The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett
Theosophical University Press Edition

Letter No. 20c

Received August, 1882.

X  Except insofar, that he constantly uses the terms "god" and "Christ" which taken in their esoteric sense simply mean "Good" — in its dual aspect of the abstract and the concrete and nothing more dogmatic, Eliphas Levi is not in any direct conflict with our teachings. It is again a straw blown out of a hay-stack and accused by the wind to belong to a hay-rick. Most of those, whom you may call, if you like, candidates for Deva Chan — die and are reborn in the Kama-Loka "without remembrance"; though (and just because) they do get some of it back in the Deva Chan. Nor can we call it a full, but only a partial remembrance. You would hardly call "remembrance" a dream of yours; some particular scene or scenes, within whose narrow limits you would find enclosed a few persons — those whom you loved best, with an undying love, that holy feeling that alone survives, and — not the slightest recollection of any other events or scenes? Love and Hatred are the only immortal feelings, the only survivors from the wreck of Ye-damma, or the phenomenal world. Imagine yourself then, in Deva-Chan with those you may have loved with such immortal love; with the familiar shadowy scenes connected with them for a background and — a perfect blank for everything else relating to your interior, social, political, literary and social life. And then, in the face of that spiritual, purely cogitative existence, of that unalloyed felicity which, in proportion with the intensity of the feeling that created it, lasts from a few to several thousand years — call it the "personal remembrance of A. P. Sinnett" — if you can. Dreadfully monotonous! — you may think. — Not in the least — I answer. Have you experienced monotony during — say — that moment which you considered then and now so consider it — as the moment of the highest bliss you have ever felt? — Of course not. — Well, no more will you experience it there, in that passage through the Eternity in which a million of years is no longer than a second. There, where there is no consciousness of an external world there can be no discernment to mark differences, hence, — no perception of contrasts of monotony or variety; nothing in short, outside that immortal feeling of love and sympathetic attraction whose seeds are planted in the fifth, whose plants blossom luxuriantly in and around the fourth, but whose roots have to penetrate deep into the sixth principle, if it would survive the lower groups. (And now I propose to kill two birds with one stone — to answer your and Mr. Hume's questions at the same time) — remember, both, that we create ourselves our devachan as our Avitchi while yet on earth, and mostly during the latter days and even moments of our intellectual, sentient lives. That feeling which is the strongest in us at that supreme hour; when, as in a dream, the events of a long life, to their minutest details, are marshalled in the greatest order in a few seconds in our vision (1) — that feeling will become the fashioner of our bliss or woe, the life-principle of our future existence. In the latter we have no substantial being, but only a present and momentary existence — whose duration has no bearing upon, as no effect, or relation to its being — which as every other effect of a transitory cause will be as fleeting, and in its turn will vanish and cease to be. The real full remembrance of our lives will come but at the end of the minor cycle — not before. In Kama Loka those who retain their remembrance, will not enjoy it at the supreme hour of recollection. — Those who know they are dead in their physical body — can only be either adepts or — sorcerers; and these two are the exceptions to the general rule. Both having been "co-workers with nature," the former for good, the latter — for bad, in her work of creation and in that of destruction, they are the only ones who may be called immortal — in the Kabalistic and the esoteric sense of course. Complete or true immortality, — which means an unlimited sentient existence, can have no breaks and stoppages, no arrest of Self consciousness. And even the shells of those good men whose page will not be found missing in the great Book of Lives at the threshold of the Great Nirvana, even they will regain their remembrance and an appearance of Self consciousness, only after the sixth and seventh principles with the essence of the 5th (the latter having to furnish the material for even that partial recollection of personality which is necessary for the object in Deva Chan) — have gone to their gestation period, not before. Even in the case of suicides, and those who have perished by violent death, even in their case, consciousness requires a certain time to establish its new center of gravity, and evolve, as Sir W. Hamilton would have it — its "perception proper" henceforth to remain distinct from "sensation proper." Thus, when man dies, his "Soul" (fifth prin.) becomes unconscious and loses all remembrance of things internal as well as external. Whether his stay in Kama Loka has to last but a few moments, hours, days, weeks, months or years; whether he died a natural or a violent death; whether it occurred in his young or old age, and, whether the Ego was good, bad or indifferent — his consciousness leaves him as suddenly as the flame leaves the wick, when blown out. When life has retired from the last particle in the brain matter, his perceptive faculties become extinct forever, his spiritual powers of cogitation and volition — (all those faculties in short, which are neither inherent in, nor acquirable by organic matter) — for the time being. His Mayavi rupa may be often thrown into objectivity, as in the cases of apparitions after death; but, unless it is projected with the knowledge of (whether latent or potential), or, owing to the intensity of the desire to see or appear to someone, shooting through the dying brain, the apparition will be simply — automatical; it will not be due to any sympathetic attraction, or to any act of volition, and no more than the reflection of a person passing unconsciously near a mirror, is due to the desire of the latter.

Having thus explained the position, I will sum up and ask again why it should be maintained that what is given by Eliphas Levi and expounded by H.P.B., is "in direct conflict" with my teaching? E.L. is an Occultist, and a Kabalist, and writing for those who are supposed to know the rudiments of the Kabalistic tenets, uses the peculiar phraseology of his doctrine, and H.P.B. follows suit. The only omission she was guilty of, was not to add the word "Western" between the two words "Occult" and doctrine (see third line of Editor's note).She is a fanatic in her way, and is unable to write with anything like system and calmness, or to remember that the general public needs all the lucid explanations that to her may seem superfluous. And, as you are sure to remark — "but this is also our case; and you too seem to forget it," — I will give you a few more explanations. As remarked on the margin of the October Theosophist the word "immortality" has for the initiates and occultists quite a different meaning. We call "immortal" but the one Life in its universal collectivity and entire or Absolute Abstraction; that which has neither beginning nor end, nor any break in its continuity. Does the term apply to anything else? Certainly it does not. Therefore the earliest Chaldeans had several prefixes to the word "immortality," one of which is the Greek, rarely-used term — panæonic immortality, i.e. beginning with the manvantara and ending with the pralaya of our Solar Universe. It lasts the æon, or "period," of our pan or "all nature." Immortal then is he, in the panæonic immortality whose distinct consciousness and perception of Self — under whatever form — undergoes no disjunction at any time, not for one second, during the period of his Egoship. Those periods are several in number, each having its distinct name in the secret doctrines of the Chaldeans, Greeks, Egyptians and Aryans, and, were they but amenable to translation, — which they are not, at least so long as the idea involved remains inconceivable to the Western mind — I could give them to you. Suffice for you, for the present to know, that a man, an Ego like yours or mine, may be immortal from one to the other Round. Let us say I begin my immortality at the present fourth Round, i.e., having become a full adept (which unhappily I am not) I arrest the hand of Death at will, and when finally obliged to submit to it, my knowledge of the secrets of nature puts me in a position to retain my consciousness and distinct perception of Self as an object to my own reflective consciousness and cognition; and thus avoiding all such dismemberments of principles, that as a rule take place after the physical death of average humanity, I remain as Koothoomi in my Ego throughout the whole series of births and lives across the seven worlds and Arupa lokas until finally I land again on this earth among the fifth race men of the full fifth Round beings. I would have been, in such a case — "immortal" for an inconceivable (to you) long period embracing many milliards of years. And yet am "I" truly immortal for all that? Unless I make the same efforts as I do now, to secure for myself another such furlough from Nature's Law, Koothoomi will vanish, and may become a Mr. Smith or an innocent Babu, when his leave expires. There are men who become such mighty beings. There are men among us who may become immortal during the remainder of the Rounds, and then take their appointed place among the highest Chohans, the Planetary conscious "Ego-Spirits." Of course the monad "never perishes whatever happens," but Eliphas speaks of the personal not of the Spiritual Egos, and you have fallen into the same mistake (and very naturally too) as C.C.M.; though I must confess the passage in Isis was very clumsily expressed, as I had already remarked to you, about this same paragraph in one of my letters long ago. I had to "exercise my ingenuity" over it — as the Yankees express it, but, succeeded in mending the hole, I believe, — as I will have to, many times more, I am afraid, before we have done with Isis. It really ought to be rewritten for the sake of the "family honour."

X   It is certainly inconceivable, therefore, there is no mortal use to discuss the subject.

X   You misconceived the teaching, because you were not aware of what you are now told: (a) who are the true co-workers with nature; and (b) that it is by no means all the evil co-workers, who drop into the eighth sphere and are annihilated. (2) The potency for evil is as great in man — aye greater — than the potentiality for good. An exception to the rule of nature, that exception, which in the case of adepts and sorcerers becomes in its turn a rule, has again its own exceptions. Read carefully the passage that C.C.M. left unquoted — on pp. 352-3, Isis Vol. I, Parag. 3. Again she omits to distinctly state that the case mentioned relates but to those powerful sorcerers whose co-partnership with nature for evil affords to them the means of forcing her hand, and thus accord them also panaeonic immortality. But oh, what kind of immortality, and how preferable is annihilation to their lives! Don't you see that everything you find in Isis is delineated, hardly sketched — nothing completed or fully revealed. Well the time has come, but where are the workers for such a tremendous task?

Says Mr. Hume (see affixed letter (3) marked passages — 10 [X] and 1, 2, 3). And now when you have read the objections to that most unsatisfactory doctrine — as Mr. Hume calls it — a doctrine which you had to learn first as a whole, before proceeding to study it in parts, — at the risk of satisfying you no better, I will proceed to explain the latter.

(1) Although not "wholly dissevered from their sixth and seventh principles" and quite "potent" in the seance room, nevertheless to the day when they would have died a natural death, they are separated from the higher principles by a gulf. The sixth and seventh remain passive and negative, whereas, in cases of accidental death the higher and the lower groups mutually attract each other. In cases of good and innocent Egos, moreover, the latter gravitates irresistibly toward the sixth and seventh, and thus — either slumbers surrounded by happy dreams, or, sleeps a dreamless profound sleep until the hour strikes. With a little reflection, and an eye to eternal justice and fitness of things, you will see why. The victim whether good or bad is irresponsible for his death, even if his death were due to some action in a previous life or an antecedent birth; was an act, in short, of the Law of Retribution, still, it was not the direct result of an act deliberately committed by the personal Ego of that life during which he happened to be killed. Had he been allowed to live longer he may have atoned for his antecedent sins still more effectually; and even now, the Ego having been made to pay off the debt of his maker (the previous Ego) is free from the blows of retributive justice. The Dhyan Chohans who have no hand in the guidance of the living human Ego, protect the helpless victim when it is violently thrust out of its element into a new one, before it is matured and made fit and ready for it. We tell you what we know, for we are made to learn it through personal experience. You know what I mean and I can say no more! Yes; the victims whether good or bad sleep, to awake but at the hour of the last Judgment, which is that hour of the supreme struggle between the sixth and seventh, and the fifth and fourth at the threshold of the gestation state. And even after that, when the sixth and seventh carrying off a portion of the fifth have gone into their akasic samadhi, even then it may happen that the spiritual spoil from the fifth will prove too weak to be reborn in Deva-Chan; in which case it will there and then reclothe itself in a new body, the subjective "Being" created from the Karma of the victim (or no-victim, as the case may be) and enter upon a new earth-existence whether upon this or any other planet. In no case then, — with the exception of suicides and shells, is there any possibility for any other to be attracted to a seance room. And it is clear that "this teaching is not in opposition to our former doctrine" and that while "shells" will be many, — Spirits very few.

(2) There is a great difference in our humble opinion. We, who look at it from a standpoint which would prove very unacceptable to Life-insurance Companies, say, that there are very few, if any, of the men who indulge in the above enumerated vices, who feel perfectly sure that such a course of action will lead them eventually to premature death. Such is the penalty of Maya. The "vices" will not escape their punishment; but it is the cause not the effect that will be punished, especially an unforeseen though probable effect. As well call a suicide a man who meets his death in a storm at sea, as one who kills himself with "overstudy." Water is liable to drown a man, and too much brain-work to produce a softening of the brain which may carry him away. In such a case no one ought to cross the Kalapani nor even to take a bath for fear of getting faint in it and drowned (for we all know of such cases); nor should a man do his duty, least of all sacrifice himself for even a laudable and highly-beneficent cause, as many of us — (H.P.B. for one) — do. Would Mr. Hume call her a suicide were she to drop down dead over her present work? Motive is everything and man is punished in a case of direct responsibility, never otherwise. In the victim's case the natural hour of death was anticipated accidentally, while in that of the suicide, death is brought on voluntarily and with a full and deliberate knowledge of its immediate consequences. Thus a man who causes his death in a fit of temporary insanity is not a felo de se to the great grief and often trouble of the Life-insurance Companies. Nor is he left a prey to the temptations of the Kama loka but falls asleep like any other victim. A Guiteau will not remain in the earth's atmosphere with his higher principles over him — inactive and paralysed, still there. Guiteau is gone into a state during the period of which, he will be ever firing at his President,— thereby tossing into confusion and shuffling the destinies of millions of persons; where he will be ever tried and ever hung. Bathing in the reflections of his deeds and thoughts — especially those he indulged in on the scaffold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [Two lines in original have been deleted here. — Ed.] his fate. As for those who were "knoched over by cholera, or plague, or jungle fever" they could not have succumbed had they not the germs for the development of such diseases in them from birth.

"So then, the great bulk of the physical phenomena of Spiritualists" my dear brother are not "due to these Spirits" but indeed — to "shells."

(3) "The spirits of very fair average good people dying natural deaths remain . . . in the earth's atmosphere from a few days to a few years," the period depending on their readiness to meet their — creature not their creator; a very abstruse subject you will learn later on, when you too are more prepared. But why should they "communicate"? Do those you love communicate with you during their sleep objectively? Your spirits, in hours of danger, or intense sympathy, vibrating on the same current of thought — which in such cases, creates a kind of telegraphic spiritual wires between your two bodies — may meet and mutually impress your memories; but then you are living, not dead bodies. But how can an unconscious 5th principle (see supra) impress or communicate with a living organism, unless it has already become a shell? If, for certain reasons they remain in such a state of lethargy for several years, the spirits of the living may ascend to them, as you were already told; and this may take place still easier than in Devachan, where the spirit is too much engrossed in his personal bliss to pay much attention to an intruding element. I say — they cannot.

(4) I am sorry to contradict your statement. I know of no "thousands of spirits" who do appear in circles — and moreover positively do not know of one "perfectly pure circle" — and "teach the highest morality." I hope I may not be classed with slanderers in addition to other names lately bestowed upon me, but truth compels me to declare that Allan Kardec was not quite immaculate during his lifetime, nor has become a very pure spirit since. As to teaching the "highest morality," we have a Dugpa-Shammar not far from where I am residing. Quite a remarkable man. Not very powerful as a sorcerer but excessively so, as a drunkard, a thief, a liar, and — an orator. In this latter role he could give points to and beat Messrs. Gladstone, Bradlaugh, and even the Rev. H. W. Be{e}cher — than whom, there is no more eloquent preacher of morality, and no greater breaker of his Lord's commandments in the U.S.A. This Shapa-tung Lama, when thirsty, can make an enormous audience of "yellow-cap" laymen weep all their yearly supply of tears, with the narrative of his repentance and suffering in the morning, and then get drunk in the evening and rob the whole village by mesmerizing them into a dead sleep. Preaching and teaching morality with an end in view proves very little. Read "J.P.T.'s" article in Light and what I say will be corroborated.

(To A.P.S.)  X p6 {p126 above}).  The "obscuration" comes on only when the last man of whatever Round has passed into the Sphere of Effects. Nature is too well, too mathematically adjusted to cause mistakes to happen in the exercise of its functions. The obscuration of the planet on which are now evoluting the races of the fifth Round men — will, of course "be behind the few avant couriers" who are now here. But before that time comes we will have to part, to meet no more, as the editor of the Pioneer and his humble correspondent.

And now having shown that the October number of the Theosophist was not utterly wrong, nor was it at "variance with the later teaching," may K.H. set you to "reconcile the two"?

To reconcile you still more with Eliphas, I will send you a number of his MSS — that have never been published, in a large, clear, beautiful handwriting with my comments all through. Nothing better than that can give you a key to Kabalistic puzzles.

I have to write to Mr. Hume this week; to give him consolation, and to show, that unless he has a strong desire to live, he need not trouble himself about Devachan. Unless a man loves well, or hates as well, he will be neither in Devachan nor in Avitchi. "Nature spews the luke-warm out of her mouth" means only that she annihilates their personal Egos (not the shells, nor yet the sixth principle) in the Kama Loka and the Devachan. This does not prevent them from being immediately reborn — and, if their lives were not very very bad, — there is no reason why the eternal monad should not find the page of that life intact in the Book of Life.

K. H.

Letter 21

Chronological Order

Next: Blavatsky Letter Appendix I or Mahatma Letter 125 (enclosed in above)
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Table of Contents


1. That vision takes place when a person is already proclaimed dead. The brain is the last organ that dies. (return to text)

2. Annihilated suddenly as human Egos and personalities, lasting in that world of pure matter under various material forms an inconceivable length of time before they can return to primeval matter. (return to text)

3. See ante Letter No. 20a. — ED. (return to text)