MAGIC : WHITE AND BLACK
THE SCIENCE OF FINITE AND INFINITE LIFE
CONTAINING PRACTICAL HINTS FOR STUDENTS OF OCCULTISM
"Everything that exists upon the Earth has its ethereal counterpart above the
and there is nothing, however insignificant it may apear in the world,
which is not depending on something higher; so that if the lower parts acts,
its presideing higher part reacts upon it".
Sohar Wajecae, Fol. 156, 6
in our searching are fulfilled all our desires, and we obtain the
victory over all worlds”.
- Khand. Upanishad.
1924 - SEVENTH EDITION
KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRÜBNER & CO., LTD. BROADWAY HOUSE, 68-74 CARTER LANE, E.C. LONDON
|Page 23||INTRODUCTION||SPIRITUAL LAW IN THE NATURAL WORLD.|
|The meaning of “Magic” – The Life principle – Man's spiritual nature -Magicians and mediums – Man and the universe - The inner world – God, science, religion, superstition - Mystic and mysticism – Truth and fiction -The Bible allegories – Soul - knowledge and brain speculation – Self-knowledge and theories – Realisation by experience - Selfishness – The false Egos – Elementals – Spiritual germs and their growth-Asceticism - Visionaries and dreamers - The wisdom religion - The “sons of darkness” and the “children of light” - Spiritual evolution|
|Page 49||CHAPTER I||THE IDEAL|
The ideal self – Realisation of ideals – Truth – Meditation – Prayer – God prays to himself – Interior revelation – The universal ideal - Christianity – Theosophists – Identity of revelations – Perception of truth – Self-control – Intuition and logical inferences – The Adepts – False science – Nature – Medicine of the future – Faith is spiritual knowledge – Mind-substance – Invisible beings – Object of life and its necessities – Alchemy
|Page 67||CHAPTER ll||THE REAL AND THE UNREAL.|
Primordial essence – The abstract ideas – Character and purpose – Reincarnation– The Ego – Self-consciousness before and after death – The spiritual man – Relative existence – Unreality of external appearances – Matter and motion – Consciousness – Objective and subjective existence – The unknown One – Imagination – Perception - The “Fall” – Creation – The inner senses – States of mind – Dualism – God and idols
|Page 85||CHAPTER III||FORM|
|Creation of forms – Spirit – Soul - Matter – The seven principles – The four planes of existence - The “resurrection of the flesh” – Spheres and auras – Psychic emanations – Physical and astral forms – Elementaries – “Materialisations” – Necromancy – “ Doubles” – Wraiths – Apparitions – Ghosts – Spirits of nature – Gnomes – Sylphs – Undines – Salamanders – Spiritual beings – Planetary spirits – Emotions and their origin – Organisation of forms on the various planes – Daemons Obsession – Spirits of music – The Creator and his creatures – Witchcraft – Astral appearances – Spiritism – Spooks – Spirits of the “dead” – Devas – Unconscious exercise of magic power – Protection against evil spells|
|Page 110||CHAPTER IV||LIFE|
The will and the life – Expression of character – Chiromancy – Psychometry – Reincarnation of soul – Individuality – Indifferentiation of form and of character – Change of character – Individuality – Change of purpose – The ideal realises itself – Spirituality – Delusion of separatedness – Isolation – Vampires – Incubi and succubi – Elementaries – “Killing out” passions – Change of desires – The dreamer and the realist – Life transfer – Suspension of life – Evolution – The Elixir of Life.
|Page 124||CHAPTER V||HARMONY|
Harmony – The music of the spheres – Spirituality and scientific curiosity – Unity of the Law – Variety of forms -Karma – Accords and discords – Numbers – Number one – Periodicity – Magic Squares – Number Seven – Love and life – Man and woman – The true marriage – Humanity and divinity –Induction – Food for the physical body – Nutriment of the soul – “Sin” Suffering and its necessity – Experience – Purification – The spiritual organism – Adoration – Meditation – Efficacy of “prayer” – Illumination.
|Page 143||CHAPTER VI||ILLUSIONS|
Imagination – Two worlds – The Dwellers of the Threshold – Reason and Truth – Illusions and appearances – Prostitution of principles – Starvation of soul – “Self” – Money – Possession – “Love” – Celibacy – Life an illusion – Science – Intellectuality without spirituality – Ambition – Power – Fame – Authority – Fear – Doubt – Remorse – Sins – The “Lamb” – Obedience – Reason – Passive imagination – Visions – Artificial means for inducing hallucinations – Fumigations – Magic mirrors – Fortune telling – Meditation – Exercise of the will – “Mesmerism” and “hypnotism” – Unreality of illusions – Mediumship – Responsibility – Power of the imagination – States after death – Materiality and density – Heaven and hell – Happiness .
|Page 164||CHAPTER VII||CONSCIOUSNESS|
Mind – Absolute and relative consciousness – Realisation of existence -- Perception —Development of the senses – Light and darkness – Resistance – Astral Light – Astral forms – Haunted houses – Sight and touch – True self-consciousness – Reason and reasoning – Muscular consciousness – Astral consciousness – Obsessions – Thought-body – Apparitions – Double consciousness – Projection of the astral form – The Kama Rupa – Double memory – The inner man – Somnambulism and trance – Two lives – Two souls – Two attractions – Spiritual consciousness – Wisdom – Organisation – Regeneration – The spiritual body.
|Page 183||CHAPTER VIII||UNCONSCIOUSNESS|
Knowledge is life – Ignorance is death – Relative life and relative death – Physical death – Immortality – Nirmânakâyas – Death is change – God redeems himself – Principles and forms – Living corpses or shells – Insanity – Process of dying-The astral form – Letter from an Adept – Kama loca – Animal souls – Heaven and hell – Post-mortem consciousness – Devachan – The mystic death – Spiritualism and spiritism – Communications from the “departed” – Conscious immortality – Object of life – Reincarnation – Assuming a new body – Shall we know each other after death ? – Degradation is death – Black magic – White magic – Evolution – Permanent love.
|Page 204||CHAPTER IX||TRANSFORMATIONS|
Memory – The Astral Light – Impressions and temptations – Responsibility – Crimes – Capital punishment – Clairvoyance – Seership– Amulets – The Mumia – Mysterious powers of precious stones – Action of drugs – Primordial matter – Single bodies of chemistry – Transformation – Will and imagination – Alchemy in its three aspects – Projection of thought – Mental epidemics - Receptivity – Occult phenomena – H. P. Blavatsky – Controlling the thoughts – The Master – Wisdom – Accumulation of energy – Manifestations of consciousness – Organisation required – The divine Man – The Redeemer.
|Page 227||CHAPTER X||CREATION|
|The great mystery – Man – Memory and forgetting – Man the Creator of his world – Self-made men – Material and spiritual nature – Cosmology – Mythology – Animal food – Practical occultism – Union – Faith and doubt – Action – Development of will-power – Experiences of life – Truth and error – Duty – Knowledge – Belief – The “Path” – Rules of life|
|Page 250||CHAPTER XI||LIGHT|
Spirit and form – Freedom – Personality and individuality – The permanent and the impermanent – Hermes Trismegistus – The Saviour – The Lord – The true baptism, forgiveness of sins, communion, marriage – The true and universal church – The “Son of Man” – Birth of the Christ – Biblical “history” – Prayer – The true Faith – Soul knowledge – Physical effects of regeneration – Suffering – The true Rosicrucians and their symbols – Initiation – Spiritual nutriment – Ceremonies – Jesus of Nazareth – Redemption – Allegories “Faust” – Real knowledge – Unselfishness – Good and evil – The unpardonable sin.
|Page 267||CHAPTER XII||THEOSOPHY|
|Beauty beyond the power to describe it – The spiritual Sun – Divine Wisdom the realisation of Truth – The Philosopher's Stone – The Elixir of Life and Universal Panacea – Magic power – The Path – To know – Forbidden knowledge – True knowledge – To will – Love the fountain of true knowledge – Development of will-power – To dare is obedience to the law – Strengthening of self-will – Fakirs – Hatha yoga – Philosophical and theosophical courage – Self-sacrifice – To be silent – Jackob Boehme – Raja yoga – Instructions – Symbols – Language – The threefold word – The language of nature – Universal language – Thought, word, and action – Mystic symbols – The five-pointed star – The double interlaced triangle – The cross – The Brothers of the golden and rosy cross – The true cross – The self realisation of Truth.|
|Page 297||APPENDIX||A NEW GUIDE ON THE PATH.|
DESCRIPTION OF THE FRONTISPIECE.
[Page 5] At the foot of the picture is a sleeping Sphinx, whose upper part (representing the higher principles) is human; while the lower parts (symbolising the lower principles) are of an animal nature. She is dreaming of the solution of the great problem of the construction of the Universe and of the nature and destiny of Man, and her dream takes the shape of the figure above her, representing the Macrocosm and the Microcosm and their mutual interaction.
The Omega (and
the Alpha in the centre) represent the “Son”, the Absolute having become manifest as the Universal Logos or The Christ, also called Buddhi, or the sixth principle, the cause of the beginning and the end of every created thing. It is One with the “father”, being manifested as a Trinity in a Unity, the cause of what we call Space, Motion, and Substance. Its highest manifestation is Self-consciousness, by which it may come to the comprehension of Man. The spiritual man whose matrix is his own physical body, draws his nutriment from this universal spiritual
principle as the physical [Page 6] foetus is nourished by means of the womb of the mother, his soul being formed from the astral influences or the soul of the world.
Out of the Universal Logos proceeds the “invisible Light “ of the Spirit, the Truth, the Law, and the Life, embracing and penetrating the Cosmos and becoming manifest in the illuminated soul of Man, while the visible light
of Nature is only its most material aspect or mode of manifestation, in the
same sense as the visible sun is the reflex of its divine prototype, the
invisible centre of power or the great spiritual Sun.
The circle with the twelve signs of the Zodiac, enclosing the space in which the planets belonging to our solar system are represented, symbolises the Cosmos, filled with the planetary influences pervading the Astral Light, and which are caused by the interaction of the astral emanations of the cosmic bodies and their inhabitants.
activity in the Cosmos is represented by the interlaced triangle. The two
outer ones represent the great powers of creation, preservation, and destruction,
or Brahama, Vishnu, and Siva, acting upon the elements of Fire, Water, and Earth — that is to say, upon the original principles out of which ethereal, fluid and
solid material substances and forms are produced.
The two inner interlaced triangles refer more especially to the development of Man. B, C, and D represent Knowledge, the Knower, and the Known, which trinity constitutes Self-knowledge. E, F, and G represent the Physical Man, the Ethereal or Inner Man, and the Spiritual Man. The centre represents the divine Atma, being identical with the Universal Logos. It is, like the latter, a Trinity in a Unity.[Of the three interlaced A's only one is distinctly drawn in the figure. It is the spiritual seed [Page 7] implanted in the soul of man, through whose growth immortal life is attained. Its light is the Rose of the Cross that is formed by Wisdom and Power. But below all is the realm of illusion, of the most gross and heavy materialised thoughts, sinking into Darkness and Death, where they decompose and putrefy, and are resolved again into the elements out of which the Universe came into existence. [Page 8 and 9]
PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION
book was originally written for the purpose of disenchanting certain credulous
inquirers, who fancied that the exercise of spiritual powers could be taught
by teaching them certain incantations and formulas. It was to prove that
spiritual powers must be developed before they can be exercised, and to explain
the conditions necessary for their development.
the appearance of the previous edition, a little additional knowledge, gained
by the experiences of my own inner life, has enabled me to make certain corrections;
to sift out much of what was irrelevant, and to remodel a great deal of what
was incorrectly expressed. Moreover in this edition an attempt has been made
to answer the numerous questions which have been addressed to me by the readers
most serious objection which has been made against this book has been on
account of its title; but the causes which induced me to select such a title
were suggested by the purpose for which the book was intended; nor would
I at present be able to find one more appropriate for it, for “Magic” means
that divine art or exercise of spiritual power by which the awakened spirit
in man controls the invisible living elements in the soul-substance of the
universe; but, above all, those in his own soul, which are the ones nearest to him.
we desire to master any forces whatever, it is, above all, necessary to know
what they are and how they originate, and as we have no better means to study
the qualities of any internal forces, than by observing [Page 10] those which are active within ourselves, the perception of the processes going
on within our own psychic organism, will be the means to accomplish our object.
The art Magic is the exercise of spiritual power, to be obtained by practising
self-control, and this power cannot be acquired in any other way; nor is
it possible to teach anyone how to exercise a power which he does not possess,
because he has not developed it; we can only indicate the way in which the
psychic powers latent in every human constitution may be developed. The constitutions
of all men are fundamentally the same, and in each human being are contained
magical powers germinally or in a latent condition; but they cannot be said
to exist before they become active and manifest themselves, first interiorly,
and afterwards in an outward direction.
It was not my object, in composing this book, to write merely a code of ethics, and thereby to increase the already existing pile of moral precepts, but to assist the student of Occultism in studying the elements of which his own soul is composed, and to learn to know his own psychical organism. I want to give an impulse to the
of a science, which may be called the “anatomy and physiology of the soul”, which investigates the elements of which the organism of the soul is composed,
and the source from which man's desires and emotions spring.
science has advanced with great strides in the realm of superficial phenomena
and external illusions, but the science of the real interior and invisible
man is still very little known. The mechanical and chemical forces of nature
have been made subservient to physical science. She has laid the yoke upon
the neck of the giant Steam and chained Electricity to her triumphal chariot; she made mechanical motion, heat, and light, and magnetism
the obedient slaves of men; she made [Page 11] discoveries which make man to a certain extent independent of the conditions
imposed upon him by space and time; she succeeded in realising certain ideas
and to put them into practical execution, ideas which a century ago were
believed to belong merely to the realm of the fancies of the visionary and
should we stop here? Why should it not be possible for us to advance still
further, and to enchain those semi-conscious and conscious forces which pervade our own soul, and also the soul of the world ? Why should it be impossible to
condense into forms by the omnipotent power of Will the living but formless Elementals; to concentrate and give shape to living and universal principles, which, although
they are at present invisible for us, nevertheless exist? Such things have been accomplished by the Eastern sages thousands of years ago, and may be accomplished
by ourselves, provided we attain the same state of perfection which characterises these Adepts.
arrive at this end the merely superficially intellectual reading of books
on Occultism is entirely insufficient. The divine mysteries of nature are
above and beyond the power of conception of the limited intellect. They must
be grasped by the power of the spirit. If we cannot by our own soul perception
perceive a spiritual truth with the eye of the spirit, intellectual reasoning
and book learning will not enable us to perceive it clearly. Books, dealing
with such subjects, should not be masters to us; they should merely be our
assistants. They are merely useful to describe the details of things which
we already know in the depths of our soul; they are merely servants to hold
up before our eyes magnifying mirrors, wherein we see the truths whose presence
we feel in ourselves.
Boehme, the great theosoph, says in regard to [Page 12] the study of Occultism: “If you desire to investigate the divine mysteries of
nature, investigate first your own mind, and ask yourself about the purity
of your purpose. Do you desire to put the good teachings which you may
receive into practice for the benefit of humanity ? Are you ready to renounce
all selfish desires, which cloud your mind and hinder you to see the clear
light of eternal truth ? Are you willing to become an instrument for the manifestation of Divine Wisdom ? Do you know what it means
to become united with your own higher Self, to get rid of your illusive
Self, to become one with the living universal power of Good and to die
to your own shadowy insignificant terrestrial personality ? Or do you merely
desire to obtain great knowledge, so that your curiosity may be gratified,
and that you may be proud of your science, and believe yourself to be superior
to the rest of mankind ? Consider, that the depths of Divinity can only be searched by the divine spirit
itself, which is active within you. Real knowledge must come from our own
interior, not merely from externals, and they who seek for the essence
of things merely in externals may find the artificial colour of a thing,
but not the true thing itself”.
this self-taught philosopher says: “The intellect should be developed, but
above all the heart. We should attempt to understand intellectually the laws of everything; but
our own still fallible intellect should not be made the starting-point in
our investigations. Man should not be governed by his reasoning from appearances; but he should govern
his mind, so that the light of divine wisdom may illuminate his intellect.
If our judgment becomes free of all selfish taint, and the vibrations of
our soul are made to vibrate in harmony with the eternal spirit, our perishable
intellect will be [Page 13] penetrated by the imperishable light of divine wisdom; and we will be able to
perceive and to solve the deepest problems of nature. If our desire and reason
cling to the sphere of self, we shall see merely the illusions which we ourselves
have created; but if we become free by being obedient to the universal law,
we will become one with the law and see the truth in its purity”.
to this we will add, as a warning to all inquirers, that a scientific investigation
of the occult mysteries of nature, without that firm foundation furnished
by the development of true spirituality, is exceedingly dangerous and leads
to deplorable consequences. The perception of things which belong to the
spirit is a faculty of the spiritually developed man and not within the reach
of the semi-material mind. He who continually pores over things which he
cannot comprehend lives in the realm of his dreams; he becomes an unpractical
person, incapable to fulfil his duties in life, and often insanity and suicide is the result. The school of the occultist is
only for those who have graduated in the school of terrestrial life.
therefore, those who wish to acquire spiritual or divine power, follow this
advice: let them rise spiritually into the highest regions of thought and
remain therein as its permanent residents. Let them cultivate their physical
bodies and their mental constitutions in such a manner that the matter of
which they are composed will become less gross and more penetrable to the
divine light of the spirit. Then will the veils that separate them from the
invisible world become thinner; then will they become aware of the fact that
the circle which limits their terrestrial and phenomenal existence is merely
a small segment of that grand circle wherein their existence as self-conscious
beings on the spiritual pIane is enclosed, and as they increase in transcendental [Page 14] knowledge they will grow in spiritual power, until, by the understanding of the
divine laws of the universe, they will become the co-operators of God, and
God will perform his miracles in and through them.
The following pages are an attempt to show the way how Man may become an instrument of the Divine Power whose product is Nature; they constitute a book which may properly bear the title of “Magic”, for if the readers succeed in practically following its teachings, they will be able to witness the greatest of all magical feats, the spiritual regeneration of Man. [Page 15]
Our age is the age of opinions. The majority of our educated people live, so to say, in their heads, and the claims of the heart are neglected.
Vanity is king, and wisdom is only permitted to speak when it does not come
into conflict with selfish considerations. The guardians of a narrow limited science delude themselves with a belief of
being capable to bring the infinite truth within the grasp of their finite
understanding, and whatever they fail to comprehend is asserted not to exist.
Our speculative philosophers refuse to recognise the eternal power of universal
love whose light is reflected in the human soul; they wish to examine eternal
truths by the flickering candle-light of their logic, reasoning from the
basis of sensual observations; they forget that Humanity is a Unity, and that one individual cannot encompass the All; and the ignorant asks scientific
reasons why man should be faithful and true, and why he should not consider
his own personal interests above those of the rest of mankind.
It is universally admitted that man's final destiny cannot depend on the theories
which he may have formed in his mind regarding Cosmology, Pneumatology, plans
of salvation, etc., and as long as he possesses no real knowledge, one set
of beliefs or opinions may perhaps be as good as another; but it cannot be
denied, that the sooner man frees himself of the erroneous opinions of others
and opening his own eyes recognises [Page 16] the real truth, the less will he be impeded by the obstacles which are in the
way of his higher evolution, and the sooner will he reach the summit of his
The most important question seems, therefore, to be: “Is it possible that a man
should actually know anything transcending his sensual perception, unless
it is told to him by some supposed authority ? Can the power of intuition
be developed to such an extent as to become actual knowledge without any
possibility of error, or shall we always be doomed to depend on hearsay and
opinions? Can any individual man possess powers transcending those which
are admitted to exist by modern science, and how can such transcendental
powers be acquired?”
The following pages were written for the purpose of attempting to answer such
questions, by calling the attention of those who desire to know the truth
to a consideration of the true nature of Man and of his position in the Universe.
Those who already know these things of course will not need the instructions
which these pages contain, but to those who desire to know they may be of some use, and to
the latter we recommend the advice given by Gautama Buddha to his disciples:
“Believe nothing which is unreasonable, and reject nothing as unreasonable
without proper examination”.
This book was not written for the purpose of convincing sceptics of the fact that phenomena of an occult character have taken place in the past and are occurring at present; though an attempt has been made to prove the possibility of mystic occurrences, by offering some explanation in regard to the laws by which they may be produced. No space has been devoted to lengthy illustrative examples of phenomena. Those who require them will find such evidence in the books whose titles have been given at the foot of the pages. [Page 17]
SPIRITUAL LAW IN THE NATURAL WORLD
“There is no religion higher than truth”.
[Page 23] WHATEVER misinterpretation ancient or modern ignorance may have given to the word Magic, its only true significance is The Highest Science, or Wisdom, based upon knowledge and practical experience.
you doubt whether there is any such thing as Magic, and if you desire any
practical illustration about it, open your eyes and look around you. See
the world, the animals, and the trees, and ask yourself whether they could
have come into existence by any other power than by the magic power of nature. Magical power is not a supernatural power, if by the term “supernatural” you
mean a power which is outside, beyond, or locally above nature. To suppose
the existence of such a power is an absurdity and a superstition, opposed
to all our experience; for we see that all organisms, vegetable and animal
ones, grow by the action of internal forces acting outwardly, and not by
having something added to their substance from the outside. A seed does not
become a tree, nor a child a man, by having substance added to its organism
by some outside workman, or like a house which is built by putting stones
on the top of each other; but living things grow by the action of an internal
power, acting from a centre within the form.To this centre flow the influences
coming from the universal storehouse of matter and motion, and from [Page 24] there they radiate again towards the periphery, and perform that labour which
builds up the living organism.
what else can such a power be, except a spiritual, power, because it penetrates
to the very centre of material things. It acts according to law, and builds
up organisms according to a certain order, and is therefore superior to blind
mechanical force. It cannot be a mere mechanical force; for we know that
a mechanical force ceases as soon as the impulse which originated it ceases
to act, while the stream of life is inexhaustible, and only the forms in
which it becomes manifest die. It cannot be a chemical force, for chemical
action ceases when the chemical combination of the substances which were
to combine has taken place. It must therefore be a living power, and as life
cannot be a product of a dead form, it can be nothing else but the power
of the One Life, acting within the life centres of the forms.
is a magician, every plant, animal, and every man is a magician, who uses
his powers unconsciously and instinctively to build up his own organism;
or, in other words, every living being is an organism in which the magic
power of the spirit in nature acts; and if a man should attain the knowledge
how to control this power of life, and to employ it consciously, instead
of merely submitting unconsciously to its influence, then he would be a magician,
and could control the processes of life in his own organism, and perhaps
in that of other beings.
the question is: Can any man obtain such a power as to control the processes
of life ? The answer to this question depends on what you mean by the term
“man”. If you mean by “man” an intellectual animal, such as we meet every
day in the streets, then the answer is: No! for the majority of the men and
women of our present generation, including our greatest scientific lumens,
know absolutely nothing about their own inner nature or about the universal
power of the One Life, and many of them have not even made up their minds
whether or not they will believe in the existence of their own soul. They
can neither see it nor feel it objectively, and therefore they do not know
what to make of it. [Page 25]
if you mean by “man” that intelligent principle, which is active within the
organism of man, and which constitutes him a human being, and by whose action
he becomes a being very distinct from and superior to animals in human or
animal form, then the answer is: Yes ! for the divine power which acts within the organism of man is the same and identical
power which acts within the centre of nature. It is an internal power of
man, and belongs to man's true self, and if man once knows all the powers
which belong to his essential constitution, and knows how to use them, then
he may enter from the passive into the active state, and employ these powers
as it may seem, it is nevertheless a logical consequence drawn from the fundamental
truths about the constitution of man, that if a man could control the universal
power of life acting within himself, he might prolong the life of his organism
as long as it pleased him; if he could control it, and knew all the laws
of his nature, he might render it dense or vaporous, concentrate it to a
small point, or expand it, so as to occupy a great deal of space. Verily,
truth is stranger than fiction, and we might see it, if we could only rise
above the narrow conceptions and prejudices which we have inherited and acquired
by education and sensual observation.
most strange things happen continually in nature, and hardly attract our
attention. They do not seem strange to us, although we do not understand
them; merely because we are accustomed to see them every day. Who would be
so “foolish” as to believe that a tree could grow out of a seed – as there is evidently no tree in the seed – if his experience had not told him that trees grow out of seeds in spite of
all arguments to the contrary ? Who would believe that a flower would grow
out of a plant, if he had not seen it, for observation and reason show that
there is no flower in the stalk ? Nevertheless, flowers grow, and cannot
be disputed away.
in nature the action of a universal spiritual law is manifest, but we cannot
see the law [Page 26] itself.
Everywhere we see the manifestations of wisdom; but those who seek for the
origin of wisdom within their own brains will seek for it in vain.
art of Magic is the art of employing invisible or so-called spiritual agencies
to obtain certain visible results. Such agencies are not necessarily invisible
entities, flitting about in vacant space, ready to come at the command of
anyone who has learned certain incantations and ceremonies; but they consist
principally in the unseen but nevertheless powerful influences of the Emotions
and the Will, of desires and passions, thought and imagination, love and
hate, fear and hope, faith and doubt, etc., etc. They are the powers of what
is called the Soul; they are employed everywhere and by everybody every day,
consciously or unconsciously, willingly or unwillingly, and while those that
cannot control or resist. such influences, but are controlled by them, are
passive Instruments, “Mediums” through which such unseen powers act, and
often their unwilling slaves; those who are able to guide and control such
influences by gaining control over themselves, are, in proportion to their controlling capacity,
active, and powerful, and true Magicians, and may employ their powers for
good or for evil. We see, therefore, that with the exception of irresponsible
persons, everyone who has any will power is, in so far as he exercises that
will power, an active Magician; a white magician if he employs them for good,
a black magician if he uses them for the purposes of evil.
are people in the East and some in the West, through whom extraordinary feats,
such as are usually classified as “Magic”, are performed; but it does not
logically follow that such people are therefore conscious Magicians; it only
shows that the power which acts through their organism, is a magic power,
and the supposed “Magician” may be merely the instrument through which invisible
intelligent powers perform such feats, and he may not even know who or what
such a power is.
all cannot honestly say “we have life”; for life does not belong to us, and
we cannot control or monopolise [Page 27] it. All we can say without arrogance and presumption is, that we are instruments
through which the universal One Life manifests itself in the form of a human being. We are all Mediums, through which the universal One Life acts. Only when we know our own selves
and can control the life-principle within ourselves, can we become our own
Masters. He who thinks that he has any power whatever of his own, thinks
foolish: for all the powers he has are lent him by nature, or – more correctly speaking – by that eternal spiritual power, which acts in and from the centre of nature,
and which men have called “God”, because they have found it to be the source
of all good; the one Reality within the universe and within every being.
one will deny that Man, besides having physical powers, is also temporally
endowed with mental and even spiritual energies. We love, respect, or obey
a person, not on account of his superior bodily strength, but on account
of his intellectual and moral worth, or while we are under the spell of some
real or imaginary authority, that we may believe him to possess. A king or
a bishop has, as a person, not necessarily any more physical power than his
lackey or butler, and must make himself known before he will be obeyed; a
captain may be bodily the weakest man in his company and still his soldiers
obey him. We love beauty, harmony, and sublimity, not on account of their
usefulness for material purposes, but because they satisfy a corresponding
inner sense, which does not belong to the physical plane; civilisation gains
ground, more by moral and intellectual influences than by the power of the
bayonet, and it is a true saying, that in our age the pen is mightier than the sword.
would be a world without the magic power of love of beauty and harmony ?
How would a world look if made after a pattern furnished by modern science
? A world in which the universal power of truth were not recognised could
be nothing else but a world of maniacs and filled with hallucinations. In
such a world art and poetry could not exist, justice would become a convenience,
honesty be equivalent [Page 28] with imbecility, to be truthful would be to be foolish, and the idol of “Self” the only god worthy of any consideration.
may be said to be that science which deals with the mental and moral powers
of man, and shows what control he may exercise over himself and others. In
order to study the powers of man it is necessary to investigate what Man
is, and what relation he bears to the universe, and such an investigation,
if properly conducted, will show that the elements which compose the essential
man are identical with those we find in the universe; that is to say, that
the universe is the Macrocosm, and man – its true copy – the Microcosm.
Microcosmic man and the Macrocosm of nature are one. How could it be possible that the Macrocosm should contain anything not contained within the Microcosm or that man should have something within his organism, which cannot be found within the grand organism of nature ? Is not man the child of nature, and can there be anything within his constitution which does not come from his eternal father and mother ? If man's organisation contained something unnatural, he would be a monster, and nature would spew him out.
contained in nature can be found within the organism of man, and exists therein
either in a germinal or developed state; either latent or active, and may
be perceived by him who possesses the power of self-knowledge.
are born into a world in which we find ourselves surrounded by physical objects.
There seems to be still another – a subjective – world within us, capable of receiving and retaining impressions from the outside
world. Each one is a world of its own, with a relation to space different
from that of the other. Each has its days of sunshine and its nights of darkness,
which are not regulated by the days and nights of the other, each has its
clouds and its storms, and shapes and forms of its own.
we grow up we listen to the teachings of science to try to find out the true
nature of these worlds and the laws that govern them, but physical science
deals [Page 29] only with forms, and forms are continually changing. She gives only a partial solution of the problems of the objective world, and
leaves us in regard to the subjective world almost entirely in the dark.
Modern science classifies phenomena and describes events, but to describe
how an event takes place is not sufficient to explain why it takes place.
To discover causes, which are in themselves the effects of unknown primal
causes, is only to evade one difficulty by substituting another. Science
describes some of the attributes of things, but the first causes which brought
these attributes into existence are unknown to her, and will remain so, until
her powers of perception will penetrate into the unseen.
Besides scientific observation there seems to be still another way to obtain knowledge of the mysterious side of nature. The religious teachers of the world claim to have sounded the depths which the scientists cannot reach. Their doctrines are supposed by many to have been received through certain divine or angelic revelations, proceeding from a supreme, infinite omnipresent, and yet personal, and therefore limited external Being, the existence of which has never been proved. Although the existence of such a being is – to say the least – exceedingly doubtful, yet men in all countries have bowed down in terror before its supposed dictates; ready to tear each other's throats at a sign of its supposed command, and willing to lay down their money, their lives, and even their honour at the feet of those who are looked upon as the confidants or deputies of a god. Men and women are willing to make themselves miserable and unhappy in life for the purpose of obtaining some reward after they live no more. Some waste their life in the anticipation of joys in a life of which they do not know whether or not it exists; some die for fear of losing that which they do not possess.
are engaged in teaching others that which they themselves do not know, and
in spite of a very great number of religious systems there is comparatively
little religion at present upon the Earth.
term Religion is derived from the Latin world religere, which may be properly translated “to
bind back”, [Page 30] or to “relate”. Religion, in the true sense of the term, implies that science
which examines the link which exists between man and the cause from which
he originated, or in other words, which deals with the relation which exists
between man and God, for the true meaning of the term “God ” is Supreme First Cause, and Nature is the effect of its manifestation. True religion is therefore a science far
higher than a science based upon mere sensual perception, but it cannot be
in conflict with what is true in science. Only what is false in science must
necessarily be in conflict with what is true in religion, and what is false
in religion is in conflict with what is true in science. True religion and
true science are ultimately one and the same thing, and therefore equally
true; a religion that clings to illusions, and an illusory science, are equally
false, and the greater the obstinacy with which they cling to their illusions
the more pernicious is their effect.
distinction should be made between “religion” and “religionism ”; between “science” and “scientism ”; between “mystic science” and “mysticism”.
The highest aspect
of Religion is practically the union of man with the Supreme First Cause, from which his essence emanated
in the beginning.
Its second aspect
teaches theoretically the relations existing between that Great First Cause
and Man; in other words, the relations existing between the Macrocosm and
its lowest aspect religionism consists of the adulation of dead forms, of the worshipping
of fetiches, of fruitless attempts to wheedle oneself into the favour of
some imaginary deity, to persuade “God” to change his mind, and to try to
obtain some favours which are not in accordance with justice.
her highest aspect is the real knowledge of the fundamental laws of Nature, and is therefore
a spiritual science, based upon the knowledge of the spirit within one's
In its lower aspect it is a knowledge of external phenomena, and the secondary or superficial causes which produce the latter, and which our modern scientism mistakes for the final cause. [Page 31]
In its lowest aspect scientism is a system of observation and classification of external appearances,
of the causes of which we know nothing.
Religionism and Scientism are continually subject to changes. They have been
created by illusions, and die when the illusions are over. True Science and
true Religion are one, and if realised by Practice, they form, with the truth
which they contain, the three Iateral pyramid, whose foundations are upon
the earth, and whose point reaches into the kingdom of heaven.
Mystic science in its true meaning is spiritual knowledge; that is to say, the soul knowledge
of spiritual and “super-sensual” things, perceived by the spiritual powers
of the soul. These powers are germinally contained in every human organisation,
but only few have developed them sufficiently to be of any practical use.
Mysticism belongs to the vapoury speculations of the brain. It is a hankering after illusions,
a desire to pry into divine mysteries which the material mind cannot comprehend,
a craving to satisfy curiosity in regard to what an animal ought not to know.
It is the realm of fancies, of dreams, the paradise of ghost-seers, and of
spiritistic tomfooleries of all kinds.
But which is the true religion and the true science ? There is no doubt that a definite relationship exists between Man and the cause that called humanity into existence, and a true religion or a true science must be the one which teaches the true terms of that relation. If we take a superficial view of the various religious systems of the world, we find them all apparently contradicting each other. We find a great mass of apparent superstitions and absurdities heaped upon a grain of something that may be true. We admire the ethics and moral doctrines of our favourite religious system, and we take its theological rubbish in our bargain, forgetting that the ethics of nearly all religions are essentially the same, and that the rubbish which surrounds them is not real religion. It is evidently an absurdity to believe that any system could be true, unless it contained the truth. But it is equally evident that a thing cannot be true and false at the same time. [Page 32]
The truth can only be one. The truth never changes; but we ourselves change, and as we change so changes
our aspect of the truth. The various religious systems of the world cannot
be unnatural products. They are all the natural outgrowth of man's spiritual
evolution upon this globe, and they differ only in so far as the conditions
under which they came into existence differed at the time when they began
to exist; while his science has been artificially built by facts collected
from external observation. Each intellectual human being, except one blinded
by prejudice, recognises the fact that each of the great religious systems
of the world contains certain truths, which we intuitively know to be true;
and as there can be only one fundamental truth, so all these religions are
branches of the same tree, even if the forms in which the truth manifests
itself are not alike. The sunshine is everywhere the same, only its intensity
differs in different localities. In one place it induces the growth of palms, in another
of mushrooms; but there is only one Sun in our system. The processes going
on, on the physical plane have their analogies in the spiritual realm, for
there is only one Nature, one Law.
If one person quarrels with another about religious opinions, he cannot have the true religion, nor can he have any true knowledge; because true religion is the realisation of truth. The only true religion is the religion of universal Love; this love is the recognition of one's own divine universal self. Love is an element of divine Wisdom, and there can be no wisdom without love. Each species of birds in the woods sings a different tune; but the principle which causes them to sing is the same in each. They do not quarrel with each other, because one can sing better than the rest. Moreover, religious disputations, with their resulting animosities, are the most useless things in the world; for no one can combat the darkness by fighting it with a stick: the only way to remove darkness is to kindle a light, the only way to dispel spiritual ignorance is to let the light of knowledge that comes from the centre of love shine into every heart. [Page 33]
All religions are based upon internal truth, all have an outside ornamentation
which varies in character in the different systems, but all have the same
foundation of truth, and if we compare the various systems with one another,
looking below the surface of exterior forms, we find that this truth is in
all religious systems one and the same. In all this, truth has been hidden
beneath a more or less allegorical language, impersonal and invisible powers
have been personified and represented in images carved in stones or wood,
and the formless and real has been pictured in illusive forms. These forms
in letters, and pictures, and images are the means by which truths may be
brought to the attention of the unripe Mind. They are to the grown-up children
of all nations what picture-books are to small children who are not yet able
to read, and it would be as unreasonable to deprive grown-up children of
their images before they are able to read in their own hearts, as it would be to
take away the picture-books from little children and to ask them to read
printed books, which they cannot yet understand.
Very uninteresting and insignificant would be the stories contained in the Bible, and in other religious books, if the personal events described therein were
referring merely to certain occurrences having happened in the lives of certain
individuals who lived some thousands of years ago, and whose biography can
seriously interest no one today. What do we care now about the family affairs
of a man called Adam or Abraham ? Why should we want to be interested in
knowing how many legitimate or illegitimate children the Jewish Patriarchs
had, and what became of them? What is it to us whether or not a man by the
name of Jonah was thrown into the water and swallowed by a whale ? What happens
today in the various countries of Europe is more interesting and important
for us to know than what happened at the court of Zerubabel or Nabuchodonoser.
But fortunately for the Bible and – if we only knew how to read it – fortunately for us, the stories contained therein are by no means merely histories of persons who [Page 34] lived in ancient times, but they are allegories and myths having always a very deep meaning, of which our expounders of the Bible, as well as its critics, usually
know very little.
The men and the women of the old and new “testament” are much more than mere persons supposed to have existed at that time.
They are personifications of eternally active spiritual forces, of which
physical science does not even know that they exist; and their histories
give an account of their action, their interrelations within the Macrocosm
and its counterpart the Microcosm; they teach the history of the evolution
of mankind in its spiritual aspect.
If our natural philosophers would study the Bible and the ancient religious books
of the East, in their esoteric and spiritual aspects, they might learn a
great many things which they desire to know. They might learn to find out
what are the true powers of the still sleeping “Inner Man”, which are required to produce occult phenomena at will; they might
find instruction how to transmute lead or iron into pure gold, and to transform
animals into gods.
But it is a truth, based upon natural laws, that man can see nothing except that
which exists in his mind. If a man closes his eyes, he sees nothing, and
if his mind is filled with illusions, he will have no room for the truth,
and the deepest of symbols will be pictures without meaning to him.
If our children – the big ones as well as the little ones – are only looking at the pictures without learning the text, they are apt to
grow to believe the pictorial representations to be the very things they
are intended to represent; they become accustomed to forget that forms are
only illusions, and that formless realities cannot be seen. It is so much
easier to believe than to think. Children should not linger over their picture-books
so long as to neglect their higher education. Humanity has outgrown the infancy
of its present cycle, and asks for more intellectual food; the age of superstition
is passing away, and the demand is not for opinions but for knowledge, and
knowledge cannot be obtained without [Page 35] an effort. If we examine the various religious systems we may find a great deal
of truth, but we cannot recognise it without knowledge, and real knowledge
can only be obtained by practical experience. The expressed opinion of one
person can only give rise to conviction in another, if corroborated by the
same or a similar experience of the latter. A person can only truly believe
that which he knows himself, and he can only actually know himself that which
he has experienced himself.
There is a great difference between believing and understanding the truth. We
may believe the truth with our heart and reject it with our brain. In other
words: We may feel the truth intuitively, and not see it intellectually.
If our present generation would cultivate the faculty of knowing the truth
by heart, and afterwards examine that which they know by means of their intellect,
we would soon have a far better and happier state of society everywhere.
But the great curse of our age is that the intellectual faculties reject
the truth in the heart. The science of the brain suppresses the knowledge
of the soul, and tries to grasp that which only the heart can touch.
Men, instead of living in the sanctuary of the temples which they inhabit, are
continually absent from there, and reside in the garret under the roof, looking
out through the windows of the garret after scientific theories and other
illusions of life. Day and night they stand there and watch, careful that
none of the passing illusions may escape their observation, and while their
attention is absorbed by these idle shows, the thieves enter the house and
the sanctuary without being seen, and steal away the treasures. Then at the
time when the house is destroyed, and death appears, the soul returns to
the heart and finds it empty and desolate, and all the illusions that occupied
the brain during life fly away, and man is left poor indeed, because he has
not perceived the truth in his heart.
The real object of a religious system should therefore be to teach a way by which
a person may develop the power to perceive the truth himself, independent
of [Page 36] anybody's opinion. To ask a man to believe in the opinion expressed by another,
and to remain satisfied with such a belief, is to ask him to remain ignorant,
and to trust to another person more than to his own experience. A person
without knowledge can have no real conviction, no true faith. His adoption
of one particular theory or system depends on the circumstances under which
he is born, or brought up, or surrounded. He is most liable to adopt that
system which his parents or neighbours have inherited or adopted, and if
he changes from one to another, he, generally speaking, does so from mere
sentimentalism, or on account of some selfish consideration, expecting to
obtain some benefit to himself by that change. From a spiritual standpoint
he will gain nothing under such circumstances; because to approach the truth,
he must love the truth for its own sake, and not on account of the personal
advantage that it may bring; from an intellectual standpoint he will gain little or
nothing by exchanging one superstition for another. The only way by which
Man can hope to arrive at the truth is to love the truth on account of its
being the truth, and to free his mind from all prejudices and predilections,
so that its light may penetrate into the mind.
What is the religionism of today, but a religion of fear ? Men do not wish to
avoid vice, but they wish to avoid the punishment for having indulged in
vice. Their experience teaches them that the laws of nature are unchangeable,
but nevertheless they continue to act against the universal law. They claim
to believe in a God who is unchangeable, and yet they implore his assistance
if they desire to break his own law. When will they rise up to the true conception
that the only possible God is that universal power which acts in the law,
which is itself the law of the spirit in nature, and cannot be changed ?
To break the law is identical with breaking the God within ourselves, and
the only way to obtain forgiveness after he is broken is to restore the supremacy
of the law, and to create a new God within ourselves.
It may be well to study the opinions of others, and [Page 37] to store them up in the book of our memory, but we should not believe them to constitute self-knowledge. Even the teachings of the world's greatest Adepts, unimpeachable as they may be, can only instruct us, but give us no real knowledge. They can show the way, but we must take ourselves the steps on the ladder. Were we to recognise their dictum as the final aim, to be accepted without any further internal investigation, we should again fall back into a system of belief for the
sake of authority. Knowledge gives strength, doubt paralyses the will. A man
who does not believe that he is able to walk will not be able to walk as
long as he does not believe; a man who knows by experience that he can command himself will be able to do so. He who can
command himself can command that which is below him, because the low is controlled
by the high, and there is nothing higher than Man having obtained a perfect
knowledge of Self.
The knowledge of Self is identical with Self-knowledge, i.e., with one's own
Soul knowledge independent of any dogmas or doctrines, no matter from what
external authority they may proceed. If we study the teachings of any supposed
authority external to our own selves, we at best know what the opinion of
such an authority is in regard to the truth, but we do not necessarily arrive
thereby at a self-knowledge of the truth. If we, for instance, learn what
Christ taught about God, we are only informed of what he knew or believed
to know; but we cannot know God for all that, unless we awaken to a realisation
of God's presence within our own heart. The knowledge of even the wisest
of all men, if communicated to us, will be to us nothing more than an opinion,
as long as it is not experienced within our own selves. As long as we cannot
penetrate within the soul of Man, we can know little more about him but his corporeal form; but how could we penetrate within
the soul of another as long as we do not know our own ? Therefore the beginning
of all real knowledge is the knowledge of Self; the knowledge of the Soul
and not the vagaries of the brain.
Does external science confer any true knowledge of [Page 38] Man ? The range of her power of observation is limited by the perceptive power
of the physical senses, assisted by physical instruments; she has no means
to investigate that which transcends physical sense, she cannot enter the
temple of the unseen, she only knows the external form in which the reality
dwells. She only knows what man appears to be, but not what he is, she knows
nothing whatever of the essential and real man, and sometimes denies his
existence. In vain shall we look to her for the solution of the problem,
which thousands of years ago the Egyptian Sphinx propounded.
Do the popular religious systems confer any true knowledge of Man ? The conception
which the average theologian has of the mysterious being called Man is as
narrow as that of the professor of modern science. He looks upon man as a
personal being, isolated from other personal beings around whose infinite
little personality centres the interests of the infinitely great. He forgets
that the founders of the principal religious systems taught that the original
and essential man was a universal power, that the real man is a whole and
cannot be divided, and that the personal form of man is only the temporary
temple in which the spirit dwells.[Bible: Corinth. iii. 16.]
The misconceptions arising from ignorance of the true nature of Man are the cause that the popular religious opinions held by the average theologians in Christian and Pagan countries are based upon selfishness, contrary to the spirit of that which true religion teaches. “Christians” and “Heathens” clamour for some benefit to be conferred by some imaginary person upon that insignificant soap bubble, called the “personal self”, either here or in the hereafter. Each one of such short-sighted nothings wants to be saved personally himself above all, the salvation of the rest is a matter of second consideration. They expect to obtain some benefit which they do not deserve, to wheedle themselves into the favour of some personal deity, argue their case before God, cheat the “devil” of his just dues, and smuggle their imperfections into the kingdom of heaven. [Page 39]
The only reasonable object which any external religious system can possibly have,
is to elevate man from a lower state to a higher one, in which he can form
a better conception of his true dignity as a member of the human family.
If there is any possibility of imparting to a man a knowledge of his true
self, the churches are the places where such a knowledge should be imparted;
but to accomplish this the claims of the truth should predominate over those
of the form, the interests of religion and the interests of the “church”
would have to cease to be interchangeable terms, and the church should again
be founded upon the rock of self-knowledge, instead of the craving to obtain
some selfish personal benefit in this world or in the problematical hereafter.
He who is led by selfish considerations cannot enter a heaven where personal
considerations do not exist. He who does not care for heaven but is contented
where he is, is already, in heaven, while the discontented will in vain clamour
for it. To be without personal desires is to be free and happy. “Heaven”
can mean nothing else but a state in which freedom and happiness exist. The man who performs beneficial
acts induced by a hope of reward is not happy unless the reward is obtained,
and if his reward is obtained his happiness ends. There can be no permanent
rest and happiness as long as there is some work to be done and not accomplished,
and the fulfillment of duties brings its own reward.
A man who performs a good act with the hope of reward is not free. He is a servant
of Self, and works for the benefit of Self and not for his God. It is, therefore,
not the power of God which will reward him, he can only expect that reward
from his own temporary surroundings.
The man who performs evil acts, induced by a selfish motive, is not free. He who desires evil and is restrained by fear is not his own master. He who recognises the supreme power of the universe in his own heart has become free. He whose will is swayed by his personal self is the slave of his person, but he who has conquered that so-called “self” enters the higher life and becomes a power. [Page 40]
The science of Life consists in subduing the low and elevating the high. Its first lesson is how to free oneself from the love of self, the first angel of evil, or, according to Edwin Arnold in his “Light of Asia” -
“The sin of self, who in the universe
As in a mirror sees her fond face shown,
And crying ‘I’, would have the world say 'I',
And all things perish so if she endure.
lower Self is an unreal thing, composed of a great many illusive egos, of
which each one has his peculiar claims, and whose demands grow in proportion
as we attempt to satisfy them. They are the semi-intellectual forces of the
soul that would rend the soul to pieces if they were allowed to grow, and
which must be subdued by the power of the real Master, the superior “I” — the God.
“I’s” are the Elementals, of which has been said so much in occult literature. They are not imaginary
things, but living forces, and they may be perceived by him who has acquired
the power to look within his own soul. Each of these forces corresponds to
some animal desire, and if it is permitted to grow is symbolised by the form
of the being which corresponds to its nature. At first they are thin and
shadowy, but as the desire which corresponds to them is indulged in, they
become more and more dense within the soul, and being nourished by the will,
they gain great strength as our desires grow into a passion. The lesser Elementals
are swallowed by the bigger ones, the little desires are absorbed by the
stronger ones, until perhaps at last one Master Passion, one powerful Elemental
remains. They form the dreaded Dwellers of the Threshold, who guard the garden of the paradise of the soul. They are described as having
the form of snakes and tigers, hogs, insatiable wolves, etc., but as they
are often the result of a mixture of human and animal elements, they do not
merely exhibit purely animal forms; but frequently they look like animals
with human heads or like men with animal members; they appear under [Page 41] endless varieties of shapes, because there is an endless variety of correlations
and mixtures of lust, avarice, greed, sensual love, ambition, cowardice,
fear, terror, hate, pride, vanity, self-conceit, stupidity, voluptuousness,
selfishness, jealousy, envy, arrogance, hypocrisy, cunning, sophistry, imbecility,
superstition, etc., etc..
These Elementals live in the soul-realm of man as long as he lives, and grow strong and fat, for they live on his life-principle, and are fed by the substance of his thoughts. They may even become objective to him, if during a paroxysm of fear or in consequence of some disease they are enabled to step out of their sphere.
cannot be killed by pious ceremonies, nor be driven away by the exhortations
of a clergyman; they are only destroyed by the power of the spiritual Will of the divine man, which annihilates them as the light annihilates darkness,
or as a stroke of lightning seems to rend the clouds.
those who have awakened to divine spiritual consciousness can have that spiritual
will, of which the non-regenerated knows nothing. But those who are not yet
so far advanced may cause those elementals to die slowly, by withdrawing
from them the food which they require, that is to say, by not desiring or
enjoying their presence; by not giving to their existence the consent of
the will. They will then begin to wane, to get sick, die and putrefy like
a member of the body which has become mortified. A line of demarkation will be formed in the soul-body of man, there may be “inflammation” and suffering. A process, similar to that which occurs if a gangrenous
part of the physical body is thrown off, takes place; and at last the putrid
carcass of the Elemental drops off and dissolves.
descriptions are neither fancies nor allegories. Theophrastus Paracelsus, Jackob Boehme, and many other writers on Occultism write about them, and a due appreciation
of their doctrines will go far to explain many occurrences mentioned in the
history of witch-craft, and in the legends of the lives of the saints.
there are not merely animal germs within the realm of the soul of man. In
each human constitution [Page 42] there
are also the germs which go to make up a Shakespeare, a Washington, Goethe,
Voltaire, a Buddha, or Jesus of Nazareth. There are also the germs which
may grow to make a Nero, Messalina, or Torquemada; and each germ hag the
latent power to develop, take a form and ultimately find its expression and
reflection in the outward body, as much as the density of the material atoms,
which are slow to transform, will permit; for each character corresponds
to a form, and each form to a character.
microcosm is a garden in which all kinds of living plants grow Some are poisonous,
some are wholesome. It rests with man to decide which germs he wants to develop
into a living tree, and that tree will be himself.
accomplish the task of becoming spiritual it is not necessary to be a misanthrope
and retire into a jungle there to feed on the products of one's own morbid
imagination; the struggle caused by the petty annoyances of everyday life
is the best school to exercise the will power for those that have not yet
gained the mastery over Self. “To renounce the vanities of the world” does
not mean to look with contempt upon the progress of the world, to remain
ignorant of mathematics and logic, to take no interest in the welfare of
humanity, to avoid the duties of life or neglect one's family. Such a proceeding
would accomplish the very reverse of what is intended; it would increase
the love of self, it would cause the soul to shrink to a small focus instead
of expanding it over the world. We must attain a state before we can outgrow
it. A misanthrope cannot attain the love of God, if he does not first rise
up to the love for mankind. “To renounce one's self” means to conquer the sense
of personality and to free one's self of the love of things which that personality
desires. It means to "live in the world, but not cling to the world”, to
substitute universal love for personal love, and to consider the interests
of the whole
of superior importance than personal claims. The renunciation of that self
which is only a mask, is necessarily followed by spiritual growth. As we
forget our personal self, [Page 43] we attach less importance to personalities, personal things, and personal feelings.
We begin to look upon ourselves not as being permanent, unchanging and unchangeable
entities, standing isolated among other isolated entities, and being separated
from them by impenetrable shells, but as manifestations of an infinite power,
which embraces the universe, and whose powers are concentrated and brought
to a focus in the bodies which we temporarily inhabit, into which bodies
continually flow and from which are incessantly radiating the rays of an
infinite sphere of light, whose circumference is endless and whose centre
the recognition and realisation of this truth rests the only true Law, the Religion of the Universal Love of God in all Beings. As long as man takes only his own little self into consideration in his thoughts
and acts, the sphere of his mind becomes necessarily narrow. All our popular
religious sects are based upon selfish considerations. Each of our religious
sectarians speculates to obtain some spiritual, if not material, benefit
for himself. Each one wants to be saved by somebody; first he, and then perhaps the others;
but, above all, he himself. The true religion of universal Love knows of
the high and laudable desire to go to heaven or enter the state of Nirvana is, after all, but a selfish desire, and as long as man has any selfish desires
whatever, his mind perceives only his own self. Only when he ceases to have
a limited illusive “self” will his real god become unlimited and be omnipresent,
like the spirit of Wisdom. He who desires unlimited knowledge must rise above
at from that height, the personality appears exceedingly small and insignificant,
and of little importance. Man appears as the centralisation of an idea, persons
and peoples like living grains of sand on the shore of an infinite ocean.
Fortune, fame, love, luxury, etc., assume the importance of soap-bubbles,
and the soul has no hesitation in relinquishing them as the idle playthings
of children. Neither can such a renunciation be called a sacrifice, for grown-up
boys and girls [Page 44] do not “sacrifice” their popguns and dolls, they simply do not want them any
longer. In proportion as their minds expand, do they reach out for something
more useful, and as a man's soul expands, his surroundings, and even the
planet on which he lives, appear to him small as a landscape seen from a
great distance, or from a high mountain, while at the same time his conception
of the infinite grows larger and assumes a gigantic form. This expansion
of our existence “robs us of a country and a home” [ Bulwer-Lytton: “Zanoni”] by making us citizens of the grand universe; it separates us from the fancied
affections for the impermanent forms of our mortal parents and friends, to
unite us with their true individualities for ever as our immortal brothers
and sisters; it lifts us up from the narrow confines of the illusory to the
unlimited realm of the Ideal, and releasing man from the prison-house of
insignificant clay, it leads him to the sublime freedom and splendour of
Eternal and Universal Life.
form of life, the human form not excepted, is nothing more than a focus in
which the energies of the universal principle of life are concentrated, and
the more they are concentrated and cling to that centre, the less are they
able to manifest their activity, to grow and expand. Self-satisfied man,
who employs his capacities only for his own selfish purpose, contracts them
into himself, and as he contracts he becomes more and more narrow-minded
and insignificant, and as he loses sight of the whole, the whole loses sight
of him. If, on the other hand, a person lives only in dreams, sending his
forces into the region of the unknown, scattering them through space, without
having obtained intellectual strength, his thoughts will wander like shadows
through the realm of the infinite and become lost. Neither the self-conceited
realist nor the visionary dreamer and idealist grasps the truth. Harmonious
growth requires expansion along with a corresponding accumulation of energy.
Some persons are possessed of great intellectual power, but of little spirituality; some have spiritual [Page 45]
but a weak intellect; those in whom the intellectual energies are well supported
by a strong spirit are the elect. To become practical, we must first learn
to understand the thing we want to practice, by observation and receiving
instruction. Understanding is a result of assimilation and growth, not a
result of memory. The truth must nourish the soul. It is an awakening to
a state of consciousness of the nature of the thing that comes to be a part
of our own being. A person coming to a strange country in the evening will,
when after a night's rest he awakes in the morning, hardly realise where
he is. He has, perhaps, been dreaming of his home and those that are left
there, and only after he opens his eyes and awakens to a full sense of consciousness
of his new and strange surroundings, will the old impressions fade away,
and he will begin to realise where he is. In the same manner old errors must disappear before new truths can be realised. Man only begins to
exist as a conscious spiritual being when he begins to experience spiritual
become spiritual, physical health, intellectual growth, and spiritual activity
should go hand in hand. Intuition should be supported by an unselfish intellect,
a pure mind by a healthy form. How to accomplish this can neither be taught
by a science which deals only with illusory effects, nor by a religious belief
based upon illusions; but it is taught by Theosophy, the Wisdom Religion of the ages, whose foundation is truth, and whose practical application is the
highest object of human existence.
Wisdom Religion has been, and is today, the inheritance of the saints, prophets,
and seers, and of the illuminated ones of all nations, no matter to what
external system of religion they may have given their adherence. It was taught
by the ancient Brahmins, Egyptians, and Jews in temples and caves, Gautama
Buddha and Jesus of Nazareth preached it, it formed the basis of the Eleusinian
and Bacchic mysteries of the Greeks, and the true religion of the eternal
Christ is resting upon it. It is the religion of Humanity, that has nothing
to do with opinions and forms. Now, as [Page 46] in times of old, its truths are misunderstood and misrepresented by men who profess
to be teachers of men.The Pharisees and Sadducees of the New Testament were the prototypes of modern churchmen and scientists
existing today. Now, as then, the truth is daily crucified between superstition
and selfishness and laid in the tomb of ignorance. Now , as then, the spirit
has fled from the form, being driven away by those that worship the letter
and ignore the spirit. Wisdom will forever remain a secret science to the idolators adoring the form, even if it were proclaimed from the housetops
and preached at a market-place. The dealer in pounds and pennies, absorbed
by his material interests, may be surrounded by the greatest beauties of
nature and not comprehend them, the speculative reasoner will ask for a sign
and not see the signs by which he is continually surrounded. The tomb from
which the Saviour will arise is the heart of mankind; if the God in Humanity
awakens to self-consciousness of his Divinity then will he appear as a sun,
shedding his light upon a better and happier generation. [ See “Bhagavad Gita”, chap xi.)]
existence of the magic power of good will probably be denied by few; but
if the existence of benevolent, or White Magic, is admitted, that of malevolent, or Black Magic, is not any more improbable.
is not man who exercises good or evil magic powers, but it is the spirit
in him who works good or evil through the organism of man. God in his aspect
as the great cause is good or evil according to the conditions under which
he acts, for if God did not include evil as well as good, he would not be
universal. God performs good or evil deeds according to the mode in which
he must act; in the same way as the sun is good in spring-time when he melts
the snow and assists the grass and flowers to crawl out of the dark earth,
and evil if he parches the skin of the wanderer in tropical Africa and kills
persons by sun-stroke. God causes the healthy growth of a limb and the unhealthy
growth of a cancer by the power of his unintelligent material nature which
acts according to law and not according to whims. [Page 47] Divine wisdom does not become manifest in that which is not divine or spiritual.
Consciousness cannot become revealed in an unconscious body. Only when the
spirit in Man has awakened to consciousness and knowledge, will man be able
to control his own spiritual power and employ it for good or for evil.
person having created (or called into consciousness) in himself a spiritual
power may employ it for good or for evil. Every day we may read of persons
who have used high intellectual powers for vile purposes. We see persons
making use of the vanity, greediness, selfishness, or ambition of others
to render them subservient to their own purpose. We see them commit murder
and instigate wars for the benefit of their own purposes or to attain some
object of their ambition. But such events belong more or less to the struggle
for existence. They do not necessarily belong to the sphere of black magic
because they are usually not caused by a love for absolute evil, but by a
desire of a personal benefit of some kind. The real black magicians are those
that are doing evil for the sake of doing evil, who injure others without
expecting or receiving any benefit for themselves. To that class belong
the habitual backbiter and slanderer, traducer and seducer, those who enjoy to create enmity in
the bosom of families, oppose progress and encourage ignorance, and they
have been rightly called the Sons of Darkness, while those who do good for the sole purpose of doing good have been called
the Children of Light.
struggle between Light and Darkness is as old as the world; there can no
light become manifest without Darkness and no evil without good. Good and
evil are the light and shadow of the one eternal principle of life, and each
is necessary if the other is to become manifest. Absolute good must exist,
but we cannot know good without knowing the presence of evil. Absolute evil
cannot exist, because it is held together by the power of good. A soul in
which there were no good whatever would rage against itself, the forces constituting
such an entity would combat each other and rend it to pieces. Man's Redeemer
is his power for good. This power [Page 48] attracts him to that which is good, and at the end, when the supreme source of
all power, from which life emanated in the beginning, withdraws that activity
into itself, the powers of darkness will suffer, but the creatures of Light
will be one with their own source.
This is the law of evolution, that the lower should develop into something higher; but this can be accomplished only by the power of the highest of all germinally contained within the form, and acted upon by itself from without. The soul requires nutriment as much as the physical form, and the nutriment of the soul descends from above like the rain; while the earth below furnishes the conditions for its assimilation. This is the law of the spirit in the natural world, that all nature should receive it and by a spiritual unfolding rise up to the spirit, while matter is to furnish the steps upon which to ascend. This unfolding and uprising takes place in proportion as the spirit of God becomes self-conscious in man, endowing him with a sense of its divine nature, which will ultimately lead him to a recognition of God. [Page 49]
“God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth”. - John iv. 24.
highest desire any reasonable man can cherish and the highest right he may
possibly claim, is to become perfect. To know everything, to love all and
be known and beloved by all, to possess and command everything that exists,
such is a condition of being that, to a certain extent, may be felt intuitively,
but whose possibility cannot be grasped by the intellect of mortal man. A
foretaste of such a blissful condition may be experienced by a person who – even for a short period of time – is perfectly happy. He who is not oppressed by sorrow, not excited by selfish
desires, and who is conscious of his own strength and liberty, may feel as
if he were the master of worlds and the king of creation; and, in fact, during
such moments he is their ruler, as far as he himself is concerned, although
his subjects may not seem to be aware of his existence.
when he awakes from his dream and looks through the windows of his senses
into the exterior world, and begins to reason about his surroundings, his
vision fades away; he beholds himself a child of the Earth, a mortal form,
bound with many chains to a speck of dust in the Universe, on a ball of matter
called a planet that floats in the infinity of space. The ideal world, that
perhaps a moment before appeared to him as a glorious reality, may now seem
to him the baseless fabric of a dream, in which there is nothing real, and
physical existence, with all its imperfections, is now to him the only unquestionable
reality, and its [Page 50] most dear illusions the only things worthy of his attention. He sees himself
surrounded by material forms, and he seeks to discover among these forms
that which corresponds to his highest ideal.
highest desire of mortal is to attain fully that which exists in himself
as his highest ideal. A person without an ideal is unthinkable. To be conscious
is to realise the existence of some ideal, to relinquish the ideal world
would be death. A person without any desire for some ideal would be useless
in the economy of nature, a person having all his desires satisfied needs
to live no longer, for life can be of no further use to him. Each one is
bound to his own ideal; he whose ideal is mortal must die when his ideal
dies, he whose ideal is immortal must become immortal himself to attain it.
man's highest ideal should be his own higher spiritual self. Man's semi-animal
self, which we see expressed in his physical form, is not the whole of man.
Man may be regarded as an invisible power or ray extending from the (spiritual)
Sun to the Earth. Only the lower end of that ray is visible, where it has
evolved an organised material body; by means of which the invisible ray draws
strength from the earth below. If all the life and thought-force evolved
by the contact with matter are spent within the material plane, the higher
spiritual self will gain nothing by it. Such a person resembles a plant developing
nothing but its root. When death breaks the communication between the higher
and lower, the lower self will perish, and the ray will remain what it was,
before it evolved a mortal inhabitant of the material world.
Man lives in two worlds, in his interior and in the exterior world. Each of these worlds exists under conditions peculiar to itself, and that world in which he lives is for the time being the most real to him. When he enters into his interior world during deep sleep or in moments of perfect abstraction, the forms perceived in the exterior world fade away; but when he awakes in the exterior world the impressions received in his
state are forgotten, or leave only their uncertain [Page 51] shadows on the sky. To live simultaneously in both worlds is only possible to
him who succeeds in harmoniously blending his internal and external worlds
so-called Real seldom corresponds with the Ideal, and often it happens that
man, after many unsuccessful attempts to realise his ideals in the exterior
world, returns to his interior world with disappointment, and resolves to
give up his search; but if he succeeds in the realisation of his ideal, then
arises for him a moment of happiness, during which time, as we know it, exists
for him no more, the exterior world is then blended with his interior world,
his consciousness is absorbed in the enjoyment of both, and yet he remains
and poets may be familiar with such states. An inventor who sees his invention
accepted, a soldier coming victorious out of the struggle for victory, a
lover united with the object of his desire, forgets his own personality and
is lost in the contemplation of his ideal. The extatic saint, seeing the
Redeemer before him, floats in an ocean of rapture, and his consciousness
is centred in the ideal that he himself has created out of his own mind,
but which is as real to him as if it were a living form of flesh. Shakespeare's
Juliet finds her mortal ideal realised in Romeo's youthful form. United with
him, she forgets the rush of time, night disappears, and she is not conscious
of it; the lark heralds the dawn and she mistakes its song for the singing
of the nightingale. Happiness measures no time and knows no danger. But Juliet's
ideal is mortal and dies; having lost her ideal Juliet must die; but the
immortal ideals of both become again one as they enter
the immortal realm through the door of physical death.
as the sun rose too early for Juliet, so all evanescent ideals that have
been realised in the external world vanish soon. An ideal that has been realised
ceases to be an ideal; the ethereal forms of the interior world, if grasped
by the rude hand of mortals and embodied in matter, must die. To grasp an
immortal ideal, man's mortal nature must die before he can grasp it. [Page 52]
ideals may be killed, but their death calls similar ones into existence.
From the blood of a vampire that has been slain a swarm of vampires arises.
A selfish desire fulfilled makes room for similar desires, a gratified passion
is chased away by other similar passions, a sensual craving that has been
stilled gives rise to new cravings. Earthly happiness is short-lived and
often dies in disgust; the love of the immortal alone is immortal. Material
acquisitions perish, because forms are evanescent and die. Intellectual accomplishments
vanish, for the products of the imagination, opinions, and theories, are
subject to change. Desires and passions change and memories fade away. He
who clings to old memories, clings to that which is dead. A child becomes
a man, a man an old man, an old man a child; the playthings of childhood
give way to intellectual playthings, but when the latter have served their
purpose, they appear as useless as did the former, only spiritual realities are everlasting
and true. In the ever-revolving kaleidoscope of nature the aspect of illusions
continually changes its form. What is laughed at as a superstition by one
century is often accepted as the basis of science for the next, and what
appears as wisdom today may be looked upon as an absurdity in the great
tomorrow. Nothing is permanent but the truth.
where can man find the truth ? If he seeks deep enough in himself he will
find it revealed, each man may know his own heart. He may let a ray of the
light of intelligence into the depths of his soul and search its bottom,
he will find it to be as infinitely deep as the sky above his head. He may
find corals and pearls, or watch the monsters of the deep. If his thought
is steady and unwavering, he may enter the innermost sanctuary of his own
temple and see the goddess unveiled. Not everyone can penetrate into such
depths, because the thought is easily led astray; but the strong and persisting
searcher will penetrate veil after veil, until at the innermost centre he
discovers the germ of truth, which, awakened to self-consciousness, will
grow in him into a sun that illuminates the whole of his interior world. [Page 53]
an interior meditation and elevation of thought in the innermost centre of
the soul, is the only true prayer. The adulation of an external form, whether
living or dead, whether existing objectively or merely subjectively in the
imagination, is useless, and serves only to deceive. It is very easy to attend
to forms of external worship, but the true worship of the living God within
requires a great effort of will and a power of thought, and is in fact the
exercise of a spiritual power received from God. God in us prays to himself.
Our business consists in continual guarding of the door of the sacred lodge,
so that no illegitimate thoughts may enter the mind to disturb the holy assembly
whose deliberations are presided over by the spirit of wisdom.
shall we know the truth ? It can be known only if it becomes revealed within
the soul. Truth, having awakened to consciousness, knows that it is; it is
the god-principle in man, which is infallible and cannot be misled by illusions.
If the surface of the soul is not lashed by the storms of passion, if no
selfish desires exist to disturb its tranquility, if its waters are not darkened
by reflections of the past, we will see the image of eternal truth mirrored
in the deep. To know the truth in its fulness is to become alive and immortal,
to lose the power of recognising the truth is to perish in death. The voice
of truth in a person that has not yet awakened to spiritual life, is the “still small voice” that may be heard in the heart, listened to by the soul, as
a half-conscious dreamer listens to the ringing of bells in the distance, [ See H. P. Blavatsky: “The voice of the silence”. ] but in those that have become conscious of life, having received the baptism
of the first initiation administered by the spirit of God, the voice heard
by the new-born ego has no uncertain sound, but becomes the powerful Word of the Master. The awakened truth is self-conscious and self-sufficient, it
knows that it exists. It stands higher than all theories and creeds and higher
than science, it does not need to be corroborated by “recognised authorities”,
it cares not for the opinion of others, and its decisions [Page 54] suffer no appeal. It knows neither doubt nor fear, but reposes in the tranquility
of its own supreme majesty. It can neither be altered nor changed, it always
was and ever remains the same, whether mortal man perceives it or not. It
may be compared to the light of the earthly sun, that cannot be excluded
from the world, but from which man may exclude himself. We may blind ourselves
to the perception of the truth, but the truth itself is not thereby changed.
It illuminates the minds of those who have awakened to immortal life. A small
room requires a little flame, a large room a great light for its illumination,
but in either room the light shines equally clear in each; in the same manner
the light of truth shines into the hearts of the illumined with equal clearness,
but with a power differing according to their individual capacity.
would be perfectly useless to attempt to describe this interior illumination.
Only that which exists relatively to ourselves has a real existence for us,
that of which we know nothing does not exist for us. No real knowledge of
the existence of light can be furnished to the blind, no experience of transcendental
knowledge can be given to those whose capacity to know does not transcend
the realm of external appearances.
is nothing higher than truth, and the acquisition of truth is therefore man's
highest ideal. The highest ideal in the Universe must be a universal ideal.
The constitution of all men is built according to one universal law, and
the highest ideal must be the same to all and attainable to all, and in its
attainment all individuals become reunited. As long as the soul of man does
not recognise the highest ideal in the Universe, the highest one which he
is able to recognise will be the highest to him; but as long as there still
exists a higher one than the one he perceives, the higher will unconsciously
attract him, unless he forcibly and persistingly repulses its attraction.
Only the attainment of the highest ideal in the Universe can give eternal
and permanent happiness, for having attained the highest there is nothing
left that could possibly be desired. As long as there is still a higher ideal
for man, he will have aspirations [Page 55] to reach it, but having reached the highest all attraction ceases, he becomes
one with it and can desire nothing more. There must be a state of perfection
which all may reach and beyond which none can advance, until the Universe
as a whole advances beyond it. All men have the same right to reach the highest,
but not all have the same power developed, some may reach it soon, others
may lag on the road, and perhaps the majority may fall and have to begin
again at the foot of the ladder. Each ripe acorn that falls from an oak has
the inherent capacity to develop into an oak; but not each finds the same
conditions for development. Some may grow, a few may develop into trees,
but the majority will enter into decomposition to furnish material out of
which new forms may be developed.
highest truth in its fulness is not known to man in the mortal form. Those
that have attained to a state of perfect consciousness of infinite truth
are not imprisoned in a limited form, they belong to a formless tribe; they
could not be one with an universal principle if they were tied by the chains
of personality; a soul expanded, so that the prison-house of flesh can hold
it no more, will require that prison-house no longer. Flesh and blood is
only required to shelter the spirit in the infancy of his development, as
long as he has not attained full power. The “clothes of skin, [ Bible: Genesis iii. 21] were needed to protect him against the destructive elementary influences of the
sphere of evil as long as he could not rise above evil. Having attained the
knowledge of evil and the power to subdue it, and having by the realisation
of the truth “eaten from the tree of life and attained substantiality”, [Bible: Genesis iii. 22] he can protect himself by his own power, and requires his clothes of flesh no
developed man, unless he has become degraded, feels intuitively that which
is true, but does not know the truth by direct perception. The externalist
who reasons only from the plane of sensual perceptions is farthest from a
recognition of the truth, because he mistakes the illusions produced by his
senses for the reality, and repulses the revelations of his own [Page 56] spirit. The philosopher, unable to see the truth, attempts to grasp it with his
logic, and may approach it to a certain extent; but he, in whom the truth
has attained its own self-consciousness, knows the truth because he is himself
one with it. Such a state is incomprehensible to the majority of men, to
scientists and philosophers as well as to the ignorant, and nevertheless
men have existed, and exist today, who have attained it. They are the true Theosophos, but not everyone is a Theosopher who goes by the name of “Theosophist”, nor is everyone a Christ who is called a Christian. But a true
Theosopher and a true Christian are one and the same, because both are human
forms in which the universal spiritual soul, the Christ or the light of Divine
Wisdom, has become manifest.
terms “Christian” or “Theosophist”, like so many other terms of a similar
kind, have almost entirely lost their true meaning. A “Christian” now-a-days
means a person whose name is inscribed in the register of some so-called
Christian Church, and performs the ceremonies prescribed by that social organisation;
while a “Theosophist” is said to be a visionary or dreamer.
a real Christian is something entirely different from a merely external one. The first Christians
were a secret organisation, a school of Occultists, who adopted certain symbols
and signs, in which to represent spiritual truths, and thus to communicate
them to each other.
real Theosophos is not a dreamer, but a most practical person. By purity of life he acquires
the power to perceive higher truths than average man is able to see, and
he understands the things which he sees, because he possesses a spiritual
knowledge gained by many a life of self-denial in repeated reincarnations.
fundamental truth the life of all things is only one, men in all countries,
having attained self-consciousness in it, have the same perception. This
explains why the revelations or the sages are identical with each other.
The truths revealed by a Jackob Boehme, Eckhart, or Paracelsus in Germany,
are essentially the same as those revealed by the Thibetan Adepts, they only
differ in [Page 57] extent and in mode of expression. A true Christian saint in England or France
would tell the same tale as a real Brahmin in India or a truly wise red Indian
in America; because all three, being in the same state of clear perception,
would exactly see the same thing. The truth is there, visible to all who
possess it, but each will describe what he sees according to his mode of
thinking and in his own fashion. If – as the ignorant believe – all the visions of saints and lamas, sanyâssi, and dervishes, were only the result of hallucinations and fancies, not two
of them, having never heard of each other, would have the same vision. A
tree will be a tree to all who are able to see it, and if their sight is
clear no arguments will change it into an oyster; a truth will be seen as
a truth by all who are able to see it, and no sophistry will change it into
a lie. To know the whole truth is to know everything that exists; to love
the truth above all is to become united with everything; to be able to express
the truth in its fulness is to possess universal power; to be one with immortal
truth is to be for ever immortal.
capacity of perceiving the truth depends on the tranquility of the soul.
The soul not being true cannot realise truth, it can at best dream of it
as of something existing in another world. The sound of the voice of the
truth cannot penetrate through the noise caused by the turmoil in the heart;
its light cannot break through the clouds of false theories and the smoke
of opinions which inhabit the brain. To understand that voice and to behold
that light distinctly and without any foreign admixture, heart and head should
be at rest. To perceive the truth, purity of heart and self control should
go hand in hand, and it is therefore taught that men must become as unsophisticated
as children and strong as lions before they can enter the sphere of truth.
Head and heart, if united, are One, but if they act against each other they form the absurd Two that produces illusions. The emotional maniac is only guided by his heart, the
intellectual fool only listens to the dictates of his head, he lives in his
head and knows not the heart. But neither the revelry of the emotions nor
intellectual fanaticism discloses the truth; [Page 58] only in the “stillness that follows the storm”, [ ‘Light on the Path', by Mabel Collins ] when the harmony of both is restored, can the truth be discovered. A man who
only follows the dictates of his emotions, resembles one who in ascending
a mountain peak becomes dizzy, and losing his power to control himself, falls
over a precipice; a man who is only guided by his sensual perceptions influencing
his intellect is easily lost in the whirlpool of multifarious illusions.
He is like a person on an island in the ocean examining a drop of water taken
from the ocean, and being blind to the existence of the ocean from which
that drop has been taken. But if heart and head are attuned to the divine
harmonies of the invisible realm of nature, then will the truth reveal itself
to man, and in him will the highest ideal see its own image reflected.
sometimes hear some people boast that they are controlled by their intellect,
others are guided by their emotions; a free man is not controlled by either of the two; he is his own master guiding his
heart and his mind. By the power of the god in him he controls the intellectual
workings of his brain no less than the emotions of his heart. Heart and brain
are not ourselves. They are instruments which have been lent to us by our
Creator. They should not govern us; but we should govern them, and use them
according to the dictates of his wisdom.
man, entombed in his chrysalis of clay, can only feel, but not see, the spiritual
rays that radiate from the sun of infinite truth; but if he bids his emotions
be still ! and commands his reasoning power be not deluded! he may stretch
his feelers into the realm of the spirit. In dealing with the unseen, his
heart should be used as a touchstone to examine the conclusions arrived at
by the brain, and the brain should be employed like scales to weigh the decisions
of the heart; but when the light of divine wisdom comes to his aid, there
will be no more difference of opinion between the head and the heart, the
perceptions of the one will be in harmony with the [Page 59] aspirations of the latter, because both will be joined in the light.
is usually guided principally by his intellect, woman by her emotions; man
represents intelligence, woman the will. To reason from external appearances
has become a necessity to men in consequence of their material organisation,
which like a shell surrounds their soul; but if the innermost spiritual man,
sleeping in every heart, awakens to life, he emits a light that penetrates
through the veil of matter and illuminates the mind. If this germ of divinity,
hidden in the centre, awakens, it emits a spiritual light, which reaches
from man to the stars and to the utmost limits of space, and by the help
of that divine light the mind may perceive and penetrate into the deepest
mysteries of the Universe. Those who are able to know the truth by direct
perception do not need to be informed of it by others, the whole of the visible
and invisible realm lies open before them, like a book in whose pages they
may read the whole history of the world. They know all the manifestations of life, because
they are one with the source of life from which all forms were born, they
need not study letters, because the Word itself is living in them. They are the instruments through whom eternal wisdom
reveals itself to those who are entombed in matter. These are the true Saviours, Adepts, Illuminates, Rosicrucians, Mahatmas, and Theosophoi ; not those pretenders who merely fancy to be what they not really are.
pitiful must appear to the enlightened the war of opinions raging among those
whom humanity believes to be the keepers of knowledge and wisdom; how insignificantly
small appear those lights before the sun of divine truth. What appears as
a light to the ignorant, appears to the illuminated seer as darkness and
smoke, and the wisdom of the world becomes foolishness [ 1 Cor. iii. 19] before the eye of the truth. The oyster in its shell may believe itself at the
pinnacle of perfection, and that there is no higher existence than that which
it enjoys in the ocean-bed; the self conceited, proud of his learning, is
swelled [Page 60] with vanity, knowing little how little he knows. Many of the representatives
of modern science forget that the greatest inventions have been made, not
by the professed guardians of science, but by men with a clear perception,
and upon whom they looked with contempt. They ought to remember, that many
useful inventions were made and introduced, not with the assistance, but
in spite of the opposition of the learned. It may be disagreeable to call
up unpleasant memories, but we cannot close our eyes to the fact that the
inventors of railroads, steamships, and telegraphs have been ridiculed by
professors of science, that men of science have laughed at the belief in
the rotundity of the earth, and that some of the appointed keepers of the
truth have often been conspicuous on account of their misunderstanding of
the laws of nature, and of their opposition to truth, whenever it conflicted
with their preconceived opinions.
Many useful discoveries have been made through the power of intuition; some have been made by logical reasoners without intuition, and their results are still a curse to mankind. For centuries the learned professions have been thriving on human suffering, and many of their followers, mistaking the low for the high, have prostituted their knowledge. The fear of an illusory devil external to man has served to swell the money-bags of Brahmins and priests, while the real internal devils, residing in the passionate nature of man, were allowed to grow. For centuries many of the self-appointed servants of the Supreme have only served the golden calf, residing in their animal nature, feeding their followers with false hopes of immortality, and speculating on the selfish propensities of men. Those to whom humanity looks for protection against bodily ills, and who therefore – more than anybody else – should understand the real constitution of man, still experiment with the physical form to seek the cause of disease, being ignorant of the fact that the form is an expression of life, the product of the soul, and that external effects cannot be effectually changed without changing the internal causes. Many of them refusing to believe in Soul, seek the cause of diseases in its [Page 61] external expression, where it does not exist. Diseases are the necessary results of disobedience to the laws of nature, they are the consequences of “sins” that cannot be forgiven, but must be atoned for by acting again in accordance with natural laws. In vain will the ignorant ask the guardians of health for their assistance to cheat
out of its dues. Physicians may restore health by restoring the supremacy
of the law, but as long as they know only an infinitesimal part of the law
they can only cure an infinitesimal part of the diseases afflicting mankind;
they sometimes suppress the manifestation of one disease by calling another
and more serious one into existence. In vain will such investigators seek
for the cause for epidemic diseases in places where such diseases may be
propagated, but where they are not created. The soul of the world in which
such causes reside cannot be seen with microscopes, it can only be recognised
by a man capable of perceiving the truth.
true conception of the nature of man will lead to the comprehension of the
fact that man, being as a microcosm the true image, reflection and representative
of the macrocosm of nature; Nature has the same organisation as Man, although not the same external form. Having the same organs and functions, and being ruled by the same laws, the
organism of Nature is liable to experience diseases similar to those experienced
by the organism of man. Nature has her dropsical swellings, her nervous tremblings,
her paralytic affections by which civilised countries turn into deserts,
her inflammatory affections, her rheumatic contractions, spells of heat and
cold, eruptions and earthquakes. If our physicians knew the nature of man,
they would also know the organisation of Nature as a whole, and understand
more about the origin of epidemic diseases, of which they now know merely
the external effects.
does modern medical science know of the constitution of man, whose life and
safety is made to depend on that knowledge ? It knows the form of the body,
the arrangement of muscles, and bones, and organs, and it calls these constituent
parts by names [Page 62] which it invented. Having no supersensual perceptions it does not know the soul
of man, but believes that his body is the essential man. If its eyes were
open it would see that this visible body is only the material kernel of the
“immaterial”, but nevertheless substantial real man, whose soul-essence radiates
far into space, and whose spirit is without limits, and that the spirit is
not merely within the body, but rather the body within the sphere of the
spirit. They would know that in the life-principle resides sensation, perception,
consciousness, and all the causes that produce the growth of the form. Labouring
under their fatal mistake they attempt to cure that which is not sick, while
the real patient is unknown to them. Under such circumstances it is not surprising
that the most enlightened physicians of our time have expressed the opinion
that our present system of medicine is rather a curse than a blessing to mankind, and that our drugs and medicines on the
whole do vastly more harm than good, because they are continually misapplied.
This is an assertion which has often been made by their own most prominent
ideal physician of the future is he who knows the true constitution of man,
and who is not led by illusive external appearances, but able to examine
into the hidden causes of all external effects. To him the acquisitions of
external science are not the guides but only the assistants, his guide will
be his own knowledge and not a theory, and his knowledge will endow him with
power.[ Such a physician was Theophrastus Paracelsus, the great reformer of medicine
in the sixteenth century.]
our medical students were to apply a part of the time which they employ for
amusements for the development of a love for the truth, they would become
able to know certain processes within the organism of man, which are at present
to them a mere matter of speculation, and which are not discoverable by any
even the modern physician acts wiser than he knows. He may say that he does
not believe in faith, and yet it is only faith that upholds him and by which [Page 63]he exists, because if men had no confidence in him they would not employ him,
and if his patients did not believe that he could benefit them they would
not follow his directions. A physician without spiritual knowledge, having
no confidence in himself, and in whom no one else has any faith, is perfectly
useless as a physician, no matter how much he may have learned in schools.
is nothing whatever that can be accomplished without the power of Faith,
and there is no faith possible without spiritual knowledge. We can only accomplish
that of which we are confident that we can accomplish it, and we can only
be truly confident if we know by experience that we have the power to do
does popular science know about Mind ? According to the usual definition,
Mind is “the intellectual power in man”, and as “man” means a visible body, this definition makes of mind something confined within
that visible form. But if this conception were true, there could be no transmission
of will to a distance and no transmission of thought. No sound can be heard
in a space from which the air has been exhausted, and no thought can travel
from one individual to another without a corresponding “ether” existing between
them; but the possibility of thought-transference is now an universally admitted
fact; its truth has been perceived long ago by children who make practical
use of it in some of their games, and it has now been admitted as a fact
even by the most sceptical and superficial observers.[“Report of the Society for Psychical Research”. London, 1884.] Moreover, anyone who doubts its possibility has it in his power to convince
himself by either impressing his thoughts silently upon others, or by letting
others impress their thoughts upon him.
How infinitely more grand and how much more reasonable is the conception of ancient philosophical science, according to whose doctrines everything that exists is an expression of the thoughts of the Universal Mind, pervading all space! This conception makes Mind a power in the realm of infinity, acting through living and intelligent instruments, and of Man, [Page 64] an intellectual power, an expression of the Universal Mind, able to receive, reflect, and modify the thoughts of the latter, like a diamond that becomes self-luminous
the influence of the Sun.
is no reason why we should delude ourselves with a belief that an intelligent
mind can exist only in a form which is visible and tangible to the external
senses of man. There may be, for all we know, untold millions of intelligent
or semi-intelligent beings in the universe, whose forms are constituted differently
from ours, living on another plane of existence than ours, and who are therefore
invisible to our physical senses, but may be perceived by the superior power
of perception of the inner man. Nor is their existence a matter of mere speculation,
for they have been perceived by those who have the power of interior perception.
we know of external objects is the images which they produce in the sphere
of our mind. Astral or spiritual beings produce no reflection upon the retina,
but their presence may be known when they enter the mental sphere of the
observer and they may be perceived with the eye of the soul.
ideal scientist of the future having attained the power of inner perception,
will recognise this truth.
If we believe that the object of life is simply to render our material Self satisfied and to keep it in comfort, and that material comfort confers the highest state of possible happiness, we mistake the low for the high and an illusion for the truth. Our material mode of life is a consequence of the material constitution of our bodies.
are “worms of earth” because we cling with all our desires and aspirations
to earth. If we can enter upon a path of evolution, by which we become less
material and more ethereal, a very different order of civilisation would
be established. Things which now appear indispensable and necessary would
cease to be useful; if we could transfer our consciousness with the velocity
of thought from one part of the globe to another, the present mode of communication
and transportation would be no longer required. The deeper we sink into matter,
the more material means for comfort will be [Page 65] needed; but the essential inner man is not material – in the usual acceptation of this term – and independent of the restrictions of matter.
are the real necessities of life ? The answer to this question depends entirely
on what we imagine to be necessary. Railways, steamers, electric lights,
etc., are now a necessity to us, and yet millions of people have lived long
and happy knowing nothing about them. To one man a dozen of palaces may appear
to be an indispensable necessity, to another a carriage, another a pipe,
or a bottle of whisky. But all such necessities are only such as man himself
has created. They make the state in which he now is agreeable to him, and
tempt him to remain in that state and to desire for nothing higher. They
may even hinder his development instead of advancing it. If we would rise
into a higher state, in which we would no longer require such things, they
would cease to be a necessity, and even become undesirable and useless; but
it is the craving and the wasting of thought for the augmentation of the pleasures of the lower life which prevent man to enter the higher one.
raise the evanescent man to a state of perfection enjoyed by the permanent
ideal man is the great Arcanum, that cannot be learned in books. It is the
great secret, that may be understood by a child, but will for ever be incomprehensible
to him who, living entirely in the realm of his dreams, has no power to grasp
it. The attainment of a higher consciousness is the Magnum opus, the great work, of which the Alchemists said that thousands of years may be required to perform it, but that it may
also be accomplished in a moment, even by a woman while engaged in spinning.
They looked upon the human mind as being a great alembic, in which the contending
forces of the emotions may be purified by the heat of holy aspirations and
by a supreme love of truth. They gave instructions how the soul of mortal
man may be sublimated and purified from earthly attractions, and its immortal
parts be made living and free. The purified elements were made to ascend
to the supreme source of law, and descended again in showers of snowy whiteness, visible to all, because [Page 66] they rendered every act of life holy and pure. They taught how the base metals – meaning the animal energies in man – could be transformed into the pure gold of true spirituality, and how, by attaining
spiritual knowledge and spiritual life, souls could have their youth and
innocence restored and be rendered immortal.
truths shared the fate of other truths; they were misunderstood and rejected
by the ignorant, who continually clamour for truth and reject it when it
is offered, and ridiculed by fools. Theology and Masonry have – each in its own manner – continued the teachings of the Alchemists, and fortunate is the Mason or the
priest who spiritually understands that which he teaches. But of such true
disciples there are only few. The systems in which the old truths have been
embodied are still in existence, but the cold hands of Sophistry and Materialism
have been laid upon the outward forms, and from the interior the spirit has
fled. Doctors and clergymen see only the outward form, and not the hidden
mystery that called these forms into existence. The key to the inner sanctuary
has been lost by those that were entrusted with its keeping, and the true
password has not been rediscovered by the followers of Hiram Abiff. The riddle
of the Egyptian Sphinx still waits for a solution, and will be revealed to
none unless he becomes strong enough to discover it himself.
But the true Word still lives. The light of truth still shines deep into the interior world of man, and sends its divine influence down into the valleys, and wherever the doors and windows are open to receive it, there will it dispel the darkness, rendering men and women conscious of their own godlike attributes and guiding them on the road to perfection, until, when all their struggles have ceased and the law has been restored, they will find permanent happiness in the realisation of the highest universal ideal, their own divine self. [Page 67]
THE REAL AND THE UNREAL
“Allah ! Bi' -smi' -llah ! – God is One”. – Koran.
EVERYWHERE in the broad expanse of the universe we see an almost infinite variety of forms, belonging to different kingdoms and species, and exhibiting an endless variety of appearances. The substance of which those forms are composed may, for aught we know, consist essentially of the same primordial material, forming the basis of their constitution, although the qualities of the various bodies differ from each other, and it is far more reasonable to suppose that this one primordial eternal essence exists and appears in the course of evolution in various forms, than to believe that a number of different original substances have come into existence either by being created out of nothing or otherwise. What this primordial essence – this immaterial substance [ The A'kâsa of the Brahmins or the Iliaster of Paracelsus, the Universal Proteus. ] – is we do not know, we only know of its manifestation in forms which we call things. Whatever finds expression in one form or another is called a thing, and a thing may change its form and the substance remain. Water may be frozen into solid ice, or be transformed by heat into visible vapour; and vapour may be chemically decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen; yet, if the necessary conditions are given, the energies which previously formed water will form water again; the forms and attributes change, but the elements remain , the same and combine again in certain proportions, regulated by the law of mutual attraction. [Page 68]
As this hypothetical primordial substance or principle has no attributes which we can perceive with our senses, we do not know the real substance of a thing. We may gradually deprive a thing of some of its attributes and change its form, and yet it remains that thing as long as its character remains, and even after we destroy its form and dissolve its materials the character of the thing still remains as an idea in the subjective world, where we cannot destroy it, and we may clothe the old idea with new attributes and reproduce it under a new form on the objective plane. A thing exists as long as its character exists, only when it changes its character it changes its essential nature. A material thing is only the symbol or the representation of an idea; we may give it a name, but idea remains hidden behind the veil. If we could on the physical plane separate a single substance from its character, and endow it with another, then one body could be transformed into another, as, for instance, base metals be transformed into gold; but unless we change the character of a thing, a mere change of its form will only affect its external appearance.
By way of illustration, let us look at a stick. It is made of wood, but this
is not essential; it might be made of something else and still be a stick.
We do not perceive the stick itself, we only see its attributes, its extension
and colour and density; we feel its weight and we hear its sound if we strike.
Each of these attributes or all of them may be changed, and it will remain
a stick for all that, as long as its character is not lost because that which
essentially constitutes its character is its purpose, an idea which has not
a definite form. Let us endow that formless idea with a new purpose that
will change its character, and we shall have transformed our ideal stick
into anything we choose to make of it.
We cannot change copper into gold on the physical plane, we cannot change a man into a physical child, but we may daily transform our desires, our aspirations, tastes, and our character, if we conceive of a new purpose of life, In doing this we make of man, even on the physical plane, a different being. [Page 69]
Nobody ever saw a real man, we only perceive the qualities which he possesses.
Man cannot see himself. He speaks of his body, his soul, his spirit; it is the combination of the three which constitutes the sum of his
attributes; the real Ego, in which his character rests, is something unknown, whose nature becomes conceivable
to us only when we divine the purpose of its existence. As an idea and for
a purpose he enters the world of matter, evolutes a new personality, obtains
new experience and knowledge, passes through the pleasures and vicissitudes
of life and through the valley of death, and enters again into that realm
where in the course of ages his outward form will cease to exist, to appear
again in such a form upon the scene when the hour for his reappearance strikes.
His body and personality change his purpose, and therefore his Ego remains the same and yet not the same, because during life it acquires new attributes
and changes its characteristics.
A true appreciation and understanding of the essential nature of man will show
that the repeated reincarnation of the human monad in successive personalities is a scientific necessity. How
could it be possible for a man to develop into a state of perfection, if
the time of his spiritual growth were restricted to the period of one short
existence upon this globe ? If he could go on and develop without having
a physical body, then why should it have been necessary for him to take a
physical body at all? It is unreasonable to suppose that the spiritual germ of a man begins its existence at the time of the birth of the physical
body, or that the physical parents of the child could be the generators of
the spiritual monad. If the spiritual monad existed before the body was born,
and could develop without it, what would be the use of its entering any body
We see that a plant ceases to grow when its roots are torn from the soil, and
when they are replaced into the soil the growth continues. Likewise the human
soul, for the purpose of attaining self-knowledge, takes root in the physical
organism of man, and develops a character, but when death tears out the roots,
the soul rests and ceases to grow, until it finds again a physical [Page 70] organism to acquire new conditions for continued growth.
What can this inner ego be, which lives through death and changes during life, except a spiritual ray of Life, obtaining relative consciousness by coming in contact with matter ? Is any man certain of his own existence ?
All the proof we have of our existence is in our own self-consciousness, in the
feeling of the I Am, which is the realisation of our existence. Every other state of consciousness
is subject to change. The consciousness of one moment differs from that of
another, according to the changes which take place in the conditions which
surround us, and according to the variety of our impressions. We are craving
for change and death; to remain always the same would be torture. Old impressions
die and are replaced with new ones, and we rejoice to see the old ones die,
so that the new ones may step into their places. We do not make our impressions
ourselves, but we receive them from the outside world. If it were possible
that two or more persons could be born and educated under exactly the same
conditions, having the same character and receiving always the same impressions,
they would always have the same thoughts, the same feelings and desires,
their consciousness would be identical, and they might be considered as forming collectively only one person. A person, having forgotten all the mental
impressions he ever received, and receiving no new ones, might exist for
ages, living in eternal imbecility, with no consciousness whatever except
the consciousness of the I Am, and that consciousness could not cease to exist as long as his personality
were capable to recognise its existence relatively to itself.
This would be the only condition in which a person could possibly exist, if he had gained no spiritual self-knowledge and if he were to cease to receive any impressions from the external world, and similar to this may be the state of such a person after the death of his body, if during life he has not attained any higher knowledge than that which refers to perishing things. Having no spiritual consciousness, he can have no spiritual perceptions, he can bring with him into the spiritual world nothing except his own ignorance. [Page 71]
His sensations leave him at death, and the images received in his mind during
life will fade away; the intellectual forces which have been set into motion
by his scientific pursuits will be exhausted, and after that time the spirit
of such a person, even if he has been during life the greatest scientist,
speculator, and logician, will be nothing but an imbecile, living in darkness,
and being drawn irresistibly towards reincarnation; to reimbody itself again
under any circumstances whatever, to escape from nothingness into existence.
Under whatever form life may exist, it is only relative. A stone, a plant, an
animal, a man or God, each has an existence for itself, and each exists only
for the others, as long as the others are conscious of his existence. Man
looks upon the existence below him as incomplete, and the incomplete beings
below him know little about him. Man knows little about any superior beings,
and yet there may be such, looking upon him with pity, as he would look upon
an inferior animal, an ape that has not yet awakened to a realisation of
its own nature.
Those who are supposed to know, inform us that there is no being in the universe
superior to the man having become conscious of his own divine and immortal
nature; but that there are innumerable invisible beings who are either far
superior or inferior to mortal man as we know him. In other words, the highest
beings in the universe are such as have once been men; but the men and women
of our present civilisation may have to progress through millions of ages
before they attain that state of perfection which such beings possess.
Existence is relative. There is something in me which causes me to live and to think. I may call it “I” or “God”; in either case it is intellectually incomprehensible, and it has no existence
for me of which I am conscious, as long as I do not realise the relation
between this unknown something and my own nature. Nevertheless it is; for
if it were nothing it could not cause me to live and to think. It is the
source of my being, and therefore it is existence and my nature is its manifestation.
In realising my own existence, existence becomes [Page 72] to me a reality; to realise the nature of divine being is to enter into that
We are accustomed to look upon that which we perceive with our senses as real,
and upon everything else as unreal, and yet our daily experience teaches
us that our senses cannot be trusted if we wish to distinguish between the
true and the false. We see the sun rise in the East, see him travel along
the sky during the day and disappear again in the West; but every child now-a-days
knows that this apparent movement is only an illusion, caused by the turning
of the earth. At night we see the “fixed” stars above our heads, they look insignificant compared with the wide
expanse of the earth and the ocean, and yet we are told that they are blazing
suns, in comparison with which our mother Earth is only a speck of dust.
Nothing seems to us more quiet and tranquil than the solid rocks under our
feet, and yet the earth whereon we live whirls with tremendous velocity through
space; the mountains seem to be everlasting, but continents sink beneath
the waters of the ocean and rise again above its surface. Below our feet
moves, with ebbs and tides, the swelling bosom of our apparently solid mother
the earth, above our head seems to be nothing tangible, and yet we live on
the very bottom of the airy ocean above us, and do not know the things that
may perhaps live in its currents or upon its surface. A stream of light seems
to descend from the sun to our planet, and yet darkness is said to exist between the atmosphere of the Earth and the sun, where no meteoric matter
exists to cause a reflection; while again we are surrounded by an ocean of
light of a higher order, which appears to us to be darkness, because the
nerves of our bodies have not yet been sufficiently developed to react under
the influence of the Astral Light. The image reflected in the mirror seems a reality to the unreasoning mind,
the voice of an echo may be mistaken for the voice of a man. We often dream
when awake, and while believing to be awake we are asleep.
“Consciousness” is a relative term. It is not scientific to say “we are asleep”; as long as we do not know [Page 73] who “we” are. We can only truly say that such and such functions of a physical or psychical
organism, which are called our own, are asleep or inactive while others are
active and awake. We may be fully awake relatively to one thing and asleep
relatively to another. A somnambule's body is in a state resembling death, while his higher consciousness is fully
alive and employs even far superior powers of perception than if all the
activity of his life-principle were engaged in performing the functions of
his lower organism.
“Matter” and “Motion” are relative terms; both referring to manifestations of something we do not know, and which we
may call “Spirit”. There is no motion without matter, no matter without some
motion, and every power is therefore substantial. A solid mass of matter
is condensed energy, representing a certain amount of latent power; every
force is invisible substance in motion.
“Space”, “extension”, “duration” are relative. Their qualities change according to our standard of measurement and according to our mode of perception. To an animalcule in a drop of water that drop may appear as an ocean, and to an insect living on a leaf that leaf may constitute a world. If during our sleep the whole of the visible world were to shrink to the size of a walnut or expand to a thousand fold its present dimensions, on awakening we should perceive no change, provided that change had equally affected everything, including ourselves. A child has no conception of its relation to space and tries to grasp the moon with its hands, and a person who has been born blind and is afterwards made to see, cannot judge of distances correctly. Our thoughts know of no intervening space when they travel from one part of the globe to another. Our conceptions of our relation to space are based upon experience and memory acquired in our present condition. If we were moving among entirely different conditions, our experiences, and consequently our conceptions, would be entirely different. Space relatively to form can only have three dimensions, because all forms are composed of three dimensions: length, thickness, and height. [Page 74]
Consciousness in the Absolute is unconsciousness relatively to everything. A
consciousness being in relation with nothing is inconceivable. A consciousness
existing in relation to its own self is self-consciousness.
The Absolute is independent of its manifestations; but all manifestations depend
on the presence of that which becomes manifest. God can exist in his own
divine nature without revealing his presence to his creatures; but his creatures
cannot exist without God. We know that space exists; but it is inconceivable
to us as long as it does not become revealed to us in a form. Forms are objectified
space. Without such a manifestation of three dimensional bodies we can form
no conception of space. We know that God exists; but we cannot conceive of
his existence unless his nature becomes revealed to us in its triunity within
The dimensions of space exist in our own mind. We conceive of no dimensions of
space in a mathematical point, and self-consciousness exists in itself without
any relation to anything except its own self. This might therefore be called
a one-dimensional space. As to two-dimensional space, everyone knows that
there is a difference between good and evil, between love and hate, etc.,
and the realisation of such a difference furnishes us with a conception of
space in which we perceive only two dimensions. Three-dimensional space is
the world of corporeal bodies; but there is also a fourth dimension of space,
known only to the enlightened, who have learned how to square the circle,
because four is the number of truth, and three the number of form.
As our conception of space is only relative, so is our conception of time. It is not time itself, but its measurement, of which we are conscious, and time is nothing to us unless in connection with our association of ideas. The human mind can only receive a small number of impressions per second; if we were to receive only one impression per hour, our life would seem exceedingly short, and if we were able to receive, for [Page 75] instance, the impression of each single undulation of a yellow ray of light, whose vibrations number 509 billions per second, a single day in our life would appear to be an eternity without end.[ Carl du Prel: “ Die Planetenbewohner.” ] To a prisoner in a dungeon, who has no occupation, time may seem extremely long, while for him who is actively engaged it passes quickly. During sleep we have no conception of time, but a sleepless night passed in suffering seems very long. During a few seconds of time we may, in a dream, pass through experiences which would require a number of years in the regular course of events, while in the unconscious state time has no existence for us.[In books on mystical subjects we find often accounts of a person having dreamed in a short moment of time, things which we should suppose that it would take hours to dream them; for instance the following: “A traveler arrived late at night at a station. He was very fatigued, and as the conductor opened the door of the car, he entered, and immediately fell asleep. He dreamed that he was at home, and living with his family; that he fell in love with a girl and married her; that he lived happy
he meddled with political affairs, and was arrested on the charge of having
entered into a conspiracy against the government. He was tried, and condemned
to be shot, and led out to be executed. Arrived at the place of execution,
the command was given, and the soldiers fired at him, and he awoke at the
noise caused by the shutting of the door of the car, which the conductor
had shut behind him when our friend entered. It seems probable that the
noise produced by shutting that door caused the whole dream”. ]
Persons fully in the subjective world receive no impressions from the objective
world. If they are only partially in that state which occurs in dreams and
insanity, the sensations carried to the half conscious brain become mixed
with the ideas born in the subjective world, and produce caricatures and
distortion of images. In this state, when the experiences of the internal
state mingles with the sensations of the external consciousness, the most
erroneous impressions may be produced; because the intellect labours, but
reason does not act sufficiently powerful to enable man to discriminate between
the true and the false.
But what is the difference between objective and [Page 76] subjective states of existence ? We do not cease to live while we are asleep,
but we have a different kind of perceptions in either state. The popular
idea is that sensual objective perceptions are real and subjective ones
only the products of our imagination. But a little reflection will show
that all perceptions, the objective as well as the subjective ones, are
results of our “imagination”. If we look at a tree, the tree does not come
into our eye, but its picture appears in our mind; if we look at a form
we perceive an impression made in our mind by the image of an object existing
beyond the limits of our body; if we look at a subjective image of our
own creation, we perceive the impression which it produces on our mind.
In either case the pictures exist objectively in our mind, and we perceive
The fact is, that everything appears either objective or subjective according
to the state of consciousness of the perceiver, and what may be to him entirely
subjective in one state may appear to him objectively in another. The highest
ideal truths have to him who can realise them an objective existence, the
grossest material forms have no existence to him who cannot perceive them.
But here the great question arises: “Who or what is this unknown One that perceives
the images existing in its own mind, and the sensations that come to his
consciousness ? What is that which you call your “I”, which knows that
you know, and which also recognises your ignorance ? What is that Self,
which is neither the body nor the mind, but which uses these things as
its instruments ? If you know that invisible being, you may throw away
this book; it can teach you nothing new, because you know God and are the
The basis upon which all exhibition of magical power rests is a knowledge of the relations that exist between objective and subjective states of existence, and the source from which they originate. If we conceive in our mind of the picture of a thing we have seen before, an objective form of that thing comes into existence
within our own mind, and is composed of the substance [Page 77] of our own mind. If by continual practice we gain sufficient power to hold on
to that image and to prevent it from being driven away and dispersed by
other thoughts, it will become comparatively dense, and can be projected
upon the mental sphere of others, so that they may actually see objectively
that which exists subjectively as an image within our own mind; but he
who cannot hold on to a thought and control it at will cannot impress it
upon the minds of others, and therefore such experiments fail, not on account
of any absolute impossibility to perform them, but on account of the weakness
of those who experiment, but have not the power to control their own thoughts,
and to render them corporeal enough for transmission.
Everything is either a reality or a delusion, according to the standpoint from
which we view it. The words “real” and “unreal” are only relative terms,
and what may seem real in one state of existence appears unreal in another.
Money, love, power, etc., appear very real to those who need them; to those
who have outgrown the necessity for their possession they are only illusions.
That which we realise is real to us, however unreal it may be to another.
If my imagination is powerful enough to represent to me the presence of
an angel, that angel will be there, alive and real, my own creation, no
matter how invisible and unreal he may be to another. If your mind can
create for you a paradise in a wilderness, that paradise will have for you an objective existence. Everything that exists, exists in the universal Mind,
and if the individual mind becomes conscious of his relation to a thing
therein, it begins to perceive it. No man can realise a thing beyond his
experience, he cannot know anything to which he stands in no relation.
For the purpose of perceiving, three facts are necessary: The perception,
the perceiver, and the thing that is the object of perception. If they
exist on entirely different planes, and cannot enter into relationship,
no perception will be possible. If I wish to look at my face, and am not
able to step out of myself, I must use a mirror to establish a relation
between myself and the object of [Page 78] my perception. The mirror has no sensation, and I cannot see myself in the mirror,
I can only see myself in my mind. The reflection of the mirror produces
a reflection which is objective to my mind, and which comes to my perception.
A consideration of this will give us the key to an understanding of man's original
nature, and of the necessity of his “fall from grace”. We cannot objectively
see the light or the truth, as long as we are within the body of the one
or the other. Only when we go beyond the sphere of the light, we can see
luminosity, only when we fall into error, will we learn to appreciate the
truth. As long as primordial man was one with the universal power from
which he emanated as a spiritual ray or entity in the beginning, he could
not know the divine source from which he came. The will and imagination
of the Universal Mind were his own will and imagination. Only when he began
to “step out of his divine self”, could he begin to exist as an individual
“Self”; only when he began to act against the law, did he begin to realise
that there was a law. Man's apparently separated existence from God is
an illusion: but this illusion must be experienced by him, so as to enable him to outgrow it, and to realise
his unity with God. A god who does not realise his own divine nature would
not be able to enjoy it. When man, as a spiritual entity, having attained
perfection, enters again into his source, his sense of self and separateness
will be lost, but he will be in possession of knowledge. To see a thing,
it must become objective. To know what love is, we must be separated from the object of our love. When we fully comprehend
a thing, we become one with it, and know it by knowing ourselves.
This example is intended to illustrate the fundamental law of creation. The first
great cause – so to say – stepping out of itself, becomes its own mirror, and thereby establishes a relation
with itself. “God” sees his face reflected in Nature; the Universal Mind
sees itself reflected in the individual mind of man. God comes to relative
consciousness in his own nature, but when he again retires into himself
the relation will [Page 79] cease, he will again become one with himself, there will be no more relative
consciousness, and “Brahma will go to sleep” until the new day of creation
begins. But man knows that he exists even after all his relation with external
things has ceased, he does not need to look continually into a mirror to
be reminded of that fact. Likewise the absolute self-consciousness of the
great I Am is independent of the objective existence of Nature, and he will still “sit
on the great white throne after the earth and the heaven fled away from
his face”; [St John: Revelations xx. 2.] which means that he will rest in his own divine self-consciousness.
The superior powers of inner perceptions are those possessed by the inner man,
and they become developed after the inner man awakens to self-consciousness. They correspond to the senses of the external
man, such as seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling.
External sensual perceptions are necessary to see sensual things; the internal
sensual perceptions are necessary to see internal things. Physical matter
is as invisible to the spiritual sight as astral bodies are to the physical
eyes; but as every object in nature has its astral counterpart within the
physical form, it may see, hear, feel, taste, and smell with its astral
senses those astral objects, and thereby know the attributes of the physical
objects as well or still better than the physical man might have been able
to do with his physical senses; but neither the physical nor the astral
senses will be able to perceive, unless they are permeated by the power
of the spirit which endows them with life.
Men usually look upon a thing as real if it is seen alike by several persons,
while if only one person professes to see it, it being invisible to others,
it is called illusive; but each impression produces a certain state of
the mind, and a person perceiving it must be in a condition to enter into
a relation with that state which the impression produces. All persons being
in the same state of mind, and receiving the same impression, will perceive
the same thing, but if their states of mind differ, their perceptions will
differ. A horse or a lion [Page 80] may be seen alike by everyone who has his normal senses developed; but if one
is excited by fear, his perception will differ from that of others, because
the product of his own imagination distorts the impression received. A
drunkard in a state of delirium tremens believes to see worms and snakes crawling over his body. His experience tells
him that they have no external existence. Nevertheless they are realities
to him. They really exist for him as the products of his own mental condition,
but they do not exist for others who do not share that condition. But if
others were to enter the same state they would see the same things.
Our perceptions therefore differ – not only in proportion as the impressions coming from the objects of our perception differ – but also according to our capacity to receive such impressions, or according to our own mental states. If we could develop a new sense of perception, we would be in a new world.
If our capacity to receive impressions were restricted to only one sense, we
would only be able to conceive of that which could become manifest to us
through that sense. Let us suppose the existence of a being who could enter
into only one state of consciousness; for instance, that of hate. Having
all his consciousness concentrated into one guiding passion, he could become
aware of nothing else but of hate. Such a “god of hate”, incapable of entering
into any other mental state, could perceive no other states but those corresponding
with his own. To such a being the whole world would be dark and void, our
oceans and mountains, our forests and rivers would have no existence for
him; but wherever a man or an animal would burn with hate, there would
be perhaps a lurid glow perceivable by him through the darkness, which
would attract his attention and attract him, and on his approach that glow
would burst into a flame in which the individual from whom it proceeded may be consumed. Any other mental state or passion may
serve for a similar illustration. Hate knows hate, Love knows love, and
a person full of hate is as incapable to love as a being full of love is
incapable to hate. [Page 81]
The Bhagavad Gita says: “Those that are born under an evil destiny” (having acquired evil tendencies
by their conduct in former lives)” know not what it is to proceed in virtue
or to recede from vice; nor is purity, veracity, or the practice of morality,
to be found in them. They say the world is without beginning and without
end, and without an Ishwar, that all things are conceived in the junction
of the senses, and that attraction is the only cause”. [ Bhagavad Gita, L. xvi. ]
Those who believe that everything exists in consequence of the unconscious attraction
of two principles, forget that there could be no attraction if there were
not some continually acting cause that produces that attraction. They are
the deluded followers of a doctrine which they themselves cannot seriously
believe. They agree that out of nothing, nothing can come, and yet they
believe that unconscious attraction can produce consciousness. They are
the followers of the absurd Two which has no real existence, because the eternal One divided into two parts would not become two Ones but the two halves of a divided
One. One is the number of Unity, and Two is Division; the One divided into
two ceases to exist as a One, and nothing new is thereby produced. If the
plan for the construction of the world had been made according to the ideas
of the followers of Dualism, nothing could have come into existence, because
action and reaction would have been of equal power, annihilating each other.
Neither could there be any progression under such circumstances at present.
But behind all manifestations of power there is the eternal power itself, the
source of all perfection that can become manifest. This is the Unity and
Reality, in which no division exists; from which all things originate and
to which all will return. In its aspect as being the source of perfection
in everything and which all things desire to attain, it has been called
Whatever this power of good may be it is beyond the capacity of man to give
it an appropriate name, or to describe it, because it is beyond the comprehension
of mortal man. To give a name to that which includes [Page 82] everything, is to limit the whole to one of its parts. It has been called “God”,
and as such it has “many faces”, because its aspect differs according to
the standpoint from which we behold it. It is the Supreme cause, from which everything comes into existence; it must be absolute consciousness, wisdom and power, love, intelligence, and life, because these attributes exist in its manifestations and could not have come
into existence without it.
It is necessarily one and unlimited, and can therefore not be known to the limited intellect of man. It can only be known by itself; but if it reveals itself in our soul, our soul will partake of its knowledge. Therefore
Angelus Silesius says —
“God dwelleth in a light far out of human ken,
Become thyself that light, and thou shalt see him then.”
Gautama Buddha was asked to describe the supreme source of all beings,
he remained silent, because those who have reached a state in which they
can realise what it is, have no words to describe it, [ 2 Corinth. xii. 4. ] and those who cannot realise it would not be able to comprehend the description.
To describe a thing we must invest it with comprehensible attributes, and
it then ceases to be unlimited and becomes limited. Therefore all theological
discussions about the nature of “God” are useless, because “God” is the
All and does not differ from anything; but not everything is God; because
not everything is conscious of its own divine nature. To become conscious
of one's own divine nature, is to realise the presence of God. To deny
the existence of God is an absurdity equivalent to denying one's own existence,
while existence is its own proof. He can only be spiritually known, but
not scientifically described, and the fight between so-called Deists and
Atheists is a mere quarrel about words which have no definite meaning.
Every man is himself a manifestation of God, and as each man's character differs from that of every other, so each man's idea of God differs from that
of the rest, and each one has a God (an ideal) of his own: only when they
all have the same aspirations, will they all have the same God. [Page 83]
him who has not the power of God, the power of God does not exist. To him
who perceives the presence of God, God exists, and to him his existence
cannot be disputed away. The ignorant cannot be made to realise the existence
of knowledge unless he becomes knowing; those who know cannot have their
knowledge reasoned away. The caricatures of gods set up by the various
churches as representations of the only true God are merely attempts to
describe that which cannot be described. As every man has a highest ideal
(a god) of his own, which is a symbol of his aspirations, so every church
has its peculiar god, who is an outgrowth or a product of evolution of
the ideal necessities of that collective body called a church. They are
all true gods to them, because they temporarily answer their needs, and as the requirements of the
church change, so change their gods; old gods are discarded and new ones
put into their places. The god of the Christian differs from that of the
Jews, and the Christian god of the nineteenth century is very different
from the one that lived at the time of Torquemada and Peter Arbues, and
was pleased with torture and Autos da Fé. As long as men are imperfect their gods will be imperfect; as they become more
perfect their gods will grow in perfection, and when all men are equally
perfect they will all have the same perfect “God”, the same highest spiritual
ideal recognised alike by science and by religion as being divinity in
humanity; because there can be only one supreme ideal, one absolute Truth,
whose realisation is Wisdom, whose manifestation is power expressed in
Nature, and whose most perfect expression is ideal Man.
There are seven steps on the ladder, representing the religious development of mankind: On the first stage man resembles an animal, conscious only of his instincts and bodily desires, without any conception of the divine element. On the second he begins to have a presentiment of the existence of something higher. On the third he begins to seek for that higher element, but his lower elements are still preponderating over the higher aspirations. On the fourth his lower and higher desires are counterbalancing each other. At times he seeks for [Page 84] the higher, at other times he is again attracted to the lower. On the fifth he anxiously seeks for the divine, but seeking it in the external he cannot find it. He then begins to seek for it within himself. On the sixth he finds the divine element within himself and develops spiritual self-consciousness, which on the seventh grows into self-knowledge. Having arrived at the sixth, his spiritual senses begin to become alive and active, and he will then be able to recognise the presence of other spiritual entities, existing on the same plane. On the seventh he finds that he himself is the God which he has been seeking. His will is free from every selfish desire, his thought is one with his will, his word becomes a creative act. Such a spiritual being may still dwell in a human body upon this planet, and not even be recognised as something superior to the rest of mankind; for his personality is not God. He lives, and yet he lives not; for it is God, his divine Self, the eternal Reality living in him.
to Top of this page
Back to our On Line Documents
Back to our Main Page
This document is a publication
Canadian Theosophical Association (a regional association of the Theosophical Society in Adyar)
89 Promenade Riverside,
St-Lambert, QC J4R 1A3
our website is at : http://www.theosophical.ca
to get to our Contacts-Information list click on: