Studies in Occult Philosophy — G. de Purucker

Questions and Answers  (part 4)

The Door into the Human Kingdom

What is the so-called “door” into the human kingdom?

This door into the human kingdom has been stated by H. P. B. as closing at the middle point of the Fourth Round, as it did during the Fourth Sub-Race of the Atlantean Race.  Contrary to the wording of this statement, many students have construed that closing of the door as an opening of a door, and have there made unnecessary confusion.  The door does not then open into the human kingdom.  It shuts, and the meaning is this: Let us speak of our own Fourth Round only, though the same events took place, mutatis mutandis, that is making the necessary changes, during the Second and the Third Round, and will also take place in the future the Fifth, Sixth, and the last.  The meaning is this: that from the beginning of our present Fourth Round, the different families of monads of all classes, of all the kingdoms of nature, were in the very beginning as it were more or less confused.  In a sense they were much closer; just as the human germ is very much closer to other kingdoms of nature as long as it is a germ, than when these germs have separated themselves out and become grownup men, grownup humans.

The meaning of the phrase, the door into the human kingdom closes at the middle point of the Fourth Round, is simply this: that during Root-Race One, Root-Race Two, Root-Race Three, and half of Root-Race Four, these various classes of monads were separating themselves out into families more distinctly than they were before, so that when all the classes of monads on the downward arc reached the central point of the Fourth Round, those which were already then human could pass onwards and begin the ascent, which they did.  Those who had not attained humanity would pass on but were not the humans.  Those above the classes of men when they reached that point, would pass on but would not pass through the human door.  They would pass through other so-called doors, which is but a figure of speech, through the dhyan-chohanic door; or those below the humans through the beast-doors, or the plant-doors, etc.  It simply means that the various families of monads on the downward arc during Root-Races One, Two, and Three, and half of Four, separated themselves out distinctly into families, and after that time those entities which were not human could never become human for the remainder of this planetary imbodiment.  The door into the human kingdom closed against all monads below the human for the rest of the three and a half rounds.  This means the lowest point had then been reached, and from then onwards there is a steady rise.

Theosophy and Occultism

Are Theosophy and Occultism the same thing, or different things?

Theosophy and Occultism are in one sense the same thing.  In another sense they are different things.  Let me try to illustrate that point.  Do not the Christians for instance say that the teachings of Christ and the Christian theology are the same, yet different?  They claim that the theological doctrines originated in the teachings of Jesus Christ, but that the actual teachings which Jesus Christ gave in his day were not — and it is true — the theological doctrines of later times.

So Theosophy is the ancient Wisdom-Religion in an all-inclusive sense.  These wonderful and sublime doctrines were originally given to mankind on this planet by spiritual beings from other spheres, gods among men, and have descended in the care of this great Association of the Masters of Wisdom down to us even unto this day, and are given out from time to time, from age to age, when the world needs a spiritual rejuvenation.  That body of teachings, of doctrine, is Theosophy, the wisdom of the gods, the key, the master-key, to all the great religions and sciences and philosophies of the past.

But Occultism is that part of Theosophy which treats of the deeper hid, mystic, esoteric, side of nature and of man.  It is Theosophy indeed but that part of Theosophy which the average man cannot ‘eat’ — to use the figure of the New Testament, the metaphor of the Christian Scripture — because he is still a little child.  He needs must be fed the milk — to use again, the figure of the New Testament — that is to say, to begin with the simpler teachings.

Discipline, as we Theosophists say, precedes the Mysteries.  Occultism, therefore, is that branch of the general Theosophical philosophy which treats of these operations of Nature and the secret laws of Nature and of man.  These two are one and the same fundamentally, and yet that same thing, as it were, is made up of two branches: one for Esoterics, and the other the all-inclusive source from which streams the current of the teachings for the exoterics.  But these two divisions are not arbitrary.  It all depends upon the applicant.  You cannot keep a good man down, is an old saying; and the man who comes to our doors and knocks and gives the right knock — we know what the right knock is — enters.

Suffering in Animal Kingdom

Is it true that animals killed by other animals or through the agency of man really do not suffer, and in fact, as stated by certain well-known authors, actually feel a kind of joy in their last moments?

No.  This is all poppycock.  What actually happens is, both in humans and animals, that the fright and the nervous shock are so tremendous on a beast’s sensitive nature, as well as on a man, that there is a temporary stunning, almost a hypnosis.  But how about the moments or times preceding the stunning, which is Nature’s compassionate way of dulling and stupefying?  It is preposterous to allege this shock, which is in fact a proof that animals do suffer greatly or are horribly frightened, as an excuse for saying that animals do not feel pain when the crisis comes.  The fact is that there is a terrific amount of bestiality and horror and murderous impulse and suffering and pain in Nature; and Nature in her compassion at the last moment makes the suffering so exquisite as to produce a nervous shock bringing about a sort of sleepy feeling with temporary indifference.  People confound two things here: (1) the suffering undergone; and, on the other hand (2), the fact that the horrors exist in our physical sphere.  These are two quite different things, and they should not be confused.


Do you consider that a Theosophist must be a vegetarian to be a good Theosophist, and does The Secret Doctrine teach this?

I take it that the words The Secret Doctrine refer to our wonderful H. P. B.’s book, or indeed they may refer to the secret doctrine, the Ancient Wisdom.  I have never found any passage in H. P. B.’s The Secret Doctrine forbidding the eating of flesh-food.  There are many passages in different parts of our esoteric works which state in unmistakable terms that the eating of flesh-food is not good for two reasons.  You know them, but there is no forbidding of it; and I can tell you plainly that I have known strict vegetarians, strict fruitarians, who had the heart of a tiger, and the unforgiving nature of an ape.  It is not what goes into a man’s mouth which purifies him.  It is man’s own will set to purify the Augean stables of his brain-mind.  No, the eating of meat is no bar to chelaship in the beginning.  Of course when you become an accepted chela, and are strictly following the rules of development required for higher degrees, when you become a disciple in training, meat-eating is impossible.

But the main argument against the eating of flesh-food is our doctrine of compassion, of pity.  Nevertheless, there are times and there are reasons when and for which even the lower chelas do eat meat in small quantity.  But don’t think for a moment that what a man eats or does not eat is the cause of his going to the Masters.  As I have told you, I have known some people who were strict vegetarians and even fruitarians whose hearts were filled with iniquity and all the poison of unkindness; and how they ever supposed that by living on vegetable food, or on beautiful fruits of the earth, by doing this alone with a corrupt nature, they could tread the path to the gods, I do not know; but they thought it!  Mind you, I do not condemn, I simply state the fact as I have found it.

But remember also that the sweet vegetarian products of the earth, and the delicious fruits of our common Mother, are a far sweeter, more succulent, and purer food, than is the flesh of the unfortunate beasts who must die to provide the flesh that some use regularly and unthinkingly and in quantity far too large as their daily food.  Every Theosophist if he can do so will probably have better health by following a wise and judiciously selected vegetarian diet, avoiding overeating, which is the usual cause why attempts at following the vegetarian diet sometimes fail.  In such case the would-be vegetarian overeats from a false fear that his body needs more nourishment than it does; and the consequence sometimes is a badly impaired digestion, possibly auto-intoxication, and even disease.  Common sense, and as above said a vegetarian diet selected with judicious care, comprising a well-balanced ration, and with due care not to overeat, will probably result in better health, more vigorous activity, and a clearer brain, than the eating of meat could ever bring.

Masters Not Infallible

I have been told that not only the Masters are infallible but also H. P. B. and succeeding Leaders of the Theosophical Society.  My commonsense rebels against this and I must protest.

No, no.  The Masters are not infallible, and they themselves have pointedly disclaimed it; nor was H. P. B. infallible, nor those who succeeded her.  H. P. B. brought rather heavy batteries directed against this same stupid idea that infallibility can be claimed by any human being.  To be infallible one would need to be above all manifested life whatsoever, and in this sense of the meaning of the word, we might almost say that it is only the First Logos who could be called ‘infallible’ in the strict meaning of the word; and all beneath that first stage of manifestation, and increasingly so as the light recedes from the divine fountainhead, or sinks deeper into matter, all, I say, grows increasingly more fallible.

Now it is perfectly obvious that the word ‘infallible’ is sometimes used with some fair degree of logic to signify mere certainty or surety or what is absolutely known.  Obviously this is not real infallibility; but what I am trying to say does point out the fact that there are in all manifested lives or life such things as certainties, sureties, positive cognitions of the Real, and this occurs when any individual, super-god, god, demi-god, or human, comes into relatively perfect union or communion with the divine Monad within; for these divine Monads are in their essence of the very stuff and substance of Cosmic Reality itself.  But how many individuals are in such perfect and complete union with the Divine?

Many beings can achieve a nirvanic state which approximates temporarily at least such union with divinity within the heart of the individuals; for such short time they speak with the certainty of the spirit, or their knowledge is of the surety of Reality.  But these cases are almost as rare as blue moons, and are virtually limited to the Buddhas or the super-Buddhas.

As a further development of this thought, it becomes perfectly clear that proportionately as even a fallible human being can come into touch with the god within himself, he becomes proportionately thereby more and more certain of the utter reality in things; and this is why there is such a thing in the cosmos as evolution, or development of the spirit from within outwards, why there are on the evolutionary ladder of life beings of an ascending and increasing stature of developed faculties.  Thus it is that the gods are more certain and more sure than men are, and therefore can speak with authority, relatively so of course.  On a still smaller and somewhat pragmatic scale we have what men call the trained expert, as the expert chemist or the expert engineer or mathematician or musician, or the expert in any line, who has by work and striving evolved forth a relative faculty of surety in what he knows and what he does.  This is why men have confidence in each other, and have confidence in teachers, and have confidence in the greater and grand things of life, brought to us by those higher than the average, when they are closer to the Center of Reality than is the average.

Thus the word ‘infallible’ I have often heard used in this latter sense, and unquestionably wrongly used, in my judgment, by people who merely mean to say that the trained expert can speak with the voice of knowledge of things that to ignorant men are but an untrodden field.

But ‘infallibility’ in the Papal or Romish sense of real infallibility in doctrine has never been claimed by any Theosophist who knows his ‘stuff,’ and certainly never by the Masters nor H. P. B. nor anyone who has followed H. P. B., certainly not Judge nor K. T. nor I, for any such claim would be a mere lie.  If the Masters repudiate it, i.e., ‘infallibility,’ any man claiming it would be a downright fraud, an impostor of the worst type, and the claim would disprove him as a Leader or Teacher of any kind.

Yet we receive the teachings of the Masters with reverence, for we realize that they know incomparably more than we do about the things that our god-wisdom contains.  That is why we likewise reverence and look up to H. P. B., for the knowledge that she obtained, strived for and achieved, which was why she became the Masters’ representative; and our reverence is based on the facts lying in the teachings she gave us, for they prove themselves — to us.  Truth is its own proof, for nothing in the universe will ever overthrow it; and this is why it is really grand, beautiful, and in my judgment almost majestic in the manliness of it, when a man has sufficient awakened grandeur within himself that he can recognize another human being as his Leader and Teacher, as all true Theosophists have learned with H. P. B., and as she learned with her Masters. ‘Infallibility’?  No, of course not, but relative certainty and surety based on actual knowledge, emphatically yes.

The Absolute

Will Dr. de Purucker kindly state whether in his judgment his idea of the Absolute, which has caused some discussion among Theosophists, is the same as H. P. B.'s idea, as explained in her The Secret Doctrine, etc.

My answer to this interesting question is an emphatic affirmative, given without qualification; except that perhaps H. P. B. is at times more familiar in her usage of the word ‘Absolute.’ But her real meaning, leaving words or terms aside, is absolutely identic with my own — a meaning which I have expressed with sufficient clearness, I believe, a number of times, and which may be found briefly explained in my Occult Glossary under the term ‘Absolute.’

It is true, of course, that (a) H. P. B. at times used the word ‘Absolute’ in what has long been a common European philosophical sense; and (b) that I use the word in a more limited and strictly etymological sense, fully agreeing as I do with Sir William Hamilton, that it is wrong to employ this word otherwise, whatever careless thinkers or writers may say.

But leaving this aside as a matter of unimportance, I can state that the discussion concerning my use of the word ‘Absolute,’ which discussion at times, unfortunately, has verged upon acrimony on the part of my critics, has been on the whole informative and useful; for, if nothing else, it has made people think, and it is beginning to uncover one of the profoundest and most fascinating aspects of the Theosophical esoteric philosophy.

H. P. B. with her wonderful literary power and her amazing lucidity in expression, occasionally used the words ‘Unconscious,’ and ‘Unknowable,’ as being virtually synonymous with the word ‘Absolute,’ and this appears in her The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, pages 14 and 15; and I would call the attention of the questioner to the instructive and illuminating passage on page 106 of her The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, which I will briefly quote as follows:

The Doctrine teaches that, in order to become a divine, fully conscious god, — aye, even the highest — the Spiritual primeval Intelligences must pass through the human stage.  And when we say human, this does not apply merely to our terrestrial humanity, but to the mortals that inhabit any world. . . . Hegel, the great German thinker, must have known or sensed intuitionally this truth when saying, as he did, that the Unconscious evolved the Universe only ‘in the hope of attaining clear self-consciousness,’ of becoming, in other words, man. . . .

This passage is often overlooked; and although the word man here is employed in a collective sense, man or mankind is obviously composed of men; and all mankind is limited indeed when compared with the ‘Absolute’ or the ‘Unconscious.’ The inference to be drawn, and the deduction to be made, are obvious, and in this one passage, as well as elsewhere, H. P. B. with her graphic power states our common case far better than I can.

I might add in conclusion that the Unconscious or Unknowable of European Pantheistic philosophy is not exactly the same as the frontierless, illimitable Infinitude or Duration of the Esoteric Doctrine, which Infinitude obviously is pure Eternal Space in the most abstract and absolute use of the term.  But this abstraction again cannot be limited by the human concepts ‘conscious’ or ‘unconscious,’ ‘knowable’ or ‘unknowable,’ and therefore is not the ‘Absolute.’ Eternal Space is beyond all limitations of extension or time, as even the noblest human intuition perceives these.

Days and Nights of Brahma

We are taught of a Day of Brahma, and also of a Night of Brahma.  When the Night of Brahma comes on, all the entities in the Universe return whence they came, is it not so?

Generally speaking, Yes, but the question is not quite adequate.  A ‘Day of Brahma’ refers to two things: First, the Seven Rounds of a Planetary Chain, which event has to do with one planet of our Solar System only.  When Seven Rounds have been completed or lived through, that is one Day of Brahma.  The term is also used for a single Round, but more infrequently.  But this refers only to one planet of our Solar System.  We can likewise speak of the saurya manvantara, a Sanskrit adjective derived from surya or the sun, when the Solar System and all that is in it, sinks into its Solar Pralaya.  That is expressed by some three hundreds of trillions of human years; yet this refers only to our Solar System.  Then there are figures, which it would be perfectly futile to talk about because we could not understand them, by which we could express the Manvantara of our entire Galaxy, our Home-Universe.  And then beyond that we can speak of the Manvantara of our Kosmos, and of all the Galaxies that belong to something still greater, and so we could go on step by step.  But the ‘Day of Brahma’ refers either to one Round, or much more frequently to all the Seven Rounds of our Earth’s Planetary Chain; and that is expressed in some 4,320,000,000 human years — quite a long time!  And yet you know, even in the Solar System that is a very short time.  It is but like a day, and then there are the cosmic weeks, and the cosmic months, and the cosmic years, and then the lifetime of Brahma, hundreds of those years, and then we must think of Brahma’s passing out of imbodiment and going into ‘his’ Nirvana corresponding to the human Devachan, and returning again.  And so we can continue in thought until our very brains become bewildered, reeling with the magnitude of the numbers involved.

But there is rule, there is law, there is order, in everything, and if we understand what happens in the case of the small things of our Earth, for instance, we can, mutatis mutandis, by making the necessary adjustments of figures and of places that we strike off, come to very clear conclusions as to the time-periods of the Solar System and of the Galaxy and of what not.  The Day of Brahma includes all the Seven Rounds of our Earth’s Planetary Chain.

Each Root-Race Has Its Kali-Yuga

As I recollect, we are now on the Luminous Arc, having passed the bottommost part, the lowest part, of our racial evolution; and yet we have lived through some five thousand years only of the Kali-Yuga.

The reason is that each Race has its own Kali-Yuga, each great Race that is, each Root-Race; and our own Fifth Root-Race in this Fourth Round in this Fourth Globe has advanced only to the point where we have not even yet reached the lowest part of the Fifth Root-Race.  In other words, we have not yet had our racial catastrophe, that catastrophe which cuts every Root-Race in twain at its midmost point, its lowest or most material point.  We have passed only five thousand years of the Kali-Yuga cycle of our Race, and we shall not have reached the lowest or bottom point of our Fifth Root-Race until the racial cataclysm comes.  That will come during the Kali-Yuga; and as a matter of fact the Kali-Yuga takes place at just that time, because the two kinds of events converge: the lowest evolutionary point, and the most material point, which likewise is the Kali-Yuga.

I understood we had passed the middle point of the cycle, even in the Fifth Race.

No, we have passed the middle point of the Fourth Round.  That took place during the Fourth great Sub-Race of the Atlantean, that was the bottommost point of all the Seven Rounds, and you might call it the Kali-Yuga of the Seven Rounds.  Kali-Yuga means the most material part of any cycle of growth, of evolution.  We have Kali-Yugas in each Round, which is the middle point of development on the Fourth or lowest globe.  Then there is the Kali-Yuga of each great Root-Race; and furthermore there are small Kali-Yugas in the Sub-races.  As a matter of fact, Kali-Yuga like all the other Yugas, is more or less a generalizing term.  Kali-Yuga means the ‘Black Age,’ the age of material expansion, and the age of spiritual obscuration; and as everything runs in cycles and there are cycles within cycles, if you follow the idea it becomes obvious that the middle point of everything in its evolution is its most material point.

Paradox of the Manasaputras

I would like to ask for a little further light on the Manasaputras. We read that the Manasaputras awakened the minds of men, yet in other places we read that the Manasaputras are really ourselves.  It sounds as if we are awakening our own selves.

Yes, we are told in one place in Theosophical literature that the Manasaputras enlighten us; and we are told in another place that we, being enlightened, are nevertheless in our higher parts the Manasaputras.  Does it mean that we light ourselves?  Do candles light themselves?  Strangely enough, in spiritual things they do!  You have given your own answer to the question.

The fact is this: ‘Manasaputra’ is a compound Sanskrit word, manasa an adjective from Manas, of which the nearest translation that I can give at the moment is ‘mind.’ But it means something different from mind, it means more and in a sense less.  Manas pertains only to the human constitution.  The same energy when manifesting in the Universe is called Mahat.  When it manifests in particular entities it is called ManasManasa as said is the adjective from this, signifying creatures, or beings, or angels, or devas, or whatever name we may call them by, who are endowed with the fire of self-consciousness, the ability to think self-consciously, to carry on trains of self-conscious thought and meditation.  Putra means ‘child,’ or ‘son,’ or ‘offspring.’ Therefore Manasaputra means ‘child of mind,’ and the plural — ‘children of mind.’

We are all children of the Cosmic Mind — not exactly in this sense of the Anima Mundi however.  The Universe is as much an organic being — and when I say the Universe I mean the Galaxy in this instance — as a human being is such an organism.  It is ensouled.  It is as infilled with monadic essences as we humans are, because we humans simply copy in the small, as microcosms, what the Galaxy or the Universe as the Macrocosm originally contains.  All we have and are we derive from the surrounding Universe in which we move and live and have our being, as Paul of the Christians said.  The Universe is rooted in infinitude and in eternity.  We as parts of this cosmic whole are likewise not only rooted in it, but are also ourselves in our inmost and in our uppermost, in our highest, eternal and infinite.  And the whole purpose of evolution is a larger and in ever increasing measure bringing out or evolving, bringing forth or unrolling, unwrapping, what is already within.

A little child is born.  It is mindless.  It has no mind.  But the mind is latent there.  And as the months pass by and the years drop into the past slowly and slowly, as it were step by step we see the little child beginning to think, to think self-consciously, to become a manifestation of, or to be endowed with and in progressing measure, the flame of thought, of self-consciousness.  It begins to think, to cogitate, to excogitate, to think thoughts to a definite conclusion, to make plans.  It begins to take an individual and a lively interest in life, because it is thenceforth a thinker.

This exemplifies what the descent, so called, of the Manasaputras was into the mindless man or mankind of the early Third Root-Race.  Shall we say that the Manasaputra descended from above, or from outside, into an entity which did not already have the same manasaputric faculty or organ latent or inherent within it?  We cannot do that.  The child can bring forth only what is within it, which is obvious enough.  And yet the case is an actual descent, it is an actual incarnation of a flame, of the flame of thought and self-consciousness from the Monad hovering, as it were, over the brain, and permeating the brain and entire being of the growing child.

The Manasaputra, therefore, is both ourselves and a descent into us of our higher Selves.  And the descent of the Manasaputra before the middle of the Third Root-Race was not a complete descent.  It was only a partial descent; and I tell you that the Manasaputras have not yet fully incarnated in us; or, in better language perhaps, have not yet fully manifested their splendor within us.  Our minds are not yet fully evolved.  We work even yet with imperfect minds.  The thing is still in progress, it is still in the doing.  And the Manasaputras will not fully have incarnated within us, and thus be able to show forth to the full their god-like powers, until the very end of the Fifth Round, the Round next to come after we have finished this Fourth and undergone the interplanetary Nirvana between Globe G and Globe A.

When a man dies, an adult in full possession of all his intellectual or mental or psychical powers, can anyone say, would anyone presume to say — I would not — that the divine flame of intellect had expressed all of its fulness within the man before he died?  Why, the titan-intellects of the human race have not yet fully expressed the powers of the Manasaputra above and within them.  The Manasaputras are incarnating all the time, and incarnating ever more and more, just as in the growing babe, the growing child, the adult youth, or man or woman, as each year passes there is a larger development of mental power.

So then, you see, the descent of the Manasaputras is the descent into our ordinary brain minds, into the human soul, of our spiritual soul, the Manasaputra, the spiritual side of us.  But yet they are our Selves.  The Manasaputras, in other words, are our Selves because they are our higher Selves, from our higher Selves.  Just as in the growing child — it is both a descent and the child himself in his highest.  That is the Manasaputra.

And now, in addition to this — and I touch upon esoteric matters and therefore I speak with some hesitation — in addition to this, there was still another class of Manasaputras who, as it were, started the whole thing going by inflaming with their own intelligence, with their own fire of intelligent thought and self-consciousness those of the human race who, at that time, in the early part of the Third Root-Race in this Round, were ready, who caught the flame; and then their own mental apparatus, their own manasic powers, burst as it were into bloom as a rose unfolds rapidly its petals when the season comes for it to do so.  And these Manasaputras, this class of Manasaputras, were the highly evolved entities from previous cosmic manvantaras, who deliberately, belonging as they do to the hierarchy of the Buddhas of Compassion, as it were left their own sublime spheres and descended among men and taught them — and then withdrew.  But that is another story.

Answering your question generally, the Manasaputras are both we and yet not we: we because the highest parts of us; not we because above our ordinary humanity; and it is in our ordinary humanity that most men live and think and feel.  We are human monads, we human beings.  But we are overshadowed — what a strange English expression — over-enlightened by the higher triad, the highest part of our constitution.

Genuine Meditation

What is meditation?  I ask that question because there are many different theories as to what meditation really is.

“What is meditation?”  I would say in view of the many and very different opinions that are held about what men call meditation in the Occident, that meditation is the choosing of a subject of thought and allowing the spirit to brood upon it in quiet and peace, holding it steadily before the inner eye, and studying it without any effort of the brain-mind (for that tires); brooding upon the idea in peace and quiet.  It is a wonderful spiritual exercise.

But there is something even higher than meditation: the entering into the very heart and essence of the thing which you wish to understand.  Don’t you see that you cannot really understand a thing, which means making it a part of your consciousness, until you become it?  You must actually vibrate synchronously, actually become a thing, before you can understand it through and through and through.  Love is an instance of this.  Any man who has not loved cannot understand what love is, but one who has loved needs no words to explain it to him; he knows.  He has become love for the time being.  And exactly the same with the exercise of the intellectual powers.  No one, unless he has used his intellectual faculty and has penetrated deep into things, can understand what real intellectual thinking is; but to the man who has done it words become futile, he understands, he has intellectually become for the time being the thing he is investigating.  And there is a faculty in the human being, a faculty which alas in most men is utterly unused, the power to penetrate into the very heart and essence of things and for the time being to be them.  Thus you know.  You return from this wonderful pilgrimage or journey of exploration a nobler and better man.  You have enlarged your consciousness, you have learned something; and this is the real meaning of genuine meditation when this exercise is practiced in less important things than the one just mentioned above.

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