul,” then it “cannot escape its second death.”
These few lines from a papyrus, many thousands of years old, contain a whole revelation, known, in those days, only to the Hierophants and the Initiates. The “harvest of life” consists of the finest spiritual ideations, of the memory of the noblest and most unselfish deeds of the personality, and the constant presence during its bliss after death of all those it loved with divine, spiritual devotion.* Remember the teaching: The human soul (lower Manas) is the only and direct mediator between the personality and the divine Ego. That which goes to make up on this earth the personality (miscalled by us individuality) is the sum of all its mental, physical and spiritual characteristic traits, which, being impressed on the human soul, produces the man. Now, of all these characteristics it is the purified ideations alone which can be impressed on the higher immortal Ego. This is done by the “human soul” merging again, in its essence, into its parent source, commingling with its divine Ego during life, and reuniting itself entirely with it after the death of the physical man. Therefore unless Kâma-Manas transmits to Buddhi-Manas such personal ideations, and such consciousness of its “I” as can be assimilated by the divine EGO, nothing of that “I” or personality can survive in the Eternal. Only that which is worthy of the immortal God within us, and identical in its nature with the divine quintessence, can survive; for in this case it is its own, the divine Ego’s, “shadows” or emanations which ascend to it and are indrawn by it into itself again, to become once more part of its own Essence. No noble thought, no grand aspiration, desire, or divine immortal love, can come into the brain of the man of clay and settle there, except as
* See The Key to Theosophy, pp. 147 et seq.
a direct emanation from the higher to, and through, the lower Ego; all the rest, intellectual as it may seem, proceeds from the “shadow,” the lower mind, in its association and commingling with Kâma, and passes away and disappears forever. But the mental and spiritual ideations of the personal “I” return to it, as parts of the Ego’s essence, and can never fade out. Thus of the personality that was, only its spiritual experiences, the memory of all that is good and noble, with the consciousness of its “I,” blended with that of all the other personal “I’s” that preceded it––survive and become immortal. There is no distinct or separate immortality for the men of earth outside of the EGO which informed them. That Higher Ego is the sole Bearer of all its alter Egos on earth and their sole representative in the mental state called Devachan. As the last disembodied personality, however, has a right to its own special state of bliss, unalloyed and free from the memories of all others, it is the last life only which is fully realistically vivid. Devachan is often compared to the happiest day in a series of many thousands of other “days” in the life of a person. The intensity of its happiness makes the man forget entirely all others, his past becomes obliterated.
This is what we call the Devachanic State and the reward of the personality, and it is on this old teaching that the hazy Christian notion of “Paradise” was built, borrowed with many other things from the Egyptian Mysteries, wherein the doctrine was enacted. And this is the meaning of the passage quoted in Isis. The Soul has triumphed over Apophis, the Dragon of Flesh. Henceforth, the personality will live in eternity, in its highest and noblest elements, the memory of its past deeds, while the “characteristics” of the “Dragon” will be fading out in Kâma-Loka. If the question is asked, “How live in eternity, when Devachan lasts but from 1000 to 2000 years?” the answer is: “In the same way as the memory of each day which is worth remembering lives in the memory of each one of us.” For the sake of an example, the days passed in one personal life may be taken by us as an illustration of each personal life, and this or that person may stand for the divine Ego.
To obtain the key which will open the door of many a psychological mystery it is sufficient to understand and remember that which precedes and that which follows. Many a Spiritualist has felt terribly indignant on being told that personal immortality was conditional, and yet such is the philosophical and logical fact. Much has been said already on the subject, but no one to this day seems to have understood the doctrine. Moreover, it is not enough to know that such a fact is said to exist. An Occultist, or he who would become one, must know why it is so; for having learned and comprehended the raison d’être,
it becomes easier to set others right in their erroneous speculations, and, most important of all, it affords you an opportunity, without saying too much, to teach other people to avoid a calamity which, sad to say, occurs in our age almost daily. This calamity will now be explained at length.
One must know little indeed of the Eastern modes of expression to fail to see in the passage quoted from the Book of the Dead, and the pages of Isis referred to: (a) an allegory for the uninitiated, containing our esoteric teaching; and (b) that the two terms, “second death” and “soul,” are, in one sense, blinds. “Soul” refers indifferently to Buddhi Manas and Kâma-Manas. As to the term “second death,” the qualification “second” applies to several deaths which have to be undergone by the “principles” during their incarnation, Occultists alone understanding fully the sense in which such a statement is made. For we have: (1) the death of the body; (2) the death of the Animal Soul in Kâma-Loka; (3) the death of the Astral (Linga-Śarîra), following that of the Body; (4) the metaphysical death of the Higher Ego, the immortal, every time it “falls into matter,” or incarnates in a new personality. The Animal Soul, or Lower Manas, that shadow of the divine Ego which separates from it to inform the personality (the details of which process will now be given), cannot by any possible means escape death in Kâma-Loka, at any rate that portion of this reflection which remains as a terrestrial residue and cannot be impressed on the Ego. Thus the chief and most important secret with regard to that “second death,” in the esoteric teaching, was and is to this day the terrible possibility of the death of the Soul, that is, its severance from the Ego on earth during a person’s lifetime. This is a real death (though with chances of resurrection), which shows no traces in a person and yet leaves him morally a living corpse. It is difficult to see why this teaching should have been preserved until now with such secrecy, when, by spreading it among people, at any rate among those who believe in reincarnation, so much good might be done. But so it was, and I had no right to question the wisdom of the prohibition, but have given it hitherto, as it was given to myself, under pledge not to reveal it to the world at large. But now I have permission to give it to all, revealing its tenets first to the Esotericists; and then when they have assimilated them thoroughly, it will be their duty to teach others this special tenet of the “second death,” and warn all the Theosophists of its dangers. The pledge of secrecy, therefore, will no longer extend over this one solitary article of the esoteric creed.
To make the teaching clearer, I shall seemingly have to go over old ground; in reality, however, it is given out with new light and new
details. I have tried to hint at it in The Theosophist as I have done in Isis, but have failed to make myself understood. I will now explain it, point by point.
THE PHILOSOPHICAL RATIONALE OF THE TENET
(1) Imagine, for illustration’s sake, the one homogeneous, absolute and omnipresent Essence, above the upper step of the “stair of the seven planes of worlds,” ready to start on its evolutionary journey. As its correlating reflection gradually descends, it differentiates and transforms into subjective, and finally into objective matter. Let us call it at its north pole Absolute Light; at its south pole (which to us would be the fourth or middle step, or plane, counting either way) we know it esoterically as the One and Universal Life. Now mark the difference. Above, LIGHT; below, Life. The former is ever immutable; the latter manifests under the aspects of countless differentiations. According to the occult law, all potentialities included in the higher become differentiated reflections in the lower; and according to the same law, nothing which is differentiated can be blended with the homogeneous.
Nor can anything endure of that which lives and breathes and has its being in the seething waves of the world, or plane of differentiation. Thus, Buddhi and Manas being both primordial rays of the One Flame––the former the vehicle (upâdhi or vâhana), of the one eternal Essence, the latter the vehicle of Mahat or Divine Ideation (Mahâ-Buddhi in the Purânas), the Universal Intelligent Soul––neither of them, as such, can become extinct or be annihilated, either in essence or consciousness. But the physical personality, with its Linga-Śarîra, and the animal soul with its Kâma,* can and do become so. They are born in the realm of illusion, and must vanish like a fleecy cloud from the blue and eternal sky.
He who has read The Secret Doctrine with any degree of attention, must know the origin of the human Egos, called generically Monads, and what they were before they were forced to incarnate in the human animal. The divine beings whom Karma led to act in the drama of Manvantaric life, are entities from higher and earlier worlds and planets, whose Karma had not been exhausted when their world went into Pralaya. Such is the teaching; but whether it is so or not, the Higher Egos are––as compared to such forms of transitory, terrestrial mud as ourselves––Divine Beings, Gods, immortal throughout the Mahâmanvantara, or the 311,040,000,000,000 years during which the
* Kâma-Rûpa, the vehicle of the Lower Manas, is said to dwell in the physical brain, in the five physical senses and in all the sense organs of the physical body.
Age of Brahmâ lasts. And as the Divine Egos, in order to re-become the One Essence, or be indrawn again into the Universal AUM, have to purify themselves in the fire of suffering and individual experience, so also have the terrestrial Egos, the personalities, to do likewise, if they would partake of the immortality of the Higher Egos. This they can achieve by crushing in themselves all that benefits the lower personal nature of their “selves” and by aspiring to transfuse their thinking Kâmic principle into that of the Higher Ego. We (i.e., our personalities) become immortal by the mere fact of our thinking, moral nature, being grafted on our divine triune Monad (Âtma-Buddhi-Manas), the three in one and one in three (aspects). For the Monad manifested on earth by the incarnating Ego is that which is called the Tree of Life Eternal, that can only be approached by eating the fruit of Knowledge, the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or of GNÔSIS, Divine Wisdom.
In the exoteric teachings, this Ego is the fifth principle in man. But the student who has read and understood the first two Instructions, knows something more. He is aware that the seventh is not a human, but a universal principle in which Man participates; but so does equally every physical and subjective atom, and also every blade of grass and everything that lives or is in Space, whether it is sensible of it or not. He knows, moreover, that if man is more closely connected with it, and assimilates it with a hundredfold more power, it is simply because he is endowed with the highest consciousness on this earth; that man, in short, may become a Spirit, a Deva or a God in his next transformation, whereas neither a stone nor a vegetable, nor an animal can do so before they become men in their proper turn.
(2) Now what are the functions of Buddhi? On this plane it has none, unless it is united with Manas, the Conscious Ego. Buddhi stands to the divine Root-Essence in the same relation as Mûlaprakriti to Parabrahman, in the Vedânta School; or as Alaya, the Universal Soul, to the One Eternal Spirit, or that which is beyond Spirit. It is its human vehicle, one remove from that Absolute which can have no relation whatever to the finite and the conditioned.
(3) What again is Manas and its functions? In its purely metaphysical aspect, Manas, being again one remove (on the downward plane) from Buddhi, is still so immeasurably higher than the physical man, that it cannot enter into direct relation with the personality, except through its reflection, the lower mind. Manas is Spiritual Self-Consciousness, in itself, and Divine Consciousness when united with Buddhi, which is the true “producer” of that “production” (vikâra), or Self Consciousness, through Mahat. Buddhi-Manas, therefore, is entirely unfit to manifest during its periodical incarnations, except through the human mind, or lower Manas. Both are linked together and are inseparable,
and can have as little to do with the lower Tanmâtras* (rudimentary atoms) as the homogeneous with the heterogeneous. It is, therefore, the task of the lower Manas, or thinking personality, if it would blend itself with its God, the divine Ego, to dissipate and paralyze the Tanmâtras, or properties of the material form. Therefore, Manas is shown double, as the Ego and Mind of Man. It is Kâma-Manas, or the lower Ego, which, deluded into a notion of independent existence, as the “producer” in its turn and the Sovereign of the five Tanmâtras, becomes Ego-ism, the selfish Self, in which case it has to be considered as Mahâbhûtic and finite, in the sense of its being connected with Ahamkâra, the personal “I-creating” faculty. Hence “Manas has to be regarded as eternal and non-eternal; eternal in its atomic nature (paramanu-rûpa), as eternal substance (dravya), finite (kârya-rûpa), when linked as a duad with Kâma (animal desire or human egoistic volition), a lower production, in short.” In this I do but repeat what I wrote in August, 1883, in answer to a critic in The Theosophist, in an article called “The Real and the Unreal.”† While, therefore, the INDIVIDUAL EGO, owing to its essence and nature, is immortal throughout eternity, with a form (rûpa) which prevails during the whole lifecycle of the Fourth Round, its Sosie, or resemblance, the personal Ego, has to win its immortality.
(4) Antaskarana is the name of that imaginary bridge, the path which lies between the divine and the human Egos, for they are Egos, during human life, to re-become one Ego in Devachan or Nirvâna. This may seem difficult to understand, but in reality, with the help of a familiar though fanciful illustration, it becomes quite simple. Let us figure to ourselves a bright lamp in the middle of a room, casting its light upon the solid plaster wall. Let the lamp represent the divine Ego, and the light thrown on the wall the lower Manas, and let the wall stand for the body. The atmosphere which transmits the ray from the lamp to the wall, will then in our simile represent the Antaskarana. We must further suppose that the light thus transmitted is endowed with reason and intelligence, and possesses, morever, the faculty of dissipating all the evil shadows which pass across the wall, and of attracting brightness to itself, receiving their indelible impressions. Now, it is in the power of the human Ego to chase away the shadows (sins) and multiply the brightness (good deeds) which make these impressions,
* Tanmâtra means subtile and rudimentary form, the gross type of the finer elements. The five Tanmâtras are really the characteristic properties or qualities of matter, as of all the elements; the real spirit of the word is “something” or “merely transcendental,” in the sense of properties or qualities.
† The Theosophist, Vol. IV, August, 1883: “The Real and the Unreal,” p. 268 footnote. [Cf. Collected Writings, Vol. V, p. 80 footnote.]
and thus, through Antaskarana, ensure its own permanent connection, and its final reunion with the divine Ego. Remember that the latter cannot take place while there remains a single taint of the terrestrial, or of matter, in the purity of that light. On the other hand, the connection can never be ruptured, and final reunion prevented, so long as there remains one spiritual deed, or potentiality, to serve as a thread of union; but the moment this last spark is extinguished, and the last potentiality exhausted, then comes the severence. In an Eastern parable the divine Ego is likened to the Master who sends out his laborers to till the ground and to gather in the harvest, and who is content to keep the field so long as it can yield even the smallest return. But when the ground becomes actually sterile, not only is it abandoned, but the laborer also (the lower Manas) perishes.
On the other hand, however, still using our simile, when the light thrown on the wall, or the rational human Ego, reaches the point of actual spiritual exhaustion, the Antaskarana disappears, the light is no longer transmitted, and the lamp becomes non-existent to it. The light which has been absorbed gradually disappears and “soul-eclipse” occurs; the being lives on earth and then passes into Kâma-Loka as a mere surviving congeries of material qualities; it can never pass outwards towards Devachan, but is reborn immediately, a human animal and scourge. Let “Jack the Ripper” stand as a type.
This simile, however fantastic, will help one to seize the correct idea. Except through the blending of the moral nature with the divine Ego, there is no immortality for the personal Ego. It is only that which is akin to the most spiritual emanations of the personal human soul which survives. Having, during a lifetime, been imbued with the notion and feeling of the “I-am-I” of its personality, the human soul, the bearer of the very essence of the Karmic deeds of the physical man, becomes, after the death of the latter, part and parcel of the divine Flame (the Ego). It becomes immortal through the mere fact that it is now strongly grafted on the Monad, which is the “Tree of Life Eternal.”
And now we must speak of the tenet of the “second death.” What happens to the Kâmic human soul, always that of a debased and wicked man or of a soulless person? This mystery will now be explained.
The personal “soul” in this case––viz. in that of one who has never a thought unconnected with the animal self, having nothing to transmit to the Higher, or to add to the sum of the experiences from past incarnations which its memory is to preserve throughout eternity––this personal soul becomes separated from the Ego. It can graft nothing of Self on that eternal trunk whose sap throws out millions of personalities, like so many leaves from its branches, leaves which wither and die and fall at the end of their season. These personalities bud, blossom forth
and expire, some without leaving a trace behind, others after commingling their own life with that of the parent stem. It is the “souls” of the former class that are doomed to annihilation, or Avichi, a state so incorrectly understood and still worse described by some Theosophical writers, but which is in fact not only located on our earth, but is this very earth itself.
Thus we see that Antaskarana has been destroyed before the lower man had an opportunity of assimilating the Higher and becoming at one with it; and therefore the Kâmic “Soul” becomes a separate entity, to live henceforth––for a short or long period, according to its Karma––as a “soulless” creature.
But before I elaborate this question, I must explain more clearly the meaning and functions of the Antaskarana. As already said, it is represented in Plate I as a narrow strip connecting the Higher and the lower Manas. If you look at the Glossary of The Voice of the Silence, pp. 88 and 89, you will find that it is a projection of the lower Manas, or, rather, the link between the latter and the Higher Ego, or between the human and the divine or spiritual Soul.* “At death it is destroyed as a path, or medium of communication, and its remains survive as Kâma-Rûpa”––the “shell.” It is this which the Spiritualists see sometimes appearing in the séance rooms as materialized “forms,” which they foolishly mistake for the “Spirits of the Departed.”† So far is this from being the case, that in dreams, though Antaskarana is there, the personality is only half awake; therefore Antaskarana is said to be drunk or insane during our normal sleeping state. If such is the case during the periodical death (sleep), of the living body, one may judge of what the consciousness of Antaskarana becomes when it has been transformed after the “eternal sleep” into Kâma-Rûpa.
But to return. In order not to confuse the mind of the student with the abstruse difficulties of Indian metaphysics, let him view the lower Manas or Mind, as the personal Ego during the waking state, and as Antaskarana only during those moments when it aspires towards its higher half, and thus becomes the medium of communication between the two. It is for this reason that it is called “Path.” Now, when a limb or organ belonging to the human physical organism is left in disuse, it becomes weak and finally atrophies; so also is it with any
* As the author of Esoteric Buddhism and The Occult World called Manas the Human Soul, and Buddhi the Spiritual Soul, I have left these terms unchanged in the Voice, seeing that it was a book intended for the public.
† In the exoteric teachings of Râja-Yoga, Antaskarana is called the inner organ of perception, and is divided into four parts: the (lower) Manas, Buddhi (reason), Ahaˆkâra (personality), and Chitta (selfishness). It also, together with several other organs, forms a part of Jîva, Soul, called also Lingadeha. Esotericists, however, must not be misled by this popular version.
mental faculty; hence the atrophy of the lower mind-function, called Antaskarana, becomes comprehensible in both completely materialistic natures and those of depraved people.
According to esoteric philosophy, however, the teaching is as follows. Seeing that the faculty and function of Antaskarana is as necessary as the medium of the ear for hearing, or that of the eye for seeing, so long as the feeling of Ahamkâra (of the personal “I” or selfishness) is not entirely crushed out in a man, and the lower mind not entirely merged into and become one with the Higher (Buddhi Manas), it stands to reason that to destroy Antaskarana is like destroying a bridge over an impassable chasm: the traveller can never reach the goal on the other shore. And here lies the difference between the exoteric and the esoteric teaching. The former makes Vedânta state that so long as Mind (the lower) clings through Antaskarana to Spirit (Buddhi-Manas), it is impossible for it to acquire true spiritual Wisdom, Jñâna, and that this can only be attained by seeking to come en rapport with the Universal Soul (Âtman); that, in fact, it is by ignoring the Higher Mind altogether that one reaches Râja-Yoga. We say that it is not so. No single rung of the ladder leading to knowledge can be skipped. No personality can ever reach or bring itself into communication with Âtman, except through Buddhi-Manas; to try and become a Jîvanmukta or a “Mahâtma,” before one has become an Adept or even a Naljor (a sinless man) is like trying to reach Ceylon from India without crossing the sea. Therefore we are told that if we destroy Antaskarana before the personal is absolutely under the control of the impersonal Ego, we risk to lose the latter and be severed forever from it, unless indeed we hasten to reëstablish the communication by a supreme and final effort.
It is only when we are indissolubly linked with the essence of the divine Mind, that we have to destroy Antaskarana. “Like as a solitary warrior pursued by an army, seeks refuge in a stronghold; to cut himself off from the enemy, he first destroys the drawbridge, and then only commences to destroy the pursuer; so must the Srotâpanna act before he slays Antaskarana.” Or, as an occult axiom has it: “The unit becomes three, and three generate four. It is for the latter (the quaternary) to rebecome three, and for the divine three to expand into the Absolute One.” Monads (which become duads on the differentiated plane, to develop into triads during the cycle of incarnations), even when incarnated, know neither Space nor Time, but are diffused through the lower principles of the quaternary, being omnipresent and omniscient in their nature. But this omniscience is innate, and can manifest its reflected light only through that which is at least semi-terrestrial or material; even as the physical brain which, in its turn,
is the vehicle of the lower Manas enthroned in Kâma-Rûpa. And it is this which is gradually annihilated in cases of “second death.”
But such annihilation––which is in reality the absence of the slightest trace of the doomed soul from the eternal MEMORY, and therefore signifies annihilation in eternity––does not mean simply discontinuation of human life on earth, for earth is AVICHI, and the worst Avichi possible. Expelled forever from the consciousness of the Individuality (the reincarnating Ego), the physical atoms and psychic vibrations of the now separate personality are immediately reincarnated on the same earth, only in a lower and still more abject creature, a human being only in form, doomed to Karmic torments during the whole of its new life. Moreover, if it persists in its criminal or debauched course, it will suffer a long series of such immediate reincarnations.
Here two questions present themselves: (1) What becomes of the Higher Ego in such cases? (2) What kind of an animal is a human creature born soulless?
Before answering these two very natural queries, I have to draw the attention of all of you who are born in Christian countries to the fact that the romance of the vicarious atonement and mission of Jesus, as it now stands, was drawn or borrowed by some too liberal Initiates from the mysterious and weird tenet of the earthly experiences of the reincarnating Ego. The latter is indeed the sacrificial victim of, and through, his own Karma in previous Manvantaras, who takes upon himself voluntarily though unwillingly the duty of saving what would be otherwise soulless men or personalities. Eastern truth is thus more philosophical and logical than Western fiction. The Christos (Buddhi-Manas) of each man is not quite an innocent and sinless God, though in one sense it is the “Father,” being of the same essence with the Universal Spirit, and at the same time the “Son,” for Manas is the second remove from the “Father.” By incarnation the Divine Son makes himself responsible for the sins of all the personalities which he will inform. This he can do only through his proxy or reflection, the Lower Manas. This, then, is what happens when it has to break off from the personality. It is the only case in which the Divine Ego can escape individual penalty and responsibility as a guiding principle, because matter, with its psychic and astral vibrations, is then, by the very intensity of its combinations, placed beyond the control of the EGO. “Apophis, the Dragon,” having become the conqueror, the reincarnating Manas, separating itself gradually from its tabernacle, breaks finally asunder from the psycho-animal Soul.
Thus, in answer to the first question, I say:
(1) The Divine Ego does one of two things: either (a) it recommences immediately under its own Karmic impulses a fresh series of
incarnations; or (b) it seeks and finds refuge in the “bosom of the Mother,” Alaya, the Universal Soul, of which the Manvantaric aspect is Mahat. Freed from the life impressions of the personality, it merges into a kind of interlude of Nirvana, wherein there can be nothing but the eternal Present, which absorbs the Past and Future. Bereft of the “laborer,” both field and harvest now being lost, the Master, in the infinitude of his thought, naturally preserves no recollection of the finite and evanescent illusion which had been his last personality. The latter, then, is indeed annihilated.
(2) The future of the Lower Manas is more terrible, and still more terrible to humanity than to the now animal man. It sometimes happens that after the separation the exhausted Soul, now become supremely animal, fades out in Kâma-Loka, as do all other animal souls. But seeing that the more material the human mind, the longer it lasts, in that intermediate stage, it frequently happens that after the actual life of the soulless man is ended, he is again and again reincarnated into new personalities, each one more abject than the other. The impulse of animal life is too strong; it cannot wear itself out in one or two lives only. In rarer cases, however, something far more dreadful may happen. When the lower Manas is doomed to exhaust itself by starvation; when there is no longer hope that even a remnant of a lower light will, owing to favorable conditions––say, even a short period of spiritual aspiration and repentance––attract back to itself its Parent Ego, then Karma leads the Higher Ego back to new incarnations. In this case the Kâma-Mânasic spook may become that which we call in Occultism the “Dweller on the Threshold.” This “Dweller” is not like that which is described so graphically in Zanoni, but an actual fact in nature and not a fiction in romance, however beautiful the latter may be. Bulwer must have got the idea from some Eastern Initiate. Our “Dweller,” led by affinity and attraction, forces itself into the astral current, and through the Auric Envelope of the new tabernacle inhabited by the Parent Ego, and declares war to the lower light which has replaced it. This, of course, can only happen in the case of the moral weakness of the personality so obsessed. No one strong in his virtue, and righteous in his walk of life, can risk or dread any such thing; but only those depraved in heart. Robert Louis Stevenson had a glimpse of a true vision indeed when he wrote his Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. His story is a true allegory. Every Chela would recognize in it a substratum of truth, and in Mr. Hyde a “Dweller,” an obsessor of the personality, the tabernacle of the “Parent Spirit.”
“This is a nightmare tale!” I was often told by one, now no more in our ranks, a person who had a most pronounced “Dweller,” a “Mr. Hyde,” as an almost constant companion. “How can such a process take
place without one’s knowledge?” It can and does so happen, and I have almost described it once before in The Theosophist. “The Soul, the Lower Mind, becomes as a half animal principle almost paralyzed with daily vice, and grows gradually unconscious of its subjective half, the Lord, . . . one of the mighty Host”; and “in proportion to the rapid sensuous development of the brain and nerves, sooner or later, it (the personal Soul) finally loses sight of its divine mission on earth.” Truly, “like the vampire, the brain feeds and lives and grows in strength at the expense of its spiritual parent . . . and the personal half-unconscious Soul becomes senseless, beyond hope of redemption. It is powerless to discern the voice of its ‘God.’ It aims but at the development and fuller comprehension of natural, earthly life; and thus can discover but the mysteries of physical nature. . . . It begins by becoming virtually dead, during the life of the body; and ends by dying completely––that is, by being annihilated as a complete immortal Soul. Such a catastrophe may often happen long years before one’s physical death: ‘We elbow soulless men and women at every step in life.’ And, when death arrives . . . there is no more a Soul (the reincarnating Spiritual Ego) to liberate, . . . for it has fled years before.”
Result: Bereft of its guiding principles, but strengthened by the material elements, Kâma-Manas, from being a “derived light,” now becomes an independent Entity. After suffering itself to sink lower and lower on the animal plane, when the hour strikes for its earthly body to die, one of two things happens: either Kâma-Manas is immediately reborn in Myalba (the state of Avichi on earth),* or, if it become too strong in evil––“immortal in Satan” is the Occult expression––it is sometimes allowed, for Karmic purposes, to remain in an active state of Avichi in the terrestrial Aura. Then through despair and loss of all hope it becomes like the mythical “devil” in its endless wickedness; it continues in its elements, imbued through and through with the essence of matter; for evil is coëval with matter rent asunder from spirit. And when its higher Ego has once more reincarnated, evolving a new reflection, or Kâma-Manas, the doomed Lower Ego, like a Frankenstein’s monster, will ever feel attracted to its “Father,” who repudiates his Son, and will become a regular “Dweller” on the “threshold” of terrestrial life. Though an Occult Doctrine, I gave the outlines in The Theosophist of October, 1881, and November, 1882, but would not go into details, and therefore got very much embarrassed when called upon
* The Earth, or earth-life rather, is the only Avichi (Hell) that exists for the men of our humanity on this globe. Avichi is a state, not a locality––a counterpart of Devachan. Such a state follows the “Soul” wherever it goes, whether into Kâma-Loka, as a semi-conscious “spook” or into a human body, when reborn to suffer Avichi. Our philosophy recognizes no other Hell.
to explain. Yet I had written there plainly enough about “useless drones”––those who refuse to become co-workers with nature and who perish by millions during the Manvantaric life-cycle; those (as in the case in hand) who prefer to be ever suffering in Avichi under Karmic Law than to give up their lives “in evil,” and finally, those who are co-workers with Nature for destruction. There are thoroughly wicked and depraved men, but yet as highly intellectual and acutely spiritual for evil, as those who are spiritual for good. “The (lower) Egos of these may escape the law of final destruction or annihilation for ages to come.”*
Thus we find two kinds of soulless beings on earth: those who have lost their higher Ego in the present incarnation, and those who are born soulless, having been severed from their Spiritual Soul in the preceding birth. The former are candidates for Avichi; the latter are “Mr. Hydes,” whether in or out of their human bodies, whether incarnated or hanging about as invisible but potent ghouls. In such men, cunning develops to an enormous degree, and no one except those who are familiar with the doctrine would suspect them of being soulless, for neither Religion nor Science has the least suspicion that such facts actually exist in Nature.
While yet in the body which has lost its higher “Soul” through its vices, there is still hope for such a person. He may be still redeemed and made to turn on his material nature; in which case either an intense feeling of repentence, or one single earnest appeal to the Ego that has fled, or best of all, an active effort to mend one’s ways, may bring the Higher Ego back again. The thread or connection is not altogether broken, though the Ego is now beyond forcible reach, for “Antaskarana is destroyed,” and the personal Entity has one foot already in Myalba;† but it is not yet beyond hearing a strong spiritual appeal. There is another statement made in Isis Unveiled (loc. cit.) on this subject. It is said that this terrible death may be sometimes avoided “by the knowledge of the mysterious NAME, the ‘WORD.’ “‡ What this “WORD” (which is not a “Word” but a Sound) is, you all know. Its potency lies in the rhythm or the accent. This means simply
* [Reference to Volumes III and IV of The Theosophist, October, 1881 and November, 1882, respectively, wherein H. P. B. appended some Notes and Footnotes to Éliphas Lévi’s essays on “Death” and “Satan.” Consult H. P. B’s Collected Writings, Vol. III, pp. 287 et seq., wherein additional remarks precipitated by Master K. H. are also included.]
† See The Voice of the Silence, p. 97 (Note 35 to Part III).
‡ Read the last footnote on page 368, Vol. II of Isis Unveiled, and you will see that even profane Egyptologists and men who, like Bunsen, were ignorant of Initiation, were struck by their own discoveries when they found the “Word” mentioned in old papyri.
that even a bad person may, by a study of the Sacred Science, be redeemed and stopped on the path of destruction. But unless he is in thorough union with his Higher Ego, he may repeat it, parrot-like, ten thousand times a day, and the “Word” will not help him. On the contrary, if not entirely at one with his higher Triad it may produce quite the reverse of a benificent effect, the “Brothers of the Shadow” using it very often for malicious objects; in which case it awakens and stirs up only the evil, material elements of nature. But if one’s nature is good, and sincerely strives towards the HIGHER SELF, which is that “Aum,” through one’s Higher Ego, which is its third letter (Buddhi being the second), there is no attack of the Dragon Apophis which it will not repel. From those to whom much is given much is expected. He who knocks at the door of the Sanctuary in full knowledge of its sacredness, and after obtaining admission, runs away from the threshold, or turns and says, “Oh, there’s nothing in it!” and thus loses his chance of learning the whole truth––can but await his Karma.
Such are then the esoteric explanations of that which has perplexed so many who have found what they thought contradictions in various Theosophical writings, including “Fragments of Occult Truth,” in Vols. III and IV of The Theosophist, etc. Before finally dismissing the subject I must add a caution, which pray keep well in mind. It will be most natural for you who are Esotericists to hope that none of you belongs so far to the soulless portion of mankind, and that you can feel quite easy about Avichi, even as the good citizen is about the penal laws. Though not, perhaps, exactly on the Path as yet, you are skirting its border, and most of you in the right direction. Between our venal faults––inevitable under our social environment––and the blasting wickedness described in the Editor’s note on Éliphas Lévi’s “Satan,”* there is an abyss. If not become “immortal in good by identification with (our) God,” or AUM, Âtma-Buddhi-Manas, we have surely not made ourselves “immortal in evil” by coalescing with Satan, the Lower Self. You forget however, that everything must have a beginning, and that the first step on a slippery mountain slope is the necessary antecedent to one’s falling precipitately to the bottom and to death. Be it far from me the suspicion that any of the esoteric students have reached to any considerable point down the plane of spiritual descent. All the same I warn you to avoid taking the first step. You may not reach the bottom in this life or the next, but you may now generate causes which will insure your spiritual destruction in your third, fourth, fifth, or some subsequent birth. In the great Indian epic you may read
* See The Theosophist, Vol. III, October, 1881, pp. 12-15, [Cf. Collected Writings, Vol. III, pp. 287-91.]
how a mother, whose whole family of warrior sons were slaughtered in battle, complained to Krishna that though she had the spiritual vision to enable her to look back fifty incarnations, yet she could see no sin of hers that could have begotten so dreadful a Karma; and Krishna answered her: “If thou couldst look back to thy fifty-first anterior birth, as I can, thou would see thyself killing in wanton cruelty the same number of ants as that of the sons thou hast now lost.” This of course, is only a poetical exaggeration; yet it is a striking image to show how great results come from apparently trifling causes.
Good and evil are relative, and are intensified or lessened according to the conditions by which man is surrounded. One who belongs to that which we call the “useless portion of mankind,” that is, the lay majority, is in many cases irresponsible. Crimes committed in Avidyâ (ignorance) involve physical but not moral responsibilities or Karma. Take, for example, the case of idiots, children, savages, and other people who know no better. But the case of each of you, pledged to the HIGHER SELF, is quite another matter. You cannot invoke this Divine Witness with impunity, and once that you have put yourself under its tutelage, you have asked the Radiant Light to shine into and search through all the dark corners of your being; consciously you have invoked the Divine Justice of Karma to take note of your motives, to scrutinize your actions, and to enter up all in your account. The step is as irrevocable as that of the infant taking birth. Never again can you force yourselves back into the Matrix of Avidyâ and irresponsibility. Resignation and return of your pledges will not help you. Though you flee to the uttermost parts of the earth, and hide yourselves from the sight of man, or seek oblivion in the tumult of the social whirl, that LIGHT will find you out and lighten your every thought, word and deed. Were any of you so foolish as to suppose that it was to poor, miserable H.P.B. you were giving your pledge? All she can do is to send to each earnest one among you, a most sincerely fraternal sympathy and hope for a good outcome to your endeavours. Nevertheless, be not discouraged, but try, ever keep trying,* twenty failures are not irremediable if followed by as many undaunted struggles upward. Is it not so that mountains are climbed? And know further, that if Karma relentlessly records in the Esotericist’s account, bad deeds that in the ignorant would be overlooked, yet, equally true is it that each of his good deeds is, by reason of his association with the Higher Self, a hundredfold intensified as a potency for good.
Finally, keep ever in mind, the Consciousness that though you see no Master by your bedside, nor hear one audible whisper in the silence
* Read pages 40 and 63 in The Voice of the Silence.
of the still night, yet the Holy Power is about you, the Holy Light is shining into your hour of Spiritual need and aspirations, and it will be no fault of the MASTERS, or of their humble mouthpiece and servant, if through perversity or moral feebleness some of you cut yourselves off from these higher Potencies, and step upon the declivity that leads to Avichi.
NOTES ON INSTRUCTIONS I AND II
Students in the West have little or no idea of the forces that lie latent in Sound, the Âkâśic vibrations that may be set up by those who understand how to pronounce certain words. The Om, or the “Om mani padme hûm” are in spiritual affinity with cosmic forces, but without a knowledge of the natural arrangement, or of the order in which the syllables stand, very little can be achieved. “Om” is, of course, Aum, that may be pronounced as two, three or seven syllables, setting up different vibrations.
Now, letters, as vocal sounds, cannot fail to correspond with musical notes, and therefore with numbers and colors; hence also with Forces and Tattvas. He who remembers that the universe is built up from the Tattvas, will readily understand something of the power that may be exercised by vocal sounds. Every letter in the alphabet, whether divided into three, four, or seven septenaries, or forty-nine letters, has its own color, or shade of color. He who has learned the colors of the alphabetical letters, and the corresponding numbers of the seven, and the forty-nine colors and shades on the scale of planes and forces, and knows their respective order in the seven planes, will easily master the art of bringing them into affinity or interplay. But here a difficulty arises. The Senzar and Sanskrit alphabets, and other occult tongues, besides other potencies, have a number, color and distinct syllable for every letter, and so had also the old Mosaic Hebrew. But how many of the E.S. know any of these tongues? When the time comes, therefore, it must suffice to teach the students the numbers and colors attached to the Latin letters only (N.B., as pronounced in Latin, not in Anglo-Saxon, Scotch, or Irish.) This, however, would be, at present, premature.
The color and number of not only the planets but also the zodiacal constellations corresponding to every letter of the alphabet, are necessary to make any special syllable, and even letter, operative.* Therefore if a student would make Buddhi operative, for instance, he would have to intone the first words of the Mantra on the note mi. But he would have still further to accentuate the mi, and produce mentally the yellow color corresponding to this sound and note, on every letter M
* See The Voice of the Silence, p. viii.
in “Om mani padme hûm”; this, not because the note bears the same in the vernacular, Sanskrit, or even the Senzar, for it does not––but because the letter M follows the first letter, and is in this sacred formula also the seventh and the fourth. As Buddhi it is second; as Buddhi-Manas it is the second and third combined.
1 “THE CLASSES OF SPIRITUAL beings which infill our solar system are twelve in number, often however referred to as ten, of which three are spoken of as residing in the silence, and seven as being manifested. As H.P.B. wrote in The Secret Doctrine (II, 77):
“Occultism divides the “Creators” into twelve classes; of which four have reached liberation to the end of the “Great Age,” the fifth is ready to reach it, but still remains active on the intellectual planes, while seven are still under direct Karmic law. These last act on the man-bearing globes of our chain.”
“The four highest of the twelve classes of monadic or spiritual entities are the highest classes of the gods. The fifth class are entities who stand on the threshold of divinity, and may be regarded as quasi-divine; these are the various grades of the higher buddhas, whether Buddhas of Compassion or even the highest Pratyeka Buddhas. They are lofty spirits, liberated dhyâni-chohans, above the lower seven grades of manifested beings. This fifth class composes, collectively, the link by which all the lower septenary manifested universe is held as a pendant from the divine realms. As the apex of any one hierarchy blends into the lowest plane of the one superior to it, there must be links between them, connecting agencies, hierarchies of beings serving as intermediaries. It is this fifth class of lofty beings which directly links us with the gods. Their place in nature is in fact the realm of the Silent Watcher.
“The remaining seven classes of monads or cosmic spirits––dhyâni-chohans of many grades and degrees––are commonly divided into two groups: the upper three, and the lower four. Those of the upper three of this septenary host of spiritual beings are spoken of as the dhyâni-buddhas and it is they who comprise the Hierarchy of Compassion. They are the intelligences impelling the builders, i.e., the dhyâni-chohans of the lower four, into action. It is the interacting of the energy-substances between these two lines which together comprise the totality of all evolutionary processes within our kosmos. These two lines should not be confused. The dhyâni-buddhas are the architects, the overseers
who provide the model, lay down the plans, and their work is carried out by the inferior grades of dhyâni-chohans called the builders, who receive the creative impress from the beings of the luminous arc, and carry it out. The builders not only work in, but actually form, the outer or material kosmos, and are (in one sense) the lower principles of the dhyâni-buddhas who compose the inner kosmos. Now each of these two lines is septenary: there are seven classes of dhyâni-buddhas, and seven classes of the inferior grades of dhyâni-chohans . . .
“A full-blown dhyâni-chohan was aeons upon aeons ago, in other solar manvantaras, a life atom; and every one of the hosts of life-atoms that compose our entire constitution on all its planes and in all its principles is in its outer self a dhyâni-chohan-to-be and at its heart of hearts a fully developed dhyâni-chohan––although as yet unexpressed. So man is not only one essence, which is already a dhyâni-chohan, but is also a host, a vast and almost infinite multitude of unevolved dhyâni-chohans. Even his human soul is on its way to evolving forth dhyâni-chohanship . .
“The agnishwâttas* or solar Lhas are another aspect of this chohanic host. The agnishwâtta pitris belong to the higher triad of the manifested seven which work directly in and through man. And it is precisely because we are straitly allied with this solar hierarchy, in fact belong to it, that we have these links of psychological and intellectual and spiritual connection with the solar divinity, Father Sun . .
“The mânasaputras† are likewise dhyâni-chohans. There are seven classes of these mânasaputras, just as there are seven classes of agnishwattas. In fact, the agnishwâtta-energy and the mânasaputra-energy are two aspects of the same cosmic beings. The incarnation or entrance of these mânasaputras into the as yet mentally unawakened humanity, of the middle and later third root-race of this fourth globe during this present fourth round, took place in seven stages, according to the seven classes of the mânasaputras. It took ages before all the humanity of that period became self-conscious. The highest class of the mânasaputras
* Agnishwâtta is a Sanskrit compound: agni, fire and svad, to taste or to sweeten hence it means those who have tasted of or been tasted by fire––the fire of suffering and pain in material existence producing great fiber and strength of character i.e. spirituality. This word ‘taste’ likewise has the meaning of becoming one with. Thus to taste of fire is to become at one with it: the fire-part of one’s nature is the part in which the monadic essence is at the time manifesting itself around an egoic center. From the standpoint of occultism, the term agnishwâtta signifies an entity who has become through evolution one in essence with the aethery fire of Spirit. The agnishwâtta pitris are our solar ancestors as contrasted with the barhishads, our lunar ancestors.
† Mânasaputra is a compound: mânasa, mental, from the word manas, mind, and putra, child––offspring of the cosmic mahat or intelligence, which later has always been described as the fire of spiritual consciousness,
incarnated first, so that the human vehicles in which they imbodied were not only the first to become self-conscious, but likewise were the greatest humans of that far distant period; and the least advanced mânasaputras were they who entered the lowest human vehicles, which were also the last in time to become self-conscious . . .
“Kumâra* is still another name for these gods or cosmic spirits, and constitutes a third aspect of the same host of beings. Each hierarchy, whether it be sun, planet, or man himself, is an aggregate of monads, all connected together by unbreakable bonds––not of matter or of thought, but of the essence of the universe. They are intrinsically one, just as every ray that springs from Father Sun is of the same fundamental stuff, and yet they are different as individuals. The monads are kumâras higher even than the agnishwâttas and mânasaputras. The agnishwâttas or mânasaputras are called kumâras because, as compared with us, they are beings of spiritual purity. Of these three terms, kumâras is the most general, and could likewise be applied to other hierarchies of beings which cannot technically be called mânasaputras or agnishwâttas.”†
2 “We should note that in this passage only four basic principles are mentioned: âtman, its auric envelope, buddhi, and manas––the last really being the higher manas; and three transitory aspects: prâna, linga-œarîra, and the lower manas or animal soul. Certain students have wondered about this, and also why the second principle is given as the auric envelope; and, again, why kâma does not enter into the picture.
“First, kâma is inherent in every one of those four basic principles and their three aspects, because, in the human constitution, it is representative of cosmic kâma––the universal and fundamental principle-attribute which is the intrinsic force or energy of the universe. For we should always remember that every one of the seven principles in man, whether a basic principle or an aspect, is itself septenary.
“These four principles are considered ‘basic’ because they are the highest and therefore the most powerful and enduring in the entire constitution of man. They survive the great drama which takes place at death leading to the dissolution of the lower quaternary, or what H.P.B. calls the three aspects plus the physical vehicle–these lower
* A Sanskrit word: ku, with difficulty, and mâra, mortal; the idea being that these spiritual beings are so lofty they pass through the worlds of matter. i.e., become mortal, only with difficulty. Cf. Occult Glossary, pp. 2-4.
† G. de Purucker, Fountain-Source of Occultism. Pasadena, Calif.: Theosophical University Press, 1974, pp. 477-82.
three aspects being reunited only preceding and at the time of the next reincarnation. This applies with equal force and propriety to the constitution and ‘death’ of any cosmic entity, such as a planet or a galaxy.
“By placing the principles in parallel columns H.P.B. suggests that each of them has its particular corresponding aspect on earth during the lifetime of a complete septenary man. To illustrate: various prânas in man correspond with the âtman; for, when traced back to their ultimate origin, the prânas will be found to be emanations from the âtmic monad. In similar fashion, the linga-œarîra is coupled with the ‘auric envelope’ enclosing the âtman as its spiritual aura; and likewise the third aspect or lower manas, the animal soul, is in the imbodied man the reflection of his buddhi. We can carry the analogy one step farther by pointing out that, just as manas is the focal center of the egoic human individual, so it has its correspondence on earth in the sthûla-œarîra, which is the focus of the powers and faculties making the physical man an individual separate from others.
“Now all these principles and aspects, and indeed everything in the human constitution, are enclosed within the auric egg, which is at one and the same time the aggregated effluvia from all the different monads and, because of this, the conjoined representative expression of the forces and energies of the septenary imbodied human being. Yet, when death ensues, the lower part of the auric egg, because built largely of the effluxes from the aspects, dissipates in that part of the astral light which is called the kâma-loka of earth; although even here the more ethereal life-atoms or appurtenant forces and substances are drawn upwards into latency to become the tanhic* elementals in the higher parts of the auric egg enclosing the permanent basic principles mentioned by H.P.B. Hence, the auric egg, because continuously functioning and perennially enduring, in one sense is the most important of all the principles or parts of the human constitution. Outside of anything else, it is the field, or composite fields, of the different phases of human consciousness on all its septenary planes. Thus at each new incarnation the various ‘aspects’ are formed out of the substances and forces of the auric egg––even the physical body or sthûla-œarîra being of the linga-œarîra, itself a condensed emanation of the lower layers of the auric egg.
“Further, H.P.B. points out that the mâyâvi-rûpa, or body of thought and feeling projected by the adept at his will, is formed of the substances and energies of appropriate layers of the auric egg; and just
* Tanhâ, a Buddhist term signifying “thirst for life.”
because all such projections of the auric substance are for temporary purposes, the mâyâvi-rûpa possesses its name, ‘illusion-body.’
“It is from the auric egg that the actual rûpa or shape which surrounds the devachanic entity is formed, so that we can properly speak of this part of the auric egg, vibrating with the relatively spiritual consciousness of the devachanî, as being the field for the play of its consciousness. These layers of the auric egg, which we may perhaps rather graphically call the ‘body’ of the devachanî, give to the devachanic ego the illusion that it is in a beautiful spiritual vehicle. The kâma-rûpa after death, whether before or after it becomes the spook, is likewise formed of the appropriate substances drawn from the lower layers of the auric egg.
“From the foregoing we see how very important is the role that the auric egg plays in the human constitution, for it not only is the field of all the different ranges of consciousness of the imbodied man, but it is likewise the ethereal and astral and even spiritual substance or auric envelope out of which are formed every one of the vehicles of the human entity including his linga-œarîra, his mâyâvi-rûpa, his devachanic auric shell, and his kâma-rûpa after death.
“There are two basic ways of viewing man: one, as being compounded of the seven cosmic elements, as H.P.B. at first presented it; and the other, as being a composite of interacting monads or centers of consciousness working in and through and by means of the instrumental aid of the seven cosmic elements which give to man his seven principles.
“What, then, is the distinction between the different monads in man and the seven principles, and what are their respective functions? This very question was at the bottom of the dispute between H.P.B. and Subba Row. Subba Row followed the teaching of the Brahmanic esoteric school in fastening attention on the monads, looking upon the universe as a vast aggregate of individualities; while H.P.B. for that time of the world’s history saw the need to give to the inquiring Western mind, then taking a materialistically scientific bent, some real explanation of what the composition of the universe is as an entity-what its ‘stuff’ is, and what man is as an integral part of it. Now the seven principles are the seven kinds of ‘stuff’ of the universe. The higher part of each kind is its consciousness side; the lower part of each is the body side through which its own consciousness expresses itself. Yet every mathematical point in boundless Space can really be looked upon as a monad, because the universe is imbodied consciousness collectively; and imbodied consciousness or monads individually. . .
“Now then, what are these seven (or ten) principles? That is the point which was so important to bring out in H.P.B.’s time. A background
of divinity clothing itself in spirit, these bringing into birth the light of mind; and the light of mind, co-working with the other principles and elements thus far evolved, brought forth cosmic desire; and so on down until we reach the sthûla-œarîra. (This word, by the way, does not mean physical but rather substantial or concreted body on whatever plane, whether physical, spiritual or divine; sthûla simply means compacted, gross.) As the universe is built of radiations, light and energy, these radiations, manifesting in a graded scale, can from one point of view be considered as forces; but when they become enormously concreted, they become gross stuff, which the higher forms of radiation nevertheless continuously work through.
“Every mathematical point of space is a monad, a point of consciousness, because all Infinity is infinite consciousness. Therefore every point of Infinity must be a consciousness-center, a sevenfold monad, which has its âtman, buddhi, manas, right on down, because the universe is built of these seven stuffs reducible to one causal stuff––spirit, consciousness, âtman. I emphasize this point because we must not have our minds confused with the idea that the seven principles are one thing, and the monads are something else which work through the principles as disjunct from them. That is wrong.
“Every one of the seven principles or elements of a monad can represent one of the cosmic planes, and is itself sevenfold. For instance, there is an âtman of the kâma, a buddhi of the kâma, and so forth throughout the range of element-principles or stuffs. What differentiates one man from another, or a man from a beast? The differences do not lie in their respective seven principles, because these enter and form the compound constitution of all entities, but arise from the relative degree of evolution of the individual monads. The human monad is far more evolved than is that of an animal or of a plant, or than are the highly unified monads which, due to their relative stages of development distinguish granite from marble or sandstone.
“The seven principles which compose man––âtman, buddhi, manas, kâma, prâna, linga-œarîra, sthûla-œarîra––are identic with those which compose our solar cosmos, man’s seven principles interblending and interacting in more or less the same fashion as the cosmic principles do. For instance, just as the astral light of our earth is its fluidic astral double, so in man the linga-œarîra is the astral double of the human body; and just as the various cosmic prânas are the compound vitality of our globe, so is the compounded prâna of the human constitution the element of vitality in man.”*
* G. de Purucker, op. cit., pp. 441-45.
3“The tanhic elementals may be otherwise described as the emotional and mental thought-deposits, as Patañjali did; and these remain after the second death––and before the ego’s entering the devachan-stamped upon the various kinds of life-atoms which had functioned on all the lower planes of man’s constitution. Some of these tanhic elementals or life atoms peregrinate, and finally are psychomagnetically attracted back to the reincarnating ego during its process of bringing forth a new astral form preceding rebirth. Others belong to the monadic substances of the auric egg, and consequently remain therein in a latent condition, to awaken only when the devachanî leaves the devachan. Then these dormant tanhic elementals, in combination with the other life-atoms which had been peregrinating, combine in building up the new astral form that H.P.B. speaks of; and it is largely these two classes of tanhic life-atoms or elementals which compose the skandhas* of the man in his coming incarnation. And these skandhas are the various groups of mental, emotional, psychovital and physical characteristics which, when all collected together, make the new personality through which the higher man or egoic individuality works. They slowly begin to recombine and fall into their appropriate functions and places during the gestation period, continuing such ‘fixation’ in the womb, and finally after birth maturing as the entity grows to adulthood.
“Now the formation of the astral man takes place within the auric egg of the ex-devachanî. From the moment when the ego leaves the devachanic condition, the astral form becomes steadily more complete or definite as the gestating entity approaches the entrance into the womb. The ray from the reincarnating ego enters first the aura and later the womb of the mother-to-be by means of the growing astral form, which takes its rise in and from the most appropriate life-center or life-atom latent in the auric egg of the incoming entity.
“The term astral form is descriptive not so much of an actual body (as we think of it in our physical world), as it is of an ethereal agglomerate of life-atoms in the auric egg which is at first but vaguely shadowed, yet gradually assumes more or less a definite human outline, and usually one of extremely small size. However, we should not concentrate our attention so much upon size and shape as upon forces and energies in the auric egg more or less aggregated into a focus of activity.
“The entity thus preceding rebirth is attracted to the family to which its karma draws or impels it; and if the appropriate physiological activities take place at the right moment, then conception occurs and the growth of the embryo proceeds.
* A Sankrit word meaning bundles or aggregates.
“As the radiance or ray of the reincarnating ego reaches this plane, it gradually entangles itself in physical substance, and establishes thereby its link with the human reproductive cell. That link is made because of electromagnetic, or rather psychomagnetic, affinity between the reimbodying ray and the living germ cell. Every germ cell is a compact of inner forces and substances ranging from the divine to the physical, and therefore is the ‘precipitation’ onto our plane of a psychoethereal radiation. In other words, it is an imbodiment of a ray-point that, originating in the invisible worlds and contacting physical matter by affinity, thus arouses a molecular aggregate of living substance into becoming a reproductive cell.
“This molecular aggregate is the first or preliminary deposit or appearance on the physical plane of the action of the ray-point. We see that the germinal or reproductive cells are not ‘created’ by the parent’s body but appear in and work through it from the imbodying egoic force or entity ‘outside’––the parent being the host or transmitter. The vital germ cell, whether of man or of woman, is originally an integral part of the model-body, which is an electromagnetic body of astral substance belonging to the plane just above the physical; and around this astral form the physical body is built cell for cell, bone for bone, and feature for feature.
“When the life atom as the chosen ray-point is invigorated by the descending energies of the reincarnating ray, it enters by psycho-magnetic attraction into the father’s astral body, and is in due course deposited into his appropriate physical organ as an astral precipitate. It thus becomes physicalized as a germ cell. In the mother this process of astral precipitation is the same in general outline, the precipitation being from the identic ray in both cases: in fact, each parent contains in his or her appropriate organ life-atoms belonging to and used by the reincarnating ego in past lives.
“The female parent is the vehicle of what may be called the vegetative or passive side of the ray-point, and the male parent the vehicle for the positive or active side. The ray-point seems to split into two, later to reunite by the coalescence of the positive and negative sides after the fertilizing of the germinal cell. We are here dealing with subtle astral forces which obey their own laws and which are not hindered in their action by the heavy physical world in which our bodies live.
“To restate the above in somewhat different language: the more material part of the new astral form is drawn first into the woman’s aura and then into the womb wherein it produces the living ovum and finds its suitable milieu; coincidently the inner and more mânasic portion of the astral form, which is the more ethereal part of the tip of the ray from the reincarnating ego, flashes to the male parent and
produces in its appropriate physiological seat the positive life-germ. The father sows the seed, the mother receives it, fosters it, and brings it forth.
“The human egos awaiting incarnation are exceedingly numerous, so that there may be scores of entities which could become children of any one couple, yet there is always one whose attraction is strongest to the mother-to-be at any specific physiological moment, and it is this astral form which becomes the child. Many are the cases where the astral form, thus ‘rayed’ in two directions, so to speak, finds its progress into physical birth stopped because the man and the woman are either celibate or prefer no children, or for some other reason.” In such cases, the astral form under karmic urge and natural law tries again. Should the first environment prove a failure, the reincarnating ego may find itself drawn to another couple because of karmic relationships in other lives.
“The reincarnating ego has in a sense very little choice in the matter, if by this we mean a deliberate selecting of one’s future family. Such a choice as we understand it is almost non-existent, because the reincarnating ego has but just left the devachan and is sunken into the relative unconsciousness of the gestation period preceding rebirth, and thus is in no condition to choose with self-conscious intent. It is karma, which throughout controls these things; and karma in the abstract is infallible in its action.
“Every human being is surrounded by his own emotional and passional as well as psychovital atmosphere, which is really a portion of the lower layers of his auric egg. Now this atmosphere is alive and, vibrating with varying intensities, has its own psycho-auric individuality or vibrational frequency. It becomes obvious therefore that the ray-point, which likewise possesses its own frequency, is drawn more or less on the line of magnetic attraction to the atmosphere of the parent or parents whose vibrational frequency is most sympathetic to its own and with whom its karmic affinities are strongest. To round out the picture, I might add that both hate and intense psychic dislike––each of which is a kind of inverted love––sometimes produce strong psycho-auric attractions, thus explaining the pathetic situation of parent and child who repel each other.
“When the astral form has definite union with the human ovum, it begins to grow as the foetus. The lower or grosser portions of the astral
* I might point out that once conception has taken place and the embryo begins its growth, any attempt whatsoever to stop its development or to destroy it is plain murder. In the teaching of the esoteric philosophy, it is considered as being only a little less bad than murder of an adult human––little less only because such destruction or abortion takes place before the self-consciousness of the victim has had a chance to come into flower.
form become the linga-œarîra of the child, in combination with the two general classes of tanhic elementals; whereas its higher portions, the vehicles of the ‘ray’ from the reincarnating ego (as the embryo and later as the child grows), become the intermediate parts of the constitution of the man.
“We must always keep in mind the important part played by the auric egg of the reincarnating ego in all the various steps preceding rebirth. The astral form begins its first growth within the reimbodying auric egg, gestates within it and continues to be ‘fed’ by its essences throughout the prenatal processes, and in time brings about the stages of birth, infancy, childhood and adulthood; for, in fact, the auric egg is really the true manifested man considered as being the vital auric prânas flowing forth from the various foci of the reincarnating monad.
“When the ray-point of the reimbodying ego, itself a ray from the spiritual monad, reaches its own intermediate sphere, it descends no farther into matter. But its psychomagnetic ray, having stronger affinities for the material worlds, descends still farther, awakening into activity the life-atoms in each one of the planes between that of the reimbodying ego and the astral- physical matter of our earth.
“Just here we see that the ‘life’ or characteristic of each part of the composite human constitution remains on its own plane, but extrudes its excess of life from itself into the next lower one, until finally the physical plane is reached, wherein the tip of the ray, collecting unto itself life-atoms of this plane, builds or forms the physical germinal cell. It would be quite wrong to suppose that the reimbodying ego itself is in the germinal cell or on a plane only slightly less physical than ours. The process is an exact analogy of what occurs in the building of the globes of a planetary chain, where the passage of the excess of life takes place along and around the ranges of substance from cosmic plane to cosmic plane.”*
* G. de Purucker, op. cit., pp. 622-26.