ANSWERS TO QUESTIONERS
The notice published last month, that questions might be asked, addressed to"Zadok," has elicited several queries, from which we select the following. Hereafter "Zadok" will continue his answers, but they will be given through the Path's columns, except where their private nature may call for personal correspondence.
From C.-(I) Is celibacy necessary to the highest spiritual life and attainment? Is this your idea of true occultism?
Answer- By no single way is the highest spiritual life attained. The highest Adept and the true occult student, have at some time been wedded to woman. The highest attainment is never reached until a man has passed through this experience. Under certain conditions and at a certain time celibacy is a great aid, but if the student is wedded then it is his duty to continue in that condition, and instead of proving a barrier it will be an assistance to his progress if he rightly comprehends its significance. All the lessons which are taught the true occult student are given in daily life and through nature's laws. The celibate loses some of these lessons - lessons which he must inevitably learn - because he violates a great law of nature.
The result of celibacy is that the student works by intellect alone. It is necessary for true occult work that the heart be used also. One of the greater of the "mysteries" can never be learned by the celibate, for he never stands as hand in hand with God a controller of a creative force.
(2) Is a purely vegetable diet indispensable to a high and serene spiritual life?
Answer - One might eat grass, grain and turnips, a million years, but that of itself would not produce a high or serene spiritual life. All these things are aids, not necessities.
If the physical condition is such that animal food can be dispensed with, or without disturbing other people or neglecting the labor given, then it is wise to do away with it. The physical is thereby purified, making it less gross, material and animal like. But "one man's meat is another's poison." Use that which seems the wisest to you. "It is not that which goeth into the mouth but that which cometh out that defileth a man." The right thought, the proper motive, the true Will have more to do with true Occultism than any exterior acts or practices.
From T. - (I) Am I the result of a series of existences or a series of co-existences?
Answer - That which is known as you is the result of continuous existence of an entity. Your present body and your soul (or the personality) are the results of a series of existences. Your Karma is a result of co-existence. The individuality, or spirit, is the cause of the soul and personality, or what is called "you." You are the manifestation of an entity and are the result of many appearences of that entity upon this stage of action in various personalities.
(2) May one walk for any distance along the Path without being able to see into the Astral Light, or without recognizing anything extraordinary?
Answer - One may journey an entire life time on "The Path" and not see into the Astral Light consciously. All men see into it, for all who dream are looking there, the body being asleep and not receptive.
One may journey a long distance and not see, for all do not work in the same manner. Some may hear "ages before they see," or may feel a long time before either seeing or hearing. The tool most efficient at a certain period is the one used.
We may journey the entire way without recognizing anything extraordinary or encountering phenomena. The most extraordinary things are found in the most ordinary, and are overlooked because of their seeming familiarity. When the understanding is directed to the natural, one finds the supra-natural or supra-human things.
All questions are vital so long as they remain unsolved but all will be answered. It requires patience in ourselves, for many times the answers do not come until years after the question has been propounded. If I can be of further use to you please consider me at your service.
From J.V. - "There are two ways to ascend and descend, the direct and indirect." Tea Table, Oct. Path. (I) What are these ways?
Answer - The thistle down is blown hither and thither with every breath of wind: The arrow speeds straight to the mark from the powerful bow.
The indirect way is that of the thistle down; the Astral going out when the body is asleep, does so in a diffused condition - a passive state - with no adequate force to control it or master unseen forces. It floats at the mercy of every current in the Astral, gleaning here and there as a butterfly but taking the good and bad indiscriminately. It may reach high spheres, but is more likely to remain in those nearest to the physical. This way is travelled by all when asleep, and there dreams are made. It is the passive state where desire is the ruler, and sometimes travelled in the waking conscious state, but is uncontrollable and unreliable.
The direct way is that of the arrow from the bow. The Astral speeds directly to the sphere which holds the knowledge it is to receive. It does so in obedience to an irresistible force - the Will: Will in accordance with divine law. It is concrete going and returning in obedience to this force, bringing little with it from intermediate spheres other than that for which it is seeking. This occurs in dreamless slumber and the knowledge acquired is not communicated in a dream. This way is travelled in the conscious state for it is the way of the student of the Occult. Unless the man's thought and motive are pure, he is incapable of using the true will, and his Astral goes where other wills or forces drive it. It pauses when other forces interfere - learns from the place it happens to be in, and brings back a horrible jumble sometimes.
(2) Where do these ways lead?
One way leads to Theosophia - Illumination - when traveled awake or asleep.
The other to consideration of self - ordinary living with its erroneous conceptions - as an Occult way, to love of phenomena and spiritism.
They lead to spheres within the astral, for the astral body passes not beyond astral limits. Only when the soul is freed from the astral and material bodies does it pass to higher spheres. These ways also led to planets, stars, and other worlds, for all these may be within the astral of this globe.
Path, November, 1887
From C.H.V. - Apollonius is said to have worn a mantle of wool to aid in insulating himself from the astral currents. Has wool in itself any such property as is seemingly ascribed to it? The question has the value, perhaps, whether the occult laws which govern the merely physical regulation of the toiler toward adept-ship, may not be of great value from a sanitary point of view and form, if properly understood, a useful medical creed.
Answer - Wool in itself has no especial occult power. It is a nonabsorbent to the exhalations of the human body; is lighter, cooler in hot and warmer in cold weather than any other fabric. The late discoveries of a German scientist prove it the best of all materials from a sanitary point of view. It is a conductor for electricity and other unseen forces. Apollonius, as well as other occult students, knew its value and uses. Being a student of nature's laws he was well aware of nature's requirements. Upon the knowledge gained by occult students touching the human body are founded all the schools of medicine. Bathing is essential, a woolen dress where permissible, as little animal food as possible, as sparing diet at best - a high ideal - an exalted motive and strong will, a total forgetting of self otherwise, and neither elementals or human beings will oppress one.
From J.C.V. - What is true Will? Is it a faculty of the soul? How is it one with the Divine Will and how may we make our will at one with the Divine? Is it something which now we know not, or may we perceive its germ in our own Will, or is it an instinctive movement of the soul?
Answer - (I) The will as known to man is that force which he exerts for the accomplishment of his aims - he uses it blindly and ignorantly - and self is always the one for which he uses it. It is used as a brute force. As ordinarily used it has little tendency to lift the personality farther than the attainment of material results. It has for its source, the lower elements of the soul. The true will is a concentrated force working steadily yet gently, dominating both soul and person, having its source in the spirit and highest elements of the soul. It is never used for the gratification of self, is inspired by the highest of motives, is never interposed to violate a law, but works in harmony with the unseen as well as the seen. It is manifested through the human will for things visible
(2) It is more that a faculty of the soul, for it is the soul at work. The spirit is unmanifest except through the soul. The soul manifesting the spirit is the true will. The human will is the lowest form of this manifestation.
(3) As the true will is the manifestation of the spirit through the soul, it must be at one with the divine, inasmuch as the spirit is the divine in man. It is the God in man, a portion of the all-pervading. Asserting itself through the soul, the true will is brought forth and in truth we say, "It is the will of God." We may make our finite wills at one with the divine by elevating our aim, using it for good or in the search for God, in striving to find how to use it in harmony with the laws of God. By proper use in the right direction the human will becomes purified, elevated, and being exerted only in conformity with our highest ideal, eventually becomes at one with the highest in man.
In our ordinary material state we know only the human will. Through the human will we reach the divine will. We become aware of the true will through the ordinary will just as we become aware of the soul through the body. It is not instinctive of the soul. The soul is father of the human will - the spirit is father of the true will.
From E.L.T. - "A great deal depends on purity of thought and motive," Oct. Path, p. 220.
Please explain what should be the actuating motive in developing psychic capacities.
Answer - The desire to find God, the desire to know one's self, our possibilities and capabilities, that we may be of true use to the world, these are the motives. The thought should be unselfish, undisturbed by material affairs - free from wonder-seeking curiosity, concentrated, and in entire accord with the motive, the search for God.
Is Sinnett's explanation of the origin and extinction of "Intermediate Forms," accepted as being clear and satisfactory by the majority of students who are beginning the study of Buddhism?
Answer - By the majority who are beginning yes - but not by those who are advanced.
Sinnett claims that Kama Loka is (like earth) a condition of unsatisfied longings, progressive idealization. It might be the "ne plus ultra" at the time of entrance, but how after a period of years?
Answer - All these states may be entered into while in the body. The condition of unsatisfied longing does not cease except in Nirvana. Beyond a certain point the intellect is useless. Up to and at that point the intellect is increased in its powers. It is never decayed or paralyzed. It is useless because a better tool is used.
Do advanced students contemplate "Rupa Loka" and "Arupa Loka" as at present desirable conditions? If desirable then in what sense: absolutely or comparatively as regards earth life? Is Sinnett's statement of the entire satisfaction of the soul's longings, to be regarded as "Ex Catherdra," or is it only Sinnett's personal conception?
Answer - All states and conditions above the ordinary material are desirable. In the absolute sense, any "conditioned" existence is undesirable. "Advanced students" try to be free from desires. "Rupaloka" means place of form; "Arupaloka," place of no form. There are many Lokas
His statements are his personal interpretation of the teachings he has received. Read Nov. Path, p. 252.
Are we to understand that he "medium" who provokes a representation of phenomena from departed spirits is thereby riveting the chains by which the said "spirit" is held fast to low conditions?
Answer - Yes - as you use those words - but I do not call them "spirits."
Is Sinnett's use of the word "spirituality" to be used as synonymous with our word conscientiousness?
Answer - No.
Does he not rather use it in the sense of imaginative or intuitional capacity?
Answer - No.
How do Buddhists regard this faculty as compared with conscientiousness, self-sacrifice and integrity?
Answer - It is not a faculty. Conscientiousness, self-sacrifice, integrity, duty, are all portions of the whole, which is spirituality.
Do they not accord respect and honor to preponderance of intellect over purity of heart?
Answer - No, they honor intellect when governed by purity of heart.
How can I cultivate thought reading? The impressions received are involuntary.
Answer - By continual exercise of the power. By concentrated thought in obedience to the will. By purifying the thoughts as well as the body. But your aim must be higher than the mere acquirement of a wonder-working power, or you will fail. With all the power you possess concentrate your thought upon the object you desire, and receive that which is given by what is termed intuition.
From M.E.C. - What steps must I take to open the heart so as to exercise the Will for governing the Astral body?
Answer - There is but one way to open the heart. That is by living the life. It is a simple matter to govern the will, but this is not the true will. The governing of the Astral body is the smallest of the tasks of the true will. The will should be used to obtain wisdom, and when so used it will control the Astral body without effort. We should exert psychic powers only to benefit others, never to free ourselves from the disagreeable. Let you aim be to find God; your motive, to know yourself for the sake of Theo-Sophia and humanity: you desire, to help humanity, and the True Will will be developed, the heart opened and you will not only control the Astral body but all in the Astral. You must seek beyond the Astral for powers, but it is not wise to desire the acquisition of powers. Let your aim be beyond that, and the powers will grow of themselves. If the strong-willed or sick depress you, seek to aid each in some way, forget that you are depressed, forget your self, and they will not affect you. The life of the Occult student is full of sorrow, anguish and depressing influences. These go to make him a student in the Occult. A portion of his training is to become aware of these only in so far as they affect others. As to their affecting his own personality, he does not know they exist. If you desire to help humanity, then you possess the true motive. If you use your will in this cause, wisdom, peace and all the powers will be given.
Path, December, 1887
From Walter B. - (I) Is it well to cultivate the intellect at the expense of the heart? Do we not pay too much attention to intellectual progress, and in so doing allow the Heart-Mind to wander where it may?
Answer - It is not wise to cultivate either at the expense of the other. Each alone will end at the same place - The Threshold. Both are excellent means for the manifestation of that which is higher that either, when cultivated to their highest in unison. Both are useless after a certain point, except as tools for truth. Metaphysics, logic and emotion all end at a dead wall.
(2) Do not the words and teachings of Jesus, taken in their esoteric sense, point one (the) way to the Theosophic Path?
Answer - Taken in the sense he intended the people to take them, they lead to the way. Taken in the sense in which he desired his Disciples to receive them, they are teachings upon the way. Taken in their esoteric sense - as he knew them - they are the way. Were the wisdom of Egypt and India today blotted out from both the seen and unseen worlds - the true seeker would find in his teachings, when rightly studied, all the teachings of Isis and Buddha. As he received his instruction from Egypt, heired from India it is more than probable that esoterically his teachings are identical with both.
From F.F. - Will the Devachanic period form an interruption to the work for humanity in the case of one devoted to this during earth life? Is Devachan then a rejuvenating, strengthening period necessary for us while in the bonds of flesh, and is the Elixir of Life the only escape from this egoistic period? May an answer be given to this?
Answer - As the Devachanic period is a result of work for humanity - the true and pure devachanic state being only thus obtained - it should form no interruption to such work. It only does become such when the soul is selfish enough to prefer Devachan to a continuance of work for other men, and even then to a certain extent the soul continues its work. There is rest in Devachan, but not idleness. As this state is frequently entered and passed through while yet in the body, it should be an aid, not a hindrance, to true work. In truth it is a state of reward, but in that state no rewards are received. There is no state up to Nirvana that can be an obstacle to work for humanity for those who are devoted to that work. The Elixir of Life is the only means by which we can pass beyond both Devachan and the thoughts of it; the Magnum Opus is the only thing that entitles us to it.
From M.E.S - (I) Are the Astral and the lowest plane of mental life synonymous terms?
Answer - They are not. The impulses for all mental life originate beyond the Astral. The outer man with his mind interprets these as he conceives they should be. The lowest as well as the highest mental life may receive knowledge from the Astral, but it is not the Astral. All that all forms of mental life produce is indelibly impressed upon the Astral.
(2) Is the "rising above the Astral" in effect rising above the stings and probation of public opinion?
Answer - For us, there is no public opinion. We know neither sting nor approbation. Rising above public opinion is merely rising above the material. Until men forget the material, they can not rise above self. Until they forget self, they can not rise above the Astral: All things that please as well as those that distress men are in and through the Astral. Rise above both.
From M.J.G. - Whence come the visions seen just before dropping to sleep? They are uncontrollable - sometimes unpleasant, and have increased since childhood, and since beginning the study of Occultism.
Answer - When we enter that condition called sleep, we open wide the doors and windows of the body or this house we live in, and the soul goes forth as a bird freed from its cage. In partial unconsciousness or falling into sleep, the body has, to a great extent, ceased to act, but the brain is still sensitive or receptive to the pictures or impressions of the Astral. Of the lower principles the Astral is the last to cease action either in sleep or death. The brain is its instrument. In the partial somnolent condition, the pictures of the Astral are conveyed to the brain; through that the outer man realizes and beholds the visions. If he were fully asleep these visions would be dreams. Precisely, as dreams, they may be either pleasant or the reverse. Like dreams they are uncontrollable by the ordinary every day mortal. The Occultist being master of himself beholds only that which he desires, either in vision, or dream, or neither. As one makes himself more sensitive to impressions from the Astral when and after he begins the study of Occultism, visions and dreams will increase in frequency for a time.
Path, January, 1888
From Adelphi - A most perplexed individual is writing to you. I have been for three years endeavoring to study Theosophy. I have heard lectures, have read an immense amount of literature devoted to that cult, from the sages of old down to the Sinnetts, Olcotts, and Blavatskys of the present day. I have conned the Yoga Philosophy and I read The Path. Light on the Path aids me not, nor does Bhagavad Gita, and why? Because I am yet without the first steps towards practice. (Surely Theosophy - like other sciences - must have something practical about it?) Guide me with your friendly hints. Imagine me alone in a room. How to commence? Show me the first step upon the practical ladder! All I have heard and read seemeth to me so elaborately unintelligible that I lay it aside and beg you to instruct me in my Theosophical A B C, Astral Light! Is it a figurative light, i.e. Revelation? or is it a light, as electricity - the Heavens - coal - gives light? If abstract (into insensibility) is necessary, can you instruct me upon Hypnotism (self mesmerism)? "A shining object" is advised to stare at! A mirror is a shining object, for instance. But of what avail to stare at a mirror and see reflected ugliness!
Answer - You say that for three years you have been endeavoring to study Theosophy. Such being the case, you will meet with but little success. Divine Wisdom can not be a subject for study, but it may be an object of search. With the love for this same wisdom uppermost in our hearts, we ask you if it would not be wiser to lay aside the study of so called Theosophy and study yourself. Knowing yourself you know all men, the worlds seen and occult, and find Theo-Sophia. One cannot absorb Theosophy as a sponge does water, to be expelled at the slightest touch. Our conception of Theosophy is apt to be based upon the idea that it is an especial line of teaching - a larger, wider, and great doctrine than others perhaps, but still a doctrine, and therefore limited. We must bear in mind that the true Theosophist belongs to no cult or sect, yet belongs to each and all; that he can find the true object of his search equally as well in the Hebrew bible as in the Yoga philosophy, in the New Testament equally as well as in the Bhagavad-Gita.
You say you have "conned the Yoga philosophy." This is not enough; merely to "con" it is not to know it. It is in fact a most practical system (if you refer to that of Patanjali), and one that will meet all requirements you have in the way of difficulty; for it is one of the most difficult. It is not possible for you to judge its merits without practice: and it gives full directions. If for three years you study and practice it - aye for one year -, you will find that you need no other. In these matters there is no child's play nor the usual English and American method of mere book-learning, - we must absorb and work into the practice and the theory laid down, for they are not written merely for the intellect, but for the whole spiritual nature. There must be within the man something which he already knows, that leaps up and out when he scans the books of wisdom; a thing already existing, which only takes an added life or confirmation from books. True Theosophy has all that is practical, but many forget this; there is no greater system of practice than that required by it.
Desire wisdom; love all men; do your duty; forget yourself; let each thought and act of your life have for its aim the finding of divine wisdom; strive to apply that wisdom for he good of other men. If you search in every direction, Light must come to you. Let the place in which you now are be the lonely room you speak of, and seek to find in everything the meaning. Strive to know what they are, and by what governed or caused. This the first step. Live your life with this ever before you. Purify your thought as well as your body. Reason all you can, feel all with your heart you may, and when intellect and heart fail you, seek for something higher. This is the A.B.C.; it is enough for the present.
It is not Theosophy that is a science, but its application. It is not a "cult," for it covers and includes all.
The Astral Light is an actuality. It is not revelation, but a means through which that which causes revelation acts. Electricity, the heavens, all lower fires, are but the shadows of the Astral Light, just as the Astral Light is but the darkness of the Ineffable Light.
Abstraction into insensibility is not intended. If it had been so intended it would be unnecessary for us to be in these bodies. If you can forget yourself sufficiently - forget that you exist as a human body, you will not need to stare at a mirror; but so long as you realize, when staring into a glass, whether you be pretty or ugly, you can not reach Celestial sensibility or terrestrial insensibility.
Hypnotism is the controlling of other personalities. Under this you would be but a puppet for the thought of another. Your outer self had better become a puppet for you own thought.
We seek to make the body alive, not to kill it.
Path, February, 1888
To Zadok - Suppose persons have reason to believe they have found the beginning of the Way, and then find they do not care to investigate the mysteries of Occultism; that they are content to remain without knowledge on these subjects, though they found Truth through Theosophy, and that they are happy because they feel that whatever God orders in their lives must be right, whether it is pleasure or pain.
Suppose also that such persons, though having put themselves in a spiritually receptive condition, feel no weight of Karma, though willing to suffer to whatever extent is needed from it. Do you not think such persons may be deceiving themselves in thinking they are Theosophists, when they have lived many weeks in this condition? Do you think it harder for women to attain spirituality than men? and if so, still should they not strive all the more to obtain it? I know we should not avoid anything merely because it is irksome or uninteresting.
Do not Theosophists allow themselves to feel happy if happiness comes to them without their desiring it? Also why do Theosophists wish to avoid feeling pain or pleasure, if God orders the circumstances which produce them, after we have subjected our will to His?
Please answer in your next issue of The Path. L.
Answer - Men attach an erroneous meaning to Occultism. If one has found the beginning of the Way he has found some of the mysteries of Occultism, for none find the Way until they find something of the Unseen. It is impossible for one to put himself in a spiritually receptive condition without "investigation" of or being under the sway of Occultism or Occult conditions; and it is through these same conditions that he knows that pain and pleasure are one and all wise. Karma does not always manifest itself as suffering, by any means; it is quite as likely to produce joy as sorrow, and Karma is not always weighty. Such persons of whom you speak may be trying to become Theosophists, but are not Theosophists. A seeker for Divine wisdom seeks in all directions and refuses none.
(2) It is as hard for man as for woman to enter the mysteries. Man works through the intellect, woman through the emotions or heart. Both are equally useless after a time, and of the two the heart is the better tool. But woman becomes engrossed or overwhelmed by her emotions, and passes no farther. The greatest Teachers have been those who have had most of the womanly in their natures. It is more difficult to master the body as a woman than as a man. This can be answered only partial in print.
(3) The True Theosophist allows himself, or is taught to feel, both pain and pleasure, happiness and sorrow, for he knows them all to be wise. Men long for and desire; they fight for happiness and do not find it. We have given to us peace, which is far beyond happiness. Happiness is of this world and is a mockery of the True; yet as all other men we feel it, for we feel all things, for in all these things lie the lessons to be learned as men. I dare not speak for other men, but were I to wish to avoid either pleasure or pain, knowing them to be God"s will, then would I utterly fail. Once having subjected my will - my human will - to His, then I avoid nothing that is His will.
To Zadok - (I) Why, since the Deity chose of His own divine will to make the descent into matter, or - as some put it - by this process alone came to Him a realizing sense of His being, in the manifestation through and by matter, why should this be considered a "fall," or, indeed, an evil at all, since, being the work and choice of the Deity, it must necessarily have been both wisdom and goodness which dictated the "descent"; and, as Theosophy teaches the inner Light and in dwelling Emanuel (God with us) to be ever present in all forms of life, wherein consisted the evil of this divine descent, and why must this experience be necessarily associated with evil at all?
(2) I met an F.T.S. the other day who believes he has arrived at "Saintship" and cannot therefore err. He cannot bear the slightest contradiction , believing that he has arrived at such a state of "enlightenment" that he is infallible, whereas we less gifted mortals feel that he often makes grave mistakes. Of course this assumption is untenable in this case, but are sainthood and consequent infallibility likely to result from the humdrum every-day life of an ordinary nineteenth century man?
Answer - For the Deity there is no fall. He can not fall. In the so-called descent into matter, He must manifest through something. Never does the Ineffable stand unveiled before mortal man. When the All Wise deemed it good to manifest Himself as individualities, He did so through the soul. After creating the human man with the soul that all things possess, "He breathed into his nostrils and man became a living soul," or the Deity manifested Himself through the soul in the man. Nothing below man is immortal. Man is not immortal; his soul is not immortal; but the breath of God, which is God's life or God himself, is forever. Man was to have lived as the angels, "for they also were made"; but, although by the grosser elements of matter or nature, by its lusts and desires, its seductive beauties and deceptive pleasures, realized most fully through the senses of the human body, the soul was drawn down instead of upward, into ignorance of the true instead of toward the wisdom of God, holding and binding thus the spirit in the meshes of the grossest part of nature, and so fell. God did not fall, - the spirit; nor did man as the human man; but the soul, being a free agent, did so, causing the spirit to be limited, and entailing pain and anguish upon the human man. Man with the Divine manifest in him was to know only the good, or wisdom; but, not content, he must eat of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil, or the misapplication of the good, and fell into ignorance. There can be no greater evil than losing the wisdom of a God for the ignorance of a man. Herein consists the only evil of the fall after the descent into matter.
(2) How do your know that he makes grave mistakes? I may not say that anyone errs or makes mistakes, other than my own self. Neither you nor I may say another is saint or devil from our own standpoint of what makes either. Both you and I have been taught, however, that one who has arrived at the state of "Saintship" never lays claim to it or to "enlightenment."
Saintship and a certain measure of infallibility will result from humdrum ever-day life in the nineteenth century, and in no other way, if rightly comprehended. Otherwise one would not be here at all, or would have lived in some other time, before time was. To become a saint one must know what sinners are and what sin is. The best way to arrive at this knowledge is through the nineteenth century or the time in which we live, through life and all it tells us. Believing that one cannot err and in one's infallibility is however not characteristic of saintship.
Path, March, 1888
From G.M. - (I) During sleep I have a feeling that I can fly by an intense act of will. I then do float in dream over the ground, my body seeming rigid. The force exhausts, then I have to descend. What is your explanation of this?
Answer - It is part of the effort of your inner man to demonstrate to your outer self the existence and action of unrecognized and unfamiliar forces, which every man has in him the latent power to use. Dreamless slumber is better.
(2) In Theosophical books I find occult or magical phenomena referred to. I am disposed to reject these and consider their publication of a very questionable character in light of matter for the improvement of intelligent seekers after truth. Still I do not deny them, and hold myself open for conviction in any direction.
Answer - Why then bother yourself with the phenomena of your dream state? The dream of flying is as much a phenomena as any other that Theosophical literature contains. The proper attitude for true theosophists is not to be ready or anxious to bring conviction as to any phenomena to inquirers. Hence we cannot enter into proofs. We know personally that phenomena of a most extraordinary character have taken place, and are still occurring; we also agree with you that the constant publication of accounts of phenomena is unwise. Still it must sometimes be done, as some minds have to advance through the aid of these things.
We also know that the Masters who are behind the Theosophical Society have, in writing, condemned the thirst for phenomena made so often degrading, and stated that the Society ought to progress through its moral worth. One phenomenon can be seen by but a limited number of people, some of whom even will always doubt, and each one hearing of it afterwards will want a repetition for himself. Further than that, it would be certain to bring on a thirst for mere sight-seeing, resulting in a total forgetfulness of spirit. But, on the other hand, there are laws that cannot be guessed at without phenomena. And in each human being is a complete universe in which daily occur phenomena that should be studied. This is the proper realm for each student to investigate, for therein - and nowhere else - is placed the gate through which each one must advance.
From G.B. - Why does the Baron in Mr. Sinnett's "Karma" advise Mrs. Lakesby not to communicate with the "astral specters" she saw about the Professor?
Answer - The answer to this will not yet be well understood. The English language has not acquired the needed words. The Baron's reply was that thereby the real ego of the deceased would be retarded in its advancement, and Mrs. Lakesby might lay herself open to influences from the astral world that would prey upon her unexpectedly.
This answer opens fire at once upon the whole "philosophy" of spiritualism, and contains a challenge of the ignorance of most seers and nearly every student of psychical laws. The ordinary spiritualist sees complete proof for the returning of deceased friends in the phenomena of the séroom, and nearly every seer is fascinated with his or her own pictures in the astral light and the absolute truth of what is seen.
Mrs. Lakesby did not see the spirit of any person, but only the reliquae. The spirit is never seen, and the soul is engaged in experiencing a certain portion of its deserts in other states. These states are unnameable and incomprehensible to English speaking people. But for a period there is a magnetic connection between that soul and the reliquae seen at séand by seers. By means of that connection the soul is prevented - against its will, except when it is extremely wicked - from passing through its purification preparatory to entering into devachan. This purification, or preparatory state anterior to devachan, has not been explained by theosophical writers. It is, nevertheless, a fact of the highest importance.
The second portion of the Baron's reply is also valuable. When a seer or medium perceives these shades of the departed and desires to communicate with them, a crowd of nature spirits, of no moral character but solely moved by magnetic impulse, rush into the shade of the deceased and give it a temporary life. They too are then able, on their part, to see the seer or medium, and may and do often transfer themselves from the shade to the medium, whose lower, baser nature they occupy and vivify. By thus incorporating themselves with the relilquae of dead persons, these elementals stop the process of disintegration of the atoms of matter composing the shade, which would have gone on to completion if left to nature. As soon as this disintegrating process is inhibited, the soul itself is held, so to say, in a vise which it is powerless to open, and unaware as well from whence comes the disturbance. Thus, then, these who run after their deceased friends" shades or reappearances are each day condemning their loved ones to a longer and more painful stay in a state that closely corresponds to the Christian hell.
I know my words will sweep unheeded over the forest in which our spiritualistic friends are wandering, but some sincere students will believe me.
Path, April, 1888
From M.C.D. - I am told that an Adept has said "that one can help or cure another if his Karma does not prevent it." Am I to understand that when suffering is before me I am not to relieve it if in my power to do so, on the ground that the suffering person's Karma has brought him there and I must not interfere? Some Theosophists have enunciated this rule.
Answer - If an Adept said this it is not incorrect. But no Adept ever drew the conclusion you give. Some Theosophists have, we are sorry to say, declared that they may not help for the reason stated. It is not theosophical to take such a position. The sufferer's Karma truly produced the suffering, but your Karma offers the opportunity for a kind deed that my relieve him; it may be his Karma to be relieved by you. It is your duty to do this kind act, of whatever nature it be. The meaning of the declaration attributed to the Adept is that you are to try to relieve suffering, which effort will have a beneficial effect unless the Karma of the sufferer prevents: but you know nothing of his Karma and must not judge it; your duty lies in the act presented to you for performance, and not with its result nor with the possible hindrances resulting from the Karma. The wrong view given by you in your question arises from the conceited attitude of persons who, having slight knowledge, presume to be the judges of others and of the great and hidden causes springing from Karma. Knowledge of these causes and of their operation in any particular case comes only to those who have reached Adeptship; for, in order to rightly judge how to rightly act, you must know absolutely the other's Karma, together with your own, in order not to fall into the awful error of deliberately sinning.
It would be wiser for all students to seek to do their duty and to act as true brothers on every occasion than to run about endeavoring to imitate Sages and Adepts.
From B.J. - What can your tell me about the Mind Cure and Christian Science? Are they true, are they theosophical? Ought I to study them so as to be mens sana in corpore sano, as it were?
Answer - As we have not made a thorough study of these, we could not assume to tell you much about them, and hence cannot say if they are true or theosophical. Many earnest theosophists are believers and followers of both. We, however, have been trained in the Eastern theosophical school. Following the teaching of the latter, our advice is to have a healthy body by paying regard to rules for health, so that your mind, whether it be healthy or not, may exhibit its workings untrammeled. And the teacher has ever said, as taught by the Sages of old, that the body must not be the object of the student's care. The same teacher also warned us that, as the body is a material thing, the proper remedies needed to counteract extreme discordant vibrations are also of a material nature. Our work lies not with your body, but with your mind and heart. See to it that the latter is right. The quantity and quality of mind that are yours may be little or poor, but even if great and good, the heart and soul are greater, and mind has its limits beyond which it passes not.
Path, June, 1888
A change of circumstances having made it necessary for Zadok to remove to another sphere of action, no more answers to queries will appear from his pen. Queries, however, will be answered to the best of the ability of one or two others who have agreed to undertake the work, and they may be addressed to the Path as usual.
From F.N.W. - (I) What is the difference between the Esoteric Society of Boston and the Theosophic Society, and is that difference very serious?
Answer - The last clause of the question shows that the questioner probably means "disagreement" instead of "difference." There can be no disagreement, inasmuch as the Boston Society is no part of the Theosophical Society. By reading the objects of the Theosophical body and those of the Boston Society, any difference which may exist may be discovered. I cannot say if there be any, as I know nothing of the latter.
William Q. Judge
General Secretary, T.S.
(2) Do members of the T.S. practice the method of regeneration propounded by Hiram E. Butler?
Answer - I cannot say. The T.S. imposes no "method of regeneration" on its members; it only asks them to cultivate and exemplify Universal Brotherhood. As to a method of regeneration, it would seem that there can be but one regeneration.
(3) Do members of the T.S. accept "Solar Biology" as a real science?
Answer - There may be some who do. The term "Solar Biology" is an example of the ability of the American mind to strain English terms out of their usual meaning. Ordinarily it would mean some biological effect produced by the sun of our system, or, as equally, biologizing the sun himself. Since, however, acceptance of a particular dogma or system is not required of members of the Theosophical Society, one should not waste any time in trying to find out whether persons who are members believe in certain isms or sciences. The same amount of time devoted to a careful, cold, and passionless scrutiny of our own outer and inner nature will lead us nearer to compliance with the old direction, "Man, know Thyself." This is the only science worth knowing, for, as the old sacred books say, "In the heart of man are all things, sun, moon, and stars, all is contained within it."
From L.C. - What are the "peace" and the "voice of the silence" spoken of in the Light on the Path? Are they easy to attain to?
Answer - The peace is that period succeeding a storm set up in your nature by any attempt to conquer the lower self. It follows each such conflict if the battle has been waged to victory for the higher. But few modern men can wage the battle with more than one thing at a time. Hence, we have many such storms. Each peculiarity, passion, or propensity has to be attacked singly and overcome. When that happens, a period of inner silence arrives in which the soul grows and attempts to instruct us. This is the voice. And, as Light on the Path says (Rule 21 part I), "It cannot be described by any metaphor." The silence has its counterpart in nature when, after storms or cataclysms, silence occurs. The silence after a storm is due to the effect of water falling through the air upon earth, vegetation, insects, and animals, and to the peculiar results of loud reverberations of thunder. All these combine to produce a silence quite appreciable by any one accustomed to nature. And when a cataclysm takes place, such as the falling of a tremendous avalanche of snow, another sort of silence is brought about, during which many things in the astral and natural world not at other times evident can be perceived. Each of these silences comes to an end because the ordinary normal operations of nature reassert themselves. So it is with ourselves. Storms of disappointment, or terrible upheavals from tremendous sorrows, or the effect of our own intense will, bring about those silences in which the voice of the soul has perchance a better opportunity of being heard.
Path, July, 1888
A.C.R. asks if a long definition of Karma given in the letter is in harmony with the Asiatic definition.
Answer - We do not think that the definition of A.C.R. is good, for the reason that it is not clear what is meant. One thing is certain, and that is that Karma is the governor of all our circumstances, and is also in part a cause of acts, and is again the act and the circumstance also. The Universe itself is the Karma of the Supreme. Karma means work or action, and, as action is performed in more ways than by the bodily organs, the field of Karma must not be limited to the body. As A.C.R. says, the most important thing to consider is how we think and what is the motive with which we do any act.
On the subject of Karma the sect of Visishadwaitas of India say:
Karma is the cause of connection of Jivatma - or the particular spirit - with matter in the shape of Karanasarira, as well as the cause of misery or happiness. Karma is the producing cause of birth, death, rebirth, and every kind of body. Karma is the result of the conscious action of Jivatma, whether good or bad. Good Karma is that which results in pleasing, and bad Karma is that which results in displeasing, Ishwara. [He is held to be the particular spirit in each body - our Higher-Self.] The action of Jiva produces Karma through ignorance, and this ignorance is of two sorts: one the confounding of the attributes of one thing with those of another; and the second the confounding of one thing with another. Thus, the Jivatma first confounds the body with itself, and then such attributes as birth, death, and so on, with the attributes which really belong to Jivatma only; then certain actions are done, and they lead to other karma composed of ignorance and of habit. Thus Karma works without any definite beginning, and the causes of Karma mentioned above remain latent during a pralaya or night of Brahma, and when a new evolution begins they again become active and produce results as before.
Karma even works in Swarga or heaven, for, as soon as the causes that take us there are exhausted, we are brought back to rebirth under the operation of Karma; thus it is seen to be stronger than the blissful state of Heaven. This going to and returning from Swarga goes on until salvation is obtained, - one who attains that state is called Jivanmukta. This condition is defined as "an entire separation of Jiva from all connection with matter, and complete destruction of Karma whether good or bad." The word Moksha literally means "release from bondage."
Path, November, 1888
From L. - (I) What plan of life should a theosophist adopt? Take one who does not aspire to chelaship, but who is anxious to live rightly. Should he give up literature, or music, or art; and ought he to give up thoughts of marriage?
Answer - The plan of life should be that which shall appear to the student the best one under his lights; any sort of life may have as a plan under it the good of the race. It is not required that literature or art should be given up: theosophy seeks to round men out and not to produce moral skeletons. As to marriage, we have nothing to say.
(2) Is Light on the Path written for chelas alone or for all?
Answer - It was written for all who strive to understand the meaning under the language; its real sense is not that conveyed by the mere words in it.
(3) Why do so many warn against rashly attempting chelaship? If it is right, why not for all? Will it be easier in some future life, or will it be always a struggle? If the necessity for leaders makes it right for some to essay this, how is one to tell which is his duty, to try or not?
Answer - The reason for the warning has been given over and over again. A chela calls upon himself awful possibilities of disaster, and voluntarily exposes himself to the most pitiless foes the race has, - those within the mind's plane and in the astral world. These are not figments, and every one who forces himself must meet the consequences, for the kingdom of heaven is surrounded by monsters, and the way to it is enveloped with the black cloud of the soul's despair at a place where knowledge, power, and faith are needed and where sentiment plays no part.
The road winds up hill all the way even to the very end; but in this life we may prepare ourselves to be ready to make a farther advance in our next reincarnation.
Any one who is to be a leader will easily find that out. We are not to try and discover that we are leaders, but to do our every duty; if they are performed, the Law of Karma will find those who are the real leaders, and all sham captains will disappear.
From "An Outsider" - in England - If I write to you sometimes anonymously, will you answer? There must be many like myself, lonely and ignorant, who need help and might find it in the Path. My health is poor; how can I regain it? I have not the "superb audacity" you speak of.
Answer - Those who answer questions for us will attempt replies to all reasonable questions, but we are not an oracle. As to health we cannot say; each case is special, but cheerfulness and faith in the implicit justice of Karma and in the Great Souls who help all earnest students may give better health. All diseases begin within, but the way to health is not found by brooding on disease; some diseases proceed from causes generated in other lives, and may have a given period during which they run and cannot be stayed. But we cannot go into personal questions relating to the physical body's ailments.
Maggie Crawford writes stating that she judges the truth of theosophic doctrine by the characters of those who promulgate it, and that she finds Mme. Blavatsky an objection to the truth of theosophy. Charges are brought against other prominent persons who are named by her A, B, and C; we cannot notice these, as they are anonymous, or rather straw defendants, But as to H.P. Blavatsky, we desire to say to the questioner that we have known her many, many years and think her character is not ungoverned nor uncontrolled; we also know her to be generous and just, as well as wise and farseeing. But truth must never be judged by any personal standard; and we advise our friend to pursue truth for its own sake, and not because any person says it is true.
Jasper Niemand, Wm. Brehon, Eusebio Urban
Path, February, 1889
From Hadji - What is the meaning of newspaper references to Mme. Blavatsky thus: "Theosophy, too, despite the exposure of Mme. Blavatsky's impudent impostures is still flourishing."?
Answer - In 1885 the London Psychic Research Society took upon itself to investigate the alleged letters from Adepts received by Mr. Sinnett and others in India, and sent out a young man named Hodgson to inquire into facts that had happened months and years before. He reported that they were all frauds by Mme. Blavatsky, and that she had a tremendous combination of conspirators ramifying all over India. His report was published by the P. R. Society. It is so preposterous however, that no well-informed Theosophist believes it. The newspapers and superficial thinkers often refer to it. Mr. Hodgson, in addition to inventing the great conspiracy theory, was full of prejudice which he has since displayed in various cities of the United States by declaiming against H. P. Blavatsky although he says she is not worth pursuing.
Path, May, 1889
From C. N. (I) Is there a "Parent" Theosophical Society?
Answer - Strictly there is not. Such a term would imply a separate parent body which gave out Charters or Diplomas. The Society is composed of its members who are, for administrative purposes, in Branches or unattached; the latter are called "members-at-large," but all are fellows of the T.S. The government is in the General Council, which now meets in India, in which all sections of the Society have a voice, and which issues charters and diplomas. But aside from Branch members and those at-large, there is no parent Society; The term "parent" should be abandoned, as it implies separation.
(2) Is there an Esoteric Section of the Society in America different from that governed by H.P. Blavatsky?
Answer - There is not, and there never was. In the first establishment of the T.S. other degrees than that of a mere diplomaed member were recognized, but no one save H. P. Blavatsky has had the authority to confer those degrees. She has now fully announced the first of those, although during all these 14 years they have existed and included certain members who were also fellows of the T.S.
Some misguided persons may have pretended to confer those degrees, but such a thing was improper on their part, and absolutely worthless to the recipient. These real degrees in occultism may not be trifled with, and yet they protect themselves because pretenders and triflers can make neither entry nor progress.
In 1875 H.P. Blavatsky directed a certain fellow of the Society to attend to the needs of all the members of the T.S., who were then called "entered apprentices" by her, and her letter of that date is still extant in which the present Esoteric Section was plainly referred to.
(3) Why has H.P. Blavatsky waited until now to so publicly proclaim the Esoteric Section?
Answer - As a matter of fact she has not so waited. In 1875 and since many knew of its existence and have been in it, and she has frequently spoken of it; but until now there have not been enough members interested in the realities of theosophy to justify her in a definitive statement and organization. These efforts have to proceed slowly; people must first be waked up and directed towards theosophical doctrines before it is wise to open up that which is plain to those who know how to use their intuition. But the Western mind, for all its boasted progressiveness, is generally unable to know what is behind a wall unless a hole is cut through it; others, however, can guess what is hidden when they perceive signs and sounds that are quite plain and made on purpose.
But for the first 14 years of a theosophical effort - periodically made in every century - the work of such persons as H.P. Blavatsky is always directed to preparing the ground, and then more open invitation is extended. It is so done in the last 25 years of each century.
From R.L.R.- (I) What is a Nirmanakaya?
Answer - Such is one of the appellations given to an Adept who, in order to devote himself to mankind, has consciously given up his right to pass into Nirvana. He has no material body, but possesses all the other principles; and for such an one space is no obstacle. There are many of them, and they perform various works; some take full possession of great reformers, or statesmen who carry on a beneficial policy; others overshadow sometimes several persons, causing them to act, speak, and write in such a way as to produce needed changes in their fellow men. These Nirmanakayas pass through the haunts of men unseen and unknown; only the effects of their influence and presence are perceived, and these results are attributed to the genius of the individual or to chance alone.
(2) Has a Nirmanakaya any sex?
Answer - No. The pronoun "He" has been used because it has a general application just as "man" or "men" has. In such a development as that of a Nirmanakaya the distinctions of sex have disappeared, because in the spiritual plane there is no sex.
From T.D. - If there be any defect in the Mind Cure system, what would you say it is?
Answer - I should say the constant assertion that there is no evil or badness is that prime defect. For if one so asserts, he should also admit that there is no good. These two opportunities stand or fall together; and they cannot disappear until all has passed to that plane which is above all good and all evil. Yet those who say that there is no evil are on the plane of consciousness where they perceive these two opposites. It appears to me that here in the Western world the old Hindu doctrine that all is illusion because impermanent is half-used. The illusionary quality is attributed only to so-called "evil," whereas the good is equally illusionary, since it as well as evil is so judged to be from some human standard. As in a community in which death is a blessing disease will be called "good," since it hastens death's advent; or, in another where insanity is supposed to be due to the presence of some god, such a condition is not esteemed to be evil.
Path, June, 1889
ARE THERE NEW SOULS? WHY REINCARNATION?
M.E.A - We all know that the population of the earth is increasing yearly, and that in time this globe will not be able to support its population unless the future inhabitants can get along on air. Does Theosophy teach us that new souls are created? Each one of these future unfortunates must have a soul. Will the Path please explain?
Answer - There are some assumptions in this inquiry about which no one has positive information. It is not settled that the population "is increasing yearly." For the apparent increase may be only a more accurate knowledge of the number of inhabitants, following from a more accurate knowledge of the globe on which we live. For instance: we have only lately acquired information of vast quantities of people in Africa previously unheard of.
Nor does it follow that the earth will not be able to support its population in time. A great many well-informed persons think exactly the opposite. Not very long ago several millions of people were destroyed in China, Japan, and elsewhere in a single week; this would leave a good deal of room for a population - in the United States for instance - to expand. Hence the question is narrowed down to the single one - "Does Theosophy teach us that new souls are created?" Mme. Blavatsky answers this in the Secret Doctrine by stating that from now until the end of this period of manifestation there will be no new Monads (which will answer to the word "souls" of the questioner), but the old ones will be reincarnated on this globe. If her view is the correct one, then the reincarnations from now onwards will be incarnations of Monads who have been here many times before. That is to say, we will all be worked over many times. This opinion of Mme. Blavatsky's is held by many Theosophists.
If we started as spirit and therefore perfect, why need we these reincarnations of suffering, only to finally attain what we started with?
Answer - This is the old question, the old inquiry, "What has the Absolute in view, and why is there anything?" The question contains its own answer, for if we started as "spirit," and therefore "perfect," we must still be and so remain forever perfect. But in the Upanishads it is said that "These radiations from the Great All are like sparks from a central fire, which emanate from it and return again for its own purposes." Furthermore, there is nothing more distinctly and frequently taught in Theosophical literature than this, that it is the personal, the illusory, the lower "I," who asks such questions as these, and that the real person within, the spirit, sees no such thing as suffering but rejoices forever in immeasurable bliss. "We" did not start perfect, but imperfect, and "our" progress to union with spirit is the perfection of the lower "we" and "our."
Path, April, 1890