Student. What is Occultism?
Sage. It is that branch of knowledge which shows the universe in the form of an egg. The cell of science is a little copy of the egg of the universe. The laws which govern the whole govern also every part of it. As man is a little copy of the universe — is the microcosm — he is governed by the same laws which rule the greater. Occultism teaches therefore of the secret laws and forces of the universe and man, those forces playing in the outer world and known in part only by the men of the day who admit no invisible real nature behind which is the model of the visible.
Student. What does Occultism teach in regard to man, broadly speaking?
Sage. That he is the highest product of evolution, and hence has in him a centre or focus corresponding to each centre of force or power in the universe. He therefore has as many centres or foci for force, power, and knowledge as there are such in the greater world about and within.
Student. Do you mean to include also the ordinary run of men, or is it the exceptions you refer to?
Sage. I include every human being, and that will reach from the lowest to the very highest, both those we know and those beyond us who are suspected as being in existence. Although we are accustomed to confine the term "human" to this earth, it is not correct to confine that sort of being to this plane or globe, because other planets have beings the same as ours in essential power and nature and possibility.
Student. Please explain a little more particularly what you mean by our having centres or foci in us.
Sage. Electricity is a most powerful force not fully known to modern science, yet used very much. The nervous, physical, and mental systems of man acting together are able to produce the same force exactly, and in a finer as well as subtler way and to as great a degree as the most powerful dynamo, so that the force might be used to kill, to alter, to move, or otherwise change any object or condition. This is the "vril" described by Bulwer Lytton in his Coming Race.
Nature exhibits to our eyes the power of drawing into one place with fixed limits any amount of material so as to produce the smallest natural object: or the very largest. Out of the air she takes what is already there, and by compressing it into the limits of tree or animal form makes it visible to our material eyes. This is the power of condensing into what may be known as the ideal limits, that is, into the limits of the form which is ideal. Man has this same power, and can, when he knows the laws and the proper centres of force in himself, do precisely what Nature does. He can thus make visible and material what was before ideal and invisible by filling the ideal form with the matter condensed from the air. In his case the only difference from Nature is that he does quickly what she brings about slowly.
Among natural phenomena there is no present illustration of telepathy good for our use. Among the birds and the beasts, however, there is telepathy instinctually performed. But telepathy, as it is now called, is the communicating of thought or idea from mind to mind. This is a natural power, and being well-understood may be used by one mind to convey to another, no matter how far away or what be the intervening obstacle, any idea or thought. In natural things we can take for that the vibration of the chord which can cause all other chords of the same length to vibrate similarly. This is a branch of Occultism, a part of which is known to the modern investigator. But it is also one of the most useful and one of the greatest powers we have. To make it of service many things have to combine. While it is used every day in common life in the average way — for men are each moment telepathically communicating with each other — to do it in perfection, that is, against obstacle and distance, is perfection of occult art. Yet it will be known one day even to the common world.
Student. Is there any object had in view by Nature which man should also hold before him?
Sage. Nature ever works to turn the inorganic or the lifeless or the non-intelligent and non-conscious into the organic, the intelligent, the conscious; and this should be the aim of man also. In her great movements Nature seems to cause destruction, but that is only for the purpose of construction. The rocks are dissolved into earth, elements combine to bring on change, but there is the ever onward march of progress in evolution. Nature is not destructive of either thing or time, she is constructive. Man should be the same. And as a free moral agent he should work to that end, and not to procuring gratification merely nor for waste in any department.
Student. Is Occultism of truth or of falsehood; is it selfish or unselfish; or is it part one and part the other?
Sage. Occultism is colorless, and only when used by man for the one side or the other is it good or bad. Bad Occultism, or that which is used for selfish ends, is not false, for it is the same as that which is for good ends. Nature is two-sided, negative and positive, good and bad, light and dark, hot and cold, spirit and matter. The Black magician is as powerful in the matter of phenomena as the White, but in the end all the trend of Nature will go to destroy the black and save the white. But what you should understand is that the false man and the true can both be occultists. The words of the Christian teacher Jesus will give the rule for judgment: "By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?" Occultism is the general, all-inclusive term, the differentiating terms are White and Black; the same forces are used by both, and similar laws, for there are no special laws in this universe for any special set of workers in Nature's secrets. But the path of the untruthful and the wicked, while seemingly easy at first, is hard at last, for the black workers are the friends of no one, they are each against the other as soon as interest demands, and that may be anytime. It is said that final annihilation of the personal soul awaits those who deal in the destructive side of Nature's hall of experience.
Student. Where should I look for the help I need in the right life, the right study?
Sage. Within yourself is the light that lighteth every man who cometh here. The light of the Higher Self and of the Mahatma are not different from each other. Unless you find your Self, how can you understand Nature?
1. See PATH, V. 3, pp. 75, 125, 160, 187, 187, 219, for former articles under this title. (return to text)
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