The ills I wish to speak of now are those of the body. Our moral nature will be purified and ennobled, widened and strengthened, by attention to the precepts of the saints and sages who through all the ages continue speaking for our benefit. And I refer to these with a view to "mind-cure" and "metaphysical healing".
In the article on the "Cure of Diseases" I stated our real ground of objection to the practices demonstrated variously as the practitioners have been Theosophists, Christians, or followers of mind healers, to be directed to methods which in fact introduce a new sort of palliative that throws back into our inner, hidden planes of life diseases otherwise passing down and out through the natural gateway, our bodily frame.
A consideration of this subject requires that we enquire awhile into the complete nature of man. This inquiry has been made before by much greater minds than mine, and I only hand on what they have found and what I have corroborated for myself. Mind-healers and Spiritual Scientists and the rest do not make any reference to this subtle nature of ours except to admit thought to be powerful and to say that the "spiritual body is pure and free from disease." Mind itself is not described by them, nor is it stated that the "spiritual body" has any anatomy possible of description. But the field of Theosophic research is not devoid of an anatomical enumeration, so to say, of the parts of the inner body — the "spiritual body" of some of these schools — nor of the "mind" spoken of by them all.
The mind is manas of the Hindus. It is a part of the immortal man. The "spiritual body" is not immortal. It is compounded of astral body with the passions and desires. Mind is the container of the efficient causes of our circumstances, our inherent character and the seeds that sprout again and again as physical diseases as well as those purely mental. It is the mover who is either voluntary in his motion, free if it will, or moved hither and thither by every object and influence and colored by every idea. From life to life it occupies body after body, using a new brain instrument in each incarnation. As Patanjali put it ages ago, in mind lie planted all seeds with self-reproductive power inherent in them, only waiting for time and circumstances to sprout again. Here are the causes for our diseases. Product of thought truly, but thought long finished and now transformed into cause beyond our present thought. Lying like tigers by the edge of the jungle's pool ready to spring when the hour arrives, they may come forward accompanied by counteractions due to other causes, or they may come alone.
When these seeds sprout and liberate their forces they show themselves in diseases in the body, where they exhaust themselves. To attack them with the forces belonging to the plane of mind is to force them again to their hiding place, to inhibit their development, to stop their exhaustion and transfer to the grosser levels of life. They are forcibly dragged back, only to lie waiting once more for their natural expression in some other life. That natural expression is through a body, or rather through the lowest vehicle in use in any evolutionary period.
This is a great wheel that ever revolves, and no man can stop it. To imagine we can escape from any cause connected with us is to suppose that law and order desert the manifested universe. No such divorce is possible. We must work everything out to the last item. The moment we evolve a thought and thus a cause, it must go on producing its effects, all becoming in turn causes for other effects and sweeping down the great evolutionary current in order to rise again. To suppose we can stop this ebb and flow is chimerical in the extreme. Hence the great sages have always said we have to let the Karmic effects roll on while we set new and better causes in motion, and that even the perfect sage has to endure in his bodily frame that which belongs to it through Karma.
The inner anatomical structure should also be known. The ethereal body has its own currents — nerves, for want of a better word, changes and method of growth and action, just as the gross body has. It is, in fact, the real body, for it seldom alters throughout life, while the physical counterpart changes every moment, its atoms going and coming upon the matrix or model furnished by the ethereal body.
The inner currents emanate from their own centers and are constantly in motion. They are affected by thoughts and the reflection of the body in its physiological changes. They each act upon the other incessantly. (Every center of the inner body has its appropriate correspondent in the physical one, which it affects and through which it is in turn acted upon.) It is by means of these subtle currents — called vital airs when translated from the Sanskrit — that impressions are conveyed to the mind above, and through them also are the extraordinary feats of the seance room and the Indian Yogi accomplished.
And just as one may injure his body by ignorantly using drugs or physical practices, so can the finer currents and nerves of the inner man be thrown out of adjustment if one in pride or ignorance attempts, uninstructed, to deal with them.
The seeds of disease being located primarily in the mind, they begin to exhaust themselves through the agency of the inner currents that carry the appropriate vibrations down upon the physical plane. If left to themselves — aside from palliations and aids in throwing off — they pass out into the great crucible of nature and one is free from them forever. Therefore pain is said to be a kind friend who relieves the real man of a load of sin.
Now the moment the practises of the mind-curer are begun, what happens is that the hidden inner currents are violently grasped, and, if concentration is persisted in, the downward vibrations are thrown up and altered so as to carry back the cause to the mind, where it is replanted with the addition of the purely selfish desires that led to the practice. It is impossible to destroy the cause; it must be allowed to transform itself. And when it is replaced in the mind, it waits there until an opportunity occurs either in this life or in the next rebirth.
In some cases the physical and psychological structures are not able to stand the strain, so that sometimes the return of the downward vibrations is so great and sudden that insanity results: in other cases disease with violent characteristics sets in.
The high tone of thought enjoined by some schools of healers has the effect of making the cause of trouble sink deeper into hiding, and probably adds to concentration. But any thought would do as well, provided concentration is persisted in, for it is the concentration that makes the effect, and not the philosophy. The system of affirming and denying makes concentration easier.
For when the practitioner begins, he immediately brings to play certain inner forces by virtue of his dwelling on one thing. The veriest savages do the same. They have long taught it for various purposes, and their ideals go no higher than food and sleep, fetishes and superstitions.
When one is thus operating on another who is willing, the change of inner nerve currents is brought about by sympathy, which in these cases is the same as the phenomenon so well known in physics by the name of induction. When a person is operated on — or against, I call it — the effect is either repelled or produced. If produced, it is by the same induction brought about without his knowledge and because he was not stronger than the operator.
Here is the danger again. The schools of hypnotists are teaching how to do it. The mind-curers and "metaphysicians" are doing the same. An army of possibilities lurks under it all: for already there are those practitioners who deliberately practise against their opponents, sitting day after day to paralyze the efforts of other people. It is like dynamite in the hands of a child. Some day it will explode, and those who taught it will be responsible, since instead of being taught it ought to be warned against. The world could get along with what disease there is, if it only turned attention to high ethics and altruistic endeavor. For after a few centuries of right living the nations would have purged themselves and built up a right moral building well founded on the rocks of true philosophy, charity, and love.