The Path – September 1887

"THE WORD" — F. Hartmann

I have read with great interest the excellent article entitled "Heralds from the Unseen" in the April number of THE PATH, and which expresses my own views perhaps more completely than I expressed them in an article to the Theosophist, to which reference is made, and which seems to have given rise to some misconception. It is, however, stated in my paper on "Occultism in Germany," that a beginner may obtain a certain Word by a "Master" to practice, which would just suit his condition, and Mr. Niemand asks: "Why should an Adept be needed when Ishwar resideth in the breast of every mortal being." It is perfectly true that Ishwar resides in every human heart; but not everyone is able to hear distinctly what he says, or to recognize his presence there. In my opinion the practical "Word" serves the especial purpose to bind and control one's thoughts and to raise the vibrations within, so as to bring them into harmony with that Light which one desires to enter so that we may recognize the Ishwar within ourselves. Mr. Niemand says: "Whatever tends to raise the vibration is of value. Your intuitions must direct you to a wise adminture." Supposing, however, that your own intuitions are not sufficiently strong to be unmistakably understood by you, or — in other words — that you are not yet enough spiritually advanced to understand the voice of the Ishwar within; would it not be useful to obtain instructions, such as exactly suit your condition from some Adept, or through the instrumentality of some one through whom the Ishwar can speak comprehensibly to your lower self? Surely an Adept cannot do the thinking or growing for another person; but he may guide a person either by the silent influence of his thoughts or by giving him verbal or written instructions. He may thus aid the disciple, so that the latter may find his own Master within himself, which is the only Master that anyone is entitled to worship, because it is each one's own Higher Self.

In that article "Occultism in Germany" it is stated that the exercise of charity, or the promulgation of doctrines, etc., are not sufficient for practical progress, and Mr. Niemand thinks that by making this statement virtue has been somewhat belittled. If so, the Bhagavad-Gita might be construed as belittling it likewise; for it belittles those works which — although being considered good — are the outcome of Rajo-Guna. (1) There are millions of people who perform acts of charity from some motive or other, or who attempt to teach others things of which they know little themselves, and who nevertheless — or perhaps on account of their motives — make very little progress in the knowledge of self. One of the main points besides the practice of universal charity without any selfish interest, seems to be not only the control of the passions, but also to obtain perfect mastery over one's own thoughts. The practice of the "Word" seems to be the most efficient method to learn how to control one's thoughts, as it forces the latter to remain concentrated upon that word. The reason why many "Yogees" practice the pronunciation of OM often for years without any apparent progress, may be due to the cause that they pronounce it with their lips and not with their hearts. In such a case this practice will be as useless as the repetition of a litany, while the mind is wandering without restraint wherever it pleases. It can furthermore not be immaterial what Word or object a person selects to rest his thoughts upon, as every word corresponds to a certain idea, and the mind should rest upon the highest conception which it is able to grasp; nor can we grasp anything which is not within ourself, and before we can grasp it fully and comprehend it intellectually, we must first be able to feel it within ourselves. The great mistake which our "psychical researchers" make, is that they attempt to hunt in externals for things which they can only find within themselves, and that they seek to understand intellectually things which they do not feel, or which — if they feel them — they reject and call "hallucinations."

It seems, moreover, that besides the above mentioned use of the "Word" if practiced properly, there is an occult power connected with this practice by which some spiritual forces may be set in motion, which will tend to awaken the spiritual consciousness. This power has already been referred to in Mr. Niemand's article.

Spiritual life surely consists in giving up the idea of self; and even for that purpose the practice of the Word seems to me highly useful, because he who practices it properly, does not think of himself, but of a condition which is superior to self. What else can the practice of the Word be, but a fervent prayer, spoken by the soul, with a full concentration of mind; a prayer which is at the same time a command, by which the king within assumes mastery over the animal forces? What else can it be but a simultaneous exercise of thought and Will, such as is said to take place in the bosom of Brahm at the beginning of each Manvantara? (2) If God in his own essence said at the beginning: "Let there be Light;" and it was Light, why could not the God in Man repeat the process, and say within his own heart, firmly and full of devotion. "Let there be Light," and is it not possible that it might then become light within; provided the words are properly pronounced, not with the lips, but with the thought and the Will.

It may be that a person can get along well enough without receiving any instruction or help from Adepts, provided he is without such aid able to find the "Lord of all worlds," and there are also others who, when they heard of the Adepts, have begun to seek only for them, instead of seeking for the Master within, but there are also those who desire the truth for its own sake and do not possess sufficient wisdom to find it unaided; and to those the Adepts may give their aid, perhaps invisibly and unconsciously to the former, provided they deserve it by seriously desiring to give up their own selves. Such at least seems to have been the prevalent belief even in the most ancient times, and all the forms of initiation as well as modern church-institutions and educational arrangements are based upon the supposition that those who know a great deal can inform those who know less, and benefit them thereby. This truth is too self-evident to need any explication.

I am glad that Mr. Niemand has called attention to this question, as it shows that in speaking about occult matters it is necessary to be very explicit to avoid being misunderstood.


1. There is no real difference between the author and Jasper Niemand. Bhagavad-Gita allows that "works" must be performed, but always insists on Charity and Devotion. This Devotion is to be directed toward the One Life, and until all acts are performed with that in the mind, there will be constant rebirths. — [Ed.] (return to text)

2. Manifestation of a world or system. — [Ed.] (return to text)

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