Quotes from Classic Theosophical writers like H.P. Blavatsky, W.Q. Judge, the Mahatmas Koot Hoomi and Morya and others.
There is a road, steep and thorny, beset with perils of every kind, but yet a road, and it leads to the very heart of the Universe:
I can tell you how to find those who will show you the secret gateway that opens inward only, and closes fast behind the neophyte for evermore.
There is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer;
there is no trial that spotless purity cannot pass through;
there is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount.
For those who win onwards there is a reward past all telling
- the power to bless and save humanity;
for those who fail, there are other lives in which success may come.
A CLEAN LIFE,
AN OPEN MIND,
A PURE HEART,
AN EAGER INTELLECT,
AN UNVEILED SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION,
A BROTHERLINESS FOR ONE'S CO-DISCIPLE,
A READINESS TO GIVE AND RECEIVE ADVICE AND INSTRUCTION,
A LOYAL SENSE OF DUTY TO THE TEACHER,
A WILLING OBEDIENCE TO THE BEHESTS OF TRUTH,
ONCE WE HAVE PLACED OUR CONFIDENCE IN, AND BELIEVE THAT TEACHER TO BE IN POSSESSION OF IT;
A COURAGEOUS ENDURANCE OF PERSONAL INJUSTICE,
A BRAVE DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES,
A VALIANT DEFENSE OF THOSE WHO ARE UNJUSTLY ATTACKED,
AND A CONSTANT EYE ON THE IDEAL OF HUMAN PROGRESSION AND PERFECTION WHICH THE SECRET SCIENCE (GUPTA-VIDYA) DEPICTS
- THESE ARE THE GOLDEN STAIRS UP THE STEPS OF WHICH THE LEARNER WAY CLIMB TO THE TEMPLE OF DIVINE WISDOM.
It should never be forgotten that Occultism is concerned with the inner man, who must be strengthened and freed from the dominion of the physical body and its surroundings, which must become his servants. Hence the first and chief necessity of chelaship is a spirit of absolute unselfishness and devotion to Truth; then follow self-knowledge and self-mastery. These are all-important; while outward observance of fixed rules of life is a matter of secondary moment.
True Occultism is the destruction of the false idea of Self, and therefore true spiritual perfection and knowledge are nothing else but the complete identification of our finite "selves" with the Great All. It follows, therefore, that no spiritual progress at all is possible except by and through the bulk of Humanity. It is only when the whole of Humanity has attained happiness that the individual can hope to become permanently happy - for the individual is an inseparable part of the Whole.
Hence there is no contradiction whatever between the altruistic maxims of Theosophy and its injunction to kill out all desire for material things, to strive after spiritual perfection. For spiritual perfection and spiritual knowledge can only be reached on the spiritual plane; in other words, only in that state in which all sense of separateness, all selfishness, all feeling of personal interest and desire, has been merged in the wider consciousness of the unity of Mankind.
This shows also that no blind submission to the commands of another can be demanded, or would be of any use. Each individual must learn for himself, through trial and suffering, to discriminate what is beneficial to Humanity; and in proportion as he develops spiritually, i.e., conquers all selfishness, his mind will open to receive the guidance of the Divine Monad within him, his Higher Self, for which there is neither Past nor Future, but only an eternal Now.
Mahatma Letters letter 49; 3rd ed. p. 278,279, chr. letter 20, p. 72,73
The occult science is not one in which secrets can be communicated of a sudden, by a written or even verbal communication. If so, all the "Brothers" would have to do, would be to publish a Handbook of the art which might be taught in schools as grammar is. It is the common mistake of people that we willingly wrap ourselves and our powers in mystery - that we wish to keep our knowledge to ourselves, and of our own will refuse - "wantonly and deliberately" to communicate it. The truth is that till the neophyte attains to the condition necessary for that degree of Illumination to which, and for which, he is entitled and fitted, most if not all of the secrets are incommunicable. The receptivity must be equal to the desire to instruct. The illumination must come from within
... Knowledge can only be communicated gradually; and some of the highest secrets - if actually formulated even in your [Sinnett's] well prepared ear - might sound to you as insane gibberish.
Echoes III, p 260
WHAT IS OCCULTISM ?
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT TELLING ALL THAT ONE KNOWS; BUT RETICENCE.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT SAYING ALL ONE SUSPECTS; BUT SILENCE.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT SPEAKING OF ALL ONE "SEES"; BUT REVERTING INWARD TO THE SOURCE OF SIGHT.
OCCULTISM THE NOT REPEATING OF ALL ONE "HEARS"; BUT A CLOSED MOUTH LEST HEARING SHOULD ESCAPE THERETHROUGH.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT SPEAKING OF FAULTS OF OTHERS; BUT CHARITY.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT SETTING OF FIXED PLANS BUT A FLUIDIC POSITION BALANCED IN THE GOOD LAW.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT LAYING DOWN FOR ANOTHER HIS DUTY; BUT SELF-WATCHFULNESS IN PERFORMING ONE'S OWN.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT DOING WHAT ONE WISHES AND WHEN ONE WANTS; BUT DISCIPLINE.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT LISTENING TO GOSSIP OR SLANDER; BUT GOOD WILL TO ALL, FROM WHICH GOSSIP AND SLANDER CAN DRAW NO SUSTENANCE.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT GIVING WAY TO ANGER OR IMPATIENCE; BUT CALMNESS.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT BEING VAIN OF ONE'S LEARNING, OR PROUD; BUT HUMILITY.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT HURRYING ONE'S DAILY AFFAIRS NOR FORCING ONE'S PROGRESS; BUT KNOWING THE AMPLITUDE OF TIME IN ALL THINGS.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT DOING ALL THE GREAT WORK THERE IS TO DO; BUT THE WILL TO LABOR; THE WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT HELP OR BE A HELPER; THE JOY THAT ANOTHER DOES A TASK THE BEST.
OCCULTISM IS THE NOT STRIVING TO BE A LEADER OF MEN; BUT TO FOLLOW A LINE.
To admit the possibility of anyone becoming a practical Cabalist (= practical occultist) ... who simply has the firm determination to 'become' one, and hopes to get the secret knowledge through studying the Jewish Cabalah, or every other one that may come into existence, without actually being initiated by another, and so being 'made' such by one who 'knows,' is as foolish as to hope to thread the famous labyrinth without the clue, or to open the secret locks of the ingenious inventors of the mediaeval ages, without having the possession of the keys.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, letter 29, p. 72, 73
To unlock the gates of the mystery you must not only lead a life of the strictest probity, but learn to discriminate truth from falsehood. You have talked a great deal about Karma but have hardly realized the true significance of that doctrine. The time is come when you must lay the foundation of that strict conduct - in the individual as well as in the collective body - which, ever wakeful, guards against conscious as well as unconscious deception.
Our prayers and supplications are vain, unless to potential words we add potent acts, and make the aura which surrounds each one of us so pure and divine that the God within us may act outwardly, or in other words, become as it were an extraneous Potency. Thus have Initiates, Saints and very holy and pure men been enabled to help others as well as themselves in the hour of need, and produce what are foolishly called 'miracles,' each by the help and with the aid of the God within himself, which he alone has enabled to act on the outward plane.
letter from H.P.Blavatsky to Thomas H. Evans, Occult World, dec. 1885
... it has been decreed, from time immemorial, that each one must be his own sufficient pilot and body-guard so far as visible things are concerned. The 'Kingdom of Heaven,' which I need not tell you is but the dominion of man's immortal spirit over the inner force of the Universe, must be taken by violence. I am sorry to be compelled to tell you, that the prize of Wisdom and Power must be won through danger, trial, temptation, the allurements of sense and all the besetments of this world of matter which they counterpoise, hence antagonists of spirit. Broad, smooth and flower-sprinkled is the way to the world's rewards; narrow, hard, sorrow beset the path to the Temple of Truth.
Man and woman in their physical aspects and corporeal envelopes are but higher animals, and the various parts of their bodies, if named at all, must be referred to in terms comprehensible to the student. But the idea of the unclean acts with which some of these organs are connected, does not militate against the fact that each such organ has been evolved and developed to perform six functions on six distinct planes of action, besides its seventh, the lowest and purely terrestrial function on the physical plane.
With regard to faculties and talents, the answer is simple. They should be developed and cultivated for the service of Humanity, of which we are all parts, and to which we owe our full and ungrudging service.
The first letter of K.H. to A.O. Hume, p. 32,33 combined chronology for use with the Mahatma Letters and The letters of H.P.Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett
... for us poor and unknown philanthropists, no fact of either of these sciences is interesting except in the degree of its potentiality of moral results, and in the ratio of its usefulness to mankind. And what, in its proud isolation, can be more utterly indifferent to every one and everything, or more bound to nothing, but the selfish requisites for its advancement than this materialistic and realistic science of fact? May I not ask then without being taxed with a vain "display of science" what have the laws of Faraday, Tyndall, or others to do with philanthropy in their abstract relations with humanity viewed as an integrated whole? What care they for MAN as an isolated atom of this great and harmonious Whole, even though they may sometimes be of practical use to him?
... every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world and becomes an active entity by associating itself - coalescing, we might term it - with an elemental; that is to say with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence, a creature of the mind's begetting, for a longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active beneficent power; an evil one as a maleficent demon. And so man is continually peopling his current in space with impulses, and passions, a current which reacts upon any sensitive or and nervous organization which comes in contact with it in proportion to its dynamic intensity. The Buddhists call this his "Skandha," the Hindu gives it the name of "Karma"; the Adept evolves these shapes consciously, other men throw them off unconsciously.
The adept to be successful and preserve his power must dwell in solitude and more or less within his own soul. Still less does exact science perceive that while the building ant, the busy bee, the nidifacient bird accumulate, each in their own humble way as much cosmic energy in its potential form as a Haydn, a Plato, or a ploughman turning his furrow, in theirs; the hunter who kills game for his pleasure or profit, or the positivist who applies his intellect to proving that + x + = - , are wasting and scattering energy no less than the tiger which springs upon its prey. They all rob nature instead of enriching her, and with all in the degree of their intelligence find themselves accountable. Exact experimental Science has nothing to do with morality, virtue, philantropy, therefore can make no claim upon help, until it blends itself with metaphysics. Being but a cold classification of facts outside man, and existing before and after him, her domain of usefulness ceases for us at the outer boundary of these facts; and whatever the inferences and results for humanity from these materials acquired by her methods, she little cares. Therefore as our sphere lies entirely outside hers - as far as the path of Uranus is outside the earth's - we distinctly refuse to be broken on any wheel of her construction. Heat is but a mode of motion for her, and motion develops heat; but why the mechanical motion of the revolving wheel should be metaphysically of a higher value than the heat into which it is gradually transformed - she has yet to discover.
Among the indispensable pre-requisites for psychic development, noted in the mystical Manuals of all Eastern religious systems, are a pure place, pure diet, pure companionship, and a pure mind.
The difference between White and Black Magic is very difficult to realize fully, as both have to be judged by their motive, upon which their ultimate, though not immediate, effects depend, even though these may not come for years. Between the "right and the left hand [magic] there is but a cobweb thread," says an Eastern proverb.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p. 119
A constant sense of abject dependence upon a Deity which he regards as the sole source of power makes a man lose all self-reliance and the spurs to activity and initiative. Having begun by creating a father and guide unto himself, he becomes like a boy and remains so to his old age, expecting to be led by the hand on the smallest as well as the greatest events of life.
... happiness in this life of matter is of as little importance in relation to the bliss of true spiritual life as are the few years of each human cycle on earth in proportion to the millions and millions of years which each human being spends in the subjective spheres, during the course of every great cycle of activity of our globe.
With regard to faculties and talents, the answer is simple. They should be developed and cultivated for the service of Humanity, of which we are all parts, and to which we owe our full and ungrudging service.
The occult sciences are dangerous for him who understands them imperfectly. Anyone who gave himself to their practice alone would run the risk of becoming insane and those who study them would do well to unite in small groups of from three to seven. These groups ought to be of uneven numbers in order to have more power; a group, however little cohesion it may possess, forming a single united body, wherein the senses and perceptions of the single units complement and mutually help each other, one member supplying to another the quality in which he is wanting - such a group will always end by becoming a perfect and invincible body. "Union is strength." The moral fable of the old man who bequeathing to his sons a bundle of sticks which were never to be separated, is a truth which will forever remain axiomatic.
Occultism is not magic, though magic is one of its tools.
Occultism is not the acquirement of powers, whether psychic or intellectual, though both are its servants. Neither is occultism the pursuit of happiness, as men understand the word; for the first step is sacrifice, the second, renunciation.
Subba Row, Esoteric Writings, p. 240-41
The real difference between a man who has spiritual vision and discernment, and another who does not possess these faculties, is not to be found in the inmost nature of the soul; just as the clearness of vision depends, not on the latent perceptive faculty of the soul or mind, but upon the nature of the organ of vision and the tunics in which it is enveloped, the clearness of spiritual perception depends, not on the nature of the soul, but on the conditions and nature of the Upadhis in which it is placed.
Consequently all progressive development consists in the improvement of the Upadhis; the soul is perfect from the beginning and undergoes not alteration during the course of evolution.
Occultism is the science of life, the art of living.
Damodar, p. 303
"It is no use to fast, as long as you feel the necessity of eating."
We [the Mahatma's] are leaders but not childnurses. The weak ones, not the strong ones, are in constant need of definite 'Orders,' and at times our chelas satisfy their wishes. This is willing slavery, but no healthy growth. Step forward and try to see clearly yourself what is most needed for the Society [TS]. Seek out what your duty may be, and carry it out. If you do the right thing, I will be at your side; but I will not give any advice, and will not involve myself in anything, unless it be unavoidably required, and you were in great doubt...
Light on the Path, Essay on Karma
It is said that a little attention to Occultism produces great karmic results. That is because it is impossible to give any attention to Occultism without making a definite choice between what are familiarly called good and evil The first step in Occultism brings the student to the tree of knowledge. He must pluck and eat; he must choose. No longer is he capable of the indecision of ignorance. He goes on, either on the good or on the evil path. And to step definitely and knowingly even but one step on either path produces great karmic results. The mass of men walk waveringly, uncertain as to the goal they aim at; their standard of life is indefinite; consequently their karma operates in a confused manner. But when once the threshold of knowledge is reached, the confusion begins to lessen, and consequently the karmic results increase enormously, because all are acting in the same direction on all the different planes; for the occultist cannot be half-hearted, nor can he return when he has passed the threshold. These things are as impossible as that a man should become the child again. The individuality has approached the state of responsibility by reason of growth; it cannot recede from it.
Desire to sow no seed for your own harvesting; desire only to sow that seed the fruit of which shall feed the world. You are a part of the world; in giving it food you feed yourself. Yet in even this thought there lurks a great danger which starts forward and faces the disciple who has for long thought himself working for good, while in his inmost soul he has perceived only evil; that is, he has thought himself to be intending great benefit to the world, while all the time he has unconsciously embraced the thought of karma; and the great benefit he works for is for himself. A man may refuse to allow himself to think of reward. But in that very refusal is seen the fact that reward is desired. And it is useless for the disciple to strive to learn by means of checking himself. The soul must be unfettered, the desires free. But untill they are fixed only on that state wherein there is neither reward nor punishment, good nor evil, it is in vain that he endeavours. He may seem to make great progress, but some day he will come face to face with his own soul, and will recognize that when he came to the tree of knowledge he chose the bitter fruit and not the sweet; and the veil will fall utterly, and he will give up his freedom and become a slave of desire. Therefore be warned, you who are but turning towards the life of Occultism. Learn now that there is no cure for desire, no cure for love of reward, no cure for the misery of longing, save in the fixing of the sight and hearing upon that which is invisible and soundless. Begin even now to practice it, and so a thousand serpents will be kept from your path. Live in the eternal.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, letter 16, p. 38
[To Henry Olcott:]
Brother Henry must have the Wisdom of the Serpent and the gentleness of the Lamb. For he who hopes to solve in time the great problems of the Macrocosmal World and conquer face to face the Dweller, taking thus by violence the threshold on which lie buried nature's most mysterious secrets, must Try, first, the energy of his Will power, the indomitable resolution to succeed, and bringing out to the light all the hidden mental faculties of his Atma and highest intelligence, get at the problems of Man's Nature and solve first the mysteries of his heart.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, letter 18, p. 40
... find . . . the means of benefiting humanity by the practical application of the Sephiroths of Love, Mercy, Justice, Divine Charity and boundless Self-abnegation. The microcosmical application of these will but the better enable . . . to comprehend the mysterious laws of attraction in their macrocosmal shape. Purity of earthly love purifies and prepares for the realization of the Divine Love. No mortal man's imagination can conceive of its ideals of the divinity otherwise but in the shape the familiar to him. One who prepares for solving the Infinite must solve the finite first.
The Ideal of the Spiritual can penetrate only through the imagination which is the leading path and first gate to the conceptions and impressions of the earthly Atma.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, second series, letter 24, p. 51
You may - and ought to be - kind to and lenient with an insane person. But not even for the sake of such a kindness have you the right to keep back your religion, and allow him even for one twinkling of the eye to believe you are a Christian or that you may be one. You have to make for ever your choice - either your duty to the Lodge or your own personal ideas.
The Letters of H.P.Blavatsky to A.P. Sinnett, appendix, p. 376.
[Questions to Mahatma's plus answers.]
(1) What are the different kinds of knowledge?
The real (Dgyu) and the unreal (Dgyu-mi). Dgyu becomes Fohat when in its activity - active agent of will - electricity - no other name.
(2) What is the difference between the two kinds of knowledge?
Real knowledge deals with eternal verities and primal causes. The unreal only with illusory effects. Dgyu stands independent of the belief or unbelief of man. Dgyu-mi requires faith - rests on authority.
(3) Who possesses the real knowledge?
The Lhas or adept alone possesses the real, his mind being en rapport with the Universal Mind.
The Lhas has made the perfect junction of his soul with the Universal Mind in its fullness, which makes him for the time a divine being existing in the region of the absolute intelligence, knowledge of natural laws of Dgyu. The profane cannot become a Dang-ma (purified soul), for he lacks means of perceiving Chhag, Genesis or the beginning of things.
Strict asceticism in the midst of the world is more meritorious than avoiding those who do not think as we do, and thus losing an opportunity of showing them the truth.
Esoteric Writings, Subba Row, p. 544
Happy are those whose astral sense is not opened and who do not see all the terrible things that are about us. By a holy life there is a kind of aura developed which protects a man from them. All elementals and Dugpas are afraid of the Protean power. Its very presence seems to strike terror in them.
Mahatma Letters to A.P.Sinnett, letter 7, p. 25, Chr. letter 13, p. 40
... motives are vapours, as attenuated as the atmospheric moisture; and, as the latter develops its dynamic energy for man's use only when concentrated and applied as steam or hydraulic power, so the practical value of good motives is best seen when they take the form of deeds.
Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett,letter 43, p. 257; chr. letter 42, p. 113
Our greatest trouble is to teach pupils not to be befooled by appearances.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p. 74, letter 31
How can you know the real from the unreal, the true from the false? Only by self-development. How get that? By first carefully guarding yourself against the causes of self-deception. And this you can do by spending a certain fixed hour or hours each day all alone in self-contemplation, writing, reading, the purification of your motives, the study and correction of your faults, the planning of your work in the external life. These hours should be sacredly reserved for this purpose, and no one, not even your most intimate friend or friends, should be with you then. Little by little your sight will clear, you will find the mists pass away, your interior faculties strengthen, your attraction towards us gain force, and certainty replace doubts. But beware of seeking or leaning too much upon direct authority. Our ways are not your ways. We rarely show any outward signs by which to be recognized or sensed.
Learn, child, to catch a hint through whatever agency it may be given. 'Sermons may be preached through stones.'
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p. 75, letter 32
The fundamental principle of occultism is that every idle word is recorded as well as one full of earnest meaning. I can do nothing unless you help me by helping yourself. Try to realize that in occultism one can neither go back nor stop. An abyss opens behind every step taken forward.
Letters from the Masters of Wisdom, first series, p.78, letter 36
The greatest consolation in and the foremost duty of life, child, is not to give pain, and avoid causing suffering to man or beast.
... happiness in this life of matter is of as little importance in relation to the bliss of our spiritual life as are the few years spent of each human cycle on earth in proportion to the millions of years which each human being spends in subjective spheres, during the course of every great cycle of the activity of our globe.
[About the healing movements like 'Christian Science':]
The cures affected by them are due simply to the unconscious exercise of occult power on the lower planes of nature - usually prana or life-currents. [The danger of the theories which these movements use as explanation:] In nearly every case, the tenor of the teachings of these schools is such as to lead people to regard the healing process as being applied to the mind of the patient. Here lies the danger, for any such process - however cunningly disguised in words and hidden by false noses - is simply to psychologize the patient. In other words, whenever the healer interferes - consciously or unconsciously - with the free mental action of the person he treats, it is - Black Magic. Already these so-called sciences of "Healing" are being used to gain a livelihood. Soon some sharp person will find out that by the same process the minds of others can be influenced in many directions, and the selfish motive of personal gain and money-getting having been once allowed to creep in, the one-time "healer" may be insensibly led on to use his power to acquire wealth or some other object of his desire.
Reminiscences, p. 24
[H.P.Blavatsky to countess Wachtmeister:]
You cannot imagine what it is to feel so many adverse thoughts and currents directed against you; it is like the prickings of a thousand needles, and I have continually to be erecting a wall of protection around me.
Reminiscences, p. 27
[Countess Wachtmeister about H.P.Blavatsky's phenomena in relation to the making of the Secret Doctrine:]
She would ... use normal means in preference to the abnormal when possible, so as not to exhaust her power unnecessarily.
Reminiscences, p. 35,36
[H.P.Blavatsky says about herself:]
In occultism a most solemn vow has to be taken never to use any powers acquired or conferred for the benefit of one's own personal self, for to do so would be to set foot on the steep and treacherous slope that ends in the abyss of Black Magic. I have taken that vow, and I am not one to break a pledge the sanctity of which cannot be brought within the comprehension of the profane. I would rather suffer any tortures than be untrue to my pledges. As for securing more favorable conditions for the execution of my task;-it is not with us that the end is held to justify the means, nor is it we who are permitted to do evil that good may come. And it is not only bodily pain and weaknesses, and the ravages of disease that I am to suffer with what patience I may, subduing them by my will for the sake of the work, but mental pain, ignominy, opprobrium and ridicule.
Mahatma Letters, Letter 8 p. 30; chr. letter 15, p. 47)
[to A.P. Sinnett, about him learning practical occultism:]
So you see, the insurmountable difficulties in the way of attaining not only Absolute but even primary knowledge in Occult Science, for one situated as you are. How could you make yourself understood, - command in fact, those semi-intelligent Forces, whose means of communicating with us are not through spoken words but through sounds and colours, in correlations between the vibrations of the two? For sound, light and colours are the main factors in forming these grades of Intelligences, these beings ...
Imagination is a potent help in every event of our lives. Imagination acts on Faith and both are the draughtsmen who prepare the sketches for Will to engrave, more or less deeply, on the rocks or obstacles and opposition with which the path of life is strewn. Says Paracelsus: "Faith must confirm the imagination, for faith establishes the will ... Determined will is the beginning of all magical operations ... It is because men do not perfectly imagine and believe the result, that the arts (of magic) are uncertain, while they might be perfectly certain." This is all the secret. Half, if not two-thirds of our ailings and diseases are the fruit of our imagination and fears. Destroy the latter and give another bent to the former, and nature will do the rest. There is nothing sinful or injurious in the methods [of a faith-healer] per se. They turn to harm only when belief in his power becomes too arrogant and marked in the faith healer, and when he thinks he can will away such diseases as need, if they are not to be fatal, the immediate help of expert surgeons and physicians.
Letter to Skinner, found in Cranston, p. 367
[Certain] geometrical diagrams and figures especially have a power in them of reacting on the awakening to activity [of] the half blind and brainless creatures of the elements, which power and creatures you may deny ... We of the esoteric Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism ... know the power certain circles and diagrams have on the Elements. This is why I believe in but hate and dread ceremonial magic.
Isis 1, p. 356
Jesus, Apollonius, and some of the apostles, had the power to cast out devils, by purifying the atmosphere within and without the patient, so as to force the unwelcome tenant to flight.
[She proceeds to say about incenses and nitric acid in the air:]
Pure or even inoffensive human spirits fear nothing, for having rid themselves of terrestrial matter, terrestrial compounds can affect them in no wise; such spirits are like a breath. Not so with the earth-bound souls and the nature-spirits.
Isis 1, p. 460
Let the student of occult sciences make his own nature as pure and his thoughts as elevated as those of these Indian seers, and he may sleep unmolested by vampire, incubus, or succubus. Around the insensible form of such a sleeper the immortal spirit sheds a power divine that protects it from evil approaches, as though it were a crystal wall.
Isis 1, p. 487
About such men as Appolonius, Iamblichus, Plotinus and Porphyry, there gathered this heavenly nimbus. It was evolved by the power of their own souls in close unison with their spirits; by the superhuman morality and sanctity of their lives, and aided by frequent interior ecstatic contemplation. Such holy men pure spiritual influences could approach. Radiating around an atmosphere of divine beneficence, they caused evil spirits to flee before them. Not only is it not possible for such to exist in their aura, but they cannot even remain in that of obsessed persons, if the thraumaturgist exercises his will, or even approaches them. This is MEDIATORSHIP, not mediumship. Such persons are temples in which dwells the spirit of the living God; but if the temple is defiled by the admission of an evil passion, thought or desire, the mediator falls into the sphere of sorcery. The door is opened; the pure spirits retire and the evil ones rush in. This is still mediatorship, evil as it is; the sorcerer, like the pure magician, forms his own aura and subjects to his will congenial inferior spirits.
The ancients, unlike ourselves, could "try" the spirits and discern the difference between the good and the evil ones, the human and the elemental. They also knew that unregulated spirit-intercourse brought ruin upon the individual and disaster to the community.
Damodar, p. 93
... we have periods in our development when rest must be taken for the physical brain in order to give it time ... to assimilate what is has received, while at the same time the real brain - as we might say, the spiritual brain - is carrying on as busily as ever all the trains of thought cut off from the head.
Damodar, p. 96
Anxiety is the foe of knowledge; like unto a veil it falls down before the soul's eye; entertain it, and the veil only thicker grows; cast it out, and the sun of truth may dissipate the cloudy veil.
Damodar, p. 97
Never forget that your spiritual progress goes on quite often to yourself unknown. Two out of many hindrances to memory are anxiety and selfishness. Anxiety is a barrier constructed out of harsh and bitter materials. Selfishness is a fiery darkness that will burn up the memory's matrix.
Damodar, p. 370
the true Yogi does not study Occultism for the purpose of acquiring powers. In his onward spiritual progress toward deliverance from the shackles of Maya, the Siddhis come to him of themselves. There can be no psychological perfection so long as the Ego is in the least affected by the trammels of Avidya, and these Siddhis, however high they may be, are yet within the domain of illusion. Every student, even a tyro, of occultism knows that the acquisition of Brahma-Vidya is dependent entirely upon the development of a feeling of universal love in the mind of the aspirant. For his final goal, the attainment of Mukti is the very identification of the Jivatma with Paramatma, the Universal Spirit, which manifests itself in ALL - which can never be accomplished except by one's putting oneself en rapport with Nature through a cultivation of the feeling of unselfish Philanthropy. It will thus become apparent to a mind free from preconception that the Yoga Siddhis are only the accessories of Brahmavidya, i.e., Esoteric Theosophy, the acquisition of which is guided only by unselfish philanthropy and universal love.
Damodar, p. 371
The true Yogi [says]: "We postulate that the good of others is our own, since we are a part of the integral whole, and therefore it is not logical or wise to think of mere relative good to others."
Self-conquest is the first step on the ladder of Brahmavidya leading to Nirvana or Mukti. ... Avidya in every shape is to be got rid of ...
Damodar, p. 383-385
The first time that Mirza Moorad Alee [a former black magician] came to the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Bombay to stop with us a few days, the very first thing he told me was: - "If you ever want to progress on the right path, beware of sensual appetites dragging you down, and above all take care of the Brothers of the Shadow, the Sorcerers, with some of whom I have had personal dealings, to which fact I trace all my present sufferings, struggle, and misery." These are not his exact words, but this is the idea he conveyed to me, and confirmed in all his subsequent conversations. I therefore stand aghast now at reading: - "The Theosophist leaders never 'discouraged' but rather encouraged me in such practices (of black magic)" - as Mirza Moorad Alee says in his letter under consideration. I cannot believe he is willfully misrepresenting facts, but will fain attribute his present forgetfulness to mental aberration, caused by nervous exhaustion brought on by his futile struggle to get over the horrors of black magic and rise up to the spiritual glories of an Adept. When he joined us he had already opened the door and was gone too far to be able to shut it against the workings of the sorcerers with whom he had had "personal dealings." I only pity his fall and hope he will not have to share the fate of all black magicians. He is misrepresenting the meaning of Nirvana when he uses it as a synonym for annihilation. Yes: it is annihilation, not of the spiritual Ego, but of the lower principles in man, of the animal Soul, the personality which must perish. The powers of black magic are due to the will power engendered by a concentrated form of selfishness. This is possible only when Manas - the fifth principle in man, as the occultist calls it - resides very firmly in his lower principles. A careful study of the "Fragments of Occult Truth" and other literature on Esoteric Theosophy shows that these lower principles are destructible and must therefore be annihilated. Of course, the greater the powers of a black magician, the greater must be his selfishness. The energy of cohesion being thus very powerful, it must take a very long period before annihilation is complete. For aught we know, it (not his physical body which cannot live so long) may extend over thousands - nay, a million - of years....
Every tyro in Occultism knows that the sixth principle being but the vehicle of the seventh - which is all-pervading, eternal essence - must be permanent. From the foregoing remarks it is evident that it is the black magician whose lot is annihilation; while the adept, the white magician, enjoys the blissful condition of absolute existence where there is no pain or pleasure, no sorrow or joy, since these are all relative terms, and the state is one of supreme bliss; in short the latter enjoys an immortality of life. It is therefore amusing to see how Mirza Moorad Alee Beg has endeavoured to represent black as white and vice versa. But his sophistry will be plain to every student of the Occult Philosophy.
Damodar, p. 429,430
Occultism teaches its votaries what sort of training will bring on [the right] development. It never dogmatizes, but only recommends certain methods which the experience of ages has proved to be the best suited to the purpose. But just as the harmony of nature consists in symphonious discord, so also the harmony of occult training (in other words, individual human progress) consists in discord of details. The scope of Occultism being a study of Nature, both in its phenomenal and noumenal aspects, its organization is in exact harmony with the plan of Nature. Different constitutions require different details in training, and different men can better grasp the idea clothed in different expressions. This necessity has give rise to different schools of Occultism, whose scope and ideal is the same, but whose modes of expression and methods of procedure differ. Nay, even the students of the same school have not necessarily a uniformity of training. This will show why it is that until a certain stage is reached, the Chela is generally left to himself, and why he is never given verbal or written instructions regarding the truths of Nature. It will also suggest the meaning of the neophyte being made to undergo a particular kind of sleep for a certain period before each initiation. And his success or failure depends upon his capacity for the assimilation of the Abstract Truth his higher sense perceives. However, just as unity is the ultimate possibility of Nature, so there is a certain school of Occultism which deals only with the synthetic process, and to which all the other schools, dealing with analytical methods wherein alone diversity exists, owe their allegiance. A careful reader will thus perceive the absurdity of dogmatism which claims for its methods a universal application. What is therefore meant by the Advaitee Philosophy being identical with the Arhat Doctrine, is that the final goal or the ultimate possibility of both is the same. The synthetic process is one, for it deals only with eternal verities, the Abstract Truth, the noumenal. And these two philosophies are put forth together, for in their analytical methods they proceed on parallel lines, one proceeding from the subjective and the other from the objective standpoint, to meet ultimately or rather converge together in one point or centre. As such, each is the complement of the other and neither can be said to be complete in itself.
As a rule, Occultism is a dangerous, double-edged weapon for one to handle, who is unprepared to devote his whole life to it.
... Book learning - and here I refer only to the subject of Occultism - vast as it may be, will always prove insufficient even to the analytical mind, the most accustomed to extract the quintessence of truth, disseminated throughout thousands of contradictory statements, unless supported by personal experience and practice.
To fervent and persevering candidates for the above science [occultism], I have to offer but one word of advice, "Try and become." One single journey to the Orient, made in the proper spirit, and the possible emergencies arising from the meeting of what may seem no more than the chance acquaintances and adventures of any traveler, may quite as likely as not throw wide open to the zealous student, the heretofore closed doors of the final mysteries. I will go farther and say that one such journey, performed with the omnipresent idea of the one object, and with the help of a fervent will, is sure to produce more rapid, better, and far more practical results, than the most diligent study of Occultism in books - even though one were to devote to it dozens of years.
When ignorant of the true meaning of the esoteric divine symbols of nature, man is apt to miscalculate the powers of his soul, and, instead of communing spiritually and mentally with the higher, celestial beings, the good spirits (the gods of the theurgists of the Platonic school), he will unconsciously call forth the evil, dark powers which lurk around humanity - the undying, grim creations of human crimes and vices - and thus fall from theurgia (white magic) into goŽtia (or black magic, sorcery). Yet, neither white, nor black magic are what popular superstition understands by the terms. The possibility of "raising spirits" according to the key of Solomon, is the height of superstition and ignorance. Purity of deed and thought can alone raise us to an intercourse "with the gods" and attain for us the goal we desire. Alchemy, believed by so many to have been a spiritual philosophy as well as a physical science, belonged to the teachings of the theosophical school.
Another step in advance will be to realize the magical creative power of the human mind, and the fact that moral taint is just as transmissible as physical. The "influence" of bad companions will then be understood to imply a degrading personal magnetism, more subtle than the impressions conveyed to the eye or the ear by the sights and sounds of a vicious company. The latter may be repelled by resolutely avoiding to see or hear what is bad; but the former enwraps the sensitive and penetrates his very being if he but stop where the moral poison is floating in the air. Gregory's Animal Magnetism, Reichenbach's Researches, and Denton's The Soul of Things will make much of this plain to the Western inquirer, though neither of those authors traces the connection of his favourite branch of science with the parent-stock - Indian Psychology.
Keeping the present case in view, we see a man highly susceptible to magnetic impressions, ignorant of the nature of the "materializations" and, therefore, unable to protect himself against bad influences, brought into contact with promiscuous circles where the impressionable medium has long been the unwitting nucleus of evil magnetisms, his system saturated with the emanations of the surviving thoughts and desires of those who are living and those who are dead. The reader is referred to an interesting paper by Judge Gadgil of Baroda (see our December number) on "Hindu Ideas about Communion with the Dead," for a plain exposition of this question of earth-tied souls, or Pisachas. "It is considered," says that writer, "that in this state the soul being deprived of the means of enjoyment [of sensual pleasures] through its own physical body, is perpetually tormented by hunger, appetite and other bodily desires, and can have only vicarious enjoyment by entering into the living physical bodies of others, or by absorbing the subtlest essences of libations and oblations offered for their own sake." What is there to surprise us in the fact that a negatively polarized man, a man of a susceptible temperament, being suddenly brought into a current of foul emanations from some vicious person, perhaps still living or perhaps dead, absorbs the insidious person as rapidly as quicklime does moisture, until he is saturated with it? Thus, a susceptible body will absorb the virus of smallpox, or cholera, or typhus, and we need only recall this to draw the analogy which Occult Science affirms to be warranted.
Near the Earth's surface there hangs over us - to use a convenient simile - a steamy moral fog, composed of the undispersed exhalations of human vice and passion. This fog penetrates the sensitive to the very soul's core; his psychic self absorbs it as the sponge does water, or as fresh milk effluvia. It benumbs his moral sense, spurs his baser instincts into activity, overpowers his good resolutions. As the fumes of a wine-vault makes the brain reel, or as the choke-damp stifles one's breath in a mine, so this heavy cloud of immoral influences carries away the sensitive beyond the limits of self-control, and he becomes "obsessed," like our English patient.
What remedy is there to suggest? Does not our very diagnosis indicate that? The sensitive must have his sensitiveness destroyed; the negative polarity must be changed to a positive; he must become active instead of passive. He can be helped by a magnetiser who understands the nature of obsession, who is morally pure and physically healthy; it must be a powerful magnetiser, a man of commanding will-force. But the fight for freedom will, after all, have to be fought by the patient himself. His will-power must be aroused. He must expel the poison from his system. Inch by inch he must win back the lost ground. He must realize that it is a question of life or death, salvation or ruin, and strive for victory, like one who makes a last and heroic effort to save his life. His diet must be of the simplest, he must neither eat animal food, nor touch any stimulant, nor put himself in any company where there is the smallest chance for unclean thoughts to be provoked. He should be alone as little as possible, but his companions should be carefully chosen. He should take exercise and be much in the open air; use wood-fire, instead of coals. Every indication that the bad influence was still working within him should be taken as a challenge to control his thoughts and compel them to dwell upon pure, elevating, spiritual things, at every hazard and with a determination to suffer anything rather than give way. If this man can have such a spirit infused into him, and his physician can secure the benevolent help of a strong, healthy magnetiser, of pure character, he may be saved. A case almost exactly like this one, except that the patient was a lady, came under our notice in America; the same advice as the above was given and followed, and the obsessing "devil" was driven out and has been kept out ever since.
We have known of such a faculty [reading thoughts] to exist in individuals who were far from being adepts or Yogis, and had never heard of the latter. It can be easily developed by intense will, perseverance and practice, especially in persons who are born with natural analytical powers, intuitive perceptions, and a certain aptness for observation and penetration. These may, if they only preserve perfect the faculty of divining other people's thoughts to a degree which seems almost supernatural. Some very clear but quite uneducated detectives in London and Paris, develop it in themselves to almost a faultless perfection. It can be also helped by mathematical study and practice. If then such is found to be the case with simple individuals, why not in men who have devoted to it a whole life, helped on by a study of the accumulated experience of many a generation of mystics and under the tuition of real adepts?
Q. Can a married man acquire the Vidya [occult knowledge]?
A. No, not while a Grihastha. You know the invariable rule was that a boy was placed at a tender age under his guru for this training; he stopped with him until he was twenty-five to thirty; then lived as a married man fifteen to twenty years; finally retired to the forest to resume his spiritual studies. The use of liquors, of beef, and certain other meats and certain vegetables, and the relations of marriage prevent spiritual development.
Q. Is asceticism necessary for Yoga?
A. Yoga exacts certain conditions which will be found described at p. 47 of our December number [ The Theosophist, December 1880, Swami Dayanand's Views about Yoga" - I have not found this article elsewhere in a more recent publication.] One of these conditions is seclusion to a place where the Yogi is free from all impurities - whether physical or moral. In short, he must get away from the immoral atmosphere of the world. If anyone has by such study gained powers, he cannot remain long in the world without losing the greater part of his powers - and that the higher and nobler part. So that, if any such person is seen for many consecutive years labouring in public, and neither for money nor fame, it should be known that he is sacrificing himself for the good of his fellowmen. Some day such men seem to suddenly die, and their supposed remains are disposed of; but yet they may not be dead. "Appearances are deceitful" - the proverb says.
We do not regard the Elementals of the Kabalists as properly "beings." They are the active Forces and correlations of Fire, Water, Earth and Air, and their shape is like the hues of the chameleon which has no permanent colour of its own. Through the interplanetary and interstellar spaces, the vision of almost every clairvoyant can reach. But it is only the trained eye of the proficient in Eastern Occultism, that can fix the flitting shadows and give them a shape and a name.
[H.P. Blavatsky on the magical use of the Pentagram, the five pointed star.]
The explanation given by the Theosophists for the occasional success obtained in relieving pain (such as scorpion bites) by the application of the Pentagram - a success, by the by, which with the knowledge of the cause producing it might with some persons become permanent and sure - is a little less supernatural, and rejects every theory of "Spirit" agency accomplishing it whether these spirits be claimed human or elemental. True, the five-pointed shape of the star has something to do with it, as will now be explained, but it depends on, and is fully subservient to, the chief agent in the operation, the alpha and the omega of the "magical" force - HUMAN WILL. All the paraphernalia of ceremonial magic - perfumes, vestments, inscribed hieroglyphics and mummeries, are good but for the beginner; the neophyte whose powers have to be developed, his mental attitude during the operations defined, and his WILL educated by concentrating on such symbols. The Kabalistic axiom that the magician can become the master of the Elemental Spirits only by surpassing them in courage and audacity in their own elements, has an allegorical meaning. It was but tot test the moral strength and daring of the candidate that the terrible trials of initiation into ancient mysteries were invented by the hierophants; and hence the neophyte who had proved fearless in water, fire, air and in the terrors of Cimmerian darkness, was recognized as having become the master of the Undines, the Salamanders, Sylphs and Gnomes. He had "forced them into obedience," and "could evoke spirits" for, having studied and acquainted himself with the ultimate essence of the occult or hidden nature and the respective properties of the elements, he could produce at will the most wonderful manifestations or "occult" phenomena by the combination of such properties, combinations hitherto unknown to the profane, as progressive and exoteric science, which proceeds slowly and cautiously, can marshal its discoveries but one by one and in their successive order, for hitherto it has scorned to learn from those who had grasped all the mysteries of nature for long ages before. Many are the occult secrets ferreted out by her and wrung from the old magic, and yet it will not give it credit even for that which has been proved to have been known by the ancient esoteric scientists or "Adepts." But our subject must not be digressed from, and we now turn to the mysterious influence of the Pentagram.
"What is in a sign?" will our readers ask. "No more than in a name" we shall reply - nothing except that, as said above, it helps to concentrate the attention, hence to nail the WILL of the operator to a certain spot. It is the magnetic or mesmeric fluid flowing out of the fingers' ends of the hand tracing the figure which cures or at least stops the acute pain in the benumbing nerves and not the figure per se. And yet there are some proficients who are able to demonstrate that the five-pointed star, whose points represent the five cordial [sic] limbs or those channels of man - the head, the two arms and the two legs - from whence the mesmeric currents issue the strongest, the simplest tracing of that figure (a tracing produced with far more efficacy with the finger ends than with ink, chalk or pencil), helped by a strong desire to alleviate pain, will very often force out unconsciously the healing fluid from all these extremities, with far more force than it otherwise would. Faith in the figure is transformed into intense will, and the latter into energy; and energy from whatsoever feeling or cause it may proceed, is sure to rebound somewhere and strike the place with more or less force; and naturally enough that place will be the locality upon which the attention of the operator is at that moment concentrated; and hence - the cure attributed by the self-ignorant mesmeriser to the PENTAGRAM.
It is equally dangerous to saturate a nervous patient's brain with mesmeric fluid of some powerful mesmerizer or "healer" [as it is to overdose it with electricity], as is often done by thoughtless tyros in magnetism. The human vital force is the most potent of all known agencies, and health of body or mind is only possible when there is a perfect magnetic equilibrium in one's system. The "healer" heals simply by restoring that balance in his patient by the force of is benevolent desire and will.
[some correspondent wrote:
Madame, - In the last issue of your valuable Journal, a member of the New York Theosophical Society seeks to be enlightened as to the cause of a bright spot of light which he has often seen. I am also equally curious to have an explanation. I attribute it to the highest concentration of the soul. As soon as I place myself in that prescribed attitude, suddenly a bright spot appears before me which fills my heart with delight - indeed, that being regarded as a special sign by the Indian devotee that he is in the right path, leading to ultimate success in the Yoga practice - that he is blessed by the special grace of the Almighty.
One evening, sitting on the ground cross-legged, in that state of innate concentration when the soul soars into the high regions, I was blessed with a shower of flowers - a most brilliant sight, and which I longed to see again. I moved to catch at flowers so rare, but they eluded by grasp and suddenly disappeared, leaving me much disappointed. Finally two flowers fell on me, one touching my head and the other my right shoulder, but this time also the attempt to seize them was unsuccessful. What can it be, if not the response that God has been pleased with his worshipper, meditation being, I believe, the unique way of spiritual worship.
September 18, 1881]
[H.P. Blavatsky answers in part:]
The modern Occultists say that, when not directly due to cerebral actions whose normal functions are certainly impeded by such an artificial mode of deep concentration - these lights are glimpses of the Astral Light, or, to use a more scientific expression - of the "Universal Ether" firmly believed in by more than one man of science, as proved by Mr. Balfour Stewart's Unseen Universe. Like the pure blue sky closely shrouded by thick vapours on a misty day - is the Astral Light concealed from our physical senses, during the hours of our normal, daily life. But when concentrating all our spiritual faculties, we succeed, for the time being, to paralyse the enemy - the physical senses, and the inner man becomes, so to say, distinct from the man of matter, then, the action of the ever-living spirit, like a breeze that clears the sky from its obstructing clouds - sweeps away the mist which lies between our normal vision and the Astral Light, and we obtain glimpses into, and of, that light.
The days of "smoking furnaces" and "burning lamps" which form part of the Biblical visions are well gone by and - to return no more. But, whosoever, refusing natural explanations, prefers supernatural ones, is, of course, at liberty to imagine that an "Almighty God" amuses us with visions of flowers, and sends burning lights before making "covenants" with his worshippers.
A clear distinction should be drawn between ... nature-spirits, and the psychic shells of once living human beings, known in India as bhutas. To mark this difference and, if possible, avoid confusion, we applied, in Isis, the name "Elementals" to the nature-spirits, and used the word "Elementary" to designate the bhutas.
[H.P. Blavatsky about the distinction between the Kama-Rupa, Mayavi-Rupa, and Linga-Sarira.]
That which appears, or the "double," is called Mayavi-Rupa (illusory form) when acting blindly; and - Kama-Rupa, "will" or "desire-form" when compelled into an objective shape by the conscious will and desire of its possessor. The Jivatma (vital principle) and Linga-Sarira (Sex-body) are inner principles ; while the Mayavi-Rupa is the outside "soul" so to say: one which envelops the physical body, as in a filmy ethereal casing. It is a perfect counterpart of the man and even of the clothing which he happens to wear. And this principle is liable to become condensed into opacity, compelled to it, either by the law of intermagnetic action, or by the potentiality of Yoga-ballu or "adept-power."
Thus, the "Linga-Sarira" is "dissolved with the external body at the death of the latter." It dissolves slowly and gradually, its adhesion to the body becoming weaker, as the particles disintegrate. During the process of decay, it may, on sultry nights, be sometimes seen over the grave. Owing to the dry and electric atmosphere it manifests itself and stands as a bluish flame, often as a luminous pillar, of "odyle," bearing a more or less vague resemblance to the outward form of the body laid under the sod. Popular superstition, ignorant of the nature of these post-mortem gaseous emanations, mistakes them for the presence of the "suffering" soul, the personal spirit of the deceased, hovering over the body's tomb. Yet, when the work of destruction has been completed, and nature has broken entirely the cohesion of corporeal particles, the Linga-Sarira is dispersed with the body of which it was but an emanation.
In the normal or natural state, the sensations are transmitted from the lowest physical to the highest spiritual body, i.e., from the first to the 6th principle (the 7th being no organized or conditioned body, but an infinite, hence unconditioned principle or state), the faculties of each body having to awaken the faculties of the next higher one, to transmit the message in succession, until they reach the last, when, having received the impression, the latter (the spiritual soul) sends it back in an inverse order to the body. Hence, the faculties of some of the "bodies" (we use this word for want of a better term) being less developed, they fail to transmit the message correctly to the highest principle, and thus also fail to produce the right impression upon the physical senses, as a telegram may have started for the place of its destination faultless, and have been bungled up and misinterpreted by the telegraph operator at some intermediate station. This is why some people, otherwise endowed with great intellectual powers and perceptive faculties, are often utterly unable to appreciate - say, the beauties of nature, or some particular moral quality; as, however perfect their physical intellect - unless the original, material or rough physical impression conveyed has passed in a circuit through the sieve of every "principle" - (from 1,2,3,4,5,6, up to 7, and down again from 7, 6,5,4,3,2, to No. 1) - and that every "sieve" is in good order - the spiritual perception will always be imperfect. The Yogi, who, by a constant training and incessant watchfulness, keeps his septenary instrument in good tune and whose spirit has obtained a perfect control over all, can, at will, and by paralysing the functions of the four intermediate principles, communicate from body to spirit and vice versa - direct.
Prevision is a faculty as easy to cultivate as memory, strange as the assertion may seem to sciolists.
Mind - whose enormous potentiality is being discovered more and more every day, could produce no effect were it not material; and believers in a personal God, have themselves either to admit that the deity in doing its work has to use material force to produce a physical effect, or - to advocate miracles, which is an absurdity.
Comment on "An Excellent Magic Mirror"
Of the many kinds of divination glass or magic mirror that have been devised, the one described by a theosophical brother in the following note is among the best. [A smooth glass goblet or carraffe filled with black ink is advised by a "theosophical brother"] It has the advantage over a goblet of water and other shining objects that the eye of the gazer is not fatigued by a large body of white rays, while it possesses most of the good qualities of the ancient concave black mirror of the East. We recommend a trial of it to those who are investigating this most interesting field of "conscious clairvoyance." If a "caraffe" is not available, a clean, round, smooth inkstand filled with ink will do. It is always difficult for beginners to distinguish between subjective mind-pictures seen by the untrained seer or seeress and actual reflections from the akasha or astral light: only long practice makes perfect. Without saying whether what our friend's wife did see in her mirror had or had not much importance, it will suffice to give the general assurance that every member of our society who earnestly makes researches in every lawful branch of occult science, has the chance of help from not only "chelas" but those who are higher than they. Provided always that they are themselves "living the life" described in Hints on Esoteric Theosophy. Experimenters must however always avoid excessive taxation of the nervous system. A clairvoyant or psychometer should never be forced to see longer than they feel good for them nor what is distasteful. Violation of this rule may entail serious consequences.
Those who may ... feel a call to heal the sick, should bear in mind the fact that all the curative magnetism that is forced by their will into the bodies of their patients, comes out of their own systems. What they may have, they can give; no more. And as the maintenance of one's own health is a prime duty, they should never attempt healing unless they have a surplus of vitality to spare, over and above what may be needed to carry themselves through their round of duties and keep their systems well up to tone. Otherwise they would soon break down and become themselves invalids.
[H.P. Blavatsky about rites after death]
From the occult standpoint .. such rites [do not] benefit in the least the departed soul. The correct comprehension of the law of Karma is entirely opposed to the idea. As no person's karma can be either lightened or overburdened with the good or bad actions of the next of kin of the departed one, every man having his karma independent and distinct from that of his neighbour - no more can the departed soul be made responsible for the doings of those it left behind. As some make the credulous believe that the four principles may be made to suffer from colics, if the survivors ate immoderately of some fruit. Zoroastrianism and Hinduism have wise laws - far wiser than those of the Christians - for the disposal of their dead, but their superstitions are still very great. For while the idea that the presence of the dead brings pollution to the living is no better than a superstition, unworthy of the enlightened age we live in, the real cause of the religious prohibition to handle too closely the dead and to bury them without first subjecting the bodies to the disinfectant process of either fire, vultures or aqua fortis (the latter the prevailing method of the Parsees in days of old) was as beneficent in its results as it was wise, since it was the best and most necessary sanitary precaution against epidemics. The Christians might do worse than borrow that law from the "Pagans," since no further than few years back, a whole province of Russia was nearly depopulated, in consequence of the crowded condition of its burial ground. Too numerous interments within a limited space and a comparatively short time saturate the earth with the products of decomposition to such a degree, as to make it incapable of further absorbing them, and the decomposition under such a condition being retarded its products escape directly into the atmosphere, bringing on epidemic diseases and plagues.
Mahtma Letter No. 30 (ML-134) Rec. about November 4, 1881
“The ‘Brothers’ desire me to inform one and all of you, natives, that unless a man is prepared to become a thorough theosophist i.e. to do as D. Mavalankar did, — give up entirely caste, his old superstitions and show himself a true reformer (especially in the case of child marriage) he will remain simply a member of the Society with no hope whatever of ever hearing from us. The Society, acting in this directly in accordance with our orders, forces no one to become a theosophist of the IId. Section.2 It is left with himself and at his choice. It is useless for a member to argue ‘I am one of a pure life, I am a teetotaller and an abstainer from meat and vice. All my aspirations are for good etc.’ and he, at the same time, building by his acts and deeds an impassable barrier on the road between himself and us. What have we, the disciples of the true Arhats, of esoteric Buddhism and of Sang-gyas to do with the Shastras and Orthodox Brahmanism? There are 100 of thousands of Fakirs, Sannyasis and Sadhus leading the most pure lives, and yet being as they are, on the path of error, never having had an opportunity to meet, see or even hear of us. Their forefathers have driven away the followers of the only true philosophy upon earth from India and now it is not for the latter to come to them but for them to come to us if they want us. Which of them is ready to become a Buddhist, a Nastika 3 as they call us? None. Those who have believed and followed us have had their reward. Mr. Sinnett and Hume are exceptions. Their beliefs are no barrier to us for they have none. They may have had influences around them, bad magnetic emanations the result of drink, Society and promiscuous physical associations (resulting even from shaking hands with impure men) but all this is physical and material impediments which with a little effort we could counteract and even clear away without much detriment to ourselves. Not so with the magnetism and invisible results proceeding from erroneous and sincere beliefs. Faith in the Gods and God, and other superstitions attracts millions of foreign influences, living entities and powerful agents around them, with which we would have to use more than ordinary exercise of power to drive them away. We do not choose to do so. We do not find it either necessary or profitable to lose our time waging war on the unprogressed Planetaries who delight in personating gods and sometimes well known characters who have lived on earth. There are Dhyan-Chohans and “Chohans of Darkness,” not what they term devils but imperfect “Intelligences” who have never been born on this or any other earth or sphere, any more than the “Dhyan Chohans” have, and who will never belong to the “builders of the Universe,” the pure Planetary Intelligences, who preside at every Manvantara while the Dark Chohans preside at the Pralayas. Explain this to Mr. Sinnett (I CAN’T) — tell him to read over what I said to them in the few things I have explained to Mr. Hume; and let him remember that as all in this universe is contrast (I cannot translate it better) so the light of the Dhyan Chohans and their pure intelligence is contrasted by the “Ma-Mo Chohans” — and their destructive intelligence. These are the gods the Hindus and Christians and Mahomedans and all others of bigoted religions and sects worship; and so long as their influence is upon their devotees we would no more think of associating with or counteracting them in their work than we do the Red-Caps on earth whose evil results we try to palliate but whose work we have no right to meddle with so long as they do not cross our path. (You will not understand this, I suppose. But think well over it and you will. M. means here, that they have no right or even power to go against the natural or that work which is prescribed to each class of beings or existing things by the law of nature. The Brothers, for instance could prolong life but they could not destroy death, not even for themselves. They can to a degree palliate evil and relieve suffering; they could not destroy evil. No more can the Dhyan Chohans impede the work of the Mamo Chohans, for their Law is darkness, ignorance, destruction etc., as that of the former is Light, knowledge and creation. The Dhyan Chohans answer to Buddh, Divine Wisdom and Life in blissful knowledge, and the Ma-mos are the personification in nature of Shiva, Jehovah and other invented monsters with Ignorance at their tail).
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