Studies in "The Mahatma Letters"
This number of the present series opens with the remarks by Dr. de Purucker on the polar magnetism of the earth which were crowded out of the November issue. They refer to Question 13, page 146, of The Mahatma Letters, and the Master's comments thereon to be found on pages 168-9. Then follows a valuable hint or two on the meaning of the "777 incarnations" discussed on pages 82-3 of The Mahatma Letters. Before speaking of the "777 incarnations," Dr. de Purucker made the following comment which will be of interest: "Sometimes a little confusion was caused in the minds of earlier readers of The Mahatma Letters through lack of knowing all the facts. For instance they did not know that the two Mahatmans, M. and K. H., took, each one, a different side of the teaching of the rounds and the globes. I think it was K. H. who took care of the instruction to be conveyed in what we call the Inner Rounds; and M., as I recollect, took charge of the teaching concerning the Outer Rounds. As analogy rules throughout the universe, the greater teaching contains the smaller teaching in miniature; and the smaller teaching contains within its heart the reflexion of the greater. Thus what either Master gave could, by making appropriate changes, apply to what the other Master taught, but there are certain things you have to know about this in order to discern just where the reference is to Outer Rounds and where to Inner Rounds."
As stated in the November Forum this and subsequent numbers of this series to appear in the future had not been edited by Dr. de Purucker. Dr. Henry T. Edge, one of the few surviving pupils of H. P. Blavatsky, has kindly added an explanatory note, of interest to scientific students, concerning the magnetic poles of the earth. — Eds.
THE EARTH'S MAGNETIC POLES
I do not blame anyone for feeling confused about the apparently paradoxical comments of the Masters regarding magnetism and the poles of the earth. For as has been pointed out by all the speakers tonight, the subject is thorny, thorny mainly because of erroneous scientific teaching of the past and present — and by that I mean teaching erroneous in deductions. As long as the scientists stick to the facts of nature we have no quarrel with them but look upon them as our best friends. As soon as they begin to theorize, their theories are just the ideas of each theorizer and no more; and you can accept them or reject them just as you please. And if you do reject the scientific theorizers" views, the circumstances of the future may show that you may have been right and the scientific "sharps" wrong.
I would like to point out this: Don't confuse the two magnetisms in the two poles of a magnet with the earth's magnetism; although the earth is likewise a magnet. Its north polar magnetism we call the north polar magnet because that magnetism has its fountain at the north pole, or close to it. Similarly so with the south polar magnetism diametrically opposite. Therefore when we Theosophists say that the type of magnetism of a magnetic instrument, of a compass for instance — when we say that the north pole of that compass is the end which points to the north, we mean just that. In other words, the north pole of the compass is the north pole of the compass. Its south pole is its south pole. Now if you pause and think a moment, you will realize that that compass needle does not point as through a magnetic vacuum to the north pole of the earth; but that the north point of the needle has to work towards the north pole through all the thousands of miles of intermediary magnets naturally. Do you see what I am trying to say?
Thus, the north pole of the needle being the actual positive pole, as scientific convention calls it, this "north" pole, when it is taken up to Boothia, where the north magnetic pole of the earth is, points downwards; but if the earth at that place were the actual north magnetic pole, it would not point downwards but would point upwards, the two like poles repelling each other. What does this mean? It means that that point in the earth to which the true north point of the needle attracts itself is, in that small locality, a south pole. Above the earth is the true north pole of the earth. These like poles repelling each other, repel the genuine north pole of the needle to the earth which is likewise attracted at the south pole of that point on the earth. This is simple enough.
And now we will speak in a very, very scientific way, allowing the scientific imagination full and free play, that scientific imagination which the scientists like Huxley and Tyndall and others say scientists must use. Quite so, but let them use it in accordance with the facts of nature, not to establish theories. Suppose we had twenty magnetic needles and we set them all in a row, every magnet with its north point of the needle point to the north. Then the south pole of each magnet, would be pointing to the north pole of the magnet just following it. They would attract each other. Do you get it? North pole, south pole; north pole, south pole; and so on. Now instead of twenty such magnets, such magnetic needles, imagine an uninterrupted series of such, from the magnetic needle I am holding in the laboratory up to the north pole. You see now why the actual north pole of the needle points to the north: because it is attracted by the south pole of the magnet immediately to the north of it; and so on, as I have just pointed out with the illustration of the twenty magnetized needles. It must be so. Therefore that end of the magnetic needle which points to the north is the true north pole of that particular magnetic needle. And this is what Jenkins taught: a very intuitive man by the way, of whom we never hear much because he was too intuitive for his time. He was just ignored and sat upon.
Thus the true magnetic pole of the earth is not actually in the rocks of the earth but above the earth. And I think it was Professor Ryan who said that this true magnetic pole is believed to make a circle around the geographical north pole in about 600 years. That is close enough; and of course the south magnetic pole makes a similar turn, being just the other end of the magnet. Now I think that covers the point of magnetism.
[Note by H. T. Edge: A brief summary of the point contended for in this article may facilitate its understanding by the reader. Scientists contend that what is called the north pole of a magnet is really a south pole, inasmuch as this so-called north pole is attracted, and not repelled, by the north pole of the earth. Some actually call it a south pole, others call it the north-seeking pole. But this article, following the statements in The Mahatma Letters, declares that the earth's north pole is situated in space above the earth, and not in the ground below the surface. Scientific support for this view is adduced from Fleeming Jenkins, Halley, and Christopher Hansteen. In accordance with this view, the so-called north pole of a magnet is actually a north pole, and the reason why it points downward at Boothia Felix is that its south pole points up wards towards the real north pole of the earth in the space above. Until such facts as the irregularity of the isogonic lines of dip, and the continual fluctuation of the angle of dip, have been explained, science has no sufficient ground for rejecting the views set forth in this article.]
"THE 777 IMBODIMENTS"
Now with regard to the matter of the 777 or the 777 imbodiments, I would like to point this out: The number 777 does not refer to the actual number of incarnations that souls have. Unfortunately in the days when the Mahatma Letters were written, there was no clearly defined terminology as we now have evolved it, and they used "incarnations" in the way we all did when we were boys, say thirty or forty years ago. We talked about an incarnation of the mineral kingdom, and an incarnation of the sun; which of course is a ridiculous way of speaking, because incarnation means infleshing. The proper word would have been imbodiment.
Now here is my point. The references here are not to what we now call incarnations of the human ego, but refer to the monads; and this was hinted at by more than a few of the speakers tonight. It refers to the imbodiments, or passings if you wish, of the families of monads through the kingdoms of nature on this earth, Globe D, and during the seven root-races. Try to figure that out. You will find it as difficult as the other conception, in a way, but there is the key.
Thus, one incarnation in every root-race. You see, you have the key right there. Every root-race demonstrates a power and a substance in cosmic planes, not fully but relatively. So, so far as our own globe is concerned — and our Master was speaking of our Globe and the monads of our Globe now — the reference is, as I have just stated, to the passings or traversings of the different families of monads through the different kingdoms of nature, or if you like, through the different cosmic planes.
Now what does this mean? It means that for every kingdom of nature, or for every cosmic plane, such a monad has to build for itself a general subtil vehicle which will be permanent for that kingdom or for that cosmic plane. Do you follow that? When that kingdom or that cosmic plane is abandoned or left, and the monad passes on through the next succeeding kingdom or cosmic plane, that particular integument or vehicle builded for that cosmic plane or world is shed or dropped because no longer adequate for the monad; and an integument is built up fitted to allow the monad to express itself in the succeeding cosmic plane or world or kingdom. So there is an assuming of such an integument for every cosmic plane, one for every root-race, one for every great sub-race, and one such integument for every sub-sub-race; and so on down, if you wish, to a single imbodiment.
Now, counting these integuments — well, I am saying too much! But there is your key; and you will find it as a teaching identical with the teaching of the medieval Fire Philosophers when they spoke of souls manifesting as salamanders, as sylphs, as undines, as gnomes; because in those days they openly or publicly spoke of only four. You can add the three more that we teach.