The Theosophical Forum – March 1939


[Under the above title Mr. Judge in 1887-8 conducted a column in his magazine The Path where under the pen-name Zadok he answered questions from Theosophists and inquirers. Beginning with the February issue of THE FORUM these questions and answers are being reprinted in response to many requests. — Eds.]

Is it well to cultivate the intellect at the expense of the heart? Do we not pay too much attention to intellectual progress, and in so doing allow the Heart-Mind to wander where it may?

It is not wise to cultivate either at the expense of the other. Each alone will end at the same place — The Threshold. Both are excellent means for the manifestation of that which is higher than either, when cultivated to their highest in unison. Both are useless after a certain point, except as tools for truth. Metaphysics, logic and emotion all end at a dead wall.

Do not the words and teachings of Jesus, taken in their esoteric sense, point one {the) way to the Theosophic Path?

Taken in the sense he intended the people to take them, they lead to the way. Taken in the sense in which he desired his Disciples to receive them, they are teachings upon the way. Taken in their esoteric sense — as he knew them — they are the way. Were the wisdom of Egypt and India to-day blotted out from both the seen and unseen worlds — the true seeker would find in his teachings, when rightly studied, all the teachings of Isis and Buddha. As he received his instruction from Egypt, heired from India, it is more than probable that esoterically his teachings are identical with both.

Will the Devachanic period form an interruption to work for humanity in the case of one devoted to this during earth life? Is Devachan then a rejuvenating, strengthening period necessary for us while in the bonds of flesh, and is the Elixir of Life the only escape from this egoistic period?May an answer be given to this?

As the Devachanic period is a result of work for humanity — the true and pure devachanic state being only thus obtained — it should form no interruption to such work. It only does become such when the soul is selfish enough to prefer Devachan to a continuance of work for other men, and even then to a certain extent the soul continues its work. There is rest in Devachan, but not idleness. As this state is frequently entered and passed through while yet in the body, it should be an aid, not a hindrance, to true work. In truth it is a state of reward, but in that state no rewards are received. There is no state up to Nirvana that can be an obstacle to work for humanity for those who are devoted to that work. The Elixir of Life is the only means by which we can pass beyond both Devachan and the thoughts of it; the Magnum Opus is the only thing that entitles us to it.

Are the Astral and the lowest plane of mental life synonymous terms?

They are not. The impulses for all mental life originate beyond the Astral. The outer man with his mind interprets these as he conceives they should be. The lowest as well as the highest mental life may receive knowledge from the Astral, but it is not the Astral. All that all forms of mental life produce is indelibly impressed upon the Astral.

Is the "rising above the Astral" in effect rising above the stings and approbation of public opinion?

For us, there is no public opinion. We know neither sting nor approbation. Rising above public opinion is merely rising above the material. Until men forget the material, they cannot rise above self. Until they forget self, they can not rise above the Astral: All things that please as well as those that distress men are in and through the Astral.Rise above both.

Whence come the visions seen just before dropping to sleep? They are uncontrollableSometimes unpleasant, and have increased since childhood, and since beginning the study of Occultism?

When we enter that condition called sleep, we open wide the doors and windows of the body or this house we live in, and the soul goes forth as a bird freed from its cage. In partial unconsciousness or falling into sleep, the body has, to a great extent, ceased to act, but the brain is still sensitive or receptive to the pictures or impressions of the Astral. Of the lower principles the Astral is the last to cease action either in sleep or death. The brain is its instrument. In the partial somnolent condition, the pictures of the Astral are conveyed to the brain; through that the outer man realizes and beholds the visions. If he were fully asleep these visions would be dreams. Precisely, as dreams, they may be either pleasant or the reverse. Like dreams they are uncontrollable by the ordinary every day mortal. The Occultist being master of himself beholds only that which he desires, either in vision, or dream, or neither. As one makes himself more sensitive to impressions from the Astral when and after he begins the study of occultism, visions and dreams will increase in frequency for a time.

A most perplexed individual is writing to you. I have been for three years endeavoring to study Theosophy. I have heard lectures, have read an immense amount of literature devoted to that cult, from the sages of old down to the Sinnetts, Olcotts, and Blavatskys of the present day. I have conned the Yoga Philosophy and I read THE PATH. Light on the Path aids me not, nor does Bhagavad-Gita, and why? Because I am yet without the first steps towards practice. (Surely Theosophylike other sciencesmust have SOMETHING practical about it?) Guide me with your friendly hints. Imagine me alone in a room. How to commence? Show me the first step upon the practical ladder! All I have heard and read seemeth to me so elaborately unintelligible that I lay it aside and beg you to instruct me in my Theosophical ABC. Astral Light! Is it a figurative light, i. e. Revelation? or is it a light, as electricitythe Heavenscoalgives light? If abstraction (into insensibility) is necessary, can you instruct me upon Hypnotism (self mesmerism)! "A shining object" is advised to stare at! A mirror is a shining object, for instance. But of what avail to stare at a mirror and see reflected ugliness!

You say that for three years you have been endeavoring to study Theosophy. Such being the case, you will meet with but little success. Divine Wisdom can not be a subject for study, but it may be an object of search. With the love for this same wisdom uppermost in our hearts, we ask you if it would not be wiser to lay aside the study of so called Theosophy and study yourself. Knowing yourself you know all men, the worlds seen and occult, and find Theo-Sophia. One cannot absorb Theosophy as a sponge does water, to be expelled at the slightest touch. Our conception of Theosophy is apt to be based upon the idea that it is an especial line of teaching — a larger, wider, and greater doctrine than others perhaps, but still a doctrine, and therefore limited. We must bear in mind that the true Theosophist belongs to no cult or sect, yet belongs to each and all; that he can find the true object of his search equally as well in the Hebrew bible as in the Yoga philosophy, in the New Testament equally as well as in the Bhagavad-Gita.

You say you have "conned the Yoga philosophy." This is not enough; merely to "con" it is not to know it. It is in fact a most practical system (if you refer to that of Patanjali), and one that will meet all requirements you have in the way of difficulty; for it is one of the most difficult. It is not possible for you to judge its merits without practice: and it gives full directions. If for three years you study and practice it — aye for one year — you will find that you need no other. In these matters there is no child's play nor the usual English and American method of mere booklearning, — we must absorb and work into the practice and the theory laid down, for they are not written merely for the intellect but for the whole spiritual nature. There must be within the man something which he already knows, that leaps up and out when he scans the books of wisdom; a thing already existing, which only takes an added life or confirmation from books. True Theosophy has all that is practical, but many forget this: there is no greater system of practice than that required by it.

Desire wisdom; love all men; do your duty; forget yourself; let each thought and act of your life have for its aim the finding of divine wisdom; strive to apply that wisdom for the good of other men. If you search in every direction, Light must come to you. Let the place in which you now are be the lonely room you speak of, and seek to find in everything the meaning. Strive to know what they are, and by what governed or caused. This is the first step. Live your life with this ever before you. Purify your thoughts as well as your body. Reason all you can, feel all with your heart you may, and when intellect and heart fail you, seek for something higher. This is the A. B. C; it is enough for the present.

It is not Theosophy that is a science, but its application. It is not a "cult," for it covers and includes all.

The Astral Light is an actuality. It is not revelation, but a means through which that which causes revelation acts. Electricity, the heavens, all lower fires, are but the shadows of the Astral Light, just as the Astral Light is but the darkness of the Ineffable Light.

Abstraction into insensibility is not intended. If it had been so intended, it would be unnecessary for us to be in these bodies. If you can forget yourself sufficiently — forget that you exist as a human body, you will not need to stare at a mirror; but so long as you realize, when staring into a glass, whether you be pretty or ugly, you can not reach Celestial sensibility or terrestial insensibility.

Hypnotism is the controlling of other personalities. Under this you would be but a puppet for the thoughts of another. Your outer self had better become a puppet for your own thought.

We seek to make the body alive, not to kill it.

The Theosophical Forum