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BLAVATSKY (1831 - 1891)





- H.P. Blavatsky

[This article originally appeared in The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 4, January,
1882, pp. 104-105. It was written in answer to a letter sent in by a Hindu member of the
T. S., who asked for an explanation of two dreams in which, a Hindu gentleman, while
away from home, saw his wife suffering from cholera, his visions being later fully
confirmed. - Ed.]

"Dreams are interludes which fancy makes," Dryden tells us; perhaps to show that
even a poet will make occasionally his muse subservient to sciolistic prejudice.
The instance as above given is one of a series of what may be regarded as
exceptional cases in dreamlife, the generality of dreams, being indeed, but "interludes
which fancy makes." And, it is the policy of materialistic, matter-of-fact science to superbly
ignore such exceptions, on the ground, perchance, that the exception confirms the rule, -
we rather think, to avoid the embarrassing task of explaining such exceptions. Indeed, if
one single instance stubbornly refuses classification with "strange coincidences" - so much
in favor with sceptics - then, prophetic, or verified dreams would demand an entire
remodeling of physiology. As in regard to phrenology, the recognition and acceptance by
science of prophetic dreams - (hence the recognition of the claims of Theosophy and
Spiritualism) - would, it is contended, "carry with it a new educational, social, political, and
theological science." Result: Science will never recognise either dreams, spiritualism, or
Human nature is an abyss, which physiology and human science in general, has
sounded less than some who have never heard the word physiology pronounced. Never
are the high censors of the Royal Society more perplexed than when brought face to face
with that insolvable mystery - man's inner nature. The key to it is - man's dual being. It is
that key that they refuse to use, well aware that if once the door of the adytum be flung
open they will be forced to drop one by one their cherished theories and final conclusions -
more than once proved to have been no better than hobbies, false as everything built
upon, and starting from false or incomplete premises. If we must remain satisfied with the
half explanations of physiology as regards meaningless dreams, how account, in such
case for the numerous facts of verified dreams? To say that man is a dual being; that in
man - to use the words of Paul - "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" -
and that, therefore, he must, of necessity, have a double set of senses - is tantamount in
the opinion of the educated sceptic, to uttering an unpardonable, most unscientific fallacy.
Yet it has to be uttered - science notwithstanding.
Man is undeniably endowed with a double set: with natural or physical senses, -
these to be safely left to physiology to deal with; and, with subnatural or spiritual senses
belonging entirely to the province of psychological
science. The Latin word "sub," let it be well understood, is used here in a sense
diametrically opposite to that given to it - in chemistry, for instance. In our case, it is not
a preposition, but a prefix as in "sub-tonic" or "sub-bass" in music. Indeed, as the
aggregate sound of nature is shown to be a single definite tone, a key-note vibrating from
and through eternity; having an undeniable existence per se yet possessing an
appreciable pitch but for "the acutely fine ear" * - so the definite harmony or disharmony
of man's external nature is seen by the observant to depend wholly on the character of the
key-note struck for the outer by inner man. It is the spiritual EGO or SELF that serves as
the fundamental base, determining the tone of the whole life of man - that most capricious,
uncertain and variable of all instruments, and which more than any other needs constant
tuning; it is its voice alone, which like the sub-bass of an organ underlies the melody of his
whole life whether its tones are sweet or harsh, harmonious or wild, legato or pizzicato.
Therefore, we say, man, in addition to the physical, has also a spiritual brain. If the
former is wholly dependent for the degree of its receptivity on its own physical structure
and development, it is, on the other hand, entirely subordinate to the latter, inasmuch as
it is the spiritual Ego alone and accordingly as it leans more towards its two highest
principles,** or towards its physical shell that can impress more or less vividly the outer
brain with the perception of things purely spiritual or immaterial. Hence it depends on the
acuteness of the mental feelings of the inner Ego, on the degree of spirituality of its
faculties, to transfer the impression of the scenes its semi-spiritual brain perceives, the
words it hears and what it feels, to the sleeping physical brain of the outer man. The
stronger the spirituality of the faculties of the latter, the easier it will be for the Ego to awake
the sleeping hemispheres, arouse into activity the sensory ganglia and the cerebellum, and
to impress the former - always in full inactivity and rest during the deep sleep of man - with
the vivid picture of the subject so transferred. In a sensual, unspiritual man, in one, whose
mode of life and animal proclivities and passions have entirely disconnected his animal,
astral Ego from its higher "Spiritual Soul"; as also in him whose hard, physical labour has
so worn out the material body as to render him temporarily insensible to the voice and
touch of his Astral Soul, - during sleep the brains of both these men remain in a complete
state of anaemia or full inactivity. Such persons rarely, if ever, will have any dreams at all,
least of all "visions that come to pass." In the former, as the waking time approaches, and
his sleep becomes lighter, the mental changes beginning to take place, they will constitute
dreams in which intelligence will play no part; his half-awakened brain suggesting but
pictures which are only the hazy grotesque reproductions of his wild habits in life; while in
the latter - unless strongly preoccupied with some exceptional thought - his ever present

* This tone is held by the specialists to be the middle F of the piano.
** The sixth principle, or spiritual soul, and the seventh - its purely spiritual principle,
the "Spirit" or Parabrahm, the emanation from the unconscious ABSOLUTE.

of active habits will not permit him to remain in that state of semi-sleep during which
consciousness beginning to return we see dreams of various kinds, but will arouse him, at
once, and without any interlude to full wakefulness. On the other hand, the more spiritual
a man, the more active his fancy, and the greater probability of his receiving in vision the
correct impressions conveyed to him by his all-seeing, his ever-wakeful Ego. The spiritual
senses of the latter, unimpeded as they are by the interference of the physical senses, are
in direct intimacy with his highest spiritual principle; and the latter though per se quasi-
unconscious part of the utterly unconscious, because utterly immaterial Absolute* - yet
having in itself inherent capabilities of Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence
which as soon as the pure essence comes in contact with pure sublimated and (to us)
imponderable matter - imparts these attributes in a degree to the as pure Astral Ego.
Hence highly spiritual persons will see visions and dreams during sleep and even in their
hours of wakefulness: these are the sensitives, the natural-born seers, now loosely termed
"spiritual mediums," there being no distinction made between a subjective seer, a
neurypnological subject, and even an adept - one who has made himself independent of
his physiological idiosyncrasies and has entirely subjected the outer to the inner man.
Those less spiritually endowed will see such dreams but at rare intervals, the accuracy of
the latter depending on the intensity of their feeling in regard to the perceived object.
Had Babu Jugut Chunder's case been more seriously gone into, we would have
learned that for one or several reasons, either he or his wife was intensely attached to the
other; or that the question of her life or death was of the greatest importance to either one
or both of them. "One soul sends a message to another soul" - is all old saying. Hence,
premonitions, dreams, and visions. At all events, and in this dream at least, there were no
"disembodied" spirits at work, the warning being solely due to either one or the other, or
both of the two living and incarnated Egos.

* To this teaching every kind of exception will be taken by the Theists and various
objections raised by the Spiritualists. It is evident that we cannot be expected to give within
the narrow limits of a short article a full explanation of this highly abstruse and esoteric
doctrine. To say that the ABSOLUTE CONSCIOUSNESS is Unconscious of its
consciousness, hence to the limited intellect of man must be ABSOLUTE
UNCONSCIOUSNESS, seems like speaking of a square triangle. We hope to develop the
proposition more fully in one of the forthcoming numbers of "Fragments of Occult Truth"
of which we may publish a series. We will then prove, perhaps, to the satisfaction of the
non-prejudiced that the Absolute, or the Unconditioned, and (especially) the unrelated is
a mere fanciful abstraction, a fiction, unless we view it from the standpoint and in the light
of the more educated pantheists. To do so, we will have to regard the "Absolute" merely
as the aggregate of all intelligences, the totality of all existences, incapable of manifesting
itself but through the interrelationship of its parts, as It is absolutely incognizable and non-
existent outside its phenomena, and depends entirely on its ever-correlating Forces,
dependent in their turn on the ONE Great Law.

Thus, in this question of verified dreams, as in so many others, Science stands

before an unsolved problem, the insolvable nature of which has been created by her own
materialistic stubbornness, and her time-cherished routine policy. For, either man is a dual
being with an inner Ego* in him, this Ego "the real" man, distinct from, and independent of
the outer man proportionally to the prevalency or weakness of the material body; an Ego
the scope of whose senses stretches far beyond the limit granted to the physical senses
of man; an Ego which survives the decay of its external covering - at least for a time, even
when an evil course of life has made him fail to achieve a perfect union with its spiritual
higher Self, i.e., to blend its individuality with it (the personality gradually fading out in each
case); or - the testimony of millions of men embracing several thousands of years; the
evidence furnished in our own century by hundreds of the most educated men - often by
the greatest lights of science - all this evidence, we say, goes to naught. With the
exception of a handful of scientific authorities, surrounded by an eager crowd of sceptics
and sciolists, who having never seen anything, claim, therefore, the right of denying
everything, - the world stands condemned as a gigantic Lunatic Asylum! It has, however,
a special department in it. It is reserved for those, who, having proved the soundness of
their mind, must, of necessity, be regarded as IMPOSTORS and LIARS.....
Has then the phenomenon of dreams been so thoroughly studied by materialistic
science, that she has nothing more to learn, since she speaks in such authoritative tones
upon the subject? Not in the least. The phenomena of sensation and volition, of intellect
and instinct, are, of course, all manifested through the channels of the nervous centres the
most important of which is the brain. Of the peculiar substance through which these
actions take place - a substance the two forms of which are the vesicular and the fibrous,
the latter is held to be simply the propagator of the impressions sent to or from the
vesicular matter. Yet while this physiological office is distinguished, or divided by Science
into three kinds - the motor, sensitive and connecting the mysterious agency of intellect
remains as mysterious and as perplexing to the great physiologists as it was in the days
of Hippocrates. The scientific suggestion that there may be a fourth series associated with
the operations of thought has not helped towards solving the problem; it has failed to shed
even the slightest ray of light on the unfathomable mystery. Nor will they ever fathom it
unless our men of Science accept the hypothesis of DUAL MAN.

* Whether with one solitary Ego, or Soul, as the Spiritualists affirm, or with several -
i.e., composed of seven principles, as Eastern esotericism teaches, is not the question at
issue for the present. Let us first prove by bringing our joint experiences to bear, that there
is in man something beyond Buchner's Force and Matter.

- Theosophia, Winter, 1954-5


A Turkish Effendi on Christendom and Islam

In the suburb of one of the most romantically situated towns in Asia Minor there lives the
most remarkable oriental whom it has ever been my fortune to meet. Traveling through that
interesting country a few months ago, with the view of assisting the British Government to
introduce some much-needed reforms, I arrived at ------ I purposely abstain from
mentioning the name of the place, as my Eastern friend, to whom I am indebted for the
following paper, desires his incognito to be observed, for reasons which the reader will
easily understand on its perusal. I remained there some weeks examining the state of the
surrounding country, at that time a good deal disturbed, and giving the local authorities the
benefit of a little wholesome counsel and advice, which, I need scarcely say, they wholly
disregarded. My officious interference in their affairs not unnaturally procured me some
notoriety; and I received, in consequence, numerous visits from members of all classes of
the community detailing their grievances, and anxious to know what chance there might
be of a forcible intervention on the part of England by which these should be redressed.
In my intercourse with them, I was struck by their constant allusion to an apparently
mysterious individual, who evidently enjoyed a reputation for an almost supernatural
sagacity, and whose name they never mentioned except in terms of the greatest
reverence, and indeed, I might almost say, of awe. My curiosity at last became excited, and
I made special inquiries in regard to this unknown sage. I found that he lived about a mile
and a half out of the town, on a farm which he had purchased about five years ago; that
no one knew from whence he had come; that he spoke both Turkish and Arabic as his
native tongues; but that some supposed him to be a Frank, owing to his entire neglect of
all the ceremonial observances of a good Moslem, and to a certain foreign mode of
thought; while others maintained that no man who had not been born an oriental could
adapt himself so naturally to the domestic life of the East, and acquire its social habits with
such ease and perfection. His erudition was said to be extraordinary, and his life seemed
passed in studying the literature of many languages - his agent, for the purchase and
forwarding of such books and papers as he needed, being a foreign merchant at the
nearest seaport. He seemed possessed of considerable wealth, but his mode of life was
simple in the extreme; and he employed large sums in relieving the distress by which he
was surrounded, and in protecting by the necessary bribes those who were unable to
protect themselves from oppression. The result was, that he was adored by the country
people for miles round, while he was rather respected and feared than disliked by the
Turkish officials - for he was extremely tolerant of their financial necessities, and quite
understood that they were compelled to squeeze money out of the peasantry, because,
as they received no pay, they would starve themselves unless they did.
To this gentleman I sent my card, with a note in French, stating that I was a traveling
Englishman, with a seat in the House of Commons in immediate prospect at the coming
election, consumed with a desire to reform Asia Minor, or, at all events, to enlighten my
countrymen as to how it should be done. Perhaps I am wrong in saying that I actually put
all this in my note, but it was couched in the usual tone of members of Parliament, who are
cramming political questions abroad which are likely to come up next session. I know the
style, because I have been in the House myself. The note I received in reply was in
English, and ran as follows:

"DEAR SIR, - If you are not otherwise engaged, it will give me great pleasure if you will
do me the honor of dining with me tomorrow evening at seven. I trust you will excuse the
preliminary formality of a visit, but I have an appointment at some distance in the country,
which will detain me until too late an hour to call. Believe me, yours very truly,
P. S. - As you may have some difficulty in finding your way, my servant will be with you at
half-past six to serve as a guide."

"Dear me," I thought, as I read this civilized epistle with amazement, "I wonder whether
he expects me to dress;" for I need scarcely say I had come utterly unprovided for any
such contingency, my wearing apparel, out of regard for my baggage-mule, having been
limited to the smallest allowance consistent with cleanliness. Punctually at the hour named,
my dragoman informed me that --- Effendi's servant was in attendance; and, arrayed in the
shooting-coat, knee-breeches, and riding-boots, which formed my only costume, I followed
him on foot through the narrow winding streets of the town, until we emerged into its
gardens, and following a charming path between orchards of fruit-trees, gradually reached
its extreme outskirts, when it turned into a narrow glen, down which foamed a brawling
torrent. A steep ascent for about ten minutes brought us to a large gate in a wall. This was
immediately opened by a porter who lived in a lodge outside, and I found myself in grounds
that were half park, half flower-garden, in the center of which, on a terrace commanding
a magnificent view, stood the house of my host - a Turkish mansion with projecting latticed
windows, and a courtyard with a colonnade round it and a fountain in the middle. A broad
flight of steps led to the principal entrance, and at the top of it stood a tall figure in the
flowing Turkish costume of fifty years ago, now, alas! becoming very rare among the upper
classes. I wondered whether this could be the writer of the invitation to dinner; but my
doubts were speedily solved by the empressment with which this turbaned individual, who
seemed a man of about fifty years of age, descended the steps, and with the most
consummate ease and grace of manner, advanced to shake hands and give me a
welcome of unaffected cordiality. He spoke English with the greatest fluency, though with
a slight accent, and in appearance was of the fair type not commonly seen in Turkey; the
eyes dark-blue, mild in repose, but, when animated, expanding and flashing with the
brilliancy of the intelligence which lay behind them. The beard was silky and slightly
auburn. The whole expression of the face was inexpressibly winning and attractive, and
I instinctively felt that if it only depended upon me, we should soon become fast friends.
Such in fact proved to be the case. We had a perfect little dinner, cooked in Turkish style,
but served in European fashion; and afterwards talked so far into the night, that my host
would not hear of my returning, and put me in a bedroom as nicely furnished as if it had
been in a country-house in England. Next morning I found that my dragoman and baggage
had all been transferred from the house of the family with whom I had been lodging in
town, and I was politely given to understand that I was forcibly taken possession of during
the remainder of my stay at -----. At the expiration of a week I was so much struck by the
entirely novel view, as it seemed to me, which my host took of the conflict between
Christendom and Islam, and by the philosophic aspect under which he presented the
Eastern Question generally, that I asked him whether he would object to putting his ideas
in writing, and allowing me to publish them - prefacing his remarks by any explanation in
regard to his own personality, which he might feel disposed to give. He was extremely
reluctant to comply with this request, his native modesty and shrinking from notoriety of any
sort presenting an almost insurmountable obstacle to his rushing into print, even in the
strictest incognito. However, by dint of persistent importunity, I at last succeeded in
breaking through his reserve, and he consented to throw into the form of a personal
communication addressed to me whatever he had to say, and to allow me to make any use
of it I liked.
I confess that when I came to read his letter, I was somewhat taken aback by the
uncompromising manner in which the Effendi had stated his case; and I should have asked
him to modify the language in which he had couched his view, but I felt convinced that, had
I done so, he would have withdrawn it altogether. I was, moreover, ashamed to admit that
I doubted whether I should find a magazine in England with sufficient courage to publish
it. I need not say that I differ from it entirely, and, in our numerous conversations, gave my
reasons for doing so. But I have thought it well that it should, if possible, be made public
in England, for many reasons. In the first place, the question of reform, especially in
Asiatic Turkey, occupies a dominant position in English politics; and it is of great
importance that we should know, not only that many intelligent Turks consider a reform of
the Government hopeless, but to what causes they attribute the present decrepit and
corrupt condition of the empire. We can gather from the views here expressed, though
stated in a most uncomplimentary manner, why many of the most enlightened Moslems,
while lamenting the vices which have brought their country to ruin, refuse to co-operate in
an attempt, on the part of the Western Powers, which, in their opinion, would only be going
from bad to worse. However much we may differ from those whom we wish to benefit, it
would be folly to shut our ears to their opinions in regard to ourselves or our religion, simply
because they are distasteful to us. We can best achieve our end by candidly listening to
what they may have to say. And this must be my apology, as well as that of the magazine
in which it appears, for the publication of a letter so hostile in tone to our cherished
convictions and beliefs. At the same time, I cannot disguise from myself that, while many
of its statements are prejudiced and highly coloured, others are not altogether devoid of
some foundation in truth: it never can do us any harm to see ourselves sometimes as
others see us. The tendency of mankind, and perhaps especially of Englishmen, is so very
much that of the ostrich, which is satisfied to keep its head in the sand and see nothing that
is disturbing to its self-complacency, that a little rough handling occasionally does no harm.
These considerations have induced me to do my best to make "the bark of the distant
Effendi" be heard, to use the fine imagery of Bon Gaultier; [1] and with these few words of
introduction, I will leave him to tell his own tale, and state his opinions on the burning
questions of the day.

[The following letter, together with what precedes, was originally published in
Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine for January. - Ed. Theosophist (1880)]


I proceed, in compliance with your request, to put in writing a resume in condensed
form of the views which I have expressed in our various conversations together on the
Eastern Question, premising only that I have yielded to it under strong pressure, because
I fear they may wound the sensibilities or shock the prejudices of your countrymen. As,
however, you assure me that they are sufficiently tolerant to have the question, in which
they are so much interested, presented to them from an Oriental point of view, I shall write
with perfect frankness, and in the conviction that opinions, however unpalatable they may
be, which are only offered to the public in the earnest desire to advance the cause of truth,
will meet with some response in the breasts of those who are animated with an equally
earnest desire to find it. In order to explain how I have come to form these opinions, I must,
at the cost of seeming egoistic, make a few prefatory remarks about myself. My father was
an official of high rank and old Turkish family, resident for some time in Constantinople,
and afterwards in an important seaport in the Levant. An unusually enlightened and well
educated man, he associated much with Europeans; and from early life I have been
familiar with the Greek, French, and Italian languages. He died when I was about twenty
years of age; and I determined to make use of the affluence to which I fell heir, by traveling
in foreign countries. I had already read largely the literature of both France and Italy, and
had to a certain extent become emancipated from the modes of thought, and I may even
say from the religious ideas, prevalent among my countrymen. I went in the first instance
to Rome, and, after a year's sojourn there, proceeded to England, where I assumed an
Italian name, and devoted myself to the study of the language, institutions, literature, and
religion of the country. I was at all times extremely fond of philosophical speculation, and
this led me to a study of German. My pursuits were so engrossing that I saw little of
society, and the few friends I made were among a comparatively humble class. I remained
in England ten years, traveling occasionally on the Continent, and visiting Turkey twice
during that time. I then proceeded to America, where I passed a year, and thence went to
India by way of Japan and China. In India I remained two years, resuming during this
period an Oriental garb, and living principally among my co-religionists. I was chiefly
occupied, however, in studying the religious movement among the Hindus, known as the
Brahmo Samij. From India I went to Ceylon, [2] where I lived in great retirement, and
became deeply immersed in the more occult knowledge of Buddhism. Indeed, these
mystical studies so intensely interested me, that it was with difficulty, after a stay of three
years, that I succeeded in tearing myself away from them. I then passed, by way of the
Persian Gulf, into Persia, remained a year in Teheran, whence I went to Damascus, where
I lived for five years, during which time I performed the Hadj, more out of curiosity than as
an act of devotion. Five years ago I arrived here on my way to Constantinople, and was so
attracted by the beauty of the spot and the repose which it seemed to offer me, that I was
determined to pitch my tent here from the remainder of my days, and to spend them in
doing what I could do to improve the lot of those amidst whom Providence had thrown me.
"I am aware that this record of my travels will be received with considerable surprise
by those acquainted with the habits of life of Turks generally. I have given it, however, to
account for the train of thought into which I have been led, and the conclusions at which
I have arrived, and to explain the exceptional and isolated position in which I find myself
among my own countrymen, who, as a rule have no sympathies with the motives which
have actuated me through life, or with their results. I have hitherto observed, therefore, a
complete reticence in regard to both. Should, however, these pages fall under the eye of
any member of the Theosophical Society, either in America, Europe, or Asia, they will at
once recognize the writer as one of their number, and will, I feel sure, respect that reserve
as to my personality which I wish to maintain.
"I have already said that in early life I became thoroughly dissatisfied with the religion
in which I was born and brought up; and, determined to discard all early prejudices, I
resolved to travel over the world, visiting the various centers of religious thought, with the
view of making a comparative study of the value of its religions, and of arriving at some
conclusion as to the one I ought myself to adopt. As, however, they each claimed to be
derived from an inspired source, I very soon became overwhelmed with the presumption
of the task which I had undertaken; for I was not conscious of the possession of any
verifying faculty which would warrant my deciding between the claims of different
revelations, or of judging the merits of rival forms of inspiration. Nor did it seem possible
to me that any evidence in favor of a revelation, which was in all instances offered by
human beings like myself, could be of such a nature that another human being should dare
to assert that it could have none other than a divine origin; the more especially as the
author of it was in all instances in external appearance also a human being. At the same
time, I am far from being so daring as to maintain that no divine revelation, claiming to be
such is not pervaded with a divine afflatus. On the contrary, it would seem that to a greater
or less extent they must all be so. Their relative values must depend, so far as our own
earth is concerned, upon the amount of moral truth of a curative kind, in regard to this
world's moral disease, which they contain, and upon their practical influence upon the lives
and conduct of men. I was therefore led to institute a comparison between the objects
which were proposed by various religions; and I found that just in the degree in which they
had been diverted from their original design of world-regeneration, were the results
unsatisfactory, so far as human righteousness was concerned; and that the concentration
of the mind of the devotee upon a future state of life, and the salvation of his soul after he
left this world, tended to produce an enlightened selfishness in his daily life, which has
culminated in its extreme form under the influence of one religion, and finally resulted in
what is commonly known as Western Civilization. For it is only logical, if a man be taught
to consider his highest religious duty to be the salvation of his own soul, while the salvation
of his neighbor's occupies a secondary place, that he should instinctively feel his highest
earthly duty is the welfare of his own human personality and those belonging to it in this
world. It matters not whether this future salvation is to be obtained by an act of faith, or by
merit through good works - the effort is none the less a selfish one. The religion to which
I am now referring will be at once recognized as the popular form of Christianity. After
careful study of the teaching of the founder of this religion, I am amazed at the distorted
character it has assumed under the influence of the three great sects into which it has
become divided - towit, the Greek, Catholic, and Protestant Christians. There is no
teaching so thoroughly altruistic in its character, and which, if it could be literally applied,
would, I believe, exercise so direct and beneficial an influence on the human race, as the
teaching of Christ; but there is none, it seems to me as an impartial student, the spirit of
whose revelation has been more perverted and degraded by His followers of all
denominations. The Buddhist, the Hindu, and the Mohammedan, though they have all
more or less lost the influence of the afflatus which pervades their sacred writings, have
not actually constructed a theology based upon the inversion of the original principles of
their religion. Their light has died away till but a faint flicker remains; but Christians have
developed their social and political morality out of the very blackness of the shadow thrown
by 'The light of the World.' Hence it is that wherever modern Christendom - which I will, for
the sake of distinguishing it from the Christendom proposed by Christ, style Anti-
Christendom [3] - comes into contact with the races who live under the dim religious light
of their respective revelations, the feeble rays of the latter become extinguished by the
gross darkness of this Anti-Christendom, and they lie crushed and mangled under the iron
heel of it organized and sanctified selfishness. The real God of Anti-Christendom, is
Mammon; in Catholic Anti-Christendom, tempered by a lust of spiritual and temporal
power; in Greek Anti-Christendom, tempered by a lust of race aggrandizement; but in
Protestant Anti-Christendom, reigning supreme. The cultivation of the selfish instinct has
unnaturally developed the purely intellectual faculties at the expense of the moral; has
stimulated competition; and has produced a combination of mechanical inventions, political
institutions, and an individual force of character, against which so-called 'heathen' nations,
whose cupidities and covetous propensities lie comparatively dormant, are utterly unable
to prevail.
"This overpowering love of 'the root of all evil,' with the mechanical inventions in the
shape of railroads, telegraphs, iron-clads, and other appliance which it has discovered for
the accumulation of wealth and the destruction of those who impede its accumulation, -
constitutes what is called 'Western Civilization.'
"Countries in which there are no gigantic swindling corporations, no financial crises
by which millions are ruined, or Gatling guns by which they may be slain, are said to be in
a state of barbarism. When the civilization of Anti-Christendom comes into contact with
barbarism of this sort, instead of lifting it out of its moral error, which would be the case if
it were true Christendom, it almost invariably shivers it to pieces. The consequence of the
arrival of the so-called Christian in a heathen country is, not to bring immortal life, but
physical and moral death. Either the native races die out before him - as in the case of the
Red Indian of America and the Australian and New Zealander - or they save themselves
from physical decay by worshiping, with all the ardor of perverts to a new religion, at the
shrine of Mammon - as in the case of Japan - and fortify themselves against dissolution
by such a rapid development of the mental faculties and the avaricious instincts, as may
enable them to cope successfully with the formidable invading influence of Anti-
Christendom. The disastrous moral tendencies and disintegrating effects of inverted
Christianity upon a race professing a religion which was far inferior in its origin and
conception, but which has been practiced by its professors with more fidelity and devotion,
has been strikingly illustrated in the history of my own country. One of the most corrupt
forms which Christianity has ever assumed, was to be found organized in the Byzantine
empire at the time of its conquest by the Turks. Had the so-called Christian races, which
fell under their sway in Europe during their victorious progress westward, been compelled,
without exception, to adopt the faith of Islam, it is certain, to my mind, that their moral
condition would have been immensely improved. Indeed, you who have traveled among
the Moslem Slavs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are the descendants of converts to
Islam at that epoch, will bear testimony to the fact that they contrast most favorably in true
Christian virtues with the descendants of their countrymen who remained Christians; and
I fearlessly appeal to the Austrian authorities now governing those provinces to bear me
out in this assertion. Unfortunately, a sufficiently large nominally Christian population was
allowed by the Turks to remain in their newly-acquired possessions, to taint the conquering
race itself. The vices of Byzantinism speedily made themselves felt in the body politic of
Turkey. The subservient races -intensely superstitious in the form of their religious belief,
which had been degraded into a passport system, by which the believer in the efficacy of
certain dogmas and ceremonials might attain heaven, irrespective of his moral character
on earth - were unrestrained by religious principles from giving free reign to their natural
propensities, which were dishonest and covetous in the extreme. They thus revenged
themselves on their conquerors, by undermining them financially, politically, and morally;
they insidiously plundered those who were too indifferent to wealth to learn how to
preserve it, and infected others with the contagion of their own cupidity, until these became
as vicious and corrupt in their means of acquiring riches as they were themselves. This
process has been going on for the last five hundred years, until the very fanaticism of the
race, which was its best protection against inverted Christianity, has begun to die out, and
the governing class of Turks has with rare exceptions become as dishonest and degraded
as the Ghiaours they despise. Still they would have been able, for many years yet to come,
to hold their own in Europe, but for the enormously increased facilities for the accumulation
of wealth, and therefore for the gratification of covetous propensities, created within the last
half-century by the discoveries of steam and electricity. Not only was Turkey protected
formerly from the sordid and contaminating influence of anti-Christendom by the difficulties
of communication, but the mania of developing the resources of foreign countries, for the
purpose of appropriating the wealth which they might contain, became proportionately
augmented with increased facilities of transport - so that now the very habits of thought in
regard to countries styled barbarous have become changed. As an example of this, I would
again refer to my own country. I can remember the day when British tourists visited it with
a view to the gratification of their aesthetic tastes. They delighted to contrast what they
were then pleased to term 'oriental civilization' with their own. Our very backwardness in
the mechanical arts was an attraction to them. They went home delighted with the
picturesqueness and indolence of the East. Its bazaars, its costumes, its primitive old-world
cachet, invested it in their eyes with an indescribable charm; and books were written which
fascinated the Western reader with pictures of our manners and customs, because they
were so different from those with which he was familiar. Now all this is changed; the
modem traveler is in nine cases out of ten a railroad speculator, or a mining engineer, or
a member of Parliament like yourself, coming to see how pecuniary or political capital can
be made out of us, and how he can best exploiter the resources of the country to his own
profit. This he calls 'reforming' it. His idea is, not how to make the people morally better,
but how best to develop their predatory instincts, and teach them to prey upon each other's
pockets. For he knows that by encouraging a rivalry in the pursuit of wealth amongst a
people comparatively unskilled in the art of money-grubbing, his superior talent and
experience in that occupation will enable him to turn their efforts to his own advantage. He
disguises from himself the immorality of the proceeding by the reflection that the
introduction of foreign capital will add to the wealth of the country, and increase the
material well-being and happiness of the people. But apart from the fallacy that wealth and
happiness are synonymous terms, reform of this kind rests on the assumption that natural
temperament and religious tendencies of the race will lend themselves to a keen
commercial rivalry of this description; and if it does not, they, like the Australian and the
Red Indian, must disappear before it. Already the process has begun in Europe. The
Moslem is rapidly being reformed out of existence altogether. Between the upper and
nether milestone of Russian greed for territory and of British greed for money, and behind
the mask of a prostituted Christianity, the Moslem in Europe has been ground to powder;
hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children have either perished by
violence or starvation, or, driven from their homes, are now struggling to keep body and
soul together as best they can in misery and desolation, crushed beneath the wheels of
the Juggernauth of 'Progress,' - their only crime, like that of the poor crossing-sweeper, I
think, in one of your own novels, that they did not 'move on.' This is called in modern
parlance 'the civilizing influence of Christianity.' At this moment the Russians are pushing
roads through their newly-acquired territory towards Kars. I am informed by an intelligent
Moslem gentleman, who has just arrived from that district, that the effect of their 'civilizing'
influence upon the inhabitants of the villages, through which these roads pass, is to convert
the women into prostitutes and the men into drunkards. No wonder the Mohammedan
population is flocking in thousands across the frontier into Turkish territory, abandoning
their homes and landed possessions in order to escape the contamination of Anti-
"In these days of steam and electricity, not only has the traveler no eye for the moral
virtues of a people, but his aesthetic faculties have become blunted; he regards them only
as money-making machines, and he esteems them just in the degree in which they excel
in the art of wealth-accumulation. Blinded by selfish utilitarianism, he can now see only
barbarism in a country where the landscape is not obscured by the black smoke of factory-
chimneys, and the ear not deafened by the scream of the locomotive. For him a people
who cling to the manners and customs of a bygone epoch, with which their own most
glorious traditions are associated, have no charm. He sees in a race, which still endeavors
to follow the faith of their forefathers with simplicity and devotion, nothing but ignorant
fanaticism, for he has long since substituted hypocrisy for sincerity in his own belief. He
despises a peasantry whose instincts of submission and obedience induce them to suffer
rather than rise in revolt against a Government which oppresses them, because the head
of it is invested in their eyes with a sacred character. He can no longer find anything to
admire or to interest in the contrast between the East and West, but everything to
condemn; and his only sympathy is with that section of the population in Turkey, who,
called Christians like himself, like him, devote themselves to the study of how much can
be made, by fair means or foul, out of their Moslem neighbors.
"While I observe that this change has come over the Western traveler of late years -
a change which I attribute to the mechanical appliances of the age - a corresponding
effect, owing to the same cause, has, I regret to say, been produced upon my own
countrymen. A gradual assimilation has been for some time in progress in the East with the
habits and customs of the rest of Europe. We are abandoning our distinctive costume, and
adapting ourselves to a Western mode of life in many ways. We are becoming lax in the
observances of our religion; and it is now the fashion for our women to get their high-
heeled boots and bonnets from Paris, and for our youths of good family to go to that city
of pleasure, or to one of the large capitals of Europe, for their education. Here they adopt
all the vices of Anti-Christendom, for the attractions of a civilization based upon enlightened
selfishness are overpoweringly seductive; and they return without religion of any sort -
shallow, skeptical, egotistical, and thoroughly demoralized. It is next to impossible for a
Moslem youth, as I myself experienced, to come out of that fire uncontaminated. His
religion fits him to live with simple and primitive races, and even to acquire a moral control
over them; but he is fascinated and overpowered by the mighty influence of the glamour
of the West. He returns to Turkey with his principles thoroughly undermined, and, if he has
sufficient ability, adds one to the number of those who misgovern it.
"The two dominant vices, which characterize Anti-Christendom, are cupidity and
hypocrisy. That which chiefly revolts the Turk in this disguised attack upon the morals of
his people, no less than upon the very existence of his empire, is, that it should be made
under the pretext of morality, and behind the flimsy veil of humanitarianism. It is in the
nature of the religious idea that just in proportion as it was originally penetrated with a
divine truth, which has become perverted, does it engender hypocrisy. This was so true of
Judaism, that when the founder of Christianity came, though himself a Jew, he scorchingly
denounced the class which most loudly professed the religion which they profaned. But the
Phariseeism which has made war upon Turkey is far more intense in degree than that
which he attacked, for the religion which it profanes contains the most divine truth which
the world ever received. Mahomet divided the nether world into seven hells, and in the
lowest he placed the hypocrites of all religions. I have now carefully examined into many
religions, but as none of them demanded so high a standard from its followers as
Christianity, there has not been any development of hypocrisy out of them at all
corresponding to that which is peculiar to Anti-Christianity. For that reason I am
constrained to think that its contributions to the region assigned to hypocrites by the
prophet will be out of all proportion to the hypocrites of other religions.
"In illustration of this, see how the principles of morality and justice are at this moment
being hypocritically outraged in Albania, where, on the moral ground that a nationality has
an inherent right to the property of its neighbour, if it can make a claim of similarity of race,
a southern district of the country is to be forcibly given to Greece; while, in violation of the
same moral principle, a northern district is to be taken from the Albanian nationality, to
which by right of race it belongs, and violently and against the will of the people, who are
in no way consulted as to their fate, is to be handed over for annexation to the
Montenegrians - a race whom the population to be annexed traditionally hate and detest.
"When Anti-Christian nations, sitting in solemn congress, can be guilty of such a
prostitution of the most sacred principles in the name of morality, and construct an
international code of ethics to be applicable to Turkey alone, and which they would one
and all refuse to admit or be controlled by, themselves, - when we know that the internal
corruption, the administrative abuses, and the oppressive misgovernment of the Power
which has just made war against us in the name of humanity, have driven the population
to despair, and the authorities to the most cruel excesses in order to repress them, - and
when, in the face of all this most transparent humbug, these Anti-Christian nations arrogate
to themselves, on the ground of their superior civilization and morality, the right to impose
reform upon Turkey, - we neither admit their pretensions, covet their civilizations, believe
in ther good faith, nor respect their morality.
"Thus it is that, from first to last, the woes of Turkey have been due to its contact with
Anti-Christendom. The race is now paying the penalty for the lust of dominion and power,
which tempted them in the first instance to cross the Bosphorus. From the day on which
the tree of empire was planted in Europe, the canker, in the shape of the opposing religion,
began to gnaw at its roots. When the Christians within had thoroughly eaten out its vitals,
they called on the Christians without for assistance; and it is morally impossible that the
decayed trunk can much longer withstand their combined efforts. But as I commenced by
saying, had the invading Moslems in the first instance converted the entire population to
their creed, Turkey might have even now withstood the assaults of 'progress.' Nay, more,
it is not impossible that her victorious armies might have overrun Europe, and that the faith
of Islam might have extended over the whole of what is now termed the civilized world. I
have often thought how much happier it would have been for Europe, and unquestionably
for the rest of the world, had such been the case. That wars and national antagonisms
would have continued, it s doubtless true; but we should have been saved the violent
political social changes which have resulted from steam and electricity, and have continued
to live the simple and primitive life which satisfied the aspirations of our ancestors, and in
which they found contentment and happiness, while millions of barbarians would to this day
have remained in ignorance of the gigantic vices peculiar to Anti-Christian civilization. The
West would have then been spared the terrible consequences which are even now
impending, as the inevitable result of an intellectual progress to which there has been no
corresponding moral advance. The persistent violation for eighteen centuries of the great
altruistic law, propounded and enjoined by the great founder of the Christian religion, must
inevitably produce a corresponding catastrophe; and the day is not far distant when
modem civilization will find that in its great scientific discoveries and inventions, devised
for the purpose of ministering to its own extravagant necessities it has forged the weapons
by which it will itself be destroyed. No better evidence of the truth of this can be found than
in the fact that Anti-Christendom alone is menaced with the danger of a great class
revolution; already in every so-called Christian country we hear the mutterings of the
coming storm when labor and capital will find themselves arrayed against each other -
when rich and poor will meet in deadly antagonism, and the spoilers and the spoiled solve,
by means of the most recently invented artillery, the economic problems of modern
'progress.' It is surely a remarkable fact, that this struggle between rich and poor is
specially reserved for those whose religion inculcates upon them, as the highest law - the
love of their neighbor - and most strongly denounces the love of money. No country, which
does not bear the name of Christian, is thus threatened. Even in Turkey, in spite of its bad
government and the many Christians who live in it, socialism, communism, nihilism,
internationalism, and all kindred forms of class revolution, are unknown, for the simple
reason that Turkey has so far, at least, successfully resisted the influence of 'Anti-Christian
"In the degree in which the State depends for its political, commercial, and social
well-being and prosperity, not upon a moral but a mechanical basis, is its foundation
perilous. When the life-blood of a nation is its wealth, and the existence of that wealth
depends upon the regularity with which railroads and telegraphs perform their functions,
it is in the power of a few skilled artisans, by means of a combined operation, to strangle
it. Only the other day the engineers and firemen of a few railroads in the United States
struck for a week; nearly a thousand men were killed and wounded before the trains could
be set running again; millions of dollars' worth of property were destroyed. The contagion
spread to the mines and factories, and, had the movement been more skillfully organized,
the whole country would have been in revolution; and it is impossible to tell what the results
might have been. Combinations among the working classes are now rendered practicable
by rail and wire, which formerly were impossible; and the facilities, which exist for secret
conspiracy, have turned Europe into a slumbering volcano, an eruption of which is rapidly
"Thus it is that the laws of retribution run their course, and that the injuries - that
Anti-Christendom has inflicted upon the more primitive and simple races of the world,
which, under the pretext of civilizing them, it has exploited for its own profit - will be amply
avenged. Believe me, my dear friend, that it is under no vindictive impulse or spirit of
religious intolerance that I write thus: on the contrary, though I consider Mussulmans
generally to be far more religious than Christians, inasmuch as they practice more
conscientiously the teaching of their prophet, I feel that teaching, from an ethical point of
view, to be infinitely inferior to that of Christ. I have written, therefore, without prejudice, in
this attempt philosophically to analyze the nature and causes of the collision which has at
last culminated between the East and the West, between the so-called Christendom and
Islam. And I should be only too thankful if it could be proved to me that I had done the form
of religion you profess, or the nation to which you belong an injustice. I am far from wishing
to insinuate that among Christians, even as Christianity is at present professed and
practiced, there are not as good men as among nations called heathen and barbarous. I
am even prepared to admit that there are better - for some struggle to practice the higher
virtues of Christianity, not unsuccessfully, considering the manner in which these are
conventionally travestied; while others, who reject the popular theology altogether, have
risen higher than ordinary modern Christian practice by force of reaction against the
hypocrisy and shams by which they are surrounded - but these are in a feeble minority,
and unable to affect the popular standard. Such men existed among the Jews at the time
of Christ, but they did not prevent Him from denouncing the moral iniquities of His day, or
the Church which countenanced them. At the same time, I must remind you that I shrank
from the task which you imposed upon me, and only consented at last to undertake it on
your repeated assurances that by some, at all events, of your countrymen, the spirit by
which I have been animated in writing thus frankly will not be misconceived. - Believe me,
my dear friend, yours very sincerely,


[1] "Say, is it the glance of the haughty vizier, Or the bark of the distant Effendi, you fear?"
- "Eastern Serenade;" Bon Gaultier's Book of Ballads.

[2] In Ceylon there is a lake with an apparently uninhabited jungle island fre-quented by
adepts. D.K. Mavalankar speaks of it. The Turkish Effendi may be referring to this locale.
[Editor - (Brookings T.S.)]

[3] I here remarked to the Effendi that there was something very offensive to Christians in
the term Anti-Christendom, as it possessed a peculiar signification in their religious belief;
and I requested him to substitute for it some other word. This he declined to do most
positively; and he pointed to passages in the Koran, in which Mahomet prophesies the
coming of Antichrist. As he said it was an article of his faith that the Antichrist alluded to
by the Prophet was the culmination of the inverted Christianity professed in these latter
days, he could not so far compromise with his conscience as to change the term, and
rather than do so he would withdraw the letter. I have therefore been constrained to let it

[This article is taken from March, 1880 The Theosophist, edited by H.P. Blavatsky.
A recent slightly abbreviated version was published by Theosophy in Brookings, August



- H.P. Blavatsky

[Originally published in The Theosophist, Vol. 1, November 1879, pp. 35-36]

Perhaps the most widespread and universal among the symbols in the old
astronomical systems, which have passed down the stream of time to our century, and
have left traces everywhere in the Christian religion as elsewhere, - are the Cross and the
Fire, the latter the symbol of the sun. The ancient Aryans had them both as the symbols
of Agni. Whenever the ancient Hindu devotee desired to worship Agni - says E. Burnouf
(La Science des religions, ch. x) he arranged two pieces of wood in the form of a cross,
and, by a peculiar whirling and friction obtained fire for his sacrifice. As a symbol, it is
called Swastica, and, as an instrument manufactured out of a sacred tree and in
possession of every Brahmin, it is known as Arani.
The Scandinavians had the same sign and called it Thor's Hammer, as bearing a
mysterious magneto-electric relation to Thor, the God of Thunder, who, like Jupiter armed
with his thunderbolts, holds likewise in his hand this ensign of power, over not only mortals
but also the mischievous spirits of the elements, over which he presides. In Masonry it
appears in the form of the grand master's mallet; at Allahabad it may be seen on the Fort
as the Jaina Cross, or the Talisman of the Jaina Kings; and the gavel of the modern judge
is no more than this crux dissimulata - as de Rossi, the archaeologist calls it; for the gavel
is the sign of power and strength, as the hammer represented the might of Thor, who, in
the Norse legends splits a rock with it, and kills Medgar. Dr. Schliemann found it in terra
cotta disks, on the site, as he believes, of ancient Troy, in the lowest strata of his
excavations; which indicated, according to Dr. Lundy, "an Aryan civilization long anterior
to the Greek - say from two to three thousand years B.C." Burnouf calls it the oldest form
of the cross known, and affirms that it is found personified in the ancient religion of the
Greeks under the figure of Prometheus "the fire-bearer," crucified on mount Caucasus,
while the celestial bird - the Shyena of the Vedic hymns, - daily devours his entrails.
Boldetti (Osservazioni I, 15, p. 60) gives a copy from the painting in the cemetery of St.
Sebastian, representing a Christian convert and grave-digger, named Diogenes, who
wears on both his legs and right arm the signs of the Swastica. The Mexicans and the
Peruvians had it, and it is found as the sacred Tau in the oldest tombs of Egypt.
It is, to say the least, a strange coincidence, remarked even by some Christian
clergymen, that Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God, should have the symbols, identical with the
Hindu God Agni. While Agnus Dei expiates and takes away the sins of the world, in one
religion, the God Agni, in the other, likewise expiates sins against the gods, man, the
manes, the soul, and repeated sins, as shown in the six prayers accompanied by six
oblations (Colebrooke, Essays, Vol. 1, p. 190).
If, then, we find these two - the Cross and the Fire - so closely associated in the
esoteric symbolism of nearly every nation, it is because on the combined powers of the two
rests the whole plan of universal law. In astronomy, physics, chemistry, in the whole range
of natural philosophy, in short, they always come out as the invisible cause and the visible
result; and only metaphysics and alchemy - or shall we say Metachemistry, since we
prefer coining a new word to shocking sceptical ears? - can fully and conclusively solve the
mysterious meaning. An instance or two will suffice for those who are willing to think over
The Central Point, or the great central sun of the Kosmos, as the Kabalists call it,
is the Deity. It is the point of intersection between the two great conflicting powers - the
centripetal and the centrifugal forces - which drive the planets into their elliptical orbits,
making them trace a cross in their path through the Zodiac. These two terrible, though as
yet hypothetical and imaginary powers, preserve harmony and keep the Universe in
steady, unceasing motion; and the four bent points of the Swastica typify the revolution
of the Earth upon its axis. Plato calls the Universe a "blessed god" which was made in a
circle and decussated is the form of the letter X. So much for astronomy. In Masonry the
Royal Arch degree retains the cross as the triple Egyptian Tau. It is the mundane circle
with the astronomical cross upon it rapidly revolving; the perfect square of the
Pythagorean mathematics in the scale of numbers, as its occult meaning is interpreted by
Cornelius Agrippa. Fire is heat, - the central point; the perpendicular ray represents the
male element or spirit; and the horizontal one the female element - or matter. Spirit
vivifies and fructifies the matter, and everything proceeds from the central point, the focus
of Life, and Light, and Heat, represented by the terrestrial fire. So much again, for physics
and chemistry, for the field of analogies is boundless, and Universal Laws are immutable
and identical in their outward and inward applications. Without intending to be
disrespectful to anyone, or to wander far away from truth, we think we may say that there
are strong reasons to believe that in their original sense the Christian Cross - as the cause,
and Eternal torment by Hell Fire - as the direct effect of negation of the former - have more
to do with these two ancient symbols than our Western theologians are prepared to admit.
If Fire is the Deity with some heathens, so in the Bible, God is likewise the Life and the
Light of the World; if the Holy Ghost and Fire cleanse and purify the Christian, on the other
hand Lucifer is also Light, and called the "Son of the morning."
Turn wherever we will, we are sure to find these conjoint relics of ancient worship
with almost every nation and people. From the Aryans, the Chaldeans, the Zoroastrians,
Peruvians, Mexicans, Scandinavians, Celts, and ancient Greeks and Latins, it has
descended in its completeness, to the modern Parsi. The Phoenician Cabiri and the Greek
Dioscuri are partially revived in every temple, cathedral, and village church; while, as will
now be shown, the Christian Bulgarians have even preserved the sun worship in full.
It is more than a thousand years since this people, who, emerging from obscurity,
suddenly became famous through the late Russo-Turkish war, were converted to
Christianity. And yet they appear none the less pagans than they were before, for this is
how they meet Christmas and the New Year's day. To this time they call this festival
Sourjvaki, as it falls in with the festival in honour of the ancient Slavonian god Sourja. In
the Slavonian mythology this deity - Sourja or Sourva, - evidently identical with the Aryan
Surya . . . sun . . . is the god of heat, fertility, and abundance. The celebration of this
festival is of an immense antiquity, as, far before the days of Christianity, the Bulgarians
worshiped Sourva, and consecrated New Year's day to this god, praying him to bless their
fields with fertility, and send them happiness and prosperity. This custom has remained
among them in all its primitive heathenism, and though it varies according to localities, yet
the rites and ceremonies are essentially the same.
On the eve of New Year's Day, the Bulgarians do no work, and are obliged to fast.
Young betrothed maidens are busy preparing a large platiy (cake) in which they place roots
and young shoots of various forms, to each of which a name is given, according to the
shape of the root. Thus one means the "house," another represents the "garden"; others
again, the mill, the vineyard, the horse, a cat, a hen, and so on, according to the landed
property and worldly possessions of the family. Even articles of value such as jewelry and
bags of money are represented in this emblem of the horn of abundance. Besides all
these, a large and ancient silver coin is placed inside the cake; it is called babka and is
tied two ways with a red thread, which forms a cross. This coin is regarded as the symbol
of fortune.
After sunset, and other ceremonies, including prayers addressed in the direction of
the departing luminary, the whole family assemble about a large round table called paralya,
on which are placed the above-mentioned cake, dry vegetables, corn, wax taper, and,
finally, a large censer containing incense of the best quality do perfume the god. The head
of the household, usually the oldest in the family - either the grandfather, or the father
himself - taking up the censer with the greatest veneration, in one hand, and the wax taper
in the other, begins walking about the premises, incensing the four corners, beginning and
ending with the East; and reads various invocations, which close with the Christian "Our
Father who art in Heaven," addressed to Sourja. The taper is then laid away to be
preserved throughout the whole year, till the next festival. It is thought to have acquired
marvelous healing properties, and is lighted only upon occasions of family sickness, in
which case it is expected to cure the patient.
After this ceremony, the old man takes his knife and cuts the cake into as many
slices as there are members of the household present. Each person, upon receiving his
or her share, makes haste to open and search the piece. The happiest of the lot, for the
ensuing year, is he or she who gets the part containing the old coin crossed with the scarlet
thread; he is considered the elect of Sourja, and every one envies the fortunate
possessor. Then in order of importance come the emblems of the house, the vineyard,
and so on; and according to his finding, the finder reads his horoscope for the coming
year. Most unlucky he who gets the cat; he turns pale and trembles. Woe to him and
misery, for he is surrounded by enemies, and has to prepare for great trials.
At the same time, a large log which represents a flaming altar, is set up in the
chimney-place, and fire is applied to it. This log burns in honour of Sourja, and is intended
as an oracle for the whole house. If it burns the whole night through till morning, without
the flame dying out, it is a good sign; otherwise the family prepares to see death that year,
and deep lamentations end the festival.
Neither the momtzee (young bachelor), nor the mommee (the maiden), sleep that
night. At midnight begins a series of sooth-saying, magic, and various rites, in which the
burning log plays the part of the oracle. A young bud thrown into the fire and bursting with
a loud snap, is a sign of happy and speedy marriage, and vice versa. Long after midnight,
the young couples leave their respective homes, and begin visiting their acquaintances,
from house to house, offering and receiving congratulations, and rendering thanks to the
deity. These deputy couples are called the Souryakari, and each male carries a large
branch ornamented with red ribbons, old coins, and the image of Sourja, and as they wend
along sing in chorus. Their chant is as original as it is peculiar and merits translation,
though, of course, it must lose in being rendered into a foreign language. The following
stanzas are addressed by them to those they visit:

Sourva, Sourva, Lord of the season,

Happy New Year mayest thou send:
Health and fortune on this household,
Success and blessings till next year.
With good crops and full ears,
With gold and silk, and grapes and fruit.
With barrels full of wine, and stomachs full,
You and your house be blessed by the God ...
His blessing on you all. Amen! Amen! Amen!

The singing Souryakari, recompensed for their good wishes with a present at every
house, go home at early dawn . . . And this is how the symbolical exoteric Cross and Fire
worship of old Aryavart go hand in hand in Christian Bulgaria .....

- Theosophia, Winter, 1955-6



By H.P. Blavatsky

The passage "to Live, to live, To LIVE must be his unswerving resolve," occurring
in the article on "The Elixir of Life", published in the March and April Number of Vol. III of
The Theosophist - is often quoted, by superficial readers unsympathetic with the
Theosophical Society, as an argument that the above teaching of occultism is the most
concentrated form of selfishness. In order to determine whether the critics are right or
wrong, the meaning of the word "selfishness" must first be ascertained.
According to an established authority, selfishness is that "exclusive regard to one's
own interest or happiness; that supreme self-love or self-preference which leads a person
to direct his purposes to the advancement of his own interest, power, or happiness, without
regarding those of others."
In short, an absolutely selfish individual is one who cares for himself and none else,
or, in other words, one who is so strongly imbued with a sense of importance of his own
personality that to him it is the acme of all his thoughts, desires and aspirations and
beyond that all is a perfect blank. Now, can an occultist be then said to be "selfish" when
he desires to live in the sense in which that word is used by the writer of the article "The
Elixir of Life"? It has been said over and over again that the ultimate end of every aspirant
after occult knowledge is Nirvana or Mukti, when the individual, freed from all Mayavic
Upadhi, becomes one with Paramatma, or the Son identifies himself with the Father in
Christian phraseology. For that purpose, every veil of illusion which creates a sense of
personal isolation, a feeling of separateness from THE ALL, must be torn asunder, or in
other words, the aspirant must gradually discard all sense of selfishness with which we are
all more or less affected. A study of the Law of Cosmic Evolution teaches us that the
higher the evolution, the more does it tend towards Unity. In fact, Unity is the ultimate
possibility of Nature, and those who through vanity and selfishness go against her
purposes, cannot but incur the punishment of total annihilation. The Occultist thus
recognizes that unselfishness and a feeling of universal philanthropy are the inherent law
of our being, and all he does is to attempt to destroy the chains of selfishness forged upon
us all by Maya. The struggle then between Good and Evil, God and Satan, Suras and
Asuras, Devas and Daityas, which is mentioned in the sacred books of all the nations and
races, symbolizes the battle between unselfish and the selfish impulses, which takes place
in a man, who tries to follow the higher purposes of Nature, until the lower animal
tendencies, created by selfishness, are completely conquered, and the enemy thoroughly
routed and annihilated. It has also been often put forth in various theosophical and other
occult writings that the only difference between an ordinary man who works along with
Nature during the course of cosmic evolution and an occultist, is that the latter, by his
superior knowledge, adopts such methods of training and discipline as will hurry on that
process of evolution, and he thus reaches in a comparatively very short time that apex to
ascend to which the ordinary individual may take perhaps billions of years. In short, in a
few thousand years he approaches that form of evolution which ordinary humanity will
attain to perhaps in the sixth or the seventh round during the process of Manvantara, i.e.,
cyclic progression. It is evident that average man cannot become a MAHATMA in one life,
or rather in one incarnation. Now those who have studied the occult teachings concerning
Devachan and our after-states will remember that between two incarnations there is a
considerable period of subjective existence. The greater the number of such Devachanic
periods, the greater is the number of years over which this evolution is extended. The chief
aim of the occultist is therefore to so control himself as to be able to control his future
states, and thereby gradually shorten the duration of his Devachanic states between his
two incarnations. In his progress, there comes a time when, between one physical death
and his next rebirth, there is no Devachan but a kind of spiritual sleep, the shock of death,
having, so to say, stunned him into a state of unconsciousness from which he gradually
recovers to find himself reborn, to continue his purpose. The period of this sleep may vary
from twenty-five to two hundred years, depending upon the degree of his advancement.
But even this period may be said to be a waste of time, and hence all his exertions are
directed to shorten its duration so as to gradually come to a point when the passage from
one state of existence into another is almost imperceptible. This is his last incarnation, as
it were, for the shock of death no more stuns him. This is the idea the writer of the article
"The Elixir of Life" means to convey, when he says:-
"By or about the time when the Death-limit of his race is passed, HE IS ACTUALLY
DEAD, in the ordinary sense, that is to say, that he has relieved himself of all or nearly all
such material particles as would have necessitated in disruption the agony of dying. He
has been dying gradually, during the whole period of his Initiation. The catastrophe cannot
happen twice over. He has only spread over a number of years the mild process of
dissolution which others endure from a brief moment to a few hours. The highest Adept
is, in fact, dead to, and absolutely unconscious of, the world; he is oblivious of its
pleasures, careless of its miseries, in so far as sentimentalism goes, for the stern sense
of DUTY never leaves him blind to its very existence . . . ."
The process of the emission and attraction of atoms, which the occultist controls,
has been discussed at length in that article and in other writings. It is by these means that
he gets rid gradually of all the old gross particles of his body, substituting for them finer and
more ethereal ones, till at last the former sthula sarira is completely dead and disintegrated
and he lives in a body entirely of his own creation, suited to his work. That body is
essential for his purpose, for, as the "Elixir of Life" says:-
"But to do good, as in everything else, a man must have time and materials to work
with, and this is a necessary means to the acquirement of powers by which infinitely more
good can be done than without them. When these are once mastered, the opportunities
to use them will arrive. . . "
In another place, in giving the practical instructions for that purpose, the same article
"The physical man must be rendered more ethereal and sensitive; the mental man
more penetrating and profound; the moral man more self-denying and philosophical."
The above important considerations are lost sight of by those who snatch away from
the context the following passage in the same article:-
"And from this account too, it will be perceptible how foolish it is for people to ask
the Theosophist to procure for them communication with the highest Adepts. It is with the
utmost difficulty that one or two can be induced, even by the throes of a world, to injure
their own progress by meddling with mundane affairs. The ordinary reader will say: This
is not god-like. This is the acme of selfishness.... But let him realize that a very high Adept,
undertaking to reform the world, would necessarily have to once more submit to
Incarnation. And is the result of all that has gone before in that line sufficiently
encouraging to prompt a renewal of the attempt? "
Now, in condemning the above passage as inculcating selfishness, superficial
readers and thinkers lose sight of various important considerations. In the first place, they
forget the other extracts already quoted which impose self-denial as a necessary condition
of success, and which say that, with progress, new senses and new powers are acquired
with which infinitely more good can be done than without them. The more spiritual the
Adept becomes, the less can he meddle with mundane, gross, affairs and the more he has
to confine himself to a spiritual work. It has been repeated, time out of number, that the
work on a spiritual plane is as superior to the work on an intellectual plane as the one on
the latter plane is superior to that on a physical plane. The very high Adepts, therefore, do
help humanity, but only spiritually; they are constitutionally incapable of meddling with
worldly affairs. But this applies only to very high Adepts. There are various degrees of
Adeptship, and those of each degree work for humanity on the planes to which they may
have risen. It is only the chelas that can live in the world, until they rise to a certain degree.
And it is because the Adepts do care for the world that they make their chelas live in and
work for it, as many of those who study the subject are aware. Each cycle produces its
own occultists who will be able to work for the humanity of those times on all the different
planes; but when the Adepts foresee that at a particular period the then humanity will be
incapable of producing occultists for work on particular planes, for such occasions they do
provide by either giving up voluntarily their further progress and waiting in those particular
degrees until humanity reaches that period, or by refusing to enter into Nirvana and
submitting to reincarnation in time to reach those degrees when humanity will require their
assistance at that stage. And although the world may not be aware of the fact, yet there
are even now certain Adepts who have preferred to remain statu quo and refuse to take
the higher degrees, for the benefit of the future generations of humanity. In short, as the
Adepts work harmoniously, since unity is the fundamental law of their being, they have as
it were made a division of labor, according to which each works on the plane at the time
allotted to him, for the spiritual elevation of us all - and the process of longevity mentioned
in "The Elixir of Life" is only the means to the end which, far from being selfish, is the most
unselfish purpose for which a human being can labor.
- The Theosophist, July, 1884.

- Canadian Theosophist, Oct., 1954



- H.P. Blavatsky
[Reprinted from The Theosophist, Vol. V, No. 11 (59), August, 1884, pp. 266-267.]

In the various writings on occult subjects, it has been stated that unselfishness is
a sine qua non for success in occultism. Or a more correct form of putting it, would be that
the development of an unselfish feeling is in itself the primary training which brings with it
"knowledge which is power" as a necessary accessory. It is not, therefore, "knowledge",
as ordinarily understood, that the occultist works for, but it comes to him as a matter of
course, in consequence of his having removed the veil which screens true knowledge from
his view. The basis of knowledge exists everywhere, since the phenomenal world
furnishes or rather abounds with facts, the causes of which have to be discovered. We can
see only the effects in the phenomenal world, for each cause in the world is itself the effect
of some other cause, and so on; and therefore, true knowledge consists in getting at the
root of all phenomena, and thus arriving at a correct understanding of the primal cause, the
"rootless root", which is not an effect in its turn. To perceive anything correctly, one can
use only those senses or instruments which correspond to the nature of that object. Hence
to comprehend the noumenal, a noumenal sense is a pre-requisite; while the transient
phenomena can be perceived by senses corresponding to the nature of those phenomena.
Occult Philosophy teaches us that the seventh principle is the only eternal Reality, while
the rest, belonging as they do to the "world of forces" which are non-permanent, are illusive
in the sense that they are transient. To these is limited the phenomenal world which can
be taken cognisance of by the senses corresponding to the nature of those six principles.
It will thus be clear that it is only the seventh sense, which pertains to the noumenal world,
that can comprehend the Abstract Reality underlying all phenomena. As this seventh
principle is all-pervading, it exists potentially in all of us; and he, who would arrive at true
knowledge, has to develop that sense in him, or rather he must remove those veils which
obscure its manifestation. All sense of personality is limited only to these lower six
principles, for the former relates only to the "world of forces". Consequently, true
"knowledge" can be obtained only by tearing away all the curtains of Maya raised by a
sense of personality before the impersonal Atma. It is only in that personality that is
centered selfishness, or rather the latter creates the former and vice versa, since they
mutually act and react upon each other. For, selfishness is that feeling which seeks after
the aggrandizement of one's own egotistic personality to the exclusion of others. If,
therefore, selfishness limits one to narrow personalities, absolute knowledge is impossible
so long as selfishness is not got rid of. So long, however, as we are in the world of
phenomena, we cannot be entirely rid of a sense of personality, however exalted that
feeling may be in the sense that no feeling of personal aggrandizement or ambition
remains. We are, by our constitution and state of evolution, placed in the "world of
Relativity", but as we find that impersonality and non-duality is the ultimate end of cosmic
evolution, we have to endeavour to work along with Nature, and not place ourselves in
opposition to its inherent impulse which must ultimately assert itself. To oppose it, must
necessitate suffering, since a weaker force, in its egotism, tries to array itself against the
universal law. All that the occultist does, is to hasten this process, by allowing his Will to
act in unison with the Cosmic Will or the Demiurgic Mind, which can be done by
successfully checking the vain attempt of personality to assert itself in opposition to the
former. And since the MAHATMA is but an advanced occultist, who has so far controlled
his lower "self" as to hold it more or less in complete subjection to the Cosmic impulse, it
is in the nature of things impossible for him to act in any other but an unselfish manner.
No sooner does he allow the "personal Self" to assert itself, than he ceases to be a
MAHATMA. Those, therefore, who being still entangled in the web of the delusive sense
of personality charge the MAHATMAS with "selfishness" in withholding "knowledge" - do
not consider what they are talking about. The Law of Cosmic evolution is ever operating
to achieve its purpose of ultimate unity and to carry the phenomenal into the noumenal
plane, and the MAHATMAS, being en rapport with it, are assisting that purpose. They
therefore know best what knowledge is best for mankind at a particular stage of its
evolution, and none else is competent to judge of that matter, since they alone have got
to the basic knowledge which can determine the right course and exercise proper
discrimination. And for us who are yet struggling in the mire of the illusive senses to
dictate what knowledge MAHATMAS shall impart to us and how they shall act, is like a
street-boy presuming to teach science to Prof. Huxley or politics to Mr. Gladstone. For, it
will be evident that, as soon as the least feeling of selfishness tries to assert itself, the
vision of the spiritual sense, which is the only perception of the MAHATMA, becomes
clouded and he loses the "power" which abstract "knowledge" alone can confer. Hence,
the vigilant watch of the "will" we have constantly to exercise to prevent our lower nature
from coming up to the surface, which it does in our present undeveloped state; and thus
extreme activity and not passivity is the essential condition with which the student has to
commence. First his activity is directed to check the opposing influence of the "lower self";
and, when that is conquered, his untrammeled Will centered in his higher (real) "self",
continues to work most efficaciously and actively in unison with the cosmic ideation in the
"Divine Mind."

- from Theosophia, July-August, 1949



(Extract from an article first printed by H.P. Blavatsky in Lucifer, July 1890, reprinted
in Theosophy Magazine, July 1916, p. 199)

"Thus the author of 'Anna Karenina' and of the 'Death of Ivan Ilyitch,' the greatest
psychologist of this century, stand accused of ignoring 'human nature' by one critic, of
being 'the most conspicuous case out of Bedlam,' and by another (Scot's Observer) called
'the ex-great artist.' 'He tilts,' we are told, 'against the strongest human instincts' because
forsooth, the author - an orthodox Russian born - tells us that far better no marriage at all
than such a desecration of what his church regards as one of the holy Sacraments. But
in the opinion of the Protestant Vanity Fair, Tolstoi is 'an extremist', because 'with all its
evils, the present marriage system, taken even as the vile thing for which he gives it us is
a surely less evil than the monasticism - with its effects - which he preaches'. This shows
the ideas of the reviewer on morality!
"Tolstoi, however, 'preaches' nothing of the sort; nor does his Pozdnisheff say so,
though the critics misunderstand him from A to Z, as they do also the wise statement that
'not that which goeth in to the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the
mouth' or a vile man's heart and imagination. It is not 'monasticism' but the law of
continence as taught by Jesus (and Occultism) in its esoteric meaning - which most
Christians are unable to perceive that he preaches. Nothing can be more moral or more
conducive to human happiness and perfectibility thin the application of this law. It is one
ordained by Nature herself. Animals follow it instinctively as do also the savage tribes.
Once pregnant, to the last day of the nursing of her babe, i.e., for eighteen or twenty
months, the savage squaw is sacred to her husband; the civilized and semi-civilised man
alone breaking this beneficent law. Therefore, speaking of the immorality of marriage
relations as at present practiced, and of the unions performed on commercial bases, or,
what is worse, on mere sensual love, Pozdnisheff elaborates the idea by uttering the
greatest and the holiest truths, namely, that:
"'For morality to exist between men and women in their daily life, they must make
perfect chastity their law. * In progressing toward this end, man subdues himself. When
he has arrived at the last degree of subjection we shall have moral marriages. But if a man
as in our Society advances only towards physical love, even though he surrounds it with
deception and with the shallow formality of marrige, he obtains nothing but licensed vice.'
"A good proof that it is not 'monasticism' and utter celibacy which are preached, but
only continence, is found on page 84 where the fellow-traveler of Pozdisheff is made to
remark that the result of the theory of the latter would be "that a man would have to keep
away from his wife except once every year or two'. Then again there is this sentence: -

"'I did not at that time understand that the words of the Gospel as to looking upon
a woman with the eyes of desire did not refer only to the wives of others, but especially and
above all to one's own wife.'
"'Monastics' have no wives, nor do they get married if they would remain chaste on
the physical plane. Tolstoi, however, seems to have answered in anticipation of British
criticism and objections on these lines, by making the hero of his 'grimy and revolting book'
(Scot's Observer) say:
"'Think what a perversity of ideas there must be, when the happiest, the freest
condition of the human being, that of (mental) chastity, is looked upon as something
miserable and ridiculous. The highest ideal, the most perfect condition to be attained by
woman, that of a pure being, a vestal, a virgin, provokes, in our society, fear and laughter.'
"Tolstoi might have added - and when moral continence and chastity, mistaken for
'monasticism', are pronounced far more evil than 'the marriage system taken even as the
vile thing for which he (Tolstoi) gives it us'. Has the virtuous critic of Vanity Fair or tie
Scot's Observer never met with a woman who, although the mother of a numerous family,
had withal remained all her life mentally and morally a pure virgin, or with a vestal (in vulgar
talk, a spinster) who although physically undefiled, yet surpassed in mental, unnatural
depravity the lowest of the fallen women? If he has not - we have.
* All the italics throughout the article are ours. (Footnote in the original article.)

"We maintain that to call 'Kreutzer Sonata' pointless, and 'a vain book", is to miss
most egregiously the noblest as well as the most important points in it. It is nothing less
than wilful blindness, or what is still worse - that moral cowardice which will sanction every
growing immorality rather than allow its mention, let alone its discussion, in public. It is on
such fruitful soil that our moral leprosy thrives and prospers instead of being checked by
timely palliatives. It is blindness to one of her greatest social evils of this kind that led
France to issue her unrighteous law, prohibiting the so-called 'search of paternity' ....
"And now it is made abundantly clear, why the author of the Kreutzer Sonata has
suddenly become in the eyes of all men - 'the most conspicuous case out of Bedlam'.
Count Tolstoi who alone has dared to speak the truth in proclaiming the whole relation of
the sexes to each other as at present, 'a gross and vile abomination', and who thus
interferes with 'man's pleasures' - must, of course, expect to be proclaimed a madman.
He preaches 'Christian virtue', and what men want now is vice, such as the old Romans
themselves have never dreamed of. 'Stone him to death' - gentlemen of the press. What
you would like, no doubt, to see practically elaborated and preached from every house-top,
is such articles as Mr. Grant Allen's 'The Girl of the Future'. Fortunately, for that author's
admirers, the editor of the Universal Review has laid for once aside 'that exquisite tact and
that rare refinement of feeling which distinguish him from all his fellows' (if we have to
believe the editor of the Scot's Observer). Otherwise he would have never published
such an uncalled-for insult to every woman, whether wife or mother. Having done with
Tolstoi's diagnosis we may now turn to Grant Allen's palliative.

"But even Mr. Quilter hastens while publishing this scientific effusion, to avoid
identifying himself with the opinions expressed in it. So much more the pity, that it has
seen the light of publicity at all. Such as it is, however, it is an essay on the 'problem of
Paternity and Maternity' rather than that of sex; a highly philanthropic paper which
substitutes 'the vastly more important and essential point of view of the soundness and
efficiency of the children to be begotten' to that 'of the personal convenience of two adults
involved' in the question of marriage. To call this problem of the age the 'Sex Problem' is
one error; the 'Marriage Problem,' another, though 'most people call it so with illogical
glibness'. Therefore to avoid the latter Mr. Grant Allen ... 'would call it rather the Child
Problem, or if we want to be very Greek, out of respect to Girton, the Problem of
"After this fling at Girton, he has one at Lord Campbell's Act, prohibiting certain too
decollete questions from being discussed in public: after which the author has a third one,
at women in general. In fact his opinion of the weaker sex is far worse than that of
Pozdnisheff in the Kreutzer Sonata, as he denies them even the average intellect of man.
For what he wants is 'the opinions of men who have thought much upon these subjects
and the opinions of women (if any) who have thought a little'. The author's chief concern
being 'the moulding of the future British nationality', and his chief quarrel with the higher
education of women, 'the brokendown product of the Oxford local examination system', he
has a fourth and a fifth fling, as vicious as the rest, at 'Mr. Podsnap and Mrs. Grundy' for
their pruderie, and at the 'university' ladies. What then, he queries: ....."'Rather than run
the risk of suffusing for one moment the sensitive cheek of the young person, we must
allow the process of peopling the world hap-hazard with hereditary idiots, hereditary
drunkards, hereditary consumptives, hereditary madmen, hereditary weaklings, hereditary
paupers to go on unchecked, in its existing casual and uncriticized fashion, for ever and
ever. Let cancer beget cancer, and crime beget crime; but never for one moment suggest
to the pure mind of our blushing English maiden that she has any duty at all to perform in
life in her capacity as a woman, save that of gratifying a romantic and sentimental
attachment to the first black moustache or the first Vandyke beard she may happen to fall
in with'...
"Such weakness for one 'black moustache' will never do. The author has a 'nobler,'
a 'higher' calling for the 'blushing English maiden', to wit, to keep herself in readiness to
become a happy and proud mother for the good of the State by several 'black' and fair
moustaches, in sequence, as we shall see, if only handsome and healthy. Thence his
quarrel with the 'higher education' which debilitates woman. For -
"'....the question is, will our existing system provide us with mothers capable of
producing sound and healthy children, in mind and body, or will it not? If it doesn't then
inevitably and infallibly it will go to the wall. Not all the Mona Cairds and Olive Schreiners
that ever lisped Greek can fight against the force of natural selection. Survival of the fittest
is stronger than Miss Bliss, and Miss Pipe, and Miss Helen Gladstone, and the staff of the
Girl's Public Day School Company, Limited, all put together. The race that lets its women
fail in their maternal functions will sink to the nethermost abyss of limbo, though all its girls
rejoice in logarithms, smoke Russian cigarettes, and act Aeschylean tragedies in most
and archaic chitons. The race that keeps up the efficiency of its nursing mothers will win
in the long run, though none of its girls can read a line of Lucian or boast anything better
than equally developed and well-balanced minds and bodies.'
"Having done with his entree en maitiere, he shows us forthwith whither he is
driving, though he pretends to be able to say very little in that article; only 'to approach by
a lateral avenue one of the minor outworks of the fortress to be stormed'. What this
'fortress' is, we will now see and by the 'lateral' small 'avenue' of the magnitude of the
whole. Mr. G. Allen, having diagnosed that which for him is the greatest evil of the day,
now answers his own question. This is what he proposes for producing sound children out
of sound - because unmarried - mothers, whom he urges to select for every new babe a
fresh and well-chosen father. It is, you see -
..... "'what Mr. Galton aptly terms "eugenics" - that is to say a systematic endeavor
towards the betterment of the race by the deliberate selection of the best possible sires,
and their union for reproductive purposes with the bust possible mothers.' The other 'leaves
the breeding of the human race entirely to chance, and it results too often in the
perpetuation of disease, insanity, hysteria, folly, and every other conceivable form of
weakness or vice in mind and body. Indeed, to see how foolish is our practice in the
reproduction of the human race, we have only to contrast it with the method we pursue in
the reproduction of those animals, whose purity of blood, strength, and excellence has
become of importance to us.'
"'We have a fine sire of its kind, be it stallion, bull, or bloodhound, and we wish to
perpetuate his best and most useful qualities in appropriate offspring. What do we do with
him? Do we tie him up for life with a singly dam, and rest content with such foals, or
calves, or puppies as chance may send us? Not a bit of it. We are not so silly. We try him
freely all round a whole large field cf choice, and endeavor by crossing his own good
qualities with the good qualities of various accredited mares and heifers to produce strains
of diverse and well-mixed value, some of which will prove in the end more important than
others. In this way we get the advantage of different mixtures of blood, and don don't
throw away all the fine characteristics of our sire upon a single set of characteristics in a
single dam, which may or may not prove in the end the best and fullest complement of his
particular nature.'
"Is the learned theorist talking here of men and women, or discussing the brute
creation, or are the human and animal kinds so inseparably linked in his scientific
imagination as to disable him from drawing a line of demarcation between the two? It
would seem so, from the cool and easy way in which he mixes up the animal sires and
dams with men and women, places them on the same level, and suggests 'different
mixtures of blood'. We abandon him willingly his 'sires', as in anticipation of this scientific
offer, men have already made animals of themselves ever since the dawn of civilization.
They have even succeeded, while tying up their 'dam' to a single 'sire' under the threat of
law and social ostracism, to secure for themselves full privileges from that law and Mrs.
Grundy and have as great a choice of 'dams' for each single 'sire,' as their means would
permit them. But we protest against the same offer to women to become nolens volens,
'accredited mares and heifers'. Nor are we prepared to say that even our modern loose
morals would publicly approve of or grant Mr. Allen the 'freedom' he longs for, 'for such
variety. of experimentation', without which, he says it is quite 'impossible to turn out the
best results in the end for humanity'. Animal humanity would be more correct, though he
explains that it is 'not merely a question of prize sheep and fat oxen, but a question of
begetting the highest, finest, purest, strongest, sanest, healthiest, handsomest, and morally
noblest citizens'. We wonder the author does not add to these laudatory epithets, two
more, viz: 'the most respectful sons', and men 'proudest of their virtuous mothers'. The
latter are not qualified by Mr. Grant Allen, because, perchance, he was anticipated on this
point by the 'Lord God' of Hosea (i.2) who specializes the class from which the prophet is
commanded to take a wife unto himself.

"In a magazine whose editor has just been upholding the sacredness of marriage
before the face of the author of the Kreutzer Sonata, by preceding the 'Confession' of
Count Tolstoi with an eulogy on Miss Tenant, 'the Bride of the Season' - the insertion of
'The Girl of the Future' is a direct slap in the face of that marriage. Moreover, Mr, G. Allen's
idea is not new. It is as old as Plato, and as modern as Auguste Comte and the 'Oneida
Community' in the United States of America. And, as neither the Greek philosopher nor
the French Positivist have approached the author in his unblushing and cynical naturalism -
neither in the Vth Book of the Republic, nor 'The Woman of the Future' in the Catechism
of the Religion of Positivism - we come to the following conclusion. As the name of
Comte's 'Woman of the Future' is the prototype of Mr. G. Allen's 'Girl of the Future', so the
daily rites of the 'mystic coupling' performed in the Oneida, must have been copied by our
author and published, with only an additional peppering of still crasser materialism and
naturalism. Plato suggests no more than a method for improving the human race by the
careful elimination of unhealthy and deformed children, and by coupling the better
specimens of both sexes; he contents himself with the 'fine characteristics' of a 'single sire'
and 'a single dam', and would have turned away in horror at the idea of 'the advantage of
different mixtures of blood'. On the other hand the high priest of Positivism, suggesting
that the woman of the future 'should cease to be the female of the man', and 'submitting
to artificial fecundation', thus become 'the Virgin Mother without a husband', preaches only
a kind of insane mysticism. Not so with Mr. Grant Allen. His noble ideal for women is to
make of her a regular broodmare. He prompts her to follow out
"'....the divine impulse of the moment, which is the voice of Nature within us,
prompting us there and then but not for a lifetime to union with a predestined and
appropriate complement of our being,' and adds: 'If there is anything sacred and divine in
man surely it is the internal impetus which tells him at once, among a thousand of his kind
that this particular woman, and no other, is now and here the one best fitted to become
with him the parent of a suitable offspring. If sexual selection among us (men only, if you
please), is more discriminative, more specialized, more capricious, and more dainty than
in any other species, is not that the very mark of our higher development, and does it not
suggest to us that Nature herself, on these special occasions, is choosing for us
anatomically the help most meet for us in our reproductive functions?'
"But why 'divine'? And if so, why only in man when the stallion, the hog and the dog
all share this 'divine impulse' with him? In the author's view 'such an occasional variation
modifying and heightening the general moral standard' is ennobling; in our theosophical
opinion, such casual union on momentary impulse is essentially bestial. It is no longer love
but lust, leaving out of account every higher feeling and quality. By the way, how would Mr.
Grant Allen like such a 'divine impulse' in his mother, wife, sister or daughter? Finally, his
arguments about 'sexual selection' being 'more capricious and dainty in man than in any
other species of animal', are pitiable. Instead of proving this 'selection' 'sacred and divine'
he simply shows that civilized man has descended lower than any brute after all these long
generations of unbridled immorality. The next thing we may be told is, that epicureanism
and gluttony are 'divine impulses', and we shall be invited to see in Messalina the highest
exemplar of a virtuous Roman matron.
"This new 'Cathechism of Sexual Ethics' - shall we call it? - ends with the following
eloquent appeal to the 'Girls of the Future' to become the brood mares of cultured society
"'This ideal of motherhood, I believe, under such conditions would soon crystallize
into a religious duty. The free and educated woman, herself most often sound, sane, and
handsome, would feel it incumbent upon her, if she brought forth children for the State at
all, to bring them forth in her own image, and by union with a sympathetic and appropriate
father. Instead of yielding up her freedom irrevocably to any one man, she would jealously
guard it as in trust for the community, and would use her maternity as a precious gift to be
sparingly employed for public purposes, though always in accordance with instinctive
promptings, to the best advantage of the future offspring ... If conscious of possessing
valuable and desirable maternal qualities, she would employ their to the best advantage
for the State and for her own offspring, by freely commingling them in various directions
with the noblest paternal qualities of the men who most attracted her higher nature. And
surely a woman who had reached such an elevated ideal of the duties of sex as that would
feel she was acting far more right in becoming the mother of a child by this splendid
athlete, by that profound thinker, by that nobly-moulded Adonis, by that high-souled poet,
than in tying herself down for life to this rich old dotard, to that feeble young lord, to this
gouty invalid, to that wretched drunkard, to become the mother of a long family of
scrofulous idiots.'
"And now, gentlemen of the Press, severe critics of Tolstoi's 'immoral' Sonata, stern
moralists who shudder at Zola's "filthy realism", what say you to this production of one of
your own national prophets, who has evidently found honor in his own country. Such
naturalistic articles as 'The Girls of the Future', published in the hugest and reddest Review
on the globe, are, methinks more dangerous for the public morals than all the Tolstoi-Zola
fictions put together. In it we see the outcome of materialistic science, which looking on
man only as a more highly developed animal treats therefore its female portion on its own
animalistic principles. Steeped over the ears in dense matter and in the full conviction that
mankind, along with its first cousins the monkeys, is directly descended of an ape father,
and a baboon mother of a now extinct species, Mr. Grant Allen must, of course, fail to see
the fallacy of his own reasoning. E.g., if it is an 'honor for any woman to have been loved
by Shelley ... and to have brought into the world a son by a Newton', and another 'by a
Goethe', why should not the young ladies who resort to Regent Street at the small hours
of night and who are soaked through and through with such 'honors', why should not they,
we ask, receive public recognition and a vote of thinks from the Nation? City squares
ought to be adorned with their statues, and Phryne set up hereafter as an illustrious
example to Hypatia.
"No more cutting insult could be offered to the decent women and respectable girls
of England. We wonder how the ladies interested in the Social problems of the day will like
Mr. Grant Allen's article?"
- H.P.B.
(Extract from an article by H.P. Blavatsky, originally published in Lucifer, October
1888, reprinted in Theosophy Magazine, July 1943, p. 387)

- as reprinted in Theosophical Notes, Sept., 1951



The current interest in The Search for Bridey Murphy has also aroused popular
interest in the strange power of hypnotism. What is it; what actually happens under
hypnosis; what is the explanation of the extraordinary phenomena of the hypnotic trance;
these and other questions are being asked by many. Practicing hypnotists do not know;
they use methods which they have found induce trances, but have no explanation of the
In the Theosophical Glossary hypnotism is defined thus: "A name given by Dr. Braid
to various processes by which one person of strong will-power plunges another of weaker
mind into a kind of a trance; once in such a state the latter will do anything suggested to
him by the hypnotizer. Unless produced for beneficial purposes, Occultists call it black
magic or sorcery. It is the most dangerous of practices, morally and physically, as it
interferes with the nerve fluid and the nerves controlling the circulation in the capillary
blood-vessels:" (Dr. James Braid was a well-known English physician (1795-1860) who
used hypnosis in the treatment of disease. He was a conscientious, high-minded and
devoted man; his cures were extraordinary.)
The susceptibility to suggestion is referred to by many writers on the subject (it
should be noted that in The Search for Bridey Murphy the suggestion of a previous life was
implanted in the consciousness of the subject by the operator); the suggestion need not
be given orally, the intent of the operator can be communicated to the subject and will be
acted upon, even if not in conformity with his spoken words.
The Glossary refers to the interference with the nerve fluid and the circulation in the
capillaries: This is confirmed by a report of the British Medical Association (1955) which
states that various physical and psychological changes occur under hypnosis. "Among the
physical phenomena are vascular changes (such as flushing of the face and altered pulse
rate), deepening of respiration, increased frequency of deglutition, slight muscular tremors,
inability to control suggested movements, altered muscle sense, anastheseia, modified
power of muscular contraction, catalepsy, and rigidity, often intense".
As to the rationale of hypnotism, Mr. Roy Mitchell has a thought-provoking section
in his, book The Exile of the Soul. The basic idea of this book is that within man as we
know him on earth there are two entities, the lower human elemental being which belongs
to the animal order, and the thinking mind, the Ego, who for various reasons is associated
with the elemental animal being. In the hypnotic state, the Ego is absent and the human
elemental is under the control of the hypnotist.
In his Thoughts on the Bridey Murphy Case, Professor Wood has given some
quotations from Vol. III of The Secret Doctrine. Other teachings will be found in Vols. I and
II, The Mahatma Letters, and in The Key to Theosophy, all of which are readily available
to students. H.P.B. wrote a long article on this subject entitled, Hypnotism and its relations
to other Modes of Fascination. This appeared in Lucifer, Feb. 1891 and the following is
quoted therefrom:

Q. What is Hypnotism: how does it differ from Animal Magnetism or Mesmerism?

Ans. Hypnotism is the new scientific name for the old ignorant `superstition'
variously called `fascination' and 'enchantment'. It is an antiquated lie transformed into a
modern truth. The fact is there, but the scientific explanation of it is still wanting. By some
it is believed that Hypnotism is the result of an irritation artificially produced on the
periphery of the nerves; that this irritation reacting upon, passes into the cells of the brain-
substance, causing by exhaustion a condition which is but another mode of sleep
(hypnosis, or hupnos); by others that it is simply a self-induced stupor, produced chiefly
by imagination, etc., etc. It differs from animal magnetism where the hypnotic condition is
produced by the Braid method, which is a purely mechanical one, i.e., the fixing of the eyes
on some bright spot, a metal or a crystal. It becomes `animal magnetism' (or mesmerism),
when it is achieved by `mesmeric' passes on the patient, and for these reasons. When the
first method is used, no electro-psychic, or even electro-physical currents are at work, but
simply the mechanical, molecular vibrations of the metal or crystal gazed at by the subject.
It is the eye - the most occult organ of all, on the superficies of our body - which, by serving
as a medium between that bit of metal or crystal and the brain, attunes the molecular
vibrations of the nervous centres of the latter into unison (i.e., equality in the number of
their respective oscillations) with the vibrations of the bright object held. And, it is this
unison which produces the hypnotic state. But in the second case, the right name for
hypnotism would certainly be `animal magnetism' or that so much derided term
`mesmerism'. For, in the hypnotization by preliminary passes, it is the human will - whether
conscious or otherwise - of the operator himself, that acts upon the nervous system of the
patient. And it is again through the vibrations - only atomic, not molecular - produced by
that act of energy called WILL in the ether of space (therefore, on quite a different plane)
that the super-hypnotic state (i.e., `suggestion,' etc.) is induced. For those which we call
`will-vibrations' and their aura, are absolutely distinct from the vibrations produced by the
simple mechanical molecular motion, the two acting on two separate degrees of the
cosmo-terrestrial planes. Here, of course, a clear realization of that which is meant by will
in Occult Sciences, is necessary.
Q. In both (hypnotism and animal magnetism) there is an act of will in the operator,
a transit of something from him to his patient, an effect upon the patient. What is the
`something' transmitted in both cases?
Ans. That Which is transmitted has no name in European languages, and if we
simply describe it as will, it loses all its meaning. The old and very much tabooed words,
`enchantment,' `fascination,' `glamor' and `spell,' and especially the verb `to bewitch,'
expressed far more suggestively the real action that took place during the process of such
a transmission, than the modern and meaningless terms, 'psychologize,' and `biologize.'
Occultism calls the force transmitted the `auric fluid,' to distinguish it from the `auric light;'
the `fluid,' being a correlation of atoms on a higher plane, and a descent to this lower one,
in the shape of impalpable and invisible plastic Substances, generated and directed by the
potential Will; the `auric light,' or that which Reichenbach calls Od, a light that surrounds
every animate and inanimate object in nature, is, on the other hand, but the astral reflection
emanating from objects; its particular color and colors, the combinations and varieties of
the latter, denoting the state of the gunas, or qualities and characteristics of each special
object and subject - the human being's aura being the strongest of all.
Q. Under what circumstances is hypnotism `black magic'?
Ans. Under those just discussed, but to cover the subject fully, even by giving a few
instances, demands more space than we can spare for these answers. Sufficient to say
that whenever the motive which actuates the operator is selfish, or detrimental to any living
being or beings, all such acts are classed by us as black magic. The healthy vital fluid
imparted by the physician who mesmerizes his patient, can and does cure; but Too much
of it will kill.
Q. Is there any difference between hypnosis produced by mechanical means, such
as revolving mirrors, and that produced by the direct gaze of the operator (fascination)?
Ans. This difference is, we believe, already pointed out in the answer to Question
1. The gaze of the operator is more potent; hence more dangerous, than the simple
mechanical passes of the hypnotizer, who, in nine cases out of ten, does not know how,
and therefore cannot will. The students of Esoteric Science must be aware by the very
laws of the occult correspondences that the former action is performed on the first plane
of matter (the lowest), while the latter, which necessitates a well-concentrated will, has to
be enacted, if the operator is a profane novice, on the fourth, and if he is anything of an
occultist on the fifth plane.
Q. Why should a bit of crystal or a bright button, throw one person into the hypnotic
state and affect in no way another person? An answer to this would, we think, solve more
than one perplexity.
Ans. Science has offered several varied hypotheses upon the subject, but has not,
so far, accepted any one of these as definite. This is because all such speculations
revolve in the vicious circle of materio-physical phenomena with their blind forces and
mechanical theories. The `auric fluid' is not recognized by the men of science, and
therefore, they reject it. But have they not believed for years in the efficacy of
metallotherapeuty, the influence of these metals being due to the action of their electric
fluids or currents on the nervous system? And this simply because an analogy was found
to exist between the activity of this system and electricity. The theory failed because it
clashed with the most careful observation and experiments. First of all, it was contradicted
by a fundamental fact exhibited in the said metallotherapeuty, whose characteristic
peculiarity showed (a) that by no means every metal acted on every nervous disease, one
patient being sensitive to some one metal, while all others produced no effect upon him;
and (b) that the patients affected by certain metals are few and exceptional. This showed
that `electric fluids.' operating on and curing diseases existed only in the imagination of the
theorists. Had they had any actual existence, then all metals would affect in a greater or
lesser degree, all patients, and every metal, taken separately, would affect every case of
nervous disease, the conditions for generating such fluids being, in the given cases,
precisely the same. Thus Dr. Charcot having vindicated Dr. Burke, the once discredited
discoverer of metallotherapeuty, Shiff and others discredited all those who believed in
electric fluids, and these seem now to be given up in favor of `molecular motion,' which
now reigns supreme in physiology - for the time being, of course. But now arises a
question: "Are the real nature, behavior and conditions of `motion' known any better than
the nature, behavior and conditions of the `fluids' ?" It is to be doubted. Anyhow Occultism
is audacious enough to maintain that electric or magnetic fluids (the two being really
identical) are due in their essence and origin to that same molecular motion, now
transformed into atomic energy,* to which every other phenomenon in nature is also due.
Indeed, when the needle of a galvano or electrometer fails to show any oscillations
denoting the presence of electric or magnetic fluids, this does not prove in the least that
there are none such to record; but simply that having passed on to another and higher
plane of action, the electrometer can no longer be affected by the energy displayed on a
plane with which it is entirely disconnected. The above had to be explained in order to
show that the nature of the Force transmitted from one man or object to another man or
object, whether in hypnotism, electricity, metallotherapeuty or `fascination,' is the same in
essence, varying only in degree, and modified according to the sub-plane of matter it is
acting on; of which sub-planes, as every Occultist knows, there are seven on our terrestrial
plane as there are on every other.
[* In Occultism the word atom has a special significance, different from the one
given to it by science. See editorial, Psychic and Noetic Action, in the two last numbers,
Lucifer, Vol. VII, pp. 89-98; and 177-185.]
Q. Is Science entirely wrong in its definition of the hypnotic phenomena?
Ans. It has no definition, so far. Now if there is one thing upon which Occultism
agrees (to a certain degree) with the latest discoveries of physical Science, it is that all the
bodies endowed with the property of inducing and calling forth metallotherapeutic and other
analogous phenomena, have, their great variety notwithstanding, one feature in common.
They are all the fountain heads and the generators of rapid molecular oscillations, which,
whether through transmitting agents or direct contact, communicate themselves to the
nervous system, changing thereby the rhythm of nervous, vibrations - on the sole condition,
however, of being what is called, in unison. Now `unison' does not always imply the
sameness of nature, or of essence, but simply the sameness of degree, a similarity with
regard to gravity and acuteness, and equal potentialities for intensity of sound or motion;
a bell may be in unison with a violin, and a flute with an animal or a human organ.
Moreover, the rate of the number of vibrations - especially in an organic animal cell or
organ, changes in accordance with the state of health, and general condition. Hence the
cerebral nervous centres of a hypnotic subject, while in perfect unison, in potential degree
and essential original activity, with the object he gazes at, may yet, owing to some organic
disturbance, be at the given moment at logger-heads with it, in respect to the number of
their respective vibrations. In such cases, no hypnotic condition ensues; or no unison at
all may exist between his nervous cells and the cells of the crystal or metal he is made to
gaze at, in which case that particular object can never have any affect on him. This
amounts to saying that to ensure success, in a hypnotic experiment, two conditions are
requisite; (a) as every organic or `inorganic' body in nature is distinguished by its fixed
molecular oscillations, it is necessary to find out which are those bodies which will act in
unison with one or another human nervous system; and (b) to remember that the
molecular oscillations of the former can influence the nervous action of the latter, only
when the rhythms of their respective vibrations coincide, i.e., when the number of their
oscillations is made identical; which, in the cases of hypnotism induced by mechanical
means, is achieved through the medium of the eye.
Therefore, though the difference between hypnosis produced by mechanical means,
and that induced by the direct gaze of the operator, plus his will, depends on the plane on
which the same phenomenon is produced, still the `fascinating' or subduing agent is
created by the same force at work. In the physical world and its material planes, it is called
MOTION; in the world of mentality, and metaphysics it is known as WILL - the many-faced
magician throughout all nature. As the rate of vibrations (molecular motion) in metals,
woods, crystals, etc., alters under the effect of heat, cold, etc., so do the cerebral
molecules change their rate, in the same way: i.e., their rate is raised or lowered. And this
is what really takes place in the phenomenon of hypnotism. In the case of gazing, it is the
eye - the chief agent of the Will of the active operator, but a slave and traitor when this Will
is dormant - that, unconsciously to the patient or subject, attunes the oscillations of his
cerebral nervous centres to the rate of the vibrations of the object gazed at by catching the
rhythm of the latter and passing it on to the brain. But in the case of direct passes, it is the
Will of the operator radiating through his eye that produces the required unison between
his will and the will of the person operated upon. For, out of two objects attuned in unison -
as two chords, for instance - one will always be weaker than the other, and thus have
mastery over the other and even the potentiality of destroying its weaker `correspondent.'
So true is this, that we can call upon physical Science to corroborate this fact. Take the
`sensitive flame' as a case in hand. Science tells us that if a note be struck in unison with
the ratio of the vibrations of the heat molecules, the flames will respond immediately to the
sound (or note struck), that it will dance and sing in rhythm with the sounds. But Occult
Science adds, that the flame may also be extinguished if the sound is intensified (Vide Isis
Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 606 and 607). Another proof. Take a wineglass or tumbler of very
fine and clear glass; produce by striking it gently with a silver spoon, a well-determined
note; after which reproduce the same note by rubbing its rim with a damp finger, and, if
you are successful, the glass will immediately crack and be shattered. Indifferent to every
other sound, the glass will not resist the great intensity of its own fundamental note, for that
particular vibration will cause such a commotion in its particles, that the whole fabric will
fall in pieces.
Q. What becomes of diseases cured by hypnotism; are they really cured or are they
postponed, or do they appear in another form? Are diseases Karma; and if so, is it right
to attempt to cure them?
Ans. Hypnotic suggestion may cure for ever, and it may not. All depends on the
degree of magnetic relations between the operator and the patient. If karmic, they will be
only postponed, and return in some other form, not necessarily of disease, but as a
punitive evil of another sort. It is always "right" to try and alleviate suffering whenever we
can, and to do our best for it. Because a man suffers justly imprisonment, and catches
cold in his damp cell, is it a reason why the prison doctor should not try to cure him of it?
Q. Is it necessary that the hypnotic `suggestions' of the operator should be spoken?
Is it not enough for him to think them, and may not even HE be ignorant or unconscious
of the bent he is impressing on his subject?
Ans. Certainly not, if the rapport between the two is once for all firmly established.
Thought is more powerful than speech in cases of a real subjugation of the will of the
patient to that of his operator. But, on the other hand, unless the `suggestion' made is for
the good only of the subject, and entirely free from any selfish motive, a suggestion by
thought is an act of black magic still more pregnant with evil consequences than a spoken
suggestion. It is always wrong and unlawful to deprive a man of his freewill, unless for his
own or Society's good; and even the former has to be done with great discrimination.
Occultism regards all such promiscuous attempts as black magic and sorcery, whether
conscious or otherwise.
Q. Do the motive and character of the operator affect the result, immediate or
Ans. In so far as the hypnotizing process becomes under his operation either white
or black magic, as the last answer shows.
Q. Is it wise to hypnotize a patient not only out of a disease, but out of a habit, such
as drinking or lying?
Ans. It is an act of charity and kindness, and this is next to wisdom. For, although
the dropping of his vicious habits will add nothing to his good karma (which it would had
his efforts to reform been personal, of his own free will, and necessitating a great mental
and physical struggle), still a successful `suggestion' prevents him from generating more
bad karma, and adding constantly to the previous record of his transgressions.
Q. What is it that a faith-healer, when successful, practises upon himself, what tricks
is he playing with his principles and with his karma?
Ans. 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 of 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 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.

- Canadian Theosophist, May-June, 1956


- H.P. Blavatsky

[Originally published in The Theosophist, Vol. IV, No. 38, November, 1882, pp. 31-
32. The rather long but thoughtful letter from an Inquirer is followed by serial answers from
the pen of H.P.B. They are as timely today as they were when first published. "Fragments
of Occult Truth" refers to a series of article written for The Theosophist by Allan O. Hume
on the basis of teachings received from the Adepts.]

The writer in the London Spiritualist for November, who calls the "Fragments of
Occult Truth" speculation spinning, can hardly, I think, apply that epithet to Fragment No.
3, so cautiously is the hypothesis concerning suicide advanced therein. Viewed in its
general aspect, the hypothesis seems sound enough, satisfies our instincts of the Moral
Law of the Universe, and fits in with our ordinary ideas as well as with those we have
derived from science. The inference drawn from the two cases cited, viz., that of the
selfish suicide on the one hand, and of the unselfish suicide on the other, is that, although
the after-states may vary, the result is invariably bad, the variation consisting only in the
degree of punishment. It appears to me that, in arriving at this conclusion, the writer could
not have had in his mind's eye all the possible cases of suicide, which do or may occur.
For I maintain that in some cases self-sacrifice is not only justifiable, but also morally
desirable, and that the result of such self-sacrifice cannot possibly be bad. I will put one
case, perhaps the rarest of all rare cases, but not necessarily on that account a purely
hypothetical one, for I know at least one man, in whom I am interested, who is actuated
with feelings, not dissimilar to these I shall now describe, and who would be deeply
thankful for any additional light that could be thrown on this darkly mysterious subject (See
Editor's Note 1).
Suppose, then, that an individual, whom I shall call M., takes to thinking long and
deep on the vexed questions of the mysteries of earthly existence, its aims, and the highest
duties of man. To assist his thoughts, he turns to philosophical works: notably those
dealing with the sublime teachings of Buddha. Ultimately he arrives at the conclusion that
the FIRST and ONLY aim of existence is to be useful to our fellow men; that failure in this
constitutes his own worthlessness as a sentient human being, and that by continuing a life
of worthlessness he simply dissipates the energy which he holds in trust, and which, so
holding, he has no right to fritter away. He tries to be useful, but - miserably and deplorably
fails. What then is his remedy? Remember there is here "no sea of troubles" to "take arm
against," no outraged human law to dread, no deserved earthly punishment to escape; in
fact, there is no moral cowardice whatever involved in the self-sacrifice. M. simply puts an
end to an existence which is useless, and which therefore fails of its own primary purpose.
Is his act justifiable? Or must he also be the victim of that transformation into spook and
pisacha, against which Fragment No. 3 utters its dread warning? (2)
Perhaps, M. may secure at the next birth more favorable conditions, and thus be
better able to work out the purpose of Being. Well, he can scarcely be worse; for, in
addition to his being inspired by a laudable motive to make way for one who might be more
serviceable, he has not, in this particular case, been guilty of any moral turpitude (3).
But I have not done. I go a step further and say that M. is not only useless, but
positively mischievous. To his incapacity to do good, he finds he adds a somewhat
restless disposition which is perpetually urging him on to make an effort to do good. M.
makes the effort - he would be unutterly unworthy the name of man if he did not make it -
and discovers that his incapacity most generally leads him into errors which convert the
possible good into actual evil; that, on account of his nature, birth, and education, a very
large number of men become involved in the effects of his mistaken zeal, and that the
world at large suffers more from his existence than otherwise. Now, if after arriving at such
results, M. seeks to carry out their logical conclusion, viz., that being morally bound to
diminish the woes to which sentient beings on earth are subject, he should destroy himself,
and by that means do the only good he is capable of; is there, I ask, any moral guilt
involved in the act of anticipating death in such a case? I, for one, should certainly say not.
Nay, more, I maintain, subject of course to correction by superior knowledge, that M. is not
only justified in making away with himself, but that he would be a villain if he did not, at
once and unhesitatingly, put an end to a life, not only useless, but positively pernicious.
M. may be in error; but supposing he dies cherishing the happy delusion that in
death is all the good, in life all the evil he is capable of, are there in his case no extenuating
circumstances to plead strongly in his favour, and help to avert a fall into that horrible
abyss with which your readers have been frightened? (5)
M.'s, I repeat, is no hypothetical case. History teems with instances of worthless
and pernicious lives, carried on to the bitter end to the ruin of nations. Look at the authors
of the French Revolution, burning with as ardent a love for their fellowmen as ever fired the
human breast; look at them crimson with innocent blood, bringing unutterable disasters
on their country in Liberty's sacred name! apparently how strong! in reality how pitifully
weak! What a woeful result of incapacity has been theirs? Could they but have seen with
M.'s eyes, would they not have been his prototypes? Blessed, indeed, had it been for
France, if they had anticipated M.
Again, look at George III of England, a well-meaning, yet an incapable Sovereign,
who, after reigning for a number of years, left his country distracted and impoverished by
foreign wars, torn by internal dissensions, and separated from a kindred race across the
Atlantic, with the liberties of his subjects trampled under foot, and virtue prostituted in the
Cabinet, in Parliament and on the Hustings. His correspondence with Lord North and
others abundantly proves that to his self-sufficiency, well-meaning though it be, must be
traced the calamities of Great Britain and Ireland, calamities from the effects of which the
United Kingdom has not yet fully recovered. Happy had it been for England if this ruler
had, like M., seen the uselessness of his life, and nipped it, as M. might do, in the bud of
its pernicious career!

(1) "Inquirer" is not an Occultist, hence his assertion that in some cases suicide "is
not only justifiable, but also morally desirable." No more than murder, is it ever justifiable,
however desirable it may sometimes appear. The Occultist, who looks at the origin and
the ultimate end of things, teaches that the individual - who affirms that any man, under
whatsoever circumstances, is called to put an end to his life - is guilty of as great an
offense and of as pernicious a piece of sophistry, as the nation that assumes a right to kill
in war thousands of innocent people under the pretext of avenging the wrong done to one.
All such reasonings are the fruits of Avidya mistaken for philosophy and wisdom. Our
friend is certainly wrong in thinking that the writer of Fragments arrived at his conclusions
only because he failed to keep before his mind's eye all the possible cases of suicide. The
result, in one sense, is certainly invariable; and there is but one general law or rule for all
suicides. But, it is just because "the "after-states" vary ad-infinitum, that it is erroneous to
infer that this variation consists only in the degree of punishment. If the result will be in
every case the necessity of living out the appointed period of sentient existence, we do not
see whence "Inquirer" has derived his notion that "the result is invariably bad." The result
is full of dangers; but there is hope for certain suicides, and even in many cases A
REWARD if life was sacrificed to save other lives and that there was no other alternative
for it. Let him read para. 7, page 313, in the September Theosophist, and reflect. Of
course, the question is simply generalised by the writer. To treat exhaustively of all and
every case of suicide and their after-states would require a shelf of volumes from the
British Museum's Library, not our Fragments.
(2) No man, we repeat, has a right to put an end to his existence simply because
it is useless. As well argue the necessity of inciting to suicide all the incurable invalids and
cripples who are a constant source of misery to their families; and preach the moral beauty
of that law among some of the savage tribes of the South Sea Islanders, in obedience to
which they put to death with warlike honours, their old men and women. The instance
chosen by "Inquirer" is not a happy one. There is a vast difference between the man who
parts with his life in sheer disgust at constant failure to do good, out of despair of ever
being useful, or even out of dread to do injury to his fellowman by remaining alive; and one
who gives it up voluntarily to save the lives either committed to his charge or dear to him.
One is a half insane misanthrope - the other, a hero and a martyr. One takes away his life,
the other offers it in sacrifice to philanthropy and to his duty. The captain who remains
alone on board of a sinking ship; the man who gives up his place in a boat that will not
hold all, in favour of younger and weaker beings; the physician, the sister of charity, and
nurse who stir not from the bed-side of patients dying of an infectious fever; the man of
science who wastes his life in brainwork and fatigue and knows he is so wasting it and yet
is offering it day after day and night after night in order to discover some great law of the
universe, the discovery of which may bring in its results some great boon to mankind; the
mother that throws herself before the wild beast, that attacks her, children, to screen and
give them the time to fly; all these are not suicides. The impulse which prompts them thus
to contravene the first great law of animated nature - the first instinctive impulse of which
is to preserve life - is grand and noble. And, though all these will have to live in the Kama
Loka their appointed life term, they are yet admired by all, and their memory will live
honoured among the living for a still longer period. We all wish that, upon similar
occasions, we may have courage so to die. Not so, surely in the case of the man
instanced by "Inquirer." Notwithstanding his assertion that "there is no moral cowardice
whatever involved" in such self-sacrifice - we call it decidedly "moral cowardice" and refuse
it the name of sacrifice.
(3 and 4) There is far more courage to live than to die in most cases. If "M." feels
that he is "positively mischievous," let him retire to a jungle, a desert island; or what is still
better, to a cave or hut near some big city; and then, while living the life of a hermit, a life
which would preclude the very possibility of doing mischief to any one, work, in one way
or the other, for the poor, the starving, the afflicted. If he does that, no one can "become
involved in the effects of his mistaken zeal," whereas, if he has the slightest talent, he can
benefit many by simple manual labour carried on in as complete a solitude as can be
commanded under the circumstances. Anything is better - even being called a crazy
philanthropist - than committing suicide, the most dastardly and cowardly of all actions,
unless the felo de se is resorted to, in a fit of insanity.
(5) "Inquirer" asks whether his "M." must also be victim of that transformation into
spook and pisacha! Judging by the delineation given of his character, by his friend, we
should say that, of all suicides, he is the most likely to become a seance-room spook.
Guiltless "of any moral turpitude," he may well be. But since he is afflicted with a "restless
disposition which is perpetually urging him on to make an effort to do good" - here, on
earth, there is no reason we know of, why he should lose that unfortunate disposition
(unfortunate because of the constant failure) - in the Kama Loka. A "mistaken zeal" is sure
to lead him on toward various mediums. Attracted by the strong magnetic desire of
sensitives and spiritualists, "M." will probably feel "morally bound to diminish the woes to
which sentient beings [mediums and believers] on earth are subject," and shall once more
destroy, not only himself, but his "affinities," the mediums.

- Theosophia, Summer, 1953



Questions with regard to Karma and rebirths are constantly offered, and a great
confusion seems to exist upon this subject. Those who are born and bred in the Christian
faith, and have been trained in the idea that a new soul is created by God for every newly-
born infant, are among the most perplexed. They ask whether in such case the number
of incarnating Monads on earth is limited; to which they are answered in the affirmative.
For, however countless, in our conceptions, the number of the incarnating Monads - even
if we take into account the fact that ever since the Second Race, when their respective
seven Groups were furnished with bodies; several births and deaths may be allowed for
every second of time in the aeons already passed - still there must be a limit. It was stated
that Karma-Nemesis, whose bond-maid is Nature; adjusted everything in the most
harmonious manner; and that, therefore, the fresh pouring-in, or arrival of new Monads,
had ceased as soon as Humanity had reached its full physical development. No fresh
Monads have incarnated since the middle-point of the Atlanteans. Hence remembering
that, save in the case of young children, and of individuals whose lives were violently cut
off by some accident, no Spiritual Entity can reincarnate before a period of many centuries
have elapsed, such gaps alone must show that the number of Monads is necessarily finite -
and limited. Moreover, a reasonable time must be given to other animals for their
evolutionary progress.
Hence the assertion that many of us are now working off the effects of the evil
Karmic causes produced by us in Atlantean bodies. The Law of Karma is inextricably
interwoven with that of Reincarnation.
It is only the knowledge of the constant rebirths of one and the same Individuality
throughout the Life-cycle; the assurance that the same Monads - among whom are many
Dhyan Chohans, or the "Gods" themselves - have to pass through the "Circle of
Necessity," rewarded or punished by such rebirth for the suffering endured or crimes
committed in the former life; that those very Monads, which entered the empty, senseless
Shells, or Astral Figures of the First Race emanated by the Pitris, are the same who are
now amongst us - nay, ourselves, perchance; it is only this doctrine, we say, that can
explain to us the mysterious problem of Good and Evil, and reconcile man to the terrible
and apparent injustice of life. Nothing but such certainty can quiet our revolted sense of
justice. For, when one unacquainted with the noble doctrine looks around him, and
observes the inequalities of birth and fortune, of intellect and capacities; when one sees
honor paid fools and profligates, on whom fortune has heaped her favors by mere privilege
of birth, and their nearest neighbor, with all his intellect and noble virtues - far more
deserving in every way - perishing of want and for lack of sympathy; when one sees all this
and has to turn away, helpless to relieve the undeserved suffering, one's ears ringing and
heart aching with the cries of pain around him that blessed knowledge of Karma alone
prevents him from cursing life and men, as well as their supposed Creator.
Of all the terrible blasphemies and accusations virtually thrown on their God by the
Monotheists, none is greater or more unpardonable than that (almost always) false humility
which makes the presumably "pious" Christian assert, in connection with every evil and
undeserved blow, that "such is the will of God." . . . Life would become unbearable, if one
had to believe in the God created by man's unclean fancy. Luckily he exists only in human
dogmas, and in the unhealthy imagination of some poets, who believe they have solved
the problem by addressing him as:

"Thou great Mysterious Power, who hast involved

The pride of human wisdom, to confound
The daring scrutiny and prove the faith
Of thy presuming creatures!"

Truly a robust "faith" is required to believe that it is "presumption" to question the

justice of one, who creates helpless little man but to "perplex" him and to test a "faith" with
which that "Power", moreover, may have forgotten, if not neglected, to endow him, as
happens sometimes.
Compare this blind faith with the philosophical belief, based on every reasonable
evidence and life-experience, in Karma-Nemesis, or the Law of Retribution. This Law -
whether Conscious or Unconscious - predestines nothing, and no one. It exists from and
in Eternity, truly, for it is Eternity itself; and as such, since no act can be coequal with
Eternity, it cannot be said to act, for it is Action itself. It is not the Wave which drowns a
man, but the personal action of the wretch who goes deliberately and places himself under
the impersonal action of the laws that govern the ocean's motion. Karma creates nothing,
nor does it design. It is man who plans and creates causes, and Karmic Law adjusts the
effects, which adjustment is not an act, but universal harmony, tending ever to resume its
original position, like a bough, which, bent down too forcibly, rebounds with corresponding
vigor. If it happen to dislocate the arm that tried to bend it out of its natural position, shall
we say that it is the bough which broke our arm, or that our own folly has brought us the
grief? Karma has never sought to destroy intellectual and individual liberty, like the God
invented by the Monotheists. It has not involved its decrees in darkness purposely to
perplex man; nor shall it punish him who dares to scrutinize its mysteries. On the contrary,
he who unveils through study and meditation its intricate paths, and throws light on those
dark ways, in the windings of which so many men perish owing to their ignorance of the
labyrinth of life is working for the good of his fellowmen. Karma is an Absolute and Eternal
Law in the World of manifestation; and as there can only be one Absolute, as One eternal
ever-present Cause, believers in Karma cannot be regarded as Atheists or Materialists -
still less as Fatalists, for Karma is one with the Unknowable, of which it is an aspect, in its
effects in the phenomenal world.
Intimately, or rather indissolubly, connected with Karma, then, is the Law of Rebirth,
or of the reincarnation of the same spiritual Individuality in a long, almost interminable,
series of Personalities. The latter are like the various costumes and characters played by
the same actor, with each of which that actor identifies himself and is identified by the
public, for the space of a few hours. The inner, or real Man, who personates those
characters, knows the whole time that he is Hamlet for the brief space of a few acts, which,
represent, however, on the plane of human illusion, the whole life of Hamlet. And he
knows that he was, the night before, King Lear, the transformation in his turn of the Othello
of a still earlier preceding night; but the outer, visible character is supposed to be ignorant
of the fact. In actual life that ignorance is, unfortunately, but too real. Nevertheless, the
permanent Individuality is fully aware of the fact though, through the atrophy of the
"spiritual" Eye in the physical body, that knowledge is unable to impress itself on the
consciousness of the false personality.
- The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, pp. 302-306.

- Canadian Theosophist, Jan., 1955


"Let Every Man Prove his own Work"

- H.P. Blavatsky
[This profound analysis of a most important psychological problem was originally
published in Lucifer, London, Vol. 1, No. 3, November, 1887, pp. 161-69. The changing
scene, both in the world at large and within the organized Theosophical Movement, has
not altered in the least the validity of H.P.B.'s arguments, as the principles of thought and
conduct which are promulgated in this Editorial are of universal application and pertain to
some of the most profound traits of character in present-day mankind. We trust that our
readers will give this essay the close attention which it deserves. - Editor.]

Such is the title of a letter received by the Editors of Lucifer. It is of so serious a

nature that it seems well to make it the subject of this month's editorial. Considering the
truths uttered in its few lines, its importance and the bearing it has upon the much
obscured subject of Theosophy, and its visible agent or vehicle - the Society of that name -
the letter is certainly worthy of the most considerate answer.
"Fiat justitia, ruat coelum!"
Justice will be done to both sides in the dispute; namely, Theosophists and the
members of the Theosophical Society* on the one hand, and the followers of the Divine
Word (or Christos), and the so-called Christians, on the other.
We reproduce the letter:

"To the Editors of Lucifer,

"What a grand chance is now open in this country, to the exponents of a noble and
advanced religion (if such this Theosophy be**) for proving its strength, righteousness and
verity to the Western world, by throwing a penetrating and illuminating ray of its declared
light upon the terribly harrowing and perplexing practical problems of our age.
"Surely one of the purest and least self-incrusted duties of man, is to alleviate the
sufferings of his fellow man?
"From what I read, and from what I daily come into immediate contact with, I can
hardly think it would be possible to over-rate in contemplation, the intense privation and
agonizing suffering that is - aye, say it - at this moment being endured by a vast proportion
of our brothers and sisters, arising in a large measure from their not absolutely having the
means for procuring the bare necessaries of existence?
"Surely a high and Heaven-born religion - a religion professing to receive its
advanced knowledge and Light from 'those more learned in the Science of Life,' should be
able to tell us something of how to deal with such life, in its primitive condition of helpless
submission to the surrounding circumstances of - civilization!
"If one of our main duties is that of exercising disinterested love towards the
Brotherhood, surely 'those more learned' ones, whether in the flesh, or out of it, can and
will, if appealed to by their votaries, aid them in discovering ways and means for such an
end, and in organising some great fraternal scheme for dealing rightly with questions which
are so appalling in their complexity, and which must and do press with such irresistible
force upon all those who are earnest in their endeavours to carry out the will of Christ in
a Christian Land?
"October 25, 1887."
- L. F. Fr.
*Not all the members of the Theosophical Society are Theosophists; nor are the
members of the so-called Christian Churches all Christians, by any means. True
Theosophists, as true Christians, are very, very few; and there are practical Theosophists
in the fold of Christianity, as there are practical Christians in the Theosophical Society,
outside all ritualistic Christianity. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter
the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
(Matthew, vii. 21.) "Believe not in ME, but in the truths I utter." (Buddha's Aphorisms.)

** "This" Theosophy is not a religion, but rather the RELIGION - if one. So far, we
prefer to call it a philosophy; one, moreover, which contains every religion, as it is the
essence and the foundation of all. Rule III. of the Theos. Body says: "The Society
represents no particular religious creed, is entirely unsectarian, and includes professors
of all faiths."

This honest-spoken and sincere letter contains two statements; an implied

accusation against "Theosophy" (i.e. the Society of that name), and a virtual admission that
Christianity - or, again, rather its ritualistic and dogmatic religions - deserve the same and
even a sterner rebuke. For if "Theosophy", represented by its professors, merits on
external appearance the reproach that so far it has failed to transfer divine wisdom from
the region of the metaphysical into that of practical work, "Christianity," that is, merely
professing Christians, churchmen and laymen lie under a like accusation, evidently.
"Theosophy" has, certainly, failed to discover infallible ways and means of bringing all its
votaries to exercise "disinterested love" in their Brotherhood; it has not yet been able to
relieve suffering in mankind at large; but neither has Christianity. And not even the writer
of the above letter, nor any one else, can show sufficient excuse for the Christians in this
respect. Thus the admission that "those who are earnest in their endeavors to carry out
the will of Christ in a Christian land" need the help of "'those more learned ones,'" whether
[pagan adepts] in the flesh, or [spirits?] out of it," is very suggestive, for it contains the
defence and the raison d'etre of the Theosophical Society. Tacit though it is, once that it
comes from the pen of a sincere Christian, one who longs to learn some practical means
to relieve the sufferings of the starving multitudes - this admission becomes the greatest
and most complete justification for the existence of the Theosophical Brotherhood; a full
confession of the absolute necessity for such a body independent of, and untrammelled
by, any enchaining dogmas, and it points out at the same time the signal failure of
Christianity to accomplish the desired results.
Truly said Coleridge that "good works may exist without saving(?) principles,
therefore cannot contain in themselves the principles of salvation; but saving principles
never did, never can exist without good works." Theosophists admit the definition, and
disagree with the Christians only as to the nature of these ''saving principles." The Church
(or churches) maintain that the only saving principle is belief in Jesus, or the carnalized
Christ of the soul-killing dogma; theosophy, undogmatic and unsectarian, answers, it is not
so. The only saving principle dwells in man himself, and has never dwelt outside of his
immortal divine self; i.e. it is the true Christos, as it is the true Buddha, the divine inward
light which proceeds from the eternal unmanifesting unknown ALL. And this light can only
be made known by its works - faith in it having to remain ever blind in all, save in the man
himself who feels that light within his soul.
Therefore, the tacit admission of the author of the above letter covers another point
of great importance. The writer seems to have felt that which many, among those who
strive to help the suffering, have felt and expressed. The creeds of the churches fail to
supply the intellectual light, and the true wisdom which are needed to make the practical
philanthropy carried out, by the true and earnest followers of Christ, a reality. The
"practical" people either go on "doing good" unintelligently, and thus often do harm instead;
or, appalled by the awful problem before them, and failing to find in their "churches" any
clue, or a hope of solution, they retire from the battle field and let themselves be drifted
blindly by the current in which they happen to be born.
Of late it has become the fashion for friends, as well as for foes, to reproach the
Theosophical Society with doing no practical work, but losing itself in the clouds of
metaphysics. Metaphysicians, we are told, by those who like to repeat stale arguments,
have been learning their lesson for the last few thousand years; and it is now high time
that they should begin to do some practical work. Agreed; but considering that the
Christian churches count nearly nineteen centuries of existence, and that the Theosophical
Society and Brotherhood is a body hardly twelve years old; considering again that the
Christian churches roll in fabulous wealth, and number their adherents by hundreds of
millions, whereas the Theosophical Brotherhood is but a few thousand strong, and that it
has no fund, or funds, at its disposal, but that 98 per cent of its members are as poor and
as uninfluential as the aristocracy of the Christian church is rich and powerful; taking all
this into consideration, there would be much to say if the theosophists would only choose
to press the matter upon the public notice. Meanwhile, as the bitterest critics of the
"leaders" of the Theosophical Society are by no means only outsiders, but as there are
members of that society who always find a pretext to be dissatisfied, we ask: Can works
of charity that will be known among men be accomplished without money? Certainly not.
And yet, notwithstanding all this, none of its (European) members, except a few devoted
officers in charge of societies, will do practical work; but some of them, those especially
who have never lifted a finger to relieve suffering, and help their outside, poorer brothers,
are those who talk the most loudly, and are the bitterest in their denunciations of the
unspirituality and the unfitness of the "leaders of theosophy." By this they remove
themselves into the outer ring of critics, like those spectators at the play who laugh at an
actor passably representing Hamlet, while they themselves could not walk on to the stage
with a letter on a salver. While in India, comparatively poor theosophists have opened
gratuitous dispensaries for the sick, hospitals, schools, and everything they could think of,
asking no returns from the poor, as the missionaries do, no abandonment of one's
forefathers' religion, as a heavy price for favours received, have the English theosophists,
as a rule, done a single thing for those suffering multitudes, whose pitiful cry rings
throughout the whole Heavens as a protest against the actual state of things in
We take this opportunity of saying, in reply to others as much as to our
correspondent, that, up till now, the energies of the Society have been chiefly occupied in
organising, extending, and solidifying the Society itself, which work has taxed its time,
energies, and resources to such an extent as to leave it far Iess powerful for practical
charity than we would have wished. But, even so, compared with the influence and the
funds at the disposal of the Society, its work in practical charity, if less widely known, will
certainly bear favourable comparison with that of professing Christians, with their
enormous resources in money, workers, and opportunities of all kinds. It must not be
forgotten that practical charity is not one of the declared objects of the Society. It goes
without saying, and needs no "declaration," that every member of the Society must be
practically philanthropic if he be a theosophist at all; and our declared work is, in reality,
more important and more efficacious than work in the every-day plane which bears more
evident and immediate fruit, for the direct effect of an appreciation of theosophy, is to make
those charitable who were not so before. Theosophy creates the charity which afterwards,
and of its own accord, makes itself manifest in works.
Theosophy is correctly - though in this particular case, it is rather ironically - termed
"a highly and Heaven-born religion." It is argued that since it professes "to receive its
advanced knowledge and light from 'those more learned in the Science of Life,' the latter
ought and must, "if appealed to by their votaries [the theosophists], aid them in discovering
ways and means... in organizing some great fraternal scheme," etc.
The scheme was planned, and the rules and laws to guide such a practical
brotherhood, have been given by those "more learned in the Science of [practical, daily,
altruistic] life"; aye, verily "more learned" in it than any other men since the days of
Gautama Buddha and the Gnostic Essenes. The "scheme" dates back to the year when
the Theosophical Society was founded. Let anyone read its wise and noble laws embodied
to this day in the Statutes of the Fraternity, and judge for himself whether, if carried out
rigorously and applied to practical life, the "scheme" would not have proved the most
beneficent to mankind in general, and especially to our poorer brethren, of "starving
multitudes." Theosophy teaches the spirit of "non-separateness," the evanescence and
illusion of human creeds and dogma, hence, inculcates universal love and charity for all
mankind "without distinction of race, colour, caste or creed", is it not therefore the fittest to
alleviate the sufferings of mankind? No true theosophist would refuse admission into a
hospital, or any charitable establishment, to any man, woman or child, under the pretext
that he is not a theosophist, as a Roman Catholic would when dealing with a Protestant,
and vice versa. No true theosophist of the original rules would fail to put into practice the
parable of the "Good Samaritan," or proffer help only to entice the unwary who, he hopes,
will become a pervert from his god and the gods of his forefathers. None would slander
his brother, none let a needy man go unhelped, none offer fine talk instead of practical love
and charity.
Is it then the fault of Theosophy, any more than it is the fault of the Christ-teachings,
if the majority of the members of the Theosophical Society, often changing their
philosophical and religious views upon entering our Body, have yet remained practically
the same as they were when professing lip Christianity? Our laws and rules are the same
as given to us from the beginning; it is the general members of the Society who have
allowed them to become virtually obsolete. Those few who are ever ready to sacrifice their
time and labour to work for the poor, and who do, unrecognised and unthanked for it, good
work whereever they can, are often too poor themselves to put their larger schemes of
charity into objective practical form, however willing they may be.
"The fault I find with the Theosophical Society," said one of the most eminent
surgeons in London to one of the editors, quite recently, "is that I cannot discover that any
of its members really lead the Christ-life." This seemed a very serious accusation from a
man who is not only in the front rank of his profession, and valued for his kindly nature, by
his patients, and by society, and well-known as a quiet doer of many good deeds. The only
possible answer to be made was that the Christ-life is undeniably the ideal of every one
worthy in any sense of the name of a Theosophist, and that if it is not lived it is because
there are none strong enough to carry it out. Only a few days later the same complaint
was put in a more graphic form by a celebrated lady-artist.
"You Theosophists don't do enough good for me," she said pithily. And in her case
also there is the right to speak, given by the fact that she leads two lives - one, a butterfly
existence in society, and the other a serious one, which makes little noise, but has much
purpose. Those who regard life as a great vocation, like the two critics of the Theosophical
movement whom we have just quoted, have a right to demand of such a movement more
than mere words. They themselves endeavour very quietly to lead the "Christ-life," and
they cannot understand a number of people uniting in the effort towards this life without
practical results being apparent. Another critic of the same character who has the best
possible right to criticise, being a thoroughly practical philanthropist and charitable to the
last degree, has said of the Theosophists that their much talking and writing seems to
resolve itself into mere intellectual luxury, productive of no direct good to the world.
The point of difference between the Theosophists (when we use this term we mean,
not members of the Society, but people who are really using the organization as a method
of learning more of the true wisdom-religion which exists as a vital and eternal fact behind
all such efforts) and the practical philanthropists, religious or secular, is a very serious one,
and the answer, that probably none of them are strong enough yet to lead the "Christ-life,"
is only a portion of the truth. The situation can be put very plainly, in so many words. The
religious philanthropist holds a position of his own, which cannot in any way concern or
affect the Theosophist. He does not do good merely for the sake of doing good, but also
as a means towards his own salvation. This is the outcome of the selfish and personal
side of man's nature, which has so coloured and affected a grand religion that its devotees
are little better than the idol-worshippers who ask their deity of clay to bring them luck in
business, and the payment of debts. The religious philanthropist who hopes to gain
salvation by good works has simply, to quote a well-known yet ever fresh witticism,
exchanged worldliness for other-worldliness.
The secular philanthropist is really at heart a socialist, and nothing else; he hopes
to make men happy and good by bettering their physical position. No serious student of
human nature can believe in this theory for a moment. There is no doubt that it is a very
agreeable one, because if it is accepted there is immediate, straightforward work to
undertake. "The poor ye have always with you." The causation which produced human
nature itself produced poverty, misery, pain, degradation, at the same time that it produced
wealth, and comfort, and joy and glory. Life-long philanthropists, who have started on their
work with a joyous youthful conviction that it is possible to "do good," have, though never
relaxing the habit of charity, confessed to the present writer that, as a matter of fact, misery
cannot be relieved. It is a vital element in human nature, and is as necessary to some lives
as pleasure is to others.
It is a strange thing to observe how practical philanthropists will eventually, after long
and bitter experience, arrive at a conclusion which, to an occultist, is from the first a
working hypothesis. This is, that misery is not only endurable, but agreeable to many who
endure it. A noble woman, whose life has been given to the rescue of the lowest class of
wretched girls, those who seem to be driven to vice by want, said, only a few days since,
that with many of these outcasts it is not possible to raise them to any apparently happier
lot. And this she distinctly stated (and she can speak with authority, having spent her life
literally among them, and studied them thoroughly), is not so much from any love of vice,
but from love of that very state which the wealthy classes call misery. They prefer the
savage life of a bare-foot, half-clad creature, with no roof at night and no food by day, to
any comforts which can be offered them. By comforts, we do not mean the workhouse or
the reformatory, but the comforts of a quiet home; and we can give chapter and verse, so
to speak, to show that this is the case, not merely with the children of outcasts, who might
be supposed to have a savage heredity, but with the children of gentle, cultivated, and
Christian people.
Our great towns hide in their slums thousands of beings whose history would form
an inexplicable enigma, a perfectly baffling moral picture, could they be written out clearly,
so as to be intelligible. But they are only known to the devoted workers among the outcast
classes, to whom they become a sad and terrible puzzle, not to be solved, and therefore,
better not discussed. Those who have no clue to the science of life are compelled to
dismiss such difficulties in this manner, otherwise they would fall, crushed beneath the
thought of them. The social question as it is called, the great deep waters of misery, the
deadly apathy of those who have power and possessions - these things are hardly to be
faced by a generous soul who has not reached to the great idea of evolution, and who has
not guessed at the marvelous mystery of human development.
The Theosophist is placed in a different position from any of these persons,
because he has heard of the vast scope of life with which all mystic and occult writers and
teachers deal, and he has been brought very near to the great mystery. Indeed, none,
though they may have enrolled themselves as Fellows of the Society, can be called in any
serious sense Theosophists, until they have begun to consciously taste in their own
persons, this same mystery; which is, indeed, a law inexorable, by which man lifts himself
by degrees from the state of a beast to the glory of a God. The rapidity with which this is
done is different with every living soul; and the wretches who lug the primitive task master,
misery, choose to go slowly through a tread-mill course which may give them innumerable
lives of physical sensation - whether pleasant or painful, well-beloved because tangible to
the very lowest senses. The Theosophist who desires to enter upon occultism takes some
of Nature's privileges into his own hands by that very wish, and soon discovers that
experiences come to him with double-quick rapidity. His business is then to recognize that
he is under a - to him - new and swifter law of development, and to snatch at the lessons
that come to him.
But, in recognising this, he also makes another discovery. He sees that it takes a
very wise man to do good works without danger of doing incalculable harm. A highly
developed adept in life may grasp the nettle, and by his great intuitive powers, know whom
to relieve from pain and whom to leave in the mire that is their best teacher. The poor and
wretched themselves will tell anyone who is able to win their confidence what disastrous
mistakes are made by those who come from a different class and endeavour to help them.
Kindness and gentle treatment will sometimes bring out the worst qualities of a man or
woman who has led a fairly presentable life when kept down by pain and despair. May the
Master of Mercy forgive us for saying such words of any human creatures, all of whom are
a part of ourselves, according to the law of human brotherhood which no disowning of it
can destroy. But the words are true. None of us know the darkness which lurks in the
depths of our own natures until some strange and unfamiliar experience rouses the whole
being into action. So with these others who seem more miserable than ourselves.
As soon as he begins to understand what a friend and teacher pain can be, the
Theosophist stands appalled before the mysterious problem of human life, and though he
may long to do good works, equally dreads to do them wrongly until he has himself
acquired greater power and knowledge. The ignorant doing of good works may be vitally
injurious, as all but those who are blind in their love of benevolence are compelled to
acknowledge. In this sense the answer made as to lack of Christ-like lives among
Theosophists, that there are probably none strong enough to live such, is perfectly correct
and covers the whole question. For it is not the spirit of self-sacrifice, or of devotion, or of
desire to help that is lacking, but the strength to acquire knowledge and power and
intuition, so that the deeds done shall really be worthy of the "Buddha-Christ" spirit.
Therefore it is that Theosophists cannot pose as a body of philanthropists, though secretly
they may adventure on the path of good works. They profess to be a body of learners
merely, pledged to help each other and all the rest of humanity, so far as in them lies, to
a better understanding of the mystery of life, and to a better knowledge of the peace which
lies beyond it.
But as it is an inexorable law, that the ground must be tilled if the harvest is to be
reaped, so Theosophists are obliged to work in the world unceasingly, and very often in
doing this to make serious mistakes, as do all workers who are not embodied Redeemers.
Their efforts may not come under the title of good works, and they may be condemned as
a school of idle talkers, yet they are an outcome and fruition of this particular moment of
time, when the ideas which they hold are greeted by the crowd with interest; and therefore
their work is good, as the lotus-flower is good when it opens in the mid-day sun.
None know more keenly and definitely than they that good works are necessary;
only these cannot be rightly accomplished without knowledge. Schemes for Universal
Brotherhood, and the redemption of mankind, might be given out plentifully by the great
adepts of life, and would be mere dead-letter utterances while individuals remain ignorant,
and unable to grasp the great meaning of their teachers. To Theosophists we say, let us
carry out the rules given us for our society before we ask for any further schemes or laws.
To the public and our critics we say, try to understand the value of good works before you
demand them of others, or enter upon them rashly yourselves. Yet it is an absolute fact
that without good works the spirit of brotherhood would die in the world; and this can never
be. Therefore is the double activity of learning and doing most necessary; we have to do
good, and we have to do it rightly, with knowledge.
It is well known that the first rule of the society is to carry out the object of forming
the nucleus of a universal brotherhood. The practical working of this rule was explained
by those who laid it down, to the following effect:

- Theosophia, March-April, 1952


- H.P. Blavatsky
(First published in Lucifer, Oct. 1888, by Mme. Blavatsky, reprinted in Theosophy
Magazine, March, 1913.)

The following article by H.P. Blavatsky is reprinted, and is commended to all seekers
of short cuts. The particular "magic" she mentions is not the only sort that catches the
impatient and overly confident in themselves.

"When fiction rises pleasing to the eye,

Men will believe, because they love the lie;
But Truth herself, if clouded with a frown,
Must have some solemn proofs to pass her down,"
- Churchill.
One of the most esteemed of our friends in occult research, propounds the question
of the formation of "working Lodges" of the Theosophical Society, for the development of
adeptship. If the practical impossibility of forcing this process has been shown once, in the
course of the theosophical movement, it has scores of times. It is hard to check one's
natural impatience to tear aside the veil of the Temple. To gain the divine knowledge, like
the prize in a classical tripos, by a system of coaching and cramming is the ideal of the
average beginner in occult study. The refusal of the originators of the Theosophical
Society to encourage such false hopes, has led to the formation of bogus Brotherhoods
of Luxor (and Armley Jail?) as speculations on human credulity. How enticing the bait for
gudgeons in the following specimen prospectus; which a few years ago caught some of
our most earnest friends and Theosophists.
"Students of the Occult Science, searchers after truth, and Theosophists who may
have been disappointed in their expectations of Sublime Wisdom being freely dispensed
by HINDU MAHATMAS, are cordially invited to send in their names to ---, when, if found
suitable, they can be admitted, after a short preliminary term, as Members of an Occult
Brotherhood, who do not boast of their knowledge or attainments, but teach freely" (at 11
to 15 per letter?), ''and without reserve" (the nastiest portions of P.B. Randolph's "Eulis"),
"all they find worthy to receive" (read: teachings on a commercial basis; the cash going
to the teachers, and the extracts from Randolph and other "love-philter" sellers to the

* Documents on view at LUCIFER Office, viz. , Secret MSS. written in the
handwriting of (name suppressed, for past considerations), "Provincial Grand Master of the
Northern Section." One of these documents bears the heading, "A Brief Key to the Eulian
Mysteries," i.e., Tantric black magic on a phallic basis. No; the members of this Occult
Brotherhood "do not boast of their knowledge." Very sensible on their part: least said,
soonest mended.

If rumor be true, some of the English rural districts, especially Yorkshire, are overrun
with fraudulent astrologers and fortune-tellers, who pretend to be Theosophists, the better
to swindle a higher class of credulous patrons than their legitimate prey, the servant-maid
and callow youth. If the "lodges of magic," suggested in the following letter to the Editors
of this Magazine were founded without having taken the greatest precautions to admit only
the best candidates to membership, we should see these vile exploitations of sacred
names and things increase an hundredfold. And in this connection, and before giving
place to our friend's letter, the senior Editor of LUCIFER begs to inform her friends that she
has never had the remotest connection with the so-called "H(ermetic) B(rotherhood) of
L(uxor)," and that all representations to the contrary are false and dishonest. There is a
secret body - whose diploma, or Certificate of Membership is held by Colonel Olcott alone
among modern men of white blood - to which that name was given by the author of "Isis
Unveiled" for convenience of designation,* but which is known among Initiates by quite
another one, just as the personage known to the public under the pseudonym of "Koot
Hoomi," is called by a totally different name among his acquaintances. What the real
name of that society is, it would puzzle the "Eulian" phallicists of the "H.B. of L." to tell. The
real names of Master Adepts and Occult Schools are never, under any circumstances,
revealed to the profane, and the names of the personages who have been talked about
in connection with modern Theosophy, are in the possession only of the two chief founders
of the theosophical Society. And now, having said so much by way of preface, let us pass
on to our correspondent's letter. He writes:

"A friend of mine, a natural mystic, had intended to form, with others, a Branch T.S.
in his town. Suprised at his delay, I wrote to ask the reason. His reply was that he had
heard that the T.S. only met and talked, and did nothing practical. I always did think the
T.S. ought to have Lodges in which something practical should be done. Cagliostro
understood well this craving of humans for something before their eyes, when he instituted
the Egyptian Rite, and put it in practice in various Freemason lodges. There are many
readers of LUCIFER in ---shire. Perhaps in it there might be a suggestion for students to
form such lodges for themselves, and to try, by their united wills, to develop certain powers
in one of the number, and then, through the whole of them in succession. I feel sure
members would enter such lodges, and create a great interest for Theosophy." - "A"

* In "Isis Unveiled," Vol.ii, p. 308. It may be added that the "Brotherhood of Luxor,"
mentioned by Kenneth Mackenzie (vide his Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia) as having its seat
in America, had, after all, nothing to do with the Brotherhood mentioned by, and known to
us, as was ascertained after the publication of "Isis' from a letter written by this late
Masonic author to a friend in New York. The Brotherhood Mackenzie knew of was simply
a Masonic Society on a rather more secret basis, and, as he stated in the letter, he had
heard of, but knew nothing of our Brotherhood, which, having had a branch at Luxor
(Egypt), was thus purposely referred to by us under this name alone. This led some
schemers to infer that there was a regular Lodge of Adepts of that name, and to assure
some credulous friends and Theosophists that the "H. B. of L." was either identical or a
branch of the same, supposed to be near Lahore!! - which was the most flagrant untruth.

In the above note of our venerable and learned friend is the echo of the voices of
ninety-nine hundredths of the members of the Theosophical Society: one-hundreth only
have the correct idea of the function and scope of our Branches. The glaring mistake
generally made is in the conception of adeptship and the path thereunto. Of all thinkable
undertakings that of trying for adeptship is the most difficult. Instead of being obtainable
within a few years or one lifetime, it exacts the unremittent struggles of a series of lives,
save in cases so rare as to be hardly worth regarding as exceptions to the general rule.
The records certainly show that a number of the most revered Indian adepts became so
despite their births in the lowest, and seemingly most unlikely, castes. Yet it is well
understood that they had been progressing in the upward direction throughout many
previous incarnations, and, when they took birth for the last time, there was left but the
merest trifle of spiritual evolution to be accomplished, before they became great living
adepts. Of course, no one can say that one or all of the possible members of our friend
A.'s ideal Cagliostrian lodge might not also be ready for adeptship, but the chance is not
good enough to speculate upon. Western civilization seems to develop fighters rather than
philosophers, military butchers rather than Buddhas. The plan "A" proposes would be far
more likely to end in mediumship than adeptship. Two to one there would not be a
member of the lodge who was chaste from boyhood and altogether untainted by the use
of intoxicants, this is to say nothing of the candidates' freedom from the polluting effects
of the evil influences of the average social environment. Among the indispensable
prerequisites for psychic development, noted in the mystical Manuals of all Eastern
religious systems, are a pure place, pure diet, pure companionship, and pure mind. Could
"A" guarantee these? It is certainly desirable that there should be some school of
instruction for members of our Society; and had the purely exoteric work and duties of the
Founders been less absorbing, probably one such would have been established long ago.
Yet not for practical instruction, on the plan or Cagliostro, which, by-the-way, brought direful
suffering upon his head, and has left no marked traces behind to encourage a repetition
in our days. "When the pupil is ready, the teacher will be found waiting,'" says an Eastern
maxim. The Masters do not have to hunt up recruits in special ---shire lodges, nor drill
them through mystical non-commissioned officers: time and space are no barriers
between them and the aspirant; where thought can pass they can come. Why did an old
and learned Kabalist like "A." forget this fact? And let him also remember that the potential
adept may exist in the Whitechapels and Five Points of Europe and America, as well as
in the cleaner and more "cultured' quarters; that some poor ragged wretch, begging a
crust, may be "whiter-souled" and more attractive to the adept than the average bishop in
his robe, or a cultured citizen in his costly dress. For the extension of the theosophical
movement, a useful channel for the irrigation of the dry field's of contemporary thought with
the water of life, Branches are needed everywhere; not mere groups of passive
sympathisers, such as the slumbering army of church-goers, whose eyes are shut while
the "devil" sweeps the field; no, not such. Active, wide-awake, earnest, unselfish
Branches are needed, whose members shall not be constantly unmasking their selfishness
by asking "What will it profit us to join the Theosophical Society, and how much will it harm
us?" but by putting to themselves the question "Can we not do substantial good to mankind
by working in this good cause with all our hearts, our minds, and our strength?" If "A"
would only bring ---shire friends, who pretend to occult leanings, to view the question from
this side, he would be doing them a real kindness. The Society can get on without them,
but they cannot afford to let it do so.
Is it profitable, moreover, to discuss the question of a Lodge receiving even
theoretical instruction, until we can be sure that all the members will accept the teachings
as coming from the alleged source? Occult truth cannot be absorbed by a mind that is
filled with preconception, prejudice, or suspicion. It is something to be perceived by the
intuition rather then by the reason; being by nature spiritual, not material. Some are so
constituted as to be incapable of acquiring knowledge by the exercise of the spiritual
faculty; e.g., the great majority of physicists. Such are slow, if not wholly incapable of
grasping the ultimate truths behind the phenomena of existence. There are many such in
society; and the body of discontented are recruited from their ranks. Such persons readily
persuade themselves that later teachings, received from exactly the same source as earlier
ones, are either false or have been tampered with by chelas, or even third parties.
Suspicion and inharmony are the natural result, the psychic atmosphere, so to say, is
thrown into confusion, and the reaction, even upon the stauncher students, is very harmful.
Sometimes vanity blinds what was at first strong intuition, the mine is effectually closed
against the admission of new truth, and the aspiring student is thrown back to the point
where he began. Having jumped at some particular conclusion of his own without full study
of the subject, and before the teaching had been fully expounded, his tendency, when
proved wrong, is to listen only to the voice of his self-adulation, and cling to his views,
whether right or wrong. The Lord Buddha particularly warned his hearers against forming
beliefs upon tradition or authority, and before having thoroughly inquired into the subject.
An instance. We have been asked by a correspondent why he should not "be free
to suspect some of the so-called 'precipitated' letters as being forgeries, giving as his
reason for it than while some of them bear the stamp of (to him) undeniable genuineness,
others seem from their content and style, to be imitations. This is equivalent to saying that
he has such an unerring spiritual insight as to be able to detect the false from the true,
though he has never met a Master, nor been given any key by which to test his alleged
communications. The inevitable consequence of applying his untrained judgment in such
cases, would be to make him as likely as not to declare false what was genuine, and
genuine what was false. Thus what criterion has any one to decide between one
"Precipitated" letter, or another such letter? Who except their authors, or those whom they
employ as their amanuenses (the chelas and disciples), can tell? For it is hardly one out
of a hundred "occult" letters that is ever written by the hand of the Master, in whose name
and on whose behalf they are sent, as the Masters have neither need nor leisure to write
them; and that when a Master says, "I wrote that letter," it means only that every word in
it was dictated by him and impressed under his direct supervision. Generally they make
their chela, whether near or far away, write (or precipitate) them, by impressing upon his
mind the ideas they wish expressed, and if necessary aiding him in the picture-printing
process of precipitation. It depends entirely upon the chela's state of development, how
accurately the ideas may be transmitted and the writing-model imitated. Thus the non-
adept recipient is left in the dilemma of uncertainty, whether, if one letter is false, all may
not be; for, as far as intrinsic evidence goes, all come from the same source, and all are
brought by the same mysterious means. But there is another, and a far worse condition
implied. For all that the recipient of "occult" letters can possibly know, and on the simple
grounds of probability and common honesty, the unseen correspondent who would tolerate
one single fraudulent line in his name, would wink at an unlimited repetition of the
deception. And this leads directly to the following. All the so-called occult letters being
supported by identical proofs, they have all to stand or fall together. If one is to be
doubted, then all have, and the series of letters in the "Occult World," "Esoteric Buddhism,"
etc., etc., may be, and there is no reason why they should not be in such a case - frauds,
"clever impostures," and "forgeries," such as the ingenuous though stupid agent of the
"S.P.R." has made them out to be, in order to raise in the public estimation the "scientific"
acumen and standard of his "Principals."
Hence, not a step in advance would be made by a group of students given over to
such an unimpressible state of mind, and without any guide from the occult side to open
their eyes to the esoteric pitfalls. And where are such guides, so far, in our society? "They
be blind leaders of the blind," both falling into the ditch of vanity and self-sufficiency. The
whole difficulty springs from the common tendency to draw conclusions from insufficient
premises and play the oracle before ridding oneself of that most stupefying of all psychic
anaesthetics - IGNORANCE.

- From Theosophical Notes, Nov., 1956



[The following text was published in a Circular issued in what was known at one time
as the Eastern School of Theosophy. It was headed: Answers to Correspondence. With
Aids and Suggestions for Students. It was dated from London, October, 1893. Such
Circulars were issued from time to time both by William Quan Judge in New York and by
Annie Besant in London. The text which is published below has the following introductory
sentence: ( The following letter from H.P.B. .'. should be studied with great care.) - Editor,

How to discover the source of the "Will behind your consciousness" (your own
expression) which sweeps your physical self out of the moorings of your control - a
frequent case with many persons? This involves the revelation of a great mystery: the
discovery very often, of the identity of one's invisible foe, who seems to lead one there and
make one do that which is dangerous and inadvisable. I cannot tell all, yet I may impart
enough to put you on the right track. Know then that the atomic quality of yotir astral
doubles is not uniform. On the contrary it varies immensely with the moral, spiritual and
physical combination of the individual. Let us take the instance of the same ego - who was
A. fifteen hundred years ago, and is now B. in the year 1888.
Now the Double of A. is, after the death of his body, either preponderatingly spiritual
or preponderatingly terrestrial. In the first case it soon dissipates in the Kama Loka and
disappears like smoke; for it has no Kama Rupa (body of strong desires and passions) to
cling to and assimilate. "The Linga Sarira of the good man is like the morning mist after
it has quitted the body of illusion; the merits of virtue of the man that was, are like the sun.
When the sun rises its warm rays dissipate the image (Astral Body) like the perfume of the
rose" (Occult Aphorisms). This, if A. was even an average good man. But suppose he
had been a great sensualist, or cruel or something of the sort, his Double at his death
survives by a sort of elastic quality, a striking of its atoms together by the surviving medium
of that intense force which made the man the sensualist or whatever he was.
Now, in this case the Double survives and holds on together for centuries
sometimes. Whereas the Double of A., the good man, is disintegrated long, long before
the rebirth of his Ego; the Double of A., the sensualist, may linger till the next
reincarnation. And that which takes place then is this. The previous Double is drawn by
affinity to the new personality (or rather to the Ego therein, its old Ego). Now you have to
learn well and know the nature, the origin and ways of the Doubles, the genesis and the
laws of dissolution of those reflections of men, before you can understand me well. This
would take too long to explain and cannot be given now, but try to understand me. The old
Double fastens very often on the new personality of his ex-Ego, and, if the actual Double
is weaker, the former gets mastery over the latter; it overpowers it and makes sometimes
the otherwise good man all that which his ex-personality was in the previous birth or worse.
This, I see, is your case. You have one of your Doubles, or rather your ex-Double, trying
to link itself again with you. Yet it is but a phantom of a phantom, and, unless soon after
death - which is not your case, as your past incarnation is many centuries old - or when the
deceased has been exceedingly wicked, it cannot affect third parties. But, until it is finally
disintegrated and dispersed, it can affect its old Ego now, in new form, that individuality
within your present body and your past bodies, which is moving ahead from birth to birth.
It can give him (the new man) in his physical self, a lascivious, or cruel, or selfish, or
avaricious tendency against his better feelings, make him vain and self-opinionated, etc.,
and have the best of him unless he struggles hard to shake off the incubus. It is the ex-
Doubles of the present man and woman which, if the man was a woman in the previous
birth, or the woman a man, take the shells or forms of their past incarnations and play the
"spirit-wives" and "Spirit-husbands" with the unfortunate mortals. It is they again - but let
us drop the subject.
I see then in your photograph that at least one cause of your trouble is the influence
of your former undissolved Double. But, as I said to you in my last letter, "the best remedy
is your Will" under the masterful inspiration, and with the help of spirituality. This (the Will)
is the one irresistible power in nature and in the psychic world; whatever the phantom or
demon, it may be swept into nothingness by concentrating upon it this Will and bidding it
H.P.B. .'.

- From Theosophia, Spring 1978

- H.P. Blavatsky

[It is with some uncertainty in our minds that we append the name of H.P. Blavatsky
to the title of this essay. It is signed "Pilgrim", and contains some of the loftiest thoughts
found in the pages of the magazine Lucifer, which H.P.B. started in London, September
1887. This essay was originally published in the December 1887, and January 1888,
issues of Vol. I of Lucifer. It contains much that bears definitely the Blavatsky style, but it
also contains expressions and similes reminiscent of the writings emanating from the
Greek Adept known as Hillarion Smerdis who dictated Light on the Path, and wrote with
H.P.B. some of her Occult Stories. Bertram Keightley, who was for a long time sub-editor
of Lucifer, has stated that H.P.B. was in the habit of introducing some of her articles with
a quotation or two, and that she wrote a number of essays under more than one nom de
plume. This may be applicable to the present case. At least we are inclined to believe so.
We commend this essay to the most careful attention of the intuitive student, and trust that
its deeper implications will not escape him. Whatever its actual authorship may be, the
noble ideas which it contains stem from a very high source. - Editor (Theosophia)]

"In many mortal forms I rashly sought

The shadow of that idol of my thought."
- Shelley

"Apres l'amour eteint si je vecus encore

C'est pour la verite, soif aussi qui devore!"
- Lamartine.

The loss of youth and love is the perpetual wail of the poets. A never-changing
spring-time of life, where the sweet dreams of youth would be realised in the fruition of
reciprocal love, such would be a heaven to them, and such is a heaven while it lasts. If we
add to this the refined aesthetic taste that can delicately balance and appreciate to a nicety
every joy of the senses, and the highly-developed intellect which can roam at will over the
accumulated store of past ages of culture, what would there be left for poets to dream of?
With heart, senses and mind worthily employed, and with the well-balanced nature that
knows moderation alone can give continued bliss, could not man rest satisfied at last?
What more could he desire?
It is useless to deny that life has very sweet gifts to give, though the number is
limited of those who are capable of receiving them in their fulness. But even while these
gifts are being enjoyed, it is felt that the horizon is bounded. With what questioning
uncertainty - albeit with fascination - does youth open its eyes upon the glamour of the
dazzling world! The love of the Springtide, even in fruition, is continually building fairy
bowers in the future - it never for long rests content in the present, while to the intellect the
bounded scope of utmost learning is a still more definite goad towards a knowledge that
shall transcend all past experience.
And even were man content to continue to drink of the one cup of bliss, he is never
allowed to do so. The lessons of life, the great teacher, are continually being altered, and
the tempest of the heart takes the place of the calm that was never expected to end.
If, then, we must look in vain to find permanent bliss in any of these things - if,
beyond the highest intellectual culture of an intellectual age there gleams the vision of a
higher knowledge - if behind the artistic refinement of this, as of all past flowers of
civilization, the fount of all sweetness lies hid - if even the heart-binding communion of
earthly love is but a faint reflex of the deep peace realized by him who has torn aside the
veil that hides the Eternal, surely all man's energies should be devoted to the quest which
will yield him such results.
The whole philosophy of life may be summed up in the Four great Truths that
Buddha taught, and no more convincing description of them can be read than that given
in the lovely lines of the eighth book of the "Light of Asia". He who has once been deeply
imbued with these great truths - who has realized the transitory nature of all earthly bliss,
and the pains and sorrows that more than counterbalance the joys of life - will never in his
truest moments desire to be again blessed, either in the present or in any future
incarnation, with an uniformly happy life, for there is no such soporific for the soul as the
feeling of satisfaction, as there is no such powerful goad as the feeling of dissatisfaction.
He is bound to pass through periods of joy, but they will be looked forward to with fear and
doubting, for then it is that the sense-world again fastens its fangs on the soul, to be
followed by the pain of another struggle for freedom.
When first setting out on the great quest, it seems as if many life-times would fail
to appease the dominant passion of the soul, but nature works quickly in the hottest
climates, and from the very intensity of the desire may spring the strength and will to
conquer it. Though it is probably the same key-note that is struck throughout, the dominant
desire will appear to take a different tone through the ascending scale of life. It is a
speculation, but one which would seem to receive endorsement from the analogies of
nature; for as the human embryo in its antenatal development, exhibits in rapid
succession, but with longer pauses as it approaches the period of birth, the characteristics
of the lower races of animal life from which man has evolved, so does the human soul
realize in its passage through life the dominant desires and attractions which have affected
it through countless past incarnations. The lower desires which in past lives may have
been more or less completely conquered, will be experienced in rapid succession and left
behind without much difficulty, till the great struggle of the life is reached, from which man
must come out more or less victorious if he is to continue the progress at all.
If right intention were the only thing needed, if it were a guarantee against being led
astray, or if straying did not necessitate retardation on the road, there would be no such
supreme necessity that belief should be in accordance with facts; but even in worldly
affairs we see every day that purity of intention is no guard against the failures that come
from lack of knowledge. In the great spiritual science therefore, which deals with the
problem of life as a whole - not the mere fragment which this earthly existence represents -
it will be seen how vitally necessary it is that facts should be conceived correctly.
To us whose eyes are blinded to the heights above, by the mists of our own desires,
the only rays of light which can illumine the darkness of our journey on the great quest, are
the words (whether or not in the form of recognized revelation) left by the masters who
have preceded us on the road, and the counsel of our comrades who are bound for the
same goal. But words are capable of many interpretations, and the opinions of our
comrades are coloured by their own personality - the ultimate touch-stone of truth must
therefore be looked for in the disciple's own breast.
Having stated the necessity for correct belief, let us now consider the question of
the great achievement - the annihilation of Karma - the attainment of Nirvana. It must be
acknowledged as a logical proposition that Karma can never annihilate Karma, i.e., that no
thoughts, words, or acts of the man in his present state of consciousness, can ever free
him from the circle of re-births. This view would seem to necessitate some power external
to the man to free him - a power which has touch of him, and which would have to be allied
to him.
Now the teachings which have been put before the world in "Light on the Path" state
the other side of the question. "Each man is to himself absolutely the way, the truth, and
the life." And again, "For within you is the light of the world, the only light that can be shed
upon the Path. If you are unable to perceive it within you, it is useless to look for it
elsewhere." It would seem that the solution of this great paradox must be sought for in the
constitution of man, as described in theosophic writings. Indeed, it is the scientific
statement of deep spiritual truths which gives to the Theosophic teachings their remarkable
value, and which seems likely to carry conviction of their truth to the Western peoples, who
have for too long been accustomed to the mere emotional sentimentality of the orthodox
religions, and to the pessimistic negation of science.
The higher principles, as they have been called, in the constitution of man,
particularly the divine Atma, through which he is allied to the all-pervading Deity, must ever
remain deep mysteries. But at least they are cognisable by the intellect, as providing
logical stepping-stones for spanning the great gulf between Humanity and Divinity - the
Power - the correct cognition of which provides the very link between both systems of
thought - which is at the same time external to man, and has touch of him by its own divine
light which enlightens him, and which is also the very man himself - his highest and truest
For most of us it is the "God hidden in the Sanctuary," of whose very existence we
are unaware, known under the name of Iswara or the Logos - the primal ray from the Great
Unknown. It is the Chrestos of the Christians, but, save, perhaps, to a few mystics in the
Roman or Greek churches, it has been degraded past recognition by their materialistic
anthropomorphism. A help to its better understanding may be obtained by a reference to
Sanscrit philosophy, which describes man's nature as consisting of the three gunas or
qualities - Satwa, goodness, Rajas, passion, and Tamas, darkness, or delusion - and the
nature of most men is made up almost entirely of the two last named - while the Logos is
pure Satwa.
The vexed question, therefore, as to whether man is freed by his own dominant will,
or by the power of the Logos, will be seen to be very much a distinction without a
difference. For the attainment of final liberation the God within and the God without must
Desire being, as Buddha taught, the great obstacle in the way, its conquest by the
dominant will is the thing that has to be done, but the Divine will cannot arise in its power,
till the conviction of the Supreme desirability of attaining the eternal condition is rendered
permanent; and it is this that necessitates the goad which the Logos is continually applying
by its light on the soul.
We are now face to face with a very difficult problem - it is, in fact the gulf which
separates the Occultist from the Religionist, and it is here that it is so necessary to get hold
of the correct idea.

"Strong limbs may dare the rugged road which storms,

Soaring and perilous, the mountain's breast;
The weak must wind from lower ledge to ledge,
With many a place of rest."

The short cut to perfection referred to in the first two lines has been called in
Theosophic writings "the perilous ladder which leads to the path of life." To have faced the
fearful abyss of darkness of the first trial, without starting back in terror at the apparent
annihilation which the casting aside of the sense-life implies, and out of the still more awful
silence of the second trial; to have had the strength to evoke the greater Self - the God
that has hitherto been hidden in the sanctuary - such is the language used with reference
to the very first - nay, the preliminary - steps on this path, while the further steps are
represented by the ascending scale of the occult Hierarchy, where the neophyte or chela,
through a series of trials and initiations, may attain the highest Adeptship, and the man
may gradually leave behind him his human desires and limitations, and realise instead the
attributes of Deity.

The Religionist, of course, denies that man can become a god or ever realize in
himself the attributes of Deity. He may recognize the necessity of reincarnation for
ordinary worldly men, and even for those who are not constant in their detachment and
devotion, but he denies the necessity for that series of trials and initiations which must
cover, at all events, more than one life-time - probably many. It would appear as if the
theory of evolution might be called in, to aid this latter view. If it is acknowledged that we,
as individuals, have been for ever whirling on the wheel of conditioned existence; if at the
beginning of each manwantara the divine monad which through the beginningless past has
inhabited in succession the vegetable, animal, and human forms, takes to itself a house
of flesh in exact accordance with previous Karma, it will be seen that (while inhabiting a
human body) during no moment in the past eternity have we been nearer the attainment
of Nirvana than at any other. If then there is no thinkable connection between evolution
and Nirvana, to imagine that evolution, through stages of Adeptship, conducts to Nirvana,
is a delusion. "It is purely a question of divine grace" - says the Religionist. If in answer
to this view, it is contended that the light of the Logos is bound, eventually, to reach and
enlighten every individual, and that the steady progress to perfection through Chelaship
and Adeptship would, therefore, be a logical conclusion, it is objected that to assert that
the light of the Logos must eventually reach and enlighten all, would involve the ultimate
extinction of the objective Universe, which is admitted to be without beginning or end,
although it passes through alternate periods of manifestation and non-manifestation. If to
escape from this untenable position we postulate fresh emanations of Deity into the lowest
organisms at the beginning of each manwantara, to take the place of those who pass away
into Nirvana, we are met by other difficulties. Firstly, putting out of consideration the fact
that such a supposition is expressly denied by what is acknowledged as revelation, the
projection into the evolutionary process of a monad free from all Karma, makes the law of
Karma inoperative, for the monad's first association with Karma remains unexplained; and
also it becomes impossible to say what the monad was, and what was the mode of its
being prior to the projection into evolution. It must be noted that although the law of Karma
does not explain why we are, yet it satisfactorily shows how we are what we are; and this
is the raison d'etre of the law. But the above theory takes away its occupation. It makes
Karma and the monad independent realities, joined together by the creative energy of the
Deity, while Karma ought to be regarded as a mode of existence of the monad - which
mode ceases to be when another mode, called liberation, takes its place. Secondly, if the
monad in attaining liberation only attains to what it was before its association with Karma,
a quoi bon the whole process; while, if it is stated that the monad was altogether non-
existent before its projection, the Deity becomes responsible for all our sufferings and sins,
and we fall into either the Calvinist doctrine of predestination as popularly conceived, or
into the still more blasphemous doctrine of the worshipers of Ahriman, besides incurring
many logical difficulties. The teaching of our eastern philosophers is that the real interior
nature of the monad is the same as the real interior essence of the Godhead, but from
beginningless past time it has a transitory nature, considered illusive, and the mode in
which this illusion works is known by the name of Karma.
But were we not led astray in the first instance? Ought we not have acquiesced in
the first above given definition of the theory of evolution? The premise was satisfactory
enough - the mistake was in allowing the religionist's deduction as a logical necessity.
When the religionist states that there is no thinkable connection between evolution and
Nirvana, he merely postulates for the word evolution a more limited scope than that which
the Occultist attaches to it, viz., the development of soul as well as that of mere form. He
is indeed right in stating that the natural man, while he remains such, will never attain the
ultimate goal of Being. True it is, for the Occultist as for the religionist, that, to free himself
from the fatal circle of rebirths, he must "burst the shell which holds him in darkness - tear
the veil that hides him from the eternal." The religionist may call this the act of divine
grace; but it may be quite as correctly described as the "awakening of the slumbering God
within." But the error of the religionist is surely in mistaking the first glimmer of the divine
consciousness for a guarantee of final emancipation, at, say, the next death of the body,
instead of merely the first step of a probationary stage in the long vista of work for
Humanity on the higher planes of Being!
To provide ourselves with an analogy from the very theory of Evolution which we
have been discussing, is it not more logical to imagine that, in the same way in which we
see stretched at our feet the infinite gradations of existence, through the lower animal,
vegetable, and mineral kingdoms - between which indeed, thanks to the recent
investigations of scientific men - there is no longer recognised to be any distinct line of
demarcation - so the heights (necessarily hidden from our view) which still remain to be
scaled by us in our upward progress to Divinity, should be similarly filled with the
gradations of the unseen hierarchy of Being? And that, as we have evolved during millions
of centuries of earth-life through these lower forms up to the position we now occupy, so
may we, if we choose, start on a new and better road of progress, apart from the ordinary
evolution of Humanity, but in which there must also be innumerable grades?
That there will be progress for Humanity as a whole, in the direction of greater
spirituality, there is no doubt, but that progress will be partaken of by continually decreasing
numbers. Whether the weeding out takes place at the middle of the "great fifth round," or
whether it be continually taking place during the evolutionary process, a ray of light is here
thrown on the statement met with in all the Bibles of Humanity as to the great difficulty of
the attainment. "For straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and
few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth unto
destruction, and many there be that go in thereat." This and parallel passages doubtless
refer to the weeding out of those who are unfit to continue the progress, on which the more
spiritualized Humanity will then have entered. The most vivid picture of the comparative
handful of elect souls, who are fit to achieve the great quest, will be obtained by
contemplating the fact already stated, that the objective universe, with its myriads of
inhabitants, will never, in the vast abysses of the future, cease to be; and that the great
majority of humanity - the millions of millions - will thus for ever whirl on the wheel of birth
and death.
But though Nature may give us an almost infinite number of chances to attempt the
great quest, it were madness to put by the chance offered now, and allow the old sense-
attractions to regain their dominance, for it must be remembered that the barbarism and
anarchy which every civilization must eventually lapse into, are periods of spiritual
deadness, and that it is when "the flower of civilization has blown to its full, and when its
petals are but slackly held together," that the goad within men causes them to lift their eyes
to the sunlit mountains, and "to recognize in the bewildering glitter the outlines of the Gates
of Gold." There are no doubt realms in the Devaloka where the bliss of heaven may be
realised by those who aspire to the selfish rewards of personal satisfaction, but these
cease to exist with the end of the manwantara, and with the beginning of the next the
devotee will again have to endure incarceration in flesh. The eighth chapter of the
Bhagavad-Gita does indeed state that there is a path to Nirvana through the Devaloka, and
amongst the countless possibilities of the Infinite who shall assert that this is not so? But
the context surely implies such a detachment and devotion through life as is difficult for us
even to contemplate, much less to realize.
However distant, therefore, may appear to us the achievement of the great quest,
when we consider how much more closely we are allied to the animal than to the God, it
must necessarily seem an infinitely far-off goal, but though we may have to pass through
many life-times before we reach it, our most earnest prayer should be, that we may never
lose sight of the celestial goal, for surely it is the one thing worthy of achievement!
To many the foregoing may appear as mere speculations, and the firmest faith
indeed can scarcely call itself knowledge, but, however necessary the complete knowledge
may be, we may at least hope that its partial possession is adequate to the requirements
of the occasion. To us whose feet tread, often wearily, towards the path of the great quest,
and whose eyes strain blindly through the mists that wrap us round, steady perseverance
and omnipotent hope must be the watchwords - perseverance to struggle on, though the
fiends of the lower self may make every step a battle, and hope that at any moment the
entrance to the path may be found.
As an example of these two qualities, and also because all words that strike a high
key are bound to awaken responsive echoes in noble hearts, let us conclude with the
following extract from the Ramayana:
"Thus spoke Rama. Virtue is a service man owes himself, and though there were
no heaven nor any God to rule the world, it were not less the binding law of life. It is man's
privilege to know the right and follow it. Betray and persecute me brother men! Pour out
your rage on me O malignant devils! Smile, or watch my agony in cold disdain ye blissful
Gods! Earth, hell, heaven combine your might to crush me - I will still hold fast by this
inheritance! My strength is nothing - time can shake and cripple it; my youth is transient -
already grief has withered up my days; my heart - alas? It is well-nigh broken now.
Anguish may crush it utterly, and life may fail; but even so my soul that has not tripped
shall triumph, and dying, give the lie to soulless destiny that dares to boast itself man's

- Pilgrim

(from Theosophia, Vol. 8, Nos. 4, 5)




Student - I am very much puzzled about the present age. Some theosophists seem
to abhor it as if wishing to be taken away from it altogether, inveighing against modern
inventions such as the telegraph, railways, machinery, and the like, and bewailing the
disappearance of former civilizations. Others take a different view, insisting that this is a
better time than any other, and hailing modern methods as the best. Tell me, please,
which of these is right, or, if both are wrong, what ought we to know about the age we live

Sage - The teachers of Truth know all about this age. But they do not mistake the
present century for the whole cycle. The older times of European history, for example,
when might was right and when darkness prevailed over Western nations, was as much
a part of this age, from the standpoint of the Masters, as is the present hour, for the Yuga -
to use a sanscrit word - in which we are now had begun many thousands of Years before.
And during that period of European darkness, although this Yuga had already begun, there
was much light, learning, and civilization in India and China. The meaning of the words
"present age" must therefore be extended over a far greater period than is at present
assigned. In fact, modern science has reached no definite conclusion yet as to what
should properly be called "an age," and the truth of the doctrine is denied. Hence we find
writers speaking of the "Golden Age," "Iron Age," and whereas they are only parts of the
real age that began so far back that modern archeologists deny it altogether.

Student. - What is the sanscrit name for this age, and what is its meaning?

Sage. - The sanscrit is "Kali," which added to Yuga gives us "Kali-Yuga." The
meaning of it is "Dark Age." Its approach was known to the ancients, its characteristics are
described in the Indian poem ''The Mahabharata." As I said that it takes in an immense
period of the glorious part of Indian history, there is no chance for anyone to be jealous and
to say that we are comparing the present hour with that wonderful division of Indian

Student. - What are the characteristics to which you refer, by which Kali-yuga may
be known?

Sage. - As its name implies, darkness is the chief. This of course is not deducible
by comparing today with 800 A.D., for this would be no comparison at all. The present
century is certainly ahead of the middle ages, but as compared with the preceding Yuga
it is dark. To the Occultist, material advancement is not of the quality of light, and he finds
no proof of progress in merely mechanical contrivances that give comfort to a few of the
human family while the many are in misery. For the darkness he would have to point but
to one nation, even the great American Republic. Here he sees a mere extension of the
habits and life of the Europe from which it sprang; here a great experiment with entirely
new conditions and material was tried; here for many years very little poverty was known;
but here today there is as much grinding poverty as anywhere, and as large a criminal
class with corresponding prisons as in Europe, and more than in India. Again, the great
thirst for riches and material betterment, while spiritual life is to a great extent ignored, is
regarded by us as darkness. The great conflict already begun between the wealthy
classes and the poorer is a sign of darkness. Were spiritual light prevalent, the rich and
the poor would still be with us, for Karma cannot be blotted out, but the poor would know
how to accept their lot and the rich how to improve the poor; now, on the contrary, the rich
wonder why the poor do not go to the poorhouse, meanwhile seeking in the laws for cures
for strikes and socialism, and the poor continually growl at fate and their supposed
oppressors. All this is of the quality of spiritual darkness.

Student. - Is it wise to know more as to the periods when the cycle changes, and to
speculate on the great astronomical or other changes that herald a turn?

Sage. - It is not. There is an old saying that the gods are jealous about these things,
not wishing mortals to know them. We may analyse the age, but it is better not to attempt
to fix the hour of a change of cycle. Besides that, you will be unable to settle it, because
a cycle does not begin on a day or year clear of any other cycle; they interblend, so that,
although the wheel of one period is still turning, the initial point of another has already

Student. - Are these some of the reasons why Mr. Sinnett was not given certain
definite periods of years about which he asked?

Sage. - Yes.

Student. - Has the age in which one lives any effect on the student; and what is it?

Sage. - It has effect on every one, but the student after passing along in his
development feels the effect more than the ordinary man. Were it otherwise, the sincere
and aspiring students all over the world would advance at once to those heights towards
which they strive. It takes a very strong soul to hold back the age's heavy hand, and it is
all the more difficult because that influence, being a part of the student's larger life, is not
so well understood by him. It operates in the same way as a structural defect in a vessel.
All the inner as well as the outer fibre of the man is the result of the long centuries or
earthly lives lived here by his ancestors. These sow seeds of thought and physical
tendencies in a way that you cannot comprehend. All those tendencies affect him. Many
powers once possessed are hidden so deep as to be unseen, and he struggles against
obstacles constructed ages ago. Further yet are the peculiar alterations brought about in
the astral world. It, being at once a photographic plate, so to say, and also a reflector, has
become the keeper of the mistakes of ages past which it continually reflects upon us from
a plane to which most of us are strangers. In that sense therefore, free as we suppose
ourselves, we are walking about completely hypnotized by the past, acting blindly under
the suggestions thus cast upon us.

Student. - Was that why Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what
they do?"

Sage. - That was one meaning. In one aspect they acted blindly, impelled by the
age, thinking they were right.
Regarding these astral alterations, you will remember how in the time of Julian the
seers reported that they could see the gods, but they were decaying, some headless,
others flaccid, others minus limbs, and all appearing weak. The reverence for these ideals
was departing, and their astral pictures had already begun to fade.

Student. - What mitigation is there about this age? Is there nothing at all to relieve
the picture?

Sage. - There is one thing peculiar to the present Kali-Yuga that may be used by the
Student. All causes now bring about their effects much more rapidly than in any other or
better age. A sincere lover of the race can accomplish more in three incarnations under
Kali-Yuga's reign than he could in a much greater number in any other age. Thus by
bearing all the manifold troubles of this Age and steadily triumphing, the object of his
efforts will be more quickly realized, for, while the obstacles seem great, the powers to be
invoked can be reached more quickly.

Student. - Even if this is, spiritually considered, a Dark Age, is it not in part
redeemed by the increasing triumphs of mind over matter, and by the effects of science
in mitigating human ills, such as the causes of disease, disease itself, cruelty, intolerance,
bad laws, etc.?

Sage. - Yes, these are mitigations of the darkness in just the same way that a lamp
gives some light at night but does not restore daylight. In this age there are great triumphs
of science, but they are nearly all directed to effects and do not take away the causes of
the evils. Great strides have been made in the arts and in cure of diseases, but in the
future, as the flower of our civilization unfolds, new diseases will arise and more strange
disorders will be known, springing from causes that lie deep in the minds of men and which
can only be eradicated by spiritual living.
Student. - Admitting all you say, are not we, as Theosophists, to welcome every
discovery of truth in any field, especially such truth as lessens suffering or enlarges the
moral sense?

Sage. - That is our duty. All truths discovered must be parts of the one Absolute
Truth, and so much added to the sum of our outer knowledge. There will always be a large
number of men who seek for these parts of truth, and others who try to alleviate present
human misery. They each do a great and appointed work that no true Theosophist should
ignore. And it is also the duty of the latter to make similar efforts when possible, for
Theosophy is a dead tiling if it is not turned into the life. At the same time, no one of us
may be the judge of just how much or how little our brother is doing in that direction. If he
does all that he can and knows how to do, he does his whole present duty.

Student. - I fear that a hostile attitude by Occult teachers towards the learning and
philanthropy of the time may arouse prejudice against Theosophy and Occultism, and
needlessly impede the spread of Truth. May it not be so?

Sage. - The real Occult Teachers have no hostile attitude toward these things. If
some persons, who like theosophy and try to spread it, take such a position, they do not
thereby alter the one assumed by the real Teachers who work with all classes of men and
use every possible instrument for good. But at the same time we have found that an
excess of the technical and special knowledge of the day very often acts to prevent men
from apprehending the truth.

Student. - Are there any causes, other than the spread of Theosophy, which may
operate to reverse the present drift towards materialism?

Sage. - The spread of the knowledge of the laws of Karma and Reincarnation and
of a belief in the absolute spiritual unity of all beings will alone prevent this drift. The cycle
must, however, run its course, and until that is ended all beneficial causes will of necessity
act slowly and not to the extent they would in a brighter age. As each student lives a better
life and by his example imprints upon the astral light the picture of a higher aspiration acted
in the world, he thus aids souls of advanced development to descend from other spheres
where the cycles are so dark that they can no longer stay there.

Student. - Accept my thanks for your instruction.

Sage. - May you reach the terrace of enlightenment.

- The Path, April, 1888



Student. - "If I understand you, an elemental is a centre of force, without intelligence,
without moral character or tendencies, but capable of being directed in its movements by
human thoughts, which may, consciously or not, give it any form, and to a certain extent
intelligence; in its simplest form it is visible as a disturbance in a transparent medium, such
as would be produced by 'a glass fish, so transparent as to be invisible, swimming through
the air of the room,' and leaving behind him a shimmer, such as hot air makes when rising
from a stove. Also, elementals, attracted and vitalized by certain thoughts, may effect a
lodgment in the human system (of which they then share the government with the ego),
and are very hard to get out."

Sage. - "Correct, in general, except as to their 'effecting a lodgment.' Some classes

of elementals, however, have an intelligence of their own and a character, but they are far
beyond our comprehension and ought perhaps to have some other name.
"That class which has most to do with us answers the above description. They are
centres of force or energy which are acted on by us while thinking and in other bodily
motions. We also act on them and give them form by a species of thought which we have
no register of. As, one person might shape an elemental so as to seem like an insect, and
not be able to tell whether he had thought of such a thing or not. For there is a vast
unknown country in each human being which he does not himself understand until he has
tried, and then only after many initiations.
"That 'elementals .... may effect a lodgment in the human system, of which they then
share the government, and are very hard to get out' is, as a whole, incorrect. It is only in
certain cases that any one or more elementals are attracted to and 'find lodgment in the
human system.' In such cases special rules apply. We are not considering such cases.
The elemental world interpenetrates this, and is therefore eternally present in the human
"As it (the elemental world) is automatic and like a photographic plate, all atoms
continually arriving at and departing from the 'human system' are constantly assuming the
impression conveyed by the acts and thoughts of that person, and therefore, if he sets up
a strong current of thought, he attracts elementals in greater numbers, and they all take
on one prevailing tendency or color, so that all new arrivals find a homogeneous color or
image which they instantly assume. On the other hand, a man who has many diversities
of thought and meditation is not homogeneous, but, so to say, parti-colored, and so the
elementals may lodge in that part which is different from the rest and go away in like
condition. In the first case it is one mass of elementals similarly vibrating or electrified and
colored, and in that sense may be called one elemental, in just the same way that we know
one man as Jones, although for years he has been giving off and taking on new atoms of
gross matter."

Student. - "If they are attracted and repelled by thoughts, do they move with the
velocity of thought, say from here to the planet Neptune?"

Sage. - "They move with the velocity of thought. In their world there is no space or
time as we understand those terms. If Neptune be within the astral sphere of this world,
then they go there with that velocity, otherwise not; but that 'if' need not be solved now."
Student. - "What determines their movements besides thought, - e.g. when they are
floating about the room?"

Sage. - "Those other classes of thoughts above referred to; certain exhalations of
beings; different rates and ratios of vibration among beings different changes of
magnetism caused by present causes or by the moon and the year; different polarities;
changes of sound; changes of influences from other minds at a distance."

Student. - "When so floating, can they be seen by any one, or only by those persons
who are clairvoyant?"

Sage. - "Clairvoyance is a poor word. They can he seen by partly clairvoyant

people. By all those who can see thus; by more people, perhaps, than are aware of the

Student. - "Can they be photographed, as the rising air from the hot stove can?"

Sage. - "Not to my knowledge yet. It is not impossible, however."

Student. - "Are they the lights, seen floating about a dark seance room by
clairvoyant people?"

Sage. - "In the majority of cases those lights are produced by them."

Student. - "Exactly what is their relation to light, that makes it necessary to hold
seances in the dark?"

Sage. - "It is not their relation to light that makes darkness necessary, but the fact
that light causes constant agitation and alteration in the magnetism of the room. All these
things can be done just as well in the light of day.
"If I should be able to make clear to you 'exactly what is their relation to light,' then
you would know what has long been kept secret, the key to the elemental world. This is
kept guarded because it is a dangerous secret. No matter how virtuous you are, you could
not - once you knew the secret - prevent the knowledge getting out into the minds of others
who would not hesitate to use it for bad purposes."

Student. - "I have noticed that attention often interferes with certain phenomena;
thus a pencil will not write when watched, but writes at once when covered; or a mental
question cannot be answered till the mind has left it and gone to something else. Why is

Sage. - "This kind of attention creates confusion. In these things we use desire, will,
and knowledge. The desire is present, but knowledge is absent. When the desire is well
formed and attention withdrawn, the thing is often done; but when our attention is
continued we only interrupt, because we possess only half attention. In order to use
attention, it must be of that sort which can hold itself to the point of a needle for an
indefinite period of time."

Student. - "I have been told that but few people can go to a seance without danger
to themselves, either of some spiritual or astral contamination, or of having their vitality
depleted for the benefit of the spooks, who suck the vital force out of the circle through the
medium, as if the former were a glass of lemonade and the latter a straw. How is this?"

Sage. - "Quite generally this happens. It is called Bhut worship by the Hindus."

Student. - "Why are visitors at a seance often extremely and unaccountably tired
next day?"

Sage. - "Among other reasons, because mediums absorb the vitality for the use of
the 'spooks,' and often vile vampire elementaries are present."

Student. - "What are some of the dangers at seances?"

Sage. - "The scenes visible - in the Astral - at seances are horrible, inasmuch as
these 'spirits' - bhuts - precipitate themselves upon sitters and mediums alike; and as there
is no seance without having present some or many bad elementaries - half dead human
beings, - there is much vampirising going on. These things fall upon the people like a
cloud or a big octopus, and disappear within them as if sucked in by a sponge. That is one
reason why it is not well to attend them in general.
"Elementaries are not all bad, but, in a general sense, they are not good. They are
shells, no doubt of that. Well, they have much automatic and seemingly intelligent action
left if they are those of strongly material people who died attached to the things of life. If
of people of an opposite character, they are not so strong. Then there is a class which are
really not dead, such as suicides, and sudden deaths, and highly wicked people. They are
powerful. Elementals enter into all of them, and thus get a fictitious personality and
intelligence wholly the property of the shell. They galvanize the shell into action, and by
its means can see and hear as if beings themselves, like us. The shells are, in this case,
just like a sleepwalking human body. They will through habit exhibit the advancement they
got while in the flesh. Some people, you know, do not impart to their bodily molecules the
habit of their minds to as great extent as others. We thus see why the utterences of these
so-called 'spirits' are never ahead of the highest point of progress attained by living human
beings, and why they take up the ideas elaborated day-by-day by their votaries. This
seance worship is what was called in Old India the worship of the Pretas and Bhuts and
Pisachas and Gandharvas.
"I do not think any elementary capable of motive had ever any other than a bad one;
the rest are nothing, they have no motive and are only the shades refused passage by

Student. - "What is the relation between sexual force and phenomena?''

Sage. - "It is at the bottom. This force is vital, creative, and a sort of reservoir. It
may be lost by mental action as well as by physical. In fact its finer part is dissipated by
mental imaginings, while physical acts only draw off the gross part, that which is the
"carrier" (upadhi) for the finer."

Student. - "Why do so many mediums cheat, even when they can produce real

Sage. - "It is the effect of the use of that which in itself is sublimated cheating, which,
acting on an irresponsible mind, causes the lower form of cheat, of which the higher is any
illusionary form whatever. Besides, a medium is of necessity unbalanced somewhere.
"They deal with these forces for pay, and that is enough to call to them all the
wickedness of time. They use the really gross sorts of matter, which causes inflammation
in corresponding portions of the moral character, and hence divagations from the path of
honesty. It is a great temptation. You do not know, either, what fierceness there is in
those who 'have paid' for a sitting and wish 'for the worth of their money.'"

Student. - "When a clairvoyant, as a man did here a year ago, tells me that 'he sees
a strong band of spirits about me,' and among them an old man who says he is a certain
eminent character, what does he really see? Empty and senseless shells? If so, what
brought them there? Or elementals which have got their form from my mind or his?"

Sage. - "Shells, I think, and thoughts, and old astral pictures. If, for instance, you
once saw that eminent person and conceived great respect or fear for him, so that his
image was graven in your astral sphere in deeper lines than other images, it would be seen
for your whole life by seers, who, if untrained, - as they all are here - could not tell whether
it was an image or reality; and then each sight of it is a revivification of the image.
"Besides, not all would see the same thing. Fall down, for instance, and hurt your
body, and that will bring up all similar events and old forgotten things before any seer's eye.
"The whole astral world is a mass of illusion; people see into it, and then, through
the novelty of the thing and the exclusiveness of the power, they are bewildered into
thinking they actually see true things, whereas they have only removed one thin crust of

Student. - "Accept my thanks for your instruction."

Sage. - "May you reach the terrace of enlightenment."

- The Path, May, 1888



Student. - Permit me to ask you again, Are elementals beings?

Sage. - It is not easy to convey to you an idea of the constitution of elementals;

strictly speaking, they are not, because the word elementals has been used in reference
to a class of them that have no being such as mortals have. It would be better to adopt the
terms used in Indian books, such as Gandharvas, Bhuts, Pisachas, Devas, and so on.
Many things well known about them cannot be put into ordinary language.

Student. - Do you refer to their being able to act in the fourth dimension of space?

Sage. - Yes, in a measure. Take the tying in an endless cord of many knots, - a
thing often done at spiritist seances. That is possible to him who knows more dimensions
of space than three. No three-dimensional being can do this; and as you understand
"matter," it is impossible for you to conceive how such a knot can be tied or how a solid ring
can be passed through the matter of another solid one. These things can be done by

Student. - Are they not all of one class?

Sage. - No. There are different classes for each plane, and division of plane, of
nature. Many can never be recognized by men. And those pertaining to one plane do not
act in another. You must remember, too, that these "planes" of which we are speaking
interpenetrate each other.

Student. - Am I to understand that a clairvoyant or clairaudient has to do with or is

effected by a certain special class or classes of elementals?

Sage. - Yes. A clairvoyant can only see the sights properly belonging to the planes
his development reaches to or has opened. And the elementals in those planes show to
the clairvoyant only such pictures as belong to their plane. Other parts of the idea of thing
pictured may be retained in planes not yet open to the seer. For this reason few
clairvoyants know the whole truth.

Student. - Is there not some connection between the Karma of man and

Sage. - A very important one. The elemental world has become a strong factor in
the Karma of the human race. Being unconscious, automatic, and photographic, it
assumes the complexion of the human family itself. In the earlier ages, when we may
postulate that man had not yet begun to make bad Karma, the elemental world was more
friendly to man because it had not received unfriendly impressions. But so soon as man
began to become ignorant, unfriendly to himself and the rest of creation, the elemental
world began to take on exactly the same complexion and return to humanity the exact pay,
so to speak, due for the actions of humanity. Or, like a donkey, which, when he is pushed
against, will push against you. Or, as a human being, when anger or insult is offered, feels
inclined to return the same. So the elemental world, being unconscious force, returns or
reacts upon humanity exactly as humanity acted towards it, whether the actions of men
were done with the knowledge of these laws or not. So in these times it has come to be
that the elemental world has the complexion and action which is the exact result of all the
actions and thoughts and desires of men from the earliest times. And, being unconscious
and only acting according to the natural laws of its being, the elemental world is a powerful
factor in the workings of Karma. And so long as mankind does not cultivate brotherly
feeling and charity towards the whole of creation, just so long will the elementals be without
the impulse to act for our benefit. But so soon and wherever man or men begin to cultivate
brotherly feeling and love for the whole of creation, there and then the elementals begin
to take on the new condition.

Student. - How then about the doing of phenomena by adepts?

Sage. - The production of phenomena is not possible without either the aid or
disturbance of elementals. Each phenomenon entails the expenditure of great force, and
also brings on a correspondingly great disturbance in the elemental world, which
disturbance is beyond the limit natural to ordinary human life. It then follows that, as soon
as the phenomenon is completed, the disturbance occasioned begins to be compensated
for. The elementals are in greatly excited motion, and precipitate themselves in various
directions. They are not able to affect those who are protected. But they are able, or
rather it is possible for them, to enter into the sphere of unprotected persons, and
especially those persons who are engaged in the study of occultism. And then they
become agents in concentrating the karma of those persons, producing troubles and
disasters often, or other difficulties which otherwise might have been so spread over a
period of time as to be not counted more than the ordinary vicissitudes of life. This will go
to explain the meaning of the statement that an Adept will not do a phenomenon unless
he sees the desire in the mind of another lower or higher Adept or student; for then there
is a sympathetic relation established, and also a tacit acceptance of the consequences
which may ensue. It will also help to understand the peculiar reluctance often of some
persons, who can perform phenomena, to produce them in cases where we may think their
production would be beneficial and also why they are never done in order to compass
worldly ends, as is natural for worldly people to suppose might be done, - such as
procuring money, transferring objects, influencing minds, and so on.

Student. - Accept my thanks for your instruction.

Sage. - May you reach the terrace of enlightenment!

- The Path, June, 1888


Student. - Is there any reason why you do not give me a more detailed explanation
of the constitution of elementals and the modes by which they work?

Sage. - Yes. There are many reasons. Among others is your inability, shared by
most of the people of the present day, to comprehend a description of things that pertain
to a world with which you are not familiar and for which you do not yet possess terms of
expression. Were I to put forth these descriptions, the greater part would seem vague and
incomprehensible on one hand, while on the other many of them would mislead you
because of the interpretation put on them by yourself. Another reason is that, if the
constitution, field of action, and method of action of elementals were given out, there are
some minds of a very inquiring and peculiar bent who soon could find out how to come into
communication with these extraordinary beings, with results disadvantageous to the
community as well as the individuals.

Student. - Why so? Is it not well to increase the sum of human knowledge, even
respecting most recondite parts of nature; or can it be that the elementals are bad?

Sage. - It is wise to increase the knowledge of nature's laws, but always with proper
limitations. All things will become known some day. Nothing can be kept back when men
have reached the point where they can understand. But at this time it would not be wise
to give them, for the asking, certain knowledge that would not be good for them. That
knowledge relates to elementals, and it can for the present be kept back from the scientists
of today. So long as it can be retained from them, it will be, until they and their followers
are of a different stamp.
As to the moral character of elementals, they have none: they are colorless in
themselves - except some classes - and merely assume the tint, so to speak, of the person
using them.

Student. - Will our scientific men one day, then, be able to use these beings, and,
if so, what will be the manner of it? Will their use be confined to only the good men of the

Sage. - The hour is approaching when all this will be done. But the scientists of
today are not the men to get this knowledge. They are only pigmy forerunners who sow
seed and delve blindly in no thoroughfares. They are too small to be able to grasp these
mighty powers, but they are not wise enough to see that their methods will eventually lead
to Black Magic in centuries to come when they shall be forgotten.
When elemental forces are used similarly as we now see electricity and other
natural energies adapted to various purposes, there will be "war in heaven." Good men
will not alone possess the ability to use them. Indeed, the sort of man you now call "good"
will not be the most able. The wicked will, however, pay liberally for the power of those
who can wield such forces, and at last the Supreme Masters, who now guard this
knowledge from children, will have to come forth. Then will ensue a dreadful war, in which,
as has ever happened, the Masters will succeed and the evil doers be destroyed by the
very engines, principalities, and powers prostituted to their own purposes during years of
intense selfish living. But why dilate on this: in these days it is only a prophecy.

Student. - Could you give me some hints as to how the secrets of the elemental
plane are preserved and prevented from being known? Do these guardians of whom you
speak occupy themselves in checking elementals, or how? Do they see much danger of
divulgement likely in those instances where elemental action is patent to the observer?
Sage. - As to whether they check elementals or not need not be enquired into,
because, while that may be probable, it does not appear yet necessary where men are
unsuspicious of the agency causing the phenomena. It is much easier to throw a cloud
over the investigator's mind and lead him off to other results of often material advantage
to himself and men, while at the same time acting as a complete preventive or switch which
turns his energies and application into different departments.
It might be illustrated thus: Suppose that a number of trained occultists are set
apart to watch the various sections of the world where the mental energies are in fervid
operation. It is quite easy for them to see in a moment any mind that is about reaching a
clue into the elemental world: and, besides, imagine that trained elementals themselves
constantly carry information of such events. Then, by superior knowledge and command
over this peculiar world, influences presenting various pictures are sent out to that
enquiring mind. In one case it may be a new moral reform, in another a great invention is
revealed, and such is the effect that the man's whole time and mind are taken up by this
new thing which he fondly imagines is his own. Or, again, it would be easy to turn his
thoughts into a certain rut leading far from the dangerous clue. In fact, the methods are

Student. - Would it be wise to put into the hands of truly good, conscientious men
who now use aright what gifts they have, knowledge of and control over elementals, to be
used on the side of right?

Sage. - The Masters are the judges of what good men are to have this power and
control. You must not forget that you cannot be sure of the character at bottom of those
whom you call "truly good and conscientious men." Place them in the fire of the
tremendous temptation which such power and control would furnish, and most of them
would fail. But the Masters already know the characters of all who in any way approach
to a knowledge of these forces, and They always judge whether such a man is to be aided
or prevented. They are not working to make these laws and forces known, but to establish
right doctrine, speech, and action, so that the characters and motives of men shall undergo
such radical changes as to fit them for wielding power in the elemental world. And that
power is not now lying idle, as you infer, but is being always used by those who will never
fail to rightly use it.

Student. - Is there any illustration at hand showing what the people of the present
day would do with these extraordinary energies?

Sage. - A cursory glance at men in these western worlds engaged in the mad rush
after money, many of them willing to do anything to get it, and at the strain, almost to
warfare, existing between laborers and users of labor, must show you that, were either
class in possession of power over the elemental world, they would direct it to the
furtherance of the aims now before them. Then look at Spiritualism. It is recorded in the
Lodge - photographed, you may say, by the doers of the acts themselves - that an
enormous number of persons daily seek the aid of mediums and their "spooks" merely on
questions of business. Whether to buy stocks, or engage in mining for gold and silver, to
deal in lotteries, or to make new mercantile contracts. Here on one side is a picture of a
coterie of men who obtained at a low figure some mining property on the advice of
elemental spirits with fictitious names masquerading behind mediums; these mines were
then to be put upon the public at a high profit, inasmuch as the "spirits" promised metal.
Unhappily for the investors, it failed. But such a record is repeated in many cases.
Then here is another where in a great American city - the Karma being favorable -
a certain man speculated in stocks upon similar advice, succeeded, and, after giving the
medium liberal pay, retired to what is called enjoyment of life. Neither party devoted either
himself or the money to the benefitting of humanity.
There is no question of honor involved, nor any as to whether money ought or ought
not to be made. It is solely one as to the propriety, expediency, and results of giving
suddenly into the hands of a community unprepared and without an altruistic aim, such
abnormal power. Take hidden treasure, for instance. There is much of it in hidden places,
and many men wish to get it. For what purpose? For the sake of ministering to their
luxurious wants and leaving it to their equally unworthy descendants. Could they know the
mantram controlling the elementals that guard such treasure, they would use it at once,
motive or no motive, the sole object being the money in the case.

Student. - Do some sorts of elementals have guard over hidden treasure?

Sage. - Yes, in every instance, whether never found or soon discovered. The
causes for the hiding and the thoughts of the hider or loser have much to do with the
permanent concealment or subsequent finding.

Student. - What happens when a large sum of money, say, such as Captain Kidd's
mythical treasure, is concealed, or when a quantity of coin is lost?

Sage. - Elementals gather about it. They have many and curious modes of causing
further concealment. They even influence animals to that end. This class of elementals
seldom, if ever, report at your spiritualistic seances. As time goes on the forces of air and
water still further aid them, and sometimes they are able even to prevent the hider from
recovering it. Thus in course of years, even when they may have altogether lost their hold
on it, the whole thing becomes shrouded in mist, and it is impossible to find anything.

Student. - This in part explains why so many failures are recorded in the search for
hidden treasure. But how about the Masters; are they prevented thus by these weird

Sage. - They are not. The vast quantities of gold hidden in the earth and under the
sea are at their disposal always. They can, when necessary for their purposes, obtain
such sums of money on whom no living being or descendants of any have the slightest
claim, as would appall the senses of your greatest money getter. They have but to
command the very elementals controlling it, and They have it. This is the basis for the
story of Aladdin's wonderful lamp, more true than you believe.

Student. - Of what use then is it to try, like the alchemists, to make gold? With the
immense amount of buried treasure thus easily found when you control its guardian, it
would seem a waste of time and money to learn transmutation of metals.

Sage. - The transmutation spoken of by the real alchemists was the alteration of the
base alloy in man's nature. At the same time, actual transmutation of lead into gold is
possible. And many followers of the alchemists, as well as of the pure-souled Jacob
Boehme, eagerly sought to accomplish the material transmuting, being led away by the
glitter of wealth. But an Adept has no need for transmutation, as I have shown you. The
stories told of various men who are said to have produced gold from base metals for
different kings in Europe are wrong explanations. Here and there Adepts have appeared,
assuming different names, and in certain emergencies they supplied or used large sums
of money. But instead of its being the product of alchemical art, it was simply ancient
treasure brought to them by elementals in their service and that of the Lodge. Raymond
Lully or Robert Flood might have been of that sort, but I forbear to say, since I cannot claim
acquaintance with those men.

Student. - I thank you for your instruction.

Sage. - May you reach the terrace of enlightenment!

- The Path, July, 1888



Student. - You spoke of mantrams by which we could control elements on guard

over hidden treasure. What is a mantram?

Sage. - A mantram is a collection of words which, when sounded in speech, induce

certain vibrations not only in the air, but also in the finer ether, thereby producing certain

Student. - Are the words taken at haphazard?

Sage. - Only by those who, knowing nothing of mantrams, yet use them.

Student. - May they, then, be used according to rule and also irregularly? Can it be
possible that people who know absolutely nothing of their existence or field of operations
should at the same time make use or them? Or is it something like digestion, of which so
many people know nothing whatever, while they in fact are dependent upon its proper use
for their existence? I crave your indulgence because I know nothing of the subject.

Sage. - The "common people" in almost every country make use of them
continually, but even in that case the principle at the bottom is the same as in the other.
In a new country where folk-lore has not yet had time to spring up, the people do not have
as many as in such a land as India or in long settled parts of Europe. The aboriginies,
however, in any country will be possessed of them.

Student.- - You do not now infer that they are used by Europeans for the controlling
of elementals

Sage. - No. I refer to their effect in ordinary intercourse between human beings.
And yet there are many men in Europe, as well as in Asia, who can thus control animals,
but those are nearly always special cases. There are men in Germany, Austria, Italy, and
Ireland who can bring about extraordinary effects on horses, cattle, and the like, by peculiar
sounds uttered in a certain way. In those instances the sound used is a mantram of only
one member, and will act only on the particular animal that the user knows it can rule.

Student. - Do these men know the rules governing the matter? Are they able to
convey it to another'

Sage. - Generally not. It is a gift self-found or inherited, and they only know that it
can be done by them, just as a mesmeriser knows he can do a certain thing with a wave
of his hand, but is totally ignorant of the principle. They are as ignorant of the base of this
strange effect as your modern physiologists are of the function and cause of such a
common thing as yawning.

Student. - Under what head should we put this unconscious exercise of power?

Sage. - Under the head of natural magic, that materialistic science can never crush
out. It is a touch with nature and her laws always preserved by the masses, who, while
they form the majority of the population, are yet ignored by the "cultured classes." And so
it will be discovered by you that it is not in London or Paris or New York drawing-rooms that
you will find mantrams, whether regular or irregular, used by the people. "Society," too
cultured to be natural, has adopted methods of speech intended to conceal and to deceive,
so that natural mantrams can not be studied within its borders.
Single, natural mantrams are such words as "wife." When it is spoken it brings up
in the mind all that is implied by the word. And if in another language, the word would be
that corresponding to the same basic idea. And so with expressions of greater length,
such as many slang sentences: thus, "I want to see the color of his money." There are
also sentences applicable to certain individuals, the use of which involves a knowledge of
the character of those to whom we speak. When these are used, a peculiar and lasting
vibration is set up in the mind of the person affected, leading to a realization in action of
the idea involved, or to a total change of life due to the appositeness of the subjects
brought up and to the peculiar mental antithesis induced in the hearer. As soon as the
effect begins to appear the mantram may be forgotten, since the law of habit then has
sway in the brain.
Again, bodies of men are acted on by expressions having the mantramic quality;
this is observed in great social or other disturbances. The reason is the same as before.
A dominant idea is aroused that touches upon a want of the people or on an abuse which
oppresses them, and the change and interchange in their brains between the idea and the
form of words go on until the result is accomplished. To the occultist of powerful sight this
is seen to be a "ringing" of the words coupled with the whole chain of feelings, interests,
aspirations, and so forth, that grows faster and deeper as the time for the relief or change
draws near. And the greater number of persons affected by the idea involved, the larger,
deeper, and wider the result. A mild illustration may he found in Lord Beaconsfield of
England. He knew about mantrams, and continually invented phrases of that quality.
"Peace with honor" was one; "a scientific frontier" was another; and his last, intended to
have a wider reach, but which death prevented his supplementing, was "Empress of India."
King Henry of England also tried it without himself knowing why, when he added to his
titles, "Defender of the Faith." With these hints numerous illustrations will occur to you.

Student. - These mantrams have only to do with human beings as between each
other. They do not affect elementals, as I judge from what you say. And they are not
dependent upon the sound so much as upon words bringing up ideas. Am I right in this;
and is it the case that there is a field in which certain vocalizations produce effects in the
Akasa by means of which men, animals, and elementals alike can be influenced, without
regard to their knowledge of any known language?

Sage. - You are right. We have only spoken of natural, unconsciously-used

mantrams. The scientific mantrams belong to the class you last referred to. It is to be
doubted whether they can be found in modern Western languages, - especially among
English speaking people who are continually changing and adding to their spoken words
to such an extent that the English of today could hardly be understood by Chaucer's
predecessors. It is in the ancient Sanscrit and the language which preceded it that
mantrams are hidden. The laws governing their use are also to be found in those
languages, and not in any modern philological store.

Student. - Suppose, though, that one acquires a knowledge of ancient and correct
mantrams, could he affect a person speaking English, and by the use of English words?

Sage. - He could: and all adepts have the power to translate a strictly regular
mantram into any form of language, so that a single sentence thus uttered by them will
have an immense effect on the person addressed, whether it be by letter or word of mouth.

Student. - Is there no way in which we might, as it were, imitate those adepts in this?

Sage. - Yes, you should study simple forms of mantramic quality, for the purpose
of thus reaching the hidden mind of all the people who need spiritual help. You will find
now and then some expression that has resounded in the brain, at last producing such a
result that he who heard it turns his mind to spiritual things.

Student. - I thank you for your instruction.

Sage. - May the Brahmamantram guide you to the everlasting truth. - Om.

- The Path, Aug., 1888


(Elementals II)

Student. - A materialist stated to me as his opinion that all that is said about
mantrams is mere sentimental theorizing, and while it may be true that certain words affect
people, the sole reason is that they embody ideas distasteful or pleasant to the hearers,
but that the mere sounds, as such, have no effect whatever, and as to either words or
sounds affecting animals he denied it altogether. Of course he would not take elementals
into account at all, as their existence is impossible for him.

Sage. - This position is quite natural in these days. There has been so much
materialization of thought, and the real scientific attitude of leading minds in different
branches of investigation has been so greatly misunderstood by those who think they
follow the example of the scientific men, that most people in the West are afraid to admit
anything beyond what may be apprehended by the five senses. The man you speak of is
one of that always numerous class who adopt as fixed and unalterable general laws laid
down from time to time by well known savants, forgetting that the latter constantly change
and advance from point to point.

Student. - Do you think, then, that the scientific world will one day admit much that
is known to Occultists?

Sage. - Yes, it will. The genuine Scientist is always in that attitude which permits
him to admit things proven. He may seem to you often to be obstinate and blind, but in fact
he is proceeding slowly to the truth, - too slowly, perhaps, for you, yet not in the position
of knowing all. It is the veneered scientist who swears by the published results of the work
of leading men as being the last word, while, at the very moment he is doing so, his
authority may have made notes or prepared new theories tending to greatly broaden and
advance the last utterance. It is only when the dogmatism of a priest backed up by law
declares that a discovery is opposed to the revealed word of his god, that we may fear.
That day is gone for a long time to come, and we need expect no more scenes like that in
which Galileo took part. But among the materialistic minds to whom you referred, there is
a good deal of that old spirit left, only that the "revealed word of God" has become the
utterances of our scientific leaders.

Student. - I have observed that within even the last quarter of a century. About ten
years ago many well-known men laughed to scorn any one who admitted the facts within
the experience of every mesmeriser, while now, under the term "hypnotism," they are
nearly all admitted. And when these lights of our time were denying it all, the French
doctors were collating the results of a long series of experiments. It seems as if the
invention of a new term for an old and much abused one furnished an excuse for granting
all that had been previously denied. But have you anything to say about those materialistic
investigators? Are they not governed by some powerful, though unperceived, law?
Sage. - They are. They are in the forefront of the mental, but not of the spiritual,
progress of the time, and are driven forward by forces they know nothing of. Help is very
often given to them by the Masters, neglecting nothing, constantly see to it that these men
make progress upon the fittest lines for them, just as you are assisted not only in your
spiritual life but in your mental also. These, men, therefore, will go on admitting facts and
finding new laws or new names for old laws, to explain them. They cannot help it.

Student. - What should be our duty, then, as students of truth? Should we go out
as reformers of science, or what?

Sage. - You ought not to take up the role of reformers of the schools and their
masters, because success would not attend the effort. Science is competent to take care
of itself, and you would only be throwing pearls before them to be trampled under foot.
Rest content that all within their comprehension will be discovered and admitted from time
to time. The endeavor to force them into admitting what you believe to be so plain would
be due almost solely to your vanity and love of praise. It is not possible to force them, any
more than it is for me to force you, to admit certain incomprehensible laws, and you would
not think me wise or fair to first open before you things, to understand which you have not
the necessary development, and then to force you into admitting their truth. Or if, out of
reverence, you should say "These things are true," while you comprehended nothing and
were not progressing, you would have bowed to superior force,

Student. - But you do not mean that we should remain ignorant of science and
devote ourselves only to ethics?

Sage - Not at all. Know all that you can. Become conversant with and sift all that
the schools have declared, and as much more on your own account as is possible, but at
the same time teach, preach, and practice a life based on a true understanding of
brotherhood. This is the true way. The common people, those who know no science, are
the greatest number. They must be so taught that the discoveries of science which are
unillumined by spirit may not be turned into Black Magic.

Student. - In our last conversation you touched upon the guarding of buried treasure
by elementals. I should like very much to hear a little more about that. Not about how to
control them or to procure the treasure, but upon the subject generally.

Sage. - The laws governing the hiding of buried treasure are the as those that relate
to lost objects . Every person has about him a fluid, or plane, or sphere, or energy,
whichever you please to call it, in which are constantly found elementals that partake of his
nature. That is, they are tinted with his color and impressed by his character. There are
numerous classes of these. Some men have many of one class or of all, or many of some
and few of others. And anything worn upon your person is connected with your
elementals. For instance, you wear cloth made of wool or linen, and little objects made of
wood, bone, brass, gold, silver, and other substances. Each one of these certain magnetic
relations peculiar to itself, and all of them are soaked, to a greater or less extent, with your
magnetism as well as nervous fluid. Some of them, because of their substance, do not
long retain this fluid, while others do. The elementals are connected, each class according
to its substance, with those objects by means of the magnetic fluid. And they are acted
upon by the mind and desires to a greater extent than you know, and in a way that cannot
be formulated in English. Your desires have a powerful grasp, so to say, upon certain
things, and upon others a weaker hold. When one of these objects is suddenly dropped,
it is invariably followed by elementals. They are drawn after it, and may be said to go with
the object by attraction rather than by sight. In many cases they completely envelope the
thing, so that, although it is near at hand, it cannot be seen by the eye. But after awhile
the magnetism wears off and their power to envelop the article weakens, whereupon it
appeals in sight. This does not happen in every case. But it is a daily occurrence, and is
sufficiently obvious to many persons to be quite removed from the realm of fable. I think,
indeed, that one of your literary persons has written an essay upon this very experience,
in which, although treated in a comic vein, many truths are unconsciously told; the title of
this was, if I mistake not, "Upon the Innate Perversity of Inanimate Objects." There is such
a nice balancing of forces in these cases that you must be careful in your generalizations.
You may justly ask, for instance, why, when a coat is dropped, it seldom disappears from
sight? Well, there are cases in which even such a large object is hidden, but they are not
very common. The coat is full of your magnetism, and the elementals may feel in it just as
much of you as when it is on your back. There may be, for them, no disturbance of the
relations, magnetic and otherwise. And often in the case of a small object not invisible, the
balancing of forces, due to many causes that have to do with your condition at the time,
prevents the hiding. To decide in any particular case, one would have to see into the realm
where the operation of these laws is hidden, and calculate all the forces, so as to say why
it happened in one way and not in another.

Student. - But take the case of a man who, being in possession of treasure, hides
it in the earth and goes away and dies, and it is not found. In that instance the elementals
did not hide it. Or when a miser buries his gold or jewels. How about those?

Sage. - In all cases where a man buries gold, or jewels, or money, or precious
things, his desires are fastened to that which he hides. Many of his elementals attach
themselves to it, and other classes of them also, who had nothing to do with him, gather
round and keep it hidden. In the case of the captain of a ship containing treasure the
influences are very powerful, because there the elementals are gathered from all the
persons connected with the treasure, and the officer himself is full of solicitude for what is
committed to his charge. You should also remember that gold and silver - or metals - have
relations with elementals that are of a strong and peculiar character. They do not work for
human law, and natural law does not assign any property in metals to man, nor recognize
in him any peculiar and transcendent right to retain what he has dug from the earth or
acquired to himself. Hence we do not find the elementals anxious to restore to him the
gold or silver which he had lost. If we were to assume that they occupied themselves in
catering to the desires of men or in establishing what we call our rights over property, we
might as well at once grant the existence of a capricious and irresponsible Providence.
They proceed solely according to the law of their being, and, as they are without the power
of making a judgment, they commit no blunders and are not to be moved by considerations
based upon our vested rights or our unsatisfied wishes. Therefore, the spirits that
appertain to metals invariably act as the laws of their nature prescribe, and one way of
doing so is to obscure the metals from our sight.

Student. - Can you make any application of all this in the realm of ethics?

Sage. - There is a very important thing you should not overlook. Every time you
harshly and unmercifully criticize the faults of another, you produce an attraction to yourself
of certain quantities of elementals from that person. They fasten themselves upon you and
endeavor to find in you a similar state or spot or fault that they have left in the other person.
It is as if they left him to serve you at higher wages, so to say.
Then there is that which I referred to in a preceding conversation, about the effect
of our acts and thoughts upon, not only the portion of the astral light belonging to each of
us with its elementals, but upon the whole astral world. If men saw the dreadful pictures
imprinted there and constantly throwing down upon us their suggestions to repeat the
same acts or thoughts, a millennium might soon draw near. The astral light is, in this
sense, the same as a photographer's negative plate, and we are the sensitive paper
underneath, on which is being printed the picture. We can see two sorts of pictures for
each act. One is the act itself, and the other is the picture of the thoughts and feelings
animating those engaged in it. You can therefore see that you may be responsible for
many more dreadful pictures than you had supposed. For actions of a simple outward
appearance have behind them, very often, the worst of thoughts or desires.

Student. - Have these pictures in the astral light anything to do with us upon being
reincarnated in subsequent earth-lives?

Sage. - They have very much indeed. We are influenced by them for vast periods
of time, and in this you can perhaps find clues to many operations of active Karmic law for
which you seek.

Student. - Is there not also some effect upon animals, and through them upon us,
and vice versa?

Sage. - Yes. The animal kingdom is affected by us through the astral light. We
have impressed the latter with pictures of cruelty, oppression, dominion, and slaughter.
The whole Christian world admits that man can indiscriminately slaughter animals, upon
the theory, elaborately set forth by priests in early times, that animals have no souls. Even
little children learn this, and very early begin to kill insects, birds, and animals, not for
protection, but from wantonness. As they grow up the habit is continued, and in England
we see that shooting large numbers of birds beyond the wants of the table, is a national
peculiarity, or, as I should say, a vice. This may he called a mild illustration. If these
people could catch elementals as easily as they can animals, they would kill them for
amusement when they did not want them for use; and, if the elementals refused to obey,
then their death would follow as a punishment. All this is perceived by the elemental world,
without conscience of course; but, under the laws of action and reaction, we receive back
from it exactly that which we give.
Student. - Before we leave the subject I should like to refer again to the question of
metals and the relation of man to the elementals connected with the mineral world. We
see some persons who seem always to be able to find metals with ease - or, as they say,
who are lucky in that direction. How am I to reconcile this with the natural tendency of
elementals to hide? Is it because there is a war or discord, as it were, between different
classes belonging to any one person?

Sage. - That is a part of the explanation. Some persons, as I said, have more of
one class attached to them than another. A person fortunate with metals, say of gold and
silver, has about him more of the elementals connected with or belonging to the kingdoms
of those metals than other people, and thus there is less strife between the elementals.
The preponderance of the metal-spirits makes the person more homogeneous with their
kingdoms, and a natural attraction exists between the gold or silver lost or buried and that
person, more than in the case of other people.

Student. - What determines this? Is it due to a desiring of gold and silver, or is it


Sage. - It is innate. T he combinations in any one individual are so intricate and due
to so many causes that you could not calculate them. They run back many generations,
and depend upon peculiarities of soil, climate, nation, family, and race. These are, as you
can see, enormously varied, and, with the materials at your command now, quite beyond
your reach. Merely wishing for gold and silver will not do it.

Student. - I judge also that attempting to get at those elementals by thinking strongly
will not accomplish that result either?

Sage. - No, it will not, because your thoughts do not reach them. They do not hear
or see you, and, as it is only by accidental concentration of forces that unlearned people
influence them, these accidents are only possible to the extent that you possess the
natural leaning to the particular kingdom whose elementals you have influenced.

Student. - I thank You for your instruction.

Sage. - May you be guided to the path which leads to light!

- The Path, Sept., 1888


Student. - What principal idea would it be well for me to dwell upon in my studies
on the subject of elementals?

Sage. - You ought to clearly fix in your mind and fully comprehend a few facts and
the laws relating to them. As the elemental world is wholly different from the one visible
to you, the laws governing them and their actions cannot as yet be completely defined in
terms now used either by scientific or metaphysical schools. For that reason, only a partial
description is possible. Some of those facts I will give you, it being well understood that
I am not including all classes of elemental beings in my remarks.
First, then, Elementals have no form.

Student. - You mean, I suppose, that they have no limited form or body as ours,
having a surface upon which sensation appears to be located.

Sage. - Not only so, but also that they have not even a shadowy, vague, astral form
such as is commonly ascribed to ghosts. They have no distinct personal form in which to
reveal themselves.

Student. - How am I to understand that, in view of the instances given by Bulwer

Lytton and others of appearances of elementals in certain forms?

Sage. - The shape given to or assumed by any elemental is always subjective in its
origin. It is produced by the person who sees, and who, in order to he more sensible of the
elemental's presence, has unconsciously given it a form. Or it may be due to a collective
impression on many individuals, resulting in the assumption of a definite shape which is
the result of the combined impressions.

Student. - Is this how we may accept as true the story of Luther's seeing the devil?

Sage. - Yes. Luther from his youth had imagined a personal devil, the head of the
fraternity of wicked ones, who had a certain specific form. This instantly clothed the
elementals that Luther evoked, either through intense enthusiasm or from disease, with the
old image reared and solidified in his mind; and he called it the Devil.

Student - That reminds me of a friend who told me that in his youth he saw the
conventional devil walk out of the fire place and pass across the room, and that ever since
he believed the devil had an objective existence.

Sage. - In the same way also you can understand the extraordinary occurrences at
Salem in the United States, when hysterical and mediumistic women and children saw the
devil and also various imps of different shapes. Some of these gave the victims
information. They were all elementals, and took their illusionary forms from the
imaginations and memory of the poor people who were afflicted.

Student - But there are cases where a certain form always appears. Such as a
small, curiously-dressed woman who had never existed in the imagination of those seeing
her; and other regularly recurring appearances. How were those produced, since the
persons never had such a picture before them?

Sage. - These pictures are found in the aura of the person, and are due to pre-natal
impressions. Each child emerges into life the possessor of pictures floating about and
clinging to it, derived from the mother; and thus you can go back an enormous distance
in time for these pictures, all through the long line of your descent. It is a part of the action
of the same law which causes effects upon a child's body through influences acting on the
mother during gestation. [1]

Student. - In order, then, to know the cause of any such appearance, one must be
able to look back, not only into the person's present life, but also into the ancestor's past?

Sage. - Precisely. And for that reason an occultist is not hasty in giving his opinion
on these particular facts. He can only state the general law, for a life might be wasted in
needless investigation of an unimportant past. You can see that there would be no
justification going over a whole lifetime's small affairs in order to tell a person at what time
or juncture an image was projected before his mind. Thousands of such impressions are
made every year. That they are not developed into memory does not prove their non-
existence. Like the unseen picture upon the photographer's sensitive plate, they lie
awaiting the hour of development.

Student. - In what way should I figure to myself the essence of an elemental and its
real mode of existence?

Sage. - You should think of them as centres of energy only, that act always in
accordance with the laws of the plane of nature to which they belong.

Student. - Is it not just as if we were to say that gunpowder is an elemental and will
invariably explode when lighted? That is, that the elementals knew no rules of either wrong
or right, but surely act when the incitement to their natural action is present? They are
thus, I suppose, said to be implacable.

Sage. - Yes; they are like the lightning which flashes or destroys as the varying
circumstances compel. It has no regard for man, or love, or beauty, or goodness, but may
as quickly kill the innocent, or burn the property of the good as of the wicked man.

Student. - What next?

Sage. - That the elementals live in and through all objects, as well as beyond the
earth's atmosphere.

Student. - Do you mean that a certain class of elementals, for instance, exist in this
mountain, and float unobstructed through men, earth, rocks, and trees?

1. See Isis Unveiled in the chapter on Teratology. [Ed.]

Sage. - Yes, and not only that, but at the same time, penetrating that class of
elementals, there may be another class which float not only through rocks, trees, and men,
but also through the first of the classes referred to.

Student. - Do they perceive these objects obstructive for us, through which they thus

Sage. - No, generally they do not. In exceptional cases they do, and even then
never with the same sort of cognition that we have. For them the objects have no
existence. A large block of stone or iron offers for them no limits or density. It may,
however, make an impression on them by way of change of color or sound, but not by way
of density or obstruction.

Student. - ls it not something like this, that a current of electricity passes through a
hard piece of copper wire, while it will not pass through an unresisting space of air.

Sage. - That serves to show that the thing which is dense to one form of energy may
be open to another. Continuing your illustration, we see that man can pass through air but
is stopped by metal. So that "hardness" for us is not "hardness" for electricity. Similarly,
that which may stop an elemental is not a body that we call hard, but something which for
us is intangible and invisible, but presents to them an adamantine front.

Student. - I thank you for your instruction.

Sage. - Strive to deserve further enlightenment!

- The Path, Oct., 1888



"What is truth?" asked Pilate. of one who, if the claims of the Christian Church are
even approximately correct, must have known it. But he kept silent. And the truth which He
did not divulge remained unrevealed, for his later followers as much as for the Roman
Governor. The silence of Jesus, however, on this and other occasions, does not prevent
his present followers from acting as though they had received the ultimate and absolute
Truth itself, and from ignoring the fact that only such Words of Wisdom had been given
them as contained a share of the truth, itself concealed in parables and dark, though
beautiful, sayings. *
This policy led gradually to dogmatism and assertion. Dogmatism in churches,
dogmatism in science, dogmatism everywhere. The possible truths, hazily perceived in the
world of abstractions, like those inferred from observation and experiment in the world of
matter, are forced upon the profane multitudes, too busy to think for themselves, under the
form of Divine revelation and Scientific authority. But the same question stands open
from the days of Socrates and Pilate down to our own age of wholesale negation: is there
such a thing as absolute truth in the hands of any one party or man? Reason answers,
"there cannot be." There is no room for absolute truth upon any subject whatsoever, in
a world as finite and conditioned as man is himself But there are relative truths, and we
have to make the best we can of them.
In every age there have been Sages who had mastered the absolute and yet could
teach but relative truths. For none yet, bom of mortal woman in our race, has, or could
have given out, the whole and final truth to another man, for every one of us has to find
that (to him) final knowledge in himself As no two minds can be absolutely alike, each has
to receive the supreme illumination through itself, according to its capacity, and from no
human light. The greatest adept living can reveal of the Universal truth only so much as the
mind he is impressing it upon can assimilate, and no more. Tot homines, aquot sententiae
- - is an immortal truism. The sun is one, but its beams are numberless; and the effects
produced are beneficent or maleficent, according to the nature and constitution of the
objects they shine upon. Polarity is universal, but the polarizer lies in our own
consciousness, In proportion as our consciousness is elevated towards absolute truth, so
do we men assimilate it more or less absolutely. But man's consciousness again, is only
the sunflower of the earth. Longing for the warm ray, the plant can only turn to the sun, and
move round and round in following the course of the unreachable luminary: its roots keep
it fast to the soil, and half its life is passed in the shadow.
Still each of us can relatively reach the Sun of Truth even on this earth, and assimilate
its warmest and most direct rays, however differentiated they may become after their long
journey through the physical particles in space.. To achieve this, there are two methods.
On the physical plane we may use our mental polariscope; and, analyzing the properties
of each ray, choose the purest. On the plane of spirituality, to reach the Sun of Truth we
must work in dead earnest for the development of our higher nature. We know that by
paralyzing gradually within ourselves the appetites of the lower personality, and thereby
deadening the voice of the purely physiological mind -that mind which depends upon, and
is inseparable from, its medium or vehicle, the organic brain - the animal man in us may
make room for the spiritual; and once aroused from its latent state, the highest spiritual
senses and perceptions grow in us in proportion, and develop pari passu with the "divine
man." This is what the great adepts, the Yogis in the East and the Mystics in the West,
have always done and are still doing.
But we also know that with a few exceptions, no man of the world, no materialist, will
ever believe in the existence of such adepts, or even in the possibility of such spiritual and
psychic development. "The (ancient) fool hath said in his heart, there is no God"; the
modem says, "There are no adepts on earth, they are figments of your diseased fancy."
... It thus follows that, though "general abstract truth is the most precious of all
blessings" for many of us, as it was for Rousseau, we have, meanwhile, to be satisfied with
relative truths. In sober fact, we are a poor set of mortals at best, ever in dread before the
face of even a relative truth, lest it should devour ourselves and our petty little
preconceptions along with us. As for an absolute truth, most of us are as incapable of
seeing it as of reaching the moon on a bicycle. Firstly, because absolute truth is as
immovable as the mountain of Mohammed, which refused to disturb itself for the prophet,
so that he had to go to it himself And we have to follow his example if we would approach
it even at a distance. Secondly, because the kingdom of absolute truth is not of this world,
while we are too much of it. And thirdly, because notwithstanding that in the poet's fancy
man is
".....the abstract
Of all perfection, which the workmanship
Of heaven hath modeled ......"

in reality he is a sorry bundle of anomalies and paradoxes, an empty windbag inflated with
his own importance, with contradictory and easily influenced opinions. He is at once an
arrogant and weak creature, which, though in constant dread of some authority, terrestrial
or celestial, will yet-

"....like an angry ape,

Play such fantastic tricks before high Heaven
As make the angels weep."

Now, since truth is a multifaced jewel, the facets of which it is impossible to perceive
all at once; and since, again, no two men, however anxious to discern truth, can see even
one of those facets alike, what can be done to help them to perceive it? As physical man,
limited and trammeled from every side by illusions, cannot reach truth by the light of his
terrestrial perceptions, we say - develop in you the inner knowledge. From the time when
the Delphic oracle said to the enquirer "Man, know thyself," no greater or more important
truth was ever taught. Without such a perception, man will remain ever blind to even many
a relative, let alone absolute, truth. Man has to know himself, i.e., acquire the inner
perceptions which never deceive, before he can master any absolute truth. Absolute truth
is the symbol of Eternity, and no finite mind can ever grasp the eternal, hence, no truth its
fullness can ever dawn upon it. To reach the state during which man sees and senses it,
we have to paralyze the sense of the external man of clay. This is a difficult task, we may
be told, and most people will, at this rate, prefer to remain satisfied with relative truths, no
doubt. But to approach even terrestrial truths requires, first of all, love of truth for its own
sake, for otherwise no recognition of it will follow. And who loves truth in this age for its own
sake? How many of us are prepared to search for, accept, and carry it out, in the midst of
a society in which anything that would achieve success has to be built on appearances,
not on reality, on self-assertion. not on intrinsic value? We are fully aware of the
difficulties in the way of receiving truth. The fair heavenly maiden descends only on a (to
her) congenial soil - the soil of an impartial, unprejudiced mind, illuminated by pure Spiritual
Consciousness; and both are truly rare dwellers in civilized lands. In our century ... when
man lives at a maddening speed that leaves him barely time for reflection, he allows
himself usually to be drifted down from cradle to grave, nailed to the Procrustean bed of
custom and conventionality. Now conventionality - pure and simple - is a congenital LIE,
as it is in every case a "simulation of feelings according to a received standard" (F.W.
Robertsorfs definition); and where there is any simulation there cannot be any truth. How
profound the remark made by Byron, that "truth is a gem that is found at a great depth;
whilst on the surface of this world all things are weighed by the false scales of custom,"
is best known by those who are forced to live in the stifling atmosphere of such social
conventionalism, and who, even when willing and anxious to learn, dare not accept the
truths they long for, for fear of the ferocious Moloch called Society.
Look around you reader; study the accounts given by world known travelers, recall the
joint observations of literary thinkers, the data of science and of statistics, Draw the picture
of modern society, of modem politics, of modern religion and modem life in general before
your mind's eye. Remember the ways and customs of every cultured race and nation under
the sun. Observe the doings and the moral attitude of people in the civilized centres of
Europe, America, and even of the far East.... everywhere where the white man has carried
the "benefits" of so-called civilization. And now, having passed in review all this, pause and
reflect, and then name, if you can, that blessed Eldorado, that exceptional spot on the
globe, where TRUTH is the honoured guest, and LIE and SHAM the ostracized
outcasts? YOU CANNOT. Nor can anyone else, unless he is prepared and determined
to add his mite to the mass of falsehood that reigns supreme in every department of
national and social life. "Truth!" cried Carlyle, "truth, though the heavens crush me for
following her, no falsehood, though a whole celestial Lubberland were the prize of
Apostasy." Noble words, these. But how many think and how many will dare to speak as
Carlyle did, in our... day? Does not the gigantic appalling majority prefer to a man the
"paradise of do-nothings," the pays de Cocagne of heartless selfishness? It is this majority
that recoils terror-stricken before the most shadowy outline of every new and unpopular
truth, out of mere cowardly fear, lest Mrs. Harris should denounce, and Mrs. Grundy
condemn, its converts to the torture of being rent piece-meal by her murderous tongue.
SELFISHNESS, the first-born of Ignorance, and the fruit of the teaching which asserts
that for ever newly-born infant a new soul, separate and distinct from the Universal Soul,
is "created" - this Selfishness is the impassable wall between the personal Self and The
Truth. It is the prolific mother of all human vices, Lie being born out of the necessity for
dissembling,' and Hypocrisy out of the desire to mask Lie. It is the fungus growing and
strengthening with age in every human heart in which it has devoured all better feelings.
Selfishness kills every noble impulse in our natures, and is the one deity, fearing no
faithlessness or desertion from its votaries. Hence, we see it reign supreme in the world
and in so-called fashionable society. As a result, we live, and move, and have our being
in this god of darkness under his trinitarian aspect of Sham, Humbug, and Falsehood,
...... To sum up the idea, with regard to absolute and relative truth, we can only repeat what
we said before. Outside a certain highly spiritual and elevated state of mind, during which
Man is at one with the UNIVERSAL MIND - he can get nought on earth but relative truth,
or truths, from whatsoever philosophy or religion. . Were even the goddess who dwells at
the bottom of the well to issue from her place of confinement, she could give man no more
than he can assimilate. Meanwhile, every one can sit near that well - the name of which
is Knowledge and gaze into its depths in the hope of seeing Truth's fair image reflected,
at least, on the dark waters. This, however, as remarked by Richter, presents a certain
danger. Some truth, to be sure, may be occasionally reflected as in a mirror on the spot
we gaze upon, and thus reward the patient student. But, adds the German thinker, "I have
heard that some philosophers in seeking for Truth, to pay homage to her, have seen their
own image in the water and adored it instead.

- H. P. Blavatsky

* Jesus says to the "twelve" - "Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God;
but unto them that are without, all things are done in parables," etc, (Mark, iv, 11).

(Taken from Protogonos #1, Sept., 1987)


By H.P.B.

This question has been so often asked and misconception so widely prevails, that
the editors of a journal devoted to an exposition of the world's Theosophy would be remiss
were its first number issued without coming to a full understanding with their readers. But
our heading involves two further queries:
What is the Theosophical Society; and what are the Theosophists? To each an answer
will be given.
According to lexicographers, the term theosophia is composed of two Greek words -
theos, "god," and sophos, "wise." So far, correct. But the explanations that follow are far
from giving a clear idea of Theosophy. Webster defines it most originally as "a supposed
intercourse with God and superior spirits, and consequent attainment of super-human
knowledge, by physical processes, as by the theurgic operations of some ancient
Platonists, or by the chemical processes of the German fire-philosophers."
This, to say the least, is a poor and flippant explanation. To attribute such ideas to
men like Ammonius Saccas, Plotinus, Jamblichus, Porphyry, Proclus - shows either
intentional misrepresentation, or Mr. Webster's ignorance of the philosophy and motives
of the greatest geniuses of the later Alexandrian School. To impute to those whom their
contemporaries as well as posterity styled "theodidaktoi", god-taught - a purpose to
develop their psychological, spiritual perceptions by "physical processes", is to describe
them as materialists. As to the concluding fling at the fire-philosophers, it rebounds from
them to fall home among our most eminent modern men of science; those, in whose
mouths the Rev. James Martineau places the following boast: "matter is all we want; give
us atoms alone, and we will explain the universe."
Vaughan offers a far better, more philosophical definition. "A Theosophist," he says
- "is one who gives you a theory of God or the works of God, which has not revelation, but
an inspiration of his own for its basis." In this view every great thinker and philosopher,
especially every founder of a new religion, school of philosophy, or sect, is necessarily a
Theosophist. Hence, Theosophy and Theosophists have existed ever since the first
glimmering of nascent thought made man seek instinctively for the means of expressing
his own independent opinions.
There were Theosophists before the Christian era, notwithstanding that the Christian
writers ascribe the development of the Eclectic theosophical system, to the early part of the
third century of their Era. Diogenes Leartius traces Theosophy to an epoch antedating the
dynasty of the Ptolemies; and names as its founder an Egyptian Hierophant called Pot-
Amun, the name being Coptic and signifying a priest consecrated to Amun, the god of
Wisdom. But history shows it revived by Ammonius Saccas, the founder of the Neo-
Platonic School. He and his disciples called themselves "Philaletheians" - lovers of the
truth; while others termed them the "Analogists", on account of their method of interpreting
all sacred legends, symbolical myths and mysteries, by a rule of analogy or
correspondence, so that events which had occurred in the external world were regarded
as expressing operations and experiences of the human soul. It was the aim and purpose
of Ammonius to reconcile all sects, peoples and nations under one common faith - a belief
in one Supreme Eternal, Unknown, and Unnamed Power, governing the Universe by
immutable and eternal laws. His object was to prove a primitive system of Theosophy,
which at the beginning was essentially alike in all countries; to induce all men to lay aside
their strifes and quarrels, and unite in purpose and thought as the children of one common
mother; to purify the ancient religions, by degrees corrupted and obscured, from all dross
of human element, by uniting and expounding them upon pure philosophical principles.
Hence, the Buddhistic, Vedantic and Magian, or Zoroastrian, systems were taught in the
Eclectic Theosophical School along with all the philosophies of Greece. Hence also, the
pre-eminently Buddhistic and Indian feature among the ancient Theosophists of
Alexandria, of due reverence for parents and aged persons; a fraternal affection for the
whole human race; and a compassionate feeling for even the dumb animals. While
seeking to establish a system of moral discipline which enforced upon people the duty to
live according to the laws of their respective countries; to exalt their minds by the research
and contemplation of the one Absolute Truth; his chief object in order, as he believed, to
achieve all others, was, to extract from the various religious teachings, as from a many-
chorded instrument, one full and harmonious melody, which would find response in every
truth-loving heart.
Theosophy is, then, the archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known
in every ancient country having claims to civilization. This "Wisdom" all the old writings
show us as an emanation of the divine Principle; and the clear comprehension of it is
typified in such names as the Indian Buddh, the Babylonian Nebo, the Thoth of Memphis,
the Hermes of Greece; in the appellations, also, of some goddesses -Metis, Neitha,
Athena, the Gnostic Sophia, and finally - the Vedas, from the word "to know". Under this
designation, all the ancient philosophers of the East and West, the Hierophants ofold
Egypt, the Rishis of Aryavart, the Theodidaktoi of Greece, included all knowledge of things
occult and essentially divine. The Mercavah of the Hebrew Rabbis, the secular and
popular series, were thus designated as only the vehicle, the outward shell which contained
the higher esoteric knowledges. The Magi of Zoroaster received instruction and were
initiated in the caves and secret lodges of Bactria; the Egyptian and Grecian hierophants
had their apporrheta, or secret discourses, during which the Mysta became an Epopta - a
The central idea of the Eclectic Theosophy was that of a single Supreme Essence,
Unknown and Unknowable - for - "How could one know the knower?" as enquires
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Their system was characterized by three distinct features:
the theory of the above-named Essence; the doctrine of the human soul - an emanation
from the latter, hence of the same nature; and its theurgy. It is this last science which has
led the Neo-Platonists to be so misrepresented in our era of materialistic science. Theurgy
being essentially the art of applying the divine powers of man to the subordination of the
blind forces of nature, its votaries were first termed magicians - a corruption of the word
"Magh" signifying a wise or learned man, and derided. Skeptics of a century ago would
have been as wide of the mark if they had laughed at the idea of a phonograph or a
telegraph. The ridiculed and the "infidels" of one generation generally become the wise
men and saints of the next.
As regards the Divine essence and the nature of the soul and spirit, modern
Theosophy believes now as ancient Theosophy did. The popular Diu of the Aryan nations
was identical with the Iao of the Chaldeans, and even with the Jupiter of the less learned
and philosophical among the Romans; and it was just as identical with the Jahve of the
Samaritans, the Tiu or "Tiusco" of the Northmen, the Duw of the Britons, and the Zeus of
the Thracians. As to the Absolute Essence, the One and All - whether we accept the
Greek Pythagorean, the Chaldean Kabalistic, or the Aryan philosophy in regard to it, it will
all lead to one and the same result. The Primeval Monad of the Pythagorean system,
which retires into darkness and is itself Darkness (for human intellect) was made the basis
of all things; and we can find the idea in all its integrity in the philosophical systems of
Leibnitz and Spinoza. Therefore, whether a Theosophist agrees wtih the Kabala which,
speaking of En-Soph propounds the query: "Who, then, can comprehend It, since It is
formless, and Non-existent?" - or, remembering that magnificent hymn from the Rig-Veda
(Hymn 129th, Book 10th)-enquires:

" Who knows from whence this great creation sprang?

Whether his will created or was mute.
He knows it - or perchance even He knows not."

Or, again, accepts the Vedantic conception of Brahma, who in the Upanishads is
represented as "without life, without mind, pure," unconscious, for - Brahma is "Absolute
Consciousness". Or, even finally, siding with the Svabhavikas of Nepaul, maintains that
nothing exists but "Svabhavat" (substance or nature) which exists by itself without any
creator - any one of the above conceptions can lead but to pure and absolute Theosophy.
That Theosophy which prompted such men as Hegel, Fichte and Spinoza to take up the
labors of the old Grecian philosoophers and speculate upon the One Substance-the Deity,
the Divine All proceeding from the Divine Wisdom - incomprehensible, unknown and
unnamed - by any ancient or modern religious philosophy, with the exception of Christianity
and Mohammedanism. Every Theosophist, then, holding to a theory of the Deity "which
has not revelation, but an inspiration of his own for its basis," may accept any of the above
definitions or belong to any of these religions, and yet remain strictly within the boundaries
of Theosophy. For the latter is belief in the Deity as the ALL, the source of all existence,
the infinite that cannot be either comprehended or known, the universe alone revealing IT,
or, as some prefer it, Him, thus giving a sex to that, to anthropomorphize which is
blasphemy. True, Theosophy shrinks from brutal materialization; it prefers believing that,
from eternity retired within itself, the Spirit of the Deity neither wills nor creates; but that,
from the infinite effulgency everywhere going forth from the Great Centre, that which
produces all visible and invisible things is but a Ray containing in itself the generative and
conceptive power, which, in its turn, produces that which the Greeks called Macrocosm,
the Kabalists Tikkun or Adam Kadmon - the archetypal man, and the Aryans Purusha, the
manifested Brahm, or the Divine Male. Theosophy believes also in the Anastasis or
continued existence, and in transmigration (evolution) or a series of changes in the soul*
which [* In a series of articles entitled "The World's Great Theosophists", we intend
showing that from Pythagoras, who got his wisdom in India, down to our best known
modern philosophers, and theosophists - David Hume, and Shelley, the English poet - the
Spiritists of France included - many believed and yet believe in metempsychosis or
reincarnation of the soul; however unelaborated the system of the Spiritists may fairly be
regarded.] can be defended and explained on strict philosophical principles; and only by
making a distinction between Paramatma (transcendental, supreme soul) and Jivatma
(animal, or conscious soul) of the Vedantins.
To fully define Theosophy, we must consider it under all its aspects. The interior
world has not been hidden from all by impenetrable darkness. By that higher intuition
acquired by Theosophia - or God-knowledge, which carried the mind from the world of form
into that of formless spirit, man has been sometimes enabled in every age and every
country to perceive things in the interior or invisible world. Hence the "Samadhi", or Dyan
Yog Samadhi, of the Hindu ascetics; the "Daimonionphoti", or spiritual illumination, of the
Neo-Platonists; the "Sidereal confabulation of souls", of the Rosicrucians or Fire-
philosophers; and, even the ecstatic trance of mystics and of the modern mesmerists and
spiritualists, are identical in nature, though various as to manifestation. The search after
man's diviner "Self", so often and so erroneously interpreted as individual communion with
a personal God, was the object of every mystic, and belief in its possibility seems to have
been coeval with the genesis of humanity - each people giving it another name. Thus Plato
and Plotinus call "Noetic work" that which the Yogas and the Shrotriya term Vidya. "By
reflection, self-knowledge and intellectual discipline, the soul can be raised to the vision of
eternal truth, goodness and beauty - that is, to the Vision of God - this is the epopteia" said
the Greeks. "To unite one's soul to the Universal Soul", says Porphyry, "requires but a
perfectly pure mind. Through self-contemplation, perfect chastity, and purity of body, we
may approach nearer to It, and receive, in that state, true knowledge and wonderful
insight." And Swami Dayanund Saraswati, who has read neither Porphry nor other Greek
authors, but who is a thorough Vedic scholar, says in his Veda Bhashya (opasna prakaru
ank. 9), "To obtain diksh (highest initiations) and Yog, one has to practise according to the
rules . . . The soul in human body can perform the greatest wonders by knowing the
Universal Spirit (or God) and acquainting itself with the properties and qualities (occult) of
all the things in the universe. A human being (a Dikshit or initiate) can thus acquire a
power of seeing and hearing at great distances." Finally, Alfred R. Wallace, F.R.S., a
spiritualist and yet a confessedly great naturalist, says, with brave candour: "It is `spirit'
that alone feels, and perceives, and thinks - that acquire knowledge, and reasons and
aspires . . . there not unfrequently occur individuals so constituted that the spirit can
perceive independently of the corporeal organs of sense, or can, perhaps, wholly or
partially, quit the body for a time and return to it again . . . . the spirit . . . communicates with
spirit easier than with matter." We can now see how, after thousands of years have
intervened between the age of the Gymnosophists* and our own highly civilized era,
notwithstanding, or, perhaps, just because of such an enlightenment which pours its
radiant light upon the psychological as well as upon the physical realms of nature, over
twenty millions of people today believe, under a different form, in those same spiritual
powers that were believed in by the Yogins and the Pythagoreans, nearly 3,000 years ago.
[* The reality of the Yog-power was affirmed by many Greeks and Roman writers, who call
the Yogins Indian Gymnosophists; by Strabo, Lucan, Plutarch, Cicero (Tusculum), Pliny
(vii, 2), etc.]
Thus, while the Aryan mystic claimed for himself the power of solving all the
problems of life and death, when he had once obtained the power of acting independently
of his body, through the Atman - "self", or "soul"; and the old Greeks went in search of
Atmu - the Hidden one, or the God Soul of man, with the symbolical mirror of the
Thesmophorian mysteries; - so the spiritualists of today believe in the faculty of the spirits,
or the souls of the disembodied persons, to communicate visibly and tangibly with those
they loved on earth. And all these, Aryan Yogis, Greek philosophers, and modern
spiritualists, affirm that possibility on the ground that the embodied soul and its never
embodied spirit - the real self, - are not separated from either the Universal Soul or other
spirits by space, but merely by the differentiation of their qualities; as in the boundless
expanse of the universe there can be no limitation. And that when this difference is once
removed - according to the Greeks and Aryans by abstract contemplation, producing the
temporary liberation of the imprisoned Soul; and according to Spiritualists, through
mediumship - such a union between embodied and disembodied spirits becomes possible.
Thus was it that Patanjali's Yogis and, following in their steps, Plotinus, Porphyry, and other
Neo-Platonists, maintained that in their hours of ecstacy, they had been united to, or rather
become as one with, God several times during the course of their lives. This idea,
erroneous as it may seem in its application to the Universal Spirit, was, and is, claimed by
too many great philosophers to be put aside as entirely chimerical. In the case of the
Theodidaktoi, the only controvertible point, the dark spot on this philosophy of extreme
mysticism, was its claim to, include that which is simply ecstatic illumination, under the
head of sensuous perception. In the case of the Yogins, who maintained their ability to see
Iswara "face to face", this claim was successfully overthrown by the stern logic of Kapila.
As to the similar assumption made for their Greek followers, for a long array of Christian
ecstatics, and, finally, for the last two claimants to `God-seeing" within these last hundred
years - Jacob Bohme and Swedenborg - this pretension would and should have been
philosophically and logically questioned, if a few of our great men of science who are
Spiritualists had had more interest in the philosophy than in the mere phenomenalism of
The Alexandrian Theosophists were divided into neophytes, initiates, and masters,
or hierophants; and their rules were copied from the ancient Mysteries of Orpheus, who,
according to Herodotus, brought them from India. Ammonius obligated his disciples by
oath not to divulge his higher doctrines, except to those who were proved thoroughly
worthy and initiated, and who had learned to regard the gods, the angels, and the demons
of other peoples, according to the esoteric hyponoia, or under-meaning. "The gods exist,
but they are not what the hoi polloi, the uneducated multitude, suppose them to be," says
Epicurus. "He is not an atheist who denies the existence of the gods whom the multitude
worship, but he is such who fastens on these gods the opinions of the multitude." In his
turn, Aristotle declares that of the "Divine Essence pervading the whole world of nature,
what are styled the gods are simply the first principles."
Plotinus, the pupil of the "God-taught" Ammonius, tells us, that the secret gnosis or
the knowledge of Theosophy, has three degrees - opinion, science, and illumination. "The
means or instrument of the first is sense, or perception; of the second, dialectics; of the
third, intuition. To the last, reason is subordinate; it is absolute knowledge founded on the
identification of the mind with the object known." Theosophy is the exact science of
psychology, so to say; it stands in relation to natural, uncultivated mediumship, as the
knowledge of a Tyndall stands to that of a schoolboy in physics. It develops in man a
direct beholding; that which Schelling denominates "a realization of the identity of subject
and object in the individual"; so that under the influence and knowledge of hyponoia man
thinks divine thoughts, views all things as they really are, and finally, "becomes recipient
of the Soul of the World", to use one of the finest expressions of Emerson. "I, the
imperfect, adore my own perfect" - he says in his superb Essay on the Oversoul. Besides
this psychological, or soul-state, Theosophy cultivated every branch of sciences and arts.
It was thoroughly familiar with what is now commonly known as mesmerism. Practical
theurgy or "ceremonial magic", so often resorted to in their exorcisms by the Roman
Catholic clergy - was discarded by the Theosophists. It is but Jamblichus alone who,
transcending the other Eclectics, added to Theosophy the doctrine of Theurgy. 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 goetia (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.
It is a noticeable fact that neither Zoroaster, Buddha, Orpheus, Pythagoras,
Confucius, Socrates, nor Ammonius Saccas, committed anything to writing. The reason
for it is obvious. Theosophy is a double-edged weapon and unfit for the ignorant or the
selfish. Like every ancient philosophy, it has its votaries among the moderns; but, until
late in our own days, its disciples were few in numbers, and of the most various sects and
opinions. "Entirely speculative, and founding no schools, they have still exercised a silent
influence upon philosophy; and no doubt, when the time arrives, many ideas thus silently
propounded may yet give new directions to human thought" - remarks Mr. Kenneth R.H.
Mackenzie IXo . . . himself a mystic and a Theosophist, in his large and valuable work, The
Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia (articles "Theosophical Society of New York" and
"Theosophy", P. 731).* [* The Royal Masonic Cyclopaedia of History, Rites, Symbolism,
and Biography. Edited by Kenneth R.H. Mackenzie IX (Cryptonymus), Hon. Member of
the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, No. 2, Scotland. New York, J.W. Bouton, 706 Broadway,
1877.] Since the days of the fire-philosophers, they had never formed themselves into
societies, for, tracked like wild beasts by the Christian clergy, to be known as a
Theosophist often amounted, hardly a century ago, to a death-warrant. The statistics show
that, during a period of 150 years, no less than 90,000 men and women were burned in
Europe for alleged witchcraft. In great Britain only, from A.D. 1640 to 1660, but twenty
years, 3,000 persons were put to death for compact with the "Devil". It was but late in the
present century - in 1875 - that some progressed mystics and spiritualists, unsatisfied with
the theories and explanations of Spiritualism, started by its votaries, and finding that they
were far from covering the whole ground of the wide range of phenomena, formed at New
York, America, an association which is now widely known as the Theosophical Society.
And now, having explained what is Theosophy, we will, in a separate article, explain what
is the nature of our society, which is also called the "Universal Brotherhood of Humanity".
(from Vol. I, No. 1, The Theosophist.)

- Canadian Theosophist, Nov. 15, 1950



The term medium, when not applied simply to things and objects, is supposed to be
a person through whom the action of another person or being is either manifested or
transmitted. Spiritualists believing in communications with, disembodied spirits, and that
these can manifest through, or impress sensitives to transmit "messages" from them,
regard mediumship as a blessing and a great privilege. We Theosophists, on the other
hand, who do not believe in the "communion of spirits" as Spiritualists do, regard the gift
as one of the most dangerous of abnormal nervous diseases. A medium is simply one in
whose personal Ego, or terrestrial mind, (psuche), the percentage of "astral" light so
preponderates as to impregnate with it their whole physical constitution. Every organ and
cell thereby is attuned, so to speak, and subjected to an enormous and abnormal tension.
The mind is ever on the plane of, and quite immersed in, that deceptive light whose soul
is divine, but whose body - the light waves on the lower planes, infernal; for they are but
the black and disfigured reflections of the earth's memories. The untrained eye of the poor
sensitive cannot pierce the dark mist, the dense fog of the terrestrial emanations, to see
beyond in the radiant field of the eternal truths. His vision is out of focus. His senses,
accustomed from his birth, like those of a native of the London slums, to stench and filth,
to the unnatural distortions of sights and images tossed on the kaleidoscopic waves of the
astral plane - are unable to discern the true from the false. And thus, the pale soulless
corpses moving in the trackless fields of "Kama loka," appear to him the living images of
the "dear departed" ones; the broken echoes of once human voices, passing through his
mind, suggest to him well coordinated phrases, which he repeats, in ignorance that their
final form and polish were received in the innermost depths of his own brain-factory. And
hence the sight and the hearing of that which if seen in its true nature would have struck
the medium's heart cold with horror, now fills him with a sense of beatitude and confidence.
He really believes that the immeasurable vistas displayed before him are the real spiritual
world, the abode of the blessed disembodied angels.
We describe the broad main features and facts of mediumship, there being no room
in this article for exceptional - H.P. Blavatsky, Raja-Yoga, p. 72-3

- Canadian Theosophist, Sept. 15, 1943


A Long-delayed Promise Fulfilled *
[Originally published in Lucifer, London, Vol. XV, September and October, 1894, pp.
9-17 and 97-104]

"They who are on the summit of a mountain can see all men; in like manner they
who are intelligent and free from sorrow are enabled to ascend above the paradise of the
Gods; and when they there have seen the subjection of man to birth and death and the
sorrows by which he is afflicted, they open the doors of the immortal."
--From the Tched-du brjod-pai tsoms of the BKAH-HGYUR

IN the January number of The Theosophist for 1882, we promised our readers the
opinions of the Venerable Chohan-Lama -- the chief of the Archive-registrars of the
libraries containing manuscripts on esoteric doctrines belonging to the Ta-loi and Ta-
shuhlumpo Lamas Rim-boche of Tibet--on certain conclusions arrived at by the author of
Buddha and Early Buddhism. Owing to the brotherly kindness of a disciple of the learned
Chohan, than whom no one in Tibet is more deeply versed in the science of esoteric and
exoteric Buddhism, we are now able to give a few of the doctrines which have a direct
bearing on these conclusions. It is our firm belief that the learned Chohan's letters, and the
notes accompanying them, could not arrive at a more opportune time. Besides the many
and various misconceptions of our doctrines, we have more than once been taken severely
to task by some of the most intelligent Spiritualists for misleading them as to the real
attitude and belief of Hindus and Buddhists as to "spirits of the departed." Indeed,
according to some Spiritualists "the Buddhist belief is permeated by the distinctive and
peculiar note of modern Spiritualism, the presence and guardianship of departed spirits,"
and the Theosophists have been guilty of misrepresenting this belief. They have had the
hardihood, for instance, to maintain 'that this "belief in the intervention of departed human
spirits" was anathema maranatha in the East, whereas it is "in effect, a permeating
principle of Buddhism."
What every Hindu, of whatever caste and education, thinks of the "intervention of
departed spirits" is so well known throughout the length and breadth of India that it would
be loss of time to repeat the oft-told tale. There are a few converts to modern Spiritualism,
such as Babu Peary Chand Mittra, whose great personal purity of life would make such
intercourse harmless for him, even were he not indifferent to physical phenomena, holding
but to the purely spiritual, subjective side of such communion. But, if these be excepted,
we boldly reassert what we have always maintained: that there is not a Hindu who does
not loathe the very idea of the reappearance of a departed "spirit" whom he will ever regard
as impure; and that with these exceptions no Hindu believes that, except in cases of
suicide, or death by accident, any spirit but an evil one can return to earth. Therefore,
leaving the Hindus out of the question, we will give the ideas of the Northern Buddhists on
the subject, hoping to add those of the Southern Buddhists to them in good time. And,
when we say "Buddhists," we do not include the innumerable heretical sects teeming
throughout Japan and China who have lost every right to that appellation. With these we
have nought to do. We think but of Buddhists of the Northern and Southern Churches--the
Roman Catholics and the Protestants of Buddhism, so to say.

* [This article, in two installments, seems to belong to a series originally prepared
by H.P.B. for The Theosophist, but for some reason set aside and never published therein.
As the date shows, this material appeared in Lucifer after H.P.B.'s passing. Although an
editorial note in Lucifer suggests that this series may be continued "for some months," no
further installments appeared, and no information is available as to what became of the
remainder of that series.
The work quoted from in this article, Buddha and Early Buddhism, was written by
Arthur Lillie (New fork, (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1882). H.P.B. wrote a number of polemical
articles in which the assertions of Arthur Lillie regarding Buddhism were analysed and
opposed by her. - Editor.]

The subject which our learned Tibetan correspondent treats is based on a few direct
questions offered by us with a humble request that they should be answered, and the
following paragraphs from Buddha and Early Buddhism:

"I have dwelt somewhat at length on this supernaturalism, because it is of the

highest importance to our theme. Buddhism was plainly an elaborate apparatus to nullify
the action of evil spirits by the aid of good spirits operating at their highest potentiality
through the instrumentality of the corpse or a portion of the corpse of the chief aiding spirit.
The Buddhist temple, the Buddhist rites, the Buddhist liturgy, all seem based on this one
idea that a whole or portions of a dead body was necessary. What were these assisting
spirits? Every Buddhist, ancient or modern, would at once admit that a spirit that has not
yet attained the Bodhi or spiritual awakenment cannot be a good spirit. It can do no good
thing; more than that, it must do evil things.
"The answer of Northern Buddhism is that the good spirits are the Buddhas, the
dead prophets. They come from certain 'fields of the Buddhas' " to commune with earth.

Our learned Tibetan friend writes:

"Let me say at once that monks and laymen give the most ridiculously absurd digest
of the Law of Faith, the popular beliefs of Tibet. The Capuchin Della Penna's account of
the brotherhood of the 'Byang-tsiub' is simply absurd. Taking from the Bkah-hgyur and
other books of the Tibetan laws some literal descriptions, he then embellishes them with
his own interpretation. Thus he speaks of the fabled worlds of 'spirits,' where live the 'Lha,
who are like gods'; adding that the Tibetans imagine 'these places to be in the air above
a great mountain, about a hundred and sixty thousand leagues high and thirty-two
thousand leagues in circuit; which is made up of four parts, being of crystal to the east, of
the red ruby to the west, of gold to the north, and of the green precious stone--lapis lazuli--
to the south. In these abodes of bliss they--the Lha--remain as long as they please, and
then pass to the paradise of other worlds.'
"This description resembles far more--if my memory of the missionary-school-going
period at Lahoula does not deceive me - the 'new Jerusalem coming down from God out
of heaven' in John's vision--that city which measured 'twelve thousand furlongs,' whose
walls were of 'jasper,' the buildings of 'pure gold,' the foundations of the walls 'garnished
with all manner of precious stones' and 'the twelve gates were twelve pearls'--than the city
of the Jang-Chhub either in the Bkah-hgyur or in the ideas of the Tibetans. In the first
place, the sacred canon of the Tibetans, the Bkah-hgyur and Bstan-hgyur, comprises one
thousand seven hundred and seven distinct works--one thousand and eighty-three public
and six hundred and twenty-four secret volumes--the former being composed of three
hundred and fifty and the latter of seventy-seven folio volumes.
"Could they even by chance have seen them, I can assure the theosophists that the
contents of these volumes could never be understood by anyone who had not been given
the key to their peculiar character, and to their hidden meaning.
"Every description of localities is figurative in our system; every name and word is
purposely veiled; and a student, before he is given any further instruction, has to study the
mode of deciphering, and then of comprehending and learning the equivalent secret term
or synonym for nearly every word of our religious language. The Egyptian enchorial or
hieratic system is child's play to the deciphering of our sacred puzzles. Even in those
volumes to which the masses have access, every sentence has a dual meaning, one
intended for the unlearned, and the other for those who have received the key to the
"If the efforts of such well-meaning, studious and conscientious men as the authors
of Buddhist Records of the Western World, and Buddha and Early Buddhism--whose
poetical hypotheses may be upset and contradicted, one by one, with the greatest ease--
resulted in nought, verily then, the attempts of the predecessors and successors of the
Abbés Huc, Gabet and others must prove a sorry failure; since the former have not and the
latter have, an object to achieve in purposely disfiguring the unparalleled and glorious
teachings of our blessed master, Shakya Thub-pa.
"In The Theosophist for October, 1881, a correspondent correctly informs the reader
that Gautama the Buddha, the wise, 'insisted upon initiation being thrown open to all who
were qualified.' This is true; such was the original design put for some time in practice by
the great Sang-gyas, and before he had become the All-Wise. But three or four centuries
after his separation from this earthly coil, when Asoka, the great supporter of our religion,
had left the world, the Arhat initiates, owing to the secret but steady opposition of the
Brâhmans to their system, had to drop out of the country one by one and seek safety
beyond the Himalayas. Thus, though popular Buddhism did not spread in Tibet before the
seventh century, the Buddhist initiates of the mysteries and esoteric system of the Aryan
Twice-born, leaving their motherland, India, sought refuge with the pre-Buddhistic ascetics;
those who had the Good Doctrine, even before the days of Shakya-Muni. These ascetics
had dwelt beyond the Himalayan ranges from time immemorial. They are the direct
successors of those Aryan sages who, instead of accompanying their Brâhman brothers
in the pre-historical emigration from Lake Manasarovara across the Snowy Range into the
hot plains of the Seven Rivers, had preferred to remain in their inaccessible and unknown
fastnesses. No wonder, indeed, if the Aryan esoteric doctrine and our Arahat doctrines are
found to be almost identical. Truth, like the sun over our heads, is one; but it seems as if
this eternal truism must be constantly reiterated to make the dark, as much as the white,
people remember it. Only that truth may be kept pure and unpolluted by human
exaggerations--its very votaries betimes seeking to adapt it, to pervert and disfigure its fair
face to their own selfish ends--it has to be hidden far away from the eye of the profane.
Since the days of the earliest universal mysteries up to the time of our great Shâkya
Tathâgata Buddha, who reduced and interpreted the system for the salvation of all, the
divine Voice of the Self, known as Kwan-yin, was heard but in the sacred solitude of the
preparatory mysteries.
"Our world-honoured Tsong-kha-pa closing his fifth Dam-ngag reminds us that
'every sacred truth, which the ignorant are unable to comprehend under its true light, ought
to be hidden within a triple casket concealing itself as the tortoise conceals his head within
his shell; ought to show her face but to those who are desirous of obtaining the condition
of Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi'--the most merciful and enlightened heart.
"There is a dual meaning, then, even in the canon thrown open to the people, and,
quite recently, to Western scholars. I will now try to correct the errors--too intentional, I am
sorry to say, in the case of the Jesuit writers. No doubt but that the Chinese and Tibetan
Scriptures, so-called, the standard works of China and Japan, some written by our most
learned scholars, many of whom--as uninitiated though sincere and pious men--
commented upon what they never rightly understood, contain a mass of mythological and
legendary matter more fit for nursery folklore than an exposition of the Wisdom Religion
as preached by the world's Saviour. But none of these are to be found in the canon; and,
though preserved in most of the Lamasery libraries, they are read and implicitly believed
in only by the credulous and pious whose simplicity forbids them ever stepping across the
threshold of reality. To this class belong The Buddhist Cosmos, written by the Bonze Jin-
ch'an, of Peking; The Shing-Tao-ki, or 'The Records of the Enlightenment of Tathagata,'
by Wang-Puh, in the seventh century, The Hi-shai Sutra, or 'Book of Creation,' various
volumes on heaven and hell, and so forth--poetic fictions grouped around a symbolism
evolved as an after-thought.
"But the records from which our scholastic author, the monk Della Penna quotes--or
I should rather say, misquotes--contain no fiction, but simply information for future
generations, who may, by that time, have obtained the key to the right reading of them. The
'Lha' of whom Della Penna speaks but to deride the fable, they who 'have attained the
position of saints in this world,' were simply the initiated Arhats, the adepts of many and
various grades, generally known under the name of Bhanté or Brothers. In the book known
as the Avatamsaka Sutra, in the section on 'the Supreme Âtman--Self--as manifested in
the character of the Arhats and Pratyeka Buddhas,' it is stated that 'Because from the
beginning, all sentient creatures have confused the truth, and embraced the false;
therefore has there come into existence a hidden knowledge called Alaya Vijnâna.' 'Who
is in the possession of the true hidden knowledge?' 'The great teachers of the Snowy
Mountain,' is the response in The Book of Law. The Snowy Mountain is the 'mountain a
hundred and sixty thousand leagues high.' Let us see what this means. The last three
ciphers being simply left out, we have a hundred and sixty leagues; a Tibetan league is
nearly five miles; this gives us seven hundred and eighty miles from a certain holy spot, by
a distinct road to the west. This becomes as clear as can be, even in Della Penna's further
description, to one who has but a glimpse of the truth. 'According to their law,' says that
monk, 'in the west of this world, is an eternal world, a paradise, and in it a saint called Ho-
pahme, which means "Saint of Splendour and Infinite Light." This saint has many distinct
"powers," who are all called "chang-chüb",' which--he adds in a footnote--means 'the spirits
of those who, on account of their perfection, do not care to become saints, and train and
instruct the bodies of the reborn Lamas, so that they may help the living.'
"This shows that these presumably dead 'chang-chubs' are living Bodhisatwas or
Bhanté, known under various names among Tibetan people; among others, Lha or 'spirits,'
as they are supposed to have an existence more in spirit than in flesh. At death they often
renounce Nirvâna--the bliss of eternal rest, or oblivion of personality--to remain in their
spiritualized astral selves for the good of their disciples and humanity in general.
"To some Theosophists, at least, my meaning must be clear, though some are sure
to rebel against the explanation. Yet we maintain that there is no possibility of an entirely
pure 'self' remaining in the terrestrial atmosphere after his liberation from the physical body,
in his own personality, in which he moved upon earth. Only three exceptions are made to
this rule:
"The holy motive prompting a Bodhisatwa, a Sravaka, or Rahat to help to the same
bliss those who remain behind him, the living; in which case he will stop to instruct them
either from within or without; or, secondly, those who, however pure, harmless and
comparatively free from sin during their lives, have been so engrossed with some particular
idea in connection with one of the human mayas as to pass away amidst that all-absorbing
thought; and, thirdly, persons in whom an intense and holy love, such as that of a mother
for her orphaned children, creates or generates an indomitable will fed by that boundless
love to tarry with and among the living in their inner selves.
"The periods allotted for these exceptional cases vary. In the first case, owing to
the knowledge acquired in his condition of Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi--the most holy and
enlightened heart--the Bodhisatwa has no fixed limit. Accustomed to remain for hours and
days in his astral form during life, he has power after death to create around him his own
conditions, calculated to check the natural tendency of the other principles to rejoin their
respective elements, and can descend or even remain on earth for centuries and
millenniums. In the second case, the period will last until the all-powerful magnetic
attraction of the subject of the thought--intensely concentrated at the moment of death--
becomes weakened and gradually fades out. In the third, the attraction is broken either by
the death or the moral unworthiness of the loved ones. It cannot in either case last more
than a lifetime.
"In all other cases of apparitions or communications by whatever mode, the 'spirit'
will prove a wicked 'bhuta' or 'ro-lang' at best--the soulless shell of an 'elementary.' The
'Good Doctrine' is rejected on account of the unwarranted accusation that 'adepts' only
claim the privilege of immortality. No such claim was ever brought forward by any eastern
adept or initiate. Very true, our Masters teach us 'that immortality is conditional,' and that
the chances of an adept who has become a proficient in the Alaya Vijnana, the acme of
wisdom, are tenfold greater than those of one who, being ignorant of the potentialities
centered within his Self, allows them to remain dormant and undisturbed until it is too late
to awake them in this life. But the adept knows no more on earth, nor are his powers
greater here than will be the knowledge and powers of the average good man when the
latter reaches his fifth and especially his sixth cycle or round. Our present mankind is still
in the fourth of the seven great cyclic rounds. Humanity is a baby hardly out of its
swaddling clothes, and the highest adept of the present age knows less than he will know
as a child in the seventh round. And as mankind is an infant collectively, so is man in his
present development individually. As it is hardly to be expected that a young child, however
precocious, should remember his existence from the hour of his birth, day by day, with the
various experiences of each, and the various clothes he was made to wear on each of
them, so no 'self,' unless that of an adept having reached Samma-Sambuddha--during
which an illuminate sees the long series of his past lives throughout all his previous births
in other worlds--was ever able to recall the distinct and various lives he passed through But
that time must come one day. Unless a man is an irretrievable sensualist, dooming himself
thereby to utter annihilation after one of such sinful lives, that day will dawn when, having
reached the state of absolute freedom from any sin or desire, he will see and recall to
memory all his past lives as easily as a man of our age turns back and passes in review,
one by one, every day of his existence."

We may add a word or two in explanation of a previous passage, referring to Kwan-

yin. This divine power was finally anthropomorphized by the Chinese Buddhist ritualists into
a distinct double-sexed deity with a thousand hands and a thousand eyes, and called
Kwan-shai-yin Bodhisatwa, the Voice-Deity, but in reality meaning the voice of the ever-
present latent divine consciousness in man; the voice of his real Self, which can be fully
evoked and heard only through great moral purity. Hence Kwanyin is said to be the son of
Amitabha Buddha, who generated that Saviour, the merciful Bodhisatwa, the "Voice" or the
"Word" that is universally diffused, the "Sound" which is eternal. It has the same mystical
meaning as the Vach of the Brahmans. While the Brahmans maintain the eternity of the
Vedas from the eternity of "sound," the Buddhists claim by synthesis the eternity of
Amitabha, since he was the first to prove the eternity of the Self-born, Kwan-yin. Kwan-yin
is the Vachishvara or Voice-Deity of the Brahmans. Both proceed from the same origin as
the Logos of the neo-platonic Greeks; the "manifested deity" and its "voice" being found
in man's Self, his conscience; Self being the unseen Father, and the "voice of Self" the
Son; each being the relative and the correlative of the other. Both Vachishvara and Kwan-
yin had, and still have, a prominent part in the Initiation Rites and Mysteries in the
Brahmanical and Buddhist esoteric doctrines.
We may also point out that Bodhisatwas or Rahats need not be adepts; still less,
Brahmans, Buddhists, or even "Asiatics," but simply holy and pure men of any nation or
faith, bent all their lives on doing good to humanity.

(To Be Continued)

(From Theosophia #29, Jan-Feb, 1949)



- H.P. Blavatsky

(Excerpts from an article originally published in Lucifer, London, Vol. V, November,

1889, pp. 173-78)
"The tidal wave of deeper souls,
Into our inmost being rolls,
And lifts us unawares,
Out of all meaner cares."
- Longfellow
The great psychic and spiritual change now taking place in the realm of the human
Soul, is quite remarkable. It began towards the very commencement of the now slowly
vanishing last quarter of our century, and will end - so says a mystic prophecy - either for
the weal or woe of civilized humanity with the present cycle which will close in 1897. But
the great change is not effected in solemn silence, nor is it perceived only by the few. On
the contrary, it asserts itself amid a loud din of busy, boisterous tongues, a clash of public
opinion, in comparison to which the incessant, ever increasing roar even of the noisiest
political agitation seems like the rustling of the young forest foliage, on a warm spring day.
Verily the Spirit in man, so long hidden out of public sight, so carefully concealed
and so far exiled from the arena of modern learning, has at last awakened. It now asserts
itself and is loudly re-demanding its unrecognized yet ever legitimate rights. It refuses to
be any longer trampled under the brutal foot of Materialism, speculated upon by the
Churches, and made a fathomless source of income by those who have self-constituted
themselves its universal custodians. The former would deny the Divine Presence any right
to existence; the latter would accentuate and prove it through their Sidesmen and Church
Wardens armed with money-bags and collection-boxes. But the Spirit in man - the direct,
though now but broken ray and emanation of the Universal Spirit - has at last awakened.
Hitherto, while so often reviled, persecuted and abased through ignorance, ambition and
greed; while so frequently turned by insane Pride "into a blind wanderer, like unto a buffoon
mocked by a host of buffoons," in the realm of Delusion, it remained unheard and
unheeded. Today, the Spirit in man has returned like King Lear, from seeming insanity to
its senses; and, raising its voice, it now speaks in those authoritative tones to which the
men of old have listened in reverential silence through incalculable ages, until deafened
by the din and roar of civilization and culture, they could hear it no longer....
Look around you and behold! Think of what you see and hear, and draw therefrom
your conclusions. The age of crass materialism, of Soul insanity and blindness, is swiftly
passing away. A death struggle between Mysticism and Materialism is no longer at hand,
but is already raging. And the party which will win the day at this supreme hour will become
the master of the situation and of the future; i.e., it will become the autocrat and sole
disposer of the millions of men already born and to be born, up to the latter end of the XXth
century. If the signs of the times can be trusted it is not the Animalists who will remain
conquerors. This is warranted us by the many brave and prolific authors and writers who
have arisen of late to defend the rights of Spirit to reign over matter. Many are the honest,
aspiring Souls now raising themselves like a dead wall against the torrent of the muddy
waters of Materialism. And facing the hitherto domineering flood which is still steadily
carrying off into unknown abysses the fragments from the wreck of the dethroned, cast
down Human Spirit, they now command: "So far hast thou come; but thou shalt go no
Amid all this external discord and disorganisation of social harmony; amid confusion
and the weak and cowardly hesitations of the masses, tied down to the narrow frames of
routine, propriety and cant; amid that late dead calm of public thought that had exiled from
literature every reference to Soul and Spirit and their divine working during the whole of the
middle period of our century - we hear a sound arising. Like a clear, definite, far-reaching
note of promise, the voice of the great human Soul proclaims, in no longer timid tones, the
rise and almost the resurrection of the human Spirit in the masses. It is now awakening in
the foremost representatives of thought and learning; it speaks in the lowest as in the
highest, and stimulates them all to action. The renovated, life-giving Spirit in man is boldly
freeing itself from the dark fetters of the hitherto all-capturing animal life and matter. Behold
it, saith the poet, as, ascending on its broad, white wings, it sours into the regions of real
life and light; whence, calm and godlike, it contemplates with unfeigned pity those golden
idols of the modern material cult with their feet of clay, which have hitherto screened from
the purblind masses their true and living gods........
.....A new era has begun in literature, this is certain. New thoughts and new
interests have created new intellectual needs; hence a new race of authors is springing up.
And this new species will gradually and imperceptibly shut out the old one, those fogies of
yore who, though they still reign nominally, are allowed to do so rather by force of habit
than predilection. It is not he who repeats obstinately and parrot-like the old literary
formulae and holds desperately to publishers' traditions, who will find himself answering
to the new needs; not the man who prefers his narrow party discipline to the search for the
long-exiled Spirit of man and the now lost TRUTHS; not these, but verily he who, parting
company with his beloved "authority," lifts boldly and carries on unflichingly the standard
of the Future Man. It is finally those who, amidst the present wholesale dominion of the
worship of matter, material interests and SELFISHNESS, will have bravely fought for
human rights and man's divine nature, who will become, if they only win, the teachers of
the masses in the coming century, and so their benefactors.
But woe to the XXth century if the now reigning school of thought prevails, for Spirit
would once more be made captive and silenced till the end of the now coming age. It is not
the fanatics of the dead letter in general, nor the iconoclasts and Vandals who fight the
new Spirit of thought, nor yet the modern Roundheads, supporters of the old Puritan
religious and social traditions, who will ever become the protectors and Saviours of the now
resurrecting human thought and Spirit. It is not these too willing supporters of the old cult,
and the mediaeval heresies of those who guard like a relic every error of their sect or party,
who jealously watch over their own thought lest it should, growing out of its teens,
assimilate some fresher and more beneficent idea - not these who are the wise men of the
future. It is not for them that the hour of the new historical era will have struck, but for those
who will have learnt to express and put into practice the aspirations as well as the physical
needs of the rising generations and of the now trampled-down masses. In order that one
should fully comprehend individual life with its physiological, psychic and spiritual
mysteries, he has to devote himself with all the fervour of unselfish philanthropy and love
for his brother men, to studying and knowing collective life, or Mankind. Without
preconceptions or prejudice, as also without the least fear of possible results in one or
another direction, he has to decipher, understand and remember the deep and innermost
feelings and the aspirations of the poor people's great and suffering heart. To do this he
has first "to attune his soul with that of Humanity," as the old philosophy teaches; to
thoroughly master the correct meaning of every line and word in the rapidly turning pages
of the Book of Life of MANKIND and to be thoroughly saturated with the truism that the
latter is a whole inseparable from his own SELF.
How many of such profound readers of life may be found in our boasted age of
sciences and culture? Of course we do not mean authors alone, but rather the practical
and still unrecognized, though well known, philanthropists and altruists of our age; the
people's friends, the unselfish lovers of man, and the defenders of human right to the
freedom of Spirit. Few indeed are such; for they are the rare blossoms of the age, and
generally the martyrs to prejudiced mobs and time-servers. Like those wonderful "Snow
flowers" of Northern Siberia, which, in order to shoot forth from the cold frozen soil, have
to pierce through a thick layer of hard, icy snow, so these rare characters have to fight their
battles all their life with cold indifference and human harshness, and with the selfish ever-
mocking world of wealth. Yet, it is only they who can carry out the task of perseverance.
To them alone is given the mission of turning the "Upper Ten" of social circles from the
broad and easy highway of wealth, vanity and empty pleasures into the arduous and thorny
path of higher moral problems, and the perception of loftier moral duties than they are now
pursuing. It is also those who, already themselves awakened to a higher Soul activity, are
being endowed at the same time with literary talent, whose duty it is to undertake the part
of awakening the sleeping Beauty and the Beast, in their enchanted Castle of Frivolity, to
real life and light. Let all those who can, proceed fearlessly with this idea uppermost in their
mind, and they will succeed. It is the rich who have to be regenerated, if we would do good
to the poor; for it is in the former that lies the root of evil of which the "disinherited" classes
are but the too luxuriant growth. This may seem at first sight paradoxical, yet it is true, as
may be shown.
In the face of the present degradation of every ideal, as also of the noblest
aspirations of the human heart, becoming each day more prominent in the higher classes,
what can be expected from the "great unwashed"? It is the head that has to guide the feet,
and the latter are to be hardly held responsible for their actions. Work, therefore, to bring
about the moral regeneration of the cultured but far more immoral classes before you
attempt to do the same for our ignorant younger Brethren. The latter was undertaken years
ago, and is carried on to this day, yet with no perceptible good results. It is not evident that
the reason for this lies in the fact that [except] for a few earnest, sincere and all-sacrificing
workers in that field, the great majority of the volunteers consists of those same frivolous,
ultra-selfish classes, who "play at charity" and whose ideas of the amelioration of the
physical and moral status of the poor are confined to the hobby that money and the Bible
alone can do it. We say that neither of these can accomplish any good; for dead-letter
preaching and forced Bible-reading develop irritation and later atheism, and money as a
temporary help finds its way into the tills of the public-houses rather than serves to buy
bread with. The root of evil lies, therefore, in a moral not in a physical cause.
If asked, what is it then that will help, we answer boldly: - Theosophical literature;
hastening to add that under this term, neither books concerning adepts and phenomena,
nor the Theosophical Society publications are meant.
Take advantage of, and profit by, the "tidal wave" which is now happily overpowering
half of Humanity. Speak to the awakening Spirit of Humanity, to the human Spirit and the
Spirit in man, these three in One and the One in All. Dickens and Thackeray both born a
century too late - or a a century too early - came between two tidal waves of human
spiritual thought, and though they have done yeoman service individually and induced
certain partial reforms, yet they failed to touch Society and the masses at large. What the
European world now needs is a dozen writers such as Dostoevsky, the Russian author,
whose works, though terra incognita for most, are still well known on the Continent, as also
in England and America among the cultured classes. And what the Russian novelist has
done is this: - he spoke boldly and fearlessly the most unwelcome truths to the higher and
even to the official classes - the latter a far more dangerous proceeding than the former.
And yet, behold, most of the administrative reforms during the last twenty years are due
to the silent and unwelcome influence of his pen.......
It is writers of this kind that are needed in our day of reawakening; not authors
writing for wealth or fame, but fearless apostles of the living Word of Truth; moral healers
of the pustulous sores of our century.......
Whether Theosophists, in the present or future, will ever work out a practical
application of the suggestion is doubtful. To write novels with a moral sense in them deep
enough to stir Society, requires a great literary talent and a born theosophist as was
Dostoevsky - Zola standing outside of any comparison with him. But such talents are rare
in all countries. Yet, even in the absence of such great gifts one may do good in a smaller
and humbler way by taking note and exposing in impersonal narratives the crying vices and
evils of the day, by word and deed, by publications and practical example. Let the force of
that example impress others to follow it; and then instead of deriding our doctrines and
aspirations the men of the XXth, if not the XIXth century will see clearer, and judge with
knowledge and according to facts instead of prejudging agreeably to rooted
misconceptions. Then and not till then will the world find itself forced to acknowledge that
it was wrong, and that Theosophy alone can gradually create a mankind as harmonious
and as simple-souled as Kosmos itself; but to effect this theosophists have to act as such.
Having helped to awaken the spirit in many a man - we say this boldly, challenging
contradiction - shall we now stop instead of swimming with the TIDAL WAVE.
- From Theosophia, May-June, 1947




Mr. Editor:
I HAVE read some of the assaults upon Colonel Olcott and myself that have
appeared in the Journal. Some have amused me, others I have passed by unread; but
I was quite unprepared for the good fortune that lay in store for me in embryo in the paper
of Feb. 16th. The "Protest" of Mr. W. Emmette Coleman, entitled "Sclavonic Theosophy
v. American Spiritualism" is the musky rose in an odoriferous bouquet. Its pungent
fragrance would make the nose of a sensitive bleed, whose olfactory nerves would
withstand the perfume of a garden full of the Malayan flower-queen-the tuberose; and yet,
my tough, pug, Mongolian nose, which has smelt carrion in all parts of the world, proved
itself equal even to this emergency.
"From the sublime to the ridiculous," says the French proverb, "there is but a single
step." From sparkling wit to dull absurdity there is no more. An attack, to be effective,
must have an antagonist to strike, for to kick against something that exists only in one’s
imagination, wrenches man or beast. Don Quixote fighting the "air-drawn" foes in his
windmill, stands for ever the laughing-stock of all generations, and the type of a certain
class of disputants, whom, for the moment, Mr. Coleman represents.
The pretext for two columns of abuse-suggesting, I am sorry to say, parallel sewers-
is that Miss Emily Kislingbury, in an address before the B.N.A. of Spiritualists, mentioned
Colonel Olcott’s name in connection with a leadership of Spiritualism. I have the report of
her remarks before me, and find that she neither proposed Colonel Olcott to American
Spiritualists as a leader, nor said that he had wanted "leadership," desired it now, or could
ever be persuaded to take it. Says Mr. Coleman:

“It is seriously proposed by your transatlantic sister, Miss Kislingbury . . . that

American Spiritualists should select as their guardian guide . . . Col. H. S. Olcott!!”

If anyone is entitled to this wealth of exclamation points it is Miss Kislingbury, for the
charge against her from beginning to end is simply an unmitigated falsehood. Miss
Kislingbury merely expressed the personal opinion that a certain gentleman, for whom she
had a deserved friendship, would have been capable, at one time, of acting as a leader.
This was her private opinion, to which she had as good a right as either of her defamers-
who in a cowardly way try to use Col. Olcott and myself as sticks with which to break her
head-have to their opinions. It may or may not have been warranted by the facts-that is
immaterial. The main point is, that Miss Kislingbury has not said one word that gives the
slightest pretext for Mr. Coleman’s attacking her on this question of leadership. And yet,
I am not surprised at his course, for this brave, noble-hearted, truthful and spotless lady
occupies too impregnable a position to be assailed, except indirectly. Someone had to pay
for her plain speaking about American Spiritualism. What better scapegoat than Olcott
and Blavatsky, the twin "theosophical Gorgons"!
What a hullabaloo is raised, to be sure, about Spiritualists declining to follow our
"leadership." In my "Buddhistico-Tartaric" ignorance I have always supposed that
something must be offered before it can either be indignantly spurned or even respectfully
declined. Have we offered to lead Spiritualists by the nose or by other portions of their
anatomy? Have we ever proclaimed ourselves as "teachers," or set ourselves up as
infallible "guides"? Let the hundreds of unanswered letters that we have received from
Spiritualists be our witness. Let us even include two letters from Mr. W. Emmette
Coleman, from Leavenworth, Kansas, calling attention to his published articles of Jan.
13th, 20th, 27th, and Feb. 3rd (four papers), inviting controversy. He says in his
communication of Jan. 23rd, 1877, to Col. Olcott, "I am in search of Truth"; therefore he
has not all the truth. He asks Col. Olcott to answer certain "interrogatories"; therefore our
opinions are admitted to have some weight. He says:
“This address [the one he wants us to read and express our opinion upon] was
delivered some time since; if of more recent date I [he] might modify somewhat.
Now Col. Olcott’s People from the Other World was published Jan., 1875; Mr.
Coleman’s letter to the Colonel was written in Jan., 1877; and his present " Protest" to the
Journal appeared Feb., 1878. It puzzles me to know how a man "in search of Truth" could
lower himself so far as to hunt for it in the coat-pockets of an author whose work is “clearly
demonstrative of the utterly unscientific character of his researches, full of exaggerations,
inaccuracies, marvelous statements recorded at second-hand without the slightest
confirmation, lackadaisical sentimentalities, egotistical rhodomontades, and grammatical
inelegancies and solecisms.” To go to a man for "Truth" who is characterized by “the most
fervid imagination and brilliant powers of invention, -according to Mr. Emmette Coleman-
shows Mr. Coleman in a sorry light indeed! His only excuse can be that in January, 1877,
when he invited Col. Olcott to discuss with him-despite the fact that the Theosophical
Society had been established in 1875, and all our "heresies" were already in print-his
estimation of Col. Olcott’s intellectual powers was different from what it is now, and that Mr.
Coleman’s "address" has been left two years unread and unnoticed. Does this look like
our offering ourselves as "leaders"? We address the great body of intelligent American
Spiritualists. They have as much a right to their opinions as we to ours; they have no
more right than we to falsely state the positions of their antagonists. But their would-be
champion, Mr. Coleman, for the sake of having an excuse to abuse me, pretends to quote
(see column 2, paragraph 1) from something I have published, a whole sentence that I defy
him to prove I ever made use of. This is downright literary fraud and dishonesty. A man
who is in "search of Truth" does not usually employ a falsehood as a weapon.
Good friends, whose enquiries we have occasionally, but rarely, answered, bear us
witness that we have always disclaimed anything like "leadership"; that we have invariably
referred you to the same standard authors whom we have read, the same old Philosophers
we have studied. We call on you to testify that we have repudiated dogmas and
dogmatists, whether living men or disembodied Spirits. As opposed to Materialists,
Theosophists are Spiritualists, but it would be as absurd for us to claim the leadership of
Spiritualism as for a Protestant priest to speak for the Romish Church, or a Romish
Cardinal to lead the great body of Protestants, though both claim to be Christians!
Recrimination seems to be the life and soul of American journalism, but I really thought that
a spiritualistic organ had more congenial matter for its columns than such materialistic
abuse as the present "Fort Leavenworth" criticism!
One chief aim of the writer seems to be to abuse Isis Unveiled. My publisher will
doubtless feel under great obligations for giving it such a notoriety just now, when the
fourth edition is ready to go to press. That the fossilized reviewers of The Tribune and
Popular Science Monthly - both admitted advocates of materialistic Science and
unsparingly contemptuous denouncers of Spiritualism - should, without either of them
having read my book, brand it as spiritualistic moonshine, was perfectly natural. I should
have thought that I had written my first volume, holding up Modern Science to public
contempt for its unfair treatment of psychological phenomena, to small purpose, if they had
complimented me. Nor was I at all surprised that the critic of the New York Sun permitted
himself the coarse language of a partizan and betrayed his ignorance of the contents of
my book by terming me a "Spiritualist." But I am sorry that a critic like Mr. Coleman, who
professes to speak for the Spiritualists and against the Materialists, should range himself
by the side of the flunkeys of the latter, when at least twenty of the first critics of Europe
and America, not Spiritualists but well-read scholars, have praised it even more unstintedly
than he has bespattered it. If such men as the author of The Great Dionysiak Myth and
Poseidon-writing a private letter to a fellow archeologist and scholar, which he thought I
would never see-says the design of my book is “simply colossal," and that the book "is
really a marvelous production" and has his "entire concurrence" in its views about: (1) the
wisdom of the ancient Sages; (2) the folly of the merely material Philosopher (the Emmette
Colemans, Huxleys and Tyndalls); (3) the doctrine of Nirvana; (4) archaic monotheism,
etc.; and when the London Public Opinion calls it "one of the most extraordinary works of
the nineteenth century" in an elaborate criticism; and when Alfred R. Wallace says: “I am
amazed at the vast amount of erudition displayed in the chapters, and the great interest
of the topics on which they treat; your book will open up to many Spiritualists a whole world
of new ideas, and cannot fail to be of the greatest value in the enquiry which is now being
so earnestly carried on,” -Mr. Coleman really appears in the sorry light of one who abuses
for the mere sake of abusing.
What a curious psychological power I must have! All the Journal writers, from the
talented editor down to Mr. Coleman, pretend to account for the blind devotion of Col.
Olcott to Theosophy, the over-partial panegyric of Miss Kislingbury, the friendly recantation
of Dr. G. Bloede, and the surprisingly vigorous defence of myself by Mr. C. Sotheran, and
other recent events, on the ground of my having psychologized them all into the passive
servitude of hoodwinked dupes! I can only say that such Psychology is next door to
miracle. That I could influence men and women of such acknowledged independence of
character and intellectual capacity, would be at least more than any of your lecturing
mesmerizers or "spirit-controls" have been able to accomplish. Do you not see, my noble
enemies, the logical consequences of such a doctrine? Admit that I can do that, and you
admit the reality of Magic, and my powers as an Adept. I never claimed that Magic was
anything but Psychology practically applied. That one of your mesmerizers can make a
cabbage appear a rose is only a lower form of the power you all endow me with. You give
an old woman - whether forty, fifty, sixty or ninety years old (some swear I am the latter,
some the former), it matters not; an old woman whose "Kalmuco-Buddhistico-Tartaric"
features, even in youth, never made her appear pretty; a woman whose ungainly garb,
uncouth manners and masculine habits are enough to frighten any bustled and corseted
fine lady of fashionable society out of her wits-you give her such powers of fascination as
to draw fine ladies and gentlemen, scholars and artists, doctors and clergymen, to her
house by scores, to not only talk Philosophy with her, not merely to stare at her as though
she were a monkey in red flannel breeches, as some of them do, but to honour her in
many cases with their fast and sincere friendship and grateful kindness! Psychology! If
that is the name you give it, then, although I have never offered myself as a teacher, you
had better come, my friends, and be taught at once the "trick" (gratis-for, unlike other
psychologizers, I never yet took money for teaching anything to anybody), so that hereafter
you may not be deceived into recognizing as-what Mr. Coleman so graphically calls-"the
sainted dead of earth," those pimple-nosed and garlic-breathing beings who climb ladders
through trap-doors, and carry tow wigs and battered masks in the penetralia of their


- "the masculine-feminine Slavonic Theosoph from Crim-Tartary" - a title which

does more credit to Mr. Coleman’s vituperative ingenuity than to his literary
[From The Religio-Philosophical Journal, March 16th, 1878.]
(Prototgonos, #40, August, 2000)



- Elsie Benjamin

The following is an extract reprinted from Corresponding Fellows Lodge of

Theosophists Bulletin (No. 156) (Worthing, England) October 1975. Elsie Benjamin was
reviewing the recently published Caves and Jungles of Hindostan by H.P. Blavatsky and
evidently could not resist bringing to her readers' attention what all students must agree is
a most enlightening exposition of the subject of the post mortem condition and its
philosophical and practical implications. It is, after all, what we may rightly call "teaching,"
and therefore to be studied as such. - Eds.

... But after reading thoroughly these 700-odd pages, we enthusiastically call
attention to pages 557 to 570, being a Conversation with the Thakur, Gulab Lal Singh, the
pseudonym under which this Teacher chose to appear at this period. Here we find most
valuable teaching, not dated but timely now, containing discussions and clarification of
questions that through the years have puzzled students and have even led to heated
arguments. An instance: when we quoted Dr. de Purucker not long ago: "Sleep is an
imperfect death, death is a perfect sleep", paraphrasing as he did the Greek: Hypnos kai
thanatos adelphoi, (sleep and death are brothers), one of our readers declared
emphatically that H.P.B. had NEVER made such a comparison. In vain did we point out
that such a statement was rash until or unless one had read all that H.P.B. had ever
written. We hardly expected such quick proof of our warning!
During the discussion described below, especially on the states of consciousness
after death, constant comparison is made between sleep and death, the Thakur saying
with emphasis: "I repeat that which the Vedandasara teaches: death is sleep," and he
correlates the three states of dreaming or dreamless sleep with the three states of
consciousness or lack of it after death.
Then again the vexed question of Unmerited Suffering as distinct from merited
karma, is clearly explained: "Our philosophy teaches that punishment overtakes the Ego
only in a future incarnation, and that after death it receives only the reward for the
unmerited sufferings endured in terrestrial life. As you see, the whole punishment consists
of the absence of any reward and the utter loss of the consciousness of one's bliss and
rest. Karman is the child of the terrestrial Ego, the fruit of the actions of its personality,
visible to all, and even the thoughts and motive of the spiritual 'I' ... But it is also the tender
mother who heals the wounds inflicted by her in the previous existence, before she begins
to torture the Ego anew by inflicting upon him new ones. If it may be said that there is no
grief or misfortune in the life of a mortal which is not the fruit and direct result of some
transgression in his former existence, on the other hand, not having preserved the least
recollection of it in his present life, and feeling that he does not merit such punishment and,
consequently, suffers unjustly, this alone is sufficient to entitle the human soul to the fullest
consolation, rest and peace in its post-mortem existence. To our spiritual selves, death
always comes as a deliverer and friend: like the placid sleep of an infant, or a sleep of
blissful fancies and dreams."
We copy this in full because nowhere else as far as we know has the matter been so
clearly explained.
But perhaps the most illuminating part of this Conversation, and which sweeps away
any possibility of dogmatic assertions merely bolstering our own beliefs, has to do with the
after-death states, as related in this instance to two members of the Party: the Babu, a
confessed and sincere materialist of the Charvaka sect, and Narayana, a devout Vedantist.
The former declares that nothing remains after death (we summarize the essential points).
To Narayana's plea to the Thakur for a flat denial of the Babu's belief that self-
consciousness forsakes the soul after death, the Thakur answers: "What is there so
strange in that? You see, the Babu is a Charvaka and therefore says only that which he
has been taught. In his case it can, because he sincerely and firmly believes in that which
he now professes ..." To Narayana's protest: 'How is that?' Does not the Vedanta teach
that 'the spirit of the Spirit' is deathless and that the soul of man does not die in
Parabrahman? Are there any exceptions?"
To this the Thakur replies: "In the fundamental laws of the spiritual world there can
be no exceptions, but there are rules for those who see, and rules for those who do not.
The Babu will see nothing at all. Having denied it during his lifetime he will not see it
beyond the grave ... Don't you understand me? I shall try to express myself more clearly.
The whole gist of your question is to learn whether complete loss of self-consciousness
and self-perception after death is possible, even in the case of a deep-rooted materialist....
Very well. To this, believing just as sacredly as you do in our teaching which regards the
post-mortem period, or the interval between two lives, as a temporary state, I reply
positively by saying: Whether this intermission between two acts of the illusion of life last
one year or a million, that post-mortem state may, without any breach of the law, prove to
be completely like the state in which the human being finds himself in a dead faint. The
Babu, therefore, is right in his own case ....
"Endeavor not to confuse an abstract representation of the Whole with its casual
modification .... In your comprehension you have obviously confused the essence with its
manifestation ... You have forgotten that, in association with Manas or the 'human' soul
alone, the radiance of Taijasa [the union of Manas with Buddhi] itself becomes a mere
question of time, for both immortality and consciousness after death become, for the
terrestrial personality of man, simply conditioned attributes depending on the conditions
and beliefs created by the personality itself during the life of its body....
"In order to live a conscious life in the world to come, one has to believe first of all
in that life during terrestrial existence. Our entire philosophy about the post-mortem
consciousness and the immortality of the soul is built on these two aphorisms of the secret
science. I repeat: death is sleep ... It is evident, of course, that belief or unbelief in the fact
of conscious immortality is unable to influence the unconditioned reality of the fact itself,
once it is recognized; but the belief or unbelief in it on the part of each separate
personality cannot fail to give color to that fact in its application to each of them in particular
.... The spiritual Ego of man moves in eternity like a pendulum between the hours of birth
and death. But if these hours, marking the periods of life terrestrial and life spiritual, are
limited in their duration, and if the very number of such stages in eternity between sleep
and awakening, illusion and reality, has its beginning and its end, on the other hand the
spiritual pilgrim is eternal. Therefore, the hours of his post-mortem life when, disembodied,
he stands face to face with truth, and not the mirages of his transitory earthly existence
during the period of that pilgrimage which we call the 'cycle of re-births,' are the only reality
in our conception."
[Concerning the Babu's views regarding himself]: "I confirm them anew. One can
sleep and miss several stations while traveling on a railway journey and, nevertheless,
without having the slightest awareness of them, awaken at a subsequent station and reach
the destination of the journey in a conscious state. Do you find fault with the simile
between sleep and death? ... But such as the Babu will sleep through and miss only one
'station'. The time will come when he, too, will perceive himself again in eternity and repent
that he lost even one day from the life eternal ... And now, it seems, I have explained
Those of us who studied under Dr. de Purucker at Point Loma will remember his oft-
repeated: "Each of you is right from his own standpoint", when we vigorously differed from
each other in our discussions.
We are certainly grateful to H.P.B. - to use her own words: "this conversation
penetrated deep into my soul and I never forgot it"....

- Eclectic Theosophist, Jan. 15, 1975




[Vol. II, pp. 587-590]

It would argue small discernment on our part were we to suppose that we had been
followed thus far through this work by any but metaphysicians, or mystics of some sort.
Were it otherwise, we should certainly advise such to spare themselves the trouble of
reading this chapter; for, although nothing is said that is not strictly true, they would not fail
to regard the least wonderful of the narratives as absolutely false, however substantiated.
To comprehend the principles of natural law involved in the several phenomena
hereinafter described, the reader must keep in mind the fundamental propositions of the
Oriental philosophy which we have successively elucidated. Let us recapitulate very
Ist. There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law - eternal,
immutable, ever active. Apparent miracle is but the operation of forces antagonistic to
what Dr. W. B. Carpenter, F.R.S. - a man of great learning but little knowledge calls "the
well-ascertained laws of nature." Like many of his class, Dr. Carpenter ignores the fact that
there may be laws once "known," now unknown to science.
2nd. Nature is triune: there is a visible, objective nature; an invisible, indwelling,
energizing nature, the exact model of the other, and its vital principle; and, above these -
two, spirit, source of all forces, alone eternal and indestructible. The lower two constantly
change; the higher third does not.
3rd. Man is also triune: he has his objective, physical body; his vitalizing astral
body (or soul), the real man; and these two are brooded over and illuminated by the third -
the sovereign, the immortal spirit. When the real man succeeds in merging himself with
the latter, he becomes an immortal entity.
4th. Magic, as a science, is the knowledge of these principles, and of the way by
which the omniscience and omnipotence of the spirit and its control over nature's forces
may be acquired by the individual while still in the body. Magic, as an art, is the application
of this knowledge in practice.
5th. Arcane knowledge misapplied, is sorcery; beneficently used, true magic or
6th. Mediumship is the opposite of adeptship; the medium is the passive
instrument of foreign influences, the adept actively controls himself and all inferior
7th. All things that ever were, that are, or that will be, having their record upon the
astral light, or tablet of the unseen universe, the initiated adept, by using the vision of his
own spirit, can know all that has been known or can be known.
8th. Races of men differ in spiritual gifts as in color, stature, or any other external
quality; among some peoples seership naturally prevails, among others mediumship.
Some are addicted to sorcery, and transmit its secret rules of practice from generation to
generation, with a range of physical phenomena, more or less wide, as the result.
9th. One phase of magical skill is the voluntary and conscious withdrawal of the
inner man (astral form) from the outer man (physical body). In the cases of some mediums
withdrawal occurs, but it is unconscious and involuntary. With the latter the body is more
or less cataleptic at such times; but with the adept the absence of the astral form would
not be noticed, for the physical senses are alert, and the individual appears only as though
in a fit of abstraction - "a brown study," as some call it.
To the movements of the wandering astral form neither time nor space offer
obstacles. The thaumaturgist, thoroughly skilled in occult science, can cause himself (that
is, his physical body) to seem to disappear, or to apparently take on any shape that he may
choose. He may make his astral form visible, or he may give it protean appearances. ln
both cases these results will be achieved by a mesmeric hallucination of the senses of all
witnesses, simultaneously brought on. This hallucination is so perfect that the subject of
it would stake his life that he saw a reality, when it is but a picture in his own mind,
impressed upon his consciousness by the irresistible will of the mesmerizer.
But, while the astral form can go anywhere, penetrate any obstacle, and be seen
at any distance from the physical body, the latter is dependent upon ordinary methods of
transportation. It may be levitated under prescribed magnetic conditions, but not pass from
one locality to another except in the usual way. Hence we discredit all stories of the aerial
flight of mediums in body, for such would be miracle, and miracle we repudiate. Inert
matter may be, in certain cases and under certain conditions, disintegrated, passed
through walls, and recombined, but living animal organisins cannot.
Swedenborgians believe and arcane science teaches that the abandonment of the
living body by the soul frequently occurs, and that we encounter every day, in every
condition of life, such living corpses. Various causes, among them overpowering fright,
grief, despair, a violent attack of sickness, or excessive sensuality may bring this about.
The vacant carcass may be entered and inhabited by the astral form of an adept sorcerer,
or an elementary (an earth-bound disembodied human Soul), or, very rarely, an elemental.
Of course, an adept of white magic has the same power, but unless some very exceptional
and great object is to be accomplished, he will never consent to pollute himself by
occupying the body of an impure person. In insanity, the patient's astral being is either
semi-paralyzed, bewildered, and subject to the influence of every passing spirit of any sort,
or it has departed forever, and the body is taken possession of by some vampirish entity
near its own disintegration, and clinging desperately to earth, whose sensual pleasures it
may enjoy for a brief season longer by this expedient.
10th. The cornerstone of MAGIC is an intimate practical knowledge of magnetism
and electricity, their qualities, correlations, and potencies. Especially necessary is a
familiarity with their effects in and upon the animal kingdom and man. There are occult
properties in many other minerals, equally strange with that in the lodestone, which all
practitioners of magic must know, and of which so-called exact science is wholly ignorant.
Plants also have like mystical properties in a most wonderful degree, and the secrets of the
herbs of dreams and enchantments are only lost to European science and, useless to say,
are unknown to it, except in a few marked instances, such as opium and hashish. Yet, the
psychical effects of even these few upon the human system are regarded as evidences of
a temporary mental disorder. The women of Thessaly and Epirus, the female hieropliants
of the rites of Sabazius, did not carry their secrets away with the downfall of their
sanctuaries. They are still preserved, and those who are aware of the nature of Soma,
know the properties of other plants as well.
To sum up all in a few words, MAGIC is spiritual WISDOM; nature, the material ally,
pupil and servant of the magician. One common vital principle pervades all things, and this
is controllable by the perfected human will. The adept can stimulate the movements of the
natural forces in plants and animals in a preternatural degree. Such experiments are not
obstructions of nature, but quickenings; the conditions of more intense vital action are
The adept can control the sensations and alter the conditions of the physical and
astral bodies of other persons not adepts; he can also govern and employ, as he chooses,
the spirits of the elements. He cannot control the immortal spirit of any human being, living
or dead, for all such spirits are alike sparks of the Divine Essence, and not subject to any
foreign domination.

[Vol. I, p. xlv]

Deeply sensible of the Titanic struggle that is now in progress between materialism
and the spiritual aspirations of mankind, our constant endeavor has been to gather into our
several chapters, like weapons into armories, every fact and argument that can be used
to aid the latter in defeating the former. Sickly and deformed child as it now is, the
materialism of Today is born of the brutal Yesterday. Unless its growth is arrested, it may
become our master. It is the bastard progeny of the French Revolution and its reaction
against ages of religious bigotry and repression. To prevent the crushing of these spiritual
aspirations, the blighting of these hopes, and the deadening of that intuition which teaches
us of a God and a hereafter, we must show our false theologies in their naked deformity,
and distingiush between divine religion and human dogmas. Our voice is raised for
spiritual freedom, and our plea made for enfranchisement from all tyranny, whether of

[Vol. I, p. 573]

. . . . . The keys to the Biblical miracles of old, and to the phenomena of modern days; the
problems of psychology, physiology, and the many "missing links" which have so perplexed
scientists of late, are all in the hands of secret fraternities. This mystery must be unveiled
some day - But till then dark skepticism will constantly interpose its threatening, ugly
shadow between God's truths and the spiritual vision of mankind; and many are those
who, infected by the moral epidemic of our century - hopeless materialism - will remain in
doubt and mortal agony as to whether, when man dies, he will live again, although the
question has been solved by long bygone generations of sages. The answers are there.
They may be found on the timeworn granite pages of cave-temples, on sphinxes,
propylons and obelisks. They have stood there for untold ages, and neither the rude
assault of time, nor the still ruder assault of Christian hands, has succeeded in obliterating
their records. All covered with the problems which were solved - who can tell? perhaps by
the archaic forefathers of their builders - the solution follows each question; and this the
Christian could not appropriate, for, except the initiates, no one has understood the mystic
writing. The key was in the keeping of those who knew how to comniune with the invisible
Presence, and who had received from the lips of mother Nature herself, her grand truths.
And so stand these monuments like mute forgotten sentinels on the threshold of that
unseen world, whose gates are thrown open but to a few elect.
Defying the hand of Time, the vain inquiry of profane science, the insults of the
revealed religions, they will disclose their riddles to none but the legatees of those by
whom they were entrusted with the MYSTERY. The cold, stony lips of the once vocal
Memnon, and of these hardy sphinxes, keep their secret well. Who will unseal them?
Who of our modern, materialistic dwarfs and unbelieving Sadducees will dare to lift tile

[Vol. II, pp. 639-640]

Our work is done - would that it were better done! But, despite our inexperience in
the art of bookmaking, and the serious difficulty of writing in a foreign tongue, we hope we
have succeeded in saying some things that will remain in the minds of the thoughtful. The
enemies of truth have been all counted, and all passed in review. Modern science,
powerless to satisfy the aspirations of the race, makes the future a void, and bereaves man
of hope. In one sense, it is like the Baital Pachisi, the Hindu vampire of popular fancy,
which lives in dead bodies, and feeds but on the rottenness of matter. The theology of
Christendom has been rubbed threadbare by the most serious minds of the day. It is found
to be, on the whole, subversive of, rather than promotive of, spirituality and good morals.
Instead of expounding the rules of divine law and justice, it teaches but itself. In place of
an ever-living Deity, it preaches the Evil One, and makes him indistinguishable from God
Himself! "Lead us not into temptation" is the aspiration of Christians. Who, then, is the
tempter? Satan? No; the prayer is not addressed to him. It is that tutelary genius who
hardened the heart of Pharaoh, put an evil Spirit into Saul, sent lying messengers to the
prophets, and tempted David to sin; it is - the Bible-God of Israel!
Our examination of the multitudinous religious faiths that mankind, early and late,
have professed, most assuredly indicates that they have all been derived from one
primitive source. It would seem as if they were all but different modes of expressing the
yearning of the imprisoned human soul for intercourse with supernal spheres. As the white
ray of light is decomposed by the prism into the various colors of the solar spectrum, so the
beam of divine truth, in passing the three-sided prism of man's nature, has been broken
up into vari-colored fragments called RELIGIONS. And, as the rays of the spectrum, by
imperceptible shadings, merge into each other, so the great theologies that have appeared
at different degrees of divergence from the original source have been connected by minor
schisms, schools, and offshoots from the one side or the other. Combined, their aggregate
represents one eternal truth; separate, they are but shades of human error and the signs
of imperfection. The worship of the Vedic pitris is fast becoming the worship of the spiritual
portion of mankind. It but needs the right perception of things objective to finally discover
that the only world of reality is the subjective.
What has been contemptuously termed Paganism, was ancient wisdom replete with
Deity; and Judaism and its offspring, Christianity and Islamism, derived whatever of
inspiration they contained from this ethnic parent. Pre-Vedic Brahmanism and Buddhism
are the double source from which all religious sprang; Nirvina is the ocean to which all
For the purposes of a philosophical analysis, we need not take account of the
enormities which have blackened the record of many of the world's religious. True faith is
the embodiment of divine charity; those who minister at its altars, are but human. As we
turn the bloodstained pages of ecclesiastical history, we find that, whoever may have been
the hero, and whatever costumes the actors may have worn, the plot of the tragedy has
ever been the same. But the, Eternal Night was in and behind all, and we pass from what
we see to that which is invisible to the eye of sense. Our fervent wish has been to show
true souls how they may lift aside the curtain, and, in the brightness of that Night made
Day, look with undazzled gaze upon the UNVEILED TRUTH.

Excerpted in Theosophia #151, Summer 1977


- H.P. Blavatsky
[Originally published in The Theosophist, Vol. VI, No. 68, May, 1885, pp. 187-

Christine Rosetti's well-known lines:

"Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Does the journey take the whole long day?
From morn, till night, my friend."

are like an epitome of the life of those who are truly treading the path which leads to higher
things. Whatever differences are to be found in the various presentations of the Esoteric
Doctrine, as in every age it donned a fresh garment, different both in hue and texture to
that which preceded; yet in every one of them we find the fullest agreement upon one
point - the road to spiritual development. One only inflexible rule has been ever binding
upon the neophyte, as it is binding now - the complete subjugation of the lower nature by
the higher. From the Vedas and Upanishads to the recently published Light on the Path,
search as we may through the bibles of every race and cult, we find but one only way, -
hard, painful, troublesome, by which man can gain the true spiritual insight. And how can
it be otherwise since all religions and all philosophies are but the variants of the first
teachings of the One Wisdom, imparted to men at the beginning of the cycle by the
Planetary Spirit?
The true Adept, the developed man, must, we are always told, become - he cannot
be made. The process is therefore one of growth through evolution, and this must
necessarily involve a certain amount of pain.
The main cause of pain lies in our perpetually seeking the permanent in the
impermanent, and not only seeking, but acting as if we had already found the
unchangeable, in a world of which the one certain quality we can predicate is constant
change, and always, just as we fancy we have taken a firm hold upon the permanent, it
changes within our very grasp, and pain results.
Again, the idea of growth involves also the idea of disruption, the inner being must
continually burst through its confining shell or encasement, and such a disruption must also
be accompanied by pain, not physical but mental and intellectual.
And this is how it is, in the course of our lives, the trouble that comes upon us is
always just the one we feel to be the hardest that could possibly happen - it is always the
one thing we feel we cannot possibly bear. If we look at it from a wider point of view, we
shall see that we are trying to burst through our shell at its one vulnerable point; that our
growth, to be real growth, and not the collective result of a series of excrescences, must
progress evenly throughout, just as the body of a child grows, not first the head and then
a hand, followed perhaps by a leg; but in all directions at once, regularly and
imperceptibly. Man's tendency is to cultivate each part separately, neglecting the others
in the meantime - every crushing pain is caused by the expansion of some neglected part,
which expansion is rendered more difficult by the effects of the cultivation bestowed
Evil is often the result of over-anxiety, and men are always trying to do too much,
they are not content to leave well alone, to do always just what the occasion demands and
no more, they exaggerate every action and so produce karma to be worked out in a future
One of the subtlest forms of this evil is the hope and desire of reward. Many there
are who, albeit often unconsciously, are yet spoiling all their efforts by entertaining this idea
of reward, and allowing it to become an active factor in their lives and so leaving the door
open to anxiety, doubt, fear, despondency - failure.
The goal of the aspirant for spiritual wisdom, is entrance upon a higher plane of
existence; he is to become a new man, more perfect in every way than he is at present,
and if he succeeds, his capabilities and faculties will receive a corresponding increase of
range and power, just as in the visible world we find that each stage in the evolutionary
scale is marked by increase of capacity. This is how it is that the Adept becomes endowed
with marvelous powers that have been so often described, but the main point to be
remembered is, that these powers are the natural accompaniments of existence on a
higher plane of evolution, just as the ordinary human faculties are the natural
accompaniments of existence on the ordinary human plane.
Many persons seem to think that adeptship is not so much the result of radical
development as of additional construction; they seem to imagine that an Adept is a man,
who, by going through a certain plainly defined course of training, consisting of minute
attention to a set of arbitrary rules, acquires first one power and then another and when he
has attained a certain number of these powers is forthwith dubbed an adept. Acting on this
mistaken idea they fancy that the first thing to be done towards attaining adeptship is to
acquire "powers" - clairvoyance and the power of leaving the physical body and traveling
to a distance, are among those which fascinate the most.
To those who wish to acquire such powers for their own private advantage, we have
nothing to say, they fall under the condemnation of all who act for purely selfish ends. But
there are others, who, mistaking effect for cause, honestly think that the acquirement of
abnormal powers is the only road to spiritual advancement. These look upon our Society
as merely the readiest means to enable them to gain knowledge in this direction,
considering it as a sort of occult academy, an institution established to afford facilities for
the instruction of would-be miracle-workers. In spite of repeated protests and warnings,
there are some minds in whom this notion seems ineradicably fixed, and they are loud in
their expressions of disappointment when they find that what had been previously told
them is perfectly true; that the Society was founded to teach no new and easy paths to the
acquisition of "powers"; and that its only mission is to re-kindle the torch of truth, so long
extinguished for all but the very few, and to keep that truth alive by the formation of a
fraternal union of mankind, the only soil in which the good seed can grow. The
Theosophical Society does indeed desire to promote the spiritual growth of every individual
who comes within its influence, but its methods are those of the ancient Rishis, its tenets
those of the oldest Esotericism; it is no dispenser of patent nostrums composed of violent
remedies which no honest healer would dare to use.
In this connection we would warn all our members, and others who are seeking
spiritual knowledge, to beware of persons offering to teach them easy methods of acquiring
psychic gifts, such gifts (lankika) are indeed comparatively easy of acquirement by artificial
means, but fade out as soon as the nerve-stimulus exhausts itself. The real seership and
adeptship which is accompanied by true psychic development (lokothra), once reached,
is never lost.
It appears that various societies have sprung into existence since the foundation of
the Theosophical Society, profiting by the interest the latter has awakened in matters of
psychic research, and endeavouring to gain members by promising them easy acquirement
of psychic powers. In India we have long been familiar with the existence of hosts of sham
ascetics of all descriptions, and we fear that there is fresh danger in this direction, here,
as well as in Europe and America. We only hope that none of our members, dazzled by
brilliant promises, will allow themselves to be taken in by self-deluded dreamers, or, it may
be, wilful deceivers.
To show that some real necessity exists for our protests and warnings, we may
mention that we have recently seen, enclosed in a letter from Benares, copies of an
advertisement just put forth by a so-called "Mahatma." He calls for "eight men and women
who know English and any of the Indian vernaculars well"; and concludes by saying that
"those who want to know particulars of the work and the amount of pay" should apply to
his address, with enclosed postage stamps!
Upon the table before us, lies a reprint of The Divine Pymander, published in
England, last year, and which contains a notice to "Theosophists who may have been
disappointed in their expectations of Sublime Wisdom being freely dispensed by HINDOO
MAHATMAS"; cordially inviting them to send in their names to the Editor who will see them
"after a short probation," admitted into an Occult Brotherhood who "teach freely and
WITHOUT RESERVE all they find worthy to receive." Strangely enough, we find in the
very volume in question Hermes Trismegistus saying:
- 8. "For this only, O Son, is the way to Truth, which our progenitors traveled in; and
by which making their journey, they at length attained to the good. It is a venerable way
and plain, but hard and difficult for the soul to go in, that is in the body."
- 88. "Wherefore we must look warily to such kind of people, that being in ignorance
they may be less evil for fear of that which is hidden and secret."
It is perfectly true that some Theosophists have been (through nobody's fault but
their own) greatly disappointed because we have offered them no short cut to Yoga Vidya,
and there are others who wish for practical work. And, significantly enough, those who
have done least for the Society are loudest in fault-finding. Now, why do not these persons
and all our members who are able to do so, take up the serious study of mesmerism?
Mesmerism has been called the Key to the Occult Sciences, and it has this advantage that
it offers peculiar opportunities for doing good to mankind. If in each of our branches we
were able to establish a homeopathic dispensary with the addition of mesmeric healing,
such as has already been done with great success in Bombay, we might contribute towards
putting the science of medicine in this country on a sounder basis, and be the means of
incalculable benefit to the people at large. There are others of our branches, besides the
one at Bombay, that have done good work in this direction, but there is room for infinitely
more to be done than has yet been attempted. And the same is the case in the various
other departments of the Society's work. It would be a good thing if the members of each
branch would put their heads together and seriously consult as to what tangible steps they
can take to further the declared objects of the Society. In too many cases the members
of the Theosophical Society content themselves with a somewhat superficial study of its
books, without making any real contribution to its active work. If the Society is to be a
power for good in this and other lands, it can only bring about this result by the active co-
operation of every one of its members, and we would earnestly appeal to each of them to
consider carefully what possibilities of work are within his power, and then to earnestly set
about carrying them into effect. Right thought is a good thing, but thought alone does not
count for much unless it is translated into action. There is not a single member in the
Society who is not able to do something to aid the cause of truth and universal
brotherhood; it only depends on his own will, to make that something an accomplished
Above all we would reiterate the fact, that the Society is no nursery for incipient
adepts, teachers cannot be provided to go round and give instruction to various branches
on the different subjects which come within the Society's work of investigation; the
branches must study for themselves; books are to be had, and the knowledge there put
forth must be practically applied by the various members: thus will be devoloped self-
reliance, and reasoning powers. We urge this strongly; for appeals have reached us that
any lecturer sent to branches must be practically versed in experimental psychology and
clairvoyance (i.e., looking into magic mirrors and reading the future, etc., etc.). Now we
consider that such experiments should originate amongst members themselves to be of
any value in the development of the individual or to enable him to make progress in his
"uphill" path, and therefore earnestly recommend our members to try for themselves.

- Theosophia, Sept-Oct, 1951



- H P. Blavatsky

A newspaper paragraph lately declared that a certain American lady of great wealth,
residing in London, had conceived the strange desire to possess a cloak made of the soft
warm down on the breasts of birds of Paradise. Five hundred breasts, it was said, were
required for this purpose, and two skillful marksmen, the story went on to aver, had been
sent to New Guinea to shoot the poor little victims whose wholesale slaughter must be
accomplished to gratify this savage whim.
We rejoice to observe that the whole statement has been flatly contradicted by the
World, apparently on the best possible authority; but, however little the lady concerned
may deserve the reproach which the authors of the calumny endeavoured to evoke against
her, the feeling it may have excited is worth analysis in a world where, if bird of Paradise
cloaks are rare, most women who dress luxuriously adorn themselves in one way or
another at the expense of the feathered kingdom.
The principle involved in a bonnet which is decorated with the plumage of a single
bird, slaughtered for its sake, is the same as that which would be more grotesquely
manifest in a garment that would require the slaughter of five hundred. Too many rich
people in this greedy age forget that the grandest privilege of those who possess the
means is that they have the power of alleviating suffering.
Too many, again, forget that the sympathies of those who rule the animate world
should extend beyond the limits of their own kind; and thus we have the painful spectacle
of human "sport" associated in civilized countries still, with pursuits which should no longer
afford pleasure to men who have emerged from the primitive life of hunters and fishers.
But how is it possible, let us consider, to stoop lowest from the proud estate of humanity
in search of ignoble gratification? It is bad to kill any sentient creature for the sake of the
savage pleasures of the chase. It is bad, perhaps worse, to cause their destruction for the
sake of coldly profiting by their slaughter, and it is bad to squander money in this hard
world of want and wide-spread privation on costly personal indulgence. But the acme of
all that is reprehensible in these various departments of ill-doing is surely reached when
women - who should, by virtue of their sex, be helping to soften the ferocities of life -
contrive to collect the cream of evil from each of these varieties, and to sin against a whole
catalogue of human duties by cruel acquiescence in an unworthy fashion.
- Lucifer, November, 1887, p 211. (In H.P. Blavatsky Collected
Writings, Vol. VIII, pp. 249-250.)

- Canadian Theosophist, Nov.-Dec., 1987



- H.P. Blavatsky
[Originally published in Lucifer, Vol. V, October, 1889, pp. 125-29]

We find in a very old letter from a MASTER, written years ago to a member of the
Theosophical Society, the following suggestive lines on the mental state of a dying man: -

"At the last moment, the whole life is reflected in our memory and emerges from all
the forgotten nooks and corners picture after picture, one event after the other. The dying
brain dislodges memory with a strong supreme impulse, and memory restores faithfully
every impression entrusted to it during the period of the brain's activity. That impression
and thought which was the strongest naturally becomes the most vivid and survives so to
say all the rest which now vanish and disappear for ever, to reappear but in Deva Chan.
No man dies insane

* [H.P.B. refers here to a letter of Master K.H. received by A.P. Sinnett about
October 1882, when he was at Simla, India. It is a very long communication, and contains
answers to queries sent in by Sinnett. These queries and the Master's replies can be
found in The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, pp. 144-178. Sinnett had asked:
"(16) You say: - 'Remember we create ourselves, our Deva Chan, and our Avitchi
and mostly during the latter days and even moments of our sentient lives.'
"(17) But do the thoughts on which the mind may be engaged at the last moment
necessarily hinge on to the predominant character of its past life? Otherwise it would seem
as if the character of a person's Deva Chan or Avitchi might be capriciously and unjustly
determined by the change which brought some special thought uppermost at last?"
To this, the Master replied:
"(16) It is a widely spread belief among all the Hindus that a person's future pre-
natal state and birth are moulded by the last desire he may have at the time of death. But
this last desire, they say, necessarily hinges on to the shape which the person may have
given to his desires, passions, etc., during his past life. It is for this very reason, viz. - that
our last desire may not be unfavorable to our future progress - that we have to watch our
actions and control our passions and desires throughout our whole earthly career.
"(17) It cannot be otherwise. The experience of dying men - by drowning and other
accidents - brought back to life, has corroborated our doctrine in almost every case. Such
thoughts are involuntary and we have no more control over them than we would over the
eye's retina to prevent it perceiving that colour which affects it most."
Immediately following the above sentence, there occurs the passage quoted by
H.P.B. - Editor, Theosophia]

or unconscious - as some physiologists assert. Even a madman, or one in a fit of delirium

tremens will have his instant of perfect lucidity at the moment of death, though unable to
say so to those present. The man may often appear dead. Yet from the last pulsation,
from and between the last throbbing of his heart and the moment when the last spark of
animal heat leaves the body - the brain thinks and the Ego lives over in those few brief
seconds - his whole life again. Speak in whispers, ye, who assist at a death-bed and find
yourselves in the solemn presence of Death. Especially have you to keep quiet just after
Death has laid her clammy hand upon the body. Speak in whispers, I say, lest you disturb
the quiet ripple of thought, and hinder the busy work of the Past casting on its reflection
upon the veil of the Future.... "

The above statement has been more than once strenuously opposed by
materialists; Biology and (Scientific) Psychology, it was urged, were both against the idea,
and while the latter had no well demonstrated data to go upon in such a hypothesis, the
former dismissed the idea as an empty "superstition." Meanwhile, even biology is bound
to progress, and this is what we learn of its latest achievements. Dr. Ferre has
communicated quite recently to the Biological Society of Paris a very curious note on the
mental state of the dying, which corroborates marvelously the above lines. For, it is to the
special phenomenon of life-reminiscences, and that sudden re-emerging on the blank walls
of memory, from all its long neglected and forgotten "nooks and corners," of "picture after
picture" that Dr. Ferre draws the special attention of biologists.
We need notice but two among the numerous instances given by this Scientist in
his Rapport, to show how scientifically correct are the teachings we receive from our
Eastern Masters.
The first instance is that of a moribund consumptive whose disease was developed
in consequence of a spinal affection. Already consciousness had left the man, when,
recalled to life by two successive injections of a gramme of ether, the patient slightly lifted
his head and began talking rapidly in Flemish, a language no one around him, nor yet
himself, understood. Offered a pencil and a piece of white cardboard, he wrote with great
rapidity several lines in that language - very correctly, as was ascertained later on - fell
back, and died. When translated - the writing was found to refer to a very prosaic affair.
He had suddenly recollected, he wrote, that he owed a certain man a sum of fifteen francs
since 1868 - hence more than twenty years - and desired it to be paid.
But why write his last wish in Flemish? The defunct was a native of Antwerp, but
had left his country in childhood, without ever knowing the language, and having passed
all his life in Paris, could speak and write only in French. Evidently his returning
consciousness, that last flash of memory - that displayed before him, as in a retrospective
panorama, all his life, even to the trifling fact of his having borrowed twenty years back a
few francs from a friend, did not emanate from his physical brain alone, but rather from his
spiritual memory, that of the Higher Ego (Manas or the re-incarnating individuality). The
fact of his speaking and writing Flemish, a language that he had heard at a time of life
when he could not yet speak himself, is an additional proof. The EGO is almost omniscient
in its immortal nature. For indeed matter is nothing more than "the last degree and as the
shadow of existence," as Havaisson, member of the French Institute, tells us.
But to our second case.
Another patient, dying of pulmonary consumption and likewise reanimated by an
injection of ether, turned his head towards his wife and rapidly said to her: "You cannot
find that pin now; all the floor has been renewed since then." This was in reference to the
loss of a scarf pin eighteen years before, a fact so trifling that it had almost been forgotten,
but which had not failed to be revived in the last thought of the dying man, who having
expressed what he saw in words, suddenly stopped and breathed his last. Thus any one
of the thousand little daily events, and accidents of a long life would seem capable of being
recalled to the flickering consciousness, at the supreme moment of dissolution. A long life,
perhaps, lived over again in the space of one short second!
A third case may be noticed, which corroborates still more strongly that assertion
of Occultism which traces all such remembrances to the thought-power of the individual,
instead of to that of the personal (lower) Ego. A young girl, who had been a sleep-walker
up to her twenty-second year, performed during her hours of somnambulic sleep the most
varied functions of domestic life, of which she had no remembrance upon awakening.
Among other psychic impulses that manifested themselves only during her sleep,
was a secretive tendency quite alien to her waking state. During the latter she was open
and frank to a degree, and very careless of her personal property; but in the somnambulic
state she would take articles belonging to herself or within her reach and hide them away
with ingenious cunning. This habit being known to her friends and relatives, and two
nurses, having been in attendance to watch her actions during her night rambles for years,
nothing disappeared but what could be easily restored to its usual place. But on one sultry
night, the nurse falling asleep, the young girl got up and went to her father's study. The
latter, a notary of fame, had been working till a late hour that night. It was during a
momentary absence from his room that the somnambule entered, and deliberately
possessed herself of a will left open upon the desk, as also of a sum of several thousand
pounds in bonds and notes. These she proceeded to hide in the hollow of two dummy
pillars set up in the library to match the solid ones, and stealing from the room before her
father's return, she regained her chamber and bed without awakening the nurse who was
still asleep in the armchair.
The result was, that, as the nurse stoutly denied that her young mistress had left the
room, suspicion was diverted from the real culprit and the money could not be recovered.
The loss of the will involved a law-suit which almost beggared her father and entirely ruined
his reputation, and the family were reduced to great straits. About nine years later the
young girl, who, during the previous seven years had not been somnabulic, fell into a
consumption of which she ultimately died. Upon her death-bed, the veil which had hung
before her physical memory was raised; her divine insight awakened; the pictures of her
life came streaming back before her inner eye; and among others she saw the scene of
her somnambulic robbery. Suddenly arousing herself from the lethargy in which she had
lain for several hours, her face showed signs of some terrible emotion working within, and
she cried out "Ah! what have I done? . . . It was I who took the will and the money. . . Go
search the dummy pillars in the library, I have . . . " She never finished her sentence for
her very emotion killed her. But the search was made and the will and money found within
the oaken pillars as she had said. What makes the case more strange is, that these pillars
were so high, that even by standing upon a chair and with plenty of time at her disposal
instead of only a few moments, the somnambulist could not have reached up and dropped
the objects into the hollow columns. It is to be noted, however, that ecstatics and
convulsionists (Vide the Convulsionnaires de St. Medard et de Morzine) seem to possess
an abnormal facility for climbing blank walls and leaping even to the tops of trees.
Taking the facts as stated, would they not induce one to believe that the
somnambulic personage possesses an intelligence and memory of its own apart from the
physical memory of the waking lower Self; and that it is the former which remembers in
articulo mortis, the body and physical senses in the latter case ceasing to function, and the
intelligence gradually making its final escape through the avenue of psychic, and last of all
of spiritual consciousness? And why not? Even materialistic science begins now to
concede to psychology more than one fact that would have vainly begged of it recognition
twenty years ago. "The real existence" Ravaisson tells us, "the life of which every other
life is but an imperfect outline, a faint sketch, is that of the Soul." That which the public in
general calls "soul," we speak of as the "reincarnating Ego." "To be, is to live, and to live
is to will and think," says the French Scientist.* But, if indeed the physical brain is of only
a limited area, the field for the containment of rapid flashes of unlimited and infinite
thought, neither will nor thought call be said to be generated within it, even according to
materialistic Science, the impassable chasm between matter and mind having been
confessed both by Tyndall and many others. The fact is that the human brain is simply the
canal between two planes - the psycho-spiritual and the material - through which every
abstract and metaphysical idea filters from the Manasic down to the lower human
consciousness. Therefore, the ideas about the infinite and the absolute are not, nor can
they be, within our brain capacities. They can be faithfully mirrored only by our Spiritual
consciousness, thence to be more or less faintly projected on to the tables of our
perceptions on this plane. Thus

* Rapport sur la Philosophie en France an XIXme, Siecle.

while the records of even important events are often obliterated from our memory, not the
most trifling action of our lives can disappear from the "Soul's" memory, because it is no
MEMORY for it, but an ever present reality on the plane which lies outside our conceptions
of space and time. "Man is the measure of all things," said Aristotle; and surely he did not
mean by man, the form of flesh, bones and muscles!
Of all the deep thinkers Edgard Quinet, the author of Creation, expressed this idea
the best. Speaking of man, full of feelings and thoughts of which he has either no
consciousness at all, or which he feels only as dim and hazy impressions, he shows that
man realizes quite a small portion only of his moral being. "The thoughts we think, but are
unable to define and formulate, once repelled, seek refuge in the very root of our being."
. . . When chased by the persistent efforts of our will "they retreat before it, still further, still
deeper into - who knows what - fibres, but wherein they remain to reign and impress us
unbidden and unknown to ourselves......"
Yes; they become as imperceptible and as unreachable as the vibrations of sound
and colour when these surpass the normal range. Unseen and eluding grasp, they yet
work, and thus lay the foundations of our future actions and thoughts, and obtain mastery
over us, though we may never think of them and are often ignorant of their very being and
presence. Nowhere does Quinet, the great student of Nature, seem more right in his
observations than when speaking of the mysteries with which we are all surrounded: "The
mysteries of neither earth nor heaven but those present in the marrow of our bones, in our
brain cells, our nerves and fibres. No need," he adds, "in order to search for the unknown,
to lose ourselves in the realm of the stars, when here, near us and in us, rests the
unreachable. As our world is mostly formed of imperceptible beings which are the real
constructors of its continents, so likewise is man."
Verily so; since man is a bundle of obscure, and to himself unconscious
perceptions, of indefinite feelings and misunderstood emotions, of ever-forgotten memories
and knowledge that becomes on the surface of his plane - ignorance. Yet, while physical
memory in a healthy living man is often obscured, one fact crowding out another weaker
one, at the moment of the great change that man calls death - that which we call "memory"
seems to return to us in all its vigour and freshness.
May this not be due as just said, simply to the fact that, for a few seconds, at least,
our two memories (or rather the two states, the highest and the lowest state, of
consciousness) blend together, thus forming one, and that the dying being finds himself
on a plane wherein there is neither past nor future, but all is one present? Memory, as we
all know, is strongest with regard to its early associations, then when the future man is only
a child, and more of a soul than of a body; and if memory is a part of our Soul, then, as
Thackeray has somewhere said, it must be of necessity eternal. Scientists deny this; we,
Theosophists, affirm that it is so. They have for what they hold but negative proofs; we
have, to support us, innumerable facts of the kind just instanced, in the three cases
described by us. The links of the chain of cause and effect with relation to mind are, and
must ever remain a terra-incognita to the materialist. For if they have already acquired a
deep conviction that as Pope says -

"Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain

Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden chain.....

- and that they are still unable to discover these chains, how can they hope to unravel the
mysteries of the higher, Spiritual, Mind!

- Theosophia, March-April, 1953



- H.P. Blavatsky
[Originally published in Lucifer, London, Vol. XIX, No. 109, September, 1896,
pp. 9-14, subsequent to H.P.B.'s passing.]

Great is the self-satisfaction of modern science, and unexampled its achievements.

Pre-christian and mediaeval philosophers may have left a few landmarks over unexplored
mines: but the discovery of all the gold and priceless jewels is due to the patient labours
of the modern scholar. And thus they declare that the genuine, real knowledge of the
nature of the Kosmos and of man is all of recent growth. The luxuriant modern plant has
sprung from the dead weeds of ancient superstitions.
Such, however, is not the view of the students of Theosophy. And they say that it
is not sufficient to speak contemptuously of "the untenable conceptions of an uncultivated
past," as Mr. Tyndall and others have done, to hide the intellectual quarries out of which
the reputations of so many modern philosophers and scientists have been hewn. How
many of our distinguished scientists have derived honour and credit by merely dressing up
the ideas of those old philosophers, whom they are ever ready to disparage, is left to an
impartial posterity to say. But conceit and self -opinionatedness have fastened like two
hideous cancers on the brains of the average man of learning; and this is especially the
case with the Orientalists - Sanskritists, Egyptologists and Assyriologists. The former are
guided (or perhaps only pretend to be guided) by post-Mahabharatian commentators; the
latter by arbitrarily interpreted papyri, collated with what this or the other Greek writer said,
or passed over in silence, and by the cuneiform inscriptions on half-destroyed clay tablets
copied by the Assyrians from "Accado-" Babylonian records. Too many of them are apt
to forget, at every convenient opportunity, that the numerous changes in language, the
allegorical phraseology and evident secretiveness of old mystic writers, who were generally
under the obligation never to divulge the solemn secrets of the sanctuary, might have sadly
misled both translators and commentators. Most of our Orientalists will rather allow their
conceit to run away with their logic and reasoning powers than admit their ignorance, and
they will proudly claim like Professor Sayce* that they have unriddled the true meaning of
the religious symbols of old, and can interpret esoteric texts far more correctly than could
the initiated hierophants of Chaldea and Egypt. This amounts to saying that the ancient
hierogrammatists and priests, who

* See the Hibbert Lectures for 1897, pages 14-17, on the origin and growth of the
religion of the ancient Babylonians, where Prof. A.H. Sayce says that though "many of the
sacred texts were so written as to be intelligible only to the initiated [italics mine] ....
provided with keys and glosses," nevertheless, as many of the latter, he adds, "are in our
hands," they (the Orientalists) have "a clue to the interpretation of these documents which
even the initiated priests did not possess." (p. 17.) This "clue" is the modern craze, so dear
to Mr. Gladstone, and so stale in its monotony to most, which consists in perceiving in
every symbol of the religions of old a solar myth, dragged down, whenever opportunity
requires, to a sexual or phallic emblem. Hence the statement that while "Gisdhubar was
but a champion and conqueror of old times," for the Orientalists, who "can penetrate
beneath the myths" he is but a solar hero, who was himself but the transformed
descendant of a humbler God of Fire (loc. cit., p. 17).
written by themselves. But this is on a par with that other illusion of some Sanskritists,
who, though they have never even been in India, claim to know Sanskrit accent and
pronunciation, as also the meaning of the Vaidic allegories, far better than the most
learned among the great Brahmanical pundits and Sanskrit scholars of India.
After this who can wonder that the jargon and blinds of our medieval alchemists and
Kabalists are also read literally by the modern student; that the Greek and even the ideas
of Aeschylus are corrected and improved upon by the Cambridge and Oxford Greek
Scholars, and that the veiled parables of Plato are attributed to his "ignorance." Yet, if the
students of the dead languages know anything, they ought to know that the method of
extreme necessitarianism was practised in ancient as well as in modern philosophy; that
from the first ages of man, the fundamental truths of all that we are permitted to know on
earth were in the safe keeping of the Adepts of the sanctuary; that the difference in creeds
and religious practice was only external; and that those guardians of the primitive divine
revelation, who had solved every problem that is within the grasp of human intellect, were
bound together by a universal freemasonry of science and philosophy, which formed one
unbroken chain around the globe. It is for philology and the Orientalists to endeavour to
find the end of the thread. But if they will persist in seeking it in one direction only, and that
the wrong one, truth and fact will never be discovered. It thus remains the duty of
psychology and Theosophy to help the world to arrive at them. Study the Eastern religions
by the light of Eastern - not Western- philosophy, and if you happen to relax correctly one
single loop of the old religious systems, the chain of mystery may be disentangled. But to
achieve this, one must not agree with those who teach that it is unphilosophical to enquire
into first causes, and that all that we can do is to consider their physical effects. The field
of scientific investigation is bounded by physical nature on every side; hence, once the
limits of matter are reached, enquiry must stop and work be re-commenced. As the
Theosophist has no desire to play at being a squirrel upon its revolving wheel, he must
refuse to follow the lead of the materialists. He, at any rate, knows that the revolutions of
the physical world are, according to the ancient doctrine, attended by like revolutions in the
world of intellect, for the spiritual evolution in the universe proceeds in cycles, like the
physical one. Do we not see in history a regular alternation of ebb and flow in the tide of
human progress? Do we not see in history, and even find this within our own experience,
that the great kingdoms of the world, after reaching the culmination of their greatness,
descend again, in accordance with the same law by which they ascended? till, having
reached the lowest point, humanity reasserts itself and mounts up once more, the height
of its attainment being, by this law of ascending progression by cycles, somewhat higher
than the point from which it had before descended. Kingdoms and empires are under the
same cyclic laws as planets, races, and everything else in Kosmos.
The division of the history of mankind into what the Hindus call the Satya, Treta,
Dvipara and Kali Yugas, and what the Greeks referred to as "the Golden, Silver, Copper,
and Iron Ages" is not a fiction. We see the same thing in the literature of peoples. An age
of great inspiration and unconscious productiveness is invariably followed by an age of
criticism and consciousness. The one affords material for the analyzing and critical
intellect of the other. The moment is more opportune than ever for the review of old
philosophies. Archaeologists, philologists, astronomers, chemists and physicists are
getting nearer and nearer to the point where they will be forced to consider them. Physical
science has already reached its limits of exploration; dogmatic theology sees the springs
of its inspiration dry. The day is approaching when the world will receive the proofs that
only ancient religions were in harmony with nature, and ancient science embraced all that
can be known. Once more the prophecy already made in Isis Unveiled twenty-two years
ago is reiterated. "Secrets long kept may be revealed; books long forgotten and arts long
time lost may be brought out to light again; papyri and parchments of inestimable
importance will turn up in the hands of men who pretend to have unrolled them from
mummies, or stumbled upon them in buried crypts; tablets and pillars, whose sculptured
revelations will stagger theologians and confound scientists, may yet be excavated and
interpreted. Who knows the possibilities of the future? An era of disenchantment and
rebuilding will soon begin - nay, has already begun. The cycle has almost run its course;
a new one is about to begin, and the future pages of history may contain full evidence, and
convey full proof of the above."
Since the day that this was written much of it has come to pass, the discovery of the
Assyrian clay tiles and their records alone having forced the interpreters of the cuneiform
inscriptions - both Christians and Freethinkers - to alter the very age of the world. *
The chronology of the Hindu Puranas, reproduced in The Secret Doctrine, is now
derided, but the time may come when it will be universally accepted. This may be
regarded as simply an assumption, but it will be so only for the present. It is in truth but a
question of time. The whole issue of the quarrel between the defenders of ancient wisdom
and its detractors - lay and clerical - rests (a) on the incorrect comprehension of the old
philosophers, for the lack of the keys the Assyriologists boast of having discovered; and
(b) on the materialistic and anthropomorphic tendencies of the age. This in no wise
prevents the Darwinists and materialistic philosophers from digging into the intellectual
mines of the ancients and helping themselves to the wealth of ideas they find in them; nor
the divines from discovering Christian dogmas in Plato's philosophy and calling them
"presentiments," as in Dr. Lundy's Monumental Christianity, and other like modern works.
Of such "presentiments" the whole literature - or what remains of this sacerdotal
literature - of India, Egypt, Chaldea, Persia, Greece and even of Guatamala (Pupul Vuh),
is full. Based on the same foundation-stone - the ancient Mysteries - the primitive religions,
all without one exception, reflect the most important of the once universal beliefs, such, for
instance, as an impersonal and universal divine Principle, absolute in its nature, and
unknowable to the "brain" intellect, or the conditioned and limited cognition of man. To
imagine any witness to it in the manifested universe, other than as Universal Mind, the Soul
of the universe - is impossible. That which alone stands as an undying and ceaseless
evidence and proof of the existence of that One Principle, is the presence of an undeniable
design in kosmic mechanism, the birth, growth, death and transformation of everything in
the universe, from the

*Sargon, the first "Semitic" monarch of Babylonia, the prototype and original of
Moses, is now placed 3,750 years B.C. (p. 21), and the Third Dynasty of Egypt "some
6,000 years ago," hence some years before the world was created, agreeably to Biblical
chronology. (Vide Hibbert Lectures on Babylonia, by A. H. Sayce, 1887, pp. 21 and 33).

silent and unreachable stars down to the humble lichen, from man to the invisible lives now
called microbes. Hence the universal acceptation of "Thought Divine," the Anima Mundi
of all antiquity. This idea of Mahat (the great) Akasha or Brahma's aura of transformation
with the Hindus, of Alaya, "the divine Soul of thought and compassion" of the trans-
Himalayan mystics; of Plato's "perpetually reasoning Divinity," is the oldest of all the
doctrines now known to, and believed in, by man. Therefore they cannot be said to have
originated with Plato, nor with Pythagoras, nor with any of the philosophers within the
historical period. Say the Chaldean Oracles: "The works of nature co-exist with the
intellectual [noero], spiritual Light of the Father. For it is the Soul [psyche] which adorned
the great heaven, and which adorns it after the Father."
"The incorporeal world then was already completed, having its seat in the Divine
Reason," says Philo, who is erroneously accused of deriving his philosophy from Plato.
In the Theogony of Mochus, we find Aether first, and then the air; the two principles
from which the Ulom, the intelligible [noetos] God (the visible universe of matter) is born.
In the orphic hymns, the Eros-Phanes evolves from the Spiritual Egg, which the
aethereal winds impregnate, wind being "the Spirit of God," who is said to move in aether,
"brooding over the Chaos" - the Divine "Idea." In the Hindu Kathopanishad, Purusha, the
Divine Spirit, stands before the original Matter; from their union springs the great Soul of
the World, "Maha-Atma, Brahm, the Spirit of Life"; these latter appellations are identical
with Universal Soul, Anima Mundi, and the Astral Light of the Theurgists and Kabalists.
Pythagoras brought his doctrines from the eastern sanctuaries, and Plato compiled
them into a form more intelligible than the mysterious numerals of the Sage - whose
doctrines he had fully embraced - to the uninitiated mind. Thus, the Kosmos is "the Son"
with Plato, having for his father and mother the Divine Thought and Matter. The "Primal
Being" (Beings, with the Theosophists, as they are the collective aggregation of the divine
Rays), is an emanation of the Demiurgic or Universal Mind which contains from eternity the
idea of the "to be created world" within itself, which idea the unmanifested Logos produces
of Itself. The first Idea "born in darkness before the creation of the world" remains in the
unmanifested Mind; the second is this Idea going out as a reflection from the Mind (now
the manifested Logos), becoming clothed with matter, and assuming an objective

- Theosophia, May-June, 1952



Madame Blavatsky on the Views of the Theosophists

[Excerpts from H.P.B.'s first article published in The Spirit-ualist of London, February
8, 1878, and bearing a title obviously supplied by W. H. Harrison, the Editor of this Journal.
In her Scrapbook, Vol. III, p. 197, now in the Adyar Archives, H.P.B. inserted the following
remarks in blue peiicil, in connection with a tribute to W. H. Harrison: "Very true. The best,
most scientific and impartial of all Spiritual papers."
The article was written to counteract certain assertions of a man called J. Croucher,
an "inspirational medium," who gave a wrong interpretation of the terms "soul" and "spirit'
and their usage by Theosophists, especially Col. Henry S. Olcott. Square brackets in the
text which follows are H.P.B.'s own - Editor, Theosophia.]

....As early as February 18th, 1876, your learned correspondent, "M. A. (Oxon.),"
took occasion, in an article entitled "Soul and Spirit," to point out the frequent confusion of
the terms by other writers. As things are no better now, I will take the opportunity to show
how sorely Mr. Croucher, and many other Spiritualists of whom he may be taken as the
spokesman, misapprehended Colonel Olcott's meaning, and the views of the New York
Theosophists. Colonel Olcott neither affirmed nor dreamt of implying that the immortal
spirit leaves the body to produce the medial displays. And yet Mr. Croucher evidently
thinks he did, for the word "spirit" to him means the inner astral man or double. Here is
what Colonel Olcott did say, double commas and all:

That mediumistic physical phenomena are not produced by pure spirits, but by
"souls" embodied or disembodied, and usually with the help of elementals.

Any intelligent reader must perceive that, in placing the word "souls" in quotation
marks, the writer indicated that he was using it in a sense not his own. As a Theosophist,
he would more properly and philosophically have said for himself "astral spirits," or "astral
men," or doubles. Hence, the criticism is wholly without even a foundation of plausibility.
I wonder that a man could be found who, on so frail a basis, would have attempted so
sweeping a denunciation. As it is, our President only propounded the trine of man, like the
ancient and Oriental philosophers and their worthy imitator Paul, who held that the physical
corporeity, the flesh and blood, was permeated and so kept alive by the psyche, the soul
or astral body. This doctrine, that man is trine - spirit, or Nous, soul and body - was taught
by the Apostle of the Gentiles more broadly and clearly than it has been by any of his
Christian successors (see I Thess., v. 23). But having evidently forgotten or neglected to
"thoroughly" study the transcendental opinions of the ancient philosophers and the
Christian Apostles upon the subject, Mr. Crouclier views the soul (psyche) as spirit (Nous)
and vice versa.
The Buddhists, who separate the three entities in man (though viewing them as one
when on the path to Nirvana), yet divide the soul into several parts, and have names for
each of these and their functions. Thus confusion is unknown among them. The old
Greeks did likewise, holding that phyche was bios, or physical life, and it was thumos, or
passional nature, the animals being accorded but a lower faculty of the soul-instinct. The
soul or psyche is itself a combination, consensus or unity of the bios, or physical vitality,
the epithumia or concupiscible nature, and the phren, mens, or mind. Perhaps the animus
ought to be included. It is constituted of ethereal substance, which pervades the whole
universe, and is derived wholly from the soul of the world - Anima Mundi or the Buddhist
Svabhavat - which is not spirit; though intangible and impalpable, it is yet, by comparison
with spirit or pure abstraction - objective matter. By its complex nature, the soul may
descend and ally itself so closely to the corporeal nature as to exclude a higher life from
exerting any moral influence upon it. On the other hand, it can so closely attach to the
nous or spirit, as to share its potency, in which case its vehicle, physical man, will appear
as a God even during his terrestrial life. Unless such union of soul and spirit does occur,
either during this life or after physical death, the individual man is not immortal as an entity.
The psyche is sooner or later disintegrated. Though the man may have gained "the whole
world," he has lost his "soul." Paul, when teaching the anastasis, or continuation of
individual spiritual life after death, set forth that there was a physical body which was raised
in incorruptible substance. The spiritual body is most assuredly not one of the bodies, or
visible or tangible larvae, which form in circle-rooms, and are so improperly termed
"materialized spirits." When once the metanoia, the full developing of spiritual life, has
lifted the spiritual body out of the psychical (the disembodied, corruptible astral man, what
Colonel Olcott calls "soul"), it becomes, in strict ratio with its progress, more and more an
abstraction for the corporeal senses. It can influence, inspire, and even communicate with
men subjectively; it can make itself felt, and even, in those rare instances, when the
clairvoyant is perfectly pure and perfectly lucid, seen by the inner eye (which is the eye of
the purified psyche-soul). But how can it ever manifest objectively?
It will be seen, then, that to apply the term "spirit" to the materialized eidola of your
"form-manifestations," is grossly improper, and something ought to be done to change the
practice, since scholars have begun to discuss the subject. At best, when not what the
Greeks termed phantasma, they are but phasma, or apparitions.
In scholars, speculators, and especially in our modern savants, the psychical
principle is more or less pervaded by the corporeal, and "the things of the spirit are
foolishness and impossible to be known" (I Cor., ii, 14). Plato was then right, in his way,
in despising land-measuring, geometry, and arithmetic, for all these overlooked all high
ideas.. Plutarch taught that at death Proserpine separated the body and the soul entirely,
after which the latter became a free and independent demon (daimon). Afterward, the
good underwent a second dissolution: Demeter divided the psyche from the nous or
pneuma. The former was dissolved after a time into ethereal particles - hence the
inevitable dissolution and subsequent annihilation of the man who at death is purely
psychical; the latter, the nous, ascended to its higher Divine power and became gradually
a pure, Divine spirit. Kapila, in common with all Eastern philosophers, despised the purely
psychical nature. It is this agglomeration of the grosser particles of the soul, the mesmeric
exhalations of human nature imbued with all its terrestrial desires and propensities, its
vices, imperfections, and weakness, forming the astral body - which can become objective
under certain circumstances - which the Buddhists call skandhas (the groups), and Colonel
Olcott has for convenience termed the "soul." The Buddhists and Brahmanists teach that
the man's individuality is not secured until he has passed through and become
disembarrassed of the last of these groups, the final vestige of earthly taint. Hence their
doctrine of the metempsychosis, so ridiculed and so utterly misunderstood by our greatest
Orientalists. Even the physicists teach us that the particles composing physical man are,
by evolution, reworked by nature into every variety of inferior physical form. Why, then, are
the Buddhists unphilosophical or even unscientific, in affirming that the semi-material
skandhas of the astral man (his very ego, up to the point of final purification) are
appropriated to the evoIution of minor astral forms (which, of course, enter into the purely
physical bodies of animals) as fast as he throws them off in his progress toward Nirvana?
Therefore, we may correctly say, that so long as the disembodied man is throwing off a
single particle of these skandhas, a portion of him is being reincarnated in the bodies of
plants and animals. And if he, the disembodied astral man, be so material that "Demeter"
cannot find even one spark of the pneuma to carry up to the "divine power," then the
individual, so to speak, is dissolved, piece by piece, into the crucible of evolution, or, as the
Hindus allegorically illustrate it, he passes thousands of years in the bodies of impure
animals. Here we see how completely the ancient Greek and Hindu philosophers, the
modern Oriental schools, and the Theosophists, are ranged on one side, in perfect accord;
and the bright array of "inspirational mediums" and "spirit guides" stand in perfect discord
on the other. Though no two of the latter, unfortunately, agree as to what is and what is
not truth, yet they do agree with unamity to antagonize whatever of the teachings of the
philosophers we may repeat!
Let it not be inferred, though, from all this, that I, or any other real Theosophist,
undervalue true Spiritual phenomena or philosophy, or that we do not believe in the
communication between pure mortals and pure spirits, any less than we do in
communication between bad men and bad spirits, or even of good men with bad spirits
under bad conditions. Occultism is the essence of Spiritualism, while modern or popular
Spiritualism I cannot better characterize than as adulterated, unconscious magic. We go
so far as to say that all the great and noble characters, all the grand geniuses - the poets,
painters, sculptors, musicians - all who have worked at any time for the realization of their
highest ideal, irrespective of selfish ends - have been Spiritually inspired; not mediums,
as many Spiritualists call them - passive tools in the hands of controlling guides - but
incarnate, illuminated souls, working consciously in collaboration with the pure
disembodied human and newly-embodied high Planetary Spirits, for the elevation and
spiritualization of mankind. We believe that everything in material life is most intimately
associated with Spiritual agencies. As regards psychical phenomena and mediumship, we
believe that it is only when the passive medium has given place, or rather grown into, the
conscious mediator, that he can discern between spirits good and bad. And we do believe,
and know also, that while the incarnate man (though the highest adept) cannot vie in
potency with the pure disembodied spirits, who, freed of all their skandhas, have become
subjective to the physical senses, yet he can perfectly equal, and can far surpass in the
way of phenomena, mental or physical, the average "spirit" of modern mediumship.
Believing this, you will perceive that we are better Spiritualists, in the true acceptation of
the word, than so-called Spiritualists, who, instead of showing the reverence we do to true
spirits - gods - debase the name of spirit, by applying it to the impure, or, at best, imperfect
beings who produce the majority of the phenomena....
The two objections urged by Mr. Croucher against the claim of the Theosophists,
that a child is but a duality at birth, "and perhaps until the sixth or seventh year," and that
some depraved persons are anihilated at some time after death, are (1) that mediums have
described to him his three children, "who passed away at the respective ages of two, four,
and six years"; and (2) that he has known persons who were "very depraved" on earth
come back. He says:

These statements have been afterwards confirmed by glorious beings who come
after, and who have proved by their mastery of the laws which are governing the universe,
that they are worthy of being believed.

I am really happy to learn that Mr. Croucher is competent to sit in judgment upon
these "glorious beings," and give them the palm over Kapila, Manu, Plato, and even Paul.
It is worth something, after all, to be an "inspirational medium." We have no such "glorious
beings" in the Theosophical Society to learn from; but it is evident that while Mr. Croucher
sees and judges things through his emotional nature, the philosophers whom we study
took nothing from any glorious being that did not perfectly accord with universal harmony,
justice, and equilibrium of the manifest plan of the universe. The Hermetic axiom, "as
below, so above," is the only rule of evidence accepted by the Theosophists. Believing in
a spiritual and invisible universe, we cannot conceive of it in any other way than as
completely dovetailing and corresponding with the material, objective universe; for logic
and observation alike teach us that the latter is the outcome and visible manifestation of
the former, and that the laws governing both are immutable.
In his letter of December 7th, Colonel Olcott very appropriately illustrates his subject
of potential immortality by citing the admitted physical law of the survival of the fittest. The
rule applies to the greatest as to the smallest things - to the planet equally with the plant.
It applies to man. And the imperfectly developed manchild can no more exist under the
conditions prepared for the perfected types of its species, than can an imperfect plant or
animal. In infantile life, the higher faculties are not developed, but as everyone knows, are
only in the germ, or rudimentary. The babe is an animal, however "angelic" he may, and
naturally enough, ought to appear to his parents. Be it ever so beautifully molded, the
infant body is the jewel-casket preparing for the jewel. It is bestial, selfish, and, as a babe,
nothing more. Little of even the soul, Psyche, can be perceived except as vitality is
concerned; hunger, terror, pain, and pleasure appear to be the principal of its conceptions.
A kitten is its superior in everything but possibilities. The grey neurine of the brain is
equally unformed. After a time, mental qualities begin to appear, but they relate chiefly to
external matters. The cultivation of the mind of the child by teachers can only affect this
part of the nature - what Paul calls natural or psychical, and James and Jude sensual or
psychical. Hence the words of Jude [verse 19], "psychical, having not the spirit," and of

The psychical man receiveth not the things of the spirit, for to him they are
foolishness; the spiritual man discernth [I Cor., ii, 14].

It is only the man of full age, with his faculties disciplined to discern good and evil,
whom we can denominate spiritual, noetic, intuitive. Children developed in such respects
would be perecocious, abnormal - abortives.
Why, then, should a child who has never lived other than an animal life; who never
discerned right from wrong; who never cared whether he lived or died - since he could not
understand either of life or death - become immortal? Man's cycle is not complete until he
has passed through the earth life. No one stage of probation and experience can be
skipped over. He must be a man before he can become a spirit. A dead child is a failure
of nature - he must live again, and the same psyche, re-enters the physical plane through
another birth. Such cases, together with those of congenital idiots, are, as stated in Isis
Unveiled [Vol. I, p. 351], the only instances of human reincarnation.* If every child-duality
were to be immortal, why deny a like individual immortality to the duality of the animal?
Those who believe in the trinity of man know the babe to be but a duality - body and soul;
and the individuality which resides only in the psychical is, as we have seen proved by the
philosophers, perishable. The completed trinity only survives. Trinity, I say, for at death
the astral form becomes the outward body, and inside a still finer one evolves, which takes
the place of the psyche on earth, and the whole is more or less overshadowed by the nous.
Space prevented Colonel Olcott from developing the doctrine more fully, or he would have
added that not even all of the elementaries (human) are annihilated. There is still a chance
for some. By a supreme struggle these may retain their third and higher principle, and so,
though slowly and painfully, yet ascend sphere after sphere, casting off at each transition
the previous heavier garment, and clothing themselves in more radiant spiritual envelopes,
until, rid of every finite particle, the trinity merges into the final Nirvana, and becomes a
unity - a God.
A volume would scarce suffice to enumerate all the varieties of elementaries and
elementals; the former being so called by some Kabalists (Henry Khunrath, for instance)
to indicate their entanglement in the terrestrial elements which hold them captive, and the
latter designated by that name to avoid confusion, and equally applying to those which go
to form the astral body of the infant, and to the stationary nature-spirits proper. Eliphas
Levi, however, indifferently calls them all "Elementary," and "souls." I repeat again, it is but
the wholly psychical, disembodied astral man, which ultimately disappears as an individual
entity. As to the component parts of his psyche, they are as indestructible as the atoms
of any other body composed of matter.
That man must indeed be a true animal who has not, after death, a spark of the
divine ruach or nous left in him to allow him a chance of self-salvation. Yet there are such
lamentable exceptions; not alone among the depraved, but also among those who, during
life, by stifling every idea of an after-existence, have killed in themselves the last desire to
achieve immortality. It is the will of man, his all-potent will, that weaves his destiny, and if
a man is determined in the notion that death means annihilation, he will find it so. It is
among our commonest experiences that the determination of physical life or death
depends upon the will. Some people snatch themselves by force of determination from the
very jaws of death; while others succumb to insignificant maladies. What man does with
his body he can do with his disembodied psyche.

* [Explained later by H.P.B. to mean the reincarnation of the same astral or
psychical portion of the human personality. -Editor, Theosophia.)

Nothing in this militates against the images of Mr. Croucher's children being seen
in the Astral Light by the medium, either as actually left by the children themselves, or as
imagined by the father to look when grown. The impression in the latter case would be but
a phasma, while in the former it is a phantasma, or the apparition of the indestructible
impress of what once really was.
In days of old the "mediators" of humanity were men like Krishna, Gautama Buddha,
Jesus, Paul, Apollonius of Tyana, Plotinus, Porphyry, and the like of them. They were
adepts, philosopliers - men who, by struggling their whole lives in purity, study, and self-
sacrifice, through trials, privations, and self-discipline, attained divine illumination and
seemingly superhuman powers. They could not only produce all the phenomena seen in
our times, but regarded it as a sacred duty to cast out "evil spirits" or demons, from the
unfortunate who were obsessed. In other words, to rid the medium of their days of the
But in our time of improved psychology every hysterical sensitive blooms into a seer,
and behold! there are mediums by the thousand! Without any previous study, self-denial,
or the least limitation of their physical nature, they assume, in the capacity of mouthpieces
of unidentified and unidentifiable intelligences, to outrival Socrates in wisdom, Paul in
eloquence, and Tertullian himself in fiery and authoritative dogmatism. The Theosophists
are the last to assume infallibility for themselves, or recognize it in others; as they judge
others, so they are willing to be judged.
ln the name, then, of logic and common sense, before bandying epithets, let us
submit our differences to the arbitrament of reason. Let us compare all things, and, putting
aside emotionalism and prejudice as unworthy of the logician and the experimentalist, hold
fast only to that which passes the ordeal of ultimate analysis.
New York, January 14th, 1878.

[In connection with the above article, a sentence from a letter of Master K. H. written
to A. P. Sinnett in the Fall of 1882, may be of interest (The Mahatma Letters, etc., p. 289)

"It was H.P.B. who, acting under the orders of Atrya (one whom you do not know)
was the first to explain in the Spiritualist the difference there was between psyche and
nous, nefesh and ruach - Soul and Spirit. She had to bring the whole arsenal of proofs
with her, quotations from Paul and Plato, from Plutarch and James, etc. before the
Spiritualists admitted that the theosopliists were right...."

- Editor, Theosophia.]

- From Theosophia #155, Summer 1978



- H.P. Blavatsky
[Excerpts from an Editorial originally published in Lucifer, Vol. V, No. 29, January,
1890, pp. 357-64]

"The veil which covers the face of futurity is woven by the hand of Mercy."
- Bulwer Lytton

A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! This seems easy enough to say, and everyone
expects some such greeting. Yet, whether the wish, though it may proceed from a sincere
heart, is likely to be realized even in the case of the few - is more difficult to decide.
According to our theosophical tenets, every man or woman is endowed, more or less, with
a magnetic potentiality, which when helped by a sincere, and especially by an intense and
indomitable will - is the most effective of magic levers placed by Nature in human hands -
for woe as for weal. Let us then, Theosophists, use that will to send a sincere greeting and
a wish of good luck for the New Year to every living creature under the sun - enemies and
relentless traducers included. Let us try and feel especially kindly and forgiving to our foes
and persecutors, honest or dishonest, lest some of us should send unconsciously an "evil
eye" greeting instead of a blessing....
.... The future lies in the present and both include the Past. With a rare occult
insight Rohel made quite an esoterically true remark, in saying that "the future does not
come from before to meet us, but comes streaming up from behind over our heads." For
the Occultist and average Theosophist the Future and the Past are both included in each
moment of their lives, hence in the eternal PRESENT. The Past is a torrent madly rushing
by, that we face incessantly, without one second of interval; every wave of it, and every
drop in it, being an event, whether great or small. Yet, no sooner have we faced it, and
whether it brings joy or sorrow, whether it elevates us or knocks us off our feet, than it is
carried away and disappears behind us, to be lost sooner or later in the great Sea of
Oblivion. It depends on us to make every such event non-existent to ourselves by
obliterating it from our memory; or else to create of our past sorrows Promethean Vultures
- those "dark-winged birds, the embodied memories of the Past," which, in Sala's graphic
fancy "wheel and shriek over the Lethean lake." In the first case, we are real philosophers;
in the second - but timid and even cowardly soldiers of the army called mankind, and
commanded in the great battle of Life by "King Karma." Happy those of its warriors by
whom Death is regarded as a tender and merciful mother. She rocks her sick children into
sweet sleep on her cold, soft bosom but to awake them a moment after, healed of all ailing,
happy, and with a tenfold reward for every bitter sigh or tear. Postmortem oblivion of every
evil - to the smallest - is the most blissful characteristic of the "paradise" we believe in.
Yes: oblivion of pain and sorrow and the vivid recollection only, nay once more the living
over of every happy moment of our terrestrial drama; and, if no such movement ever
occurred in one's sad life, then the glorious realization of every legitamate, well-earned, yet
unsatisfied desire we ever had, as true as life itself and intensified seventy seven times
Christians - the Continental especially - celebrate their New Year days with special
pomp. That day is the Devachan of children and servants, and every one is supposed to
be happy, from Kings and Queens down to the porters and kitchen-malkins. The festival
is, of course, purely pagan, as with very few exceptions are all our holy days. The dear old
pagan customs have not died out, not even in Protestant England, though here the New
Year is no longer a sacred day - more's the pity. The presents, which used to be called in
old Rome strenae (now, the French eirennes), are still mutually exchanged. People greet
each other with the words: - Annum novum faustum felicemque tibi, as of yore; the
magistrates, it is true, sacrifice no longer a white swan to Jupiter, nor priests a white steer
to Janus. But magistrates, priests and all devour still in commemoration of swan and steer,
big fat oxen and turkeys at their Christmas and New Year's dinners. The gilt dates, the
dried and gilt plums and figs have now passed from the hands of the tribunes on their way
to the Capitol on to the Christmas trees for children. Yet, if the modern Caligula receives
no longer piles of copper coins with the head of Janus on one side of them, it is because
his own effigy replaces that of the god on every coin, and that coppers are no longer
touched by royal hands. Nor has the custom of presenting one's Sovereigns with strenae
been abolished in England so very long. D'Israeli tells us in his Curiosities of Literature of
3,000 gowns found in Queen Bess's wardrobe after her death, the fruit of her New Year's
tax on her faithful subjects, from Dukes down to dustmen. As the success of any affair on
that day was considered a good omen for the whole year in ancient Rome, so the belief
exists to this day in many a Christian country, in Russia pre-eminently so. Is it because
instead of the New Year, the mistletoe and the holly are now used on Christmas day, that
the symbol has become Christian? The cutting of the mistletoe off the sacred oak on New
Year's day is a relic of the old Druids of pagan Britain. Christian Britain is as pagan in her
ways as she ever was.....
. . . . . Only we theosophists, so kindly nicknamed the "sevening lunatics," would
prefer another day for our New Year. Like the apostate Emperor, many of us have still a
strong lingering love for the poetical, bright gods of Olympus and would willingly repudiate
the double-faced Thessalonian. The first of Januarius was ever more sacred to Janus than
Juno; and janua, meaning "the gate that openeth the year," holds as good for any day in
January. January 3, for instance, was consecrated to Minerva-Athene the goddess of
wisdom and to Isis, "she who generates life," the ancient lady patroness of the good city
of Lutetia. Since then, mother Isis has fallen a victim to the faith of Rome and civilization
and Lutetia along with her. Both were converted in the Julian calendar (the heirloom of
pagan Julius Caesar used by Christendom till the XIIIth century). Isis was baptized
Genevieve, became a beatified saint and martyr, and Lutetia was called Paris for a change,
preserving the same old patroness but with the addition of a false nose.* Life itself is a
gloomy masquerade wherein the ghastly danse Macabre is every instant performed; why
should not calendars and even religion in such case be allowed to partake in the travesty?
To be brief, it is January the 9th which ought to be selected by the Theosophists -
the Esotericists especially - as their New Year. January is under the sign of Capricornus,
the mysterious Makara of the Hindu mystics the "Kumaras," it being stated, having
incarnated in mankind under the 10th sign of the Zodiac. For ages the 4th of January has
been sacred to Mercury. Budha,** or Thoth-Hermes. Thus everything combines to make
of it a festival to be held by those who study ancient Wisdom. Whether called Budha or
Budhi by its Aryan name, Mercurios, the son of Coelus and Hecate truly, or of the divine
(white) and infernal (black) magic by its Hellenic, or again Hermes or Thoth its Greco-
Egyptian name, the day seems in every way more appropriate for us than January 1, the
day of Janus, the double-faced "god of the time"-servers. Yet it is well named, and as well
chosen to be celebrated by all the political Opportunists the world over.....

* This festival remains thus unchanged as that of the lady Patroness of Lutetia -
Paris, and to this day Isis is offered religious honours in every Parisian and Latin church.
** The 4th of January being sacred to Mercury, of whom the Greeks made Hermes,
the R. Catholics have included St. Hermes in their Calendar. Just in the same way, the 9th
of that month having been always celebrated by the pagans as the day of the "conquering
sun" the R. Catholics have transformed the noun into a proper name, making of it St.
Nicanor (from the Greek nikao, to conquer), whom they honour on the 10th of January.

- Theosophia, Nov-Dec, 1952

- H.P. Blavatsky
[Originally published in Lucifer, London, Vol. VI, No. 34, June, 1890, pp. 333-

Ever since the publication of The Secret Doctrine students of Theosophy (outside
the inner ring of Occult Sciences) have complained that the teachings contained in the
work do not satisfy them. One, mentioning the lengthy and rabid abuse of it by an old,
though really insignificant, if brutal, enemy, takes me to task for leaving a door open to
such criticism by taking too little into account modern science and modern thought (!);
another complains that my explanations are not complete; thus, he says:
"For the last ten years, I have been a close reader of theosophical literature. I have
read and re-read The Secret Doctrine and collated passages, and nothing is more
disheartening than to find some of the best explanations on Occult points, just as they
begin to grow a little lucid, marred by a reference to some exoteric philosophy or religion,
which breaks up the train of reasoning and leaves the explanation unfinished. . . . We can
understand parts, but we cannot get a succinct idea, particularly of the teachings as to
Parabrahm (the Absolute) the 1st and 2nd Logos, Spirit, Matter, Fohat, etc., etc."
This is the direct and natural result of the very mistaken notion that the work I have
called the "Secret Doctrine" had ever been intended by me to dovetail with modern
Science, or to explain "occult points." I was and still am more concerned with facts than
with scientific hypotheses. My chief and only object was to bring into prominence that the
basic and fundamental principles of every exoteric religion and philosophy, old or new,
were from first to last but the echoes of the primeval "Wisdom Religion." I sought to show
that the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE, like Truth itself, was One; and that, however differing
in form and color, the foliage of the twigs, the trunk and its main branches, were still those
of the same old Tree, in the shadow of which had developed and grown the (now) esoteric
religious philosophy of the races that preceded our present mankind on earth.
This object, I believe I have carried out as far as it could be carried, in the first two
volumes of The Secret Doctrine. It was not the occult philosophy of the esoteric teachings
that I undertook to explain to the world at large, for then the qualification of "Secret" would
have become like the secret of "Polichinelle" shouted in the manner of a stage a parte; but
simply to give that which could be given out, and to parallel it with the beliefs and dogmas
of the past and present nations, thus showing the original source of the latter and how
disfigured they had become. If my work is, at this day of materialistic assumptions and
universal iconoclasm, too premature for the masses of the profane - so much the worse
for those masses. But it was not too premature for the earnest students of theosophy -
except those, perhaps, who had hoped that a treatise on such intricate correspondences
as exist between the religions and philosophies of the almost forgotten Past, and those of
the modern day, could be as simple as a shilling "shocker" from a railway stall. Even one
system of philosophy at a time, whether that of Kant or of Herbert Spencer, of Spinoza or
of Hartmann, requires more than a study of several years. Does it not therefore, stand to
reason that a work which compares several dozens of philosophies and over half-a-dozen
of world-religions, a work which has to unveil the roots with the greatest precautions, as it
can only hint at the secret blossoms here and there - cannot be comprehended at a first
reading, nor even after several, unless the reader elaborates for himself a system for it?
That this can be done and is done is shown by the "Two Students of the E. S." They are
now synthesizing the "Secret Doctrine," and they do it in the most lucid and comprehensive
way, in this magazine. No more than any one else have they understood that work
immediately after reading it. But they went to work in dead earnest. They indexed it for
themselves, classifying the contents in two portions - the exoteric and the esoteric; and
having achieved this preliminary labor, they now present the former portion to the readers
at large, while storing the latter for their own practical instruction and benefit. Why should
not every earnest theosophist do the same?
There are several ways of acquiring knowledge: (a) by accepting blindly the dicta
of the church or modern science; (b) by rejecting both and starting to find the truth for
oneself. The first method is easy and leads to social respectability and the praise of men;
the other is difficult and requires more than ordinary devotion to truth, a disregard for direct
personal benefits and an unwavering perseverance. Thus it was in the days of old and so
it is now, except perhaps, that such devotion to truth has been more rare in our own day
than it was of yore. Indeed, the modern Eastern student's unwillingness to think for himself
is now as great as Western exertions and criticism of other people's thoughts.
He demands and expects that his "Path" shall be engineered with all the selfish craft
of modern comfort, macadamized, laid out with swift railways and telegraphs, and even
telescopes, through which he may, while sitting at his ease, survey the works of other
people; and while criticising them, look out for the easiest, in order to play at the Occultist
and Amateur Student of Theosophy. The real "Path" to esoteric knowledge is very
different. Its entrance is overgrown with the brambles of neglect, the travesties of truth
during long ages block the way, and it is obscured by the proud contempt of self-sufficiency
and with every verity distorted out of all focus. To push over the threshold alone, demands
an incessant, often unrequited labor of years, and once on the other side of the entrance,
the weary pilgrim has to toil up on foot, for the narrow way leads to forbidding mountain
heights, unmeasured and unknown, save to those who have reached the cloud-capped
summit before. Thus must he mount, step by step, having to conquer every inch of ground
before him by his own exertions; moving onward, guided by strange landmarks the nature
of which he can ascertain only by deciphering the weather-beaten, half-defaced
inscriptions as he treads along, for woe to him, if, instead of studying them, he sits by
coolly pronouncing them "indecipherable." The "Doctrine of the Eye" is maya; that of the
"Heart" alone, can make of him an elect.
Is it to be wondered that so few reach the goal, that so many are called, but so few
are chosen? Is not the reason for this explained in three lines on page 27 of The Voice of
the Silence? These say that while "The first repeat in pride 'Behold, I know,' the last, they
who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, 'thus have I heard'"; and hence, become
the only "chosen."

- from Theosophia, Sept-Oct, 1949


- H.P. Blavatsky
[This explanatory statement - one of the very few on this subject - was published by
H.P. Blavatsky in The Theosophist (Vol. V, December-January, 1883-84, p. 64) at a time
when considerable controversy was raging in connection with letters phenomenally
produced. It deserves careful study. - Editor]

Of all phenomena produced by occult agency in connection with our Society, none
have been witnessed by a more extended circle of spectators or more widely known and
commented on through recent Theosophical publications than the mysterious production
of letters. The phenomenon itself has been so well described in The Occult World and
elsewhere, that it would be useless to repeat the description here. Our present purpose
is more connected with the process than the phenomenon of the mysterious formation of
letters. Mr. Sinnett sought for an explanation of the process and elicited the following reply
from the revered Mahatma, who corresponds with him:

" . . . bear in mind that these my letters are not written, but impressed, or
precipitated, and then all mistakes corrected. . . . I have to think it over, to photograph
every word and sentence carefully in my brain, before it can be repeated by precipitation.
As the fixing on chemically prepared surfaces of the images formed by the camera requires
a previous arrangement within the focus of the object to be represented, for, otherwise -
as often found in bad photographs - the legs of the sitter might appear out of all proportion
with the head, and so on - so we have to first arrange our sentences and impress every
letter to appear on paper in our minds before it becomes fit to read. For the present, it is
all I can tell you." (6th Amer. ed., pp. 143-44)

Since the above was written, the Masters have been pleased to permit the veil to
be drawn aside a little more, and the modus operandi can thus be explained now more fully
to the outsider.
Those having even a superficial knowledge of the science of mesmerism know how
the thoughts of the mesmeriser, though silently formulated in his mind are instantly
transferred to that of the subject. It is not necessary for the operator, if he is sufficiently
powerful, to be present near the subject to produce the above result. Some celebrated
practitioners in this Science are known to have been able to put their subjects to sleep
even from a distance of several days' journey. This known fact will serve us as a guide in
comprehending the comparatively unknown subject now under discussion. The work of
writing the letters in question is carried on by a sort of psychological telegraphy; the
Mahatmas very rarely write their letters in the ordinary way. An electro-magnetic
connection, so to say, exists on the psychological plane between a Mahatma and his
chelas, one of whom acts as his amanuensis. When the Master wants a letter to be written
in this way, he draws the attention of the chela, whom he selects for the task, by causing
an astral bell (heard by so many of our Fellows and others) to be rung near him just as the
despatching telegraph office signals to the receiving office before wiring the message. The
thoughts arising in the mind of the Mahatma are then clothed in word, pronounced
mentally, and forced along the astral currents he sends toward the pupil to impinge on the
brain of the latter. Thence they are borne by the nerve-currents to the palms of his hand
and the tips of his finger, which rest on a piece of magnetically prepared paper. As the
thought-waves are thus impressed on the tissue, materials are drawn to it from the ocean
of akas (permeating every atom of the sensuous universe), by an occult process, out of
place here to describe, and permanent marks are left....
From this it is abundantly clear that the success of such writing as above described
depends chiefly upon these things: - (1) The force and the clearness with which the
thoughts are propelled, and (2) the freedom of the receiving brain from disturbance of
every description. The case with the ordinary electric telegraph is exactly the same. If, for
some reason or other the battery supplying the electric power falls below the requisite
strength on any telegraph line or there is some derangement in the receiving apparatus,
the message transmitted becomes either mutilated or otherwise imperfectly legible. The
telegram sent to England by Reuter's agent at Simla on the classification of the opinions
of Local Governments on the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill, which excited so much
discussion, gives us a hint as to how inaccuracies might arise in the process of
precipitation. Such inaccuracies, in fact, do very often arise as may be gathered from what
the Mahatma says in the above extract. "Bear in mind," says He, "that these my letters are
not written, but impressed, or precipitated, and then all mistakes corrected." To turn to the
sources of error in the precipitation. Remembering the circumstances under which
blunders arise in telegrams, we see that if a Mahatma somehow becomes exhausted or
allows his thoughts to wander off during the process or fails to command the requisite
intensity in the astral currents along which his thoughts are projected, or the distracted
attention of the pupil produces disturbances in his brain and nerve-centres, the success
of the process is very much interfered with.
It is to be very much regretted that the illustrations of the above general principles
are not permitted to be published. Otherwise, the present writer is confident that facts in
his possession alone would have made this paper far more interesting and instructive.
Enough, however, has been disclosed above to give the public a clue as to many apparent
mysteries in regard to precipitated letters. It ought to satisfy all earnest and sincere
inquirers and draw them most strongly to the path of Spiritual progress, which alone can
lead to the knowledge of occult phenomena, but it is to be feared that the craving for gross
material life is so strong in the western Society of the present day that nothing will come
to them amiss so long as it will shade off their eyes from unwelcome truth. They are like
Circe's swine

"Who not once their foul deformity perceive,"

but would trample down Ulysses for seeking to restore them their lost manhood.

- Theosophia, Fall, 1953



- H.P. Blavatsky

(Excerpts from an article originally published in Lucifer, Vol. vi, August 1890)
WE, of the century claiming itself as the XIXth of our era, are very proud of our
Progress and Civilization--Church and Churchmen attributing both to the advent of
Christianity--"Blot Christianity out of the pages of man's history," they say, "and what would
his laws have been?--what his civilization?" Aye; "not a law which does not owe its truth
and gentleness to Christianity, not a custom which cannot be traced in all its holy and
healthful parts to the Gospel."
What an absurd boast, and how easily refuted!
To discredit such statements one has but to remember that our laws are based on
those of Moses--life for life and tooth for tooth; to recall the laws of the holy Inquisition, i.e.,
the burning of heretics and witches by the hecatomb, on the slightest provocation; the
alleged right of the wealthiest and the strongest to sell their servants and fellow men into
slavery, not to carry into effect the curse bestowed on Ham, but simply "to purchase the
luxuries of Asia by supplying the slave market of the Saracens;" and finally the Christian
laws upheld to this day in England, and called women's disabilities, social and political.
Moreover, as in the blessed days of our forefathers' ignorance, we meet now with such
choice bits of unblushing blague as this, "We speak of our civilization, our arts, our
freedom, our laws, and forget entirely how large a share of all is due to Christianity" (Rose).
Just so! "our laws and our arts," but neither "our civilization" nor "our freedom." No
one could contradict the statement that these were won in spite of the most terrible
opposition by the Church during long centuries, and in the face of her repeated and loud
anathemas against civilization and freedom and the defenders of both. And yet,
notwithstanding fact and truth, it is being constantly urged that even the elevated position
(?!) of the Christian woman as compared with her "heathen" sister, is entirely the work of
Christianity! Were it true, this would at best be but a poor compliment to pay to a religion
which claims to supersede all others. As it is not true, however--Lecky, among many other
serious and trustworthy writers, having shown that "in the whole feudal legislation (of
Christendom) women were placed in a much lower legal position than in the Pagan
Empire"--the sooner and the oftener this fact is mentioned the better it will be for plain truth.
Besides this, our ecclesiastical laws are honeycombed as has been said, with the Mosaic
element. It is Leviticus not the Roman code, which is the creator and inspirer of legislation--
in Protestant countries, at any rate.
Progress, says Carlyle, is "living movement." This is true; but it is so only on the
condition that no dead weight, no corpse shall impede the freedom of that "living
movement." Now in its uncompromising conservatism and unspirituality the Church is no
better than a dead body. Therefore it did and still does impede true progress. Indeed, so
long as the Church--the deadliest enemy of the ethics of Christ--was in power, there was
hardly any progress at all. It was only after the French Revolution that real culture and
civilization had a fair start..........
But what are really culture and civilization? Dickens' idea that our hearts have
benefited as much by macadam as our boots, is more original from a literary, than an
aphoristical, standpoint. It is not true in principle, and it is disproved in nature by the very
fact that there are far more good-hearted and noble-minded men and women in muddy
country villages than there are in macadamised Paris or London. Real culture is spiritual.
It proceeds from within outwards, and unless a person is naturally noble-minded and
strives to progress on the spiritual before he does so on the physical or outward plane,
such culture and civilization will be no better than whitened sepulchres full of dead men's
bones and decay. And how can there be any true spiritual and intellectual culture when
dogmatic creeds are the State religion and enforced under the penalty of the opprobrium
of large communities of "believers." No dogmatic creed can be progressive. Unless a
dogma is the expression of a universal and proven fact in nature, it is no better than mental
and intellectual slavery. One who accepts dogmas easily ends by becoming a dogmatist
And what, after all, does our civilization amount to in the face of the grandiose
civilizations of the Past, now so remote and so forgotten, as to furnish our modern conceit
with the comforting idea that there never were any true civilizations at all before the advent
of Christianity?............
Whither then shall we turn to find a corroboration of the mendacious claim, that we
owe our civilization and culture, our arts, sciences, and all, to the elevating and benign
influence of Christianity? We owe to it nothing--nothing at all, neither physically nor morally.
The progress we have achieved, so far, relates in every case to purely physical appliances,
to objects and things, not to the inner man. We have now every convenience and comfort
of life, everything that panders to our senses and vanity, but not one atom of moral
improvement do we find in Christendom since the establishment of the religion of Christ.
As the cowl does not make the monk, so the renunciation of the old Gods has not made
men any better than they were before, but only, perhaps, worse. At any rate, it has created
a new form of hypocrisy--cant; nor has civilization spread as much as is claimed for


(Excerpts from The Key to Theosophy by H.P. Blavatsky, pp. 79-80).

Do you mean to suggest that neither the teachings of Buddha nor those of Christ
have been heretofore truly understood?
What I mean is just as you say. Both Gospels, the Buddhist and the Christian, were
preached with the same object in view. Both reformers were ardent philanthropists and
practical altruists - preaching most unmistakably Socialism of the noblest and highest type,
self-sacrifice to the bitter end. "Let the sins of the whole world fall upon me that I may
relieve man's misery and suffering!" cries Buddha; . . . "I would not let one cry whom I could
save!" exclaims the Prince-beggar, clad in the refuse rags of the burial-grounds. "Come
unto me all ye that labour and are heavily laden and I will give you rest," is the appeal to
the poor and the disinherited made try the "Man of Sorrows," who hath not where to lay his
head. The teachings of both are boundless love for humanity, charity, forgiveness of injury,
forgetfulness of self, and pity for the deluded masses; both show the same contempt for
riches, and make no difference between meum and tuum. Their desire was, without
revealing to all the sacred mysteries of initiation, to give the ignorant and the misled, whose
burden in life was too heavy for them, hope enough and an inkling into the truth sufficient
to support them in their heaviest hours. But the object of both Reformers was frustrated,
owing to excess of zeal of their later followers. The words of the Masters having been
misunderstood and misinterpreted, behold the consequences!

- From Theosophia, My-June, 1945 (Underlining editor's)



[Excerpts translated from the French essay "Le Phare de I'Inconnu" - (The Beacon
of the Unknown) originally published in La Revue Theosophique, May to August, 1889.]

Theosophy ... comes to us from the extreme East, as did the Theosophy of Plotinus
and lamblichus and even the mysteries of ancient Egypt. Do not Homer and Herodotus
tell us, in fact, that the ancient Egyptians were the "Ethiopians of the East," who came front
Lanka or Ceylon, according to their descriptions? For it is generally acknowledged that the
people whom those two authors call Ethiopians of the East were no other than a colony of
very dark-skinned Aryans, the Dravidians of Southern India, who took an already existing
civilization with them to Egypt. This took place during the prehistoric ages which Baron
Bunsen calls pre-Menite (before Menes), but which have a history of their own, to be found
in the ancient Annals of Kulluka-Bhatta. Besides, and apart from the esoteric teachings,
which are not divulged to a mocking public, the historical researches of Colonel Vans
Kennedy the great rival in India of Dr. Wilson as a Sanskritist, show us flat pre-Assyrian
Babylonia was the home of Brahmanism, and of Sanskrit as a sacerdotal language. We
also know, if Exodus is to believed, that Egypt had, long before the time of Moses, its
diviners, its hierophants and its magicians; that is to say, before the XIXth dynasty. Finally
Brugsh-Bey sees in many of the gods of Egypt, immigrants from beyond the Red Sea and
the great waters of the Indian Ocean.
Whether that be so or not, Theosophy is a descendant in direct line of the great tree
of universal GNOSIS, a tree, the luxuriant branches of which, spreading over the whole
earth like a great canopy, overshadowed during one epoch which Biblical chronology is
pleased to call antediluvian - all the temples and all the nations of the earth. That gnosis
represents the aggregate of all the sciences, the accumulated knowledge of all the gods
and demi-gods incarnated in former times upon the earth. There are some who would like
to see in these the fallen angels and the enemy of mankind; those sons of God who,
seeing that the daughters of men were fair, took them for wives and imparted to them all
the secrets of heaven and earth. Let them think so. We believe in Avataras and in divine
dynasties, in an epoch when there were in fact "giants upon the earth," but we emphatically
repudiate the idea of "fallen angels," and of Satan and his army.
"What then is your religion or your belief?" we are asked. "What is your favorite
"TRUTH," we reply. Truth wherever we find it; for, like Ammonius Saccas, our great
ambition would be to reconcile the different religious systems, to help each one to find the
truth in his own religion while obliging him to recognize it in that of his neighbor. What
matters the name if the thing itself is essentially the same? Plotinus, lamblichus, and
Apollonius of Tyana, all three, had, it is said, the wonderful gifts of prophecy, of
clairvoyance, and of healing, although belonging to three different schools. Prophecy was
an art cultivaled by the Essenes of the B'ni Nebim among the Jews as well as by the
priests of the pagan oracles. The disciples of Plotinus attributed miraculous powers to their
master; Philostrabus has claimed the same for Apollonius, while Iamblichus had the
reputation of surpassing all the other Eclectics in Theosophic Theurgy. Ammonius
declared that all moral and practical wisdom was contained in the books of Thoth or
Hermes Trismegistus. But "Thoth" means a "college," school or assembly, and the works
of that name, according to the theodidactos, were identical with the doctrines of the sages
of the extreme East. If Pythagoras acquired his knowledge in India (where he is mentioned
to this day in old manuscripts under the name of Yavanacharya* the "Greek Master"), Plato
gained his from the books of Thoth-Hermes. How the younger Hermes - the god of the
shepherds, surnamed "the good shepherd" - who presides over divination and
clairvoyance, became identical with the Thoth (or Thot) the deified sage and the author of
the Book of the Dead - only the esoteric doctrine can reveal to the Orientalists.
Every country has had its Saviours. He who dissipates the darkness of ignorance
by the help of the torch of science, thus disclosing to us the truth, deserves that title as a
mark of our gratitude, quite as much as he who saves us from death by healing our bodies.
Such an one awakens in our benumbed souls the faculty of distinguishing the true from the
false, by kindling therein a divine flame hitherto absent, and he has the right to our grateful
reverence, for he has become our creator. What matters the name or the symbol that
personifies the abstract idea, if that idea is always the same and is true? Whether the
concrete symbol bears one title or another, whether the Saviour in whom we believe has
for an earthly name Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, or Aesculapius - also called the "Saviour
God," ... we have but to remember one thing: symbols of divine truths were not invented
for the amusement of the ignorant; they are the alpha and omega of philosophic thought.
Theosophy being the way that leads to Truth, in every religion as in every science,
occultism is, so to say, the touchstone and universal solvent. It is the thread of Ariadne
given by the master to the disciple who ventures into the labyrinth of the mysteries of
being; the torch that lights him through the dangerous maze of life, forever the enigma of
the Sphinx. But the light thrown by this torch can only be discerned by the eye of the
awakened soul, by our spiritual senses; it blinds the eye of the materialist as the sun blinds
the owl.
Having neither dogma nor ritual - these two being but fetters, the material body
which suffocates the soul - we do not employ the "ceremonial magic" of the Western
Kabalists; we know its dangers too well to have any thing to do with it. In the T.S. every
Fellow is at liberty to study what he pleases, provided he does not venture into unknown
paths which would of a certainty lead him to black magic, the sorcery against which Eliphas
Levi so openly warned the public. The occult sciences are dangerous for him who un-

*A term which comes from the words Yavana or the "Ionian," and acharya,
"professor or master.

derstands them imperfectly. Anyone who gave himself up to their practices 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 uneven in 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 bequeathing to his sons a bundle of sticks which
were never to be separated, is a truth which will forever remain axiomatic.

- from Theosophia, Winter 1960-61



Proofs of its Existence - Mediums in Ancient Times
- H.P. Blavatsky

[Originally published in the Spiritual Scientist, Boston, Vol. III, October 14, 1875, pp.

Happening to be on a visit to Ithaca, where spiritual papers in general, and the

Banner of Light in particular, are very little read, but where, luckily, the Scientist has found
hospitality in several houses, I learned through your paper of the intensely interesting, and
very erudite attack in an editorial of the Banner, on "Magic"; or rather on those who had
the absurdity to believe in Magic. As hints concerning myself - at least in the fragment I
see - are very decently veiled, and, as it appears, Col. Olcott alone, just now, is offered by
way of a pious Holocaust on the altar erected to the angel-world by some Spiritualists, who
seem to be terribly in earnest, I will - leaving the said gentleman to take care of himself,
provided he thinks it worth his trouble - proceed to say a few words only, in reference to
the alleged non-existence of Magic.
Were I to give anything on my own authority, and base my defence of Magic only
on what I have seen myself, and know to be true in relation to that science, as a resident
of many years' standing in India and Africa, I might, perhaps, risk to be called by Mr. Colby
- with that unprejudiced, spiritualized politeness, which so distinguishes the venerable
editor of the Banner of Light - "an irresponsible woman"; and that would not be for the first
time either. Therefore, to his astonishing assertion that no magic whatever either exists
or has existed in this world, I will try to find as good authorities as himself, and maybe,
better ones, and thus politely proceed to contradict him on that particular point.
Heterodox Spiritualists, like myself, must be cautious in our days and proceed with
prudence, if they do not wish to be persecuted with all the untiring vengeance of that
mighty army of "Indian Controls" and "Miscellaneous Guides" of our bright Summer Land.
When the writer of the editorial says, that "he does not think it at all improbable that
there are humbugging spirits who try to fool certain aspirants to Occult knowledge with the
notion that there is such a thing as magic"(?) then on the other hand, I can answer him that
I, for one, not only think it probably, but I am perfectly sure, and can take my oath to the
certainty, that more than once, spirits, who were either elementary or very unprogressed
ones, calling themselves Theodore Parker, have been most decidedly fooling and
disrespectfully humbugging our most esteemed Editor of the Banner of Light into the notion
that the Apennines were in Spain, for instance.
Furthermore, supported in my assertions by thousands of intelligent Spiritualists,
generally known for their integrity and truthfulness, I could furnish numberless proofs and
instances where the Elementary Diakka, Esprits malins et farfadets, and other such-like
unreliable and ignorant denizens of the spiritworld, arraying themselves in pompous, world-
known and famous names, suddenly gave the bewildered witnesses such deplorable,
unheard-of, slip-slop trash, and betimes something worse, that more than one person who,
previous to that, was an earnest believer in the spiritual philosophy, has either silently
taken to his heels; or if he happened to have been formerly a Roman Catholic, has
devoutly tried to recall to memory with which hand he used to cross himself, and then
cleared out with the most fervent exclamation of Vade reto, Satanas! Such is the opinion
of every educated Spiritualist.
If that indomitable Attila, the persecutor of modern Spiritualism, and mediums, Dr.
G. Beard, had offered such a remark against Magic, I would not wonder, as a too profound
devotion to blue pill and black draught is generally considered the best antidote against
mystic and spiritual speculations: but for a firm Spiritualist, a believer in invisible,
mysterious worlds, swarming with beings, the true nature of which is still an unriddled
mystery to everyoneto step in and then sarcastically reject that which has been proved to
exist and believed in for countless ages by millions of persons, wiser than himself, is too
audacious! And that skeptic is the editor of a leading Spiritual paper! A man, whose first
duty should be, to help his readers to seek - untiringly and perseveringly - for the TRUTH
in whatever form it might present itself; but who takes the risk of dragging thousands of
people into error, by pinning them to his personal rose-water faith and credulity. Every
serious, earnest-minded Spiritualist must agree with me, in saying, that if modern
Spiritualism remains, for a few years only, in its present condition of chaotic anarchy, or still
worse, if it is allowed to run its mad course, shooting forth on all sides, idle hypotheses
based on superstitious, groundless ideas, then will the Dr. Beards, Dr. Marvins, and others,
known as scientific (?) skeptics, triumph indeed.
Really, it seems to be a waste of time to answer such ridiculous, ignorant assertions
as the one which forced me to take up my pen. Any well-read Spiritualist, who finds the
statement "that there ever was such a science as magic, has never been proved, nor ever
will be," will need no answer from myself, nor anyone else, to cause him to shrug his
shoulders and smile, as he probably has smiled, at the wonderful attempt of Mr. Colby's
spirits to reorganize geography by placing the Apennines in Spain.
Why, man alive, did you never open a book in your life, besides your own records
of Tom, Dick and Harry descending from upper spheres to remind their Uncle Sam that he
had torn his gaiters or broken his pipe in the Far West?
Did you suppose that Magic is confined to witches riding astride broomsticks and
then turning themselves into black cats? Even the latter superstitious trash, though it was
never called Magic, but Sorcery, does not appear so great an absurdity for one to accept,
who firmly believes in the transfiguration of Mrs. Compton into Katie Brinks. The laws of
nature are unchangeable. The conditions under which a medium can be transformed,
entirely absorbed in the process by the spirit, into the semblance of another person, will
hold good whenever that spirit or rather force should have a fancy to take the form of a cat.
The exercise of magical power is the exercise of natural powers, but SUPERIOR
to the ordinary functions of Nature. A miracle is not a violation of the laws of Nature,
except for ignorant people. Magic is but a science, a profound knowledge of the Occult
forces in Nature, and of the laws governing the visible or the invisible world. Spiritualism
in the hands of an adept becomes Magic, for he is learned in the art of blending together
the laws of the Universe without breaking any of them and thereby violating Nature. In the
hands of an experienced medium, Spiritualism becomes UNCONSCIOUS SORCERY; for,
by allowing himself to become the helpless tool of a variety of spirits, of whom he knows
nothing save what the latter permit him to know, he opens, unknown to himself, a door of
communication between the two worlds, through which emerge the blind forces of Nature
lurking in the astral light, as well as good and bad spirits.
A powerful mesmerizer, profoundly learned in his science, such as Baron Du Potet,
Regazzoni, Pietro d'Amicis of Bologna, are magicians, for they have become the adepts,
the initiated ones, into the great mystery of our Mother Nature. Such men as the above-
mentioned - and such were Mesmer and Cagliostro - control the spirits instead of allowing
their subjects or themselves to be controlled by them; and Spiritualism is safe in their
hands. In the absence of experienced Adepts though, it is always safer for a naturally
clairvoyant medium to trust to good luck and chance, and try to judge of the tree by its
fruits. Bad spirits will seldom communicate through a pure, naturally good and virtuous
person; and it is still more seldom that pure spirits will choose impure channels. Like
attracts like.
But to return to Magic. Such men as Albertus Magnus, Raymond Lully, Cornelius
Agrippa, Paracelsus, Robert Fludd, Eugenius Philalethes, Khunrath, Roger Bacon and
others of similar character, in our skeptical century, are generally taken for visionaries; but
so, too, are modern Spiritualists and mediums - nay worse, for charlatans and poltroons;
but never were the Hermetic Philosophers taken by anyone for fools and idiots, as,
unfortunately for ourselves and the cause, every unbeliever takes ALL of us believers in
Spiritualism to be. Those Hermetics and philosophers may be disbelieved and doubted
now, as everything else is doubted, but very few doubted their knowledge and power
during their lifetime, for they always could prove what they claimed, having command over
those forces which now command helpless mediums. They had their science and
demonstrated philosophy to help them to throw down ridiculous negations, while we
sentimental Spiritaulists, rocking ourselves to sleep with our "Sweet Bye and Bye," are now
unable to recognize a spurious phenomenon from a genuine one, and are daily deceived
by vile charlatans. Even though doubted then, as Spiritualism is in our day, still these
philosophers were held in awe and reverence, even by those who did not implicitly believe
in their Occult potency, for they were giants of intellect. Profound knowledge, as well as
cultured intellectual powers, will always be respected and revered; but our mediums and
their adherents are laughed and scorned at, and we are all made to suffer, because the
phenomena are left to the whims and pranks of self-willed and other mischievous spirits,
and we are utterly powerless in controlling them.
To doubt Magic is to reject History itself as well as the testimony of ocular witnesses
thereof, during a period embracing over 4,000 years. Beginning with Homer, Moses,
Hermes, Herodotus, Cicero, Plutarch, Pythagoras, Apollonius of Tyana, Simon the
Magician, Plato, Pausanias, Iamblichus, and following this endless string of great men,
historians and philosophers, who all of them either believed in magic or were magicians
themselves, and ending with our modern authors, such as W. Howitt, Ennemoser, C. Des
Mousseaux, Marquis de Mirville and the late Eliphas Levi, who was a magician himself -
among all these great names and authors, we find but the solitary Mr. Colby, Editor of the
Banner of Light, who ignores that there ever was such a science as Magic. He innocently
believes the whole of the sacred army of Bible prophets, commencing with Father
Abraham, including Christ, to be merely mediums; in the eyes of Mr. Colby they were all
of them acting under control! Fancy Christ, Moses, or an Apollonius of Tyana, controlled
by an Indian guide! The venerable editor ignores, perhaps, that spiritual mediums were
better known in those days to the ancients, than they are now to us, and he seems to he
equally unaware of the fact that the inspired Sibyls, Pythonesses, and other mediums,
were entirely guided by their High Priest and those who were initiated into the Esoteric
Theurgy and mysteries of the Temples. Theurgy was magic; as in modern times, the
Sibyls and Pythonesses WERE MEDIUMS; but their High Priests were magicians. All the
secrets of their theology, which included magic, or the art of invoking ministering spirits,
were in their bands. They possessed the science of DISCERNING SPIRITS; a science
which Mr. Colby does not possess at all - to his great regret no doubt. By this power they
controlled the spirits at will, allowing but the good ones to absorb their mediums. Such is
the explanation of magic - the real, existing, White or sacred magic, which ought to be in
the hands of science now, and would he, if science had profited by the lessons which
Spiritualism has inductively taught for these last twenty-seven years.
That is the reason why no trash was allowed to be given by unprogressed spirits in
the days of old. The oracles of the sibyls and inspired priestesses could never have
affirmed Athens to be a town in India, or jumped Mount Ararat from its native place down
to Egypt.
If the skeptical writer of the editorial had, moreover, devoted less time to prattling
Indian spirits and more to profitable lectures, he might have learned perhaps at the same
time, that the ancients had their illegal mediums - I mean those who belonged to no special
Temple, and thus the spirits controlling them, unchecked by the expert hand of the
magician, were left to themselves, and had all the opportunity possible to perform their
capers on their helpless tools; that such mediums were generally considered obsessed
and possessed, which they were in fact; in other words, and according to the Bible
phraseology, "they had the seven devils in them." Furthermore, these mediums were
ordered to be put to death, for the intolerant Moses the magician, who was learned in the
wisdom of Egypt, had said, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Alone, the Egyptians and
Greeks, even more humane and just than Moses, took such into their temples, and when
found unfit for sacred duties of prophecy they were cured, in the same way as Jesus Christ
cured Mary of Magdala and many others, by "casting out the seven devils." Either Mr.
Colby and Co. must completely deny the miracles of Christ, the Apostles, Prophets,
Thaumaturgists, and Magicians, and so deny point-blank every bit of the sacred and
profane histories, or he must confess that there is a POWER in this world which can
command spirits, at least the had and unprogressed ones, the elementary and Diakka.
The pure ones, the disembodied, will never descend to our sphere, unless attracted by a
current of powerful sympathy and love, or on some useful mission.
Far from me the thought of casting odium and ridicule on our mediums. I am myself
a Spiritualist, if, as says Colonel Olcott, a firm belief in our souls' immortality and the
knowledge of a constant possibility for us to communicate with the spirits of our departed
and loved ones, either through honest, pure mediums, or by means of the Secret Science,
constitutes a Spiritualist. But I am not of those fanatical Spiritualists, to be found in every
country, who blindly accept the claims of every spirit, for I have seen too much of various
phenomena, undreamed of in America. I know that MAGIC does exist, and 10,000 editors
of Spiritual papers cannot change my belief in what I know. There is a white and a black
magic; and no one who has ever traveled in the East, can doubt it, if he has taken the
trouble to investigate. My faith being firm I am, therefore, ever ready to support and protect
any honest medium - aye, and even occasionally one who appears dishonest, for I know
but too well, what helpless tools and victims such mediums are in the hands of
unprogressed, invisible beings. I am furthermore aware of the malice and wickedness of
the elementary, and how far they can inspire not only a sensitive medium, but any other
person as well. Though I may be an "irresponsible woman" in the eyes of those who are
but "too responsible" for the harm they do to EARNEST Spiritualists by their unfairness,
one-sidedness, and spiritual sentimentalism, I feel safe to say, that generally I am quick
enough to detect whenever a medium is cheating under control, or cheating consciously.
Thus magic exists and has existed ever since prehistoric ages. Begun in history
with the Samothracian mysteries, it followed its course uninterruptedly, and ended for a
time with the expiring theurgic rites and ceremonies of christianized Greece; then
reappeared for a time again with the Neo-Platonic, Alexandrian school, and passing, by
initiation, to sundry solitary students and philosophers, safely crossed the mediaeval ages,
and notwithstanding the furious persecutions of the Church, resumed its fame in the hands
of such adepts as Paracelsus and several others, and finally died out in Europe with the
Count de St. Germain and Cagliostro, to seek refuge from the frozen-hearted skepticism
in its native country of the East.
In India, magic has never died out, and blossoms there as well as ever. Practised,
as in ancient Egypt, only within the secret enclosure of the Temples, it was, and still is,
called the "sacred science." For it is a science, based on natural occult forces of Nature;
and not merely a blind belief in the poll-parrot talking of crafty elementary ones, ready to
forcibly prevent real, disembodied spirits from communicating with their loved ones
whenever they can do so.
Some time, a Mr. Mendenhall devoted several columns in the Religio-Philosophical
Journal, to questioning, cross-examining, and criticizing the mysterious Brotherhood of
Luxor. He made a fruitless attempt at forcing the said Brotherhood to answer him, and
thus unveil the sphinx. I can satisfy Mr. Mendenhall. The BROTHERHOOD OF LUXOR
is one of the sections of the Grand Lodge of which I am a member. If this gentleman
entertains any doubt as to my statement - which I have no doubt he will - he can, if he
chooses, write to Lahor* for information. If perchance, the Seven of the Committee were
so rude as not to answer him, and would refuse to give him the desired information, I can
then offer him a little business transaction. Mr. Mendenhall, as far as I remember, has two
wives in the spirit world. Both of these ladies materialize at M. Mott's, and often hold very
long conversations with their husband, as the latter told us of several times and over his
own signature; adding, moreover, that he had no doubt whatever of the identity of the said
spirits. If so, let one of the departed ladies tell Mr. Mendenhall the name of that section of
the Grand Lodge I belong to. For real, genuine, disembodied spirits, if both are what they
claim to be, the matter is more than easy; they have but to enquire of other spirits, look
into my thoughts, and so on; for a disembodied entity, an immortal spirit, it is the easiest
thing in the world to do. Then, if the gentleman I challenge, though I am deprived of the
pleasure of his acquaintance, tells me the true name of the section - which name three
gentlemen in New York, who are accepted neophytes of our Lodge, know well - I pledge
myself to give to Mr. Mendenhall the true statement concerning the Brotherhood, which is
not composed of spirits, as he may think, but of living mortals, and I will, moreover, if he
desires to, put him in direct communication with the Lodge as I have done for others.
Methinks, Mr. Mendenhall will answer that no such name can be given correctly by the
spirits, for no such Lodge or Section either exists at all, and thus close the discussion.

* [Evidently a misprint for Luxor. - Editor, Theosophia.]

- from Theosophia, Winter, 1958-9



- H.P. Blavatsky

(Excerpts from an article which originally appeared in The Spiritualist, London,

February 8, 1878. It establishes in a lucid and authoritative manner the difference between
the teachings of occultism and the views of modern Spiritualism. - Editor)

Permit a humble Theosophist to appear for the first time in your columns, to say a
few words in defence of our beliefs. I see in your issue of December 21st ultimo, one of
your correspondents, Mr. J. Croucher, makes the following very bold assertions:
"Had the Theosophists thoroughly comprehended the nature of the soul and spirit,
and its relation to the body, they would have known that if the soul once leaves, it leaves
for ever."
This is so ambiguous that, unless he uses the term "soul" to designate only the vital
principle, I can only suppose that he falls into the common error of calling the astral body,
spirit, and the immortal essence, "soul." We Theosophists, as Col. Olcott has told you, do
vice versa.
Besides the unwarranted imputation on us of ignorance, Mr. Croucher has an idea
(peculiar to himself) that the problem which has heretofore taxed the powers of the
metaphysicians in all ages has been solved in our own. It is hardly to be supposed that
Theosophists or any others "thoroughly" comprehend the nature of the soul and spirit, and
their relation to the body. Such an achievement is for Omniscience, and we Theosophists
treading the path worn by the footsteps of the old Sages in the moving sands of exoteric
philosophy, can only hope to approximate to the absolute truth. It is really more than
doubtful whether Mr. Croucher can do better, even though an "inspirational medium,’’ and
experienced "through constant sittings with one of the best trance mediums" in your
country. I may well leave to time and Spiritual Philosophy to entirely vindicate us in the far
hereafter. When any Oedipus of this or the next century shall have solved this eternal
enigma of the Sphinx-man, every modern dogma, not excepting some pets of the
Spiritualists, will be swept away, as the Theban monster, according to the legend, leaped
from his promontory into the sea, and was seen no more.....
Here is what Col. Olcott did say, double commas and all:
"That mediumistic physical phenomena are not produced by pure spirits, but by
'souls' embodied or disembodied, and usually with the help of Elementals."
Any intelligent reader must perceive that, in placing the word "souls" in quotation
marks, the writer indicated that he was using it in a sense not his own. As a Theosophist,
he would more properly and philosophically have said for himself "astral spirits" or "astral
men," or doubles. Hence, the criticism is wholly without even a foundation of plausibility.
I wonder that a man could be found who, on so frail a basis, would have attempted so
sweeping a denunciation. As it is, our President only propounded the trine of man, like the
ancient and Oriental Philosophers and their worthy imitator Paul, who held that the physical
corporeity, the flesh and blood, was permeated and so kept alive by the Psuche, the soul
or astral body. This doctrine, that man is trine-spirit or Nous, soul and body-was taught by
the Apostle of the Gentiles more broadly and clearly than it has been by any of his
Christian successors (see 1 Thess., v. 23). But having evidently forgotten or neglected to
"thoroughly" study the transcendental opinions of the ancient Philosophers and the
Christian Apostle upon the subject, Mr. Croucher views the soul (Psuche) as spirit (Nous)
and vice versa.
The Buddhists, who separate the three entities in man (though viewing them as one
when on the path to Nirvâna), yet divide the soul into several parts, and have names for
each of these and their functions. Thus confusion is unknown among them. The old
Greeks did likewise, holding that Psuche was bios, or physical life, and it was thumos, or
passional nature, the animals being accorded but the lower faculty of the soul instinct. The
soul or Psyche is itself a combination, consensus or unity of the bios, or physical vitality,
the epithumia or concupiscible nature, and the phrên, mens or mind. Perhaps the animus
ought to be included. It is constituted of ethereal substance, which pervades the whole
universe, and is derived wholly from the soul of the world-Anima Mundi or the Buddhist
Svabhavat-which is not spirit; though intangible and impalpable, it is yet, by comparison
with spirit or pure abstraction, objective matter. By its complex nature, the soul may
descend and ally itself so closely to the corporeal nature as to exclude a higher life from
exerting any moral influence upon it. On the other hand, it can so closely attach itself to the
Nous or spirit, as to share its potency, in which case its vehicle, physical man, will appear
as a God even during his terrestrial life. Unless such union of soul and spirit does occur,
either during this life or after physical death, the individual man is not immortal as an entity.
The Psyche is sooner or later disintegrated. Though the man may have gained "the whole
world," he has lost his "soul." Paul, when teaching the anastasis, or continuation of
individual spiritual life after death, set forth that there was a physical body which was raised
in incorruptible substance.
The spiritual body is most assuredly not one of the bodies, or visible or tangible
larvae, which form in circle-rooms, and are so improperly termed "materialized spirits."
When once the metanoia, the full developing of spiritual life, has lifted the spiritual body
out of the psychical (the disembodied, corruptible, astral man, what Col. Olcott calls "soul"),
it becomes, in strict ratio with its progress, more and more an abstraction for the corporeal
senses. It can influence, inspire, and even communicate with men subjectively; it can make
itself felt, and even, in those rare instances when the clairvoyant is perfectly pure and
perfectly lucid, be seen by the inner eye (which is the eye of the purified Psyche-soul). But
how can it ever manifest objectively?
It will be seen, then, that to apply the term "spirit" to the materialized eidola of your
"form-manifestations" is grossly improper, and something ought to be done to change the
practice, since scholars have begun to discuss the subject. At best, when not what the
Greeks termed phantasma, they are but phasma or apparitions.
In scholars, speculators, and especially in our modern savants, the psychical
principle is more or less pervaded by the corporeal, and "the things of the spirit are
foolishness and impossible to be known" (1 Cor., ii. 14). Plato was then right, in his way,
in despising land-measuring, geometry and arithmetic, for all these overlooked all high
ideas. Plutarch taught that at death Proserpine separated the body and the soul entirely,
after which the latter became a free and independent demon (daimon). Afterward the good
underwent a second dissolution: Demeter divided the Psyche from the Nous or Pneuma.
The former was dissolved after a time into ethereal particles-hence the inevitable
dissolution and subsequent annihilation of the man who at death is purely psychical; the
latter, the Nous, ascended to its higher divine power and became gradually a pure, divine
spirit. Kapila, in common with all Eastern Philosophers, despised the purely psychical
nature. It is this agglomeration of the grosser particles of the soul, the mesmeric
exhalations of human nature imbued with all its terrestrial desires and propensities, its
vices, imperfections and weakness, forming the astral body, which can become objective
under certain circumstances, which the Buddhists call the Skandhas (the groups), and Col.
Olcott has for convenience termed the "soul." The Buddhists and Brahmans teach that the
man’s individuality is not secured until he has passed through and become disembarrassed
of the last of these groups, the final vestige of earthly taint. Hence their doctrine of
metempsychosis, so ridiculed and so utterly misunderstood by our greatest Orientalists.
Even the physicists teach us that the particles composing physical man are, by
evolution, reworked by nature into every variety of inferior physical form. Why, then, are
the Buddhists unphilosophical or even unscientific, in affirming that the semi-material
Skandhas of the astral man (his very ego, up to the point of final purification) are
appropriated to the evolution of minor astral forms (which, of course, enter into the purely
physical bodies of animals) as fast as he throws them off in his progress toward Nirvâna?
Therefore, we may correctly say, that so long as the disembodied man is throwing off a
single particle of these Skandhas, a portion of him is being reincarnated in the bodies of
plants and animals. And if he, the disembodied astral man, be so material that "Demeter"
cannot find even one spark of the Pneuma to carry up to the "divine power," then the
individual, so to speak, is dissolved, piece by piece, into the crucible of evolution, or, as the
Hindus allegorically illustrate it, he passes thousands of years in the bodies of impure
animals. Here we see how completely the ancient Greek and Hindu Philosophers, the
modern Oriental schools, and the Theosophists, are ranged on one side, in perfect accord,
and the bright array of "inspirational mediums" and "spirit guides" stand in perfect discord
on the other. Though no two of the latter, unfortunately, agree as to what is and what is not
truth, yet they do agree with unanimity to antagonize whatever of the teachings of the
Philosophers we may repeat!
Let it not be inferred, though, from this, that I, or any other real Theosophist,
undervalue true spiritual phenomena or philosophy, or that we do not believe in the
communication between mortals and pure Spirits, any less than we do in communication
between bad men and bad Spirits, or even of good men with bad Spirits under bad
conditions. Occultism is the essence of Spiritualism, while modern or popular Spiritualism
I cannot better characterize than as adulterated unconscious Magic. We go so far as to say
that all the great and noble characters, all the grand geniuses, the poets, painters,
sculptors, musicians, all who have worked at any time for the realization of their highest
ideal, irrespective of selfish ends-have been spiritually inspired; not mediums, as many
Spiritualists call them-passive tools in the hands of controlling guides-but incarnate,
illuminated souls, working consciously in collaboration with the pure disembodied human
and new-embodied high Planetary Spirits, for the elevation and spiritualization of mankind.
We believe that everything in material life is most intimately associated with spiritual
agencies. As regards physical phenomena and mediumship, we believe that it is only when
the passive medium has given place, or rather grown into, the conscious mediator, that he
discerns between Spirits good and bad. And we do believe, and know also, that while the
incarnate man (though the highest Adept) cannot vie in potency with the pure disembodied
Spirits, who, freed of all their Skandhas, have become subjective to the physical senses,
yet he can perfectly equal, and can far surpass in the way of phenomena, mental or
physical, the average "Spirit" of modern mediumship. Believing this, you will perceive that
we are better Spiritualists, in the true acceptation of the word, than so-called Spiritualists,
who, instead of showing the reverence we do to true Spirits-Gods-debase the name of
Spirit by applying it to the impure, or at best, imperfect beings who produce the majority of
the phenomena.
.........while Mr. Croucher sees and judges things through his emotional nature, the
Philosophers whom we study took nothing from any "glorious being" that did not perfectly
accord with the universal harmony, justice, and equilibrium of the manifested plan of the
Universe. The Hermetic axiom, "as below, so above," is the only rule of evidence accepted
by the Theosophists. Believing in a spiritual and invisible Universe, we cannot conceive of
it in any other way than as completely dovetailing and corresponding with the material,
objective Universe; for logic and observation alike teach us that the latter is the outcome
and visible manifestation of the former, and that the laws governing both are immutable.
.........the imperfectly developed man-child can no more exist under the conditions
prepared for the perfected types of its species, than can an imperfect plant or animal. In
infantile life the higher faculties are not developed, but, as everyone knows, are only in the
germ, or rudimentary. The babe is an animal, however "angelic" he may, and naturally
enough ought to, appear to his parents. Be it ever so beautifully modelled, the infant body
is but the jewel-casket preparing for the jewel. It is bestial, selfish, and, as a babe, nothing
more. Little of even the soul, Psyche, can be perceived except so far as vitality is
concerned; hunger, terror, pain and pleasure appear to be the principal of its conceptions.
A kitten is its superior in everything but possibilities. The grey neurine of the brain is equally
unformed. After a time mental qualities begin to appear, but they relate chiefly to external
matters. The cultivation of the mind of the child by teachers can only affect this part of the
nature-what Paul calls natural or physical, and James and Jude sensual or psychical.
Hence the words of Jude, "psychical, having not the spirit," and of Paul:
"The psychical man receiveth not the things of the spirit, for to him they are
foolishness; the spiritual man discerneth."
It is only the man of full age, with his faculties disciplined to discern good and evil,
whom we can denominate spiritual, noetic, intuitive. Children developed in such respects
would be precocious, abnormal abortions.
Why, then, should a child who has never lived other than an animal life; who never
discerned right from wrong; who never cared whether he lived or died-since he could not
understand either of life or death-become individually immortal? Man’s cycle is not
complete until he has passed through the earth-life. No one stage of probation and
experience can be skipped over. He must be a man before he can become a Spirit. A dead
child is a failure of nature-he must live again; and the same Psuche reenters the physical
plane through another birth. Such cases, together with those of congenital idiots, are, as
stated in Isis Unveiled, the only instances of human reincarnation. If every child-duality
were to be immortal, why deny a like individual immortality to the duality of the animal?
Those who believe in the trinity of man know the babe to be but a duality-body and soul-
and the individuality which resides only in the psychical is, as we have seen proved by the
Philosophers, perishable. The completed trinity only survives. Trinity, I say, for at death the
astral form becomes the outward body, and inside a still finer one evolves, which takes the
place of the Psyche on earth, and the whole is more or less overshadowed by the Nous.
Space prevented Col. Olcott from developing the doctrine more fully, or he would have
added that not even all of the Elementaries (human) are annihilated. There is still a
chance for some. By a supreme struggle these may retain their third and higher principle,
and so, though slowly and painfully, yet ascend sphere after sphere, casting off at each
transition the previous heavier garment, and clothing themselves in more radiant spiritual
envelopes, until, rid of every finite particle, the trinity merges into the final Nirvâna, and
becomes a unity - a God.
A volume would scarce suffice to enumerate all the varieties of Elementaries and
Elementals; the former being so called by some Kabalists (Henry Kunrath, for instance) to
indicate their entanglement in the terrestrial elements which hold them captive, and the
latter designated by that name to avoid confusion, and equally applying to those which go
to form the astral body of the infant and to the stationary Nature Spirits proper. Éliphas
Lévi, however, indifferently calls them all "Elementary" and "souls." I repeat again, it is but
the wholly psychical disembodied astral man which ultimately disappears as an individual
entity. As to the component parts of his Psyche, they are as indestructible as the atoms of
any other body composed of matter.
The man must indeed be a true animal who has not, after death, a spark of the
divine Ruach or Nous left in him to allow him a chance of self-salvation. Yet there are such
lamentable exceptions, not alone among the depraved, but also among those who, during
life, by stifling every idea of an after existence, have killed in themselves the last desire to
achieve immortality. It is the will of man, his all-potent will, that weaves his destiny, and if
a man is determined in the notion that death means annihilation, he will find it so. It is
among our commonest experiences that the determination of physical life or death
depends upon the will. Some people snatch themselves by force of determination from the
very jaws of death, while others succumb to insignificant maladies. What man does with
his body he can do with his disembodied Psuche.
Nothing in this militates against the images of Mr. Croucher’s children being seen
in the Astral Light by the medium, either as actually left by the children themselves, or as
imagined by the father to look when grown. The impression in the latter case would be but
a phasma, while in the former it is a phantasma, or the apparition of the indestructible
impress of what once really was.
In days of old the "mediators" of humanity were men like Christna, Gautama
Buddha, Jesus, Paul, Apollonius of Tyana, Plotinus, Porphyry, and the like of them. They
were Adepts, Philosophers-men who, by struggling their whole lives in purity, study, and
self-sacrifice, through trials, privations and self-discipline, attained divine illumination and
seemingly superhuman powers. They could not only produce all the phenomena seen in
our times, but regarded it as a sacred duty to cast out "evil spirits," or demons, from the
unfortunates who were obsessed-in other words, to rid the medium of their days of the
But in our time of improved psychology every hysterical sensitive looms into a seer,
and behold! there are mediums by the thousand! Without any previous study, self-denial,
or the least limitation of their physical nature, they assume, in the capacity of mouthpieces
of unidentified and unidentifiable intelligences, to outrival Socrates in wisdom, Paul in
eloquence, and Tertullian himself in fiery and authoritative dogmatism. The Theosophists
are the last to assume infallibility for themselves, or recognize it in others; as they judge
others, so they are willing to be judged.
In the name, then, of logic and common sense, before bandying epithets, let us
submit our difference to the arbitrament of reason. Let us compare all things, and, putting
aside emotionalism and prejudice as unworthy of the logician and the experimentalist, hold
fast only to that which passes the ordeal of ultimate analysis.

New York, Jan. 14th, 1878.

- From Theosophia #25, May-June, 1948



..........In our modern times, the bishops and the clergy join no more with the
populace in open carolling and dancing; and feasts of "fools and of asses" are enacted
more in sacred privacy than under the eyes of the dangerous, argus-eyed reporter. Yet
the eating and drinking festivities are preserved throughout the Christian world; and, more
sudden deaths are doubtless caused by gluttony and intemperance during the Christmas
and Easter holidays, than at any other time of the year. Yet, Christian worship becomes
every year more and more a false pretence. The heartlessness of this lip-service has been
denounced innumerable times, but never, we think, with a more affecting touch of realism
than in a charming dream-tale, which appeared in the New York Herald about last
Christmas. An aged man, presiding at a public meeting, said he would avail himself of the
opportunity to relate a vision he had witnessed on the previous night. "He thought he was
standing in the pulpit of the most gorgeous and magnificent cathedral he had ever seen.
Before him was the priest or pastor of the church, and beside him stood an angel with a
tablet and pencil in hand, whose mission it was to make record of every act of worship or
prayer that transpired in his presence and ascended as an acceptable offering to the
throne of God. Every pew was filled with richly-attired worshipers of either sex. The most
sublime music that ever fell on his enraptured ear filled the air with melody. All the
beautiful ritualistic Church services, including a surpassingly eloquent sermon from the
gifted minister, had in turn transpired, and yet the recording angel made no entry in his
tablet. The congregation were at length dismissed by the pastor with a lengthy and
beautifully-worded prayer, followed by a benediction, and yet the angel made no sign.
Attended still by the angel, the speaker left the door of the church in rear of the
richly-attired congregation. A poor, tattered castaway stood in the gutter beside the
curbstone, with her pale, famished hand extended, silently pleading for alms. As the richly-
at-tired worshipers from the church passed by, they shrank from the poor Magdalen, the
ladies withdrawing aside their silken, jewel-bedecked robes, lest they should be polluted
by her touch .
"Just then an intoxicated sailor came reeling down the sidewalk on the other side.
When he got opposite the poor forsaken girl, he staggered across the street to where she
stood, and, taking a few pennies from his pocket, he thrust them into her hand,
accompanied with the adjuration, 'Here, you poor forsaken cuss, take this!' A celestial
radiance now lighted up the face of the recording angel, who instantly entered the sailor's
act of sympathy and charity in his tablet, and departed with it as a sweet sacrifice to God."
A concretion, one might say, of the Biblical story of the judgment upon the woman
taken in adultery. Be it so; yet it portrays with a master hand the state of our Christian

From H.P. Blavatsky's article "Christmas Then and

Christmas Now", The Theosophist, December, 1879



- H. P. Blavatsky

(Excerpts from the famous controversy with the Abbe Roca, which appeared in the
French occult journal Le Lotus in 1887-88. Translated from the original French by Dr.
Charles J. Ryan.)

. . . I said that the New Testament was but a Western allegory founded upon the
universal Mysteries of which tire first historical traces, in Egypt alone, go back at least to
6,000 years before the Christian era. I am particular about proving it.
This allegory is that of the Cycle of Initiation, a new version of the mysteries, at the
same time psychical and astronomical. Sabeism and Heliolatry are therein intimately
bound to that other mystery, the Incarnation of the Word or the descent of the Divine Fiat
into the human race, symbolized in the story of Elohim-Jehovah and the Adam of clay.
Hence, psychology and astrolatry (from which astronomy) cannot be separated therein.
These same fundamental mysteries are found in the sacred texts of every nation,
of every people. From the beginning of the conscious life of humanity; but when one
legend based upon these mysteries attempts to arrogate exclusive rights above all the rest;
when it erects itself into an infallible dogma to force the popular faith into a belief in the
dead letter to the detriment of the true metaphysical meaning, such a legend must be
denounced, the veil plucked away, and itself displayed in its nudity before tile world!
So, then, it is useless to speak of the esoteric identity of universal beliefs until one
has thoroughly studied and understood the true esoteric sense of these two original terms:
Chrestos and Christos: two poles as opposed in their significance as night and day;
suffering and humility, joy and glorification, etc. The true Christians died with the last of
the Gnostics, and the Christians of our day are nothing but the usurpers of a name they
no longer understand . . . .
Western Theosophists accept the Christos as the Gnostics of the centuries which
preceded Christianity did, as the Vedantins do with their Krishna: they separate the
corporeal man from the divine Principle which, in the case of the Avatar, animates him.
Their Krishna, the historical hero, is mortal, but the divine Principle (Vishnu) which
animates him, is immortal and eternal; Krishna - the man and his name - remains
terrestrial at his death, he does not become Vishnu; Vishnu only absorbs that part of
himself that had animated the Avatar, as it animates so many others.
... I repudiate the intention of wounding in the least those who believe in Jesus, the
carnalized Christ, but I feel myself compelled to emphasize our own belief while explaining
it, because the Ahhe Roca wishes to identify it with that of the Roman Church; never can
these two beliefs be united, unless the Catholicism of tile Latin Church returns to its earliest
tenets, those of the Gnostics. Because the Church of Rome was Gnostic - just as much
as the Marcionites - until the beginning and even till the middle of the second century;
Marcion, the famous Gnostic, did not separate from it till the year 136, and Tatian left it still
later. Why did they leave it? Because they had become heretics, the Church pretends;
but the history of the cults contributed by esoteric manuscripts gives us an entirely different
version. These famous Gnostics, they tell us, separated themselves from the Church
because they could not agree to accept a Christ made flesh, and it is in this way that the
process of carnalizing the Christ-principle began; it was then also that the metaphysical
allegory experienced its first transformation - that allegory which was the fundamental
doctrine of all the Gnostic fraternities (*).
. . So, then, the time is still far distant when "all the people of the universe will form
one single flock under one single shepherd"; before that arrives human nature will have
to be completely modified; we must first reach the Seventh Race, according to the
prophecy of the Book of Dzyan, because it is then that the "Christos" - designated by his
various names, also by those of the Gnostic "heretics" - will reign in the soul of everyone,
in the soul of all those who shall have accepted the Chrest from the first ( **), - I do not say
simply those who will have become Christians, which is quite another thing. For, let us
proclaim it once for all, the word Christ, which means the glorified, the triumphant, and also
"anointed'' (from the word chrio, to annoint) cannot be applied to Jesus. Even according
to the Gospels, Jesus was never anointed, either as High Priest, as King or as Prophet.
"As a mortal," remarks Nrork, "he was annointed only once, by a woman, and not because
he offered himself as king or High Priest, but, as he said himself, for his burial." Jesus was
a Chrestos: chrestos o kurios (the Lord is good) as St. Peter said (1st Epistle ii, 3) whether
he actually lived during the Christian era or a century earlier, in the reign of Alexander
Jannaeus and his wife Salome, at Lud, as the Sepher Toledoth Jehoshua indicates (***).
And there were other ascetics in the condition of the Chrestos, even in his time: all
those who, entering into the arduous path of asceticism, traveled on the road which leads
to tire Christos, - the Divine Light - all those were in the Chrestos state, ascetics belonging
to the oracular temples . . . All that entered into the cycle of initiation; anyone who wants
to be convinced of it has merely to investigate. No "sacrificial victim" could be united to
Christ triumphant before passing through that preliminary stage of the suffering Chrest who
was put to death.
(*) The Gnostrics were actually divided into various fraternities, such as: Essenes,
Therapeuts, Nazarenes or Nazars (from which Jesus of Nazareth); "James," the Lord's
brother, head of the Church of Jerusalem, was a Gnostic to the backbone, an ascetic of
the old Biblical type, i.e., a Nazar dedicated to asceticism from his birth. The razor had
never touched his head or beard. He was such a one as Jesus is represented in legends
or pictures and such as are all the "Brother-Adepts" of every country; from the yogi-fakir
of India to the greatest Mahatma of the Initiates of the Himalayas.
(**) A word which is neither the Krest (cross) of the Slavs, nor the "Christ" crucified
of the Latins. The Ray made manifest from that center of life which is hidden from the
eyes of humanity for and in Eternity, the Christos, crucified as a body of flesh and bones!
(***) Having mentioned to Madame Blavatsky that, according to certain scholars,
this assertion is erroneous, she answered as follows: "I say that the scholars are lying or
talking nonsense. Our Masters affirm it. If the story of Jehoshua or Jesus Ben Pandira is
false, then the whole Talmud, the whole Jewish Canon is false. It was the disciple of
Jehoshua Ben Parachia, the fifth President of tire Sanhedrin after Ezra, who re-wrote the
Bible. Compromised in the revolt of the Pharisees against Jannaeus in 105 B.C., he fled
into Egypt carrying the young Jesus with him. Far truer is this account then that of the New
Testament of which history says not a word."

Astronomically, it was the death of the Sun (*), but death the precursor of the New
Sun (**), death engendering life in the bosom of darkness.
Psychologically, it was the death of the senses and the flesh, the resurrection of the
spiritual Ego, the Christos in each one of us . . . .
. . . The Christos which Theosophists . . . acknowledge, ever since the secula
seculorum, is the Spiritual Ego, glorious and triumphant over the flesh . . . Once united to
his Atma-Christos, the Ego, by that very act, loses the great illusion called ego-ism, and
perceives at last the fullness of truth; that Ego knows that it has never lived outside the
great All, and that it is inseparable from it. Such is Nirvana, which, for it, is only the return
to its primitive condition or state. Imprisoned in its oubliette (underground cell where the
prisoner was forgotten) of flesh and matter, it has lost even the conception or memory of
that condition, but once the light of Spirit has revealed to it the illusion of the senses, it
places no more trust in earthly things, for it has learned to scorn them; now is the Son
united to the Father; thenceforth the soul is one with Spirit! - and when a man has reached
this point in the Gnosis, or Theosophy, what has he then to do with the dogmas of any
Church whatever?
(*) Upon the cross of the autumnal equinox, the point where the ecliptic crosses the
equator, and where the sun descends into that last circle, announcing winter, death.
(**) Christmas, when the sun reascends towards the Equator after having passed
the Winter Solstice, announcing Spring, the renewal, Easter.
-From Theosophia, Jan.-Feb., 1945



- H.P. Blavatsky

[Under the above title, H.P.B. began writing in the fall of 1879 serial installments of
a fascinating description of India, its people and customs, as she saw them during her
travels. They were published by M.N. Katkov, the famous journalist and statesman, in his
Moskovskiya Vyedomosti (Moscow Gazette), beginning with the issue of November 30,
1879. In 1883, the same Series was republished in the Russkiy Vestnik (Russian
Messenger), by the same Editor. In 1885-86, a Second Series of similar stories began to
appear in the last-mentioned periodical, under the slightly altered title of "From the Caves
and Jungles of Hindustan," and the sub-title "Letters to the Fatherland." Of this combined
material only a small portion has been translated into English and published in 1892. The
latter unfortunately is very inaccurate, fragmentary and heavily edited, which detracts from
its authenticity.
The excerpt which appears below is taken from chapter VI of the Second Series,
as published in Russkiy Vestnik, Vol. clxxxii, March, 1886, pp. 335-340. Until now, it has
never been translated from its original Russian. We intend publishing further excerpts, as
illustrating an entirely different and but little known aspect of H.P.B.'s literary talent.
The original Russian text of H.P.B.'s entire literary output in her own native language
is on file at the Editorial Offices of Theosophia, and is in the process of being translated
into English. - Editor, Theosophia.]

My reflections and cogitations about the absence of a "personal" soul in Ananda

were suddenly interrupted in a wholly unexpected manner. We were driving between two
rows of buildings with balconies hanging almost half way over the road, when over our very
heads things suddenly began to fall with thuds on the cloth top of the carriage and began
racing around, fidgeting and chattering: with a shrieking noise which rose above the
multitudinous sounds emanating from our own vehicle, we were attacked, or perhaps only
greeted in their own fashion, by an entire troop of large and small monkeys. They clung
to the sides of the carriage, peeped into the openings, climbed one over the other and on
our heads and shoulders. Their appearance was so sudden that I hardly realized what was
going on. All together they pounced on a little basket containing food which unfortunately
stood wide open on a bench. In the twinkling of an eye the bottle with cold coffee was
broken, Mulji bathed in the black liquid, the box of tea torn to shreds, the tea itself scattered
all over the carriage and the pavement, while the Colonel sat crowned with a nice patty and
my dress was all smeared with jam.
There were some ten to fifteen of them and from the very moment of their
appearance such a typically pungent smell pervaded the carriage that I almost suffocated.
The monkeys touched no one; evidently they were merely hunting for food; in any case
our driver had hardly time to stop his horses while turning a corner, before the whole troop
had disappeared as fast as they had come. . . . Two Brahmanas with shaven heads who
had attempted to jump to the rescue of our carriage, seeing their "gods" retreating, quietly
returned to their respective places on the steps of the pagoda.
In order to reach the place of rest prepared for us we had to drive almost the whole
length of the town. Muttra, lit by the brilliant morning sun, the rays of which hid centuries
of soot and the filth of old houses, appeared to us most picturesque. The town is situated
fan-like on the western, steep shore of the Jumna, and has spread over the high foothills
receding into the distance like green waves. Sri-Krishna,* Avatara of Vishnu, proved his
artistic taste when

* Sri - literally "bliss" - one of the names of Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. At
present, however, this name has become an adjective, an epithet, and is synonymous with
holiness. Thus we have Sri-Muttra, Sri-Krishna, etc., i.e., blessed or holy Muttra, blessed
Krishna, etc.

he first chose Muttra as the place of his birth and later made this locality the arena of his
mystically amorous adventures with the gopies - shepherdesses, the overwhelming number
of which being probably the cause of his getting blue. To what extent this hypothesis is
true, I am not prepared to say, but this was the spirit of the explanation given by the Babu
upon witnessing the awe-inspired dread of Mulji before the huge idol of the god-shepherd
painted dark green from head to foot, from his cheeks to his reedpipe. Later on we will
look into the philological and ethnographical causes of his blue color.
We crossed the river on a bridge made of flat-bottomed barges, a construction
which is for some reason or other especially praised by comparison with others. The
sacred river, competitor of the Ganges, was filled to the brim with Hindus of both sexes
purifying themselves of their sins, as is their early morning custom. On the steep shore,
marble steps lead to the water, each landing being ornamented by a miniature temple in
honor of one of the shepherdesses.
The whole town is cris-crossed with narrow streets of uneven stone steps,
ascending and descending like the streets of Malta, up and down which it is hardly possible
to ride even on a mule. However, the elephants, also sacred, with their heavy pillar-like
legs, move easily over them going to visit each other from one pagoda to the next. It
appears that meeting each other trunk to trunk and realizing the impossibility of continuing
one uphill and the other down, without one of them having to turn around, the elephants
resort to the following trick. After exchanging a few words accompanied by flapping of the
ears and embraces with the trunk, and ascertaining their mutual friendship, the smaller of
the two leans against the wall and the larger one lies down on the ground and tries to
become as inconspicuous as possible. Then the first one lifts a leg and cautiously, without
haste, climbs over his friend with ease and grace. Sometimes this elephant stumbles and
falls, though the trunk of the elephant lying down, raised in the form of a question mark
throughout the entire hazardous operation, is always really to help with all its might his
smaller and weaker brother. The respect and helpfulness given to each other by the
elephants have become proverbial and are a standing reproach to the people.*
Muttra is a regular zoo. There are more animals in it than men, though the
population reaches 300,000 in the months of the pilgrimage. All the streets are literally
clogged with "sacred" bulls and elephants. The roofs of the houses and the temples are
covered with "sacred" monkeys, and over one's head soar, like clouds darkening God's
light, "sacred" peacocks and parrots. All live in freedom, belong to no one, but on the
contrary rule like masters not only the property of

* It is remarkable that the elephants, creatures with great ambition and easily
offended, never fight each other when living in the towns, though they often destroy one
another in their native habitat. It is also remarkable that while they show each other signs
of mutual respect, they never become friends but frequently choose as objects of their
passionate and fiery attachment dogs, donkeys and other smaller animals. One such
elephant becoming attached to a donkey took it under his protective care. The elephant
was free and belonged to a pagoda, while the donkey was hired out for work. Once an
English soldier, who had hired it, mounted it and began to hit its sides with his heavy boots.
The elephant stood at the gate of the stable where his friend lived and, observing the
abuse of his favorite, took hold of the British warrior with his trunk and gave him such a
shaking that the latter, upon freeing himself, wanted, in his rage, to shoot the elephant on
the spot. He was persuaded not to do it because the other elephants standing near would
sooner or later certainly kill him, so astounding is the esprit de corps of the elephants.
Interested in what he had heard, he forgave the elephant and as a peace offering gave him
a piece of sugar cane. The elephant stood over it for awhile, thought a bit and then, taking
the luscious morsel, went straight to the donkey and, with his trunk, put it into the mouth
of the abused creature, then turned around and went his way "without looking at me, like
a man who had been offended," said the soldier who related the circumstance to us

the town, but the townsmen themselves. The ill-fated bazaar merchants are forced to carry
their food in tightly closed baskets which they open halfway and with the greatest
precaution for the benefit of the buyers; otherwise the monkeys, constantly hanging
around the gates of the bazaar and accustomed to levy an assessment on every carriage -
which explains their attack on us - will carry off everything and in addition will tear out the
hair of anyone who defends his wares too energetically. The elephants alone behave
themselves with great dignity and honor. They never snatch anything and will modestly
stand next to a stall with sweets, patiently waiting until they are treated. In Muttra there
were some 30,000 monkeys in 1880, some 5,000 bulls and several hundred elephants.
The smell was such that all through my day's stay in the sacred town I did not once remove
the perfumed handkerchief from my nose. Saintliness surrounded us on all sides.
Saintliness was wafted at us from every corner and assaulted our noses so that by evening
we "whites" had swollen noses from sneezing. Holy sannyasins stood on their heads at
every crossroad; sacred bulls spread a soft carpet of their own production over the
unpaved streets; while from the roofs, sacred monkeys threw at us stolen fruits and
vegetables now fully digested by their insatiable stomachs. . . . By evening I ceased
reproaching the Babu for his atheism. I fully understood his hatred of the "gods" and
sympathized with him.
Apart from its saintliness Muttra is one of the most interesting and ancient cities in
India. In the days of the observant Megasthenes, the Greeks took home recollections of
many sacred Vaishnava cities. Thus, quoting the ambassador of Seleucus, Arrianus
mentions Muttra* (Methora) and Kleisobora (?), calling them the chief towns of the
Surasenas. It is probable that Megasthenes meant by Kleisobora Kailaspur, as both Muttra
and this town were built by the descendants of Surasena, the grandfather of Krishna.
Later, the Greek writer speaks of Buduas and of Kradeuas as being the progenitors of this
tribe of Surasenas, the foremost in the country at that time. Megasthenes following the
Greek habit of distorting words, probably refers to the Buddha and Krosht-deva, the
progenitors of the tribe of Yadu, the Induvansa or "lunar" race. According to the
genealogical tree officially examined, verified and certified by the administration of the Raja
of Udaipur, these two names actually head the list of the descendants of Buddha** and Ella
(the earth), one of whom was Krishna, and they are often mentioned in the Puranas. As
far back as the time of the flowering of Krishna (according to the Brahmanas some 5,000
years ago, and according to the Orientalists some 1200 years B.C.) Muttra was an ancient
Now, however, there remains of this erstwhile strongly fortified city merely three half-
destroyed gates, and some ruins of a former mighty fortress. The monkeys have
completed the destruction begun by the Afghans, and even the mosque of Aurangzeb, with
its four towers made of light blue tiles, has become crooked from neglect. At present there
is no place for Mohammedans at Muttra. Even American missionaries, not easily
dislodged from the nests of idol-worshipers, dodged the monkeys and the bulls and took
to their heels long ago. Dark azure Krishnas and their menagerie, with attendant
Brahmanas, remained all-powerful masters.

*Written Mathura; I am following the phonetical rules.
** The adjective Buddha (all-wise) should not be confused with Gautama the
Buddha, the well-known reformer and founder of Buddhism, who acquired that title in his
advanced age. There were in India many Buddhas before the time of Prince Gautama.

- Theosophia, May-June, 1949



Thoreau pointed out that there are artists in life, persons who can change the color
of a day and make it beautiful to those with whom they come in contact. We claim that
there are adepts, masters in life who make it divine, as in all other arts. Is it not the
greatest art of all, this which affects the very atmosphere in which we live? That it is the
most important is seen at once, when we remember that every person who draws the
breath of life affects the mental and moral atmosphere of the world, - and helps to color the
day for those about him. Those who do not help to elevate the thoughts and lives of others
must of necessity either paralyse them by indifference, or actively drag them down. When
this point is reached, then the art of life is converted into the science of death; we see the
black magician at work. And no one can be quite inactive.
Neither happiness nor prosperity are always the best of bedfellows for such
undeveloped mortals as most of us are; they seldom bring with them peace, which is the
only permanent joy. The idea of peace is usually connected with the close of life and a
religious state of mind. That kind of peace will however generally be found to contain the
element of expectation. The pleasures of this world have been surrendered, and the soul
waits contentedly in expectation of the pleasures of the next. The peace of the philosophic
mind is very different from this and can be attained too early in life when pleasure has
scarcely been tasted, as well as when it has been fully drunk of.
The American Transcendentalists discovered that life could be made a sublime
thing without any assistance from circumstances or outside sources of pleasure and
prosperity. Of course this had been discovered many times before, and Emerson only took
up again the cry raised by Epictetus. But every man has to discover this fact freshly for
himself, and when once he has realized it he knows that he would be a wretch if he did not
endeavor to make the possibility a reality in his own life. The stoic became sublime
because he recognized his own absolute responsibility and did not try to evade it; the
Transcendentalists was even more, because he had faith in the unknown and untried
possibilities which lay within himself. The occultist fully recognizes the responsibility and
claims his title by having both tried and acquired knowledge of his own possibilities. The
Theosophist who is at all in earnest, sees his responsibility and endeavors to find
knowledge, living, in the meantime, up to the highest standard of which he is aware.
The earth passes through its definite phases and man with it; and as a day can be
colored so can a year. The astral life of the earth is young and strong between Christmas
and Easter. Those who form their wishes now will have added strength to fulfill them
- H.P. Blavatsky, Lucifer, January, 1888.

- Canadian Theosophist, Nov-Dec, 1960