MAGIC : WHITE AND BLACK
SCIENCE OF FINITE AND INFINITE LIFE
CONTAINING PRACTICAL HINTS FOR STUDENTS OF OCCULTISM
by FRANZ HARTMANN, M.D.
"Omne bonum a Deo, imperfectum a Diabalo”. — Paracelsus
183] CONSCIOUSNESS is knowledge and life; unconsciousness is ignorance and
death. If we
are conscious of the existence of a thing, we know that a relation exists
ourselves and that thing. If we become unconscious of its existence,
neither we nor that object ceases to exist, but we fail to recognise its
to us. As soon as we begin to realise that relation, the character of
the object perceived in the sphere of our mind becomes a part of our mental
constitution, and we begin to live in relation to it. We then possess
in our consciousness, and may retain it there by the power of our Will.
If it disappears, we may recall it by the power of recollection and memory. To
know an object is to live relatively to it, to forget it is to cease to
exist in relation to it.
Unconsciousness, ignorance, and death are therefore synonymous terms, and everyone is dead in proportion as he is ignorant. If he is ignorant of a fact, he is dead relatively to it, although he may be fully alive relatively to other things. We cannot be conscious of everything at once, and therefore, as our impressions and thoughts change, our consciousness and relation to certain things change, and we continually die relatively to some things and live relatively to others. There can be no absolute unconsciousness; because the One Life is self-existent and independent of its manifestations. It manifests itself in our forms, and even if our forms dissolve, Life continues to be and to evolve other forms. [Page 184] There can be no cessation of absolute consciousness as long as there is absolute being, because the “Absolute” never ceases to be in relation to itself. Relative death and unconsciousness occurs every moment, and we are not aware of its occurrence. We meet hundreds of corpses in the streets, which are entirely dead and unconscious in regard to certain things of which we are alive; and we are dead in regard to many things to which others are alive and conscious. Only simultaneously occurring omniscience in regard to everything that exists would be absolute life without any admixture of death, but such a state is an impossibility as long as man is bound to a personality and limited form, and has therefore only a limited existence and consciousness.
Each principle in man has a certain sphere of activity, and its perceptions can only extend to the limits of that sphere. Each is dead to such modes of activity as are in no relation with it. Minerals are unconscious of the action of intelligence, but not of the attraction of Earth; the spirit is dead to earthly attraction and mechanical pressure, but not to love. If we can change the mode of activity in a form, we call into existence a new state of consciousness, because we establish new relations of a different order; the old activity dies and a new one begins to live.
If the energy which we are now using for the purpose of digesting food, for performing intellectual labour and for enjoying sensual pleasures, were used for the purpose of developing the spiritual germs contained within the constitution of man, we would be in a comparatively short time rewarded for our labour by becoming superior beings, of a state so far above our present condition, that we can at present not even conceive of it, because we have no experience about it. All we know about such states is that which has been told to us by those who have entered it, and in moments of tranquility and exaltation the soul of even not highly spiritually developed people may occasionally pass by the temple of divine wisdom, when the door is left ajar, and from the glance caught of the interior light that streams [Page 185] through the Gates of Gold it may form a conception about the beauties contained therein.
In the constitution of average man life is especially active in the physical body, and he clings to the life of that body as if it were the only possible mode of existence. He knows of no other mode of life, and is, therefore, afraid to die. A person who has concentrated his life and consciousness into his astral body will be conscious of another existence, and his physical body will be only so far of value to him, as by its instrumentality he can act on the physical plane. Physical death is a continuation of the activity of life in other principles. If we, by an occult process, concentrate all our life into our higher principles before our body ceases to live, we master death, and live independent of our physical body.[Such beings exist and are called “Nirmânakâyas”. See H. P. Blavatsky, “The Voice of the Silence”, Part III. They are not to be confounded with the so-called “Theosophical Mahatmas”, who are terrestrial men and Adepts; but who have been represented by some fanatical admirers as “spirits” or ghosts.]
Such a transfer of life and consciousness is not beyond possibility. It has been accomplished by many, and will be accomplished by others. The material elements of the physical body are continually subject to elimination and renewal. By permitting the physical body gradually to die, while the spiritual organism becomes developed, the astral body assumes the functions of the physical form.
No one would be willing to look upon such a change as death, and nevertheless it would be nothing else but a mode of dying slow as far as the physical body is concerned, while at the same time it is a raising of the real man into a superior form of existence. Death – whether slow or quick – is nothing but a process of purification, by which the imperfect is eliminated and rendered unconscious. Nothing perishes but that which is not able to live. Principles cannot die, only their manifestations cease in one plane, to appear in another.
Only that which is perfect can remain without being [Page 186] changed. God does not redeem the personal man by the process of death; he redeems himself by freeing himself from the personality of the man. Truth, wisdom, justice, beauty, goodness, etc., cannot be exterminated; it is merely the forms in which they become manifest that can be destroyed. If all the wise men in the world were to die, the principle of Wisdom would nevertheless continue to exist, and manifest in due time in other receptive forms; if Love were to leave the hearts of all human beings, it would thereby not be annihilated, it would merely cease to exist relatively to men, and men would cease to live, while love would continue to be. Eternal principles are self-existent, and therefore independent of forms, and not subject to change; but forms are changeable, and cannot continue without the presence of the principles whose instruments for manifestation they represent.
The human body is an instrument for the manifestation of life, the soul is an instrument for the manifestation of spirit. When life leaves the body, the body disintegrates; if the spirit leaves the astral form, the latter dissolves. A person in whom the spiritual principle has become entirely inactive is morally dead, although his body may be full of life and his earthly soul full of animal desires. Such spiritless living corpses or shells are often seen in fashionable society as well as in the crowds where the vulgar assemble. A person in whom the principle of reason has become inactive is intellectually dead, although his body may be full of animal life; lunatics are dead people, in whom reason has ceased to live. If the soul leaves the body, the form dies, but the soul lives if endowed with spirit, but if its connection with spirit ceases, either before or after the death of the body, it dissolves into the elements of the astral plane.
The astral soul, like the body, is a compound organism, composed of various elements. Some of these elements may be fit to assimilate with the spirit, others are not fit to do so. If a person, during his earthly life, has not purified his soul sufficiently, so as to enter the spiritual state immediately after the death of the [Page 187] physical body, a gradual separation of the pure and impure elements from the still impure remains takes place in the state after death. When the final separation is accomplished, the spiritual elements enter the spiritual state (which, in fact, they have never left); and the lower elements remain in the lower plane, where they gradually disintegrate.
If the organisation of the physical body becomes impaired to such an extent, that the principle of life cannot employ it any longer to serve as an instrument for its manifestation, it ceases to act. Death may begin at the head, the heart, or the lungs but life lingers longest in the head, and is still active there to a certain extent after the body, to all exterior appearances, has become unconscious and ceased to live. The power of thought continues for a time to work in its habitual manner, although sensation has ceased to exist in the nerves. This activity may even grow in intensity as the principles become disunited; and if the thought of the dying is intensely directed upon an absent friend it can impress itself upon the consciousness of that friend, and perhaps cause him to see the apparition of the dying. At last vitality leaves the brain, and the higher principles depart, carrying with them their proper activity, life, and consciousness, leaving behind an empty form, a mask, and illusion. There need not necessarily be any loss of consciousness in regard to the persons and things by which the dying person is surrounded; the only consciousness which necessarily ceases is that which refers to conditions concerning his personality, such as physical sensation, pain, weight, heat and cold, hunger and thirst, which affected the physical form. As his life departs from the brain, another state of consciousness comes into existence, because he enters into relation to a different order of things. “The principle, carrying memory, emerges from the brain, and every event of the life which is ebbing away, is reviewed by the mind. Picture after picture presents itself with living vividness before his consciousness, and he lives in a few minutes his whole life again. Persons in a state or drowning have [Page 188] experienced that state. That impression which has been the strongest, survives all the rest; the other impressions disappear to reappear again in the devachanic state. No man dies unconscious, whatever external appearances may seem to indicate to the contrary; even a madman will have a moment, at the time of his death, when his intellect will be restored. Those who are present at such solemn moments should take care not to disturb, by outbursts of grief or otherwise, that process by which the soul beholds the effects of the past and lays the plan for its future existence”. [ Extracted from the letter of an Adept.]
The process of the parting of the astral form from the physical remains is described by a clairvoyant as follows: “At first I saw a beautiful light of a pale blue colour, in which appeared a small egg-shaped substance about three feet above the head. It was not stationary, but wavered to and fro like a balloon in the air. Gradually it elongated to the length of the body, the whole enveloped in a mist or smoke. I perceived a face corresponding in features to that which was so soon to be soulless, only brighter, more smooth, more beautiful, yet unfinished, with the same want of expression that we observe in a new-born infant. With every breath from the dying body the ethereal form was added to and became more perfect. Presently the feet became defined, not side by side, as the dying man had placed himself, but one hanging below the other, and one knee bent, as new-born infants would be in an accidental position. The body appeared to be enshrouded in a cloudlike mist. A countless host of other presences seemed to be near. When the whole was complete, all slowly passed out of sight”. [A. J. Davis describes a similar scene.]
This ethereal body is the soul-body or perisprit of the person that died. It is not the spirit itself, but still connected with the spirit, as it was connected with it during life. It still contains the good and evil tendencies which it acquired during life, unless its attraction towards one pole or the other was already so great [Page 189] that a separation of the highest principle has taken place before physical death. The real man is an impersonal power, and his existence does not depend on a physical form, he only acquires such a form to manifest his activity on the lower planes. If his spirit rises above the attractions of his lower self, his lower self will be unconscious and disintegrate; but if he clings to his animal nature with a great intensity of desire, a centre of consciousness may become established therein, and its sense of personality still continue to exist for a while even after the physical body is dead. His soul will in such cases be a semi-conscious inhabitant of the Kama loca state.
The time during which an astral corpse may remain in this state before it is entirely dissolved depends on the density and strength of its elements. It may differ from a few hours or days to a great many years. Man is made up of a great many living elements or principles, of which each one exists in its own individual state while they all receive their life from the spirit. When the spirit withdraws they become separated, while each retains for a while its own particular life in the same sense as a wheel which is once set into motion will continue to run until after the force is exhausted, even if the original motive power is withdrawn.
The remnant of a man in the Kama loca state is therefore not the man, but an elementary part of him which may or may not be conscious that it exists.
This Kama loca state is the “land of the shadows”, the Hades of the ancient Greeks, and the “purgatory“ of the Roman Catholic Church. Its inhabitants may or may not possess consciousness and intelligence, but the astral souls of average men and women possess no intelligence of their own; they can, however, be made to act intelligently by the power of the Elementals, who infuse their own consciousness into them. Paracelsus says: “Men and women die every day, whose souls during their lives have been subject to the influence and guidance of Elementals. How much easier will it be for such Elementals to influence the sidereal bodies of such persons and to make them act as they please, after their [Page 190] souls have lost the protection which their physical bodies afforded! They may use their soul-bodies to move physical objects from place to place, to carry such objects from distant countries, and to perform other feats of a similar kind that may appear miraculous to the uninitiated”.
The state of consciousness of the fourth principle (the animal soul) after the lower triad has become unconscious and lifeless, therefore, differs widely in different persons, according to the conditions that have been established during its connection with the body. The soul of an average person in Kama loca with only moderate selfish desires is not conscious and intelligent enough to know that its physical body has died, and that it is itself undergoing the process of disintegration; but the soul of a person whose whole consciousness was centred in self, chained to earth by fear, remorse, greed, or desire for revenge,[ Chinamen kill themselves for the purpose of fastening their soul upon an enemy and taking revenge. Let those who “know” that this is a superstition try the experiment.] may be conscious and intelligent enough to make desperate efforts to enter again into physical life. Feeling its impending fate, seeking to prolong its existence, it clings for protection to the organism of some living being, and causes obsession. Not only weak-minded human beings but also animals may be subject to such an obsession.
To a body without sensation or consciousness it can make no difference under what conditions it may continue to exist or perish, because it cannot realise its existence; but to a soul in which the divine spark of intelligence coming from the sixth principle has kindled consciousness and sensation, its surrounding conditions will be of importance, because it realises them more or less fully according to the degree of its consciousness. Such surroundings, in the state after death, each man creates for himself during life by his thoughts, his words, and his acts. Man is creating all his life the world wherein he will live in the hereafter.
Thought is substantial and objective to those who live on the plane of thought. Even on the physical plane [Page 191] every form that exists is materialised thought, grown or made into a form; the world of the souls is a world in which thought itself appears material and solid to those who exist in that world. Man is a centre from which continually thought is evolved, and crystallises into forms in that world. His thoughts are things that have life and form and tenacity; real entities, solid and more enduring than the forms of the physical plane. Good thoughts are light and rise above us, but evil thoughts are heavy and sink. The world below us to which they sink is the sphere of the grossest, most diseased, and sensual thoughts evolved by evil-disposed and ignorant men. It is a world still more material and solid to its inhabitants than ours is to us; it is the habitation of man-created personal deities, devils, and monstrosities invented by the morbid imagination of man.
They are only the products of thoughts, but nevertheless they are relatively real and substantial to those who live among them and realise their existence. The myths of hell and purgatory are based on ill-understood facts.“Hells” exist, but man is himself their creator. Brutal man creates monsters by the working of his diseased imagination during life; disembodied man will be attracted to its creations. There are few persons who are not subject to evil thoughts; such thoughts are the reflex of the lurid light from the region of folly, but they cannot take form unless we give them form by dwelling on them and feeding them with the substance of our own will. Love is the life of the good, malice the substance of evil. An evil thought, evolved without consent of the heart, is without life; an evil thought, brought into existence with malice, becomes malicious and living. If it is embodied in an act, a new devil will be born into the world. The horrors of hell exist only for those who have been conscious, voluntary, and malicious colaborers of the imagination, peopling the mind with the products of fancy; the beauties of heaven are only realised by him who has created a heaven within himself during his life.
Pain is only caused if a being exists under abnormal conditions. Allegorically speaking, devils do not suffer [Page 192] in hell, because they are there in their own natural element; they would suffer if they had to enter into heaven. A man suffers if his head is kept under water: a fish suffers if he is taken out of the water.
We can only be conscious of the existence of things, if a relation exists between ourselves and these things. A person who has created nothing during life that could have established a conscious relationship with his immortal self will have nothing immortal with which to remain in relation with after death. If his whole attention is taken up by his physical wants, the sphere of his consciousness during life will be confined to those material wants. When he leaves his material habitation material wants will no longer exist for him, and his consciousness of them ceases. Having created nothing in his soul that can enter into relation with his own spirit, his soul will neither lose that which it never possessed nor gain that which it never desired, but remain a blank. Death will clear away that which hinders our spiritual perception of truth; but it cannot enable us to develop that power. If we hire a priest or a professor to do our thinking for us, and to be guardian of our knowledge and spiritual aspirations, we create no spiritual aspirations or living thoughts for ourselves. If we are contented to live in the opinions of others, we have no truth of our own. The artificial consciousness, which has thus been created by the illusive reflection of the thought of others on the mirror of the individual mind, has no roots in the spiritual soul, and mere opinions have no immortal existence. Those minds which have been fed on illusions will have no substance after the illusions have passed away. The only knowledge which can remain with the soul is that which it loves and knows and is itself.
thou lovest, man, that too, become you must,
God, if thou lovest God; – dust, if thou lovest dust”.
cause is followed by an effect. Illusions that have been created in the
mind are forces that must become exhausted before they can die. They
will continue to act in the subjective state and produce [Page
illusions by the law of harmony that governs the association of ideas,
and all illusions will end in the sphere to which they belong. Selfish
desires will end in the sphere of self, unselfish aspirations and thoughts
will bring their own rewards if they were good, and their own punishment
if they were evil. But after all the good and evil thoughts have been exhausted
in Kama loca and Devachan, there can be left nothing of the
individual but the self-consciousness of his spirit, that existed during
his life in the innermost sanctuary of his heart. If no such consciousness
existed, if there was nothing in him to cause him to feel his own divine
nature, the presence of truth, there will be nothing left but a blank,
an empty mind, to become reincarnated for the purpose of trying again to
attain the knowledge of self. Death is a transformation or change of conditions
under which we exist. Our desires for things change as the conditions under
which we exist assume a different character. Before we are born our state
of life depends on the state of the mother's womb; but having been born
into the world, we care nothing more for that which furnished us with nutriment
and life during our foetal existence. Being infants, our interests are
centred upon the breasts of the mother, but these breasts are forgotten
after we need them no more. Things which absorbed the whole of our consciousness
during our youth are discarded as we grow older. If we throw off the physical
body, the desire for that which was attractive to it and important for
its existence is thrown off with it, or perishes soon afterwards.
But if the soul again approaches the material plane, and again enters into relationship with it, the old consciousness and the old desires, that were gone to sleep, reawaken, and its physical sensations return, but vanish again after the influence of the medium is withdrawn. The “Elementary” then relapses in his unconscious state.[ The non-remembering of previous appearances is an essential feature in returning ghosts.]
There are innumerable varieties of conditions and possibilities in the world of spirit and on the astral plane, as there are upon the physical plane. If the mind [Page 194] begins to investigate these things separately, and without understanding the fundamental laws of nature upon which such phenomena are based, it may as well despair of ever being able to form a correct conception of them. If a botanist were to examine separately each one of the thousands of leaves of a large tree which he has never seen, for the purpose of finding out the true nature of that tree, he would never arrive at an end; but if he once knows the tree as a whole, the colour and shape of the individual leaves will be of secondary importance. If we once arrive at a correct conception of the spiritual nature of man, it will be easy to follow the various ramifications of the one universal law.
There is no death for that which is perfect, but the imperfect must perish sooner or later. So-called death is simply a process of elimination of that which is useless. In this sense we all are continually dying every day, and even wishing to die, because every reasonable person desires to get rid of his imperfections and their consequences and the sufferings which they cause. No one is afraid to lose that which he does not want, and if he clings to that which is useless, it is because he is unconscious and ignorant of that which is useful. In such a case he is already partly dead to that which is good, and must come to life and learn to realise that which is useful, by dying to that which is useless. This is the so-called mystic death, by which the enlightened come to life, which involves the unconsciousness of worthless and earthly desires and passions, and establishes a consciousness of that which is immortal and true. The reason why men and women are sometimes afraid to die is because they mistake the low for the high, and prefer material illusions to spiritual truths. We ought not to live in the fear of death; but in the hope of coming to life. There is no death for the perfect, and the dead in life must throw away their imperfectness, so that, that which is perfect in him may become conscious and live. This mystic death is recommended by the wise as being the supreme remedy against real death. This mystic death is a spiritual regeneration. [ John iii. 3.] [Page 195]
Hermes Trismegistus says: “Happy is he whose vices die before him“; and the great teacher Thomas de Kempis writes: “Learn to die now to the world“ (to the attractions of matter), “so that you may begin to live with Christ”; and Angelus Silesius writes: “Christ rose not from the dead, he is still in the grave for those who do not know him”. The true and only saviour of every man or woman is the self-knowledge of divine truth.
A person whose vices have died during his earthly life does not need to die again. His sidereal body will dissolve like a silver cloud, being unconscious of any desires for that which is low, and his spirit will be fully conscious of that which is beautiful, harmonious, and true; but he, whose conscience is centred in the passions that have raged in his soul during life, can realise nothing higher than that which was the highest to him during his life, and cannot gain any other consciousness by the process of death. Physical death is no gain, it cannot give us that which we do not already possess. Unconsciousness cannot confer consciousness, ignorance cannot give knowledge. By the mystic death we arrive at life and consciousness, knowledge and happiness, because the awaking of the higher elements to life implies the death of that which is useless and low. “ Neither circumcision nor un-circumcision availeth, but a new creature”. [ Galat. vi. 15.]
There are Esprits souffrants, our suffering souls. They are the “revenants” or “restants”, the astral bodies of victims of premature death, whose physical forms have perished before their time. They remain within the attraction of the Earth until the time arrives that should have been the termination of their physical lives according to the law of their Karma. They are under normal conditions, not fully conscious of the conditions in which they exist; but they may be temporarily stimulated into life by the influence of mediumship. Then will their half-forgotten desires and memories return and cause them to suffer. To rouse such existences from their stupor into a realisation of pain for the [Page 196] purpose of gratifying idle curiosity is cruel, and very injurious to such irrational souls, as it reawakens their thirst for life and for the gratification of earthly desires.
The soul of the same suicide, however, or that of a malicious person, may be fully conscious and realise the situation in which it is placed. Such shadows wander about earth, clinging to material life, and vainly trying to escape the dissolution by which they are threatened. Partly bereft of reason, and following their animal instincts, they may become Incubi and Succubi, Vampires stealing life from the living to prolong their own existence, regardless of the fate of their victims. The soul-bodies of the dead may be either unconsciously or consciously attracted to mediums for the purpose of communicating with the living. By using the astral emanations of the medium they sometimes become materialised, visibly and tangibly, and appear like the deceased person himself. But if a deceased person was in possession of high aspirations and virtues, his soul-corpse will not be the actual entity which it represents, although it may act in some respect as the person whose mask it wears. If one blows into a trumpet it will give the sound of a trumpet and no other. The soul-corpse of a good person, if infused artificially with life, will produce the thoughts it used to produce during life; but there needs to be no more of the identity of that person in the corpse than there is the identity of a friend in a phonograph.
The revelations made by such “spirits” are the echoes of their former thoughts, or of thoughts impressed upon them by the living, as a mirror reflects the faces of those that stand before it. They do not give us a true description of the spirit's condition in the world of souls, because they are themselves ignorant of that condition. At the time when Plato was living, such souls returned, giving descriptions of Hades and of the deities that were believed to exist in that place. At the present day the souls of Roman Catholics will return and ask for masses to be relieved from purgatory, while the Protestants refuse to be benefited by the ceremonies [Page 197] of the Catholic Church. The souls of dead Hindus ask sometimes for the performance of sacrifices to their gods, and every such “spirit” is domineered by those ideas in which he believed during his life. The discrepancy in their reports prove that their tales are only the products of the imagination of the irrational soul.[We do not deny the occurrence of so-called spiritual phenomena; and we are not opposed to “spiritualism”; but we are opposed to the misunderstanding of it. We believe in Spiritualism as belonging to the department of natural science and as having been very useful in overthrowing the blind materialism of the past. We also make a distinction between Spiritualism which implies Spirituality and ennobling elevation of soul and Spiritism, which consists in dealing with the inhabitants of the Astral plane, an intercourse whose dangers are unfortunately not sufficiently known.]
If man has a “spirit” that spirit must be immortal, but a man is not immortal if he does not realise the presence of the immortal spirit in him. Having become conscious in man, it cannot become unconscious again, because it is self-existent and independent of all conditions but those which it creates itself. In him who IS, the consciousness of the I Am is indestructible, because it exists in the absolute eternal One. If that consciousness were to perish, the world would perish with it, because in the consciousness of the I Am the world came into existence, and by its power does it continue to exist. Its consciousness upholds the world, its unconsciousness would be annihilation, but that which not truly IS cannot have the true consciousness of being; it may at best fancy to be. It exists; but as an illusion and not in truth. The object of man's life is to become conscious that He is – not an illusive personal form – but an impersonal, immortal reality, to render the unconscious spirit conscious and enable the immortal soul to realise its own immortality; the object of death is to release that which is conscious from that which is unconscious, and to free the immortal from the bonds of matter.
The tree of life grows and produces a seed, and this seed has to be planted again, to grow into a tree and produce another seed, and this process will have to be [Page 198] repeated over and over again, until at last the soul slumbering in the seed awakens to the realisation of its immortal life. Unconscious of any relation to personalities, unconscious of its own self, it will be attracted to such conditions as may be best suited for its further development, as its Karma decides. It will be attracted to overshadow a man whose moral and intellectual tendencies and qualities correspond to its own, careless whether it enters the world as a new-born babe through the door of the hut of a beggar or through the palace of a king. It does not care for its future conditions, because it is unconscious of their existence. The unconscious spiritual monad, descending into the lower plane, gathering again the elements which belonged to the previous man of earth, building again the thought-body which it had created in former lives and which constituted its terrestrial character, and entering again into connection with a human physical organism, is born once more into the world of sorrow, builds up the house of flesh, and takes up once more the battle with life, the strife with its lower nature, to make a step forward and come nearer to God.
Thus a man that reigned as a king in a former incarnation may be reborn as a beggar, if his character was that of a beggar; and a liberal beggar may create as his future successor a king or a being of noble birth. Both act without freedom of choice at the time of their visit to the Earth, following unconsciously their Karma. But the Adept, who knows his own real self and has learned to realise his immortal existence, will be his own master. He has grown above the sense of personality, and thereby gained immortal consciousness during his earthly life. He has thrown away his lower self, and death cannot rob him of that which he no longer possesses and to which he attaches no value. Being conscious of his existence and of the conditions under which he exists, he may follow his own choice in the selection of a body, if he chooses to reincarnate, either for the benefit of humanity or for his own progression. Having entirely overcome the attractions of Earth, he is truly free. He is dead and unconscious to all earthly [Page 199] temptations, but conscious of the highest happiness attainable by man. The delusion of the senses can fashion for him no other tabernacle to imprison his soul, and before him lies open the road to eternal rest in Nirvana. [
now, thou builder of the tabernacle, thou !
I know thee! Never shalt thou build again
These walls of pain,
Nor raise the roof-tree of deceits, nor lay
Fresh rafters on the clay.
Broken thy house is, and the ridge-pole split I
Delusion fashioned it.
Save pass I thence. Deliverance to obtain.
Edwin Arnold: “The Light of Asia”.]
If a person has once attained spiritual self-knowledge he will not need to follow the blind law of attraction, but he will be able to choose the body and the conditions most suitable to him. He may then reincarnate himself in the body of a child, or in the body of a grown person, whose soul has been separated by disease or accident from the body, and that person will thus be brought to life again, if no vital organ is too seriously injured, to carry on the functions of life again. Cases are known in which a certain person apparently died, and finally came to life again, when from that time he appeared to be an entirely different man; he may have died as a ruffian and after his recovery become suddenly like a saint, so that such a sudden change appeared inexplicable on any other theory than that an entirely different character had taken possession of his body. Such people may, after their recovery takes place, speak a language they never learned, talk familiarly of things they never saw; call people by their names, of which they never heard, know all about places, where their physical bodies never have been, etc., etc. If phenomena could prove anything, such occurrences might go to prove the theory of the reincarnation of living adepts.
“Shall we know our loved ones after death ?” is a question which is often asked, and which answers itself if the true nature of the “Ego” is known. In all planes rules the law of harmony, and like is attracted to like; but an illusion can only know illusions. We do not [Page 200] know each other in this life, if we have not the knowledge of our own self.
He who, having become self-conscious of his own spiritual nature, knows his own real self, may rise up in his soul to the planes of the blessed, and by entering their individual spheres join their own happiness and partake of their joys; but the souls dreaming in heaven, being immersed in bliss, do not descend and join in the circus of life, before the time of their reincarnation arrives. Such a descent would be degradation. Heaven does not descend to earth; but if earth ascends to heaven it becomes heaven itself.
To die is to become unconscious in relation to certain things. If we become unconscious of a lower state, and thereby become conscious of a higher existence, such a change cannot properly be called death. If we become unconscious of a higher condition, and thereby enter a lower one, such a change is followed by degradation, and therefore degradation is the only death to be feared . Degradation takes place if a human faculty is employed for a lower purpose than that for which it was by nature intended. Degradation of the most vulgar, the lowest material type takes place, if the organs of the physical body are used for villainous purposes, and disease, atrophy, and death are the common result. A higher and still more detrimental and lasting degradation takes place if the intellectual faculties are habitually used for selfish and degrading purposes. In such cases the intellect, that ought to serve as a basis for spiritual aspirations, becomes merged with matter, its consciousness is bound down to the plane of materiality and selfishness, and becomes inactive in the region of spirituality. The lowest and most enduring degradation takes place if man, having reached a state in which his personality has, to a certain extent, merged with his impersonal I, degrades his spiritual self by employing the powers which such an amalgamation confers for villainous purposes of a low character. Such are the practices of black magic. A person who, for want of any better understanding, employs his intellectual faculties for his own selfish purposes, regardless of the [Page 201] principle of justice, is not necessarily a villain, but simply a fool. The murderer may commit a murder to save himself from being discovered of some crime, and not for the purpose of robbing another person of life. A thief may steal a purse for the purpose of enriching himself, and not for the purpose of rendering another man poor. Such acts are the result of ignorance; persons usually act evil for selfish purposes and not for the pure love of evil. Such acts are the result of personal feelings, and personal feelings cease to exist when the personality to which they belong ceases to exist. Such a personal existence ceases when his life on the lower plane ceases to act. The higher spiritual I of the man is neither a gainer nor loser on such an occasion, it remains the same as it was before the compound of forces representing the late personality was born.
The real villain, however, is he who performs evil for the love of evil without personal considerations. A person who is no more influenced by his sense of personality, and has attained spiritual knowledge, is a magician. Those who employ such a power for the purposes of evil have been called black magicians or Brothers of the Shadow, in the same sense as those who employ their spiritual powers for good purposes have been called Brothers of Light. The white magician is a spiritual power for good; the real black magician is a living power of evil attached to a personality that performs evil instinctively and for the love of evil itself. This power of evil may kill the man or the animal that never offended it, and by whose death it has nothing to gain, destroys for the love of destruction, causes suffering without expecting any benefit for itself, robs to throw away the spoils, revels in torture and death. Such an individual attracts and calls to its aid other impersonal evil powers, which become a part of it, and which continue to exist after the personality ceases to live on the physical plane. Many incarnations may be needed before such a power will come into existence, but when it once lives it will perish as slow as it grew. “Angels”, as well as “devils”, are born into the world, and children with villainous propensities and malicious characters are not [Page 202] very rare. They are the products of such forces as in former incarnations have developed a spiritual consciousness in the direction of evil.
A power which may be employed for a good purpose, can also be used for an evil purpose. If we can by magnetism decrease the rapidity of the pulse of a fever-patient, we may also decrease it to such an extent, that the subject ceases to live. If we can force a person by our will to perform a good act, we may also force him to commit a crime. Everything is either good or evil according to the purpose for which it is used.
It is unnecessary to enter into details in regard to the practices of Black Magic and Sorcery. It is more noble and useful to study how we can benefit mankind than to satisfy our curiosity in regard to the powers for evil. To show to what aberrations of mind a craving for the power of working black magic may lead, it may be mentioned that the would-be black magician and great vivisector, Gilles de Rays, maréchal of France, and better known as “Blue Beard”, who was executed for his crimes at Nantes, killed and tortured to death during a few years not less than one hundred and sixty women and children in the interest of his science, and for the purpose of gratifying his curiosity in regard to Black Magic.
The white magician delights in doing good, the servant of the black art revels in cruelty. The former co-operates with the Divine Spirit of Wisdom, the latter co-operates with certain spiritual forces of nature; the former will be exalted in God and united with him; the latter will ultimately be absorbed by the beings with which he has associated and which he called to his aid.
To ennoble our character and to raise our consciousness into the spiritual plane is to live; to let it sink to a lower level is to die. The natural order of the universe is that the high should elevate the low; but if the high is made to serve the low, degradation is the result. Everywhere in the workshop of nature the high acts upon the low by the power of the highest. The highest itself cannot be degraded. Truth itself cannot be turned into falsehood, it can only be rejected or misapplied. Reason itself cannot be rendered foolish, it can only be [Page 203] misused by reasoning foolishly. The universal and impersonal cannot itself become limited, it can only come into contact with such personalities as are able to approach it. The Law does not suffer by breaking its connection with the form, the form alone suffers and dies.
The truth is everywhere, seeking to manifest itself in the consciousness of man. Man's consciousness rotates between the two poles of good and evil, of spirit and matter. The omnipresent influence of the great spiritual Sun renders him strong to overcome the attraction of matter, and assists him to come victorious out of the struggle with evil. Man is not entirely free as long as he is not in possession of perfect knowledge, which means, realisation of truth; but he is free to allow himself to be attracted by a love for the truth or to close his door against it. He may become united with the principle of wisdom, or he may sever his connection with it and sell his inherited rights to immortality for a comparatively worthless mess of pottage. The Centaur in his nature, whose lower principles are animal, while the upper parts are possessed of Intellect, may carry away his spiritual aspirations and lull them into unconsciousness by the music of its illusions.
Bodies may be comparatively long-lived, and some forms, compared with others, may be very enduring; but there is nothing permanent but the self-consciousness of love and the self-consciousness of hate. Love is light, and hate is darkness, and in the end love will conquer hate, because darkness cannot destroy light, and wherever light penetrates into darkness, there will love conquer, and evil and darkness will disappear. [Page 204]
“Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”.-Rom. xii. 2.
THE Universe is a manifestation of Divine Wisdom and thought is an action of Mind. The Mind in which Wisdom can bring an universe into existence must be an Universal Mind, embracing in its totality all the individual minds that ever existed, and containing the germs of everything that will ever come into existence. Ideas are states of mind, and the thoughts of the Universal Mind stored up in the Astral Light, after their representative forms have dissolved, grow again into visible forms, by being clothed with matter.Man remembers his thoughts; that is to say, he enters again into one of his previous mental states. To remember a thing is to read it in the mind. The Astral Light is the book of memory, in which every thought is engraved and every event recorded, and the more intense the thought the deeper will it be engraved, and the longer will the picture remain. Thought is a force, and its products remain in the Astral Light long after the person who gave them form has ceased to live. As the images of things which exist in the Astral Light remain there for ages, they may be seen by the clairvoyant. Such images are formed of thought, and as [Page 205] thought is something substantial, it is even possible for the Occultist to reproduce books, writings, etc., which have existed thousands of years ago.Men do not create thought; the ideas existing in the Astral Light flow into their minds, and there they transform themselves into other shapes, combining with other ideas, consciously or unconsciously, according to the laws that control the correlations, interrelations, and associations of thought. A great mind can grasp a great idea, a narrow mind is only capable of holding narrow ideas. Thoughts are existing things and are sometimes grasped contemporaneously by several receptive minds. Some great discoveries have been made almost simultaneously by several minds. [There are three claimants for the discovery of chloroform, two for the discovery of Uranus, two for the Bell telephone, etc.. ] Ideas contained in the imagination of nature throw their reflections upon the minds of men, and, according to the capacities of the latter to receive ideas, they come to their consciousness, clear or distorted, plain or shadowy, like images of pictures reflected in living mirrors, that are either clear or rendered dim by the accumulation of dust. In those living mirrors they are remodeled and transformed into new pictures, to people the currents of the Astral Light with new images, and to give rise to new forms of thought. Therefore a spiritually strong person who lives in solitude and silence may do a great work, by evolving ideas, which will remain impressed upon the Astral Light and come to the cognisance of those who are capable to grasp them.The thoughts of men impress themselves upon the Astral Light, and every event that takes place on the physical plane is recorded in the memory of nature. Every stone, every plant, every animal as well as every man, has a sphere in which is recorded every event of its existence. They all have a little world of their own, made of thought, and whenever they move, they think; for their motions are motions of thought. In the Astral Light of each is stored up every event of its past history, [Page 206] and of the history of its surroundings; so that everything, no matter how insignificant it may be, can give an account of its daily life, from the beginning of its existence as to form up to the present, to him who is able to read. A piece of lava from Pompeii will give to the Psychometer a true description of the volcanic eruption that devastated that town and buried It under its ashes, where it remained hidden for nearly two thousand years; a floating timber carried by the Gulf Stream to the far North can give to the inhabitants of the North a true picture of tropical life; and a piece of bone of a Mastodon teach the vegetable and animal life of antediluvian periods. [ Prof. Wm. Denton: “Soul of Things”. ]The pictures impressed in the Astral Light react upon the mental spheres of individual minds and can create in them emotional disturbances, even if these pictures do not come to the full consciousness of their minds. Deeds committed with a great concentration of thought call living powers in the Astral Light into existence, tempting others to commit similar acts. [A case is known, for instance, in which a prisoner hung himself in his cell, and several other persons that were successively shut up in the same cell hung themselves also without any apparent cause. At another place a sentinel killed himself at his post, and several soldiers mounting guard after him did likewise, so that the post had to be deserted. Many similar examples may be cited. Crimes of a certain character often become epidemic in places where a criminal has been executed; murder becomes epidemic like measles or scarlatina. ]
does not know the influences which cause him to think and to act, as long
as he does not know his own nature. He is therefore not a responsible being,
except to the extent of his wisdom and power to control his own nature.
Wisdom and strength can only be attained in life by experience and by the
exercise of the power of overcoming temptation.If
the true nature of the constitution of man were properly understood, capital
punishment would soon be abandoned as perfectly useless, unjust,
and contrary to the
law of nature. That which commits a murder or any other crime is a conscious
and invisible power, [Page
cannot be killed and which does not improve in character by being separated
from its external form. The
body is innocent, it is merely an instrument in the hands of the invisible
culprit, the astral man. The face of even a criminal bears an expression
of peace when the soul
has departed. By severing the bonds between this vicious power and the
physical form, we do not change its tendency to act evil; but while during
the life of the body the action of that power was restricted to only one
form, having been liberated, it now incites numerous other weak-minded
people to perform the same crimes for which the body was executed. Thus
by capital punishment evil is not abolished, but its sphere of
action increased. As far as the theory of influencing other would-be
with fear, my making an example of one, and thus to prevent others from
committing crimes, is concerned; it is well known that criminals do not
look upon any punishment as being something which they have deserved
for their deeds, but as being a consequence of having been so careless
to be caught, and they usually make up their minds, that if they were
permitted to escape, they would be more careful – not to be caught
is a school through which everyone must pass for the purpose of acquiring
experience, strength of character, and self-knowledge. To rob a person
of this opportunity is a great crime if it is done knowingly. The fool
who kills another man has little responsibility, because he has no actual
knowledge of the nature of his deed; but the lawgiver who institutes
legal murder is the true criminal . A
lock of hair, a piece of clothing, the handwriting of a person or any
article he may have touched, handled, or worn, can indicate to an intuitive
that person's state of health, his physical, emotional, intellectual,
and moral attributes and qualifications. The picture of a murderer may be
on the retina of his victim, and reproduced by means of photography;
it is impressed on all the surroundings of the place where the deed occurred,
and can there be detected by the psychometer who, thus coming en rapport with
the criminal, can follow [Page
and hunt him down just as the bloodhound traces the steps of a fugitive
Hardinge Britten: “Ghost
Land”. The case cited in this book, in which a clairvoyant followed the tracks
of a murderer through several towns and caught him at last, is quoted in several
German publications of the last century.]This
tendency of the Astral Light to inhere in material bodies gives amulets
their power and invests keep-sakes and relics with certain occult properties.
A ring, a lock of hair, or a letter from a friend, can not only conjure
up that friend's picture in a person's memory, but bring him en rapport with
the peculiar mental state of which that person was or is a representation.
If you wish to forget a person, or free yourself from his magnetic attraction,
part from everything that reminds you of him, or select only such articles
as call up disagreeable memories and are therefore repulsive. Articles
belonging to a person bring us in sympathy with that person, and this
circumstance is sometimes used for purposes of black magic. Paracelsus in his writings about the Mumia and the transplantation of diseases
gives many illustrations of this theory. The existence of a power, by
which a disease may be transferred upon a healthy person, even in “non-contagious” cases,
by means of some article belonging to the sick person, is generally believed
in by the people in various countries. It must, however, be remembered
that in making such experiments the success depends on the amount of “faith” which
the magician can employ. Without that faith, which is soul knowledge,
nothing can be accomplished in any department of life.As
every form is the representation of a certain mental state, every object
has such attributes as always belong to that state, and therefore every
substance has its sympathies and its antipathies; the loadstone attracts
iron, and iron the oxygen of the air; hygroscopic bodies attract water,
affinities exist between certain bodies, some substances change their
colours under certain coloured rays, while others remain unaffected, etc..
These phenomena are all nothing else but the various manifestations
[Page 209] of the One Life, in which the principle of Love is
active and seeks to unite whatever is harmonious. Every
material object is condensed and solidified force. Looked
at in this light, it does not seem impossible that the ancients should
have attributed certain virtues to certain precious stones, and believed
that the Garnet was conducive to joy, the Chalcedony to courage, the
Topaz promoting chastity, the Amethyst assisting reason, and the Sapphire
intuition. A spiritual force, to be effective, requires a sensitive object
to act upon. In
an age which tends to extreme materialism, spiritual influence ceases
to be perceived, but if a person cannot feel the occult influences of nature,
it does not necessarily follow that they do not exist, and that there
not others able to perceive them because their impressional capacities
Only the fool believes that he knows everything. What is really known is only like a grain of sand on the shore of the ocean in comparison to what is still unknown. Physiologists know that certain plants and chemicals have certain powers, and they explain their effects. They know that Digitalis decreases the quickness of the pulse by paralysing the heart; that Belladonna dilates the pupil by paralysing the muscular fibres of the Iris; that Opium in small doses produces sleep by causing anaemia of the brain, while large doses produce coma by causing congestion, etc.; but why these substances have such effects, or why some chemical compound of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, and Hydrogen is poisonous in one chemical combination, while the same substances, if combined in a different stoechiometrical proportion, may be used as food, neither chemistry nor physiology can tell us at present. If we, however, look upon all forms as symbols of mental states, it will not be more difficult to imagine why strychnine is poisonous, than why hate can kill, or fear paralyse the heart . A simple idea which is once firmly rooted in the mind cannot be changed. If an idea is complicated it is less difficult to modify it in its details, so that gradually an entirely different compound will be the [Page 210] result. In physical chemistry the law is analogous. Compound bodies may be easily changed into other combinations, but single bodies cannot be changed. There are, however, indications that even these so-called single bodies are the results of combinations of still more primitive elements. It has been observed that when lightning has struck gilded ornaments they have become blackened, and it has been found, on analysing the blackened matter, that the presence of sulphur was distinctly indicated. Unless sulphur exists in the lightning it must have existed in the gold, and have been evolved by the action of lightning. We may then fairly assume that gold contains the elements of sulphur, and this is no anomaly in the case of gold, as other metals have also been proved to contain the elements of sulphur, [David Low, F.R.S,E: “Simple Bodies in Chemistry”.] and the dreams of physical Alchemy may have some foundation, after all. But sulphur is supposed to be related to nitrogen, and the elements of nitrogen are believed to be hydrogen and carbon, and if we go still further, we find that even on the physical plane all bodies are only modifications of one primordial element, which is not of a sufficiently material nature to be detected by physical means, and that in this primordial element the germs of all other secondary principles must be contained.The power to receive, preserve, and transform ideas, is the power of Will and Imagination. If an idea enters into the mind, the imagination clothes it into a form, with or without a conscious exercise of the will. We step upon a piece of rope in the dark and immediately imagine that we have stepped upon a snake. This is called passive imagination; while, if we determine to give a certain form to an idea, it is called active imagination; but in both cases the will is active; only in the former instance it is exercised instinctively, and in the latter this is done with intent and deliberation.The will is, therefore, the active power, and it forms the basis of all artistic and magical. operations. [Page 211] Art and magic are closely related together; both give objective form to subjective ideas. The artist exercises this power when he mentally projects the picture formed in his mind upon the canvas and chains it there by the use of his pencil or brush; the sculptor shapes the picture of a form on his mind and embodies it in the marble. He then employs mechanical force to free the ideal from all that is foreign to it, and raises it from the tomb, a materialisation of thought. In the regeneration of man the will is entirely inactive as far as the creation of an ideal is concerned; but it is highly active in keeping away all the influences which will prevent the realisation of the ideal. God does not need the co-operation of man, his will alone is sufficient; he only requires that the will of man shall not prevent him in the performance of his work. The magician forms an image on his mind and makes it perceptible to others by projecting it into their mental spheres. Uniting his own mental sphere with theirs, they are made to participate of his imagination, and they see that as a reality what he chooses to fancy and think.By this law many of the feats performed by Indian fakirs can be explained. They cause tigers and elephants to appear before a multitude, by forming the images of such things in the sphere of their mind. What the spectators see on such occasions is nothing else but the thoughts of the conjuror, rendered objective and visible by the latter.[The fact, that what the spectators on such occasions believe to see does not actually take place, has been proved by means of photography.]In the case of an artist mechanical labour executes the work; in the case of a magician, the will; but the greatest amount of labour will not enable a person who is not an artist to produce a real work of art, and the greatest concentration of thought will not enable a person who has no spiritual power to perform a true magical feat. The “will” to which we refer is a spiritual self-conscious power, unknown to modern psychology. A person may be an excellent anatomist and know nothing whatever about living spiritual [Page 212] principles; he may be a splendid chemist and know nothing whatever about Alchemy; he may have perfect control over the mechanical forces of nature acting on the physical plane and know nothing whatever about the chemistry of the soul.For this reason the mysteries of Alchemy will for ever remain mysteries to a scientist who has no spiritual power at his command. This spiritual power is the spiritual will. Without this power he can only separate the substances of compound bodies and recombine them again as is done in Chemistry, but not employ the principle of life.The processes of nature are alchemical processes; because, without the principle of life acting upon the chemical substances of the earth, no growth would result. If the force of attraction and repulsion were entirely equal, everything would be at a standstill. If growth and decay would go hand in hand, nothing could grow, because a cell would begin to decay as soon as it would begin to form. The chemist may take earth, and water, and air, and separate them into their constituent elements, and recombine them again, and at the end of his work he will be where he began. But the Alchemy of nature takes water, and earth, and air, and infuses into them the fire of life, forming them into trees and producing flowers and fruits. Nature could not give her life-imparting influence to her children if she did not possess it; the chemist, having no life-principle at his command, or not knowing how to employ it, cannot perform the wonders of Alchemy. The reason why we have at present very few alchemists, is because we have very few persons endowed with the life of the spirit. There are three aspects of Alchemy. It deals with the physical substances of things, more especially with their souls, and in its highest aspect with their spiritual centres. In its physical processes it requires physical means, and from the study of these modern chemistry has taken its rise. By the developed powers of his soul the Alchemist may act upon the souls of material substances, and if he can change their qualities, the character of the physical form may be changed. If the spiritual [Page 213] “fire” is awakened within him, he attains the spiritual powers required to act upon the inferior elements. An insufficient degree of heat will not accomplish anything great: he must gradually attain within himself the fire of divine love until he becomes himself the Salamander, able to live in a light in which nothing impure can exist. [ H. P. Blavatsky says: “Everything in this world of effects is made up of three principles and four aspects, each object has an objective exterior, a vital soul, and a divine spark of spiritual fire. By these principles nature acts, and in order to imitate nature, Kriyasakti (the creative will) must be developed in man. This spiritual power is also called the “Word”, of which it is written, that there is no need to seek it in distant places; “ for it is close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart”.] Johannes Tritheim says: “The Spiritus Mundi resembles a breath, appearing at first like a fog and afterwards condensing like water. This ' water' (A'kasa) was in the beginning pervaded by the principle of life, and light was awakened in it by the fiat of the eternal spirit. This spirit of light, called the soul of the world (the Astral Light), is a spiritual substance, which can be made visible and tangible by art; it is a substance, but being invisible, we call it spirit. This 'soul' or corpus is hidden in the centre of everything, and can be extracted by means of the spiritual fire in man, which is identical with the universal spiritual fire, constituting the essence of nature and containing the images and figures of the Universal Mind”.
“This Light resides in the Water and is hidden as a Seed in all things. Everything that originated from the spirit of light is sustained by it, and therefore this spirit is omnipresent; the whole of nature would perish and disappear if it were removed from it; it is the principium of all things. [J. Tritheim: “Miraculosa”, Chap. xiv. ]
There were true Alchemists during the Middle Ages who knew how to extract that Seed from the soul-essence of the world, and there are some who have the power to perform that process today; but those who do not possess that power will not be inclined to admit the possibility of such facts.“ It is an eternal truth, that [Page 214] without our secret magical fire nothing can be accomplished in our art. The ignorant will not believe in it because they do not possess that fire, and without this all their labour is useless. Without that fire spirits cannot be bound, much less can they be acted upon by material fire”. [ “I am the Light and the Truth”; but he who spoke those words and speaks them still, cannot be made the servant of those who are not themselves that Light; nor can any “Christian Scientist” turn himself into a Christ by believing himself to be Christ. Real knowledge is attained by nothing less than experience. No one becomes a Christ unless the Christ becomes revealed in him.]
of the more enlightened modern chemists do not deny the possibility that
a metal may be transformed into another; but the most serious objections
made against the ancient Alchemists is that their object was to make
artificial material gold. Such objections are based upon an entire misconception
alchemistical terms. The sole circumstance that certain planetary constellations
in the microcosm were of the utmost importance for the success of alchemical
processes is sufficient to show that the Alchemists experimented with
the souls of
things, of which their material forms are only the external representatives
on the physical plane. Gold, the purest and most incorruptible metal,
represented Spirit, Magnesia wisdom, and Calcinated Magnesia wisdom attained
Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt represent the trinity of all things, the fiery, watery, and material elements, and have nothing to do with material substances. They are essentially one, but threefold in their manifestation. [ Here we are about to divulge one of the secrets of Alchemy, the truth of which will, however, be self-evident. On a preceding page we have explained that in every atom of the body of man are contained all the principles which go to make up the whole organism of man, with all its organs and functions; and likewise, in every atom of matter is contained a principle, which may grow into a whole universe of matter with its great variety of substances. A principle cannot be changed or transformed into another. Principles are eternal. Only the mode of their manifestation may be changed. and the basis of all material things, manifesting itself outwardly as iron or lead, may. under certain conditions, by changing the divine purpose of its existence be made to manifest itself as silver or gold. The Alchemist does not create any new substance, he merely guides nature, and induces her to grow “ the seeds of minerals”, In the same sense as a gardener assists nature to grow the seeds of plants, and to develop them into flowers. The alchemists, therefore, say: “ We cannot make gold out of anything which is not gold. To make material gold, we must have spiritual gold; we can merely cause the spirItual gold which exists already to grow into a visible and material form. This process is taught by the science of Alchemy, but this science is necessarily incomprehensible to him who has not arrived at that stage of spiritual knowledge, in which he can exercise a “spiritual will”, and a “spiritual will” does not exist in a man whose will is not free of material or personal desires. As the gardener puts the seed into the ground, and supplies it with water and with the necessary temperature, likewise the Alchemist waters“ the seeds of the metals with spiritual influences proceeding from his own divine soul. If a true appreciation of these truths is arrived at, it will at once remove Alchemy from the realm of superstition, and bring it within the limits of an exact spiritual science.
To answer the question whether or not anyone ever succeeded in making gold grow in this manner, we wIll say that there is a German book in existence entitled, “Collection of historical accounts regarding some remarkable occurrences in the life of some still living Adepts”. It was printed In 1780; and among many most interesting anecdotes about successful attempts of “making gold grow, there are copies of the legal documents and decisions of the court at Leipzig in regard to a case where, during the absence of the Count of Erbach in the year 1715, an Adept visited the countess in the castle of Tankerstein, and out of gratitude for an important service which had been rendered to him by the countess, he transformed all the silver she had into gold. When the count returned, who, as it seems, kept his own property separate from that of his wife, he claimed that gold for himself, appealing to a certain statute of the law, according to which, treasures discovered upon or below the surface of a certain piece of land belong to the proprietor of that territory; but the court decided that as the material (the silver) out of which the gold had been made belonged legally to the countess, consequently this gold could not be classified as a hidden treasure, and did not come within the reach of that statute. The count thereupon lost his case, and his wife was permitted to keep the gold.
We have reasons to believe in the genuineness of these documents; and if looked at from the standpoint of Occultism, it does not at all seem improbable that gold can be made in that manner. Moreover, we have some personal experience to support our belief; for there lived about ten years ago a person whose name was Prestel, within a short distance of the town where we are now writing, who was a reputed Rosicrucian and Alchemist. We personally knew this man, and are well acquainted with two of his still living disciples. This man was generally known as an eccentric and mysterious person. He possessed great powers of projecting the images formed in his own mind upon the minds of others, so that they believed to see things which, however, had no objective existence. For instance he was once waylaid by an enemy, and as the latter bounced upon him, he caused him to see a terrible sight of a scaffold and an executioner, so that the person was terrified and ran away; and it was not Prestel who told this story, but the man himself who attacked him: the former kept silent about it.
Now, this man was not a full-fledged Alchemist, and could not make gold and the Elixir of Life, because, as he said, he could not find a woman sufficiently pure and at the same time willing, to assist him in his labours; for, it is known to all Alchemists, it requires the co-operation of the male and the female element to accomplish the highest process. This person could therefore not make pure gold; but he could change the nature of metals so that they would obtain certain chemical qualities, differing from substances of the same kind. He could, so to say ennoble metals, so that, for instance, Iron or Brass would not rust if exposed to air and water; and we are now in possession of a Rosicrucian Cross made of brass, which, although it is over twenty years old, and has been exposed to salt-water air, and to climates where every other inferior metal rusts, is still as bright as it has been when first received, and it never needed any cleaning or polishing.
person also had the power to cause combustible substances to become incombustible,
and he could perform many of the alchemical processes described in the
books of T. Tritheim, abbot of Spandau. He insisted that he could
have made himself to live a thousand years, if he had found a suitable
person to assist him in his alchemical work. ] [Page
The most important alchemical work is the generation of man; it requires not only the chemical combination of physical substances, but involves the chemistry of the soul and an influence of the spirit, and all must harmoniously act together, if a human being and not a human monster and mental homunculus is to be the result. If [Page 216] the rules of Alchemy were better understood and adhered to, scrofula, cancers, syphilis, tuberculosis, and other inherited diseases would disappear, and a strong and healthy generation of men and women would be the result.
The great alembic in which the passions of men are purified and transformed is the mind. The true magic fire, without which nothing useful can be accomplished, is his self-conscious love, in other words, spiritual recognition [Page 217] of self. Man does not create or originate a thought. Ideas are already in existence. He does not invent ideas, the ideas are already present; he can only collect, elaborate, and modify their expressions. We cannot imagine anything that does not exist, we can only make new combinations of that which is already in existence. We may imagine a snake with the head of a man, because snakes and men do exist; but we cannot imagine the form of an inhabitant of the Sun, because we have no conception of the forms that may be existing under conditions of which we have no experience, and which therefore do not exist for us.
If – as some modern physiologists believe – thoughts were a secretion of the brain, as the bile is a secretion of the liver, a thought would be lost as soon as it was expressed, and we would have to wait for the brain to recuperate its power, and to form and secrete another one like it again before we could have twice the same thought. We would have to be careful not to express our thought or impart our knowledge to others, as by doing so it would be lost to ourselves. Verily, if we seek for absurdities, we need not look for them in ancient books on Alchemy, but find them sufficiently represented in the works of modern scientific authorities.
Thoughts and ideas are entities, and exist independently of the perception of man; they do not need man for their existence, but man needs them to enable him to think. Thoughts and ideas, set in motion by the Will, move through space; a thought set in motion in the Astral Ether resembles the expanding ripples upon the surface of a lake; a thought projected to a certain destination by the power of an Adept may be compared to an electric current passing with lightning-velocity through space. Thoughts directed towards an object are like a mountain stream rushing towards that object, and if the wills of several persons combine to direct it, it grows in extension and force, provided their wills are single-minded and without any secondary designs. [ This law is said to be well known to certain “Jesuits” and employed for the purpose of influencing minds at a distance.] If a mountain stream strikes [Page 218] a rock, whose resistance it cannot conquer and which it cannot pass, the waters will swell into a lake, devastating the shore and surging back towards its source. If a thought-current cannot enter the sphere of mind of the individual towards whom it is directed, it rebounds upon the mind of the individual from whom the impulse came. A person who concentrates the full power of a malicious thought upon another may, if he fails to succeed, be killed by the energy which he has called into action.
An illustration of this law may be seen when a person dies of grief on account of disappointment. The ray of force continually projected by long and intense desire, unable to accomplish its purpose, returns to the heart, producing a sudden revulsion of feeling; it changes love into grief, attraction into repulsion, desire into contempt, it may cause sickness and death.
Light travels through the air with a velocity of over 180,000 miles per second; thoughts pass with a similar velocity through space. A ray of light is seen to flash through the air and is intercepted by some non-conducting material. An idea flashes through space and is intercepted by a receptive mind. A sound is heard by an indefinite number of persons, and an idea may affect the world. As a pebble thrown into water produces concentric waves, which grow wider and wider, but less distinct as distance increases, so a thought affects some person, and spreading from that centre creates a ripple in the family, the town, the country, or all over the world.
A biogenesis of thought-infections and mental epidemics might be written. To such an investigation would belong the histories of all great reformations originating from some central idea; also the history of the crusades, the flagellants, the inquisition, medieval witchcraft, and modern materialism, and the absurdities of fashion.
To give presupposes the ability to receive. The possibility to impress a thought upon another mind presupposes the ability of that mind to receive that impression. A person who is sufficiently sensitive and [Page 219] in a passive condition, will without difficulty be brought under the control of the will of another, and be made to act unconsciously in obedience to that will. A sleeping person may be impressed with such dreams as another may call up in his imagination, by projecting a picture formed in his mind into the mind of the sleeper; a person in a mesmeric trance may have his imagination identified with that of the person who mesmerised him, and be made to comply implicitly with the will of the master.
We see in everyday life that one person subjects another one to his will and causes him to obey his commands without putting him to sleep, and even without expressly stating a wish. A general does not need to hypnotise his soldiers to make them obey his orders.The difference between such an obedient person and one in the hypnotic sleep is merely that the former will not and the latter cannot resist.
An impulse created by the will continues until the energy is exhausted. If the first impulse is followed by a series of others acting in the same direction, the effect will be correspondingly greater, and one person may affect the thoughts of another at a distance of thousands of miles by continually directing his thoughts upon him.
It would be impossible to move inanimate bodies at a distance by the mere power of will, if there were no substantial contact between such objects and the person who attempts to move them. Nevertheless such movements take place, and prove that there must be a contact of some kind, even if it is an invisible one. The A'kasa furnishes that contact, and the developed will power of a person may act through the substance of his soul upon the soul of the object, and set that object in motion. In this way tables may be made to talk and bells be made to ring. This, however, cannot be accomplished by everybody; to accomplish this an astral organism is required, and it can therefore be done only by such persons as have their astral body developed and are capable to use its organs at will. [ H. P. Blavatsky writes in a private letter to the author: ”I proved that all that mediums can do through “spirits”, others could do at will without any spirits; that the ringing of bells, thought-reading, raps, and physical phenomena could be achieved by anyone who had the faculty of acting in his physical body through the organs of the astral body, and I had that faculty ever since I was four years old. I could make furniture move and objects fly apparently, and by my astral arms that supported them, which remained invisible; all this before I even knew of the Masters”. ] [Page 220]
The thoughts and consciousness of a person or of a number of persons may be projected and concentrated upon any object or to any place that exists within the sphere of their minds. It may be made to inhere in material objects by entering their astral elements and producing corresponding vibrations. Plants or precious stones may be brought in this manner into sympathetic relation with persons, so that if the person is sick or dies, the plants wither and the stones lose their brilliancy. No object in nature is entirely inanimate, and the life-principle is the same in all, whether it be a man or a stone; only the state of their activities differ. If we can induce corresponding vibrations in the souls of a lower order of life, their life will be united with us because all individual forms are only centres in which the Universal Mind has crystallised into forms, and all forms are related together and bound together by the universal cement of Love. A bird may drop down dead when its mate is killed, a mother may feel the pain of an accident happening to her child, twin-brothers have been known to have become affected simultaneously with the same disease and to die at the same time, although their bodies were far apart from each other. No being stands entirely isolated in nature, all are united by divine love, and the more they become conscious of the love that unites them the more do they realise that they are one.
Separation and differentiation exists only in regard to the form, the fundamental power is one, and those who have united their minds with that principle know that they are one, and distance forms no impediment to the actions of their minds. Spirit is substance, inseparable, impenetrable, indivisible, and eternal; form is an aggregate, separate, penetrable, divisible and subject to [Page 221] continual change. The “communion of the saints“ is a reality, for they are all one in the spirit. Light is only one. A number of lights in a room are as one light composed of that number. There is only one “Sound “ but many expressions. If an orchestra is played in a room, each instrument produces sound, the sound of each fills the whole room and is heard according to its intensity. One instrument may sound louder than another; one light may shine brighter than the rest; but they do not annihilate or extinguish each other. Sound is one, and Light is one, and Spirit is one, only their manifestations differ in quality and in strength.
Love is one, but it manifests itself in various ways. Love unites all. Love is a state of the Will. Thought is directed by will, but the will to be powerful must be pure. If we desire two things at the same time, the will acts in two different directions: but division causes weakness, only in unity is strength. Will is one. The will is a universal principle and not confined within a form. If we concentrate our will and thought united upon a cloud in the sky, we can cause that cloud to dissolve, and the rapidity with which it dissolves will be proportionate to the strength of our concentration of mind.[There will be very few of our readers who have never noticed, that if they pass a certain person in the street, and then turn around to look after him or her, it very often happens that the latter turns at the same time to look after them. This happens so frequent, to be a mere matter of coincidence, and is caused by the fact that the impulse of will of one person can communicate itself to another person. But if one desires to make a person turn around by the effort of his will, and for the purpose of seeing whether he can do so, he will probably fail; because the desire to gratify his curiosity weakens the force of his will; he desires two things at once, and he fails. ]
As all forms are only external expressions of thought, if we could hold on to a thought and project it, we could create a form. But men do not control thought, they are the victims of it; they do not think what they choose, but what they are forced to think, by the thoughts flying into their minds. To obtain magic power the first requirement is to learn how to control [Page 222] thought; to command our own moods of mind, and to allow only such ideas to enter the mind as we voluntarily choose to admit. Whoever has for the first time attempted to command a thought, and to hold on to it for five minutes, will have experienced the difficulty, and yet without this first requirement no progress in magic will ever be made.
Before one can become a magician he must learn to control his own mind; for mind is the substance with which the magician acts, and the power to control it is the beginning of magic. No one can control the mind of another as long as he cannot control his own. The will acts outwardly from within the centre of the heart, and no one can make it act beyond the periphery of his body as long as he has not become strong enough to guide it within the body. The neophyte must learn first to control his own emotions before he can control the emotions of others, he must know how to master his thoughts before he can make them objective. But the mind cannot control its own self, it cannot rise above its own nature. To control the action of the mind a Master is required; this Master is the spirit of man. But spirit without substance is without power – without an organism through which to act, it is merely a spirit. That which controls the mind is the spiritually awakened inner man – the divine nature in man, which is superior to his terrestrial mind.
To change a form we change the state of mind, of which the form is an expression. Certain states of mind find their expressions in certain attitudes, and these attitudes induce corresponding mental states. A proud man will walk erect, a coward will creep, a continually practised creeping walk will develop a cowardly nature, and a habitually erect posture will make a man proud or conscious of his dignity. An actor who can identify himself fully with the personality whose part he plays, need not study attitudes to appear natural; an angry person who forces himself to smile lessens his anger; a person with a continual scowl on the face will find it difficult to be gay. It is on account of the desire to facilitate the entering into certain mental states that [Page 223] certain attitudes have been prescribed in religious ceremonies and acts of devotion.
If the Mind were its own Master, if the actions of the Universal Mind were not subject to the eternal divine law of cause and effect, but guided by the arbitrary whims and notions of some invisible power constituted of Mind without wisdom, the most extraordinary results were liable to follow and the age of actual miracles would begin. The earth would perhaps stand still for a day or a year and begin to revolve again the next; sometimes it might turn fast and at other times slow, and there is no end to the absurdities which might take place; especially if this imaginary power could be induced to follow the advices of its worshippers.
To the superficial observer the processes of nature seem to be the results of chance. The sun shines and the rain falls upon the land of the pious as well as upon that of the wicked; storms and fires rage, careless whether they destroy the life and property of the learned or that of the ignorant, because they are the necessary results of the law of cause and effect. The interest of individuals cannot control the welfare of the whole. While the welfare of the human body seems to be, to a certain extent, under the control of the will of the individual, the processes of nature, as a whole, appear to be unguided by the reason of the Universal Mind.
The intellect, being unreasonable, is disposed to gauge the absolute reason of the Universal Mind by the relative understanding of comparatively microscopic man. By the same right might the insect crawling in the dust doubt the intelligence of the wanderer, by whose foot it is maimed or killed without consideration and without remorse; such an insect, if capable of reasoning, would discover no intellect in that foot, and yet the man, whose foot is the destroyer, may be highly intellectual.
The cause, why we cannot comprehend the eternal principle of reason in nature, is because it acts according to law, being one with the law; while our intellect, being filled with considerations of self-interests, is not free of desire, and therefore always inclined to act contrary to the law. [Page 224]
Invisible causes produce visible effects, and the same cause, acting under similar conditions, will always produce similar results. Whenever a certain amount of energy has been accumulated, the time will arrive when it will be expended. The accumulated tension between the particles of explosives finds its equilibrium at the approach of a spark; the electric tension established in the upper regions of the air finds its relief in lightning; accumulated emotions will be equilibrised by an outburst of passion; accumulated energies in the soul of the earth produce earthquakes in the body of the earth, in the same manner as an outburst of grief causes the human form to tremble and to shake. Man's reason may prevent an outburst of his emotions; but where is the personal god to control the emotions of the soul of the world ? God does not prevent the growth of warts, or cancers, or tumours; God being the law cannot act in contradiction with himself. His blessings are accompanied by curses. Man's foot crushes the insect, because man's perception and intelligence does not pervade his feet; God does not prevent the growth of a stone in the bladder, because the high cannot manifest itself in the low, wisdom cannot be active in an unconscious form; the means must be adapted to the end. When universal Man will have so far perfected himself as to be a self-conscious sphere of wisdom without any material parts, then will nature itself be a god. The music that can be made with a harp cannot be made with a stick. The absolute intelligence of the Universal Mind can only manifest itself relatively through instruments adapted to intellectual manifestation. Consciousness can manifest itself as relative consciousness only in conscious forms.
Wisdom is not a product of the organisation of man. It is eternal and universal. It finds its expression in the fundamental laws upon which the universe with all its forms is constructed. It is expressed in the shape of a leaf, in the body of an animal, in the organism of man. Its action can be found everywhere in nature, as long as the beings in nature live according to natural law. There are no diseases in nature, which have not been originally created by powers which acted contrary to the laws of [Page 225] nature and became therefore unnatural. Outward appearances seem to contradict this assertion; because we find animals affected with diseases, and epidemic diseases are even of frequent occurrence in the vegetable kingdom. But a deeper investigation into the occult laws of nature will go to show that all the forms of nature, minerals, vegetables, and animals, are merely states or expressions of the Universal Mind of Universal Man. They are the products of the imagination of Nature, and as the imagination of Nature is acted on, influenced and modified by the imagination of man, a morbid imagination of man is followed by a morbid state of Nature, and morbid results follow again on the physical plane. This law explains why periods of great moral depravity, sensuality, superstition, and materialism are always followed by plagues, epidemics, famine, wars, etc., and it would be worth the while to collect statistics to show that such has invariably been the case.
The elementary forces of nature are blind and obey the law that controls them. A motion originated by an impulse continues until the original energy is expended. Stones have no intelligence, because they have no organisation through which intelligence can become manifest, but if an intelligent power sets them into motion, they obey the law of its nature. As the organisms rise in the scale of evolution and development of form, their consciousness becomes more manifest. Consciousness becomes manifest as instinct in the animal creation. It teaches the bird to fly, the fish to swim, the ants to build their houses, the swallows to make their nests. Acting through the nerve centres and the spinal cord it induces the actions of the heart and lungs and other organic and involuntary actions of the body.
As the spinal cord, in the course of evolution, develops into a brain, the principle of consciousness obtains a more perfect instrument for its manifestation. Intellectual power takes the place of instinct, and the Universal Mind begins to think through the individual brain of man, in the same sense as universal nature uses his body for manifesting her powers.
With the highest development of the human brain, [Page 226] the most perfect instrument for the external manifestation of mind is attained. But the essential man is a spirit, and with the development of the most perfect physical form the climax of his spiritual evolution is not reached. The essential man is a spirit and requires a spiritual organisation for the display of his powers. He has within himself the latent power to realise his own divine and universal existence, and to awaken this power hidden within his psychical constitution another light than the light of nature is required. This Light is the light of Divine Wisdom, one and infinite, and beyond the conception of the brain. It is itself the one eternal Life into which man must enter, if he desires to realise his own immortal existence. To realise that divine universal existence, an organised soul as wide as the universe is required. This soul belongs to the divine man, the Divinity in Humanity, whose material body is the world and whose self-consciousness is Divine Wisdom, the self-recognition of Truth, the Redeemer of All.
God said: Let us make Man”. – Bible.
THE most important question that was ever asked, and is still asked with anxiety and often with fear, is the same that was propounded thousands of years ago by the Egyptian Sphinx, who killed him that attempted to solve the riddle and did not succeed:What is Man ? Ages have passed away since the question was first asked, nations have slain each other in cruel religious warfare, making vain efforts to impose upon each other such solution of the great problem as they believed they had found, but from the tombs of the past only re-echoes the same question – What is Man? And yet the answer seems simple. Reason, if divested of religious or scientific prejudices, tells us that man, like every other form in the universe, is a collective centre of energy, a solitary ray of the universally present Divine Light “which is the common source of everything that exists”; he is a true child of the great Spiritual Sun. [Page 228] As the rays of our sun only become visibly active in contact with dust, so the divine ray is absorbed and reflected by matter.
The sun-ray plays with the waves of the ocean: the heat created by the contact of water with light from above extracts from below the refined material, and the vapours rise to the sky, where, like the ghosts of the seas, they wander in clouds of manifold shapes, travelling freely through the air, playing with the winds, until the time arrives when the energies which keep them suspended become exhausted and they once more descend to the earth. In a similar manner a divine ray of the spiritual sun mingles with matter while dwelling on Earth, absorbing and assimilating whatever corresponds to its own nature. As the butterfly flits from flower to flower, tasting the sweets of each, so the human monad passes from life to life, from planet to planet, gathering experience, knowledge, and strength, but when the day of life is over, night follows, and with it follows sleep, bringing dreams of vivid reality. The grossest elements remain to mingle again with earth, the more refined elements – the astral elements – which are still within the attraction of the planet, float about, driven hither and thither by their inherent tendencies, until the energy which holds them together is exhausted, and they dissolve again in the plane to which they belong, but the highest spiritual energies of man, held together by love, freed from the attraction of Earth, ascend to their source like a white-robed spirit, bringing with them the products of experiences beyond the limits of matter. Man's love and aspiration do not belong to Earth. They create energies which are active beyond the confines of the grave and the funeral-pyre; their activity lasts for ages, until it becomes exhausted, and the purified ray, still endowed with the tendencies impressed upon it by its last visit to the planet, again seeks association with matter, builds again its prison-house of animated clay, and appears an old actor in a new part upon the ever-changing stage of life.
Some of the greatest philosophers have arrived at a recognition of this truth by speculation and logical [Page 229] reasoning, while others, whose minds were illumined by wisdom, have perceived it as a self-evident fact by the power of intuition.
To build the new house the impressions gathered by its previous visits furnish the material. The slothful rich man of the past may become the beggar of the future, and the industrious worker in the present life develop tendencies which will lay the foundation of greatness in the next. Suffering in one life may produce patience and fortitude that will be useful in another; hardships will produce endurance, self-denial will strengthen the will; tastes engendered in one life will be our guides in another; and latent energies will become active whenever circumstances require it during an existence on the material plane either in one life or another according to the eternal law of cause and effect.
A child burns its fingers by touching the flame, and the adult does not remember all the circumstances under which the accident occurred; still the fact that fire will burn and must not be touched will remain impressed upon the mind. In the same manner the experiences gained in one life are not remembered in their details in the next, but the impressions which they produce will remain. [ There is a certain stage in the spiritual evolution of man, when he will remember the events of his previous lives; but to remember them in his present state of imperfection would be merely a hindrance in his progress. It has been said, that by not remembering the errors of our past lives, and their evil consequences, man is liable to commit his previous errors again; but we ought not to do good merely as a matter of speculation and to avoid evil consequences resulting therefrom, but from an inherent sense of duty, regardless of what the resulting consequences may be.] Again and again man passes through the wheel of transformation, changing his lower energies into higher ones, until matter attracts him no longer, and he becomes what he is destined to be, a god.
Man, like the majority of organised beings, is an atom in the immensity of the universe; he cannot be divided and still remain a man; but unlike other and lower organised beings, whose realisation of existence is confined to the physical or astral plane, that which [Page 230] constitutes him a Man and distinguishes him from an animal is an integral and conscious part of the highest spiritual energy of the universe, which is everywhere present, and his spiritual consciousness is, therefore, not limited to a certain locality in the physical world.
Who made Man ? — Man makes himself during every day of his life. He is his own creator. The clay – the material body – that clings to the ray of the manifested Life, is taken from Earth, the energies, called the astral soul, are the products of the astral plane, the highest energies belong to the spirit. Animal man, like the lower orders of nature, is a product of the blind law of necessity, and may even be produced artificially. [ See Paracelsus, Homunculi”. ] The physical attributes of the child and its mental qualifications are the result of inheritance of previously existing conditions. Like the tree that can send its roots into the neighbouring soil and gather the nutriment by which it is surrounded, but cannot roam about in search of food at distant places, so physical man has only a limited choice in the selection of such means of development as he may require; he grows, because he cannot resist the law of necessity and the impulses given by nature. But as reason begins to enlighten him, the work of creation begins. The intelligence within says to the will: “Let us make man”. She urges the will, and the will sullenly leaves its favourite occupation of serving the passions and begins to mould man in accordance with the divine image held up before him by wisdom.
Let us make Man, means: Let us make a divine man out of an animal man; let us surround the divine ray within us with the purest of essences; let us throw off everything which is sensual and grossly material, and which hinders our progress; let us transform the emotions into virtues in which the spiritual ray may clothe itself when it re-ascends to its throne.
Let us make man! It depends entirely on our efforts what kind of a man we shall make. To make an average man or even a superior one in the common acceptation of the term is not a very difficult matter.[Page 231] Follow the rules of health and the laws of diet, provide above all for yourself and never give anything away, unless by doing so you are sure to get more in return. You will then make a respectable animal, a “self-made” man, prominent, independent, and rich - one who lives and dies on the plane of selfishness, an object of envy for many; respected perhaps by many, but not by his conscience.
There is another class of self-made men; those on the intellectual plane. They stand before the world as the world's benefactors, as philosophers, teachers, statesmen, inventors, or artists. They have what is called genius, and instead of being mere imitators, they possess originality. They benefit themselves by benefiting the world. Intellectual researches that benefit no one are unproductive; they resemble physical exercise with dumb-bells, by which muscular strength may be gained, but no labour accomplished. An intellectual pursuit may be followed for merely selfish purposes; but unless there is a love for the object of that study, little progress will be made, and instead of a sage, a bookworm will be the result. True genius is a magician who creates a world for himself and for others, and his power expands as he grows in perfection.
The lower intellectual labour alone cannot be the true object of life; the truth cannot be grasped by the unaided efforts of the brain, and he who attempts to arrive at the truth merely by the intellectual labour of the brain, without consulting the heart, will fail. The heart resembles the Sun as the seat of Wisdom, the brain corresponds to the Moon; it is the seat of the reasoning intellect, and receives its light and life from the Sun. If the Sun stands guard over the Moon, thoughts which are distasteful to the heart will not enter the brain. The heart and the head should work together in harmony, to kill the dragon of ignorance, dwelling upon the threshold of the temple, and to arrive at the truth.
In the allegorical books of the Alchemists the Sun represents Intelligence; he is the “heart” of our solar system; the Moon represents dreams and desires or the “brain”; Earth represents the physical Body. If the [Page 232] male Sun cohabits with the female Moon in the water of Truth, they will produce a son whose name is Wisdom. The intellect is the material man whose bride is spiritual understanding, the divine woman; no man or woman is perfect as long as the celestial marriage has not taken place through the power of Divine Love.[Compare “ The Perfect Way, of the Finding of Christ”.]
The materials of which Man is constructed are the principles that flow into him from the store-house of universal nature, the builder is the will, reason the superintendent, and wisdom the supreme architect. The building goes on without noise, and no sound of the hammer is heard, because the materials are already prepared by nature; they only require to be put into their proper places. The highest is the Spirit or “Consciousness”, and Spirit alone is immortal. Such of the lower elements as harmonise with it amalgamate with the spirit, and are rendered conscious and immortal. Spirit can only find its corresponding vibrations in the highest spiritual elements of the soul such as are furnished by the higher principles, and consist of the purest thoughts, aspirations, and memories produced by the fifth, in which resides the intellectual power of man. Pure intelligence is Spirituality, but intellectual activity confined within the lower planes of thought can bring to light no spiritual treasures. Intellectual activity is not a power; but the result of the power of spirit acting within the mind. A very intellectual and learned person may be very unhappy and unharmonious, if his tendencies are towards selfishness, and his mind incapable to be illuminated by the light of truth. Wisdom is the self-recognition of the truth; it resides in the spiritual soul of man, and sends its light down into his fifth principle, shining through the clouds of matter like the sunlight penetrating a fog.
The fifth principle receives its stimulus from the fourth, the irrational nature of man. We cannot build a house without solid material, and we may just as well attempt to run a steam-engine without fuel or water as to make a genius out of a being without any emotions. The stronger the emotions are, the more enduring will [Page 233] be the spiritual temple, if they can be made to fit into the walls and pillars. A person originally without any emotions is without virtues, he is without energy, a shadow, neither cold nor warm, and necessarily useless. The passionate man is nearer to the spirit, if he can guide his passions in the right direction, than the man who has nothing to guide and nothing to conquer.
To produce a perfect building, or a perfect man, the proportions must be harmonious. Wisdom guides the work and love furnishes the cement. An emotion is either a virtue or a vice according to the manner in which it is applied. Misapplied virtues become vices, and well-directed vices are virtues. A man who acts according to the dictates of prudence alone is a coward; one who indiscriminately exercises his generosity is a spendthrift; courage without caution is rashness; veneration without knowledge produces superstition; charity without judgment makes a beggar, and even one-sided justice, un-tempered by mercy, produces a miserly, cruel, and despicable tyrant.
The irrational soul, impelled only by its desires and unguided by wisdom, resembles a drunken man who has lost his physical balance; it totters from side to side, falls from one extreme into another, and cannot guide its steps. Only an equilibrium of forces can produce harmony, beauty, and perfection. The irrational soul, swayed by uncontrollable emotions, forms an unfit habitation for the divine ray, that loves peace and tranquillity.
The control of the emotions is the difficult struggle that is allegorically represented by the twelve labours of Hercules, which the oracle of Zeus commanded him to perform. Every man who desires to progress is his own Hercules and works for the benefit of the king (his Atma), whose orders he receives through the divine oracle of his own conscience. He is constantly engaged in battle, because the lower principles fight for their lives and will not be conquered. They are the products of matter and they cling to their source.
Whence do the emotions come?
The cosmologies of the ancients express under various [Page 234] allegories the same fundamental truth; that “in the beginning” the Great First Cause evolved out of itself, by the power of its own will, certain powers, whose action and reaction brought the elementary forces that constituted the world into existence. These elementary forces are the Devas of the East, the Elohims of the Bible, the Afrites of the Persians, the Titans of the Romans, the Eggregores of the book of Enoch. They are the active agents of the cosmos, beneficial or detrimental according to the conditions under which they act, intelligent or unintelligent according to the nature of the instrument through which they work. They are not necessarily self-conscious rational entities, but may manifest themselves through conscious organisms endowed with reason; they are not persons, but become personified by finding expression in individual forms. Love and hate, envy and benevolence, lust and greed are not persons, but become personified in human or animal forms. An extremely malicious person is the embodiment of malice, and if he sees the demon in an objective form, he beholds the reflection of his own soul in the mirror of his mind. Spirit exists everywhere, but we cannot perceive a spirit unless it first enters the sphere of our soul. The spirit that enters our soul obtains its life from ourselves, and if we do not expel it from our soul it grows strong by vampirising our life. Like a parasite growing on a tree and feeding on its substance, it fastens its feelers around the tree of our life and grows strong while our own life grows weak. A thought, once taking root in the mind, will grow until it becomes expressed in an act, when, obtaining a life of its own by that act, it leaves its place to a successor. Those elementary forces of nature are everywhere, and always ready to enter the soul if its doors are not defended. To call up a wicked spirit we need not go in search of him, we need only allow him to come. To call up a devil means to give way to an evil thought, to vanquish him means to resist successfully a temptation to evil.
The elementary powers of nature are innumerable, and their classification gave rise to the pantheons of the [Page 235] Greeks and to the mythologies of the East. The greatest power is Zeus, the father of the gods, or the source from which all other powers take their origin. Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, springs from his head, her origin is the noblest of all, but Venus, the daughter of the Sun, arising from the ocean of the universal Soul, conquers all by her beauty. She holds together the worlds in space by the power of her attraction, binds souls to souls, chains the like to like, and binds the evil to evil. She is the mother of the minor gods that combat each other, because love of self, love of possession, love of fame, love of power, etc., are all only children of the universal power of love. They fight among themselves like children, because action gives rise to reaction, love is opposed by hate, hope by fear, faith by doubt, etc. To control them the god of Power (Mars) must be united with the goddess of Love – in other words, the passions must be held in obedience by the Will.
Each power exists and is held in its elementary matrix or vehicle, the A'kâsa, the Universal Proteus, the generator of form, which finds its outward expression in Matter, and these powers constitute the eternal circle, or the snake, “whose head shall be crushed by the heel of the woman”, meaning Wisdom, the eternal virgin, whose “daughters” are faith, hope, and charity.
The snake cannot enter the soul, if the soul is defended by wisdom. If an evil thought enters the soul and we do not reject it, we harbour a devil in our heart, whose claims we take into consideration; we give him a promise and induce him to remain, and, like an unwelcome creditor, he will continually urge his claims until they are fulfilled.
The lower triads of principles in the constitution of man receive their nutriment from the inferior kingdoms of nature. If the body is overfed or stimulated by drink, the emotional element will become excessively active and the intellect will become weak. Too stimulating food or drink is injurious for higher development, because life will in such cases withdraw its activity from the higher principles and be made to work in the lower principles of man. Large quantities of otherwise healthy [Page 236] food will be injurious for the same reason. The principle of life which transforms the lower energies into higher ones is the same principle which causes the digestion of food. If it is squandered in the lower organs, the higher organs will starve. Some men are habituated to meat-eating, and they require it; others are used to alcohol, and if they would suddenly discontinue its use they will suffer; but meat and alcohol are, under normal conditions, unnecessary for the human system, and often they act positively injurious.
The principle argument of the lovers of animal food is that it “gives bodily strength, and is necessary for those who have to perform manual labour”. This argument is based upon an erroneous opinion, because animal food does not give as much strength as a vegetable diet; [According to the calculations made by Prov. J. V. Liebig, the same amount of albuminous substances for which, if in the form of animal food, is paid IOO d., can be bought in the shape of peas for 9d. , and in that of wheat for 4d ] it only stimulates the organism, and induces it to use up the strength which it already possesses in a short period of time instead of saving it up for the future. The consequences of an exclusive animal diet, gluttony, extreme sensuality, combativeness, cruelty, and stupidity, indolence, physical and psychical apathy, are the necessary consequences of over-stimulation.
Darwin says that “the hardest-working people he ever met are the persons that work in the mines of Chili, and that they are living on an exclusively vegetable diet”. The country people in Ireland live almost without meat-eating, and yet they are strong and enduring. The common Russian eats very little meat and enjoys good health. The strongest people that can perhaps be found anywhere are the country people in the South of Bavaria, and they eat meat only on exceptional occasions and holy-days. Horses, bulls, elephants, are the strongest animals, and live on vegetable food, while the prominent traits of character of the flesh-eating animals are cowardice, irritability, and cunning. A bear kept at the Anatomical Museum at Giessen [Page 237] showed a quiet, gentle nature as long as he was fed on bread, but a few days feeding on meat made him, not stronger, but vicious and dangerous.
Let those who desire to know the truth in regard to meat-eating seek the answers to their questions, not with the intellect of the head, but through the voice of wisdom speaking in the interior of their heart, and they will not be mistaken.[See Dr A. Kingsford: “The Perfect Way in Diet”. ]
Another question arises in regard to the eating of flesh; it is the question whether or not man has a right to kill animals for his food. To the professed Christians who claim to believe in the Bible there seems to be no cause for any doubt, because the command is plain: “Thou shalt not kill”. And yet this command is disregarded daily by millions of professed “Christians”, who base their illusory right to kill animals upon a misunderstood verse of their Bible. It is said that God permitted man to“ have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over the cattle, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”, [Genesis i. 26. ] if he kills his inferiors, his dominion over them is at an end. Man's prerogative is to appease suffering, not to cause it; not to interrupt the work of evolution, but to assist it. Christianity and murder are incompatible terms.
Meat is stimulating, and stimulating food creates a desire for stimulating drink. The best cure for the desire for alcoholic drink is to avoid the eating of meat. It is doubtful whether there is any passion in the world more devilish and more detrimental to the true interests of humanity and of individual happiness than the love of Alcohol. As meat-eating endows man with illusory strength, that soon fades away, leaving its possessor weaker than he was before; likewise stimulating drinks lull him into an illusory happiness, which soon disappears, and is followed by lasting and real misery, causing suffering to himself and to others. It causes a long list of diseases of the internal organs, and leads to premature death; it is the cause of by far the great [Page 238] majority of all crimes committed in civilised countries. To those who look upon man as a rational being, it seems incomprehensible why civilised nations will suffer an evil in their midst that fills their jails, hospitals, lunatic asylums, and graveyards; and why men will “ put an enemy in their mouths” that destroys their health, their reason, and their life; but those who look deeper see that in our present age the dawn of reason has only begun, and that the spiritual faculties of the majority of men still sleep in the icy embrace of ignorance. Reforms are necessary, but they cannot be inaugurated by merely external means; the only redeemer is knowledge.[See Dr A. Kingsford: “The Alchoholic Controversy”. ]
The body politic resembles the individual body. It is of no use to destroy the means to gratify a desire as long as the desire itself is suffered to exist. The evils that affect mankind are the outcome of their desires for such evils. Means to gratify evil desires will exist as long as they are patronised, and if they are abolished other means will be found. Weeds are not destroyed by cutting their leaves, if the roots are allowed to remain. These roots grow in the dark soil of, ignorance, they can only be destroyed by the light of the truth.
To eat and drink and sleep for the purpose of living, and not to live for the purpose of eating, drinking, and sleeping, is a maxim which is often heard, but which is not frequently carried out. A great deal of nutriment daily taken by men serves no other purpose than to comply with habit, and to gratify an artificially created desire. The more a man is gross and material, the greater is the quantity of food he desires, and the more food he takes the more gross and material will he become. Noble and refined natures require little nutriment, ethereal beings and “spiritual” entities require no material food.
The means should always be adapted to the end in view. If the end is low and vulgar, low and vulgar means will be needed; if it is noble and high, equally high and noble means are required. A prize-fighter, whose main object is to develop muscle, will require [Page 239] a different training from that of one who desires to develop the faculty to perceive spiritual truths. Conditions that may be suitable for the development of one person may be impracticable for another. One man will develop faster through poverty, another through wealth; one man may need as his initial psychic stimulus the gentle and exalting influences of married life, while another one's aspirations rise higher, if independent of earthly ties. Each man who exercises his will for the purpose of his higher development is, to the extent he exercises it, a practical occultist. Everyone grows necessarily in one direction or in another; none remain stationary. Those who desire to outstrip others in growth must act.
One of the Tibetan Adepts says in a letter —
“Man is made up of ideas, and ideas guide his life. The world of subjectivity is the only reality to him even on this physical plane. To the occultist it grows more real as it goes further and further from illusory earthly objectivity, and its ultimate reality is Parabrahm. Hence an aspirant for occult knowledge should begin to concentrate all his desires on the highest ideal, that of absolute self-sacrifice, philanthropy, divine kindness, as of all the highest virtues obtainable on this Earth, and work up to it incessantly. The more strenuous his efforts to rise up to that ideal, the oftener is his will-power exercised, and the stronger it becomes. When it is thus strengthened, it sets up a tendency, in the gross shell of Stula-sharira, to do such acts as are compatible with the highest ideal he has to work up to, and his acts intensify his will-power doubly, owing to the operation of the well-known law of action and reaction. Hence in Occultism great stress is laid on practical results.
“Now the question is: What are these practical results, and how are they to be produced ? It is a well-known fact, derived from observation and experience, that progress is the law of nature. The acceptance of this truth suggests the idea, that humanity is in its lower state of development, and is progressing towards the stages of perfection. It will approach the final goal when it develops new sensibilities and a clear relation with [Page 240] nature. From this it is obvious that a final state of perfection will be arrived at when the energy that animates man co-operates with the One Life operating in the Cosmos in achieving this mighty object; and knowledge is the most powerful means to that end.
“Thus it will be clear that the ultimate object of nature is to make man perfect through the union of the human spirit with the One Life. Having this final goal before our mind, an intellectual brotherhood should be formed by uniting all together, and this is the only stepping-stone towards the final goal. To produce this practical result, union, we must hold up the highest ideal, which forms the real man, and make others see that truth and act up to it. To lead our neighbours and fellow-creatures to this right path, the best means should be pursued with self-sacrificing habits. When our energy as a collective whole is thus expended, in working up to the highest ideal, it becomes potent, and the grandest results are produced on the spiritual plane. As this is the most important work in which every occultist should be engaged, an aspirant for higher knowledge should spare no efforts to bring about this end. With the progressive tide of evolution of the body as a whole, the mental and the spiritual faculties of humanity expand.To help this tide on, a knowledge of philosophical truths should be spread. This is what is expected from an aspirant for occult knowledge, and what he should do”.
The will is developed through action and strengthened by faith. The movements of the body, such as walking, are only successfully performed by a person because he has a full and unwavering faith in his power to perform them. Fear and doubt paralyse the will and produce impotency; but hope and faith produce marvellous results. The lawyer or physician who has no faith in his own ability will make blunders, and if his clients or patients share his doubts, his usefulness will be seriously impaired; whereas even the ignorant fanatic or quack may succeed, if he has faith in himself.
Lord Lytton says: “The victims of the ghostly one are those that would aspire and can only fear”.[Page 241] Fear and Doubt are the hell-born daughters of ignorance that drag man down to perdition; while Faith is the white-robed angel that lends him her wings and endows him with power. “ Samsayatma Vinasyati” (the doubter perishes), said Krishna to Arjuna, his favourite disciple.
Faith is soul-knowledge; therefore, even without intellectual knowledge, it is more useful than intellectual knowledge without faith. Strong faith, even if resting upon an erroneous conception, acts powerfully in producing results; faith produces an exalted state of the imagination, which strengthens the will, banishes pain, cures disease, leads to heroism, and transforms hell into heaven.
The only way to develop will-power is to act according to law. Each act creates a new impulse, which, added to the already existing energy, increases its strength. Good acts increase the power for good; evil acts, the power for evil. A person who acts only from impulse manifests no will of his own. If he obeys his lower impulses he passively develops into a criminal or a maniac; he who acts by the impulse of divine wisdom is a god. The most horrible crimes are often committed without any proportionate provocation, because the perpetrators had not the power to resist the impulses that prompted them to such acts. Such persons are not necessarily wicked; they are weak and irresponsible beings; they are the servants of the impulses that control them, and they can be made the helpless instruments and victims of those who know how to call forth their emotions; they are like the soldiers of two opposing armies, who are not necessarily personal enemies; but are made to hate and kill each other by appeals to their passions. The oftener such persons give way to impulses, the more is their power of resistance diminished, and their own impotency is their ruin. It is of little use to be merely passively good, if abstinence from wrong-doing may be so called. A person who does neither good nor evil accomplishes nothing. A stone, an animal, an imbecile, may be considered good, because they do no active evil; a person may live a hundred years, and at the end of [Page 242] his life he may not have been more useful than a stone. [He who is neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, will be spued out by nature”. – Bible.]
There is nothing in nature which has not a threefold aspect and a threefold activity. The Will-power forms no exception to this rule. In its lowest aspect the Will is that power which induces the voluntary and involuntary functions of the physical organism; its centre of activity is the spinal cord. In its higher aspect it is the power which induces psychic activity; it is diffused through the blood which comes from the heart and returns to it, and its actions are governed, or can be governed, by intellect acting in the brain by means of the impulses, influences, and auras radiating from there. In its highest aspects the Will is a living and self-conscious power having its centre in Wisdom.
The will, to become powerful, must be free of desire. If we desire an object, we do not attract that object, but the object attracts us. Eliphas Levi says: “The Will accomplishes everything which it does not desire”; and the truth of this paradox is seen in every-day life. Those who crave for fame or riches are never contented; the rich miser is poorer than the beggar in the street; happiness is a shadow that flies before him who seeks it in material pleasures. The surest way to become rich is by being contented with what we have; the safest way to obtain power is to sacrifice ourselves for others; and if we desire love, we must distribute the love we possess to others, and then the love of others will descend upon us like the rain descends upon the earth.
The development of the will is a process of growth, and the only true way to develop the Will is by being obedient to the universal Law. If we wish to use nature, we must act according to natural law; if we wish to use spiritual powers, we must act in obedience to the spiritual law. Then will we become masters of Nature and God, and our Will, will become a serviceable instrument for the fulfillment of law; but as long as the Will is governed by personal desire, it is not we [Page 243] who control our will, but it is our desire. As long as we do the will of the lower animal we cannot be gods; only when we perform the will of the Divinity, we will become free of the bondage of the animal elements, and our true Self will be the Master.
Man in his youth longs for the material pleasures of earth, for the gratification of his physical body. As he advances, he throws away the playthings of his childhood and reaches out for something higher. He enters into intellectual pursuits, and after years of labor he may find that he has been wasting his time by running after a shadow. Perhaps love steps in and he thinks himself the most fortunate of mortals, only to find out, sooner or later, that ideals can only be found in the ideal world. He becomes convinced of the emptiness of the shadows he has been pursuing, and, like the winged butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, he stretches out his feelers into the realm of infinite spirit, and is astonished to find a radiant sun where he only expected to find darkness and death. Some arrive at this light sooner; others arrive later, and many are lured away by some illusive light and perish, and like insects that mistake the flame of a candle for the light of the sun, scorch their wings in its fire.
Life is a continual battle between error and truth; between man's spiritual aspirations and the demands of his animal instincts. There are two gigantic obstacles in the way of progress: his misconception of the nature of God and of Man. As long as man believes in an extra-cosmic personal God distributing favours to some and punishing others at pleasure, a God that can be reasoned with, persuaded, and pacified by ignorant man, he will keep himself within the narrow confines of his ignorance, and his mind cannot expand. To think of some place of personal enjoyment or heaven, does not assist man's progression. If such a person desists from doing a wicked act, or denies himself a material pleasure, he does not do so from any innate love of good; but either because he expects a reward from God for his “sacrifice”, or because his fear of God makes him a coward. We must do good, not on account of any [Page 244] personal consideration, but because to do good is our duty. To be good is to be wise; the fool expects rewards; the wise expects nothing. The wise knows that by benefiting the world he benefits himself, and that by injuring others he becomes his own executioner.
What are the powers of Man, by which he may benefit the world ? Man has no powers belonging to himself. Even the substance of which his organisation is made up, does not belong but is only lent to him by Nature, and he must return it. He cannot make any use of it, except through that universal power, which is active within his organisation, which is called the Will, and which itself is a function of an universal principle, the Spirit.
Man as a personal and limited being is merely a manifestation of this universal principle in an individual form, and all the spiritual powers he seems to possess belong to the Spirit. Like all other forms in nature he receives life, light, and energy from the universal fountain of Life, and enjoys their possession for a short span of time; he has no powers whatever which he may properly call his own.
Thus the sunshine and rain, the air and earth, does not belong to a plant. They are universal elements belonging to nature. They come and help to build up the plant, they assist in the growth of the rosebush as well as the thistle; their business is to develop the seed, and when their work is done, the organism in which they were active returns again to its mother, the Earth. There is then nothing which properly belongs to the plant; but the seed continues to exist without the parental organism after having attained maturity, and in it is contained the character of the species to which it belongs.
Life, sensation, and consciousness are not the property of personal man; neither does he produce them. They are functions of the Spirit and belong originally to God. The One Life furnishes the principles which go to build up the organism called Man, the forms of the good as well as those of the wicked. They help to develop the germ of Intelligence in man, and when their work is [Page 245] done they return again to the universal fountain. The germ of Divinity is all there is of the real man, and all that is able to continue to exist as an individual, and it is not a man, but a Spirit, one and identical in its essence with the Universal God, and one of his children. How many persons exist in whom this divine germ reaches maturity during their earthly life ? How many die before it begins to sprout ? How many do not even know that such a germ exists?
To this Universal Principle belong the functions which we call Will and Life and Light; its foundation is Love. To it belong all the fundamental powers which produced the universe and man, and only when man has become one and identical with God or to speak more correctly, when he has come to realise his oneness with God, can he claim to have powers of his own.
But the Will of this Universal Power is identical with universal Law, and man who acts against the Law acts against the Will of God, and as God is man's only real eternal Self, he who acts against that Law destroys himself.
The first and most important object of man's existence is, therefore, that he should learn the law of God and of Nature, so that he may obey it and thereby become one with the law and live in God. A man who knows the Law knows himself, and a man who knows his divine Self knows God.
The only power which man may rightfully claim his own is his Self-knowledge; it belongs to him because he has required it by the employment of the powers lent to him by God. Not the “knowledge” of the illusions of life, for such knowledge is illusive, and will end with those illusions; not mere intellectual learning, for that treasure will be exhausted in time; but the spiritual self-knowledge of the heart, which means the power to grasp the truth which exists in ourselves.
What has been said about the Will is equally applicable to the Imagination. If man lets his own thoughts rest, and rises up to the sphere of the highest ideal, his mind becomes a mirror wherein the thoughts of God will be reflected, and in which he may see the past, the [Page 246] present, and future; but if he begins to speculate within the realm of illusions, he will see the truth distorted and behold his own hallucinations.
The knowledge of God and the knowledge of man are ultimately identical, and he who knows himself knows God. If we understand the nature of the divine attributes within us, we will know the Law. It will then not be difficult to unite our Will with the supreme Will or the cosmos; and we shall be no longer subject to the influences of the astral plane, but be their masters. Then will the Titans be conquered by the gods; the serpent in us will have its head crushed by Divine Wisdom; the devils within our own hells will be conquered, and instead of being ruled by illusions, we shall be ruled by Wisdom.
is sometimes said that it does not make any difference what a man believes
so long as he acts rightly; but a person cannot be certain to act rightly,
unless he knows what is right. The belief of the majority is not always
the correct belief, and the voice of
reason is often drowned in the clamour of a superstition based upon erroneous
theological doctrine. An erroneous belief is detrimental to progress
in proportion as it is universal; such belief rests on illusion, knowledge
is based on truth. The greatest of all religious teachers therefore recommended Right Belief as being the first step on the Noble Eightfold Path.
The eight stages on the noble eightfold Path to find the truth are, according to the doctrine of Gautama Buddha, the following -
1. Right Belief.
2. Right Thought.
3. Right Speech.
4. Right Doctrine.
5. Right Means of Livelihood.
6. Right Endeavour.
7. Right Memory.
8. Right Meditation.
The man who keeps these augas in mind and follows them will be free from sorrow, and may become safe from future rebirths with their consequent miseries.
Perhaps it will be useful to keep in mind the following rules — [Page 247]
I. Do not believe that there is anything higher in the universe than your own divine self, and know that you are exactly what you permit yourself to become. The true religion is the recognition of divine truth; idols are playthings for children.
2. Learn that man is essentially a component and integral part of universal humanity, and that what is done by one individual acts and reacts on all.
3. Realise that man's nature is an embodiment of ideas, and his physical body an instrument which enables him to come into contact with matter; and that this instrument should not be used for unworthy purposes. It should neither be worshipped nor neglected.
4. Let nothing that affects your physical body, its comfort, or the circumstances in which you are placed, disturb the equilibrium of your mind. Crave for nothing on the material plane, live about it without losing control over it. Matter forms the steps upon which we may ascend to the kingdom of heaven.
5. Never expect anything from anybody, but be always ready to assist others to the extent of your ability, and according to the requirements of justice. Never fear anything but to offend the moral law and you will not suffer. Never hope for any reward and you will not be disappointed. Never ask for love, sympathy, or gratitude from anybody, but be always ready to bestow them on others. Such things come only when they are not desired.
6. Learn to distinguish and to discriminate between the true and the false, and act up to your highest ideal. Grieve not if you fall, but rise and proceed on your way.
7. Learn to appreciate everything (yourself included) at its true value in all the various planes. A person who attempts to look down upon one who is his superior is a fool, and a person who looks up to one who is inferior is mentally blind. It is not sufficient to believe in the value of a thing, its value must be realised, otherwise it resembles a treasure hidden in the vaults of a miser. [Page 248]
Louis Claude de Saint Martin (the Unknown Philosopher) says:
“This is what should pass in a man who is restored to his divine proportions through the process of regeneration —
“Not a desire, but in obedience to the law.
“Not an idea, which is not a sacred communication with God.
“Not a word, which is not a sovereign decree.
“Not an act, which is not a development and extension of the vivifying rule of the Word.
“Instead of this, our desires are false, because they come from ourselves.
“Our thoughts are vague and corrupt, because they form adulterous alliances.
“Our words are without efficacy, because we allow them to be blunted every day by the heterogeneous substances to which we continually apply them.
“Our acts are insignificant and barren, because they can but be the results of our words”.
The best of all instructions for becoming spiritual and ultimately divine are to be found in the Bhagavad Gita. They also teach that man needs not to exert his self-will for the purpose of saving himself; for Krishna says: “Devote thy heart to Me, worship Me, sacrifice yourself to Me, bow down before Me, so shalt thou surely come to me”;[ Bhagavad Gita, xviii. 65] and the prayer of the Christians says: “Let thy will be done on earth (in our mortal nature) as it is done in heaven (in our spiritual nature)”.
Such and similar instructions are nothing new; they have been pronounced in various forms by the philosophers of all ages, and have been collected in books, and men have read them without getting any better for it, because they could not realise the necessity for following such advice. These doctrines have been taught by the ancient Rishis and Munis, by Buddha and Christ, Confucius, Zoroaster and Mahomed, Plato, Luther and Shakespeare, and every reformer. They have been preached in sermons, and written in poems and prose, in works of philosophy, literature, fiction, and art. [Page 249] They have been heard by all, understood by some, and practised by a few. To learn them is easy, to realise them is difficult, to adopt them in practical life is divine. The highest spiritual truths cannot be intellectually grasped, the reasoning powers of half-animal man cannot conceive of their importance; terrestrial man can only look up to those ideals which are perceptible to his spiritual vision in moments of aspiration, and only gradually can he grow up into that plane when, becoming less animal and more spiritual, he will be able to realise the fact that this growth is not necessary to please a god whose favour must be obtained, or to insure a happy animal life; but that he himself becomes a god by that growth, and learns to experience his own immortal existence. The highest energies are latent in the lower ones; they are the attributes of the spiritual soul, which in the majority of men is still in a state of infancy, but which in future generations will be more universally developed, when humanity as a whole, having progressed higher, will look back upon our present era as the age of ignorance and misery, while they themselves will enjoy the fruits of the higher evolution of Man. [Page 250]
“Let there be Light”. — Bible
FORM, personality, and sensuality are the death of spirit: the dissolution of form, loss of personality and unconsciousness of sensuous perceptions, render spirit free and restore it to life. The elementary forces of nature, bound to forms, become the prisoners of the forms. Being entombed in matter they lose their liberty of action and move only in obedience to external impulses; the more they cling to form, the more dense, compact, heavy, and dull will they become, and the less will they be self-acting and free. Sunlight and heat are comparatively free; their elements travel from planet to planet, until they are absorbed by earthly forms. Crystallised into matter they sleep in trees and forests and fields of coal, until they are liberated by the slow decomposition of form, or forcibly restored to freedom by the god of fire. The waves of ocean and lake play joyfully with the shore. Full of mirth they throw their spray upon the lazy rocks. The laughing waters of the wandering brook glide restlessly through forest and field, dancing and whirling and playing with the flowers that grow by the side of their road. They rush without fear over precipices, falling in cascades over the mountain sides, uniting, dividing, and uniting again, mingling with rivers and resting at last for a while in the sea. But when winter arrives and King Frost puts his icy hand upon their faces, they crystallise into individual forms, they are then robbed of their freedom, and like [Page 251] the damsels and knights of the enchanted castle, they are doomed to sleep until the warm breath of youthful Spring breaks the spell of the sorcerer, and kisses them back into life.
The fundamental laws of nature are the same in all her departments, and man forms no exception to the general rule. He is a centre around which some of the intelligent as well as some of the unintelligent forces have crystallised into a form. Bound by the laws of the Karma which that centre created, they are doomed to dwell in a form, and to partake of the accidents to which forms are exposed; imprisoned in a personality, they partake of the sufferings which the tendencies of that personality have called into existence. They may be exposed to desires whose thirst increases in proportion as they are furnished with drink, to passions whose fire burns hotter in proportion as their demand for fuel is granted, they are tempted to run after shadows that ever fly, to grasp at hopes that ever beckon and vanish as soon as they are approached, to sorrows that enter the house although the doors may be closed against them, to fears whose forms have no substance, to illusions that disappear only with the life of the form. Like Prometheus bound to a rock, the impersonal spirit is chained to a personality, until the consciousness of his herculean power awakes in him, and bursting his chains he becomes again free.
Not all the elements that go to make up a complete man are enclosed in his material form. The far greater part of them is beyond the limits of his physical body; the latter is merely a centre in which those invisible elements meet. The body of man does not enclose the sphere of his spirit; his soul is far greater than the circumference of his form.[ For this reason persons manifesting great genius have been called “great souls” or “Mahatmas”, from “maha” great and “atma” the soul. ] The elements that exist beyond the limits of his visible organism stand in intimate relation with those that are within, although the elements within the form may not seem to be conscious of the existence of those beyond. Still they act and react upon each other. [Page 252]
The mind of man is far more important than his physical form. Thought can create a form, but no form can produce a thought; and yet the substance of thought is invisible as long as it has not clothed itself in a form. Air exists within and beyond the physical body; it is invisible and yet it is an important element of the body, a man who could not breathe would be very incomplete. The ocean of mind in which man exists is as necessary to his soul-life as the air is to his body, he cannot breathe if deprived of air; he cannot think if deprived of mind. The outer acts upon the inner, the inner upon the outer, the above upon the below, the great upon the little, and the little upon the great. A man who could live independent of his surroundings would be self-existent, he would be a god.
The spirit is not confined by the form, it only over-shadows the form; the form does not contain the spirit, it is only its outward expression; it is the instrument upon which the spirit plays, and which reacts upon its touch, while the spirit responds to its vibrations. An ancient proverb says: “Everything that exists upon the Earth has its ethereal counterpart above the Earth, and there is nothing, however insignificant it may appear in the world, which is not depending on something higher; so that, if the lower part acts, its preceding higher part reacts upon it”. [ Sohar Wajecae ]
The greatest philosophers in ancient times taught that the νομς that alone recognised noumena, always remained outside the physical body of man; that it overshadowed his head, and that only the ignorant believed it existed within themselves. Modern philosophers have arrived at similar conclusions. Fichte writes: “The real spirit which comes to itself in human consciousness is to be regarded as an impersonal pneuma – universal reason – and the good of man's whole development therefore can be no other than to substitute the universal for the individual consciousness”.
The Bhagavad Gita says: “The Supreme Brahma is within and without all beings; motionless and yet [Page 253] moving. Not distributed in beings, yet constantly distributed in them. He is the light of all luminous things and in everything its perfection”, [ Bhagavad Gita, xiii] and the same truth, speaking through the mouth of Jesus of Nazareth, says: “ I am the Light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life”. [St John, viii. 12 ]
The greatest of all teachers, Gautama Buddha, says: “The permanent never mingles with the impermanent, although the two are one. Only when all outward appearances are gone, is that one principle of life left, which exists independently of all external phenomena. It is the fire that burns within the external light when the fuel is expended and the flame is extinguished, for that fire is neither in the flame nor in the fuel, nor yet inside either of the two, but above, beneath, and everywhere”.
This principle, in which rests the self-recognition of eternal truth is the real Ego of every human being, and he who succeeds in attaining self-knowledge of it has found the Christ. It is the true and living Christ of the real Christians, not the dead “Jesus” but the living Saviour, the Divinity, who, being born in our Humanity, remains with his followers unto the end of the world. Everyone who unites his own soul with that Christ – no matter what his creed or confession may be – will become as true and veritable a Christ as ever lived upon the Earth. It is the λογος of the ancients, the Adam Kadom of the Hebrews, the Osiris of the Egyptians, the Iswar of the Hindus, the way, the light, and the truth, the divine Self of every man and the Redeemer for all.[ Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem is born; If he's not born in thee, thy soul is all forlorn”. — Angelus Silesius (born 1624)]
Hermes Trismegistus says of that being called “Man”: “Its father is the Sun (Divine Wisdom), his mother the stars (the Astral light) and his body the generations of men”
The whole of a man is not enclosed within the small [Page 254] circle that circumscribes his terrestrial life. He who has found the “ Father ” within himself knows the true insignificance of his own personal self. The life of the personality is made up of a comparatively small number of years passed among the illusions of the terrestrial plane; the experience of the inner man is made up of the essence of a great many of such lives; he has retained of them only that which is useful and grand, while the worthless materials have been rejected, but the life of the Divine man is eternal, universal, self- existent, and infinite. He who has once realised the presence of his God laughs at the idea of having ever imagined himself to be something more than a bundle of semi-conscious elements from which the inner Self draws nutriment, if it finds anything therein compatible with its own nature. What is all the power and glory of earthly kings compared with the divine Man, the King in the realm of the soul? what is all the science of this earth but nonsense, if compared with the self-knowledge of the regenerated ? Well may he who has welcomed the Lord in his soul be willing to renounce money, power and fame, terrestrial loves and all the illusions of life, if it can be called “renunciation” to refuse to touch things upon which one looks with indifference. How can he, who has never seen the image of the true Saviour, in his heart love him, and how can he who has once beheld his own real ideal Self cease to love and adore it with his whole mind and with all the faculties of the soul? But such things will not be understood by those who cannot yet rise above limitation; let those who know them rejoice and worship in silence.
He who has succeeded in merging the higher elements of his soul with that divine Self will know its power in his own heart. This principle baptises his soul with fire, and he who receives this baptism of fire is ordained a priest and a King. He who is full of its influence is the true “vicegerent of God”, because the supreme power of the universe acts through his instrumentality. The recognition of this principle fills his heart with a peace “which passeth understanding”. it attracts the [Page 255] affections of men to him, and sheds blessings upon everyone who approaches his presence. It forgives the sins of men, by transforming them into other beings who have not sinned and need therefore not to be pardoned; it does not require to hear confession to give advice, because it understands the innermost thoughts of every being, and its admonishing voice is heard in the heart that has learned to understand the language of conscience. The development of the power to perceive its power confirms men's faith, by enabling them to recognise that to be true which they heretofore only believed to be true, and being taught by the truth itself, they can make no mistake. It communicates with man by being absorbed by man, and by absorbing the soul of man into itself; it brings the dying to life, because, being immortal, he who is consciously united with it enjoys its own immortality; the marriages it celebrates can never be dissolved, because in its power all humanity is bound together to one indissoluble whole; to separate from it would be death to the part that separates itself from the whole. The world in which this principle exists is the sphere of eternal life; it is the only true and infallible “church” and its power cannot be taken away. This church is truly universal, nothing can live without its jurisdiction, because nothing can continue to exist without the authority of life. Still it has no particular name, requires no other fee for initiation but self-sacrifice, no ceremonies or rites except the “crucifixion” and death of the irrational man. “Heathens” and “Infidels” may enter it without changing their faith; opinions cease to exist where the truth is revealed.
But this true Christ is not the Christ of popular Christianism. He has long ago been driven away from the modern Christian temples, and an idol has occupied his place. The money-changers and tradesmen have again taken possession of the temple of the soul, sacrificing the life-blood of the poor at the altars of wooden gods, closing their eyes to the truth and worshipping tinsel, squandering the wealth of nations for the glorification of the illusion of self. The true “Son of Man” [Page 256] is still scoffed at by his nominal followers, traduced by his pretended friends, tormented by the lusts of the flesh, crucified by men who do not recognise in him the only source of their life, killed by men in their own hearts, ignorantly and foolishly, because they do not know what they are doing, and that their own life-substance departs at the time when he departs from their life.
Modern hypocrisy adores the religion of selfishness and rejects the gospel of love. Humanity debases her own dignity by crouching at the feet of idols, where she should stand up in her own dignity and purity as the queen of the whole creation. The soul of humanity is still dreaming and has not yet awakened to life. She seeks for a god whom she does not know, and cannot realise the fact that in herself is that god, and that there can be no other god besides him. Men and women clamour for the coming of a god, and yet this god is there and everywhere, and ever ready to manifest his presence as soon as he is admitted into the heart.
This unknown god is attainable to all and may be recognised by everyone. It is a principle ever ready to be born as a power in every heart where the conditions for its birth are prepared. It always begins to come to life in a “manger” between the elemental and animal forces in man. It can only be born in a lowly place, because pride and superstition are its enemies, and in a heart filled with vanity it would soon perish. The news of its birth sends a thrill of pleasure through the physical body, and the morning stars in the soul sing together for joy, heralding the dawn of the day for the resurrection of the celestial spirit. The three magicians from the East, Spirit, Soul, and Matter, representing Love, Wisdom, and Power, appear at the manger and offer their gifts to the new-born babe. If the king of pride and ambition does not succeed in driving it out of the country, it begins to grow, and as it grows its divinity becomes manifest. It argues with the intellectual powers in the temple of the mind and silences their sophistry by its superior knowledge. It penetrates into mysteries, which intellectuality, born of sensual [Page 257] perceptions, cannot. explain. Grey-headed material science, superstition hoary with age, old logic based upon misconceptions of fundamental truths, give way, and are forced to acknowledge the wisdom of the half-grown god.
Living in the wilderness of material desires, it is vainly tempted by the devil of selfishness. It cannot be misled by personal considerations, because being superior to them, it has no personal claims. The “devil” can give to it nothing that it does not already possess, because being the highest it rules over all that is low.
This principle is the first emanation of The Absolute. It becomes the “only-begotten son” of its father, and is as old as the father, because the Absolute could only become a “father” at the time when the “son” was born.[Bible: St John i. 1; Hebrews i. 3] It is the living Word, and every man is that Word, in whom this “son of god” becomes manifest. It is the divine self of every man, his own divine ethereal counterpart without any infirmities, because the latter only belong to the terrestrial form. It is not a personality, but it may become individualised in man and yet remain in its essence impersonal, a living being, ubiquitous, incorruptible, and immortal. This is the great mystery before which the intellect, reasoning from particulars to universals, stands hopelessly still, but which the soul, whose inner spiritual perceptions are alive, beholds with astonishment and wonder. Only that which is infinite and immortal in man can comprehend infinitude and immortality.
As long as the wavering intellect doubts the existence of God, it cannot become conscious of His existence, because only the steady light of unclouded reason can penetrate into the depths where divine wisdom dwells. Mere “belief” is a confession of ignorance; true faith is based upon experience. We cannot be convinced of the existence of something we do not know, and of which we are unconscious, except by becoming conscious of its existence. Consciousness, knowledge, and realisation of the existence of something can only begin at the moment when that something begins to become conscious within [Page 258] ourselves. We may search for the god within us, but we cannot artificially bring him to life. We can prepare the conditions under which he may manifest his consciousness within ourselves, by divesting the mind from all predilections and prejudices; the divine principle awakes within us by the power of its own grace. Such a grace is not a favour conferred by a partial, whimsical, and personal god, it is the effect of a free will which has the power to grant its own prayers. As well may an acorn enclosed in a stone pray to be developed into an oak as a man whose heart is filled with desires for the low ask to become conscious of the high. To put implicit belief in the statement of bonze or priest is weakness, to keep the soul pure, so that it can be taught by wisdom itself, is strength, to arrive at conviction through the knowledge of the soul confers the only true faith.
Tennyson speaks of the beginning of true faith when he says -
the beam has grown, it constitutes spiritual knowledge, which
is identical with the living power of faith.
have but faith, we cannot know,
A beam in darkness, let it grow”.
When the divine being becomes conscious in the personal man, the body begins to feel new sensations, the pulse begins to throb with more vigour, the animal forces stirred up in their “hells” by the arrival of the new light, become more active, pains will be experienced in various parts of his body, and the candidate for immortality will physically experience a process resembling the martyrdom of the crucified Christ. [The pains referred to are the result of the penetrating power of the spirit, infusing a new life into the physical form.] The penetration of the mortal by the new life will necessarily cause suffering until the lower elements are entirely subjected and that which is impure eliminated.
There is no salvation except through suffering; pains accompany man's entrance into the world, pains accompany his regeneration. The low must die so that the high may live. Only he who has tasted the bitterness [Page 259] of evil can fully realise the sweetness of good, only he who has suffered the heat of the day can fully appreciate the cool of the evening breeze. He who has lived in darkness will know the true value of light when he enters its realm.
What is true in regard to individual man is equally true in regard to humanity as a whole, but that which may be accomplished in a few suitable individual organisms in a comparatively short time, will require ages to take place in the body of humanity as a whole.
ii. 3. Infinite
love radiating from the centre of the All, eternally descends into the
hearts of mankind. Divine wisdom has no separate will of its own, but
is doing the will of the Father. Christ takes upon His shoulders the sins
of the world, for he who has entered into
the realisation of divine truth, has stepped out of the realm of ignorance
and illusions and become free, is without sin, He can gain no personal
benefit by His descent into matter; being perfection itself, He needs
no further perfection.[Bhagavad
Gita, iii. 22] As men and
women become conscious of His divine presence, they become aware not
merely of their own individual evils, but of the
sufferings of humanity as a whole; they begin to suffer with and for
each other, they recognise in the divinity in humanity the universal
binds them all together into one harmonious whole. Realising
their high nature as sons of the eternal God, they die to all that is
low, and the more they die to it the more will they become alive in the only
true, real, and immortal life. The motto of the ancient Rosicrucian fraternity
was: In Deo nascimur, in Jesu morimur, reviviscimus in Spiritu
Sancto; that is to say, they recognised that their souls were born
from the universal fountain of all; they died to their lower natures
by entering into the spiritual body of Christ, and gained eternal life
being penetrated, illuminated, nourished and glorified by the light of
divine truth. [Page 260] The
temple where they worshipped was that of the “Holy Ghost”,
the spirit of divine wisdom, pervading the soul of the world. This they
represented by the symbols of Mercury and the earth joined
in one. These
ideas are not new, they have not come into existence with the advent
of modern Christianity; they are eternal truths, as old as the world, and
they have been represented in various fables and allegories among the
of this globe. In the “Old Testament” we find the doctrine
of salvation represented in the story of Noah's ark. Noah represents
the spiritual man, and the ark the plane of divine self-consciousness.
Only those elements of the psychic organism of man which enter this
spiritual realm can be saved, while those who remain in a lower state
are doomed to destruction. Upon
the waters of thought floats the ship containing many compartments; the window of
knowledge is open to enable the inner man to look out upon the watery waste.
The intellectual raven is sent out to discover dry land, but it
can find no place to rest, and returns to the ark; the dove of
spiritual knowledge alone can find solid ground in the realm of the spirit;
carrying the emblem of peace, the doubts recede, and the ark is turned
into a temple resting upon the top of the mountain of self knowledge. Blessed
is he whose ark during his terrestrial life is guided upon this Ar-ar-at of
true Faith; it will enable him patiently and with indifference to bear
the ills of terrestrial life until the soul is released from its bonds,
and returns to its home in the eternal kingdom, having become separated
from all the attractions of earth. How
grand and sublime are the mysteries of true religion! How superior is
knowledge of the soul to speculative science! How infinitely great the living
spirit of Truth! Those
who cling to external forms, cling to illusion. To convert an ignorant
person by substituting one form of illusion for another is useless, and
the money and labour expended for such “conversions” is wasted.
Ignorance exchanged for ignorance remains ignorance still; a change of
opinion cannot establish [Page 261] self-knowledge
and an imaginary knowledge does not make a man wise. If
a man has religion, it matters little by what name he may call it, or
under what form he may attempt to express that which cannot be expressed
Buddhist, who looks upon the image of Buddha as a figurative representation
of a living principle, and who, in memory of a once living person in
whom that principle found its fullest expression, and whose example he
to follow, offers flowers and fruits at his shrine, is as near the truth
as the Christian who sees in the picture
of Jesus of Nazareth the representation of his highest ideal, for it
is not the person, however much he may be venerated, that ought
to be worshipped but Divine Wisdom itself, without whose light Gautama
could not have become a Buddha, nor Jesus a Christ. There
has been a great deal of time and labour spent to prove or disprove that
the founder of Christianity was a person living in Palestine at the beginning
of the Christian era. To know whether or not such a person by the name
of Jesus, or perhaps Jehoshua,
ever existed, and whether he existed at the time indicated by theologians,
may be a matter of great historical interest, but it cannot be of supreme
importance for our salvation; because the personality of even a God incarnate
is only a mask, and the knowledge of another man is not our own. The
of Asia” says:
doctrines of the Jesus of the Gospel grow in sublimity in proportion
as their secret meaning is understood; the tales of the Bible in regard to
His deeds and the miracles which He performed, and which to the superficial
observer appear incredible and absurd, represent eternal truths and psychological
processes which are
not merely things of the past, but which occur even [Page 262] now
within the realm of the soul of man, and in proportion as man comes nearer
to the true living Christ, veil after veil drops from his eyes.
theory of the redemption of man does not date from the time when the
historical Christ is supposed to have been born. The history of Christ finds
in the history of Krishna. The Greeks taught the redemption of the soul
under the allegory of Amor and Psyche. Psyche (the human soul)
enjoys the embraces of her divine lover every night (in each incarnation). She
feels his divine presence and hears the voice of intuition in her heart,
but she is not permitted to see the source from which that voice proceeds.
At a time when the god is sleeping her curiosity awakes and she wishes
to see him objectively. She lights the lamp of the intellect and proceeds
to examine critically the source of her happiness; but at that moment
the god disappears. Despairingly she wanders through the lower regions
intellect and through the sphere of sensual perceptions. She cannot find
her god by the power of reasoning from the material plane. Ready to die
(giving up her self-will), she is saved by the power of love. Losing
her “self” in
love, she becomes united with him, knowing his attributes, which are
now her own. Modern
Christianity has not destroyed the Olympian gods, it only destroyed the
forms in which they were represented. They were allegorical representations
of truths, and truths cannot be killed. The laws of nature are the same
today as they were at the time of Tiberius; Christianism
has only changed the symbols and called old things by new names. Dead
heathen idols have been resurrected in the form of Roman Catholic saints. Modern
writers have represented the same old truths in other forms, in prose
and in verse. Goethe represents it beautifully in his “Faust.” Dr
Faust, the man of great intellect and celebrated for his learning, in spite
all his scientific accomplishments, is unable to find the truth.
other things grow fair against the sun,
Yet fruits that blossom first will first be ripe”.
thyself salvation must be found”.
cross of Golgotha can never save thy soul,
The cross in thine own heart alone can make thee whole”.
Othello, ii. 3.
Infinite love radiating from the centre of the All, eternally descends into the hearts of mankind. Divine wisdom has no separate will of its own, but is doing the will of the Father. Christ takes upon His shoulders the sins of the world, for he who has entered into the realisation of divine truth, has stepped out of the realm of ignorance and illusions and become free, is without sin, He can gain no personal benefit by His descent into matter; being perfection itself, He needs no further perfection.[Bhagavad Gita, iii. 22] As men and women become conscious of His divine presence, they become aware not merely of their own individual evils, but of the sufferings of humanity as a whole; they begin to suffer with and for each other, they recognise in the divinity in humanity the universal link that binds them all together into one harmonious whole.
Realising their high nature as sons of the eternal God, they die to all that is low, and the more they die to it the more will they become alive in the only true, real, and immortal life. The motto of the ancient Rosicrucian fraternity was: In Deo nascimur, in Jesu morimur, reviviscimus in Spiritu Sancto; that is to say, they recognised that their souls were born from the universal fountain of all; they died to their lower natures by entering into the spiritual body of Christ, and gained eternal life by being penetrated, illuminated, nourished and glorified by the light of divine truth. [Page 260]
The temple where they worshipped was that of the “Holy Ghost”, the spirit of divine wisdom, pervading the soul of the world. This they represented by the symbols of Mercury and the earth joined in one.
These ideas are not new, they have not come into existence with the advent of modern Christianity; they are eternal truths, as old as the world, and they have been represented in various fables and allegories among the nations of this globe. In the “Old Testament” we find the doctrine of salvation represented in the story of Noah's ark. Noah represents the spiritual man, and the ark the plane of divine self-consciousness. Only those elements of the psychic organism of man which enter this spiritual realm can be saved, while those who remain in a lower state are doomed to destruction. Upon the waters of thought floats the ship containing many compartments; the window of knowledge is open to enable the inner man to look out upon the watery waste. The intellectual raven is sent out to discover dry land, but it can find no place to rest, and returns to the ark; the dove of spiritual knowledge alone can find solid ground in the realm of the spirit; it returns carrying the emblem of peace, the doubts recede, and the ark is turned into a temple resting upon the top of the mountain of self knowledge.
Blessed is he whose ark during his terrestrial life is guided upon this Ar-ar-at of true Faith; it will enable him patiently and with indifference to bear the ills of terrestrial life until the soul is released from its bonds, and returns to its home in the eternal kingdom, having become separated from all the attractions of earth.
How grand and sublime are the mysteries of true religion! How superior is knowledge of the soul to speculative science! How infinitely great the living spirit of Truth!
Those who cling to external forms, cling to illusion. To convert an ignorant person by substituting one form of illusion for another is useless, and the money and labour expended for such “conversions” is wasted. Ignorance exchanged for ignorance remains ignorance still; a change of opinion cannot establish [Page 261] self-knowledge and an imaginary knowledge does not make a man wise.
If a man has religion, it matters little by what name he may call it, or under what form he may attempt to express that which cannot be expressed in a form. The Buddhist, who looks upon the image of Buddha as a figurative representation of a living principle, and who, in memory of a once living person in whom that principle found its fullest expression, and whose example he wishes to follow, offers flowers and fruits at his shrine, is as near the truth as the Christian who sees in the picture of Jesus of Nazareth the representation of his highest ideal, for it is not the person, however much he may be venerated, that ought to be worshipped but Divine Wisdom itself, without whose light Gautama could not have become a Buddha, nor Jesus a Christ.
There has been a great deal of time and labour spent to prove or disprove that the founder of Christianity was a person living in Palestine at the beginning of the Christian era. To know whether or not such a person by the name of Jesus, or perhaps Jehoshua, ever existed, and whether he existed at the time indicated by theologians, may be a matter of great historical interest, but it cannot be of supreme importance for our salvation; because the personality of even a God incarnate is only a mask, and the knowledge of another man is not our own.
of Asia” says:
doctrines of the Jesus of the Gospel grow in sublimity in proportion
as their secret meaning is understood; the tales of the Bible in regard to
His deeds and the miracles which He performed, and which to the superficial
observer appear incredible and absurd, represent eternal truths and psychological
processes which are
not merely things of the past, but which occur even [Page 262] now
within the realm of the soul of man, and in proportion as man comes nearer
to the true living Christ, veil after veil drops from his eyes.
The theory of the redemption of man does not date from the time when the historical Christ is supposed to have been born. The history of Christ finds its prototype in the history of Krishna. The Greeks taught the redemption of the soul under the allegory of Amor and Psyche. Psyche (the human soul) enjoys the embraces of her divine lover every night (in each incarnation). She feels his divine presence and hears the voice of intuition in her heart, but she is not permitted to see the source from which that voice proceeds. At a time when the god is sleeping her curiosity awakes and she wishes to see him objectively. She lights the lamp of the intellect and proceeds to examine critically the source of her happiness; but at that moment the god disappears. Despairingly she wanders through the lower regions of her intellect and through the sphere of sensual perceptions. She cannot find her god by the power of reasoning from the material plane. Ready to die (giving up her self-will), she is saved by the power of love. Losing her “self” in love, she becomes united with him, knowing his attributes, which are now her own.
Modern Christianity has not destroyed the Olympian gods, it only destroyed the forms in which they were represented. They were allegorical representations of truths, and truths cannot be killed. The laws of nature are the same today as they were at the time of Tiberius; Christianism has only changed the symbols and called old things by new names. Dead heathen idols have been resurrected in the form of Roman Catholic saints.
Modern writers have represented the same old truths in other forms, in prose and in verse. Goethe represents it beautifully in his “Faust.” Dr Faust, the man of great intellect and celebrated for his learning, in spite of all his scientific accomplishments, is unable to find the truth.
The unknown is the useful thing to know;
That which we know is useless for our purpose”. [Page 263]
Despairing at the impotency and insufficiency of speculative research, he enters into a pact with the principle of evil. By its assistance he attains wealth, love, and power, he enjoys all that the senses are capable to enjoy, still feeling intuitively that selfish enjoyment cannot confer true happiness. Neither the splendour of the imperial court, nor the beauty of Helen of Troy, who returns from the land of shadows at his request, nor the orgies of the Blocksberg, where all human passions are let loose without restraint, can satisfy his craving. Lord of the Earth, he sees only a single hut which is not yet his own, and he takes even that, regardless of the fate of its inhabitants. Still he is not satisfied until, after having recovered a part of land from the ocean by his labours, he contemplates the happiness which others may enjoy by reaping the benefit of his work. This is the first unselfish thought that takes root in his mind. It fills him with extreme happiness, and in the contemplation of the happiness of others his sense of self dies and his impersonal soul is saved.The soul knows that it is, but it cannot intellectually and critically examine itself unless it steps out of itself, and, stepping out of itself, it ceases to be one. The eye cannot see itself without the aid of a mirror; good becomes only known to us after we have experienced evil, to become wise we must first become foolish and gain experience by eating of the forbidden fruit. A spiritual power not having been embodied in a form, would not know the nature of freedom. To learn the conditions of existence man becomes embodied in form and acquires knowledge; having gained that knowledge, form is no longer required.The selfish desire for existence imprisons the inner man into a mortal form; he who during his life on Earth conquers all selfish desire for existence becomes free. The divine Buddha, resting under the Boddhi-tree of wisdom, and having his mind fixed on the chain of causation, said: “Ignorance is the source of all evil. From ignorance spring the Sankharas (tendencies) of threefold nature-productions of body, of speech, and thought (during the previous life); from the Sankharas [Page 264] originates (relative) consciousness, from consciousness spring name and form, from this the six regions (the six senses); from this springs desire, from desire attachment, from attachment existence, birth, old age, death, grief, lamentation, suffering, dejection, and despair. By the destruction of ignorance the Sankharas are destroyed, and their consciousness, name, and form, the six regions, contact, sensation, desire, attachment, existence, and its consequent evils. From ignorance spring all evils, from self-knowledge comes cessation of this mass of misery. The truly enlightened one stands, dispelling the hosts of illusions like the sun that illuminates the sky”.The power which destroys selfishness and the sense of personality is the same which caused the existence of man; it is the power of universal love, and the more the love of a person expands over all others the more will the consciousness of personality be diffused. We esteem a person according to the degree in which he prefers common interests to the interests of his own personality. We admire generosity, and unselfishness, and benevolence, and yet such qualities are absurd and useless, if we believe that the highest object of man's existence is his own personal happiness on the physical plane; because the highest happiness in that plane consists in the greatest amount of possessions pertaining to that plane. To give is to experience a personal loss. But if man strives for spiritual power, to sacrifice personal possessions will be his gain, because the less he is attracted by personal possessions the more will his soul become free. To give with the view of expecting some benefit in return is useless for such a purpose, because a person having such an object in view simply gives up one personal possession for another. He is a tradesman that clings to his goods, and is only willing to part with something good provided he can get something better in exchange . According to the unselfishness and the spiritual power of a person his individual influence may extend over a family, a village, a town, a country, or over the whole Earth. Everyone desires influence, and seeks to obtain [Page 265] power by obtaining wealth and position. But the influence gained by such possessions is not spiritual power. A fool may be a pope, a king, or a millionary, and people bow in obedience before him on account of his position and wealth. They may despise his person and adore his possessions, which he himself adores, and to which his person is as subject as the lowest one of his slaves. Such a person is not a commander; it is his wealth that commands him and the others. His wealth and not he is, in such a case, the object of the world's admiration. When his wealth is squandered, those who used to crouch at his feet spurn him away from their table. The spiritual power of a person is independent of such external conditions, a virtuous person is esteemed in proportion as his qualities become known, and the spiritually strong exerts a powerful invisible influence over all his surroundings.Man may be compared with a planet revolving around its own centre and circling around an invisible sun. Above the orbit in which he turns is light, and below is the darkness. The light above and the darkness below attract him; farther he travels from the invisible sun, from which the light proceeds, the more will he approach the shadow, and having reached a certain point at which either one or the other attraction ceases, he will either rise up to the source of light or sink into the darkness. A change from darkness to light, from evil to good, is only possible as long as man, in his revolutions around the centre of his own self, has not transcended the orbit where the attractions of light and shadows are equal. Having transcended that orbit, no return is possible. Only he who has attained the knowledge of self will be able to choose free, because he will know the nature of that which he chooses; the blind have no freedom of choice. The unpardonable sin is to knowingly and wilfully reject spiritual truth when it becomes manifest in the heart. In a certain sense all sins are “unpardonable”, because they all cause effects, which have to become exhausted before they can cease; but if a person knowingly and wilfully rejects the truth revealed to him by his own inner self-consciousness, it proves that he [Page 266] loves evil better than good, and that his nature is evil. He who is ignorant is not responsible for his acts. But he who knows the truth by its interior self-revelation in his own consciousness and rejects it, condemns himself. Truth alone will survive in the end while evil will perish in evil. It is therefore dangerous for men to seek for occult spiritual knowledge for the gratification of scientific curiosity, before they have become sufficiently wise to select only that which is true. [Page 267]
“He to whom time is like eternity, and eternity like time, is free”. — Jackob Boehme.
To picture the eternal and intellectually incomprehensible in forms, and to describe the unimaginable in words, is a task whose difficulty has been experienced by all who ever attempted it. The formless cannot be described in forms, it can only be represented by allegories which can only be understood by those whose minds are open to the spiritual illumination of truth. The misunderstanding of allegorical expressions in the sacred books has led to religious wars, to the torturing, burning, and killing of thousands of innocent victims, it has caused the living wives of dead Hindus to be burned with the corpses of their husbands, it has caused ignorant men and women to throw themselves before the wheels of the car of the Juggernath, it causes the endless quarrels between some 200 Christian sects, and while the truth unites all humanity into one harmonious whole, the misunderstanding of it produces innumerable discords and diseases.Far, in the unfathomable abyss of space, far beyond the reach of the imagination of man, unapproachable even by the highest and purest angel or thought, and nevertheless omnipresent in his own essence and power, self-existent, eternal, resplendent in his own glory is the Shining One, whose Centre is rest, peace and happiness, whose heart is invisible Fire, whose rays are [Page 268] Light and Life, pervading the Universe to its utmost limits, penetrating every form and causing it to live and to grow. Their harmonious vibrations are undulating through space, nourishing all animate and inanimate beings with the substance of Love. Meeting with the sleeping forms of thought in space, the products of a previous day of creation, the divine rays of wisdom endow them with life, causing them to become living systems of worlds, chained together by the power of mutual recognition, manifesting itself as attraction and guiding them on in their restless revolutions. Penetrating into the hearts of animals and men, they create sensation and relative consciousness, cause the form to feel, to perceive and to know its surroundings, call into life the emotions, instincts, and the power of reasoning. Penetrating deep into the hearts of men, they kindle there the divine fire in whose light man may see the image of the Shining One, and know it to be his own immortal ideal, to be realised within himself.But it is beyond the power of man to describe in language that which cannot be described, to combine words, so that the reader may form an intellectual conception of something, for which no intellectual conception exists, because it is beyond the experience of the limited mind. In the presence of the highest, the unthinkable ideal, intellectual labour ceases, and spiritual recognition begins. “The secret things belong to the Lord”; only divine wisdom itself can know that which is divine; it being the self-knowledge of God in man; the self-realisation of truth. Intellectual labour is a function which man shares with certain animals; but the prerogative of spiritual man is to realise within his own self-consciousness the presence of Truth, to become himself one with the God of the universe and join His self-knowledge, and this self-realisation of truth is called Divine Wisdom or Theosophia.
In this eternal universal source of all that exists is all magic power contained, even to the extent of creating new worlds. The realisation of its existence is the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of life or Universal Panacea, which can be had everywhere and at any time [Page 269]without expense by everyone. It is attainable only by man, because the lower animals are not yet far enough advanced to be used as vehicles for the manifestation of divine wisdom; but he whom it has awakened to life shares its attributes and is a living temple of God. The man whom this principle has not awakened from its sleep is merely an intellectual animal, and can possess no spiritual or magical powers. Some modern “philosophers”, who say that man has no magical powers, are right from their own point of view; for the “man” known to modern science has no spiritual life and therefore no spiritual power; the real man only begins to exist when he awakens to the realisation of his divine nature. True philosophers have recognised this fact. Schopenhauer says: “ In consequence of the action of ‘grace', the entire being of man becomes remodelled, so that he desires no longer anything of that for which he was craving heretofore, and becomes so to say a new man”. [God is as much in a stick of wood as in a human being; but the difference is that a stick of wood knows nothing of God; while man may attain the realisation of his presence in him”. – Eckhart. ]
Everything in nature has a threefold nature, and likewise the allegories of the sacred books of the East as well as those of the West have a threefold meaning – an exoteric, an esoteric, and a spiritual signification. The vulgar, the learned as well as the unlearned, can see only the external side, which is often so absurd, that its very absurdity should serve as a warning to people endowed with reason not to accept such fables in their literal meaning. Those who are willing to learn can be instructed, but they that believe that they already know, refuse to be taught. For this reason the man-appointed guardians of the truth, the learned teachers of science and religion are often the last ones to recognise that which is true.How can we enter the path ? – Only in practical experience is life. Petrified speculative science, mouldy speculative philosophy, and dried-up speculative theology stand in our way. Humanity awakes from its slumber [Page 270] and asks for bread, but receives only a stone. It turns to science, but science is silent, wraps itself up in its vanity and turns away; it turns to philosophy, and old philosophy answers, but its talk is an incomprehensible jargon, and confuses matters still more. It turns to theology, but theology threatens the obnoxious questioner with curses, and bids him to be satisfied with a blind faith. But the people, as a whole, are no longer satisfied with such answers; they are no longer contented with the assertion that the truth is to be known to a few privileged classes, and that they themselves must remain ignorant. Wisdom is not to be monopolised by any sectarian body or any Society.If we wish to enter the path to infinite life, the first requirement is
is the perception and understanding of truth. We
can only know that which we perceive. There are two principal modes
of perception, namely, seeing and feeling. Each of these modes, if unaccompanied
by the other, is unreliable; only if we simultaneously see and feel
thing do we experience that it exists. Thousands
of years have passed away since mankind first saw the sun and the stars,
and modern telescopes have brought them nearer to us. Nevertheless
our knowledge of these cosmic bodies and the conditions of life existing
upon them, consists merely of speculations and opinions, which may be overthrown
at any time, when
our means for observation are supplanted by better ones. We give names
to the substances discovered by the spectroscope, but we will not know
the true nature of the stars as long as we are not able to partake
their consciousness and experience the qualities of life and characters
in their forms.For
thousands of years mankind has intuitively felt the presence of the
Unknown. Those who experienced the presence of the universal Spirit, know
it exists. Generations after generations have disappeared from earth after
spending their lives in vain efforts to know [Page 271]objectively
that God whose power they felt in their hearts; but whom they could not
see with their eyes.If
we are able to see and to feel the external qualities of a thing, we
may understand what these qualities are, but we will still be ignorant of
interior character. To
know its spirit it will be necessary to enter into its spirit, and this
can only be done by the spirit of man, not by his external senses. The
spiritual principle in man, if once awakened to self-consciousness, has
attributes and functions far superior to those of the external man; it
has the power to perceive, to see and to feel the internal qualities
of things which are imperceptible to the external senses; it can identify
itself with the object of its observation and partake of its consciousness,
it becomes for the time being united with that object and shares its
it partakes of its subjective sensations.Thus
does a lover partake of the joys and sorrows of the object he loves, and
feel as if he were one with it in spirit; for love is the power by which
such a divine state is attained, it penetrates all things, and coming from
the heart it goes to the heart.What
is it that prevents us to love and to know all things but our own dislikes
and misconceptions? We
do not see things as they are but as we imagine them to be. He who desires
to know all things should not look upon them with his own eyes, but with
the eyes of the truth; he should not think the thoughts suggested by
external appearances, but he should let
Divine Wisdom do his thinking within his mind.To
obtain true knowledge we must be able to receive the light of the truth;
we must free our minds from the learned rubbish that has accumulated
there through the perverted methods of education of modern civilization.
more false doctrines we have learned the more difficult will be the
labour to make room for the truth, and it may take years to unlearn that
which we have , learned at the expense of a great deal of labour, money,
and time. The Bible says that “we must become like little children before
we can enter the kingdom of [Page 272] truth”. The
principal thing to know is to know
our own true Self ; if we know
ourselves, we will know that we are to be the kings of the universe.
The essential Man is
a Son of
God, he is something incomparably
greater, far more sublime and far more powerful than the insignificant,
changeable and impermanent and unconscious being described as “man” in
our scientific works on anthropology.Well
may Man who
knows his true nature be proud of his nobility and power; well may
the man of earth be ashamed of his weakness. The real Man
is a divine being, whose power extends as far as his thoughts can reach;
the illusive man is a compound of semi-animal forces, subject to their
caprices and whims, with a spark of
divine fire in him to enable him to control them, but which spark is
only too frequently left to smoulder and vanish. The former is immortal,
latter exists a few years
among the illusions of life: The real man realises his own immortality;
the deluded illusion, having the appearance of a human being, deludes
itself with the hope
of obtaining permission, by the favour of some personal god, to carry
its falsehoods into a sphere in which only the truth exists. [ Revelations
There are three kinds of knowledge, the useful, the useless, and the harmful. The useless knowledge is the knowledge of, or rather the adherence to, illusions and falsehoods; it is no real knowledge, although it embraces a great deal of what is considered of great importance in civilized countries that men should know. It is true that modern science has on many occasions drawn away apart of the veil which hides the wonders of Wisdom in Nature; but as our science has not reached the foundation of truth; it is mixed up with illusions. Our scientific systems are continually subject to change, and what is considered to be final truth by one generation, is often rejected as false by the next. Our “scientific attainments” confer no real knowledge of fundamental law of nature, because they are based upon ignorance, in regard to the fountain of All, and, however logical the deductions made from false [Page 273] premises may be, falsehoods can produce only falsehood.What can be more erroneous than the assertion of rationalistic speculators, that the intellect is a product of the material organization of the physical body; that life is a product of the mechanical action of a dead force; that effects can be produced without any adequate causes; that something can come out of something having elements therein capable to produce it; that man's mind exists within the narrow limits of his skull; that man can know nothing except what he perceives with his external senses; that consciousness is the result of the chemical action of unconscious substances; that man can will, think, imagine, love, and hate without having a soul; that wisdom, knowledge, spiritual perception, prophecy, etc., were results of pathological conditions of the body and other endless absurdities and scientific hallucinations.As long as the true nature of man is not known, his lower interests are mistaken for his higher ones. Scientific attainments are often only used for the purpose of obtaining the power to speculate on the ignorance of those that have no such intellectual acquirements, and by taking advantage of their beliefs to obtain money and material comfort. Such scientific attainments may be good for such purposes, but they retard the progress of man in a spiritual direction, because they make men more selfish, and cause them to worship matter; they are therefore useless for the only true and permanent interest of man.
If science wishes to find the foundation of truth, it must begin to realise the unity of the universe and know that the world of appearances manifested in nature is a revelation of truth originating in divine wisdom. This realisation cannot be attained by arguments and inferences, it is only realised by the power of universal love, which is the recognition of truth.
“To bring thee to thy God, love takes the shortest route;
The way which science leads is but a round about”. [Angelu Silesius]
an attainment of knowledge without wisdom may become detrimental. The
invention of the fulminates of mercury, of gunpowder and nitro-glycerine,
has caused much suffering to a large part of humanity.Not
that the substances applied, or the forces which are liberated, are
intrinsically evil, but their misapplication in the hands of those without
wisdom leads to evil results. If all men were intelligent enough to understand
the laws which govern the world, and wise enough to employ their knowledge
for good purposes only, no evil results would follow.One
of the most harmful acquisitions is the so-called “religious
that is to say the holding on to theological doctrines which are wrong
or misunderstood, because it is unaccompanied by any unfoldment of
true spirituality. Such a “ religion” results in bigotry,
hypocrisy and intolerance; it is based upon fear and not upon faith.
A religion without universal
love is an absurdity; because that Love is the link which relates man
to God. A faith without love is only a superstition. Nevertheless it
foolish “faith” which clamours the most for its rights.
without love will make the greatest roar and din;
The cask sounds loudest when there is nought within”. [Angelus Silesius]
If we proceed a step further and imagine intellectual but wicked and selfish people possessed not only of the power to employ explosives, and poisonous drugs, to injure others, but able to send their own degrading poisonous thoughts to a distance, to leave at will the [Page 275] prison house of the physical body to kill or injure others, the most disastrous results would follow. Such forbidden knowledge has been and is sometimes possessed by people with criminal tendencies, a fact which is universally known in the East, and upon the possibility and actuality of such facts have been established on many occasions, and among others by many of the witch trials of the Middle Ages. Modern scientists may now laugh at these facts, but the doctors of law, of medicine, and of theology of their times, were as sure of their knowledge as modern representatives of science are of their own opinions today, and the former had as many intellectual capacities as the latter. The only difference is that the former knew these facts, but gave a wrong explanation; the latter find it easier to ignore than to explain.
Man is continually surrounded by unseen influences, and the astral plane is swarming with entities and forces, which are acting upon him for good or for evil, according to his good or evil inclinations. At the present state of evolution man has a physical body, which is admirably adapted to modify the influence from the astral plane, and to shelter him against the “ monsters of the deep”.
the physical body is in good health, it acts as an armour, and, moreover,
man has the power, by a judicious exercise of his will, to so concentrate
the odic aura by which he is surrounded, as to render his armour impenetrable
to the influences of the astral world and its inhabitants; but if by
bad health, by a careless expenditure of vitality, or by the practice of
he disperses his protective power, his physical armour will become
weakened and unable to guard him; he becomes the victim of elementaries
forces, his mental faculties lose their balance, and sooner or later
he will, like the symbolical Adam
and Eve, know that he is naked,
and exposed to influences which he cannot repel. Such is the result
for which those ignorantly crave who wish to obtain knowledge without
morality. To supply the ignorant or weak with powers of destruction
would be like providing children
with gunpowder and matches for play. [Page
Only an intelligent and well-balanced mind can discriminate properly and dive into the hidden mysteries of Nature. “Only the pure in heart can see God”. He who has reached that stage need not search the world for a person to instruct him; the higher intelligences will be attracted to him, and become his instructor, in the same manner as he himself is attracted by the beauty of an animal or of a flower.
A harp does not invent sound but obeys the hand of a master, and the more perfect the instrument, the sweeter will be the music. A diamond does not originate light, but reflects it, and the purer the diamond the purer will be its lustre. Man does not invent or create thought, will, and intelligence. He is a mirror in which the thoughts of the world are reflected, an instrument through which the will of nature expresses itself; a pearl filled with a drop of water from the universal ocean of intelligence.
The only true knowledge is the knowledge of one's own true self, which knows neither “good” nor “evil”, but is the realisation of truth. He who ate from the tree of the knowledge of illusion has died; because by experiencing the illusion of self, he has died to his spiritual nature and become an illusion himself.[Gen. ii. 17] If you eat of the tree of divine knowledge, which is the tree of life, your illusion will die and you will live. Your personality will be swallowed up by a realisation of the fact that “you” are nothing, and that God in you is the only true self and the All. Realising this, you will not be “as one of the gods”; but a self-conscious power in God, unlimited and immortal.
How can self-knowledge be attained? The answer is: “By the realisation of truth”. The truth is everywhere, always ready to manifest itself in you and around you, if you only permit it to become manifest. Wisdom requires no other teacher but wisdom itself. Rise up to it in your soul and it will descend upon you and fill your heart. He who ascends to the top of a high mountain need not enquire for somebody to bring him pure air. Pure air surrounds him there on all sides. [Page 277] The realm of wisdom is not limited, and he whose mind is receptive will not suffer from want of divine grace to feed his holy aspiration.
school in which the occultist graduates has many classes, each class
representing a life. The days of vacation may arrive before the lesson
is learned, and what has been learned may be forgotten during the time
of vacation; but still the impression remains, and a thing once learned
is easily learned again. This accounts for the different talents with which
men are endowed, and for their propensities for good or for evil. No effort
is lost, every cause creates a corresponding effect, no favours are granted,
no injustice takes place. Blind to bribes and deaf to appeals is the law
of justice, dealing its treasures out to everyone according to his capacities
to receive, but he who has no selfish desire for reward, and no cowardly
fear of punishment, but who dares to act rightly because he will not do
wrong, identifies himself with the law, and in the equilibrium of the law
will he find his Power
.The second requirement is
we are not willing to receive the truth we will not obtain it.
Men believe that they love the truth, but there are few who loving for its own sake desire it. They desire welcome truths; those that are unwelcome are rejected. Opinions which flatter the vanity and are in harmony with accustomed modes of thought are accepted; strange truths are regarded with astonishment and driven away from the door. Men are often afraid of that which they do not know, and, not knowing the truth, they are afraid to receive it. They ask new truths for their passports, and if they do not bear the stamp of some fashionable authority they are looked upon as illegitimate children, and are not permitted to grow.
How shall we learn to love the truth? By learning to know it. How can we know the truth? By learning to love it. The deluded asks for external proofs, but [Page 278] the wise requires no other certificate for the truth but its own revelation. There can be no difference between speculative and practical knowledge; because knowledge is one, an opinion based upon mere speculation is no knowledge. Knowledge can only be attained by speculation, if the speculation is accompanied by experience. Those who want to know the truth must practise it; those who cannot practise it will not know it; speculation without practice is only a deceitful dream.
Man can have no actual desire for a thing which he has never experienced, and which he therefore not knows. How can we love a thing of which we know not that it exists ? How can we know its existence, except by realising its presence ? How can we realise its presence if we do not enjoy it ? How can we enjoy it if we do not love it ? Neither inductive nor deductive reasoning can give us a realisation of truth. Divine Reason itself alone can cause it to become manifest in ourselves.
To know that a thing is good, is to desire it; for it is a law acting within the constitution of man, no less than among the planets, that we should be attracted to that which we know to be good and be repulsed by that which we know to be evil. A strong desire to be good, causes man to perform good actions; a desire to be evil, causes him to commit evil deeds. Man is the product of his own thoughts and acts; if he thinks and acts good, he becomes good; if he thinks and acts evil, he becomes evil. In an occult sense “willing” is identical with “feeling”; for the substance of the Will, if infused with the consciousness of the Spirit, feels and grasps its object. Willing, knowing, and acting are ultimately identical; because we can only will what we know, and we can only know that of which we have an experience.
The only way to obtain true practical knowledge of spiritual truths is by the practice of the truth — in other words, the a wakening of the inner consciousness to the recognition of truth existing within oneself. Only a mind which has been purified from all selfish desires, and is filled with a strong determination to learn the [Page 279] truth, is thereby “duly and truly prepared” to enter the temple of wisdom. Every time that a person, either for selfish purposes or to gratify the whim of another, or for any other personal consideration, gives his consent to something, of which his reason or conscience tells him that it ought not to be; however insignificant such an act may be; it will nevertheless involve for him a loss of a certain amount of will.
Man is chained to the kingdom of his illusions with a thousand chains. The inhabitants of his earthly soul appear before him in their most seductive forms. If they are driven away they change their masks and appear in some other form. But the chains by which man is bound are forged by his own desire. His vices do not cling to him against his will. He clings to them, and they will desert him as soon as he rises up in the strength and dignity of his manhood and shakes them off. There is a method, by which we may, without any active effort, obtain that which we desire, and this is that we should desire nothing except what the divine spirit wills within our own heart.
The third requirement is
must dare to act and throw off low desires, instead of waiting inactively
until they desert us. We must dare to tear ourselves loose from accustomed
habits, irrational thoughts, and selfish considerations, and from everything
that is an impediment to our recognition of truth. We must dare to
conquer ourselves and the world by becoming like a disinterested spectator,
no part in the performance,[Bhagavad
Gita] – not
on account of any stupid indifference or mournful acquiescence to the
decrees of fate, nor on account of being
a “pessimist” or a misanthrope; but on account of having
outgrown the follies of the lower world and realising the beauties
must learn to overcome our own ignorance, dare to face the ridicule
of the ignorant,
the vilifications of bigots, the haughtiness of the vain, the contempt
of the learned, and the envy of the small; dare to proclaim the truth
if it is useful to do so, and dare to he silent if taunted by the fool. [ Prov.
xxvi. 4.] We must dare to face poverty, suffering,
and isolation, be superior to all ills that may affect us, and act
under all circumstances according
to our highest conception of truth.
All this might be easily accomplished, if the will of man were free; if man were his own master and not bound with the chains of the soul; but man is only free to a certain extent. Man may perform certain acts and leave others undone if he chooses; but his wisdom determines his choice. A man knowing and wise has the power to will that which he does not desire personally, and not to will that to which his desires attract him. To make the will free, action is required, and each action strengthens the will, and each unselfish deed increases its power. There is only one divine Law and one divine Will; the Will of divine Wisdom. He who follows the law executes the will of God; he who opposes it may become individually strong in his self-will; but will finally be crushed by the opposing force, which is immeasurably stronger than he. Dare to obey the Law, and you will become your own Master, and the Lord over all.
There are three ways to develop the power of will.
The first is to act against our own desires by forcing ourselves to perform acts which are disagreeable and painful. This method used to be prevalent in the West during the Middle Ages, and is today practised in the East by Fakirs and the lower class of ascetics. It is a method by which people disposed to witchcraft may obtain sufficient strength of will to control some of the lower Elementals, and acquire power to affect men and animals at a distance by the influence of their will. It consists in the endurance of pain with indifference, and the accounts given by travellers in the East show to what height of absurdity such practices of Hatha yoga have been carried out. But while such practices may strengthen the will, they do not eradicate selfishness; but they rather increase it. Seen in the proper [Page 281] light, people given to such practices do not act against their desires; because their desire is the attainment of personal power. Penances and tortures are therefore worse than useless for the higher development of the soul.
The second way is not to follow our unlawful desires on account of being afraid of the consequences which we might have to experience if we were to be disobedient to the law. This is the kind of morality which is usually to be found in the world; but which is based upon cowardice and not upon recognition of truth. Its foundation is the idea to forego a small pleasure for the purpose of enjoying a greater pleasure of an equally selfish kind.
Philosophical courage is a quality for which men are admired everywhere; its foundation is personal vanity. The Red Indian prides himself at his indifference to physical pain, the Fakir undergoes tortures to strengthen his will-power, the civilised soldier is eager to prove his contempt for danger, and to measure his strength with the strength of the enemy. But there are deeds to perform that require a courage of a superior kind. It requires only momentary outbursts of ambition to perform a daring deed on the physical plane, but a continual and unremitted strain is needed to keep the emotions subjected, and this strain is rendered still more fatiguing by the circumstance that it depends entirely on our own will whether or not we will endure it, and that if we relax the bridle and allow our emotions to run free, sensual gratification will be the result.
The performance of such deed of valour requires not merely a philosophical, but a theosophical courage; namely the courage to do one's duty because it is one's duty to do it, and for no other reason. Therefore, the best way is, not to make any selfish attempts at all to overcome our desires; but to let the recognition of truth overcome these desires; to sacrifice not merely our desires, but our own self with all its desires to the fountain of Divine Wisdom, which is to be found in the temple of our own heart, and to remain there even while [Page 282] we attend to the duties of life. If we enter that place, all desires will remain outside; they cannot enter the sacred precinct. It requires a courage of the highest order to act under all circumstances in obedience to divine law. Long may the battle last, but each victory strengthens the will; each act of submission renders it more powerful, until at last the combat is ended, and over the battlefield where the remnants of the slain desires are exposed to the decomposing action of the elements hovers the spiritual eagle, rising towards the sun and enjoying the serene tranquillity of the ethereal realm.
Metals are purified by fire and the spirit is purified by suffering. Only when the molten mass has cooled can we judge of the progress of the purification; only when a victory over the emotions is gained, and peace follows after the struggle, can the spirit rest to contemplate and realise the beauty of eternal truth. In vain will men attempt to listen to the voice of truth during the clash of contending desires and opinions, only in the silence that follows the storm can the voice of truth be heard. [ Light on the Path, by M. C.]
The fourth requirement to the recognition of the truth is therefore
TO BE SILENT.
means that we must not allow any desire to speak in our heart, but
only the voice of the truth; because the truth is a jealous goddess and
suffers no rivals. He who
selects wisdom for the bride of his soul must woo her with his whole
heart and dismiss the concubines from the bridal chamber of his soul.
clothe her in the purity of his affection and ornament her with the
gold of his love, for wisdom is modest, she does not adorn herself but
waits until she is adorned by her lover. She cannot be bought with money
nor with promises, her love is only gained by acts of devotion. Science
is only the handmaid of wisdom, and he who makes love to the servant
will be rejected by the [Page 283] mistress;
but he who sacrifices his whole being to wisdom will be united with it.
The Bhagwat Gita says: “He who thinketh constantly of me, his mind undiverted by any other object, will find me. I will at all times be easily found by a constant devotion to me”.
The Christian Mystic, Jackob Boehme, an illuminated seer, expresses the same truth, in the form of a dialogue between the master and his disciple, as follows:
The disciple said to the master: “How can I succeed in arriving at that supersensual life, in which I may see and hear the Supreme? ”
The master answered: “If you can only for a moment enter in thought into the formless, where no creature resides, you will hear the voice of the Supreme”.
The disciple said: “Is this far or near?”
The master answered: “It is in yourself, and if you can command only for one hour the silence of your desires, you will hear the inexpressible words of the Supreme. If your own will and self are silent in you, the perception of the eternal will be manifest through you; God will hear, and see, and talk through you; your own hearing, desiring, and seeing prevents you to see and hear the Supreme”. [ Jackob Boehme: “Theosophical Writings”, book vi.]
These directions are identical with those prescribed by the practice of Raja-Yog, by which the holy men of the East unite their minds with the formless and infinite. All religious ceremonies are calculated to elevate the mind into the region of the formless, and, in fact, all religious systems can have no other ultimate object than to teach methods how to attain such states. All churches are not worthy the name of “church”, which means a spiritual union, unless they serve as schools in which the science of uniting oneself with the eternal fountain of life is practically taught. But it is easier to allow one's mind to revel among the multifarious forms and attractions of the material plane, or to go through forms of external “worship”; than to enter into nothingness, where at first no sound is heard but the echo of our voice. It is easier to let our minds be [Page 284] controlled by thoughts that visit the mind than to close the doors of the soul to all thoughts that have not the seal of truth impressed upon their forms; and this is the reason why the majority of men and women prefer the illusions of finite life to the eternal realities of the infinite; why they prefer ignorance to a knowledge of truth.
To be silent means to let no other language be heard within the heart but the language of God, to listen to the voice of Divine Wisdom speaking within the heart. [ H. P. Blavatsky. “The voice of the silence”]
He who has learned to know, to will, to dare, and to be silent, is upon the true path that leads to immortal life, but by those who move merely in the sensual plane, or whose minds are absorbed in external things of the intellectual plane, even the meaning of these words will not be understood.
Various instructions are given in the books of the East in regard to the practice of this silence and interior meditation, but they all teach the same thing, namely, a concentration of man's higher consciousness to a single point within his own centre.
In the Oupnekhata the following directions are given: -
“Breathe deep and slow, and concentrate your unwavering attention into the midst of your body, into the region of the heart. The lamp in your body will then be protected against wind and motion, and your whole body will become illuminated. You must withdraw all your senses within yourself like a turtle, which withdraws its members within the shell. Enter your own heart and guard it, and Brahma will enter it like a fire or a stroke of lightning. In the midst of the big fire in your heart will be a small flame, and in the centre of it will be Atma”.
Herocarcas, an abbot of a convent upon the mount Athos, gives to his monks the following directions to acquire the power of true clairvoyance: “Sit alone in your room, after having the door locked against intrusion, concentrate your mind upon the region of the navel and try to see with that. Try to find the seat of your heart (sink your consciousness into your heart), [Page 285] where the centre of power resides. At first you will find nothing but darkness; but if you continue for days and nights without fatigue, you will see light, and experience inexpressible things. When the spirit once recognises its own centre in the heart, it will know what it never knew before, and there will be nothing hidden before its sight, whether in heaven or upon the earth”.
Let us compare with these statements one received from an unknown uneducated person, who is an illuminate of our times. He has never heard of the Oupnekata nor of Herocarcas; but he possesses the power to see interior truths. He says: “Sink your thoughts downward into the centre of your being, and you will find there a germ which, if continually nourished by pure and holy thoughts, will grow into a power that will extend and ramify through all parts of your body. Your hands and feet and your body will become alive; a sun will appear within your heart and illuminate your whole being. In this light you will see the present, the past, and the future, and by its aid you will attain the true knowledge of self”.
Man is himself a creation of thought, pervading the ocean of Mind. If his soul is in perfect accord with the truth, the truth will be one with his soul. A talented musician will not need a scientific calculation of the vibrations of sound to know whether a melody which “he hears” is melodious or not; a person who is one with the truth will recognise himself in the mirrors of every external manifestation of truth.
The highest magical power in nature is Wisdom; it is the oneness of Intelligence, Will and Law. It is the highest ideal that man can possess. The highest power of the soul is to express wisdom in language, the highest power of physical man is to embody that language in acts.
Every form in Nature is a symbol of an idea and represents a sign, or a letter, or a word; and a succession of such symbols forms a language. Nature is therefore the divine language, in which the Universal Mind expresses its ideas. The individual mind which is developed to such a state of perfection as to form the best [Page 286] instrument through which the highest intelligence can manifest itself, will be the most apt to realise the meaning of that language. The highest secrets of Nature are, therefore, accessible to him whose mental constitution is so perfected as to enable him to understand the language of Nature.
Such a language means a radiation of the essence of things into the centre of the human mind, and a radiation from that centre into the universal ocean of mind. Man in a state of purity, being an image and an external expression of the highest spiritual power, is able to reflect and reproduce the highest truth in its original purity, and man's expressions ought therefore to be a perfect reproduction or echo of the impressions which he receives from the sphere of eternal truth; but average man being immersed in matter, as a result of a combination of principles on a lower scale of evolution, receives the pure original rays only in a state of refraction, and can therefore reproduce them only in an imperfect condition. He has wandered away from the sun of truth, and beholding it from a distance it appears to him only as a small star, about to vanish from sight. Everything in Nature has its natural name, and he who has the power to call a thing by that name can call its form into existence. This proper name of a thing is its character, the expression of the totality of its powers and attributes, to cause the truth in a thing to become manifest by the spiritual power of the living word, is to call it into existence. This cannot be done by any merely external language; but by the living power of the spirit, of which the external expression is merely an outward symbol and form. [ “There are three states of Vach or ‘word', each more interior than the other, and each has three elements; the meaning, the thought and its expression in sound”. Subba Rao, “Lectures on the Bhagavad Gita” ]
There is only one genuine and interior language for man, the symbols of which are natural and must be intelligible to all, and this language is an interior direct communication of thought. This interior language is the parent of the exterior one, and being caused by the [Page 287] radiation of the first cause which is unity and with whom all men are one, it follows that if the original radiation of the supreme ray were existing in all men in its original purity, all men would understand the same language. There exists such an external language, which is a perfect expression of that interior one; but this language is known to only few and it cannot be artificially acquired. He who knows the internal language will also know the external one. The interior language breathes spirit; while the exterior one is only a succession of sounds. The key to that interior language is in the divine Word, the key to the exterior one is the mental organisation of collective bodies of men. Man in his present condition hears the voice which speaks that interior language, but does not understand it; he sees the sacred symbols, but does not comprehend them; his ear is accustomed to connect certain meanings with certain sounds, but the true vibrations are lost; he understands human writings in books, but he cannot divine the hieroglyphics that express the true nature of things.
Each character has its own true symbol and form, which expresses its nature; each symbol is a thing representing the essential character of a certain power, and this character can therefore be recognised by him who knows the language of nature in the same way as an artist recognises the character of another artist, by simply beholding his work.
Men have ever been desiring an universal language. Such an universal language cannot be arbitrarily constructed, or if so constructed, would be more difficult to learn than any other. True language must express the harmony of the soul with the nature of things, and as long as there is a differentiation of national character and disharmony there can be no universal harmonious language.
There is a threefold expression of divine essence; a physical, an intellectual, and a divine word. The first is the language of nature, the second the language of reason, the third one is the language of God, which is thought, speech and action in one, and which is therefore a [Page 288] creative power. Each true symbol or form is an external image of an internal state. Each body is the symbol of an invisible and corresponding power, and Man, in whom the highest powers are contained, is the most noble symbol in nature, the first and most beautiful letter in the alphabet of earth. If he were true to his own divine nature, his body would be a body of light, a perfect expression of beauty. For every thought there is an outward expression, and if we have a thought which we cannot express by symbols, it does not follow that such symbols do not exist, but that we are un-acquainted with them. A word or a language is the expression of thought, and to be perfect it must give perfect expression to the thought it is intended to convey. By giving a false expression to thought the true power of language is lost. In our present state of civilisation words are used more for the purpose of concealing than revealing thought. Lying involves a loss of spiritual power. To give pure and perfect expression to thought is White Magic; to act upon the imagination so as to create false impressions is witchcraft, deception, and falsehood. Such witchcraft is practised every day and almost in every station of life, from the priest in the pulpit who wheedles his audience into a belief that he possesses the keys of heaven, down to the merchant who cheats with his goods, and the old maid securing a husband by means of artificial teeth and false hair. Such practices are publicly denounced but silently followed; they lead to a universal disappearance of faith and trust, they will necessarily lead to active evil and bring destruction upon the nation that allows them to grow; because, as the power of good increases by practice, in the same manner increases the power of evil.
Man's mission is to do the highest good to himself that means to do that which is most useful for his highest development, and being in his true nature universal and unlimited, his highest good can only be obtained by working for the benefit of the whole world and not for his own limited personality.
In this way his nature will become more refined, and its interior illuminated by the light of [Page 289] divine wisdom. By living attached to “self” he attracts to himself the unintelligent and material principles of Nature, his constitution becomes more material, degraded and heavy until, unable to rise to the true light, be becomes meta-physically petrified, lost in the astral plane.
Man's actions are his writings. By putting his thoughts into action, he expresses them and records them in the book of life. Every evil act is followed by a degradation of character, a metaphysical incrustation of the soul. Good actions dissolve existing incrustations produced by evil deeds, and re-establish the soul in its former condition. Repentance, unless followed by a change of nature, is useless. It is like the inflammation caused by a thorn in the flesh; it causes pain, and unless the cause is removed putrefaction will be the result. Man's acts are his creations, they give expression to his thoughts. The motive endows them with character, the will furnishes them with life.
An intention is practically useless as long as it is not put into practice. A sign, a letter, or a word is useless unless it conveys a meaning; a symbol represents an idea, but no symbol can be efficacious unless one masters that which it represents. The most potent magical signs are useless to him who cannot spiritually in his soul realise what they mean, while in him who has soul-knowledge, the use of a single point, a line, or any geometrical figure, may put spiritual powers into action.
Let us in conclusion attempt to explain exoterically and esoterically a few of the most important magical signs. We may succeed to a certain extent in giving these explanations in words; but their spiritual meaning cannot be expressed in language nor even in music; language can merely attempt to guide the reader into a region of thought in which be may be able to perceive the secret meaning with the eye of the spirit; if he has the power of perceiving the truth spiritually by the light of the truth. [Page 290]
The Pentagram or the Five-pointed Star.
its external appearance it is merely a geometrical figure, found
everywhere as a trade-mark or ornament. Superstitious
and credulous people once believed, that if it were drawn upon the
doors of their houses it would protect them against the intrusions of
the sorcerer and the
In its esoteric signification it symbolises Man. The four lower triangles represent the four elementary forces of nature, and as the lines of each triangle are intimately connected or identical with those forming the other lines, the sum of these lines forming only one broken line without any interruption, likewise the four lower elements are intimately connected and identical with the fifth element, the quintessence of all things, situated at the top of the figure; representing the head, the seat of intelligence.
The spiritual knowledge of the Five-pointed Star is identical with its practical application. Let us beware that the figure is always well drawn, leaving no open space, through which the enemy can enter and disturb the harmony existing in the Pentagon. Let us keep the figure always upright, with the topmost triangle [Page 291] pointing to heaven, for it is the seat of Wisdom, and if the figure is reversed perversion and evil will be the result. Let the lines be straight, so that all the triangles will be harmonious and of equal size, so that the symbol will grow without any abnormal development of one principle at the cost of another. Then the lower triangles will send their quintessence to the top, the seat of intelligence, and the top will supply the lower triangles with power and induce them to grow. Then, when the time of probation and development is over, the triangles will be absorbed by the Pentagon in the centre, and form into a square within the invisible circle connecting the apices of the triangles, and our destiny will be fulfilled. There is no higher duty for man to perform, than to keep the Five-pointed Spiritual Star intact; it will be his protection during life and his salvation in the hereafter.
The Double Triangle or Six-Pointed StarThis is one of the most important signs, and practically applied it invests man with magic power. [Page 292] Its exoteric meaning is merely two triangles joined together, so that they partially cover each other, while the apex of one points upwards and the apex of the other downward. It is sometimes surrounded by a circle or by a snake biting its tail, and sometimes with a tau in the middle.
But who can describe in words the secret spiritual and universal signification of the six-pointed star and its invisible centre ? Who can intellectually grasp and describe the beauties and truths which it represents? Only he who experiences in his own divine nature the power of this sign can practically apply it, and he who can apply it practically is an Adept. Knowing that sign practically means to realise the nature of “God”, to be God and know, and the laws of eternal nature, it means to know by experience the process of evolution and involution of matter and spirit; to realise how the life-impulse travels from planet to planet, beginning with the evolution of the elemental kingdom, rising up through the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdom, and at last evolving a god-like being out of animal man. To him who cannot realise within his heart the divine mysteries of nature, the blinding light shining from the centre of the figure has no existence; but the Adept knows that invisible centre, the great Spiritual Sun, the heart of the Cosmos, from which Love and Light and Life are radiating for ever. He sees the seven primordial rays of that light shining into invisible matter and forming visible worlds upon which men and animals live and die, and are happy or discontented according to their conditions. [Page 293] He sees how by the breath of that invisible centre suns and stars, planets and satellites are evolved, and how if the day of creation of forms is over, it reabsorbs them into its bosom. Verily the six-pointed star is a most potent magical sign, and it requires the wisdom of God to understand it, and the omnipotent power of Life to apply it to its fullest extent.
In its external signification the Christian Cross is a symbol of torture and death. The sight of a cross calls up in the mind of the pious the memory of a historical event said to have taken place in Palestine some two thousand years ago, when a noble, good, and just man, an incarnation of God, is said to have been executed as a criminal upon across.
[Page 294] The esoteric meaning of the Cross is very ancient, and the Cross has existed as a secret symbol probably thousands of years ago before the Christian era. It is found in the ancient cave-temples of India and Egypt, where it was hewn in stone long before Christianity was known. The philosophical Cross represents, among other things, the principle of matter and that of spirit intersecting each other, forming the quaternary which, when it is inscribed in the square, forms the basis of knowledge for the Occultist. The horizontal line represents the animal principle, for the heads of animals are bowed to the earth. Man is the only being upon the globe who stands erect; the divine principle within him keeps him morally erect, and therefore the perpendicular line is the symbol of his divinity. The cross represents Man, who has acted against the law and thereby transformed himself into an instrument for his own torture. From the beginning of his existence as a ray of the divine spiritual Sun he represented a perpendicular line, cutting in the direction of the source from which he emanated in the beginning. As the distance from that source increased, and as the ray entered into matter, it deviated from the originally straight line and became broken; creating thereby a division in its own essence and making two parts out of the original Unity; thus establishing a will and imagination of its own, acting not in accordance with the Law, but even in opposition to it. If man follows again the dictates of the Law, he will then be taken from the Cross and resume his former position. “To take up one's Cross”, means to submit one's own desires to the rule of divine Law.
Who can know the practical spiritual signification of the Cross except spiritual man, who by his incarnation in a terrestrial human form has become nailed to the cross of suffering the ills of the flesh and its temptations, nor can he regain his freedom unless the terrestrial man dies the mystic death for him, by nailing his self-will to the cross of the law and dying the mystic death, so that the true man may live.
the head of the Christian cross there are inscribed [Page
letters I.N.R.I.., which in its exoteric meaning is said to
Nazarenus, Rex Iudeorum”. This means that the light
of Divine Wisdom is the king of all knowledge, and must rule over all
speculations, to which not only the Jews, but also our modern philosophers
are devoted; but the Rosicrucian meaning of these letters was: In Nobis
Regnat Jesus, and this truth will also be realised only by those
who are in possession of immortal life: and because in them the true
Jesus, the spiritual soul, illumined by the light of Divine Wisdom,
has awakened to life and is actually the Lord and ruler of their interior
In its practical application the Cross represents the self-recognition of Divine Truth. He whose spiritual perception is open sees the living Cross in its glory. Sublimely stands that Cross upon the mountain of self-knowledge, magnificent is its aspect. Far into heaven shines the light radiating from its centre and illuminating the darkness with its beneficent rays. Rise, oh man, up to your true dignity, so that you may see the meaning of the true Cross. Not the dead wooden Cross, the emblem of ignorance and suffering, nor the glittering cross made of brass, the emblem of vanity, sectarianism and superstition; but the true Cross, made of the pure gold of the light of Wisdom which each true Brother of the Golden and Rosy Cross carries deeply buried within his own heart. This cross is the full-grown Tree of Life and of Knowledge, bearing the fruits of salvation and immortality, the dispenser of Life, the protector against evil. He who knows practically the true mystery of the Cross is acquainted with the highest wisdom; he who is adorned with the true Cross is safe from all danger. Infinite power of the Cross! In thee the Truth is revealed. Buried deep in the darkness of Earth is thy foot, teaching us Patience; high into the light of heaven reaches thy crown, teaching us Faith. Lifted by Hope and extended by Charity are thy arms, light and sunshine surround thee. Link upon link the chain of creation encircles the Cross; worlds within worlds, forms within forms, illusions upon illusions. But in the Centre is the Reality [Page 296] in which is hidden the jewel of priceless value, the Truth. Let the dew of heaven which comes from the true Cross descend into your hearts and penetrate into your soul and body, so that it may crystallize into form. Then will the darkness within your mind disappear, the veil of matter will be rent, and before your spiritual vision will stand revealed the angel of truth. Truly! no one can be a real Christian unless he practically realises in his soul the meaning of the symbol of the Cross; the self-revelation of Truth.
The present material age is ever ready to reject without examination the symbols of the past whose meaning it cannot realise because it does not possess the treasures which they represent. Engaged in the pursuit of material pleasures, it loses sight of divine wisdom and exchanges spiritual wealth for worthless baubles. Losing sight of his divine destiny, man runs after shadows, closing his eye to the Light of the World. Ruled by fear, man bows before the Moloch of superstition and ignorance, rushes madly into the arms of a dead and cold agnostic science to perish in its stony embrace; but the wise, whose far-seeing perception reached beyond the narrow circle of his material surroundings and beyond the short span of time which includes one of his lives on this earth, knows that it is in his power to control his future destiny. He raises the magic wand of his will and quiets the tempest of the soul. The forces which were rushing to his destruction obey him and execute his orders, and he walks safely upon the waters under whose calm surface is hidden the abyss of death, while above his head shines that bright constellation formed of Truth, Knowledge, and Power, whose centre is the Law and whose germs can be found in the spiritual self-consciousness of every human being. [Page 297]
A NEW GUIDE ON THE PATH
Know that All is One.
2. Know that everything is Thyself.
3. Know that the One in a state of vibration produces the great multiplicity of forms and activities in the Universe.
4. Know that if you examine this multiplicity from the standpoint of your intellectual reasoning, you will arrive at the following deductions:
5. Everything that you call “Life”, “Energy”, “Substance”, is a Duality.
6. Everything has a tendency to return to Unity .
7. All desire and therefore all suffering originates from duality.
8. Let thy aspiration be for enlightenment.
9. Know that the result of the joys experienced by the attainment of enlightenment is happiness.
10. Rise above the state of condensation.
11. Know that the result of the joys experienced in the state of condensation is suffering.
12. On the road from Unity in motion to tranquillity is the state of condensation. It is the cause of your illusions, because you imagine it to be tranquillity; and it is the cause of your doubts, because you regard it as the object of your desires. Know that the striving after the unification of the duality is the only source of your will, your desires, and of those joys whose results you call “suffering”. [Page 298]
13. Know that the door for the solution of that which is fixed is what is called “Matter”.
14. Know that everything has to pass through that door.
15. Know that the door for the solution of the fixed is also called “Life”.
16. Know that everything has to pass through that door.
17. And that the long sojourn in “Matter” and the interruption of the voyage by “Life” means retardation in the solution of the fixed and procrastination in the unification of the duality.
18. Enforce the practice of the power of that which is solved over that which is condensed.
19. Direct your attention to the consciousness of that which is dissolved over that which is condensed.
20. Carry this consciousness through all the planes of your being.
21. Elevate your whole body to the capacity to think, to hear, and to see.
22. Cause it thereby to become a fit instrument for the use of your self-consciousness of the One and of your self-power (resulting from unification).
23. Conquer the pains resulting therefrom.
24. When the divine Language is once heard within thy heart – when the King within thy interior has once obtained dominion – when thou hast passed through water and fire, and thy spirit has become the life of thy blood – then you may say: I am, I go, and I remain.
to Top of this page
Back to our On Line Documents
Back to our Main Page
This document is a publication
Canadian Theosophical Association (a regional association of the Theosophical Society in Adyar)
89 Promenade Riverside,
St-Lambert, QC J4R 1A3
our website is at : http://www.theosophical.ca
to get to our Contacts-Information list click on: