Conversations on Occultism
Sage.- Such attitude of mind must be attained as will enable one to look into the realities of things. The mind must escape from the mere formalities and conventions of life, even though outwardly one seems to obey all of them, and should be firmly established on the truth that Man is a copy of the Universe and has in himself a portion of the Supreme Being. To the extent this is realized will be the clearness of perception of truth. A realization of this leads inevitably to the conclusion that all other men and beings are united with us, and this removes the egotism which is the result of the notion of separateness. When the truth of Unity is understood, then distinctions due to comparisons made like the Pharisee's, that one is better than his neighbor, disappear from the mind, leaving it more pure and free to act.
Student.- What would you point out as a principal foe to the mind's grasping of truth?
Sage.- The principal foe of a secondary nature is what was once called phantasy; that is, the reappearance of thoughts and images due to recollection or memory. Memory is an important power, but mind in itself is not memory. Mind is restless and wandering in its nature, and must be controlled. Its wandering disposition is necessary or stagnation would result. But it can be controlled and fixed upon an object or idea. Now as we are constantly looking at and hearing of new things, the natural restlessness of the mind becomes prominent when we set about pinning it down. Then memory of many objects, things, subjects, duties, persons, circumstances, and affairs brings up before it the various pictures and thoughts belonging to them. After these the mind at once tries to go, and we find ourselves wandering from the point. It must hence follow that the storing of a multiplicity of useless and surely-recurring thoughts is an obstacle to the acquirement of truth. And this obstacle is the very one peculiar to our present style of life.
Student.- Can you mention some of the relations in which the sun stands to us and nature in respect to Occultism?
Sage.- It has many such, and all important. But I would draw your attention first to the greater and the more comprehensive. The sun is the center of our solar system. The life-energies of that system come to it through the sun, which is a focus or reflector for the spot in space where the real center is. And not only comes mere life through that focus, but also much more that is spiritual in its essence. The sun should therefore not only be looked at with the eye but thought of by the mind. It represents to the world what the Higher Self is to the man. It is the soul-center of the world with its six companions, as the Higher Self is the center for the six principles of man. So it supplies to those six principles of the man many spiritual essences and powers. He should for that reason think of it and not confine himself to gazing at it. So far as it acts materially in light, heat, and gravity, it will go on of itself, but man as a free agent must think upon it in order to gain what benefit can come only from his voluntary action in thought.
Student.- Will you refer to some minor one?
Sage.- Well, we sit in the sun for heat and possible chemical effects. But if at the same time that we do this we also think on it as the sun in the sky and of its possible essential nature, we thereby draw from it some of its energy not otherwise touched. This can also be done on a dark day when clouds obscure the sky, and some of the benefit thus be obtained. Natural mystics, learned and ignorant, have discovered this for themselves here and there, and have often adopted the practice. But it depends, as you see, upon the mind.
Student.- Does the mind actually do anything when it takes up a thought and seeks for more light?
Sage.- It actually does. A thread, or a finger, or a long darting current flies out from the brain to seek for knowledge. It goes in all directions and touches all other minds it can reach so as to receive the information if possible. This is telepathically, so to say, accomplished. There are no patents on true knowledge or philosophy nor copyrights in that realm. Personal rights of personal life are fully respected, save by potential black magicians who would take anyone's property. But general truth belongs to all, and when the unseen messenger from one mind arrives and touches the real mind of another, that other gives up to it what it may have of truth about general subjects. So the mind's finger or wire flies until it gets the thought or seed-thought from the other and makes it its own. But our modern competitive system and selfish desire for gain and fame is constantly building a wall around people's minds to everyone's detriment.
Student.- Do you mean that the action you describe is natural, usual, and universal, or only done by those who know how and are conscious of it?
Sage.- It is universal and whether the person is aware or not of what is going on. Very few are able to perceive it in themselves, but that makes no difference. It is done always. When you sit down to earnestly think on a philosophical or ethical matter, for instance, your mind flies off, touching other minds, and from them you get varieties of thought. If you are not well-balanced and psychically purified, you will often get thoughts that are not correct. Such is your Karma and the Karma of the race [H.P.B. probably means all of present day humanity, see also explanations]. But if you are sincere and try to base yourself on right philosophy, your mind will naturally reject wrong notions. You can see in this how it is that systems of thought are made and kept going, even though foolish, incorrect, or pernicious.
Student.- What mental attitude and aspirations are the best safeguards in this, as likely to aid the mind in these searches to reject error and not let it fly into the brain?
Sage.- Unselfishness, Altruism in theory and practice, desire to do the will of the Higher Self which is the "Father in Heaven", devotion to the human race. Subsidiary to these are discipline, correct thinking, and good education.
Student.- Is the uneducated man, then, in a worse condition?
Sage.- Not necessarily so. The very learned are so immersed in one system that they reject nearly all thoughts not in accord with preconceived notions. The sincere ignorant one is often able to get the truth but not able to express it. The ignorant masses generally hold in their minds the general truths of Nature, but are limited as to expression. And most of the best discoveries of scientific men have been obtained in this sub-conscious telepathic mode. Indeed, they often arrive in the learned brain from some obscure and so-called ignorant person, and then the scientific discoverer makes himself famous because of his power of expression and means for giving it out.
Student.- Does this bear at all upon the work of the Adepts of all good Lodges?
Sage.- It does. They have all the truths that could be desired, but at the same time are able to guard them from the seeking minds of those who are not yet ready to use them properly, and then touch his cogitating mind with a picture of what he seeks. He then has a "flash" of thought in the line of his deliberations, as many of them have admitted. He gives it out to the world, becomes famous, and the world wiser. This is constantly done by the Adepts, but now and then they give out larger expositions of Nature's truths, as in the case of H.P.B. This is not at first generally accepted, as personal gain and fame are not advanced by any admission of benefit from the writings of another, but as it is done with a purpose, for the use of a succeeding century, it will do its work at the proper time.
Student.- How about the Adepts knowing what is going on in the world of thought, in the West, for instance?
Sage.- They have only to voluntarily and consciously connect their minds with those of the dominant thinkers of the day to at once discover what has been or is being worked out in thought and to review all. This they constantly do, and as constantly incite to further elaborations or changes by throwing out the suggestion in the mental plane so that seeking and receptive minds may use it.
Student.- Are there any rules, binding on all, in white magic or good occultism? I mean rules similar to the ten commandments of the Christians, or the rules for the protection of life, liberty, and property recognized by human law.
Sage.- There are such rules of the most stringent character, the breaking of which is never wiped out save by expiation. Those rules are not made up by some brain or mind, but flow from the laws of nature, of mind, and of soul. Hence they are impossible of nullification. One may break them and seem to escape for a whole life or for more than a life; but the very breaking of them sets in motion at once other causes which begin to make effects, and most unerringly those effects at last react on the violator. Karma here acts as it does elsewhere, and becomes a Nemesis who, though sometimes slow, is fate itself in its certainty.
Student.- It is not, then, the case that when an occultist violates a rule some other adept or agent starts out like a detective or policeman and brings the culprit to justice at a bar or tribunal such as we sometimes read of in the imaginative works of mystical writers or novelists?
Sage.- No, there is no such pursuit. On the contrary, all the fellow-adepts or students are but too willing to aid the offender, not in escaping punishment, but in sincerely trying to set counteracting causes in motion for the good of all. For the sin of one reacts on the whole human family. If, however, the culprit does not wish to do the amount of counteracting good, he is merely left alone to the law of nature, which is in fact that of his own inner life from which there can be no escape. In Lytton's novel, Zanoni, you will notice the grave Master, Mejnour, trying to aid Zanoni, even at the time when the latter was falling slowly but surely into the meshes twisted by himself that ended in his destruction. Mejnour knew the law and so did Zanoni. The latter was suffering from some former error which he had to work out; the former, if himself to stern and unkind, would later on come to the appropriate grief for such a mistake. But meanwhile he was bound to help his friend, as are all those who really believe in brotherhood.
Student.- What one of those rules in any way corresponds to "Thou shalt not steal"?
Sage.- That one which was long ago expressed by the ancient sage in the words, "Do not covet the wealth of any creature." This is better than "Thou shalt not steal," for you cannot steal unless you covet. If you steal for hunger you may be forgiven, but you coveted the food for a purpose, just as another covets merely for the sake of possession. The wealth of others includes all their possessions, and does not mean mere money alone. Their ideas, their private thoughts, their mental forces, powers, and faculties, their psychic powers - all, indeed, on all planes that they own or have. While they in that realm are willing to give it all away, it must not be coveted by another.
You have no right, therefore, to enter into the mind of another who has not given the permission and take from him what is not yours. You become a burglar on the mental and psychic plane when you break this rule. You are forbidden taking anything for personal gain, profit, advantage, or use. But you may take what is for the general good, if you are far enough advanced and good enough to be able to extricate the personal element from it. This rule would, you can see, cut off all those who are well known to every observer, who want psychic powers for themselves and their own uses. If such persons had those powers of inner sight and hearing that they so much want, no power could prevent them from committing theft on the unseen planes wherever they met a nature that was not protected. And as most of us are very far from perfect, so far, indeed, that we must work for many lives, yet the Masters of Wisdom do not aid our defective natures in getting weapons that would cut our own hands. For the law acts implacably, and the breaches made would find their end and result in long after years. The Black Lodge, however, is very willing to let any poor, weak, or sinful mortal get such power, because that would swell the number of victims they so much require.
Student.- Is there any rule corresponding to "Thou shalt not bear false witness"?
Sage.- Yes; the one which requires you never to inject into the brain of another a false or untrue thought. As we can project our thoughts to another's mind, we must not throw untrue ones to another. It comes before him, and he, overcome by its strength perhaps, finds it echoing in him, and it is a false witness speaking falsely within, confusing and confounding the inner spectator who lives on thought.
Student.- How can one prevent the natural action of the mind when pictures of the private lives of others rise before one?
Sage.- That is difficult for the run of men. Hence the mass have not the power in general; it is kept back as much as possible. But when the trained soul looks about in the realm of soul it is also able to direct its sight, and when it finds rising up a picture of what it should not voluntarily take, ti turns its face away. A warning comes with all such pictures which must be obeyed. This is not a rare rule or piece of information, for there are many natural clairvoyants who know it very well, though many of them do not think that others have the same knowledge.
Student.- What do you mean by a warning coming with the picture?
Sage.- In this realm the slightest thought becomes a voice or a picture. All thoughts make pictures. Every person has his private thoughts and desires. Around these he makes also a picture of his wish for privacy, and that to the clairvoyant becomes a voice or picture of warning which seems to say it must be let alone. With some it may assume the form of a person who says not to approach, with others it will be a voice, with still others a simple but certain knowledge that the matter is sacred. All these varieties depend on th psychological idiosyncrasies of the seer.
Student.- What kind of thought or knowledge is excepted from these rules?
Sage.- General, and philosophical, religious, and moral. That is to say, there is no law of copyright or patent which is purely human in invention and belongs to the competitive system. When a man thinks out truly a philosophical problem it is not his under the laws of nature; it belongs to all; he is not in this realm entitled to any glory, to any profit, to any private use in it. Hence the seer may take as much of it as he pleases, but must on his part not claim it or use it for himself. Similarly with other generally beneficial matters. They are for all. If a Spencer thinks out a long series of wise things good for all men, the seer can take them all. Indeed, but few thinkers do any original thinking. They pride themselves on doing so, but in fact their seeking minds go out all over the world of mind and take from those of slower movement what is good and true, and then make them their own, sometimes gaining glory, sometimes money, and in this age claiming all as theirs and profiting by it.
Sage.- They are not all unconscious. First, there are the humdrum masses of elementals that move like nerve-currents with every motion of man, beast, or natural elements. Next are classes of those which have a peculiar power and consciousness of their own and not easily reached by any man. Then come the shades of the dead, whether mere floating shells, or animated elementals, or infused with galvanic and extraordinary action by the Brothers of the Shadow. Last, the Brothers of the Shadow, devoid of physical bodies save in rare cases, bad souls living long in that realm and working according to their nature for no other end than evil until they are finally annihilated - they are the lost souls of Kāma Loka as distinguished from the "animated corpses" devoid of souls which live and move among men. These Black entities are Dugpas, the Black Magicians.
Student.- Have they anything to do with the shocks, knocks, bad influences, disintegration of soft material accompanied by noises more or less distinct?
Sage.- Yes, they have. Not always, of course. But where they are actually seen at the time preceding such occurrence, they are the agents.
Student.- Then I am to suppose that if such takes place with me I am the attracting person, the unfortunate channel through which they have come?
Sage.- No, you are thoroughly in error here. You are not such a channel in that case. You are in fact the opposite, and the very cause for the temporary defeat of that dark entity. You have mistaken the appearance, the outer manipulation of forces, for the thing itself. If you were their channel, their agent, the cause for their coming and thus making their presence possible, there would be no noise and no explosion. They would then act in and through you for the hurt of others, silently and insidiously. They approach your sphere and attempt to make entry. The strength of your character, of your aspiration, of your life, throws them off, and they are obliged, like rain-clouds, to discharge themselves. The more strong they are, the louder will be their retreating manifestation. For the time they are temporarily destroyed or, rather, put outside the combat, and, like a war vessel, have to retire for repairs. In their case this consists in accumulating force for a new attack, there or elsewhere.
Student.- If, then, such loud explosions, with pulverization of wall-plaster and the like, take place, and such an entity is seen astrally, it follows that the person near whom it all occurred - if identification due to solitude is possible - was in fact the person who, by reason of inner power and opposition to the evil entity, became the cause for its bursting or temporary defeat?
Sage.- Yes, that is correct. The person is not the cause for the entity's approach, nor its friend, but is the safeguard in fact for those who otherwise would be insidiously affected. Uninformed students are likely to argue the other way, but that will be due to want of correct knowledge. I will describe to you condensedly an actual case. Sitting at rest on a seat, eyes closed, I saw approach one of those evil entities along the astral currents, and looking as a man. His hands like claws reached out to affect me; on this face was a develish expression. Full of force he moved quickly up. But as I looked at him the confidence I felt and the protection about me acted as an intense shock to him, and he appeared to burst from within, to stagger, fall to pieces, and then disappeared. Just as the disintegration began, a loud noise was caused by the sudden discharge of astral electricity, causing reactions that immediately transmitted themselves into the objects in the room, until, reaching the limit of tension, they created a noise. This is just the phenomenon of thunder, which accompanies discharges in the clouds and is followed by equilibrium.
Student.- Can I carry this explanation into every objective phenomenon, say, then, of spiritualistic rappings?
Sage.- No, not to every case. It holds with many, but specially relates to the conscious entities I was speaking of. Very often the small taps and raps one hears are produced under the law referred to, but without the presence of such an entity. These are the final dissipations of collected energy. That does not always argue a present extraneous and extraneous and conscious entity. But in so far as these taps are the conclusion of an operation, that is, the thunder from one astral cloud to another, they are dissipations of accumulated force. With this distinction in mind you should not be confused.
Student.- Have not colors a good deal to do with this matter?
Sage.- Yes; but just now we will not go into the question of color except to say that the evil entities referred to often assume a garb of good color, but are not able to hide the darkness that belongs to their nature.