You have obliged my friends and myself by answering or annotating my letter to you in your number of July I5th. Will you
allow us to continue this discussion? Several letters which I have received
in consequence of this correspondence not only from Germany, but also from
England,1 make it appear likely that your
readers on the other side of the Channel also take an interest in this all-important
question. As the purport of my former communication has been misunderstood,
I have now made this question the title of my present letter, in order to
emphasize the point. My friends and I did not ask: Shall we do anything
for our fellow-men or nothing? but: What shall we do for them?
You agree with us as your note 4 to my last letter (pg. 431) unmistakably
shows that the ultimate Goal which the mystic or the occultist have to
strive for, is not perfection IN existence (the "world")
but absolute being: that is, we have to strive for deliverance
FROM all existence in any of the three worlds or planes
of existence. The difference of opinions, however, is this: Shall we now,
nevertheless, assist all our fellow-men indiscriminately in their worldly
affairs; shall we occupy ourselves with their national and individual
Karma, in order to help them to improve the "world" and to live
happily in it; shall we strive with them to realize socialistic
problems, to further science, arts and industries, to teach them cosmology,
the evolution of man and of the universe, etc., etc., or on the other hand,
shall we only do the best we can to show our fellow-men the road of wisdom
that will lead them out of the world and as straight as possible
towards their acknowledged goal of absolute existence (Para-Nirvana,
Moksha, Atma)? Shall we consequently only work for those
who are willing to get rid of all individual existence and yearning to be
delivered from all selfishness, from all strivings, who are longing only
for eternal peace?
Answer. As the undersigned accepts for her views and walk
in life no authority dead or living, no system of philosophy or religion
but one namely, the esoteric teachings of ethics and philosophy
of those she calls "MASTERS " answers
have, therefore, to be given strictly in accordance with these teachings.
My first reply then is: Nothing of that which is conducive to help man,
collectively or individually, to live not "happily" but less
unhappily in this world, ought to be indifferent to the Theosophist-Occultist.
It is no concern of his whether his help benefits a man in his worldly
or spiritual progress; his first duty is to be ever ready to
help if he can, without stopping to philosophize. It is because our clerical
and lay Pharisees too often offer a Christian dogmatic tract, instead of
the simple bread of life to the wretches they meet whether these are starving
physically or morally that pessimism, materialism and despair win with
every day more ground in our age. Weal and woe, or happiness and misery,
are relative terms. Each of us finds them according to his or her predilections;
one in worldly, the other in intellectual pursuits, and no one system will
ever satisfy all. Hence, while one finds his pleasure and rest in family
joys, another in "Socialism" and the third in a "longing
only for eternal peace," there may be those who are starving for truth,
in every department of the science of nature, and who consequently are yearning
to learn the esoteric views about "cosmology, the evolution of man
and of the Universe." H.P.B.
According to our opinion the latter course is the right one for a mystic;
the former one we take to be a statement of our views. Your notes to my
former letter are quite consistent with this view, for in your note 3 you
say: "Paranirvana is reached only when the Manvantara has closed and
during the 'night' of the universe or Pralaya." If the final aim of
paranirvana cannot be attained individually, but only solidarily
by the whole of the present humanity, it stands to reason, that in order
to arrive at our consummation we have not only to do the best we can for
the suppression of our own self, but that we have to work first for the
world-process to hurry all the worldly interests of Hottentots, and the
European vivisectors, having sufficiently advanced to see their final goal
of salvation, are ready to join us in striving towards that deliverance.
Answer. According to our opinion as there is no essential
difference between a "mystic" and a "Theosophist-Esotericist"
or Eastern Occultist, the above cited course is not "the right
one for a mystic." One, who while "yearning to be delivered from
all selfishness" directs at the same time all his energies only to
that portion of humanity which is of his own way of thinking, shows himself
not only very selfish but is guilty of prejudice and partiality.
When saying that Para, or Parinirvana rather, is reached
only at the Manvantaric close, I never meant to imply the "planetary"
but the whole Cosmic Manvantara, i.e., at the
end of "an age" of Brahmâ, not one "Day."
For this is the only time when during the universal Pralaya mankind
(i.e., not only the terrestrial mankind but
that of every "man" or "manu-bearing" globe,
star, sun or planet) will reach "solidarily" Parinirvana, and
even then it will not be the whole mankind, but only those portions of the
mankind which will have made themselves ready for it. Our correspondent's
remark about the "Hottentots" and "European vivisectors"
seems to indicate to my surprise that my learned Brother has in his mind
only our little unprogressed Terrene mankind? H.P.B.
You have the great advantage over us, that you speak with absolute
certainty on all these points, in saying: "this is the esoteric doctrine,"
and "such is the teaching of my masters." We do not think
that we have any such certain warrant for our belief; on the contrary,
we want to learn, and are ready to receive, wisdom, wherever it may offer
itself to us. We know of no authority or divine revelation; for, as far
as we accept Vedantic or Buddhistic doctrines, we only do so because we
have been convinced by the reasons given; or, where the reasons prove to
be beyond our comprehension, but where our intuition tells us: this, nevertheless,
is likely to be true, we try our best to make our understanding follow our
Answer. I speak "with absolute certainty" only
so far as my own personal belief is concerned. Those who have not
the same warrant for their belief as I have, would be very credulous
and foolish to accept it on blind faith. Nor does the writer believe any
more than her correspondent and his friends in any "authority"
let alone "divine revelation"! Luckier in this than they are,
I need not even rely in this as they do on my intuition, as
there is no infallible intuition. But what I do believe in is (1),
the unbroken oral teachings revealed by living divine men during
the infancy of mankind to the elect among men; (2), that it has reached
us unaltered; and (3) that the MASTERS
are thoroughly versed in the science based on such uninterrupted teaching. H.P.B.
In reference, therefore, to your note 5, it was not, nor is it, our intention
"to inflict any criticism on you"; on the contrary we should never
waste time with opposing anything we think wrong; we leave that to its own
fate; but we try rather to get at positive information or arguments, wherever
we think they may offer themselves. Moreover, we have never denied, nor
shall we ever forget, that we owe you great and many thanks for your having
originated the present movement and for having made popular many striking
ideas hitherto foreign to European civilization. We should now feel further
obliged to you, if you (or your masters) will give us some reasons, which
could make it appear likely to us, why paranirvana could not be attained
by any jiva at any time (a), and why the final goal can only
be reached solidarily.
Answer. (a) There is some confusion here. I never said
that no jiva could attain Parinirvana, nor meant to infer that "the
final goal can only be reached solidarily" by our present humanity.
This is to attribute to me an ignorance to which I am not prepared to plead
guilty, and in his turn my correspondent has misunderstood me. But as every
system in India teaches several kinds of pralayas as also of Nirvanic
or "Moksha" states, Dr. Hübbe Schleiden has evidently confused
the Prakrita with the Naimittika Pralaya, of the Visishtadwaita
Vedantins. I even suspect that my esteemed correspondent has imbibed more
of the teachings of this particular sect of the three Vedantic schools than
he had bargained for; that his "Brahmin Guru" in short, of whom
there are various legends coming to us from Germany, has coloured his pupil
far more with the philosophy of Sri Ramanujacharya, than with that of Sri
Sankarachârya. But this is a trifle connected with circumstances beyond
his control and of a Karmic character. His aversion to "Cosmology "
and other sciences including theogony, and as contrasted with "Ethics "
pure and simple, dates also from the period he was taken in hand by the
said learned guru. The latter expressed it personally to us, after his sudden
salto mortali from esotericism too difficult to comprehend and therefore
to teach, to ethics which any one who knows a Southern language
or two of India, can impart by simply translating his texts from philosophical
works with which the country abounds. The result of this is, that my esteemed
friend and correspondent talks Visishtadwaitism as unconsciously as M. Jourdain
talked "prose," while believing he argues from the Mahayâna
and Vedantic standpoint pure and simple. If otherwise, I place myself under
correction. But how can a Vedantin speak of Jivas as though these
were separate entities and independent of JIVATMA
the one universal soul! This is a purely Visishtadwaita doctrine which asserts
that Jivatma is different in each individual from that in another individual?
He asks "why parinirvana could not be attained by any jiva at
any time." We answer that if by "jiva" he means the "Higher
Self" or the divine ego of man, only then we say it may reach
Nirvana, not Parinirvana, but even this, only when one becomes Jivanmukta,
which does not mean "at any time." But if he understands
by "Jiva" simply the one life which, the Visishtadwaitas
say is contained in every particle of matter, separating it from the sarira
or body that contains it, then, we do not understand at all what he
means. For, we do not agree that Parabrahm only pervades every Jiva,
as well as each particle of matter, but say that Parabrahm is inseparable
from every Jiva, as from every particle of matter since it is the absolute,
and that IT is in truth that Jivatma itself crystallized for
want of a better word. Before I answer his questions, therefore, I must
know whether he means by Parinirvana, the same as I do, and of which of
the Pralayas he is talking. Is it of the Prakrita Maha Pralaya,
which takes place every 311 ,040,000,000,000 years; or of the Naimittika
Pralaya occurring after each Brahma Kalpa equal to 1,000 Maha
Yugas, or which? Convincing reasons can be given then only when two disputants
understand each other. I speak from the esoteric standpoint almost identical
with the Adwaita interpretation; Dr. Hübbe Schleiden argues from that
of let him say what system, for, lacking omniscience, I cannot tell. H.P.B.
by the whole of the humanity living at present. In order to further this
discussion, I will state here some of the reasons which appear to speak
against this view, and I will try to further elucidate some of the consequences
of acting in accordance with each of these two views:
1. The unselfishness of the Altruist has a very different character according
to which of the two views he takes. To begin with our view, the true
Mystic who believes that he can attain deliverance from the world and from
his individuality independent of the Karma of any other entities, or of
the whole humanity, is an Altruist, because and so far as he is a monist,
that is to say, on account of the tat twam asi. Not the form
or the individuality, but the being of all entities is the same and
is his own; in proportion as he feels his own avidya, agnana or
unwisdom, so does he feel that of other entities, and has compassion with
them on that
(b). To feel "compassion" without an adequate
practical result ensuing from it is not to show oneself an "Altruist"
but the reverse. Real self-development on the esoteric lines is action.
"Inaction in a deed of mercy becomes an action in a deadly
sin." (Vide The Two Paths in the "Voice of the Silence,"
p. 31.) H.P.B.
account. (b) To take now the other view: Is not the altruism
of an occultist who sees himself tied to the Karma of all his fellowmen,
and who, on that account, labours for and with them, rather an egotistical
one? For is not at the bottom of his "unselfishness" the knowledge
that he cannot work out his own salvation at any lesser price? The escape
from selfishness for such a man is self-sacrifice for the "world";
for the mystic, however, it is self-sacrifice to the eternal, to absolute
being. Altruism is certainly considered one of the first requirements of
any German Theosopher we can or will not speak for others but we are rather
inclined to think that altruism had never been demanded in this country
in the former sense (of self-sacrifice for the "world"),
but only in the latter sense of self-sacrifice to the eternal.(c)
(c). An Occultist does not feel "himself tied to the Karma
of all his fellow men," no more than one man feels his legs motionless
because of the paralysis of another man's legs. But this does not prevent
the fact that the legs of both are evolved from, and contain the same ultimate
essence of the ONE LIFE. Therefore, there can be no
egotistical feeling in his labours for the less favoured brother.
Esoterically, there is no other way, means or method of
sacrificing oneself "to the eternal" than by working and sacrificing
oneself for the collective spirit of Life, embodied in, and (for us) represented
in its highest divine aspect by Humanity alone. Witness the Nirmanakâya, the
sublime doctrine which no Orientalist understands to this day but which
Dr. Hübbe Schleiden can find in the IInd and IIIrd Treatises in the
"Voice of the Silence." Naught else shows forth
the eternal; and in no other way than this can any mystic or occultist truly
reach the eternal, whatever the Orientalists and the vocabularies of
Buddhist terms may say, for the real meaning of the Trikâya,
the triple power of Buddha's embodiment, and of Nirvana in its triple
negative and positive definitions has ever escaped them.
If our correspondent believes that by calling himself "theosopher"
in preference to "theosophist" he escapes thereby any idea of
sophistry connected with his views, then he is mistaken. I say it
in all sincerity, the opinions he expresses in his letters are in my humble
judgment the very fruit of sophistry. If I have misunderstood him, I stand
under correction. H.P.B.
2. It is a misunderstanding, if you think in your note 5, that we are
advocating entire "withdrawal or isolation from the world." We
do so as little as yourself, but only recommend an "ascetic life,"
as far as it is necessary to prepare anyone for those tasks imposed upon
him by following the road to final deliverance from the world. But
the consequence of your view seems to lead to joining the world in a worldly
life, and until good enough reasons are given for it, we do not approve
of this conduct. That we should have to join our fellow men in all their
worldly interests and pursuits, in order to assist them and hasten
them on to the solidary and common goal, is contrary to our intuition.(a)
Answer. (a) It is difficult to find out how the view expressed
in my last answer can lead to such an inference, or where have I advised
my brother Theosophists to join men "in all their worldly interests
and pursuits!" Useless to quote here again that which is said in note
1, for every one can turn to the passage and see that I have said nothing
of the kind. For one precept I can give a dozen. "Not nakedness, not
plaited hair, not dirt, not fasting or lying on the earth . . . not sitting
motionless, can purify one who has not overcome desires," says Dhammapada
(chap. I, 141). "Neither abstinence from fish or flesh, nor going
naked, nor the shaving of the head, nor matted hair, etc., etc., will cleanse
a man not free from delusions" Amagandha Sutta (7, 11). This
is what I meant. Between salvation through dirt and stench, like St. Labro
and some Fakirs, and worldly life with an eye to every interest, there is
a long way. Strict asceticism in the midst of the world, is more meritorious
than avoiding those who do not think as we do, and thus losing an opportunity
of showing them the truth. H.P.B.
strive for the deliverance from the world by furthering and favouring
the world-process seems rather a round-about method. Our inclination leads
us to retire from all worldly life, and to work apart from a monastery
or otherwise together with and for all those fellow-men who are
striving for the same goal of deliverance, and who are willing to rid themselves
of all karma, their own as well as that of others. We would assist also
all those who have to remain in worldly life, but who are already
looking forward to the same goal of release, and who join us in doing their
best to attain this end. We make no secret of our aims or our striving;
we lay our views and our reasons before anyone who will hear them,
and we are ready to receive amongst us anyone who will honestly
join us.(b) Above all, however, we are doing
(b). So do we. And if, not all of us live up to
our highest ideal of wisdom, it is only because we are men not gods,
after all. But there is one thing, however, we never do (those in the esoteric
circle, at any rate): we set ourselves as examples to no men,
for we remember well that precept in Amagandha Sutta that says: "Self-praise,
disparaging others, conceit, evil communications (denunciations), these
constitute (moral) uncleanness"; and again, as in the Dhammapada,
"The fault of others is easily perceived, but that of oneself is
difficult to perceive; the faults of others one lays open as much as possible,
but one's own fault one hides, as a cheat hides the bad die from the gambler." H.P.B.
our best to live up to our highest ideal of wisdom; and perhaps the good
example may prove to be more useful to our fellow-men than any organized
propaganda of teaching.
By the bye, in your note you couple together Schopenhauer and
Eduard von Hartmann. In this question, however, both are of
opposite opinions. Schopenhauer, like most German mystics and theosophers,
represents the views of Vedanta and (exoteric) Buddhism, that final salvation
can, and can only, be individually attained independent of time and the
karma of others. Hartmann, however, verges much more towards your opinion,
for he does not believe in individual consummation and deliverance
from the world; he thinks all mysticism and particularly that which is now
known as Indian philosophy, an error, and demands of everyone as an altruistic
duty to give himself up to the world-process, and to do his best in order
to hasten its end. (He is the "clever modern philosopher" whom
I have mentioned on page 435).(c)
(c). As I have never read von Hartmann, and know very little of
Schopenhauer, nor do they interest me, I have permitted myself only to bring
them forward as examples of the worst kind of pessimism; and you corroborate
what I said, by what you state of Hartmann. If, however, as you say, Hartmann
thinks "Indian philosophy an error," then he cannot be said to
verge toward my opinion, as I hold quite a contrary view.
India might return the compliment with interest. H.P.B.
3. There is, and can be, no doubt that Vedanta and (exoteric) Buddhism
do not hold your view, but ours. Moreover, one could scarcely dispute that
Lord Buddha whatever esoteric doctrine he may have taught founded monasteries,
or that he favoured and assisted in doing so. Whether he expected all his
disciples to become Bodhisattvas may be doubtful, but he certainly pointed
out the "happy life" of a Bhikshu as the road to salvation; he
expressly abstained from teaching cosmology or any worldly science; he never
meddled with the worldly affairs of men, but every assistance he rendered
them was entirely restricted to showing them the road to deliverance from
existence. And just the same with Vedanta. It prohibits any attachment to
worldly views and interests, or enquiries after cosmology or evolution a
fortiori socialism and any other world-improvement. All this Vedanta
calls Agnana (Buddhism: Avidya), while Gnana or wisdom the
only aim of a sage (Gnani) is but the striving for the realization
of the eternal (true reality, Atma). (a)
Answer. (a) It depends on what you call Vedanta whether
the Dwaita, the Adwaita, or the Visishtadwaita. That we differ from all
these, is no news, and I have spoken of it repeatedly. Yet in the esotericism
of the Upanishads, when correctly understood, and our esotericism,
there will not be found much difference. Nor have I ever disputed any of
the facts about Buddha as now brought forward; although these are facts
from only his exoteric biography. Nor has he invented or drawn from
his inner consciousness the philosophy he taught, but only the method of
his rendering it. Buddhism being simply esoteric Bodhism taught before
him secretly in the arcana of the Brahminical temples, contains,
of course, more than one doctrine of which the Lord Buddha never spoke of
in public. But this shows in no way that he did not teach them to his Arhats.
Again, between "attachment to worldly views or interests" and
the study of Cosmology, which is not "a worldly science"
however, there is an abyss. One pertains to religious and philosophical
asceticism, the other is necessary for the study of Occultism which
is not Buddhistic, but universal. Without the study of cosmogony and theogony
which teach the hidden value of every force in Nature and their direct correspondence
to, and relation with, the forces in man (or the principles) no occult psychophysics
or knowledge of man as he truly is, is possible. No
one is forced to study esoteric philosophy unless he likes it, nor has anyone
ever confused Occultism with Buddhism or Vedantism. H.P.B.
Agnani (misprinted in the July number page 436: agnam) signified
just the same as what is rendered by "fool" in the English translations
of the Dhammapada and the Suttas. It is never understood "intellectually"
and certainly does not mean an ignoramus, on the contrary,
the scientists are rather more likely to be agnanis than any "uneducated"
mystic. Agnani expresses always a relative notion. Gnani is anyone
who is striving for the self-realization of the eternal; a perfect gnani
is only the jivanmukta, but anyone who is on the road of development
to this end may be (relatively) called gnani, while anyone
who is less advanced is comparatively an agnani. As, however,
every gnani sees the ultimate goal above himself, he will
call himself an agnani, until he has attained jivanmukta;
moreover, no true mystic will ever call any fellow-man a "fool"
in the intellectual sense of the word, for he lays very little stress on
intellectuality. To him anyone is a "fool" only in so far as he
cares for (worldly) existence and strives for anything else than wisdom,
deliverance, paranirvana. And this turn of mind is entirely a question of
the "will" of the individuality. The "will" of the agnani
is carrying him from spirit into matter (descending arch of the cycle),
while the "will" of the gnani disentangles him from matter
and makes him soar up towards "spirit" and out of all existence.
This question of overcoming the "dead point" in the circle is
by no means one of intellectuality; it is quite likely that a sister of
mercy or a common labourer may have turned the corner while the Bacons,
Goethes, Humboldts, &c., may yet linger on the descending side of existence
tied down to it by their individual wants and desires.(b)
(b). Agnam, instead of agnani was of course
a printer's mistake. With such every Journal and Magazine abounds, in Germany,
I suppose, as much as in England, and from which LUCIFER
is no more free than the Sphinx. It is the printer's and the
proof-reader's Karma. But it is a worse mistake, however, to translate Agnani
by "fool," all the Beals, Oldenbergs, Webers, and Hardys,
to the contrary. Gnana (or, Jnâna, rather) is Wisdom certainly, but
even more, for it is the spiritual knowledge of things divine, unknown to
all but those who attain it and which saves the Jivanmuktas who
have mastered both Karmayoga and Jnânayoga. Hence, if all those who
have not jnâna (or gnana) at their fingers' end, are to be considered
"fools" this would mean that the whole world save a few Yogis
is composed of fools, which would be out-carlyleing Carlyle in his
opinion of his countrymen. Ajnâna, in truth, means simply
"ignorance of the true Wisdom," or literally, "Wisdomless"
and not at all "fool." To explain that the word "fool"
is "never understood intellectually" is to say nothing, or worse,
an Irish bull, as, according to every etymological definition and dictionary,
a fool is one who is "deficient in intellect"
and "destitute of reason." Therefore, while thanking the kind
doctor for the trouble he has taken to explain so minutely the vexed Sanskrit
term, I can do so only in the name of LUCIFER'S readers,
not for myself, as I knew all he says, minus his risky new definition
of "fool" and plus something else, probably as early as
on the day when he made his first appearance into this world of Maya.
No doubt, neither Bacon, Humboldt, nor even the great Hæckel himself,
the "light of Germany," could ever be regarded as "gnanis";
but no more could any European I know of, however much he may have rid himself
of all "individual wants and desires." H.P.B.
4. As we agree, that all existence, in fact, the whole world and the
whole of its evolutionary process, its joys and evils, its gods and its
devils, are Maya (illusion) or erroneous conception of the true reality:
how can it appear to us worth while to assist and to promote this process
Answer. (a) Precisely, because the term maya,
just like that of "agnana" in your own words expresses only
a relative notion. The world . . . "its joys and evils, its
gods and devils," and men to boot, are undeniably, when compared with
that awful reality everlasting eternity, no better than the
productions and tricks of maya, illusion. But there the line
of demarcation is drawn. So long as we are incapable of forming even an
approximately correct conception of this inconceivable eternity,
for us, who are just as much an illusion as anything else outside
of that eternity, the sorrows and misery of that greatest of all illusions human
life in the universal mahamaya for us, I say, such sorrows and miseries
are a vivid and a very sad reality. A shadow from your body, dancing on
the white wall, is a reality so long as it is there, for yourself and all
who can see it; because a reality is just as relative as an illusion. And
if one "illusion" does not help another "illusion" of
the same kind to study and recognise the true nature of Self, then, I fear,
very few of us will ever get out from the clutches of maya. H.P.B.
5. Like all world-existence, time and causality also are only Maya
or as Kant and Schopenhauer have proved beyond contradiction are only
our conditioned notions, forms of our intellection. Why then
should any moment of time, or one of our own unreal forms of thought, be
more favourable to the attainment of paranirvana than any other? To this
paranirvana, Atma, or true reality, any manvantara is just as unreal as
any pralaya. And this is the same with regard to causality, as
with respect to time, from whichever point of view you look
at it. If from that of absolute reality, all causality and karma are unreal,
and to realize this unreality is the secret of deliverance from it. But
even if you look at it from the agnana-view, that is to say, taking
existence for a reality, there can never (in "time") be an end nor
can there have been a beginning of causality. It makes, therefore, no difference
whether any world is in pralaya or not; also Vedanta rightly says that during
any pralaya the karana sharira (causal body, agnana) of Ishvara and
of all jivas, in fact, of all existence, is continuing.(b) And how
could this be other
(b). This is again a Visishtadwaita interpretation, which
we do not accept in the esoteric school. We cannot say, as they do that
while the gross bodies alone perish, the sukshma particles, which
they consider uncreated and indestructible and the only real things, alone
remain. Nor do we believe any Vedantin of the Sankarachârya school
would agree in uttering such a heresy. For this amounts to saying that Manomaya
Kosha, which corresponds to what we call Manas, mind,
with its volitious feelings and even Kamarupa the vehicle of the
lower manas, also survives during pralaya. See page 185 in Five
Years of Theosophy and ponder over the three classifications of the
human principles. Thence it follows that the Karana Sarira (which
means simply the human Monad collectively or the reincarnating ego),
the "causal body" cannot continue; especially if, as you say,
it is agnana, ignorance or the wisdomless principle,
and even agreeably with your definition "a fool." The idea alone
of this "fool" surviving during any pralaya, is enough to make
the hair of any Vedanta philosopher and even of a full blown Jivanmukta,
turn grey, and thrust him right back into an "agnani" again. Surely
as you formulate it, this must be a lapsus calami? And why should
the Karana Sarira of Iswara let alone that of "all Jivas (!)
be necessary during pralaya for the evolution of another universe?
Iswara, whether as a personal god, or an intelligent independent
principle, per se, every Buddhist whether esoteric or exoteric
and orthodox, will reject; while some Vedantins would define him as Parabrahm
plus MAYA (only, i.e., a
conception valid enough during the reign of maya, but not otherwise. That
which remains during pralaya is the eternal potentiality of every condition
of Pragna (consciousness) contained in that plane or field of
consciousness, which the Adwaita calls Chidakasan and Chinmatra
(abstract consciousness), which, being absolute, is therefore perfect
unconsciousness as a true Vedantin would say. H.P.B.
wise? After the destruction of any universe in pralaya, must not another
appear? Before our present universe must there not have been an infinite
number of other universes? How could this be, if the cause of existence
did not last through any pralaya as well as through any kalpa? And if so,
why should any pralaya be a more favourable moment for the attainment of
paranirvana than any manvantara?
6. But if then one moment of time and one phase of causality were more
favourable for this than any other: why should it just be any pralaya
after a manvantara, not the end of the maha-kalpa or at least that
of a kalpa. In any kalpa (of 4,320 millions of earthly years)
there are 14 manvantaras and pralayas and in each maha-kalpa (of 311,040
milliards of earthly years) there are (36,000 X I4) 504,000 manvantaras
and pralayas. Why is this opportunity of paranirvana offered just so often
and not oftener, or not once only at the end of each universe. In other
words, why can paranirvana only be obtained by spurts and in batches; why,
if it cannot be attained by any individuality at its own time, why
must one wait only for the whole of one's present fellow-humanity; why not
also for all the animals, plants, ambas and protoplasms, perhaps also
for the minerals of our planet and why not also for the entities on all
the other stars of the universe?(a)
Answer (a). As Dr. Hübbe Schleiden objects
in the form of questions to statements and arguments that have never been
formulated by me, I have nothing to say to this. H.P.B.
7. But, it appears, the difficulty lies somewhat deeper still. That which
has to be overcome, in order to attain paranirvana, is the erroneous conception
of separateness, the selfishness of individuality, the "thirst for
existence" (trishna, tanha). It stands to reason, that
this sense of individuality can only be overcome individually: How can this
process be dependent on other individualities or anything else at all? Selfishness
in the abstract which is the cause of all existence, in fact, Agnana
and Maya, can never be all together removed and
extinguished. Agnana is as endless as it is beginningless, and the number
of jivas (atoms?) is absolutely infinite; if the jivas of a whole universe
were to be extinguished in paranirvana, jivaship and agnana would not be
lessened by one atom. In fact, both are mere unreality and misconception.
Now, why should just one batch of humanity have to unite, in order to get
rid each of his own misconception of reality?(b)
(b) . Here again the only "unreality and misconception"
I can perceive are his own. I am glad to find my correspondent so learned,
and having made such wonderful progress since I saw him last some three
years ago, when still in the fulness of his agnana; but I
really cannot see what all his arguments refer to?. H.P.B.
Summing up, I will now give three instances of the difference in which,
I think a Mystic or (exoteric) Buddhist, Bhikshu or Arhat, on the one side,
and an occultist or theosophist on the other, would act, if both are fully
consistent with their views and principles. Both will certainly use any
opportunity which offers itself to do good to their fellow-men; but the
good which they will try to do, will be of a different kind.
Supposing they meet a poor, starving wretch, with whom they share their
only morsel of bread: the mystic will try to make the man understand that
the body is only to be kept up, because that entity which lives in it has
a certain spiritual destination, and that this destination is nothing less
than getting rid of all existence, and, at the same time, of all wants and
desires; that having to beg for one's food is no real hardship, but might
give a happier life than that of rich people with all their imaginary worries
and pretensions, that, in fact, the life of a destitute who is nothing
and who has nothing in the world, is the "happy life" as
Buddha and Jesus have shown when it is coupled with the right aspiration
to the eternal, the only true and unchangeable reality, the divine peace.
If the mystic finds that the man's heart is incapable of responding to any
keynote of such true religiousness, he will leave him alone, hoping that,
at some future time, he too will find out that all his worldly wants and
desires are insatiable and unsatisfying, and that after all true and final
happiness can only be found in striving for the eternal. Not so the occultist.
He will know that he himself cannot finally realise the eternal,
until every other human individuality has likewise gone through all the
worldly aspirations and has been weaned from them. He will, therefore, try
to assist this poor wretch first in his worldly affairs; he will perhaps
teach him some trade or handicraft by which he can earn his daily bread,
or he will plan with him some socialistic scheme for bettering the worldly
position of the poor.
Answer. Here the "Mystic" acts precisely as a
"Theosophist or Occultist" of the Eastern school would. It is
extremely interesting to learn where Dr. Hübbe Schleiden has studied
"Occultists" of the type he is describing? If it is in Germany,
then pitying the Occultist who knows "that he himself cannot
realize the eternal" until every human soul has been weaned from
"worldly aspirations" I would invite him to come to London where
other Occultists who reside therein would teach him better. But then why
not qualify the "Occultist" in such case and thus show his nationality?
Our correspondent mentions with evident scorn, "Socialism" in
this letter, as often as he does "Cosmology"? We have but two
English Socialists, so far, in the T.S. of which two every Theosophist ought
to be proud and accept them as his exemplar in practical Buddha- and Christ-like
charity and virtues. Such socialists two active altruists full of unselfish
love and charity and ready to work for all that suffers and needs help are
decidedly worth ten thousand Mystics and other Theosophers, whether
German or English, who talk instead of acting and sermonize instead of teaching.
But let us take note of our correspondent's second instance. H.P.B.
Secondly, supposing further the mystic and the occultist meet two women,
the one of the "Martha" sort, the other of the "Mary"
character. The mystic will first remind both that every one has, in the
first instance, to do his or her duty conscientiously, be it a compulsory
or a self-imposed duty. Whatever one has once undertaken and wherever he
or she has contracted any obligation towards a fellow-being, this has to
be fulfilled "up to the uttermost farthing." But, on the other
hand, the mystic will, just for this very reason, warn them against creating
for themselves new attachments to the world and worldly affairs more than
they find absolutely unavoidable. He will again try to direct the whole
of their attention to their final goal and kindle in them every spark of
high and genuine aspiration to the eternal. Not so the occultist. He may
also say all that the mystic has said and which fully satisfies "Mary";
as "Martha," however, is not content with this and thinks the
subject rather tedious and wearisome, he will have compassion with her worldliness
and teach her some esoteric cosmology or speak to her of the possibilities
of developing psychic powers and so on.
Answer. Is the cat out of the bag at last? I am
asked to "oblige" our correspondent by answering questions, and
instead of clear statements, I find no better than transparent hints against
the working methods of the T.S.! Those who go against "esoteric cosmology"
and the development of psychic powers are not forced to study either. But
I have heard these objections four years ago, and they too, were started
by a certain "Guru" we are both acquainted with, when that learned
"Mystic" had had enough of Chelaship and suddenly developed the
ambition of becoming a Teacher. They are stale. H.P.B.
Thirdly, supposing our mystic and our occultist meet a sick man who applies
to them for help. Both will certainly try to cure him the best they can.
At the same time, both will use this opportunity to turn their patient's
mind to the eternal if they can; they will try to make him see that everything
in the world is only the just effect of some cause, and that, as
he is consciously suffering from his present illness, he himself must
somewhere have consciously given the corresponding and adequate cause for
his illness, either in his present or in any former life; that the only
way of getting finally rid of all ills and evils is, not to create any more
causes, but rather to abstain from all doing, to rid oneself of every avoidable
want and desire, and in this way to lift oneself above all causality (karma).
This, however, can only be achieved by putting good objects of aspiration
into the place of the bad, the better object into that of the good, and
the best into that of the better; directing, however, one's whole attention
to our highest goal of consummation and living in the eternal as much as
we can, this is the only mode of thought that will finally deliver
us from the imperfections of existence.
If the patient cannot see the force of this train of argument or does
not like it, the mystic will leave him to his own further development, and
to some future opportunity which might bring the same man near him again,
but in a more favourable state of mind.
Not so the occultist. He will consider it his duty to stick to this man
to whose Karma, as to that of everyone else, he is irremediably and unavoidably
bound; he will not abandon him until he has helped him on to such an advanced
state of true spiritual development that he begins to see his final goal
and to aspire to it "with all his heart, with all his soul, and with
all his might." In the meantime, however, the occultist will try to
prepare him for that by helping him to arrange his worldly life in a manner
as favourable to such an aspiration as possible. He will make him see that
vegetarian or rather fruit-diet is the only food fully in accordance with
human nature; he will teach him the fundamental rules of esoteric hygienics;
he will show him how to make the right use of vitality (mesmerism), and
as he does not feel any aspiration for the nameless and formless eternal,
he will meanwhile make him aspire for esoteric knowledge and for occult
Now, will you do us the great favour to show us reasons why the
mystic is wrong and the occultist right, or why paranirvana should not be
attained by any individuality and at any time, when its own karma
has been burnt by gnana in samadhi, and independent
of the karma of any other individual or that of humanity.
Neuhaugen bei München, September, 1889
Answer. As no Occultist of my acquaintance would
act in this supposed fashion no answer is possible. We theosophists, and
especially your humble servant, are too occupied with our work to lose time
at answering supposititious cases and fictions. When our prolific correspondent
tells us whom he means under the name of the "Occultist"
and when or where the latter has acted in that way, I will
be at his service. Perhaps he means some Theosophist or rather member of
the T.S. under this term? For I, at any rate, never met yet an "Occultist"
of that description. As to the closing question I believe it was
sufficiently answered in the earlier explanations of this reply.
Yours, as sincerely,
Lucifer, October 1889
H. P. Blavatsky
1Perchance also, from Madras? [ED.
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