By William Q. Judge
PREFACE TO TENTH EDITION
THEOSOPHY AND THE MASTERS
Theosophy generally defined. The existence of highly developed men in the Universe. These men are the Mahatmas, Initiates, Brothers, Adepts. How they work and why they remain now concealed. Their Lodge. They are perfected men from other periods of evolution. They have had various names in history. Apollonius, Moses, Solomon, and others were members of this fraternity. They had one single doctrine. They are possible because man may at last be as they are. They keep the true doctrine and cause it to reappear at the right time. p.1 to 13
A view of the general laws governing the Cosmos. The sevenfold division in the system. Real Matter not visible and this always known to the Lodge. Mind the intelligent portion of the Cosmos. In the universal Mind the sevenfold plan of the Cosmos is contained. Evolution proceeds upon the plan in the universal Mind. Periods of Evolution come to an end; this is the Night of Brahma. The Mosaic account of Cosmogenesis has dwarfed modern conceptions. The Jews had merely one part of the doctrine taken from the ancient Egyptians. The doctrine accords with the inner meaning of Genesis. The general length of periods of Evolution. Same doctrine as Herbert Spencer's. The old Hindu chronology gives the details. The story of Solomon's Temple is that of the evolution of man. The doctrine far older than the Christian one. The real age of the world. Man is over 18,000,000 years old. Evolution is accomplished solely by the Egos within that at last become the users of human forms. Each of the seven principles of man is derived from one of the seven great divisions of the Universe. p.14 to 22
THE EARTH CHAIN
The doctrine respecting the
Earth. It is sevenfold also. It is one of a chain of seven corresponding to man.
The whole seven are not in a chain separated as to members, but they
interpenetrate each other. The Earth chain is the reincarnation of a former old
and now dead chain. This old chain was one of which our moon is the visible
representative. Moon now dead and contracting. Venus, Mars, etc., are living
members of other similar chains to ours. A mass of Egos for
each chain. The number, though incalculable, is definite. Their course of evolution through the seven globes. In each a certain part of our nature is developed. At the fourth globe the process of condensation is begun and reaches its limit. p.23 to 28
SEPTENARY CONSTITUTION OF MAN
The constitution of man. How the doctrine differs from the ordinary Christian one. The real doctrine known in the first centuries of this era, but purposely withdrawn from a nation not able to bear it. The danger if the doctrine had not been withdrawn. The sevenfold division. The principles classified. The divisions agree with the chain of seven globes. The lower man is a composite being. His higher trinity. The lower four principles transitory and perishable. Death leaves the trinity as the only persistent part of us. What the physical man is, and what the other unseen mortal man is. A second physical man not seen but still mortal. The senses pertain to the unseen man and not to the visible one. p.29 to 34
BODY AND ASTRAL BODY
The body and life principle. The mystery of life. Sleep and death are due to excess of life not bearable by the organism. The body an illusion. What is the cell. Life is universal. It is not the result of the organism. The Astral Body. What it is made of. Its powers and functions. As a model for the body. It is possessed by all kingdoms of nature. Its power to travel. The real sense organs are in the astral body. The place the astral body has at spiritualistic seances. The astral body accounts for telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and all such psychical phenomena. p.35 to 44
The fourth principle. Kama
Rupa. In English, the Passions and Desires. Kama Rupa is not produced by the
body but is the cause for body. This is the balance principle of the seven. It
is the basis of action and mover of the will. Right desire leads to right act.
This principle has a higher and a lower aspect. The principle is in the astral
body. At death it coalesces with the astral body and makes of it a shell of the
man. It has powers of its own of an automatic nature. This shell is the
so-called "spirit" of seances.
It is a danger to the race. Elementals help this shell at
seances. No soul or conscience
present. Suicides and executed criminals leave very coherent shells. The
principle of desire is common to all the
organized kingdoms. It is the brute part of man. Man is now a fully developed quaternary with the higher principles partially developed. p.45 to 51
Manas the fifth principle. The first of the real man. This is the thinking principle and is not the product of brain. Brain is only its instrument. How the light of mind was given to mindless men. Perfected men from older systems gave it to us as they got it from their predecessors. Manas is the storehouse of all thoughts. Manas is the seer. If the connection between Manas and brain is broken the person is not able to cognize. The organs of the body cognize nothing. Manas is divided into upper and lower. Its four peculiarities. Buddha, Jesus, and others had Manas fully developed. Atma the Divine Ego. The permanent individuality. This permanent individuality has been through every sort of experience in many bodies. Manas and matter have now a greater facility of action than in former times. Manas is bound by desire, and this makes reincarnation a necessity. p.52 to 59
Why is man as he is, and
how did he come. What the Universe is for. Spiritual and physical evolution
demand reincarnation. Reincarnation on the physical plane is reimbodiment or
alteration of form. The whole mass of matter of the globe will one day be men in
a period far distant. The doctrine ancient. Held by the early Christians. Taught
by Jesus. What reincarnates. Life's mysteries arise from incomplete incarnation
of the higher principles. It is not transmigration to lower forms. Explanation
of Manu on this.
p.60 to 69
Objections urged. Desire cannot alter law. Early arrivals in heaven. Must they wait for us. Recognition of the soul not dependent on objectivity. Heredity not an objection. What heredity does. Divergences in heredity not recognized. History goes against heredity. Reincarnation not unjust. What is justice. We do not suffer for another's but for our own deeds. Memory. Why we do not remember other lives. Who does? How to account for increase of population. p.70 to 78
ARGUMENTS SUPPORTING REINCARNATION
From the nature of the soul. From the laws of mind and soul. From differences in character. From the necessity for
discipline and evolution. From differences of capacity and start in life at the cradle. Individual identity proves it. The probable object of life makes it necessary. One life not enough to carry out Nature's purposes. Mere death confers no advance. A school after death is illogical. The persistence of savagery and the decay of nations give support to it. The appearance of geniuses is due to reincarnation. Inherent ideas common to man show it. Opposition to the doctrine based solely on prejudice. p.79 to 88
Definition of the word. An unfamiliar term. A beneficent law. How present life is affected by past acts of other lives. Each act has a thought at its root. Through Manas they react on each personal life. Why people are born deformed or in bad circumstances. The three classes of Karma and its three fields of operation. National and Racial Karma. Individual unhappiness and happiness. The Master's words on Karma. p.89 to 98
The first state after death. Where and what are heaven and hell? Death of the body only the first step of death. A second death after that. Separation of the seven principles into three classes. What is Kama Loka? Origin of Christian purgatory. It is an astral sphere with numerous degrees. The Skandhas. The astral shell of man in Kama Loka. It is devoid of soul, mind, and conscience. It is the "spirit" of the seance rooms. Classification of shells in Kama Loka. Black magicians there. Fate of suicides and others. Pre-devachanic unconsciousness. p.99 to 108
The meaning of the term. A
state of Atma-Buddhi-Manas.
Operation of Karma on Devachan. The necessity for Devachan. It is another sort
of thinking with no physical body to clog it. Only two fields for operation of
causes—subjective and objective. Devachan is one. No time there for the soul.
Length of stay therein. Mathematics of the soul. Average stay therein is 1500
mortal years. Depends on psychic impulses of life. Its use and purpose. On the
last thoughts at death the devachanic state is fashioned. Devachan not
meaningless. Do we see those left behind? We bring their images before us.
Entities in Devachan have a power to help those they love. Mediums cannot go to
those in Devachan except in rare cases and when the person is pure. Adepts only
can help those in Devachan. p.109 to 110
One of the most important doctrines. Corresponding words in the Sanskrit. Few cycles known to the West. They cause the reappearance of former living personages. They affect life and evolution. When did the first moment come. The first rate of vibration determines the subsequent ones. When man leaves the globe the forces die. Convulsions and cataclysms. Reincarnation and karma intermixed with cyclic law. Civilizations cycle back. The cycle of Avatars. Krishna, Buddha, and others come under cycles. Minor personages and great leaders. Intersection of cycles causes convulsions. The Moon, Sun, and Sidereal cycles. Individual cycles and that of reincarnation. The motion through the constellations, and the meaning of the story of Jonah. The Zodiacal clock. How the ideas are impressed and preserved by nations. Cause for earthquakes, Cosmic Fire, Glaciation, and Floods. The Brahmanical Cycles. p.117 to 126
DIFFERENTIATION OF SPECIES—MISSING LINKS
Ultimate origin of man not discoverable. Man not derived from a single pair, nor from the animals. Seven races of men appeared simultaneously on the globe. They are now amalgamated and will differentiate. The Anthropoid Apes. Their origin. They came from man. They are the descendants of offspring from unnatural union in the third and fourth races. The Delayed Races. The secret books on the question. Human features of apes accounted for. The lower kingdoms from other planets. Their differentiation by intelligent interference by the Dhyanis. The midway point of evolution. Astral forms of old rounds solidified in physical rounds. Missing links, what they are and why Science cannot discover them. The aim of Nature in all this work. p.127 to 134
PSYCHIC LAWS, FORCES, AND PHENOMENA
No true psychology in the
West. It exists in the Orient. Man the mirror of all forces. Gravitation only a
half law. Importance of polarity and cohesion. Rendering objects invisible.
Imagination all powerful. Mental telegraphy. Reading minds is burglary.
Apportation, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and second-sight. Pictures in the
Astral Light. Dreams and visions. Apparitions. Real clairvoyance. Inner stimulus
makes outer impression. Astral Light the Register of everything. p.135 to 145
PSYCHIC PHENOMENA AND SPIRITUALISM
Spiritualism wrongly named. Should be called necromancy and the worship of the dead. This cult did not originate in America. The practice long known in India. The facts recorded deserve examination. Theosophists admit the facts but interpret them differently from the “spiritualist.” The examination confined to the question of whether the dead return. The dead do not return thus. The mass of communications are from the astral shell of man. Objections stated to the claims made by mediums. The record justifies the ridicule of science. Materialization and what it is. A mass of electric magnetic matter with a picture upon it from the astral light. Or it is the astral body of the medium extruded from the living body. Analysis of the laws to be known before the phenomena can be understood. The timbre of the “independent voice.” Importance of the astral realm. The Dangers of mediumship. Attempt to get these powers for money or selfish ends also dangerous. Cyclic law ordains the slackening of the force at this time. The purpose of the Lodge. p146 to 153
An attempt is made in the pages of this book to write of theosophy in such a manner as to be understood by the ordinary reader. Bold statements are made in it upon the knowledge of the writer, but at the same time it is distinctly to be understood that he alone is responsible for what is therein written: the Theosophical Society is not involved in nor bound by anything said in the book, nor are any of its members any the less good Theosophists because they may not accept what I have set down. The tone of settled conviction which may be thought to pervade the chapters is not the result of dogmatism or conceit, but flows from knowledge based upon evidence and experience.
Members of the Theosophical Society will notice that certain theories or doctrines have not been gone into. That is because they could not be treated without unduly extending the book and arousing needless controversy.
The subject of the Will has received no treatment, inasmuch as that power or faculty is hidden, subtle, undiscoverable as to essence, and only visible in effect. As it is absolutely colorless and varies in moral quality in accordance with the desire behind it, as also it acts frequently without our knowledge, and as it operates in all the kingdoms below man, there could be nothing gained by attempting to enquire into it apart from the Spirit and the desire.
I claim no originality for this book. I invented none of it, discovered none of it, but have simply written that which I have been taught and which has been proved to me. It therefore is only a handing on of what has been known before.
WILLIAM Q. JUDGE
New York, May 1893
PREFACE TO TENTH EDITION
SOME twenty-two years ago, the first edition of “The Ocean of Theosophy” was
published by its author, Wm. Q. Judge. Since
that time thousands of books
dealing with Theosophy have been published by more or less prominent students of
Theosophy, but unfortunately for the public, none of these show the knowledge,
grasp and range which is so evident in the present volume,
—and still more unfortunately, the methods pursued by these latter-day writers have served to obscure the fact of the existence
of an exposition of Theosophy written by a Teacher of that Science of Life.
As the Author’s Preface shows, the book was written in such a manner as to be understood by the ordinary reader; the simplicity of the terms used, however, should not mislead the reader into thinking that the work is an elementary one, for behind and within every statement there is a depth of meaning that the careless and superficial fail to perceive. It is really a simplified text-book of the fundamental teachings of Theosophy, and is found by students of the “Secret Doctrine” to be a true abridgment of that great work and a wonderful aid in its comprehension; it was written with that end in view by the only one competent to do so and is there fore earnestly recommended to every student of Theosophy.
The passage of years has served to show, not only the value of this little book, but the status of Mr. Judge as a Teacher. Everything he has written bears impress of his deep knowledge to every real student of Theosophy. Even the ordinary reader cannot fail to perceive that only “One Who Knows” could have so applied Theosophy to the circumstances and conditions of every-day human existence.
There are but few books whose issuance is due to Mr. Judge; these few, however, are most valuable aids to the student in living the Theosophic life. “Letters That Have Helped Me,” are two small volumes containing letters written to students, with comments by the compiler; “Echoes From the Orient,” is a broad outline of Theosophical doctrines, 64 pages; “The Bhagavad-Gita” is a rendition, much better and clearer than any literal translation extant; “Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms” is an ancient treatise on the Soul and its powers, from which modern psychology has much to learn. In addition, Mr. Judge wrote a great number of articles dealing with the philosophy in its practical application to daily life; these can be found in the magazine “Theosophy.”
The earnest student will do well to study conjointly the writings of H. P. Blavatsky and Wm. Q. Judge; from them he will learn Theosophy pure and simple; will recognize the community of knowledge and complete accord that existed between them and will more fully appreciate the mission and nature of those two Personages.
Theosophy is that ocean of knowledge which spreads from shore to shore of the evolution of sentient beings; unfathomable in its deepest parts, it gives the greatest minds their fullest scope, yet, shallow enough at its shores, it will not overwhelm the understanding of a child. It is wisdom about God for those who believe that he is all things and in all, and wisdom about nature for the man who accepts the statement found in the Christian Bible that God cannot be measured or discovered, and that darkness is around his pavilion. Although it contains by derivation the name God and thus may seem at first sight to embrace religion alone, it does not neglect science, for it is the science of sciences and therefore has been called the wisdom religion. For no science is complete which leaves out any department of nature, whether visible or invisible, and that religion which, depending solely on an assumed revelation, turns away from things and the laws which govern them is nothing but a delusion, a foe to progress, an obstacle in the way of man's advancement toward happiness. Embracing both the scientific and the religious, Theosophy is a scientific religion and a religious science.
It is not a belief or dogma
formulated or invented by man, but is a knowledge of the laws which govern the
evolution of the physical, astral, psychical, and intellectual constituents of
nature and of man. The religion of the day is but a series of dogmas man-made
and with no scientific foundation for promulgated ethics; while our science as yet ignores the unseen, and failing to admit the existence of a complete set of inner faculties of perception in man, it is cut off from the immense and real field of experience which lies within the visible and tangible worlds. But Theosophy knows that the whole is constituted of the visible and the invisible, and perceiving outer things and objects to be but transitory it grasps the facts of nature, both without and within. It is therefore complete in itself and sees no unsolvable mystery anywhere; it throws the word coincidence out of its vocabulary and hails the reign of law in everything and every circumstance.
That man possesses an
immortal soul is the common belief of humanity; to this Theosophy adds that he
is a soul; and further that all nature is sentient, that the vast array of
objects and men are not mere collections of atoms fortuitously thrown together
and thus without law evolving law, but down to the smallest atom all is soul and
spirit ever evolving under the rule of law which is inherent in the whole. And
just as the ancients taught, so does Theosophy; that the course of evolution is
the drama of the soul and that nature exists for no other purpose than the
soul's experience. The Theosophist agrees with Prof. Huxley* in the assertion
that there must be beings in the universe whose intelligence is as much beyond
ours as ours exceeds that of the black beetle, and who take an active part in
the government of the natural order of things. Pushing further on by the light
of the confidence had in his teachers, the Theosophist adds that such
intelligences were once human and came like all of us from other and previous
worlds, where as varied experience had been gained as is possible on this one.
We are therefore not appearing for the first time when we come upon this planet,
but have pursued a long, an immeasurable course of activity and intelligent
* Essays on some Controverted Questions. London 1891
other systems of globes, some of which were destroyed ages before the solar system condensed. This immense reach of the evolutionary system means, then, that this planet on which we now are is the result of the activity and the evolution of some other one that died long ago, leaving its energy to be used in the bringing into existence of the earth, and that the inhabitants of the latter in their turn came from some older world to proceed here with the destined work in matter. And the brighter planets, such as Venus, are the habitation of still more progressed entities, once as low as ourselves, but now raised up to a pitch of glory incomprehensible for our intellects.
The most intelligent being
in the universe, man, has never, then, been without a friend, but has a line of
elder brothers who continually watch over the progress of the less progressed,
preserve the knowledge gained through aeons of trial and experience, and
continually seek for opportunities of drawing the developing intelligence of the
race on this or other globes to consider the great truths concerning the destiny
of the soul. These elder brothers also keep the knowledge they have gained of
the laws of nature in all departments, and are ready when cyclic law permits to
use it for the benefit of mankind. They have always existed as a body, all
knowing each other, no matter in what part of the world they may be, and all
working for the race in many different ways. In some periods they are well known
to the people and move among ordinary men whenever the social organization, the
virtue, and the development of the nations permit it. For if they were to come
out openly and be heard of everywhere, they would be worshipped as gods by some
and hunted as devils by others. In those periods when they do come out some of
their number are rulers of men, some teachers, a few great philosophers, while
others remain still unknown except to the most advanced of the body.
It would be subversive of the ends they have in view were they to make themselves public in the present civilization, which is based almost wholly on money, fame, glory, and personality. For this age, as one of them has already said, "is an age of transition," when every system of thought, science, religion, government, and society is changing, and men's minds are only preparing for an alteration into that state which will permit the race to advance to the point suitable for these elder brothers to introduce their actual presence to our sight. They may be truly called the bearers of the torch of truth across the ages; they investigate all things and beings; they know what man is in his innermost nature and what his powers and destiny, his state before birth and the states into which he goes after the death of his body; they have stood by the cradle of nations and seen the vast achievements of the ancients, watched sadly the decay of those who had no power to resist the cyclic law of rise and fall; and while cataclysms seemed to show a universal destruction of art, architecture, religion, and philosophy, they have preserved the records of it all in places secure from the ravages of either men or time; they have made minute observations, through trained psychics among their own order, into the unseen realms of nature and of mind, recorded the observations and preserved the record; they have mastered the mysteries of sound and color through which alone the elemental beings behind the veil of matter can be communicated with, and thus can tell why the rain falls and what it falls for, whether the earth is hollow or not, what makes the wind to blow and light to shine, and greater feat than all—one which implies a knowledge of the very foundations of nature—they know what the ultimate divisions of time are and what are the meaning and the times of the cycles.
But, asks the busy man of
the nineteenth century who reads the newspapers and believes in "modern
progress," if these elder brothers are all you claim them to be, why have they
left no mark on history
nor gathered men around them? Their own reply, published some time ago by Mr. A. P. Sinnett, is better than any I could write.
"We will first discuss, if
you please, the one relating to the presumed failure of the 'Fraternity' to
'leave any mark upon the history of the world.' They ought, you think, to have
been able, with their extraordinary advantages, to have 'gathered into their
schools a considerable portion of the more enlightened minds of every race.' How
do you know they have made no such mark? Are you acquainted with their efforts,
successes, and failures? Have you any dock upon which to arraign them? How could
your world collect proofs of the doings of men who have sedulously kept closed
every possible door of approach by which the inquisitive could spy upon them?
The prime condition of their success was that they should never be supervised or
obstructed. What they have done they know; all that those outside their circle
could perceive was results, the causes of which were masked from view. To
account for these results, men have, in different ages, invented theories of the
interposition of gods, special providences, fates, the benign or hostile
influences of the stars. There never was a time within or before the so-called
historical period when our predecessors were not moulding events and 'making
history,' the facts of which were subsequently and invariably distorted by
historians to suit contemporary prejudices. Are you quite sure that the visible
heroic figures in the successive dramas were not often but their puppets? We
never pretended to be able to draw nations in the mass to this or that crisis in
spite of the general drift of the world's cosmic relations. The cycles must run
their rounds. Periods of mental and moral light and darkness succeed each other
as day does night. The major and minor yugas must be accomplished according to
the established order of things. And we, borne along on the mighty tide, can
only modify and direct some of its minor currents."*
* The Occult World London 1888.
It is under cyclic law, during a dark period in the history of mind, that the true philosophy disappears for a time, but the same law causes it to reappear as surely as the sun rises and the human mind is present to see it. But some works can only be performed by the Master, while other works require the assistance of the companions. It is the Master's work to preserve the true philosophy, but the help of the companions is needed to rediscover and promulgate it. Once more the elder brothers have indicated where the truth—Theosophy—could be found, and the companions all over the world are engaged in bringing it forth for wider currency and propagation.
The Elder Brothers of Humanity are men who were perfected in former periods of evolution. These periods of manifestation are unknown to modern evolutionists so far as their number are concerned, though long ago understood by not only the older Hindus, but also by those great minds and men who instituted and carried on the first pure and undebased form of the Mysteries of Greece. The periods, when out of the Great Unknown there come forth the visible universes, are eternal in their coming and going, alternating with equal periods of silence and rest again in the Unknown. The object of these mighty waves is the production of perfect man, the evolution of soul, and they always witness the increase of the number of Elder Brothers; the life of the least of men pictures them in day and night, waking and sleeping, birth and death, "for these two, light and dark, day and night, are the world's eternal ways." *
In every age and complete
national history these men of power and compassion are given different
designations. They have been called Initiates, Adepts, Magi, Hierophants, Kings
of the East, Wise Men, Brothers, and what not. But in the Sanskrit language
there is a word which, being applied to them, at once thoroughly identifies them
with humanity. It is
* Bhagavad- Gita, Chapter viii.
Mahatma. This is composed of Maha great, and Atma soul; so it means great soul, and as all men are souls the distinction of the Mahatma lies in greatness. The term Mahatma has come into wide use through the Theosophical Society, as Mme. H. P. Blavatsky constantly referred to them as her Masters who gave her the knowledge she possessed. They were at first known only as the Brothers, but afterwards, when many Hindus flocked to the Theosophical movement, the name Mahatma was brought into use, inasmuch as it has behind it an immense body of Indian tradition and literature. At different times unscrupulous enemies of the Theosophical Society have said that even this name had been invented and that such beings are not known of among the Indians or in their literature. But these assertions are made only to discredit if possible a philosophical movement that threatens to completely upset prevailing erroneous theological dogmas. For all through Hindu literature Mahatmas are often spoken of, and in parts of the north of that country the term is common. In the very old poem the Bhagavad-Gita, revered by all Hindu sects and admitted by the western critics to be noble as well as beautiful, there is a verse reading, "Such a Mahatma is difficult to find." *
But irrespective of all
disputes as to specific names, there is sufficient argument and proof to show
that a body of men having the wonderful knowledge described above has always
existed and probably exists today. The older mysteries continually refer to
them. Ancient Egypt had them in her great king-Initiates, sons of the sun and
friends of great gods. There is a habit of belittling the ideas of the ancients
which is in itself belittling to the people of today. Even the Christian who
reverently speaks of Abraham as "the friend of God," will scornfully laugh at
the idea of the claims of Egyptian rulers to the same friendship being other
than childish assumption of dignity and title. But the truth is, these great
Egyptians were Initiates, mem-
* Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter vii.
bers of the one great lodge which includes all others of whatever degree or operation. The later and declining Egyptians, of course, must have imitated their predecessors, but that was when the true doctrine was beginning once more to be obscured upon the rise of dogma and priesthood.
The story of Apollonius of Tyana is about a member of one of the same ancient orders appearing among men at a descending cycle, and only for the purpose of keeping a witness upon the scene for future generations.
Abraham and Moses of the Jews are two other Initiates, Adepts who had their work to do with a certain people; and in the history of Abraham we meet with Melchizedek, who was so much beyond Abraham that he had the right to confer upon the latter a dignity, a privilege, or a blessing. The same chapter of human history which contains the names of Moses and Abraham is illuminated also by that of Solomon. And thus these three make a great Triad of Adepts, the record of whose deeds can not be brushed aside as folly and devoid of basis.
Moses was educated by the
Egyptians and in Midian, from both of which he gained much occult knowledge, and
any clear-seeing student of the great Universal Masonry can perceive all through
his books the hand, the plan, and the work of a master. Abraham again knew all
the arts and much of the power in psychical realms that were cultivated in his
day, or else he could not have consorted with kings nor have been "the friend of
God"; and the reference to his conversations with the Almighty in respect to the
destruction of cities alone shows him to have been an Adept who had long ago
passed beyond the need of ceremonial or other adventitious aids. Solomon
completes this triad and stands out in characters of fire. Around him is
clustered such a mass of legend and story about his dealings with the elemental
powers and of his magic possessions that one must condemn the whole ancient
world as a
collection of fools who made lies for amusement if a denial is made of his being a great character, a wonderful example of the incarnation among men of a powerful Adept. We do not have to accept the name Solomon nor the pretense that he reigned over the Jews, but we must admit the fact that somewhere in the misty time to which the Jewish records refer there lived and moved among the people of the earth one who was an Adept and given that name afterwards. Peripatetics and microscopic critics may affect to see in the prevalence of universal tradition naught but evidence of the gullibility of men and their power to imitate, but the true student of human nature and life knows that the universal tradition is true and arises from the facts in the history of man.
Turning to India, so long forgotten and ignored by the lusty and egotistical, the fighting and the trading West, we find her full of the lore relating to these wonderful men of whom Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Solomon are only examples. There the people are fitted by temperament and climate to be the preservers of the philosophical, ethical, and psychical jewels that would have been forever lost to us had they been left to the ravages of such Goths and Vandals as western nations were in the early days of their struggle for education and civilization. If the men who wantonly burned up vast masses of historical and ethnological treasures found by the minions of the Catholic rulers of Spain, in Central and South America, could have known of and put their hands upon the books and palm-leaf records of India before the protecting shield of England was raised against them, they would have destroyed them all as they did for the Americans, and as their predecessors attempted to do for the Alexandrian library. Fortunately events worked otherwise.
All along the stream of
Indian literature we can find the names by scores of great adepts who were
well known to the people and who all taught the same story ―the great epic of the human soul. Their names are unfamiliar to western ears, but the records of their thoughts, their work and powers remain. Still more, in the quiet unmoveable East there are today by the hundred persons who know of their own knowledge that the Great Lodge still exists and has its Mahatmas, Adepts, Initiates, Brothers. And yet further, in that land are such a number of experts in the practical application of minor though still very astonishing power over nature and her forces, that we have an irresistible mass of human evidence to prove the proposition laid down.
And if Theosophy ―the teaching of this Great Lodge ―is as said, both scientific and religious, then from the ethical side we have still more proof. A mighty Triad acting on and through ethics is that composed of Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus. The first, a Hindu, founds a religion which today embraces many more people than Christianity, teaching centuries before Jesus the ethics which he taught and which had been given out even centuries before Buddha. Jesus coming to reform his people repeats these ancient ethics, and Confucius does the same thing for ancient and honorable China.
The Theosophist says that
all these great names represent members of the one single brotherhood, who all
have a single doctrine. And the extraordinary characters who now and again
appear in western civilization, such as St. Germain, Jacob Boehme, Cagliostro,
Paracelsus, Mesmer, Count St. Martin, and Madame H. P. Blavatsky, are agents for
the doing of the work of the Great Lodge at the proper time. It is true they are
generally reviled and classed as impostors—though no one can find out why
they are when they generally confer benefits and lay down propositions or make
discoveries of great value to science after they have died. But Jesus himself
would be called an impostor today if he appeared in some
Fifth Avenue theatrical church rebuking the professed Christians. Paracelsus was the originator of valuable methods and treatments in medicine now universally used. Mesmer taught hypnotism under another name. Madame Blavatsky brought once more to the attention of the West the most important system, long known to the Lodge, respecting man, his nature and destiny. But all are alike called impostors by a people who have no original philosophy of their own and whose mendicant and criminal classes exceed in misery and in number those of any civilization on the earth.
It will not be unusual for nearly all occidental readers to wonder how men could possibly know so much and have such power over the operations of natural law as I have ascribed to the Initiates, now so commonly spoken of as the Mahatmas. In India, China, and other Oriental lands no wonder would arise on these heads, because there, although everything of a material civilization is just now in a backward state, they have never lost a belief in the inner nature of man and in the power he may exercise if he will. Consequently living examples of such powers and capacities have not been absent from those people. But in the West a materialistic civilization having arisen through a denial of the soul life and nature consequent upon a reaction from illogical dogmatism, there has not been any investigation of these subjects and, until lately, the general public has not believed in the possibility of anyone save a supposed God having such power.
A Mahatma endowed with
power over space, time, mind, and matter, is a possibility just because he is a
perfected man. Every human being has the germ of all the powers attributed to
these great Initiates, the difference lying solely in the fact that we have in
general not developed what we possess the germ of, while the Mahatma has gone
through the training and experience which have caused all the unseen human
powers to develop in him, and conferred gifts that look god-like to his
struggling brother below. Telep-
athy, mind-reading, and hypnotism, all long ago known to Theosophy, show the existence in the human subject of planes of consciousness, functions, and faculties hitherto undreamed of. Mind-reading and the influencing of the mind of the hypnotized subject at a distance prove the existence of a mind which is not wholly dependent upon a brain, and that a medium exists through which the influencing thought may be sent. It is under this law that the Initiates can communicate with each other at no matter what distance. Its rationale, not yet admitted by the schools of the hypnotizers, is, that if the two minds vibrate or change into the same state they will think alike, or, in other words, the one who is to hear at a distance receives the impression sent by the other. In the same way with all other powers, no matter how extraordinary. They are all natural, although now unusual, just as great musical ability is natural though not usual or common. If an Initiate can make a solid object move without contact, it is because he understands the two laws of attraction and repulsion of which "gravitation" is but the name for one; if he is able to precipitate out of the viewless air the carbon which we know is in it, forming the carbon into sentences upon the paper, it is through his knowledge of the occult higher chemistry, and the use of a trained and powerful image making faculty which every man possesses; if he reads your thoughts with ease, that results from the use of the inner and only real powers of sight, which require no retina to see the fine-pictured web which the vibrating brain of man weaves about him. All that the Mahatma may do is natural to the perfected man; but if those powers are not at once revealed to us it is because the race is as yet selfish altogether and still living for the present and the transitory.
I repeat then, that though
the true doctrine disappears for a time from among men it is bound to reappear,
because first, it is impacted in the imperishable center of man's nature; and
secondly, the Lodge for-
ever preserves it, not only in actual objective records,
but also in the intelligent and fully self-conscious men who, having
successfully overpassed the many periods of evolution which preceded the one we
are now involved in, cannot lose the precious possessions they have acquired.
And because the elder brothers are the highest product of evolution through whom
alone, in cooperation with the whole human family, the further regular and
workmanlike prosecution of the plans of the Great Architect of the Universe
could be carried on, I have thought it well to advert to them and their
Universal Lodge before going to other parts of the subject.
The teachings of Theosophy deal for the present chiefly with our earth, although its purview extends to all the worlds, since no part of the manifested universe is outside the single body of laws which operate upon us. Our globe being one of the solar system is certainly connected with Venus, Jupiter, and other planets, but as the great human family has to remain with its material vehicle—the earth—until all the units of the race which are ready are perfected, the evolution of that family is of greater importance to the members of it. Some particulars respecting the other planets may be given later on. First let us take a general view of the laws governing all.
The universe evolves from the unknown, into which no man or mind, however high, can inquire, on seven planes or in seven ways or methods in all worlds, and this sevenfold differentiation causes all the worlds of the universe and the beings thereon to have a septenary constitution. As was taught of old, the little worlds and the great are copies of the whole, and the minutest insect as well as the most highly developed being are replicas in little or in great of the vast inclusive original. Hence sprang the saying, "as above so below" which the Hermetic philosophers used.
The divisions of the
sevenfold universe may be laid down roughly as: The Absolute, Spirit, Mind,
Matter, Will, Akasa or Æther, and Life. In place of "the Absolute" we can use
the word Space. For Space is that which ever is, and in which all manifestation
must take place. The term Akasa, taken from the Sanskrit, is used in place of Æther, because
the English language has not yet evolved a word to properly designate that tenuous state of matter which is now sometimes called Ether by modern scientists. As to the Absolute we can do no more than say IT IS. None of the great teachers of the School ascribe qualities to the Absolute although all the qualities exist in It. Our knowledge begins with differentiation, and all manifested objects, beings, or powers are only differentiations of the Great Unknown. The most that can be said is that the Absolute periodically differentiates itself, and periodically withdraws the differentiated into itself.
The first differentiation―speaking metaphysically as to time―is Spirit, with which appears Matter and Mind. Akasa is produced from Matter and Spirit, Will is the force of Spirit in action and Life is a resultant of the action of Akasa, moved by Spirit, upon Matter.
But the Matter here spoken of is not that which is vulgarly known as such. It is the real Matter which is always invisible, and has sometimes been called Primordial Matter. In the Brahmanical system it is denominated Mulaprakriti. The ancient teaching always held, as is now admitted by Science, that we see or perceive only the phenomena but not the essential nature, body or being of matter.
Mind is the intelligent part of the Cosmos, and in the collection of seven differentiations above roughly sketched, Mind is that in which the plan of the Cosmos is fixed or contained. This plan is brought over from a prior period of manifestation which added to its ever-increasing perfectness, and no limit can be set to its evolutionary possibilities in perfectness, because there was never any beginning to the periodical manifestations of the Absolute, there never will be any end, but forever the going forth and withdrawing into the Unknown will go on.
Wherever a world or system
of worlds is evolving there the plan has been laid down in universal mind,
the original force comes from spirit, the basis is matter―which is in fact invisible―Life sustains all the forms requiring life, and Akasa is the connecting link between matter on one side and spirit-mind on the other.
When a world or a system comes to the end of certain great cycles men record a cataclysm in history or tradition. These traditions abound; among the Jews in their flood; with the Babylonians in theirs; in Egyptian papyri; in the Hindu cosmology; and none of them as merely confirmatory of the little Jewish tradition, but all pointing to early teaching and dim recollection also of the periodical destructions and renovations. The Hebraic story is but a poor fragment torn from the pavement of the Temple of Truth. Just as there are periodical minor cataclysms or partial destructions, so, the doctrine holds, there is the universal evolution and involution. Forever the Great Breath goes forth and returns again. As it proceeds outwards, objects, worlds and men appear; as it recedes all disappear into the original source.
This is the waking and the sleeping of the Great Being; the Day and the Night of Brahmâ; the prototype of our waking days and sleeping nights as men, of our disappearance from the scene at the end of one little human life, and our return again to take up the unfinished work in another life, in a new day.
The real age of the world
has long been involved in doubt for Western investigators, who up to the present
have shown a singular unwillingness to take instruction from the records of
Oriental people much older than the West. Yet with the Orientals is the truth
about the matter. It is admitted that Egyptian civilization flourished many
centuries ago, and as there are no living Egyptian schools of ancient learning
to offend modern pride, and perhaps because the Jews "came out of Egypt" to
fasten the Mosaic misunderstood tradition upon modern progress, the inscriptions
cut in rocks and written on papyri obtain a little more
credit today than the living thought and record of the Hindus. For the latter are still among us, and it would never do to admit that a poor and conquered race possesses knowledge respecting the age of man and his world which the western flower of culture, war, and annexation knows nothing of. Ever since the ignorant monks and theologians of Asia Minor and Europe succeeded in imposing the Mosaic account of the genesis of earth and man upon the coming western evolution, the most learned even of our scientific men have stood in fear of the years that elapsed since Adam, or have been warped in thought and perception whenever their eyes turned to any chronology different from that of a few tribes of the sons of Jacob. Even the noble, aged, and silent pyramid of Gizeh, guarded by Sphinx and Memnon made of stone, has been degraded by Piazzi Smyth and others into a proof that the British inch must prevail and that a "Continental Sunday" controverts the law of the Most High. Yet in the Mosaic account, where one would expect to find a reference to such a proof as the pyramid, we can discover not a single hint of it and only a record of the building by King Solomon of a temple of which there never was a trace.
But the Theosophist knows
why the Hebraic tradition came to be thus an apparent drag on the mind of the
West; he knows the connection between Jew and Egyptian; what is and is to be the
resurrection of the old pyramid builders of the Nile valley, and where the plans
of those ancient master masons have been hidden from the profane eyes until the
cycle should roll round again for their bringing forth. The Jews preserved
merely a part of the learning of Egypt hidden under the letter of the books of
Moses, and it is there still to this day in what they call the cabalistic or
hidden meaning of the scriptures. But the Egyptian souls who helped in planning
the pyramid of Gizeh, who took part in the Egyptian government, theology,
science, and civilization, departed from their old race,
that race died out and the former Egyptians took up their work in the oncoming races of the West, especially in those which are now repeopling the American continents. When Egypt and India were younger there was a constant intercourse between them. They both, in the opinion of the Theosophist, thought alike, but fate ruled that of the two the Hindus only should preserve the old ideas among a living people. I will therefore take from the Brahmanical records of Hindustan their doctrine about the days, nights, years and life of Brahma, who represents the universe and the worlds.
The doctrine at once upsets the interpretation so long given to the Mosaic tradition, but fully accords with the evident account in Genesis of other and former "creations," with the cabalistic construction of the Old Testament verse about the kings of Edom, who there represent former periods of evolution prior to that started with Adam, and also coincides with the belief held by some of the early Christian Fathers who told their brethren about wonderful previous worlds and creations.
The Day of Brahma is said to last one thousand years, and his night is of equal length. In the Christian Bible is a verse saying that one day is as a thousand years to the Lord and a thousand years as one day. This has generally been used to magnify the power of Jehovah, but it has a suspicious resemblance to the older doctrine of the length of Brahma's day and night. It would be of more value if construed to be a statement of the periodical coming forth for great days and nights of equal length of the universe of manifested worlds.
A day of mortals is
reckoned by the sun, and is but twelve hours in length. On Mercury it would be
different, and on Saturn or Uranus still more so. But a day of Brahma is made up
of what are called Manvantaras―or period between two men―fourteen in
number. These include four billion three hundred and twenty
million mortal, or earth, years, which is one day of Brahma.
When this day opens, cosmic evolution, so far as relates to this solar system, begins and occupies between one and two billions of years in evolving the very ethereal first matter before the astral kingdoms of mineral, vegetable, animal and men are possible. This second step takes some three hundred millions of years, and then still more material processes go forward for the production of the tangible kingdoms of nature, including man. This covers over one and one-half billions of years. And the number of solar years included in the present "human" period is over eighteen millions of years.
This is exactly what Herbert Spencer designates as the gradual coming forth of the known and heterogeneous from the unknown and homogeneous. For the ancient Egyptian and Hindu Theosophists never admitted a creation out of nothing, but ever strenuously insisted upon evolution, by gradual stages, of the heterogeneous and differentiated from the homogeneous and undifferentiated. No mind can comprehend the infinite and absolute unknown, which is, has no beginning and shall have no end; which is both last and first, because, whether differentiated or withdrawn into itself, it ever is. This is the God spoken of in the Christian Bible as the one around whose pavilion there is darkness.
This cosmic and human
chronology of the Hindus is laughed at by western Orientalists, yet they can
furnish nothing better and are continually disagreeing with each other on the
same subject. In Wilson's translation of
Vishnu Purana he calls it all
fiction based on nothing, and childish boasting. But the Free Masons, who remain
inactive hereupon, ought to know better. They could find in the story of the
building of Solomon's temple from the heterogeneous materials brought from
everywhere, and its erection without the noise of a tool being heard, the
with these ideas of their Egyptian and Hindu brothers. For Solomon's Temple means man whose frame is built up, finished and decorated without the least noise. But the materials had to be found, gathered together and fashioned in other and distant places.
These are in the periods above spoken of, very distant and very silent. Man could not have his bodily temple to live in until all the matter in and about his world had been found by the Master, who is the inner man, when found the plans for working it required to be detailed. They then had to be carried out in different detail until all the parts should be perfectly ready and fit for placing in the final structure. So in the vast stretch of time which began after the first almost intangible matter had been gathered and kneaded, the material and vegetable kingdoms had sole possession here with the Master—man—who was hidden from sight within carrying forward the plans for the foundations of the human temple. All of this requires many, many ages, since we know that nature never leaps. And when the rough work was completed, when the human temple was erected, many more ages would be required for all the servants, the priests, and the counsellors to learn their parts properly so that man, the Master, might be able to use the temple for its best and highest purposes.
The ancient doctrine is far nobler than the Christian religious one or that of the purely scientific school. The religious gives a theory which conflicts with reason and fact, while science can give for the facts which it observes no reason which is in any way noble or elevating. Theosophy alone, inclusive of all systems and every experience, gives the key, the plan, the doctrine, the truth.
The real age of the world
is asserted by Theosophy to be almost incalculable, and that of man as he is now
formed is over eighteen millions of years. What has become at last man is of
vastly greater age, for before the present two sexes appeared the human creature
was sometimes of one shape and sometimes
of another, until the whole plan had been fully worked out into our present form, function, and capacity. This is found to be referred to in the ancient books written for the profane where man is said to have been at one time globular in shape. This was at a time when the conditions favored such a form and of course it was longer ago than eighteen millions of years. And when this globular form was the rule the sexes as we know them had not differentiated and hence there was but one sex, or if you like, no sex at all.
During all these ages
before our man came into being, evolution was carrying on the work of perfecting
various powers which are now our possession. This was accomplished by the Ego or
real man going through experience in countless conditions of matter all
different one from the other, and the same plan in general was and is pursued as
prevails in respect to the general evolution of the universe to which I have
before adverted. That is, details were first worked out in spheres of being very
ethereal, metaphysical in fact. Then the next step brought the same details to
be worked out on a plane of matter a little more dense, until at last it could
be done on our present plane of what we miscall gross matter. In these anterior
states the senses existed in germ, as it were, or in idea, until the astral
plane which is next to this one was arrived at, and then they were concentrated
so as to be the actual senses we now use through the agency of the different
outer organs. These outer organs of sight, touch and hearing, and tasting, are
often mistaken by the unlearned or the thoughtless for the real organs and
senses, but he who stops to think must see that the senses are interior and that
their outer organs are but mediators between the visible universe and the real
perceiver within. And all these various powers and potentialities being well
worked out in this slow but sure process, at last man is put upon the scene a
sevenfold being just as the universe and earth itself are sevenfold. Each of his
seven principles is derived
from one of the great first seven divisions, and
each relates to a planet or scene of evolution, and to a race in which that
evolution was carried out. So the first sevenfold differentiation is important
to be borne in mind, since it is the basis of all that follows; just as the
universal evolution is septenary so the evolution of humanity, sevenfold in its
constitution, is carried on upon a septenary Earth. This is spoken of in
Theosophical literature as the Sevenfold Planetary Chain, and is intimately
connected with Man's special evolution.
Coming now to our Earth the view put forward by Theosophy regarding its genesis, its evolution and the evolution of the Human, Animal and other Monads, is quite different from modern ideas, and in some things contrary to accepted theories. But the theories of today are not stable. They change with each century, while the Theosophical one never alters because, in the opinion of those Elder Brothers who have caused its repromulgation and pointed to its confirmation in ancient books, it is but a statement of facts in nature. The modern theory is, on the contrary, always speculative, changeable, and continually altered.
Following the general plan outlined in preceding pages, the Earth is sevenfold. It is an entity and not a mere lump of gross matter. And being thus an entity of a septenary nature there must be six other globes which roll with it in space. This company of seven globes has been called the "Earth Chain," the "Planetary Chain." In Esoteric Buddhism this is clearly stated, but there a rather hard and fast materialistic view of it is given and the reader led to believe that the doctrine speaks of seven distinct globes, all separated from though connected with each other. One is forced to conclude that the author meant to say that the globe Earth is as distinct from the other six as Venus is from Mars.
This is not the doctrine.
The earth is one of seven globes, in respect to man's consciousness only,
because when he functions on one of the seven he perceives it as a distinct
globe and does not see the other six.
This is in perfect correspondence with man himself who has six other constituents of which only the gross body is visible to him because he is now functioning on the Earth—or the fourth globe—and his body represents the Earth. The whole seven "globes" constitute one single mass or great globe and they all interpenetrate each other. But we have to say "globe," because the ultimate shape is globular or spherical. If one relies too closely on the explanation made by Mr. Sinnett it might be supposed that the globes did not interpenetrate each other but were connected by currents or lines of magnetic force. And if too close attention is paid to the diagrams used in the Secret Doctrine to illustrate the scheme, without paying due regard to the explanations and cautions given by H. P. Blavatsky, the same error may be made. But both she and her Adept teachers say, that the seven globes of our chain are in "coadunation with each other but not in consubstantiality.”* This is further enforced by cautions not to rely on statistics or plane surface diagrams, but to look at the metaphysical and spiritual aspect of the theory as stated in English. Thus from the very source of Mr. Sinnett's book we have the statement, that these globes are united in one mass though differing from each other in substance, and that this difference of substance is due to change of center of consciousness.
The Earth Chain of seven
globes as thus defined is the direct reincarnation of a former chain of seven
globes, and that former family of seven was the moon chain, the moon itself
being the visible representative of the fourth globe of the old chain. When that
former vast entity composed of the Moon and six others, all united in one mass,
reached its limit of life it died just as any being dies. Each one of the seven
sent its energies into space and gave similar life or vibration to cosmic dust—matter,—and the total cohesive force of the whole kept the seven energies
together. This resulted
* (Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 166, first edition.)
in the evolving of the present Earth Chain of seven centers of energy or evolution combined in one mass. As the Moon was the fourth of the old series it is on the same plane of perception as the Earth, and as we are now confined in our consciousness largely to Earth we are able only to see one of the old seven—to wit: our Moon. When we are functioning on any of the other seven we will perceive in our sky the corresponding old corpse which will then be a Moon, and we will not see the present Moon. Venus, Mars, Mercury and other visible planets are all fourth-plane globes of distinct planetary masses and for that reason are visible to us, their companion six centers of energy and consciousness being invisible. All diagrams on plane surfaces will only becloud the theory because a diagram necessitates linear divisions.
The stream or mass of Egos
which evolves on the seven globes of our chain is limited in number, yet the
actual quantity is enormous. For though the universe is limitless and infinite,
yet in any particular portion of Cosmos in which manifestation and evolution
have begun there is a limit to the extent of manifestation and to the number of
Egos engaged therein. And the whole number of Monads now going through evolution
on our Earth Chain came over from the old seven planets or globes which I have
described. Esoteric Buddhism
calls this mass of Egos a "life wave," meaning the stream of Monads. It
reached this planetary mass, represented to our consciousness by the central
point our Earth, and began on Globe A or No. I, coming like an army or river.
The first portion began on Globe A and went through a long evolution there in
bodies suited to such a state of matter, and then passed on to B, and so on
through the whole seven greater states of consciousness which have been called
globes. When the first portion left A others streamed in and pursued the same
course, the whole army proceeding with regularity round the septenary route.
This journey went on for four circlings round the whole, and then the whole stream or army of Egos from the old Moon Chain had arrived, and being complete, no more entered after the middle of the Fourth Round. The same circling process of these differently arrived classes goes on for seven complete Rounds of the whole seven planetary centers of consciousness, and when the seven are ended as much perfection as is possible in the immense period occupied will have been attained, and then this chain or mass of "globes" will die in its turn to give birth to still another series.
Each one of the globes is used by evolutionary law for the development of seven races, and of senses, faculties and powers appropriate to that state of matter: the experience of the whole seven globes being needed to make a perfect development. Hence we have the Rounds and Races. The Round is a circling of the seven centers of planetary consciousness; the Race the racial development on one of those seven. There are seven races for each globe, but the total of forty-nine races only makes up seven great races, the special septennate of races on each globe or planetary center composing in reality one race of seven constituents or special peculiarities of function and power.
And as no complete race could be evolved in a moment on any globe, the slow, orderly processes of nature, which allow no jumps, must proceed by appropriate means. Hence sub-races have to be evolved one after the other before the perfect root race is formed, and then the root race sends off its offshoots while it is declining and preparing for the advent of the next great race.
As illustrating this, it is
distinctly taught that on the Americas is to be evolved the new—sixth—race; and here all the races of the earth are now engaged in a great
amalgamation from which will result a very highly developed sub-race, after
which others will be
evolved by similar processes until the new one is completed.
Between the end of any great race and the beginning of another there is a period of rest, so far as the globe is concerned, for then the stream of human Egos leaves it for another one of the chain in order to go on with further evolution of powers and faculties there. But when the last, the seventh, race has appeared and fully perfected itself, a great dissolution comes on, similar to that which I briefly described as preceding the birth of the earth's chain, and then the world disappears as a tangible thing, and so far as the human ear is concerned there is silence. This, it is said, is the root of the belief so general that the world will come to an end, that there will be a judgment-day, or that there have been universal floods or fires.
Taking up evolution on the Earth, it is stated that the stream of Monads begins first to work up the mass of matter in what are called elemental conditions when all is gaseous or fiery. For the ancient and true theory is that no evolution is possible without the Monad as vivifying agent. In this first stage there is no animal or vegetable. Next comes the mineral when the whole mass hardens, the Monads being all imprisoned within. Then the first Monads emerge into vegetable forms which they construct themselves, and no animals yet appear. Next the first class of Monads emerges from the vegetable and produces the animal, then the human astral and shadowy model, and we have minerals, vegetables, animals and future men, for the second and later classes are still evolving in the lower kingdoms. When the middle of the Fourth Round is reached no more Monads emerge into the human stage and will not until a new planetary mass, reincarnated from ours, is made. This is the whole process roughly given, but with many details left out, for in one of the rounds man appears before the animals. But this detail need lead to no confusion.
And to state it in another
way. The plan comes
first in the universal mind, after which the astral model or basis is made, and when that astral model is completed, the whole process is gone over so as to condense the matter, up to the middle of the Fourth Round. Subsequent to that, which is our future, the whole mass is spiritualized with full consciousness and the entire body of globes raised up to a higher plane of development. In the process of condensing above referred to there is an alteration in respect to the time of the appearance of man on the planet. But as to these details the teachers have only said, "that at the Second Round the plan varies, but the variation will not be given to this generation." Hence it is impossible for me to give it. But there is no vagueness on the point that seven great races have to evolve here on this planet, and that the entire collection of races has to go seven times round the whole series of seven globes.
Human beings did not appear
here in two sexes first. The first were of no sex, then they altered into
hermaphrodite, and lastly separated into male and female. And this separation
into male and female for human beings was over 18,000,000 years ago. For that
reason is it said, in these ancient schools, that our humanity is 18,000,000
years old and a little over.
Respecting the nature of man there are two ideas current in the religious circles of Christendom. One is the teaching and the other the common acceptation of it; the first is not secret, to be sure, in the Church, but it is so seldom dwelt upon in the hearing of the laity as to be almost arcane for the ordinary person. Nearly everyone says he has a soul and a body, and there it ends. What the soul is, and whether it is the real person or whether it has any powers of its own, are not inquired into, the preachers usually confining themselves to its salvation or damnation. And by thus talking of it as something different from oneself, the people have acquired an underlying notion that they are not souls because the soul may be lost by them. From this has come about a tendency to materialism causing men to pay more attention to the body than to the soul, the latter being left to the tender mercies of the priest of the Roman Catholics, and among dissenters the care of it is most frequently put off to the dying day. But when the true teaching is known it will be seen that the care of the soul, which is the Self, is a vital matter requiring attention every day, and not to be deferred without grievous injury resulting to the whole man, both soul and body.
The Christian teaching,
supported by St. Paul, since upon him, in fact, dogmatic Christianity rests, is
that man is composed of body, soul, and spirit. This is the threefold
constitution of man, believed by the theologians but kept in the background
because its examination might result in the readoption of views once orthodox
but now heretical. For when we thus place
soul between spirit and body, we come very close to the necessity for looking into the question of the soul's responsibility—since mere body can have no responsibility. And in order to make the soul responsible for the acts performed, we must assume that it has powers and functions. From this it is easy to take the position that the soul may be rational or irrational, as the Greeks sometimes thought, and then there is but a step to further Theosophical propositions. This threefold scheme of the nature of man contains, in fact, the Theosophical teaching of his sevenfold constitution, because the four other divisions missing from the category can be found in the powers and functions of body and soul, as I shall attempt to show later on. This conviction that man is a septenary and not merely a duad, was held long ago and very plainly taught to every one with accompanying demonstrations, but like other philosophical tenets it disappeared from sight, because gradually withdrawn at the time when in the east of Europe morals were degenerating and before materialism had gained full sway in company with scepticism, its twin. Upon its withdrawal the present dogma of body, soul, spirit, was left to Christendom. The reason for that concealment and its rejuvenescence in this century is well put by Mme. H. P. Blavatsky in the Secret Doctrine. In answer to the statement, "we cannot understand how any danger could arise from the revelation of such a purely philosophical doctrine as the evolution of the planetary chain," she says:
danger was this: Doctrines such as the Planetary chain or the seven races at
once give a clue to the seven-fold nature of man, for each principle is
correlated to a plane, a planet, and a race; and the human principles are, on
every plane, correlated to seven-fold occult forces—those of the higher
planes being of tremendous occult powers, the abuse of which would cause
incalculable evil to humanity. A clue, which is, perhaps, no clue to the present
generation—especially the Westerns—protected as they are by their very
blindness and ignorant materialistic disbelief in the occult; but a clue which
would, nevertheless, have been very real in the early centuries of the
Christian era, to people fully convinced of the reality of occultism, and entering a cycle of degradation, which made them rife [ripe] for abuse of occult powers and sorcery of the worst description.
Mr. A. P. Sinnett, at one time an official in the Government of India,* first outlined in this century the real nature of man in his book Esoteric Buddhism, which was made up from information conveyed to him by H. P. Blavatsky directly from the Great Lodge of Initiates to which reference has been made. And in thus placing the old doctrine before western civilization he conferred a great benefit on his generation and helped considerably the cause of Theosophy. His classification was:
1. The Body, or Rupa.
2. Vitality, or Prana-Jiva.
3. Astral Body, or Linga-Sarira.
4. Animal Soul, or Kama-Rupa.
5. Human Soul, or Manas.
6. Spiritual Soul, or Buddhi.
7. Spirit, or Atma.
The words in italics being
equivalents in the Sanskrit language adopted by him for the English terms. This
classification stands to this day for all practical purposes, but it is capable
of modification and extension. For instance, a later arrangement which places
Astral body second instead of third in the category does not substantially alter
it. It at once gives an idea of what man is, very different from the vague
description by the words "body and soul," and also boldly challenges the
materialistic conception that mind is the product of brain, a portion of the
body. No claim is made that these principles were hitherto unknown, for they
were all understood in various ways not only by the Hindus but by many
Europeans. Yet the compact presentation of the sevenfold constitution of man in
intimate connection with the septenary constitution of a chain of globes through
which the being evolves, had
not been given out. The French Abbe, Eliphas Levi, wrote about the astral realm and the astral body, but evidently had no knowledge of the remainder of the doctrine, and while the Hindus possessed the other terms in their language and philosophy, they did not use a septenary classification, but depended chiefly on a fourfold one and certainly concealed (if they knew of it) the doctrine of a chain of seven globes including our earth. Indeed, a learned Hindu, Subba Row, now deceased, asserted that they knew of a seven-fold classification, but that it had not been and would not be given out.
constituents in another manner, we would say that the lower man is a composite
being, but in his real nature is a unity, or immortal being, comprising a
trinity of Spirit, Discernment, and Mind which requires four lower mortal
instruments or vehicles through which to work in matter and obtain experience
from Nature. This trinity is that called Atma-Buddhi-Manas in Sanskrit, difficult terms to render in English.
Atma is Spirit,
Buddhi is the highest power of
intellection, that which discerns and judges, and
Manas is Mind. This threefold
collection is the real man; and beyond doubt the doctrine is the origin of the
theological one of the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The four lower
instruments or vehicles are shown in this table:
Passions and Desires,
These four lower material
constituents are transitory and subject to disintegration in themselves as well
as to separation from each other. When the hour arrives for their separation to
begin, the combination can no longer be kept up, the physical body dies, the
atoms of which each of the four is composed begin to separate from each other,
and the whole collection
being disjointed is no longer fit for one as an instrument for the real man. This is what is called "death" among us mortals, but it is not death for the real man because he is deathless, persistent, immortal. He is therefore called the Triad, or indestructible trinity, while they are known as the Quaternary or mortal four.
This quaternary or lower
man is a product of cosmic or physical laws and substance. It has been evolved
during a lapse of ages, like any other physical thing, from cosmic substance,
and is therefore subject to physical, physiological, and psychical laws which
govern the race of man as a whole. Hence its period of possible continuance can
be calculated just as the limit of tensile strain among the metals used in
bridge building can be deduced by the engineer. Any one collection in the form
of man made up of these constituents is therefore limited in duration by the
laws of the evolutionary period in which it exists. Just now, that is generally
seventy to one hundred years, but its possible duration is longer. Thus there
are in history instances where ordinary persons have lived to be two hundred
years of age; and by a knowledge of the occult laws of nature the possible limit
of duration may be extended nearly to four hundred years.
Passions and Desires,
Life Principle (called prana or jiva).
It will be seen that the physical part of our nature is thus extended to a second department which, though invisible to the physical eye, is nevertheless material and subject to decay. Because people in general have been in the habit of admitting to be real only what they can see with the physical eye, they have at last come to suppose that the unseen is neither real nor material. But they forgot that even on the earth plane noxious gases are invisible though real and powerfully material, and that water may exist in the air held suspended and invisible until conditions alter and cause its precipitation.
Let us recapitulate before
going into details. The Real Man
is the trinity of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, or Spirit and Mind, and he uses certain agents and instruments to
get in touch with nature in order to know himself. These instruments and agents
are found in the lower Four—or the Quaternary—each principle in which
category is of itself an instrument for the particular experience belonging to
its own field, the body being the lowest, least important, and most transitory
of the whole series. For when we arrive at the body on the way down from the
Higher Mind, it can be shown that all of its organs are in themselves senseless
and useless when deprived of the man within. Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and
smelling do not pertain to the body but to the second unseen physical man, the
real organs for the exercise of those powers being in the Astral Body, and those
in the physical body being but the mechanical outer instruments for making the
coordination between nature and the real organs inside.
The body, as a mass of flesh, bones, muscles, nerves, brain matter, bile, mucous, blood, and skin is an object of exclusive care for too many people, who make it their god because they have come to identify themselves with it, meaning it only when they say "I." Left to itself it is devoid of sense, and acts in such a case solely by reflex and automatic action. This we see in sleep, for then the body assumes attitudes and makes motions which the waking man does not permit. It is like mother earth in that it is made up of a number of infinitesimal "lives." Each of these lives is a sensitive point. Not only are there microbes, bacilli, and bacteria, but these are composed of others, and those others of still more minute lives. These lives are not the cells of the body, but make up the cells, keeping ever within the limits assigned by evolution to the cell. They are forever whirling and moving together throughout the whole body, being in certain apparently void spaces as well as where flesh, membrane, bones, and blood are seen. They extend, too, beyond the actual outer limits of the body to a measurable distance.
One of the mysteries of
physical life is hidden among these "lives." Their action, forced forward by the
Life energy―called Prana
or Jiva―will explain
active existence and physical death. They are divided into two classes, one the
destroyers, the other the preservers, and these two war upon each other from
birth until the destroyers win. In this struggle the Life Energy itself ends the
contest because it is life that kills. This may seem heterodox, but in
Theosophical philosophy it is held to be the fact. For, it is said,
the infant lives because the combination of healthy organs is able to absorb the life all around it in space, and is put to sleep each day by the overpowering strength of the stream of life, since the preservers among the cells of the youthful body are not yet mastered by the other class. These processes of going to sleep and waking again are simply and solely the restoring of the equilibrium in sleep and the action produced by disturbing it when awake. It may be compared with the arc-electric light wherein the brilliant arc of light at the point of resistance is the symbol of the waking active man. So in sleep we are again absorbing and not resisting the Life Energy; when we wake we are throwing it off. But as it exists around us like an ocean in which we swim, our power to throw it off is necessarily limited. Just when we wake we are in equilibrium as to our organs and life; when we fall asleep we are yet more full of life than in the morning; it has exhausted us; it finally kills the body. Such a contest could not be waged forever, since the whole solar system's weight of life is pitted against the power to resist focussed in one small human frame.
The body is considered by
the Masters of Wisdom to be the most transitory, impermanent, and illusionary of
the whole series of constituents in man. Not for a moment is it the same. Ever
changing, in motion in every part, it is in fact never complete or finished
though tangible. The ancients clearly perceived this, for they elaborated a
doctrine called Nitya Pralaya, or the continual change in material things, the
continual destruction. This is known now to science in the doctrine that the
body undergoes a complete alteration and renovation every seven years. At the
end of the first seven years it is not the same body it was in the beginning. At
the end of our days it has changed seven times, perhaps more. And yet it
presents the same general appearance from maturity until death; and it is a
human form from birth to maturity. This is a mystery science explains not; it
is a question pertaining to the cell and to the means whereby the general human shape is preserved.
The "cell" is an illusion. It is merely a word. It has no existence as a material thing, for any cell is composed of other cells. What, then, is a cell? It is the ideal form within which the actual physical atoms― made up of the "lives"―arrange themselves. As it is admitted that the physical molecules are forever rushing away from the body, they must be leaving the cells each moment. Hence there is no physical cell, but the privative limits of one, the ideal walls and general shape. The molecules assume position within the ideal shape according to the laws of nature, and leave it again almost at once to give place to other atoms. And as it is thus with the body, so is it with the earth and with the solar system. Thus also is it, though in slower measure, with all material objects. They are all in constant motion and change. This is modern and also ancient wisdom. This is the physical explanation of clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, and mind-reading. It helps to show us what a deluding and unsatisfactory thing our body is.
Although, strictly speaking, the second constituent of man is the Astral Body―called in Sanskrit Linga Sarira―we will consider Life Energy ―or Prana and Jiva in Sanskrit― together, because to our observation the phenomenon of life is more plainly exhibited in connection with the body.
Life is not the result of
the operation of the organs, nor is it gone when the body dissolves. It is a
universally pervasive principle. It is the ocean in which the earth floats; it
permeates the globe and every being and object on it. It works unceasingly on
and around us, pulsating against and through us forever. When we occupy a body
we merely use a more specialized instrument than any other for dealing with both
Jiva. Strictly speaking, Prana is
breath; and as breath is necessary for continuance of life in the human machine,
that is the better word. Jiva means
"life," and also is applied to the living soul, for the life in general is derived from the Supreme Life itself. Jiva is therefore capable of general application, whereas Prana is more particular. It cannot be said that one has a definite amount of this Life Energy which will fly back to its source should the body be burned, but rather that it works with whatever be the mass of matter in it. We, as it were, secrete or use it as we live. For whether we are alive or dead, life-energy is still there; in life among our organs sustaining them, in death among the innumerable creatures that arise from our destruction. We can no more do away with this life than we can erase the air in which the bird floats, and like the air it fills all the spaces on the planet, so that nowhere can we lose the benefit of it nor escape its final crushing power. But in working upon the physical body this life―Prana―needs a vehicle, means, or guide, and this vehicle is the astral body.
There are many names for the Astral Body. Here are a few: Linga Sarira, Sanskrit, meaning design body, and the best one of all; ethereal double; phantom; wraith; apparition; doppelganger; personal man; perisprit; irrational soul; animal soul; Bhuta; elementary; spook; devil; demon. Some of these apply only to the astral body when devoid of the corpus after death. Bhuta, devil, and elementary are nearly synonymous; the first Sanskrit, the other English. With the Hindus the Bhuta is the Astral Body when it is by death released from the body and the mind; and being thus separated from conscience, is a devil in their estimation. They are not far wrong, if we abolish the old notion that a devil is an angel fallen from heaven, for this bodily devil is something which rises from the earth.
It may be objected that the
term Astral Body is not the right one for this purpose. The objection is one
which arises from the nature and genesis of the English language, for as that
has grown up in a
struggle with nature and among a commercial people it has not as yet coined the words needed for designating the great range of faculties and organs of the unseen man. And as its philosophers have not admitted the existence of these inner organs, the right terms do not exist in the language. So in looking for words to describe the inner body the only ones found in English were the "astral body." This term comes near to the real fact, since the substance of this form is derived from cosmic matter or star matter, roughly speaking. But the old Sanskrit word describes it exactly―Linga Sarira, the design body―because it is the design or model for the physical body. This is better than "ethereal body," as the latter might be said to be subsequent to the physical, whereas in fact the astral body precedes the material one.
The astral body is made of matter of very fine texture as compared with the visible body, and has a great tensile strength, so that it changes but little during a lifetime, while the physical alters every moment. And not only has it this immense strength, but at the same time possesses an elasticity permitting its extension to a considerable distance. It is flexible, plastic, extensible, and strong. The matter of which it is composed is electrical and magnetic in its essence, and is just what the whole world was composed of in the dim past when the processes of evolution had not yet arrived at the point of producing the material body for man. But it is not raw or crude matter. Having been through a vast period of evolution and undergone purifying processes of an incalculable number, its nature has been refined to a degree far beyond the gross physical elements we see and touch with the physical eye and hand.
The astral body is the
guiding model for the physical one, and all the other kingdoms have the same
astral model. Vegetables, minerals, and animals have the ethereal double, and
this theory is the only one which will answer the question how it is that the
duces its own kind and all sentient beings bring forth their like. Biologists can only say that the facts are as we know them, but can give no reason why the acorn will never grow anything but an oak except that no man ever knew it to be otherwise. But in the old schools of the past the true doctrine was known, and it has been once again brought out in the West through the efforts of H. P. Blavatsky and those who have found inspiration in her works.
This doctrine is, that in
early times of the evolution of this globe the various kingdoms of nature are
outlined in plan or ideal form first, and then the astral matter begins to work
on this plan with the aid of the Life principle, until after long ages the
astral human form is evolved and perfected. This is, then, the first form that
the human race had, and corresponds in a way with the allegory of man's state in
the garden of Eden. After another long period, during which the cycle of further
descent into matter is rolling forward, the astral form at last clothes itself
with a "coat of skin," and the present physical form is on the scene. This is
the explanation of the verse of the book of Genesis which describes the giving
of coats of skin to Adam and Eve. It is the final fall into matter, for from
that point on the man within strives to raise the whole mass of physical
substance up to a higher level, and to inform it all with a larger measure of
spiritual influence, so that it may be ready to go still further on during the
next great period of evolution after the present one is ended. So at the present
time the model for the growing child in the womb is the astral body already
perfect in shape before the child is born. It is on this the molecules arrange
themselves until the child is complete, and the presence of the ethereal
design-body will explain how the form grows into shape, how the eyes push
themselves out from within to the surface of the face, and many other mysterious
matters in embryology which are passed over by medical men with a description
but with no explanation.
This will also explain, as nothing else can, the cases of marking of the child in the womb sometimes denied by physicians but well-known by those who care to watch, to be a fact of frequent occurrence. The growing physical form is subject to the astral model; it is connected with the imagination of the mother by physical and psychical organs; the mother makes a strong picture from horror, fear, or otherwise, and the astral model is then similarly affected. In the case of marking by being born legless, the ideas and strong imagination of the mother act so as to cut off or shrivel up the astral leg, and the result is that the molecules, having no model of leg to work on, make no physical leg whatever; and similarly in all such cases. But where we find a man who still feels the leg which the surgeon has cut off, or perceives the fingers that were amputated, then the astral member has not been interfered with, and hence the man feels as if it were still on his person. For knife or acid will not injure the astral model, but in the first stages of its growth ideas and imagination have the power of acid and sharpened steel.
In the ordinary man who has
not been trained in practical occultism or who has not the faculty by birth, the
astral body cannot go more than a few feet from the physical one. It is a part
of that physical, it sustains it and is incorporated in it just as the fibers of
the mango are all through that fruit. But there are those who, by reason of
practices pursued in former lives on the earth, have a power born with them of
unconsciously sending out the astral body. These are mediums, some seers, and
many hysterical, cataleptic, and scrofulous people. Those who have trained
themselves by a long course of excessively hard discipline which reaches to the
moral and mental nature and quite beyond the power of the average man of the
day, can use the astral form at will, for they have gotten completely over the
delusion that the physical body is a permanent part of
them, and, besides, they have learned the chemical and electrical laws governing in this matter. In their case they act with knowledge and consciously; in the other cases the act is done without power to prevent it, or to bring it about at will, or to avoid the risks attendant on such use of potencies in nature of a high character.
The astral body has in it
the real organs of the outer sense organs. In it are the sight, hearing, power
to smell, and the sense of touch. It has a complete system of nerves and
arteries of its own for the conveyance of the astral fluid which is to that body
as our blood is to the physical. It is the real personal man. There are located
the subconscious perception and the latent memory, which the hypnotizers of the
day are dealing with and being baffled by. So when the body dies the astral man
is released, and as at death the immortal man―the Triad―flies away to
another state, the astral becomes a shell of the once living man and requires
time to dissipate. It retains all the memories of the life lived by the man, and
thus reflexly and automatically can repeat what the dead man knew, said,
thought, and saw. It remains near the deserted physical body nearly all the time
until that is completely dissipated, for it has to go through its own process of
dying. It may become visible under certain conditions. It is the spook of the
spiritualistic seance-rooms, and is there made to masquerade as the real spirit
of this or that individual. Attracted by the thoughts of the medium and the
sitters, it vaguely flutters where they are, and then is galvanized into a
factitious life by a whole host of elemental forces and by the active astral
body of the medium who is holding the seance or of any other medium in the
audience. From it (as from a photograph) are then reflected into the medium's
brain all the boasted evidences which spiritualists claim go to prove identity
of deceased friend or relative. These evidences are accepted as proof that the
spirit of the deceased is present, because neither medi-
ums nor sitters are acquainted with the laws governing their own nature, nor with the constitution, power, and function of astral matter and astral man.
The Theosophical philosophy does not deny the facts proven in spiritualistic seances, but it gives an explanation of them wholly opposed to that of the spiritualists. And surely the utter absence of any logical scientific explanation by these so-called spirits of the phenomena they are said to produce supports the contention that they have no knowledge to impart. They can merely cause certain phenomena; the examination of those and deductions therefrom can only be properly carried on by a trained brain guided by a living trinity of spirit, soul, and mind. And here another class of spiritualistic phenomena requires brief notice. That is the appearance of what is called a "materialized spirit."
Three explanations are
offered: First, that the
astral body of the living medium detaches itself from its corpus and assumes the
appearance of the so-called spirit; for one of the properties of the astral
matter is capacity to reflect an image existing unseen in ether.
Second, the actual astral shell
of the deceased― wholly devoid of his or her spirit and conscience―becomes
visible and tangible when the condition of air and ether is such as to so alter
the vibration of the molecules of the astral shell that it may become visible.
The phenomena of density and apparent weight are explained by other laws.
Third, an unseen mass of
electrical and magnetic matter is collected, and upon it is reflected out of the
astral light a picture of any desired person either dead or living. This is
taken to be the "spirit" of such persons, but it is not, and has been justly
called by H. P. Blavatsky a "psychological fraud," because it pretends to be
what it is not. And, strange to say, this very explanation of materializations
has been given by a "spirit" at a regular seance, but has never been accepted by
the spiritualists just
because it upsets their notion of the return of the spirits of deceased persons.
Finally, the astral body
will explain nearly all the strange psychical things happening in daily life and
in dealings with genuine mediums; it shows what an apparition may be and the
possibility of such being seen, and thus prevents the scientific doubter from
violating good sense by asserting you did not see what you know you have seen;
it removes superstition by showing the real nature of these phenomena, and
destroys the unreasonable fear of the unknown which makes a man afraid to see a
"ghost." By it also we can explain the apportation of objects without physical
contact, for the astral hand may be extruded and made to take hold of an object,
drawing it in toward the body. When this is shown to be possible, then travelers
will not be laughed at who tell of seeing the Hindu yogee make coffee cups fly
through the air and distant objects approach apparently of their own accord
untouched by him or anyone else. All the instances of clairvoyance and
clairaudience are to be explained also by the astral body and astral light. The
astral―which are the real―organs do the seeing and the hearing, and as all
material objects are constantly in motion among their own atoms the astral sight
and hearing are not impeded, but work at a distance as great as the extension of
the astral light or matter around and about the earth. Thus it was that the
great seer Swedenborg saw houses burning in the city of Stockholm when he was at
another city many miles off, and by the same means any clairvoyant of the day
sees and hears at a distance.
The author of Esoteric Buddhism―which book ought to be consulted by all students of Theosophy, since it was made from suggestions given by some of the Adepts themselves―gave the name Kama rupa to the fourth principle of man's constitution. The reason was that the word Kama in the Sanskrit language means "desire," and as the idea intended to be conveyed was that the fourth principle was the "body or mass of desires and passions," Mr. Sinnett added the Sanskrit word for body or form which is Rupa, thus making the compound word Kama rupa. I shall call it by the English equivalent―passions and desires― because those terms exactly express its nature. And I do this also in order to make the sharp issue which actually exists between the psychology and mental philosophy of the west and those of the east. The west divides man into intellect, will, and feeling, but it is not understood whether the passions and desires constitute a principle in themselves or are due entirely to the body. Indeed, most people consider them as being the result of the influence of the flesh, for they are designated often by the terms "desires of the flesh" and "fleshly appetites." The ancients, however, and the Theosophists know them to be a principle in themselves and not merely the impulses from the body. There is no help to be had in this matter from the western psychology, now in its infancy and wholly devoid of knowledge about the inner, which is the psychical, nature of man, and from this point there is the greatest divergence between it and Theosophy.
The passions and desires
are not produced by the
body, but, on the contrary, the body is caused to be by the former. It is desire and passion which caused us to be born, and will bring us to birth again and again in this body or in some other.* It is by passion and desire we are made to evolve through the mansions of death called lives on earth. It was by the arising of desire in the unknown first cause, the one absolute existence, that the whole collection of worlds was manifested, and by means of the influence of desire in the now manifested world is the latter kept in existence.
This fourth principle is the balance principle of the whole seven. It stands in the middle, and from it the ways go up or down. It is the basis of action and the mover of the will. As the old Hermetists say: "Behind will stands desire." For whether we wish to do well or ill we have to first arouse within us the desire for either course. The good man who at last becomes even a sage had at one time in his many lives to arouse the desire for the company of holy men and to keep his desire for progress alive in order to continue on his way. Even a Buddha or a Jesus had first to make a vow, which is a desire, in some life, that he would save the world or some part of it, and to persevere with the desire alive in his heart through countless lives. And equally so, on the other hand, the bad man life after life took unto himself low, selfish, wicked desires, thus debasing instead of purifying this principle. On the material and scientific side of occultism, the use of the inner hidden powers of our nature, if this principle of desire be not strong the master power of imagination cannot do its work, because though it makes a mold or matrix the will cannot act unless it is moved, directed, and kept up to pitch by desire.
The desires and passions,
therefore, have two aspects, the one being low and the other high. The low is
that shown by the constant placing of the con-
[* In The Theosophical Forum, June, 1894, page 12, Judge corrected this to: "in some body on this earth or another globe."]
sciousness entirely below in the body and the astral body; the high comes from the influence of and aspiration to the trinity above, of Mind, Buddhi, and Spirit. This fourth principle is like the sign Libra in the path of the Sun through the Zodiac; when the Sun (who is the real man) reaches that sign he trembles in the balance. Should he go back the worlds would be destroyed; he goes onward, and the whole human race is lifted up to perfection.
During life the emplacement of the desires and passions is, as obtains with the astral body, throughout the entire lower man, and like that ethereal counterpart of our physical person it may be added to or diminished, made weak or increased in strength, debased or purified.
At death it informs the
astral body, which then becomes a mere shell; for when a man dies his astral
body and principle of passion and desire leave the physical in company and
coalesce. It is then that the term Kama-rupa may be applied, as Kama-rupa is really made of astral body and
Kama in conjunction, and this
joining of the two makes a shape or form which though ordinarily invisible is
material and may be brought into visibility. Although it is empty of mind and
conscience, it has powers of its own that can be exercised whenever the
conditions permit. These conditions are furnished by the medium of the
spiritualists, and in every seance
room the astral shells of deceased persons are always present to delude the
sitters, whose powers of discrimination have been destroyed by wonderment. It is
the "devil" of the Hindus, and a worse enemy the poor medium could not have. For
the astral spook―or Kama-rupa ―is but the mass of the desires and passions abandoned by the real person who
has fled to "heaven" and has no concern with the people left behind, least of
all with seances and mediums.
Hence, being devoid of the nobler soul, these desires and passions work only on
the very lowest part of the medium's nature and stir
up no good elements, but always the lower leanings of the being. Therefore it is that even the spiritualists themselves admit that in the ranks of the mediums there is much fraud, and mediums have often confessed, "the spirits did tempt me and I committed fraud at their wish."
This Kama-rupa spook is also the enemy of our civilization, which permits us to execute men for crimes committed and thus throw out into the ether the mass of passion and desire free from the weight of the body and liable at any moment to be attracted to any sensitive person. Being thus attracted, the deplorable images of crimes committed and also the picture of the execution and all the accompanying curses and wishes for revenge are implanted in living persons, who, not seeing the evil, are unable to throw it off. Thus crimes and new ideas of crimes are wilfully propagated every day by those countries where capital punishment prevails.
The astral shells together
with the still living astral body of the medium, helped by certain forces of
nature which the Theosophists call "elementals," produce nearly all the
phenomena of non-fraudulent spiritualism. The medium's astral body having the
power of extension and extrusion forms the framework for what are called
"materialized spirits," makes objects move without physical contact, gives
reports from deceased relatives, none of them anything more than recollections
and pictures from the astral light, and in all this using and being used by the
shells of suicides, executed murderers, and all such spooks as are naturally
near to this plane of life. The number of cases in which any communication comes
from an actual spirit out of the body is so small as to be countable almost on
one hand. But the spirits of living men sometimes, while their bodies are
asleep, come to seances and
take part therein. But they cannot recollect it, do not know how they do it, and
are not distinguished by mediums from the mass of astral corpses.
The fact that such things can be done by the inner man and not be recollected proves nothing against these theories, for the child can see without knowing how the eye acts, and the savage who has no knowledge of the complex machinery working in his body still carries on the process of digestion perfectly. And that the latter is unconscious with him is exactly in line with the theory, for these acts and doings of the inner man are the unconscious actions of the subconscious mind. These words "conscious" and "subconscious" are of course used relatively, the unconsciousness being that of the brain only. And hypnotic experiments have conclusively proved all these theories, as on one day not far away will be fully admitted. Besides this, the astral shells of suicides and executed criminals are the most coherent, longest lived, and nearest to us of all the shades of hades, and hence must, out of the necessity of the case, be the real "controls" of the seance room.
Passion and desire together
with astral model-body are common to men and animals, as also to the vegetable
kingdom, though in the last but faintly developed. And at one period in
evolution no further material principles had been developed, and all the three
higher, of Mind, Soul, and Spirit, were but latent. Up to this point man and
animal were equal, for the brute in us is made of the passions and the astral
body. The development of the germs of Mind made man because it constituted the
great differentiation. The God within begins with
Manas or mind, and it is the
struggle between this God and the brute below which Theosophy speaks of and
warns about. The lower principle is called bad because by comparison with the
higher it is so, but still it is the basis of action. We cannot rise unless self
first asserts itself in the desire to do better. In this aspect it is called
rajas or the active and bad
quality, as distinguished from tamas, or the quality of darkness and indifference. Rising is not possible
unless rajas is
present to give the impulse, and by the use of this principle of passion all the higher qualities are brought to at last so refine and elevate our desires that they may be continually placed upon truth and spirit. By this Theosophy does not teach that the passions are to be pandered to or satiated, for a more pernicious doctrine was never taught, but the injunction is to make use of the activity given by the fourth principle so as to ever rise and not to fall under the dominion of the dark quality that ends with annihilation, after having begun in selfishness and indifference.
Having thus gone over the
field and shown what are the lower principles, we find Theosophy teaching that
at the present point of man's evolution he is a fully developed quaternary with
the higher principles partly developed. Hence it is taught that today man shows
himself to be moved by passion and desire. This is proved by a glance at the
civilizations of the earth, for they are all moved by this principle, and in
countries like France, England, and America a glorification of it is exhibited
in the attention to display, to sensuous art, to struggle for power and place,
and in all the habits and modes of living where the gratification of the senses
is sometimes esteemed the highest good. But as Mind is being evolved more and
more as we proceed in our course along the line of the race development, there
can be perceived underneath in all countries the beginning of the transition
from the animal possessed of the germ of real mind to the man of mind complete.
This day is therefore known to the Masters, who have given out some of the old
truths, as the "transition period." Proud science and prouder religion do not
admit this, but think we are as we always will be. But believing in his teacher,
the theosophist sees all around him the evidence that the race mind is changing
by enlargement, that the old days of dogmatism are gone and the "age of inquiry"
has come, that the inquiries will grow louder year by year and the answers be
to satisfy the mind as it grows more and more, until at last, all dogmatism being ended, the race will be ready to face all problems, each man for himself, all working for the good of the whole, and that the end will be the perfecting of those who struggle to overcome the brute. For these reasons the old doctrines are given out again, and Theosophy asks every one to reflect whether to give way to the animal below or look up to and be governed by the God within.
A fuller treatment of the
fourth principle of our constitution would compel us to consider all such
questions as those presented by the wonder workers of the east, by
spiritualistic phenomena, hypnotism, apparitions, insanity, and the like, but
they must be reserved for separate handling.
In our analysis of man's nature we have so far considered only the perishable elements which make up the lower man, and have arrived at the fourth principle or plane―that of desire―without having touched upon the question of Mind. But even so far as we have gone it must be evident that there is a wide difference between the ordinary ideas about Mind and those found in Theosophy. Ordinarily the Mind is thought to be immaterial, or to be merely the name for the action of the brain in evolving thought, a process wholly unknown other than by inference, or that if there be no brain there can be no mind. A good deal of attention has been paid to cataloging some mental functions and attributes, but the terms are altogether absent from the language to describe actual metaphysical and spiritual facts about man. This confusion and poverty of words for these uses are due almost entirely, first, to dogmatic religion, which has asserted and enforced for many centuries dogmas and doctrines which reason could not accept, and secondly to the natural war which grew up between science and religion just as soon as the fetters placed by religion upon science were removed and the latter was permitted to deal with facts in nature. The reaction against religion naturally prevented science from taking any but a materialistic view of man and nature. So from neither of these two have we yet gained the words needed for describing the fifth, sixth, and seventh principles, those which make up the Trinity, the real man, the immortal pilgrim.
The fifth principle is
Manas, in the classification
adopted by Mr. Sinnett, and is usually translated
Mind. Other names have been given to it, but it is the knower, the perceiver, the thinker. The sixth is Buddhi, or spiritual discernment; the seventh is Atma, or Spirit, the ray from the Absolute Being. The English language will suffice to describe in part what Manas is, but not Buddhi, or Atma, and will leave many things relating to Manas undescribed.
The course of evolution developed the lower principles and produced at last the form of man with a brain of better and deeper capacity than that of any other animal. But this man in form was not man in mind, and needed the fifth principle, the thinking, perceiving one, to differentiate him from the animal kingdom and to confer the power of becoming self-conscious. The monad was imprisoned in these forms, and that monad is composed of Atma and Buddhi; for without the presence of the monad evolution could not go forward. Going back for a moment to the time when the races were devoid of mind, the question arises, "who gave the mind, where did it come from, and what is it?" It is the link between the Spirit of God above and the personal below; it was given to the mindless monads by others who had gone all through this process ages upon ages before in other worlds and systems of worlds, and it therefore came from other evolutionary periods which were carried out and completed long before the solar system had begun. This is the theory, strange and unacceptable today, but which must be stated if we are to tell the truth about theosophy; and this is only handing on what others have said before.
The manner in which this
light of mind was given to the Mindless Men can be understood from the
illustration of one candle lighting many. Given one lighted candle and numerous
unlighted ones, it follows that from one light the others may also be set
aflame. So in the case of Manas.
It is the candle of flame. The mindless men having four elementary
principles of Body, Astral Body, Life and Desire,
are the unlighted candles that cannot light themselves. The Sons of Wisdom, who are the Elder Brothers of every family of men on any globe, have the light, derived by them from others who reach back, and yet farther back, in endless procession with no beginning or end. They set fire to the combined lower principles and the Monad, thus lighting up Manas in the new men and preparing another great race for final initiation. This lighting up of the fire of Manas is symbolized in all great religions and Freemasonry. In the east one priest appears holding a candle lighted at the altar, and thousands of others light their candles from this one. The Parsees also have their sacred fire which is lighted from some other sacred flame.
Manas, or the Thinker, is the reincarnating being, the immortal who carries the results and values of all the different lives lived on earth or elsewhere. Its nature becomes dual as soon as it is attached to a body. For the human brain is a superior organism and Manas uses it to reason from premises to conclusions. This also differentiates man from animal, for the animal acts from automatic and so-called instinctual impulses, whereas the man can use reason. This is the lower aspect of the Thinker or Manas, and not, as some have supposed, the highest and best gift belonging to man. Its other, and in theosophy higher, aspect is the intuitional, which knows, and does not depend on reason. The lower, and purely intellectual, is nearest to the principle of Desire, and is thus distinguished from its other side which has affinity for the spiritual principles above. If the Thinker, then, becomes wholly intellectual, the entire nature begins to tend downward; for intellect alone is cold, heartless, selfish, because it is not lighted up by the two other principles of Buddhi and Atma.
Manas the thoughts of all lives
are stored. That is to say: in any one life, the sum total of thoughts
underlying all the acts of the life-time will be of one character in general,
but may be placed in one or more
classes. That is, the business man of today is
a single type; his entire life thoughts represent but one single thread of
thought. The artist is another. The man who has engaged in business, but also
thought much upon fame and power which he never attained, is still another. The
great mass of self-sacrificing, courageous, and strong poor people who have but
little time to think, constitute another distinct class. In all these the total
quantity of life thoughts makes up the stream or thread of a life's meditation—"that upon which the heart was set"—and is stored in
Manas, to be brought out again at
any time in whatever life the brain and bodily environments are similar to those
used in engendering that class of thoughts. It is
Manas which sees the objects
presented to it by the bodily organs and the actual organs within. When the open
eye receives a picture on the retina, the whole scene is turned into vibrations
in the optic nerves which disappear into the brain, where
Manas is enabled to perceive them
as idea. And so with every other organ or sense. If the connection between
Manas and the brain be broken,
intelligence will not be manifested unless
Manas has by training found out
how to project the astral body from the physical and thereby keep up
communication with fellowmen. That the organs and senses do not cognize objects,
hypnotism, mesmerism, and spiritualism have now proved. For, as we see in
mesmeric and hypnotic experiments, the object seen or felt, and from which all
the effects of solid objects may be sensed, is often only an idea existing in
the operator's brain. In the same way Manas, using the astral body, has only to impress an idea upon the
other person to make the latter see the idea and translate it into a visible
body from which the usual effects of density and weight seem to follow. And in
hypnotism there are many experiments, all of which go to show that so called
matter is not per se solid or
dense; that sight does not always depend on the eye and rays
of light proceeding from an object; that the intangible for one normal brain and organs may be perfectly tangible for another; and that physical effects in the body may be produced from an idea solely. The well-known experiments of producing a blister by a simple piece of paper, or preventing a real blistering plaster from making a blister, by force of the idea conveyed to a subject, either that there was to be or not to be a blister, conclusively prove the power of effecting an impulse on matter by the use of that which is called Manas. But all these phenomena are the exhibition of the powers of lower Manas acting in the astral Body and the fourth principle―Desire, using the physical body as the field for the exhibition of the forces.
It is this lower
Manas which retains all the
impressions of a life-time and sometimes strangely exhibits them in trances or
dreams, delirium, induced states, here and there in normal conditions, and very
often at the time of physical death. But it is so occupied with the brain, with
memory and with sensation, that it usually presents but few recollections out of
the mass of events that years have brought before it. It interferes with the
action of Higher Manas
because just at the present point of evolution, Desire and all corresponding
powers, faculties, and senses are the most highly developed, thus obscuring, as
it were, the white light of the spiritual side of
Manas. It is tinted by each
object presented to it, whether it be a thought-object or a material one. That
is to say, Lower Manas
operating through the brain is at once altered into the shape and other
characteristics of any object, mental or otherwise. This causes it to have four
naturally fly off from any point, object, or subject;
to fly to some pleasant idea;
fly to an unpleasant idea;
to remain passive and considering naught. The first is due to memory
and the natural motion of Manas;
the second and third are due to
memory alone; the fourth signifies sleep when not abnormal, and when abnormal is going toward insanity. These mental characteristics all belonging to Lower Manas, are those which the Higher Manas, aided by Buddhi and Atma, has to fight and conquer. Higher Manas, if able to act, becomes what we sometimes call Genius; if completely master, then one may become a god. But memory continually presents pictures to Lower Manas, and the result is that the Higher is obscured. Sometimes, however, along the pathway of life we do see here and there men who are geniuses or great seers and prophets. In these the Higher powers of Manas are active and the person illuminated. Such were the great Sages of the past, men like Buddha, Jesus, Confucius, Zoroaster, and others. Poets, too, such as Tennyson, Longfellow, and others, are men in whom Higher Manas now and then sheds a bright ray on the man below, to be soon obscured, however, by the effect of dogmatic religious education which has given memory certain pictures that always prevent Manas from gaining full activity.
In this higher Trinity, we have the God above each one; this is Atma, and may be called the Higher Self.
Next is the spiritual part of the soul called Buddhi; when thoroughly united with Manas this may be called the Divine Ego.
The inner Ego, who
reincarnates, taking on body after body, storing up the impressions of life
after life, gaining experience and adding it to the divine Ego, suffering and
enjoying through an immense period of years, is the fifth principle ―Manas―not united to
Buddhi. This is the permanent
individuality which gives to every man the feeling of being himself and not some
other; that which through all the changes of the days and nights from youth to
the end of life makes us feel one identity through all the period; it bridges
the gap made by sleep; in like manner it bridges the gap made by the sleep of
death. It is this, and not our brain, that lifts us above the animal. The depth and variety of the brain convolutions in man are caused by the presence of Manas, and are not the cause of mind. And when we either wholly or now and then become consciously united with Buddhi, the Spiritual Soul, we behold God, as it were. This is what the ancients all desired to see, but what the moderns do not believe in, the latter preferring rather to throw away their own right to be great in nature, and to worship an imaginary god made up solely of their own fancies and not very different from weak human nature.
individuality in the present race has therefore been through every sort of
experience, for Theosophy insists on its permanence and in the necessity for its
continuing to take part in evolution. It has a duty to perform, consisting in
raising up to a higher state all the matter concerned in the chain of globes to
which the earth belongs. We have all lived and taken part in civilization after
civilization, race after race, on earth, and will so continue throughout all the
rounds and races until the seventh is complete. At the same time it should be
remembered that the matter of this globe and that connected with it has also
been through every kind of form, with possibly some exceptions in very low
planes of mineral formation. But in general all the matter visible, or held in
space still unprecipitated, has been molded at one time or another into forms of
all varieties, many of these being such as we now have no idea of. The processes
of evolution, therefore, in some departments, now go forward with greater
rapidity than in former ages because both
Manas and matter have acquired
facility of action. Especially is this so in regard to man, who is the farthest
ahead of all things or beings in this evolution. He is now incarnated and
projected into life more quickly than in earlier periods when it consumed many
years to obtain a "coat of skin." This coming into life over and
cannot be avoided by the ordinary man because Lower
Manas is still bound by Desire,
which is the preponderating principle at the present period. Being so influenced
by Desire Manas is
continually deluded while in the body, and being thus deluded is unable to
prevent the action upon it of the forces set up in the life time. These forces
are generated by Manas, that
is, by the thinking of the life time. Each thought makes a physical as well as
mental link with the desire in which it is rooted. All life is filled with such
thoughts, and when the period of rest after death is ended
Manas is bound by innumerable
electrical magnetic threads to earth by reason of the thoughts of the last life,
and therefore by desire, for it was desire that caused so many thoughts and
ignorance of the true nature of things. An understanding of this doctrine of man
being really a thinker and made of thought will make clear all the rest in
relation to incarnation and reincarnation. The body of the inner man is made of
thought, and this being so it must follow that if the thoughts have more
affinity for earth-life than for life elsewhere a return to life here is
inevitable. At the present day Manas is not fully active in the race, as Desire still is uppermost. In
the next cycle of the human period Manas will be fully active and developed in the entire race. Hence the
people of the earth have not yet come to the point of making a conscious choice
as to the path they will take; but when in the cycle referred to,
Manas is active, all will then be
compelled to consciously make the choice to right or left, the one leading to
complete and conscious union with Atma, the other to the annihilation of those beings who prefer that path.
How man has come to be the complex being that he is and why, are questions that neither Science nor Religion makes conclusive answer to. This immortal thinker having such vast powers and possibilities, all his because of his intimate connection with every secret part of Nature from which he has been built up, stands at the top of an immense and silent evolution. He asks why Nature exists, what the drama of life has for its aim, how that aim may be attained. But Science and Religion both fail to give a reasonable reply. Science does not pretend to be able to give the solution, saying that the examination of things as they are is enough of a task; religion offers an explanation both illogical and unmeaning and acceptable but to the bigot, as it requires us to consider the whole of Nature as a mystery and to seek for the meaning and purpose of life with all its sorrow in the pleasure of a God who cannot be found out. The educated and enquiring mind knows that dogmatic religion can only give an answer invented by man while it pretends to be from God.
What then is the universe
for, and for what final purpose is man the immortal thinker here in evolution?
It is all for the experience and emancipation of the soul, for the purpose of
raising the entire mass of manifested matter up to the stature, nature, and
dignity of conscious god-hood. The great aim is to reach self-consciousness; not
through a race or a tribe or some favored nation, but by and through the
perfecting, after transformation, of the whole mass of matter as well as what we
now call soul. Nothing is or is to be left out. The aim for present man is
his initiation into complete knowledge, and for the other kingdoms below him that they may be raised up gradually from stage to stage to be in time initiated also. This is evolution carried to its highest power; it is a magnificent prospect; it makes of man a god, and gives to every part of nature the possibility of being one day the same; there is strength and nobility in it, for by this no man is dwarfed and belittled, for no one is so originally sinful that he cannot rise above all sin. Treated from the materialistic position of Science, evolution takes in but half of life; while the religious conception of it is a mixture of nonsense and fear. Present religions keep the element of fear, and at the same time imagine that an Almighty being can think of no other earth but this and has to govern this one very imperfectly. But the old theosophical view makes the universe a vast, complete, and perfect whole.
Now the moment we postulate
a double evolution, physical and spiritual, we have at the same time to admit
that it can only be carried on by reincarnation. This is, in fact, demonstrated
by science. It is shown that the matter of the earth and of all things physical
upon it was at one time either gaseous or molten; that it cooled; that it
altered; that from its alterations and evolutions at last were produced all the
great variety of things and beings. This, on the physical plane, is
transformation or change from one form to another. The total mass of matter is
about the same as in the beginning of this globe, with a very minute allowance
for some star dust. Hence it must have been changed over and over again, and
thus been physically reformed and reimbodied. Of course, to be strictly
accurate, we cannot use the word reincarnation, because "incarnate" refers to
flesh. Let us say "reimbodied," and then we see that both for matter and for man
there has been a constant change of form and this is, broadly speaking,
"reincarnation." As to the whole mass of matter, the doctrine is that it
will all be raised to man's
estate when man has gone further on himself. There is no residuum left after
man's final salvation which in a mysterious way is to be disposed of or done
away with in some remote dust-heap of nature. The true doctrine allows for
nothing like that, and at the same time is not afraid to give the true
disposition of what would seem to be a residuum. It is all worked up into other
states, for as the philosophy declares there is no inorganic matter whatever but
that every atom is alive and has the germ of self-consciousness, it must follow
that one day it will all have been changed. Thus what is now called human flesh
is so much matter that one day was wholly mineral, later on vegetable, and now
refined into human atoms. At a point of time very far from now the present
vegetable matter will have been raised to the animal stage and what we now use
as our organic or fleshy matter will have changed by transformation through
evolution into self-conscious thinkers, and so on up the whole scale until the
time shall come when what is now known as mineral matter will have passed on to
the human stage and out into that of thinker. Then at the coming on of another
great period of evolution the mineral matter of that time will be some which is
now passing through its lower transformations on other planets and in other
systems of worlds. This is perhaps a "fanciful" scheme for the men of the
present day, who are so accustomed to being called bad, sinful, weak, and
utterly foolish from their birth that they fear to believe the truth about
themselves, but for the disciples of the ancient theosophists it is not
impossible or fanciful, but is logical and vast. And no doubt it will one day be
admitted by everyone when the mind of the western race has broken away from
Mosaic chronology and Mosaic ideas of men and nature. Therefore as to
reincarnation and metempsychosis we say that they are first to be applied to the
whole cosmos and not alone to man. But as man is the most inter-
esting object to himself, we will consider in detail its application to him.
This is the most ancient of doctrines and is believed in now by more human minds than the number of those who do not hold it. The millions in the East almost all accept it; it was taught by the Greeks; a large number of the Chinese now believe it as their forefathers did before them; the Jews thought it was true, and it has not disappeared from their religion; and Jesus, who is called the founder of Christianity, also believed and taught it. In the early Christian church it was known and taught, and the very best of the fathers of the church believed and promulgated it.
Christians should remember that Jesus was a Jew who thought his mission was to Jews, for he says in St. Matthew, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." He must have well known the doctrines held by them. They all believed in reincarnation. For them Moses, Adam, Noah, Seth, and others had returned to earth, and at the time of Jesus it was currently believed that the old prophet Elias was yet to return. So we find, first, that Jesus never denied the doctrine, and on various occasions assented to it, as when he said that John the Baptist was actually the Elias of old whom the people were expecting. All this can be seen by consulting St. Matthew in chapters xvii, xi, and others.
In these it is very clear
that Jesus is shown as approving the doctrine of reincarnation. And following
Jesus we find St. Paul, in Romans ix, speaking of Esau and Jacob being actually
in existence before they were born, and later such great Christian fathers as
Origen, Synesius, and others believing and teaching the theory. In Proverbs
viii, 22, we have Solomon saying that when the earth was made he was present,
and that, long before he could have been born as Solomon, his delights were in
the habitable parts of the earth with the sons of men. St. John the Revelator
says in Revs. iii, 12, he was told in a vision
which refers to the voice of God or the voice of one speaking for God, that whosoever should overcome would not be under the necessity of "going out" any more, that is, would not need to be reincarnated. For five hundred years after Jesus the doctrine was taught in the church until the council of Constantinople. Then a condemnation was passed upon a phase of the question which has been regarded by many as against reincarnation, but if that condemnation goes against the words of Jesus it is of no effect. It does go against him, and thus the church is in the position of saying in effect that Jesus did not know enough to curse, as it did, a doctrine known and taught in his day and which was brought to his notice prominently and never condemned but in fact approved by him. Christianity is a Jewish religion, and this doctrine of reincarnation belongs to it historically by succession from the Jews, and also by reason of its having been taught by Jesus and the early fathers of the church. If there be any truthful or logical way for the Christian church to get out of this position—excluding, of course, dogmas of the church—the theosophist would like to be shown it. Indeed, the theosophist holds that whenever a professed Christian denies the theory he thereby sets up his judgment against that of Jesus, who must have known more about the matter than those who follow him. It is the anathema hurled by the church council and the absence of the doctrine from the teaching now that have damaged Christianity and made of all the Christian nations people who pretend to be followers of Jesus and the law of love, but who really as nations are followers of the Mosaic law of retaliation. For alone in reincarnation is the answer to all the problems of life, and in it and Karma is the force that will make men pursue in fact the ethics they have in theory. It is the aim of the old philosophy to restore this doctrine to whatsoever religion has lost it; and hence we call it the "lost chord of Christianity."
But who or what is it that
reincarnates? It is not
the body, for that dies and disintegrates; and but few of us would like to be chained forever to such bodies as we now have, admitted to be infected with disease except in the case of the savage. It is not the astral body, for, as shown, that also has its term and must go to pieces after the physical has gone. Nor is it the passions and desires. They, to be sure, have a very long term, because they have the power to reproduce themselves in each life so long as we do not eradicate them. And reincarnation provides for that, since we are given by it many opportunities of slowly, one by one, killing off the desires and passions which mar the heavenly picture of the spiritual man.
It has been shown how the
passional part of us coalesces with the astral after death and makes a seeming
being that has a short life to live while it is disintegrating. When the
separation is complete between the body that has died, the astral body, and the
passions and desires—life having begun to busy itself with other forms—the
Higher Triad, Manas, Buddhi,
and Atma, who are the real
man, immediately go into another state, and when that state, which is called
Devachan, or heaven, is over,
they are attracted back to earth for reincarnation. They are the immortal part
of us; they, in fact, and no other are we. This should be firmly grasped by the
mind, for upon its clear understanding depends the comprehension of the entire
doctrine. What stands in the way of the modern western man's seeing this clearly
is the long training we have all had in materialistic science and materializing
religion, both of which have made the mere physical body too prominent. The one
has taught of matter alone and the other has preached the resurrection of the
body, a doctrine against common sense, fact, logic, and testimony. But there is
no doubt that the theory of the bodily resurrection has arisen from the
corruption of the older and true teaching. Resurrection is founded on what Job
says about seeing his redeemer in his flesh, and
on St. Paul's remark that the body was raised incorruptible. But Job was an Egyptian who spoke of seeing his teacher or initiator, who was the redeemer, and Jesus and Paul referred to the spiritual body only.
Although reincarnation is the law of nature, the complete trinity of Atma-Buddhi-Manas does not yet fully incarnate in this race. They use and occupy the body by means of the entrance of Manas, the lowest of the three, and the other two shine upon it from above, constituting the God in Heaven. This was symbolized in the old Jewish teaching about the Heavenly Man who stands with his head in heaven and his feet in hell. That is, the head Atma and Buddhi are yet in heaven, and the feet, Manas, walk in hell, which is the body and physical life. For that reason man is not yet fully conscious, and reincarnations are needed to at last complete the incarnation of the whole trinity in the body. When that has been accomplished the race will have become as gods, and the godlike trinity being in full possession the entire mass of matter will be perfected and raised up for the next step. This is the real meaning of "the word made flesh." It was so grand a thing in the case of any single person, such as Jesus or Buddha, as to be looked upon as a divine incarnation. And out of this, too, comes the idea of the crucifixion, for Manas is thus crucified for the purpose of raising up the thief to paradise.
It is because the trinity is not yet incarnate in the race that life has so many mysteries, some of which are showing themselves from day to day in all the various experiments made on and in man.
The physician knows not
what life is nor why the body moves as it does, because the spiritual portion is
yet enshrouded in the clouds of heaven; the scientist is wandering in the dark,
confounded and confused by all that hypnotism and other strange things bring
before him, because the conscious man is out of sight on the very top of the
divine mountain, thus
compelling the learned to speak of the "subconscious mind," the "latent personality," and the like; and the priest can give us no light at all because he denies man's god-like nature, reduces all to the level of original sin, and puts upon our conception of God the black mark of inability to control or manage the creation without invention of expedients to cure supposed errors. But this old truth solves the riddle and paints God and Nature in harmonious colors.
Reincarnation does not mean that we go into animal forms after death, as is believed by some Eastern peoples. "Once a man always a man" is the saying in the Great Lodge. But it would not be too much punishment for some men were it possible to condemn them to rebirth in brute bodies; however nature does not go by sentiment but by law, and we, not being able to see all, cannot say that the brutal man is brute all through his nature. And evolution having brought Manas the Thinker and Immortal Person on to this plane, cannot send him back to the brute which has not Manas.
By looking into two explanations for the literal acceptation by some people in the East of those laws of Manu which seem to teach the transmigrating into brutes, insects, and so on, we can see how the true student of this doctrine will not fall into the same error.
The first is, that the
various verses and books teaching such transmigration have to do with the actual
method of reincarnation, that is, with the explanation of the actual physical
processes which have to be undergone by the Ego in passing from the unembodied
to the embodied state, and also with the roads, ways, or means of descent from
the invisible to the visible plane. This has not yet been plainly explained in
Theosophical books, because on the one hand it is a delicate matter, and on the
other the details would not as yet be received even by Theosophists with
credence, although one day they will be. And as these
details are not of the greatest importance they are not now expounded. But as we know that no human body is formed without the union of the sexes, and that the germs for such production are locked up in the sexes and must come from food which is taken into the body, it is obvious that foods have something to do with the reincarnating of the Ego. Now if the road to reincarnation leads through certain food and none other, it may be possible that if the Ego gets entangled in food which will not lead to the germ of physical reproduction, a punishment is indicated where Manu says that such and such practices will lead to transmigration, which is then a "hindrance." I throw this out so far for the benefit of certain theosophists who read these and whose theories on this subject are now rather vague and in some instances based on quite other hypotheses.
The second explanation is,
that inasmuch as nature intends us to use the matter which comes into our body
and astral body for the purpose, among others, of benefiting the matter by the
impress it gets from association with the human Ego, if we use it so as to give
it only a brutal impression it must fly back to the animal kingdom to be
absorbed there instead of being refined and kept on the human plane. And as all
the matter which the human Ego gathered to it retains the stamp or photographic
impression of the human being, the matter transmigrates to the lower level when
given an animal impress by the Ego. This actual fact in the great chemical
laboratory of nature could easily be misconstrued by the ignorant. But the
present-day students know that once Manas the Thinker has arrived on the scene he does not return to baser
forms; first, because he does not wish to, and second, because he cannot. For
just as the blood in the body is prevented by valves from rushing back and
engorging the heart, so in this greater system of universal circulation the door
is shut behind the Thinker and
prevents his retrocession. Reincarnation as a
doctrine applying to the real man does not teach transmigration into kingdoms of
nature below the human.
In the West, where the
object of life is commercial, financial, social, or scientific success, that is,
personal profit, aggrandizement, and power, the real life of man receives but
little attention, and we, unlike the Orientals, give scant prominence to the
doctrine of preexistence and reincarnation. That the church denies it is enough
for many, with whom no argument is of any use. Relying on the church, they do
not wish to disturb the serenity of their faith in dogmas that may be illogical;
and as they have been taught that the church can bind them in hell, a blind fear
of the anathema hurled at reincarnation in the Constantinople council about 500
A.D. would alone debar them from accepting the accursed theory. And the church
in arguing on the doctrine urges the objection that if men are convinced that
they will live many lives, the temptation to accept the present and do evil
without check will be too strong. Absurd as this seems, it is put forward by
learned Jesuits, who say men will rather have the present chance than wait for
others. If there were no retribution at all this would be a good objection, but
as Nature has also a Nemesis for every evil doer, and as each, under the law of
Karma―which is that of cause and effect and perfect justice―must receive
the exact consequences himself in every life for what good or bad deeds and
thoughts he did and had in other lives, the basis for moral conduct is secure.
It is safe under this system, since no man can by any possibility, or favor, or
edict, or belief escape the consequences, and each one who grasps this doctrine
will be moved by conscience and the whole power of nature to do well in order
that he may receive good and become happy.
It is maintained that the
idea of rebirth is uncongenial and unpleasant because on the one hand it is
cold, allowing no sentiment to interfere, prohibiting us from renouncing at will
a life which we have found to be sorrowful; and on the other, that there appears
to be no chance under it for us to see our loved ones who have passed away
before us. But whether we like it or not Nature's laws go forward unerringly,
and sentiment or feeling can in no way avert the consequence that must follow a
cause. If we eat bad food bad results must come. The glutton would have Nature
permit him to gorge himself without the indigestion which will come, but
Nature's laws are not to be thus put aside. Now, the objection to reincarnation
that we will not see our loved ones in heaven as promised in dogmatic religion,
presupposes a complete stoppage of the evolution and development of those who
leave earth before ourselves, and also assumes that recognition is dependent on
physical appearance. But as we progress in this life, so also must we progress
upon leaving it, and it would be unfair to compel the others to await our
arrival in order that we may recognize them. And if one reflects on the natural
consequences of arising to heaven where all trammels are cast off, it must be
apparent that those who have been there, say, twenty of mortal years before us
must, in the nature of things mental and spiritual, have made a progress equal
to many hundreds of years here under varied and very favorable circumstances.
How then could we, arriving later and still imperfect, be able to recognize
those who had been perfecting themselves in heaven with such advantages? And as
we know that the body is left behind to disintegrate, so, it is evident,
recognition cannot depend, in the spiritual and mental life, on physical
appearance. For not only is this thus plain, but since we are aware that an
unhandsome or deformed body often enshrines a glorious mind and pure soul, and
that a beautifully formed exterior―such as in the case of the Borgias ―may
hide an incarnate devil in character, the physical form gives no guarantee of recognition in that world where the body is absent. And the mother who has lost a child who had grown to maturity must know that she loved the child when a baby as much as afterwards when the great alteration to later life had completely swept away the form and features of early youth. The Theosophists see that this objection can have no existence in the face of the eternal and pure life of the soul. And Theosophy also teaches that those who are like unto each other and love each other will be reincarnated together whenever the conditions permit. Whenever one of us has gone farther on the road to perfection, he will always be moved to help and comfort those who belong to the same family. But when one has become gross and selfish and wicked, no one would want his companionship in any life. Recognition depends on the inner sight and not on outward appearance; hence there is no force in this objection. And the other phase of it relating to loss of parent, child, or relative is based on the erroneous notion that as the parents give the child its body so also is given its soul. But soul is immortal and parentless; hence this objection is without a root.
Some urge that Heredity
invalidates Reincarnation. We urge it as proof. Heredity in giving us a body in
any family provides the appropriate environment for the Ego. The Ego only goes
into the family which either completely answers to its whole nature, or which
gives an opportunity for the working out of its evolution, and which is also
connected with it by reason of past incarnations or causes mutually set up. Thus
the evil child may come to the presently good family because parents and child
are indissolubly connected by past actions. It is a chance for redemption to the
child and the occasion of punishment to the parents. This points to bodily
heredity as a natural rule governing the bodies we must inhabit, just as the
houses in a city will show the mind of the builders. And as
we as well as our parents were the makers and influencers of bodies, took part in and are responsible for states of society in which the development of physical body and brain was either retarded or helped on, debased or the contrary, so we are in this life responsible for the civilization in which we now appear. But when we look at the characters in human bodies, great inherent differences are seen. This is due to the soul inside, who is suffering or enjoying in the family, nation, and race his own thoughts and acts in the past lives have made it inevitable he should incarnate with.
Heredity provides the tenement and also imposes those limitations of capacity of brain or body which are often a punishment and sometimes a help, but it does not affect the real Ego. The transmission of traits is a physical matter, and nothing more than the coming out into a nation of the consequences of the prior lives of all Egos who are to be in that race. The limitations imposed on the Ego by any family heredity are exact consequences of that Ego's prior lives. The fact that such physical traits and mental peculiarities are transmitted does not confute reincarnation, since we know that the guiding mind and real character of each are not the result of a body and brain but are peculiar to the Ego in its essential life. Transmission of trait and tendency by means of parent and body is exactly the mode selected by nature for providing the incarnating Ego with the proper tenement in which to carry on its work. Another mode would be impossible and subversive of order.
Again, those who dwell on
the objection from heredity forget that they are accentuating similarities and
overlooking divergencies. For while investigations on the line of heredity have
recorded many transmitted traits, they have not done so in respect to
divergencies from heredity vastly greater in number. Every mother knows that the
children of a family are as different in character as the fingers on one
hand—they are all from the same parents, but all vary in character and capacity.
But heredity as the great rule and as a complete explanation is absolutely overthrown by history, which shows no constant transmission of learning, power, and capacity. For instance, in the case of the ancient Egyptians long gone and their line of transmission shattered, we have no transmission to their descendants. If physical heredity settles the question of character, how has the great Egyptian character been lost? The same question holds in respect to other ancient and extinct nations. And taking an individual illustration we have the great musician Bach, whose direct descendants showed a decrease in musical ability leading to its final disappearance from the family stock. But Theosophy teaches that in both of these instances―as in all like them―the real capacity and ability have only disappeared from a family and national body, but are retained in the Egos who once exhibited them, being now incarnated in some other nation and family of the present time.
Suffering comes to nearly all men, and a great many live lives of sorrow from the cradle to the grave, so it is objected that reincarnation is unjust because we suffer for the wrong done by some other person in another life. This objection is based on the false notion that the person in the other life was some one else. But in every life it is the same person. When we come again we do not take up the body of some one else, nor another's deeds, but are like an actor who plays many parts, the same actor inside though the costumes and the lines recited differ in each new play. Shakespeare was right in saying that life is a play, for the great life of the soul is a drama, and each new life and rebirth another act in which we assume another part and put on a new dress, but all through it we are the self-same person. So instead of its being unjust, it is perfect justice, and in no other manner could justice be preserved.
But, it is said, if we reincarnate how is it that we do not remember the other life; and further, as we cannot remember the deeds for which we suffer is it not unjust for that reason? Those who ask this always ignore the fact that they also have enjoyment and reward in life and are content to accept them without question. For if it is unjust to be punished for deeds we do not remember, then it is also inequitable to be rewarded for other acts which have been forgotten. Mere entry into life is no fit foundation for any reward or punishment. Reward and punishment must be the just desert for prior conduct. Nature's law of justice is not imperfect, and it is only the imperfection of human justice that requires the offender to know and remember in this life a deed to which a penalty is annexed. In the prior life the doer was then quite aware of what he did, and nature affixes consequences to his acts, being thus just. We well know that she will make the effect follow the cause whatever we wish and whether we remember or forget what we did. If a baby is hurt in its first years by the nurse so as to lay the ground for a crippling disease in after life, as is often the case, the crippling disease will come although the child neither brought on the present cause nor remembered aught about it. But reincarnation, with its companion doctrine of Karma, rightly understood, shows how perfectly just the whole scheme of nature is.
Memory of a prior life is
not needed to prove that we passed through that existence, nor is the fact of
not remembering a good objection. We forget the greater part of the occurrences
of the years and days of this life, but no one would say for that reason we did
not go through these years. They were lived, and we retain but little of the
details in the brain, but the entire effect of them on the character is kept and
made a part of ourselves. The whole mass of detail of a life is preserved in the
inner man to be one day fully brought back to the conscious memory
in some other life when we are perfected. And even now, imperfect as we are and little as we know, the experiments in hypnotism show that all the smallest details are registered in what is for the present known as the sub-conscious mind. The theosophical doctrine is that not a single one of these happenings is forgotten in fact, and at the end of life when the eyes are closed and those about say we are dead every thought and circumstance of life flash vividly into and across the mind.
Many persons do, however, remember that they have lived before. Poets have sung of this, children know it well, until the constant living in an atmosphere of unbelief drives the recollection from their minds for the present, but all are subject to the limitations imposed upon the Ego by the new brain in each life. This is why we are not able to keep the pictures of the past, whether of this life or the preceding ones. The brain is the instrument for the memory of the soul, and, being new in each life with but a certain capacity, the Ego is only able to use it for the new life up to its capacity. That capacity will be fully availed of or the contrary, just according to the Ego's own desire and prior conduct, because such past living will have increased or diminished its power to overcome the forces of material existence.
By living according to the dictates of the soul the brain may at least be made porous to the soul's recollections; if the contrary sort of a life is led, then more and more will clouds obscure that reminiscence. But as the brain had no part in the life last lived, it is in general unable to remember. And this is a wise law, for we should be very miserable if the deeds and scenes of our former lives were not hidden from our view until by discipline we become able to bear a knowledge of them.
Another objection brought
up is that under the doctrine of reincarnation it is not possible to account for
the increase of the world's population. This as-
sumes that we know surely that
its population has increased and are keeping informed of its fluctuations. But
it is not certain that the inhabitants of the globe have increased, and,
further, vast numbers of people are annually destroyed of whom we know nothing.
In China year after year many thousands have been carried off by flood.
Statistics of famine have not been made. We do not know by how many thousands
the deaths in Africa exceed the births in any year. The objection is based on
imperfect tables which only have to do with western lands. It also assumes that
there are fewer Egos out of incarnation and waiting to come in than the number
of those inhabiting bodies, and this is incorrect. Annie Besant has put this
well in her "Reincarnation" by saying that the inhabited globe resembles a hall
in a town which is filled from the much greater population of the town outside;
the number in the hall may vary, but there is a constant source of supply from
the town. It is true that so far as concerns this globe the number of Egos
belonging to it is definite; but no one knows what that quantity is nor what is
the total capacity of the earth for sustaining them. The statisticians of the
day are chiefly in the West, and their tables embrace but a small section of the
history of man. They cannot say how many persons were incarnated on the earth at
any prior date when the globe was full in all parts, hence the quantity of egos
willing or waiting to be reborn is unknown to the men of today. The Masters of
theosophical knowledge say that the total number of such egos is vast, and for
that reason the supply of those for the occupation of bodies to be born over and
above the number that die is sufficient. Then too it must be borne in mind that
each ego for itself varies the length of stay in the
post-mortem states. They do not
reincarnate at the same interval, but come out of the state after death at
different rates, and whenever there occurs a great number of deaths by war,
pestilence, or famine, there is at once a rush
of souls to incarnation, either
in the same place or in some other place or race. The earth is so small a globe
in the vast assemblage of inhabitable planets there is a sufficient supply of
Egos for incarnation here. But with due respect to those who put this objection,
I do not see that it has the slightest force or any relation to the truth of the
doctrine of reincarnation.
Unless we deny the
immortality of man and the existence of soul, there are no sound arguments
against the doctrine of preexistence and rebirth save such as rest on the dictum
of the church that each soul is a new creation. This dictum can be supported
only by blind dogmatism, for given a soul we must sooner or later arrive at the
theory of rebirth, because even if each soul is new on this earth it must keep
on living somewhere after passing away, and in view of the known order of nature
will have other bodies in other planets or spheres. Theosophy applies to the
self―the thinker―the same laws which are seen everywhere in operation
throughout nature, and those are all varieties of the great law that effects
follow causes and no effect is without a cause. The soul's immortality ―
believed in by the mass of humanity―demands embodiment here or elsewhere, and
to be embodied means reincarnation. If we come to this earth for but a few years
and then go to some other, the soul must be reimbodied there as well as here,
and if we have travelled from some other world we must have had there too our
proper vesture. The powers of mind and the laws governing its motion, its
attachment, and its detachment as given in theosophical philosophy show that its
reimbodiment must be here, where it moved and worked, until such time as the
mind is able to overcome the forces which chain it to this globe. To permit the
involved entity to transfer itself to another scene of action before it had
overcome all the causes drawing it here and without its having worked out its
responsibilities to other entities in the same stream of evolution would be
contrary to the powerful occult laws and forces which continually operate upon it. The early Christian Fathers saw this, and taught that the soul had fallen into matter and was obliged by the law of its nature to toil upward again to the place from which it came. They used an old Greek hymn which ran:
Mind, thy seedling spark,
Through this thin vase of clay,
Athwart the waves of chaos dark
Emits a timorous ray.
This mind enfolding soul is sown,
Incarnate germ in earth:
In pity, blessed Lord, then own
What claims in Thee its birth.
Far forth from Thee, thou central fire,
To earth's sad bondage cast,
Let not the trembling spark expire;
Absorb thine own at last!
Each human being has a definite character different from every other human being, and masses of beings aggregated into nations show as wholes that the national force and distinguishing peculiarities go to make up a definite and separate national character. These differences, both individual and national, are due to essential character and not to education. Even the doctrine of the survival of the fittest should show this, for the fitness can not come from nothing but must at last show itself from the coming to the surface of the actual inner character. And as both individuals and nations among those who are ahead in the struggle with nature exhibit an immense force in their character, we must find a place and time where the force was evolved. These, Theosophy says, are this earth and the whole period during which the human race has been on the planet.
So, then, while heredity
has something to do with the difference in character as to force and morale,
swaying the soul and mind a little and furnishing also the appropriate place for
receiving reward and
punishment, it is not the cause for the essential nature shown by every one.
But all these differences,
such as those shown by babes from birth, by adults as character comes forth more
and more, and by nations in their history, are due to long experience gained
during many lives on earth, are the outcome of the soul's own evolution. A
survey of one short human life gives no ground for the production of his inner
nature. It is needful that each soul should have all possible experience, and
one life cannot give this even under the best conditions. It would be folly for
the Almighty to put us here for such a short time, only to remove us just when
we had begun to see the object of life and the possibilities in it. The mere
selfish desire of a person to escape the trials and discipline of life is not
enough to set nature's laws aside, so the soul must be reborn until it has
ceased to set in motion the cause of rebirth, after having developed character
up to its possible limit as indicated by all the varieties of human nature, when
every experience has been passed through, and not until all of truth that can be
known has been acquired. The vast disparity among men in respect to capacity
compels us, if we wish to ascribe justice to Nature or to God, to admit
reincarnation and to trace the origin of the disparity back to the past lives of
the Ego. For people are as much hindered and handicapped, abused and made the
victims of seeming injustice because of limited capacity, as they are by reason
of circumstances of birth or education. We see the uneducated rising above
circumstances of family and training, and often those born in good families have
very small capacity; but the troubles of nations and families arise from want of
capacity more than from any other cause. And if we consider savage races only,
there the seeming injustice is enormous. For many savages have good actual brain
capacity but still are savage. This is because the Ego in that body is still
savage and unde-
veloped, for in contrast to the savage there are many civilized men with small actual brain force who are not savage in nature because the indwelling Ego has had long experience in civilization during other lives, and being a more developed soul has power to use the brain instrument to its highest limit.
Each man feels and knows that he has an individuality of his own, a personal identity which bridges over not only the gaps made by sleep but also those sometimes supervening on temporary lesions in the brain. This identity never breaks from beginning to end of life in the normal person, and only the persistence and eternal character of the soul will account for it.
So, ever since we began to remember, we know that our personal identity has not failed us, no matter how bad may be our memory. This disposes of the argument that identity depends on recollection, for the reason that if it did depend alone on recollection we should each day have to begin over again, as we cannot remember the events of the past in detail, and some minds remember but little yet feel their personal identity. And as it is often seen that some who remember the least insist as strongly as the others on their personal identity, that persistence of feeling must come from the old and immortal soul.
Viewing life and its
probable object, with all the varied experience possible for man, one must be
forced to the conclusion that a single life is not enough for carrying out all
that is intended by Nature, to say nothing of what man himself desires to do.
The scale of variety in experience is enormous. There is a vast range of powers
latent in man which we see may be developed if opportunity be given. Knowledge
infinite in scope and diversity lies before us, and especially in these days
when special investigation is the rule. We perceive that we have high
aspirations with no time to reach up to their measure, while the great troop of
passions and desires, selfish motives and am-
bitions, war with us and among themselves, pursuing us even to the door of death. All these have to be tried, conquered, used, subdued. One life is not enough for all this. To say that we have but one life here with such possibilities put before us and impossible of development is to make the universe and life a huge and cruel joke perpetrated by a powerful God who is thus accused, by those who believe in a special creation of souls, of triumphing and playing with puny man just because that man is small and the creature of the Almighty. A human life at most is seventy years; statistics reduce this to about forty; and out of that little remainder a large part is spent in sleep and another part in childhood. Thus in one life it is perfectly impossible to attain to the merest fraction of what Nature evidently has in view. We see many truths vaguely which a life gives us no time to grasp, and especially is this so when men have to make such a struggle to live at all. Our faculties are small or dwarfed or weak; one life gives no opportunity to alter this; we perceive other powers latent in us that cannot possibly be brought out in such a small space of time; and we have much more than a suspicion that the extent of the field of truth is vastly greater than the narrow circle we are confined to. It is not reasonable to suppose that either God or nature projects us into a body simply to fill us with bitterness because we can have no other opportunity here, but rather we must conclude that a series of incarnations has led to the present condition, and that the process of coming here again and again must go on for the purpose of affording us the opportunity needed.
The mere fact of dying is
not of itself enough to bring about development of faculties or the elimination
of wrong tendency and inclination. If we assume that upon entering heaven we at
once acquire all knowledge and purity, then that state after death is reduced to
a dead level and life itself with all its discipline is shorn of every meaning.
Some of the
churches teach of a school of discipline after death where it is impudently stated that the Apostles themselves, well known to be ignorant men, are to be the teachers. This is absurd and devoid of any basis or reason in the natural order. Besides, if there is to be such subsequent discipline, why were we projected into life at all? And why after the suffering and the error committed are we taken from the place where we did our acts? The only solution left is in reincarnation. We come back to earth because on it and with the beings upon it our deeds were performed; because it is the only proper place where punishment and reward can be justly meted out; because here is the only natural spot in which to continue the struggle toward perfection, toward the development of the faculties we have and the destruction of the wickedness in us. Justice to ourselves and to all other beings demands it, for we cannot live for ourselves, and it would be unjust to permit some of us to escape, leaving those who were participants with us to remain or to be plunged into a hell of eternal duration.
The persistence of
savagery, the rise and decay of nations and civilizations, the total extinction
of nations, all demand an explanation found nowhere but in reincarnation.
Savagery remains because there are still Egos whose experience is so limited
that they are still savage; they will come up into higher races when ready.
Races die out because the Egos have had enough of the experience that sort of
race gives. So we find the red Indian, the Hottentot, the Easter Islanders, and
others as examples of races deserted by high Egos and as they are dying away
other souls who have had no higher life in the past enter into the bodies of the
race to go on using them for the purpose of gaining such experience as the race
body will give. A race could not possibly arise and then suddenly go out. We see
that such is not the case, but science has no explanation; it simply says that
this is the fact, that nations decay. But in this explanation no account
taken of the inner man nor of the recondite subtle and occult laws that unite to
make a race. Theosophy shows that the energy drawn together has to expend itself
gradually, and therefore the reproduction of bodies of the character of that
race will go on, though the Egos are not compelled to inhabit bodies of that
sort any longer than while they are of the same development as the race. Hence a
time comes when the whole mass of Egos which built up the race leaves it for
another physical environment more like themselves. The economy of Nature will
not permit the physical race to suddenly fade away, and so in the real order of
evolution other and less progressed Egos come in and use the forms provided,
keeping up the production of new bodies but less and less in number each
century. These lower Egos are not able to keep up to the limit of the capacity
of the congeries of energies left by the other Egos, and so while the new set
gains as much experience as is possible the race in time dies out after passing
through its decay. This is the explanation of what we may call descending
savagery, and no other theory will meet the facts. It has been sometimes thought
by ethnologists that the more civilized races kill off the other, but the fact
is that in consequence of the great difference between the Egos inhabiting the
old race body and the energy of that body itself, the females begin to be
sterile, and thus slowly but surely the number of deaths exceeds the births.
China itself is in process of decay, she being now in the almost stationary
stage just before the rush downward. Great civilizations like those of Egypt and
Babylon have gone because the souls who made them have long ago reincarnated in
the great conquering nations of Europe and the present American continents. As
nations and races they have been totally reincarnated and born again for greater
and higher purposes than ever. Of all the old races the Aryan Indian alone yet
remains as the preserver of the
old doctrines. It will one day rise again to its old heights of glory.
The appearance of geniuses
and great minds in families destitute of these qualities, as well as the
extinction from a family of the genius shown by some ancestor, can only be met
by the law of re-birth. Napoleon the First came in a family wholly unlike him in
power and force. Nothing in his heredity will explain his character. He said
himself, as told in the Memoirs of Prince Talleyrand, that he was Charlemagne.
Only by assuming for him a long series of lives giving the right line of
evolution or cause for his mind and nature and force to be brought out, can we
have the slightest idea why he or any other great genius appeared at all. Mozart
when an infant could compose orchestral scores. This was not due to heredity,
for such a score is not natural, but is forced, mechanical, and wholly
conventional, yet he understood it without schooling. How? Because he was a
musician reincarnated, with a musical brain furnished by his family and thus not
impeded in his endeavors to show forth his musical knowledge. But stronger yet
is the case of Blind Tom, a negro whose family could not by any possibility have
a knowledge of the piano, a modern instrument, so as to transmit that knowledge
to the atoms of his body, yet he had great musical power and knew the present
mechanical musical scale on the piano. There are hundreds of examples like these
among the many prodigies who have appeared to the world's astonishment. In India
there are many histories of sages born with complete knowledge of philosophy and
the like, and doubtless in all nations the same can be met with. This bringing
back of knowledge also explains instinct, for that is no more than recollection
divisible into physical and mental memory. It is seen in the child and the
animal, and is no more than the result of previous experience. And whether we
look at the new-born babe flinging out its arms for self-protection, or the
animal with very
strong instinctual power, or the bee building a cell on the rules of geometry, it is all the effect of reincarnation acting either in the mind or physical cell, for under what was first laid down no atom is devoid of life, consciousness, and intelligence of its own.
In the case of the musician Bach we have proof that heredity counts for nothing if the Ego is not advanced, for his genius was not borne down his family line; it gradually faded out, finally leaving the family stream entirely. So, too, the coming of idiots or vicious children to parents who are good, pure, or highly intellectual is explained in the same way. They are cases where heredity is set at nought by a wholly bad or deficient Ego.
And lastly, the fact that certain inherent ideas are common to the whole race is explained by the sages as due to recollection of such ideas, which were implanted in the human mind at the very beginning of its evolutionary career on this planet by those brothers and sages who learned their lessons and were perfected in former ages long before the development of this globe began. No explanation for inherent ideas is offered by science that will do more than say, "they exist." These were actually taught to the mass of Egos who are engaged in this earth's evolution; they were imprinted or burned into their natures, and always recollected; they follow the Ego through the long pilgrimage.
It has been often thought
that the opposition to reincarnation has been solely based on prejudice, when
not due to a dogma which can only stand when the mind is bound down and
prevented from using its own powers. It is a doctrine the most noble of all, and
with its companion one of Karma, next to be considered, it alone gives the basis
for ethics. There is no doubt in my mind that the founder of Christianity took
it for granted and that its present absence from that religion is the reason for
the contradiction be-
tween the professed ethics of Christian nations and their
actual practises which are so contrary to the morals given out by Jesus.
Karma is an unfamiliar word for Western ears. It is the name adopted by Theosophists of the nineteenth century for one of the most important of the laws of nature. Ceaseless in its operation, it bears alike upon planets, systems of planets, races, nations, families, and individuals. It is the twin doctrine to reincarnation. So inextricably interlaced are these two laws that it is almost impossible to properly consider one apart from the other. No spot or being in the universe is exempt from the operation of Karma, but all are under its sway, punished for error by it yet beneficently led on, through discipline, rest, and reward, to the distant heights of perfection. It is a law so comprehensive in its sweep, embracing at once our physical and our moral being, that it is only by paraphrase and copious explanation one can convey its meaning in English. For that reason the Sanskrit term Karma was adopted to designate it.
Applied to man's moral life it is the law of ethical causation, justice, reward and punishment; the cause for birth and rebirth, yet equally the means for escape from incarnation. Viewed from another point it is merely effect flowing from cause, action and reaction, exact result for every thought and act. It is act and the result of act; for the word's literal meaning is action. Theosophy views the Universe as an intelligent whole, hence every motion in the Universe is an action of that whole leading to results, which themselves become causes for further results. Viewing it thus broadly, the ancient Hindus said that every being up to Brahma was under the rule of Karma.
It is not a being but a
law, the universal law of har-
mony which unerringly restores all disturbance to
equilibrium. In this the theory conflicts with the ordinary conception about
God, built up from the Jewish system, which assumes that the Almighty as a
thinking entity, extraneous to the Cosmos, builds up, finds his construction
inharmonious, out of proportion, errant, and disturbed, and then has to pull
down, destroy, or punish that which he created. This has either caused thousands
to live in fear of God, in compliance with his assumed commands, with the
selfish object of obtaining reward and securing escape from his wrath, or has
plunged them into darkness which comes from a denial of all spiritual life. But
as there is plainly, indeed painfully, evident to every human being a constant
destruction going on in and around us, a continual war not only among men but
everywhere through the whole solar system, causing sorrow in all directions,
reason requires a solution of the riddle. The poor, who see no refuge or hope,
cry aloud to a God who makes no reply, and then envy springs up in them when
they consider the comforts and opportunities of the rich. They see the rich
profligates, the wealthy fools, enjoying themselves unpunished. Turning to the
teacher of religion, they meet the reply to their questioning of the justice
which will permit such misery to those who did nothing requiring them to be born
with no means, no opportunities for education, no capacity to overcome social,
racial, or circumstantial obstacles, "It is the will of God." Parents produce
beloved offspring who are cut off by death at an untimely hour, just when all
promised well. They too have no answer to the question "Why am I thus
afflicted?" but the same unreasonable reference to an inaccessible God whose
arbitrary will causes their misery. Thus in every walk of life, loss, injury,
persecution, deprivation of opportunity, nature's own forces working to destroy
the happiness of man, death, reverses, disappointment continually beset good and
evil men alike. But nowhere is there any answer
or relief save in the ancient truths that each man is the maker and fashioner of his own destiny, the only one who sets in motion the causes for his own happiness and misery. In one life he sows and in the next he reaps. Thus on and forever, the law of Karma leads him.
Karma is a beneficent law wholly merciful, relentlessly just, for true mercy is not favor but impartial justice.
brothers! each man's life
The outcome of his former living is;
The bygone wrongs bring forth sorrows and woes,
The bygone right breeds bliss. . . .
This is the doctrine of Karma." *
How is the present life affected by that bygone right and wrong act, and is it always by way of punishment? Is Karma only fate under another name, an already fixed and formulated destiny from which no escape is possible, and which therefore might make us careless of act or thought that cannot affect destiny? It is not fatalism. Everything done in a former body has consequences which in the new birth the Ego must enjoy or suffer, for, as St. Paul said: "Brethren, be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap." For the effect is in the cause, and Karma produces the manifestation of it in the body, brain, and mind furnished by reincarnation. And as a cause set up by one man has a distinct relation to him as a center from which it came, so each one experiences the results of his own acts. We may sometimes seem to receive effects solely from the acts of others, but this is the result of our own acts and thoughts in this or some prior life. We perform our acts in company with others always, and the acts with their underlying thoughts have relation always to other persons and to ourselves.
No act is performed without
a thought at its root either at the time of performance or as leading to it.
* The Light of Asia, by Edwin Arnold.
These thoughts are lodged in that part of man which we have called
Manas ―the mind, and there
remain as subtle but powerful links with magnetic threads that enmesh the solar
system, and through which various effects are brought out. The theory put
forward in earlier pages that the whole system to which this globe belongs is
alive, conscious on every plane, though only in man showing self-consciousness,
comes into play here to explain how the thought under the act in this life may
cause result in this or the next birth. The marvellous modern experiments in
hypnotism show that the slightest impression, no matter how far back in the
history of the person, may be waked up to life, thus proving it is not lost but
only latent. Take for instance the case of a child born humpbacked and very
short, the head sunk between the shoulders, the arms long and legs curtailed.
Why is this? His karma for thoughts and acts in a prior life. He reviled,
persecuted, or otherwise injured a deformed person so persistently or violently
as to imprint in his own immortal mind the deformed picture of his victim. For
in proportion to the intensity of his thought will be the intensity and depth of
the picture. It is exactly similar to the exposure of the sensitive photographic
plate, whereby, just as the exposure is long or short, the impression in the
plate is weak or deep. So this thinker and actor―the Ego ―coming again to
rebirth carries with him this picture, and if the family to which he is
attracted for birth has similar physical tendencies in its stream, the mental
picture causes the newly-forming astral body to assume a deformed shape by
electrical and magnetic osmosis through the mother of the child. And as all
beings on earth are indissolubly joined together, the misshapen child is the
karma of the parents also an exact consequence for similar acts and thoughts on
their part in other lives. Here is an exactitude of justice which no other
theory will furnish.
But as we often see a deformed human being―continuing the instance merely for the purpose of illustration―having a happy disposition, an excellent intellect, sound judgment, and every good moral quality, this very instance leads us to the conclusion that karma must be of several different kinds in every individual case, and also evidently operates in more than one department of our being, with the possibility of being pleasant in effect for one portion of our nature and unpleasant for another.
Karma is of three sorts:
First ―that which has not begun to produce any effect in our lives owing to the operation on us of some other karmic causes. This is under a law well known to physicists, that two opposing forces tend to neutrality, and that one force may be strong enough to temporarily prevent the operation of another one. This law works on the unseen mental and karmic planes or spheres of being just as it does on the material ones. The force of a certain set of bodily, mental, and psychical faculties with their tendencies may wholly inhibit the operation on us of causes with which we are connected, because the whole nature of each person is used in the carrying out of this law. Hence the weak and mediocre furnish a weak focus for karma, and in them the general result of a lifetime is limited, although they may feel it all to be very heavy. But that person who has a wide and deep-reaching character and much force will feel the operation of a greater quantity of karma than the weaker person.
Second ―that karma which we are now making or storing up by our thoughts and acts, and which will operate in the future when the appropriate body, mind, and environment are taken up by the incarnating Ego in some other life, or whenever obstructive karma is removed.
This bears both on the
present life and the next one. For one may in this life come to a point where,
previous causes being worked out, new karma, or that which is unexpended, must begin to operate.
Under this are those cases where men have sudden reverses of fortune or changes for the better either in circumstances or character. A very important bearing of this is on our present conduct. While old karma must work out and cannot be stopped, it is wise for the man to so think and act now under present circumstances, no matter what they are, that he shall produce no bad or prejudicial causes for the next rebirth or for later years in this life. Rebellion is useless, for the law works on whether we weep or rejoice. The great French engineer, de Lesseps, is a good example of this class of karma. Raised to a high pitch of glory and achievement for many years of his life, he suddenly falls covered with shame through the Panama canal scandal. Whether he was innocent or guilty, he has the shame of the connection of his name with a national enterprise all besmirched with bribery and corruption that involved high officials. This was the operation of old karmic causes on him the very moment those which had governed his previous years were exhausted. Napoleon I is another, for he rose to a very great fame, then suddenly fell and died in exile and disgrace. Many other cases will occur to every thoughtful reader.
Third ―that karma which has begun to produce results. It is the operating now in this life on us of causes set up in previous lives in company with other Egos. And it is in operation because, being most adapted to the family stock, the individual body, astral body, and race tendencies of the present incarnation, it exhibits itself plainly, while other unexpended karma awaits its regular turn.
These three classes of
karma govern men, animals, worlds, and periods of evolution. Every effect flows
from a cause precedent, and as all beings are constantly being reborn they are
continually experiencing the effects of their thoughts and acts (which are
selves causes) of a prior incarnation. And thus each one answers, as St. Matthew says, for every word and thought; none can escape either by prayer, or favor, or force, or any other intermediary.
Now as karmic causes are divisible into three classes, they must have various fields in which to work. They operate upon man in his mental and intellectual nature, in his psychical or soul nature, and in his body and circumstances. The spiritual nature of man is never affected or operated upon by karma.
One species of karma may act on the three specified planes of our nature at the same time to the same degree, or there may be a mixture of the causes, some on one plane and some on another. Take a deformed person who has a fine mind and a deficiency in his soul nature. Here punitive or unpleasant karma is operating on his body while in his mental and intellectual nature good karma is being experienced, but psychically the karma, or cause, being of an indifferent sort the result is indifferent. In another person other combinations appear. He has a fine body and favorable circumstances, but the character is morose, peevish, irritable, revengeful, morbid, and disagreeable to himself and others. Here good physical karma is at work with very bad mental, intellectual, and psychical karma. Cases will occur to readers of persons born in high station having every opportunity and power, yet being imbecile or suddenly becoming insane.
And just as all these
phases of the law of karma have sway over the individual man, so they similarly
operate upon races, nations, and families. Each race has its karma as a whole.
If it be good that race goes forward. If bad it goes out―annihilated as a
race―though the souls concerned take up their karma in other races and
bodies. Nations cannot escape their national karma, and any nation that has
acted in a wicked manner must suffer some day, be it soon or late. The karma of
the nineteenth century in the West is the karma of Israel, for even the merest
see that the Mosaic influence is the strongest in the European and American nations. The old Aztec and other ancient American peoples died out because their own karma―the result of their own life as nations in the far past―fell upon and destroyed them. With nations this heavy operation of karma is always through famine, war, convulsion of nature, and the sterility of the women of the nation. The latter cause comes near the end and sweeps the whole remnant away. And the individual in race or nation is warned by this great doctrine that if he falls into indifference of thought and act, thus molding himself into the general average karma of his race or nation, that national and race karma will at last carry him off in the general destiny. This is why teachers of old cried, "Come ye out and be ye separate."
With reincarnation the doctrine of karma explains the misery and suffering of the world, and no room is left to accuse Nature of injustice.
The misery of any nation or
race is the direct result of the thoughts and acts of the Egos who make up the
race or nation. In the dim past they did wickedly and now suffer. They violated
the laws of harmony. The immutable rule is that harmony must be restored if
violated. So these Egos suffer in making compensation and establishing the
equilibrium of the occult cosmos. The whole mass of Egos must go on incarnating
and reincarnating in the nation or race until they have all worked out to the
end the causes set up. Though the nation may for a time disappear as a physical
thing, the Egos that made it do not leave the world, but come out as the makers
of some new nation in which they must go on with the task and take either
punishment or reward as accords with their karma. Of this law the old Egyptians
are an illustration. They certainly rose to a high point of development, and as
certainly they were extinguished as a nation. But the souls―the old Egos ―live on and are now fulfilling their self-made destiny as some
other nation now in our period. They may be the new American nation, or the Jews fated to wander up and down in the world and suffer much at the hands of others. This process is perfectly just. Take, for instance, the United States and the Red Indians. The latter have been most shamefully treated by the nation. The Indian Egos will be reborn in the new and conquering people, and as members of that great family will be the means themselves of bringing on the due results for such acts as were done against them when they had red bodies. Thus it has happened before, and so it will come about again.
Individual unhappiness in any life is thus explained:
(a) It is punishment for evil done in past lives; or
(b) it is discipline taken up by the Ego for the purpose of eliminating defects or acquiring fortitude and sympathy. When defects are eliminated it is like removing the obstruction in an irrigating canal which then lets the water flow on. Happiness is explained in the same way: the result of prior lives of goodness.
The scientific and self-compelling basis for right ethics is found in these and in no other doctrines. For if right ethics are to be practised merely for themselves, men will not see why, and have never been able to see why, for that reason they should do right. If ethics are to be followed from fear, man is degraded and will surely evade; if the favor of the Almighty, not based on law or justice, be the reason, then we will have just what prevails today―a code given by Jesus to the west professed by nations and not practised save by the few who would in any case be virtuous.
On this subject the Adepts have written the following to be found in the Secret Doctrine: *
Nor would the ways of
Karma be inscrutable were men to work in union and harmony, instead of disunion
and strife. For our ignorance of those ways—which one portion of mankind
calls the ways of Providence, dark and intricate, while another sees in them the
action of blind Fatalism, and a third,
* S.D., Vol. I p. 643
simple chance, with neither gods nor
devils to guide them―would surely disappear, if we would but attribute all
these to their correct cause. With right knowledge, or at any rate with a
confident conviction that our neighbors will no more work to hurt us than we
would think of harming them, the two-thirds of the World's evil would vanish
into thin air. Were no man to hurt his brother, Karma-Nemesis would have neither
cause to work for, nor weapons to act through. . . . We cut these numerous
windings in our destinies daily with our own hands, while we imagine that we are
pursuing a track on the royal high road of respectability and duty, and then
complain of those ways being so intricate and so dark. We stand bewildered
before the mystery of our own making, and the riddles of life that we will
not solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us. But verily
there is not an accident in our lives, not a misshapen day, or a misfortune,
that could not be traced back to our own doings in this or in another life. . .
". . . Knowledge of Karma gives the conviction that if ―
'. . . .
virtue in distress, and vice in triumph
Make atheists of mankind,'
it is only because that
mankind has ever shut its eyes to the great truth that man is himself his own
saviour as his own destroyer. That he need not accuse Heaven and the gods, Fates
and Providence, of the apparent injustice that reigns in the midst of humanity.
But let him rather remember and repeat this bit of Grecian wisdom, which warns
man to forbear accusing That which
'Just, though mysterious, leads us on unerring
Through ways unmark'd from guilt to punishment'
―which are now the ways
and the high road on which move onward the great European nations. The Western
Aryans had, every nation and tribe, like their Eastern brethren of the Fifth
Race, their Golden and their Iron ages, their period of comparative
irresponsibility, or the Satya age of purity, while now, several of them have
reached their Iron Age, the Kali Yuga, an age black with horrors. This state will last
. . . until we begin acting from within instead of ever following
impulses from without . . . Until then the only palliative to the evils
of life is union and harmony—a Brotherhood in actu, and altruism not
simply in name."
Let us now consider the states of man after the death of the body and before birth, having looked over the whole field of the evolution of things and beings in a general way. This brings up at once the questions: Is there any heaven or hell, and what are they? Are they states or places? Is there a spot in space where they may be found and to which we go or from where we come? We must also go back to the subject of the fourth principle of the constitution of man, that called Kama in Sanskrit and desire or passion in English. Bearing in mind what was said about that principle, and also the teaching in respect to the astral body and the Astral Light, it will be easier to understand what is taught about the two states ante and post mortem. In chronological order we go into kama loka ―or the plane of desire―first on the demise of the body, and then the higher principles, the real man, fall into the state of Devachan. After dealing with kama loka it will be more easy to study the question of Devachan.
The breath leaves the body
and we say the man is dead, but that is only the beginning of death; it proceeds
on other planes. When the frame is cold and eyes closed, all the forces of the
body and mind rush through the brain, and by a series of pictures the whole life
just ended is imprinted indelibly on the inner man not only in a general outline
but down to the smallest detail of even the most minute and fleeting impression.
At this moment, though every indication leads the physician to pronounce for
death and though to all intents and purposes the person is dead to this life,
the real man is busy in the brain, and not until his work there is ended is the
person gone. When this solemn work is over the astral body detaches itself from the physical, and, life energy having departed, the remaining five principles are in the plane of kama loka.
The natural separation of the principles brought about by death divides the total man into three parts:
First, the visible body with all its elements left to further disintegration on the earth plane, where all that it is composed of is in time resolved into the different physical departments of nature;
Second, the kama rupa made up of the astral body and the passions and desires, which also begins at once to go to pieces on the astral plane;
Third, the real man, the upper triad of Atma-Buddhi-Manas, deathless but now out of earth conditions, devoid of body, begins in devachan to function solely as mind clothed in a very ethereal vesture which it will shake off when the time comes for it to return to earth.
Kama loka―or the place of desire―is the astral region penetrating and surrounding
the earth. As a place it is on and in and about the earth. Its extent is to a
measurable distance from the earth, but the ordinary laws obtaining here do not
obtain there, and entities therein are not under the same conditions as to space
and time as we are. As a state it is metaphysical, though that metaphysic
relates to the astral plane. It is called the plane of desire because it relates
to the fourth principle, and in it the ruling force is desire devoid of and
divorced from intelligence. It is an astral sphere intermediate between earthly
and heavenly life. Beyond any doubt it is the origin of the Christian theory of
purgatory, where the soul undergoes penance for evil done and from which it can
be released by prayer and other ceremonies or offerings. The fact underlying
this superstition is that the soul may be detained in
loka by the enormous force of
some unsatisfied desire, and cannot get
rid of the astral and kamic clothing until that desire is satisfied by some one on earth or by the soul itself. But if the person was pure minded and of high aspirations, the separation of the principles on that plane is soon completed, permitting the higher triad to go into Devachan. Being the purely astral sphere, it partakes of the nature of the astral matter which is essentially earthly and devilish, and in it all the forces work undirected by soul or conscience. It is the slag-pit, as it were, of the great furnace of life, where nature provides for the sloughing off of elements which have no place in Devachan, and for that reason it must have many degrees, every one of which was noted by the ancients. These degrees are known in Sanskrit as lokas or places in a metaphysical sense. Human life is very varied as to character and other potentialities, and for each of these the appropriate place after death is provided, thus making kama loka an infinitely varied sphere. In life some of the differences among men are modified and some inhibited by a similarity of body and heredity, but in kama loka all the hidden desires and passions are let loose in consequence of the absence of body, and for that reason the state is vastly more diversified than the life plane. Not only is it necessary to provide for the natural varieties and differences, but also for those caused by the manner of death, about which something shall be said. And all these various divisions are but the natural result of the life thoughts and last thoughts of the persons who die on earth. It is beyond the scope of this work to go into a description of all these degrees, inasmuch as volumes would be needed to describe them, and then but few would understand.
To deal with
compels us to deal also
with the fourth principle in the classification of man's constitution, and
arouses a conflict with modern ideas and education on the subject of the desires
and passions. It is generally supposed that the desires and passions are
inherent tendencies in the individual, and they
have an altogether unreal and
misty appearance for the ordinary student. But in this system of philosophy they
are not merely inherent in the individual nor are they due to the body
per se. While the man is living
in the world the desires and passions―the principle
kama ―have no separate life
apart from the astral and inner man, being, so to say, diffused throughout his
being. But as they coalesce with the astral body after death and thus form an
entity with its own term of life, though without soul, very important questions
arise. During mortal life the desires and passions are guided by the mind and
soul; after death they work without guidance from the former master; while we
live we are responsible for them and their effects, and when we have left this
life we are still responsible, although they go on working and making effects on
others while they last as the sort of entity I have described, and without our
direct guidance. In this is seen the continuance of responsibility. They are a
portion of the skandhas ―well known in eastern philosophy― which are the aggregates that make up the
man. The body includes one set of the skandhas, the astral man another, the
principle is another set, and still others pertain to other parts. In
are the really active and important ones which control rebirths and lead to all
the varieties of life and circumstance upon each rebirth. They are being made
from day to day under the law that every thought combines instantly with one of
the elemental forces of nature, becoming to that extent an entity which will
endure in accordance with the strength of the thought as it leaves the brain,
and all of these are inseparably connected with the being who evolved them.
There is no way of escaping; all we can do is to have thoughts of good quality,
for the highest of the Masters themselves are not exempt from this law, but they
"people their current in space" with entities powerful for good alone.
Now in kama loka this mass of desire and thought exists very definitely until the conclusion of its disintegration, and then the remainder consists of the essence of these skandhas, connected, of course, with the being that evolved and had them. They can no more be done away with than we can blot out the universe. Hence they are said to remain until the being comes out of devachan, and then at once by the law of attraction they are drawn to the being, who from them as germ or basis builds up a new set of skandhas for the new life. Kama loka therefore is distinguished from the earth plane by reason of the existence therein, uncontrolled and unguided, of the mass of passions and desires; but at the same time earth-life is also a kama loka, since it is largely governed by the principle kama, and will be so until at a far distant time in the course of evolution the races of men shall have developed the fifth and sixth principle, thus throwing kama into its own sphere and freeing earth-life from its influence.
The astral man in
is a mere shell
devoid of soul and mind, without conscience and also unable to act unless
vivified by forces outside of itself. It has that which seems like an animal or
automatic consciousness due wholly to the very recent association with the human
Ego. For under the principle laid down in another chapter, every atom going to
make up the man has a memory of its own which is capable of lasting a length of
time in proportion to the force given it. In the case of a very material and
gross or selfish person the force lasts longer than in any other, and hence in
that case the automatic consciousness will be more definite and bewildering to
one who without knowledge dabbles with necromancy. Its purely astral portion
contains and carries the record of all that ever passed before the person when
living, for one of the qualities of the astral substance is to absorb all scenes
and pictures and the impressions of all thoughts,
to keep them, and to throw them forth by reflection when the conditions permit. This astral shell, cast off by every man at death, would be a menace to all men were it not in every case, except one which shall be mentioned, devoid of all the higher principles which are the directors. But those guiding constituents being disjoined from the shell, it wavers and floats about from place to place without any will of its own, but governed wholly by attractions in the astral and magnetic fields.
It is possible for the real man ― called the spirit by some―to communicate with us immediately after death for a few brief moments, but, those passed, the soul has no more to do with earth until reincarnated. What can and do influence the sensitive and the medium from out of this sphere are the shells I have described. Soulless and conscienceless, these in no sense are the spirits of our deceased ones. They are the clothing thrown off by the inner man, the brutal earthly portion discarded in the flight to devachan, and so have always been considered by the ancients as devils ―our personal devils―because essentially astral, earthly, and passional. It would be strange indeed if this shell, after being for so long the vehicle of the real man on earth, did not retain an automatic memory and consciousness. We see the decapitated body of the frog or the cock moving and acting for a time with a seeming intelligence, and why is it not possible for the finer and more subtle astral form to act and move with a far greater amount of seeming mental direction?
Existing in the sphere of
also in all parts of the globe and the solar system, are the elementals or
nature forces. They are innumerable, and their divisions are almost infinite, as
they are, in a sense, the nerves of nature. Each class has its own work just as
has every natural element or thing. As fire burns and as water runs down and not
up under their general law, so the elementals act under law, but
being higher in the scale than gross fire or water their action seems guided by mind. Some of them have a special relation to mental operations and to the action of the astral organs, whether these be joined to a body or not. When a medium forms the channel, and also from other natural coordination, these elementals make an artificial connection with the shell of a deceased person, aided by the nervous fluid of the medium and others near, and then the shell is galvanized into an artificial life. Through the medium connection is made with the physical and psychical forces of all present. The old impressions on the astral body give up their images to the mind of the medium, the old passions are set on fire. Various messages and reports are then obtained from it, but not one of them is original, not one is from the spirit. By their strangeness, and in consequence of the ignorance of those who dabble in it, this is mistaken for the work of spirit, but it is all from the living when it is not the mere picking out from the astral light of the images of what has been in the past. In certain cases to be noted there is an intelligence at work that is wholly and intensely bad, to which every medium is subject, and which will explain why so many of them have succumbed to evil, as they have confessed.
A rough classification of these shells that visit mediums would be as follows:
(1) Those of the recently deceased whose place of burial is not far away. This class will be quite coherent in accordance with the life and thought of the former owner. An unmaterial, good, and spiritualized person leaves a shell that will soon disintegrate. A gross, mean, selfish, material person's shell will be heavy, consistent, and long lived: and so on with all varieties.
(2) Those of persons who had died far away from the place where the medium is. Lapse of time permits such to escape from the vicinity of their old bodies, and at the same time brings on a greater degree
of disintegration which corresponds on the astral plane to putrefaction on the physical. These are vague, shadowy, incoherent; respond but briefly to the psychic stimulus, and are whirled off by any magnetic current. They are galvanized for a moment by the astral currents of the medium and of those persons present who were related to the deceased.
(3) Purely shadowy remains which can hardly be given a place. There is no English to describe them, though they are facts in this sphere. They might be said to be the mere mold or impress left in the astral substance by the once coherent shell long since disintegrated. They are therefore so near being fictitious as to almost deserve the designation. As such shadowy photographs they are enlarged, decorated, and given an imaginary life by the thoughts, desires, hopes, and imaginings of medium and sitters at the seance.
(4) Definite, coherent
entities, human souls bereft of the spiritual tie, now tending down to the worst
state of all, avichi, where
annihilation of the personality is the end. They are known as black magicians.
Having centered the consciousness in the principle of
preserved intellect, divorced themselves from spirit, they are the only damned
beings we know. In life they had human bodies and reached their awful state by
persistent lives of evil for its own sake; some of such already doomed to become
what I have described, are among us on earth today. These are not ordinary
shells, for they have centered all their force in
thrown out every spark of good
thought or aspiration, and have a complete mastery of the astral sphere. I put
them in the classification of shells because they are such in the sense that
they are doomed to disintegration consciously as the others are to the same end
mechanically only. They may and do last for many centuries, gratifying their
lusts through any sensitive they can lay hold of where bad thought gives them an
opening. They preside at nearly all seances, assuming high names and taking the direction so as to
keep the control and continue the delusion of the medium, thus enabling themselves to have a convenient channel for their own evil purposes. Indeed, with the shells of suicides, of those poor wretches who die at the hand of the law, of drunkards and gluttons, these black magicians living in the astral world hold the field of physical mediumship and are liable to invade the sphere of any medium no matter how good. The door once open, it is open to all. This class of shell has lost higher manas, but in the struggle not only after death but as well in life the lower portion of manas which should have been raised up to godlike excellence was torn away from its lord and now gives this entity intelligence which is devoid of spirit but power to suffer as it will when its final day shall come.
In the state of
Kama Loka suicides and those who
are suddenly shot out of life by accident or murder, legal or illegal, pass a
term almost equal to the length life would have been but for the sudden
termination. These are not really dead. To bring on a normal death, a factor not
recognized by medical science must be present. That is, the principles of the
being as described in other chapters have their own term of cohesion, at the
natural end of which they separate from each other under their own laws. This
involves the great subject of the cohesive forces of the human subject,
requiring a book in itself. I must be content therefore with the assertion that
this law of cohesion obtains among the human principles. Before that natural end
the principles are unable to separate. Obviously the normal destruction of the
cohesive force cannot be brought about by mechanical processes except in respect
to the physical body. Hence a suicide, or person killed by accident or murdered
by man or by order of human law, has not come to the natural termination of the
cohesion among the other constituents, and is hurled into the
state only partly dead. There
the remaining principles have to wait
until the actual natural life term is reached, whether it be one month or sixty years.
But the degrees of kama loka provide for the many varieties of the last-mentioned shells. Some pass the period in great suffering, others in a dreamy sort of sleep, each according to the moral responsibility. But executed criminals are in general thrown out of life full of hate and revenge, smarting under a penalty they do not admit the justice of. They are ever rehearsing in kama loka their crime, their trial, their execution, and their revenge. And whenever they can gain touch with a sensitive living person, medium or not, they attempt to inject thoughts of murder and other crime into the brain of such unfortunate. And that they succeed in such attempts the deeper students of Theosophy full well know.
We have now approached
devachan. After a certain time in
falls into a state of unconsciousness which precedes the change into the next
state. It is like the birth into life, preluded by a term of darkness and heavy
sleep. It then wakes to the joys of devachan.
Having shown that just
beyond the threshold of human life there is a place of separation wherein the
better part of man is divided from his lower and brute elements, we come to
consider what is the state after death of the real being, the immortal who
travels from life to life. Struggling out of the body the entire man goes into
purgatory, where he again struggles and loosens himself from the lower
skandhas; this period of birth
over, the higher principles, Atma-Buddhi-Manas, begin to think in a manner different from that
which the body and brain permitted in life. This is the state of
Devachan, a Sanskrit word meaning
literally "the place of the gods," where the soul enjoys felicity; but as the
gods have no such bodies as ours, the Self in
devachan is devoid of a mortal
body. In the ancient books it is said that this state lasts "for years of
infinite number," or "for a period proportionate to the merit of the being"; and
when the mental forces peculiar to the state are exhausted, "the being is drawn
down again to be reborn in the world of mortals."
Devachan is therefore an
interlude between births in the world. The law of karma which forces us all to
enter the world, being ceaseless in its operation and also universal in scope,
acts also on the being in devachan, for only by the force or operation of Karma are we taken out of
devachan. It is something like
the pressure of atmosphere which, being continuous and uniform, will push out or
crush that which is subjected to it unless there be a compensating quantity of
atmosphere to counteract the pressure. In the present case the karma of the
being is the atmosphere always pressing the being
on or out from state to state; the counteracting quantity of atmosphere is the force of the being's own life-thoughts and aspirations which prevent his coming out of devachan until that force is exhausted, but which being spent has no more power to hold back the decree of our self-made mortal destiny.
The necessity for this state after death is one of the necessities of evolution growing out of the nature of mind and soul. The very nature of manas requires a devachanic state as soon as the body is lost, and it is simply the effect of loosening the bonds placed upon the mind by its physical and astral encasement. In life we can but to a fractional extent act out the thoughts we have each moment; and still less can we exhaust the psychic energies engendered by each day's aspirations and dreams. The energy thus engendered is not lost or annihilated, but is stored in Manas, but the body, brain, and astral body permit no full development of the force. Hence, held latent until death, it bursts then from the weakened bonds and plunges Manas, the thinker, into the expansion, use, and development of the thought-force set up in life. The impossibility of escaping this necessary state lies in man's ignorance of his own powers and faculties. From this ignorance delusion arises, and Manas not being wholly free is carried by its own force into the thinking of devachan. But while ignorance is the cause for going into this state the whole process is remedial, restful, and beneficial. For if the average man returned at once to another body in the same civilization he had just quitted, his soul would be completely tired out and deprived of the needed opportunity for the development of the higher part of his nature.
Now the Ego being minus
mortal body and kama, clothes
itself in devachan with a
vesture which cannot be called body but may be styled means or vehicle, and in
that it functions in the devachanic state entirely on the plane of mind and
soul. Everything is
as real then to the being as this world seems to be to us. It simply now has gotten the opportunity to make its own world for itself unhampered by the clogs of physical life. Its state may be compared to that of the poet or artist who, rapt in ecstacy of composition or arrangement of color, cares not for and knows not of either time or objects of the world.
We are making causes every moment, and but two fields exist for the manifestation in effect of those causes. These are, the objective as this world is called, and the subjective which is both here and after we have left this life. The objective field relates to earth life and the grosser part of man, to his bodily acts and his brain thoughts, as also sometimes to his astral body. The subjective has to do with his higher and spiritual parts. In the objective field the psychic impulses cannot work out, nor can the high leanings and aspirations of his soul; hence these must be the basis, cause, substratum, and support for the state of devachan. What then is the time, measured by mortal years, that one will stay in devachan?
This question while dealing
with what earth-men call time does not, of course, touch the real meaning of
time itself, that is, of what may be in fact for this solar system the ultimate
order, precedence, succession, and length of moments. It is a question which may
be answered in respect to our time, but not certainly in respect to the time on
the planet Mercury, for instance, where time is not the same as ours, nor,
indeed, in respect to time as conceived by the soul. As to the latter any man
can see that after many years have slipped away he has no direct perception of
the time just passed, but is able only to pick out some of the incidents which
marked its passage, and as to some poignant or happy instants or hours he seems
to feel them as but of yesterday. And thus it is for the being in
devachan. No time is there. The
soul has all the benefit of what goes on within itself in that state, but
it indulges in no speculations as to the lapse of moments; all is made up of events, while all the time the solar orb is marking off the years for us on the earth plane. This cannot be regarded as an impossibility if we will remember how, as is well known in life, events, pictures, thoughts, argument, introspective feeling will all sweep over us in perfect detail in an instant, or, as is known of those who have been drowning, the events of a whole life time pass in a flash before the eye of the mind. But the Ego remains as said in devachan for a time exactly proportioned to the psychic impulses generated during life. Now this being a matter which deals with the mathematics of the soul, no one but a Master can tell what the time would be for the average man of this century in every land. Hence we have to depend on the Masters of wisdom for that average, as it must be based upon a calculation. They have said, as is well put by Mr. A. P. Sinnett in his Esoteric Buddhism, that the period is fifteen hundred years in general. From a reading of his book, which was made up from letters from the Masters, it is to be inferred he desires it to be understood that the devachanic period is in each and every case fifteen centuries; but to do away with that misapprehension his informants wrote at a later date that that is the average period and not a fixed one. Such must be the truth, for as we see that men differ in respect to the periods of time they remain in any state of mind in life due to the varying intensities of their thoughts, so it must be in devachan where thought has a greater force though always due to the being who had the thoughts.
What the Master did say on
this is as follows: The "dream of devachan" lasts
until karma is satisfied in that direction. In
devachan there is a "gradual
exhaustion of force." "The stay in Devachan is proportioned to the unfinished psychic impulses originating in
earth-life: those whose attractions were preponder-
atingly material will be sooner drawn back into rebirth by the force of Tanha." Tanha is the thirst for life. He therefore who has not in life originated many psychic impulses will have but little basis or force in his essential nature to keep his higher principles in devachan. About all he will have are those originated in childhood before he began to fix his thoughts on materialistic thinking. The thirst for life expressed by the word Tanha is the pulling or magnetic force lodged in the skandhas inherent in all beings. In such a case as this the average rule does not apply, since the whole effect either way is due to a balancing of forces and is the outcome of action and reaction. And this sort of materialistic thinker may emerge out of devachan into another body here in a month, allowing for the unexpended psychic forces originated in early life. But as every one of such persons varies as to class, intensity and quantity of thought and psychic impulse, each may vary in respect to the time of stay in devachan. Desperately materialistic thinkers will remain in the devachanic condition stupefied or asleep, as it were, as they have no forces in them appropriate to that state save in a very vague fashion, and for them it can be very truly said that there is no state after death so far as mind is concerned; they are torpid for a while, and then they live again on earth. This general average of the stay in devachan gives us the length of a very important human cycle, the Cycle of Reincarnation. For under that law national development will be found to repeat itself, and the times that are past will be found to come again.
The last series of powerful
and deeply imprinted thoughts are those which give color and trend to the whole
life in devachan. The last
moment will color each subsequent moment. On those the soul and mind fix
themselves and weave of them a whole set of events and experiences, expanding
them to their highest limit,
carrying out all that was not possible in life. Thus expanding and weaving these thoughts the entity has its youth and growth and growing old, that is, the up-rush of the force, its expansion, and its dying down to final exhaustion. If the person has led a colorless life the devachan will be colorless; if a rich life, then it will be rich in variety and effect. Existence there is not a dream save in a conventional sense, for it is a stage of the life of man, and when we are there this present life is a dream. It is not in any sense monotonous. We are too prone to measure all possible states of life and places for experience by our present earthly one and to imagine it to be reality. But the life of the soul is endless and not to be stopped for one instant. Leaving our physical body is but a transition to another place or plane for living in. But as the ethereal garments of devachan are more lasting than those we wear here, the spiritual, moral, and psychic causes use more time in expanding and exhausting in that state than they do on earth. If the molecules that form the physical body were not subject to the general chemical laws that govern physical earth, then we should live as long in these bodies as we do in the devachanic state. But such a life of endless strain and suffering would be enough to blast the soul compelled to undergo it. Pleasure would then be pain, and surfeit would end but in an immortal insanity. Nature, always kind, leads us soon again into heaven for a rest, for the flowering of the best and highest in our natures.
is then neither meaningless nor useless. "In it we are rested; that part of us
which could not bloom under the chilling skies of earth-life bursts forth into
flower and goes back with us to another life stronger and more a part of our
nature than before; . . . Why shall we repine that nature kindly aids us in the
interminable struggle; why thus keep the mind revolving
about this petty personality and its good and evil fortunes?"*
But it is sometimes asked, what of those we have left behind: do we see them there? We do not see them there in fact, but we make to ourselves their images as full, complete, and objective as in life, and devoid of all that we then thought was a blemish. We live with them and see them grow great and good instead of mean or bad. The mother who has left a drunken son behind finds him before her in devachan a sober, good man, and likewise through all possible cases, parent, child, husband, and wife have their loved ones there perfect and full of knowledge. This is for the benefit of the soul. You may call it a delusion if you will, but the illusion is necessary to happiness just as it often is in life. And as it is the mind that makes the illusion, it is no cheat. Certainly the idea of a heaven built over the verge of hell where you must know, if any brains or memory are left to you under the modern orthodox scheme, that your erring friends and relatives are suffering eternal torture, will bear no comparison with the doctrine of devachan. But entities in devachan are not wholly devoid of power to help those left on earth. Love, the master of life, if real, pure, and deep, will sometimes cause the happy Ego in devachan to affect those left on earth for their good, not only in the moral field but also in that of material circumstance. This is possible under a law of the occult universe which cannot be explained now with profit, but the fact may be stated. It has been given out before this by H. P. Blavatsky, without, however, much attention being drawn to it.
The last question to
consider is whether we here can reach those in
devachan or do they come here. We
cannot reach them nor affect them unless we are Adepts. The claim of mediums to
hold communion with the spirits of the dead is baseless, and still less
* (Letter from Mahatma K. H. See Path, p. 192, Vol. 5.)
valid is the claim of ability to help those who have gone to devachan. The Mahatma, a being who has developed all his powers and is free from illusion, can go into the devachanic state and then communicate with the Egos there. Such is one of their functions, and that is the only school of the Apostles after death. They deal with certain entities in devachan for the purpose of getting them out of the state so as to return to earth for the benefit of the race. The Egos they thus deal with are those whose nature is great and deep but who are not wise enough to be able to overcome the natural illusions of devachan. Sometimes also the hypersensitive and pure medium goes into this state and then holds communication with the Egos there, but it is rare, and certainly will not take place with the general run of mediums who trade for money. But the soul never descends here to the medium. And the gulf between the consciousness of devachan and that of earth is so deep and wide that it is but seldom the medium can remember upon returning to recollection here what or whom it met or saw or heard in devachan. This gulf is similar to that which separates devachan from rebirth; it is one in which all memory of what preceded it is blotted out.
The whole period allotted
by the soul's forces being ended in devachan, the magnetic threads which bind it to earth begin to
assert their power. The Self wakes from the dream, it is borne swiftly off to a
new body, and then, just before birth, it sees for a moment all the causes that
led it to devachan and back
to the life it is about to begin, and knowing it to be all just, to be the
result of its own past life, it repines not but takes up the cross again― and
another soul has come back to earth.
The doctrine of Cycles is one of the most important in the whole theosophical system, though the least known and of all the one most infrequently referred to. Western investigators have for some centuries suspected that events move in cycles, and a few of the writers in the field of European literature have dealt with the subject, but all in a very incomplete fashion. This incompleteness and want of accurate knowledge have been due to the lack of belief in spiritual things and the desire to square everything with materialistic science. Nor do I pretend to give the cyclic law in full, for it is one that is not given out in detail by the Masters of Wisdom. But enough has been divulged, and enough was for a long time known to the Ancients to add considerably to our knowledge.
A cycle is a ring or
turning, as the derivation of the word indicates. The corresponding words in the
Sanskrit are Yuga, Kalpa, Manvantara, but of these yuga
comes nearest to cycle, as it is lesser in duration than the others. The
beginning of a cycle must be a moment, that added to other moments makes a day,
and those added together constitute months, years, decades, and centuries.
Beyond this the West hardly goes. It recognizes the moon cycle and the great
sidereal one, but looks at both and upon the others merely as periods of time.
If we are to consider them as but lengths of time there is no profit except to
the dry student or to the astronomer. And in this way today they are regarded by
European and American thinkers, who say cycles exist but have no very great
bearing on human life and certainly no bearing on the actual recurrence of
events or the reappearance on
the stage of life of persons who once lived in the
world. The theosophical theory is distinctly otherwise, as it must be if it
carries out the doctrine of reincarnation to which in preceding pages a good
deal of attention has been given. Not only are the cycles named actual physical
facts in respect to time, but they and other periods have a very great effect on
human life and the evolution of the globe with all the forms of life thereon.
Starting with the moment and proceeding through a day, this theory erects the
cycle into a comprehensive ring which includes all in its limits. The moment
being the basis, the question to be settled in respect to the great cycles is,
When did the first moment come? This cannot be answered, but it can be said that
the truth is held by the ancient theosophists to be that at the first moments of
the solidification of this globe the mass of matter involved attained a certain
and definite rate of vibration which will hold through all variations in any
part of it until its hour for dissolution comes. These rates of vibration are
what determine the different cycles, and, contrary to the ideas of western
science, the doctrine is that the solar system and the globe we are now on will
come to an end when the force behind the whole mass of seen and unseen matter
has reached its limit of duration under cyclic law. Here our doctrine is again
different from both the religious and scientific one. We do not admit that the
ending of the force is the withdrawal by a God of his protection, nor the sudden
propulsion by him of another force against the globe, but that the force at work
and determining the great cycle is that of man himself considered as a spiritual
being; when he is done using the globe he leaves it, and then with him goes out
the force holding all together; the consequence is dissolution by fire or water
or what not, these phenomena being simply effects and not causes. The ordinary
scientific speculations on this head are that the earth may fall into the sun,
or that a comet of density may destroy the globe, or that
we may collide with a greater planet known or unknown. These dreams are idle for the present.
Reincarnation being the great law of life and progress, it is interwoven with that of the cycles and karma. These three work together, and in practice it is almost impossible to disentangle reincarnation from cyclic law. Individuals and nations in definite streams return in regularly recurring periods to the earth, and thus bring back to the globe the arts, the civilization, the very persons who once were on it at work. And as the units in nation and race are connected together by invisible strong threads, large bodies of such units moving slowly but surely all together reunite at different times and emerge again and again together into new race and new civilization as the cycles roll their appointed rounds. Therefore the souls who made the most ancient civilizations will come back and bring the old civilization with them in idea and essence, which being added to what others have done for the development of the human race in its character and knowledge will produce a new and higher state of civilization. This newer and better development will not be due to books, to records, to arts or mechanics, because all those are periodically destroyed so far as physical evidence goes, but the soul ever retaining in Manas the knowledge it once gained and always pushing to completer development the higher principles and powers, the essence of progress remains and will as surely come out as the sun shines. And along this road are the points when the small and large cycles of Avatars bring out for man's benefit the great characters who mold the race from time to time.
The Cycle of Avatars
includes several smaller ones. The greater are those marked by the appearance of
Rama and Krishna among the Hindus, of Menes among the Egyptians, of Zoroaster
among the Persians, and of Buddha to the Hindus and other nations of the East.
Buddha is the last of the great Avatars and is in a larger cycle than is Jesus
of the Jews, for
the teachings of the latter are the same as those of Buddha and tinctured with what Buddha had taught to those who instructed Jesus. Another great Avatar is yet to come, corresponding to Buddha and Krishna combined. Krishna and Rama were of the military, civil, religious, and occult order; Buddha of the ethical, religious, and mystical, in which be was followed by Jesus; Mohammed was a minor intermediate one for a certain part of the race, and was civil, military, and religious. In these cycles we can include mixed characters who have had great influence on nations, such as King Arthur, Pharaoh, Moses, Charlemagne reincarnated as Napoleon Bonaparte, Clovis of France reborn as Emperor Frederic III of Germany, and Washington the first President of the United States of America where the root for the new race is being formed.
At the intersection of the great cycles dynamic effects follow and alter the surface of the planet by reason of the shifting of the poles of the globe or other convulsion. This is not a theory generally acceptable, but we hold it to be true. Man is a great dynamo, making, storing, and throwing out energy, and when masses of men composing a race thus make and distribute energy, there is a resulting dynamic effect on the material of the globe which will be powerful enough to be distinct and cataclysmic. That there have been vast and awful disturbances in the strata of the world is admitted on every hand and now needs no proof; these have been due to earthquakes and ice formation so far as concerns geology; but in respect to animal forms the cyclic law is that certain animal forms now extinct and also certain human ones not known but sometimes suspected will return again in their own cycle; and certain human languages now known as dead will be in use once more at their appointed cyclic hour.
"The Metonic cycle is that
of the Moon. It is a period of about nineteen years, which being com-
pleted the new and the full moons return on the same days of the month."
"The cycle of the Sun is a period of twenty eight years, which having elapsed the Dominical or Sunday letters return to their former place and proceed in the former order according to the Julian calendar."
The great Sidereal year is the period taken by the equinoctial points to make in their precession a complete revolution of the heavens. It is composed of 25,868 solar years almost. It is said that the last sidereal year ended about 9,868 years ago, at which time there must have been on this earth a violent convulsion or series of such, as well as distributions of nations. The completion of this grand period brings the earth into newer spaces of the cosmos, not in respect to its own orbit, but by reason of the actual progress of the sun in an orbit of its own that cannot be measured by any observer of the present day, but which is guessed at by some and located in one of the constellations.
Affecting man especially
are the spiritual, psychic, and moral cycles, and out of these grow the
national, racial, and individual cycles. Race and national cycles are both
historical. The individual cycles are of reincarnation, of sensation, and of
impression. The length of the individual reincarnation cycle for the general
mass of men is fifteen hundred years, and this in its turn gives us a large
historical cycle related closely to the progress of civilization. For as the
masses of persons return from devachan, it must follow that the Roman, the Greek, the old Aryan, and other
Ages will be seen again and can to a very great extent be plainly traced. But
man is also affected by astronomical cycles because he is an integral part of
the whole, and these cycles mark the periods when mankind as a whole will
undergo a change. In the sacred books of all nations these are often mentioned,
and are in the Bible of the Christians, as, for instance, in the story of Jonah
in the belly of the whale. This
is an absurdity when read as history, but not so
as an astronomical cycle. "Jonah" is in the constellations, and when that
astronomical point which represents man reaches a point in the Zodiac which is
directly opposite the belly of Cetus or the whale on the other side of the
circle, by what is known as the process of opposition, then Jonah is said to be
in the center of the fish and is "thrown out" at the expiration of the period
when that man-point has passed so far along in the Zodiac as to be out of
opposition to the whale. Similarly as the same point moves thus through the
Zodiac it is brought by opposition into the different constellations that are
exactly opposite from century to century while it moves along. During these
progresses changes take place among men and on earth exactly signified by the
constellations when those are read according to the right rules of symbology. It
is not claimed that the conjunction causes the effect, but that ages ago the
Masters of Wisdom worked out all the problems in respect to man and found in the
heavens the means for knowing the exact dates when events are sure to recur, and
then by imprinting in the minds of older nations the symbology of the Zodiac
were able to preserve the record and the prophecy. Thus in the same way that a
watchmaker can tell the hour by the arrival of the hands or the works of the
watch at certain fixed points, the Sages can tell the hour for events by the
Zodiacal clock. This is not of course believed today, but it will be well
understood in future centuries, and as the nations of the earth have all similar
symbols in general for the Zodiac, and as also the records of races long dead
have the same, it is not likely that the vandal-spirit of the western nineteenth
century will be able to efface this valuable heritage of our evolution. In Egypt
the Denderah Zodiac tells the same tale as that one left to us by the old
civilization of the American continent, and all of these are from the same
source, they are the work of the Sages who come at the beginning
of the great human cycle and give to man when he begins his toilsome ascent up the road of development those great symbols and ideas of an astronomical character which will last through all the cycles.
In regard to great cataclysms occurring at the beginning and ending of the great cycles, the main laws governing the effects are those of Karma and Reimbodiment, or Reincarnation, proceeding under cyclic rule. Not only is man ruled by these laws, but every atom of matter as well, and the mass of matter is constantly undergoing a change at the same time with man. It must therefore exhibit alterations corresponding to those through which the thinker is going. On the physical plane effects are brought out through the electrical and other fluids acting with the gases on the solids of the globe. At the change of a great cycle they reach what may be termed the exploding point and cause violent convulsions of the following classes: (a) Earthquakes, (b) Floods, (c) Fire, (d) Ice.
Earthquakes may be brought on according to this philosophy by two general causes; first, subsidence or elevation under the earth-crust due to heat and steam, second, electrical and magnetic changes which affect water and earth at the same time. These last have the power to instantaneously make the earth fluidic without melting it, thus causing immense and violent displacements in large or small waves. And this effect is sometimes seen now in earthquake districts when similar electrical causes are at work in a smaller measure.
Floods of general extent are caused by displacement of water from the subsidence or elevation of land, and by those combined with electrical change which induces a copious discharge of moisture. The latter is not a mere emptying of a cloud, but a sudden turning of vast bodies of fluids and solids into water.
Universal fires come on from electrical and magnetic changes in the atmosphere by which the moisture is withdrawn from the air and the latter turned into a fiery mass; and, secondly, by the sudden expansion of the solar magnetic center into seven such centers, thus burning the globe.
Ice cataclysms come on not
only from the sudden alteration of the poles but also from lowered temperature
due to the alteration of the warm fluid currents in the sea and the hot magnetic
currents in the earth, the first being known to science, the latter not. The
lower stratum of moisture is
suddenly frozen, and vast tracts of land covered in a night with many feet of ice. This can easily happen to the British Isles if the warm currents of the ocean are diverted from its shores.
Both Egyptians and Greeks had their cycles, but in our opinion derived them from the Indian Sages. The Chinese always were a nation of astronomers, and have recorded observations reaching far back of the Christian era, but as they belong to an old race which is doomed to extinction—strange as the assertion may appear—their conclusions will not be correct for the Aryan races. On the coming of the Christian era a heavy pall of darkness fell on the minds of men in the West, and India was for many centuries isolated so as to preserve these great ideas during the mental night of Europe. This isolation was brought about deliberately as a necessary precaution taken by that great Lodge to which I adverted in Chapter I, because its Adepts, knowing the cyclic laws perfectly, wished to preserve philosophy for future generations. As it would be mere pedantry and speculation to discuss the unknown Saros and Naros and other cycles of the Egyptians, I will give the Brahmanical ones, since they tally almost exactly with the correct periods.
A period or exhibition of
universal manifestation is called a Brahmarandrha [in
The Path, Nov., 1893, p. 259,
Judge points out that this is a misprint for
Brahmanda., that is a complete
life of Brahma, and Brahma's life is made of his days and years, which, being
cosmical are each of immense
duration. His day is as man's 24 odd hours long, his year 360 odd days, the number of his years is 100.
Taking now this globe—since we are concerned with no other ―its government and evolution proceed under Manu or man and from this is the term Manvantara or "between two Manus." The course of evolution is divided into four Yugas for every race in its own time and way. These Yugas do not affect all mankind at one and the same time, as some races are in one of the Yugas while others are in a different cycle. The Red Indian, for instance, is in the end of his stone age, while the Aryans are in quite a different state. These four Yugas are: Krita, or Satya, the golden; Treta; Dvapara; and Kali or the black. The present age for the West and India is Kali Yuga, especially in respect to moral and spiritual development. The first of these is slow in comparison with the rest, and the present―Kali ―is very rapid, its motion being accelerated precisely like certain astronomical periods known today in regard to the Moon, but not fully worked out.
---------------------------------------------------- Mortal Years
these Days make Brahma's
Year ---- 3,110,400,000,000
100 of these Years make Brahma's Life—311,040,000,000,000
The first 5000 years of
Kali Yuga will end between the
years 1897 and 1898. This Yuga
began about 3102 years before the Christian era, at the time of
death. As 1897-98 are not far off, the scientific men of today will have an
opportunity of seeing whether the close of the five thousand year cycle will be
preceded or followed by any convulsions or great changes political, scientific,
or physical, or all of these combined. Cyclic changes are now proceeding as year
after year the souls from prior civilizations are being incarnated in this
period when liberty of thought and action are not so restricted in the West as
they have been in the past by dogmatic religious prejudice and bigotry. And at
the present time we are in a cycle of transition, when, as a transition period
should indicate, everything in philosophy, religion, and society is changing. In
a transition period the full and complete figures and rules respecting cycles
are not given out to a generation which elevates money above all thoughts and
scoffs at the spiritual view of man and nature.
Between Science and Theosophy there is a wide gulf, for the present unbridged, on the question of the origin of man and the differentiation of species. The teachers of religion in the West offer on this subject a theory, dogmatically buttressed by an assumed revelation, as impossible as the one put forward by scientific men. And yet the religious expounders are nearer than science to the truth. Under the religious superstition about Adam and Eve is hidden the truth, and in the tales of Cain, Seth, and Noah is vaguely shadowed the real story of the other races of men, Adam being but the representative of one single race. The people who received Cain and gave him a wife were some of those human races which had appeared simultaneously with the one headed by Adam.
The ultimate origin or
beginning of man is not to be discovered, although we may know when and from
where the men of this globe came. Man never was not. If not on this globe, then
on some others, he ever was, and will ever be in existence somewhere in the
Cosmos. Ever perfecting and reaching up to the image of the Heavenly Man, he is
always becoming. But as the human mind cannot go back to any beginning, we shall
start with this globe. Upon this earth and upon the whole chain of globes of
which it is a part seven races of men appeared simultaneously, coming over to it
from other globes of an older chain. And in respect to this earth―the fourth
of this chain ―these seven races came simultaneously from another globe of
this chain. This appearance of seven races together happens in the first and in
part of the second round of the globes. In the second round the seven
masses of beings are amalgamated, and their destiny after that is to slowly differentiate during the succeeding rounds until at the seventh round the seven first great races will be once more distinct, as perfect types of the human race as this period of evolution will allow. At the present time the seven races are mixed together, and representatives of all are in the many so-called races of men as classified by our present science. The object of this amalgamation and subsequent differentiation is to give to every race the benefit of the progress and power of the whole derived from prior progress in other planets and systems. For Nature never does her work in a hasty or undue fashion, but, by the sure method of mixture, precipitation, and separation, brings about the greatest perfection. And this method was one known to the Alchemists, though not fully understood in all its bearings even by them.
Hence man did not spring from a single pair. Neither did he come from any tribe or family of monkey. It is hopeless to look to either religion or science for a solution of the question, for science is confused on her own admission, and religion is tangled with a revelation that in its books controverts the theory put forward by the priest. Adam is called the first man, but the record in which the story is found shows that other races of men must have existed on the earth before Cain could have founded a city. The Bible, then, does not support the single pair theory. If we take up one of the hypotheses of Science and admit for the moment that man and monkey differentiated from one ancestor, we have then to decide where the first ancestor came from. The first postulate of the Lodge on this subject is that seven races of men appeared simultaneously on the earth, and the first negative assumption is that man did not spring from a single pair or from the animal kingdom.
The varieties of character
and capacity which subsequently appear in man's history are the forthcoming of
the variations which were induced in the Egos in
other and long anterior periods of evolution upon other chains of globes. These variations were so deeply impacted as to be equivalent to inherent characteristics. For the races of this globe the prior period of evolution was passed on the chain of globes of which our moon is the visible representative.
The burning question of the anthropoid apes as related to man is settled by the Masters of Wisdom, who say that instead of those being our progenitors they were produced by man himself. In one of the early periods of the globe the men of that time begot from large females of the animal kingdom the anthropoids, and in anthropoid bodies were caught a certain number of Egos destined one day to be men. The remainder of the descendants of the true anthropoid are the descendants of those illegitimate children of men, and will die away gradually, their Egos entering human bodies. Those half-ape and half-man bodies could not be ensouled by strictly animal Egos, and for that reason they are known to the Secret Doctrine as the "Delayed Race," the only one not included in the fiat of Nature that no more Egos from the lower kingdoms will come into the human kingdom until the next Manvantara. But to all kingdoms below man except the anthropoids, the door is now closed for entry into the human stage, and the Egos in the subordinate forms must all wait their turn in the succeeding great Cycle. And as the delayed Egos of the Anthropoid family will emerge into the man stage later on, they will thus be rewarded for the long wait in that degraded race. All the other monkeys are products in the ordinary manner of the evolutionary processes.
On this subject I cannot do better than quote the words of one of those Masters of Wisdom, giving the esoteric anthropology from the secret volumes, thus:
anatomical resemblance between Man and the higher Ape, so frequently cited by
Darwinists as pointing to some former ancestor common to both, presents an
interesting problem, the proper solution of which is to be sought for in the
esoteric explanation of the genesis of the pithecoid stocks. We
have given it so far as was useful, by stating that the bestiality of the primeval mindless races resulted in the production of huge man-like monsters—the offspring of human and animal parents. As time rolled on, and the still semi-astral forms consolidated into the physical, the descendants of these creatures were modified by external conditions, until the breed, dwindling in size, culminated in the lower apes of the Miocene period. With these the later Atlanteans renewed the sin of the "Mindless" ―this time with full responsibility. The resultants of their crime were the species of apes now known as the Anthropoid. . . .
Let us remember in this connection the esoteric teaching which tells us of Man having had in the Third Round a Gigantic ape-like form on the astral plane. And similarly at the close of the Third Race in this Round. Thus it accounts for the human features of the Apes, especially of the later Anthropoids,― apart from the fact that these latter preserved by Heredity a resemblance to their Atlanto-Lemurian sires.
The same teachers furthermore assert that the mammalian types were produced in the fourth round, subsequent to the appearance of the human types. For this reason there was no barrier against fertility, because the root-types of those mammals were not far enough removed to raise the natural barrier. The unnatural union in the third race, when man had not yet had the light of Manas given to him, was not a crime against Nature, since, no mind being present save in the merest germ, no responsibility could attach. But in the fourth round, the light of Manas being present, the renewal of the act by the new race was a crime, because it was done with a full knowledge of the consequences and against the warning of conscience. The karmic effect of this, including as it does all races, has yet to be fully felt and understood at a much later day than now.
As man came to this globe
from another planet, though of course then a being of very great power before
being completely enmeshed in matter, so the lower kingdoms came likewise in germ
and type from other planets, and carry on their evolution step by step upward by
the aid of man, who is, in all periods of manifestation, at the front of the
wave of life. The Egos in these lower kingdoms could not finish
their evolution in the preceding globe-chain before its dissolution, and coming to this they go forward age after age, gradually approaching nearer the man stage. One day they too will become men and act as the advance guard and guide for other lower kingdoms of this or other globes. And in the coming from the former planet there are always brought with the first and highest class of beings some forms of animal life, some fruits and other products, as models or types for use here. It will not be profitable to go into this here with particularity, for being too far ahead of the time it would evoke only ridicule from some and stupidity from others. But the general forms of the various kingdoms being so brought over, we have next to consider how the differentiation of animal and other lower species began and was carried on.
This is the point where intelligent aid and interference from a mind or mass of minds is absolutely necessary. Such aid and interference was and is the fact, for Nature unaided cannot do the work right. But I do not mean that God or angel interferes and aids. It is Man who does this. Not the man of the day, weak and ignorant as he is, but great souls, high and holy men of immense power, knowledge, and wisdom. Just such as every man would now know he could become, if it were not that religion on one hand and science on the other have painted such a picture of our weakness, inherent evil and purely material origin that nearly all men think they are puppets of God or cruel fate without hope, or remain with a degrading and selfish aim in view both here and after. Various names have been given to these beings now removed from our plane. They are the Dhyanis, the Creators, the Guides, the Great Spirits, and so on by many titles. In theosophical literature they are called the Dhyanis.
By methods known to
themselves and to the Great Lodge they work on the forms so brought over, and by
adding here, taking away there, and often altering,
they gradually transform by such alteration and addition the kingdoms of nature as well as the gradually forming gross body of man. This process is carried on chiefly in the purely astral period preceding the gross physical stage, as the impulses thus given will surely carry themselves forward through the succeeding times. When the midway point of evolution is reached the species emerge on to the present stage and not showing the connection to the eye of man nor to our instruments. The investigations of the day have traced certain species down to a point where, as is confessed, it is not known to what root they go back. Taking oxen on one side and horses on the other, we see that both are hoofed, but one has a split hoof and the other but one toe. These bring us back, when we reach the oldest ancestor of each, to the midway point, and there science has to stop. At this spot the wisdom of the Masters comes in to show that back of this is the astral region of ancient evolution, where were the root-types in which the Dhyanis began the evolution by alteration and addition which resulted in the differentiation afterwards on this gross plane into the various families, species, and genera.
A vast period of time,
about 300,000,000 years, was passed by earth and man and all the kingdoms of
nature in an astral stage. Then there was no gross matter such as we now know.
This was in the early rounds when Nature was proceeding slowly with the work of
perfecting the types on the astral plane, which is matter, though very fine in
its texture. At the end of that stretch of years the process of hardening began,
the form of man being the first to become solid, and then some of the astral
prototypes of the preceding rounds were involved in the solidification, though
really belonging to a former period when everything was astral. When those
fossils are discovered it is argued that they must be those of creatures which
co-existed with the gross physical body of man.
While that argument is proper enough under the other theories of Science, it becomes only an assumption if the existence of the astral period be admitted. It would be beyond the scope of this work to go further into particulars. But it may incidentally be said that neither the bee nor the wheat could have had their original differentiation in this chain of globes, but must have been produced and finished in some other from which they were brought over into this. Why this should be so I am willing to leave for the present to conjecture.
To the whole theory it may be objected that Science has not been able to find the missing links between the root-types of the astral period and the present fossils or living species. In the year 1893 at Moscow Professor Virchow said in a lecture that the missing link was as far off as ever, as much of a dream as ever, and that no real evidence was at hand to show man as coming from the animals. This is quite true, and neither class of missing link will be discovered by Science under her present methods. For all of them exist in the astral plane and therefore are invisible to the physical eye. They can only be seen by the inner astral senses, which must first be trained to do their work properly, and until Science admits the existence of the astral and inner senses she will never try to develop them. Always, then, Science will be without the instruments for discovering the astral links left on the astral plane in the long course of differentiation. The fossils spoken of above, which were, so to say, solidified out of date, form an exception to the impossibility of finding any missing links, but they are blind alleys to Science because she admits none of the necessary facts.
The object of all this
differentiation, amalgamation, and separation is well stated by another of the
consciously prefers that matter should be indestructible under organic rather
than inorganic forms; and that she works slowly but incessantly towards the
realization of this object―the evolution of conscious life out of inert
The field of psychic forces, phenomena, and dynamics is a vast one. Such phenomena are seen and the forces exhibited every day in all lands, but until a few years ago very little attention was given to them by scientific persons, while a great deal of ridicule was heaped upon those who related the occurrences or averred belief in the psychic nature. A cult sprang up in the United States some forty years ago calling itself quite wrongly "spiritualism," but having a great opportunity it neglected it and fell into mere wonder-seeking without the slightest shadow of a philosophy. It has accomplished but little in the way of progress except a record of many undigested facts which for four decades failed to attract the serious attention of people in general. While it has had its uses, and includes in its ranks many good minds, the great dangers and damages coming to the human instruments involved and to those who sought them more than offset the good done in the opinion of those disciples of the Lodge who would have man progress evenly and without ruin along his path of evolution. But other Western investigators of the accepted schools have not done much better, and the result is that there is no Western Psychology worthy of the name.
This lack of an adequate
system of Psychology is a natural consequence of the materialistic bias of
science and the paralyzing influence of dogmatic religion; the one ridiculing
effort and blocking the way, the other forbidding investigation. The Roman
Catholic branch of the Christian Church is in some respects an exception,
however. It has always admitted the existence of the psychic world ―for it the
realm of devils and
angels, but as angels manifest when they choose and devils are to be shunned, no one is permitted by that Church to meddle in such matters except an authorized priest. So far as that Church's prohibiting the pernicious practice of necromancy indulged in by "spiritualists" it was right, but not in its other prohibitions and restrictions. Real psychology is an Oriental product today. Very true the system was known in the West when a very ancient civilization flourished in America, and in certain parts of Europe anterior to the Christian era, but for the present day psychology in its true phase belongs to the Orient.
Are there psychic forces, laws, and powers? If there are, then there must be the phenomena. And if all that has been outlined in preceding chapters is true, then in man are the same powers and forces which are to be found anywhere in Nature. He is held by the Masters of Wisdom to be the highest product of the whole system of evolution, and mirrors in himself every power, however wonderful or terrible, of Nature; by the very fact of being such a mirror he is man.
This has long been
recognized in the East, where the writer has seen exhibitions of such powers
which would upset the theories of many a Western man of science. And in the West
the same phenomena have been repeated for the writer, so that he knows of his
own knowledge that every man of every race has the same powers potentially. The
genuine psychic ―or, as they are often called, magical―phenomena done by
the Eastern faquir or yogee are all performed by the use of natural forces and
processes not even dreamed of as yet by the West. Levitation of the body in
apparent defiance of gravitation is a thing to be done with ease when the
process is completely mastered. It contravenes no law. Gravitation is only half
of a law. The Oriental sage admits gravity, if one wishes to adopt the term; but
the real term is attraction, the other half of the law being expressed
by the word repulsion, and both being governed by the great laws of electrical force. Weight and stability depend on polarity, and when the polarity of an object is altered in respect to the earth immediately underneath it, then the object may rise. But as mere objects are devoid of the consciousness found in man, they cannot rise without certain other aids. The human body, however, will rise in the air unsupported, like a bird, when its polarity is thus changed. This change is brought about consciously by a certain system of breathing known to the Oriental; it may be induced also by aid from certain natural forces spoken of later, in the cases of those who without knowing the law perform the phenomena, as with the saints of the Roman Catholic Church.
A third great law which enters into many of the phenomena of the East and West is that of Cohesion. The power of Cohesion is a distinct power of itself, and not a result as is supposed. This law and its action must be known if certain phenomena are to be brought about, as, for instance, what the writer has seen, the passing of one solid iron ring through another, or a stone through a solid wall. Hence another force is used which can only be called dispersion. Cohesion is the dominating force, for, the moment the dispersing force is withdrawn, the cohesive force restores the particles to their original position.
Following this out the
Adept in such great dynamics is able to disperse the atoms of an object―excluding always the human body―to such a distance from each other as to
render the object invisible, and then can send them along a current formed in
the ether to any distance on the earth. At the desired point the dispersing
force is withdrawn, when immediately cohesion reasserts itself and the object
reappears intact. This may sound like fiction, but being known to the Lodge and
its disciples as an actual fact, it is equally certain that Science will sooner
or later admit the proposition.
But the lay mind infested by the materialism of the day wonders how all these manipulations are possible, seeing that no instruments are spoken of. The instruments are in the body and brain of man. In the view of the Lodge "the human brain is an exhaustless generator of force," and a complete knowledge of the inner chemical and dynamic laws of Nature, together with a trained mind, give the possessor the power to operate the laws to which I have referred. This will be man's possession in the future, and would be his today were it not for blind dogmatism, selfishness, and materialistic unbelief. Not even the Christian lives up to his Master's very true statement that if one had faith he could remove a mountain. A knowledge of the law when added to faith gives power over matter, mind, space, and time.
Using the same powers, the
trained Adept can produce before the eye, objective to the touch, material which
was not visible before, and in any desired shape. This would be called creation
by the vulgar, but it is simply evolution in your very presence. Matter is held
suspended in the air about us. Every particle of matter, visible or still
unprecipitated, has been through all possible forms, and what the Adept does is
to select any desired form, existing, as they all do, in the Astral Light and
then by effort of the Will and Imagination to clothe the form with the matter by
precipitation. The object so made will fade away unless certain other processes
are resorted to which need not be here described, but if these processes are
used the object will remain permanently. And if it is desired to make visible a
message on paper or other surface, the same laws and powers are used. The
distinct―photographically and sharply definite―image of every line of
every letter or picture is formed in the mind, and then out of the air is drawn
the pigment to fall within the limits laid down by the brain, "the exhaustless
generator of force and form." All these things the writer has seen done in the
scribed, and not by any hired or irresponsible medium, and he knows whereof he speaks.
This, then, naturally leads to the proposition that the human Will is all powerful and the Imagination is a most useful faculty with a dynamic force. The Imagination is the picture-making power of the human mind. In the ordinary average human person it has not enough training or force to be more than a sort of dream, but it may be trained. When trained it is the Constructor in the Human Workshop. Arrived at that stage it makes a matrix in the Astral substance through which effects objectively will flow. It is the greatest power, after Will, in the human assemblage of complicated instruments. The modern Western definition of Imagination is incomplete and wide of the mark. It is chiefly used to designate fancy or misconception and at all times stands for unreality. It is impossible to get another term as good because one of the powers of the trained Imagination is that of making an image. The word is derived from those signifying the formation or reflection of an image. This faculty used, or rather suffered to act, in an unregulated mode has given the West no other idea than that covered by "fancy." So far as that goes it is right but it may be pushed to a greater limit, which, when reached causes the Imagination to evolve in the Astral substance an actual image or form which may be then used in the same way as an iron molder uses a mold of sand for the molten iron. It is therefore the King faculty, inasmuch as the Will cannot do its work if the Imagination be at all weak or untrained. For instance, if the person desiring to precipitate from the air wavers in the least with the image made in the Astral substance, the pigment will fall upon the paper in a correspondingly wavering and diffused manner.
To communicate with another
mind at any distance the Adept attunes all the molecules of the brain and all
the thoughts of the mind so as to vibrate in unison
with the mind to be affected, and that other mind and brain have also to be either voluntarily thrown into the same unison or fall into it voluntarily. So though the Adept be at Bombay and his friend in New York, the distance is no obstacle, as the inner senses are not dependent on an ear, but may feel and see the thoughts and images in the mind of the other person.
And when it is desired to look into the mind and catch the thoughts of another and the pictures all around him of all he has thought and looked at, the Adept's inner sight and hearing are directed to the mind to be seen, when at once all is visible. But, as said before, only a rogue would do this, and the Adepts do not do it except in strictly authorized cases. The modern man sees no misdemeanor in looking into the secrets of another by means of this power, but the Adepts say it is an invasion of the rights of the other person. No man has the right, even when he has the power in his hand, to enter into the mind of another and pick out its secrets. This is the law of the Lodge to all who seek, and if one sees that he is about to discover the secrets of another he must at once withdraw and proceed no further. If he proceeds his power is taken from him in the case of a disciple; in the case of any other person he must take the consequence of this sort of burglary. For Nature has her laws and her policemen, and if we commit felonies in the Astral world the great Law and the guardians of it, for which no bribery is possible, will execute the penalty, no matter how long we wait, even if it be for ten thousand years. Here is another safeguard for ethics and morals. But until men admit the system of philosophy put forward in this book, they will not deem it wrong to commit felonies in fields where their weak human law has no effect, but at the same time by thus refusing the philosophy they will put off the day when all may have these great powers for the use of all.
Among phenomena useful to
notice are those con-
sisting of the moving of objects without physical contact. This may be done, and in more than one way. The first is to extrude from the physical body the Astral hand and arm, and with those grasp the object to be moved. This may be accomplished at a distance of as much as ten feet from the person. I do not go into argument on this, only referring to the properties of the Astral substance and members. This will serve to some extent to explain several of the phenomena of mediums. In nearly all cases of such apportation the feat is accomplished by thus using the unseen but material Astral hand. The second method is to use the elementals of which I have spoken. They have the power when directed by the inner man to carry objects by changing the polarity, and then we see, as with the fakirs of India and some mediums in America, small objects moving apparently unsupported. These elemental entities are used when things are brought from longer distances than the length to which the Astral members may be stretched. It is no argument against this that mediums do not know they do so. They rarely if ever know anything about how they accomplish any feat, and their ignorance of the law is no proof of its non-existence. Those students who have seen the forces work from the inside will need no argument on this.
clairaudience, and second-sight are all related very closely. Every exercise of
any one of them draws in at the same time both of the others. They are but
variations of one power. Sound is one of the distinguishing characteristics of
the Astral sphere, and as light goes with sound, sight obtains simultaneously
with hearing. To see an image with the Astral senses means that at the same time
there is a sound, and to hear the latter infers the presence of a related image
in Astral substance. It is perfectly well known to the true student of occultism
that every sound produces instantaneously an image, and this, so long known in
the Orient, has lately been demon-
strated in the West in the production to the eye of sound pictures on a stretched tympanum. This part of the subject can be gone into very much further with the aid of occultism, but as it is a dangerous one in the present state of society I refrain at this point. In the Astral Light are pictures of all things whatsoever that happened to any person, and as well also pictures of those events to come the causes for which are sufficiently well marked and made. If the causes are yet indefinite, so will be the images of the future. But for the mass of events for several years to come all the producing and efficient causes are always laid down with enough definiteness to permit the seer to see them in advance as if present. By means of these pictures, seen with the inner senses, all clairvoyants exercise their strange faculty. Yet it is a faculty common to all men, though in the majority but slightly developed; but occultism asserts that were it not for the germ of this power slightly active in every one no man could convey to another any idea whatsoever.
In clairvoyance the
pictures in the Astral Light pass before the inner vision and are reflected into
the physical eye from within. They then appear objectively to the seer. If they
are of past events or those to come, the picture only is seen; if of events
actually then occurring, the scene is perceived through the Astral Light by the
inner sense. The distinguishing difference between ordinary and clairvoyant
vision is, then, that in clairvoyance with waking sight the vibration is
communicated to the brain first, from which it is transmitted to the physical
eye, where it sets up an image upon the retina, just as the revolving cylinder
of the phonograph causes the mouthpiece to vibrate exactly as the voice had
vibrated when thrown into the receiver. In ordinary eye vision the vibrations
are given to the eye first and then transmitted to the brain. Images and sounds
are both caused by vibrations, and hence any sound once made is preserved in the
Astral Light from whence the in-
ner sense can take it and from within transmit it to the brain, from which it reaches the physical ear. So in clairaudience at a distance the hearer does not hear with the ear, but with the center of hearing in the Astral body. Second-sight is a combination of clairaudience and clairvoyance or not, just as the particular case is, and the frequency with which future events are seen by the second-sight seer adds an element of prophecy.
The highest order of clairvoyance―that of spiritual vision―is very rare. The usual clairvoyant deals only with the ordinary aspects and strata of the Astral matter. Spiritual sight comes only to those who are pure, devoted, and firm. It may be attained by special development of the particular organ in the body through which alone such sight is possible, and only after discipline, long training, and the highest altruism. All other clairvoyance is transitory, inadequate, and fragmentary, dealing, as it does, only with matter and illusion. Its fragmentary and inadequate character results from the fact that hardly any clairvoyant has the power to see into more than one of the lower grades of Astral substance at any one time. The pure-minded and the brave can deal with the future and the present far better than any clairvoyant. But as the existence of these two powers proves the presence in us of the inner senses and of the necessary medium―the Astral Light, they have, as such human faculties, an important bearing upon the claims made by the so-called "spirits" of the seance room.
Dreams are sometimes the
result of brain action automatically proceeding, and are also produced by the
transmission into the brain by the real inner person of those scenes or ideas
high or low which that real person has seen while the body slept. They are then
strained into the brain as if floating on the soul as it sinks into the body.
These dreams may be of use, but generally the resumption of bodily activity
destroys the meaning, perverts the image, and re-
duces all to confusion. But the great fact of all dreaming is that some one perceives and feels therein, and this is one of the arguments for the inner person's existence. In sleep the inner man communes with higher intelligences, and sometimes succeeds in impressing the brain with what is gained, either a high idea or a prophetic vision, or else fails in consequence of the resistance of brain fiber. The karma of the person also determines the meaning of a dream, for a king may dream that which relates to his kingdom, while the same thing dreamed by a citizen relates to nothing of temporal consequence. But, as said by Job: In dreams and visions of the night man is instructed.
Apparitions and doubles are of two general classes. The one, astral shells or images from the astral world, either actually visible to the eye or the result of vibration within thrown out to the eye and thus making the person think he sees an objective form without. The other, the astral body of living persons and carrying full consciousness or only partially so endowed. Laborious attempts by Psychical Research Societies to prove apparitions without knowing these laws really prove nothing, for out of twenty admitted cases nineteen may be the objectivization of the image impressed on the brain. But that apparitions have been seen there is no doubt. Apparitions of those just dead may be either pictures made objective as described, or the Astral Body ―called Kama Rupa at this stage―of the deceased. And as the dying thoughts and forces released from the body are very strong, we have more accounts of such apparitions than of any other class.
The Adept may send out his apparition, which, however, is called by another name, as it consists of his conscious and trained astral body endowed with all his intelligence and not wholly detached from his physical frame.
Theosophy does not deny nor
ignore the physical laws discovered by science. It admits all such as are
proven, but it asserts the existence of others which modify the action of those we ordinarily know. Behind all the visible phenomena is the occult cosmos with its ideal machinery; that occult cosmos can only be fully understood by means of the inner senses which pertain to it; those senses will not be easily developed if their existence is denied. Brain and mind acting together have the power to evolve forms, first as astral ones in astral substance, and later as visible ones by accretions of the matter on this plane. Objectivity depends largely on perception, and perception may be affected by inner stimuli. Hence a witness may either see an object which actually exists as such without, or may be made to see one by internal stimulus. This gives us three modes of sight: (a) with the eye by means of light from an object, (b) with the inner senses by means of the Astral Light, and (c) by stimulus from within which causes the eye to report to the brain, thus throwing the inner image without. The phenomena of the other senses may be tabulated in the same manner.
The Astral substance being the register of all thoughts, sounds, pictures, and other vibrations, and the inner man being a complete person able to act with or without co-ordination with the physical, all the phenomena of hypnotism, clairvoyance, clairaudience, mediumship, and the rest of those which are not consciously performed may be explained. In the Astral substance are all sounds and pictures, and in the Astral man remain impressions of every event, however remote or insignificant; these acting together produce the phenomena which seem so strange to those who deny or are unaware of the postulates of occultism.
But to explain the
phenomena performed by Adepts, Fakirs, Yogees, and all trained occultists, one
has to understand the occult laws of chemistry, of mind, of force, and of
matter. These it is obviously not the province of such a work as this to treat
In the history of psychical
phenomena the records of so-called "spiritualism" in Europe, America, and
elsewhere hold an important place. Advisedly I say that no term was ever more
misapplied than that of "spiritualism" to the cult in Europe and America just
mentioned, inasmuch as there is nothing of the spirit about it. The doctrines
given in preceding chapters are those of true spiritualism; the misnamed
practises of modern mediums and so-called spiritists constitute the Worship of
the Dead, old-fashioned necromancy, in fact, which was always prohibited by
spiritual teachers. They are a gross materializing of the spiritual idea, and
deal with matter more than with its opposite. This cult is supposed by some to
have originated about forty years ago in America at Rochester, N. Y., under the
mediumship of the Fox sisters, but it was known in Salem during the witchcraft
excitement, and in Europe one hundred years ago the same practises were pursued,
similar phenomena seen, mediums developed, and
seances held. For centuries it
has been well known in India where it is properly designated "bhuta worship,"
meaning the attempt to communicate with the devil or Astral remnants of deceased
persons. This should be its name here also, for by it the gross and devilish, or
earthly, parts of man are excited, appealed to, and communicated with. But the
facts of the long record of forty years in America demand a brief examination.
These facts all studious Theosophists must admit. The theosophical explanation
and deductions, however, are totally different from those of the average
spiritualist. A philosophy has not been evolved in the ranks or
literature of spiritualism; nothing but theosophy will give the true explanation, point out defects, reveal dangers, and suggest remedies.
As it is plain that clairvoyance, clairaudience, thought-transference, prophecy, dream and vision, levitation, apparitional appearance, are all powers that have been known for ages, the questions most pressing in respect to spiritualism are those relating to communication with the souls of those who have left this earth and are now disembodied, and with unclassified spirits who have not been embodied here but belong to other spheres. Perhaps also the question of materialization of forms at seances deserves some attention. Communication includes trance-speaking, slate and other writing, independent voices in the air, speaking through the physical vocal organs of the medium, and precipitation of written messages out of the air. Do the mediums communicate with the spirits of the dead? Do our departed friends perceive the state of life they have left, and do they sometimes return to speak to and with us?
The answers are intimated
in foregoing chapters. Our departed do not see us here. They are relieved from
the terrible pang such a sight would inflict. Once in a while a pure-minded,
unpaid medium may ascend in trance to the state in which a deceased soul is, and
may remember some bits of what was there heard; but this is rare. Now and then
in the course of decades some high human spirit may for a moment return and by
unmistakable means communicate with mortals. At the moment of death the soul may
speak to some friend on earth before the door is finally shut. But the mass of
communications alleged as made day after day through mediums are from the astral
unintelligent remains of men, or in many cases entirely the production of,
invention, compilation, discovery, and collocation by the loosely attached
Astral body of the living medium.
Certain objections arise to the theory that the spirits of the dead communicate. Some are:
I. At no time have these spirits given the laws governing any of the phenomena, except in a few instances, not accepted by the cult, where the theosophical theory was advanced. As it would destroy such structures as those erected by A. J. Davis, these particular spirits fell into discredit.
II. The spirits disagree among themselves, one stating the after-life to be very different from the description by another. These disagreements vary with the medium and the supposed theories of the deceased during life. One spirit admits reincarnation and others deny it.
III. The spirits have discovered nothing in respect to history, anthropology, or other important matters, seeming to have less ability in that line than living men; and although they often claim to be men who lived in older civilizations, they show ignorance thereupon or merely repeat recently published discoveries.
IV. In these forty years no rationale of phenomena nor of development of mediumship has been obtained from the spirits. Great philosophers are reported as speaking through mediums, but utter only drivel and merest commonplaces.
V. The mediums come to physical and moral grief, are accused of fraud, are shown guilty of trickery, but the spirit guides and controls do not interfere to either prevent or save.
VI. It is admitted that the guides and controls deceive and incite to fraud.
VII. It is plainly to be seen through all that is reported of the spirits that their assertions and philosophy, if any, vary with the medium and the most advanced thought of living spiritualists.
From all this and much more
that could be adduced, the man of materialistic science is fortified in his
ridicule, but the theosophist has to conclude that the entities, if there be any
communicating, are not human
spirits, and that the explanations are to be found in some other theories.
Materialization of a form out of the air, independent of the medium's physical body, is a fact. But it is not a spirit. As was very well said by one of the "spirits" not favored by spiritualism, one way to produce this phenomenon is by the accretion of electrical and magnetic particles into one mass upon which matter is aggregated and an image reflected out of the Astral sphere. This is the whole of it; as much a fraud as a collection of muslin and masks. How this is accomplished is another matter. The spirits are not able to tell, but an attempt has been made to indicate the methods and instruments in former chapters. The second method is by the use of the Astral body of the living medium. In this case the Astral form exudes from the side of the medium, gradually collects upon itself particles extracted from the air and the bodies of the sitters present, until at last it becomes visible. Sometimes it will resemble the medium; at others it bears a different appearance. In almost every instance dimness of light is requisite because a high light would disturb the Astral substance in a violent manner and render the projection difficult. Some so-called materializations are hollow mockeries, as they are but flat plates of electrical and magnetic substance on which pictures from the Astral Light are reflected. These seem to be the faces of the dead, but they are simply pictured illusions.
If one is to understand the psychic phenomena found in the history of "spiritualism" it is necessary to know and admit the following:
I. The complete heredity of man astrally, spiritually, and psychically, as a being who knows, reasons, feels, and acts through the body, the Astral body, and the soul.
II. The nature of the mind,
its operation, its powers; the nature and power of imagination; the duration and
effect of impressions. Most important in this is the per-
sistence of the slightest impression as well as the deepest; that every impression produces a picture in the individual aura; and that by means of this a connection is established between the auras of friends and relatives old, new, near, distant, and remote in degree: this would give a wide range of possible sight to a clairvoyant.
III. The nature, extent, function, and power of man's inner Astral organs and faculties included in the terms Astral body and Kama. That these are not hindered from action by trance or sleep, but are increased in the medium when entranced; at the same time their action is not free, but governed by the mass chord of thought among the sitters, or by a predominating will, or by the presiding devil behind the scenes; if a sceptical scientific investigator be present, his mental attitude may totally inhibit the action of the medium's powers by what we might call a freezing process which no English terms will adequately describe.
IV. The fate of the real man after death, his state, power, activity there, and his relation, if any, to those left behind him here.
V. That the intermediary between mind and body―the Astral body―is thrown off at death and left in the Astral light to fade away; and that the real man goes to Devachan.
VI. The existence, nature, power, and function of the Astral light and its place as a register in Nature. That it contains, retains, and reflects pictures of each and every thing that happened to anyone, and also every thought; that it permeates the globe and the atmosphere around it; that the transmission of vibration through it is practically instantaneous, since the rate is much quicker than that of electricity as now known.
VII. The existence in the
Astral light of beings not using bodies like ours, but not human in their
nature, having powers, faculties, and a sort of consciousness of their own;
these include the elemental forces or nature sprites divided into many degrees,
and which have to
do with every operation of Nature and every motion of the mind of man. That these elementals act at seances automatically in their various departments, one class presenting pictures, another producing sounds, and others depolarizing objects for the purposes of apportation. Acting with them in this Astral sphere are the soulless men who live in it. To these are to be ascribed the phenomenon, among others, of the "independent voice," always sounding like a voice in a barrel just because it is made in a vacuum which is absolutely necessary for an entity so far removed from spirit. The peculiar timbre of this sort of voice has not been noticed by the spiritualists as important, but it is extremely significant in the view of occultism.
VIII. The existence and operation of occult laws and forces in nature which may be used to produce phenomenal results on this plane; that these laws and forces may be put into operation by the subconscious man and by the elementals either consciously or unconsciously, and that many of these occult operations are automatic in the same way as is the freezing of water under intense cold or the melting of ice under heat.
IX. That the Astral body of the medium, partaking of the nature of the Astral substance, may be extended from the physical body, may act outside of the latter, and may also extrude at times any portion of itself such as hand, arm, or leg and thereby move objects, indite letters, produce touches on the body, and so on ad infinitum. And that the Astral body of any person may be made to feel sensation, which, being transmitted to the brain, causes the person to think he is touched on the outside or has heard a sound.
Mediumship is full of
dangers because the Astral part of the man is now only normal in action when
joined to the body; in distant years it will normally act without a body as it
has in the far past. To become a medium means that you have to become
disorganized physiologically and in the nervous system, because through the
latter is the connection between the two
worlds. The moment the door is opened all the unknown forces rush in, and as the grosser part of nature is nearest to us it is that part which affects us most; the lower nature is also first affected and inflamed because the forces used are from that part of us. We are then at the mercy of the vile thoughts of all men, and subject to the influence of the shells in Kama Loka. If to this be added the taking of money for the practice of mediumship, an additional danger is at hand, for the things of the spirit and those relating to the Astral world must not be sold. This is the great disease of American spiritualism which has debased and degraded its whole history; until it is eliminated no good will come from the practice; those who wish to hear truth from the other world must devote themselves to truth and leave all considerations of money out of sight.
To attempt to acquire the use of the psychic powers for mere curiosity or for selfish ends is also dangerous for the same reasons as in the case of mediumship. As the civilization of the present day is selfish to the last degree and built on the personal element, the rules for the development of these powers in the right way have not been given out, but the Masters of Wisdom have said that philosophy and ethics must first be learned and practiced before any development of the other department is to be indulged in; and their condemnation of the wholesale development of mediums is supported by the history of spiritualism, which is one long story of the ruin of mediums in every direction.
Equally improper is the
manner of the scientific schools which without a thought for the true nature of
man indulge in experiments in hypnotism in which the subjects are injured for
life, put into disgraceful attitudes, and made to do things for the satisfaction
of the investigators which would never be done by men and women in their normal
state. The Lodge of the Masters does not care for Science unless it aims to
better man's state morally as well as physically, and no aid will be given to Science until she looks at man and life from the moral and spiritual side. For this reason those who know all about the psychical world, its denizens and laws, are proceeding with a reform in morals and philosophy before any great attention will be accorded to the strange and seductive phenomena possible for the inner powers of man.
And at the present time the cycle has almost run its course for this century. Now, as a century ago, the forces are slackening; for that reason the phenomena of spiritualism are lessening in number and volume; the Lodge hopes by the time the next tide begins to rise that the West will have gained some right knowledge of the true philosophy of Man and Nature, and be then ready to bear the lifting of the veil a little more. To help on the progress of the race in this direction is the object of this book, and with that it is submitted to its readers in every part of the world.