A Recondite Scholar of Intelligence
[Letters of T Subba Row (1856-’90)
and Allied Material]
Dr N C Ramanujachary
Col H S Olcott and T Subba Row
Letters of T Subba Row: Introduction
First Letter of T Subba Row to Madame Blavatsky
Students’ Preparation to Learn Occult Science
The Masters, The Way and The Learning
Observations on Letter to the London Lodge
The Last Straw
Articles culled from T Subba Row’s Reviews:
(1) Rules of life
(2) The Hindu Philosophy
(3) Cosmology in The Bhagavad-Gita
(4) Occultism in south india
(5) Some factors of Occult Philosophy
(6) Occultism: Ancient and Modern
(7) Taraka Raja Yoga
H S OLCOTT AND T SUBBA ROW
Col. H S Olcott (1832-1907) arrived at Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1879, along with Madame H P Blavatsky (1831-91) for strengthening the theosophical movement by collecting more and more esoteric information on Occult Sciences. To draw attention of the scholars and to generally diffuse the findings, they started a monthly magazine by name ‘The Theosophist’ in 1879. Madame Blavatsky’s book ‘Isis Unveiled’ was available by then and it created lot of enthusiasm among the Indian scholars. One such who were enthralled by the contents of the book and its deep probe into Eastern Wisdom was T Subba Row (1856-90), a practicing lawyer at Madras (now Chennai). He entered into correspondence with Madame Blavatsky to mutual advantage. His first article ‘The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac’ was contributed to the journal in 1881 and was received by the readers with great acclaim. This article is an attempt to trace the story of manifestation on this globe, drawing references to Mantra and Tantra-sastras. Procuring vital information and related books through Blavatsky, Subba Row pursued his studies in Chaldean, Egyptian and Kabala systems of philosophy.
T Subba Row was a student of the Madras Presidency College with remarkable academic achievement. For his extensive memory, he was acclaimed as ‘Devil Subba Row’ in his college days. This accomplishment helped him both in his scriptural studies and the later professional career.
Subba Row was eager to meet Blavatsky and he expressed the desire, through a letter addressed to her, that she should accompany Col. Olcott as well, when he planned to visit Madras. This desire was fulfilled in April 1882, when both the founders, of the Society, landed by ship at the port of Madras. Subba Row made elaborate arrangements to meet them, welcome and place them comfortably in a bungalow owned by Dewan Madhavarao in Mylapore. Eventually a branch association of the Society was formed at Madras, with Subba Row as secretary and one Dewan Raghunatharao as its President. He was formally admitted to the membership of the Society on April 25, 1882 in a ‘solitary and sublime’ function, the reason for which Olcott says he does not even know. The same year the Society instituted a T Subba Row medal in his honor, to be awarded every year for scholarly work.
From that time till the end of his life, Subba Row was in close contact with them and assisted the work of the Society as a member of the Council and as Counselor for some years. His association in administrative matters with Olcott and in philosophical matters with Blavatsky was well recorded in the history of the Society. Olcott did openly state that his decision to establish the world headquarters of the Society at Madras was greatly because of Subba Row’s presence here. His knowledge in occult sciences and eastern doctrines of philosophy were matters of deeper and vital consideration. Subba Row spent lot of his time in study of Occult Science texts and palm-leaf manuscripts. His erudition and memory were of admirable amazement to Olcott. Besides writing reviews, some years editing the magazine ‘The Theosophist’ during Blavatsky’s absence in India made his knowledge of the oriental philosophy available to the commoners. He encouraged the writing of ‘The Secret Doctrine’ by Blavatsky and made available his own knowledge of the Eastern Wisdom. She too often quoted him while elaborating some abstruse theories. However he could not assist her till the end since he held an opinion that she was revealing ‘too much to the profane’. Olcott attempted to bring a sort of reconciliation between the two but could not succeed because of the stern stand taken by Subba Row. Eventually, the incidents leant towards the resigning of Subba Row from the primary membership of the Society. Even after this unfortunate incidence, Subba Row continued his association with the president, Olcott, and the friendship between them lasted till the end. He made his studies deeper and ventilated his ideas on spiritual matters liberally. He had some foreign members of the Society especially interested in his instructions and ideas. Subba Row used to visit them in the evenings, after his tennis play at the Cosmopolitan Club, and spend hours discoursing with them, answering questions and bringing up certain niceties and twists of philosophic inquiry. The only Indian who had the privilege to attend them was S Subramanya Iyer (later Judge and Sir).
Olcott invited Subba Row to deliver a series of lectures on Bhagavad-Gita during the annual convention of 1886 which he did most eloquently and deeply highlighting the concepts of Taraka Raja Yoga in aid to the study. Incidentally, Subba Row happened to be the first theosophical speaker on the sacred text ‘The Bhagavad-Gita’. His talks were well appreciated by the scholars, and they continue to inspire the students of philosophy even now. Pundit Bhavani Shankar was one of the listeners to take up the study of the text in greater detail and diffuse the lively ideas therein the rest of his life.
Subba Row organized the lecture tours of Olcott in South India; particularly the Tamil speaking areas and the success of these helped the expansion of theosophical ideas of living in the land. Subba Row writes in his reports that Olcott had grandeur welcome at all places, than that usually received by the royal kings of the day.
Olcott desired that Subba Row should write more articles, essays and treatises on philosophy but the later was very ‘indolent’ to writing. He would talk for hours without the listeners feeling tired or dissipated. In fact, Subba Row was a leading lawyer and did not find adequate time to pursue his oriental studies in the pace he wanted that to be. He was fascinated to write a comprehensive treatise on Prasthana Traya (the Brahma sutras, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita) on his retirement from profession. His desire to acquire a farm-land, build a solitary place for himself did not material because he was called back by destiny. He died at a very young age of 33, leaving his young wife, numerous relatives and friends, admirers to great despair. His death was caused by a mysterious disease, though treated by Allopathic, Ayurveda doctors. Olcott, at his request, gave mesmeric passes to him and he could only relieve him from acute pains but not the end. Olcott wrote a longish obituary note conveying the death to the theosophical world, where he summarized many facts of his life not known in public. Their association was more friendly and intimate.
Letters of T Subba Row (1856-’90)
T Subba Row wrote letters of philosophic import to Madame Blavatsky, A P Sennett, and some other members of the Theosophical Society around the world; but not many of them are available with us now. We have only ten such letters available, here and there, in print. It is possible he wrote several letters to the Founders, co-members of the Society, and other well wishers; but unfortunately, they are lost beyond any possible scope of recovery. These letters, indeed, have bearing on his theosophical understanding; contain vivid explanations of matters connected thereto. It will decidedly be of great interest to go into the available material, as this helps one to get into his ‘insights.’
As could be made out from this literary output, he arrived at certain settled views on philosophical, occult and metaphysical subjects after considerable thought and developed a sort of ‘independent thinking.’ It would be of interest to note that his expressed views have sufficiently found place in his Lectures on The Bhavad-Gita, delivered in 1885 and 1886 to the theosophical conventions.
The Chronological Order of the Letters is as below:
Sl.no Date of Letter Addressee Printed Text ref Pages
1. 3 Feb 1882 HPB A 316-8
2. 7 May 1882 APS B 450-1
3. 2 June 1882 HPB B 452-3
4. 26 June 1882 APS B 451-2
5. 13 Aug 1882 HPB A 316-8
6. 16 Aug 1882 KH A 323
7. 1884 London lodge C 391-447
8. June 1884 HPB A 322
9. 1885 VVS C 562-7
10. Mar-Apr 1885 Unknown D --
[Full Names of addressees: HPB: Madame Blavatsky; APS: A P Sinnett: KH: Master Koot Humi;
VVS; Vavilala Venkata Sivavadhanulu, a friend-disciple.
References to printed Texts: A: Madame Blavatsky’s Letters to A P Sinnett; B: Mahatma Letters to A P Sinnett; C: Esoteric Writings of T Subba Row & D: Journal, Theosophical Forum, vol.VI, no.7, 1935. ]
Before entering into the contents of the Letters, we shall look into the central focus obtained in each of them.
Letter at Sl.no.1:
This was in response to a letter dated 28 Jan 1882 to him from Madame Blavatsky. TSR in this letter invites HPB to visit Madras along with H S Olcott; and suggests that ‘the little of Occultism that still remains in India is centered in the Madras Presidency. This letter was super-imposed with the remarks of Master Morya. TSR also refers to ‘a certain amount of systematic occult training for those who are admitted into the Second Section of the TS.
Letter at Sl. No.2:
This was his first letter to A P Sinnett about ‘giving practical instruction in our occult sciences.’
Letter at Sl.no.3:
Parts of this letter are missing, reportedly. This letter has the comments of Master KH super-imposed thereon. Contents refer to the training TSR proposes to afford APS with.
Letter at Sl.no.4:
This is a further letter to APS, which says ‘practical instruction is impossible in view of the qualified assent given.’ TSR assents to give theoretical instruction only.
Letter at Sl.no.5:
This was in reply to Madame Blavatsky. TSR refers to the difficulties in imparting instructions, says M and KH wanted him to do this work and so he could not but obey their command.
Letter at Sl.no.6:
In this letter to KH, TSR explains the difficulty accompanying the instruction he agreed to give to APS and A O Hume.
Letter at Sl.no.7:
This letter was addressed to Madame Blavatsky but in fact is appended by a longish observation on a London Lodge letter. This was submitted to HPB for her forwardal to them, with ‘additional remarks as you (HPB) may think proper.’ But she has chosen not to add anything in particular, except a foot-note here and there. A keen observation on the London Lodge affairs and the attitudes carried out by those members towards the TS, Masters and Occult philosophy in general is thoroughly discussed; and an effort is made to set right their understanding of things.
Letter at Sl.no.8:
In this incomplete letter, TSR requests HPB to return to India very early. He says, ‘more harm was done by Europeans than the Hindus to the TS.’
Letter at Sl.no.9:
This was a personal letter to a friend, member, almost a student to TSR in philosophical studies. This letter contains many personal views of TSR in the matter of Occult status of TS, HPB and many other connected subjects. The attitude an aspirant should adapt is well detailed here. Some inconvenient events in the life of TSR also get mentioned here.
Letter at Sl.no.10:
This was letter addressed to a person who could not be identified ‘as such’. The general import of the contents makes it almost very important. Why did TSR join the TS at all? – An answer to this vital question is available here. It is only in the year 1935 that this letter came into print through a journal “The theosophical Forum.” Many matters of esoteric importance are available here.
Besides the above letters, there is an article appearing in the Journal “The Word” (January 1905 – p.188-191) under a title “What is Occultism?” The editorial note is as below:
Subba Row was one of the most brilliant lawyers in India, and as all Theosophists know, was an occultist of renown. Some years before his death he was asked by an American pupil to define Modern Occultism and in reply thereof he wrote the following article on the subject. ---L.L.
There need not be any objection in treating this also as a letter, particularly for the reason of its contents and its non-availability in any other collections. (Mr Henk. included this, however, in his Collected Writings of TSR.)
The effort made, in the essays to follow, is to cull out and annotate upon the views of TSR on subjects such as:
· Philosophical and Occult training of aspirants to Spiritual Wisdom
· Metaphysical statements of all-time value.
· Organizational matters and structure of the society
· Occult Stature of HPB
· Relationship of the Masters to the TS
TSR made decidedly a pioneering contribution to the theosophical thought in the early years of the Society. With the striking all-timeness of his very many ideas, it will benefit the readers of the present generation, including the theosophists, if a proper study is made from both historical and philosophic perspective. It is open for students of philosophy to further explore the subjects for arriving at an in-depth understanding of the concepts.
In the course of the essays, abbreviations to several names of persons are used for purpose of brevity. It is hoped that it would not be difficult for the readers to identify the names contextually.
First letter of Subba Row to Madame Blavatsky
T. Subba Row, though not a formal member of the Theosophical Society then, started his correspondence with Madame Blavatsky as early as in 1880. The founders arriving at Bombay and temporarily establishing their Headquarters there was a matter of public notice for the Indian elite. Isis Unveiled, the book authored by HPB (1877) was available to Indian readers by 1879. TSR was the one of the early readers of this book and he was wonderstruck with the enchanting display of scholarship and the inimitable presentation of the mysterious contents. He very much wanted to get in touch with the writer but had to wait till the ripening of time for such an opportunity.
We do not exactly know how and when he wrote and made acquaintance with her. TSR was then a practicing lawyer in the High Court of Judicature, Madras, having enrolled himself in the latter part of 1880, and a resident of Triplicane part of that provincial headquarters. He was already deeply immersed in his studies of Occult Sciences. His frequent visits to the Oriental Libraries and Sanskrit Scholars were on record. He should have been a subscriber to the journal of the Society “the Theosophist” started by the founders in October 1879. He penned an article for this journal on 14th September 1881 and this appeared in the November 1881 issue. The name of this article was “The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac” and this happens to be a very deep scholarly study of the story of creation as concealed and implicitly stated in the Mantra and Tantra Sastras of India. Madame Blavatsky made elaborate footnotes to this article while publishing in the journal. There were as many as nine such explanatory notes, perhaps added by her to assist the readrs’ comprehension and to enhance the understandability of the serious contents of the essay. We may here also note the high esteem with which she treated this article, when she used the last paragraph:
The history of creation of this world from its beginning up to the present time is composed of seven chapters. The seventh chapter is not yet completed.
as a super-note to the ‘Summing Up’ chapter in the first volume of The Secret Doctrine.
The letter opens with ‘thanks giving’ to the “Respected Madame’ for her letter of 28th ultimo. TSR’s letter being distinctly dated the 3rd February 1882, Madame HPB’s letter must be of 28th January 1882.
Col.Olcott left for his tour in North part of the country and his first stop was at Jeypore. He was accompanied by Bhavani Shankar who was already a part of the Founders’ group in Bombay along with Damodar Maulankar. The President’s visits covered Delhi, Meerut, Allahabad, Prayag, Berhampore and Colcutta. HPB joined him at Calcutta on 6 March 1882. Now let us look at the opening remarks and request of TSR in his letter under notice.
I think it is highly desirable that you should come here, if circumstances permit, by the time Col. Olcott comes here from Calcutta.
The reasons for the request are many:
No doubt, I am individually am very anxious to see you; but that is not the important reason.
Though no branch Theosophical Association has yet been established here, there are a good many gentlemen here who sincerely sympathize with your aims and objects and who would be very glad to see you. --- Your Isis Unveiled has made a very strong impression on their minds --- They has earnestly asked me to write to you requesting you to come here also. --- There are Europeans also, here, who are very anxious to see you. Please see therefore, if you cannot spare a few days to gratify the expectations of these gentlemen.
But the real reason or more a ‘cause’ by an occult significance is available in the letter itself. TSR says:
`The Little of Occultism that still remains in India is centered in this Madras Presidency; and this fact you will be able to find out for yourself in course of time. The great revival of Yoga Vidya in the time of our great Sankarachariar had its origins in this part of India; and from that time up to the present day, Southern India never had the misfortune of being deserted by all its initiates. As the few initiates that still remain here cannot live in small communities as your Himalayan Adepts do, they are, therefore, living in solitary hermits in a few sacred places in this Presidency.
Here, TSR is trying to make a mark of distinction among the adepts of the Himalayan school and of the South Indian school. The specific point made by him is tha occultism is not totally dead in India.
We still have the clue in our hands to understand the teaching of our old Rishis and the doctrines of every other system of philosophy, which has sprung up from the Ancient Wisdom religion. And I venture to affirm (though you may doubt it) we still have the clue to find out the “Lost Formula,” if it is indeed already lost.
TSR sternly makes a descriptive statement of the characteristics of the Indian Rishis.
We still have men among us – secure from the molestation of haughty English officials and impertinent missionaries, in dark mountain caves and trackless impenetrable forests – those who have almost reached the shores of the ocean of Nirvana, --- These men are not anxious to get their existence recognized by them. --- It is only to sincere believers in Yoga Vidya and the existence of adepts that these stern mystics are accessible. --- The Himalayan adepts are not afraid that they would be in any way molested by Englishmen if their existence is known to them. But the Adepts in India are I suspect, really afraid that if their existence is known to the public there would be an end to their peaceful Samadhi and seclusion.
As yet, TSR has no direct perception of the Himalayan adepts. In fact his knowledge on occult matters may as yet be totally ‘bookish’ and not supported or corroborated by any personal experience or conviction. That his doors of perception have widened only after he met and sat ‘face to face’ with Madame Blavatsky as he was mentioning to his mother later, and as recorded so by Col. Olcott in his obituary note.
It was as though a storehouse of occult experience, long forgotten, had been suddenly opened to him; recollection of his last preceding birth came in upon him; he recognized his Guru, and thenceforward held intercourse with him and other mahatmas; with some, personally at our Headquarters, with others elsewhere and by correspondence.
The letter is of great importance historically, for the simple reason that it paved way for Madame Blavatsky’s decision to visit Madras. How this visit changed the whole course of the Theosophical Society and the theosophical philosophy towards a better situation and for the ‘benefit of humanity’ is well recorded and known to be restated here. The Founders’ visit and addresses to the interested gatherings of men and women, the formation of the Madras Theosophical Society were the sequences. TSR was the first Secretary of this branch Society, later became its president too. The original ideas of TSR on many matters of unique importance, their metamorphoses and the influence he wielded upon his contemporaries and his attention to the issues of critical nature could be noticed as we go further with his correspondence and letters.
He was anxious to meet the ‘mysterious persons’ who were the Founders of such a great movement that stirred the thought-current and imagination of the century, was desirous of actively participating in their program of work and to assist in formulating the schemes and schedules in the years to come.
His suggestion to HPB in the matter of providing spiritual training to the members of the Society was also part of this very first letter.
We can in course of time, adopt some ritualistic system of Initiation for the IInd Section; and I do not see any reason why we should not be able in future to have a certain amount of systematic occult training for those who are admitted into the said section. I shall be glad to see this section composed of real initiates acting under the instructions given by the Adepts of the 1st section.
He was enthusiastic about the occult progress of the members and even of the Society as a whole. His scheming of or designing any plans on these lines did not take place. By the time HPB intended starting her Eastern School of Theosophy, sometime in 1888, TSR was already out of the wings of the society. That the society was classified into3 Sections during that period is a factor that could be noticed in this context.
Another feature, the last but not the least, of this letter is to be mentioned now. Before the letter actually came into the hands of HPB, the addressee, it was seen and screened by Master Morya, the Teacher of both Madame Blavatsky and TSR. He had underlined certain phrases and added one or two sentences in his characteristic way. His observations are prominent in two sequences. One, is the way of the adepts in India. In his sense of humor, he remarks that they are not ‘physically’ afraid but are justly ‘fearing’ to see their secure retreats desecrated and themselves surrounded by antipathetic crowds. Two, is the matter of TSR’s offer to give training schemes. The Master emphatically says that ‘one might do worse than consult the young man about the proposed manual also.’ This is an abundant caution as to the formulation of the working systems by a person who is not sufficiently equipped with all the knowledge for that work and who has only an up-swelling fountain of enthusiasm for the deal mere desire to do this or that job is not enough and helpful.an aspirant must know all the rules of the game, and that is equally relevant in physical and spiritual concerns. One should patiently work, but not rush into the realms about which not much is known. This attitude will spoil the Cause, besides setting the doer behind. An attitude of utmost patience and not mad-outgoing is needed. Occultism, as TSR says at a later period, is not a matter to be taken casually and trifled with anyway.
Students’ Preparation to Learn Occult Science
T Subba Row wrote his first letter to A P Sinnette on 7 May 1882. Series of letters ensued and finally it became evident to him that there could be possibly no establishment of studentship in terms of the accepted and well known canons of Occult Study. He had no choice but reporting back to the persons who wanted him to undertake this arduous task. He did not hide the fact that he was reluctant to undertake the job od instruction from the beginning anf had only to take it at the behest od HPB and at the command of the Masters.
The purpose of our present study is not to examine whether TSR was right or otherwise in his views but to see what the ‘pre-conditions’ are like for a successful career of an aspirant or for one’s being a promising student of Occult Science. A P Sinnett or A O Hume who were the students recommended for the job here are merely incidental. What of concern now is to know how and where an aspirant stands. In other words, what actually is the meaning and purpose of an aspiration.
We must remember that A P Sinnett was already in correspondence with Master K H before the advent of TSR’s approach; he was recipient of at least forty or more communications from both the Masters, not to speak of the regular flow from from HPB. The first ever letter from Koot’ Hoomi Lal ZSingh was in October 1880. In the course of time that passed through – Oct. 1880 to April 1882 – the methods of working of the Masters were sufficiently familiar to him though he might not be in tune with them. It was remarked to him that ‘there was general unwillingness to give up an established order of things for new modes of life and thought, and occult study requires all that and much more.’ The pre-requisites expected of an aspirant were:
1. A mere promise that what was taught would not be revealed to anyone else.
The instruction is private and personal, not to be exchanged or notes compared with another.
2. A determination to do all in one’s power to uphold and stand for the Theosophical Association.
3. An adherence of personal life in tune with the directions given. No mental reservation or equivocation is permissible.
A wavering state of mind will be bring in the results. The student will have to give an unqualified assent to these several points. When the assent is qualified, it shall not be possible for the Teacher to accept a student to his wings. An implicit obedience towards the Teacher is a must. As is said elsewhere by HPB, once we believe the Teacher to be in possession of Truth, we must place our confidence in him and added to that there has to be a willing obedience to the behests of Truth that arrive through Him.
TSR is very clear in the manner and method of discipline and ‘proper-preparedness’ needed of the would-be candidates. He explained later to Sinnett that ‘no student of Occult philosophy has ever succeeded in developing his psychic powers without leading the life prescribed for such students. The rules laid down by the ancient teachers of occult science are inflexible. You have to wait for practical instruction until you are in a position to make such sacrifices as Occult Science demands; and for the present you must be satisfied with such theoretical instruction it may be possible to give you,’ his explanation was very lucid.
Occult training, however commenced, will in course of time necessarily develop such powers (as to see the Brothers or converse with Them clairvoyantly). You will be taking a very low view of Occult Science if you were to suppose that the mere acquisition of psychic powers is the highest and the only desirable result of occult training. The mere acquisition of wonder-working powers can never secure immortality for the student of Occult Science unless he has learnt the means of shifting gradually his sense of individuality from his corruptible material body to the incorruptible and eternal Non-being represented by his seventh principle (Atma).’
The real aim of occult Science is this attainment of the capacity to shift the center of consciousness from the physical to the spiritual boy; from Rupa to Arupa, from the dense material to the Divine design.
When the unqualified assent was not coming forth, TSR had promised to both of them (A P Sinnett and A O Hume):
I would be fully prepared to give you both such theoretical instruction as I may be able to give in the philosophy of the Ancient Brahmanical religion and esoteric Buddhism.
We do not have the letters written by Sinnett or Hume to clearly know what their inhibitions were, and so will have to make them up from the reply letters of TSR and his reporting to HPB anf Master KH.
In his letter to HPB, Subba Row states how the Master-Discipline relationship in the Indian tradition would work:
In ancient times the ordinary multitude had implicit confidence in their Initiates and Rishis. They never asked for reasons for any of the truths revealed to them; and the Rishis never cared to demonstrate the truth of their teachings according to the formal rules of logic. A student of Occult Science generally realizes the truth of his Guru’s teaching by actual perception, and not by assuring himself that his Guru’s reasoning is correct.
But now, the attitude of the student and the enquirer is altogether different. Every proposition, however plain it may be, must be supported by reasons thrown into the proper syllogistic form before it can be accepted by those who are supposed to have received the so-called liberal education. If a guru, for instance, were to tell his disciple that he should not commit murder or theft, the disciple is sure to turn round and ask him “Well sir, what are your reasons for saying so?’ Such is the attitude of modern mind, and you can see that it is so from Bentham’s works.
TSR affirms again and again that ‘reasoning can never be satisfactory to one acquainted only with the methods of reasoning and proof adopted in the so called modern science.’ The difficulty in teaching Occult science to men in the position of Hume and Sinnett is enhanced for two more reasons according to him.
1. I am constrained to act as if I do not know the Brothers when I really only refused to speak about Them.
2. I cannot dare show a thing of Occult Science practically. Any amount of ‘information’ given will not satisfy the idle curiosity of an enthusiast till such time he realizes for himself that he has to “TRY” to improve upon his own ‘intuitions’ and see things for himself.
TSR also hinted at the possibility of the idea enthusiasts falling into the danger of ‘relapsing into their former state of skepticism, and ‘becoming our enemies’ in the long run, when they find practical instruction to their state is not afforded to them
TSR has something remarkable to say about himself and his own status as a student of Occult Science. He shows a lot of humility and reverence towards HPB when he writes:
You are certainly magnifying me and my abilities. As for Adeptship, I know very well how far I am from it. I have not heard up to this time that any one placed in my position has succeeded in becoming an adept. Even practically I know very little of our Ancient Arcane Science. --- It is a great misfortune to India that under such circumstances I should be considered its only ‘plank of salvation.’ I am no doubt fully determined to do what I can for Theosophy and my country up to the end of my life time. Your disinterested labours for the good of my country imperatively demand such assistance from me and from every other Hindu who loves his own country. It is enough for me to know that one of our illustrious Brothers has been kind enough to notice me and render me some assistance. [The sentence in Bold type occurring in this paragraph was underlined by Master KH and he did also add a remark thus: This is not quite so. He knows enough for any of you.]
In a similar communication to Master KH, TSR says:
All that I can teach him here, he can learn from my communications sent to Simla. I need hardly say that I can never teach him the whole mystery of our ancient science and philosophy, as I do not know the whole of it myself.
Popular feeling about TSR is that he was an addict to Ancient Brahmanical System only and would never teach any Westerners. But this view is not totally correct. He did not give the practical instruction to Mr Subramania Iyer in the beginning even when pressed for that, for the simple reason that the latter was, as yet, unprepared for such work. C W Leadbeater, Cooper Oakley, Ernest Wood were no Brahmins, nor Indians, but unsullied westerners and yet they did receive spiritual guidance, training and all help which they had openly acknowledged. It was the ‘proper preparedness’ of the candidate/aspirant or the lack of that which seems to be the factor taken into consideration by him and nothing else. He was especially interested in Chaldean, Kabala and Egyptian systems of occult science; too often obtained books on these subjects through HPB. His writings invariably speak for his interest in comparative study of mysti and occult sciences.
He was particularly interested in the spread of the knowledge of Occult Science among the commoners; but was not prepared to dilute the methods of instruction for the simple reason that it was neither in his control nor at his command. He was only a practitioner of Occult Science in the strict sense of the term, acted as he thought he was instructed by his Teachers and as he sensed to it in his own understanding.
The Masters, The Way and The Learners
During 1883-5, TSR wrote two letters, to two different aspirants, and the reason for treating them together here is that they are focused to a student in the West and a student in the East with cultural and religious backgrounds incomparably different. Their purport is the same: To enthuse the student’s keen and exploring interest in the pursuit on Spiritual Path under the guidance of the philosophy and tenets of theosophy.
The addressee of the first letter is not known. The tentative date of the letter is determined by Mr Henk, who compiled the Collected Writings of TSR, to be the Fall of 1883. This letter came to light when first published in 1935 by a journal The Theosophical Forum (Vol.VI, No.7, March 15, 1935), which means it was in public domain only after 52 years of its birth.
The second letter was addressed to one Vavilala Venkata Sivavadhanulu, a member of the Society and a student of TSR. This letter is part of the material collected in Esoteric Writings of TSR with the opening sentence omitted therein. This sentence, as is seen from the original, reads thus:
I now sit down to write to you the long letter that I promised. To tell you the truth, my dear friend, never my life (was) more miserable than during the last 12 months. This is due to various causes, which I shall not stop to enumerate. But I have nearly passed through the crisis and as you advise me to do, I am going to effect a change in my life.
This letter was published for the first time in The Theosophist for January 1952, with an introductory note by C Jinarajadasa. There the date of the letter was mentioned as 1883, which cannot be so - considering the contents and the later editions adopted 1885, the correct date.
The principal points touched in both the letters deal with the methods of working of the Masters, Their Being and relationship with the aspirants. The second letter has also references to HPB and her occult status.
We shall now quote excerpts from the first letter. The passages being very clear and pointed, no commentary is offered. Very pertinent sentences are put in ‘Bold type’.
I am glad that you agree with me in thinking that the ways of Mahatmas are inscrutable.
The Adepts belong to a higher plane and are surrounded by quite different conditions. They do not look upon things from our standpoint. We cannot, therefore, criticize their actions until we know something more of them and arrive at their plane of existence.
Our Gurus, be it remembered, never teach us as our English schoolmasters. Nothing by word. They simply impress in our minds and help us develop the higher fifth rounder’s faculty.
The Chela is exposed to all temptations at the hands of the advanced Chelas. He must show his fitness for what he aspires to at every corner; he must show that he has more of the Spirit in him than of matter – in short his determination to become a precocious and artificial fifth rounder should be unshaken under any circumstances.
The oriental method of teaching was not in words and he (A O Hume) had by certain methods and a life of chastity, truth, universal benevolence and above all unselfishness to develop a sixth faculty – the keenness of his disappointment was equal to his conceit and ignorance.
Our Gurus leave us free to study what we like. But if we practice anything without consulting them, we will fall into the ditch. No man can become an initiate without a Guru. Indeed without him one cannot advance one real step in the direction of Occult study.
You may ask as many questions as you please. I shall answer them as far as I know. Only when I tell you that in some instances I am not at liberty to say further, do not consider me rude or conceited. Implicit obedience to my Guru is absolutely necessary, obedience in thought, mind and deed. For my Guru can read my innermost thoughts.
Between them (ordinary people who ever think by proxy and take without inquiry to any belief that a popular leader inculcates) and the initiates is a class of learned and inquiring men, trying to become initiates and occupying the various grades from the ordinary man to the Adept. These are the interpreters to the people of what is passing on Adept circles. All knowledge of Adepts and their doings, people learn from these direct. But of late English education has dwindled this number into very, very few, and these find still fewer to sympathize with them. So the ordinary people having lost trace of this important class, the Adepts become to them the Gods of the Fable, and not real living men.
What my affinities are at this my own incarnation, I am not yet arrived at a stage to know. I will know it some time. My own guru has several Chelas. Some of them have been initiated, others are in the various intermediate grades.
An Adept is not made but becomes. If you have determined to one, you WILL become one. The immutable laws of Nature decreed so. Once we have the determined, inflexible will, we will carry everything before us. Mind under normal conditions is of the same clearness in all persons.
We receive communications now and then in a mode we call psychological telegraphy, that is to say, whatever our Masters think, is made to pass in our brain just the same way I suppose a mesmerist makes his thoughts pass into the brain of the subject. Only we remember it always, whereas the subject loses traces of them when he awakes. The impressment cannot be done if our brains are not as clear as crystal, free from alltaints of absorbing worldly feelings of all sorts.
The kingdom of Heaven ought to be taken by force. If you bring your brain to this state and then think of the Adepts, they will be forced to take up and assist you.
The second letter, as already mentioned, was written on July, 1885, by which time HPB has left Adyar. More references to Hodgson’s visit and reports are available here. The excerpts are as under:
You appear to be in a chaotic state of mind at present, owing to all that has happened during the last twelve months, in connection with so-called Theosophical phenomena and the missionary attack. --- In course of time, you will be able to get rid of the confusion that has now taken possession of your mind.
Karma itself is a product of human effort and of human action, and can be altered and varied by human endeavor. Karma is not a settled and invariable cause, existing fron eternity to eternity, predetermining the fate of every human being through thousands of incarnations.
You are not right in objecting to a definite path of progress to adeptship. – It will be more reasonable to wait until you know something more about the Path. In every path of occult study, there are a few essential conditions, while the rest are mere accidental. The latter have varied greatly with the varied races, while the former have remained the same. This is as it ought to be.
You are mistaken in supposing that worthless men of depraved character ‘have been taken under the special patronage of Mahatmas.’ It is not true.
Why cannot Adepts control the evil magnetism of the world and live here? – This is your curious question. “Why should they?’’ – is my question by way of reply. Their difficulties are great enough as they are; why should They enhance them and waste Their energy and power in overcoming the same, and even endanger Their existence for the purpose of satisfying the curiosity of the common herd? The select few can go Them as they do now. Their influence on the progress of humanity will be the same whether They live in Their retreats or in a place like Madras.
You must wait until you yourself can learn something of occult dynamics (about precipitation of letters). – Your ability to conceive it does not however disprove the phenomenon.
She (HPB) happens to be the only agent that can be employed by the Mahatmas for the purposes of the TS. Had it not been for the bad temper, she would have been somewhere else by this time.
She (HPB) now is in Italy. She was not expelled, as you imagine, but was requested to go there for the sake of her health.
The question at issue as between the Theosophical Society and the public is not whether Madame B. is honest of dishonest, but whether occult science is a reality or a fiction. Even a single phenomenon must produce a finding in our favour. My client is the Theosophical Society and not Madame B.
We did not re-issue it (Committee’s report against that of Hodgson’s ) corrected, as we decided after consulting Mr A O Hume and others, that the Society as such should not make it its duty to defend Madame B. --- --- Do not suppose that we came to this conclusion as we found it impossible to defend Madame B. if we make it the duty of the Society to defend the phenomena assailed and take up its stand on them, its time and energy will have to be wasted in answering a thousand attacks every day. --- We therefore thought it proper not to take any further official action in connection with that report.
Mr Hodgson’s report is adverse, no doubt. We are not responsible for it however.
My dear friend, do not take a desponding view of the matter. ... I can give you my assurance that occult science and the Theosophical Society have got some basis of truth to stand upon. Be calm and composed; your difficulties will disappear.
The matter of Hodgson’s report and the reversal of the whole stand by the Society for Psychical Research in 1980s are on record and are therefore not detailed here. Matter of concern here is the stand taken by the Society’s committee, as also the contentions of TSR; his testimony for the Society, Masters and the Path of progress for humanity.
Observations on London Lodge Letter
This is a letter from T Subba Row, dated January 27, 1884, addressed to the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society and through Madame Blavatsky, in reply to some comments made by the President and Vice-president of that Lodge on the book Esoteric Buddhism of A P Sinnett. The President and Vice-president were Dr (Mrs.) Anna Kingsford and Mr. Edward Maitland respectively; and their contention was that the teachings contained in the book were inconsistent, illogical and unscientific. T Subba Row expresses his views and as he says, ‘in accordance with the order of the Mahatma’s and the desire of the Council’. He wanted these observations to the London Lodge ‘for consideration of its members, with such additional remarks as you may think proper.’ HPB had not given any additional remarks as such except few foot-notes, and forwarded the papers to the London Lodge, the same day.
The letter is of importance as it makes some helpful comments as to the ‘Relationship of the Himalayan Brotherhood to the Theosophical Society’ and the ‘peculiar circumstances under which the book was written’. This also shows the reverence TSR had to the Masters and the Society; as well as his unstinted support to the author A P Sinnett.
At the outset, T Subba Row refers to the rules of the Society, and says the following:
Rules clearly indicate that the society is at full liberty to investigate any philosophical system, ancient or modern, with a view to ascertain the broad fundamental principles which form the basis of every school of religious philosophy, properly so called, and thereby ‘promote the principle of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race or creed.’ --‘The Society does not constitute a body of religious teachers, but it is simply an association of investigators and inquirers.’
TSR then explains:
After Messrs. Hume and Sinnett were introduced to, and put in communication with, the Mahatma’s, they commenced asking them questions on various subjects, first to satisfy their own curiosity, and probably also to gauge the depth of the knowledge, possessed by them, respecting religious and scientific subjects. It was not, and could have been, their, intention, at first, to construct a complete system of philosophy from the meager answers elicited. ---- The Himalayan Adepts have never professed to instruct any particular section of the Theosophical association.
Mr Sinnett, I may here state, had from the mahatma’s, in addition to their letters bearing on the planetary evolution, the Law of Karma, the nature of Devachanic Existence, the Seven principles in Man, and other cognate subjects discussed by him as fully and as clearly as he was able, a few letters of communications touching the nature of Purusha and Prakriti, the commencement of cosmic evolution, the septenary constitution of the manifested Cosmos, the nature and evolution of the germs of the primary elements in nature (Maha-butas), and some isolated subjects connected with the physical science. But not one solitary subject among the last named class had he ever received, except in bare outlines. As to the details and their direct bearing upon other and far more important subjects, closely connected with the rest they have never been even remotely approached by the Masters – revelations of this nature belonging strictly to the mysteries of Initiation. --- With these meager materials, he undertook to write a book, and give the public in general, and the theosophists in particular, an approximately correct conception of the system of Esoteric Science and Philosophy in the keeping of the “great Teachers of the Snowy range.” That he didas well as he has , is as surprising as it is highly creditable to his acute intelligence. --- Under such circumstances, when religious prejudices are yet so very strong, and when the public is not scientifically prepared to test the correctness of the views of the Himalayan Mahatma’s – it is not desirable to publish them in any other but a fragmentary form. ---
It is merely intended to be an important contribution to the mass of information, which, it is the object of the Theosophical Society to accumulate, for the purpose of leading ultimately to the evolution of a complete system of philosophy.
Then he, point by point, repudiates the objections raised by the president and Vice-president and explains his reasons. It is not considered necessary, here, to reproduce them. Readers, anyway, are advised to go into the whole essay (letter) for a fuller understanding. But a mention about the ‘Dhyani Chohan’ will be of absorbing interest. TSR, again, cautiously states that his object is to “simply to offer food for reflection, and to lead our Brother-members to more active and independent investigation.” He says these views are in accordance “with the Hindu, or rather the Advaita standpoint – the latter being identical with Esoteric Buddhism.”
The Dhyani Chohan when incarnating himself as a man, at the first appearance of humanity on our planet, is referred to as Manu Svayambhu (the self-existent) who begets the seven Risi-s uncorporeally, they being known as his manasaputras – the children of manas or mind – and who, therefore represent the 5th principle of the planet. --- These Dhyani Chohans, as the guardian spirits of this world, are known as Dikpalas (the keepers of the different points of the compass), a name under which, it will be found, they are constantly referred to in the earlier Buddhist writings.
--- the Dhyani chohans are the Elohim of the Western Kabalists.
TSR concludes thus:
His book (Esoteric Buddhism) forms part of a complete system of Esoteric Science and Philosophy which is neither Hindu nor Buddhist in its origin, but which is identical with the ancient Wisdom-Religion itself, and which forms the basis or foundation of every system of religion conceived by the human mind since the time when the first Dhyani Chohan appeared on this planey to plant the germ of Esoteric Wisdom it s form may appear indistinct, and the conceptions put forth may be under the necessity of being expanded or modified, when the whole system in its completeness is given out. Until then, it would be improper to form any hasty ideas as regards the highest aims and objects of the said system, or its insufficiency to serve as “a perfect system of thought and rule of life.”
Referring to the administrative problems of the London Lodge, TSR says: the President-Founder, who will be in London within a short time of the receipt of the present, will be best competent to deal with them, in accordance with instructions received by him from the Mahatmas – his, and our guides and MASTERS.
The Last Straw
Mr Daniel Caldwell, brought out a letter of HPB to W Q Judge (undated but envelope post-marked London June 5, 1888) (in his bn-study on 9 Dec 2003) where certain matters pertaining to the seeming differences between HPB and TSR were mentioned. The letter is reproduced here verbatim, with compiler’s comments and remarks.
My Dear Judge,
A few words but most serious. Subba Row, Cooper-Oakley, N Cook have resigned from the TS and left Adyar.
Comment: TSR was not living in Adyar. Perhaps what was meant is that he left the Adyar TS. TSR was an advocate practicing in the High Court of Judicature and lived in a rented house in Triplicane – till almost the time he died (1890).
Olcott with his usual tact having, on SR’s request, to announce this in the Theosophist, wrote to say in a brief para “non committal as possible” as he expresses it that the reason for it is “strained relations between him (SR) and yourself(HPB). Well, that is probably done.
Comment: The main reason for the ‘strained relations’ seems only be that TSR felt that HPB was revealing ‘too much’ for the profane.
The strain is
mainly because of ‘the third parties’, as was felt by HSO, (mentioned in his
obituary note published in the Theosophist; and later in the preliminary pages
to the text ‘Esoteric Writings of T Subba Row’ (TPH, latest edition
The popular notion even today is that the differences are due to the 7 and 4 principles tussle. HPB, later, explained in a Chapter in ‘The Secret Doctrine’ (Vol.ii, p. The Mysteries of Hebdomad - 1888) and her ‘Key to Theosophy’ (1889 that the 4 fold division may be adopted, profitably, by the future generations. Her assertions were very clear:
Our chief point in the present subject, however, has been to show that the septenary doctrine, or divisions of the constitution of the man, was very ancient one, and was not invented by us.
It ( the 7 fold classification) is no more the property of the Trans- than it is of the Cis-Himalayan Esoteric Doctrine, but is simply the common inheritance of all such schools, left to the sages of the 5th Root-Race by the great Siddhas of the 4th.
matter more current here, is the refusal of TSR ‘not to have anything to do’
with the Secret Doctrine, as against his original proposal of rendering
‘assistance’ to the author (HPB).
The Secret Doctrine was not published by then.
All I know is, that (at the) first word about SR or CO or any of the SR will come down heavily upon myself, Olcott and the Secret Doctrine. It will be a new scandal worse than that of Coulomb. It is your address to me in the “Path” that broke the last straw. Well, I ask you in the name of the Masters for my sake & that of the Cause, not to mention their resignations by a single word in “Path”. Let it pass unnoticed. He is ready to pounce on us, supported by CO & MC & others. I will not say one word in Lucifer, just as if he had never existed.
Comment: TSR did not write a word about the Secret Doctrine after its publication, though he was alive for 1 year and a half. The only word we have is that he ‘liked the Proem”, that too in one of HPB’s letters to HSO. This was earlier to the publication.
You know that SR claimed for the two past years to be in communication with my Master, actually with M!!! That he showed Sanskrit letters from Him (no handwriting no indiscrete calligraphy – in Sanskrit!) to himself, & translated them to CO. The letters were to the effect that he SR had to reform the Society, & hinted that I, HPB had been given up by the Masters!! CO who has chosen SR for his guru, who worships him as does N Cook believes in him explicitly. What are the “Muslin & bladder Mahatmas” of the Coulombs compared to such doings!! Bus, bus – I must say nothing, however much I may be disgusted.
Comment: Whatever be the source/information for HPB on this, TSR did not do anything of the sort ‘to reform’ the Society. There is no further information to collaborate that TSR spoke ‘bad and derogatory’ about HPB. CO and NC may be treating TSR as their guru since he was imparting them some sort of esoteric knowledge. TSR maintained cordial relationship with HSO and the TS, even after he left the Society and until his end.
But, as the ranks thin around us, & one after the other our best intellectual Forces depart to turn bitter enemies – I say – Blessed are the pure hearted who have not only intuition for intuition is better than intellect. I will copy your paper [&] send it to you this week.
Yours ever, HPB
Comment: HPB is really sad that ‘Intellectual Forces’ are leaving the Society, one after the other. Saddest part of that is perhaps ‘they turn bitter enemies’. Here, again, she makes the clear distinction between the ‘intellect’ and ‘intuition’. The ‘pure hearted’ should have only ‘intuition’ and guard against the sweep of ‘intellect’. This is the ‘Great Blessing’ one should earn and achieve.
Mr Caldwell had two more postings:
1) Jerome Wheeler’s quote from a letter from “Letters of HPB to A P Sinnett, p.95-96” where HPB indents TSR’s reply thus:
You have been guilty of the most terrible crimes. You have given our secrets of Occultism – the most sacred and the most hidden. Rather hat you should be sacrificed than that which was never mean for European minds. People had too much faith in you. It was time to throw doubt into their minds. Otherwise they should have pumped out of you all that you know.
Again, a letter dated June 14, 1885 from C W Leadbeater (in India) relates what TSR told him about ‘the remarkable complex character’ of HPB. The letter ends with this remark: Poor old lady! Her life has truly been a wonderful one, and who can say what will still come of it!
2) The second one is an extract from a letter of HPB to N D Khandalwala, dated July 12, 1888. This gives a rebut to Mrs. Ookley’s claim that her husband was receiving letters from the Master through TSR.
Whatever be the claims and counter-claims, TSR though he has his own ‘crystallized opinions’ on ‘revelations of Occult Science’ did not at any time work against the TS, nor did he speak ‘derogatory’ about HPB.
T Subba Row(1856-90) gave the Lectures on Bhagavad-Gita in the year 1886 (December).
In the first Lecture itself, he stated his ‘observations’ on the Seven Principles (as adopted by Theosophical literature); and raised his comments as to how the division is ‘unscientific’ and ‘not sanctioned’ by any Hindu scriptures. Thereupon, correspondence ensued between HPB, TSR and many other interested parties. This ultimately led to a crisis and TSR along with some of his students left the Society. It is felt, and also part of record, that the ‘schism’ as to the Principles was the main Cause of his leaving the Society.
It seems, after a long duration of time and availability of certain correspondence, that this is not the “Cause” at all.
TSR had, all the time, his own conservative ideas upon the secrets of Occult Science and its openness to all and sundry. He was willing to teach to those ‘who he considered eligible to receive’ and to the ‘extent they could advantage by that knowledge’.
His feeling was that she was revealing ‘much’ to the ‘profane’ and this pertinent notion was working in his mind at the time.
In one of the letters to A P Sinnett, (p.95-6 of Letters of HPB to APS) she writes thus:
Has he (T S R) not gravely given out to Mr and Mrs C O that I was henceforth ‘a shell deserted and abandoned by the Masters?’ When I took him for it to task, he answered: ‘You have been guilty of the most terrible of crimes. You have given out secrets of Occultism – the most sacred and the most hidden. Rather that you should be sacrificed than that which was never meant for European minds people had too much faith in you. It was time to throw doubt into their minds. Otherwise they should have pumped out of you all that you know.’ And he is acting on that principle.’
The ‘Protest’ that appeared in the “Path’ is also on record as one of the last straws for his resignation.
He did not want many items of information mentioned therein to be brought out. That he liked the ‘Proem’ is what he told HSO. During his talks on Bhagavad-Gita, TSR did mention about ‘The secret Doctrine’. The following are the references:
A clear discussion of these questions will lead us into consideration that go far down into the mysteries of occult science, and to explain which I should have to take into account a number of theories that can only be communicated at time of initiation. Possibly some light will be thrown upon the subject in the forthcoming “Secret Doctrine,” but it would be premature for me to discuss the question at this stage. (Last part of Lecture 2)
An attempt will be made in the “Secret Doctrine” to indicate the nature of this mystery (Krishna speaking from the stand-point of Logos in abstract), as far as possible, but it must not be imagined that the veil will be completely drawn, and the total mystery will be revealed. Only hints will be given by the help of which you will have to examine and understand the subject, (3rd Lecture)
From the above, it is clear and evident that he did not abandon the idea of hisassisting in the writing of the Secret Doctrine, at least by that time (end of 1886).
Another point to be noticed is that Col. Olcott or any other listener of the Bhagavad-Gita talks did not anticipate that his statement on the ‘Principles’ would blow that high to bring the crisis.
The diary entries of Col. Olcott read thus:
On 27 Dec 1886: Subba Row lectured at 9-00 am very ably on the Gita.
On 31 Dec 1886: Subba Row gave his fourth lecture this morning to the admiration of everybody. A marvelous intellect – clear and profound.
Col. Olcott always felt that the differences are mainly due to the ‘middle-men’.
Coming back to the differences on Principles, it is earlier stated how HPB balance the situation, comfortably well, in her Chapter in ‘The Secret Doctrine’, as also in her ‘The Key to Theosophy’.
The differences upon philosophical systems of thought and adaptation by people are not uncommon. The parting of ways must be because of the reasons, as explained.
ARTICLES CULLED FROM TSR’S REVIEWS
Rules of Life
A ‘perfect man’ is not made to order but is a product of evolution. Wisdom is not a matter of book-learning but of growth. General rules for conduct can be given, but to apply them properly, the power of discrimination is necessary.
A man who is good by the yard or according to prescription, is usually a sort of goody-goody fellow, such as we find amongst temple-goers, and who are usually the pride of congregation. They do what they believe to be good, because it is prescribed, they are in abject fear of punishment and afraid to displease God. The good they do goes very much against their own inclination, and they often pretend to hate sin, while they are actually craving for it.
The moral world may be compared to a pair of scales. Insanity sits on both ends of the beam, while wisdom rests in the middle. A person, who would give away his coat to the first one who asks for it, would be a fool, and he, who would after having received a blow on one cheek, would present his other cheek to get another blow, would be a vain idiot and a coward, and would richly deserve a good many blows.
The sayings of Christ, of Buddha, Confucius and others, are represented in the flowery language of the East, and he, who takes them in their literal sense, makes a great mistake as he who rejects them. If they preach charity, they do not want to make us spendthrifts; if they inculcate humility, they do not want to create cowards; if they teach unselfishness, they do not want us to become beggars, who have to depend on the labors of others for subsistence. Justice means justice to ourselves as well as justice to others. And he, who errs on one side, is as much in error as he who errs on the other side.
There is often the greatest similarity between a great saint and a great sinner; the former is good without being sagacious, the other is sagacious without being good. Torquemada (1420-1498), a Spanish inquisitor-general and Robespierre (1758-1794), a French revolutionist represent the opposite poles and both were unselfish. Their opinions were opposite, and yet they both committed the same crimes against nature. They were great saints and great criminals, and yet they were great men, because they acted up to a principle without taking their personal advantages into consideration.
A virtue, practiced without moderation, becomes a crime. To know how to find the point of equilibrium is the great secret of the Adept, that cannot be told but must be learned by experience, when sagacity and goodness will be united in wisdom.
There is a common error in speaking of the powers and privileges of an Adept. One who has attained this stage, can neither coin money, make bars of gold, nor create clothing for himself, nor get his food from the ether. This is the custom of the practitioners of that debased science called the Black Magic. The true Adept would cease to be such if he could apply his psychic powers to selfish ends. For the good of the deserving poor or suffering, or of Humanity in the mass, he is at liberty to make use of them under exceptional circumstances.
In point of fact, this is one chief aim in view of his adeptship, and there are crises where a number of adepts are said to combine their psychical powers for the good of a portion or the whole of the race, as upon the lowest plane of action, a number of men combine their muscular strength for a mechanical result.
The aspiration of the would-be Adept is to learn that he may teach, become wise that he may understand, and spiritually strong that he may help the weak but willing. For a specific definition of the steps of self-denying philanthropy by which one may evolve out of the brutal into the spiritual plane, the simple codes of ethics which we have inherited from all the ancient, and are endorsed by all the best modern sages - are to be pointed.
Zoroaster’s religion is distilled into three words, which mean “Good thoughts: Good words: Good deeds.” One need not care if he be in Sherman, Texas, or Madras, India, if he is minded to try the prescription.
[ As published in The Theosophist, Vol. VI, January 1885. This can also be seen at p.298-300 of the TSR:Collected Writings, vol.2]
The Hindu Philosophy
In studying the ancient texts of Indian philosophy certain important points must not be lost sight of. The words gradually begin to change their meaning. In determining the meaning of particular passages, the age of those passages, the particular significance attached to certain words those times must be kept in mind. For instance, the word yajna: it is easy to translate it as animal sacrifice suggesting that they were imperatively demanded in ancient times. It will not be unreasonable to suppose that the primitive meaning of the word might have been what its etymology signifies. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root yaja meaning ‘to worship’ and the word yajna meant ‘divine worship.’ The highest worship demanded of an aspirant after divine knowledge, is the surrounding or the sacrifice of animal passions or, what is called technically, the animal ego in man. Is it then difficult to conceive how the sublime idea of the sacrifice of one’s lower or animal nature got in time corrupted into the sacrifice of lower animals?
Whoever has studied the law of cycles and of progress, has probably noticed that generally there are three stages of progress or deterioration. At first the esoteric significance of the idea, for a time, remains intact. People gradually begin to lose sight of the primitive idea and fight for its shell of external rites and ceremonies. The age of ritualism then succeeds for a time. And lastly comes the stage of black negation. Ritualism, often degenerating into sensationalism, drives a thinking mind to deny the efficacy of every and anything. But this third stage cannot last long. It but precedes, and again ushers in, the era of intellectual inquiry, which finally brings society back to the recognition of esoteric truth.
The cycles run their rounds, and each nation, following after its predecessors, has sprung up, thrived and sunk finally into insignificance. Each had its day of glory, its rise and fall. And if the law of the survival of the fittest be applied to all nations, the only one that can stand the test is India. She has seen the rise and fall of many peoples, but herself standing yet erect amid their ruins, however worn out she may now look.
If one reads Mahanirvana-Tantra, a book recognized as an authority, it will be found that the word yajna does not mean the offering of animal sacrifices. Each age and era has its own ideas of literature; and the writers of a particular era may present their ideas in a language most suited to the tastes and requirements of their times. When we apply our modern standards to these times, the confusion of ideas becomes worse confounded. Moreover, there are no English equivalents for many Sanskrit words. For instance, there is but one word ‘soul’ to indicate the different entities of the Aryan philosophies. Now the West has begun to think that perhaps the body and the soul are not the only two factors which go to make up what is called Man and that there are several modifications to be taken into account. Another cause of confusion is the words Brahma and Parabrahman are used as synonyms, while in reality they refer to two distinct principles. Brahma is esoterically identified with the Divine Mind, the universal fifth principle, according to modern theosophical phraseology; while Parabrahman is the universal seventh principle, the boundless circle. As consciousness, which differentiates between subject and object and hence gives rise to the idea of existence, is the capacity or function of the mind, Brahma is called the Creator. It is the differentiation in, and consequent development of, the feeling of personality, which gives rise to the phenomenal world. Take away consciousness, which can cognize between subject and object, and what does the creation resolve itself into? Therefore this Brahma has also been regarded as the most mysterious being, constantly engaged in the work of creation. The popular mind cannot of course be expected to rise above the gross conception of a creator, and hence Parabrahman, the endless circle, was often mistaken to be Brahma itself.
Similarly, in talking of Prakriti, certain distinctions have to be kept in view. The Hindu philosophers recognized that principle in three aspects, namely:
Moola prakriti, the undifferentiated cosmic matter
Avyakta prakriti, differentiated but unmanifested cosmic matter and
Vyakta Prakriti, differentiated and manifested Prakriti.
If these different aspects of Prakriti and their correlations be not kept in view, the student gets entangled in the meshes of Indian philosophical disquisitions. If with these facts in view, one reads the Kapila’s Samkhya philosophy, a great number of passages will be found pregnant with thought. According to Kapila “Intelligence, the first product or evolute of self-evolving Prakriti is called great (Mahat) because it is a principle of ‘superlative purity,’ and occupies in creation the same place as the Prime Minister of a country. Mahat, in esoteric science, is Divine Glory. From this is evolved the ‘egoizer’ (Ahamkara), and then come the five tenuous elements. These seven principles are evolutes of Prakriti, and evolvent; and to their omnific activity, or prolific energy, creation in its multifarious aspects, is to be traced.
Who can read this without being reminded of the Hindu tradition that the Sapta(seven) Rishis are the creators of this world? And what is more, the subtler five elements are said to have their grosser counterparts. Thus it is the number twelve, which forms the basis of creation – a number which considered to be perfect according to the Pythagorean system.
Now, it is said that there is a Brotherhood in existence, which has received its Knowledge from the primary seven Rishis, and whose organization is based exactly upon the process of evolution employed by Nature. Tradition fixes its local habitation on Mount Kailasa, which is said to be somewhere on the other side of Himalayas. According to its organization, there is at its head a Mysterious Being who is supposed to be the guardian of the Ineffable Name, the Representative of the Highest Logos. He is in short a God, though not the God. His mysterious workings are shadowed forth here and there in some of the sacred writings; and very little of Him is known to the outside world. The other mysterious being, who is supposed to be the active agent, is now and then referred to as Maha--- . under them are said to be five Chohans who are never seen; but there are five other counterparts of these, who are occasionally visible to mankind. Each of them is credited with being a special representation of a particular principle, whose action is his action; and it is by a harmonious working of these principles together that the phenomenal is created and sustained. Veiled as these ideas may be, they come before the mental vision of the reader as he peruses the teachings of the sage Kapila.
Some think that Kapila’s system is entirely materialistic and Vedantism is pantheistic. After all, it all resolves into a quibbling of words; while the basic idea, represented by them, is one and the same.
Yoga philosophy is too to be understood in its right perspective. Some think that even the teaching that pleasure and pain, good and evil, are fictions of human imagination and they lead to immorality. So long a person is steeped in immorality, he cannot but feel pleasure and pain, happiness or sorrow,&c. it is imagination that gives rise to ideas and leads us to acts which involve us in misery, pain, sorrow,&c. therefore, he who would be free has to control his imagination. He should be the master, and makes of the imagination his slave. He then becomes, constitutionally incapable of doing anything (even in though, for thought is action on a higher plane ) opposed to the higher purposes of Nature. He, who, by self-control, has controlled his imagination, becomes a part of Nature in her higher aspect, and, in that position, his ideation guides the working of higher impulses of Nature. It is to this state to which reference is made by Hindu philosophers when they speak of the passivity a Yogi attains.
[Adapted from a review article of T Subba Row published in The Theosophist, vol.VI,]
Cosmology in Bhagavadgita
T Subba Row in his first lecture on Bhagavad-Gita (1885) says:
Any system of practical instruction for spiritual guidance will have to be judged, first with reference to the nature and condition of man and the capabilities that are locked up in him; secondly, with reference to the cosmos and the forces to which man is subject and the circumstances under which he has to progress.
We can subdivide the study under into many topics and still each falls into two categories viz. Man and Cosmos. Study of one necessarily leads to the other. Man and Cosmos could not be studied in isolation and in separation for the simple reason that the two are interrelated and interdependent. Cosmos contrives into the man and the later is the cosmos in miniature. Hitherto this was a mere philosophic statement but today the scientific revelations and affirmations vouch for this.
The correspondences between the Cosmos, which is in itself a stepped-down form of the Divine Principle, and the Physical man (outer vesture) not to speak of the Real Man are very vividly drawn out and explained by Madame H P Blavatsky in her The Secret Doctrine (Diagram 1 in vol.5). More one becomes proficient in the assimilation of the idea of these correspondences easier will it be his task of living the life to its full brim (in other words, the living of the spiritual life).
1. Parabrahmam exists before all things in the cosmos. It is the one essence from which a centre of energy arrives into existence. We shall call this centre the Logos.
2. Logos is not different in substance or in its essence from Parabrahmam. Yet it as an individualized existence. It exists in a latent condition in the bosom of Parabrahmam, at the time of pralaya.
Logos of is the first manifestation of Parabrahmam. This is the beginning of all evolution and the end too. It is the One Source of all energy in the cosmos. Parabrahmam is its Moolaprakriti. It is the material to it.
3. This Moolaprakriti is not Parabrahmam now. Parabrahmam is an unconditioned and absolute reality, and Moolaprakriti is a sort of veil thrown over it.
4. The first manifestation of Parabrahmam is a Trinity. This is a highest trinity about which we do not understand anything. (I) Moolaprakriti (2) Logos (3) Conscious energy of Logos, which we call as Daiviprakriti.
Moolaprakriti is known as Avyaktam(Samkhya) and Kutastha(Bhagavadgita)
Man is the child of this Light, Daiviprakriti (as the Logos manifests in him).
[Daiviprakriti is the mother of the Logos is also the daughter of Logos. Gayatri symbolizes this Light but this energy is not drawn from the physical sun but the Central Sun of the Light of Wisdom. This LIGHT is called the Mahachaitanyam of the whole cosmos. It is the life of the whole of nature.
The other way of looking at the Order in Cosmos is Parabrahmam, the Logos (Iswara), Daiviprakriti and the veil over the P. the Moolaprakriti. Creation is commenced by the Intellectual energy of the Logos.
[This Light of the Logos is called Fohat in the Buddhist books.]
We shall now look to the process of manifestation.
Within Logos springs up an image or a conception of what it should be in the cosmos. The Light of the Logos catches this image and impresses it upon the cosmic matter, which has already manifested.
Then come up into existence all the manifested solar systems.
The four principles we stated above are Eternal. They are common to the whole cosmos. [Four fold classification of the manifestation flows from these elements, naturally.]
The manifested solar system in all its principles and in its totality --- constitutes the Sthulasarira of the whole cosmos.
Light that emanates from the Logos is the Sukshma Sarira.
Logos, which is the one germ from which the whole cosmos springs, is the Karana sarira.
Parabrahmam is the Absolute of this system (comparable -- Atma to Man).
We shall now look into the four principles that make the Solar system.
1.Vaishwanara --- the physical base
2. Hiranyagarbha --- the subtle base
3. Sutratma --- the karana base
4. Parabrahmam --- the Absolute/ Avyaktam.
We shall also now see the four principles that make the Man.
1. The physical body( Sthula sarira)
2. The subtle body (Sukshma sarira)
3. The causal body (Karana sarira) -- this is the centre of prajna, the centre of the force which is differentiated as is the case with sutratma above.
4. The light of the Logos .
The reflected Image of the Logos formed by the action of this Light or Karana sarira may be considered as the 4th principle in man and it has been so considered by certain philosophers. But in reality the real entity is the light itself and not the reflected image.
The names and terminology adopted here is of the Tharakayoga. Tharam=Pranava, is the symbol of the manifested man. The three Matras symbolize the three principles or the manifestations of the original Mulaprakriti in the solar system.
The whole of the manifested solar system is within the field of physical research. In course of time, physical science will be able to penetrate deep into the underlying basis, that corresponds to the Sutratma of our Vedic writers.
Science does definitely formulate the existence of finer planes of the
Deva does not mean 'GOD'. All the devaganas mentioned in Puranas are not in Swarga. Vasus, Rudras, Adityas and some other classes are strictly called Devas. Yakshas, Gandharvas, Kinneras and several other ganas are those who exist in the plane of asrtal light. They go by the name 'elementals' in theosophical literature.
Our astral body has affinity with the elementals; and similarly the Karana sarira with the Devas.
Hindu system has divided the cosmos into three planes of nature (lokas). Bhu-Bhuvar and Suvarloka-s. Bhuloka is the physical plane, Bhuvar loka is the astral, also called Antariksham in the Upanishads. Suvarloka is called Swargam; and it is the Devachan. Higher orders of the devaganams live here.
Karana sarira is the body in which the 'higher individuality of man' exists. It is capable of existing independently of the astral body. Its plane of existence is sutratma. Successive personalities are strung on this karana sarira.
All the associations and ideas of mental states a human being experiences are not necessarily communicated to the astral man or karana sarira. It is moreover but consistent with justice that all our mental states should not be preserved.
All that goes into the intellectual nature of man, all the higher emotions of the human soul and intellectual tastes generated in man with all his higher aspirations do become impressed almost indelibly on the karana sarira. The astral body is the seat of the lower nature of man.
Karana sarira is the real ego that subsists incarnation after incarnation. It is primarily the result of the action of the light of the Logos, which is its life and energy and its source of consciousness on that plane of Mulaprakriti (Sutratma) and which is its physical or material basis.
All great religions have inculcated the great truth, that man should not (for the sake of gain or profit or for the acquisition of any object) worship any such powers but should wholly devote his attention to the one true Logos accepted by every true and great religion in the world. That alone will lead him on the true moral path. He shall then only rise to the level of manifested Eswara of the cosmos, and as the source of spiritual enlightenment to generations to come.
Mahavishnu is a god, and is representative of the Logos.
Narayana, whose energy and wisdom were manifested through the man Krishna, was a separate spiritual power manifesting itself for the time being through this individual.
This Mahavishnu is the Dhyan Chohan that first appeared on this planet when human evolution commence during this Kalpa. He has set the human evolution in motion and it is his responsibility to watch over the interests of humanity until the seven manvantaras (thro' which we are passing through now).
The Logos, its Light and Mulaprakriti constitute the Tatwatraya of the Vaishnavites. [Easwara, chit and achit are their names in that school]
In itself Logos has no form; clothed in its light it assumes a form which is, a symbol of the impulses operating, or about to operate, in the cosmos at the time of the manifestation.
What is needed is a purer faith in the philosophy of religion and this is the only way for enlightenment.
Occultism in South India
T.Subba Row in his letter to Madame H.P.Blavatsky dated 3-8-1882 made certain claims. He did take HPB and others to the Ashrams of Rishis living in South India. The Science being of high sophistication and Sacredness the living saints do not come open into the world and try to popularize their systems. When the eligible persons are available they spare no pains to get in touch and guide them.
South India has always been a seat of Occultism. Rishi Agasthya travelled from North to South and stayed on here for certain reasons. Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhwa, to speak of only a few, were born here and made significant contribution to the Occult Sciences.
In modern times, many saints such as Aurobindo, Ramalingaswamy, Valluvar, Vemana, CVV were born here and formulated their Occult philosophies. There are any number of schools popularizing Occultism, Religious philosophy and Yoga systems. Achala and Taraka Raja yoga systems are ancient and still well known to their followers.
Occultism is the work of Universal mind on Nature, which includes the human-nature. It is a path to perfection and Realization, in the true sense of the term.
From the Logos who is heading the solar system, out-going energy flows through 7 centres of force. As these 7 Rays of Light come forth, so too there are 7 types of Adepts , in strict accordance of this classification are of 7 types. The first two classes of Adepts are rare in manifestation. Once in 2 or 3 thousand - year period one may appear on earth. Sankara and Buddha belong to these classes. The adepts of the other classes are always available on earth.
In Occultism, there are two distinct classes of tradition: Himalayan and the Southern. Though the aim pursuit of the adepts belonging to the two schools is the same, it is not necessary that those of south Indian system should dovetail to the Himalayan/Tibetan School.
There is a clear Guruparampara in each of the systems. An adept while leaving his body selects an eligible Disciple and transfers all his spiritual knowledge and Wisdom to him for furtherance of the cause. The Teacher always overshadows his disciple and because of the stupendous skills and powers he exhibits we call him an Avatara many times. There are avataras and also those who have come up of their own struggle and strife (as we see in the case of Buddha - the Flower of the 4th root race.)
In the South school, there is lot of study connected with the states of consciousness. Jagrat, Svapna and Sushupti are the popular names given to these states but what is peculiar is the sub-states in each of them making a total of nine. The 9 stages of consciousness are tabulated underneath:
Jagrat Jagrat - waking consc.
Sushupti- dreamless sleep
Svapna Jagrat - waking clairvoyance
Svapna -somnumbulic clairvoyance
Sushupti Jagrat - devachan
Svapna- between planets
Sushupti- between rounds
Above these 9 stages, come the true mystic states of consciousness.
Adepts have access to these.
Atma or self observes the nine classes of objects which means such and such a consc. Is active.
There are seven senses according to Occult Science but the fact is the higher two are not yet developed. So the South school speaks of only 5 senses. There are 7 factors in each plane of the consciousness. But only 5 are active. The 6th factor is Mind. The 7th is Atma. Mind draws deductions from the impressions of the senses when collected and arranged. Atma observes the generalization that the mind makes from the impressions of the senses.
Seven rays emerging from the Logos are separate and subsequently co-mingle in the formation of all beings. When the individual begins his course of evolution, these rays are equally balanced in him. In the course of man's actions, his karma causes him to come under the particular influence of a Ray. He must make progress under this ray till he merges his life in the life of the Logos— the grand fountain-head of light and power.
Even as the merger takes place, man will not lose his individuality; he enjoys an almost infinite extension of individuality. Even as an individual merges with a particular Logos, the touch or contact with the other Logoi will not die down. He shares in and experiences their consciousness also.
We cannot possibly understand the relationship of Atma on any plane with the Logos. This relationship will be known only after the last initiation is taken. Then he will thoroughly understand his spiritual nature, sees the way to the Logos but it may take him several incarnations after the last initiation before he can merge in the Logos.
The South school recognizes 2 paths to the same end, the glorified Immortality.
(i) Steady natural path of progress through moral effort and practice of virtues.
(ii) Precipitous path of occultism through a series of initiations.
The second path is dangerous to those who do not hold the talisman which ensures safety. This talisman is: a perfectly unselfish, self-forgetting, self-annihilating devotion to the religious good of mankind, a self-abnegation.
The South school recommends only the first path, not again saying that second path is not to be adopted at all. Disciple is sufficiently warned so that he does not hamper his own progress.
The first path is methodical this way:
(i) A devotion to virtue.
(ii) A gradual withdrawal from the grosser material concerns.
(iii)A withdrawal of life forces from the outward world and its interests.
(iv) The direction of these forces to the inner life of the soul, until the man is able to withdraw himself within himself.
(v) Turn round to direct himself towards the Logos and the spiritual life and away from the material plane, he passes first into the astral life, and then into spiritual life, till at last the Logos is reached, and Nirvana is attained.
South school recommends the safe path; with reservation that if the disciple is fit for it his Karma will lead him to the second path. Path of occultism seeks the disciple and will not fail to find him, when the fit man presents himself.
T.Subba Row, though he does not categorically indicate as such, is suggesting the Taraka Raja Yoga system for general adoption by the aspirants.
Some Factors of Occult Philosophy
T Subba Row gives out some factors of Occult Philosophy, when he answered questions put by some delegates to the Annual Convention of the Theosophical Society in 1884 and 1885. These answers focus more light on three distinct topics: Devachan; Human Monad and Logos. Devachan is a word that can be mentioned as Swarga and Logos indicates Iswara in the Indian context. An attempt is made here to provide the gist of his saying.
Devachan: The time-scale here is longer compared to what we experience on earth. Energy exerted on astral/mental planes of Nature produces effects lasting for a long period. The definite length of time one spends in Devachan depends ‘a great deal upon the nature and development of the spiritual monad in the man’ and also on the impulse it generates in the effects, and on the nature of one’s aspirations.
‘Good work on the physical plane helps on our spiritual development.’ Good work means ‘formation of habits’ and ‘concentration of good influences on the doer in subtler planes.’ Action is to be judged a) by their effects and b) by the inward impulses prompting the act.
Devachanic existence is immediate after death for ‘very good people.’ The transition of Kama-loka is not felt.
Human Monad: It is not identical with the seventh principle, the Atma or Logos. It is the energy which works through the sixth principle. It is the energy diffused from the Logos, the One Life proceeding from the Logos as an active entity.
Logos: Parabrahmam is the One element-emergence as an active force. Logos is also One element in its active condition. This is also the Will-power of Nature. This produces Consciousness and every other physical fact in the manifested universe.
Monad is latent in the One Life through out. Its appearance as ‘an active energy’ makes it the germ of consciousness. This is Atma. Each Logos has a consciousness of its own- consciousness which is ‘non-consciousness’, i.e.; a state of consciousness unlike the state of consciousness with which we are familiar or acquainted with.
The information he conveyed in 1885 mainly concerns the ‘Thought transference.’
There is an existence of Astral-fluid throughout the Solar system, the manifested one, and not beyond it.
He defines certain terms for our clear understanding.
A) Akasa: It is a much higher kind of Cosmic ether. It exists as a link between our Solar system and the. It is as ‘infinite’ as the Original Cosmic matter. It is the result of motion in Cosmic matter.
B) Astral Light is not Akasa but a different kind of cosmic matter. It is that entity in the manifested Solar system which corresponds to what is called the fourth principle in man. It is a manifestation of undifferentiated matter. It is a kind of matter far more ethereal than what we are familiar with. Matter in its ultra-gaseous condition, radiant matter. It exists uniformly through out space in the Solar system, yet denser around certain objects, by reason of their molecular action, eg. Brain and Spinal chord of human beings. Hence it forms the ‘aura’. It is this ‘aura’ round the nerve cells and nerve tubes which enables a man to catch the impressions made upon the Astral Light in the Cosmos.
Mental phenomenon is divided by modern psychologists into three classes: Intellectual Images; Emotions; Volition.
Volition makes itself felt by an increase of vibration in the actual aura.
Intellectual image makes itself felt by the impression of the Image on the matter.
There is change of color which changes the spiritual feelings. Color corresponds to Emotions.
This division is different in occultist’s point of view.
All mental ideas have their pictures in Astral Light. Then they move to pictures in brain.
‘Nerve current’ in the brain is the intermediate link between the two. This is the medium for Thought transference.
Astral Light is the object of direct perception to the Adepts.’ Existence astral Light and the fact that it concentrates itself more thickly around the brain and nervous system than elsewhere --- is the factor that makes the thought transference possible. Nature has provided this to man. Mind must be ‘passive’ to receive the thought transferred. That is the reason for the child to be more effective compared to an adult. Every thought is accompanied by ‘an alteration in the nervous fluid (the aura surrounding it).’
Nerve fluid has its own aura, which is “odic” aura of man. Prime ether has its on aura, which is Akasa. All auras have a common base; they are all akin to the magnetic fluid in the Cosmos.
Every thought affects the nerve currents of the brain or nerve. This is the vibration which is caught up by the Astral aura. This aura communicates with the astral fluid with which it is in contact.
This vibration affects the odic aura round the thinker’s brain, and is transmitted to the brain to which the thought is transferred. It is converted into a particular kind of motion in his aura and thus immediately transmitted to his brain. If the Will-power of the operator is not strong enough to give a direction to the vibration generated in the Astral fluid, “touch” is generally required.
Astral fluid comes into existence when certain kinds of differentiation take place in the original Mula Prakriti.
For ordinary thought-transference, mo mediation of any elemental is necessary.
T Subba Row gives many examples, but concludes that there can be no detailed explanation without further particulars in each case.
OCCULTISM : ANCIENT AND MODERN
The term ‘occultism’ is a derivative of ‘occult’ which has its origin in Latin word ‘occulere’ meaning ‘conceal’. Madame Blavatsky brought currency to this word in her articles and books, using it in identical meaning with ‘Adhyatma Vidya’ in India. She, in her essay ‘Practical Occultism’ even suggests that ‘it is easy to become a theosophist’ but ‘it is quite another matter to oneself upon the Path which leads to the knowledge of what is good to do, as to right discrimination of good from evil, a path which also leads a man to that power through which he can do the good he desires, often without even apparently lifting a finger’. This long descriptive statement is her explanation to the term ‘occultism’. She raised the status of ‘occultism’ to a stature of ‘Wisdom’ (Jnana) in the East and to that of ‘Science’ in the West. She began mentioning terms ‘Occult Wisdom’ and ‘Occult Science’ too often in her writings. Many times she refers in her ‘The Secret Doctrine’ to ‘Occult Philosophy’ as an expression of the accumulated wisdom of the ages.
She refers to Occult Sciences as the science of the secrets of nature – physical, psychic, mental and spiritual. She identified ‘Kabbalah’ in the West as the occult science while in the East she refers to those ‘mysticism, magic and yoga philosophy’ which constitute the ‘seventh darshana, there being only six darshanas in India known to the world of the profane.’
It has come to mean ‘Atma Vidya’ in India which is a comprehensive term for all knowledge about manifest and the unmanifest. When the term was introduced in the West, and references to Hermes, Kabbalah and the modern neo-Platonism were drawn in explanations, the learners started dividing the theme into ancient and modern occultism and wondering how they could be fused. When a reference was made to T Subba Row to explain what ‘modern occultism’ is, he wrote a short letter in reply. This letter contains lot of information worth noticing and fit to be kept on record for all time.
T Subba Row asserts that there is no difference between ancient and modern occultism. Occultism is ‘founded on the same principles’ but is ‘expressed in varied terms in different ages.’ His explanation of the term, precisely, is: ‘It is the Science or Wisdom giving a true and accurate explanation of the workings of the laws of nature, together with their application, throughout the Universe.’ ‘It is the science of the origin, destiny and powers of the universe, and all things therein.’ ‘Occultism again is a term derived from ‘occult’ which is identical in spirit and letter to the term ‘Seer’(darshi) or Yogi(mystic).
An occultist uses ‘the invisible forces of Nature’ to provide currents of heat, electricity etc. ‘as elements in their higher and more spiritual forms.’ The scientist on earth has to split these ‘elements’ to the lower material plane and make ‘primary substances’ of them for his experimentation. For an occultist all nature is a ‘unity’. This unity is ‘composed of manifestation on different planes; the perception of which planes depends on the development of the perceiver.’ Thus we see that this unity is made up of the constituents at various levels/planes, not a ‘make-believe’ but an inherent root or source of all. This primary understanding of the term ‘unity’ is necessary for one to move further into the matters of spiritual/divine import, particularly the energies at work.
An occultist believes that all things in manifestation develop by ‘evolution’ and this is ‘the law pervading all.’ Divine Logos is the original source. Human, a lower expression, has ‘almost infinite development’ as his/her capacity. This is vouched as an Eternal Truth. Man, in the course of his development attains additional powers (faculties) of perception and action. He becomes capable of controlling elements. All the powers attributed to ‘personal god’ gradually become tools to him for employment and utilization.
An occultist believes that Nature and its Laws are One. All action by men and women of the world ‘contrary to these laws’ will get destroyed by nature. A developed man or one who would aspire to attain divinity must therefore ‘become a co-worker with nature’. All action in conformity with the One Law alone sustains and brings good to humanity. Men and women of the world should work ‘unswervingly’ for the highest good.’
Occultism gives ‘a rational sanction for right conduct’. No other system offers this sanction, Subba Row is affirmative, when he says, ‘morality is a cosmic law’ but ‘not a superstition’ or super imposition by man.
Realization of the ‘unity of nature’ is fundamental knowledge needed to an aspirant. Then he easily responds to the idea that ‘one life pervades all’. This ‘one life’ is working in men and women of the world, within and without. Within it is called ‘conscience’ (Antaraatma), which discriminates right from wrong, but also is the seed of ‘a higher faculty of perception’, ‘a light to guide’. This gets reflected as ‘Will’, a force capable of indefinite increase and extension (Itcha-shakti). This seed is the Jnana (shakti solidified) and as is propelled by Itcha, modifies itself into Kriya-shakti. Itcha, Jnana and Kriyashaktis are interrelated and intertwined energies (forces) in men and women of the world. They have their root in the original source.
Forces of nature have been personified in the mythology. They thus become ‘partial expressions’ of the Universal Truth. An intuitive study of the mythological accounts will pave way for attaining occult knowledge, which is ‘Paramparagata’, handed down from a generation to the later since immemorial times, from Teacher to pupil, carefully guarded against distortion and is ‘pure’ in its essence and form. This occult knowledge is passed on from Teacher to the pupil only after a strict examination as to the ability of the latter so that there could be no harm or ill-disposition at his hands.
There are certain higher faculties of mind, called in general extra-sensory powers, known available with some, such as thought-reading, psychometry, clairvoyance, mesmerism etc. A taste and witnessing these make us believe that there could be many ‘unsuspected powers and faculties latent in us. These can be scientifically cultured and a perfect control over them attained by an occultist. Attainment of such powers will help us become ‘free from ordinary cares of life, and immunity from anxiety’. They tend to raise the mind above the plane on which material things affect one’s equanimity and with such equanimity alone ‘the pursuit of occultism become possible’.
Occultism is the Secret Wisdom and is the singular foundation of all ancient philosophies and religions over the world. It is ‘Sarvadesa-dasa-kala Jnana’, wisdom that is relevant to all space, all states of mind and all time. The Initiates and Adepts of occultism form as ‘unbroken succession’ and is called the ‘occult hierarchy’ (Mahi-Peetham in India). Its throne is stated to be never vacant, suggesting that spiritual guidance is available to all eligible.
Because of the currency brought to the term ‘occultism’ in the theosophical literature, more particularly by Madame Blavatsky and T Subba Row, it was fancied to be a theme of altogether modern invention. A nation or a generation of men and women, here and there, may close its eyes to the subject ‘divine light of wisdom’ or attempt to misinterpret/misrepresent that; but it ‘will not cease to shine’ with its full splendor and glory all the time and over all space.
Taraka Raja Yoga
The Taraka Raja Yoga system of Thought (TRY), is one brought into currency of modern philosophical studies by the Theosophical movement, greatly influenced by Sri T Subba Row. While basic matter in this essay is from TSR, some more additional data is added by the compiler.
Raja yoga is basically a system of developing the Mind (Manas), the fifth principle in man, so that it can enliven the human being, rise to the higher states of consciousness. There are many yoga-s and of these Raja Yoga is considered the King, supreme in its approach. Taraka is a prefix to this term, which literally means ‘one that would lead like a star,’ to enable crossing over of the Bhava-sagara, the wheel of birth and death so that the Ultimate status of unification is attained. Yoga literally means unification or joining with the ‘source.’
There were ancient scriptures of the TRY but they are now extinct. The seeds of the yoga are scattered in many texts of ancient India and a culling out of the excerpts is what was attempted by Madame Blavatsky(1831-91) (HPB) and TSR. According to the former, TRY is ‘one of the Brahmanical yoga systems for the development of purely spiritual powers and knowledge which leads to Nirvana.’
Indian Purana-s speak of Taraka as a ‘Danava or Daitya i.e. a Giant Demon , whose superhuman austerities as a yogi made the gods tremor for their power and supremacy. Said to have been killed by Kartikeya,(God of war, a Kumara or virgin-youth, born of Agni. The first war in heaven through Tara is known as Tarakamaya. Tarakaasura Samharam is a legend by itself. Killing, here, contextually means the conquering or getting over the afflictions.
As a yoga system TRY is less popular in India. Invigorating various connotations of Mantra and Tantra sasta-s. as a system of philosophy it has variants indicated in Advaya Tarakopanishad, Nrisimha Uttatapanopanishad and the like. These indicate the methods of raising the levels of consciousness from the lower rung to that of Turiya and Turiyatita(beyond the beyond). A study of the states of consciousness and their dovetailing to the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute, is necessary to have a further knowledge of that.
Historically, Taraka is used as prefix for both Brahma and Sri Rama, the Absolute and the manifest states of existence (Para and Vibhava). Taraka Brahma is adored by the Upasakas of Nirguna Brahman while Taraka Rama is approached by the practitioners of Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes). Even in the classification of Taraka –nama (name) of the Saguna practitioners there is a schism among the Saivaites and Vaishnavites. The celestial being approached by the former is Lord Shiva, while those of the latter school reach to Sri Rama. Taraka-mantra in these two schools is Om Namah Sivaya and Sri Rama Rama Rama respectively. The lower nature of personality is first purified and offered at the level of mental chanting to these celestial beings, so that they become eligible to learn the higher nature of the Real or Inner man. The normal practices of Yama and Niyama, the purification of the mind and the body, are taken for granted to make the lower nature or the personality sanctified.
TSR describes this system of philosophy as one very magnificent. According to him, ‘it is the center and heart of Vedanta philosophy and in its higher aspects, the most important portion of the ancient Wisdom-religion.’ He further states, ‘at present (1887) very little of it is known in India. What is generally seen of it in the books ordinarily read gives a very inadequate idea of its scope or importance. It is one of the seven main branches into which the whole of the Occult Science is divided, and is derived according to all accounts from the “children of the fire-mist” of the mysterious land of Shamballah.’ He does not identify, by name, what the other six systems or branches are.
The real ancient Aryan doctrine is very difficult to analyze or elaborate. He says, ‘there is a doctrine, though, which is their real foundation and which is sufficient to explain the various systems of philosophy and harmonize their teaching.’ He also suggests these systems are pre-Vedic, and they were studied by ancient Rishis of India in connection with the Hindu scriptures. This view is also supported by the propositions made by Sri Madhusudan Ojha in his Brahmavidya Rahasyam and allied works.
The powers of nature are independently explained by the Aryan and Tibetan doctrines (Brahmanical and Shamballah schools). The classification of Occult powers, made in accordance with the Brahmanical system, as listed by TSR run like this:
1. Appertaining to Parabrahman and existing in the Macrocosm.
2. Appertaining to Man and exsting in the Microcosm.
3. Taraka Yoga or Pranava Yoga.
4. Samkhya Yoga( inherent attributes of Prakriti).
5. Hata Yoga.
6. Kaula Agama.
7. Sakta Agama.
8. Siva agama.
9. Sri Chakra.
In all these classifications, subdivisions are again indefinitely made concerning combinations of the primary powers in different proportions.
The entities that make a ‘Total man’, in both the systems, are also drawn out by him.
Brahmanical System Tibetan system
1. Prakriti Sthula sarira(Physical body)
2. Combination of Prakriti and Sakti Sukshma sarira(Linga sarira
or Astral body)
3. Sakti Kama rupa
4. Combination of Brahman, Sakti Jivatma(Life Soul)
5.Combination of Brahman Physical Intelligence(Animal and Prakriti Soul)
6. Combination of Brahman and Sakti Spiritual Intelligence(Soul)
7. Brahman Pure Spirit (Emanation from
Explaining the combinations, he further states, “Individualities arising from mental consciousness has its seat in an occult power or force which keeps a registry of all mental impressions. This power itself is indestructible, though by the operation of certain antagonistic causes its impressions may in course of time be effected, in part or wholly.” This provides the scope or cause for a cyclic necessity for reincarnations.
HPB correlates this in her statement:
“The Taraka Raja Yogis recognize only three Upadhis, in which Atma may work. These three states are: Jagrat(Waking), Swapna(Dreaming), Sushupti(Causal). Corresponding to Sthula Upadhi, Sukshms Upadhi and Karana Upadhi. In the transcendental state of Samadhi body with its Linga Sarira (the vehicle of Life-principle) is left out of consideration, and is the synthesis of all or the Absolute Force. It is quite true that the three Upadhis of the TRY are, best and simple, but only in purely contemplative yoga. Though there are seven principles in man, they are but three distinct Upadhi-s, in each of which his Atma may work independently of the rest.”
TSR reasserts his point of view, according to TRY thus:
1. Upadhi-s cannot be confounded with the states of consciousness (Pajna) with it. Upadhi is a physical organism.
2. Logos has seven forms or there are seven kinds of Logoi in the cosmos. Each is the central figure of one of the seven branches of the ancient Wisdom-religion.
3. Seven distinct principles correspond to seven distinct states of Prajna or consciousness. These correspondences bridge the gulf between the objective and the subjective, and indicate the mysterious circuit through which Ideation passes. Seven principlesare allied to seven states of matter, and to seven forms of force. These principles are harmoniouslyarranged between two poles, which define the limits of human consciousness.
The real classification of principles yet remains a secret and is a topic for exploration. The position of differentiation and the causation of the various principles are explained by TSR thus:
“Karana sarira is a center of consciousness (prajna) into which the 3rd principle of the cosmos, Sutratma, differentiates. The Light of the Logos permeates every kind of organism. In a figurative way, he suggests: Assume Logos to be the Sun. (i) We can take a clear mirror on hand and catch the reflection of Sun on that (ii) We can transfer the reflected rays of Sun to a polished metallic plate (iii) We can also make the reflected rays of the metallic plate transfer themselves to a wall. Thus we have three images of the Sun, one being clearer than the other, and one being more resplendent than the other. The clear mirror is the Karana sarira. Metallic plate is the Astral body. Wall is the physical body. In each case, a Bimbam (a reflected image) is made. That reflected image is ‘for the time being’ considered as ‘self’ and assumed as of an independent stature. Luster of each reflected image is of varying degrees. This luster is a man’s knowledge. This knowledge depends on the condition of the Upadhi.Real Self is the Logos itself, and what is considered as ‘ego’ is but a reflection. Each distinct image can form a separate center. Man is quaternary:
1.Sthula sarira 2. Sukshma sarira 3. Karana sarira and 4. Atma.
He also explains the stand of Niriswara Samkhyas who do not reckon the fourth principle viz. Atma but assume another term AVYAKTA. This Avyakta is the Mulaprakriti or rather Parabrahman manifested in Mulaprakriti as its Upadhi. In this consideration, Avyakta is the Parabrahman, the highest principle in Man. The other three are the principles that simply exist in it and by reason of it. In other words, Avyakta is the one principle which is the root of all self, which become differentiated in the course of evolution or rather which appears to be differentiated in the various organisms, which subsist in every kind of Upadhi, and which is the real spiritual entity, a man has to reach. Niriswara Samkhyas do not deny the existence of Parabrahman, but they do not take note of the Logos and its Light – the two entities in nature, in classifying the principles of man.”
TRY explains the cosmic principles and their correspondences in the man very clearly.
Manifested Cosmos Human body
Vaishvanara(Basis of objective world) Sthula sarira
Hiranyagarbha(Basis of astral world) Sukshma sarira
Ishvara (Logos or sutrayma) Karanopadhi
Parabrahman Light of the Logos
Coming back to the consideration of the Brahmanical system and its origins, we have the following from HPB:
“The Vedas, and Brahmanism and along with these, Samskrit, were importations into what we now regard as India. They were never indigenous to its soil. There was a time when the ancient nations of the west included under the generic name of India, many of the countries of Asia now classified under other names. There was an Upper, a Lower and a Western India, even during the comparatively late period of Alexander; and Persia(Iran) is called western India in some ancient classics. The countries now named Tibet, Mongolia, and greater Tartary were considered by them as forming part of India. When we say, therefore, that India has civilized the world and was the Alma Mater of the civilizations, arts and sciences of all other nations (Babylonia and perhaps even Egypt, included) we mean archaic. Pre-historic India, India of the time when the Great Gobi were a sea, the lost “Atlantis” formed part of an umbrella continent which began at the Himalayas and ran down over south India, Ceylon, Java, to far away Tasmania.”
Recent history has recorded many more fragmentations and renames of the countries mentioned. The philosophical terms underwent a lot of conglomeration too. Three kinds of existence are postulated by Vedanta thus: Paramaarthika (the true, the only real one), 2. Vyavaharika (the practical and 3. Pratibhasika(the apparent or illusory). The term Jiva wherever it appears is to be understood contextually. It can be the highest principle or the lowest or none/both.
We may here look to the table correlating the various classifications.As suggested by HPB Vedantic term TRY
1. Rupa or Sthula sarira Annamaya kosa
2.Prana, Life or Vital principle Sthulaopadhi
2Linga sarira, astral body Pranamaya kosa
3.Kama Rupa, seat of animal
Desires and passions
4.Manas, Mind, Intelligence
Which is the higher human Manomaya kosa
Whose Light or Radiation Vignanamaya kosa
Takes the Monad,
for its life time, to the
5.Buddhi, the Spiritual soul, Anandamaya kosa Karanopadhi
vehicle of pure Universal Spirit
6.Atma, Spirit, one with the Atma Atma
Absolute as its radiation.
We referred to Advaya Tarakopanishad at the beginning. It is one of the 108 minor Upanishads, contained in Sukla Yajurveda. Its philosophy fixes its goal in the Brahman and Brahman alone and elaborates the essential features of Raja yoga. Here both jiva and Iswara are results of illusion and effort of the aspirant should be to abandon the idea of permanence to them and reach the non-dual (Advaya) Brahman. Further, three kinds of perception are suggested: Internal, External and Intermediary. Taraka, again, is two-fold: 1.Crossing the bridge and 2.Arriving at a beyond-mind state(Amanaska). Taraka further is Murti(corporeal) and A-murti (incorporeal). Brahma is knowable by means of ‘introspection with the eye aided by the mind. This conjunction is essential for touching the Taraka state. Then the second form A-murti, touching the beam of radiance above the root of the palate. This radiance emanates from the Sahasrara(thousand petal Lotus) or the luster of consciousness hidden in the cavern of buddhi, which is the fourth state of consciousness(Turiya). This completes the conscious realization of the Vakya “Tattwamasi”(Thou-art-That). The sense of separatedness dies down and one attains Sadyomukti, which is the Paramarthasiddhi. Living in the eternal light of Being occasions as Svadehantarvarti Jyotidarsanam occurs. In other words, Swasvarupa Jnana (perception of one’s own true nature) culminates in the Parasvarupa Jnana(perception of pure nature of the Absolute). ‘manas must become Taijasi(illuminated), the radiant, before it can hang on the Sutratma as a pearl on its thread, and so have full and absolute perception of itself in the Eternity’, as explained by Madame Blavatsky and it is in common parlance the perception of the true nature of one’s own being.
The spiritual soul of man, constituted of the 7th,6th and 5th principles(Atma-Buddhi-Manas) is beyond the lower quaternary (Sthula-Sukshma Upadhi-s) and enters the basis of the Cause(Karanopadhi), the highest state of Samadhi(Karanopadhi) of the TRY system. Correlated to the Vedantic system, it is both the Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya kosa-s, one step below that of Atma. Buddhi is the vehicle of spiritual soul. It is not alone but is conjoint of the illuminated mind that earlier sublimated itself to the higher states of being. Karanopadhi is the seat of reincarnating Ego and when the illuminated mind is totally one with it, it invites the Bliss of Atma to inhabit and reside perpetually therein. This is Purnatvasiddhi(total progression and perfection of the Human being) and the Paramarthasiddhi(attainment of the ultimate purpose of being). Atma is the impersonal divine principle or the immortal element in Man, undistinguished from the Universal spirit.
There is a considered opinion that the quintessence of TRY is embedded in SRI RAMA HRIDAYAM boxed in the first canto of Adyatma Ramayanam. Here Sri Rama interferes to give instruction direct to Hanuman who was being taught the transcendental nature by Sita. The instruction runs to 9 sloka-s (44-52). The gist of the verses is thus:
I shall teach you the true nature of Atma - Anatma and Paramatma[Logos, Individual soul, Pure Consciousness]. Just as Akasa(Space) assumes three distinct differentiations viz, (i) Akasa that is overshadowing the waters of a pond, (ii) Akasa that is reflected on the waters of the pond and (iii) Akasa that is omnipresent within and without the waters of the pond, the Consciousness is also three-fold. They are (i) that what is witness and vesture of the Intelligence, (ii) that which is total and pure and (iii) that which is the reflected image. The differentiated consciousness which is Intelligence, the reflected image of the consciousness, appears to be different from the Pure Consciousness, but, in fact, is not.
Pure Consciousness is well reflected in the vesture, Antahkarana. This Antahkarana stimulates action. Pure Consciousness is only a Witness and is not the stimulant. Only the ignorant attribute the doership to the Witness. Mirror reflects a face, but it is not the face per se. Mirror is only a vehicle or vesture. The reflection is not the fact. Individual Soul(Jiva) is the reflection of the Pure Consciousness enjoined in the Ultimate Soul(Isvara). The differentiation or separation is artificial and a ‘blind’. This is dismissed by the realization of the Mahavakya Tatvamasi and the like. With such realization of ‘Oneness’ among the Universal Soul and the Individual Soul, all ignorance is dispelled and so dies down. One who has thus realized would be my devotee and he comes to know my true nature. Without devotion to me, however efficient in the performance of actions, one will not attain the status of a Jnani. This is the whole and Ultimate Secret of nature. I am soul of the total manifestation. This utmost secret, superior even to the status of ownership over manifestation, is now given to you. This secret must not be revealed to those who are not yet ready, eligible to receive it and who are not devoted to me.
These ideas are also reflected in a Telugu text Sri Sita Ramanjaneya Samvadam, divided into three canto-s named Samkhya, Taraka and Amanaska-yogas(which constitute the TRY). The author is one Sri Parasuramapantula Lingamurti hailing from the then Nizam districts of Telugu speaking area.
There is one system of practical yoga currently known world wide in the name and style of Bhriktarahita Taraka Rajayoga, formulated by one Sri CV Venkaswamy Rao, popularly known as Master CVV. This should not be confused with the TRY philosophy as such, though it emulates certain ideas and generalizations explained by TSR and HPB. Master CVV must have developed his own system on their ideas taking full advantage of his theosophical studies, particularly The Secret Doctrine of HPB and The Pedigree of Man by Annie Besant, and devised new working system of a yoga (Mantra and Tantra) suitable to the modern age. The aim of this system is to attain human perfection in full with the physical vesture in tact. This school has many later exponents.
The philosophical ideas of Achala Siddhanta, prevailing in certain parts of south India, of which Yogi Vemana is one exponent, come nearer to TRY too. We are not aware of any practitioners of TRY system as such. Perhaps it may be retaining its secret character and total privacy of its own, the probability of which cannot be ruled out. It is possible to infer from some miscellaneous writings of TSR that Dattatreya is the head and exponent of the system TRY philosophy and it has its own hierarchical lineage (Guruparampara). The other school Achala Siddhanta also claims its lineage from Dattatreya.
TRY abandons the idea of anthropomorphism (persoanalization) and lays stress on the Will-Power (Samkalpa sakti) inherent in each of us. It relies more on the principles and powers of Nature both in man and the cosmos, in the true spirit of Vedanta philosophy.
Will-Power becomes the Living-power and the abiding force with the Absolute. The divinity is enshrines in one’s own being and soul, in the poor as in the rich. This system, thus, advocates a need and opportunity for a ‘spiritual reform’ in the true sense of the term.
We can also notice that the core of all philosophic systems is the same. The various exponents used terms considered right by them for purpose of transmitting the ideas intelligibly. Accumulation of different and numerous terms do create a sort of confusion and the latter commentators confound further, in their anxiety to play one against the other and establish their own supremacy. This creates the need and scope for ‘comparative philosophy and religious studies’. Ultimately all this boils down to an intellectual exercise, and the main purpose of the science of philosophy and religion is lost sight of. Each thinker or philosopher attempts the restoration of the basic ideas in his own Lights. Philosophy has always a practical orientation and the ultimate kept in aim is that the whole of humanity must attain progression and perfection.
T Subba Row (1856-‘90), as is well known and lamented too, lived for a very short span of life. His (theosophical) literary career can be said to have started on Sept. 14, 1881 (referring to his first article on “Twelve Signs” to The Theosophist, November); and ended sometime in 1888 (the last reported article “Occultism in Southern India” being ‘a summary of a discussion at Adyar Library, on 1st December 1888). In a short period of about 7 years, he wrote many review articles, essays; apart from the Lectures of Bhagavad-Gita. He was a voracious reader of books on World religions and philosophical systems. His knowledge was not limited to the Brahmanical, Hindu systems; he was proficient in Kabala, Chaldean, and Egyptian systems not to speak of the modern philosophic literature of the modern West.
Collected Writings, compiled and annotated by Henk J. Spierenburg (Pub: Point Loma Publications, Inc. P O Box 6507, San Diego, California USA 92166) and many other books and pamphlets are available today for the general reader.
Apart from religious - philosophical essays, it is on record that he had written many essays on contemporary Socio-politico-religious subjects, but unfortunately they were not collected; and so not available today. He was a practicing lawyer and social activist; yet his chief interest and devotion lied in the study and annotation of Occult and Esoteric subjects. His basic interest was in Kapila’s Samkhya Sastra and the Prasthana-traya. On retiring from the professional career, he wanted to write treatises on them, but he was not afforded that opportunity. But what little he wrote on the metaphysical, philosophical topics had the authenticity of Ancient Wisdom-Religion. It continues to be read by earnest students the world over. He was more ‘vocal’ and active in communication; was instrumental in bringing ‘enlightenment’ to many who were in contact with him. His devotion and reverence for Occult Sciences and the Masters who taught him was unique and matchless. He appears to have not visited any other places in India, for purpose of lecturing. During his life-period, theosophical Lodges at his own places viz. Kakinada and Eluru (in Andhrapradesh now; then composite Madras presidency) were established. There was no record to show that he ever visited them.
Many more of his short-reviews and comments could be advantageously converted into independent articles/essays; readers would find a similar approach in the present volume. Other topics such as “The Philosophy of Spirit”, “A Personal and an Impersonal God”, Dialogues with one Almora Swami on “Advaita Philosophy”, “The Virgin of the World” and “The Idyll of the White Lotus” contain much of his knowledge on Occult matters. There in are many pregnant statements, meaningful and purposeful and which are of ever-lasting value. As TSR says elsewhere, the Wisdom “now living but in name or in pages of forgotten books” could be made into “a living reality” these days of advanced conscientiousness in Human life, thought and consciousness.