Theosophical University Press Online Edition
White and Black Magic
Contemplation - II
The Philosophy and Science of Vedantic Raja Yoga
The Metaphysical Basis of "Esoteric Buddhism"
[Supplement to The Theosophist, February, 1884.]
Having just had a little leisure I was going over Mirza Moorad Alee's [i.e. Godolphin Mitford, an English occult student. — EDS.] letter in the Philosophic Inquirer of the 6th Instant. Col. Olcott's reply covers the whole ground in essentials, and I would have remained contented with it, especially that I may not be the cause, directly or indirectly, of any more exciting the nervous system of one upon whom I once looked with great respect and affection for his intellectual powers and what seemed to be unflinching devotion to Truth — had it not been for the fact that I apprehend the readers of the Philosophic Inquirer will not form correct ideas concerning white and black magic, were not the subject entered into a little deeper than Col. Olcott had the leisure to do.
The first time that Mirza Moorad Alee came to the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society in Bombay to stop with us a few days, the very first thing he told me was: — "If you ever want to progress on the right path, beware of sensual appetites dragging you down, and above all take care of the Brothers of the Shadow, the Sorcerers, with some of whom I have had personal dealings, to which fact I trace all my present suffering, struggle, and misery." These are not his exact words, but this is the idea he conveyed to me, and confirmed in all his subsequent conversations. I therefore stand aghast now at reading: — "The Theosophist leaders never 'discouraged' but rather encouraged me in such practices (of black magic)" — as Mirza Moorad Alee says in his letter under consideration. I cannot believe he is wilfully misrepresenting facts, but will fain attribute his present forgetfulness to mental aberration, caused by nervous exhaustion brought on by his futile struggle to get over the horrors of black magic and rise up to the spiritual glories of an Adept. When he joined us he had already opened the door and was gone too far to be able to shut it against the workings of the sorcerers with whom he had had "personal dealings." I only pity his fall and hope he will not have to share the fate of all black magicians. He is misrepresenting the meaning of Nirvana when he uses it as a synonym for annihilation. Yes: it is annihilation, not of the spiritual Ego, but of the lower principles in man, of the animal Soul, the personality which must perish. The powers of black magic are due to the will-power engendered by a concentrated form of selfishness. This is possible only when the Manas — the fifth principle of man, as the occultist calls it — resides very firmly in his lower principles. A careful study of the Fragments of Occult Truth [by "Lay Chela," a series published in The Theosophist, October 1881 to May 1883. Republished in The Complete Works of H. P. Blavatsky, Vol. III, pp. 98-142. Consult Index of The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett for references indicating the source of this material. — EDS.] and other literature on Esoteric Theosophy knows [shows? — EDS.] that these lower principles are destructible and must therefore be annihilated. Of course, the greater the powers of a black magician, the greater must be his selfishness. The energy of cohesion being thus very powerful, it must take a very long period before annihilation is complete. For aught we know, it (not his physical body which cannot live so long) may extend over thousands — nay a million — of years. The tendency for evil is there; the desire for mischief is strong: but there are no means for the gratification of sensual appetites: and the miserable being suffers the throes of dissolution for a very, very long period until he is totally annihilated. While, on the other hand, the white magician, by his training as described in the Elixir of Life, gradually kills his lower principles, without any suffering, thus extending over a long period their dissolution; and his Manas identifies itself with his higher — the sixth and seventh — principles. Every tyro in Occultism knows that the sixth principle being but the vehicle of the seventh — which is all-pervading, eternal essence — must be permanent. From the foregoing remarks it is evident that it is the black magician whose lot is annihilation; while the adept, the white magician, enjoys the blissful condition of absolute existence where there is no pain or pleasure, no sorrow or joy, since these are all relative terms, and the state is one of supreme bliss; in short the latter enjoys an immortality of life. It is therefore amusing to see how Mirza Moorad Alee Beg has endeavoured to represent black as white and vice versa. But his sophistry will be plain to every student of the Occult Philosophy.
[From The Theosophist, February, 1884.]
A general misunderstanding of this term seems to prevail. The popular idea appears to be to confine oneself for half an hour — or at the utmost two hours — in a private room, and passively gaze at one's nose, a spot on the wall, or, perhaps, a crystal. This is supposed to be the true form of contemplation enjoined by Raj Yoga. It fails to realize that true occultism requires "physical, mental, moral and spiritual" development to run on parallel lines. Were the narrow conception extended to all these lines, the necessity for the present article would not have been so urgently felt. This paper is specially meant for the benefit of those who seem to have failed to grasp the real meaning of Dhyan, and by their erroneous practices to have brought, and to be bringing, pain and misery upon themselves. A few instances may be mentioned here with advantage, as a warning to our too zealous students.
At Bareilly the writer met a certain Theosophist from Farrukhabad, who narrated his experiences and shed bitter tears of repentance for his past follies — as he termed them. It would appear from his account that the gentleman, having read Bhagavat-Gita about fifteen or twenty years ago and not comprehending the esoteric meaning of the contemplation therein enjoined, undertook nevertheless the practice and carried it on for several years. At first he experienced a sense of pleasure, but simultaneously he found he was gradually losing self-control; until after a few years he discovered, to his great bewilderment and sorrow, that he was no longer his own master. He felt his heart actually growing heavy, as though a load had been placed on it. He had no control over his sensations; in fact the communication between the brain and the heart had become as though interrupted. As matters grew worse, in disgust he discontinued his "contemplation." This happened as long as seven years ago; and, although since then he has not felt worse, yet he could never regain his original normal and healthy state of mind and body.
Another case came under the writer's observation at Jubbulpore. The gentleman concerned, after reading Patanjali and such other works, began to sit for "contemplation." After a short time he commenced seeing abnormal sights and hearing musical bells, but neither over these phenomena nor over his own sensations could he exercise any control. He could not produce these results at will, nor could he stop them when they were occurring. Numerous such examples may be multiplied. While penning these lines, the writer has on his table two letters upon this subject, one from Moradabad and the other from Trichinopoly. In short, all this mischief is due to a misunderstanding of the significance of contemplation as enjoined upon students by all the schools of Occult Philosophy. With a view to afford a glimpse of the Reality through the dense veil that enshrouds the mysteries of this Science of Sciences, an article, the "Elixir of Life," was written. Unfortunately, in too many instances, the seed seems to have fallen upon barren ground. Some of its readers only catch hold of the following clause in the said paper: —
Reasoning from the known to the unknown meditation must be practised and encouraged.
But, alas! their preconceptions have prevented them from comprehending what is meant by meditation. They forget that it "is the inexpressible yearning of the inner Man to 'go out towards the infinite,' which in the olden time was the real meaning of adoration" — as the next sentence shows. A good deal of light will be thrown upon this subject if the reader were to turn to the preceding portion of the same paper, and peruse attentively the following paras. on page 141 of the Theosophist for March, 1882 (Vol. III, No. 6): —
So, then, we have arrived at the point where we have determined, — literally, not metaphorically — to crack the outer shell known as the mortal coil, or body, and hatch out of it, clothed in our next. This 'next' is not a spiritual, but only a more ethereal form. Having by a long training and preparation adapted it for a life in this atmosphere, during which time we have gradually made the outward shell to die off through a certain process . . . we have to prepare for this physiological transformation.
How are we to do it? In the first place we have the actual, visible, material body — man, so called, though, in fact, but his outer shell — to deal with. Let us bear in mind that science teaches us that in about every seven years we change skin as effectually as any serpent; and this so gradually and imperceptibly that, had not science after years of unremitting study and observation assured us of it, no one would have had the slightest suspicion of the fact. . . . Hence, if a man partially flayed alive, may sometimes survive and be covered with a new skin, — so our astral, vital body . . . may be made to harden its particles to the atmospheric changes. The whole secret is to succeed in evolving it out, and separating it from the visible; and while its generally invisible atoms proceed to concrete themselves into a compact mass, to gradually get rid of the old particles of our visible frame so as to make them die and disappear before the new set has had time to evolve and replace them. . . . We can say no more.
A correct comprehension of the above scientific process will give a clue to the esoteric meaning of meditation or contemplation. Science teaches us that man changes his physical body continually, and this change is so gradual that it is almost imperceptible. Why then should the case be otherwise with the inner man? The latter too is constantly developing and changing atoms at every moment. And the attraction of these new sets of atoms depends upon the Law of Affinity — the desires of the man drawing to their bodily tenement only such particles as are en rapport with them or rather giving them their own tendency and colouring.
For science shows that thought is dynamic, and the thought-force evolved by nervous action expanding itself outwardly, must affect the molecular relations of the physical man. The inner men, however sublimated their organism may be, are still composed of actual, not hypothetical, particles, and are still subject to the law that an 'action' has a tendency to repeat itself; a tendency to set up analogous action in the grosser 'shell' they are in contact with and concealed within. (The Elixir of Life.)
What is it the aspirant of Yog Vidya strives after if not to gain Mukti by transferring himself gradually from the grosser to the next more ethereal body, until all the veils of Maya being successively removed his Atma becomes one with Paramatma? Does he suppose that this grand result can be achieved by a two or four hours' contemplation? For the remaining twenty or twenty-two hours that the devotee does not shut himself up in his room for meditation — is the process of the emission of atoms and their replacement by others stopped? If not, then how does he mean to attract all this time, — only those suited to his end? From the above remarks it is evident that just as the physical body requires incessant attention to prevent the entrance of a disease, so also the inner man requires an unremitting watch, so that no conscious or unconscious thought may attract atoms unsuited to its progress. This is the real meaning of contemplation. The prime factor in the guidance of the thought is WILL.
Without that, all else is useless. And, to be efficient for the purpose, it must be, not only a passing resolution of the moment, a single fierce desire of short duration, but a settled and continued strain, as nearly as can be continued and concentrated without one single moment's remission.
The student would do well to take note of the italiitalicized clause in the above quotation. He should also have it indelibly impressed upon his mind that
It is no use to fast as long as one requires food. . . . To get rid of the inward desire is the essential thing, and to mimic the real thing without it is barefaced hypocrisy and useless slavery.
Without realizing the significance of this most important fact, any one who for a moment finds cause of disagreement with any one of his family, or has his vanity wounded, or for a sentimental flash of the moment, or for a selfish desire to utilize the divine power for gross purposes — at once rushes in for contemplation and dashes himself to pieces on the rock dividing the known from the unknown. Wallowing in the mire of exotericism, he knows not what it is to live in the world and yet be not of the world; in other words to guard self against self is an incomprehensible axiom for nearly every profane. The Hindu ought at least to realize it by remembering the life of Janaka, who, although a reigning monarch, was yet styled Rajarshi and is said to have attained Nirvana. Hearing of his widespread fame, a few sectarian bigots went to his Court to test his Yoga-power. As soon as they entered the court-room, the king having read their thought — a power which every chela attains at a certain stage — gave secret instructions to his officials to have a particular street in the city lined on both sides by dancing girls who were ordered to sing the most voluptuous songs. He then had some gharas (pots) filled with water up to the brim so that the least shake would be likely to spill their contents. The wiseacres, each with a full ghara (pot) on his head, were ordered to pass along the street, surrounded by soldiers with drawn swords to be used against them if even so much as a drop of water were allowed to run over. The poor fellows having returned to the palace after successfully passing the test, were asked by the King-Adept what they had met with in the street they were made to go through. With great indignation they replied that the threat of being cut to pieces had so much worked upon their minds that they thought of nothing but the water on their heads, and the intensity of their attention did not permit them to take cognizance of what was going on around them. Then Janaka told them that on the same principle they could easily understand that, although being outwardly engaged in managing the affairs of his state, he could at the same time be an Occultist. He too, while in the world, was not of the world. In other words, his inward aspirations had been leading him on continually to the goal in which his whole inner self was concentrated.
Raj Yoga encourages no sham, requires no physical postures. It has to deal with the inner man whose sphere lies in the world of thought. To have the highest ideal placed before oneself and strive incessantly to rise up to it, is the only true concentration recognized by Esoteric Philosophy which deals with the inner world of noumena, not the outer shell of phenomena.
The first requisite for it is thorough purity of heart. Well might the student of Occultism say, with Zoroaster, that purity of thought, purity of word, and purity of deed, — these are the essentials of one who would rise above the ordinary level and join the "gods." A cultivation of the feeling of unselfish philanthropy is the path which has to be traversed for that purpose. For it is that alone which will lead to Universal Love, the realization of which constitutes the progress towards deliverance from the chains forged by Maya around the Ego. No student will attain this at once, but as our VENERATED MAHATMA says in the Occult World: —
The greater the progress towards deliverance, the less this will be the case, until, to crown all, human and purely individual personal feelings, blood-ties and friendship, patriotism and race predilection, will all give way to become blended into one universal feeling, the only true and holy, the only unselfish and eternal one, Love, an Immense Love for Humanity as a whole.
In short, the individual is blended with the ALL.
Of course, contemplation, as usually understood, is not without its Minor advantages. It developes one set of physical faculties as gymnastics does the muscles. For the purposes of physical mesmerism, it is good enough; but it can in no way help the development of the psychological faculties as the thoughtful reader will perceive. At the same time, even for ordinary purposes, the practice can never be too well guarded. If, as some suppose, they have to be entirely passive and lose themselves in the object before them, they should remember that by thus encouraging passivity, they, in fact, allow the development of mediumistic faculties in themselves. As was repeatedly stated — the Adept and the Medium are the two Poles: while the former is intensely active and thus able to control the elemental forces, the latter is intensely passive, and thus incurs the risk of falling a prey to the caprice and malice of mischievous embryos of human beings, and — the Elementaries.
[From The Theosophist, April, 1884.]
*[Comment by "F. T. S." with Damodar's Note appended herewith. — EDS.]
In the article on the above subject in the February Theosophist occurs the following: —
1. Without realizing the significance of this most important fact, any one who for a moment finds cause of disagreement with any one of his family, or has his vanity wounded, or for a sentimental flash of the moment, or for a selfish desire to utilize the divine power for gross purposes — at once rushes in for contemplation and dashes himself to pieces on the rock dividing the known from the unknown.
I cannot understand how an ordinary man, who has, on one hand, the above-mentioned defects in his nature, (which he generally tries to control, though sometimes with questionable success; and who, on the other hand, tries also to practise contemplation as explained in the article, runs the danger of being ruined. What are the dangers? Can they be named, and the particular causes which give rise to them?
2. To have the highest ideal placed before oneself and strive incessantly to rise up to it, is the only true concentration recognized by Esoteric Philosophy.
This passage is too learned for an ordinary man. Can an example of "the highest ideal" be given? How is the ordinary man of the world to strive after it?
Suppose an ordinary man of the world rises in the calm hours of the morning after a moderate rest, what is he to do? What kind of ideas should he fill his mind with? How is he to sit? How is he to carry on the contemplation so as to steer clear of all shoals and rocks in the sea of occultism? The greatest aim of the man in question is to spiritualize himself as much as could be done safely, so that if he cannot eventually be accepted as a chela, in this life — he may at least have the assurance to lead the life of an ascetic in the next birth. An F. T. S.
Note. — I regret the whole article is totally misunderstood. All I meant to say was that temporary estrangement, from family or friends, does not constitute an essential qualification for advancement in occultism. This ought to be plain to one who weighs carefully my illustration of Janaka. Although in the world, to be not of it. Failing to realise the meaning of this important teaching, many a people rush in from a sentimental disgust of worldliness, arising probably out of some worldly disappointment — and begin practising what they consider to be a true form of contemplation. The very fact that the motive which leads them to go in for this practice, is as is described in the quotation given by my correspondent — this fact itself is a sufficient indication that the candidate does not know the "contemplation" of a Raja Yogi. It is thus impossible in the nature of things that he can follow the right method; and the physical practice, which he necessarily undertakes, leads him to the disastrous results adverted to in the article.
Any reader, who has intuition enough to be a practical student of occultism, will at once see that to work up to perfection is the highest ideal that a man can have before him. That is not the work of a day nor of a few years. "The Adept becomes; he is NOT MADE" — is a teaching which the student must first realise. The aspirant works up to his goal through a series of lives. Col. Olcott says in his Buddhist Catechism: --
Countless generations are required to develope man into a Buddha, and the iron will to become one runs throughout all the successive births."
That "iron will" to become perfect must be incessantly operating, without a single moment's relaxation, as will be apparent to one who reads carefully the article as a whole. When it is distinctly said that during the time that this contemplation is not practised, i.e., the iron will is not exerting, the process of the emission and attraction of atoms is not stopped, and that the desires, instinctive or otherwise, must be so regulated as to attract only such atoms as may be suited to his progress — I cannot understand my correspondent when he asks me what he should do at a particular hour in the morning. He should cultivate only such thoughts as would not be incompatible with the highest ideal he has to work up to. By perfection, which should be his highest ideal, (I must add) I mean that divine manhood which the Occult Philosophy contemplates the seventh race of the seventh Round will attain to. This, as every tyro knows, depends largely upon a cultivation of the feeling of Universal Love, and hence an earnest desire to do some practical philanthropic work is the first requisite. Even this state, I admit, is not absolute perfection: but that maximum limit of ultimate Spiritual perfection is beyond our comprehension at present. That condition can only be intellectually realized as a practical ideal by those divine men — Dhyan-Chohans. To be identified with THE ALL, we must live in and feel through it. How can this be done without the realisation of the feeling of Universal Love? Of course Adeptship is not within the easy reach of all. On the other hand, occultism does not fix any unpleasant place or locality for those who do not accept its dogmas. It only recognises higher and higher evolution according to the chain of causation working under the impulse of Nature's immutable law. The article on "Occult Study" [*republished in Five Years of Theosophy, pp. 221-9. — EDS.] in the last number gives the necessary explanation on this point.
It is painful for me to find that the very thing I attempted to point out in that article to be mischievous in its results, is again put forward as a desirable attribute or adjunct of true contemplation. I would ask my correspondent to read again the same article, with these additional remarks, before thinking of the necessity of any peculiar or particular posture for the purpose of contemplation. I, at any rate, am unable to prescribe any specific posture for the kind of incessant contemplation that I recommend. — D. K. M.
[From The Theosophist, August, 1884.]
Notwithstanding the article on the above subject in the February Theosophist, many of its readers still seem to imagine that "contemplation" is a particular form of gazing or staring at something, which process, when undergone a set number of hours every day, will give psychological powers. This misunderstanding is apparently due to the fact that the main point discussed has been lost sight of. Instead of realising that there is but one chief idea meant to be conveyed by that article by arguing it through many of its phases, it seems to be imagined that almost every sentence expresses quite a distinct idea. It may not therefore be uninteresting or unprofitable to revert to the subject and put forward the same idea from another stand-point and, if possible, in a clearer light. It must first be borne in mind that the writer of the article did not at all mean to imply the act of gazing by the word "contemplation." The former word would have been made use of, were that the idea. "The Imperial Dictionary of the English Language," (1883) — defines the word contemplation thus: —
(1) The act of the mind in considering with attention; meditation; study; continued attention of the mind to a particular subject. Specifically — (2) Holy meditation; attention to sacred things.
Webster's Dictionary thoroughly revised — also gives the same meaning.
Thus we find that contemplation is the "continued attention of the mind to a particular subject," and, religiously, it is the "attention to sacred things." It is therefore difficult to imagine how the idea of gazing or staring came to be associated with the word contemplation, unless it be due to the fact that generally it so happens that when any one is deeply absorbed in thought, he apparently seems to be gazing or staring at something in blank space. But this gazing is the effect of the act of contemplation. And, as usually happens, here too the effect seems to be confounded with the cause. Because the gazing attitude follows the act of contemplation, it is at once assumed that gazing is the cause which produces contemplation! Bearing this well in mind, let us now see what kind of contemplation (or meditation) the Elixir of Life recommends for the aspirants after occult knowledge. It says: —
Reasoning from the known to the unknown meditation must be practised and encouraged.
That is to say, a chela's meditation should constitute the "reasoning from the known to the unknown." The "known" is the phenomenal world, cognisable by our five senses. And all that we see in this manifested world are the effects, the causes of which are to be sought after in the noumenal, the unmanifested, the "unknown world": this is to be accomplished by meditation, i.e., continued attention to the subject. Occultism does not depend upon one method, but employs both the deductive and the inductive. The student must first learn the general axioms. For the time being, he will of course have to take them as assumptions, if he prefers to call them so. Or as the Elixir of Life puts it: —
All we have to say is that if you are anxious to drink of the Elixir of Life and live a thousand years or so, you must take our word for the matter, at present, and proceed on the assumption. For esoteric science does not give the faintest possible hope that the desired end will ever be attained by any other way; while modern, or the so-called exact science laughs at it.
These axioms have sufficiently been laid out in the articles on the Elixir of Life and various others treating on occultism, in the different numbers of the Theosophist. What the student has first to do is to comprehend these axioms and, by employing the deductive method, to proceed from universals to particulars. He has then to reason from the "known to the unknown," and see if the inductive method of proceeding from particulars to universals supports those axioms. This process forms the primary stage of true contemplation. The student must first grasp the subject intellectually before he can hope to realise his aspirations. When this is accomplished, then comes the next stage of meditation which is "the inexpressible yearning of the inner man to 'go out towards the infinite.'" Before any such yearning can be properly directed, the goal, to which it is to be its aim to run, must be determined by the preliminary stages. The higher stage, in fact, consists in realising practically what the first steps have placed within one's comprehension. In short, contemplation, in its true sense, is to recognise the truth of Eliphas Levi's saying: —
To believe without knowing is weakness; to believe, because one knows, is power.
Or, in other words, to see that "KNOWLEDGE IS POWER." The Elixir of Life not only gives the preliminary steps in the ladder of contemplation but also tells the reader how to realise the higher conceptions. It traces, by the process of contemplation as it were, the relation of man, "the known," the manifested, the phenomenon, to "the unknown," the unmanifested, the noumenon. It shows to the student what ideal he should contemplate and how to rise up to it. It places before him the nature of the inner capacities of man and how to develope them. To a superficial reader, this may, perhaps, appear as the acme of selfishness. Reflection or contemplation will, however, show the contrary to be the case. For it teaches the student that to comprehend the noumenal, he must identify himself with Nature. Instead of looking upon himself as an isolated being, he must learn to look upon himself as a part of the INTEGRAL WHOLE. For, in the unmanifested world, it can be clearly perceived that all is controlled by the "Law of Affinity," the attraction of one to the other. There, all is Infinite Love, understood in its true sense.
It may now be not out of place to recapitulate what has already been said. The first thing to be done is to study the axioms of Occultism and work upon them by the deductive and inductive methods, which is real contemplation. To turn this to a useful purpose, what is theoretically comprehended must be practically realised. It is to be hoped that this explanation may make the meaning of the former article on this subject clearer.
[From The Theosophist, March, 1884.]
[*Edited by Babu Siris Chandra Vasu, B. A., F. T. S.]
I feel really obliged to my friend and brother, Babu Siris Chandra Vasu, B. A., for the presentation of a copy of a Treatise on "The Philosophy and Science of Vedantic Raja Yoga," edited by him. It is the reprint of a book which was first published about four years ago, and a notice of which will be found on page 147 of Vol. 1 of the Theosophist. At the time the curious autobiography of the author was published in these columns, his book was passing through the press; and although the account of the Swami's (the author's) life looked rather odd, and a trifle too fantastic, the Editor of the Theosophist naturally enough abstained from hazarding an opinion upon the merits of a work as yet unpublished. The neutral attitude has since been unfortunately misunderstood, one way or another; therefore, a few remarks on the book in its present form will not be uncalled for.
A careful and attentive perusal of the Treatise forces the earnest student of Philosophy to the conclusion that a large portion of it is either allegorical or that it is a mystification. But the latter is an untenable supposition. Would, it is asked, the highly educated Editor have undertaken the publication of a work, apparently so full of impossibilities — nay absurdities, had it no hidden merits? The alternative, therefore, to which one is reduced is, that the work is a parable, that it is purposely veiled, like so many other treatises on Occultism — in short an allegory. It is needless here to repeat the impracticability of certain occurrences given out by the author as his personal experiences; and it must be said that the Editor has, to some extent, in a special foot-note hastened to extricate his hero and himself out of a really perilous situation. Turning, however, to the philosophical portion of the work, two or three important points must not be omitted to be noticed. The author begins by taking Paramatma as the Guru, and Jivatma the disciple. The latter at the same time is defined to be "the reflected light or ray" of the former, i. e., the Jivatma referred to in the work under notice is identical with the seventh principle of the Occultist. And yet a passage on page 2, reads: —
The Jivatma having reached the sublimest height of knowledge, both theoretical and practical, by perfectly understanding all the principles of righteousness and virtue in all the religions of this as well as of the world above, and having enjoyed all the worldly pleasures with great avidity, the pleasures of a kingly life for a short space of time in a corner of this vast universe of the Almighty, at whose call the royal heads even lie prostrate, the pleasures resulting from the voluptuous beauty of the fair sex and all other sensual pleasures, and strived hard for the accumulation of wealth, and giving himself to all kinds of whims and caprices of his unsteady and changeful mind, in short, after enjoying all the pleasures, both intellectual and sensual, of this world, and finding them worthless and vain, comes to the conclusion that no worldly pleasure is lasting and eternal. Being thus disgusted with all worldly enjoyments, the Jivatma feels deep remorse and begins to repent sincerely.
An occultist who will have the patience to master this interminable sentence, need not be long in finding out that the author has used the word Jivatma in three different senses, namely, the animal soul, the human soul and the spiritual soul, or, the fourth, the fifth and the sixth (which is the vehicle of the seventh) principle. Atma — the seventh principle — is alipta, and can neither enjoy nor suffer. It is the fourth principle which generates the desire for material enjoyment and the human soul which takes delight in sensual pleasures, but at the same time its upper strata, in which is reflected the light of the sixth, try through its own inherent powers to bring the lower principles under subjection. Otherwise, it is inconceivable how a principle, or substance, which has been immersed in one sort of enjoyment or suffering, can of itself turn its course into another channel. It may be argued that, after all, these principles are but different manifestations of the same Paramatma, and hence might be all included under the heading of Jivatma. A little reflection will, however, show that position to be indefensible. For the variety in the manifestation of the same essence must be due to the difference in the vehicles of manifestation. If these vehicles be different, how can they be called by one common name? Nor does it require a very deep thinking to find out that it is the vehicles of manifestation that are named, for the manifested being one, is absolute existence and shows no different attributes. It is therefore a matter of great regret that all throughout the book the word Jivatma is used to denote so many different principles, and thus is sure to mislead the unwary reader. The second important point to be noticed is the fact that Asans (bodily postures adopted in Hatha-Yoga. — Eds ), &c., are enjoined for the practice of Vedantic Raj Yoga. To an occultist it is of course evident that the author has adopted the technical terms of Hatha Yoga, which will disclose the real Raj Yoga system, only when esoterically interpreted. In one place a process is described for subjugating the twelve kingdoms, beginning with the lowest one, which is situate in the Kundalee. A student of psychology knows that the method refers to the imperfections of the flesh which are to be conquered one by one, beginning with the grossest. It is a matter, however, of great concern as to how many of the readers will feel disposed to give that attention to the work, which alone may, under favourable circumstances, lead them to a correct understanding of the underlying esoteric meaning — (I still persist in giving the author the benefit of the doubt, and feel ready to admit such a meaning in his work). Thirdly, the language put into the mouth of the Guroo is such as to confuse the reader greatly before he can find out whether by "preceptor" the Paramatma is meant, or — the author himself. These are among the chief peculiarities that permeate almost the whole of the Treatise; and hence it is very doubtful whether its perusal will do any good to the general public. For only those can understand it who have studied esoteric philosophy up to a certain point; and for them the work contains very little they do not know: while the ordinary reader will be misled by the exoteric phraseology adopted, and consequently find the Treatise positively misleading and harmful. However, the motives of the author and the editor being no doubt perfectly benevolent, it is hoped that these remarks may help to remove all grounds of apprehension in the future. The editorial notes and appendices added to the second edition are of a certain importance, and if properly understood, are calculated to throw light upon some of the most obscure passages in the text. They also help to a clearer understanding of the Adwaita Doctrine as propounded by Srimat Sankaracharya, which, unfortunately, the author puts in a very misleading form. The Editor is deserving of all praise and thanks for having, by his notes, attempted to rescue his reader, who, otherwise, would have been left hopelessly floundering in a sea of misconceptions. We would recommend the little Treatise to our students on account of its Appendix. We hope that they will carefully peruse it, for it does an infinite credit to the Editor.
Since the above Review was in type, Mr. R. C. Bary, the publisher of the Treatise, has kindly sent a copy of the same to the Theosophist office. In the absence of the Editors from Madras, I beg to thank Mr. Bary on their behalf, for the pamphlet.
[Supplement to The Theosophist, April, 1884.]
A brother Theosophist, writing from Midnapore, mentions wonderful cures by the process of self-mesmerisation. During an attack of choleric diarrhoea he perceived a nerve current rising up to the stomach in front and then descending along the spinal chord. By concentrating his attention on the current, he tried to change its direction. In an hour he was much relieved and fell asleep. After getting up, however, he found he had another attack. He took a dose of an opiate and then meditated as he did before. Although he did not go to sleep in the latter case, he got perfectly cured. He feels, he says, quite sure that a single dose of three grains of opium could never have cured a disease which the doctors had pronounced to be of a serious nature. On another occasion he had an attack of lumbago. The pain was so intense that he could not walk erect. He concentrated his attention on the part affected and imagined that the affected portion of the spinal chord had become curved, although in reality there was no such curvature. He then concluded that there must be some displacement of the spinal chord of the Pranamaya body. Efforts were made to restore that particular portion of the Pran. The effect of the imagination was to produce "a state of strain" on the afflicted part. This was done for some length of time before sleeping. The next morning the patient was all right. Our brother thinks these two instances of self-cure may prove interesting and instructive to his Fellow-Theosophsts who can employ with advantage the same process, should they suffer from the same or similar complaints.
[The "Brother-Theosophist" may possibly have received enough training from some hatha-yogin to preserve himself from the dangerous reactions arising from interference with the delicate balance of the pranic currents in the body, but it is more likely that he was acting like a blind man walking on the edge of a precipice, unknowing of his peril. Being well aware of what mental and physical dangers pranayama attempts lead to, Theosophy strongly discountenances it and it is practically certain that H. P. Blavatsky would not have allowed this article to appear, but she was traveling in Europe at this time with Col. Olcott. Its publication seems to be one of the errors of judgment into which Damodar occasionally fell and for which he had to suffer, as explained elsewhere. — EDS.]
[From The Theosophist, May, 1884.]
The pamphlet of Mr. C. C. Massey, an F. T. S., of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, is a valuable contribution to the discussion now being raised by the publication of Mr. Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. It is a trite axiom that truth exists independent of human error, and he who would know the truth, must rise up to its level and not try the ridiculous task of dragging it down to his own standard. Every metaphysician knows that Absolute Truth is the eternal Reality which survives all the transient phenomena. The preface to the Isis Unveiled expresses the idea very clearly when it says: — "Men and parties, sects and creeds, are the mere ephemera of the world's day, while Truth, high seated on its rock of Adamant, is alone eternal and supreme." Language belongs to the world of relativity, while Truth is the Absolute Reality. It is therefore vain to suppose that any language, however ancient or sublime, can express Abstract Truth. The latter exists in the world of ideas, and the ideal can be perceived by the sense belonging to that world. Words can merely clothe the ideas, but no number of words can convey an idea to one who is incapable of perceiving it. Every one of us has within him the latent capacity or a sense dormant in us which can take cognisance of Abstract Truth, although the development of that sense or, more correctly speaking, the assimilation of our intellect with that higher sense, may vary in different persons, according to circumstances, education and discipline. That higher sense which is the potential capacity of every human being is in eternal contact with Reality, and every one of us has experienced moments when, being for the time en rapport with that higher sense, we realise the eternal verities. The sole question is how to focalise ourselves entirely in that higher sense. Directly we realise this truth, we are brought face to face with occultism. Occultism teaches its votaries what sort of training will bring on such a development. It never dogmatises, but only recommends certain methods which the experience of ages has proved to be the best suited to the purpose. But just as the harmony of nature consists in symphonious discord, so also the harmony of occult training (in other words, individual human progress) consists in discord of details. The scope of Occultism being a study of Nature, both in its phenomenal and noumenal aspects, its organisation is in exact harmony with the plan of Nature. Different constitutions require different details in training, and different men can better grasp the idea clothed in different expressions. This necessity has given rise to different schools of Occultism, whose scope and ideal is the same, but whose modes of expression and methods of procedure differ. Nay, even the students of the same school have not necessarily a uniformity of training. This will show why it is that until a certain stage is reached, the Chela is generally left to himself, and why he is never given verbal or written instructions regarding the truths of Nature. It will also suggest the meaning of the neophyte being made to undergo a particular kind of sleep for a certain period before each initiation. And his success or failure depends upon his capacity for the assimilation of the Abstract Truth his higher sense perceives. However, just as unity is the ultimate possibility of Nature, so there is a certain school of Occultism which deals only with the synthetic process, and to which all the other schools, dealing with analytical methods wherein alone can diversity exist, owe their allegiance. A careful reader will thus perceive the absurdity of a dogmatism which claims for its methods a universal application. What is therefore meant by the Adwaitee Philosophy being identical with the Arhat Doctrine, is that the final goal or the ultimate possibility of both is the same. The synthetical process is one, for it deals only with eternal verities, the Abstract Truth, the noumenal. And these two philosophies are put forth together, for in their analytical methods they proceed on parallel lines, one proceeding from the subjective and the other from the objective stand-point, to meet ultimately or rather converge together in one point or centre. As such, each is the complement of the other and neither can be said to be complete in itself. It should be distinctly remembered here that the Adwaitee Doctrine does not date from Sankaracharya, nor does the Arhat Philosophy owe its origin to Gautama Buddha. They were but the latest expounders of these two systems which have existed from time immemorial as they must. Some natures can better comprehend the truth from a subjective stand-point, while others must proceed from the objective. These two systems are therefore as old as Occultism itself, while the later phases of the Esoteric Doctrine are but another aspect of either of these two, the details being modified according to the comprehensive faculties of the people addressed, as also the other surrounding circumstances. Attempts at a revival of the knowledge of this Truth have been numberless, and therefore to suggest that the present is the first attempt in the world's history, is an error which those whose sense has just been awakened to the glorious Reality are apt to commit. It has already been stated that the diffusion of knowledge is not limited to one process. The possessors of it have never jealously guarded it from any personal or selfish motives. In fact such a frame of mind precludes the possibility of the attainment of knowledge. They have at every opportunity tried all available means to give its benefit to humanity. Times there were undoubtedly when they had to rest content with giving it only to a few chosen pupils, who, it should be remembered, differ from ordinary humanity only in one essential particular, and that is, that by abnormal training they bring on a process of self-evolution in a comparatively very short period, which ordinary humanity may require numberless ages to reach during the ordinary course of evolution. Those who are acquainted with the history of Count St. Germain and the works of the late Lord Lytton, need not be told that even during the past hundred years constant efforts have been made to awaken the present races to a sense of the knowledge which will assist their progress and ensure future happiness. It should not be, moreover, forgotten that to spread a knowledge of philosophical truths forms but a small fraction of the important work the occultists are engaged in. Whenever circumstances compel them to be shut out from the world's view, they are most actively engaged in so arranging and guiding the current of events, sometimes by influencing people's minds, at others by bringing about, as far as practicable, such combinations of forces as would give rise to a higher form of evolution and such other important work on a spiritual plane. They have to do and are doing that work now. Little therefore do the public know what in reality it is that they ask for when they apply for Chelaship. They have to thus pledge themselves to assist the MAHATMAS in that spiritual work by the process of self-evolution, for, the energy expended by them in the act of self-purification, has a dynamic effect and produces grand results on a spiritual plane. Moreover, they gradually fit themselves to take an active share in the grand work. It may perhaps be now apparent why "THE ADEPT BECOMES; HE IS NOT MADE," and why he is the "rare efflorescence of the age." The foregoing considerations should never be lost sight of by the reader of Esoteric Buddhism.
The great difficulty which an ordinarily philosophic mind has to contend against, is the idea that consciousness and intelligence proceed out of non-consciousness and non-intelligence. Although an abstruse metaphysical intellect can comprehend or rather perceive the point subjectively, the present undeveloped state of humanity, at any rate, can conceive the higher truths only from an objective stand-point. Just as, therefore, we are obliged to talk of the setting of the sun, in common parlance, although we know that it is not the movement of the sun that we really refer to, and just as in geocentric system we have to speak as though the earth were a fixed point in the centre of the universe so that the unripe mind of the student may understand our teachings, so in the same manner the Abstract Truth has to be presented from an objective point of view, so that it may be more easily comprehended by minds with not a very keen metaphysical intellect. Thus one may say that Buddhism is rational Vedantism, while Vedantism is transcendental Buddhism. Keeping this difference in view, an explanation of the difficulty above put forth may be given from the Buddhist stand-point. If the reader will here recall the answer of the MAHATMAS to Question V of "An English F. T. S.," published in the Theosophist for September 1883, [in The Theosophist of September, 1883, "An English F. T. S." (Frederic Myers) asks a series of ten questions suggested by the reading of Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism. Answers I to V contain some of the most important teaching found in The Theosophist, being written by the Mahatmans themselves; see The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, p. 396. The rest of the questions are answered by T. Subba Row. [The pertinent passage from Answer V about the mineral-monad can be found in The Secret Doctrine, I, 178-9. See also footnote p. 125. — Eds.] he will remember the explanation concerning "the mineral monad." The one Life permeates ALL. Here it may be added that consciousness and intelligence also permeate ALL. These three are inherent potentially everywhere. But we do not talk of the life of a mineral, nor of its consciousness or intelligence. These exist in it only potentially, The differentiation which results in individualisation is not yet complete. A piece of gold, silver, copper or any other metal, or a piece of rock, &c., has no sense of separate existence, because the mineral monad is not individualised. It is only in the animal kingdom that a sense of personality begins to be formed. But for all that, an occultist will not say that life, consciousness or intelligence, do not potentially exist in the minerals. Thus it will be seen that although consciousness and intelligence exist everywhere, all objects are not conscious or intelligent. The latent potentiality when developed to the stage of individualisation by the Law of Cosmic Evolution, separates the subject from the object, or rather the subject falls into Upadhi (objective or vehicular form), and a state of personal consciousness or intelligence is realized. But the absolute consciousness and intelligence which has no Upadhi cannot be conscious or intelligent, for there is no duality, nothing to wake intelligence or to be conscious of. Hence the Upanishads say that Parabrahm has no consciousness, no intelligence, for these states can be cognised by us only on account of our individualisation, while we can have, from our differentiated and personal state, no conception of the undifferentiated, non-dualistic consciousness or intelligence. If there were no consciousness or intelligence in Nature, it were absurd to talk of the Law of Karma or every cause producing its corresponding effect. The MAHATMA, in one of the letters published in the Occult World, says that matter is indestructible, but enquires whether the modern Scientist can tell why it is that Nature consciously prefers that matter should remain indestructible under organic rather than inorganic form. This is a very suggestive idea in regard to the subject under notice. At the beginning of our studies we are apt to be misled by the supposition that our earth, or the planetary chain, or the solar system, constitutes infinity and that eternity can be measured by numbers. Often and often have the MAHATMAS warned us against this error, and yet we do, now and then, try to limit the infinity to our standard instead of endeavouring to expand ourselves to its conception. This has led some naturally to a sense of isolation, and to forget that the same Law of Cosmic Evolution which has brought us to our present stage of individual differentiation, is tending to lead us gradually to the original undifferentiated condition. Such allow themselves to be imbued so much with a sense of personality that they try to rebel against the idea of Absolute Unity. Forcing themselves thus in a state of isolation, they endeavour to ride the Cosmic Law which must have its course: and the natural result is annihilation through the throes of disintegration. This it is which constitutes the bridge, the dangerous point in evolution referred to by Mr. Sinnett in his Esoteric Buddhism. And this is why selfishness, which is the result of a strong sense of personality, is detrimental to spiritual progress. This it is that constitutes the difference between white and black magic. And it is this tendency to which reference is made when talking of the end of a Race. At this period, the whole humanity splits up into two classes, the Adepts of the good Law and the Sorcerers (or Dugpas). To that period we are fast rushing; and to save humanity from a cataclysm which must overtake those who go against the purposes of Nature, the MAHATMAS, who are working with her, are endeavouring to spread knowledge in a manner to prevent its abuse as far as possible. We should therefore constantly remember that the present is not the apex of evolution, and that if we would not be annihilated, we must not allow ourselves to be influenced by a sense of personal isolation and consequent worldly vanities and shows. This world does not constitute infinity, nor does our solar system, nor does the immeasurable expanse our physical senses can take cognisance of. All these and more are but an infinitesimal atom of the Absolute Infinity. The idea of personality is limited to our physical senses which, belonging as they do to the Rupa Loka (world of forms), must perish, since we see no permanent form anywhere. All is liable to change, and the more we live in transient personality, the more we incur the danger of final death, or total annihilation. It is only the seventh principle, the Adi Buddha, that is the Absolute Reality. The objective stand-point, however, ever, adds further that Dharma, the vehicle of the seventh principle or its Upadhi, is co-existent with its Lord and Master, the Adi Buddha; because it says nothing can come out of nothing. A more correct form of expressing the idea would be that in the state of Pralaya the sixth principle exists in the seventh as an eternal potentiality to be manifested during the period of cosmic activity. Viewed in this light both the seventh and the sixth principles are Eternal Realities, although it would be more correct to say that the seventh principle is the only Reality, since it remains immutable both during cosmic activity as also during cosmic rest, while the sixth principle, the Upadhi, although absorbed into the seventh during Pralaya, is changing during Manvantara, first differentiating to return to its undifferentiated condition as the time for Pralaya approaches. It was from this standpoint that Mr. Subba Row was arguing in his article on "A Personal and an Impersonal God,"* which was meant as a reply to Mr. Hume, who was then talking of the Arhat Philosophy.
*[This article appeared in The Theosophist, Feb. and March, 1883, as a Reply to an article by H. X. (A. O. Hume), The Theosophist, Dec., 1882. Both the original article and Subba Row's answer were republished in "A Collection of the Esoteric Writings of T. Subba Row, F. T. S., B. A., B. L." published by Tookaram. Tatya. — EDS.]
Now the Vedantin doctrine says that Parabrahm is the Absolute Reality which never changes and is thus identical with the Adi Buddha of the Arhats. While Mulaprakriti is that aspect of Parabrahm, which at the time of Manvantara emanates from itself Purush and Prakriti, and which thus undergoes change during the period of cosmic activity. As Purush is force, which remains immutable throughout, it is that aspect of Mulaprakriti which is identical with Parabrahm. Hence it is that Purush is said to be the same as Parabrahm, or the Absolute Reality. While Prakriti, the differentiated cosmic matter, constantly undergoes change, and is thus unpermanent, forming the basis of phenomenal evolution. This is a purely subjective stand-point from which Mr. Subba Row was arguing with the late Swami of Almora who professed to be an Adwaitee. A careful reader will thus perceive that there is no contradiction involved in Mr. Subba. Row's statements, when he says from the objective standpoint that Mulaprakriti and Purush are eternal, and when again from a subjective standpoint he says that Purush is the only eternal Reality. His critic has unconsciously mixed up the two stand-points by culling extracts from two different articles written from two different points of view and imagines that Mr. Subba Row has made an error.
Attention must now be turned to the idea of the Dhyan Chohans. It has been already stated above that the sixth and the seventh principles are the same in all, and this idea will be clear to every one who reads carefully the foregoing remarks. It has also been added that the sixth principle, being a differentiation of Mulaprakriti, is personal, however exalted and ubiquitous that personality may be. In the Adwaitee Philosophy the Dhyan Chohans correspond to Iswara, the Demiurgus. There is no conscious Iswara outside of the 7th principle of Menu [Manu?] as vulgarly understood. This was the idea Mr. Subba Row meant to convey when he said: — "expressions implying the existence of a conscious Iswar which are to be found here and there in the Upanishads, are not to be literally construed." Mr. Subba Row's statement is therefore neither "perfectly inexplicable," nor "audacious," as it is consistent with the teaching of Sankaracharya. The Dhyan Chohans, who represent the aggregate cosmic intelligence, are the immediate artificers of the worlds, and are thus identical with Iswara or the Demiurgic Mind. But their consciousness and intelligence, pertaining as they do to the sixth and the seventh states of matter, are such as we cannot cognise, so long as we prefer to remain in our isolation and do not transfer our individuality to the sixth and the seventh principles. As artificers of the worlds, they are the primary principle of the Universe, although they are at the same time the result of Cosmic Evolution. It is an incorrect understanding of the consciousness of Dhyan Chohans that has given rise to the current vulgar notion of God. Little do the dogmatic theists realise that it is within their power to become Dhyan Chohans or Iswara, or at least they have the latent potentiality in them to rise to that spiritual eminence if they will but work with Nature. They know not themselves, and thus allow themselves to be carried away and buried under a sense of personal isolation, looking upon Nature as something apart from themselves. They thus isolate themselves from the spirit of Nature, which is the only eternal Absolute Reality and hurry towards their own disintegration.
The reader will now perceive that Esoteric Buddhism is not a system of materialism. It is, as Mr. Sinnett calls it, "transcendental Materialism" which is non-materialism just as the absolute consciousness is non-consciousness and the absolute personality, of which Mr. Massey talks, is non-personality.
Mr. Massey's description of evolution from the idealist stand-point, with which his pamphlet closes, no occultist will disagree with. The book shows such various phases of thought that different portions must evidently have been written at different times. It is undoubtedly a valuable addition to the existing literature on the subject and will be read with extreme interest by the students of "The metaphysical basis of Esoteric Buddhism."
After the above was in type, a copy of the "Reply to the 'Observations' of Mr. T. Subba Row, F. T. S.," by Mrs. Kingsford and Mr. Maitland of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society, came to hand. Most of the questions raised therein having been discussed in the foregoing article, attention must now be confined to three or four important points put forth in the present pamphlet.
It has been authoritatively declared, more than once, in the Theosophist that the eighth sphere must not be confounded with the visible moon. The authors of the pamphlet are therefore undoubtedly right in this respect.
Speaking from a subjective stand-point, to talk of locality and time is absurd, since the latter are mere relative terms and as such restricted only to the phenomenal. Abstract space and eternity are indivisible; and therefore to try to fix time and place, as though they were absolute realities, is neither metaphysical nor philosophical. However, objective stand-point is essential, as has been already pointed out. In the economy of Nature, every thing is right in its place, and to ignore a certain plane is just as illogical as to overestimate it. True knowledge consists in a right sense of discrimination: to be able to perceive what phenomenon performs what function, and how to utilize it for human progress and happiness. Both the objective and subjective stand-points, as much as the inductive and deductive methods, are therefore essential for the attainment of true knowledge which is true power. In doing so, it is human habit and nature to associate certain phenomena with certain abstract ideas, having of course determined beforehand the exact relation between these two. With these remarks, it may be left to the intuition of the readers to find out the relation between the phases of the moon and the states of being known to occultists as the eighth sphere.
Next we come to the question of the Dhyan Chohans. What they are conceived to be has already been stated in the foregoing article. It may however be remarked here that the learned and gifted authors of the pamphlet under consideration seem to mix up both the subjective and the objective stand-points when they say: —
"We confess that the difficulty propounded by us respecting the alleged part taken by the Dhyan Chohans in the production of the Cosmos is not removed by the statement that 'as there can be no beginning of Eternity, so there can be no first Dhyan Chohans,' — if we are to regard these as human, and not Emanations, but Products of Evolution. For, both logically and chronologically, the producer must precede the product, the manifester the manifestation. Unless, indeed, it be that we are called on to believe that prior to, and independently of, manifestation is no — Being; a belief which would involve the doctrine that the manifest exhausts Being; in other words, that the Cosmos is God."
Perhaps the difficulty may be removed when it is remembered that the Dhyan Chohans represent the cosmic intelligence and consciousness, and that our conception of chronology is inconsistent with the idea of Eternity, and when the subjective and objective stand-points are realized in their distinct aspects. The Dhyan Chohans may be considered as the Elohim of the Kabala, while the "Seven spirits of God" of the Cabalists are represented in the Oriental teaching by the primary seven Centres of Energy which subsist "indefeasibly in the Divine Nature, as the seven rays of the prism in light."
We may assure the erudite authors that, according to the Oriental occult teaching, "When a race has reached the Zenith of its physical intellectuality and developed its highest civilization, its progress towards absolute evil" is arrested by the destruction, as far as possible, "of its false and pernicious system of thought and conduct . . . by means of such further interior unfoldment of man's spiritual consciousness as will supplement and correct mere intellect and pure intuition, and thus enable man to realise his higher potentialities." The formation and the growth of the Theosophical Society is one of the indications of the fact, as has already been pointed out. Moreover, from a proper understanding of the doctrine of Karma and of what has already been said in the Fragments ("Fragments of Occult Truth" — EDS.), &c., concerning the after-states of suicides and those who die premature deaths, it will be obvious that the influence of the results of the evil actions of Dugpas is likely to be worse, under certain conditions and circumstances, when they are destroyed than when alive. In the first place, their elementaries are likely to affect a number of sensitives who may thus be dragged, unconsciously to themselves, towards evil. Then, the premature death of one evil personality is likely to influence innumerable other evilly inclined personalities by the Law of Affinity, as in life the former has not had full opportunities of working out the effects of its bad Karma. As they are all, more or less, actuated by merely selfish and personal considerations, there can be no complete unity among them, and their "powers" are generally exercised and sometimes exhausted in matters of dissensions among parties and sects. The conditions being such as above indicated, it will be seen that the physical destruction of a race would tend to increase rather the evil effects than otherwise. At the same time, it should not be forgotten that those entities who have as it were reached the grandeur and the eminence of a Prince of Black magicians, ultimately tend to so group themselves as to make it impossible for them to have their influence spread beyond a very limited area. This opportunity may be taken advantage of; and none will deny that it is a certain kind of physical destruction by which they are all focalised together, as it were, in a spot, until a total annihilation results. It is to this destruction that Mr. Subba Row refers in his "Observations."* The phrase "Absolute evil" has been made use of in the same sense as a mathematician sometimes uses the terms "Zero" and "Infinity" — to indicate a theoretical limit.
*[These "Observations" of T. Subba Row were republished in the collection of his Esoteric Writings published by Tookaram Tatya. In this article, p. 353, Subba Row, referring to the series of Answers to ten Questions by "An English F. T. S." (see footnote p. 114) says: "The 'Replies' — as every one in our Society is aware of — were written by three 'adepts' . . . none of whom is known to the London Lodge, with the exception of one — to Mr. Sinnett. The sentence quoted and fathered upon Madame Blavatsky is found in the MSS sent by a Mahatma who resides in Southern India [Narayana]. . . ." — EDS.]
A few words may now be said in connection with the idea of Buddha. When Mr. Subba Row talks of the historical aspect of Buddha, he probably refers to Gautama Buddha, who was a historical personage. It must, of course, at the same time be remembered that every entity that identifies itself with that ray of the Divine Wisdom which is represented by Gautama, is a Buddha; and thus it will be evident that there can be but one Buddha at a time, the highest type of that particular ray of Adeptship.
As the purpose of this writing has been elucidation of truth by means of discussion — spirit which should animate every true philosophical disquisition — we hope we have succeeded in leaving entirely out of consideration every personal question — which so often mars the force of metaphysical arguments. The chief aim of the Theosophical Society is human enlightenment and true progress, which can be gained only by impersonal intelligent discussions, thus promoting a Brotherhood formed upon the basis of mutual intellectual sympathy.