MAGIC : WHITE AND BLACK
SCIENCE OF FINITE AND INFINITE LIFE
CONTAINING PRACTICAL HINTS FOR STUDENTS OF OCCULTISM
by FRANZ HARTMANN, M.D.
“The Universe is a thought of God”. — Paracelsus.
ACCORDING to Plato the primordial essence is an emanation of the Demiurgic Mind, which contains from eternity the idea of the natural world within itself, and which idea is thrown into objectivity by the power of the divine self-conscious will. This doctrine seems to be almost as old as the existence of reasoning man on this globe. It contains essentially the same truth which has been taught by the ancient Rishis, and has been expressed by the deepest thinkers of all ages, apparently from the first planetary spirit, that made his appearance on this earth, down to the modern philosophers who teach that the world is a product of ideation and will. [Schopenhauer: “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung” ]
The great Christian Mystic, Jacob Boehme describes the Great First Cause as a trinity of will, intelligence and action. His doctrine corresponds to that which is taught in the East, regarding the three emanations of Brahm, and of which that German shoemaker could at that time hardly have known anything, if he had not been an Illuminate. He says in his book on “The Three Principles”, that by the activity of the Will-Fire at the Centre the eternal consciousness of the latter was reflected in Space as in a mirror, and from this activity Light and Life were born. He then describes, how by the action radiating from the incomprehensible centre, radiating into the element of Matter, and the subsequent reaction from the periphery toward the centre rotation was caused, and how in the Ether, the world of forms. came into existence, and grew into material density. Thus through the action of the Father in the [Page 86] Son, the “Holy Ghost” became manifest, and its manifestation is the visible and invisible universe in one, with all its suns, stars, planets, their forms and inhabitants, with all the angels and demons, devas, elementals, men and animals, or in other words, with all the energies and powers and forms of the visible and invisible side of nature.
This trinity manifests itself on three different planes or modes of action, that have been termed Matter, Soul, and Spirit, or according to the symbolism of ancient occult science, Earth, Water, and Fire. The One becomes manifest in the Three, but the Three is a whole and does not consist of three parts, of which one comes into succession after another, it springs into existence at once. Reaction cannot exist without Action, and both are due to a co-existing Potency or Cause.
Spirit or “Fire” is immaterial, formless, and universal, manifesting its power in forms. It is the “creator”, the great “carpenter” of the universe, the “stepfather of Christ”, whose wife is Maja (Nature), the ever immaculate virgin.
Soul or “Water” is a semi-material element, formless in its original state. It is the organising element of corporeal forms. It penetrates and surrounds the planets as it surrounds and penetrates the bodies of men and animals and all other bodies and forms, and all material forms will soon perish after the soul-principle has ceased to be active in them.
Matter or “Earth”, or (as it is called in its primordial state) A' kâsa, is an invisible material element pervading all space. Condensed by the organising power of the soul, it clothes the forms of the latter and renders them visible on the physical plane.
By the interaction of the three primordial elements, Spirit, Soul, and Matter, four intermediate links become manifest, and these four added to the three former represent seven principles.
These three, respectively seven principles, must not be supposed to exist separately; they are seven aspects of one element, in the same sense as the seven notes of one octave are seven modifications of one [Page 87] vibration producing sound. Man is a unity; but also a trinity of expression, capable to enter four distinct states of consciousness and existence, a compound of four elements joined to the fifth One Element, making him a harmonious accord of five notes. He may also be regarded as a manifestation of three higher and three lower powers, in which the unmanifested seventh is to become manifest. All these divisions are legitimate and not arbitrary; because they are based upon the action of natural certain laws.
The element of Matter, A'kâsa, represented by “Earth”.
|The combination of Matter and Soul, known as the Astral Body, a mixture of “Earth and Water”.|
The Soul, known as the animal principle in man, represented by “Water”.
The Essence of Life, a combination of Matter, Soul, and Spirit, “Earth, Water, and Fire”.
The Mind, a combination of Matter and Spirit, or “Earth and Fire” (the principle of Intellectuality ).
The Spiritual Soul, a combination of Soul and pure Spirit, or “Water and Fire” (the principle of Spiritual Intelligence).
|7.||C||Pure Spirit or “ Fire”. [The Sanskrit terms for the seven principles are: 1, Pracriti; 2, Lingsarira; 3. Kamarupa; 4, Jiva; 5, Manas; 6, Buddhi; 7. Atma. — See “Five Years of Theosophy”, p. 153. ]|
The divisions adopted by Paracelsus and in “Esoteric Buddhism” are nearly identical with the above: 1. The physical body. 2. Vitality (Mumia). 3. Astral Body (Sidereal body). 4. Animal Soul. 5. Intellectual Soul. 6. Spiritual Soul. (The man of the new olympus). 7. Spirit.
It is said that this division was also known to the ancient Jews, and that the Hebrew Alphabet, consisting of 22 letters, was made with reference to it; because the three in seven states produces twelve symbols, and 3+7+12 = 22. [Page 88]
This sevenfold division of principles, representing the constitution of man as well as that of the Universe as whole, was also known to the ancient Egyptians, and described as follows —
|I.||chat.||The material body.|
|III.||Ka.||The astral body (Personality).|
|IV.||ab.||Will. (Kama) The centre.|
|VI.||chaib.||The shadow of the spirit (Buddhi).|
|VII.||chu.||The spirit (Atma).|
The ancient Alchemists represented the same ideas by the symbols of the seven planets—
|Saturn,||The material element.|
|Jupiter,||Power or Life.|
|Sun,||The centre; the source of all planets.|
|Venus,||Love. In its lower aspect desire.|
The qualities of these powers differ in their combination according to the preponderating influence of one over another; and this causes their aspects to be either good or evil. Thus these aspects are bad as follows —
If spirituality [Moon] is overruled by materiality [Saturn]
If the mind [Mercury] is dominated by blind force [Jupiter]
If love [Venus] is overruled by passion [Mars] .
If the contrary is the case, their aspects are good.
The sun occupies the centre of these planets; it is their parent, and not dominated by any of them. [Page 89]
Jane Leade also adopts a sevenfold division of principles; but in a reversed order —
|1.||Spirit||The word. The creator.|
|2.||Wind||The breath or the life.|
|3.||Water||Coagulated wind (soul).|
|5.||Heaven||The astral world.|
|7.||Earth||The matrix or centre.|
To these seven principles correspond four planes of existence
or states of consciousness; namely —
II. The astral world.
III. The spiritual world.
IV. The divine plane of existence.
Each of these worlds has its own state of being, and each form in either of them contains all the above-named seven principles, which are fundamentally one and inseparable; only with this difference, that according to the plane in which a form exists, some of these principles are active while others are latent.
Thus in a stone or a tree the higher principles are entirely latent and as if non-existent, while in one of the higher plane the higher principles are alone manifest while the lower ones have ceased to manifest any activity. The following table may give an approximate illustration of this theory. The prominently active principles are printed in larger, and the less active ones in smaller, type; while those that are still latent, or have become so, are enclosed in brackets.
|Physical Nature.||Astral Plane.||Devachan.|
|PHYSICAL MATTER.||(Physical matter.)||(Physical matter.)|
|PHYSICAL LIFE .||(Physical life.)||(Physical life.)|
|Astral life.||ASTRAL LIFE.||(Astral life.)|
|Kama life.||KAMA LIFE.||(Kama life.)|
|Lower Manas.||Lower Manas.||(Lower Manas.)|
|(Higher Manas.)||(Higher Manas.)||HIGHER MANAS.|
What are the conditions of the divine state of being we do not know nor care to speculate about it. Our object ought to be to attain it rather than to worry our brains in seeking to gratify our scientific curiosity in regard to it. It might be supposed that in this plane only the Buddhi, Atma, and the highest essence of the Manas is active; but Jacob Boehme tells us, that “all the Seven Spirits of God are born one in another; one gives birth to the other and there is neither first nor last”. “They are all seven equally eternal”; [“The life and doctrines of Jacob Boehme”, p. 73. ] and furthermore he describes that the third principle reappears in the seventh; and that therein consists the “resurrection of the flesh”, [ “The life and doctrines of Jacob Boehme”, p. 84.] which causes a divine being to be – not an unsubstantial spirit – but possessing the “Body of God”. “In the seventh form all the other forms of nature manifest their activity”; the element of earth therefore manifests itself again on a higher octave, and this will give us a key to the understanding of the meaning of the words of St. Paul, when he speaks of a body “that has been sowed in corruption and is raised in glory”; but which is surely not the astral form of a ghost.[1 Cor. i. 5. ]
All forms are the expression of either one or more of these elementary principles, and exist as long as their respective powers are active in them. They are not necessarily visible, because their visibility depends on their power to reflect light. Invisible gases may be [Page 91] solidified by pressure and cold, and rendered visible and tangible, and the most solid substances may be made invisible and intangible by the application of heat. The products of cosmic thought are not all visible to the physical eye, we see only those which are on our plane of existence.
All bodies have their invisible spheres. Their visible spheres are limited by the periphery of their visible forms; their invisible spheres extend farther into space. Their spheres cannot be always detected by physical instruments, but they nevertheless exist, and under certain conditions their existence can be proved to the senses. The sphere of an odoriferous body can be perceived by the organ of smell, the sphere of a magnet by the approach of iron, the sphere of a man or an animal by that most delicate of all instruments, the sensitive soul.
These spheres are the magnetic, caloric, odic, luminous auras and other emanations belonging to every object in space. Such an emanation may sometimes be seen as the Aurora Borealis in the polar regions of our planet, or as the photosphere of the sun during an eclipse. The “glory” around the head of a saint is no poetical fiction, no more than the sphere of life radiating from a precious stone. As each sun has its system of planets revolving around it, so each body is surrounded by smaller centres of energy evolving from the common centre, and partaking of the attributes of that centre. Copper, Carbon, and Arsenic, for instance, send out auras of red; Lead and Sulphur emit blue colours; Gold, Silver, and Antimony, green; and Iron emits all the colours of the rainbow. Plants, animals, and men emit similar colours according to their characteristics; persons of a high and spiritual character have beautiful auras of white and blue, gold and green, in various tints; while low natures emit principally dark red emanations, which in brutal and vulgar or villainous persons darken almost to black, and the collective auras of bodies of men or plants or animals, of cities and countries, correspond to their predominant characteristics, so that a person whose sense of perception is sufficiently developed may [Page 92] see the state of the intellectual and moral development of a place or a country by observing the sphere of its emanations.
These spheres expand from the centre, and their periphery grows in proportion to the intensity of the energy acting within the centre. We know the sphere of a rose by the odour that proceeds from the latter if we have the power to smell, we know the character of the mind of a man if we enter the sphere of his thoughts.
The quality of psychic emanations depends on the state of activity of the centre from which they originate. They are symbols of the states of the soul of each form, they indicate the state of the emotions. Each emotion corresponds to a certain colour. Love corresponds to blue, Desire to red, Benevolence to green, and these colours may induce corresponding emotions in other souls. Blue has a soothing effect, and may tranquillize a maniac or subdue a fever; Red excites to passion, a steer will become furious at the sight of a red cloth, and an unreasoning mob become infuriated at the sight of blood. This chemistry of the soul is not any more wonderful than the facts known in physical chemistry, and these processes take place according to the same law which causes Chloride of Silver to turn from white into black if exposed to light.
The thoughts of the Universal Mind expressed in matter on the physical plane comprise all the forms of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms on Earth, described by physical science. Each material form contains within itself its ethereal counterpart, which will, under certain conditions, separate itself from the more material part, or be extracted therefrom by the hands of an Adept. These astral parts may be reclothed with condensed A 'kâsa and be rendered visible, and in this way an object can be duplicated by him who knows how to manipulate these invisible forces. [A. P. Sinnett: “The Occult World”. ]
Such astral forms exist after their material forms have decayed; the astral forms of the dead may be seen by the clairvoyant hovering over the graves, bearing the resemblance of the once living man. They may be artificially infused with life and with a borrowed consciousness, and made use of in the practices of Necromancy and Black Magic, or be attracted to “spiritual séances” to represent the spirits of the dead.
There are persons in whom this principle – either in consequence of constitutional peculiarities or in consequence of disease – is not very firmly united with the physical body, and may become separated from it for a short period. [This intimate relation of the astral form and the physical body is often illustrated at so-called exposures of “spiritual mediums. If a materialized form is soiled by ink or soot, the colouring matter will afterwards be found on the corresponding part of the medium's body, because, when the astral form re-enters that body, it will leave the soiling matter on the corresponding parts of the latter. ] Such persons are suitable “mediums” for so-called spirit-materialisations, their ethereal counterparts appear separated from their bodies and assume the visible form of some person either living or dead. It receives its new mask by the unconscious or conscious thoughts of the persons present, by the reflections thrown out from their memories and minds, or it may be made to represent other characters by influences invisible to the physical eye.
As the brain is the central organ for the circulation of nerve-fluid, and as the heart is the organ for the circulation of the blood, so the spleen is the organ from which the astral elements draw their vitality, and in certain diseases, where the action of the spleen is impeded, this “double” of a person may involuntarily separate itself from the body. It is nothing very unusual that a sick person feels “as if he were not himself”, or as if another person was lying in the same bed with him, and that he himself were that other. Such cases of “Doppelgaengers”, Wraiths, Apparitions, Ghosts, &c., caused by the separation of the Lingasarira from the physical form can be found in many works treating of mystic phenomena occurring in nature.[Adolphe D' Assier; “L'humanité posthume” ]
Usually these astral forms are without consciousness and without any life of their own; but they may be [Page 94] [The stories of fakirs who have been buried alive for months and resurrected afterwards might here be used as illustration. They are too well known to need repetition in this place. Moreover, phenomena, however well attested they may be, can never stand in the place of knowledge; they furnish no explanation of the mysterious laws of nature. The occurrence of phenomena proves nothing but that they occur. Real knowledge is never attained by the observation of external phenomena, it can only be attained by understanding the law. ]
But there are also many forms whose natural home is the astral plane, of which physical science does not know, because they can be seen only by means of the astral perception, a faculty which is at present in possession of only comparatively few persons. The astral plane has, like the physical plane, its mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdom, its four elements; and as in our world the earth, the air, and the sea have their inhabitants, so in the astral world there are inhabitants, the Spirits of Nature, to be found in the elements of the earth, air, water, and fire. They are all the product of originally shapeless ideas, existing in the Universal Mind, condensed into organised forms by the creative power of nature; visible and objective to each other as long as they exist on the same plane.
Individual forms on that plane often make their presence felt to men or animals, but under ordinary circumstances they cannot be seen. They may, however, be seen by the clairvoyant, and under certain conditions, even assume visible and tangible shapes. Their bodies are of an elastic semi-material essence, ethereal enough so as not to be detected by the physical sight, and they change their forms according to certain laws. Bulwer Lytton says: “Life is one all-pervading principle, and even the thing that seems to die and putrefy but engenders new life and changes to [Page 95] new forms of matter. Reasoning then by analogy – if not a leaf, if not a drop of water, but is no less than yonder star – a habitable and breathing world – common sense would suffice to teach that the circumfluent Infinite, which you call space – the boundless Impalpable which divides the earth from the moon and stars – is filled also with its correspondent and appropriate life”.
And further on he says: “In the drop of water you see animalcule vary; how vast and terrible are some of these monster-mites as compared with others. Equally so with the inhabitants of the atmosphere. Some of surpassing wisdom, some of horrible malignity; some hostile as fiends to man; others gentle as messengers between Earth and Heaven”. [Bulwer Lytton; “Zanoni”]
Our ignorant and therefore sceptical age is accustomed to admire in such descriptions the fancy of the writer , never suspecting that they were intended to convey a truth; but there are many witnesses to testify that such invisible but substantial and variously shaped beings exist, and that they, by the educated will of man, can be made conscious, intelligent, visible, and even useful to man. This assertion is supported by the testimony found in the writings of Rosicrucians, Cabbalists, Alchemists, and Adepts, as well as in the ancient books of wisdom of the East and in the Bible of the Christians.
Such existences are, however, not necessarily personal beings. They may be impersonal forces, acquiring form, and life, and consciousness by their contact with man. The Gnomes and Sylphes, the Undines and Salamanders, do not entirely belong to the realm of fable, although they are something very different of what the ignorant believe them to be. How insignificant and little appears individual man in the infinity of the universe! and yet there is only a comparatively insignificant part of the universe revealed to him by the senses. Could he see the worlds within worlds above, beneath, and everywhere, swarming with beings whose existence he does not suspect, while they, perhaps, know nothing of his existence, he would be overwhelmed with terror and seek for a god to protect him; and yet there are none of these beings higher or as powerful as the spiritual man who has learned to know his powers.[See “Theophrastus Paracelsus”, chapter v]
The beings of the spiritual plane are such as have once been men, their constitution is beyond the comprehension of those that are not their equals, and their ethereal forms in a state of perfection we cannot conceive. Still higher beings, having outgrown the necessity of manifesting themselves in a form, enter the state of the formless. We may look upon a personal man as a single note in the great orchestra composing the world, and upon a Dhyan Chohan [Son of Wisdom (Planetary spirit) ] as a full accord or a compound of notes in the symphony of the gods. There may be unharmonious compositions of notes in music, and there are evil spiritualities as there is darkness in contradistinction to light.
The surface realm of the Soul is the realm of the emotions. Emotions are not merely the results of physiological processes depending on causes coming from the physical plane, but they belong to a form of life on the astral plane, they come and go without any known cause. The state of the weather, or circumstances over which we have no control, cause certain emotions. A person entering a room where everyone is laughing is liable to participate in the laughter without knowing the cause of the hilarity; a whole crowd may be swayed by the intense emotion of a speaker, although they may not even understand what he says; one hysterical woman may create an epidemic of hysteria among other women, and a whole congregation may become excited by the harangue of an emotional exhorter, no matter whether his language is foolish or wise. A sudden accumulation of emotion or energy on the astral plane can kill a person as quickly as a sudden explosion of powder. We hear of persons who were “transfixed by terror” or “paralysed by fear”. In such cases the astral consciousness having become abnormally active at the expense of the consciousness on the physical plane, the activity of life on the physical plane ceases when the affected person faints or dies. [Page 97]
All forms come into existence according to certain laws. The solar microscope shows how, in a solution of salt, a centre of matter is formed, and how to that centre its kindred forces are attracted, crystallising around it, and becoming solid and firm. Each kind of salt produces the peculiar crystals that belong to its class and no other, however often the process may be repeated. In the vegetable kingdom the seed of one plant attracts to itself those forces which it requires to produce a plant resembling its parent; the seed of an apple-tree can produce nothing else but an apple-tree, and an acorn can grow into nothing else but an oak. The principal characteristics of an animal will be those that belong to its parents, and the external appearance of a man will correspond more or less to that of the race and family in which he was born.
As every mathematical point in space may develop into a living and conscious and visible being, after once a certain centre of energy (a germ) has been formed, so in the invisible realm of the soul astral forms may come into existence, wherever the necessary conditions for their growth exist. In the same manner as a living germ on the physical plane attracts matter for its growth, a psychic germ on the astral plane causes to crystallise around a thought an invisible but nevertheless substantial entity. As the forms on the physical plane correspond to the characters of the germs, so the forms on the astral plane are expressions of the characteristics of the prevailing emotions on that plane. They manifest themselves either in beautiful or in horrible shapes, because every form is only the symbol or the expression of the character which it represents.
The animal forms are expressions of forces acting on the animal plane. Some have a consciousness of their own and realise their existence, but under ordinary circumstances they have no more intelligence than animals, and cannot act intelligently. They follow their blind attraction, as iron is attracted to a magnet, and wherever they find suitable conditions for their development, they are attracted thither. We therefore see that if an emotion is not controlled in the beginning [Page 98] it grows and becomes uncontrollable. Some people have died of grief and some others of joy.
But if these unintelligent forms are infused with the principle of intelligence proceeding from man, they become intelligent and act in accordance with the dictates of the master from which they receive their will and intelligence, and who may employ them for good or for evil. Every emotion that arises in man may combine with the astral forces of nature and create a being, which may be perceived, by persons possessing higher faculties of perception, as an active and living entity. Every sentiment which finds expression in word or action calls into existence a living entity on the astral plane. Some of these forms are very enduring, according to the intensity and duration of the thought that created them, while others are the creations of one moment and vanish in the next.
There are numerous cases on record in which some person or other having committed some crime is described as having been persecuted for years by some avenging demon, who would appear objectively and disappear again. Such demons are the products of the involuntary action of the imagination of their victims; but they are nevertheless real to them. [A person in Paris became insane and was removed to an insane asylum in Italy, where he raged and had to be confined to a solitary cell. After a while he became suddenly well and was permitted to return to Paris. Some months afterwards a report reached him, that the cell which he had occupied in the asylum was still haunted by his “ghost”. which continued raving and making a noise, and that this ghost had been seen by many persons. Curious to see his own “ghost” the man returned to Italy, went to the asylum, saw his ghost, and becoming again obsessed with it, remained insane to the end of his life.] They may be called into existence by memory and remorse, and their images existing in the mind, become objective by fear, because fear is a repulsive function; it instinctively repulses the object of which a man is afraid, and by repelling the image from the centre towards the periphery of the sphere of mind, that image is rendered objective.
Instances are known in which persons have been [Page 99] driven to suicide, hoping thereby to escape these persecuting demons. Such demons are said to have in some cases taken even a tangible form. But whether tangible or intangible, the substance of which they are formed is merely a projection of substance of the person to whom they thus appear. They are, so to say, that person himself. [In the “Lives of the Saints”, and in the history of witchcraft, we often find instances of the appearance of “doubles” in visible and even tangible forms. Such phenomena take place in mediumistic persons, if by contrary emotions the Will becomes divided,acting in two different directions, and projecting thereby two forms; for it is the Will of man that creates subjective forms, consciously or unconsciously, and under certain conditions they become objective and visible.
As an illustration of this law we may cite from the Acta Sanctorum an episode in the life of Saint Dominic. He was once called to the bedside of a sick person, who told him that Christ had appeared to him. The saint answered that this was impossible, and that the apparition had been produced by the devil, because only holy persons could have an apparition of Christ. As he said so, a doubt as to whether the apparition seen may not have been a true one after all, entered his mind, and immediately a division of consciousness was produced, which caused the double of Dominic to appear at the other side of the patient's bed. The two Dominics were seen by the patient, and heard to dispute with each other. and while one Dominic asserted that the apparition had been the work of the devil. the other one maintained that it was the true Christ. The two Dominics were so exactly identical, that the patient did not know which of them was the true saint and which one his image, and he could not make up his mind what to believe; until at last the saint called upon God to assist him, – that is to say, he concentrated his willpower again within himself; his consciousness became again a unity. and the “double” disappeared from view.
Absurd as such stories may appear to our “enlightened age”, their absurdity ceases when the occult laws of nature, and the fact of the possibilities of a double consciousness are understood.]
Adept in a letter to Mr Sinnett says:
“ Every thought of man upon being evolved passes into another world and becomes an active entity by associating itself – coalescing, we might term it – with an Elemental – that is to say, with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the kingdoms. It survives as an active intelligence – a creature of the mind's begetting – for a longer or shorter period, proportionate with the [Page 100] original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active, beneficent power, an evil one as a maleficent demon.And so man is continually peopling his current in space with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses, and passions; a current which re-acts upon any sensitive or nervous organisation which comes in contact with it, in proportion to its dynamic intensity. ...The Adept evolves these shapes consciously, other men throw them off unconsciously”. [A. P. Sinnett: “The Occult World!” ]
This testimony is corroborated by one coming from another source, and proving that to create subjective forms it is not necessary to give a distinct shape to our thoughts by the power of imagination, but that each state of feeling or sentiment may find expression in subjective forms, whether or not we may be conscious of their existence. A form is a state of mind, and a sentiment is a state of mind; a sentiment expressed will be represented by a corresponding form. [Mr Whitworth, a clairvoyant, describes how in his youth, while seeing a German professor perform on an organ, he noticed a host of appearances moving about the keyboard – veritable Lilliputian sprites, fairies, and gnomes, astonishingly minute in size, yet as perfect in form and features as any of the larger people in the room. He described them as being divided into sexes and clothed in a most fantastic manner; in form, appearance, and movement they were in perfect accord with the theme.
the quick measures, how madly they danced, waving their plumed hats and
fans in very ecstasy, and darting to and fro inconceivable rapidity,
with feet beating time in rain-like patter of accord! Quick as a flash,
when the music changed to the solemn cadence of a march for the dead,
the airy things vanished, and in their place came black robed gnomes,
dressed like cowled monks, sour faced Puritans, or mutes in the black
garb of a funeral procession! Strangest of all, on every tiny face was
expressed the sentiment of the music, so that I could instantly understand
the thought and feeling that was intended to be conveyed. In a wild burst
of sounding grief came a rush of mothers, tear-eyed and with dishevelled
hair, beating their breasts and wailing pious lamentations over their
dead loved ones. These would be followed by plumed knights with shield
and spear, and host of fiery troops, mounted or foot, red-handed in the
fiery strife of bloody battle, as the clang of martial music came leaping
from the keyboard, and ever, as each change brought its new set of sprites,
the old ones would vanish into the air as suddenly as they had come.
Whenever a discord was struck, the tiny sprite that appeared was some
misshapen creature, with limbs and dress awry, usually a humpbacked
dwarf, whose voice was guttural and rasping, and his every movement
ungainly and disagreeable.
He then describes how in his riper age he saw such fairy-like beings coming from the lips of persons talking and which seemed in every action the very counterpart of the feeling conveyed in the uttered speech. If the words were inspired by good sentiments, these figures were transcendentally beautiful; bad sentiments produced horrid-looking creatures; hate was expressed by hissing snakes and dark, fiery devils; treacherous words produced figures beautiful in front and disgusting and horrid behind; while love produced forms silvery, white, and full of beauty and harmony.
“On one never-to-be-forgotten occasion I was a pained witness to a scene of living faithlessness on one side and a double-faced, treacherous duplicity on the other. A fair young girl and her departing lover had met to exchange greetings ere he went on a distant journey. Each word of hers gave forth beautiful, radiant fairies; but while the front half of each that was turned to the girl was equally fair to look upon, and smiled with all the radiant seeming of undying affection, the rear half of each was black and devilish, with fiery snakes and red forked tongues protruding from their cruel lips, as gleams of wicked cunning danced in sneaking, side-long glances from the corners of the half-closed eyes. These dark backgrounds of the little figures were horrible to look at, ever shifting, dodging, and seeming to shut up within themselves, as they sought to keep only bright and honest toward the trusting girl, and hold the black deception out of sight. And it was noticeable that while a halo of cloudless radiance surrounded the good outside seeming, a pall of thick vapour hung like a canopy of unbroken gloom above the other“. [Religio-Philosophical Journal.] [Page 101]
All forms are manifestations of life, they have no life of their own; for life is a universal power. They are the creations of thought-power, acting upon the A'kâssa. The creations of man are kept alive by the life-power that radiates into them from the life-centre in man who is a god in that world which he creates in his mind; his creatures are like shadows, vanishing when the fountain of light from which they drink is exhausted. When the psychical action of man, that gave them life, ceases to act, or acts in another direction, they will disappear sooner or later, and in the same way the forms of men disappear, when the life coming from God is withdrawn. However, as the corpse of a man does not dissolve immediately as soon as the principle [Page 102] of life is departed, but decays slowly or rapidly according to their molecular density and cohesion, likewise the astral forms and memories created by the thoughts and sentiments of man require time for their dissolution. They continue to exist as long as man infuses life and consciousness into them by his thought and his will, and if they have once gained a certain amount of power, they may still cling to him, although he may not desire their companionship. They depend on him for their life, and the struggle for existence forces them to remain with the source from which they draw their vitality. If they depart from that fountain they die; they are therefore forced to remain, and, like the phantom created by “Frankenstein”, they persecute their creators with their unwelcome presence. To rid oneself of such a presence, he who is persecuted should direct the full power of his aspirations and thoughts into another and higher direction, and thereby starve them to death. In this way the spiritual principle of every man becomes his special Redeemer, who by the transformation of character saves him from the effects of his sin, and before whose pure light the illusions created by the lower attractions will melt like the snow under the influence of the sun.
Elemental forms being the servants of their creator — in fact, his own self – may be used by him for good or for evil purposes. Love and hate creates subjective forms of beautiful or of horrid shapes, and being infused with consciousness, obtain life, and they may be sent on some errand for good or for evil. Through them the magician blends his own life and consciousness with the person he desires to affect. A lock of hair, a piece of clothing, or some object that has been worn by the person he desires to affect, forms a connecting link. The same object can be attained if that person is put into possession of an article belonging to the magician, because wherever a portion of anything with which the magician was connected exists, there will a part of his own elements exist, which will form a magnetic link between him and the person whom he wishes to affect. If he projects his astral form at a [Page 103] distance, his personality will be present with his victim, although the latter may not be able to see it. [Lord Lytton, “Zanoni” and “Strange Story”]
The astral image of a person may be projected consciously or unconsciously to a distance. If he intensely thinks of a certain place, his thought will be there, and if his thought is spiritual and consequently self-conscious he will be there himself. Wherever a man's consciousness is, there is the man himself, no matter whether his physical body is there or not.
The history of spiritualism and somnambulism furnishes abundant evidence that a person may be consciously and knowingly in one place, while his physical body lies dormant in another. Franciscus Xavier was thus seen in two different places at one and the same time. Likewise Apollonius of Tyana, and innumerable others mentioned in ancient and modern history.
The Elemental sent by a magician is a constituting part of the magician himself, and if the victim is vulnerable or mediumistic, the latter may be injured by the former. But the astral form of the magician may also be injured by physical force, and as the astral form re-enters the physical body, the latter will partake of the injuries inflicted upon the former.
The magician, who, by the power of his will, has obtained control over the semi-intelligent forces of Nature, can make use of these forces for the purposes of good or evil. The helpless medium, through whom manifestations of occult power take place, can neither cause nor control such manifestations. He cannot control the elementals, but is controlled by them. The elements of his body serve as instruments through which these astral existences act, after the Medium has surrendered his will and given up the supreme command over his soul. He sits passively and waits for what these elementals may do; he unconsciously furnishes them with his life and power to think, and his thoughts and the thoughts of those that are present become reflected in these astral forms, enabling them to manifest apparently an intelligence of their own. [Page 104]
A medium for spirit-manifestations is merely an instrument for the manifestation of invisible forces over which he has no control. The best of such mediums have been very unjustly blamed for “cheating”. The thoughts of the person visiting a Medium, are reflected by him. It is therefore not the Medium's person that cheats purposely, but his visitors are cheating themselves through his instrumentality. A mirror that would not reflect all the objects that are brought before it, would be a very unnatural and deceptive thing; a Medium who would only reflect such thoughts as he or she chooses to reflect would be an impostor, for exercising an intelligence of his own, he would not be in that passive condition which constitutes his mediumship.
The Adept in Magic is not the slave of these forces, but controls them by the power of his will. He consciously infuses life and consciousness and intelligence into them, and makes them act as he pleases; they obey his command, because they are a part of himself. The spiritualists do this unconsciously; they sing at their séances, thinking that the more the conditions are harmonious the better will be the manifestations. The true reason for this is, that the more the thoughts of the sitters are in a state of abstraction, the more they are “absent-minded”, the easier it will be for the Elementals to take possession of them.
The astral elements used by the Elementals in spiritual séances for the purpose of producing physical phenomena, are not only taken from the medium, but from all present, whose constitution is not strong, and who may therefore be easily vampirized for the purpose of furnishing the required elements. In séances for materializations, they are also taken from the clothing of those present, and furnish material for the drapery of the “spirits”, and it has been observed, that the clothing worn by people who frequently attend to such séances, wears out sooner than usual.
To bring fresh-spilled blood into such “spiritual séances”, increases the strength of the “materialisations” very much, and a knowledge of such facts has given rise to some abominable practices of black magic, which [Page 105] are still going on in many parts of the world, although secretly and unknown to the public. This knowledge has also undoubtedly given rise to the sacrifice of animals in the performance of religious ceremonies. A certain executioner was unfortunately gifted with clairvoyance, and every time after having decapitated a person he could see the “spirits” of dead people – sometimes even his friends and relatives – pounce upon the fresh-spilled blood of the criminal, and feed on its emanation and aura. It is also a fact that, at a time when the blood-drinking mania in Europe was started by medical ignorance, some people who practised it became insane, and many became demoralised by it. [One of the favourite aids for the materialism of spooks is the aura seminalis, which increases the power of ghosts, elementals and vampires for assuming a substantial form. There are many curious practices going on at such séances, which we must forbear to describe. See “The Life and Doctrines of Theophrastus Paracelsus” pages 66 and 90
The astral remnant of man is without judgment and reason, it goes wherever his instincts attract it, or wherever ny unsatisfied craving impels it to go. If you wish to be haunted by the “ghost” of a man, attract him by the power of desire. Leave some promise you made to him unfulfilled, and instinctively the astral form of the deceased will be attracted to you to seek its fulfillment, drawn to you by its own unsatisfied desire.
It is not his fault if you do not perceive his presence and hear his voice, it is because your astral senses are asleep and unconscious; you may feel his presence and it may cause a feeling of depression in your mind; he speaks to you, but in a language which you have not yet learned to understand. In those elementary remnants remains that which constituted the lower nature of man, and if they are temporarily infused with life, they will manifest the lower characteristics of the deceased, such as have not been sufficiently refined to join his immortal part. If a music-box is set to play a certain melody and made to start, it will produce that same melody and no other, although it has no consciousness of its own. The remnant of emotional and intellectual powers in the [Page 106] astral remnant of man will, if this remnant is made to speak, become manifest in the same kind of language which the man during his life used to speak.
The fresh corpse of a person who has suddenly been killed, may be galvanised into a semblance of life by the application of a galvanic battery. Likewise the astral corpse of a person may be brought back into an artificial life by being infused with a part of the life principle of the medium. If that corpse is one of a very intellectual person, it may talk very intellectually; and if it was that of a fool, it will talk like a fool. The intellectual action resembles mechanical motion in so far, that if it is once set into action, it will continue without any special effort of the will, until impulse is exhausted. We often see this in daily life. There are old and young people frequently seen, who are in the habit of telling some favourite story, which they have already told many times, and which they repeat on every occasion. It may be noticed, that when such an one begins to tell his story, it is of no use to tell him that one knows it already. He has to finish the story nevertheless.
An orator or a preacher does not need to think and reason about each word he utters. When the stream of ideas once flows, it flows without any effort of will. If life from a medium flows into the astral brain of a deceased person, that brain will elaborate its latent ideas in the same way it was accustomed to do during life.
We also reason while we dream; we draw logical conclusions during our sleep; but reason is absent, and although, while we dream, our logic seems to be reasonable, nevertheless we often see that it was foolish, when we awake and our reason returns.
The mental organism of man resembles a clockwork, which if it is once set into operation will continue to run until its force is exhausted; but there is no clockwork which winds itself up without extraneous assistance, and there is no mental organism able to think without a power that causes it to begin the process of intellectuation.
But here we must draw the attention to one of the [Page 107] many dangers of that amusement called the practice of spiritism.
In a departed soul the attraction of good and evil still continues to act, until the final separation of the higher and the lower takes place. It may follow the attraction of the higher principles and be attracted to “heaven”, or again come into contact with matter through the instrumentality of mediumship, take again part in the whirling dance of life, though by vicarious organs; follow once more the seduction of the senses, and lose entirely sight of the immortal self.
It is therefore not merely dangerous to a person to hold intercourse with the “spirits of the departed”; but it is especially injurious to the latter, – as long as the final separation of their lower principles from the higher ones has not yet taken place. Necromancy is a vile art, and so has therefore always been abhorred. It may disturb the blissful dreams of the sleeping soul, which aspires to a higher state of existence. It is like disturbing the peace of a saint during his hours of meditation, or to seduce a child. It is a step towards degradation; and as every impulse has a tendency to repeat itself, the most terrible consequences may follow after what seemed to be at first merely some innocent amusement.
These astral remnants are used by the black magician and by the elemental forces in nature for the purpose of evil. If they are unconscious, they will only serve as the blind instruments of the latter; if they are conscious he may enter into an alliance and co-operate with them.
Such alliance, either consciously or unconsciously on the part of him who enters into such an unspiritual intercourse, may take place between an evil-disposed person and a very evil inhabitant of the spiritual plane. Many people who are in actual possession of powers to work black magic, work evil unconsciously; that is to say, they are unconscious of the effects which their will produces, and of the mode in which it acts. The spiritual force created by hate enters the organism of another, and the person from whom the evil power proceeds may be entirely ignorant of it. Such black [Page 108] magicians unconsciously furnish the elements by which their own evil spirit acts. If the will of a black magician is not strong enough to effect his evil purpose, the force will. return and kill the magician. This is undoubtedly true, and the grossest illustration of it is, if a person by a fit of rage or jealousy is induced to kill himself. It is the reaction following an unfulfilled desire, which induces the rash act; the act is merely a result of his previous mental state.
The surest protection against all the practices of black magic, whether they are caused consciously or unconsciously, is to acquire strength of character – in other words, faith in the divine power within one's own soul.
As man becomes ennobled, the lower elements in his constitution are thrown off and replaced by higher ones, and in a similar manner a transformation takes place in the opposite way if he degrades himself by his thoughts and acts. Sensual man attracts from the A'kâsa those elements that his sensuality requires, for gross pleasures can only be felt by gross matter. A man with brutal instincts growing and increasing degrades himself into a brute in character, if not in external form. But as the form is only an expression of character, even that form may come to approach an animal in resemblance.
The proof of this assertion is seen every day, for we meet every day in the streets brutish men, whose animal instincts are only too well expressed in their external forms. We meet with human snakes, hogs, wolves, and those upon whom alcohol has stamped his seal, and it does not need the instructions given in book on physiognomy to enable almost anybody to read the character of certain persons more or less correctly expressed in their exterior forms.
In the physical plane the inertia of matter is greater than in the astral plane, and consequently its changes are slow. Astral matter is more active, and changes its form more rapidly. The astral body of a man whose character resembled an animal will therefore appear to the seer as an animal in its outward expression.[E. Swedenborg: “Heaven and Hell”] [Page 109]
The astral form of an evil person may appear in an animal shape if it is so filled with brutish instincts as to become identified with the image of that animal which is the expression of such instincts. It may even enter the form of an animal and obsess it, and it sometimes happens that it enters such forms for its own protection against immediate decomposition and death.
It would be easy to give anecdotes illustrating instances in which such things took place.[For examples. see Goerres: “Christian Mysticism”; Maximillian Perty: “Mystic phenomena in Nature”; D' Assier: “Postumus Humanity”; Catharine Crowe: “Nightside of Nature”; Hardinge Britten: “History of Spiritualism”; H. P. Blavatsky: “Isis Unveiled”, etc.,etc.. ] The principal object of the reader should be to learn to know the nature of his own constitution and the law which rules in all forms. If he once understands the modes in which the law acts, it will be a matter of little importance to know in what particular cases it has manifested itself in such modes. Accounts of phenomena can never supply the place of the understanding of the law.
“I never was not, nor shall I hereafter cease to be” Bhagavad Gita
THE universe of forms may be compared to a kaleidoscope in which the various forms of the original energy manifest themselves in an endless variety, appearing, disappearing, and re-appearing again. As in a kaleidoscope the pieces of variously coloured glass do not change their substance, but only change their positions, and, through the delusive reflections of mirrors at each turn of the instrument, are made to appear in new constellations and figures, so the One Life manifesting itself appears in an infinite number of forms unconscious or conscious, blind or intelligent, voluntary or involuntary, from the atom whose auras and ethers rush through a common vortex, [Babbit: “Principles of Light and Colour” ] up to the blazing suns whose photospheres extend over millions of miles, and from the microscopic Amoeba, up to perfect Man, whose intelligence conquers the gods.
Forms are materialised thoughts. If you can control thought you can control life and call into existence a form; but few persons are able to hold on to one thought even for one minute of time, because their minds are wavering and their will is divided. If a form comes into existence on the physical plane, its growth is simply a process by which something that already exists in thought becomes visible and material. This something is the character of the form, and as each character is individual and a whole, it becomes expressed in all parts of the form. A human being — for instance – will not have the body of a man, and the head of an animal, but its human character will be expressed in all its parts, and as the character constituting humanity is expressed in all human individuals, so is the character of an individual expressed in all its parts. This is a truth upon which the doctrines of Astrology, Phrenology, Chiromancy, Physiognomy, etc., are based, which are necessarily true, because Nature is a Unity. An animal, a plant, or a man, is a unity, and is therefore expressed in all the parts of the forms. It can be scientifically demonstrated that each component part of an organism is a microcosm, in which are represented the principles composing that organism. We may by examining a part of a leaf know that it comes from a plant, and by looking at an animal substance see that it came from an animal, or by testing even the most minute part of a mineral or metal know that it belongs to the mineral kingdom. Likewise we may read a man's character in his hands or face or feet or in any other part of his body, if we have acquired the art how to read it correctly.
Upon this law is based the science of Psychometry.[Prof. W. Denton: “Soul of Things”. J. R. Buchanan: “Manual of Psychometry”] By this science we may obtain a true history of past events. By psychometrically examining a stone taken from a house we may obtain correct information in regard to the former or present inhabitants of that house, or a fossil may give us a true description of antediluvian scenery and of the mode of life of prehistoric animals or men. By the psychometrical examination of a letter we may obtain information about the person who wrote the letter and also of the place in which the letter was written.[By submitting a letter which I had received in an occult manner from a “Master in Tibet, to a German peasant woman, for the purpose of having it examined psychometrically, I received a correct description of a certain temple in Tibet, and of certain persons with whom I afterwards became acquainted. – H. ] If this art were universally known and practised, criminals could be detected by examining psychometrically a piece of [Page 112] the wall, the floor, or the furniture of the room in which a murder or robbery was committed; it would make an end to convicting of innocent persons on circumstantial evidence, or to letting the guilty escape for want of proof; for the psychometer would, by the superior powers of his perception with the spiritual eye, see the murderer or robber or counterfeiter as plain as if he had seen them with his external eyes while the deed was committed.
Each form is the external expression of a certain character which it represents, and as such it has certain peculiar attributes, which distinguish it from other forms. A change of its character is followed by a gradual change of the form. An individual who becomes degraded in morals will, in the course of time, show his degradation in his external appearance; persons of a different appearance and different characters may, in the course of time, as their characters harmonise, resemble each other to a certain extent in appearance. Forms of life, belonging to the same class and species, resemble each other, and each nationality has certain characteristics expressed in the individuals belonging to it. A full-blooded Irishman will not easily be mistaken for a full-blooded Spaniard, although the two may be dressed alike, but, if they emigrate, they or their children will in time lose the national character which they possessed. Change of character changes the form; but a change of form does not necessarily change the character. A man may lose a leg and become a cripple, and still his character may remain the same as before; a child may grow into a man, and still his character remain that of a child unless modified by education.
facts are incontrovertible proofs that the character of a being is more
essential than his external form. If the character of an individual were
to depend on his inherited form, children born of the same parents and
educated under the same circumstances would always manifest the same
moral characteristics, but it is well known
that the characters of such children often differ widely from each other,
and possess characteristics which their parents do not possess. [Page 113]
If, as it frequently happens, children show the same or similar talents and intellectual capacities as their parents, such a fact is by no means a proof that the parents of the child's physical body are also the parents or producers of its intellectual germ; but it may be taken as an additional evidence of the truth of the doctrine of reincarnation, because the spiritual monad of the child would be naturally attracted, in its efforts to reincarnate, to the bodies of parents, whose mental and intellectual constitution would correspond nearest to its own talents and inclinations, developed during a previous earthly life.
“Character” means “individuality”, It is that which distinguishes one individual from another. That which represents the true character of something is its individual being, and not its corporeal form, and this individuality exists after the corporeal body, which was the expression of its qualities which has been dissolved. This individuality, called the “soul”, is not seen with our physical eyes, neither during the life of the form nor after its death. The life of the body may depart; but the life of the individuality is independent from that of the form or personality.
The individuality may belong either to a class as a whole, or to separate isolated beings. In the lower kingdoms no differentiation of character or soul exists; there is only a differentiation of form; they have one common soul; but in intelligent beings a distinct individuality belongs to each form; each self-conscious being has its own individual soul as soon as it has attained an individual character, and its individuality is independent of the existence of its personality. Forms perish; but the individuality remains unchanged after their death.
Seen from this standpoint, “death” is life, because, during the time that death lasts, that which is essential does not change; life is death, because only during life in the form the character is changed, and old tendencies and inclinations die and are replaced by others. Our passions and vices may die while we live; if they survive us they will be born again. [Page 114]
The character of an oak exists before the acorn begins to grow, but the growing germ attracts from earth and air such elements as it needs to produce an oak; the soul of a child exists as such before the physical form of the child is born into the world, and during its life in the form it may attract from the spiritual atmosphere the elements to which its aspirations and tendencies reach. Each seed will grow best in the soil that is best adapted to its constitution, each human monad existing in the subjective state will be attracted at the time of its incarnation to parents whose qualities furnish the best soil for its own tendencies and inclinations, and whose moral and mental attributes correspond to its own. The physical parents cannot be the progenitors of the spiritual germ of the child; that germ is the product of a previous spiritual evolution, through which it has passed in connection with former objective lives. In the present existence of a being the character of the being that will be its successor is prepared. Therefore every man may be truly said to be his own father; for he is the incarnated result of the personality which he evolved in his last life upon the planet, and the next personality which he will represent in his next visit upon this globe, is evolved by him during his present life.
The development of a plant reaches its climax in the development of the seed; the development of the animal body reaches its climax in the capacity to reproduce its form, but the intellectual and spiritual development of a man goes on long after he has acquired the power of reproduction, and it may not have reached its climax when the physical form is on the downward path, and ceases to live. The condition of the physical body undoubtedly furnish facilities for the development of character in the same sense as a good soil will furnish facilities for the growth of a tree; but the best soil cannot transform a thistle into a rose-bush, and the son of a good and intellectual man may be a villain or a dunce.
As the primordial essence proceeds to manifest itself in forms, it descends from the universal condition to [Page 115] general, special, and finally individual states. As it ascends again to the formless, the scale is reversed, and the individual units expand, to mingle again with the whole. Life on the lowest planes manifests itself in an undifferentiated condition; air has no strictly defined shape; one drop of water in the ocean shares an existence common to all other drops; one piece of clay is essentially the same as another. In the vegetable and animal kingdom the universal principle of life manifests itself in individual forms; still there is little difference between individual plants, trees, animals, and men belonging to the same species, and the peculiar attributes which distinguish one individual form from another cease to exist when the form disappears. That which essentially distinguishes one individual from another is independent of form. Distinctions of form disappear after the forms have dissolved; distinctions of character remain. Those attributes which raise their possessors eminently above the common level begin at a state where external appearances cease to be of great consequence. Socrates was deformed and yet a great genius; the size of Napoleon's body was not at all in proportion with the greatness of his intellect. Spirituality rises above the grave of the form, and the influence of great minds often grows stronger after the bodies that served them have turned to dust. Strong minds exert a power far beyond their physical form while they live; that power remains what it is when they die. They do not die when the form disappears.
All characters may become reincarnated or reimbodied after they have left the form, but if an individual has no specific character of its own the common character belonging to its species or class will be all that, after leaving the old body, can enter the new. If an individual has developed a specific character of its own, that distinguishes it from its fellows, that individual character will individually survive the dissolution of its form, because the law that applies to the whole, or to the class, will also apply to the part. A drop of water mixed in a body of water will become dispersed in the mass, it may be evaporated and condensed again, [Page 116] but it will never again be the same drop; but if a drop of some ethereal oil is mixed with the water, and the whole is evaporated in a retort, it will, after being condensed, form again the same individual drop in the mass. A character may lose its individuality during life and sink to the common level, but if it bas established a distinction from others, its individuality will survive the death of the form. To build up a character an individual form is required; to build up an individual form a character must exist.
If we wish to produce a form we must first decide upon its character. A sculptor who would aimlessly cut a stone, without making up his mind as to what form he desired to produce, would not accomplish anything great. The form is a temple of learning for the character, in which the latter gains experience by passing through the struggles of life. The harder the struggle the faster may the character of the individual become developed; an easy life may increase the size of the form, but leave the character weak; a hard struggle may weaken the form, but strengthens the spirit.
If we wish to make a new form out of old clay, we must first of all determine what that form shall be which we are about to create. The clay is passive, we may mould it into a thing of beauty or make it to represent something vile. If we wish to change our character for the better during our life, we must first of all learn to know a higher purpose of life, and reach up for a higher ideal, to be realised within our own self. After this nothing else needs to be done but to keep away everything that will prevent this ideal to realise itself in us. If we only protect it in its work, it will accomplish that work alone and without our active co-operation. We need not run after, catch, invent, create or manufacture our ideal, we only need to let that which already exists become a reality in us. We cannot even grow a cabbage; we can only prepare the conditions under which a cabbage can grow. We cannot grow an ideal in us; the ideal grows itself, if we furnish the soil, and that soil is our life.
If our soul is to expand its consciousness beyond the [Page 117] narrow limits of this world and realise the glory of an universal existence, then must we let a high and universal ideal realise itself in us. Dreaming and talking of some ideal is to no purpose, we must let it nourish itself by our life. Wisdom and Power, Love and Truth, Justice and Knowledge, are no objects for dreaming or for scientific research; they must become our life and nourish us by our living in harmony with these universal principles, otherwise we cannot rise above the limitation of form, which is the cause of the delusion of separation and personality. From the illusion of separatedness caused by the realisation of form arises this delusion of self. From this delusion arise innumerable others. From the sense of self arises the love of self, the desire for continuance of personality, greed, avarice, envy, jealousy, fear, doubt and sorrow, pain and death, and the whole range of sufferings which render life miserable and afford no permanent happiness. If a person is miserable and can find no happiness in himself, the surest and quickest way for him to be contented is to forget his own personality.
A person living in a continual state of isolation of the heart, cares for nothing but for his own personality. He passes away his life in dreaming of that which he does not possess, and thus he loses his spiritual substance and power, becoming himself like a vapoury dream.
Isolation on the physical plane produces starvation. He who is not nourished by the spirit of universal love starves his soul. An organism upon a low scale of existence, a stone, endures isolation; a scrub pine may live in a place where no higher plant can exist. An idiot may live alone in a cave and not trouble himself, because he has no spiritual aspirations requiring nourishment; but one who desires to attain life and strength in the spirit, must be nourished by that spirit, whose name is universal spiritual love.
As on the physical plane, so on the astral plane, isolation produces starvation. A desire locked up in the heart feeds on the life of him who harbours it; stored up anger seeks for some object upon which to [Page 118] spend itself; passions are never contented, they always clamour for more. The forces of the astral plane are conscious, even if not intelligent; they refuse to be “killed out”, they cry for life, and follow the currents of life's attractions. The astral soul of a drunkard will be attracted to drunkards; the astral spook of the lewd seek enjoyment in a brothel through the organs of another; the ghost of the miser is hovering over his buried treasures until the force which put him there is exhausted. There are spooks, ghosts, vampires incubi, succubi, and elementals of various kinds, all thirsting for life.
An isolated desire does not die, but grows into a passion; passions grow stronger at one's expense by being imprisoned. Accumulated energy cannot be annihilated, it must be transferred to other forms, or be transformed into other modes of motion; it cannot remain for ever inactive. It is useless to attempt to resist a passion which one cannot control. If its accumulating energy is not led into other channels it will grow until it becomes stronger than reason. To control it, it should be led into another and higher channel.Thus a love for something vulgar may be changed by turning it into a love for something high, and vice may be turned into virtue by changing its aim. Passion is blind, it goes where it is led to, and requires reason to guide it. Love for a form disappears with the death of the form, or soon after; love of character remains even after the form in which that character was embodied ceased to exist.
The ancients said that Nature suffers no vacuum. We cannot destroy or annihilate a passion. If one passion is driven away another will take its place. We should therefore not attempt to destroy the low, but displace the low by the high; vice by virtue, and superstition by knowledge.
There are some persons who live in perfect isolation on the intellectual plane. They are such whose thoughts are entirely absorbed by intellectual speculation, having no time or inclination to attend to the claims of their character. They feed their brains while [Page 119] their hearts are made to starve. They live in dreams and scientific illusions, in the smoke of the speculations arising from their vapoury brains. They are like misers, filling the mind with what they believe to be immortal treasures, consisting of collections of theories, dogmas, hypotheses, suppositions, inferences, and sophistry, while they have no room for the development of spirituality or the divine knowledge of self. This class is constituted of the very learned, the great dogmatists, rationalists, material philosophers, and “sceptical” scientists of our age, with overgrown brains and petrified hearts. They argue about immortality or deny its existence, instead of seeking to attain it; they sometimes become criminals for the sake of gratifying their scientific curiosity. Their astral corpses will continue to exist for a while after the death of the body, until their life is exhausted, and having attained no spirituality during terrestrial life, they will, after their borrowed treasures have departed, be spiritual idiots.
There exists no isolation on the spiritual plane, nor can we speak of isolation in God; for if God is self-existent, self-conscious, self-knowing, and self-sufficient, his self, his existence, his knowledge encloses the All with all of his creatures. Well may he who has gained the knowledge of his own divine self be satisfied to live in a tomb; for what other company should be desired by one who enjoys the presence of God; what comfort should be given to one who lives in divine peace; what could be offered to one who possesses the All?
Life itself never perishes; only the forms perish, if life ceases to manifest itself in them.
Life is universally present in nature, it is contained in every particle of matter, and only when the last particle of life has departed the form ceases to exist. Life in a stone does not appear to exist, and yet without life there would be no cohesion of its atoms. If the life-principle were extracted from a mineral its form would be annihilated. A seed taken from the tomb of an Egyptian mummy began to germinate and grow after [Page 120] it was planted in the earth, having kept its life-principle during a sleep of many centuries. If the activity of animal life could be correspondingly arrested, an animal or a man might prolong individual existence to an indefinite period. Stones may live from the beginning of a Manvantara unto its end; some forms reach a very old age, but if the life-impulse is once given it is difficult to arrest it without destroying the form. [If the life of a person could be suspended by arresting its activity for some years (as has been actually done in the well-known instances of buried fakirs), we might preserve all our great statesmen and politicians for ages, and wake them up only on occasions when their advice would be required ??? ]
Life may be transferred from one form upon another, and the power by which it may be transferred is the power of Love, because Love, Will and Life are essentially the same power, or different aspects of one, in the same sense as heat and life are modifications of motion. The power of hate may kill, and the power of love has been known to call the apparently dead back to life. Spiritual Love is Life, a spiritual power more powerful than all the drugs of the Pharmacopoeia. A person may actually give his life to another and die himself, so that another may live. This transfer can be made and sick persons restored to health, by the power of love.
fountain of this universal love is also the source of the life of all
things; it is divine self-consciousness, the power by which God recognises
in everything; in other words, it is divine wisdom, the Light. [“ In
him was the life, and the life was the light of all men”. – John
i. 4. also “He is the light
in all luminous things. He is the Knower, the Knowledge, and
the object of Knowledge”.-Bhagavad Gita xiii. 17. ] It
is everywhere present, and manifests itself in every form capable to
correspond to its living vibrations. It cannot be found by vivisection
nor by means
of the microscope, telescope, or chemical analysis, and modern science
knows nothing about it. Nevertheless it is a principle or power, in
and through which we all live and have our being, and if it were withdrawn [Page
us for one moment, we would be immediately annihilated.
To be blind to the universal presence of this Light is to be blind to the fact that grasses and trees, men and animals, live and grow, and that every form strives to be initiated into a higher degree according to the law of evolution. The building of the “Temple of Solomon” goes on unceasingly. Invisibly act the elements of nature, the master builders of the universe, and no sound of a hammer is heard. Life inhabits a form, and when the form is decayed it gathers the elements and builds itself a new house. A rock, exposed to the action of wind and rain, begins to decay on its surface the elements gather again and appear in a new form. Minute plants and mosses grow on the surface, living and dying and being reborn, until the soil accumulates and higher forms come into existence. Centuries may pass away before this part of the work is completed; but finally grasses will grow, and the life that was formally dormant in a rock now manifests itself in forms capable to enter the animal kingdom. A worm eats a plant, and the life of the plant becomes active and conscious in a worm; a bird eats the worm and the life that was chained to a form crawling in darkness and filth, now partakes of the joys of an inhabitant of the air. At each step on the ladder of progression life acquires new means to manifest its activity, and the death of its previous form enables it to step into a higher one. But a time arrives in the process of its evolution when its activity becomes so high and its sphere so expanded, that no physical organism, no form of which we can conceive, will be able to serve as an instrument in which its attributes could find an appropriate expression. Then will the mortal frame be too insignificant to serve the immortal genius, and the freed Eagle will arise from the form.
Forms are nothing but symbols of life, and the higher the life expresses itself the higher will be the form. An acorn is an insignificant thing compared with the oak, but it has a character, and through the magic action of life it may develop into an oak. The germ of its individual [Page 122] life is incarnated in the acorn, and forms the point of attraction for the universal principle of life. Its character is already formed, and if it grows it can become nothing else but an oak. Buried in the earth it grows and develops from a lower into a higher state through the influence of the highest, because the principle of life is present in it. But however great its potency for growth may be, still it cannot germinate without the life-giving influence of the universal fountain of life reaching it through the power of the sun, and the sun could not make it grow unless the same principle of life were contained within the germ.
The rays of the sun penetrate from their airy regions to the earth; their light cannot enter the solid earth, which protects the tender seed of a plant from the fiery rays, whose activity would destroy its inherent vitality. But the seed is touched by the heat that radiates into the earth, and a special mode of life manifests itself in the seed. The seed begins to sprout, and the germ struggles towards the source of the life-giving influence, and strives towards the light. The roots have no desire for light, they only crave for nutriment, which they find in the dark caverns of matter. They penetrate deeper into the earth, and may even absorb the activity of the higher parts of the plant. But if these parts belong to a species whose character it is to grow towards the light, its nobler portions will enter its sphere, and ultimately bear flowers and fruits.
The soul of man being buried in matter, feels the life-giving influence of the supreme spiritual sun, while at the same time it is attracted by matter. If man's whole attention is attracted to the claims of his body, if all his aspirations and desires are directed to satisfy the desires of his “self”, he will himself remain a thing of earth, incapable to become conscious of the existence of Light. But if he strives for Light and opens his soul to its divine influence, he will enter its sphere and become conscious of its existence.
true Elixir of Life can only be found at the eternal fountain
of life. It springs from the seventh principle, manifesting itself as
power in the [Page 123] sixth
and shedding its light down into the fifth, illuminating the mind. In
the fifth it is manifest as the intellectual power in man, radiating down
the fourth it creates desires, by calling forth instincts in the lower
triad, and thereby enabling the forms to draw the elements which they
need from the storehouse of nature. It for ever calls men to life by the
of truth, whose echo is the power of intuition crying in the wilderness
of our hearts, baptising the souls with the water of truth, and pointing
out to them the true path to the realisation of their own immortality. [Page
“Let no one enter here who is not well versed in mathematics and music”. – Pythagoras.
To listen to the music of the spheres” is a poetical, expression, but it expresses a great truth; because the Universe is filled with harmony, and a soul who is in full harmony with the soul of the universe may listen to that music and understand it. The world as well as man resemble musical instruments, in which every string should be in perfect order, so that no discordant notes may be sounded. We may look upon matter on the physical plane as a state of low vibration and upon spirit as the highest vibration of life, and between the two poles are the intermediary states constituting the grand octave called Man.
Plato is said to have written over the door of his academy: “Let no one enter here, unless he is versed in mathematics”, and Pythagoras demanded of his disciples an additional ”knowledge of music”; meaning the capacity to keep their soul attuned to the harmonies of the divine law of being, so as to be able to realise the beauty of truth; for without such an elevation of soul and without spirituality, all desire for a knowledge of that which transcends the realm of the sensual is merely an outcome of vanity, an insane craving for gratifying curiosity, which defeats its own end; because the more one seeks to examine objectively the One which includes the All, the more does he recede from it and separate himself from the realisation of that truth which is one, eternal, omnipresent and infinite. [Page 125] It is not the personality of man that can grasp the impersonal. If man wants to know God, he must die to himself, and enter God's nature; which means that he must overcome the disharmony caused by the delusion of division, separation and self, and again realise the unity of the whole.
The foundation of nature is Unity. God is only One. He is the Law, and requires no “law-giver”; being Himself omnipresent within the All of his nature; self-sufficient, self-existent and absolute. The Law is everywhere, and everything exists in the Law, and without the law of existence no existence is to be found.
But as by the act of creation and subsequent evolution a variety of forms comes into existence, with innumerable beings capable to will, and to think, and to use the law contrary to divine wisdom, many disharmonies are caused in what ought to be a harmonious whole.
the law is still the same; but its action may be misapplied and its use
perverted. It is still the foundation of every individual being, and
the sooner each individual will become able to recognise the highest
law of its own nature, which is identical with the law that rules the
All, the sooner will the original harmony be restored.
Man is himself an outcome of the action of law, and that law is in him. It is the centre and fountain of his own being; he is an expression of it, and it is his true self. He is himself the law, and will recognise himself as the law when he learns to know his true self. All the elements in his nature which do not recognise this one universal law, and act in accordance with it, do not belong to man's divine nature; they are not his real self, but produce the disharmony which exist in his world. Only when all the inhabitants of his kingdom will bow before the superiority of that law, will there be perfect harmony.
In every department of nature every effect depends on a corresponding cause, and every cause will produce a certain effect according to the conditions in which it becomes manifest. If we knew the causes we could easily calculate their effects. Each thought, each word, each [Page 126] act creates a cause, which acts directly on the plane to which it belongs, creating there new causes, which react again upon the other planes. A motive or thought which finds no expression in an act will have no direct result on the physical plane, but it may cause great emotions in the sphere of mind, and these may again react on the physical plane. The best intention will produce no visible effect unless it is put into execution; but intentions produce certain mental states, that may be productive of actions at some time in the future. The performance of an act will have an effect, no matter whether it was premeditated or not, but an act without a motive will not directly affect the planes of thought. Such an act imposes no moral responsibility upon the performer, but it will, nevertheless, have its effects on the physical plane that may react upon the mind.
From the causes created on the physical, astral, and spiritual planes innumerable combinations of effects come into existence, creating new causes, that are again followed by effects, and every force that is put into action on either plane continues to act until it is exhausted by transformations into other modes of action, when its vibrations will be changed into others, and the previous effects will cease to exist.
By the threefold action of that law as thought, will, and performance on the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual planes a great many conditions ensue which give rise to endless modifications and varieties, and again produce innumerable secondary causes, which again produce effects, and at last the actions of the law of Karma will become so complicated, that it is impossible to follow it into its details.
The law of Karma is the law of justice for the purpose of restoring harmony; it includes retribution in the shape of “punishment” and “reward”. It knows nothing of “revenge”, neither does it recognise any personal merits; it is the Law itself, and acts according to its own nature and not in accordance to this or that consideration. It is the law according to which the sum of the causes created by one individual in on incarnation will produce certain effects in his next [Page 127] incarnation, and cause him to either enjoy or suffer that which he has either willingly, and with determination, or ignorantly created himself. Every being in nature having attained individuality has its own individual Karma, determining the course of its future career; each of the individual elements in the constitution of man has its own Karma, and man being identified with his nature, partakes of the Karma of the principles which constitute his own nature; but as God is superior to nature and therefore not subject to it, so the individual man who conquers his nature, rises above it, and becoming one with the law, becomes free of the Karma affecting his terrestrial nature. “Giving his nature away”, and sacrificing himself wholly to the law of divine being, he also “forgives” his sins.
The discords in nature, caused by the action of the deluded self-will and the perverted desires of individual entities, cannot cease in any other way than by the restoration of the unity of the individual will with the will of the fundamental law of the whole. This unity exists; it does not need to be created by man; he is only required to recognise it. If he recognises it practically, it will become realised in him. Personal man cannot recognise himself as being this Unity, because he is divided against himself; his “self” is an illusion, and an illusion cannot become a realisation of truth. If the truth becomes realised, the illusion ceases to be.
All numbers are the outcome of one; in all numbers the one is contained, and without the one at the bottom no numbers could come into existence. This number one remains always the same; whether divided or multiplied by itself, it does not change. All mathematics is based upon the faith into the immutability of number one. We have no positive proof that it never changes; our knowledge about it is only negative; because it has never been known to change. In the same way our intellectual knowledge of God is only negative; we cannot prove his eternal immutability scientifically; we only believe in it; the only proof we have of it is, that our own inner self-consciousness, if [Page 128] we have once attained it, remains ever the same. This proof is sufficient for the wise; but it will go for nought with the fool.
The foundation of nature is one; but the numbers of its manifestation appear to be infinite. Nevertheless, all things in nature are related to each other, owing to their relation to the one, which is at the bottom or their existence.
Everything has its number, measure, and weight, and there is nothing in nature which is not ruled by mathematical laws. Suns and stars have their periodical revolutions. The molecules of bodies combine in certain proportions, known to chemistry, and in all events on the physical plane as well as in the realm of the emotions a certain regularity and periodicity has been observed. There are regular hours for the appearance of day and night, fixed intervals for spring and summer, autumn and winter, for ebbs and tides in the ocean and in the waters constituting the soul. The physiological and anatomical changes in animal forms occur at fixed periods, and even the events of life take place according to certain occult laws; because, although man's will seems to be free, nevertheless his actions are controlled by certain circumstances, and even the comparative freedom of his will is a result of the action of the law of his evolution.
The followers of Pythagoras believed every process in nature to be regulated by certain numbers, which are as follows:
This table represents a succession of numbers, which are obtained by the construction of Tetragrams or magic squares, and it was believed that by the use of these numbers every effect could be calculated if the original [Page 129] number referring to the cause were known. If everything has a certain number of vibrations, and if these vibrations increase or diminish at a certain ratio and in regular periods, a knowledge of these numbers will enable us to predict a future event. [The magic squares of odd numbers are formed as described below: by writing down the numbers of their squares in regular succession, cutting out their “heart” and transposing the numbers that are left to their opposite places. The following is the process in forming the magic square of the number III. The square of 3 is 9:
see here the numbers 1, 3, 7, 9, left on the outside of the square. If
they are inserted in a certain order into the blank spaces at the opposite
sides of the square, the following figure will be the result:
These numbers, if added in any column of three, will always produce 15.
The following will make still clearer the order in which the numbers are to be inserted, with the figure drawn in an upright position.
According to this principle, all the other magic squares of odd numbers are made.
The following is the tetragram of the number seven:
Each column added together produces 175.
The numbers omitted here may be inserted by the student.
The construction of tetragrams of even numbers is more complicated, but the following examples will show the principles after which they are constructed.
Summa = 260
Every person has a certain number that expresses his character,and if we know that number, we may, by the use of the magic squares, calculate certain periodical changes in his mental and emotional states, which induce him to make certain changes in his outward conditions, and in this way calculate approximately the time when some important changes may take place in his career. ]
Periodicity is a manifestation of universal law, and an attention to it may lead to some important discoveries. Its actions have long ago been known to exist in the vibrations producing light and sound, and it has recently been recognised in chemistry by experiments tending to prove that all so-called simple elements [Page 130] are only various states of vibrations of one primordial element, manifesting itself in seven principal modes of action, each of which to be sub-divided into seven [Page 131] again. The difference which exists between so-called single substances is, therefore, no difference of substance [Page 132] or matter, but only a difference of the function of matter or in the ratio of its atomic vibration.
This periodicity is also known to exist in the macrocosm of the universe; the tide of civilisation rises and sinks according to certain laws, and ages of spiritual ignorance are followed by eras of spiritual enlightenment; upon the Kali Yuga follows the Satya Yuga (the era of wisdom), as sure as day follows the night.[This periodicity is stated to be as follows: -
Yuga = 4,800 divine years.
Treta Yuga = 3,600 divine years
Dwapara Yuga = 2,400 divine years
Kali Yuga = 1,200 divine years
Each divine year being equal to 360 years of mortal men. See H. P. Blavatsky: “Theosophical Glossary”]
The number Seven represents the scale of nature, it is represented in all departments of nature, from the radiant sun, whose light is broken by a dewdrop into the seven colours of the rainbow, down to the snowflake crystallising in six-pointed stars around the invisible centre. The law of seven has been found to rule in the development and growth of vegetable and animal organisms, in the constitution of the universe, and in the constitution of Man. Seven is the rule by which the totality of existence is measured, but Five is the number of Harmony. If the fifth note in the musical scale is in accord with the first and the third, harmony will be the result. There are other accords which are harmonious, but the most perfect accord is caused by the harmony of the first, the third, and the fifth. Two sounds may be harmonious, but to attain a perfect accord a third one is required. The same law rules in the constitution of Man. If his body (his first principle) is in accord with his instincts (the third), he experiences pleasant sensations, but full harmony and happiness is only attained when his fifth principle [Page 133] (his intelligence) fully assents in the union of the first and the third. Other parallels may be drawn between the musical scale and the scale of principles in man, and it will be found that both have their accords in moll and in dur that correspond to each other. Each man's life is a symphony, in which either harmonious or discordant tunes may prevail.
The power by which harmony is produced is the power of Love. Love produces union and harmony, hate causes dissension and discord. Love is the power of mutual recognition; recognition is a manifestation of consciousness, consciousness is a manifestation of life. Life, Love, Consciousness, Harmony, are essentially one. Love is the power by which a being existing in one form recognises itself in the form of another being. Why do some notes, if sounded together, produce harmony, if not on account of the similarity of the elements that compose them coming to the consciousness of our own mind ? Mutual recognition among friends causes joy, and joy means harmony, happiness, and content.
If two or more notes of exactly the same kind are sounded together, they produce neither harmony nor discord, they simply increase their own strength. They are already one, in form and in spirit; but if different notes are struck, each containing an element also contained in the other, each sees its own counterpart represented in the mirror held by the other, and this recognition is joy. If we listen to beautiful music the air seems filled with life. If the principle of harmony exists within ourselves we recognise it in music; it becomes alive in our soul. A discordant being may listen to the most beautiful music and will experience no pleasure because there is no harmony within his own soul.
If a principle becomes conscious of its own existence in another form and recognises its beauty in that form in its purity, and unalloyed by any adulteration, perfect harmony is the result. If two or more things contain the same element, these elements are justly adapted to each other, and seek to unite, because they are constituted alike, they vibrate together as one. This tendency [Page 134] to unite is Attraction, which manifests itself on all planes of existence. The planets are attracted to the sun and to each other, because they all contain the same elements, seeking to reunite, and the power of gravitation is nothing else but the power exercised by love. Man is attracted to woman and woman to man, because if they realise in each other the presence of the elements of their own ideal, they will love each other and be fully contented. Man and woman can only truly love each other if they are both attracted by the same ideal. This ideal may be high or low, but the higher it is the more permanent will it be, and the greater will be their mutual happiness.
Original man was a Unity; an ethereal being, in whom will and thought were one. Being misled by the allurements of sensual existence he began to dream, and while he dreamed he forgot his own divine nature and became a worm of the earth. When he opened his eyes, he found the woman before him. He, the original unity had become divided in two; which means that his will and his reason had become divided; they were no longer in harmony with each other and no longer in harmony with the law. Man represents the imagination, woman the will. If they had both separated themselves from the law as they did from each other, woman would have no intelligence and man would have no will; but fortunately some of the original nature that constituted original man remained with them; they still are both to a certain extent embodiments of the law, and by entering again into harmony with the law, will and intelligence will become united in wisdom; the heart one with the head; the true man and the true woman one being. This is the celestial marriage of the soul with the spirit, of beauty with strength, of which all external marriages are at best symbols but usually caricatures.
Mankind is only one, but it appears in many millions of various masks. This mask is the personality of each man, the instrument through which his humanity acts, and which is full of imperfections. He, in whom humanity has become conscious, sees in every man and [Page 135] woman not only his brother or sister, but his own self. A person who injures another, injures himself, for each man constitutes a power which acts upon all the elements constituting humanity and the good or evil he does will return to himself; because whatever takes place in humanity, takes place within his own nature; for his true nature is that of humanity and the body of humanity belongs to it as a whole.
Love is self-recognition. You cannot love a thing or recognise yourself in it, if you are not related to it. You cannot love humanity if you have not the principle of humanity alive in you; you cannot love God and still remain Mr Smith or Mrs Jones; only God can love God. To love God you must outgrow yourself and become truly divine. He who claims to love God without having any spiritual knowledge of Him is a hypocrite or a fool.
Love is self-knowledge, God. It is a spiritual, self-existent, and self-sufficient principle, requiring for its own being only its own self; but without some object it cannot become manifest, and the quality of its manifestation depends on the quality of that object. A person in love with himself loves a nothing. Love in the high acts high, in the degraded, low. The more universal the object, the more will the power of love in a person expand the mind; but the mind, to be so expanded, must be strong, a weak mind has no power.
Love, to be strong, must be pure, intelligent, and unalloyed with selfish considerations. If we love a thing on account of the use we can make of it, we do not in reality love that thing, but ourselves. Pure love has only the well-being of its object in view, it does not calculate profits, and is not afraid of disadvantages that may grow out of its love. The intellect calculates, but love is its own law.
love is weak and does not enter into its object; it may cause a ruffle
on the soul of another, but does not penetrate to the centre. Pure love
penetrates and cannot be resisted. The most potent love potion a person
can give to another is to love that person without any selfish object
in view. [Page 136]
If you wish to progress on the road to perfection, take lessons in love. Learn to love the highest, and you will be attracted by it. Love in every man not the person, but his humanity. If you despise another you despise your own self, because he who prominently notices the faults of another has the elements of those faults in himself. A vain person is repulsed by the vanity of another, a liar expects from others the truth, a thief does not wish to have his own property taken away.
Each man is a mirror in which every other man may see his own image reflected, either as he is or as he may become in the future, for in every human soul exist the same elements, although in different states of development, and there development often depends on external conditions over which man has but little control.
Love is the most necessary element for the continuance of life; there is no life without love, and if man were to cease to love life he would cease to live. A love for a higher life will lead men to a higher condition, a love for a lower state will drag them down to the low. It often happens that if a person's love for a high ideal does not meet the object which it desires, it transfers its love upon something that is low. Old females without any offspring often transfer their parental affection upon some favourite cat or dog, and there are men who buy the semblance of love when no genuine love can be had.
Whenever a lower vibration is not entirely out of harmony with a higher one, the higher vibration accelerates the action of the lower one and brings it up to its own level, in the same manner as a bar of iron, surrounded by an insulated electric wire, may have electricity induced in it, and through a long-continued and powerful action of the higher vibrations upon the lower ones, even the involuntary actions of the body, such as the movements of the heart, may become subject to individual will. Two strings of a musical instrument which sound not entirely out of harmony, by being sounded together for a certain length of time, at last become harmonious; a man living in more refined society, which is not too far above his moral or [Page 137] intellectual level, will become more refined, servants will ape their masters, and animals take some of the lower characteristics of those that attend to them, and friends or married couples being continually in each other's company may finally resemble each other to a certain extent.
If the respective rates of the vibrations of two substances are entirely out of harmony, they may repel each other, and abnormal activity or excitement follows. The animal body, for instance, can be exposed without danger to a comparatively high degree of heat, if the temperature is gradually raised; while an even lower degree of heat may be very injurious if applied suddenly. It is not without reasons that the occultist abstains from Alcohol and from animal food.
“What may be one man's food, will be another man's poison”; in the sphere of matter as well as in the sphere of the emotions. Strong constitutions can bear strong food, weak minds will get frightened at unwelcome truths. No man has ever become an Adept merely because he lived on vegetables; a vegetable diet is however preferable to meat-eating for various reasons. Apart from the self-evident fact that it is entirely opposed to the divine law of justice that he who strives after the attainment of a higher state of existence should destroy animal life, or cause others to destroy it for the purpose of gratifying his appetite.
Those who desire to become more spiritual and refined should avoid supplying their bodies with that which is gross; those who desire to master their passions should not feed them with substances in which the elements of such passions reside.
A great variety of different kinds of food produces impurities of the blood; a struggle ensues between the different auras, and excitement, fever, and disease is the result. The same law explains the origin of venereal and cutaneous diseases, and in the astral plane, a great variety of emotions, called into existence within a short space of time, may render a person insane.
If two forces of a character different from each other meet, disharmony will be the result. Everybody has [Page 138] his own peculiar emanations and auras and transmits them to others, so everyone receives the magnetic auras of others or of the locality by which he is surrounded, and these emanations may be either wholesome or pestiferous; men and women may either cure or poison each other by them, and it is therefore well to follow the advice which Gautama Buddha gave to his disciples, and eat and sleep alone.
Many people are very careful to have their food well prepared, so that no unhealthy food enters the body; while at the same time they are very careless as to what thoughts enter their mind; but the quality of the thoughts that dwell in the mind, and of the emotions which nourish the soul, is of far more importance than the quality of the food which enters the body. The mind and the will of man, no less than his body, may be poisoned; the food which the mind requires comes from the highest planes of thought; the food for the soul from the light of divine wisdom. Only that which has descended from heaven can rise to heaven again.
There is no such thing as “sin” in the usual acceptation of this term and there is no one to punish it. Our mistakes are our teachers; our vices are often the basis of our virtues, our passions are the steps which furnish material for the steps that lead us to heaven. Vice and virtue are manifestations of one energy, which we may employ according to the degree of our wisdom; but he who has no power for evil has also no power for good.We may spend the treasure which nature has lent us either for a high or for a low purpose, it concerns only ourselves; but we cannot expend the same sum again after it has been expended. A purely animal life will produce happiness if the possessor is contented with it. If a person has no higher object in view than to eat and drink, sleep, and propagate his species, he may be thereby rendered happy; there can be nothing wrong; but he who desires to become an immortal being, must take care not to waste his strength.
that which is pure can be harmonious.
Singleness of purpose renders a motive pure, but a variety of purposes causes impurity. If a person devotes [Page 139] himself to a certain mode of life, because all his desires are directed towards that end, his motive will be pure; but if he has besides other objects in view, his motive will be impure, and may defeat his aim.
The word “asceticism” is continually misunderstood. A man who lives in a convent, or as an hermit in the wilderness, is not an “ascetic”, if he has no desire for a life in the world; for it is no act of self-denial to avoid that which we do not want. “Asceticism” means discipline, and a person who is disgusted with the ways of the world undergoes a much more severe discipline, if he remains in the world, than if he runs away, and goes where he may enjoy his peace. The real ascetic is therefore he who lives in the midst of the society whose manners displease him, and whose tastes are not his own, and who, in spite of all the temptations by which he may be surrounded, still maintains his integrity of character. Strength only grows by resistance. Our enemies are our friends, if we know how to use them. A hermit living in the woods, where he has no temptations, gains no strength. Isolation is only suitable for an Adept; the Neophite must go throughout the ordeal of life.
A tiger does not sin if he kills a man, he only follows the law of his nature. He who follows the dictates of his nature commits no crime. But what is virtue in an animal may become vice in a man; because he has two natures, an animal and a spiritual nature. If he knows his own higher nature, he will follow it, and for the purpose of obtaining knowledge of it he must sin and suffer the consequences. Real sin is the wilful rejection of the manifestation of divine truth.
The saintly Eckhart says: “God has made great sinners of those who were to become the performers of great works; so that they could attain a superior wisdom by means of his love. If God found it necessary that I should have sinned and suffered for the purpose of gaining experience, I do not wish that I had not sinned, nor do I regret having sinned; for thus his will is done on earth as it is in heaven. A truly honest man will also not wish that he should have no desire for [Page 140] sinning; because without the power to sin he would have no means to overcome it. There can be no victory without a battle, and no true knowledge of good without the experience of evil”.
Suffering is an absolutely necessary condition for man as long as he has not attained perfection. To believe in the presence of suffering is as necessary for his terrestrial nature as it is necessary for his spiritual nature to realise the presence of God. There is no other Redeemer of Mankind except Self-knowledge attained by experience. If all the poverty in the world could be artificially abolished at once, men and women would perish in indolence. Nothing can be truly enjoyed which has not been gained by one's own exertions. If there were one teacher supposed to be infallible, whose dictates would be accepted by everybody, the whole world would be satisfied in believing his theories; there would be no incitement for anyone to seek himself for the truth. If we support a lazy beggar in his idleness, we rob him of the opportunity to gain by experience that knowledge which he can rightfully claim.
Metals are purified by fire, and the heart gains knowledge by suffering. The lower desires must starve to nourish the higher; the animal passions must be crucified and die; but the angel of Love removes the stone from the sepulchre, and liberates the higher energies from the sphere of selfishness and darkness; and the resurrected virtues live and become active in a new world of light and harmony.
If you wish to represent to your mind the process of spiritual purification, seek to understand that you are a world created by a dream, filled with the product of the imagination of nature, and thrown into disorder by the absence of the light of divine wisdom, which is the recognition of divine law, the true inner self-consciousness, which you do not possess. You are comparable to an empty nothing, an evanescent soap-bubble, upon whose glittering surface various colours play; but in which there is no true life and no substance as long as the truth has not become a living power in you. In this world as in a mirror the invisible image of the [Page 141] divine Adonai is for ever reflected and his power is latent within you. If, by the strength of obedience and the knowledge which you have already received, you can subdue the turbulent elements in your world and restore order in Chaos by ceasing to give life and strength to your desires and dreams, then will the image of the Lord of All, whose presence is everywhere, become visible in yourself and his power awaken within you.
In this principle will and thought and the law are as one without any division. If you know the law, it will lead you to unity and restoration of harmony; the divine ideal will become realised within you, and as it becomes a reality in you, you will recognise it as being your own immortal self.
Bones, muscles, nerves, etc., are the elements of the physical constitution of man; illusions, delusions, dreams, theories, opinions, and dogmas are the inhabitants of his mind; truth, love, justice, purity, self-knowledge, freedom, harmony, and happiness are the elements and attributes of his spiritual organism, and the more these principles manifest their universality in him, the more will he himself approach the divine state.
To recognise the divinity in humanity is to become divine; to behold the realisation of the highest ideal within one's own soul is divine adoration; to desire not the possession of any creature, but to adore the Creator within them all, including oneself, is worship; to recognise and enjoy the harmonies of the universe manifested in nature is divine praise; to let the unity of will, thought, and law be restored within one's soul is true meditation; to rise above the illusion of self and sacrifice oneself to the God of All is true prayer; to realise the truth within one's own heart is to dispel the clouds of error; to become nothing oneself is to enter into that higher self-consciousness which constitutes man's divine state.
There is not a single instance known in history in which true prayer has not been efficacious. If any man has not obtained that which he asked, it only proves that he did not know how to pray. True prayer does [Page 142] not consist in words, but in actions, and the gods help him who helps himself; but he who expects that the gods should do for him that which he ought to accomplish himself, does not know how to pray, and will be disappointed. Prayer means the rising up in our thoughts and aspirations to the highest ideal; if we do not rise up to it, we do not pray. If we expect our highest ideal to come down to us, we expect an absurdity and impossibility.
To attain the highest the spirit should be the master, the passions the servants. A helpless cripple is the slave of his servant; a man who depends on ignorant servants to do work which he can do himself, has to submit to their whims and imperfections, and if he changes his servants, that does not change his position. A person who has vulgar desires and tastes becomes their servant; they dictate to him, and he has to exert himself to attain the means to gratify their claims; but he who has no ignoble desires to serve, is free. Having conquered the world of which he himself is the creator and which belongs to him, his strife with the astral elements ceases. For him discord no longer exists, and resting with his heart at the centre, he is himself the sun illuminating his world and enjoys the harmonies which he created in his own divine nature.[Page 143]
dissipates the illusions and visionary interpretations of
in which the imagination run!! riot”. – Dr Caird.
THE first power that meets us at the threshold of soul's dominion is the power of imagination: it is the plastic and creative power of the mind. Man is conscious of being able to receive ideas and to put them into forms. He lives not entirely in the objective world, but possesses an interior world of his own. It is in his power to be the sole autocrat in that world, the master of its creations and lord over all it contains. He may govern there by the supreme power of his will, and if ideas intrude, which have no legitimate right to exist in it, it is in his power either to drive them away or suffer them to remain and to grow. His reason is the supreme ruler in that world, its ministers are the emotions. If man's reason, misled by the treacherous advice of evil emotions, suffers evil ideas to grow, they may become powerful and dethrone reason.
interior world, like the outer world, is a world of its own. It is sometimes
dark, sometimes illumined; its space and the things it contains are
as real to its inhabitants as the physical world is real to the physical
its horizon may be either narrow or expanded, limited in some and without
limits in others; it has its beautiful scenery and its dismal localities,
its sunshine and storms, its forms of beauty and horrible shapes. It
is the privilege of man to retire to that world whenever he
chooses; physical enemies do not persecute him there; bodily pain cannot
enter. The vexations of material life remain behind, only that which
moves his soul enters with him. [Page
In this interior realm is the Temple of Man wherein he can lock the door against the intrusion of sensual impressions. On the entrance of that temple are the Dwellers of the Threshold, made of desires and passions, which are our own creations, and which must be conquered before we can enter. Within that temple exists a world, as big and illimitable as the unbounded universe. In this inner realm is the God whose spirit floats over the waters of the deep, and whose fiat calls into existence the creatures which inhabit the kingdom of mind.
In the air surrounding the centre of that interior world is the battle ground of the gods. There the gods of love and hate, the daemons of lust and pride, and anger, the devils of malice, cruelty, and revenge, vanity, envy, and jealousy, hold high carnival, they stir up the emotions, and, unless subdued by Reason, grow strong enough to dethrone it.
Reason rests upon the recognition of Truth. Wherever truth is disregarded illusions appear. If we lose sight of the highest, the low will appear, and an illusion will be created. One is the number of Truth, Six is the number of illusion, because the Six have no existence without the Seventh, they are the visible products of the one, manifesting itself as six around an invisible centre. Wherever they are six, there must be the seventh. The six cannot know the seventh if the seventh does not become manifest. God knows himself; but we cannot know his presence unless that presence becomes manifested in us. One is the number of life, and six the number of shadows, having no life of their own.
Forms without life are illusive, and he who mistakes the form for the life or principle of which it is an expression is haunted by an illusion. Forms perish, but the principle that causes their existence remains. The object of forms is to represent principles, and as long as a form is a true representation of a principle, the principle gives it life; but if a form is made to serve another principle than the one which called it into existence, degradation will be the result. [Page 145]
The irrational forms produced by nature are perfect expressions of the principles they are intended to represent; rational beings only are the dissemblers. Each animal is a true expression of the character represented by its form, only at the point where intellectuality begins deception commences. Each animal form is a symbol of the mental state which characterises its soul, because it is not itself the arbitrary originator of its form, but rational man has it in his power to create, and if he prostitutes one principle in a form for another, the form will gradually adopt that shape which characterises the prostituted principle, of which, in the course of time, it becomes a true expression.
Therefore we find that a man of noble appearance, by becoming a miser, gradually adopts the sneaking look and the stealthy gait of an animal going in search of its prey; the lascivious may acquire the habits, and perhaps the appearance, of a monkey or goat, the sly one the features of a fox, and the conceited the looks of a donkey.
If our bodies were formed of a more ethereal and plastic material than of muscles and bones, each change of our character would produce quickly a corresponding change of our form; but gross matter is inert and follows only slowly the impressions made upon the soul. The material of which astral forms are made are more plastic, and the soul of a villainous person may actually resemble a pool filled with vipers and scorpions, the true symbol of his moral characteristics, mirrored in his mind. A generation of saints would, in the course of time, produce a nation of Apollos and Dianas, a generation of villains would grow into monsters and dwarfs. To keep the form in its original beauty the principle must be kept pure and without any adulteration.
One fundamental colour of the solar spectrum, if unmixed, is as pure as another; one element, if free from another, is pure. Unmixed copper is as pure as unalloyed gold, and emotions are pure if free from extraneous mixture. Forms are pure if they represent their principles in their purity; a villain who shows himself what he is, is pure and true to his nature, a [Page 146] saint who dissembles is impure and false. Fashions are the external expressions of the mental states of a country, and if men and women degenerate in their character their fashions will become absurd.
want of power to discriminate between the true and the illusive, between
the form and the principle, and the consequent error of apprehending
the low for the high, is the cause of suffering. Man's material interests
generally considered to be of supreme importance, and the interests of
the highest elements in his constitution are forgotten. The power that
should be expended to feed the high is eaten up by the low. Instead of
the low serving the high, the high is made to serve the low, and instead
of the form being used as an instrument of action for a high principle,
a low principle is substituted for a higher one, for the purpose of serving
Such a prostitution of principle in favour of form is found in all spheres of social life. We find it among the rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant, in the forum, the press, and the pulpit, no less than in the halls of the merchant and in the daily transactions of life. The prostitution of principle is worse than the prostitution of the body. He who uses his intellectual powers for selfish and villainous purposes is more to be pitied than she who carries on a trade with her bodily charms to gain the means by which she may keep that body alive. The prostitution of universal human rights for the benefit of a few individuals is the most dangerous form of prostitution on Earth. [ The difference between vulgar prostitution of the body and the more refined prostitution of the intellectual faculties for the purpose of accomplishing selfish ends, is merely that in the first class merely the grossest parts of the human organisation are misused, while in the other class the higher and nobler elements are prostituted. There are few women in the world who have become degraded from an inclination to be so; in the great majority of cases they are the victims of circumstances which they had not the power to resist; but intellectual prostitutes belong to the higher classes, where want and poverty are unknown”. ]
To employ the intellectual powers for selfish purposes is the beginning of intellectual prostitution. Blessed are they who are able to gain their bread by the [Page 147] honest work of their hands for an employment which requires little intellectual attention will leave them free to employ their powers for the purpose of spiritual unfoldment; while those who spend all their energy upon the lower planes of the mind are selling their immortal birthright for a worthless mess of potage which will nourish the impermanent intellect while it starves the soul.
soul no less than the body requires to be nourished. The heart starves
if the brain is overfed. The nutriment of the soul comes from the action
of the spirit in the body, and this food is as “material” and necessary
for it as physical food for the physical body. The existing of the emotions
is no nutriment for the soul. The emotions belong to the astral form.
The nutriment of the soul is drawn out of the material body by the power
the divine light of the spirit within the heart.
The greatest of all illusions is the illusion of Self. Material man looks upon himself as something existing apart from every other existence. The shape of his form creates the illusion of being a separate part of the whole.
Still, experience shows that there is not a single element in his body, in the constitution of his soul, or in the mechanism of his intellect, that is not continually departing, and is replaced by others. What belongs to him today belonged yesterday to another, and will belong to another tomorrow. In his physical form there is a continual change. In the bodies of organised beings tissues disappear slowly or quickly, according to the nature of their affinities, and new ones take their places, to be replaced in their turn by others. The human body changes in size, shape, and density as age advances, presenting successively the symbols of the buoyant health in youth, the vigorous constitution of manhood, or the grace and beauty of womanhood, up to the attributes indicating old age, the forerunner of decay and cessation of activity in that individual form.
No less is the change in the mind. Sensation and desires change, consciousness changes, memories grow dim. No man has the same opinions he had when he [Page 148] was a child; knowledge increases, intellect grows weak, and on the mental as well as on the physical plane the special activity ceases when the accumulated energy is exhausted by transformation into other modes of action or is transferred into other forms.
The lower material elements in the constitution of man change rapidly, the higher ones change slowly, but only the highest elements are enduring. Nothing can be said to belong essentially to man but his character. He who cares a great deal for his lower nature, cares for that which is not his own, but which he has only borrowed from nature. While he enjoys its possession an illusion is created, making it appear to be an essential part of himself. But man's terrestrial nature is not more an essential part of himself than the clothes which a man wears, a constituent part of the man. His only true self is his character, and he who loses the purity and strength of his character loses all his possessions.
One of the kings of illusions is Money, the king of the world. Money represents the principle of equity, and it should be employed to enable everyone to obtain the just equivalent for his labour. If we desire more money than we can rightfully claim, we wish for something that does not belong to us but to another. If we obtain labour without paying for it its proper equivalent, we deprive others of justice, and therefore deprive ourselves of the truth, which is a more serious loss to ourselves than the loss of money to the defrauded.
Money as such is a symbol, only the principle which it represents has a real existence. Nevertheless we see the world lie at the feet of the illusion. The poor clamour for it, and the rich crave for more, and the general desire is to obtain the greatest amount of reward by giving the least possible equivalent. Clergymen save souls, and doctors cure bodies for the purpose of making money; law is sold to him who is able and willing to pay, fame and reputation and the semblance of love can be obtained for money, and the worth of a man is expressed in the sum of shillings or pounds which he may call his own. Starvation threatens the [Page 149] poor, and the consequences of superabundance the rich, and the rich take advantage of the distress of the poor to enrich themselves more, Science exerts her powers to increase the amount of the material comforts of man. It vanquishes the impediments presented by time and space, and turns night into day. New engines are invented, and the work whose performance in former times required the use of a thousand arms, may now be accomplished by a child. An immense amount of personal suffering and labour is thereby saved, But as the means to satisfy the craving for comfort increase a craving arises for more. Things that formerly were considered luxuries now become indispensable needs. Illusions create illusions, and desires give rise to desires. The sight of the principle is lost, and the golden calf is put into its place. Production is followed by over production, the supply exceeds the demand, the price of labour comes down to starvation rates, and on the rotten soil the mushrooms of monopoly grow. The more the facilities increase to sustain the battle of life, the more increases its fury. The noblest power of man, his intellect, whose destiny it is to form a solid basis for the highest spiritual knowledge of man, is forced to labour for the satisfaction of the animal instincts of man; the body flourishes while the soul starves and becomes a beggar in the kingdom of truth.
From the love of self arises the love of possession. It is the hydra-headed monster whose cravings can never be stilled. Nearest to the illusion of self stands the illusion of so-called Love. True love is not an illusion, it is the power that unites the worlds and an attribute of the spirit; but the illusion of love is not love, but only love's shadow. True love is sacrifice, but false love cares for itself, and seeks for enjoyment. True love exists, even if the form is dissolved; false love dies, when the form to which it was attached decays . Ideal women is the crown of creation, and has a right to be loved by man. A man who does not love beauty has no element of beauty in him. Man loves beauty and woman loves strength, A man who is the slave of [Page 150] his desires is weak, and cannot command the respect of woman. If she sees him squirm under the lash of his animal passions, she will see an animal and will not be able to look upon him as her protector and god.
Marital love is a law of nature and a necessity for the propagation of man. But however beautiful the relations between husband and wife may be, sexual intercourse belongs to the animal kingdom and not to the spiritual nature of man. Mutual attraction between animals is not less beautiful and usually more pure than among mankind; the birds of the air do not marry for money, and often animals die on account of their grief over the death of their mates. A person who has not yet outgrown his terrestrial nature will yearn for terrestrial love; a celibacy enforced by law is a crime against nature; a celibacy enforced by circumstances is a misfortune; but for the spiritually unfolded soul there exists a higher attraction; the true divine requires no law to teach him celibacy; he is already a natural celibat, and inhabitant of that kingdom (coelum), where terrestrial marriage does not exist .
Another illusion is the craving for physical life, and well may he crave for it who has no individual character of his own, because, if he loses his life, he loses his all. Men and women cling to the illusion of life because they do not know what life is. They will submit to indignity, dishonour, and suffering rather than die. But why should animal life be so desirable as to sacrifice character for it ? One life is only one temporary condition among a thousand similar ones through which the individuality of man passes in its travels on the road to perfection, and whether he remains a longer or a shorter interval at one station, cannot be of any very serious importance to him. Man can make no better use of his life than to sacrifice it, if necessary, for a high purpose; because this act will strengthen his own individuality, in which rests the power by which he is enabled to reappear in a new form.
On the other hand, he who sneaks away from the battle of life for selfish purposes, or because he is afraid to continue its struggles, will not escape. He may wish [Page 151] to step out of life and destroy his body, but the law cannot be cheated. Life will remain with him until his natural days would have ended. He cannot destroy it, he can only deprive himself of the instrument through which he can act. He resembles a man who has to perform some work and throws away the instrument which would have enabled him to perform it. Vain will be his regrets.
Another illusion is a great deal of what is called “science”. True knowledge makes a man free, but false science renders him a slave to the opinions of others. Many men waste their lives to learn that which is foolish and neglect that which is true, mistaking that which is evanescent and perishing for the eternal. Often learning is not the aim but the means to the aim of the student, while his real objects are the attainment of wealth, position, and fame, or the gratification of ambition or curiosity. The true wealth of a nation or a man does not rest in its collected opinions, but in moral and spiritual possessions, which alone will remain permanent.
There is nothing more productive of a tendency to the development of an extreme degree of selfishness than the development of a high degree of intellectuality, without any accompanying growth of spirituality. A high degree of intellectuality enables a person to take personal advantages over others who are less clever, and unless he possesses great moral powers he will not be able to resist the temptations that are put in his way. The greatest villains and criminals have been persons of great intellectual qualifications. That which a man really needs to know, and without whose knowledge he cannot obtain the consciousness of his own true and immortal nature, is not taught in our colleges. The most favoured student is he who is taught by his God. “Blessed is he whom wisdom teaches, not by perishable emblems and words, but by its own inherent power; not what it appears to be, but as it is”. [ Thomas de Kempis]
The desire for power and fame are other illusions [Page 152] True power is an attribute of the spirit. If I am obeyed because I am rich, it is not myself who commands obedience, but my riches. If I am called powerful because I enjoy authority, it is not myself who is powerful, but it is the authority vested in me. Riches and authority are illusions thrown around men, which often vanish as quickly as they have been acquired. Fame is often enjoyed by him who does not deserve it. The most honoured man is he who has cause to respect himself.
Place of birth and condition of life are circumstances which are usually not matters of choice, and no one has a right to despise another on account of his nationality, religious belief, colour of skin, or the act he may play on this planet. Whether an actor plays the part of a king or a servant, the actor is, therefore, not despised, provided he plays his part well.
and shame from no conditions rise;
Act well your part, there all the honour lies.” Pope.
of the greatest illusions is much of what goes today by the name of “religion”,
not religion itself, but its mask in the shape of clericalism, priestcraft,
and orthodoxy. Each religious system represents an expression of truth,
but it requires the possession of truth to find truth therein. As a man's
spirit cannot exist upon this earth and express itself except in and
through the material body, so each church, however spiritual
its soul may be, has an external, physical, animal, and mental organism,
represented by the members composing the church or society and by its
doctrines, creeds, theories, and speculations; neither can the spiritual
be separated from the lower principles; such a separation would be death
to the visible church. Thus the lower self of the church battles for
life and is founded upon selfishness, while its spires reach up to heaven.
that can be hoped for reasonably is that the spirituality at the top
may gradually descend to the foundations, and that each member may find
truth contained in his religious [Page
not by the candle light of blind speculation and foolish belief, but
by its own light; for the truth requires no other light but itself
There are other illusions which come without being asked, and remain, although their stay is not wanted. They are the unwelcome visitors – Fear, Doubt, and Remorse. Their father is “selfishness”, and “cowardice” is the name of the mother. Born from the kingdom of darkness, their substance is ignorance, which only the magic of true knowledge can dissolve. Men live in fear of a revengeful power which has no existence, and die from fear of an evil that does not exist. They are afraid of the effects of causes which they, nevertheless, continue to create; and not daring to face their natural consequences, they seek to escape from the creatures which they themselves have created. Every act creates a cause, and the cause is followed by an effect which reacts on him who created the cause, whether he may experience that effect in this life or in another. To escape the effect of the cause which has been created, he who created the cause must try to transform himself into another being. If the elements composing his lower nature have led him into making mistakes they will suffer, but if he succeeds in living in his higher nature he changes himself into a superior being. Only in this sense is the Christ in every human nature the “Lamb” taking upon himself the sins of the world. The lamb is the symbol of obedience to divine law; this obedience is wisdom; wisdom is self-knowledge; divine self-knowledge is divine being, and he who has entered the state of Divinity is one with the law and has ceased to sin. Such is the only rational philosophy of the “forgiveness of sins”, and priests could forgive sins if they were able to change the sinner into a saint. This can, however, only be done by the individual exertions of the “sinner”, who may be instructed by one who is wise. To become sufficiently wise to instruct another about the laws of his nature it is of the utmost importance that the instructor should know these laws, and be acquainted with the true constitution of man.
The truth is the saviour of man, ignorance is [Page 154] his perdition. Reason is the power of the mind to recognise the truth, and in the light of truth the shadows of doubt and fear and remorse cannot exist.
Illusions are dispersed through the power of true knowledge. When the will is held in abeyance the imagination is rendered passive, and the mind takes in the reflections of pictures stored up in the Astral Light without choice or discrimination. When reason does not guide the imagination the mind creates disorderly fancies and hallucinations. The passive seer dreams while awake, and to him his dreams are realities, they are impressions caused by foreign ideas taking possession of the unresisting mind, and, according to the source from which such impressions come, they may be either true or false. Various means have been adopted to suspend the discriminating power of reason and render the imagination abnormally passive, and all such practices are injurious, in proportion as they are efficacious. The ancient Pythoness attempted to heighten her already abnormal receptivity by the inhalation of noxious vapours; some whirl in a dance until the action of reason is temporarily suspended; others use opium, Indian hemp, and other narcotics, which render their mind a blank, and induce morbid fancies and illusions. [ The fumigations which were used at former times for the purpose of rendering reason inactive, and allowing the products of a passive imagination to appear in an objective state, were usually narcotic substances. Blood was only used for the purpose of furnishing substance to Elementals and Elementaries, by the aid of which they might render their bodies more dense and visible.
Cornelius Agrippa gives the following prescription: Make a powder of spermaceti, aloe wood, musk, saffron, and thyme, sprinkle it with the blood of a hoopop. If this powder is burnt upon the graves of the dead, the ethereal forms of the latter will approach, and may become visible.
Eekartshousen made successful experiments with the following prescription: Mix powdered frankincense and flour with an egg, add milk, honey, and rose water, make a paste, and throw some of it upon burning coals.
Another prescription given by the same author consists of hemlock, saffron, aloes, opium, mandragora henbane, poppy-flowers, and some other poisonous plants. After undergoing a certain preparation, which he describes, he attempted the experiment, and saw the ghost of the person which he desired to see; but he came very near poisoning himself. Dr Horst repeated the experiment with the same result, and for years afterwards whenever he looked upon a dark object, he saw the apparition again.
Chemistry has advanced since that time, anti those who desire to make such experiments at the risk of their health, may now accomplish this in a more comfortable and easy manner by inhaling some of the stupefying gases known to chemical science.] [Page 155]
Fortune-tellers and clairvoyants employ various means to fix their attention, for the purpose of suspending thought and rendering their minds passive; others stare at mirrors or crystals, water or ink, [There are numerous prescriptions for the preparation of magic mirrors; but the best magic mirror will be useless to him who is not able to see clairvoyantly; while the natural clairvoyant calls that faculty into action by concentrating his mind on any particular spot, a glass of water, ink, a crystal, or anything; for it is not in the mirror where such things are seen, but in the mind; the mirror merely serves to assist in the entering of that mental state which is necessary to produce clairvoyant sight. The best of all magic mirrors is the soul, and it should always be kept pure, and be protected against dust and dampness and rust, so that it may not become tarnished, and remain perfectly clear, and able to reflect the light of the divine spirit in its original purity. ] but the enlightened renders his imagination passive by maintaining, under all circumstances, tranquility of the mind. The surface of a lake whose water is in motion reflects only distorted reproductions of images projected upon it, and if the elements in the interior world are in a state of confusion, if emotion fights with emotion and the uproar of the passions troubles the mind, if the heaven of the soul is clouded by prejudices, darkened by ignorance, hallucinated by insane desires, the true images of things seen will be equally distorted. The divine principle in man remains in itself unaltered and undisturbed, like the image of a star reflected in water; but unless its dwelling is rendered clear and transparent, it cannot send its rays through the surrounding walls. The more the emotions rage, the more will the mind become disturbed and the spiritual soul be forced to retreat into its interior prison; or if it loses entirely its hold over the mind, it may be driven away by the forces which it cannot control, burst the door of its dungeon, return to the source from whence [Page 156]it came. [See H. P. Blavatsky: “Isis Unveiled”.
The author says: “Such a catastrophe may happen long before the final separation of the life-principle from the body. When death arrives, its iron and clammy grasp finds work with life as usual; but there is no more soul to liberate. The whole essence of the latter has already been absorbed by the vital system of the physical man. Grim death frees but a spiritual corpse, at best an idiot. Unable either to soar higher or awaken from lethargy, it is soon dissolved in the elements of the terrestrial atmosphere. ] But as long as this Christ is one of the passengers in the boat tossed by the waves of the inner life, he will always be ready to come forth, stretch out his hand (manifest his power), bidding the turbulent waters to be still. Then will the storms cease to rage and the soul be restored to calmness.
If a person suffers his reason to give up the control over his imagination he surrenders one of the greatest prerogatives of man. True meditation does not consist in rendering the mind passive for the influences of the astral plane, nor does it consist in dreaming. It is a state in which the mind does not roam in the realms of the imagination, but is held still by the soul so as to receive the light of the spirit. “Yoga is the exercise of the power to hold in abeyance the transformations of the thinking principle”, says the Patanjali, and the Bhagavad Gita teaches: “Whenever the wavering and unsteadfast heart wanders away, let him subdue it and bring it back to the control of the soul”. [Bhagavad Gita, vi. 2 b]
cannot be accomplished by means of the imagination (which ought to be
at rest); neither can the mind control its own self; but it is done by
means of the spiritual power of spiritually awakened man. ] A
person who dreams does not control the actions which he performs in
his dream, although he may dream that he is exercising his will. The
seen in his dream are to him realities, and he does not doubt their
substantiality, while external physical objects have no existence for
him, and not even
the possibility of their existence comes to his consciousness. He may
see before him a ditch and dream that he wills to jump over it, but
not actually exert his will, he only dreams that he wills. A person
in a magnetic trance has no active will of his own, and is [Page
by the will of the operator. What he sees is real to him, and if the
operator creates a precipice in his imagination, the subject will, on
it, experience and manifest the same terror as he would in his normal
state if a precipice were yawning under his feet. A
glass of water transformed into imaginary wine by the will of the “mesmeriser” makes
the subject intoxicated, and if that water has been transformed into
imaginary poison it may injure or kill the sensitive.
[ Mrs. Chandos Leigh Hunt of London, in her “Private Instructions in Organic Magnetism”, informs us, that imaginary intoxicants, emetics, etc., have a powerful effect upon subjects.
Eliphas Levi (Abbé Constant) cites a case in which some sceptics submitted a poor girl to magnetic experiments, to gratify their curiosity, and to see whether “magnetism was true”. They succeeded in putting her to sleep, and commanded her to look into hell. She became terribly agitated, and begged for mercy, but they insisted that she should go there.
“The features of the subject became frightful to see; her hair stood upright on her head; her eyes were wide open, and showed nothing but the white; her bosom heaved, and a kind of death-rattle came from her breast.
“Go there! I will it! ” repeated the magnetist.
“I am there”, said the wretched subject, between her closed teeth, and fell exhausted. Then she spoke no more; her head rests on her shoulder; her arms hang motionless down. They approach her and touch her. They wish to awaken her; but the crime has been done; the woman was dead, and the authors of this sacrilegious experiment were safe from prosecution on account of the public's incredulity in regard to such things” ] A powerful “hypnotiser” can form either a beautiful or a horrible picture in his mind, and by transferring it by his will upon the mental sphere of a sensitive, he may cause him either pleasure or suffering.
Such states may be induced not merely during the “hypnotic” sleep, but also during the normal condition, and without any conscious desire on the part of a magnetiser. If the audience sheds tears during the performance of a tragedy, although they all know that it is merely a play, they are in a state of partial “hypnotisation”. Hundreds of similar occurrences take place every day in every country, and there is sufficient material everywhere in every-day life for the student of psychology to investigate and explain, without seeking for cases of an abnormal character. [Page 158]
All these things are classified as illusions, because the power of reason, the power of discriminating between the true and the false has been suspended, which causes a person to mistake things for realities which only exist in his own imagination, but if this definition is applied to everyday existence it appears that the whole world is in a state of hypnotic sleep, for there are few that are capable of seeing the truth or to discriminate between the true and false, and few who act always according to reason. Whenever the external form of a thing is examined carefully, it will always be found to constitute an illusion. The illusion does not exist in those things, it exists in ourselves. God did not create the world for the purpose of deluding mankind. The illusions are caused by our own misconceptions of truth, which hinder us to see that which is real. If we were to see that which is real, we would be knowing the truth. If we had always known the truth, we would not have needed to come into the world. Our existence upon this planet is a certificate of our ignorance, and the fact of having been born a proof of our folly.
which distinguishes a man from an animal is the use of his reason. If a “Medium” submits
the control over his imagination to another being he surrenders his reason.
This other being may be another person, or an invisible power. It may
be an elemental, an astral corpse, or a malicious influence, and the
become an epileptic, a maniac, or a criminal.
person who surrenders his will to an unknown power is not less insane
than he who would entrust his money and valuables to the first stranger
that would ask him for it.
If a crime is committed in consequence of “hypnotic suggestions”, it is the hypnotiser and not the sensitive person who is responsible for it. Such cases occur every day; for it is not necessary that a very sensitive person should be put to sleep for to become capable of being influenced by the will of another. All individual minds act upon each other; each influences the other or becomes influenced by others without knowing the [Page 159] source of the influence. Thoughts and impulses come and go, and their source is not known. No man creates his own thoughts out of nothing, and he who has no self-knowledge cannot even know who or what it is that is thinking or willing in him.
How many murders and crimes are committed every year through sensitive persons, who have been influenced, “hypnotised”, or “mesmerised” by invisible powers to commit them, and who had not sufficient will-power to resist, it is impossible to determine. In such cases we hang or punish the instrument, but the real culprit escapes. Such a “justice” is equivalent to punishing a stick with which a murder has been committed, and to let the man who used the stick go free. Verily the coming generations will have as much cause to laugh at the ignorance of their ancestors as we now laugh at the ignorance of those who preceded us.
We take not things for what they are, but for what we imagine them to be. The savage sees in the sculptured Minerva only a curious piece of rock, and a beautiful painting is to him only a piece of cloth daubed over with colours. The greedy miser, looking at the beauties of nature, thinks only of the money-value they represent, while for the poet the forest swarms with fairies and the water with sprites. The artist finds beautiful forms in the wandering clouds and in the projecting rocks of the mountains, and to him whose mind is poetic every symbol in nature becomes a poem and suggests to him new ideas; but the coward wanders through life with a scowl upon his face; he sees in every corner an enemy, and for him the world has nothing attractive except. his own little self. The world is a mirror wherein every man may see his own face. To him whose soul is beautiful, the world will look beautiful; to him whose soul is deformed, everything will seem to be evil.
The power of the imagination, if rendered strong by the will and made alive by the spirit, is little known. The impressions made on the mind by the effects of such an imagination may be powerful and lasting upon the person. They change or distort the features, they render the hair white in a single hour; they [Page 160] mark, kill, disfigure, or break the bones of the unborn child, and make the effects of injuries received by one person visible upon the body of another with whom that person is in sympathy. They act more powerfully than drugs; they cause and cure diseases, produce hallucinations, and stigmata. Imagination performs its miracles, either consciously or unconsciously. By altering the surroundings of animals the colour of their offspring can be changed at will. The tiger's stripes correspond to the long jungle grass, and the leopard's spots resemble the speckled light falling through the leaves. [ Sir John Lubbock; “Proceedings of the British Association”] The forces of nature, influenced by the imagination of man, act on the imagination of nature, and create tendencies on the astral plane, which, in the course of evolution, find expression through material forms. In this way man's vices or virtues become objective realities, and as man's imagination becomes purified, the earth becomes more beautiful and refined, while his vices find their expression in poisonous reptiles and noxious plants.The Elementals in the soul of man are the products of the action of the thought in the individual mind of man; the elemental forms in the soul of the world are the products of the collective thoughts of all beings. These elemental powers are attracted to the germs of animals, and may grow into objective visible animal forms, and modify the characters and also the outward appearance of the animals of our globe. We therefore see that as the imagination of the Universal Mind changes during the course of ages, old forms disappear and new ones come into existence. Perhaps if there were no snakes in human forms, the snakes of the animal kingdom would cease to exist.
But the impressions made on the mind do not end with the life of the individual on the physical plane. A cause which produces a sudden terror, or otherwise acts strongly on the imagination, can produce an impression that not only lasts through life but beyond it. A person, for instance, who during his life has strongly believed in the existence of eternal damnation and hell-fire, may at his entrance into the subjective state after death, actually [Page 161] behold all the terrors of hell which his imagination during life has conjured up; the terrified soul, seeing before it all the horrors of its own vivid imagination, rushes back again into the deserted body, and clings to it in despair, seeking protection. Personal consciousness returns, and it finds itself alive in the grave, where it passes a second time through the pangs of death, or, by sending out its astral form in search of sustenance from the living, it becomes a vampire, and prolongs for awhile its horrible existence. [Maximilian Perty: “Die mystischen Erscheinungen in der Natur” ] Such misfortunes in orthodox countries are by no means rare, and the best remedy for it is knowledge and the cremation of the body soon after death.
On the other hand, the convicted murderer who, before stepping on the gallows, has been fully “converted” and “prepared” by the attending clergyman, and made to believe firmly that his sins have been forgiven, and that the angels will stand ready to receive him with open arms, may, on his entrance to the subjective state, see the creations of his own imaginations before him until the delusion fades away.
In the state after death and in the devachanic condition the imagination neither creates new and original forms nor is it capable of receiving new impressions; it lives on the sum of the impressions accumulated during life, which evolute innumerable variations of mental states, symbolised in their corresponding subjective forms, and lasting until their forces are exhausted. These mental states may be called illusive in the same sense as events of the physical life may be called illusive, and life in “heaven” or “hell” may be called a dream, as life on this earth is called a dream. The dream of life only differs from the dream after death, that, during the one, we are able to make use of our will to guide and control our imagination and acts, while during the latter that guidance is wanting, and we earn that which we have sown. No effort, whether for good or for evil, is ever lost. Those who have reached out in their aspirations towards a high ideal on earth will find it in heaven; [Page 162] those whose desires have dragged them down will sink to the level of their desires.
It is generally supposed that this world in which we live is the most dense and “material”, and the astral world the land of vapoury ghosts; but the terms “materiality”, “density”,etc., are merely relative terms. What appear to us dense and material now, will appear ethereal or vaporous if we are in another state, and things which are invisible to us now may appear grossly material then. There are worlds more dense and material to its inhabitants than our physical world is to us; for it is the light of the spirit that enlivens matter, and the more matter is gathered up by sensuality and concentrated by selfishness, the less penetrable to the spirit will it become, and the more dense and hard will it grow, although it may for all that not be perceptible to our physical senses, they being adapted merely to our present state of existence.
is no heaven or hell but that which man creates in his imagination; nevertheless,
the state in which he lives is real to him. If we wish to secure happiness
after death in our next life upon this planet, we must secure it before
we die by controlling our impulses for evil, and by cultivating a pure
and exalted imagination.
We should enter the higher life now, instead of waiting for it to come to us in the hereafter. The term “heaven” means a state of spiritual consciousness and enjoyment of spiritual truths; but how can he who has evolved no spiritual consciousness and no spiritual power of perception enjoy the perception of spiritual things which he has not the spiritual power to perceive? A man without spiritual power entering a heaven would be like a man blind and deaf and without the power to feel. Man can only enjoy that which he is able to realise, that which he cannot realise does not exist for him.
The surest way to be happy is to rise above “self”. People crave for amusements and pastimes; but to forget one's time is to forget one's self; by forgetting themselves they are rendered happy. The charm of music consists in the temporary absorption it causes to [Page 163] the personality in the harmony of sound. If we witness a theatrical performance and enter into the spirit of the play, we forget our personal sorrows and live in the actor. An orator who is in full accord with his audience becomes inspired with the sentiments of his audience; it is his audience that gives expressions of his feelings through him. There are no “spirits“ required to inspire an inspirational speaker. If he is impressible the thoughts of those that are present will be sufficient to inspire him.
If we enter a cathedral or a temple, whose architecture inspires sublimity and solemnity, expanding the soul; where the language of music speaks to the heart, drawing it away from the attachment to the earth; and the beauty and odour of flowers lull the senses into a forgetfulness of self, such amusements render us temporarily happy to an extent proportionate to the degree in which they succeed in destroying our consciousness of personality and self.
Illusions as such do not exist; their existence is an illusion. Nature is not an illusion, but a manifestation of truth. Every form in nature is an expression of truth; but it requires the eye of truth to find the truth in those forms. If we cling to forms, we cling to illusions, having no real existence; if we cling to the truth we have the reality. If our happiness depends on the possession of a cherished form, our happiness will perish when that form disappears.
attain real knowledge is to make the mind free of its illusions; this
freedom is attained only by a love for the truth; for the truth is the
the foundation of our existence, which will remain after all the illusions
constituting our lower nature have passed away; when we will possess
nothing but that which we are, and being ourselves the light and the truth
be in possession of truth. [Page 164]
“I am that I am”. -Bible.
EVERYTHING in the universe is a manifestation of the Universal Mind. Everything is therefore mind itself, and exists in absolute consciousness; but relative consciousness begins when it becomes manifest in the form. The term consciousness signifies realisation of existence. Consciousness in the absolute is unconsciousness in relation to things. Consciousness means knowledge and life; unconsciousness is ignorance and death. An imperfect knowledge is a state of imperfect consciousness; the highest possible state of consciousness is the full realisation of the truth.
A thing has no existence relatively to ourselves before we become conscious of its existence. A person who does not realise his own existence is unconscious, and, for the time being, to all practical purposes dead. We cannot actually realise the existence of a power which we do not possess. We see the effects produced by electricity and realise that such effects take place; but we do not realise the existence or the nature of what is called “electricity” if we are not conscious of that same power existing in our own constitution. In the same sense we can realise the effect of the manifestation of divine wisdom within the universe; we behold the expression of beauty, justice, and truth; but we cannot realise the existence of these principles, unless we become conscious of their presence in us. God's works exist and we see the products of the [Page 165] action of his spirit in nature; but God himself is to us a nonentity if we are not rendered divine by his presence in us; we cannot realise the nature of God, unless his divine nature is present in us and comes to our own consciousness. A state of existence is incomprehensible unless it is experienced and realised, and it begins to exist from the moment that it is realised. If a person were the legal possessor of millions of money and did not know it, he would have no means to dispose of it or enjoy it. A man is present at the delivery of the most eloquent speech, and, unless he hears what is said, that speech will have no existence for him. Every man is endowed with reason and conscience, but if he never listens to its voice, the relation between him and the voice of wisdom will cease to exist, and it will die for him in proportion as he dies to the power to hear it.
A man may be alive and conscious in relation to one thing, and dead and unconscious relatively to another. One set of his faculties may be active and conscious, while another set is unconscious and its activity suspended. A person who listens attentively to music is conscious of nothing but sound; one who is wrapt in the admiration of form is only conscious of seeing; another, who suffers from pain, may be conscious of nothing but the relation that exists between him and the sensation of pain. A man absorbed in thought believes himself alone in the midst of a crowd. He may be threatened by destruction and be unconscious of the danger. If he has the strength of a lion, it will avail him nothing unless he becomes conscious of it; he cannot be immortal unless he becomes conscious of his own immortal life. The more a person learns to realise the true state of his existence the more will he become conscious of real existence. If he does not realise his true state he does not know himself. If he fully knows himself, he will be conscious of his own powers, he will know how to exercise them and become strong.
To become conscious of the existence of a thing is to possess it. To perceive its existence means to enter [Page 166] into relation with it, and to realise the existence of that relation. Consciousness begins, therefore, wherever sensation begins, but sensation and perception of a form are only followed by a recognition of the truth if the principle that exists in that form is a conscious power in our own constitution. If a stranger is introduced to us we perceive his exterior form and see the clothes which he wears, we realise his existence as a living form, but we know nothing of his true character. His appearance may be prepossessing and still he may be untruthful, his clothing may be new and elegant and still his character bad. His body may be healthy, but his soul may be diseased. His certificates and testimonials may be excellent, and yet they may deceive us. If we want to know the true character of the man, we must be able to realise the nature of his character in ourselves. We may look into his eyes, and when soul speaks to soul, the two will enter into conscious relation with each other, and there will be no deception possible. This recognition of the truth by direct perception is one of the faculties which at the present state of evolution are not yet fully developed in man. It is a sixth sense that as yet exists only as a bud in the tree of life, while the other five senses have been fully developed. Still it exists, and therefore the first impression we receive of a stranger is usually correct, but not always believed, because speculation comes in to mislead.
Perception is the entering into a relation to the object of one's perception. Such a relation is only possible, if the perceiver and the object of his perception exist upon the same plane of existence. For this reason physical objects are perceived by the physical senses; the things of the soul by the soul, and that which belongs to the spirit can only be perceived by the power of the self-conscious spirit in man.
Everything that exists, exists within the Universal Mind, and nothing can exist outside of it, because the Universal Mind includes all. Perception is a faculty by which mind learns to know what is going on within itself. To see a thing is to perceive the existence of its [Page 167] appearance within one's own mind; to feel the presence of an invisible power within the soul is to become conscious of its presence by means of the sense of touch that belongs to the mind. Man can know nothing but what exists within his own mind. Even the most ardent lover has never seen his beloved one, he merely sees the image which the form of the latter produces in his mind. If we pass through the streets of a city the images of men and women pass review in our mind while their bodies meet our own; but for the images which they produce within our consciousness we would know nothing about their existence. The images produced in the mind come to the consciousness whose workshop is the brain; if man's consciousness were centered in some other part of his body, he would become conscious in that part of the sensations which he receives. He might for instance see with his stomach or hear with his fingers, as has often been proved by scientifically conducted experiments, and the reason of it is that sensation is not a quality belonging to the physical body; but belongs to the astral form, whose senses are not so localised; but which penetrates the physical body and whose senses become localised therein.
A self-conscious power, being universally diffused through space, would have the faculty to realise all that takes place in any portion of it, because it would be in conscious relation with everything. A conscious power being bound to a material form, can only realise that which enters into relationship with that form. All self-consciousness and all perception cannot belong to a limited form; it belongs to the divine nature of man, which is not limited by the limitations of form.
From the influence of the universal power of Mind, and the resistance of the form, physical senses came into existence. If man had originally remained in perfect harmony with the Universal Mind, he would never have become clothed in a material form. There could be no perception without resistance. If our bodies were perfectly transparent to light we could not perceive the light, because light cannot illuminate itself. The Astral [Page 168] Light penetrates our bodies, but we are not able to see it, because the physical body offers no resistance to it.
At the time when we fall asleep, consciousness gradually leaves its seat in the brain and merges into the consciousness of the “inner man”. We then begin to realise another state of existence; and if a part of the consciousness still remains with the brain, the perception of the interior consciousness comes to the cognisance of the personal self. It is therefore possible in that half-conscious state, between sleeping and waking, when consciousness is oscillating between two states of existence, to receive important revelations from the higher state and retain them in the personal memory. The more our consciousness merges in that higher state, the better will we realise the higher existence, but the impressions upon our external self will become dim and not be remembered; but as long as the greatest part of our consciousness is active within the material brain, the perceptions of a higher state will only be dim and mixed up with memories and sensations of the lower state of existence.
There probably was a time in the development of the body of man, when his form was - so to say - all eye, and his whole surface sensitive to the power of light. The resistance of his form to the influence of light created the eye. Fishes have been found in subterranean lakes which have no eyes; there being no light, they needed no organs to receive it and none to resist it. In tropical countries the intensity of light is stronger. Tropical man needs the dark pigment in his skin to protect his nude body from the influence of the tropical sun.
There are semi-material existences (Elementals) which have no teguments sufficiently solid to protect them from terrestrial light. Such natures are very sensitive to the action of light, they can only continue to live in darkness, and only manifest their powers at night. [ Adolphe d' Assier, who spent much time in the investigation of occult phenomena, tells of a case, where a person slept in a “haunted house”, for the purpose of investigating the spook. He went to bed and left the light burning. At once a dark shadow seemed to rush through the door into his room and went under his bed. Soon a long arm extended from under the bed, reached up to the table and extinguished the light, and immediately the rampage began. Furniture was overthrown and broken, and the noise was so great that it attracted the neighbours, who came with a light, when the dark shadow fled through the door.] [Page 169] If the astral body of man were exposed to the full influence of, the astral light, without having acquired the power to resist it, it would be destroyed slowly or quickly according to the intensity of that light. The myths of “hell” and “purgatory” are suggestive of that action of the destructive action of the Astral Light. But this destruction is not necessarily accompanied by sensation, unless that body is conscious. A corpse from which the spirit has withdrawn may be cremated and cannot feel it, an astral corpse may dissolve into its elements and feel no pain. Only when a form becomes associated with spirit, in whatever plane of existence, there will sensation become manifest.
Some of the practices of black magic and necromancy are based upon this fact, and it does not appear impossible that the astral bodies of the dead may be tormented by the living, if they knew how to endow them with spirit, and to reawaken consciousness by infusing some of their own life within these forms.
If our bodies were sufficiently ethereal to pass through others without experiencing any resistance, we would not feel their presence. If the keyboard of the ear were not present to receive the vibrations of sound, hearing would be defective. The power to resist produces sensation.
Man suffers because he resists. If he were to obey the laws of his nature under all circumstances, he would know no bodily disease; if he were to execute in all things the divine will of God, he would incur no suffering.
Life, sensation, perception, and consciousness may be withdrawn from the physical body and become active in the astral body of man. The astral man then becomes conscious of his existence independent of the physical body and can develop faculties of sense. He may then see sights which have no existence for the physical [Page 170] eye, hear sounds that the physical ear cannot hear, feel, taste, and smell things whose existence the physical senses cannot realise, and which consequently have no existence to them.
What an astonishing sight would meet the eyes of a mortal, if the veil that mercifully hides the astral world from his sight were to be suddenly removed! He would see the space which he inhabits occupied by a different world full of inhabitants, of whose existence he knew nothing. What before appeared to him dense and solid would now seem to be shadowy, and what seemed to him like empty space he would find peopled with life.
Scientifically conducted researches have brought to light many instances of cases in which the astral senses have been rendered more or less active. The Seeress of Prevorst, for instance, perceived many things which for other persons had no existence; the history of the saints gives numerous similar examples, and modern “mediumship” proves the existence of such inner senses by facts which occur every day. If the astral senses of a person are fully alive and active, he is able to perceive things without the use of his physical senses. He will be clairvoyant and clairaudient, he will be able to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell the astral attributes of things existing in or out or corporeal forms.
All houses are “haunted”, but not all persons are equally able to see the ghosts that haunt them, because to perceive things on the astral plane requires the development or a sense adapted to such perceptions. Thoughts are “ghosts”, and only those that can see images formed of thought can see “ghosts”, unless the latter are sufficiently materialised to refract the light and to become visible to the eye.
may feel the presence of an astral form without being able to see it,
and be just as certain of its presence as if we did behold it with our
for the sense of touch is not less reliable than the sense of sight.
The presence of a holy, high, and exalted idea that enters the mind fills
with a feeling of happiness, with an exhilarating influence whose vibrations
may be perceived long after that thought has gone. [Page 171]
The explanation which material science gives in regard to the process of seeing only explains the formation of a picture on the retina of the physical eye, but gives no explanation whatever how these pictures come to the consciousness of the mind. If the mind of man were enclosed in the physical body of man he could not perceive the size of any exterior thing. In such a case he could at best see the minute picture formed on his retina, and the outside world would appear to him like the microscopic object seen through a reversed telescope. But the reflections formed in the physical eye only serve to call the attention of the mind to the objects of its perception, or awaken the interior sense of feeling which the mind possesses to a consciousness of its relation to the objects of its perception, which exist within its own sphere. Visible man is the kernel of the invisible man, the sphere of his mind surrounds him in all sides like an invisible pulp, extending far into space, and he can become conscious of the objects existing within that sphere if he recognises his relation with them.
This invisible and ethereal sphere is as essential to constitute a man as the pulp of a peach is essential to constitute a peach, but material science knows only the kernel, and knows nothing about the pulp. Still this soul sphere exists, and intermingles with the spheres of others, producing sympathies, or antipathies, according to the harmony, or disharmony, of their respective elements. A great many events may take place within one's mind and we may not perceive them, unless our attention is attracted to them, and they come to our consciousness.
The mind perceives what is going on in the physical plane by being awakened by physical means to a consciousness of his relationship with physical things; it perceives what is going on in the realm of the soul by being awakened to a consciousness of his relationship with the realm of the soul by influences coming from that realm, and it perceives spiritual truth by being awakened to a recognition of its relationship to truth by the power proceeding from it.
The physical body may be dormant and perceive no [Page 172] external objects; the astral senses are undeveloped; the spiritual power of perception in the majority of mankind is still inactive, and feels the presence of the spirit only by the uncertain reflex of its light, like a man in a semi-conscious condition may see the reflex of light shining through the closed lids and not know what it is. This is the power of intuition that precedes an awakening to spiritual knowledge.
Mind has no conceivable limits, and distance is therefore no impediment to mental perception, because a mind being in solidarity with the whole stands in relation to every part of the whole, and as soon as man recognises his relation to an object in space he becomes conscious of its presence.
The reason why the mind of man does not perceive everything and requires the aid of the physical senses, is that Adam is still sleeping the sleep which came over him while he was an inhabitant of the paradise. He is still unconscious of the fact that his real nature comprises the all; his consciousness has become bound to a material form, and he is now the prisoner of that form.
To see a thing is identical with touching it with the mind. The individual mind of man being one with the universal mind, extends through space; it is therefore not merely the images of things, but the things themselves that exist within the periphery of our mind, however distant from the centre of our consciousness they may be, and if we were able to shift that centre from one place to another within the sphere of the mind, we might in a moment of time approach to the object of our perception.
The mind substance is everywhere, but its consciousness is limited. If the whole sphere of the mind of a man were self-conscious, he would be omnipresent and all-knowing. As the sphere of perception of an individual mind expands, so expands the sphere of his conscious being.
The centre of consciousness in man is located in the brain, and if the mind touches an object the impressions have to travel all the way to the brain. If we look at a distant star our mind is actually there and in contact [Page 173] with it, and if we could transfer our consciousness to that place of contact, we would be ourselves upon that star and perceive the objects thereon as if we were standing personally upon its surface.
This however is an impossibility as long as the centre of our consciousness is in the brain; because that consciousness is an illusion itself, it enables us to roam through space by means of our imagination, but does not reveal the truth. The consciousness of the brain is in regard to our true self-consciousness what the false light of the moon is to the light of the sun. Our true self-consciousness rests in the heart, and therefore the heart can expand in that universal love, which is not imaginary, through the whole of creation. If that love becomes self-conscious in our heart, all the mysteries of the universe will be open before us.
Perception is passive imagination, because if we perceive an object, the relation which it bears to us comes to our consciousness without any active exertion on our part. But there is an active imagination by which we may enter into relation with a distant object in space by a transfer of consciousness. By this power we may act upon a distant object if we succeed in forming a true image of it in our own consciousness. By concentrating our consciousness upon such an object we become conscious in that place of the sphere of our mind where that object exists. Thus we establish a conscious relation between such an object and ourselves, but this requires that spiritual power which resides in the heart.
Consciousness is existence, and there are as many states of consciousness as there are states of existence. Every living being has a consciousness of its own, and the state of its consciousness changes every moment of time, as fast as the impressions which it receives change; because its consciousness is the perception of the relation it bears to things, and as this relation changes, consciousness changes its character.
If our whole attention is taken up by animal pleasure, we exist in an animal state of consciousness; if we are aware of the presence of spiritual principles, such as hope, faith, charity, justice, truth, etc., we live in our [Page 174] spiritual consciousness, and between these two extremes there are a great variety of gradations. Consciousness itself does not change, it only moves up and down on the scale of existence.
There is only one kind of consciousness which never changes its place because it is independent of all relation to things. It is the self-consciousness of self-existence, the realisation of the I am. It can be ignored, but once attained it cannot change, because God never changes; its change would involve non-existence or the annihilation of all. He who has not attained that true self-consciousness, the realisation of the existence of his own real self does not exist. He may be highly developed physically and intellectually; nevertheless he is nothing else but a compound of physical and intellectual elements and his sense of self an ever-changing illusion. He cannot die, because he has never come to life; he does not truly exist, because he does not realise his true existence. There is no one truly alive, except he who can realise his own true divine life.
When Life manifests itself in a form it begins to live relatively to form; but the degree of consciousness of the form depends on the state of its organisation. In a low organised form there is sensation, but no intelligence. An oyster has consciousness, but no intelligence. A man may have a great deal of intellect and no consciousness of spirituality, sublimity, justice, beauty, or truth.
The lowest existences follow implicitly the laws of nature or of Universal Reason; because in them exists no differentiation of mind; they have no will and reason of their own. The highest spiritual beings follow their own reason; but their will and reason is in harmony with the universal law. The difference between the lowest beings and the highest ones is, therefore, that the lowest ones perform the will of “God” unconsciously and unknowingly; while the highest ones do the same thing knowingly and consciously. It is only the reasoning beings who imagine that they are their own law-givers, and may do what they please. All evil is caused by reasoning; the [Page 175] enlightened does not reason; he has Reason itself for his guide.
The muscular system exercises its habitual movements in the act of walking, eating, &c., without being especially guided by a superintending intellect, like a clockwork that, after being once set in motion, continues to run; and a man who is in the habit of doing that which is right and just, will act in accordance with the law of wisdom and justice instinctively, and without any consideration or doubt.
Each state of mind has its own mode of perception, sensation, instinct, and consciousness, and the activity of one may overpower and suppress that of the other. A person being only conscious of the sensations created by some physical act, is at that time unconscious of spiritual influences. One who is under the influence of chloroform loses his external sensation. One in a state of trance is awake on a higher plane of existence, and unconscious of what happens on the physical plane.
The unintelligent muscular system is conscious of nothing else but the attraction of Earth. In it the element of Earth predominates, and unless it is upheld by reason, it acts according to the impulse created in it by that attraction. The astral body is unintelligent, and unless infused with the intelligence coming from the higher principles, it follows the attractions of the astral plane. These attractions are its desires. As the physical body, if unguided by reason, follows the law of gravitation, so the astral body follows the attractions of desire. The animal consciousness of man is that unreasoning attraction which impels him to seek for the gratification of his instincts.
Correctly speaking, there is no such thing as animal reason, animal intellect, animal consciousness, etc. Consciousness, reason, intelligence, etc., in the absolute, have no qualifications; they are universal principles, that is to say, functions of the Universal One Life, manifesting themselves on various planes in various forms.
The condition of a person whose consciousness is no more illumined by reason, is seen in emotional mania and obsession. In such cases the person acts entirely [Page 176] according to the impulses acting in him, and when he recovers his reason, he is unconscious of his actions during that state. Such states manifest themselves sometimes in only one person, or they affect several persons simultaneously, and even whole countries, as has been experienced in some wholesale “obsessions” occurring during the Middle Ages. [“ Histoire des diables de Loudin”. - Cases of obsession are by no means unfrequent, and many cases of insanity are merely cases of obsession. It is extremely desirable in the interests of humanity that our superintendents and doctors of insane asylums should study the occult laws of nature, and learn to know the causes of insanity, instead of merely studying their external effects.] They are often observed in cases of hysteria, may be witnessed at religious meetings, during theatrical performances, during the attack upon an enemy, or at any other occasion, where the passions of the multitude are excited, inducing them to acts of folly or bravery, and enabling people to perform acts which they would be neither willing nor able to perform if they were guided only by the calculations of their intellect. All such states are the manifestation of unseen powers, acting in and through different forms.
There are persons in whom the astral body has become the centre of consciousness, and they may acquire the power to transfer that consciousness to a distant locality. Mind is everywhere, and capable of receiving impressions. If we steadily concentrate our thoughts upon a distant person or a place, a current of mind is created. Our thoughts go to the desired locality, for that locality, however far it may be, is still within the sphere of mind. If we have been there before, or if there is something to attract us, it will not be difficult to find it. Under ordinary circumstances consciousness remains with the body. But if our astral elements are sufficiently alive, so as not to cling to the body, but to accompany our thoughts, then our consciousness may go with them, being projected there by the power of the will, and the more the will is intense the easier will this be accomplished. We shall then visit the chosen place consciously and know what we are [Page 177] doing, and our astral elements carry the memory back and impress them upon our physical brain.
This is the secret how the thought body may be projected to a distance by those who have acquired that power. It is a power that may be acquired by birth or learned by practice. There are persons in whom, in consequence of either an inherited peculiarity of the constitution or from sickness, such a separation between the physical and astral elements may either voluntarily or involuntarily take place, and the astral form either consciously or unconsciously travel to distant places or persons, and by the assistance of the odic and magnetic emanations even “materialise” into a visible and even tangible form. [ Adolphe d ' Assier cites several instances in which the double of a person was seen simultaneously with the physical form. A young lady at college was seen by her mates in the parlour of the school, while at the same time her double was in the garden. The stronger the “double” grew, the more faint became her corporeal form. When she recovered her strength, the double disappeared from sight. In this case, the consciousness of the lady was evidently divided between the room and the garden, and as her thoughts went to the flowers they formed a body there. In studying the law according to which such apparently mysterious things occur, it will be advisable to remember that all forms, whether material or ethereal, consist merely of certain vibrations of primordial matter, manifesting themselves according to the character impressed upon them. ]
The Kama-rupa is sometimes attracted unconsciously to places while the physical body is asleep. It has been seen by impressible persons on such occasions, but it shows no signs of intelligence or life; it only acts like an automaton and returns when the physical body requires its presence. At the time of death, when the cohesion between the lower and higher principles is loosened, such a projection is of not unfrequent occurrence; it may then be for a short time, conscious, alive, and intelligent, and represent the true man. [Numerous instances of such occurrences may be found in E, Gurney, “Phantasms of the Living”]
There are a great number of cases on record where, in consequence of a sudden and intense emotion, for instance, the desire to see a certain person, the thought [Page 178] body projecting itself from the physical body has become conscious and visible at a distance. In cases of home-sickness we find some approach to an instance of this, The person separated from home and friends, having an intense yearning to see his native place again, projects his thoughts to that place, He lives – so to say – in that place, while his physical body vegetates in another. He becomes weaker, and finally dies; that is to say, he goes where his thoughts already are, although his gradual going is imperceptible and unrecognisable to physical senses.
In cases of sickness or death a similar process of separation takes place. When, from whatever cause, the union between the physical form and the astral body becomes weakened, the astral form separates itself for a while or permanently from the physical form.
The symptoms of such a beginning of separation is often observed in severe sickness, when the patient has the sensation as if another person were lying in the same bed with him. As recovery takes place, the principles whose cohesion has been loosened become reunited and that sensation disappears.
According to the plane of existence, where a person lives is the state of his consciousness, and each of these planes has its own sensations, perceptions, and memories. What is seen and perceived and remembered in one state, is not remembered in another state, and it is therefore not improbable that a person, entering into a higher state of consciousness after the death of his body, will remember nothing about the conditions of his terrestrial life. [A case is cited in Dr Hammond's book on insanity, in which a servant, while in a state of intoxication, carried a package with which he had been entrusted to the wrong house. Having become sober, he could not remember the place, and the package was supposed to be lost; but after he got drunk again he remembered the place, he went there and recovered the package.This goes to show that when he was drunk he was another person than when he was sober; man's individuality continually changes according to the conditions in which he exists, and as his consciousness changes he becomes another individual, although he still retains the same outward form. ]
In the state of intoxication the person is only conscious [Page 179] of his animal existence and entirely unconscious of his higher existence. A somnambule in the lucid condition looks upon her body as a being distinct from her own self, who is, to a certain extent, under her care. She speaks of that being in the third person, prescribes sometimes for it as a physician prescribes for his patient and often shows tastes, inclinations, and opinions entirely opposed to those which she possesses in her normal condition. Persons while in a trance may love another person intensely, because they are then capable to perceive his good interior qualities, and detest him when they are in their normal condition, when they merely behold his external attributes. [ H. Zachokke: “Verklaerungen” (Transfigurations)]
In the state of trance the body is entirely unconscious and unable to realise any physical sensation. It may be burnt or buried. Such a proceeding would not affect the inner man otherwise than to prevent his return to that body. But while his earthly form is unconscious, his spiritual self is conscious, and may be engaged in duties beyond our comprehension, among scenes from which it must be painful to return to the bonds of Earth.
Even while physical consciousness is active the consciousness of the higher principles may be so exalted as to render the body little conscious of pain. History speaks of men and women whose souls rejoiced while their earthly tabernacles were undergoing the tortures of the rack, or devoured by flames at the stake.
Man leads essentially two lives, one while he is fully awake, another while he is fully asleep. Each has its own perceptions, consciousness, and experiences, but the experiences during sleep are not remembered when we are fully “awake”. At the borderland between sleep and waking, where the impressions of each state meet and mingle, is the realm of confused dreams, which seldom contain any truth.
This state is, however, favourable to receive impressions from the inner self. The inner man may use symbolical forms and allegorical images to convey ideas [Page 180] to the lower self, and to give it admonitions, forebodings, and warnings in regard to future events.
There are various kinds of dreams. Many a difficult problem has been solved during sleep, and the terrestrial world is not always without any reflex of the light from above. The mind of the sleeper during the sleep of the body comes into contact with other minds, and passes through experiences which one does not remember when awake. Man, in his waking condition, often has experiences which he afterwards does not remember, but which he, nevertheless, enjoyed at the time when they occurred, and which at that time were real to him.[ One extraordinary case is mentioned in A. P. Sinnett's “Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky”. Speaking of her sickness in Tiflis, Madame Blavatsky says, that she had the sensation as if she were two different persons, one being the Madame Blavatsky, whose body was lying sick in bed, the other person an entirely different and superior being. “When I was in my lower state”, she says, “ I knew who that other person was and what she (or he) had been doing; but when I was that other being myself, I did not know nor care who was that Madame Blavatsky”. It is therefore very well possible that Madame Blavatsky's “transcendental Ego”, with all its consciousness, faculties, and powers of perception, in fact, her real self, was consciously and really undergoing certain mysterious experiences in Tibet, while the physical instrument, which we call “Madame Blavatsky”, was sick at Tiflis. ]
Man feels in himself at least two sets of attractions that come to his consciousness. One set drags him down to earth and makes him cling to material necessities and enjoyments, the other set, lifting him up into the region of the unknown, makes him forget the allurements of matter, and brings him nearer to the realm of immortal beauty. The greatest poets and philosophers have recognised this fact of double consciousness, or the two poles of one, and between those two poles ebbs and floods the normal consciousness of the average human being.
Goethe expresses this in his “Faust” in about the following terms:
souls, alas I are conscious in my breast,
One from the other seeks to separate.
One clings to earth, where all its life is rooted,
The other rises upwards to the gods. [Page 181]
One attraction arises from Wisdom, another from folly. By the power of Knowledge, Man is enabled to choose which way he will follow, and by the power of obedience he is enabled to proceed. He may live on the lower planes of consciousness and become dead to spirituality and immortal life; or in the highest spheres of thought, where his mind expands and where he ultimately will find that spiritual self-consciousness, which is Divine Wisdom, the realisation of eternal truth. Few may be able to reach such a state, and few will be able to comprehend its possibility; but there have been men who, on the threshold of Nirwana, and while their physical bodies continued to live on this planet, could consciously roam through the interplanetary spaces and see the wonders of the material and spiritual worlds. This is the highest form of Adeptship attainable on Earth, and to him who accomplishes it the mysteries of the Universe will be like an open book.
Divine Wisdom for the purpose of manifesting itself requires an organism. In the mineral kingdom it manifests itself as attraction, in plants as life, in animals as instinct, in human beings as reason, in Divine natures as self-knowledge; on every plane the character of its manifestation depends on the character of the organism through which it acts. Without a human organism, even the most intelligent animal cannot become a man; without a spiritual organism even the most pious christian will be only a dreamer.
Every state of consciousness requires for its expression a suitable organism, and the greater the realm of its manifestation, the more expanded must be the sphere of its activity. There is no realisation of physical existence without a physical body; there is no emotional nature without an organised astral form; no ideation without an organised mind, and no divine existence without an incorruptible body. Without that spiritual organisation, whose elements are self-conscious immortality, divine justice, eternal beauty and harmony, universal justice and love, knowledge and power, purity and perfection, freedom and glory, even the most devout worshipper can only feel. Even the most devout worshipper, as [Page 182] long as the divine spirit has not awakened within his soul, will merely feel the beauties of the spiritual realm in the same sense as a blind man may enjoy the warm rays of the sunshine without being able to see the light; only when the process of spiritual regeneration has been accomplished will he be able to see the sun of divine glory within his own soul, and know that he exists as an eternal, self-existent and immortal power in God.
To become a magician requires a perfect man and not merely a being born of a dream; the exercise of spiritual power requires a substantial body as its foundation; to attain true knowledge of all the mysteries of the universe requires an organisation as large as the world. This spiritual body grows out of the elements of the corruptible material body. Without that organism there can be no realisation of one's own divine nature: “Unless a man is reborn in the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”.
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