H.P. Blavatsky quotes on Intuition
Isis Unveiled, p. 433-436
The latent mentality which, in the lower kingdoms is recognized as semi-consciousness, consciousness, and instinct, is largely subdued in man. Reason, the outgrowth of the physical brain, develops at the expense of instinct — the flickering reminiscence of a once divine omniscience — spirit. Reason, the badge of the sovereignty of physical man over all other physical organisms, is often put to shame by the instinct of an animal. As his brain is more perfect than that of any other creature, its emanations must naturally produce the highest results of mental action; but reason avails only for the consideration of material things; it is incapable of helping its possessor to a knowledge of spirit. In losing instinct, man loses his intuitional powers, which are the crown and ultimatum of instinct. Reason is the clumsy weapon of the scientists — intuition the unerring guide of the seer. Instinct teaches plant and animal their seasons for the procreation of their species, and guides the dumb brute to find his appropriate remedy in the hour of sickness. Reason — the pride of man — fails to check the propensities of his matter, and brooks no restraint upon the unlimited gratification of his senses. Far from leading him to be his own physician, its subtile sophistries lead him too often to his own destruction.
Nothing is more demonstrable than the proposition that the perfection of matter is reached at the expense of instinct. The zoöphyte attached to the submarine rock, opening its mouth to attract the food that floats by, shows, proportionately with its physical structure, more instinct than the whale. The ant, with its wonderful architectural, social, and political abilities, is inexpressibly higher in the scale than the subtile royal tiger watching its prey. “With awe and wonder,” exclaims du Bois-Raymond, “must the student of nature regard that microscopic molecule of nervous substance which is the seat of the laborious, constructive, orderly, loyal, dauntless soul of the ant!”
Like everything else which has its origin in psychological mysteries, instinct has been too long neglected in the domain of science. “We see what indicated the way to man to find relief for all his physical ailings,” says Hippocrates. “It is the instinct of the earlier races, when cold reason had not as yet obscured man’s inner vision. . . . Its indication must never be disdained, for it is to instinct alone that we owe our first remedies.” (* See Cabanis: “Histoire de la Médecine.”) Instantaneous and unerring cognition of an omniscient mind, instinct is in everything unlike the finite reason; and in the tentative progress of the latter, the god-like nature of man is often utterly engulfed, whenever he shuts out from himself the divine light of intuition. The one crawls, the other flies; reason is the power of the man, intuition the prescience of the woman!
Plotinus, the pupil of the great Ammonius Saccas, the chief founder of the Neo-platonic school, taught that human knowledge had three ascending steps: opinion, science, and illumination. He explained it by saying that “the means or instrument of opinion is sense, or perception: of science, dialectics; of illumination, intuition (or divine instinct). To the last, reason is subordinate; it is absolute knowledge founded on the identification of the mind with the object known.”
Prayer opens the spiritual sight of man, for prayer is desire, and desire develops WILL; the magnetic emanations proceeding from the body at every effort — whether mental or physical — produce self-magnetization and ecstasy. Plotinus recommended solitude for prayer, as the most efficient means of obtaining what is asked; and Plato advised those who prayed to “remain silent in the presence of the divine ones, till they remove the cloud from thy eyes, and enable thee to see by the light which issues frorn themselves.” Apollonius always isolated himself from men during the “conversation” he held with God, and whenever he felt the necessity for divine contemplation and prayer, he wrapped himself, head and all, in the drapery of his white woolen mantle. “When thou prayest enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father in secret,” says the Nazarene, the pupil of the Essenes .
Every human being is born with the rudiment of the inner sense called intuition, which may be developed into what the Scotch know as “second sight.” All the great philosophers, who, like Plotinus, Porphyry, and Iamblichus employed this faculty, taught the doctrine. “There is a faculty of the human mind,” writes Iamblichus, “which is superior to all which is born or begotten. Through it we are enabled to attain union with the superior intelligences, to being transported beyond the scenes of this world, and to partaking the higher life and peculiar powers of the heavenly ones.”
Were there no inner sight or intuition, the Jews would never have had their Bible, nor the Christians Jesus. What both Moses and Jesus gave to the world was the fruit of their intuition or illumination. What their subsequent elders and teachers allowed the world to understand was — dogmatic misrepresentations, too often blasphemy.
To accept the Bible as a “revelation” and nail belief to a literal translation is worse than absurdity — it is a blasphemy against the Divine majesty of the “Unseen.” If we had to judge of the Deity, and the world of spirits, by its human interpreters, now that philology proceeds with giant-strides on the fields of comparative religions, belief in God and the soul’s immortality could not withstand the attacks of reason for one century more. That which supports the faith of man in God and a spiritual life to come is intuition; that divine outcome of our inner-self, which defies the mummeries of the Roman Catholic priest, and his ridiculous idols; the thousand and one ceremonies of the Brahman and his idols; and the Jeremiads of the Protestant preacher, and his desolate and arid creed, with no idols, but a boundless hell and damnation hooked on at the end. Were it not for this intuition undying though often wavering because so clogged with matter, human life would be a parody and humanity a fraud. This ineradicable feeling of the presence of some one outside and inside ourselves is one that no dogmatic contradictions, nor external form of worship can destroy in humanity, let scientists and clergy do what they may. Moved by such thoughts of the boundlessness and impersonality of the Deity, Gautama-Buddha, the Hindu Christ, exclaimed: “As the four rivers which fall in the Ganges lose their names as soon as they mingle their waters with the holy river, so all who believe in Buddha cease to be Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sûdras!”
Blavatsky Collected Writings, Volume IX (9), p. 400-G
Student.—How is one to know when he gets real occult information from the Self within?
Sage.—Intuition must be developed and the matter judged from the true philosophical basis, for if it is contrary to true general rules it is wrong. It has to be known from a deep and profound analysis by which we find out what is from egotism alone and what is not; if it is due to egotism, then it is not from the Spirit and is untrue. The power to know does not come from book-study nor from mere philosophy, but mostly from the actual practice of altruism in deed, word, and thought; for that practice purifies the covers of the soul and permits that light to shine down into the brain-mind. As the brain-mind is the receiver in the waking state, it has to be purified from sense-perccption, and the truest way to do this is by combining philosophy with the highest outward and inward virtue.
Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume XI (11), p. 253, 254
Everyone of us possesses the faculty, the interior sense, known as intuition, but how rare are those who know how to develop it! It is, however, the only faculty by means of which men and things are seen in their true colours. It is an instinct of the soul, which grows in us in proportion to the use we make of it, and which helps us to perceive and understand real and absolute facts with far more certainty than can the simple use of our senses and the exercise of our reason. What are called good sense and logic enable us to see the appearance of things, that which is evident to everyone. The instinct of which I speak, being a projection of our perceptive consciousness, a projection which acts from the subjective to the objective, and not vice versa, awakens the spiritual senses in us and the power to act; these senses assimilate to themselves the essence of the object or of the action under examination, and represent them to us as they really are, not as they appear to our physical senses and to our cold reason. “We begin with instinct, we end with omniscience,” says Professor A. Wilder, our oldest colleague. Iamblichus has described this faculty, and some Theosophists have been able to appreciate the truth of his description.
There exists [he says] a faculty in the human mind which is immensely superior to all those which are grafted or engendered in us. By means of it we can attain to union with superior intelligences, finding ourselves raised above the scenes of this earthly life, and partaking of the higher existence and superhuman powers of the inhabitants of the celestial spheres. By this faculty we find ourselves finally liberated from the dominion of Destiny [Karman], and we become, so to say, arbiters of our own fate. For when the most excellent part of us finds itself filled with energy, and when our soul is lifted up towards essences higher than science, it can separate itself from the conditions which hold it in bondage to every-day life; it exchanges its ordinary existence for another one, and renounces the conventional habits which belong to the external order of things, to give itself up to, and mix itself with, another order of things which reigns in that most elevated state of existence . . . (Iamblichus, De mysteriis, VIII, 6 and 7. )
Plato expressed the same idea in a couple of lines:
The light and spirit of the Divinity are the wings of the soul. They raise it to communion with the gods, above this earth, with which the spirit of man is too ready to soil itself . . . To become like the gods, is to become holy, just and wise. That is the end for which man was created, and that ought to be his aim in the acquisition of knowledge.*
This is true Theosophy, inner Theosophy, that of the soul. But, followed with a selfish aim, Theosophy changes its nature and becomes demonosophy. That is why Oriental Wisdom teaches us that the Hindu Yogi who isolates himself in an impenetrable forest, like the Christian hermit who, as was common in former times, retires to the desert, are both of them but accomplished egoists. The one acts with the sole idea of finding in the One essence of Nirvâna refuge against reincarnation; the other acts with the unique idea of saving his soul—both of them think only of themselves. Their motive is altogether personal; for, even supposing they attain their end, are they not like cowardly soldiers, who desert the regiment when it goes into action, in order to protect themselves from the bullets? In isolating themselves as they do, neither the Yogi nor the “saint” helps anyone but himself; on the contrary, both show themselves profoundly indifferent to the fate of mankind whom they fly from and desert.