Studies in Occult Philosophy — G. de Purucker

Studies in “The Mahatma Letters“  (part 1)

Personally I think Trevor Barker did quite right in publishing these Letters.  It is true that in one or even two, perhaps, of the Masters’ communications, they said that these letters were not for publication.  But we must use our common sense in these things and realize that these communications were written to men and women mostly between the years 1880 and 1884. Many of these men and women — all of them, perhaps — are now dead.  The personal embarrassments that might have been caused by their publication when the recipients of these letters were alive now no longer exist or could exist.
I think it is quite unfair for some of Dr. Barker’s critics, because they do not approve of his publishing this wonderful book, to make capital out of what common sense should show was essentially not wrong, but a very fine thing to do.  There has been too much quid pro quo argumentation as to the early communications from the Teachers — what the Teachers said and did not say.  I have even known of cases where certain individuals claimed to have these communications or to have read them and tried to use them as sledgehammers with which to down or break the heads of some opponent.  I think Dr. Barker did right in letting us have the Masters’ own words, as there is not a paragraph in this book which can offend anybody, and a great deal in this book which is extremely helpful.
More than this, I for one am very happy that in these Mahatma Letters we have a means of checking by the Masters’ own words whether this Theosophical Society is on the right path, or that one, or that one. . . .  In fact I think that one of the finest things in the history of the modern Theosophical Movement has been the publication of this book, and I would like to see it in the hands of every true Theosophist for study, for study, for study.
— Extracts from remarks by G. de Purucker during a question and answer period at the Convention of the Theosophical Society at The Hague, Holland, July, 1933.

Tsong-kha-pa and Planetary Spirits

Reference: Letter IX, pp. 43-5

Personally I am extremely glad that you have chosen to begin the study of this wonderful book.  I do not think it has ever properly been studied before.  It is replete, compact, not merely with the most fascinating deductions and observations, written by some of the greatest minds now imbodied on this planet, but it is likewise filled, if you have the wit to discover these, with facts which in our western civilization would respectively be classed under the heads, Philosophy, Religion, Science.  It has been stated, and quite erroneously, that H. P. B.’s The Secret Doctrine supplanted this book since it appeared in print and was sold to all and sundry.  This is utterly erroneous.  The most, I think, that could be said is that The Secret Doctrine would help you greatly if you are an earnest and sincere student of this collection of correspondence.

I would call your attention again with great emphasis to the fact that in reading The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, you will err and have difficulty in accurately understanding those Letters as they were intended to be understood when they were written, if you do not transport your thought back into the days when they were written.  Understand me now.  If you read the science and theology and philosophy of 1940 into these old Letters, you will be distorting them.  They were written to men who had no 1940 ideas of that kind, to men who lived in the thought-atmosphere of the latter half of the nineteenth century. (These Letters were mainly written between the years 1878 and 1886, perhaps one or two later than that.  There were a few more.)  Now this is not an unimportant warning to give you, for these Letters were called forth in answer to questions emanating from minds which were steeped in the science of the latter half of the nineteenth century, eighty years ago say, and in the religion of that time and in the philosophy of that time.  Consequently, as they were written to the merest tyros in Theosophy, men who knew incomparably less about it than we all do now, even the language chosen was the simplest that could be found.  I mean the attempt was to find the simplest words, the most direct expressions.  This does not mean that there were no circumlocutions and hidings of occult truth, for these Letters are simply packed with these last.  It is utterly useless to talk to a savage about things for which he has no comprehension.  If a man does not understand the first principles of arithmetic, you can lecture him for forty years and he won’t understand what you are talking about.  That is what I mean.

So remember in your future studies, when you come to phrases that puzzle you and seem contradictory to what we have now, do not think there is something contradictory, or that the Master meant something wonderful.  Simply remember that these Letters were written in the language and in the thought-atmosphere of the late seventies and of the early and middle eighties of the nineteenth century.

For instance, suppose the Master had been attempting then to describe what to us is called radio, familiar and simple.  But neither Sinnett or Hume nor any man living then had the remotest idea of what radio was.  Suppose the Master had been attempting to describe to these or other ladies and gentlemen of that time what an automobile was.  Automobiles were merely beginning to be speculated about.  Not one had yet been invented.  Could he then successfully have described to men who did not know the first mechanical principles of this, the principles of the internal combustion engine?  To whom electricity and its marvels was but in its infancy?

This will illustrate what I mean about the Master talking to them in the scientific language of that time, and you may apply the similar situation to the religious language of that time and the philosophic language of that time.

Tsong-kha-pa was the great Tibetan reformer of a degenerate Buddhism.  Buddhism was brought to Tibet it is not known exactly when, but in the early part of what we in the west call the Christian era, probably in the sixth or seventh century, by an Indian Buddhist monk called Padma Sambhava, and he labored well and long among the Tibetans and converted practically the whole country by the magic of his word, by the power of his illustrations, and by the persuasion of his fascinating mind.  But it was not many centuries before the natural inertia of human understanding and its disinclination always to hold to the highest, began its leisurely work; and little by little, after Padma Sambhava died the Buddhists began to drop from the purity of Buddha’s teaching with its grand ethics and wonderful occultism, dropped down to the level from which Padma Sambhava had raised them; and this level was known, or is known today, by the name of the Bhon, which is what the Tibetans themselves call it.  It is a kind of naturalistic religious philosophy peculiar to Tibet, immensely ancient, archaic indeed, and probably brought over from Atlantean, late Atlantean times.  It largely comprises worship of nature spirits, superstitious practices, and above everything else, the practice of magic, white and black; and there is so much akin to the Bhon in what we know as the Tantras of India, the tantric teachings, that I for one have no doubt that they have an identical origin.

Now then, in the fourteenth century appeared Tsong-kha-pa, the greatest spiritual Teacher excepting none that Tibet has ever known.  He reformed the degraded or the degenerated or false Buddhism of Tibet, brought it back to its grand pristine purity; and when he died, due to his marvelous genius and ability in spreading ideas and making them more fascinating than the calls that were made upon Tibetans by the Bhon system — when he passed away or vanished or died, call it what you will, he had brought back to the Holy Path, as the Tibetans call it, practically all of Tibet proper, and raised Tibet to a higher plane of thought than it had as yet ever attained in known history; and it is today even the most powerful as well as the official form of Buddhism in Tibet.  The Bhon thought and the degenerated Buddhism of Padma Sambhava, still held by people whom Tsong-kha-pa did not succeed in reaching, prevail to this day along the outskirts of Tibet, along the Indian and Chinese and Turkestan and the north frontier; and it is along this frontier that the so-called Red Caps are mainly to be found, not wholly but mainly.  In the interior of Tibet you will find a vast majority of the Yellow Caps or those who have followed Tsong-kha-pa.  The distinction is really, so far as dress goes, only in the cap or hat, because both the Red Caps and the Yellow Caps of Tsong-kha-pa wear pretty much the same clothing, usually red and dark orange, the old Buddhist robe of India.

Now, what was Tsong-kha-pa?  He was what I would call a tulku.  A tulku means what was explained at our gathering here a fortnight ago.  Like Jesus, but in other ways differing from him, Tsong-kha-pa was both Tulku and Bodhisattva.  In fact, tulku means bodhisattva.  He was not Buddha, or a Buddha.  He had refused the Buddha-state.  You may call him one of the highest of the Sambhogakayas today, or Nirmanakaya.  I myself am not sure on this point.  But he is not a Dharmakaya.  That would mean going into the Nirvana, and for ages and ages and ages passing out of all possibility of helping the millions and millions and millions trailing along behind.  Going into Nirvana, assuming Dharmakaya, simply means cutting off all connection with the lower planes and rising up to the highest realms of spirit.  Of course this is a consummation which is unspeakably grand, glorious, wonderful.  But the Buddhas of Compassion and the Bodhisattvas refuse it.  They prefer to remain behind and help those who know less of the Law than they do.

Tsong-kha-pa became a Planetary.  Now what is a Planetary?  A Planetary is a cosmic spirit.  They can be of many different grades on the ladder of life of that planet, our planet in this case.  There are high planets, high planetaries, low and intermediate.  But I have no doubt that Tsong-kha-pa could be classed among the intermediate, for the simple reason that being a Bodhisattva, he has not cut himself off by ascending so high that re-descent is not possible in this manvantara.

And Planetaries.  Here again this is a very interesting subject, and when time is allowed we must go into it more profoundly than we shall have time tonight to do.  As stated there are high planetaries, intermediate, and low.  This is because there are planetaries belonging to our entire planetary chain.  The influence of the very highest extends over all the seven or twelve globes of our chain.  There are intermediate planetaries whose influence is the very highest over any one globe, such as our earth, or Globe D; and there are lower planetaries who work under these higher planetaries whom we may call those planetary spirits closest in touch with poor mankind.  Their work is beautiful, compassionate, indeed sublimest of all the planetaries.

But yet we must remember that when we speak of planetaries, we must not figurate to ourselves anything that even approaches infallibility, for even the low planetaries are not infallible.  Think what infallibility means.  It would mean having a mind co-extensive with the galaxy, practically boundless infinitude.  It would mean having a will co-extensive will with the immense will of nature, in other words you would have to be Mother Nature herself to be infallible, and no planetary is that.  But compared with us men even the lowest planetaries have a judgment and a discrimination and a wisdom and an insight and a power which are virtually infallible.  They can be trusted.  This may sound like an academic discussion, but it is not so.  I know there are certain people in the west today who imagine that a certain great Ecclesiastic official is infallible.  They are welcome to their opinion.  History does not support it.

Now the question may be asked: Can you give us an instance of a planetary as recorded in some other religious or philosophical system?  Very easily.  What the Hindus call the Manus are planetaries of one kind.  What they call the Prajapatis are planetaries.  You can also say, and you won’t wander far from the truth, that the Manus are also Prajapatis.  They are also instances of planetaries so far as the human life-wave is concerned.  Other instances of planetaries are the references in many of the old religions and religious philosophies to what the Christians, following the Greeks, called angels and archangels.  And here is your key.  What the solar logoi are in and to the sun, that the planetaries are for a globe of a chain or for an entire chain.

Hints on the History of the Root-Races

Reference: Letter XVIII, pp. 119-22

All the great religions and philosophies of the past tell us of a time when death actually did not exist in the earliest human races.  It entered into human existence or into human habitudes only when what the Christians called sin entered the world.  This brought death with it, not only physical death, but, as we Theosophists try to point out, soul death also.  But we are now speaking of the death of the body.

Race One and a good part of Race Two did not live for millions of years as individuals.  That would be utterly absurd.  That would mean that a soul-like entity, no matter how perfectly ensouled, passed relatively unchanged through millions of years of bare existence, and that is nonsense.  Nature shows us no example whatsoever of such unchanged identity.  Even today in the cellular bodies there is a constant change and throwing off, a constant changing from day to day, movement.

So what happened corresponding to death during the First Race and a part of the Second Race?  Individuals did not then cast aside their worn-out bodies and take unto themselves new and fresh ones.  That habit of nature had not yet been brought into existence for human beings or for the beings of that time.  The bodies then were like enormous pudding bags, as H. P. B. called them, or cells, and these cells lived and budded themselves largely by osmosis and end-osmosis and exosmosis.  At a certain period these cells were thrown off and from one cell two came.  Each of those cells thereafter lived for a certain time, the time of fission for each one, and then each of the twain divided into two, and then you had four cells, four individuals.  But there was no death.  Later on the method of propagating the species as you might call it changed.  But we are now speaking of these early races.

The cells as individuals did not as individuals live unchanged for millions of years, which would be an absurdity.  But the cells kept dividing and dividing, each cell became two, two became four, four became eight, eight became sixteen, etc., etc.  But then what happened?  You might think that by and by all these cells would cover the earth so thickly that none could move.  But they did not.  Nature does not act in that way.  Even here, as biologists know, perfect order prevails.  When a species seems to have reached its maximum of propagation, barrenness ensues, or fecundity seems to die out.  The balance is kept, because there is always a certain number of monads or entities living in these bodies.  There can be no body unless there is an entity to ensoul it so to speak.

Then the Third Root-Race, by this time the human race, had passed through the stages of propagating their spores or seeds or eggs, just as they do today as a matter of fact only in a somewhat different fashion.  Nature has not dropped off all her processes.  We still propagate our species through cells or eggs and so forth, only it is differently arranged.  We have now reached the Third Root-Race which were androgynous.  Sex had not yet appeared, and there were huge creatures.  The outlines of the human form as we now see it and understand it were already pretty well limned; the human structure was there, different from what it now is, less refined than what it now is, less grand in a way; but the distinct outline of the human form was there during this androgynous time.

Then at the middle of the Third Root-Race androgyny became two sexes as we now have them, or Adam-Eve became Adam and Eve.  And by the way I might say in passing that even in the Hebrew of the Book of Genesis in Chapter 3rd, I think, it states, “And their name was Adam,” not his name, but their name.  “And Adam and Eve were — and their name was Adam.”  That contains a whole lot that could be said of it.

However, at about that time, before the race became really sexed as we now understand it, there were huge creatures, I don’t know how high they would stand, with huge feet about eight feet long.  But mark you, they would be soft-fleshed, very tender, very soft as compared with us hard-fleshed humans.  I could entertain you with a lot of wondrous tales and yet keep strictly within the boundaries of occult history, of occult archaic biology.

Then as the race went on and became sexed and became Atlanteans, even these although greatly dwindled in size from the Third Root-Race or so-called Lemurians, were themselves about twenty-four feet tall.  You know, it is a tradition among all the ancient races and all the ancient religious and philosophic writings, that there were giants on the earth in those days; which does not seem so strange if you look at what modern biology and archeology are beginning to show us of the size of living beings in those early times.  Well, the flesh of the Atlantean giants was even grosser than ours, terrifically gross, pebbly, ugly, yet definitely human flesh.  We have become somewhat refined since those days; and as time goes on and the Sixth Root-Race shall be established on this earth, say in 4,000,000 years from now more or less, the Sixth Root-Race will be individuals leaving sex behind.  The embryonic organs of sex that nature still preserves with us, shows us what she is intending to bring forth in the future, and androgyny will again appear, but in a more refined form; and the flesh of the Sixth Root-Race men will be very tender and soft.  They won’t realize it; but if you could have a Sixth Root-Race man amongst us today, perhaps smaller than I am, smaller than the smallest man here, you would marvel at the luminous effect his flesh would make on our eyes, tender, soft, as if light were behind it; and mighty of intellect, and great in spirituality.  And the Seventh Root-Race will begin to be having bodies of light, hardly light, yet the beginning.  It is so difficult to describe things that are coming millions and millions of years hence.  They sound just like dreams now.  I do not know that we have anything that can be likened to these things, unless it be a jelly fish.  Of course that is out of the past, but there you have a living entity whose flesh is extremely soft and tender.

Then in future Rounds, in those glorious far future days of hundreds of millions of years in the future, men will be like the angels as the Christians would say.  They would in fact be approaching Dhyan-chohanship, titans in spirituality, giants in intellect, no longer men and women, but nevertheless glorious human beings.

Spiritual Failures

Reference: “Now there are — there must be ‘failures’ in the etherial races of the many classes of Dyan Chohans or Devas as well as among men. . . .”
        — et seq., see Supplementary Notes to Letter XIV, p. 87

In the address of tonight a quotation was made from The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett with reference to failures, spiritual failures; and as I know that this word has been greatly misunderstood, or at least apprehended wrongly, I ask your kind attention to what I have to say.

What may be failure among the gods, may be a glorious achievement for a human being or for a demi-god.  The ‘failures’ amongst the Dhyan-Chohans, or the gods if you wish, is a phrase which refers simply to those high beings, even amongst the Dhyan-Chohans, who have essayed more than they could successfully accomplish.  But you see in a way how creditable this effort is.  It is one of the divinest things in the consciousness not only of human beings, but of the Dhyan-Chohans, that they aspire forever beyond themselves.  Such failures are victories in the long run, for they represent a sublime effort.  And it is far nobler to try to seek the companionship of the gods in this life and fail because we are ourselves not yet gods, than it is to be forever merely human and reck not whether the gods exist or not.  So that these failures, all honest failures from the strictly logical meaning of not having done what was envisioned to be accomplished — these failures as beings are among the most glorious even among the Dhyan-Chohanic hosts.

Now it is just these failures who were unable to top the last celestial rise and who had to wait until the next Manvantara before they could cross that peak of achievement — it is just these failures who headed the hosts of those who returned and built our earth and taught earliest mankind, who laid down the lines of work on which the elementals and the lower Dhyan-Chohanic hosts later labored to construct our world as it is.  It was these failures who caught the vision, and, guided by the karma of our past, brought that karma as it were up a little higher.  Failures, but saviors of us.

So indeed there are failures amongst human beings; and if we just take that word ‘failures,’ and do not know the teaching, how unjust could we be.  Far nobler is the man who strives for chelaship, and fails because of past weaknesses, past karma — far nobler is he than the man who has no such divine hunger to be more and to be better, higher than he was before.

There are failures also in initiation; but all this type of failure is glorious, for it represents noble effort, enlarging vision, increasing strength, and beautiful yearnings.  It represents accomplishment.  There are failures among the chelas who cannot reach Mahatmaship in this life.  But how beautiful is their failure, for they tried and almost won.  Fancy, if they had never tried.  It is these rare spirits, whether amongst the gods or amongst us men, who see and try, and succeed or fail; but that failure itself is a success; and it is such failures as these that the mahatmic writer alludes to.

And what is it that H. P. Blavatsky says in The Voice of the Silence :

“Remember, thou that fightest for man’s liberation, each failure is success, and each sincere attempt wins its reward in time.  The holy germs that sprout and grow unseen in the disciple’s soul, their stalks wax strong at each new trial, they bend like reeds but never break, nor can they e’er be lost.  But when the hour has struck they blossom forth.”

Correspondences in the Rounds

Reference: Letter XV, pp. 89-93

The Fourth Round is a copy of a more advanced type of everything that took place in the Third Round.  Similarly, the Third Round was such of the Second.  Remember that, after all, forms and shapes and bodies are all relatively unimportant.

There was a time in the Third Round correspondential to the descent of the Manasaputras in this Fourth.  There was a time in the Third Round correspondential to the arrival of sex on this earth.  There was a time in the Third Round correspondential to what will happen in the future when sex will disappear in this Round.  And so with all events through which we have passed and are to pass in this Fourth Round.

Indeed, during the First Round, even, there was organized intelligence on this earth, not merely mindless entities.  If you think that there was no intelligence of any kind in the First Round, it shows that you keep your thoughts restricted too much to human evolution.  But there are the different evolutions of the Dhyan-Chohanic Kingdoms; and even in the First Round there were human beings.  Never mind what the bodies were; that is of no importance.  There were beings with will-power, who thought and felt.  They were few, to be sure, but they did exist; and they were the star-sons, the Sons of the Firemist spoken of by H. P. B., the first grand Adepts on this earth and indeed on the other globes of our chain.  There were very few because this was the First Round.  There were more in the Second; more in the Third; more in the Fourth.  There will be still more in the Fifth, and so forth; because every new Round raises every Kingdom one cosmic sub-sub-plane higher on the evolutionary scale.  So much for that comment.

The One Becomes the Many

I agree with those who just cannot see how the One could do otherwise than become the multitude.  Consider the Universe around us everywhere.  It represents the many.  Reason tells us that being subservient to one common law, essentially formed of one common cosmic stuff, originally all the multitudes of beings and entities in this Universe must have come forth from one cosmic fountain of being and life.  It is the teaching of Occultism of all the ages that back to that divinity all things are marching now: out from divinity as unself-conscious god-sparks for aeons and aeons of cosmic pilgrimage, undergoing all the various marvelous adventures that life in all its phases brings; then rising on the pathway and re-entering the bosom of the Divine, to issue forth again at the next cosmic maha-manvantara.  It is incomprehensible to me that anything else could take place; and there are so many remarkable illustrations that can be given of this eternal process.

Sedimentation on Our Earth

When the Masters or H. P. B. speak of the 320 million years since sedimentation on our earth took place, they refer to the beginning of this Round on Globe A; and when the impulse of the three elemental kingdoms, followed by the mineral kingdom, reached our earth, then not only sedimentation but volcanic action began.  That is all there is to that.  If you will read what I have to say on that in my Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy (and I labored hard in that book to make the process of evolutionary development on the different globes during a Round clear): if you will look to that book, you will have it, I hope, clear enough for comprehension.

As a matter of fact, we have so much teaching that our dear people forget most of it!  That is the plain truth.  Our books are just packed with information; and one of the greatest helps possible to us students is to learn to collate and build up a picture by that collation, bringing together fact after fact and never being satisfied until we have made a proper place for every fact.  Then you have a picture, and you won’t forget it.

Man-Bearing Globes

It is true that globes in a solar system, and planetary chain too it is the same thing really — can advance so high in their evolutionary or emanational development that they have passed the stage where human beings or the human kingdom can find place on such globes of a chain, because they have passed high above the human kingdom — the whole chain has.  But that is only half the picture.  The other reason why there are non-man-bearing globes, that is chains in our solar system which are not man-bearing, is that these other, forming the other part of the picture, have not yet reached the point where their life-waves have risen to the human stage.

So then, the idea is that every globe in a planetary chain has been, is, or will be, man-bearing some time, some time.  Those not yet having reached the stage of man-bearing produce the lower kingdoms, or some of them.  Those which have evolved beyond or higher than the possibility of bringing the human kingdom on their globes bear the races of the Dhyan-Chohans exclusively, and beings even beyond those last.

So there are man-bearing chains or globes in our solar system, and there are those which are non-man-bearing.  As a matter of fact, you can say the same thing about any kingdom.  There are globes in our chain which bear Dhyan-Chohans, as an example, and others which do not bear Dhyan-Chohans.

All Things Contribute to All Things

Reference: Letters XXIIIA and XXIIIB
Question, page 146, and Answer No. 8, pages 160-2

It is the teaching of the God-Wisdom that every member of the solar system is a living entity, a god imbodied.  Such is the sun, such is every planet, such is every comet.  Furthermore, the solar system itself as a whole is an entity, precisely as our human body is an entity as a whole, a unit, yet containing within itself different organs, each such organ itself being an individual, a unit, a living entity with a consciousness of its own kind.

That just as our body, an organic entity itself, is helped in being such by the different organs, the heart, the brain, the kidneys, the liver, the stomach, and so forth, so the solar system, itself an organic entity, is aided in being such by all the organic units within it: the sun, the planets, the comets, and so forth.  They all co-operate to produce a greater thing, i.e., the Solar Kingdom, with the sun as its king or chief.

What deduction must we draw from this?  That, co-operating as all these units do towards a common end, nothing can be done properly in the solar system if a single one of these bodies refuses co-operative action and union in effort; and ‘union’ here does not mean two or three organs joining to oppose two or three other organs.  It means all organic units without a single exception co-operating for the common universal good.  If there is not this co-operation, if, for instance, one single organ were to die, then the whole organism dies, because the harmony and symmetry of the greater unit is interrupted, killed, stopped.  It is just the same with the human body.  Suppose my heart stopped working, died — my body would die.  If my stomach disintegrated, my body would die; and similarly so with any other organ — even the skin or the tissues or the flesh or the bones: we need all these different things to make a complete and rightly functioning human body.  So it is with the solar system.

Thus when we say that all things co-operate to produce all things, we may be referring to all things on this earth; but it may also mean that this earth in its turn co-operates with every other body in the solar system to produce the proper effects on every other planet and on the sun.  How about rain, for instance, and the other meteorological phenomena of this earth?  How about storms of any kind: snow-storms, hail-storms, rain-storms, electric storms?  Shall we say that only one thing in the solar system produces these, whether it be sun-spots or the planets, or perhaps one planet, as some astrologers quite wrongly say?  No.  All things work together to produce all things everywhere.

Thus, when we come to answering the question: Are the sun-spots the cause of the meteorological phenomena on this earth? the answer has to be no, because that would exclude all other contributing causes and causers.  The sun-spots play their appropriate part; so does every planet.  But what is the most important factor, the greatest cause in the production of these things on our earth?  It is the earth itself.  But the earth itself could not produce them unless it had the help of all the other co-operating or consentient gods, as the Greeks and Romans phrased it; in other words of the sun, the planets, the comets.

What makes heat?  What makes rain?  What makes cold on this earth?  Magnetism, to be sure; electricity, to be sure.  But these are the forces.  What makes these things fundamentally?  The vitality of the earth co-operating with the vitality received from the other planets, and from the sun and the comets.  All things co-operate to make all things.  A key, a master-key.

Actually, if you want the mechanical cause, the immediate cause, that is, the cause just preceding the effect — not the first cause — it is the dilatation of the earth’s atmosphere and its contraction.  The atmosphere of the earth is one of the most marvelous organs of our Mother-Earth.  Look upon the earth as a living being, or as the Latins would say, an animal (from the Latin word anima, meaning life). Animal in Latin means a living being, a human or beast, for instance.  Even a plant is an ‘animal’ in this sense, only very feebly so; because anima meant, more particularly, what in Theosophy is called the animal soul — the nephesh of the Qabbalah.

The earth is constantly surcharged with vital power.  There are times when it is almost bursting, and the inner power must have an escape: it must be discharged, because the pressure of the whole solar system is behind it.  Take the instance of earthquakes: they are my pet horror, they just turn my blood cold because I am always thinking of the damage to human beings, and the wretchedness that they can cause; yet they are one of the greatest blessings, for the earth is releasing energy which could otherwise become devastatingly explosive.  Our earth would simply burst; it would blow up, if there were not these periodic discharges.

It is like the vitality that a human being is constantly throwing forth — by his walking, by his speaking, by his moving, by the circulation of his blood.  Every time he lifts a finger he is throwing off energy.  Suppose all the energy that the body produces could by some magic be clamped down and kept in the body, the body would explode, simply blow up; the tissues would be torn apart.

Of course there is the other side of the picture: if the expenditure of energy is too great, then you have the other extreme, and you have disease or death.  But why does the human body do this?  It is doing in its own small sphere, in its own small line, what the planets are doing, contributing its quota to the vitality of the earth; and this vitality comes into the human body from above, and from what passes in and out in the exchange of the life-atoms amongst us all.  All things contribute to all things; they receive and give constantly.*

[ Footnote ]

* So strangely does the human mind wander into vagaries of imagination, that I find it needful to append this footnote lest the words in the text above be misunderstood by thoughtless or careless people as a kind of indirect endorsement in our human life of the dissipation of vital human forces through immorality or in some other way.

Such misunderstanding of my meaning would be so utterly monstrous, so utterly contrary to every teaching of Theosophy and Occultism, that on no few occasions have I asked myself just how far I can go in stating even simple occult facts, when, as experience has shown me, one or two or more hearers might wrongly take the sense or the significance of what I was trying to say.

I state here without qualification, that any dissipation of the vital powers of the human body or mind in immorality of any form, immediately hastens the approaches of disease and old age, because wearing the body out, and because unnatural.  Such dissipation of vitality would be a wilful waste of the life-forces, thus co-operating with the work of the Destroyers.  Not only would such waste invite disease and premature senility, but even worse than this would be its effect on the moral stamina and ethical instinct of the human mind, and it could in an extreme case result in moral and intellectual degeneration.

Let it be stated that self-control, strict moral conduct and self-forgetfulness are the path of Theosophical occultism, and this is stated without any qualifications whatsoever.  Any misuse whatsoever or in any manner of vital power, even such as over-eating or gluttony, drunkenness, or anything along any line causing the body extra strain or depletion is a waste of vital power and therefore has a tendency to bring on disease, speedy old age, and as above hinted, even worse things in its train. 

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Do you realize that there is more vitality in the body in old age than there is in youth?  Old age is not a case of deprivation of vitality; it is a case of too much vitality.  The body cannot build up fast enough.  The intense life of the adult human being is slowly wrecking the body, causing it to age.  The body cannot build fast enough.  The life-pulsations are quicker than the building power.  Consequently you get the greying hair, the failing eyesight, the failing hearing, and all the phenomena that age brings.  Health is simply balance; and the longer you can keep in health the longer you live — if you want to!  If it is advisable!  Some people seem to think that a long life is a mark of sanctity.  It is very often not just so.  Sometimes the grossest people are the longest-lived.  There is an old Latin proverb which says: “The gods love those who die young,” meaning the gods take those they love when they are young — not when the gods are young, but when those they take are young.  The gods themselves are perennially young.

Now to return to the matter of the earth’s atmosphere, which is continually dilating or expanding.  We know that when this expansion occurs we have the dropping of the barometer, that sensitive instrument we have learned how to build which registers the air-pressure.  It is a sign of rain.  And we all know the chill in the air that follows a rain-storm even in the summertime.  We say “It cooled the air.”  The opposite effect, heat, is produced when the atmosphere condenses or contracts, and the greater pressure on the barometer causes it to go up.  “Fair weather,” we say, “and heat,” relative heat according to the season, of course.

What causes these contractions and dilatations of the earth’s atmosphere?  Mainly the periodic, vital pulsations in the earth itself.  But these pulsations are intimately connected every instant of time, without a second’s interruption, with all the other bodies of the solar system.  All things contribute to all things.  The sun and all the planets are connected with the dilatations and contractions of the earth’s atmosphere.  Thus far the astrologers are perfectly right.  But to say that it is the planets which make these things, that the planets are the sole cause, that is all wrong.  All things contribute to all things: the sun and planets give me health; they give me disease.  But so do I give myself both health and disease.  All things contribute to all things.  That is the master-key.

Now these contractions, or pressures as the modern scientific phraseology has it, of the atmosphere, and these dilatations of the atmosphere, are mainly caused by the actual meteoric continent surrounding our globe like a thick shell.  You will say, “But how can it be such a thick shell when we can see right through it; we can see the sun and the stars and the clouds?”  Suppose instead of my present eye-sight I had an electric eye.  Why then I could look right along a copper wire.  Such things as copper and iron would be transparent to me.  But with my present eye-sight I cannot see through a copper wire or along a 5000 mile stretch of copper wire because I have not the electric eye.  On the other hand, with the electric eye I could not see things I now see.  The fact is that our eye-sight has been evolved by Nature, or, if you like, evolved by Karma, so that we can look right through this meteoric mass surrounding our earth like a shell; and all we see of it is what we call the blue of the sky.  That is the real explanation of the blue of the sky.  The scientific theory that it is very fine dust mostly from earth which intercepts the blue rays of the solar spectrum, might be called a weak, partial explanation.  I dare not omit even this, because if I did my explanation would be by so much imperfect.  There is some truth in it, but to say that it is the cause of the blue of the sky is not true, because that excludes everything else.

All the other planets except Mars are likewise, each one, surrounded with its own meteoric continent.  Science knows this and calls them the clouds of the different planets.  Call them clouds if you want to.  Say that they are clouds of cosmic dust and dust from the respective planets.  All right: but they are actually mostly interstellar and interplanetary meteoric dust.  Every one of the planets in our solar system except Mars, as I have said, is surrounded by such a continent of meteoric dust; and even Mars has a thin gauzy veil of meteoric matter surrounding it.  Mars is different from the others because it is in obscuration at present; and on Globe D of the Martian Chain the forces of attraction holding the meteoric continent together have been relaxed, as it were.  These magnetic and electric forces surrounding Mars are weak because the meteoric continent around Globe D of Mars has been more or less dissipated throughout space — not quite, but almost.  That is the reason we can catch just glimpses of the Martian Globe; but even those glimpses are still uncertain.  Our astronomers are not sure that what some see others see.  You know the interminable dispute aroused by the discovery of the so-called canals of Mars which Professor Lowell of Flagstaff, Arizona, and others have quite believed so long; and which others deny.  Schiaparelli, the Italian astronomer, was the first to speak of these lines years and years ago, and as they seemed to him to resemble canals, he called them canali, the Italian word for canals or channels of any kind; and then people got the idea, because they took the word in the English sense of water-courses, that they must be water-courses.  That is still not proved; it may be and it may not be.  I do not care to say anything more about that.

Please remember this, Companions: The solar system is a living being, of which the sun is both the brain and the heart.  The different planets are the organs of this organic entity.  Our earth is one.  They all work together to produce the solar system as an organism, or a group of organs.  All things contribute to all things.  Nothing happens on this earth, from the waving of a frond of fern in the wind to the most awful earthquake the world has ever known, except by such co-operating cosmic agency.  All are produced mainly by the earth, but with the co-operation of the sun and moon, the planets and comets, for this organic entity moves in synchronous measures of destiny.  All things contribute to all things.  The birth of every baby is produced by the solar system, by the earth, especially by the mother; yet all things contribute to produce that baby.  The stars do have their effect upon us, most undoubtedly so; and the sun and planets and comets, because the solar system is an organic living being, and therefore everything within it anywhere is affected by everything within it everywhere.  Surely this is true; and it is a wonderful picture.

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