The Theosophical Forum – May 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.]

"There are two ways to ascend and descend, the direct and indirect." (1) What are these ways?

The thistle down is blown hither and thither with every breath of wind: The arrow speeds straight to the mark from the powerful bow.

The indirect way is that of the thistle down; the Astral going out when the body is asleep, does so in a diffused condition — a passive state — with no adequate force to control it or master unseen forces. It floats at the mercy of every current in the Astral, gleaning here and there as a butterfly but taking the good and bad indiscriminately. It may reach high spheres, but is more likely to remain in those nearest to the physical. This way is traveled by all when asleep, and there dreams are made. It is the passive state where desire is the ruler, and is sometimes traveled in the waking conscious state, but is uncontrollable and unreliable.

The direct way is that of the arrow from the bow. The Astral speeds directly to the sphere which holds the knowledge it is to receive. It does so in obedience to an irresistible force — the Will; Will in accordance with divine law. It is concrete going and returning in obedience to this force, bringing little with it from intermediate spheres other than that for which it is seeking. This occurs in dreamless slumber and the knowledge acquired is not communicated in a dream. This way is travelled in the conscious state for it is the way of the student of the Occult. Unless the man's thought and motive are pure, he is incapable of using the true will, and his Astral goes where other wills or forces drive it. It pauses when other forces interfere — learns from the place it happens to be in, and brings back a horrible jumble sometimes.

Where do these ways lead?

One way leads to Theosophia — Illumination — when travelled awake or asleep.

The other to consideration of self — ordinary living with its erroneous conceptions — as an Occult way, to love of phenomena and spiritism.

They lead to spheres within the astral, for the astral body passes not beyond astral limits. Only when the soul is freed from the astral and material bodies does it pass to higher spheres. These ways lead to planets, stars and other worlds, for all these may be within the astral of this globe.

Apollonius is said to have worn a mantle of wool to aid in insulating himself from the astral currents. Has wool in itself any such property as is seemingly ascribed to it? The question has this value, perhaps, whether the occult laws which govern the merely physical regulation of the toiler toward adept-ship, may not be of great value from a sanitary point of view and form, if properly understood, a useful medical creed.

Wool in itself has no especial occult power. It is a non-absorbent to the exhalations of the human body; it is lighter, cooler in hot and warmer in cold weather than any other fabric. The late discoveries of a German scientist prove it the best of all materials from a sanitary point of view. It is a conductor of electricity and other unseen forces. Apollonius, as well as other occult students, knew its value and uses. Being a student of nature's laws he was well aware of nature's requirements. Upon the knowledge gained by occult students touching the human body are founded the schools of medicine. Bathing is essential, a woolen dress where permissible, as little animal food as possible, a sparing diet at best — a high ideal — an exalted motive and strong will, a total forgetting of self otherwise, and neither elementals or human beings will oppress one.

"A great deal depends on purity of thought and motive." (2) Please explain what should be the actuating motive in developing psychic capacities.

The desire to find God, the desire to know one's self, our possibilities and capabilities, that we may be of true use to the world, these are the motives. The thought should be unselfish, undisturbed by material affairs — free from wonder seeking curiosity, concentrated, and in entire accord with the motive, the search for God.

What steps must I take to open the heart so as to exercise the Will for governing the Astral body?

There is but one way to open the heart. That is by living the life. It is a simple matter to govern the will, but this is not the true will. The governing of the Astral body is the smallest of the tasks of the true will. The will should be used to obtain wisdom, and when so used it will control the Astral body without effort. We should exert psychic powers only to benefit others, never to free ourselves from the disagreeable. Let your aim be to find God; your motive, to know yourself for the sake of Theo Sophia and humanity: your desire, to help humanity, and the true Will will be developed, the heart opened and you will not only control the Astral body but all in the Astral. You must seek beyond the Astral for powers, but it is not wise to desire the acquisition of powers. Let your aim be beyond that, and the powers will grow of themselves. If the strong-willed or sick depress you, seek to aid each in some way, forget that you are depressed, forget your self, and they will not affect you. The life of the Occult student is full of sorrow, anguish and depressing influences. These go to make him a student in the Occult. A portion of his training is to become aware of these only in so far as they affect others. As to their affecting his own personality, he does not know they exist. If you desire to help humanity, then you possess the true motive. If you use your will in this cause, wisdom, peace and all the powers will be given.

During sleep I have a feeling that I can fly by an intense act of will. I then float in dream over the ground, my body seeming rigid. The force exhausts, then I have to descend. What is your explanation of this?

It is part of the effort of your inner man to demonstrate to your outer self the existence and action of unrecognised and unfamiliar forces, which every man has in him the latent power to use. Dreamless slumber is better.

In Theosophical books I find occult or magical phenomena referred to. I am disposed to reject these and consider their publication of a very questionable character in light of matter for the improvement of intelligent seekers after truth. Still I do not deny them, and hold myself open for conviction in any direction.

Why then bother yourself with the phenomena of your dream state? The dream of flying is as much a phenomenon as any other that Theosophical literature contains. The proper attitude for true Theosophists is not to be ready or anxious to bring conviction as to any phenomena to inquirers. Hence we cannot enter into proofs. We know personally that phenomena of a most extraordinary character have taken place, and are still occurring; we also agree with you that the constant publication of accounts of phenomena is unwise. Still it must sometimes be done, as some minds have to advance through the aid of these things.

We also know that the Masters who are behind the Theosophical Society have, in writing, condemned the thirst for phenomena made so often degrading, and stated that the Society ought to progress through its moral worth. One phenomenon can be seen by but a limited number of people, some of whom even will always doubt, and each one hearing of it afterwards will want a repetition for himself. Further than that, it would be certain to bring on a thirst for mere sight-seeing, resulting in a total forgetfulness of spirit. But, on the other hand, there are laws that cannot be guessed at without phenomena. And in each human being is a complete universe in which daily occur phenomena that should be studied. This is the proper realm for each student to investigate, for therein — and nowhere else — is placed the gate through which each one must advance.

(This concludes the series of "Answers to Questioners" appearing in The Path. In the issue of July, 1888, appears the following statement: "A change of circumstances having made it necessary for Zadok to remove to another sphere of action, no more answers to queries will appear from his pen." — Eds )


1. The questioner is here quoting a part of what Mr. Judge says in The Path, October, 1887, in answer to a question about things remembered from the sleeping-state. Mr. Judge's words are as follows: "We go away in deep dreamless sleep to other spheres and states, where we get ideas and so forth, and the way back is through many different states, all having their denizens and obstructions. Besides that, there are two ways to ascend and descend: the direct and the indirect." — Eds. (return to text)

2. Mr. Judge's words from The Path, October, 1887, are: "We must be patient, because it takes time to find out how to walk, and much time is spent in getting hold of clues. A great deal depends on purity of thought and motive, and breadth of view." (return to text)

Theosophical University Press Online Edition