Universal Brotherhood – March 1899


The welfare of Humanity turns upon the evolution of the Thinking Principle. It is here that the springs of action lie. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." All that I am is the result of what I have thought, it is made up of my thought. Hidden behind the veil of physical matter is the subtle machinery of thought — just as the real, vital, as scientifically arranged as the machinery of the living body.

And the activity of every human brain is as closely related to it as the physical body is related to the surrounding air in which it lives and moves. In this thought-world the real inner man has his proper home, and uses his physical vesture merely as an instrument to contact the physical world in which so many problems have to be solved.

The aspect which every man's environment wears to himself depends directly upon the quality of the thoughts which he himself evolves.

And as man is part and parcel of Nature, embosomed therein at every moment of his life, it follows that his thinking acts directly and momently upon Nature as surely as it does upon himself. Modern science has demonstrated nothing more clearly than the fact that the atoms of matter are forever bound together by a thousand unseverable ties, reciprocally active, and maintaining a marvellous equilibrium throughout the manifested universe. Not less deeply united is humanity, and the breath of its inner and mental life is this living, all-pervading sea or breath of thought, to which, consciously or not, every human being constantly contributes, for evil or for good. Precisely how thought acts and reacts incessantly on man and on Nature, science has never clearly shown. But Eastern Philosophy long ago solved the problem of mind, and today-throws a bright light on the question of human responsibility.

"Every thought of man upon being evolved passes into the inner world, and becomes an active entity by associating itself, coalescing as we might term it, with an elemental — that is to say, with one of the semi-intelligent forces of the Kingdoms.

"It survives as an active intelligence — a creature of the mind's begetting — for a longer or shorter period proportionate with the original intensity of the cerebral action which generated it. Thus, a good thought is perpetuated as an active, beneficent power, an evil one as a maleficent demon. And so man is continually peopling his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses and passions; a current which reacts upon any sensitive or nervous organization which comes in contact with it, in proportion to its dynamic intensity.

"The adept evolves these shapes consciously; other men throw them off unconsciously." (1)

The mind, working on its own plane, generates images, thought-forms. Imagination is literally the creative faculty. Responsive to our thoughts are the Elementals which ensoul the forms so created. An Eastern Sage speaking of the part played by sound and color in the psychic world says: "How could you make yourself understood, command in fact, those semi-intelligent Forces, whose means of communicating with us are not through spoken words, but through sounds and colors, in correlation between the vibrations of the two? For sound, light and color are the main factors in forming those grades of intelligences, those beings of whose very existence you have no conception, nor are you allowed to believe in them — Atheists and Christians, Materialists and Spiritualists, all bringing forward their respective arguments against such a belief — science objecting stronger than either of these to such a degrading superstition." (2)

Elementals are addressed by colors, and color-words are as intelligible to them as spoken words are to men.

The hue of the color depends on the nature of the motive inspiring the generator of the thought-form. If the motive be pure, loving, beneficent in its character, the color produced will summon to the thought-form an Elemental, which will take on the characteristics impressed on the form by the motive, and act along the line thus traced. This Elemental enters into the thought-form, playing to it the part of a soul, and thus an independent entity is made in the astral world, an entity of a beneficent character.

If the motive, however, be impure, revengeful, maleficent in its character, the color produced will summon to the thought-form an Elemental which will equally take on the characteristics impressed on the form by the motive, and act along the line thus traced. In this case also the Elemental enters into the thought-form, playing to it the part of a soul, and thus making an independent entity in the astral world, an entity of a maleficent character.

For example, an angry thought will cause a flash of red, which is a summons to the Elementals, which sweep in the direction of the summoner, and one of them enters into the thought-form, endowing it with an independent, destructive activity.

Men are continually talking in this color-language quite unconsciously, and thus calling round them these swarms of Elementals, who take up their abodes in the various thought-forms provided. Thus it is that a man peoples "his current in space with a world of his own, crowded with the offspring of his fancies, desires, impulses and passions."

Angels and demons of our own creating throng round us on every side, makers of weal and woe to others, and to ourselves.

The life-period of these thought-forms depends on the energy imparted to them by their human progenitor. Their life may be continually reinforced by repetition; and a thought which is brooded over, acquires great stability of form. So again thought-forms of a similar character are attracted to and mutually strengthen each other, making a form of great energy and intensity.

Not only does a man generate and send forth his own thought-forms, but he also serves as a magnet to draw towards himself the thought-forms of others.

He may thus attract to himself large reinforcements of energy from outside, and it lies within himself whether these forces that he draws into his own being from the external world shall be of a good or of an evil kind.

If one's thoughts are pure and noble, he will attract around him hosts of beneficent entities, and may sometimes wonder whence comes to him power that seems so much beyond his own.

Similarly a man of foul and base thoughts attracts to himself hosts of maleficent entities, and this added energy for evil commits crimes that astonish him in the retrospect.

William Q. Judge wrote: "Can we, then, be too careful to guard the ground of the mind, to keep close watch over our thoughts? These thoughts are dynamic. Each one as it leaves the mind has a force of its own, proportionate to the intensity with which it was propelled.

"As the force or work done, of a moving body, is proportionate to the square of its velocity, so we may say that the force of thoughts is to be measured by the square or quadrupled power of their spirituality, so greatly do these finer forces increase by activity. The spiritual force, being impersonal, fluidic, not bound to any constricting centre, acts with unimaginable swiftness.

"A thought, on its departure from the mind, is said to associate itself with an elemental; it is attracted wherever there is a similar vibration, or, let us say, a suitable soil, just as the winged thistle-seed floats off and sows itself in this spot and not in that, in the soil of its natural selection. Thus the man of virtue, by admitting a material or sensual thought into his mind, even though he expel it, sends it forth to swell the evil impulses of the man of vice from whom he imagines himself separated by a wide gulf, and to whom he may have just given a fresh impulse to sin. Many men are like sponges, porous and bibulous, ready to suck up every element of the order prepared by their nature. We all have more or less of this quality: we attract what we love, and we may derive a greater strength from the vitality of thoughts infused from without than from those self-reproduced within us at a time when our nervous vitality is exhausted. It is a solemn thought, this, of our responsibility for the impulse of another. We live in one another, and our widely different deeds have often a common source. The occultist cannot go far upon his way without realizing to what a great extent he is 'his brother's keeper.' Our affinities are ourselves, in whatever ground they may live and ripen."

Earnestness, said Buddha, is the path of immortality, thoughtlessness the path of death.


1. "The Occult World." (return to text)

2. "The Occult World." (return to text)

Universal Brotherhood