Over and over again the abstruse and mooted
question of Rebirth or Reincarnation has crept out during the
first ten years of the Theosophical Society's existence.
It has been alleged on prima facie evidence, that
a notable discrepancy was found between statements made in Isis
Unveiled, Vol. I, 351-2, and later teachings from the same pen and under the inspiration of the same
In Isis, it was held, reincarnation is denied.
An occasional return, only of "depraved spirits"
is allowed. "Exclusive of that rare and doubtful possibility,
Isis allows only three cases abortion, very early
death, and idiocy in which reincarnation on this earth
occurs." ("C.C.M." in Light, 1882.)
The charge was answered then and there as every one who will turn
to the Theosophist of August, 1882, can see
for himself. Nevertheless, the answer either failed
to satisfy some readers or passed unnoticed. Leaving aside
the strangeness of the assertion that reincarnation i.e.,
the serial and periodical rebirth of every individual monad
from pralaya to pralaya2 is denied
in the face of the fact that the doctrine is part and parcel and
one of the fundamental features of Hinduism and Buddhism,
the charge amounted virtually to this: the writer of the
present, a professed admirer and student of Hindu philosophy,
and as professed a follower of Buddhism years before Isis was
written, by rejecting reincarnation must necessarily reject
KARMA likewise! For the latter is the very
cornerstone of Esoteric philosophy and Eastern religions;
it is the grand and one pillar on which hangs the whole philosophy
of rebirths, and once the latter is denied,
the whole doctrine of Karma falls into meaningless verbiage.
Nevertheless, the opponents without stopping to think of
the evident "discrepancy" between charge and fact,
accused a Buddhist by profession of faith of denying reincarnation
hence also by implication Karma. Adverse to wrangling
with one who was a friend, and undesirous at the time to
enter upon a defence of details and internal evidence a loss
of time indeed the writer answered merely with a few sentences.
But it now becomes necessary to well define the doctrine.
Other critics have taken the same line, and by misunderstanding
the passages to that effect in Isis they have reached the
same rather extraordinary conclusions.
To put an end to such useless controversies, it is proposed
to explain the doctrine more clearly.
Although, in view of the later more minute renderings of
the esoteric doctrines, it is quite immaterial what may
have been written in Isis an encyclopedia of occult subjects
in which each of these is hardly sketched let it be known
at once, that the writer maintains the correctness of every
word given out upon the subject in my earlier volumes.
What was said in the Theosophist of August, 1882,
may now be repeated here. The passage quoted from it may
be, and is, most likely "incomplete, chaotic, vague, perhaps clumsy, as are many
more passages in that work, the first literary production
of a foreigner who even now can hardly boast of her knowledge
of the English language." Nevertheless it is quite
correct so far as that collateral feature of reincarnation is therein concerned.
I will now give extracts from Isis and proceed to explain
every passage criticized, wherein it was said that "a
few fragments of this mysterious doctrine of reincarnation
as distinct from metempsychosis" would be then presented.
Sentences now explained are in italics.
Reincarnation i.e., the appearance of the
same individual, or rather of his astral monad,
twice on the same p1anet is not a rule in nature,
it is an exception, like the teratological phenomenon of
a two-headed infant. It is preceded by a violation of
the laws of harmony of nature, and happens only when
the latter seeking to restore its disturbed equilibrium,
violently throws back into earth-life the astral monad which had
been tossed out of the circle of necessity by crime or accident.
Thus in cases of abortion, of infants dying before
a certain age, and of congenital and incurable idiocy,
nature's original design to produce a perfect human being,
has been interrupted. Therefore, while the gross
matter of each of these several entities is suffered to disperse
itself at death, through the vast realm of being,
the immortal spirit and astral monad of the individual the
latter having been set apart to animate a frame and the former
to shed its divine light on the corporeal organization must
try a second time to carry out the purpose of the creative intelligence.
(Isis I, 351.)
Here the "astral monad" or body of the deceased personality say
of John or Thomas is meant. It is that which, in
the teachings of the Esoteric philosophy of Hinduism, is
known under its name of bhoot; in the Greek philosophy
is called the simulacrum or umbra, and in
all other philosophies worthy of the name is said, as taught
in the former, to disappear after a certain period more
or less prolonged in Kama-loka the Limbus of the Roman
Catholics, or Hades of the Greeks.3
It is "a violation of the laws of harmony of nature,"
though it be so decreed by those of Karma every time that
the astral monad, or the simulacrum of the personality of
John or Thomas instead of running down to the end of its natural
period of time in a body finds itself (a) violently thrown out
of it by whether early death or accident; or (b) is compelled
in consequence of its unfinished task to re-appear (i.e.,
the same astral body wedded to the same immortal monad) on
earth again, in order to complete the unfinished task.
Thus "it must try a second time to carry out the purpose
of creative intelligence" or law.
If reason has been so far
developed as to become active and discriminative
there is no4 (immediate) reincarnation on the
earth, for the three parts of the triune man have been
united together, and he is capable of running the race.
But when the new being has not passed beyond the condition of
Monad, or when, as in the idiot, the trinity
has not been completed on earth and therefore cannot be so after
death, the immortal spark which illuminates it has to re-enter
on the earthly plane as it was frustrated in its first attempt.
Otherwise, the mortal or astral, and the immortal
or divine souls, could not progress in unison and pass
onward to the sphere above5 (Devachan).
Spirit follows a line parallel with that of matter; and the spiritual
evolution goes hand in hand with the physical.
The Occult Doctrine teaches that:
(1) There is no immediate reincarnation on Earth for the
Monad, as falsely taught by the Reincarnationist Spiritists;
nor is there any second incarnation at all for the "personal"
or false Ego the perisprit save the exceptional
cases mentioned. But that (a) there are rebirths,
or periodical reincarnations for the immortal Ego ("Ego"
during the cycle of re-births, and non-Ego,
in Nirvana or Moksha when it becomes impersonal and absolute);
for that Ego is the root of every new incarnation,
the string on which are threaded, one after the other,
the false personalities or illusive bodies called men,
in which the Monad-Ego incarnates itself during the cycle of births;
and (b) that such reincarnations take place not before
1,500, 2,000 and even 3,000 years of Devachanic life.
(2) That Manas the seat of Jiv, that spark
which runs the round of the cycle of birth and rebirths with the
Monad from the beginning to the end of a Manvantara is the real
Ego. That (a) the Jiv follows the
divine monad that gives it spiritual life and immortality into
Devachan that therefore, it can neither be reborn before
its appointed period, nor reappear on Earth visibly
or invisibly in the interim; and (b)
that, unless the fruition, the spiritual aroma
of the Manas, or all these highest aspirations and spiritual
qualities and attributes that constitute the higher SELF
of man become united to its monad, the latter becomes as
Non existent; since it is in esse "impersonal"
and per se Ego-less, so to say, and gets
its spiritual colouring or flavour of Ego-tism only from each
Manas during incarnation and after it is disembodied,
and separated from all its lower principles.
(3) That the remaining four principles, or rather the 2½ as
they are composed of the terrestrial portion of Manas,
of its Vehicle Kama-Rupa and Lingha Sarira the
body dissolving immediately, and prana or the life
principle along with it that these principles having belonged
to the false personality are unfit for Devachan.
The latter is the state of Bliss, the reward for all the
undeserved miseries of life,6
and that which prompted man to sin, namely his terrestrial passionate
nature, can have no room in it.
Therefore the reincarnating*
principles are left behind in Kama-loka, firstly as a
material residue, then later on as a reflection
on the mirror of Astral light. Endowed with illusive
action, to the day when having gradually faded out
they disappear, what is it but the Greek Eidolon and
the simulacrum of the Greek and Latin poets and classics?
What reward or
punishment can there be in that sphere of disembodied
human entities for a ftus or a human embryo which
had not even time to breathe on this earth, still less
an opportunity to exercise the divine faculties of its spirit?
Or, for an irresponsible infant, whose senseless
monad remaining dormant within the astral and physical casket,
could as little prevent him from burning himself as any other
person to death? Or again for one idiotic from birth, the
number of whose cerebral circumvolutions is only from twenty to
thirty per cent of those of sane persons, and who therefore
is irresponsible for either his disposition, acts,
or for the imperfections of his vagrant, half developed
intellect. (Isis I, 352.)
These are, then, the "exceptions" spoken
of in Isis, and the doctrine is maintained now as
it was then. Moreover, there is no "discrepancy"
but only incompleteness hence, misconceptions arising
from later teachings. Then again, there are several
important mistakes in Isis which, as the plates
of the work had been stereotyped, were not corrected
in subsequent editions.
One of such is on page 346, and another in connection with
it and as a sequence on page 347.
The discrepancy between the first portion of the statement and
the last, ought to have suggested the idea of an evident
mistake. It is addressed to the spiritists, reincarnationists
who take the more than ambiguous words of Apuleius as a passage
that corroborates their claims for their "spirits" and
reincarnation. Let the reader judge7 whether
Apuleius does not justify rather our assertions.
We are charged with denying reincarnation and this is what we
said there and then in Isis!
The philosophy teaches
that nature never leaves her work unfinished; if baffled at the first attempt,
she tries again. When she evolves a human embryo the
intention is that a man shall be perfected physically,
intellectually, and spiritually. His body is to
grow, mature, wear out, and die; his
mind unfold, ripen, and be harmoniously balanced;
his divine spirit illuminate and blend easily with the inner man.
No human being completes its grand cycle, or the "circle
of necessity," until all these are accomplished.
As the laggards in a race struggle and plod in their first quarter
while the victor darts past the goal, so, in the
race of immortality, some souls outspeed all the rest and
reach the end, while their myriad competitors are toiling
under the load of matter, close to the starting point.
Some unfortunates fall out entirely and lose all chance of the
prize; some retrace their steps and begin again.
Clear enough this, one should say. Nature baffled
tries again. No one can pass out of this world (our
earth) without becoming perfected "physically,
morally, and spiritually." How
can this be done, unless there is a series of
rebirths required for the necessary perfection in each department to
evolute in the "circle of necessity," can surely
never be found in one human life? and yet this sentence is followed
without any break by the following parenthetical statement:
"This is what the Hindu dreads above all things transmigration
and reincarnation; only on other and inferior
planets, never on this one!!!"
The last "sentence" is a fatal mistake and one to which
the writer pleads "not guilty." It is
evidently the blunder of some "reader" who had no idea
of Hindu philosophy and who was led into a subsequent mistake
on the next page, wherein the unfortunate word "planet"
is put for cycle. Isis was hardly, if ever,
looked into after its publication by its writer, who had
other work to do; otherwise there would have been an apology
and a page pointing to the errata and the sentence made
to run: "The Hindu dreads transmigration in other
inferior forms, on this planet."
This would have dove-tailed with the preceding sentence,
and would show a fact, as the Hindu exoteric views
allow him to believe and fear the possibility of reincarnation human
and animal in turn by jumps, from man to beast and even
a plant and vice versa; whereas esoteric philosophy
teaches that nature never proceeding backward in her evolutionary
progress, once that man has evoluted from every kind of
lower forms the mineral, vegetable, and animal
kingdoms into the human form, he can never become an animal
except morally, hence metaphorically. Human
incarnation is a cyclic necessity, and law; and
no Hindu dreads it however much he may deplore the necessity.
And this law and the periodical recurrence of man's rebirth is
shown on the same page (346) and in the same unbroken paragraph,
where it is closed by saying that:
But there is a way to avoid it. Buddha taught it in his
doctrine of poverty, restriction of the senses,
perfect indifference to the objects of this earthly vale of tears,
freedom from passion, and frequent intercommunication with
the Atma soul-contemplation. The cause of reincarnation8 is ignorance of our senses, and the idea that there is
any reality in the world, anything except abstract existence.
From the organs of sense comes the "hallucination"
we call contact; "from contact, desire;
from desire, sensation (which also is a deception of our
body); from sensation, the cleaving to existing
bodies from this cleaving, reproduction; and from
reproduction, disease, decay and death."
This ought to settle the question and show there must have been
some carelessly unnoticed mistake, and if this is not sufficient,
there is something else to demonstrate it, for it is further on:
Thus, like the revolutions of a wheel, there
is a regular succession of death and birth, the moral
cause of which is the cleaving to existing objects, while
the instrumental cause is Karma (the power which controls
the universe, prompting it to activity), merit and
demerit. It is therefore the greatest desire of all beings
who would be released from the sorrows of successive birth,
to seek the destruction of the moral cause, the cleaving
to existing objects, or evil desire.
They in whom evil desire is entirely destroyed are called Arhats.
Freedom from evil desire insures the possession of a miraculous
power. At his death the Arhat is never reincarnated;
he invariably attains nirvana a word, by the by,
falsely interpreted by the Christian scholar and skeptical commentators.
Nirvana is the world of cause, in which all deceptive
effects or delusions of our senses disappear. Nirvana is
the highest attainable sphere. The pitris (the pre-Adamic
spirits) are considered as reincarnated by the Buddhistic philosopher,
though in a degree far superior to that of the man of earth.
Do they not die in their turn? Do not their astral bodies suffer
and rejoice, and feel the same curse of illusionary feelings
as when embodied?
And just after this we are again made to say of Buddha and his:
Doctrine of "Merit and Demerit," or Karma:
But this former life believed in by the Buddhists,
is not a life on this planet for, more than any
other people, the Buddhistical philosopher appreciated
the great doctrine of cycles.
Correct "life on this planet" by "life in the
same cycle," and you will have the correct reading:
for what would have appreciation of "the great doctrine of
cycles" to do with Buddha's philosophy, had the great
sage believed but in one short life on this Earth and in the same
cycle. But to return to the real theory of reincarnation
as in the esoteric teaching and its unlucky rendering in Isis.
Thus, what was really meant therein, was that,
the principle which does not reincarnate save the exceptions
pointed out is the false personality, the illusive
human Entity defined and individualized during this short life
of ours, under some specific form and name; but
that which does and has to reincarnate nolens volens
under the unflinching, stern rule of Karmic law is
the real EGO. This confusing of the
real immortal Ego in man, with the false and ephemeral
personalities it inhabits during its Manvantaric progress,
lies at the root of every such misunderstanding. Now what
is the one, and what is the other? The first group is
1. The immortal Spirit sexless, formless (arupa),
an emanation from the One universal BREATH.
2. Its Vehicle the divine Soul called the "Immortal
Ego," the "Divine monad," etc.,
etc., which by accretions from Manas in which burns
the ever existing Jiv the undying spark adds to itself
at the close of each incarnation the essence of that individuality
that was, the aroma of the culled flower that is no more.
What is the false personality? It is that bundle of desires,
aspirations, affection and hatred, in short of action,
manifested by a human being on this earth during one incarnation
and under the form of one personality.9 Certainly
it is not all this, which as a fact for us,
the deluded, material, and materially thinking lot is
Mr. So and So, or Mrs. somebody else that
remains immortal, or is ever reborn.
All that bundle of Egotism, that apparent and evanescent
"I" disappears after death, as the costume
of the part he played disappears from the actor's body,
after he leaves the theatre and goes to bed. That actor
re-becomes at once the same "John Smith" or Gray,
he was from his birth and is no longer the Othello or Hamlet that
he had represented for a few hours. Nothing remains now
of that "bundle" to go to the next incarnation,
except the seed for future Karma that Manas may
have united to its immortal group, to form with it the
disembodied Higher Self in "Devachan."
As to the four lower principles, that which becomes of
them is found in most classics, from which we mean to quote
at length for our defense. The doctrine of the perisprit,
the "false personality," or the remains of
the deceased under their astral form fading out to disappear
in time, is terribly distasteful to the spiritualists,
who insist upon confusing the temporary with the immortal EGO.
Unfortunately for them and happily for us, it is not the
modern Occultists who have invented the doctrine. They
are on their defense. And they prove what they say,
i.e., that no "personality"
has ever yet been "reincarnated" "on the same
planet" (our earth, this once there is no
mistake) save in the three exceptional cases above cited.
Adding to these a fourth case, which is the deliberate,
conscious act of adeptship; and that such an astral
body belongs neither to the body nor the soul still
less to the immortal spirit of man, the following is brought
forward and proofs cited.
Before one brings out on the strength of undeniable manifestations,
theories as to what produces them and claims at once on
prima facie evidence that it is the spirits of the
departed mortals that revisit us, it behooves one to first
study what antiquity has declared upon the subject. Ghosts
and apparitions, materialized and semi-material "SPIRITS" have not originated with Allan Kardec, nor at Rochester.
If those beings whose invariable habit it is to give themselves
out for souls and the phantoms of the dead, choose
to do so and succeed, it is only because the cautious philosophy
of old is now replaced by an a priori conceit, and
unproven assumptions. The first question is to be settled "Have
spirits any kind of substance to clothe themselves with?"
Answer: That which is now called perisprit in
France, and a "materialized Form" in England
and America, was called in days of old peri-psyche,
and peri-nous, hence was well known to the old
Greeks. Have they a body whether gaseous,
fluidic, etherial, material or semi-material? No;
we say this on the authority of the occult teachings the world
over. For with the Hindus atma or spirit is Arupa,
bodiless, and with the Greeks also. Even in
the Roman Catholic Church the angels of Light as those of Darkness
are absolutely incorporeal: "meri spiritus,
omnes corporis expertes," and in the words of
The Secret Doctrine, primordial. Emanations
of the undifferentiated Principle, the Dhyan Chohans of
the ONE (First) category or pure Spiritual
Essence, are formed of the Spirit of the one Element;
the second category, of the second Emanation of the
Soul of the Elements; the third have a "mind body"
to which they are not subject, but that they can assume
and govern as a body, subject to them, pliant
to their will in form and substance. Parting from this
(third) category, they (the spirits, angels,
Devas or Dhyan Chohans) have BODIES,
the first rupa group of which is composed of one element Ether;
the second, of two ether and fire; the third,
of three Ether, fire and water; the fourth,
of four Ether, air, fire and water. Then
comes man, who, besides the four elements,
has the fifth that predominates in him Earth: therefore
he suffers. Of the Angels, as said by St.
Augustine and Peter Lombard, "their bodies are made
to act, not to suffer. It is earth and water,
humor et humus, that gives an aptitude for suffering
and passivity, ad patientiam, and Ether
and Fire for action." The spirits or human
monads, belonging to the first, or undifferentiated
essence, are thus incorporeal; but their third principle
(or the human Fifth Manas) can in conjunction with its
vehicle become Kama rupa and Mayavi rupa body of
desire or "illusion body." After death,
the best, noblest, purest qualities of Manas
or the human soul ascending along with the divine Monad
into Devachan whence no one emerges from or returns, except
at the time of reincarnation what is that then which appears
under the double mask of the spiritual Ego or soul of the
departed individual? The Kama rupa element with the help of
elementals. For we are taught that those spiritual
beings that can assume a form at will and appear, i.e.,
make themselves objective and even tangible are the angels
alone (the Dhyan Chohans) and the nirmanakaya10 of the adepts, whose spirits are clothed in sublime matter.
The astral bodies the remnants and dregs of a mortal
being which has been disembodied, when they do appear,
are not the individuals they claim to be, but only their
simulachres. And such was the belief of the whole of antiquity,
from Homer to Swedenborg; from the third race down to our own day.
More than one devoted spiritualist has hitherto quoted Paul as
corroborating his claim that spirits do and can appear.
"There is a natural and there is a spiritual body,"
etc., etc., (I Cor. xv:44); but one has only to study closer the verses preceding and following
the one quoted, to perceive that what St. Paul meant
was quite different from the sense claimed for it. Surely
there is a spiritual body, but it is not identical
with the astral form contained in the "natural"
man. The "spiritual" is formed only by our individuality
unclothed and transformed after death; for
the apostle takes care to explain in Verses 51 and 52,
"Immut abimur sed non omnes." Behold,
I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep
but we shall all be changed. This corruptible
must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.
But this is no proof except for the Christians. Let us
see what the old Egyptians and the Neo-Platonists both "theurgists"
par excellence, thought on the subject: They
divided man into three principal groups subdivided into principles
as we do: pure immortal spirit; the "Spectral
Soul" (a luminous phantom) and the gross material
body. Apart from the latter, which was considered
as the terrestrial shell, these groups were divided into
six principles; (1) Kha "vital body";
(2) Khaba "astral form," or shadow;
(3) Khou "animal soul"; (4) Akh
"terrestrial intelligence"; (5) Sa "the
divine soul" (or Buddhi); and (6) Sah or
mummy, the functions of which began after death.
Osiris was the highest uncreated spirit, for it
was, in one sense, a generic name, every
man becoming after his translation Osirified, i.e.,
absorbed into Osiris-Sun or into the glorious divine
state. It was Khou, with the lower portions
of Akh or Kama rupa with the addition of the dregs
of Manas remaining all behind in the astral light of our
atmosphere that formed the counterparts of the terrible and so
much dreaded bhoots of the Hindus (our "elementaries").
This is seen in the rendering made of the so-called "Harris
Papyrus on magic" (papyrus magique, translated
by Chabas) who calls them Kouey or Khou, and
explains that according to the hieroglyphics they were called
Khou or the "revivified dead," the "resurrected
When it was said of a person that he "had a Khou"
it meant that he was possessed by a "Spirit."
There were two kinds of Khous the justified ones who
after living for a short time a second life (nam onh) faded
out, disappeared; and those Khous who were
condemned to wandering without rest in darkness after dying
for a second time mut, em, nam and who were
called the H'ou métre ("second time dead")
which did not prevent them from clinging to a vicarious life after
the manner of Vampires. How dreaded they were is explained
in our Appendices on Egyptian Magic and "Chinese Spirits"
(Secret Doctrine). They were exorcised by Egyptian
priests as the evil spirit is exorcised by the Roman Catholic
curé; or again the Chinese houen,
identical with the Khou and the "Elementary,"
as also with the lares or larvæ a word derived
from the former by Festus, the grammarian;
who explains that they were "the shadows of the dead who
gave no rest in the house they were in either to the Masters
or the servants." These creatures when evoked during
theurgic, and especially necromantic rites,
were regarded, and are so regarded still, in China as
neither the Spirit, Soul nor anything belonging to the
deceased personality they represented, but simply,
as his reflection simulacrum.
"The human soul," says Apuleius, "is
an immortal God" (Buddhi) which nevertheless has his
beginning. When death rids it (the Soul), from its
earthly corporeal organism, it is called lemure.
There are among the latter not a few which are beneficent,
and which become the gods or demons of the family, i.e.,
its domestic gods: in which case they are called lares.
But they are vilified and spoken of as larvæ when
sentenced by fate to wander about, they spread around them
evil and plagues. (Inane terriculamentum, ceterum
noxium malis); or if their real nature is doubtful
they are referred to as simply manes (Apuleius, see Du
Dieu de Socrate, pp. 143-145. Edit.
Niz.). Listen to Yamblichus, Proclus,
Porphyry, Psellus, and to dozens of other writers on these mystic subjects.
The Magi of Chaldea believed and taught that the celestial
or divine soul would participate in the bliss of eternal light,
while the animal or sensuous soul would,
if good, rapidly dissolve, and if wicked,
go on wandering about in the Earth's sphere. In this case,
"it (the soul) assumes at times the forms of various human
phantoms and even those of animals." The same was
said of the Eidolon of the Greeks, and of their
Nepesh by the Rabbins. (See Sciences Occultes,
Count de Resie. V. 11.) All the Illuminati
of the middle ages tell us of our astral Soul, the
reflection of the dead or his spectre. At Natal
death (birth) the pure spirit remains attached to the intermediate
and luminous body but as soon as its lower form (the
physical body) is dead, the former ascends heavenward,
and the latter descends into the nether worlds, or the Kama loka.
Homer shows us the body of Patroclus the true image of the terrestrial
body lying killed by Hector rising in its spiritual form,
and Lucretius shows old Ennius representing Homer himself,
shedding bitter tears, amidst the shadows and the human
simulachres on the shores of Acherusia "where live
neither our bodies nor our souls," but only our images.
". . . Esse Acherusia templa,
. . . Quo neque permanent animæ, neque corpora nostra,
Sed quædam simulacra. . . ."
Virgil called it imago "image" and in the Odyssey
(I. XI) the author refers to it as the type, the
model, and at the same time the copy of the body;
since Telemachus will not recognize Ulysses and seeks to drive
him off by saying "No thou art not my father; thou
art a demon, trying to seduce me!" (Odys.
1. XVI. v. 194.) "Latins
do not lack significant proper names to designate the varieties
of their demons; and thus they called them in turn,
lares, lemures, genii and manes."
Cicero, in translating Plato's Timæus,
translates the word daimones by lares; and
Festus the grammarian, explains that the inferior or lower
gods were the souls of men, making a difference
between the two as Homer did, and between anima bruta
and anima divina (animal and divine souls).
Plutarch (in Proble. Rom.) makes the lares
preside and inhabit the (haunted) houses, and calls them
cruel, exacting, inquisitive, etc., etc. Festus thinks that there are good and bad ones among
the lares. For he calls them at one time prstites
as they gave occasionally and watched over things carefully
(direct apports), and at another hostileos.12 "However it may be," says in his queer old French,
Leloyer, "they are no better than our devils,
who, if they do appear helping sometimes men, and
presenting them with property, it is only to hurt them
the better and the more later on. Lemures are also
devils and larvæ for they appear at night in various
human and animal forms, but still more frequently with
features that THEY borrow from dead men."
(Livre des Spectres. V. 1V, p. 15 and 16.)
After this little honour rendered to his Christian preconceptions,
that see Satan everywhere, Leloyer speaks like an Occultist, and a very erudite one too.
"It is quite certain that the genii and none other
had mission to watch over every newly born man, and that
they were called genii, as says Censorius,
because they had in their charge our race, and not only
they presided over every mortal being but over whole generations
and tribes, being the genii of the people."
The idea of guardian angels of men, races, localities,
cities, and nations, was taken by the Roman Catholics
from the pre-christian occultists and pagans. Symmachus
(Epistol, 1. X) writes: "As souls are
given to those who are born, so genii are distributed
to the nations. Every city had its protecting genius,
to whom the people sacrificed." There is more than
one inscription found that reads: Genio civitates "to
the genius of the city."
Only the ancient profane, never seemed sure any more than
the modern whether an apparition was the eidolon of a
relative or the genius of the locality. Enneus while celebrating
the anniversary of the name of his father Anchises, seeing
a serpent crawling on his tomb knew not whether that was the genius
of his father or the genius of the place (Virgil).
"The manes"13 were
numbered and divided between good and bad; those that were sinister,
and that Virgil calls numina larva, were appeased
by sacrifices that they should commit no mischief, such
as sending bad dreams to those who despised them, etc.
Tibullus shows by his line:
Ne tibi neglecti mittant insomnia manes. (Eleg.,
"Pagans thought that the lower Souls were transformed
after death into diabolical aerial spirits." (Leloyer, p. 22.)
The term Eteroprosopos when divided into its several compound
words will yield a whole sentence, "an other than
I under the features of my person."
It is to this terrestrial principle, the eidolon,
the larva, the bhoot call it by whatever
name that reincarnation was refused in Isis.14
The doctrines of Theosophy are simply the faithful echoes of Antiquity.
Man is a Unity only at his origin and at his end.
All the Spirits, all the Souls, gods and demons
emanate from and have for their root-principle the SOUL
OF THE UNIVERSE says Porphyry (De Sacrifice).
Not a philosopher of any notoriety who did not believe (1)
in reincarnation (metempsychosis), (2) in the plurality
of principles in man, or that man had two Souls
of separate and quite different natures; one perishable,
the Astral Soul, the other incorruptible and immortal;
and (3) that the former was not the man whom it represented "neither
his spirit nor his body, but his reflection at best."
This was taught by Brahmins, Buddhists, Hebrews,
Greeks, Egyptians and Chaldeans; by the post-diluvian
heirs of the prediluvian Wisdom, by Pythagoras and Socrates,
Clemens Alexandrinus, Synesius, and Origen,
the oldest Greek poets as much as the Gnostics, whom Gibbon
shows as the most refined, learned and enlightened men
of all ages (See "Decline and Fall," etc.).
But the rabble was the same in every age: superstitious
self-opinionated, materializing every most spiritual and
noble idealistic conception and dragging it down to its own low
level, and ever adverse to philosophy.
But all this does not interfere with that fact, that our
"fifth Race" man, analyzed esoterically as a
septenary creature, was ever exoterically recognized
as mundane, sub-mundane, terrestrial and supra mundane,
Ovid graphically describing him as
Bis duo sunt hominis; manes, caro, spiritus, umbra
Quatuor ista loca bis duo suscipiunt.
Terra tegit carnem, tumulum circumvolat umbra,
Orcus habet manes, spiritus estra petit.
H. P. BLAVATSKY
Ostende, Oct., 1886.
Path, November, 1886
H. P. Blavatsky
l See charge and answer, in Theosophist,
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2The cycle of existence during the manvantara period
before and after the beginning and completion of which every such
"monad" is absorbed and reabsorbed in the ONE
soul, anima mundi.
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3 Hades has surely never been meant for Hell It
was always the abode of the sorrowing shadows of astral
bodies of the dead personalities. Western readers should
remember Kama-loka is not Karma-loka, for Kama means
desire, and Karma does not.
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4 Had this word "immediate" been put at the
time of publishing Isis between the two words "no"
and "reincarnation" there would have been less room
for dispute and controversy.
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5 By "sphere above," of course
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6 The reader must bear in mind that the esoteric teaching
maintains that save in cases of wickedness when man's nature attains
the acme of Evil, and human terrestrial sin reaches Satanic
universal character, so to say as some Sorcerers
do there is no punishment hr the majority of mankind after
death. The law of retribution as Karma awaits man
at the threshold of his new incarnation. Mall is at best
a wretched tool of evil, unceasingly forming new causes
and circumstances. He is not always (if ever) responsible.
Hence a period of rest and bliss in Devachan, with an utter
temporary oblivion of all the miseries and sorrows of life.
Avitchi is a spiritual state of the greatest
misery and is only in store for those who have devoted consciously
their lives to doing injury to others and have thus reached
its highest spirituality of EVIL.
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* The following "Important Correction," by
Mme. Blavatsky, and editorial note by Mr. Judge, appeared in the Path for January, 1887.
TO ALL THE
READERS OF THE PATH:
In the November number of Path in my article "Theories
about Reincarnation and Spirits," the entire batch
of elaborate arguments is upset and made to fall flat owing to
the mistake of either copyist or printer. On page 235,
the last paragraph is made to begin with these words: "Therefore
the reincarnating principles are left behind in Kama-loka,
etc.," whereas it ought to read "Therefore the
NON-reincarnating principles (the false
personality) are left behind in Kama-loka, etc.,"
a statement fully corroborated by what follows, since it
is stated that those principles fade out and disappear.
There seems to be some fatality attending this question.
The spiritualists will not fail to see in it the guiding hand
of their dear departed ones from "Summerland",
and I am inclined to share that belief with them in so far that
there must be some mischievous spook between me and the printing
of my articles, Unless immediately corrected and attention
drawn to it, this error is one which is sure to be quoted
some day against me and called a contradiction.
H. P. BLAVATSKY
November 20th, 1886.
NOTE. The MS. for the article
referred to was written out by some one for Mme. Blavatsky
and forwarded to us as it was printed, and it is quite
evident that the error was the copyist's, and not ours
nor Madame's; besides that, the remainder of the
paragraph clearly shows a mistake. We did not feel justified
in making such an important change on our own responsibility,
but are now glad to have the author do it herself. Other
minor errors probably also can be found in consequence of the
peculiar writing of the amanuensis, but they are very trivial
in their nature. [ED. Path
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7 Says Apuleius: "The soul is born in this
world upon leaving the soul of the world (anima mundi) in
which her existence precedes the one we all know (on earth).
Thus, the Gods who consider her proceedings in all the
phases of various existences and as a whole, punish her
sometimes for sins committed during an anterior life.
She dies when she separates herself from a body in which
she crossed this life as in a frail bark. And this is,
if I mistake not, the secret meaning of the tumulary inscription,
so simple for the initiate: "To the Gods manes
who lived." But this kind of death does not annihilate
the soul, it only transforms (one portion of it) it into
a lemure. "Lemures" are the manes.
or ghosts, which we know under the name lares.
When they keep away and shows a beneficent protection,
we honour in them the protecting divinities of the family hearth;
but if their crimes sentence them to err, we call them
1arvæ. They become a plague for the wicked,
and the vain terror of the good." ("Du Dieu
de Socrate" Apul. class, pp. 143-145.)
8 "The cause of reincarnation is
there is "reincarnation" once the writer explained the
causes of it.
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9 A proof of how our theosophical teachings
have taken root in every class of Society and even in English
literature may be seen by reading Mr. Norman Pearson's
article "Before Birth" in the Nineteenth Century
for August, 1886. Therein, theosophical
ideas and teachings are speculated upon without acknowledgement
or the smallest reference to theosophy, and among others,
we see with regard to the author's theories on the Ego the following:
"How much of the individual personality is supposed
to go to heaven or hell? Does the whole of the mental equipment,
good and bad, noble qualities and unholy passions,
follow the soul to its hereafter? Surely not. But if not,
and something has to be stripped off, how and when are
we to draw the line? If, on the other hand, the
Soul is something distinct from all our mental equipment,
except the sense of self, are we not confronted by the
incomprehensible notion of a personality without any attributes?"
To this query the author answers as any true theosophist would:
"The difficulties of the question ready spring from a misconception
of the true nature of these attributes. The components
of our mental equipment appetites, aversions, feelings,
tastes and qualities generally are not absolute but relative
existences. Hunger and thirst for instance are states of
consciousness which arise in response to the stimuli of physical
necessities. They are not inherent elements of the soul
and will disappear or become modified, etc."
(pp. 356 and 357). In other words, the theosophical
doctrine is adopted, Atma and Buddhi having culled off
the Manas the aroma of the personality or human soul go
into Devachan; while the lower principles, the astral
simulacrum or false personality void of its Divine monad
or spirit, will remain in the Kamaloka the "Summerland."
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10 Nirmanakaya is the name given to the
astral forms (in their completeness) of adepts,
who have progressed too high on the path of knowledge and
absolute truth, to go into the state of Devachan:
and have, on the other hand, deliberately refused
the bliss of nirvana, in order to help Humanity by invisibly
guiding and helping on the same path of progress elect men.
But these astrals are not empty shells, but complete
monads made up of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th,
and 7th principles. There is another order of nirmanakaya,
however, of which much will be said in the Secret
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11 Placing these parallel with the division in esoteric
teaching we see that (1) Osiris is Atma; (2) Sa
is Buddhi; (3) Akh is Manas; (4)
Khou is Kama-rupa, the seat of terrestrial
desires; (5) Khaba is Lingha Sarira;
(6) Kha is Pranatma (vital principle); (7)
Sah is mummy or body.
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12 Because they drove the enemies away.
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13 From manus "good,"
an antiphrasis, as Festus explains.
14 Page 12, Vol. 1, of
Isis Unveiled, belief in reincarnation is asserted
from the very beginning, as forming part and parcel of
universal beliefs. "Metempsychosis" (or transmigration
of souls) and reincarnation being after all the same thing.