[Lucifer, Vol. II, No. 8, April, 1888, pp. 155-160]
To the Editors of Lucifer.
As you invite questions, I take the liberty of submitting one to your consideration.
Is it not to be expected (basing one’ reasoning on Theosophical teaching) that the meeting and intercourse in Kama-loka of persons truly attached to each other must be fraught with disappointment, nay frequently even with deep grief? Let me illustrate my meaning by an example:
A mother departs this life twenty years before her son, who, deeply attached to her, longs to meet her again, and only finds her “shell,” from which all those spiritual qualities have fled which to him were the essential part of the being he loved. Even the "shell" itself, by its resemblance to the former body, only adds to his grief by keeping early memories more vividly alive, and showing him the vast difference between the entity he knew on earth and the remnant he finds.
Or take a second case:
The son meets his mother in Kama-loka after a short separation, only to find her entity in a state of disintegration, as her pure spirit has already begun to leave her astral body and to ascend towards Devachan. He has to witness this process of gradual dissolution, and day by day he feels his mother's spirit slip away whilst his more material nature prevents him from joining in her rapid progress.
I subjoin my name and address, though not for publication, and remain,
Very truly yours,
“F. T. S.”
EDITORS’ REPLY.—Our Correspondent seems to have been misled as to the state of consciousness which entities experience in Kama-loka. He seems to have formed his conceptions on the visions of living psychics and the revelations of living mediums. But all conclusions drawn from such data are vitiated by the fact, that a living organism intervenes between the observer and the Kama-loka state per se. There can be no conscious meeting in Kama-loka, hence no grief. There is no astral disintegration pari passu with the separation of the shell from the spirit.
According to the Eastern teaching the state of the deceased in Kama-loka is not what we, living men, would recognise as “conscious.” It is rather that of a person stunned and dazed by a violent blow, who has momentarily “lost his senses.” Hence in Kama-loka there is as a rule (apart from vicarious life and consciousness awakened through contact with mediums) no recognition of friends or relatives, and therefore such a case as stated here is impossible.
We meet those we loved only in Devachan, that subjective world of perfect bliss, the state which succeeds the Kama-loka, after the separation of the principles. In Devachan all our personal, unfulfilled spiritual desires and aspirations will be realised; for we shall not be living in the hard world of matter but in those subjective realms wherein a desire finds its instant realisation; because man himself is there a god and a creator.
In dealing with the dicta of psychics and mediums, it must always be remembered that they translate, automatically and unconsciously, their experiences on any plane of consciousness, into the language and experience of our normal physical plane. And this confusion can only be avoided by the special study-training of occultism, which teaches how to trace and guide the passage of impressions from one plane to another and fix them on the memory.
Kama-loka may be compared to the dressing-room of an actor, in which he divests himself of the costume of the last part he played before rebecoming himself properly—the immortal Ego or the Pilgrim cycling in his Round of Incarnations. The Eternal Ego being stripped in Kama-loka of its lower terrestrial principles, with their passions and desires, it enters into the state of Devachan. And therefore it is said that only the purely spiritual, the nonmaterial emotions, affections, and aspirations accompany the Ego into that state of Bliss. But the process of stripping off the lower, the fourth and part of the fifth, principles is an unconscious one in all normal human beings. It is only in very exceptional cases that there is a slight return to consciousness in Kama-loka: and this is the case of very materialistic unspiritual personalities, who, devoid of the
conditions requisite, cannot enter the state of absolute Rest and Bliss.
To the Editors of Lucifer.
As a very new member of the Theosophical Society I have jotted down a few points which appear to me to be worthy of your notice.
(1) What books do you specially advise to be read in connection with Esoteric Buddhism? And any remarks upon them.
(2) Have the Adepts grown or developed to their present state and powers by their own inherent capacities? If so how far can the steps of the process be described?
(3) What is known of the training of the Yogees?
(4) What is known of the Root-races of man of which we are said to be the fifth?
(5) What are Elementals—their nature, powers and communication with man?
(6) In what light are Theosophists to regard the whole account in the late republication of the T.P.S. of the marriage of the Spirit daughter of Colonel Eaton with the Spirit son of Franklin Pearce?!
(7) In the Articles on “The Esoteric Character of the Gospels” I observe that as yet no notice has been taken of Prophecy and its alleged fulfilment in Jesus Christ. I have read these with intense interest, and regret that I was unable to obtain the first two numbers of Lucifer.
I am, Yours truly,
EDITORS’ REPLY:––(1) Five Years of Theosophy, or better the back numbers of The Theosophist, and The Path, also Light on the Path.
When the general outlines have been mastered, other books can be recommended; but it must always be borne in mind that with very few exceptions all books on these subjects are the works of students, not of Masters, and must therefore be studied with caution and a well-balanced mind. All theories should be tested by the reason and not accepted en bloc as revelation.
(2) The process and growth of the Adepts is the secret of Occultism. Were adeptship easy of attainment many would achieve it, but it is the hardest task in nature, and
volumes would be required even to give an outline of the philosophy of this development. (See “Practical Occultism,” in this number.)
(3) Nothing but what they give out themselves—which is very little. Read Patañjali’s Yoga Philosophy; but with caution, for it is very apt to mislead, being written in symbolic language. Compare the article on “Sankhya and Yoga Philosophy” in The Theosophist for March.*
(4) Wait for H. P. Blavatsky’s forthcoming work: The Secret Doctrine.
(5) See The Secret Doctrine, also Isis Unveiled, and various articles in The Theosophist, especially “About the Mineral Monad” (also reprinted in Five Years of Theosophy).†
(6) The account referred to was quoted to show how absurdly materialistic are the common ideas, even among intelligent Spiritualists, of the post-mortem states. It was intended to bring home vividly the unphilosophical character, and the hopeless inadequacy, of such conceptions.
(7) The subject of “Prophecy” may be dealt with in a future article of the series; but the questions involved are too irritating to the casual Christian reader, too important and need too much bibliographical research, to permit of their continuation from month to month.
To the Editors of Lucifer.
In the last issue of Lucifer is a paper “Self-Evident Truths and Logical Deductions.” The paper is important, but is not, in my opinion, sufficiently clear. “One is a Unity and cannot be divided into two Ones.” This is so if we understand Unity to be many entities, parts, or forms, organised into a body of harmony so forming a Unity.
* [Vol. IX, No. 102, March, 1888, pp. 342-56. Lecture read by the Secretary, Mr. A. J. Cooper-Oakley, before the Convention of The Theosophical Society, Adyar, December, 1887.—Compiler.]
† [Vide Volume V (1883), pp. 171-75, of the present Series.—Compiler.]
I would like to ask, if the Universe, the One or All, must not be of a certain size; and if so, is the Original One, the ever produced, not of the same size?
Also, being an organic Whole, what is the form of the All? And is the form, whatever it is, not also the form of the self-existent Cause or God?
Is nature co-eternal with God? Or was there a time, or rather state, when God, the self-existent One, was all in all, before nature was produced from himself? I cannot think of anything of nature, spirit, soul, or God, without the ideas of size, form, number, and relation. So there can be no Life, Law, Cause, or Force, formless in itself, yet causative of forms. All evolutions are in, by, and unto forms; the All-evolver is Himself all Form.
The truth of the Universe is the Form of the Universe. The Truth of God is the Form of God. What Form is that? To attain to that is the great attainment for the intelligence at least. In these few lines my aim is mainly an enquiry.
J. W. HUNTER.
Edinburgh, 29th March, 1888.
EDITORS’ REPLY.—According to the Eastern philosophy a unity composed of “many entities, parts, or forms” is a compound unity on the plane of Maya—illusion or ignorance. The One universal divine Unity cannot be a differentiated whole, however much “organized into a body of harmony.” Organization implies external work out of materials at hand, and can never be connected with the self-existent, eternal, and unconditioned Absolute Unity.
This ONE SELF, absolute intelligence and existence, therefore non-intelligence and non-existence (to the finite and conditioned perception of man), is “impartite, beyond the range of speech and thought and is the substract of all” teaches Vedantasara in its introductory Stanza.
How, then, can the Infinite and the Boundless, the unconditioned and the absolute, be of any size? The question can only apply to a dwarfed reflection of the uncreate ray on the mayavic plane, or our phenomenal Universe; to one of the finite Elohim, who was most probably in the mind of our correspondent. To the (philosophically) untrained Pantheist, who identifies the objective Kosmos with the
abstract Deity, and for whom Kosmos and Deity are synonymous terms, the form of the illusive objectivity must be the form of that Deity. To the (philosophically) trained Pantheist, the abstraction, or the noumenon, is the ever to be unknown Deity, the one eternal reality, formless, because homogeneous and impartite; boundless, because Omnipresent—as otherwise it would only be a contradiction in ideas not only in terms; and the concrete phenomenal form—its vehicle—no better than an aberration of the ever-deceiving physical senses.
“Is nature co-eternal with God?” It depends on what is meant by “nature.” If it is objective phenomenal nature, then the answer is—though ever latent in divine Ideation, but being only periodical as a manifestation, it cannot be co-eternal. But “abstract” nature and Deity, or what our correspondent calls “Self-existent cause or God,” are inseparable and even identical. Theosophy objects to the masculine pronoun used in connection with the Self-existent Cause, or Deity. It says IT—inasmuch as that “Cause” the rootless root of all—is neither male, female, nor anything to which an attribute—something always conditioned, finite, and limited—can be applied. The confession made by our esteemed correspondent that he “cannot think of anything of nature, spirit[!], soul or God [!!] without the ideas of size, form, number, and relation,” is a living example of the sad spirit of anthropomorphism in this age of ours. It is this theological and dogmatic anthropomorphism which has begotten and is the legitimate parent of materialism. If once we realize that form is merely a temporary perception dependent on our physical senses and the idiosyncrasies of our physical brain and has no existence, per se, then this illusion that formless cause cannot be causative of forms will soon vanish. To think of Space in relation to any limited area, basing oneself on its three dimensions of length, breadth, and thickness, is strictly in accordance with mechanical ideas; but it is inapplicable in metaphysics and transcendental philosophy. To say then that “The Truth of God is the Form of God,” is to ignore even the exotericism of the Old Testament. “And the Lord spake unto you out of the
midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude. . . .” (Deut., iv, 12). And to think of the All-Evolver as something which has “size, form, number, and relation,” is to think of a finite and conditioned personal God, a part only of the ALL. And in such case, why should this part be better than its fellow-parts? Why not believe in Gods—the other rays of the All-Light? To say—“Among the gods who is like Thee O Lord” does not make the God so addressed really “the god of gods” or any better than his fellow-gods; it simply shows that every nation made a god of its own, and then, in its great ignorance and superstition, served and flattered and tried to propitiate that god. Polytheism on such lines, is more rational and philosophical than anthropomorphous monotheism.
To the Editors of Lucifer.
Several questions have of late occurred to me at the entry of the subject of Theosophy. . . . I am quite new to the study, and must perforce express myself crudely. I gather that an early result of entire devotion to an inner contemplative life, and a life also of fine unselfishness, such a life as is calculated to allow of the growth of faculties otherwise dormant, that a result of this life will be a growing recognition of the underlying unity of man and his surroundings, that to such a man truth will make itself known from within, and therefore will claim instant acceptance and unquestionable certitude; that in fact the longer that such a life is lived with unfading enthusiasm, the higher will the central spirit rise in self-assertion, the wider will be the survey of creation, and the more immediate the apprehension of truth; also that with these tends to develop a greater physical command of the forces of nature.
Now I submit that such a life as is here spoken of, is led by men who attain to none of these results. Most of us know Christians who seem never to have a selfish thought, who exist in an atmosphere of self-sacrifice for others, and whose leisure is all spent in meditation and in emotional prayer, which surely is seeking after truth. Yet they do not attain it. They fail to rise out of Christianity into Theosophy; they remain for ever limited to, and satisfied with the narrow space they move in. (1) It may be replied that they do expand slowly. Granted, for some of them. But my point is that there do exist (and one is enough for my purpose) men, and particularly women, leading lives both of spiritual meditation and of
unselfishness, to whom nevertheless is not vouchsafed a clearer view of the great universe, a larger apprehension of Theosophic truth, nor any increased physical command of nature.
(2) As regards the last point, take for an example John Stuart Mill. Surely he lived always in the white light of exalted contemplation and instant readiness of high unselfishness; yet to him came no dawn of Theosophic light, nor any larger hold upon the forces of material nature. (3) May I ask now for a word of explanation on this point? I apologise for the trouble I give, and for my want of ability in unfolding my difficulty.
EDITORS’ REPLY.—(1) Nowhere in the theosophic teachings was it stated that a life of entire devotion to one’s duty alone, or “a contemplative life,” graced even by “fine unselfishness” was sufficient in itself to awaken dormant faculties and lead man to the apprehension of final truths, let alone spiritual powers. To lead such life is an excellent and meritorious thing, under any circumstances, whether one be a Christian or a Mussulman, a Jew, Buddhist or Brahmin, and according to Eastern philosophy it must and will benefit a person, if not in his present, then in his future existence on earth, or what we call rebirth. But to expect that leading the best of lives helps one—without the help of philosophy and esoteric wisdom—to perceive “the soul of things” and develops in him “a physical command of the forces of nature,” i.e., endows him with abnormal or adept powers—is really too sanguine. Less than by any one else can such results be achieved by a sectarian of whatever exoteric creed. For the path to which his meditation is confined, and upon which his contemplation travels, is too narrow, too thickly covered with the weeds of dogmatic beliefs—the fruits of human fancy and error—to permit the pure ray of any Universal truth to shine upon it. His is a blind faith, and when his eyes open he has to give it up and cease being a “Christian” in the theological sense. The instance is not a good one. It is like pointing to a man immersed in “holy” water in a bathtub and asking why he has not learnt to swim in it, since he is sitting in such holy fluid. Moreover, “unfading enthusiasm” and “emotional prayer” are not exactly the conditions required for
the achievement of true theosophic and spiritual development. These means can at best help to psychic development. If our correspondent is anxious to learn the difference between Spiritual and Psychic wisdom, between Sophia and Psyche, let him turn to the Greek text (the English translation is garbled) in the Epistle of James, iii, 15-16, and he will know that one is divine and the other terrestrial, “sensual devilish.”
(2) The same applies to the second case in hand, and even to the third.
(3) Both—i.e., persons in general, leading lives of spiritual meditation, and those who like John Stuart Mill live “always in the white light of exalted contemplation,” do not pursue truth in the right direction, and therefore they fail; moreover John Stuart Mill set up for himself an arbitrary standard of truth, inasmuch as he made his physical consciousness the final court of appeal. His was a case of a wonderful development of the intellectual and terrestrial side of psyche or soul, but Spirit he rejected as all Agnostics do. And how can any final truths be apprehended except by the Spirit, which is the only and eternal reality in Heaven as on Earth?
A lady writes from America:
In the fourth number of Lucifer on page 328* are the words:
“Enough has been given out at various times regarding the conditions of post-mortem existence, to furnish a solid block of information on this point.”
The writer would be glad to be told where this information may be found. Is it in print? Or must one be Occultist enough to find it out in the “Symbology” of the Bible for himself?
“ONE WHO HUNGERS FOR SOME OF THIS KNOWLEDGE.”
It is certainly necessary to be an “Occultist” before the post-mortem states of man can be correctly understood
* [December, 1887. Vide p. 299 of Vol. VIII in the present Series.—Compiler.]
and realised, for this can only be accomplished through the actual experience of one who has the faculty of placing his consciousness on the Kamalokic and Devachanic planes. But a good deal has been given out in The Theosophist. Much also can be learnt from the symbology not only of the Bible but of all religions, especially the Egyptian and the Hindu. Only again the key to that symbology is in the keeping of the Occult Sciences and their Custodians.