THE FOUR WINDS
I have had in mind asking if you would in the THE THEOSOPHICAL FORUM give some elucidation of the reference made on pages 122-24 of The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, to the four cardinal points and the influences exerted by the rulers; also the four kinds of winds having evil and beneficent influence upon the health of mankind and every living thing. Recently I purchased Studies in Occult Philosophy by Dr. de Purucker, and apparently in the article on "The Four Beasts of the Christian Apocalypse" reference is made to the same thing. I would appreciate having information regarding the evil and beneficent influences of these "winds." — M. E. S.
Very little information has been given in regard to the nature of the four kinds of "winds," no doubt because of the danger attached to its possible misuse. It will be noticed in the pages of The Secret Doctrine quoted in the question that the north and the west winds were formerly considered evil, while the east wind is good. Indra fights with Ahi-Vritra, the terrible hot wind — similar to the Simoon of Africa and Arabia. Yet in Egypt Tum is the spirit of the north wind and the west, and is a very high creative deity, the equivalent of the Tibetan Fohat. Perhaps the Egyptians were tempted to associate Tum with the north wind because it was beneficial to the shipping on the Nile as it counteracted the strong current of the river which flowed northward! The Greeks dreaded the north wind, and the minor god who personified it, Boreas, was worshipped by the Athenians only because he had destroyed hundreds of the ships of Xerxes during the Persian war!
The four "Maharajahs" and the four Cardinal points are represented in Oriental philosophy by the four Royal Stars, Regulus, Aldebaran, Fomalhaut and Antares, which are approximately six hours away from each other and therefore roughly indicate the four quarters of the heavenly vault. They correspond mystically, in the above order, with the Guardian Angels of the Gnostic Ophites and others, with Michael, Uriel, Raphael and Gabriel respectively. The Qabbalah also has a similar arrangement of the great Powers, Winds, or Breaths, the Guardian Angels of the Four Corners of the earth. These mystical Fours "stand behind the Thought and the Word from which all "This," the Universe, sprang into being." A fiery Wind followed the Directing Thought of the Creative Forces.
The American Indians, ancient and modern, attached the greatest importance to the four divisions of space, each with its own color and qualities and with its appropriate wind. The Four planes of Being and the Four successive Races of Men are all related to the same principles as found everywhere, relics of the Ancient Wisdom.
All this symbolism implies the great esoteric teaching that the universe is embodied consciousness and that there is no "dead matter." Behind the seemingly mechanical movements of the winds there are more or less intelligent forces which if understood would throw a strong illumination on many obscure phenomena of the atmosphere. When Jesus "rebuked" the stormy winds on the Sea of Galilee, he showed his knowledge of and control of these intelligent forces. There is a definite connection between the powers behind the "Winds" and the Breath in man. Jesus was hinting at this when he spoke of the wind blowing where it listeth and connected it up with "every one that is born of the Spirit" — initiates, (John ch. 3, verses 5 to 12) a marvelous passage of slightly veiled esoteric or Qabbalistic teaching.
In Isis Unveiled and elsewhere, H. P. B. refers to the power of the human breath which is a "reflection" of Cosmic energies, and shows how it has been misused by sorcerers. We have always been warned against the danger of ignorantly arousing the unknown forces that can be released by certain processes of breathing.
In the Proem to The Secret Doctrine and on pages 53-56, Vol. I, a magnificent description is given of the Great Breath, eternal and ceaseless, the divine basis of all creation. Every other form of rhythmic motion is derived from the One and this of course stands behind "the Winds of the Spirit" symbolized by the "Four Maharajahs" and the like, all of which have their own peculiar individual qualities. For instance, on page 612, Vol. II of The Secret Doctrine, H. P. B. speaks of the Pravaha wind, which is, like Tum in Egypt, clearly connected with Fohat in his aspect as a mystic and occult force that gives the impulse to and regulates the courses of the stars and planets, one of the problems in astronomy not yet completely solved.
When H. P. Blavatsky wrote The Secret Doctrine the very suggestion of intelligent forces would have been utterly scouted by the scientists, to whom "blind, unintelligent forces and dead inert matter" was the answer to the problem of existence. How greatly their outlook is changing is shown by many recent developments. For instance Sir Richard C. Tute in his valuable work After Materialism — What? shows how far philosophic science has approached spiritual interpretations and is "disengaging itself from material prepossessions." Based on strictly scientific evidence, this book is a magnificent tribute to the reality of the occult teaching brought to the West by H. P. Blavatsky. A few ideas taken from a letter to The Scientific Monthly for October, 1946, written by Sir R. Tute will illustrate the new attitude in regard to the universality of life and consciousness throughout the visible and invisible Cosmos, which is the background for the concept of Intelligent Forces, symbolized under the guise of the Four "Maharajahs" and the Four "Winds" each with its own qualities. Speaking of the Monads, which according to the Ancient Wisdom are the ultimate living spiritual consciousnesses, "the very elements of which the universe is made," as he says, he continues: "The modern scientist recognizes that physical reality is produced by superphysical agencies, which must be so designated because they can never be observed. . . . The Monads are simple, percipient, self-acting beings . . . spiritual beings whose very nature is to act."
And from the same point of view Sir Richard remarks that the mechanists who still cling to specious mechanistic explanations such as Natural Selection and Survival of the Fittest "are flouting the well-established, if recent, findings of the physicists that the universe as known to them shows no signs of mechanism." He mentions "for the reassurance of proposed readers of his book that it has been wholeheartedly approved by scientists of the standing of Jeans and Stromberg and that it aroused the interest of Einstein."
In spite of all the ignorant and prejudiced attempts to destroy the Theosophical Movement, it would seem that its principles are no longer regarded by leading minds in science as far-fetched or superstitious. — Charles J. Ryan
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