CONVERSATIONS ON OCCULTISM
[The Path, New York, Vol. III, Nos. 1-6, April, May, June, July, August, September, 1888, pp. 17-21, 54-58, 94-96, 125- 129, 160- 163, and 187- 192 respectively]
THE KALI YUGA—THE PRESENT AGE
Student.—I am very much puzzled about the present age. Some theosophists seem to abhor it as if wishing to be taken away from it altogether, inveighing against modern inventions such as the telegraph, railways, machinery, and the like, and bewailing the disappearance of former civilizations. Others take a different view, insisting that this is a better time than any other, and hailing modern methods as the best. Tell me, please, which of these is right, or, if both are wrong, what ought we to know about the age we live in.
Sage.—The teachers of Truth know all about this age. But they do not mistake the present century for the whole cycle. The older times of European history, for example, when might was right and when darkness prevailed over Western nations, was as much a part of this age, from the standpoint of the Masters, as is the present hour, for the Yuga—to use a Sanskrit word—in which we are now had begun many thousands of years before. And during that period of European darkness, although this Yuga had already begun, there was much light, learning, and civilization in India and China. The meaning of the words “present age” must therefore be extended over a far greater period than is at present assigned. In fact, modern science has reached no definite conclusion yet as to what should properly be called “an age,” and the truth of the Eastern doctrine is denied. Hence we find writers speaking
of the “Golden Age,” the “Iron Age,” and so on, whereas they are only parts of the real age that began so far back that modern archaeologists deny it altogether.
Student.—What is the Sanskrit name for this age, and what is its meaning?
Sage.—The Sanskrit is “Kali,” which added to Yuga gives us “Kali-Yuga.” The meaning of it is “Dark Age.” Its approach was known to the ancients, its characteristics are described in the Indian poem the Mahabharata. As I said that it takes in an immense period of the glorious part of Indian history, there is no chance for anyone to be jealous and to say that we are comparing the present hour with that wonderful division of Indian development.
Student.—What are the characteristics to which you refer, by which Kali-Yuga may be known?
Sage.—As its name implies, darkness is the chief. This of course is not deducible by comparing to-day with 800 A.D., for this would be no comparison at all. The present century is certainly ahead of the middle ages, but as compared with the preceding Yuga it is dark. To the Occultist, material advancement is not of the quality of light, and he finds no proof of progress in merely mechanical contrivances that give comfort to a few of the human family while the many are in misery. For the darkness he would have to point but to one nation, even the great American Republic. Here he sees a mere extension of the habits and life of the Europe from which it sprang; here a great experiment with entirely new conditions and material was tried; here for many years very little poverty was known; but here to-day there is as much grinding poverty as anywhere, and as large a criminal class with corresponding prisons as in Europe, and more than in India. Again, the great thirst for riches and material betterment, while spiritual life is to a great extent ignored, is regarded by us as darkness. The great conflict already begun between the wealthy classes and the poorer is a sign of darkness. Were spiritual light prevalent, the rich and the poor would still be with us, for Karma cannot be blotted out, but the poor would know how to accept their lot and the rich how to improve the poor; now, on the contrary,
the rich wonder why the poor do not go to the poorhouse, meanwhile seeking in the laws for cures for strikes and socialism, and the poor continually growl at fate and their supposed oppressors. All this is of` the quality of spiritual darkness.
Student.—Is it wise to inquire as to the periods when the cycle changes, and to speculate on the great astronomical or other changes that herald a turn?
Sage.—It is not. There is an old saying that the gods are jealous about these things, not wishing mortals to know them. We may analyse the age, but it is better not to attempt to fix the hour of a change of cycle. Besides that, you will be unable to settle it, because a cycle does not begin on a day or year clear of any other cycle; they inter-blend, so that, although the wheel of one period is still turning, the initial point of another has already arrived.
Student.—Are these some of the reasons why Mr. Sinnett was not given certain definite periods of years about which he asked?
Student.—Has the age in which one lives any effect on the student; and what is it?
Sage.—It has effect on everyone, but the student after passing along in his development feels the effect more than the ordinary man. Were it otherwise, the sincere and aspiring students all over the world would advance at once to those heights towards which they strive. It takes a very strong soul to hold hack the age’s heavy hand, and it is all the more difficult because that influence, being a part of the student’s larger life, is not so well understood by him. It operates in the same way as a structural defect in a vessel. All the inner as well as the outer fibre of the man is the result of` the long centuries of earthly lives lived here by his ancestors. These sow seeds of thought and physical tendencies in a way that you cannot comprehend. All those tendencies affect him. Many powers once possessed are hidden so deep as to be unseen, and he struggles against obstacles constructed ages ago. Further yet are the peculiar alterations brought about in the astral world. It, being at once a photographic plate, so to say, and also a
reflector, has become the keeper of the mistakes of ages past which it continually reflects upon us from a plane to which most of us are strangers. In that sense therefore, free as we suppose ourselves, we are walking about completely hypnotized by the past, acting blindly under the suggestions thus cast upon us.
Student.—Was that why Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”?
Sage.—That was one meaning. In one aspect they acted blindly, impelled by the age, thinking they were right.
Regarding these astral alterations, you will remember how in the time of Julian the seers reported that they could see the gods, but they were decaying, some headless, others flaccid, others minus limbs, and all appearing weak. The reverence for these ideals was departing, and their astral pictures had already begun to fade.
Student.—What mitigation is there about this age? Is there nothing at all to relieve the picture?
Sage.—There is one thing peculiar to the present Kali-Yuga that may be used by the Student. All causes now bring about their effects much more rapidly than in any other or better age. A sincere lover of the race can accomplish more in three incarnations under Kali-Yuga’s reign than he could in a much greater number in any other age. Thus by bearing all the manifold troubles of this Age and steadily triumphing, the object of his efforts will be more quickly realized, for, while the obstacles seem great, the powers to be invoked can be reached more quickly.
Student.—Even if this is, spiritually considered, a Dark Age, is it not in part redeemed by the increasing triumphs of mind over matter, and by the effects of science in mitigating human ills, such as the causes of disease, disease itself, cruelty, intolerance, bad laws, etc.?
Sage.—Yes, these are mitigations of the darkness in just the same way that a lamp gives some light at night but does not restore daylight. In this age there are great triumphs of science, but they are nearly all directed to effects and do not take away the causes of the evils. Great
strides have been made in the arts and in cure of diseases, but in the future, as the flower of our civilization unfolds, new diseases will arise and more strange disorders will be known, springing from causes that lie deep in the minds of men and which can only be eradicated by spiritual living.
Student.—Admitting all you say, are not we, as Theosophists, to welcome every discovery of truth in any field, especially such truth as lessens suffering or enlarges the moral sense?
Sage.—That is our duty. All truths discovered must be parts of the one Absolute Truth, and so much added to the sum of our outer knowledge. There will always be a large number of men who seek for these parts of truth, and others who try to alleviate present human misery. They each do a great and appointed work that no true Theosophist should ignore. And it is a]so the duty of the latter to make similar efforts when possible, for Theosophy is a dead thing if it is not turned into the life. At the same time, no one of us may be the judge of just how much or how little our brother is doing in that direction. If he does all that he can and knows how to do, he does his whole present duty.
Student.—I fear that a hostile attitude by Occult teachers towards the learning and philanthropy of the time may arouse prejudice against Theosophy and Occultism, and needlessly impede the spread of Truth. May it not be so?
Sage.—The real Occult Teachers have no hostile attitude towards these things. If some persons, who like theosophy and try to spread it, take such a position, they do not thereby alter the one assumed by the real Teachers who work with all classes of men and use every possible instrument for good. But at the same time we have found that an excess of the technical and special knowledge of the day very often acts to prevent men from apprehending the truth.
Student.—Are there any causes, other than the spread of Theosophy, which may operate to reverse the present drift towards materialism?
Sage.—The spread of the knowledge of the laws of Karma and Reincarnation and of a belief in the absolute
spiritual unity of all beings will alone prevent this drift. The cycle must, however, run its course, and until that is ended all beneficial causes will of necessity act slowly and not to the extent they would in a brighter age. As each student lives a better life and by his example imprints upon the astral light the picture of a higher aspiration acted in the world, he thus aids souls of advanced development to descend from other spheres where the cycles are so dark that they can no longer stay there.
Student.—Accept my thanks for your instruction.
Sage.—May you reach the terrace of` enlightenment.
ELEMENTALS AND ELEMENTARIES
Student.—If I understand you, an elemental is a centre of force, without intelligence, without moral character or tendencies, but capable of` being directed in its movements by human thoughts, which may, consciously or not, give it any form, and to a certain extent intelligence; in its simplest form it is visible as a disturbance in a transparent medium, such as would be produced by “a glass fish, so transparent as to be invisible, swimming through the air of the room,” and leaving behind him a shimmer, such as hot air makes when rising from a stove. Also, elementals, attracted and vitalized by certain thoughts, may effect a lodgment in the human system (of which they then share the government with the ego), and are very hard to get out.
Sage.—Correct, in general, except as to their “effecting a lodgment.” Some classes of elementals, however, have an intelligence of their own and a character, but they are far beyond our comprehension and ought perhaps to have some other name.
That class which has most to do with us answers the above description. They are centres of force or energy which are acted on by us while thinking and in other bodily motions. We also act on them and give them form by a species of thought which we have no register of. As,
one person might shape an elemental so as to seem like an insect, and not be able to tell whether he had thought of such a thing or not. For there is a vast unknown country in each human being which he does not himself understand until he has tried, and then only after many initiations.
That “elementals . . . . . . . . . . . . may effect a lodgment in the human system, of which they then share the government, and are very hard to get out” is, as a whole, incorrect. It is only in certain cases that any one or more elementals are attracted to and “find lodgment in the human system.” In such cases special rules apply. We are not considering such cases. The elemental world interpenetrates this, and is therefore eternally present in the human system.
As it (the elemental world) is automatic and like a photographic plate, all atoms continually arriving at and departing from the “human system” are constantly assuming the impression conveyed by the acts and thoughts of that person, and therefore, if` he sets up a strong current of thought, he attracts elementals in greater numbers, and they all take on one prevailing tendency or colour, so that all new arrivals find a homogeneous colour or image which they instantly assume. On the other hand, a man who has many diversities of thought and meditation is not homogeneous, but, so to say, parti-coloured, and so the elementals may lodge in that part which is different from the rest and go away in like condition. In the first case it is one mass of elementals similarly vibrating or electrified and coloured, and in that sense may be called one elemental in just the same way that we know one man as Jones, although for years he has been giving off and taking on new atoms of gross matte,.
Student.—If they are attracted and repelled by thoughts, do they move with the velocity of thought, say from here to the planet Neptune?
Sage.—They move with the velocity of thought. In their world there is no space or time as we understand those terms. If Neptune be within the astral sphere of this world, then they go there with that velocity, otherwise not; but that “if” need not be solved now
Student.—What determines their movements besides thought,—e.g. when they are floating about the room.
Sage.—Those other classes of thoughts above referred to; certain exhalations of beings; different rates and ratios of vibration among beings; different changes of magnetism caused by present causes or by the moon and the year; different polarities; changes of sound; changes of influences from other minds at a distance.
Student.—When so floating, can they be seen by anyone, or only by those persons who are clairvoyant?
Sage.—Clairvoyance is a poor word. They can be seen by partly clairvoyant people. By all those who can see thus; by more people, perhaps, than are aware of the fact.
Student.—Can they be photographed, as the rising air from the hot stove can?
Sage.—Not to my knowledge yet. It is not impossible, however.
Student.—Are they the lights, seen floating about a dark séance room by clairvoyant people?
Sage.—In the majority of cases those lights are produced by them.
Student.—Exactly what is their relation to light, that makes it necessary to hold séances in the dark?
Sage.—It is not their relation to light that makes darkness necessary, but the fact that light causes constant agitation and alteration in the magnetism of the room. All these things can be done just as well in the light of day.
If I should be able to make clear to you “exactly what is their relation to light,” then you would know what has long been kept secret, the key to the elemental world. This is kept guarded because it is a dangerous secret. No matter how virtuous you are, you could not—once you knew the secret—prevent the knowledge getting out into the minds of others who would not hesitate to use it for bad purposes.
Student.—I have noticed that attention often interferes with certain phenomena; thus a pencil will not write when watched, but writes at once when covered; or a mental question cannot be answered till the mind has left it and gone to something else. Why is this?
Sage.—This kind of attention creates confusion. In these things we use desire, will, and knowledge. The desire is present, but knowledge is absent. When the desire is well formed and attention withdrawn, the thing is often done; but when our attention is continued we only interrupt, because we possess only half attention. In order to use attention, it must be of that sort which can hold itself to the point of a needle for an indefinite period of time.
Student.—I have been told that but few people can go to a séance without danger to themselves, either of some spiritual or astral contamination, or of having their vitality depleted for the benefit of the spooks, who suck the vital force out of the circle through the medium, as if the former were a glass of` lemonade and the latter a straw. How is this?
Sage.—Quite generally this happens. It is called Bhut worship by the Hindus.
Student.—Why are visitors at a séance often extremely and unaccountably tired next day?
Sage.—Among other reasons, because mediums absorb the vitality for the use of the “spooks,” and often vile vampire elementaries are present.
Student.—What are some of the dangers at séances?
Sage.—The scenes visible—in the Astral—at séances are horrible, inasmuch as these “spirits”—bhuts—precipitate themselves upon sitters and mediums alike; and as there is no séance without having present some or many bad elementaries—half dead human beings,—there is much vampirising going on. These things fall upon the people like a cloud or a big octopus, and disappear within them as if sucked in by a sponge. That is one reason why it is not well to attend them in general.
Elementaries are not all bad, but, in a general sense, they are not good. They are shells, no doubt of that. Well, they have much automatic and seemingly intelligent action left if they are those of strongly material people who died attached to the things of life. If of people of an opposite character, they are not so strong. Then there is a class which are really not dead, such as suicides, and
sudden deaths, and highly wicked people. They are powerful. Elementals enter into all of them, and thus get a fictitious personality and intelligence wholly the property of the shell. They galvanize the shell into action, and by its means can see and hear as if beings themselves, like us. The shells are, in this case, just like a sleep-walking human body. They will through habit exhibit the advancement they got while in the flesh. Some people you know, do not impart to their bodily molecules the habit of their minds to as great [an] extent as others. We thus see why the utterances of these so-called “spirits” are never ahead of the highest point of` progress attained by living human beings, and why they take up the ideas elaborated day-by-day by their votaries. This séance worship is what was called in Old India the worship of the Pretas and Bhuts and Pisachas and Ghandarvas.
I do not think any elementary capable of motive had ever any other than a bad one; the rest are nothing, they have no motive and are only the shades refused passage by Charon.
Student.—What is the relation between sexual force and phenomena?
Sage.—It is at the bottom. This force is vital, creative, and a sort of reservoir. It may be lost by mental action as well as by physical. In fact its finer part is dissipated by mental imaginings, while physical acts only draw off the gross part, that which is the “carrier” (upadhi) for the finer.
Student.—Why do so many mediums cheat, even when they can produce real phenomena?
Sage.—It is the effect of the use of that which in itself is sublimated cheating, which, acting on an irresponsible mind, causes the lower form of cheat, of which the higher is any illusionary form whatever. Besides, a medium is of necessity unbalanced somewhere.
They deal with these forces for pay, and that is enough to call to them all the wickedness of time. They use the really gross sorts of matter, which causes inflammation in corresponding portions of` the moral character, and hence divagations from the path of honesty. It is a great temptation. You do not know, either, what fierceness there is
in those who “have paid” for a sitting and wish “for the worth of their money.”
Student.—When a clairvoyant, as a man did here a year ago, tells me that, “he sees a strong band of spirits about me,” and among them an old man who says he is a certain eminent character, what does he really see? Empty and senseless shells? If` so, what brought them there? Or elementals which have got their form from my mind or his?
Sage.—Shells, I think, and thoughts, and old astral pictures. II, for instance, you once saw that eminent person and conceived great respect or fear for him, so that his image was graven in your astral sphere in deeper lines than other images, it would be seen for your whole life by seers, who, if untrained,—as they all are here,—could not tell whether it was an image or reality; and then each sight of it is a revivification of the image.
Besides, not all would see the same thing. Fall down, for instance, and hurt your body, and that will bring up all similar events and old forgotten things before any seer’s eye.
The whole astral world is a mass of illusion; people see into it, and then, through the novelty of the thing and the exclusiveness of the power, they are bewildered into thinking they actually see true things, whereas they have only removed one thin crust of dirt.
Student.—Accept my thanks for your instruction
Sage—May you reach the terrace of` enlightenment.
Student—Permit me to ask you again, are elementals beings?
Sage.—It is not easy to convey to you an idea of the constitution of elementals; strictly speaking, they are not, because the word elementals has been used in reference to a class of them that have no being such as mortals have. It would be better to adopt the terms used in Indian books, such as Ghandarvas, Bhuts, Pisachas, Devas, and so on.
Many things well known about them cannot be put into ordinary language.
Student.—Do you refer to their being able to act in the fourth dimension of space?
Sage.—Yes, in a measure. Take the tying in an endless cord of many knots,—a thing often done at spiritist séances. That is possible to him who knows more dimensions of space than three. No three-dimensional being can do this; and as you understand “matter,” it is impossible for you to conceive how such a knot can be tied or how a solid ring can be passed through the matter of another solid one. These things can be done by elementals.
Student.—Are they not all of one class?
Sage.—No. There are different classes for each plane, and division of plane, of nature. Many can never be recognized by men. And those pertaining to our plane do not act in another. You must remember, too, that these “planes” of which we are speaking interpenetrate each other.
Student.—Am I to understand that a clairvoyant or clairaudient has to do with or is affected by a certain special class or classes of elementals?
Sage.—Yes. A clairvoyant can only see the sights properly belonging to the planes his development reaches to or has opened. And the elementals in those planes show to the clairvoyant only such pictures as belong to their plane. Other parts of the idea or thing pictured may be retained in planes not yet open to the seer. For this reason few clairvoyants know the whole truth.
Student.—Is there not some connection between the Karma of man and elementals?
Sage.—A very important one. The elemental world has become a strong factor in the Karma of the human race. Being unconscious, automatic, and photographic, it assumes the complexion of the human family itself. In the earlier ages, when we may postulate that man had not yet begun to make bad Karma, the elemental world was more friendly to man because it had not received unfriendly impressions. But so soon as man began to become ignorant, unfriendly to himself and the rest of creation,
the elemental world began to take on exactly the same complexion and return to humanity the exact pay, so to speak, due for the actions of humanity. Or, like a donkey, which, when he is pushed against, will push against you. Or, as a human being, when anger or insult is offered, feels inclined to return the same. So the elemental world, being unconscious force, returns or reacts upon humanity exactly as humanity acted towards it, whether the actions of men were done with the knowledge of these laws or not. So in these times it has come to be that the elemental world has the complexion and action which is the exact result of all the actions and thoughts and desires of men from the earliest times. And, being unconscious and only acting according to the natural laws of its being, the elemental world is a powerful factor in the workings of Karma. And so long as mankind does not cultivate brotherly feeling and charity towards the whole of creation, just so long will the elementals be without the impulse to act for our benefit. But so soon and wherever man or men begin to cultivate brotherly feeling and love for the whole of creation, there and then the elementals begin to take on the new condition.
Student.—How then about the doing of phenomena by adepts?
Sage.—The production of phenomena is not possible without either the aid or disturbance of elementals. Each phenomenon entails the expenditure of great force, and also brings on a correspondingly great disturbance in the elemental world, which disturbance is beyond the limit natural to ordinary human life. It then follows that, as soon as the phenomenon is completed, the disturbance occasioned begins to be compensated for. The elementals are in greatly excited motion, and precipitate themselves in various directions. They are not able to affect those who are protected. But they are able, or rather it is possible for them, to enter into the sphere of unprotected persons, and especially those persons who are engaged in the study of occultism. And then they become agents in concentrating the karma of those persons, producing troubles and disasters often, or other difficulties which otherwise might have
been so spread over a period of time as to be not counted more than the ordinary vicissitudes of` life. This will go to explain the meaning of the statement that an Adept will not do a phenomenon unless he sees the desire in the mind of another lower or higher Adept or student; for then there is a sympathetic relation established, and also a tacit acceptance of the consequences which may ensue. It will also help to understand the peculiar reluctance often of some persons, who can perform phenomena, to produce them in cases where we may think their production would be beneficial; and also why they are never done in order to compass worldly ends, as is natural for worldly people to suppose might be done,—such as procuring money, transferring objects, influencing minds, and so on.
Student.—Accept my thanks for your instruction.
Sage.—May you reach the terrace of enlightenment!
Student.—Is there any reason why you do not give me a more detailed explanation of the constitution of elementals and the modes by which they work?
Sage.—Yes. There are many reasons. Among others is your inability, shared by most of the people of` the present day, to comprehend a description of things that pertain to a world with which you are not familiar and for which you do not yet possess terms of expression. Were I to put forth these descriptions, the greater part would seem vague and incomprehensible on one hand, while on the other many of them would mislead you because of the interpretation put on them by yourself. Another reason is that, if the constitution, field of action, and method of action of elementals were given out, there are some minds of a very inquiring and peculiar bent who soon could find out how to come into communication with these extraordinary beings, with results disadvantageous to the community as well as the individuals.
Student.—Why so? Is it not well to increase the sum of human knowledge, even respecting most recondite parts of nature; or can it be that the elementals are bad?
Sage.—It is wise to increase the knowledge of nature’s laws, but always with proper limitations. All things will become known some day. Nothing can be kept back when men have reached the point where they can understand. But at this time it would not be wise to give them, for the asking, certain knowledge that would not be good for them. That knowledge relates to elementals, and it can for the present be kept back from the scientists of today. So long as it can be retained from them, it will be, until they and their followers are of a different stamp.
As to the moral character of elementals, they have none: they are colourless in themselves—except some classes—and merely assume the tint, so to speak, of the person using them.
Student.—Will our scientific men one day, then, be able to use these beings, and, if so, what will be the manner of it? Will their use be confined to only the good men of the earth?
Sage.—The hour is approaching when all this will be done. But the scientists of to-day are not the men to get this knowledge. They are only pigmy forerunners who sow seed and delve blindly in no thoroughfares. They are too small to be able to grasp these mighty powers, but they are not wise enough to see that their methods will eventually lead to Black Magic in centuries to come when they shall be forgotten.
When elemental forces are used similarly as we now see electricity and other natural energies adapted to various purposes, there will be “war in heaven.” Good men will not alone possess the ability to use them. Indeed, the sort of man you now call “good” will not be the most able. The wicked will, however, pay liberally for the power of those who can wield such forces, and at last the Supreme Masters, who now guard this knowledge from children, will have to come forth. Then will ensue a dreadful war, in which, as has ever happened, the Masters will succeed and the evil doers be destroyed by the very engines, principalities, and powers prostituted to their own purposes during years of intense selfish living. But why dilate on this; in these days it is only a prophecy.
Student.—Could you give me some hints as to how the secrets of the elemental plane are preserved and prevented from being known? Do these guardians of whom you speak occupy themselves in checking elementals, or how? Do they see much danger of divulgement likely in those instances where elemental action is patent to the observer?
Sage.—As to whether they check elementals or not need not be inquired into, because, while that may be probable, it does not appear very necessary where men are unsuspicious of the agency causing the phenomena. It is much easier to throw a cloud over the investigator’s mind and lead him off to other results of often material advantage to himself and men, while at the same time acting as a complete preventive or switch which turns his energies and application into different departments.
It might be illustrated thus: Suppose that a number of trained occultists are set apart to watch the various sections of the world where the mental energies are in fervid operation. It is quite easy for them to see in a moment any mind that is about reaching a clue into the elemental world; and, besides, imagine that trained elementals themselves constantly carry information of such events. Then, by superior knowledge and command over this peculiar world, influences presenting various pictures are sent out to that inquiring mind. In one case it may be a new moral reform, in another a great invention is revealed, and such is the effect that the man’s whole time and mind are taken up by this new thing which he fondly imagines is his own. Or, again, it would be easy to turn his thoughts into a certain rut leading far from the dangerous clue. In fact, the methods are endless.
Student.—Would it be wise to put into the hands of truly good, conscientious men who now use aright what gifts they have, knowledge of and control over elementals, to be used on the side of right?
Sage.—The Masters are the judges of what good men are to have this power and control. You must not forget that you cannot be sure of the character at bottom of those whom you call “truly good and conscientious men.” Place them in the fire of the tremendous
temptation which such power and control would furnish, and most of them would fail. But the Masters already know the characters of all who in any way approach to a knowledge of these forces, and They always judge whether such a man is to be aided or prevented. They are not working to make these laws and forces known, but to establish right doctrine, speech, and action, so that the characters and motives of men shall undergo such radical changes as to fit them for wielding power in the elemental world. And that power is not now lying idle, as you infer, but is being always used by those who will never fail to rightly use it.
Student.—Is there any illustration at hand showing what the people of the present day would do with these extraordinary energies?
Sage.—A cursory glance at men in these western worlds engaged in the mad rush after money, many of them willing to do anything to get it, and at the strain, almost to warfare, existing between labourers and users of labour, must show you that, were either class in possession of power over the elemental world, they would direct it to the furtherance of the aims now before them. Then look at Spiritualism. It is recorded in the Lodge—photographed, you may say, by the doers of the acts themselves—that an enormous number of persons daily seek the aid of mediums and their “spooks” merely on questions of business. Whether to buy stocks, or engage in mining for gold and silver, to deal in lotteries, or to make new mercantile contracts. Here on one side is a picture of a coterie of men who obtained at a low figure some mining property on the advice of elemental spirits with fictitious names masquerading behind mediums; these mines were then to be put upon the public at a high profit, inasmuch as the “spirits” promised metal. Unhappily for the investors, it failed. But such a record is repeated in many cases.
Then here is another where in a great American city— the Karma being favourable—a certain man speculated in stocks upon similar advice, succeeded, and, after giving the medium liberal pay, retired to what is called
enjoyment of life. Neither party devoted either himself or the money to the benefiting of humanity.
There is no question of honour involved, nor any as to whether money ought or ought not to be made. It is solely one as to the propriety, expediency, and results of giving suddenly into the hands of a community unprepared and without an altruistic aim, such abnormal power. Take hidden treasure, for instance. There is much of it in hidden places, and many men wish to get it. For what purpose? For the sake of ministering to their luxurious wants and leaving it to their equally unworthy descendants. Could they know the mantram controlling the elementals that guard such treasure, they would use it at once, motive or no motive, the sole object being the money in the case.
Student.—Do some sorts of elementals have guard over hidden treasure?
Sage.—Yes, in every instance, whether never found or soon discovered. The causes for the hiding and the thoughts of the hider or loser have much to do with the permanent concealment or subsequent finding.
Student.—What happens when a large sum of money, say, such as Captain Kidd’s mythical treasure, is concealed, or when a quantity of coin is lost?
Sage.—Elementals gather about it. They have many and curious modes of causing further concealment. They even influence animals to that end. This class of elementals seldom, if ever, report at your spiritualistic séances. As time goes on the forces of air and water still further aid them, and sometimes they are able even to prevent the hider from recovering it. Thus in course of years, even when they may have altogether lost their hold on it, the whole thing becomes shrouded in mist, and it is impossible to find anything.
Student.—This in part explains why so many failures are recorded in the search for hidden treasure. But how about the Masters; are they prevented thus by these weird guardians?
Sage.—They are not. The vast quantities of gold hidden in the earth and under the sea are at their disposal
always. They can, when necessary for their purposes, obtain such sums of money on whom no living being or descendants of any have the slightest claim, as would appal the senses of your greatest money getter. They have but to command the very elementals controlling it, and They have it. This is the basis for the story of Aladdin’s wonderful lamp, more true than you believe.
Student.—Of what use then is it to try, like the alchemists, to make gold? With the immense amount of buried treasure thus easily found when you control its guardian, it would seem a waste of time and money to learn transmutation of metals.
Sage.—The transmutation spoken of by the real alchemists was the alteration of the base alloy in man’s nature. At the same time, actual transmutation of lead into gold is possible. And many followers of the alchemists, as well as of the pure-souled Jacob Boehme, eagerly sought to accomplish the material transmuting, being led away by the glitter of wealth. But an Adept has no need for transmutation, as I have shown you. The stories told of various men who are said to have produced gold from base metals for different kings in Europe are wrong explanations. Here and there Adepts have appeared, assuming different names, and in certain emergencies they supplied or used large sums of money. But instead of its being the product of alchemical art, it was simply ancient treasure brought to them by elementals in their service and that of the Lodge. Raymond Lully or Robert Flood might have been of that sort, but I forbear to say, since I cannot claim acquaintance with those men.
Student.—I thank you for your instruction.
Sage.—May you reach the terrace of enlightenment!
Student.—You spoke of mantrams by which we could control elementals on guard over hidden treasure. What is a mantram?
Sage.—A mantram is a collection of words which, when sounded in speech, induce certain vibrations not only in the air, but also in the finer ether, thereby producing certain effects.
Student.—Are the words taken at haphazard?
Sage.—Only by those who, knowing nothing of mantrams, yet use them.
Student.—May they, then, be used according to rule and also irregularly? Can it be possible that people who know absolutely nothing of their existence or field of operations should at the same time make use of them? Or is it something like digestion, of which so many people know nothing whatever, while they in fact are dependent upon its proper use for their existence? I crave your indulgence because I know nothing of the subject.
Sage.—The “common people” in almost every country make use of them continually, but even in that case the principle at the bottom is the same as in the other. In a new country where folklore has not yet had time to spring up, the people do not have as many as in such a land as India or in long settled parts of Europe. The aborigines, however, in any country will be possessed of them.
Student.—You do not now infer that they are used by Europeans for the controlling of elementals.
Sage.—No. I refer to their effect in ordinary intercourse between human beings. And yet there are many men in Europe, as well as in Asia, who can thus control animals, but those are nearly always special cases. There are men in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Ireland who can bring about extraordinary effects on horses, cattle, and the like, by peculiar sounds uttered in a certain way. In those instances the sound used is a mantram of only one member, and will act only on the particular animal that the user knows it can rule.
Student.—Do these men know the rules governing the matter? Are they able to convey it to another?
Sage.—Generally not. It is a gift self-found or inherited, and they only know that it can be done by them, just as a mesmeriser knows he can do a certain thing with a wave of his hand, but is totally ignorant of the principle. They
are as ignorant of the base of this strange effect as your modern physiologists are of the function and cause of such a common thing as yawning.
Student.—Under what head should we put this unconscious exercise of power?
Sage.—Under the head of natural magic, that materialistic science can never crush out. It is a touch with nature and her laws always preserved by the masses, who, while they form the majority of the population, are yet ignored by the “cultured classes.” And so it will be discovered by you that it is not in London or Paris or New York drawing-rooms that you will find mantrams, whether regular or irregular, used by the people. “Society,” too cultured to be natural, has adopted methods of speech intended to conceal and to deceive, so that natural mantrams cannot be studied within its borders.
Single, natural mantrams are such words as “wife.” When it is spoken it brings up in the mind all that is implied by the word. And if in another language, the word would be that corresponding to the same basic idea. And so with expressions of greater length, such as many slang sentences; thus, “I want to see the colour of his money.” There are also sentences applicable to certain individuals, the use of which involves a knowledge of the character of those to whom we speak. When these are used, a peculiar and lasting vibration is set up in the mind of the person affected, leading to a realization in action of the idea involved, or to a total change of life due to the appositeness of the subjects brought up and to the peculiar mental antithesis induced in the hearer. As soon as the effect begins to appear the mantram may be forgotten, since the law of habit then has sway in the brain.
Again, bodies of men are acted on by expressions having the mantramic quality; this is observed in great social or other disturbances. The reason is the same as before. A dominant idea is aroused that touches upon a want of the people or on an abuse which oppresses them, and the change and interchange in their brains between the idea
and the form of words go on until the result is accomplished. To the occultist of powerful sight this is seen to be a “ringing” of the words coupled with the whole chain of feelings, interests, aspirations, and so forth, that grows faster and deeper as the time for the relief or change draws near. And the greater number of persons affected by the idea involved, the larger, deeper, and wider the result. A mild illustration may be found in Lord Beaconsfield of England. He knew about mantrams, and continually invented phrases of that quality. “Peace with honour” was one; “a scientific frontier” was another; and his last, intended to have a wider reach, but which death prevented his supplementing, was “Empress of India.” King Henry of England also tried it without himself knowing why, when he added to his titles, “Defender of the Faith.” With these hints numerous illustrations will occur to you.
Student.—These mantrams have only to do with human beings as between each other. They do not affect elementals, as I judge from what you say. And they are not dependent upon the sound so much as upon words bringing up ideas. Am I right in this; and is it the case that there is a field in which certain vocalizations produce effects in the Akasa by means of which men, animals, and elementals alike can be influenced, without regard to their knowledge of any known language?
Sage.—You are right. We have only spoken of natural, unconsciously-used mantrams. The scientific mantrams belong to the class you last referred to. It is to be doubted whether they can be found in modern Western languages,—especially among English speaking people who are continually changing and adding to their spoken words to such an extent that the English of to-day could hardly be understood by Chaucer’s predecessors. It is in the ancient Sanskrit and the language which preceded it that mantrams are hidden. The laws governing their use are also to be found in those languages, and not in any modern philological store.
Student.—Suppose, though, that one acquires a knowledge of ancient and correct mantrams, could he affect a
person speaking English, and by the use of English words?
Sage.—He could; and all adepts have the power to translate a strictly regular mantram into any form of language, so that a single sentence thus uttered by them will have an immense effect on the person addressed, whether it be by letter or word of mouth.
Student.—Is there no way in which we might, as it were imitate those adepts in this?
Sage.—Yes, you should study simple forms of mantramic quality, for the purpose of thus reaching the hidden mind of all the people who need spiritual help. You will find now and then some expression that has resounded in the brain, at last producing such a result that he who heard it turns his mind to spiritual things.
Student.—I thank you for your instruction.
Sage.—May the Brahmamantram guide you to the everlasting truth.—OM.
Student.—A materialist stated to me as his opinion that all that is said about mantrams is mere sentimental theorizing, and while it may be true that certain words affect people, the sole reason is that they embody ideas distasteful or pleasant to the hearers, but that the mere sounds, as such, have no effect whatever, and as to either words or sounds affecting animals he denied it altogether. Of course he would not take elementals into account at all, as their existence is impossible for him.
Sage.—This position is quite natural in these days. There has been so much materialization of thought, and the real scientific attitude of leading minds in different branches of investigation has been so greatly misunderstood by those who think they follow the example of the scientific men, that most people in the West are afraid to admit anything beyond what may be apprehended by the five senses. The man you speak of is one of that always numerous class who adopt as fixed and unalterable general laws laid down from time to time by well-known savants,
forgetting that the latter constantly change and advance from point to point.
Student.—Do you think, then, that the scientific world will one day admit much that is known to Occultists?
Sage.—Yes, it will. The genuine Scientist is always in that attitude which permits him to admit things proven. He may seem to you often to be obstinate and blind, but in fact he is proceeding slowly to the truth,—too slowly, perhaps, for you, yet not in the position of knowing all. It is the veneered scientist who swears by the published results of the work of leading men as being the last word, while, at the very moment he is doing so, his authority may have made notes or prepared new theories tending to greatly broaden and advance the last utterance. It is only when the dogmatism of a priest backed up by law declares that a discovery is opposed to the revealed word of his god, that we may fear. That day is gone for a long time to come, and we need expect no more scenes like that in which Galileo took part. But among the materialistic minds to whom you referred, there is a good deal of that old spirit left, only that the “revealed word of God “ has become the utterances of our scientific leaders.
Student.—I have observed that within even the last quarter of a century. About ten years ago many well-known men laughed to scorn any one who admitted the facts within the experience of every mesmeriser, while now, under the term “hypnotism,” they are nearly all admitted. And when these lights of our time were denying it all, the French doctors were collating the results of a long series of experiments. It seems as if the invention of a new term for an old and much abused one furnished an excuse for granting all that had been previously denied. But have you anything to say about those materialistic investigators? Are they not governed by some powerful, though unperceived, law?
Sage.—They are. They are in the forefront of the mental, but not of the spiritual, progress of the time, and are driven forward by forces they know nothing of. Help is very often given to them by the Masters, who, neglecting
nothing, constantly see to it that these men make progress upon the fittest lines for them, just as you are assisted not only in your spiritual life but in your mental also. These men, therefore, will go on admitting facts and finding new laws or new names for old laws, to explain them. They cannot help it.
Student.—What should be our duty, then, as students of truth? Should we go out as reformers of science, or what?
Sage.—You ought not to take up the role of reformers of the schools and their masters, because success would not attend the effort. Science is competent to take care of itself, and you would only be throwing pearls before them to be trampled under foot. Rest content that all within their comprehension will be discovered and admitted from time to time. The endeavour to force them into admitting what you believe to be so plain would be due almost solely to your vanity and love of praise. It is not possible to force them, any more than it is for me to force you, to admit certain incomprehensible laws, and you would not think me wise or fair to first open before you things, to understand which you have not the necessary development, and then to force you into admitting their truth. Or if, out of reverence, you should say “These things are true,” while you comprehended nothing and were not progressing, you would have bowed to superior force.
Student.—But you do not mean that we should remain ignorant of science and devote ourselves only to ethics?
Sage.—Not at all. Know all that you can. Become conversant with and sift all that the schools have declared, and as much more on your own account as is possible, but at the same time teach, preach, and practice a life based on a true understanding of brotherhood. This is the true way. The common people, those who know no science, are the greatest number. They must be so taught that the discoveries of science which are unillumined by spirit may not be turned into Black Magic.
Student.—In our last conversation you touched upon the guarding of buried treasure by elementals. I should like
very much to hear a little more about that. Not about how to control them or to procure the treasure, but upon the subject generally.
Sage.—The laws governing the hiding of buried treasure are the same as those that relate to lost objects. Every person has about him a fluid, or plane, or sphere, or energy, whichever you please to call it, in which are constantly found elementals that partake of his nature. That is, they are tinted with his colour and impressed by his character. There are numerous classes of these. Some men have many of one class or of all, or many of some and few of others. And anything worn upon your person is connected with your elementals. For instance, you wear cloth made of wool or linen, and little objects made of wood, bone, brass, gold, silver, and other substances. Each one of these has certain magnetic relations peculiar to itself, and all of them are soaked, to a greater or less extent, with your magnetism as well as nervous fluid. Some of them, because of their substance, do not long retain this fluid, while others do. The elementals are connected, each class according to its substance, with those objects by means of the magnetic fluid. And they are acted upon by the mind and desires to a greater extent than you know, and in a way that cannot be formulated in English. Your desires have a powerful grasp, so to say, upon certain things, and upon others a weaker hold. When one of these objects is suddenly dropped, it is invariably followed by elementals. They are drawn after it, and may be said to go with the object by attraction rather than by sight. In many cases they completely envelop the thing, so that, although it is near at hand, it cannot be seen by the eye. But after a while the magnetism wears off and their power to envelop the article weakens, whereupon it appears in sight. This does not happen in every case. But it is a daily occurrence, and is sufficiently obvious to many persons to be quite removed from the realm of fable. I think, indeed, that one of your literary persons has written an essay upon this very experience, in which, although treated in a comic vein, many truths are unconsciously told; the title of this
was, if I mistake not, “Upon the Innate Perversity of Inanimate Objects.” There is such a nice balancing of forces in these cases that you must be careful in your generalizations. You may justly ask, for instance, why, when a coat is dropped, it seldom disappears from sight? Well, there are cases in which even such a large object is hidden, but they are not very common. The coat is full of your magnetism, and the elementals may feel in it just as much of` you as when it is on your back. There may be, for them, no disturbance of the relations, magnetic and otherwise. And often in the case of a small object not invisible, the balancing of forces, due to many causes that have to do with your condition at the time prevents the hiding. To decide in any particular case, one would have to see into the realm where the operation of these laws is hidden, and calculate all the forces, so as to say why it happened in one way and not in another.
Student.—But take the case of` a man who, being in possession of treasure, hides it in the earth and goes away and dies, and it is not found. In that instance the elementals did not hide it. Or when a miser buries his gold or jewels. How about those?
Sage.—In all cases where a man buries gold, or jewels, or money, or precious things, his desires are fastened to that which he hides. Many of his elementals attach themselves to it, and other classes of them also, who had nothing to do with him, gather round and keep it hidden. In the case of the captain of a ship containing treasure the influences are very powerful, because there the elementals are gathered from all the persons connected with the treasure, and the officer himself is full of solicitude for what is committed to his charge. You should also remember that gold and silver—or metals—have relations with elementals that are of a strong and peculiar character. They do not work for human law, and natural law does not assign any property in metals to man, nor recognize in him any peculiar and transcendent right to retain what he has dug from the earth or acquired to himself. Hence we do not find the elementals anxious to restore to him the gold or silver which he had lost. If
we were to assume that they occupied themselves in catering to the desires of men or in establishing what we call our rights over property, we might as well at once grant the existence of a capricious and irresponsible Providence. They proceed solely according to the law of their being, and, as they are without the power of making a judgment, they commit no blunders and are not to be moved by considerations based upon our vested rights or our unsatisfied wishes. Therefore, the spirits that appertain to metals invariably act as the laws of their nature prescribe, and one way of doing so is to obscure the metals from our sight.
Student.—Can you make any application of all this in the realm of ethics?
Sage.—There is a very important thing you should not overlook. Every time you harshly and unmercifully criticise the faults of another, you produce an attraction to yourself of certain quantities of elementals from that person. They fasten themselves upon you and endeavour to find in you a similar state or spot or fault that they have left in the other person. It is as if they left him to serve you at higher wages, so to say.
Then there is that which I referred to in a preceding conversation, about the effect of our acts and thoughts upon, not only the portion of the astral light belonging to each of us with its elementals but upon the whole astral world. If men saw the dreadful pictures imprinted there and constantly throwing down upon us their suggestions to repeat the same acts or thoughts, a millennium might soon draw near. The astral light is, in this sense, the same as the photographer’s negative plate, and we are the sensitive paper underneath, on which is being printed the picture. We can see two sorts of pictures for each act. One is the act itself, and the other is the picture of the thoughts and feelings animating those engaged in it. You can therefore see that you may be responsible for many more dreadful pictures than you had supposed. For actions of a simple outward appearance have behind them, very often, the worst of thoughts and desires.
Student.—Have these pictures in the astral light anything to do with us upon being reincarnated in subsequent earth-lives?
Sage.—They have very much indeed. We are influenced by them for vast periods of time, and in this you can perhaps find clues to many operations of active Karmic law for which you seek.
Student.—Is there not also some effect upon animals, and through them upon us, and vice versa?
Sage.—Yes. The animal kingdom is affected by us through the astral light. We have impressed the latter with pictures of cruelty, oppression, dominion, and slaughter. The whole Christian world admits that man can indiscriminately slaughter animals, upon the theory, elaborately set forth by priests in early times, that animals have no souls. Even little children learn this, and very early begin to kill insects, birds, and animals, not for protection, but from wantonness. As they grow up the habit is continued, and in England we see that shooting large numbers of birds beyond the wants of the table, is a national peculiarity, or, as I should say, a vice. This may be called a mild illustration. If these people could catch elementals as easily as they can animals, they would kill them for amusement when they did not want them for use; and, if the elementals refused to obey, then their death would follow as a punishment. All this is perceived by the elemental world, without conscience of course; but under the laws of action and reaction, we receive back from it exactly that which we give.
Student.—Before we leave the subject I should like to refer again to the question of metals and the relation of man to the elementals connected with the mineral world. We see some persons who seem always to be able to find metals with ease—or, as they say, who are lucky in that direction. How am I to reconcile this with the natural tendency of elementals to hide? Is it because there is a war or discord, as it were, between different classes belonging to any one person?
Sage.—That is a part of the explanation. Some persons, as I said, have more of one class attached to them
than another. A person fortunate with metals, say of gold and silver, has about him more of the elementals connected with or belonging to the kingdoms of those metals than other people, and thus there is less strife between the elementals. The preponderance of the metal-spirits makes the person more homogeneous with their kingdoms, and a natural attraction exists between the gold or silver lost or buried and that person, more than in the case of other people.
Student.—What determines this? Is it due to a desiring of gold and silver, or is it congenital?
Sage.—It is innate. The combinations in any one individual are so intricate and due to so many causes that you could not calculate them. They run back many generations, and depend upon peculiarities of soil, climate, nation, family, and race. These are, as you can see, enormously varied, and, with the materials at your command now, quite beyond your reach. Merely wishing for gold and silver will not do it.
Student.—I judge also that attempting to get at those elementals by thinking strongly will not accomplish that result either.
Sage.—No, it will not, because your thoughts do not reach them. They do not hear or see you, and, as it is only by accidental concentration of forces that unlearned people influence them, these accidents are only possible to the extent that you possess the natural leaning to the particular kingdom whose elementals you have influenced.
Student.—I thank you for your instruction.
Sage.—May you be guided to the path which leads to light!
[See Compiler’s Note on page 400, in regard to Additional Material in continuation of the above Series.]
It is likely that H.P.B. was in her late thirties or early forties
when this picture was taken. No definite information about this
exists. It is reproduced from an original print, by courtesy of
The Theosophical Society in America, Wheaton, Ill.