False learning is rejected by the Wise, and scattered to the Winds by the good Law. Its wheel revolves for all, the humble and the proud. The "Doctrine of the Eye" is for the crowd, the "Doctrine of the Heart," for the elect. The first repeat in pride: "Behold, I know," the last, they who in humbleness have garnered, low confess, "thus have I heard."
THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE, Fragment II, The Two Paths.
By B.P. Wadia
[From LIVING THE LIFE, pages 130-33.]
Our movement is a reform one, dealing with the very character of the race.
-- W.Q. JUDGE
The ULT seems to be very different from all other organizations in this (in the words of W.Q. Judge) "that in others plenty of money is furnished by members -- clubs and churches can raise large sums of money because they offer definite creeds ... where we offer nothing of that kind but demand real altruistic work."
By application and work on ourselves, we forward the cause of the reform of the social order in which we live. That is of vital importance, and from one point of view, this is the real reform. But Mr. Judge's words carry an implication of corporate reform of human character.
Political reform, to which the world pays so much attention, is not highly valued by the Esoteric Philosophy, for reasons well explained by HPB in THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. Similarly, social reform through specially organized social service is not accorded the importance given to it by the world.
In the words of Mr. Judge quoted above, reference is made to the reform that touches human character. The educative value of any reform consists in its ability to change and elevate the citizen's character. Thus Prohibition legislation in the USA in the '20s of this century degraded instead of ennobling the character of citizens and a good reform proved a failure.
There are numerous habits and customs which every nation and race needs to alter. For example, already a great change has taken place in the employer's behavior towards the employee; more consideration is shown by the former towards the latter, but it is not a real reform inasmuch as the changed behavior is due to Trade Unionism with its strike weapon. The outer behavior has changed but not the inner attitude. The same is true of the attitude of the employee towards the employer. Similarly, the relation between the mistress of a house and her servants has undergone a great change, mainly rooted in the plane of economics, but on the social plane, adjustments remain to be made in wealthy USA as well as in poor India.
In both these instances relating to labor-capital problems or the master-servant problem, the old and real difficulty persists -- lack of friendliness, even though there be kindliness. Noblesse oblige on the part of those who have wealth, power, or knowledge and gratefulness on the part of those who are their beneficiaries, are not in evidence. Students of Theosophy should deliberately make due adjustment in these spheres as Karma offers them opportunities.
Or take another reform overdue in every country, penal reform. The treatment of prisoners has improved in many countries and new experiments are being tried. But as long as the truth of reincarnation is not taken into account, real reform cannot be achieved. In discussing penal reform, students of Theosophy should stress the fact that the criminal is a brother to all men and that his treatment should be educative. In planning his education, the aim should be to bring about a renovation in the consciousness of the criminal. What is better calculated to accomplish this than knowledge of Karma, the doctrine of responsibility? The true explanation of fate and free will alone will start real reform.
Take the problem of the abolition of capital punishment. Facts about the after-death state of the soul of the executed, the new menace to society when execution takes place and cognate teachings should be popularized.
In all these matters students of Theosophy themselves fail to apply to their own ideation what is implicit in the teachings of the Esoteric Philosophy, and this Mr. Judge has pointed out in more than one place.
Then, there is the problem of what is known as the color bar. Not only in the present barbarous policy of South Africa but also elsewhere, different aspects of this problem are in manifestation. The Negro problem in the USA and the untouchability problem in India are but aspects of the basic problem of the color bar. Intermarriages between the Whites and the Negroes or between the high-caste Hindus and the Harijans are only one aspect. Inter-dining, social intercourse, and intermarriage should be understood by the student in the light of Theosophy, and it will be a very different understanding. The study of races, cycles, evolution, etc., will give the student basic principles for right application.
The next pair of reforms we should consider is in the sphere of social customs and religious orthodoxy that militate against the principle of Universal Brotherhood. The superstition and dogmatism fostered by the priests in every country and in every creed corrupt not only the mind but also the morals of the people.
Students of Theosophy should try not only to understand but also to apply what is implicit in the closing clause of our Declaration: "The true Theosophist belongs to no cult or sect, yet belongs to each and all." The student of Occultism must belong to no exclusive creed or sect, yet he is bound to show outward respect to every creed and faith if he would become an Adept of the Good Law. He must not be bound by the prejudiced and sectarian opinions of anyone; he has to form his own opinions and to come to his own conclusions in accordance with the rules of evidence furnished to him by the Science to which he is devoted.
If the student of Occultism is, as an illustration, a Christian, then while regarding Jesus Christ as a grand Adept, he will regard Gautama Buddha also as a grand Adept, an incarnation of unselfish love, boundless charity, and moral goodness; and so with other Prophet-Philanthropists.
The student of the Esoteric Philosophy must abstain from observing the rites, ceremonies, and customs of the creed into which his body was born. He should study these rites, ceremonies, and customs, rejecting what is chaff and using what is grain; but he has a similar duty towards the rites, ceremonies, and customs of all other religious creeds.
To help persons or groups of persons by right reform, one must free himself from the limitations of political, social, and religious taboos. Spiritual freedom demands mental freedom, and there can be no mental freedom unless the thinking principle is extricated from desires and passions, from prejudices, prides, and violence. Friendship and brotherliness are the soul of every reform, for love understands, and the spirit of unity never fails to uplift.
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 147-49.]
It takes some courage, I mean the true courage of the Seer -- whom naught can daunt and none may stay -- to oppose a world's thought-currents. For this sublime work calls forth the truest heroism, the most sublime intellectual vision, and the deepest spiritual insight. These last prevail always. Sometimes he who runs counter to the world's thought-currents loses what the world esteems highest: reputation, fortune, even perhaps life. But his work -- that is never lost!
That is what H.P. Blavatsky did and what the Theosophical Society has been doing ever since her time. It is in certain ways to oppose a world's lower thought-currents and prevail in the end. The noblest things call for sacrifice. That is a strange paradox of our life on earth and yet of the most beautiful. The Theosophist may say with the proud boast of the Christian Church -- and I deem it true, and even truer than in their case -- that the blood of its martyrs is the seed of its success, and of its victory. The world is ruled by ideas, and an inescapable truth it is also that the world's lower thought-currents must be opposed by higher ideas. It is only a greater idea that will capture and lead captive the less idea, the smaller. Graecia capta Romam victricem captam subducit. "Captured Greece leads conquering Rome captive."
What is this Theosophical Movement that was so magnificently voiced in some of its teachings by H.P. Blavatsky, but a series, an aggregate of grand ideas? Not hers, not collected by her from the different great thinkers of the world; but the god-wisdom of the world; and she brought together the world's human wisdom in order to bulwark, for the weaker minds who needed such bulwarking, the grand verities shining with their stellar light, and bearing the imprint of divinity upon them. Some men cannot see the imprints of divinity. Forsooth, they say, it is to be proved! They must put the finger into the nail-mark, into the hole. Millions are like that, they have not learned to think yet.
The only way to conquer ideas is to lead them captive by grander ones. That is what Theosophy does. It is a body of divine ideas -- not H.P. Blavatsky's, who was but the mouthpiece in this day of them, but the ancient god-wisdom of our earth, belonging to all men, all nations, all peoples, all times. It was given to protoplastic mankind in the very dawn of this earth's evolution by beings from higher spheres that had learned it themselves from beings higher still -- a primeval revelation from divinities. The echo of this revelation you will find in every land, among every people, in every religion and philosophy that has ever gained adherents.
When H.P. Blavatsky brought our modern Theosophy to this world in our age, she did not bring something new, she brought the cosmic Wisdom, the god-wisdom studied by the Seers, as understood on this earth, which had been stated in all other ages preceding that in which she came. She merely repeated what she had been taught; the same starry Wisdom, divine in origin: Science because voicing nature's facts; Religion because raising man to divinity; Philosophy because explanatory of all the problems that have vexed human intelligence. No vain boast this -- aye, no empty words; no vain boast I repeat, but truths that are provable by any thinking man or woman who will study our blessed god-wisdom faithfully and honestly.
It was an amazing world to which H.P. Blavatsky came. The west held by one slender, yet faithful link to Spirit, by the teachings of the Avatara Jesus called the Christ. It held by faith alone and the efforts of a relative few in the Churches. On the other hand, millions, most men and women of the west, were absolutely psychologized, not by facts, but rather by theories, postulates, and ideas that had gained currency because they were put forth aggressively and with some few natural facts contained in them. Why, all the science of those days practically now is in the discard, and the scientists themselves have been the discarders, the later generations of scientists have themselves overthrown the overthrower of man's hope in those days.
H.P. Blavatsky came in an era when even in the home-life, in society so-called, it was considered exceedingly bad form even to speak of the "soul" in a drawing room. To do so was considered a mark of an inferior intelligence. Alone, she wrote her books, challenging the entire thought-current of the western world, backed as it was by authority, backed by so-called psychology, backed by everything that then was leading men astray. And today we Theosophists happen to know that her books are being read, mostly in secret, by some of the most eminent ultra-modern scientific thinkers of our time.
What did she do? Mainly she based her attack on that world-psychology on two things: that the facts of nature are the facts of nature and are divine; but that the theories of pretentious thinkers about them are not facts of nature, but are human theorizing, and should be challenged, and if good, accepted pro tempore, and if bad, cast aside. She set the example; and other minds who had the wit to catch, to see, to understand, to perceive what she was after, gathered around her. Some of the men eminent in science in her time belonged to the Theosophical Society, although they rarely worked for it. They lent their names to it occasionally. But she captured them by the ideas she enunciated, and these men did their work in their own fields. That indeed already was much.
Consider her titanic task: changing the shifting and varying ideas of a body of earnest scientific researchers after nature's facts: replacing these shifting ideas, then called science -- which had for nearly two hundred years been casting out all that innumerable centuries of human experience had shown to be good and trustworthy. She had to replace these with thoughts that men could live by and become better by following, thoughts that men could die by with hope and in peace. She had to bring these back into human consciousness by the power of her own intellect voicing the immemorial traditions of the god-wisdom that she brought to us!
By Andrew Rooke
Popular music, especially rock music, has a dominating influence on the lives and aspirations of millions of young people. Musical influences worldwide come in many styles, including Punk Rock, Rap, Rhythm and Blues, Hip Hop, Soft Rock, Heavy Metal, Black Metal, and Latin Rock. There are the lilting and gentle strains of folk-influenced music like the songs of Jewel, Dido, James Taylor, Don MacLean, and John Denver. At the other end of the spectrum are the highly amplified electric guitar and synthesizer music guaranteed to drive parents crazy like Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix Experience, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath. Then we have their late twentieth and early twenty-first century successors like Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Guns 'n' Roses, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, System of Down, Slipknot, AFI, and even the aptly named, Cradle of Filth!
Whatever its shade, rock music represents modern folk music and indicates, as music of the people has done throughout the ages, the emotions, frustrations, and aspirations of ordinary people. If we trace rock back to its roots in the raw emotional statements of the Afro/American blues (and further back to the rhythmic vitality of traditional African music), we readily appreciate rock music as the music of dance, good times, love, and desire. It is limited in expressing mystical or spiritual ideas because the rhythms of rock's ancestors expressed physical vitality and excited the desire nature. Both features of rock music account for its popularity and consequently huge audiences. That is where the popular center of consciousness is today -- in the lower aspect of the desire mind of man's inner constitution.
The constant effort of the Masters of Wisdom is to elevate this majority consciousness to the compassionate/intuitive mind level. No doubt, music is one tool they employ. Some rock musicians have responded to the ancient challenge and attempted to reach beyond the basic level of physical and sexual excitement. Some performers express mystical elements in their music and lyrics like the beautiful rock/orchestral music of the British band The Moody Blues. Many other rock musicians express a profound influence from Indian mystical philosophy like the Beatles (especially George Harrison), Maha Vishnu John McLaughlin, and Carlos Santana. Others like Bob Dylan in recent albums reflect their inner journeys of self-discovery. All express in individual ways the ordinary man's joy and pain in human relationship and his yearning for love, equity, and the chance for a peaceful life in a turbulent world.
Dorothy Retallack's famous experiments with music and plants in the 1970s (THE SOUND OF MUSIC AND PLANTS) indicated that the heavy metal rock music of the day was destructive to plant life. This book, and especially the hugely popular THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS by Peter Tompkin and Christopher Bird, gave serious concern at the time for the effect of such music on humans.
At one extreme, some modern occultists assert that loud, discordant music helps break harmonic molds in the world's thought atmosphere, making way for the New Age. At the other, scientific researchers, according to New Age musician Steven Halpern, have demonstrated that the rock rhythm in a large proportion of popular music today is contrary to the body's natural heart and arterial rhythms. They have shown that the standard rock rhythm arrangement that we hear in pop music -- short-short-long -- has a weakening effect on muscle strength, whether the subject liked the of music or not! Interestingly, this was in direct opposition to the effect of clapping out the long-short-short rhythm -- as in traditional American Indian music.
Rock music is the source of tremendous fun and enjoyment to millions who do not take it quite so seriously! It has engendered a new and entirely opposed musical style over the past 20 years. In fact, one of its founders called this music the Anti-Frantic Alternative, or more commonly known as New Age or Meditative music. This music is notable for its lack of rhythm, its use of natural sounds, quiet melodic strains, and its attempt to create an atmosphere conducive to reflection, relaxation, and spiritual aspiration rather than a heavily loaded emotional experience such as most rock songs attempt to convey. Some new esoteric music, like PrimaSounds, attempts to find sympathetic vibrations with the various chakras or energy centers in the body to promote the flow of balanced energies in the body and create an environment for deep meditation. Much of this music is based on an acquaintance with the esoteric aspects of music in particular, on studies of Eastern religions, yoga, and meditation techniques. Perhaps we are coming full circle to a rediscovery of the Ancient Wisdom encapsulated in this new music that holds great promise as a harmonizing influence for the future.
What is the mass effect of rock music on people today? What is its potential? Several effects of great importance are elicited through the medium of music. It can aid the search for harmony within oneself and with nature. It can help center consciousness on inspirational ideas and the beautiful. It helps people see that the manifest universe consists of varying levels of vibration or music wherein they interact with the environment in ways besides the physical. Music, as a form of beauty, can have a profoundly healing and balancing effect.
By L. Gordon Plummer
[From the Summer 1973 THEOSOPHIA, as reprinted in THE ECLECTIC THEOSOPHIST.]
Avalokiteshvara (Sanskrit). A compound word: avalokita -- "perceived," "seen"; Ishvara -- lord; hence "the Lord who is perceived or cognised," i.e., the spiritual entity, whether in the Kosmos or in the human being, whose influence is perceived and felt; the Higher Self ...
-- G. de Purucker, OCCULT GLOSSARY
The teaching about Avalokiteshvara is at once one of the most beautiful and the most practical of the doctrines found in the Ancient Wisdom. At first glance, it might appear to be something very remote from us and difficult for us to understand; but quite the reverse, we have only to grasp its implications, and we discover that it is an intimate part of every human being.
As one of the more technical teachings, it requires a technical explanation to begin with. Briefly stated, it is the Third Logos.
If we were to follow all the ramifications of the doctrine, we would go into some of the most recondite of the teachings about the nature of the Universe and of Man. The intent here is to give the most salient facts that might then serve as a springboard from which any student may pursue the study to his heart's content.
We shall make a paradigm, giving the names of the three Logoi as set forth in the Mahayana School of Buddhism, with which Theosophy is in perfect agreement. These terms are given in terms of the Kosmos (from Mahayana Buddhism) and then in terms of Man himself (e.g. the Human Constitution).
Amitabha Buddha (the Buddha of Boundless Light) = the Atman (the Divine Monad, our link with the Boundless)
Alaya (the spirit-source of all, the Divine in Nature) = Buddhi (Spiritual consciousness, the vehicle of Atman)
Avalokitesvara (the Divine Presence, seen and felt everywhere) = Manas (the Mind as the vehicle of Buddhi)
(In the Brahmanical scheme, we have the three Logoi enumerated as Parabrahm, the Boundless; Pradhana, or Mulaprakriti, the root or source of Nature; and Mahat, Cosmic Mind in the sense that it is the "mother" of the Manasaputras. Thus, our Higher Mind or Higher Self, it derived from Mahat.)
We see at once in the above foundation of the teaching that Man is one with the universe, not only in respect to his physical body, which obviously is fashioned of the materials of the Earth, but in all of the reaches of his constitution. The "Higher Triad" alone is shown in the paradigm. The "Lower Quaternary" -- Prana, Kama, Linga-Sharira or Astral Body and Sthula-Sarira or Physical Body -- serves as the complex vehicle of the Higher Triad, comprises a further study.
To pursue our study of the Divine nature of Man, and of Avalokiteshvara in particular, we must now refer to the Hierarchy of Compassion, as this teaching will complete a picture of marvelous beauty and significance.
We are taught that at the summit of the Hierarchy of Compassion -- insofar as we humans are concerned -- is the Wondrous Being or Silent Watcher written about in THE MAHATMA LETTERS TO A.P. SINNETT and by H.P. Blavatsky in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. This is the Great Sacrifice who has renounced out of compassion the Nirvanic bliss that he has earned so that he might remain behind and help struggling humanity along its difficult evolutionary path.
In order to learn the relationship between this Silent Watcher and ourselves, we must consider the teachings of the Globe Chains. We learn that among the many planets, seen and unseen, the seven of primary importance are known as the Sacred Planets. We will not be specific as to their names, as to do so would bring in certain points of teaching that would extend this article beyond the length desirable. Sufficient to say at this time that each of the planets is in reality a composite of seven Globes, only one of which is visible. For convenience, the Globes have been lettered from A to G, and in each case, the visible Globe is lettered D. Thus, we see Globes D of Earth, Venus, Mars, and so on. All of the other globes are invisible, not detected by instruments of science.
Each of the planets is therefore conceived to be a chain of globes, or as we say, a Globe Chain. The various life waves that we call the kingdoms of nature, as these life waves manifest on Earth, pass through all seven of the Globes in their own chain -- making in each case seven circuits, or Rounds, as we call them. We on the Earth Chain are presently pursuing our fourth Round, and are on Globe D. Our stay on Globe D is divided into seven great epochs, or Root-Races. We are now experiencing the fifth such epoch or Root-Race.
We are taught that a Buddha appears at some time during each of the Root-Races in order to carry on the work of the Hierarchy of Compassion. Gautama was the Buddha for this fifth Root-Race.
So much for preliminaries. We are ready now to set before the reader the various stages in the Hierarchy of Compassion.
1. Highest in our Solar System is Mahat. It is the Hierarch of the Hierarchy, working in and through the Divinity that manifests in its outward form as our Sun. From it spring:
2. Seven Solar Logoi. These are the Silent Watchers that hold spiritual sway over the seven planetary Chains known as the Sacred Planets. Each of these is an Adi-Buddha. Thus, there is such as Adi-Buddha for this Earth Chain. Its seven rays are:
3. The Dhyani-Buddhas. These watch over the Rounds of the Chains. Thus, there is a Dhyani-Buddha watching over this fourth Round of our Earth Chain. Its Rays are:
4. The Dhyani-Bodhisattvas. These watch over the Globes of the chain during the various Rounds. Thus, there is a Celestial or Dhyani-Bodhisattva watching over this Globe D during this fourth Round. From this Dhyani-Bodhisattva spring seven rays:
5. The Manushya or Human Buddhas. There is one such for each of the Root-Races, and as said above, the one who holds spiritual sway over our fifth Root-Race is Gautama, the Buddha.
While Gautama is said to have lived for 100 years on Earth, there is a deeply esoteric fact about the human Bodhisattva who remained on Earth after the passing of the Buddha. While the Buddha himself entered the Nirvana, because of his great compassion for the world, he left a portion of himself behind in what might be termed the more human aspect of himself, who lived to carry on the sublime work. This Bodhisattva, because he no longer required a physical body through which to work, became a Nirmanakaya.
Such Bodhisattvas are deeply revered among scholars of Oriental Religions because, out of compassion, they follow the footsteps of the Great Sacrifice, remaining behind to serve the Human Race. They, we are taught, provide the means whereby there are the periodic appearances of the Avataras, such as Krishna, Shankaracharya, and for the Occident, Jesus the Christ.
There is a second and very important manner in which the Great Sacrifice or Silent Watcher aids humanity. It is ultimately through him that Initiation is possible. Those who enter the grand portals of Initiation in order to become the servants of those who themselves are but servants of Compassion, do so because of the spiritual and Divine energies flowing forth ceaselessly from the Silent Watcher himself.
So far as we ourselves are concerned, our own Higher Triad, consisting of Atman, Buddhi, and Manas, form the Hierarchy of Compassion within each and every one of us. Humanity is going through an exceedingly dangerous and difficult time, and much human suffering could have been avoided if these teachings, old as the ages and forming the heart of the great religions of the world, had been understood and applied to daily life.
How wonderful it is to realize that through the Higher Mind of Man we can all perceive the source from which we came, Avalokiteshvara. And because it is in every human mind and heart, we are therefore capable of cognizing it everywhere. All the beauty of Nature proclaims it. All the genuine greatness in human life is Avalokiteshvara itself. It is all about us. Why then, should we not recognize it for what it is, see it, and learn to love it as the enduring beauty that will outlast all of the woes and problems to which the human race is heir. We have indeed to reap the karmic results of our mistakes, whether made individually or as races of men, but we can bear the burden of our own making if we can but fix our gaze upon the light that is all about us, the light that is the very source of our being.
By Grace F. Knoche
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1930, pages 292-97.]
For there is indeed in the terrestrial abode the sacred tribe of heroes who pay attention to mankind, and who are able to give them assistance even in the smallest concerns.
-- Synesius, WISDOM OF THE EGYPTIANS
April is the birth-month of William Q. Judge, Cofounder with H.P. Blavatsky of The Theosophical Society, and her Successor. It is surely not out of place for the magazine founded by this Leader and Teacher to open its pages to some grateful reference to him today. Not for the classic "biography," however. The short space at our disposal were better occupied than with dates and journeys, for many things of intense interest in the life of William Q. Judge deserve wider knowledge of the all too scanty record we have of them. Among these were the circumstances attending the foundation of THE PATH (now THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH) in April 1886 -- exactly forty-four years ago.
Then, as now, THE PATH was a monthly magazine, its mission to disseminate Theosophy and information about the Theosophical Society. It was started without funds, with no advance subscription-list, and without the usual advertising effort. Its pages contained nothing whatever that appealed to the sensuous, the material, or the merely intellectual -- the keynotes of nineteenth-century life. Yet from the beginning, it laid hold of thinking minds all over the world, calling out unanticipated response.
It is an odd fact that for many years the majority of its subscribers were neither Theosophists nor members of the Theosophical Society. They were cultured and scholarly people -- ministers, lawyers, physicians, writers, teachers, scientists, and so on -- pursuing their own paths, and with no special interest in Theosophy beyond the fact that they recognized in the journal itself a source of light on their particular problems.
Ideas of altruism, brotherhood, service, true mysticism -- not to say the definite Theosophical teachings of karma, reincarnation, cycles, the mystic Christ, man's innate Divinity, and so on -- have gradually but persistently molded the common thought of the world until today these once unknown ideas are breakfast-table talk. To those who have observed this, the large number of non-Theosophist subscribers has considerable weight; THE PATH stood alone in its distinctive field, just as it does today in its amplified form, and its influence was worldwide from the beginning.
To quote from an editorial written at the opening of the second year of its life:
In this country [America] its regular circulation extends from Sandy Hook to the Golden Gate, and from the Green Mountains to the Crescent City; it reaches through England, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia; it is read alike beneath the North Star of Sweden and under the Southern Cross in New Zealand; it is a welcome guest on the immemorial shores of India ...
It would be impossible not to feel gratification at such results, even were it an ordinary money-making enterprise; but how much more when it is remembered that it is devoted, not to any selfish end, but to the spread of the idea of Universal Brotherhood that aims to benefit all, from highest to lowest.
-- Volume II, page 2
THE PATH -- ten precious volumes of it saw the light before Mr. Judge passed away -- constitutes an imperishable monument to the scholarship, genius, and altruism of one man. He gave to it everything he had to give -- money, time, energy, devotion, will, and love, and he was practically its sole support for years. More than once, when bills piled up in inverse ratio to the prospect of their settlement, Mr. Judge tided over the crisis by painting watercolor sketches for sale. In addition, he had to be depended upon for "copy" in far more than an editorial way. For in those early days, few were competent even to attempt to write upon Theosophy, and the most judicious editing could not make available the larger part of the contributions sent in.
Thus it came about, no less from his innate modesty than that subscribers MIGHT NOT KNOW, that he signed the majority of his articles by NOMS DE PLUME: Bryan Kinnavan, Eusebio Urban, Hadji Erinn, Zadok, Moulvie, Rodriguez Undiano, Ramatirtha, American Mystic, Student, FTS, and so on. It is doubtful if even his students in that day could have named them all.
The articles written by him ranged from technical interpretations of Theosophical teachings to profound expositions of the finer forces of the plane next removed from the gross physical. The vital questions of the day were courageously handled by his trenchant pen, including problems of capital and labor, of marriage and the home, of decaying religionism, of the progress (and the vagaries) of science, of archaeological discovery, capital punishment, vivisection, and education. He never missed an opportunity to say a word in behalf of dumb beasts and our human duty to them, pleading their cause with a tenderness and compassion the more effective because based upon knowledge of their true place and possibilities in the great Evolutionary Stream. He loved LIFE, and revered its marshaled course as the expression of that fluidic, moving, potent, flaming, godlike Something that we name the Ever-Becoming.
Because he was more than just a writer, we owe to Mr. Judge the first step taken in our era towards popularizing the Upanishads in their true interpretation. With all that the Occident owes to Professor Max Muller, it is obvious that one so fettered to current materialistic theories of evolution as to declare the Vedas to be "the lisping of infant humanity" could not hope to possess their key. Without a key to their meaning, they have to stay locked away. As H.P. Blavatsky herself wrote, "They CONTAIN the beginning and the end of all human knowledge, but they have ceased to reveal it." (THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 270)
She adds further:
The Books of the Vedanta (the last word of human knowledge) give out but the metaphysical aspect of the world-Cosmogony; and their priceless thesaurus, the Upanishads -- Upa-ni-shad being a compound word meaning "the conquest of ignorance by the revelation of SECRET, SPIRITUAL knowledge" -- require now the additional possession of a Master-key to enable the student to get at their full meaning.
-- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 269
Max Muller did a great work, beyond question, but it failed to the degree that he himself lacked basic knowledge of that Wisdom of the Ages that William Q. Judge possessed. The impact of his work was scattered, lost, even upon minds most eagerly looking to the ancient East for light. There was as much difference between what was accomplished by him and what a Teacher of Theosophy could accomplish as between the effect of a shell sent from a gun-bed of shifting sand and one sent forth from a masonried platform of rock.
Mr. Judge began STUDIES IN THE UPANISHADS in the second volume of his PATH. Unfortunately, they were never finished. An attempt to continue them was made later by another, but something more than knowledge of Sanskrit being necessary, the standard set by Mr. Judge was never even approached. He alone had the key, and at least he placed them, in their right interpretation, on the map of modern thought -- which is just where they belong. He pointed out repeatedly that the problems that confront us today confronted our Aryan ancestors eons ago in that far period of spirituality and power when the "language of the Gods" was at the height of one of its cyclic revivals. Why should we not benefit by the solutions then found by the wisest among them? To do so is only good sense. The Upanishads are preeminently attuned to the unvoiced heart-cry of the present age; although none but Teachers of Theosophy appear to have perceived this fact.
In his Commentaries on the Bhagavad-Gita -- writings unique in this age and placed by students beside the unrivaled Bhashyas of Shankaracharya -- Mr. Judge continued his interpretation of Aryan philosophy and psychology. These were published serially in THE PATH, ranging from disquisitions upon history and prehistory, upon occultism, ceremony and magic, etc., to plain, practical, ethical talks with the searching "man in the street," the teacher at his desk, the mother in her home. They are thinkers, all of them, who want to know the way and would live truer if only they could see clearer.
William Q. Judge had one peculiar advantage as an interpreter of Oriental philosophy and psychology. It was his power to understand the Oriental mind -- which, in its native tendency to reason from universals to particulars and in its native spirituality, is radically unlike the Occidental mind with its materialistic and empiric trend and fixedness, and its habit of confusing causes with effects, premises with conclusions.
To comment upon this Commentary were "to gild refined gold, to paint the lily." It is sufficient to point out that it is being reprinted now in LUCIFER, THE LIGHT-BRINGER, and those who are interested may read it there for themselves. But it should not be judged as a literary production alone, for its deeper purpose was to carry forward what H.P. Blavatsky came to do: to plant "the seed of brotherhood in the soil of mysticism," and this purpose was never lost sight of.
True mysticism is defined beyond all possibility of mistake, and the two paths clearly pointed out. Conduct: the rationale of our relations with each other -- to the Theosophist far more than the "three-fourths of life" that it was to the Stoic Seneca -- summons all things to its service in the task of clarifying our ideals. This work, too, was left unfinished, but one-third of the plan being carried out. "To be continued" are the pathetic words at the close of the last chapter, completed just before the writer of it passed away.
This as well as all of Mr. Judge's literary and editorial work had to be done "in the mere fringe and ravelings of time." After 1891 when he gave up his profession (law) to take up the task H.P. Blavatsky then laid down, he was Leader of the Theosophical Movement throughout the world. This involved much traveling, and on his trips continual lecturing as well as a constant and voluminous correspondence with Lodges and individuals all over the world. Added to this was the ever-present problem of how to make one dollar do the work of ten, and often how to get the one dollar at all. For years before his passing, Mr. Judge was in poor health, literally dying by inches and with no strength left to combat the persecution that finally killed him. When we consider all these things, words fail. The pathos of that struggle may be sensed to a degree, perhaps. IT CAN NEVER BE WRITTEN.
The value of the writings of this heroic Man and Teacher lies in their intimate bearing on the needs of the present hour. They contain, first, a message for the thoughtful, the altruistic, and the sincere. The specialist in almost every field -- the geographer, the mathematician, the physician, the physicist, the astronomer, the Platonist, the student of philosophy or psychology, the humanitarian, the mystic, and even the skeptic will each find something that will light his path, here or there, with unexpected brilliancy.
Mr. Judge began what his Successor, the present Leader of The Theosophical Society, Dr. de Purucker, is continuing in his own scholarly articles and books, and in his editorial and other contributions to THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH. Profounder and more esoteric teachings are now being given out than would have been possible in Mr. Judge's day. The bugle-call is clearer and sounds down to us from higher and ever higher places. In their unassailable logic, their utter sincerity, their purity of vesture, their "atmosphere" (to take the artist's word), their spiritual beauty, and their appeal to the Soul in man, the writings of both clasp hands. They constitute a standing, albeit silent, reproach to the pseudo-philosophic efforts trickling off so many ambitious pen points now -- subtle sophism and no more, trigged out in the tinsel of disputation.
Are such writings needed, you will ask. Let Eucken answer this question. The world is quoting him just now, and he is no pessimist.
Movements the most varied surround us, tear us asunder, and crush our souls under their opposition ... Life as a whole has become increasingly hollow; it has no longer an organizing and governing center. Is it to be wondered at if the finer spirits of our age are weary, disheartened, and repelled by the feeling of the disharmony of the whole of present culture, which calls for so much effort from man and yields him so little genuine happiness; speaks from truth and lives from semblance and pretence; assumes an imposing mien and UTTERLY FAILS TO SATISFY WHEN CONFRONTED WITH ULTIMATE PROBLEMS. [Emphasis added.]
Here is the abyss that yawns between man's brain-mind and the Vision. It will never be bridged until another and higher faculty in man himself is brought out of hiding and allowed to govern and to act; never, until man finds the "God within," his real and Higher Self.
It is this conviction of the overshadowing Higher Self, the "Ancient of Days," that speaks through everything Mr. Judge wrote. A certain ancient sweetness comes to us from his words. He wrote as a Sage who needs no man's approval, being of Those who "can see the great stream of life that flows through the Eternal Plain." His clear words touch the intuition and arouse long-sleeping convictions of the reality of that Wheel of the Law that is greater than ritual or rite; convictions of the reality of that Universal Center of Compassion, "the resting-place, the comforter, and the friend," the "bodiless in a body," -- the "lonely bird" of the Upanishads he loved so well. He kept one steady aim -- to hold alive and burning "the three fires upon the fourfold altar" of the aching human heart. The sympathetic student feels about any subject handled by this facile, steady pen a luminous life, a steady center-glow, but with gems of philosophy flashing and falling here and there like sparks from a whirling wheel.
Believe me, wonder-tales will yet grow up about this unassuming lover of his fellows, as his great interpretations feed into and fill the general mind, slowly but unrestingly preparing it for the new, the greater, Teachings now being given out by his Successor. The wiseacres of the future will pause and wonder and examine, and then will write down William Q. Judge with Jason, Prometheus, and the Kabiri of old.
Mankind needs waking up, not sedatives. Our ideals need integration, not disintegration. The soul demands "a sure spot of its own." William Q. Judge, in an age that needs guidance and teaching of the right kind as much as age ever did, takes his place naturally as one of that august company of Sages and Prophets who lay down their lives, again and again, as the toll demanded of those who dare call out the challenging "Enter!" before the opening gates of the New Day.
By Gertrude W. van Pelt
[From THE DOCTRINE OF KARMA: CHANGE OR JUSTICE, pages 8-13.]
It has been stated that to understand Karma, the Universe must be recognized as an organic Whole. If this were not the case, its various parts could not act and react upon each other. Take the human body again as an example. Through it runs a complex system of nerves, arteries, and avenues for the circulation of electro-vital forces, intimately and instantly connecting every organ, cell, and atom with every other. Let the foot slip and immediately the counteracting muscles seek to restore the balance. The eye closes automatically if a foreign substance threatens to enter it. The reaction is perfect because the body is an organism.
It is necessary to observe that every cell in this organism is an individual life under the control of a higher center. In the case of a muscle, for instance, all the cells act together; and similarly in an organ. So by a series of grades the cells come under the control of more and more highly developed centers up to the brain, and through that to an invisible center of intelligence that unifies and co-ordinates all the functions of this marvelous mechanism, making of it an organism.
The body itself is part of a greater organism, man himself. Men collectively form humanity. Above this are innumerable hosts of beings gradually mounting, each grade vitally connected with and responsible for the grade below it, and helped by the grade above it. Thus, we have beings above man reaching up to gods; then above them, super-gods, planetary spirits; rulers of solar systems; greater ones holding together groups of Solar Systems; up and up to a Ruler of a Universe and ever up to THAT, the UNKNOWN, behind all manifestation. Rivers of Life connect all these infinite grades of beings, like a network of nerves through that run vital currents unceasingly. And this Mighty Being fills all Space, is indeed Space itself. Or we can say that Space consists of conscious beings of infinite types interlinked and interdependent.
This concept may seem strange to many because unfamiliar, but let the mind dwell upon it and it will gradually become clear that unless the Universe was an organic unit, it could not hold together. The chaos that some of our physical scientists have imagined, would actually exist, and there would not be the beautiful order and harmony that we have come to rely upon in those celestial bodies that we see apparently floating in an ocean of ether -- bodies indeed of divine Beings. The Universe is truly what its name implies -- a Whole -- and this is what Theosophists mean when they declare, "Brotherhood is a Fact in Nature." This identity of origin and nature, this "one in many" and "many in one" makes not only possible but inevitable the interaction of all the parts of this Whole and their reaction to each other.
G. de Purucker in FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY, pages 21-2, presents the same idea, as follows:
When man realizes that he is one with all that is, inwards and outward, high and low; that he is one with them, not merely as members of a community are one, not merely as individuals of an army are one, but like the molecules of our own flesh, like the atoms of the molecule, like the electrons of the atom, composing one unity -- not a mere union but a spiritual UNITY -- then he sees Truth.
We see that interdependence is a fundamental principle in the universe, and we shall find that this basic principle is worked out in all parts of the universal Organism. We have shown the human body as an illustration of it. The atom, the Solar System, the Galaxy, all in their structure and their workings proclaim the basic reality of harmony and interdependence as the underlying, regulating principle throughout all life.
Every action or expenditure of energy, whether physical, mental, or moral has its due effect upon this underlying harmony, this basic balance, and interdependence. Selfish thoughts or actions disturb the harmony, and suffering in the near or far future results. We see all around us those whose disappointments and struggles in unfavorable environments are the result of ignorance and wrongdoing in this or past lives. The condition exists in some degree in the lives of all of us, for everyone has made mistakes in past lives, as we are making them now.
But although Karma is spoken of as a law, there is no lawgiver, no overruling entity, who decrees this or that. Rather is it a quality inherent in the very nature of things. The ancient teaching is that every action is the result of a previous cause, and then becomes a cause for a future action, and so on indefinitely. This constant movement is not the outcome of blind forces, but a living stream of charges flowing from the thoughts, acts, emotions and feelings, aspirations, and desires of the lives that make up and are the Universe.
Man is but one of an innumerable host of beings, embodied Consciousness, who infill the Universe. Nowhere do we find anything other than these hierarchies of beings, these consciousness active during the Cosmic Manvantara, and each individual of these hosts weaving its own Web of Destiny, its energies pouring out of its own inner being and directed by the intelligence streaming from its own spiritual and mental foci.
-- G. de Purucker, THE ESOTERIC TRADITION, 480
There is no lawgiver, we repeat, and yet in a way there may be said to be agents of Karma. Who are they? They are those great and wise Beings who have consciously found their place in the Universe; who are sufficiently evolved to be perfected in regard to a certain stage or plane, and therefore can be relied upon to work in harmony with universal law over that field. Above them are others, and so on AD INFINITUM.
It goes without saying that in this orderly, complex Universe there is a plan, a meaning, and that every unit, being a part of the Universe, is part of the plan. When, therefore, the harmony is disturbed by unevolved, learning entities anywhere, there is an overwhelming force tending to restore it. The actions of Karma are always toward the restoration of harmony, but as every change is due to consciousness and the Universe is but embodied consciousness, in the last analysis karmic adjustments are made by conscious Beings, who are incarnate justice in their field of action. For instance, the Ruler of a Planet is such because he has reached that point in evolution when he has absolute knowledge of everything pertaining to that planet. Above that stage, he is a learner, but as to the realm below him, he is perfected. His knowledge thereof is of the nature of intuition or instant vision, and his guidance must be in harmony with justice and the divine plan.
It is said that the gods never interfere with Karma. They could not. Learning beings must be free to work out their own destiny, which means that their mistakes recoil upon themselves, for it is thus that they learn. Men themselves decide their fate by their choice of the various alternatives that life presents, while karmic agents execute what man has decreed.
Those above, however, guide, protect, and help forward the evolution of their younger brothers. The teaching is very beautiful and inspiring as to these relations. All the way up the Ladder of Life, the greater stand to those next below as parent to child. They live to inspire, to serve their offspring, and in later, more highly developed stages of humanity, this relationship is recognized. Even the Masters of Wisdom, though below the level of godhood and still men, are perfected as to OUR plane and turn back to give help, which we realize as little as does the babe its mother's watchful care. Thus, it is that the Universe is bound together with a glowing web of Compassion.
Canst thou destroy divine COMPASSION? Compassion is no attribute. It is the LAW of LAWS -- eternal Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light of everlasting Right, and fitness of all things, the law of love eternal.
The more thou dost become at one with it, thy being melted in its BEING, the more thy Soul unites with that which IS, the more thou wilt become COMPASSION ABSOLUTE.
-- H.P. Blavatsky, THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
By Alun Llewellyn
[From THE ARYAN PATH, August 1968, pages 346-50.]
In A.D. 731, the Venerable Bede, concluding his ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH NATION, wrote with evident regret that still "the Britons, from wicked custom," continued to oppose what the authority of the Catholic Church laid down. Indeed, it was not until the ninth century that the Church in Ireland accepted the supremacy of Rome. In Wales, it would appear that no final submission to the same authority was made until the reign of Hywel the Good, who is traditionally said to have made a pilgrimage to the Holy See about the middle of the tenth century. By Britons, whom he specifically distinguishes from the English, Bede means those largely "Celtic" inhabitants of the Britain absorbed into the Roman Empire, whom the Anglo-Saxons therefore called Welsh. They and the similarly Celtic Irish had become associated during the fifth century with an organized and missionary form of Christianity that followed an independent development.
Constantine the Great, who first established Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century A.D., launched his conquest of the Empire from Britain. By the end of the fourth century, Britain had produced an arch-heretic in the person of Pelagius, who argued that baptism was not essential to save the souls of babies dying prematurely at birth. In the middle of the fifth century, Bede records, it was found necessary to send a mission under one Saint Germanus to combat the heresy of Pelagianism in Britain, the land of its origin. But the mission of Saint Augustine, launched just before the year A.D. 600, does not appear to have had Pelagianism as its specific objective.
Bede's complaint was about a Church that had refused, as he states, any renunciation of a series of tenets though its Bishops were invited to do so by Augustine at a meeting held between them in A.D. 603 at a place called Augustine's Oak. This dissident Church was still stubbornly maintaining its independence when he wrote, a hundred and fifty years later.
Of the wrongful habits of which Augustine complained, there were two that he particularized: (1) the observance of Easter on a date he could not approve, and (2) the refusal to practice baptism as a means of initiation into the Church. But there were "several other things" that, however objectionable, he did not precisely specify. He had been appointed to his mission by the great Pope Gregory; and that mission was not so much to convert the heathen in the Gaul and the Britain that had emerged from the gradual decline of the Imperial Gallic Prefecture as to dispose of Christian Churches there that had somehow strayed from the correct path. He was not to judge the Bishops in France; yet, "by persuading and soothing, reform the minds of wicked men." But "as for all the Bishops of Britain, we commit them to your care that the unlearned may be taught, the weak strengthened by persuasion, and the perverse corrected by authority."
Remember that this mission marked a crisis in the fortunes of the Latin Church. Gregory himself had first emerged as a civil governor of Rome, successful as a military commander in preserving it against siege by the invading and pagan Lombards. This invasion at least served the purpose of destroying the command over all Italy imposed by the reconquest of the region from the Arian Ostro-Goths by Belisarius and Narses in the name of the East-Roman Empire of Constantinople. But this had meant the substitution for the Unitarian form of Christianity, which denied the doctrine of the Trinity, of the Greek Orthodoxy upheld by the Emperor Justinian. It became the task of Gregory to shape the opportunity to establish the Latin version of the faith, that is, the Catholic doctrine, not only over all Italy, but over whatever else could be recovered of the Western areas of the Empire.
In Africa and Spain, the East Roman, Orthodox power remained regnant. In Gaul, the Roman Syagrius, son of Aegidius, Marshal of the Empire, maintained the Roman traditions of law and government with forces backed by the naval establishments of Armorica (Brittany) that, about A.D. 480, had been (as Sidonius Appolinaris points out) further supplemented by aid from Britain under the leadership of one Riothamus, whose expedition into the Lyonnaise and apparent failure to return lies at the base of the legend of an Arthur who disappeared into the lost land of Lyonesse beyond the south-western shores of Britain.
The rule of both Aegidius and Syagrius was distinguished by their adherence to the great principles of equity laid down by the Roman Stoic philosophy, firmly founded on the idea of Natural Justice. About A.D. 540, the cleric Gildas wrote an account of the state of Britain in his day (which Bede quotes), insisting on its prosperous and peaceable condition and admitting the effective administration of its courts of law, but condemning the survival of many pagan forms of belief apparently tolerated by a Christian clergy too much preoccupied with pursuit of the arts and over-indulgent to the conversation of women around the dinner-table.
Gildas wrote, as it appears, as one who had personally visited Britain and, as tradition has it, been entertained at the monastery of Glastonbury. He was writing as a champion of the Latin Church; and the major part of his work is devoted to an attack on the study of astronomy, which he treats as mere astrology and witchcraft and refutes as passionately as Tertullian had condemned "Stoic Christianity" or the Fathers had denounced the Manichaeism that similarly adapted pre-Christian philosophies to the Faith. He wrote in Brittany, which had recently submitted to the Franks who, not long before, had assassinated Syagrius, seized his territory, and adopted the Latin form of Christianity as a direct sequel.
The mission of Augustine to Britain in A.D. 597 coincided with the final dwindling of East Roman power in Spain; the whole of Western Europe, by a combination of arms and diplomacy, lay open to the establishment of the Latin faith. Only Britain was in question.
Whatever form of Christianity the "Celtic" Church professed, its proselytizing zeal was forceful and effective. The names of Ursus, Columba, and Columban are famous as converters of the pagan peoples to the north of Britain, and the famous monastic settlements at St. Gaul and Bobbio among the Alps are foundations owing their origin to the same source. During the sixth century, "Celtic" missionaries travelled deep into Europe among the Teutons and the Slavs. It is clear that something more than the ecclesiastic future of Britain alone was concerned.
But it is doubtful whether in fact any fundamental racial sense underlay the decision of the issue in Britain by war. Gildas wrote at a time when Cerdic, founder of the House of Wessex, and Ida, conqueror of the North, were each launching an attack on Britain from offshore bases; respectively, the Isle of Wight and the island of Bamborough. But it has been noted that Cerdic is so little of a Saxon name that it was shared by the last British ruler of the district of Leeds and Elmet in the seventh century. The war, on which Augustine later supervened, was a war of Christian faiths, not one of blood. And it is largely due to this fact that contemporary historical record has vanished and been replaced by legend of various origin.
The "Arthurian" romance that later identified itself with this period falls into two separate forms; the apocryphal "History" of Geoffrey of Monmouth (A.D. 1146) and the far more reliable allegory, the Story of the Graal (c. A.D. 1220). The first has been acutely interpreted as a political tract designed to find historical justification for Henry II's attempt to reconstitute the political unity of the Gallic Prefecture through an Angevin Empire extending from the Pyrenees to Scotland. The second was interpreted as an allegory showing the decline and fall of an "Arthurian" state that identified itself with the ethos of Stoicism and its interpretation of the destiny of Creation. Its hero, Perceval, is described as being set in the sphere of the heavens, as analysed by Classical science that also sought to found the Earthly Paradise of justice and equality for all men. The successive cycles through which Gawain, Peleur, Guenevere, and Arthur pass into oblivion mark the tale of dissolution of the World towards physical and moral renewal through the four stages familiar to both Western and Eastern philosophy.
What Latin Christianity condemned was, firstly, the retention in both Gaul and Britain of the Roman military discipline that evolved an ethos in which Stoic and Mithraic elements were amalgamated with native preconceptions of the working of the Universe; secondly, the adaptation to Christian forms of the astronomic science essential to both navigation and agriculture, which had had in Britain a peculiar prominence among Roman academic circles in view of the island's geographical position in the Ocean that washed the limits of things. The Claudian conquest of Britain (c. A.D. 47) was followed by its eager infiltration by scientists and if Geoffrey of Monmouth noted the fact that the "Court of Arthur" was distinguished by schools of learned astronomers, Gildas, six hundred years before him, had leveled a direct attack on native British "astrologers" with particular reference to one of them, Cuneglassos.
The question whether Christianity could justifiably associate itself with Classical scientific doctrine as to the origin and end of the Universe was as bitterly disputed fifteen hundred years ago as is the modern and parallel debate between it and a material or physical interpretation of man and the stars he lives among. Boethius (A.D. 500) and Dante (A.D. 1300) were able to admit the structure of things postulated by Classical science into an entirely Christian context. But in the Britain of the fifth and sixth centuries, the issue was fought out militarily and seems to have been both obscured and embittered by the calling in aid, by each side, of pagan support.
It may have been further obscured by a later event. The character of the Norman Conquest of England (A.D. 1066) as a Crusade on behalf of the Latin Church does not seem to have been limited to a condemnation of the unfortunate Harold as a perjured oath-breaker. The Anglo-Saxon Church itself appears to have been suspect; and not only was its Bishops deposed and replaced by Normans but also its Scriptures also were rewritten to preserve them from error. THE CHRONICLE OF NENNIUS, attributable to A.D. 800-900, has survived only as a garbled jumble in which the terms and phrases familiar to Stoic philosophy barely but just sufficiently survive to offer clues to their true nature.
This Chronicle, however, confesses the existence of the source for the "Arthurian" tradition in the works described as "Talhaiarn" and subdivided as "Taliesin, Neirin, Bluchbart, and Cain," and ascribes them to the period immediately before that of Ida and Cerdic.
These are works whose vocabulary and form clearly antedate those of the first specifically "Welsh" poets of the twelfth century that even then had not yet developed grammatical structures later observed; certain of their phrases of scientific terminology survived as late as the poems of the fourteenth century. But with the Reformation and Puritan Revolution, it was found necessary to suppress the Welsh language and on its revival after the lapse of a century, the thread of tradition was broken.
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL MOVEMENT, February 17, 1971, pages 141-47.]
In the park where we had been walking as the shadows of the evening lengthened, we had come upon a group of people circled around a speaker. As we passed, some of the speaker's words fell upon our ears, and this served as the starting point for our group discussion later on.
"Why did he say that all those who did not believe in the religion revealed by that prophet would be damned?" mused one of our friends.
We had eaten our supper together and sat in front of a friendly fire; the autumn evenings were chill this year, earlier than usual.
"Does 'damned' mean punished and hurt? If so, why would belief one way or the other make any difference?" retorted someone.
"Many of us," added another, "come from different religious backgrounds; but we do not seem to have emphasized those differences, nor does our friendliness depend on threatening or cajoling one another into some form of acquiescence in our own special ideas."
"I simply cannot understand such a mentality. It is so isolated, so restricted, and yet so frighteningly sure of itself that one could visualize violence and force being used if words failed," said a fourth one among us.
"Now," I said, "I think you have put your finger on one of the great tragedies of such people. Do you think they have thought out that which they say? The speaker that evening seemed anxious enough about the welfare of his listeners, and because he believed that a dismal future lay in store for them, he seemed to want to spare them such a fate."
"But at what cost?" interjected my friend on the left. "I say," he added, "at the cost of thinking things out independently and making a decision on clear-cut and generally well seen and accepted principles."
These are challenging words in our group, and he was overwhelmed immediately from several sides with, "Explain that!" "What is the basis for a general principle?" "What principles?" "How do you know that there are such principles?" "How can anyone be 'independent,' or be able to think anything out 'independently'?"
Now we have a rule in our group that all challenges are to be met squarely, and while the one challenged has to do his best to defend himself or to explain his statement, all the rest try to participate in the discussion that follows so that we arrive at a general understanding that is of value to all. In other words, we try to get at the truth of the matter. Long back, when we first started meeting, a definition of "truth" was arrived at which seemed a fair one for us to use. "A truth is self-evident; all can understand it, so that it is UNIVERSAL in terms of place, time, and persons."
To this, in later times certain supplementary definitions had been added, like "Truth is impartial, impersonal, timeless, and all-inclusive. It is the expression of the laws of Nature. It includes the observer, the subject observed, and that subtle relation between them both that one might call perception." These are only a few of them, and we added continually to those definitions as we went along. The interesting thing about our friendship was not that there were so many diverse views, but rather that, in spite of many viewpoints, on basic matters we all tended to confirm one another's vision of fact and truth (or the way in which we could individually describe a fact).
Our friend stood up, and when silence was restored, he bent his head in thought for a moment, raised it, looked around at all of us, and slowly began to speak.
"I guess I let myself in for this," he said. "So I had better try to lay some good foundations on which to build -- or rather to try to tell you of what I have been thinking."
Encouraging cries of "Good," "Go on," were heard.
He continued, "Let us think of all the religions we know of or have heard of, and to which some of us belong or do not belong. Do they not have one main object in common -- the defining of rules of life that may be followed by all? There is the 'golden rule' (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), the panchashila of the Buddhists, and the great and inspiring statements of Jesus in the SERMON ON THE MOUNT. There is Sri Krishna's philosophy of renunciation of the fruits of action, while being intensely active as required by the responsibilities of our natural position in life, the mysteriously inspiring statements of Lao Tzu's TAO TE KING, and statements made by Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, at various times. In fact, if one looks at Pythagoras, Plato, Confucius, Guru Nanak, the fragments that have come to us of the 'gospel' of the ancient Americans, and so many others, all show a common basis, a respect for the individual. Simultaneously, of course, they show that the individual has to recognize the equal rights and duties and responsibilities of others: in his family, his community, his nation, and finally the whole world of people is involved in the concept -- just as the air that brings us life passes everywhere in space and knows no barriers."
"Hear, hear," muttered someone across the circle.
"Poetic, what?" another was heard to murmur.
"No, I do not mean to be tritely poetic," exclaimed our friend. "These ideas are not mine but those of great reformers and prophets, and how can one such help himself from being an artist, a poet, a user of words of power?"
"Why do you say that? What power do you mean?" asked someone.
"I mean, the power of fact, the power of truth," simply stated our friend. "I mean that if all the great religions sprang from statements in one form or another of great laws of life, then, regardless of time, place, or persons, those statements constitute a reform movement, an attempt to awaken the minds of those who listen and to start them thinking again about what really matters in life."
Several nodded their heads in agreement and encouragement.
"Are you trying to say," asked one of the newer members of the group, "that all the religions are the same in essence, and that all the prophets are only reformers?"
"Exactly," stated our friend. "That is one of the conclusions I, and I believe that several of us, have come to; but it has taken a lot of reading and studying of the writings attributed to these great men. And, in the process, we had to look into their history, and the history of the 'religion' that was later built up around their lives and doings and teachings."
"I think that the speaker we passed out there in the park would challenge you very seriously on that," said one of the girls on the right. "He sounded as though he was thoroughly convinced that his religion was the sole plank of salvation for all. He used the word 'damned' several times, and seemed to imply that dire punishment would follow anyone who did not agree with his religion and its goals and ways of life. He seemed to think his religion and its dogmas and rituals were the only ones worthwhile. How do you know that your conclusions are any better than his are? How can any one of us here be convinced of the truth of what you say?"
"Well, I never tried to convince anyone of anything," stated our witness. "All anyone can do is present ideas to others for their consideration. Don't we do it all the time? No one really can ever force anything on anyone. We but offer evidence, and there are different ways of doing this. Have you ever been to a courtroom, or watched a courtroom drama enacted on the stage or the screen? If you remember, the several advocates for prosecution and defense use two means of approach: one purely intellectual -- their reasoned arguments; and the second a more subtle one, the stirring of the emotions of their listeners, not only by what they say but also by the tone of their voices.
Haven't you seen some who had a weak case try to defend the very weakness by intense and clever appeal to emotion? I am sure we have all seen this, but may not have been aware of the difference between the two approaches. Now, the speaker in the park was appealing to emotion, especially by playing upon the fear that many have of the future. He spoke as though he were trying to stimulate their dormant voice of conscience to speak and to remind them subtly of the several events in their own past of which they were secretly ashamed. So fear of the consequences and doubt of one's own ability and power are the weapons used."
"I had not seen that before," said a lad sitting to my left. "Just think of the cleverness of it: fear and doubt -- why, if we fear then we don't KNOW! If we do not know, then we cannot discriminate or make correct choices -- so we come to doubt. I can see that someone either very helpful or very clever could come along at this point and relieve the poor fearful doubter of his problem by offering to take on the burden of responsibility."
"Just so," exclaimed an excited voice from across the room. "That is how priestcraft begins. First comes the reformer, and he is rarely honored during his lifetime save by a few. The power of his statement of truth touches some, then spreads; those who follow try to substitute the inner inspiration that is theirs -- as it is that of all men -- with rules and regulations and interpretations of the words and doings of the prophet they endeavor to honor. Yes, I can just see it now -- a whole new religion starts." He got up and gestured excitedly at us. "Isn't it so? Can't you all see it? It's like the story of the tying of the cat."
Two voices were heard to say, "What's that story?"
Our excited friend smiled sheepishly and said, "The story is a good one and won't take long."
"A holy man gathered a small band of followers around him, and during the cold months of the year, they took refuge in a large cavern. One of the observances of the group was the spending of a set hour of the morning in quiet meditation. One time a cat joined the group, and as is the custom of hospitality, it was fed and looked after. Soon it was noticed that during the meditation period it disturbed the brothers by rubbing against first one and then another. Advice was sought of the guru who suggested that from then on the cat be gently but firmly tied to a post outside the cavern before the hour of meditation, and later it could be released again. So it was done accordingly. In course of time, the holy man died and his disciples, determined to follow his precepts, became eventually one of the many small religious clans. Several hundred years passed, and the religion that grew up around the guru's teachings attracted many. It was distinguished by the special and mysteriously important ceremony of the tying of the cat that, as you may all guess by now, had become one of its most important rituals."
Our small assembly broke its seriousness in hearty laughter, and our young friend sat down with an emphatic nod, as one satisfied that he had made a point.
"But let us go back to the serious part of our talk," reminded one of the girls. "I want to know if all the great religions have principles that are common. Are they the same as those we feel are right to use even now, no matter where we go, or whom we meet or live with?"
Another added, "I'd also like to know about this punishment business. Are we really punished if we do wrong? Suppose we are ignorant of a thing, or do something in error, can't we expiate or pay off in some way? Do we have to suffer?"
It was time for others to join the discussion. "Let us try another approach," suggested one. "Let me ask you to put this question to yourself in another manner. Of what are you ignorant? Are you ignorant of the laws of life? Of what laws do you know? Can you state or define them? Which do you think are applicable to all of us in the world? We can understand ignorance of facts or of events that we have not heard of nor witnessed, but are we denied the power to ask, to seek advice on any point? Is it not in us a desire to be expedient that curtails our search for right answers that would truly satisfy our inner urge to do and know the right, the useful, and the necessary? Don't you see we are all innately aware of the main 'do's' and 'don'ts' of the several world religions?"
"I see where you are going," one of our friends exclaimed. "You are going to say that most men would admit that the great virtues can be practiced by all. Even the wicked often make pretence of innocence and virtue -- thus giving lip service to that which they deliberately subvert in secret action or through the power of their influence on others. Ah, now I see ever further -- those whose moral character is not strong fall prey to these maleficent ones, and they compound the offence by bringing woe to others -- what a terrifying prospect!"
"How do you think wars are started?" excitedly asked another of us from across the room. "Have you ever thought of the harm that can be caused by a single evilly-inclined person who finds himself in a position of power? Do you think the common people of a country join to conspire against other common people in other countries? Further, have you ever considered the cumulative impact of the news we hear over the radio or the TV, or read in the newspapers? A good part of it deals with strife and suffering, death and extortion. We are plunged into a worldwide morass of pain and suffering and killing, until we begin to think that there is nothing more to life than just this." The speaker looked around the group and added, "Can't you see how the 'one-life philosophy' has created the attitude of 'eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,' and 'Devil take the hindmost?'"
"I don't see what's wrong with that as an idea," answered one of our latest arrivals. "Have you or anyone any evidence to offer that anyone came back after his body died?"
This shift in the direction of our discussion illustrates the kind of broad thinking that we encourage, a passing from one subject to another and the finding of a common ground. While appearing to cover a wide field, we actually brought evidence to bear on the subject we started with, possibly proving again that Nature and her laws are indeed universal and that we cannot study any of her departments without finding some analogy or correspondence to a correlated department. It is like going in a circle and coming back to the starting point, not exactly on the same level but rather a little further on, perhaps, with all the added thought.
Our friend who had been challenged earlier offered the suggestion that most religious systems merely try to say that nature is so exquisitely balanced (as the science of ecology demonstrates) that any force brought to bear anywhere will be felt, however minutely or distant in time and space, by all other beings. This apparent movement from a center of disturbance (ourselves) to an infinite periphery (the space around us) will ultimately converge at the center of original force. I got the impression that the metaphysics of his reasoning escaped some.
Another pointed out that there have been recorded cases of individuals in various countries and at various times who have testified to having lived before -- and these are well documented and known to psychological science, though great credence is not given to them.
Finally, one of us said, "As I understand it, we agree that we live in a universe of law. Could we not then define the 'bad' as that which disturbs the freedom and infringes on the rights, liberties, and prerogatives of others? Nature's progress is disturbed. Nature's laws being impersonal, react on the person or persons who were the source of trouble. Similarly for that which we call the 'right.' But the 'just' is another thing, and probably the advice Krishna gives in the GITA about the performance of NECESSARY action, disinterestedly, is a good one, but this implies attention and concentration and the development of wisdom and discrimination at all times -- in fact very serious and arduous effort."
"That sounds like the Indian view of Karma," said one.
Another added, "If you add reincarnation to Karma, you get a complete system. Nature offers us the opportunity to learn, grow, and become wise. You have to learn her laws. Our life should be one of cooperation with her and her projects, and thus we ourselves could develop fully and become universal men, natural men. If we break her laws then the law of moral retribution (Karma) teaches us through pain and suffering first to look for the cause of sorrow, then to its cure, and then to the steps of right livelihood.
"There speaks a Buddhist in disguise," I heard another friend murmur quietly to himself.
Continuing, "If at the end of our life we have not balanced our accounts, then the balance is held over by Nature until we come back as old souls into new bodies to get the exact result of our previous lives."
"I challenge that," exclaimed our newcomer again.
"Well, let us see," was the answer. "Are you exactly the same as anyone else here, or anyone you have ever met?"
"No," was the slow but thoughtful reply.
"Then, what makes you different?"
A pause and then slowly, "I feel myself to be, well, myself, separate and unique. I look out on the world; I remember things that have happened in the past. I make decisions now and I try to guide my future life on that basis, for my own good. I sometimes fear and doubt that future and try to defend myself. Yes, I can see how I make mistakes and distrust others. I am not even very honest with myself at times."
You know," he added, even more slowly, "I think I had better do some serious thinking about myself."
"Well, then," our friend rejoined, "you are going to do what we all do to some extent. Isn't it interesting what we can develop in an hour of friendly discussion?"
He turned our way and added, "I think our characters and our capacities, our talents, and our dislikes and disabilities are an index of what we must have made of ourselves in our previous lives -- anyway, it is something to think about. And we are making our future, even now, by our present decisions."
By Henry Travers Edge
[From THE THEOSOPHICAL PATH, April 1913, pages 227-33.]
SCIENCE, PHYSICS, METAPHYSICS
A scientific writer, in giving his opinion as to the proper scope of science, begins by stating that he uses the word SCIENCE in contradistinction to the word METAPHYSICS. It would seem better, however, to pair off METAPHYSICS with PHYSICS and consider them both as belonging to SCIENCE. Science is methodized knowledge, and, as such, may be distinguished from art and literature (for instance), which, though included under knowledge, do not (at least generally) have method as their characteristic feature.
Science, in this complete sense -- methodized knowledge -- would include a larger category than physics; it would embrace all methodized knowledge, whether of external nature or of psychology. But the word SCIENCE has come by habit to be used as an abbreviation for natural science, and even in this definition, the word NATURAL is restricted. The expression PHYSICAL SCIENCE is preferable as avoiding this restriction of the meaning of the word NATURE.
The word METAPHYSICS, meaning "after physics," and originally applied by the followers of Aristotle to a treatise that he wrote, or is thought to have written, after his treatise on physics, has since come to mean the science of first principles or causes. Thus, it is rightly called a branch of science, and cannot rightly be considered as contrasted with science, unless we unduly limit the meaning of the latter word. In common parlance, the word METAPHYSICS has suffered a further change of meaning, for it is popularly supposed to deal with unprofitable abstractions, and to be, for that reason, on quite a different plane, as regards usefulness, from physical science.
These two words -- science and metaphysics -- then, stand in need of reinstatement: science, as including a wider range than is ordinarily understood; and metaphysics, as being a branch of science that should be as real and systematic as any other branch can be.
If physical science deals with phenomena and metaphysical science with their causes, then truly metaphysics may be said to be the one that deals with realities. For phenomena are, in accordance with the etymology of the word, appearances -- effects produced upon our physical senses -- while the real body of nature, and the soul that animates the perceptible forces, remain hidden behind the veil. But metaphysics claims to deal with the realities behind the veil.
Another alleged ground of distinction between physical and metaphysical science is that the former deals with "observed facts," and is therefore on sure ground, while the latter, being concerned with super-sensuous matters, is chiefly speculative. But this disparaging contrast rests upon a limitation of the meaning of the phrase "observed facts," which again implies a restriction of the meaning of the word SENSES. Are our physical senses the only ones we have?
WHAT IS OCCULT SCIENCE?
This brings the argument up to the point where we can introduce the subject of Occult Science, or Occultism, as defined by H.P. Blavatsky in THE SECRET DOCTRINE -- a very important reservation, in view of the prevalent misuse of those words by psychics, pseudo-Theosophists, and others. She maintains that the hidden causes behind the outer veil of nature may be as much the subject of observation and careful study as those without the veil, but that this study implies, of course, the use of finer means of perception than those at the disposal of the ordinary physical scientist. And here it will be appropriate to quote from THE SECRET DOCTRINE a definition of the word MATTER:
Matter, to the Occultist ... is that totality of existences in the Kosmos, which falls within any of the possible planes of perception.
-- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 514
From this it is apparent that physical matter is merely a subdivision of that which is meant by the unqualified word, and that there must be other forms of matter. When we have passed beyond the reach of the physical senses, we have not exhausted by any means the regions of objectivity. When we ponder over a thought in our mind, we may be said to be directing some sense organ upon some form of matter, just as much as we do when we examine a physical object with the external eye. Therefore, the field of view of our mind can be regarded as a form of objectivity, a kind of matter, amenable to inspection and study by a mental perceptive power.
Occult Science, according to H.P. Blavatsky, employed the methods of direct observation and careful analysis in inner nature that physical science employs in physical nature. Hence, the Occultists were not speculating in abstractions, but were dealing with facts. Modern knowledge, however, having chosen to believe in only one form of objectivity -- the physical -- has consequently reduced everything else to abstractions, and most unfairly saddles ancient science with the responsibility for its (modern science's) own mistake. This point is well illustrated in connection with the word ATOM.
ABSTRACTIONS OP MODERN SCIENCE
The atom of modern science is an abstraction; it "belongs wholly to the domain of metaphysics. It is an entified abstraction." (SECRET DOCTRINE, I, 513) This has been shown to be the case by such writers as Stallo and Borden P. Bowne, among others. If we take away all the properties attributable to the atom, nothing is left. The same has been shown to be the case with other conceptions of physics; they are entified abstractions -- abstractions vested with a spurious reality. But now we come to the important question. Are we, for this reason, to assert that the ancient philosophers, when THEY used the word ATOM, were guilty of the same logical fallacy? Or when they spoke of FORCES and MATTER, or of SOUND and LIGHT, did they also connote thereby a mere mental grouping of properties with no reality behind? By no means, says the author of THE SECRET DOCTRINE, in her vindication of these ancient philosophers.
Occult Science is logical; and, recognizing that the physical forces, when defined by their effects alone, become reduced to abstractions, it sought for the reality behind the phenomena, the entity of which these phenomena were the properties, and the cause of which they were the effects. An abstraction is an idea, a mental category, as when we speak of force, velocity, or weight; but an entity is a real existence; so modern technical explanations are often no better than saying that an engine is driven by horsepower. Horsepower is an abstraction, but this does not mean that there is no steam or no engineer. Occult Science went behind the horsepower to the steam and the fuel, and behind those again to the engine driver.
When we speak of SOUND, for instance, in the terms of modern physics, we usually denote such an abstraction. That is, we mean a group of phenomena produced by an unknown cause. And the same is the case with LIGHT, HEAT, and other physical concepts. Now physicists are beginning to realize the abstract nature of these things and to argue that each and all of them must have some actual reality behind them.
Modern physics has given a false reality to abstractions; and the corollary to this procedure is that it has made the realities unreal. Thus, in giving the name MATTER to what is only a group of sensory impressions, it has deprived the metaphysical world of all reality. So physical science may paradoxically be said to be the most superstitious and visionary of cults. For it, that which is not physical matter is nothing at all; it jumps at one bound from the physical to the "supernatural" -- and naturally enough, science rejects it.
SELF, MIND, WILL
If we seek to give reality to the word FORCE, we must define it as a manifestation of WILL; and similarly the PROPERTIES or QUALITIES of nature are manifestations of MIND or SOUL; they are, in short, dispositions, moods. But will and character in turn are the attributes of BEINGS, they cannot be thought of as existing apart from beings. If now we seek to define the meaning of the word BEING, we can get no farther than that which is denoted by the words, I, SELF, EGO, and PERSON. A being is a self, endowed with will and ideation; and the forces and qualities of nature are the manifestation of the activities of innumerable beings. Any form of science that does not consider this is a superficial science, studying externals only. Such a science may be very useful and quite legitimate, so long as it forbears to try to construct a philosophy of life and conduct on an illogical basis.
Professor Alfred Russel Wallace, as is well known, recently wrote a book embodying his ideas, similar to the above, on the sentience of nature. The philosophy demands the postulation of innumerable beings or forms of life other than the familiar denizens of the human, animal, and vegetable kingdoms. What might be termed MINERAL LIVES is needed, as well as beings that manifest themselves in the phenomena of electricity, light, sound, etc. Thus, we seem to be formulating a system of demonology; and it must frankly be admitted that there is here ample room for absurdity and superstition. But that is the fault of the age, which has so long neglected this line of study that it is a very infant in its knowledge thereof.
Moreover, demonology consists rather in the ADDITION of demons to a kosmos already supposed to be full, these demons acting as interferers -- quite superfluous; whereas the present idea proposes to utilize the demons as necessary and indispensable parts of the cosmic machine, without whose presence nothing could happen. In other words, it is not that tiny demons frequent the busy mart of atoms and push the particles to and fro; but rather that the atoms themselves are the demons, being alive and endowed with purpose. If an atom were not a tiny being, one would like to be told what it is. To call it a speck of matter moved by motion, sounds pretty, but does not mean anything. It is about the same as calling a man a body moved by a mind.
WHY KNOWLEDGE IS GUARDED
We have thus given a faint idea of the many interesting paths of knowledge outlined in THE SECRET DOCTRINE and forming part of the domain of Occult Science; and it would have been possible to run on indefinitely on this topic. THE SECRET DOCTRINE teems with such hints. Now comes a question that will inevitably arise in the minds of all eager students of that work: why are the hints not completed? Why does the writer, after a few suggestive remarks on one topic, pass to another? Why, in short, do we not find "explicit and easy directions" given to enable us to find out some definite secret and apply it?
The answer to this question, however, is to be found in the book itself. Occult Science is not of the kind that can be explained in a textbook so that all can immediately understand and follow the directions. It is indissolubly linked with conduct; and the pupil has to apply the little he may have learned before he can learn more. H.P. Blavatsky's object was to say enough to induce people to start on the way. And, in accordance with what she says about Occult Science, it is a matter of developing our faculties, so that we thus open the gates of knowledge for ourselves and become to that extent independent of books. In short, Occult Science is a science and not a sermon.
A student of natural science does not rely solely on books, but passes from books to actual experiment for himself, thus resting his knowledge on experimental verification. Surely, it must be so with Occult Science. The teacher or book points out the way by which we may start, and the rest is left to ourselves. Furthermore, we are given to understand that much of the language in THE SECRET DOCTRINE that we find obscure or barren is so only because we have not yet progressed far enough in our studies to understand and make use of it. Thus there are no arbitrary barriers to knowledge, but merely conditions that insure that the intending pupil shall do his share of the work.
The fact that modern science has failed to guard its secrets by conditions calculated to prevent its misuse merely serves to illustrate the folly of that policy. As it is, we have given our dynamite and drugs promiscuously into the hands of the trustworthy and the fool. Such a mistake committed in connection with the weightier secrets of nature would be disastrous in the extreme; and nobody wants to see such powers placed indiscriminately at the disposal of all in our civilization.
It is evident, then, that H.P. Blavatsky was but fulfilling universally recognized conditions when she gave out her hints in this guarded way. The knowledge of which she speaks is placed within the reach of all who can fulfill the conditions; and is protected against possible abuse by those who desire to obtain knowledge without fulfilling the conditions.
We have seen how people who attempt to gain knowledge without fulfilling the conditions fall into folly and delusion, teaching all kinds of absurd speculations or becoming the victims of their own unconquered weaknesses. Instead of helping the world, as the Theosophical program proposes, they only mislead it.
KNOWLEDGE AND ETHICS
Knowledge cannot be separated from obligation. The nearer a science approximates the one Master-Science, the more its study entails such obligations. H.P. Blavatsky had no other purpose, in giving her instructions, than to promote the welfare of humanity. She did not work for self, nor was she actuated by an impersonal desire to gratify other people's idle curiosity. It is evident that she has kept back much more than she reveals; but she points the way to further knowledge. That way is the path of duty and service.
In thus juxtaposing duty and knowledge, we are aware that we shall be met with the argument that knowledge has nothing to do with ethics, but should be studied for its own sake; or that we are imposing an arbitrary and puritanical condition and allowing the freedom of the human intellect to be fettered by notions of morality. Such objections are becoming common among the shallow and facile writers who find utterance in the literature of today. But they are founded on a lack of reflection as to the meanings of the words used.
To sum up, metaphysics, the science of the causes that operate behind the veils of nature, is a genuine science, and can be studied as carefully and accurately as any branch of science. But its study implies efficiency on the part of the student, for the ordinary man has various defects and weaknesses that, though they do not prevent efficiency in physical science, would be fatal obstacles in Occult Science. As to the need for such a science, it is easy to take instances.
In hygiene, for example, we have passed beyond the region of chemical causes of disease to that of microbial causes, thus advancing a step from the inorganic to the organic world. But can we stop even here? A microbe is a living being; what inspires it? Why is it more numerous, prolific, and virulent at one time than another? Occult Science answers that the microbe of disease is but the physical expression, the organism, of an evil force set in motion by men's depraved thoughts and acts. Ordinary hygiene can do a great deal for the prevention of disease by hindering the conditions under which microbes flourish; yet as long as impure energies are generated by our evil thoughts, they must find an outlet somewhere.
Occult Science would inform us as to the relation between our thoughts and the epidemics from which we suffer. In medicine, too, how important is the mental and moral aspect of the question? Physical means can do but a limited amount of good so long as the mental causes of disease are left untouched. Again, very many circumstances of life that at present are included under the category of "chance" and "accident," because we cannot trace their causes, would be understood, so that we should be able to manage them. This is just as modern science has already enabled us to manage many things that formerly were piously believed to be inevitable visitations of the hand of Providence.
As people are everywhere searching for greater and surer knowledge than modern science gives; and, for want of the true way, arc wandering in many blind alleys of superstition and speculation; therefore there is even more need for a proper understanding of the nature of Occult Science. The teachings of Theosophy will vindicate themselves because that which is genuine needs not to rely on claims and assertions. That which answers the questions and satisfies the needs of the inquirer must eventually win over shams and delusions.