[April 1889 through April 1895, in Numbers One to Seventy, First Series.]
What are the meaning and scope of the term"Universal Brotherhood"?*
* [[Seven answers are given to this question, of which the following by Eub. U. (Eusebio Urban, a nom de plume of W. Q. Judge) appears as the 6th and has special reference to the 5th immediately preceding Mr. Judge's answer, a statement by "B.F.D." which reads: "B.F.D. -- I sometimes think that zealous Theosophists, in a creditable anxiety to promote general charity, go a little too far in their assertion of fraternal duty. They speak as if anything is pardonable because done by another man, who, because a man, is a brother. Yet it would seem that the basis of Brotherhood is equal rights and mutual affection, and to these I have the same claim as any other man. He is no more privileged to violate my rights than I to violate his, and I am therefore entitled to the same protection as is he. Hence it cannot be the fact that I am any more bound to look leniently on unfraternal aggressions by him upon me, than I should be upon like acts by me upon him. In other words, it is as much my duty to restrain him from outrage upon myself, as myself from outrage upon him. Theosophy cannot, and does not, teach that all protective appliances are to be thrown down, and that the way is to be freed for every attack by the greedy or the selfish. We must be careful, in our zeal for charity, to remember that justice is the antithesis, not to charity, but to injustice." -- Dara Eklund, in Echoes of the Orient]]
Eusebio Urban-- I have heard of "Righteous anger," of a "proper withdrawal of sympathy," and of "punishment for evil doers," but these seem to me untheosophic and opposed to Universal Brotherhood. The teachings of Jesus and of Buddha insist upon forgiveness and eternal sympathy. Hence it appears to me that, although the selfish may infringe upon my rights, I should at once forgive the offense, extending to them my sympathy for their spiritual loss and degradation. In insisting upon the opposite course, theosophists ignore the law of nature well known to occultists, that mental positions have effects in every direction, causing disturbances or creating harmony. Each punitive attitude assumed by me acts both on my brother and myself, producing in him a tendency to repeat the act condemned, and increasing in me whatever seeds of evil I may have. While, by my "righteous anger," what I call my rights are for the moment protected and declared, the real and interior effect is bad, and the results in this incarnation as in a succeeding life are painful. Each time I thus pass judgment upon and enforce sentence against my fellow man, I attract to myself from him certain well known and powerful influences that abide in that part of his nature which caused his fault, and thus my own faults and evil tendencies are strengthened. Buddha said, "Hate never ceases by hate." These "rights" we care so much about protecting are merely self-declared, and we own no rights but those which our Karma may accord to us.
What are the three books referred to in Forum No. I, as dictated or inspired by Higher powers?
W.Q.J.-- These books should be judged upon their intrinsic merits regardless of the authorship or inspiration. As to Light on the Path, the author, Mabel Collins, has just lately asserted in print that she knowingly perpetrated a fraud in saying that any adept inspired that work, and that she alone is the author. For those who know her and the limit of her ability, this assertion will go for nothing inasmuch as neither by nature nor by study is she capable of writing the book, which contains statements of basic principles in occultism that were wholly unknown to her when she wrote. The too plain inference from the statement that she committed a fraud at the request of a prominent theosophist need not be drawn here. The fact, as I believe it to be, is that a learned Adept inspired and dictated the work from be-inning to end, just as Mabel Collins said, and the sole effect of her present declaration ought to be wholly to disentangle her name and personality from a book which is a gem in itself and can stand by its own strength.
If every one starts from and returns into"that" (spirit), what is the object of existence in matter? Is this the only way to fulfil the soul's desire?
W.Q.J.-- The questioner should enquire a little further as to the meaning of "matter," for if thereby mere mortal material life is meant, the truth about matter has not been grasped. The worlds of heaven, of the "devas" or "angels," are worlds of matter, and such worlds are sought after by those who ask the question under consideration.
Furthermore the occultists hold that spirit has not as yet incarnated fully in the existing race, but will do so in future ages; then men can say that they have a spirit. At present the men who are incarnated spirits are Adepts or Mahatmas. Toward the moment of this grand incarnation we are hastening, and the experience now being undergone is to settle the question whether we will become fit for such a tremendous event or whether we will fail. Assuredly all are called to this grand work, but just as certainly some will not be chosen.
How can a"Black Magician" be known? How should he be treated -- as a part of the Universal Brotherhood?
W.Q.J.-- This question comes from America. It is premature, and very much in the nature of "crossing a bridge before you reach it." It also seems to indicate either a loose use of the term "black magician" or a total ignorance of what such a being is, as well as a forgetfulness of what has often been stated -- that a black magician is the efflorescence of an age.
Such a being as this is one who has acquired knowledge of recondite laws of nature such as those known to the White Adepts, and who uses that knowledge for purely selfish purposes. He is the triumph of selfishness, not in that degree which we so easily recognize about us every day in the lives of men of strong will used for selfish ends, but in a degree and to an extent that raise the black adept to a pinnacle of knowledge and power far above the pigmies of this century. He can perform marvels, read thoughts, and do all the wonderful feats usually attributed alone to White Magicians.
How many of such, then, are there to be found now, either among those who study occultism, or in the ranks of the money-loving or fame-pursuing multitude? I have never heard of one. Why, then, need to enquire how one should treat a black magician? If the questioner shall ever be so unfortunate as to meet one of those as yet fabled monsters, he will quite likely have opportunity to reflect that the magician knew more than he did.
It is wiser to turn aside from the aspect of the matter brought up by the question, to the reflection that we all have within us potential black magicians lying in the lower and stronger part of our nature, and that it is important to see that we shall not furnish the opportunity for that potentiality to manifest itself in future lives through the giving way now to selfishness in any of its forms. The black magician, therefore, we are really concerned with is in ourselves. This talk of meeting or dealing with black magicians in the flesh, with powers developed, is purest nonsense.
But it will probably be said, "If there are White Adepts now working in the world, why are there not black ones as well?" The answer is easy. It is this. Although the full-fledged White and Black Adepts are both the efflorescence of an age, there is a great difference between them. There is as great disparity between them as between day and night, for those who follow the White Law represent spirit, unity, love, while the others represent nothing but self and disruption. Hence, although the Black Magician -- in those days when they shall be abroad on the earth -- may prolong his life for an enormous period, he is surely silently attacked by nature herself, and at last, when the great day of dissolution, the end of a period of manifestation, arrives, all those black ones left will be swallowed up and annihilated. But at that day all the White Adepts, those called by the Hindus "Jivanmukta," although absorbed into Brahma are still in possession of consciousness, and will come out at the new day just as powerful as when the night came on. Hence, as the day of Brahma is divided into the four Ages -- of which Kali Yuga is the last, the White Adepts alone are known or in existence in the ages preceding Kali Yuga, and in that age the Karma fitted to bring forth Black Adepts begins to act, and the seeds sown long ago sprout up more and more as the years of Kali Yuga roll on. Now as that dark age has 432,000 years, and only 5,000 of those have passed by, there has not yet been time to evolve the real black magician. But this civilization pre-eminently shows the seeds are sprouting, and nowhere with greater power than in America. Here the national characteristic is individualism, and that existing as a tendency of the nature will differentiate some day into individualism concentrated into some few men. Imagine this concentration as occurring in a future century when wonderful advances will have been made in knowledge of great forces of nature, and you can easily see without any need of prescience the future black magician.
In 1888 in"Lucifer" a contributor used "F. T. S. 2[degree]" in signing an article. Can we have any information relative to the degrees in the Theosophical Society, if there are any?
W.Q.J. --The article printed in Lucifer was not a contribution to that journal, but was a reprint of an article published in a Chicago journal and hence the signature had to be copied. As yet there is no F. T. S. 2[degree] who will thus sign, for the reason that that degree has not been given. The writer of the article referred to was no doubt deluded by one who, knowing that there had always been three lower degrees in the T. S., had pretended he could confer it. These three degrees were spoken of in the early years of the Society, and can be found mentioned in the earlier diplomas as having an existence. The higher degrees are held only by adepts and certain of their disciples. The whole Society in general is in the first (or rather 3rd) or lowest degree, and it was very early found that as yet but few were competent to enter the next higher one, for that must be won and cannot be secured by either boasting, money, or favor. And some of the few who have entered the second are not aware of that fact, since they are made to pass through a time of probation which is long or short according to their own efforts and merits. And the efforts and merits of some years of probation may be reduced to a beginning de novo by a month of folly or of doubt. Were the real leaders of the T.S. in want of mere followers by number instead of quality, they might long ago have taken in hundreds of anxious members. But They are not; and They can wait.
Does the cyclic law bring about its intended result without the conscious intervention of races and individuals? Or is it part of the working of that law that races and individuals shall consciously interfere in behalf of their own progress or retrogression?
If either or both, will not things be what they will be and should be, in spite of any or all of our efforts?
W.Q.J.-- The cyclic law has no "intended result," since it is a blind force. The cyclic law ruled in the days of the early races just as it now does, and before there were any races at all who could act consciously or unconsciously. The power of choice for the human race as a whole does not come until the turning point in evolution is reached -- when four is turned into five -- and, of course, until that time comes, "conscious intervention" by a race is impossible.
Individuals -- meaning individual monads -- may and do help on the progress of a race or a nation or oppose a contrary effect, but even that is under the cyclic law. In The Occult World by Mr. Sinnett, we have the words of a Master on this point, as follows, speaking of the Adepts:
"There never was a time within or before the so-called historical period when our predecessors were not molding events and 'making history,' the facts of which were subsequently and invariably distorted by historians to suit contemporary prejudices. . . . We never pretended to be able to draw nations in the mass to this or that crisis in spite of the general drift of the world's cosmic relations. The cycles must run their rounds. . . . The major and minor yugas must be accomplished according to the established order of things. And we, borne along on the mighty tide, can only modify and direct some of its minor currents. . . .
"Sometimes it has happened that no human power, not even the fury and force of the loftiest patriotism, has been able to bend an iron destiny aside from its fixed course, and nations have gone out like torches dropped into the water, in the engulfing blackness of ruin."
But this does not lead to negation or apathy. "Things will not be what they will be or should be, in spite of our efforts," but rather -- "things will be as they should be, in spite of the apathy of those who see no use in action that is for the good of Humanity." Those who believe that the final good will in any case be accomplished are those who, sunk in the dark pit of selfish indifference, are forever an obstruction in the road of the aspiring souls who work for man's welfare.
In considering the subject we should not lose sight of the fact that other souls are reincarnating every day, bringing back with them the experience and Karma of distant past ages. That must show itself in them as they mature in this life, and they will furnish new impulses, new ideas, new inventions, new pieces of knowledge to the general sum, thus affecting the progress of the races, but all under cyclic law. And if we, by supinely sitting down, do not create for them, as they may have in the other days done for us, the right material, the right vehicle of civilization, the end of the cycle may be reached with their task unfinished -- through our fault. The Karma of that will then be ours, and inexorable justice will bring us upon the scene in other cycles which eternally proceed out of the womb of time, to finish with heavy hearts the task we shirked. No theosophist, therefore, should ever begin to think that he need not offer any help because all will come right anyhow.
In our small way we should imitate the Great Brotherhood in its constant efforts to help Humanity. They know the cycles, and, using that knowledge, can see when the impulse of a new cycle is begnning. Taking advantage of this prescience, new ideas are projected among men and all good reforms are fostered. Why should we, merely because we are ignorant of the cycles, do nothing to help these great benefactors of the races? They offer to all men the truths of the Wisdom-Religion, making no selections but leaving results to the law. Is it for us to assume in our theosophical work that we, poor, weak, ignorant tyros, are able to select from the mass of our fellows the one or the many who may be fit to receive theosophy? Such a position of judge is vain, ridiculous, and untheosophic. Our plain duty is to present the truths of theosophy to all men, leaving it to them to accept or reject.
Is it possible by a strong desire before sleep to receive from the Higher Self in dream an answer to questions respecting right thought and conduct?
W.Q.J.-- This question is one of deep importance to those who are in earnest. My answer to it would be "yes." Bulwer Lytton says in A Strange Story, that man's first initiation comes in dreams. In the Book of Job it is written (iv, 12-13): "Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men." And (xxxiii, 14): "For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed." The state spoken of in Job is the same as that called Sushupti by the Hindus. Man has three principal states or conditions -- waking, dreaming, and dreamless or deep slumber. In the last it is held that communion is enjoyed with the Spirit, and that the inner man returning or changing from that condition goes into a dream, short or long, from which he changes into the waking state. The influences of Sushupti are highly spiritual. They are common to all men. The greatest villain on the earth, as well as the most virtuous man, goes into Sushupti and receives benefit from it. If it were not so, wickedness would triumph in the earth through the overpowering influence of the body and its constant downward tendency. Now, if this is believed and the reality of the Higher Self admitted, it follows from what is called the mysterious power of meditation that a sincerely devoted man who earnestly calls upon the Higher Self for aid in right conduct will receive in the dream state that succeeds the condition of Sushupti the aid asked for. In other words, one can make the dream impressions received out of the highest -- or Sushupti -- state more clear and valuable than is usual with those who think nothing about it. But the questions asked and impressions desired must be high and altruistic, because the Higher Self has no concern with material things nor with any temporal affairs. This power will of course vary with each man according to his nature and the various combinations between his physical, astral, and psychical planes.
It is authoritatively stated inESOTERIC BUDDHISM that the Hindu Race is the most spiritually developed now existing -- as the Anglo-Saxon is the most highly developed intellectually. Are we, then, to understand that the Hindu Race has in the past experienced an intellectual state analogous to that of the present state of the Anglo-Saxon, and with it a similar material prosperity, and that the present Hindu civilization, including caste, as the fruit of a higher development -- the spiritual, is, upon the whole, preferable to that of the Anglo-Saxon?
Ananda. -- W.Q.J. -- 1: Esoteric Buddhism is no more "authoritative" than any other book. The statements in it are not binding on any one but the author.
2. The conclusion at the end of the question, about caste system does not follow from the premises if their affirmative were granted.
3. According to the general law of racial development we are to assume that the Hindu nation, ages ago, passed through an era similar to our own present one. Further than this, historical and archeological facts show this to be so, for the ruins alone in India point to an enormous extent of material progress in her past, and all through the Indian literature is proof tending to the same end.
4. But the present degraded form of caste is not due to the "spirituality" of the Hindu. Caste today is not the caste of the ages when prosperity reigned; and there is as much "caste" now in Europe and America as there is in India, although not given that name. The true castes will always exist. They are four: the teacher (Brahman); the warrior (Kshatriya); the merchant (Vaisya); and the servant (Sudra). In the ancient days the people changed caste when they actually changed their nature; but now the divisions are fixed by custom -- not by spiritual law -- and are innumerable.
5. As Indian civilization is now in its decadence, it certainly is not preferable to that of the Anglo-Saxon, since the latter has the elements of improvement in it. But if the present Western civilization is fixed and not to change, then, in my opinion annihilation were preferable. The Hindu nation being very ancient it must have distinct traces of its old-time glory; the Anglo-Saxon is in comparison quite new, and the greater part of its past is crude and brutal. Hence it is natural that the Hindu has more potential metaphysical and spiritual power in its corporeal frame than the Anglo-Saxon. What the actual psychic endowments of either are can only be told by an Adept, for the science and statistics of the day do not deal with or record anything but the physical inheritance. The questioner should never forget that each nation, like each man, has its own particular psychical inheritance, which may or may not be the same as the physical one.
Do the Masters know one's earnest desires and thoughts? I desire to become a chela in my next incarnation. What effect will it have upon my condition and environment in that life? Is my desire forgotten or lost, or is there record made of it?
W.Q.J. --The effect of a desire to become a chela in the next incarnation will be to place one where the desire may be probably realized. Its effect on the next condition and environment depends on so many things that no definite reply could be given. If the desire be held determinedly and unceasingly, the goal is brought nearer, but that also brings up all the karma of the past, thus precipitating an immense conflict on the individual: a conflict which when once begun has only two ways of ending, one, total defeat, the other, success; there is no half-way. As Dante wrote, "Who enters here leaves hope behind." Therefore, in general, the next life, or rather the life of a chela, while full of noble possibilities, is a constant battle from beginning to end. As to times and periods, it is said in the East that when the probationary chela steps on the path he will reach a goal in seven births thereafter.
In thePATH it is stated that "a dream is the going out of a part of our principles into the Astral Light." This raises a desire for information relative to the inspiration -- so called -- of poets, artists, inventors, and others.
W.Q.J.-- The definition of dream referred to is not to my mind adequate, for there are many sorts of dreams all due to different causes. Believing, as I do, that in the Astral Light are the pictures of all that man has ever done or made, and that at this stage of evolution it is not possible to bring forth anything really new, the so-called inspirations may often be due to the fact that the organism of those "inspired" more easily permits the influx of the pictures in the Astral Light, and then their production in verse, paintings, inventions, or what not. In an article entitled "Genius" by H. P. Blavatsky in Lucifer for November, 1889, the idea is advanced that the great geniuses, of whatever kind, are examples of the Ego, which is all-knowing, shining through and informing the physical body inhabited. It is not necessary to dream in order to be inspired, for the sudden inrush of poetical ideas and of new inventions may be due wholly to the pervious state of the organism. While we often hear of such ideas arising in dream, yet from what is known of the poets, painters, and others, we are forced to the conclusion that the greater number of inspirations are during the waking state, and this supports the view put forward by H. P. Blavatsky in the article upon "Genius."
E.U. -- The question about dreams leads to the reflection that the dreams we have are nearly always absurd. Clear dreams or those prophetic come rarely. When they reach us we remember them for years. Those of us who often dream know that nonsense is their characteristic and overfeeding often their cause. But as some rare and valuable ones are known of, we must admit a power to dream connectedly and with sense. Is it not, then, true that such a prevalence of foolish dreams shows that there is something wrong with our waking state that reflects itself into sleep? If we regulated ourselves every moment during the day, would not our dreams become coherent? And how many of us could mark any one day with a white stone showing that it had been free from folly, anger, or desire? Not one.
Z. -- If the dreamers of dreams and these wise explainers of them knew what dreams really meant, they might say less and dream more. There is in the dreaming condition a faculty exercised and which may be called, for the want of a better word, "exaggeration of circumstance," and another that we can call "reversion of images." Then there is "symbolical diminution," as well as diminution due to absence of all power to relate. Add to these the fact that, until you have your senses about you, even in a dream, so as to be able to know what the physical brain is doing, none of these disturbing and producing causes can be observed and allowed for.
In what manner does entrance on the path of occultism cause the special evil latent in the individual to express itself in his life and acts? Is it because early steps in occult knowledge destroy the force of the conventional ideas of morality and abrogate the laws which society and formal religion have adopted for their security; and that, therefore, for a time, until the principles of ALTRUISM assume definite sway over his mind and motives, the individual is without practical and efficient restraints upon his LOWER SELF? Or is it, on the other hand, the operation of a KARMIC LAW upon the character of the individual, making use of his PERSONAL VANITY as a fulcrum for forcing the special weakness of his Lower Self into a reckless expression of itself ?
W.Q.J.-- While the questioner answers his question himself, it only gives half of the subject. The real study -- on the path -- of occultism, not only brings out latent evil but also latent good. The right way to express it is, "the study of true occultism, or the walking on its path, brings up the entire latent character of the person." Hence while some in this case suddenly seem to grow worse and worse, others suddenly grow better, deeper, broader, and finer. It is customary to look at the shadow in these matters. While it is true that the majority of men are inherently bad, there are examples of the opposite. The study of occultism does not destroy rules of right and wrong, but the student, having opened up the fires below the surface, may be easily carried away in the sudden heat engendered. The dweller of the threshold in Zanoni is no fiction. It is ever with each student, for it is the baser part of humanity that he begins in real earnest as never before to fight. At the same time, the brightly shining Adonai is also there to help and save if we will let that be done. Karma that might not operate except after years or lives is called upon and falls, as H.P.B. has so clearly stated, in one mass upon the head of him who has called upon immutable law. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread," and, rushing in before they have the slightest idea of their own character even on its surface, they are often destroyed. But the practice of altruism is not by itself occultism, and it saves from danger and prepares one for another incarnation in some body and age when everything will favor us. We have yet left some few hundred thousand of mortal years, and, ought not to be too precipitate.
What relation does Mr. Sinnett's"Esoteric Buddhism" bear to Theosophy and the Theosophical Society?
Z. -- As this work was the first definite presentation to the West of the old doctrines about man and nature, it certainly has an important relation to the present Theosophical movement, and when one remembers the efforts made to convince the author of the truth of the doctrines propounded, and sees the wide acceptation of the book in both Europe and America, the wisdom of the effort made and the importance of the result are apparent. Furthermore, it is well known that Esoteric Buddhism is made up almost wholly of selections from letters alleged to have been written to Mr. Sinnett by the Mahatma. This gives it importance. And while some few errors have crept into it, as was inevitable and as H. P. Blavatsky has shown in The Secret Doctrine, yet it is certainly correct in the main. But no one should conclude from its title that the doctrines contained in it are those of the Buddhists, any more than they are peculiar to the Brahmins. They were first published in The Theosophist, while Mr. Sinnett was in India, under the title "Fragments of Occult Truth," and later on cast into the present form with copious additions: for this we have the author's word in the preface to the first edition. Every student of Theosophy should not merely read this book, but ought to study it with care, and all the more so if the ideas are unfamiliar; but at the same time the corrections made in The Secret Doctrine should be used to clear up points that otherwise would not perhaps be perfectly plain. Esoteric Buddhism in my opinion, therefore, will always rank as one of our best works, not only because of the clearness of the author's style, but also because it is the first concrete presentation of Theosophical doctrines to the West in this Theosophical cycle.
Does the termination of the 19th century of the Christian era coincide with any of the great cycles referred to in"The Secret Doctrine"? And if so, does not that fact strongly corroborate the actual existence and the divine mission of the man Christ Jesus?
W.Q.J. --The first part of this question could not be answered to the satisfaction of the questioner, for the reason that the true cycles, their commencement and termination, are not given out by the Adepts, as that is a sacred matter pertaining to high initiations. But I should like to ask the questioner how he can, by any fair logic or argument, take the views of the writer of The Secret Doctrine in regard to the subject of cycles -- about which she is fully informed and he knows nothing -- and then base upon them an argument for the "actual existence and divine mission of the man Christ Jesus." And, as she says that there was no Christ Jesus as a man with a divine mission, no such conclusion as is drawn by the questioner could result from an affirmative answer to the first question.
But suppose we admit that the termination of the 19th century A.D. coincides with some of the great cycles referred to in The Secret Doctrine, nothing would be proved respecting the "actual existence and divine mission of the man Christ Jesus," for the reason that there are many other eras, in other nations and religions, running at the present time, and doubtless it would be found that the termination of the century of some of them would more nearly coincide with some of the great eras than the Christian 19th century. In such a case, the founders of those religions or eras would have proof in the coincidence of the cycles -- in case that constitutes any proof at all. There are the Christian era, the Mohammedan era, the Hindu era, the Buddhist era, the Jain era, the Persian era, the Chinese era, and others. Now as some of the centuries in these various eras must coincide with some of the great cycles, it should follow from the questioner's position, that there is corroboration for the "actual existence and divine mission" of the various great personages alleged by the various peoples and followers of the several faiths to be appearances of God upon earth, and the ones from whose births their respective eras may be reckoned. However, in my opinion, all these coincidences prove nothing for any great religion or any Savior, in any time or nation.
A teacher of Theosophy says that no more than one inten thousand is immortal. Is the statement correct? If so, what is the use of reincarnation, and for what are Theosophists working?
W.Q.J.-- The second of the questions would not have been asked if more attention had been paid to the acquirement of an accurate understanding of the Theosophical philosophy. It has never been a secret doctrine that "but few among mortals strive for perfection and out of those only one in ten thousand reaches the end desired." These words are to be found in the Bhagavad-Gita, which was printed first in English 100 years ago. But even if we did not have the direct statement in the Bhagavad-Gita the fundamental Theosophical doctrines compel us to the conclusion that many will fail to reach immortality. Since, however, the same doctrines teach us to analyze and determine as to what "many" or "us" means, we find that the theory under discussion applies solely to the lower or strictly human ego and not to Spirit. The object, therefore, of reincarnation is that all the possible egos may have the chance to become immortal by uniting themselves with Spirit. If they do not, they lose. But further yet, it is laid down that the periods of evolution succeed each other in endless succession, and all who are "left over" unsaved at the end of any one of such periods are taken up again, in the succeeding evolution, for the purpose of working up to perfection. Thus in every Manvantara numbers of egos reach perfection, for that period is very long as mortals count years. I say "numbers" because in fact the number is very large, although, if compared to the entire whole, they may not seem to be many. This is what Theosophists are working for -- not only to reach perfection themselves but to help all other men to do so likewise. And they should remember that whether they like it or not the laws of life will bring them upon earth again and again until they believe in the doctrine, and acquire aspiration, and turn both into action.
But who is the "teacher of Theosophy" spoken of by the questioner?
The"Guardians of the Gods" opposite to the entrances to the temples in India are represented as having one foot on the head of a cobra; is this typical of the triumph of the Hindu religion over the worship of the serpent -- or not?
W.Q.J.-- I should say it is not. The serpent has many meanings, and to stand with the foot on its head might mean that you have obtained complete mastery over the lower nature, for the snake then stands for nature and its powers. And as the Hindu religion has a good deal in it about the serpent, the figures spoken of cannot mean the triumph of that religion over serpent worship.
Was the"fall into generation" on the physical plane a normal feature of human evolution, as stated in some Theosophical books; or was it abnormal and not intended by nature, as said in other Theosophical books?
W.Q.J.-- It would be well if everyone were to quote when they say, "as said in some Theosophical books," giving name of writer and of book, for it is very unfair to the FORUM and any writer in it to be compelled to answer to the purport merely of a statement in some volume. The context of such statement might put the whole matter in a different light, or we might find that there was a misquotation.
It cannot be said by a well informed Theosophist that nature has any "intentions," nor should any man have the temerity to claim an acquaintance with those if they existed. If in the writings of some Theosophist a reference can be found to "nature's intentions," the context will certainly show that the words were used figuratively in describing apparently settled natural laws.
It seems to me that the "fall into generation," when explained Theosophically, is not abnormal. Since things are as they are under Karmic Law, according to law and not by chance, there can be no step in it that is abnormal. Besides this, the word "abnormal" is one that is used by us to designate that which appears to be out of the usual course solely because we do not know all the facts and factors. As in the case of the eccentric movements of certain planets, which led to the discovery of another one which had caused the eccentricity. Before the last one was found the movements of the others were certainly abnormal, but ceased to be so considered when the discovery was made. Hence "abnormal" is a word that describes a thing only relatively and not absolutely.
But H. P. Blavatsky, who is, we suppose, a good Theosophical authority, speaks clearly enough upon our question. In The Secret Doctrine, Vol. II, p. 62, line 19, she says: "Moreover there are two 'Falls' in Theology: the rebellion of the Archangels and their 'Fall,' and the 'Fall' of Adam and Eve. Thus the lower as well as the higher Hierarchies are charged with a supposed crime. The word 'supposed' is the true and correct term, for in both cases it is founded on a misconception. Both are considered in Occultism as Karmic effects, and both belong to the law of Evolution: intellectual and spiritual on the one hand, physical and psychic on the other. The 'Fall' is a universal allegory." And on p. 228 of the same book she gives a more detailed view of the fall of certain of the Dhyanis, "whose turn it was to incarnate as the Egos of the immortal, but, on this plane, senseless, monads," stating in the second paragraph on the same page: "the 'fall of man' was no fall, for he was irresponsible."
Then as if to furnish forth the answer for the question as to the "intentions" of nature, the same author heads her explanation of Stanza II (in the 2nd Vol., p. 52) "Nature unaided fails," and on p. 56, second paragraph, she says: "Thus physical nature, when left to herself in the creation of animal and man, is shown to have failed." If the second volume of The Secret Doctrine proves anything about "intentions" in the matter of evolution, it is that nature had none whatever, and, if she had, failure would follow attempt at realization. This subject is interesting and, studied with the help of Madame Blavatsky's book, will be of benefit to the student.
In answer of"F.L.M." to question No. 3 in the FORUM in regard to "Meditation," the writer several times refers to the control of the "vital electric currents or agents of unconscious mind."
By the latter term, I understand, is implied the inner consciousness or the Will force distinguished from mental effort, and also that the writer is able not only to recognize the physical expression of this force but also to control it.
We are conscious of mental effort, but usually the impulse of the Will produces no physical sensation of itself.
Many of us now groping in a boundless void could at least feel our way in the darkness, could we thus ascertain that our inner consciousness was indeed impressed and working in the direction of our convictions.
Let us have some elementary elucidation of this subject.
Can such consciousness be cultivated, and, if so, what are the initial steps?
W.Q.J.-- The answer referred to was made by a student who had discovered that, as far as he was concerned, the vital currents could be centered upon desired parts of the body, and that in his case, if they were centered in the head, lie would be engaged more in mental works than bodily, and vice versa. Proceeding with this, he found that some ailments could he thus driven away by centering his vital force upon the place where they existed. It is a form of will power, which to be used requires a well cultivated and balanced imagination. Much abused word as "imagination" is, it is the only one that will express the necessities of the case. If your imagination cannot make a picture of the spot and of the force, you can never -- except by accident -- cause the forces to flow there. Hence the initial step is to cultivate the interior image-making power. Unless this is done, the will in these planes can hardly be directed to its end, for with no image the forces have no place to focus upon; and it is a huge error to suppose that scientists are right in saying that imagination is a useless, although perhaps pleasant, power. As each human being is sui generis, has his own methods interiorly, peculiar to him and to no other, one should not look for hard and fast rules for all, but go to work upon himself, find himself out of whom he is most ignorant, and proceed upon the lines thereby indicated. All methods should be tried, and one's own processes of thought and feeling carefully observed. Without such inspection, rules and discussions are useless; by it -- if truly pursued -- anything can be discovered.
"Five Years of Theosophy" states there are 36 Tattvas. As Shiva Sanhita says, "From ether came air; from ether and air, fire; from ether, air, and fire, water; and from ether, air, fire, and water was produced the earth, all of them forming the Universe." Now, I cannot arrange the combination of these 5 tattvas so as to make 36. I make 5 primal tattvas. 10 double, 10 triple, 4 quadruple, 1 quintuple, or 30 in all. Can you supply the deficiency?
W.Q.J.-- It has been generally understood that the study of the tattvas by beginners, including all men of every sort who are still in the world, is discouraged by the Masters of Occultism, since it may lead to abuses. Furthermore the subject is so mixed up as far as any treatises on it are concerned, that it is well protected from enquiring minds. And as several Hindu writers will differ as to the number of tattvas, none of the writers at the same time being able to use any of them, or tell how to do so, one may be justified in leaving the matter untouched for the present. For my part I am willing to confess ignorance of any more than 4 of these forces, to wit, those of fire, air, earth, and water, and to assume but slight knowledge of those. Just here it is well to read on page 290, of The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, "So there are seven forces in man and in all nature."
Can we find the God in ourselves before we have realized the Divine Life outside of us?
W.Q.J.-- But I would like to add, that as there is no such possibility as divine life outside of us, for all, heaven, earth, hell and God, are within, the question cannot be answered by either Yes or No.
Is it right or safe for one who has discovered a lead to a mine byone of his psychic senses to search for the mine, even if for a noble purpose? If he does find it, is he not liable to come to grief?
W.Q.J.-- It is not the province of Theosophy to furnish pointers regarding mines or stocks, but since the question has arisen it does not seem wrong for one to find a mine by means of psychic sense. The number of successes in that line are very, very few, as psychics generally grossly overestimate the discovery, and often suppose there is a deposit worth going after, when in fact there is only a mere speck of metal. Nor have I ever heard that trouble is likely to result to one who finds a mine or anything else in that way. But at the same time the search for treasure by using the psychic senses is an ignoble pursuit. Yet if accidentally any sense of that sort revealed to me a mine and I felt sure of it, I might seek it. Disappointment, however, generally is the consequence.
Is there a wide difference between Karma and destiny?
W. Brehon-- Destiny is the English word applied to a Karma so strong and overpowering that its action cannot be counteracted by other Karma; but in the sense that all happenings are under Karma, then all things are destined as they occur. Men have always found that some events were so inevitable that, for want of knowledge of the law of Karma, they have said, "These things were destined." But when we grasp the meaning of Karma, we see that destiny is only the working out in action of causes so powerful that no act of ours and no other sort of Karma could by any possibility either avert or modify the result. This view does not conflict with what some call the "immutable decrees of Karma," because those decrees are the resultant of numerous Karmic factors, the absence, nullification, or postponement of any one of which would change the supposable result. If, however, we imagine that our life today is only that due to past Karma from a previous incarnation, we make the error leading to a belief in destiny or fate. But as we are experiencing the effects of Karma from this life as well as from many previous ones, it follows that the events in a man's life are due to the balancing of Karmic causes.
If while in the present incarnation we are able to arrive at the"free" spiritual condition, the great reality, as designated in the tract "Spirituality," when during the long interval between reincarnations, while the spirit is not chained to the body, but experiences that unreal state, "sleep, a sleep of dreams" -- as stated in "Lucifer," what progress is made?
W.Q.J.-- There is much confusion in this question, and hence I infer a similar state in the mind of the questioner as to the matter propounded. Two states or kinds of development are mixed together, one the free or liberated state of a Jivanmukta and the other that of a being who is obliged to reincarnate. Only those are free who are Jivanmuktas; having reached that state they are no more confined to mortal birth, but may take up a body or not as they see fit. A Jivanmukta participates in the souls of all creatures and works for the good of the human family. To take a known case, it should be remembered that the Adept who is helping the T.S. is a Jivanmukta, but is all the time engaged in the great work of assisting the great orphan, Humanity. And it is thought by some that he is waiting for the time to come when the races have reached a higher state of development, and he can reincarnate as some great personage to carry on the work now begun.
It could not therefore be possible that, having reached the liberated or free state referred to, there should be any "long interval between reincarnations," or any interval at all; and thus the question "What Progress is made?" is a non sequitur which needs no other specific reply.
If by "that unreal state sleep, a sleep of dreams," is meant the state of devachan, the answer is that he who is liberated does not experience devachan, since that is a state possible only while one is still subject to delusion.
But on examining the tract on Spirituality I do not find the statement made which the questioner quotes. I must infer, then, that some lesser, lower view of "free" and "spiritual" states was in the mind of the person, some idea that one might in this present incarnation reach to the state of Jivanmukta, and that one who is free could still be obliged to reincarnate. From having referred to an intermediate state of sleep and dream, such might be inferred to be the case. But a study of the philosophical basis of all these Theosophical ideas would prevent such confusion as I have attempted to point out and to cure. Indeed, on the third page of the very tract spoken of, on lines 19 et seq., I find a direct claim that we are really only aspiring to the state referred to, and that we can begin now that training which shall lead us up to the heights on which the liberated stand. No reference at all is made to "long intermediate periods of reincarnation."
If all our sufferings in this life are caused by the misdeeds of a former life, how can any combination of sidereal influences at birth affect our fate?
W.Q.J.-- A thorough acquaintance with the doctrine of Karma and with what is actually claimed for Astrology by those qualified to speak, would result in an answer to this question. Astrology is not soothsaying nor card-reading; reading omens is soothsaying; reading cards is a form of divination: Astrology is neither of these. All that is claimed for it is that the whole assemblage of stars indicate, as being a vast machine or clockwork, just exactly what is the state or condition of any one spot in the whole mass. Is this any more absurd than to say that a watchmaker can tell from the movements of a watch just where the hands will be at any particular moment, and likewise from the hands alone where the different cogs and other parts are within? If common minds, and ignorant as well as venal practitioners of Astrology, make a stock of their imitations, wrong conceptions, and base uses of it, that is no reason why the FORUM should sweepingly denounce Astrology. As well denounce real Christianity because of the base coinage labelled with its name. Taking now the oft-made assertion that "Karma governs all worlds up to that of Brahma," we reply to the question that our Karma and the stars are inextricably linked together, for if we had no Karma there would be for us no stars. It is just because the Karma of any being at birth is fixed from his prior one that the great clock-work of the skies shows unerringly to the sage -- but not to the dabbler nor to the modern abusers of Astrology -- the Karma or present fate of the being. But if, as so often done by even the best of Theosophists, we separate any part of our universe from any other portion, putting one under the influence of Karma and another not, then of course such questions as this one cannot be answered. The doctrines of the Wisdom-Religion are naught if not all-embracing, are useless and misleading if not applicable to the greatest as well as the very least of circumstances or worlds; and so we answer that not only do sidereal positions indicate our Karma, but even the very clouds, the wind, and the hour of the day or night in which we may be born, do the same.
Is the seventh principle, the Atma, ever incarnated, or are our bodies simply projections of that principle and formed by it, as was the statue Galatea by Pygmalion? From some Theosophical books I gather that the seven principles are all incarnated from the beginning, and that each principle is evolved in turn. From others it would seem that the higher principles are never incarnated.
W.Q.J.-- The fiction of the formation of Galatea by Pygmalion is such a faint and inadequate symbol or illustration that there is nothing to be gained by its use, as it will surely mislead. The evolution of the bodily form came about in the same way as that of all other forms; as said in the Bhagavad-Gita. "All is due to the mystic power of self-ideation, the eternal thought in the eternal mind," and only in the sense that all forms are projections from the eternal can we say that "our bodies are projections of that principle" (Atma). The second sentence of the question shows that here is another case in which the very materialistic view of the sevenfold constitution of man given in Esoteric Buddhism and used by so many thereafter has resulted in inducing the notion that there is a separation between the so-called "principles." This idea of seven distinct things, entities, or principles in man ought to be abandoned, and is due almost wholly to erroneous nomenclature, as was strongly urged in several papers published in The Path. There can only be one principle, and all the rest are but aspects of it, or vehicles for it to work and manifest through. Therefore but the one principle is involved in generation, when it takes to itself six sheaths or vehicles, or shows itself under six aspects. But as it is Theosophic doctrine that this one principle -- call it Atma -- is in essence the Supreme, then its involution in matter is but partial. In order to understand nature and to reach self-consciousness, it is necessary that the six vehicles be found to work through, and what is meant in some Theosophical books by the statement that each "principle evolves in turn" is that from the beginning of a Manvantara the six material vehicles have to be evolved one after the other in due order and in correspondence with the rest of nature, none lagging behind and none ahead. For instance, at that period in evolution when we might assume that but one vehicle had been fully evolved, then man (so-called) would not be man as we know him. So we see in The Secret Doctrine that man, strictly as such, is not spoken of until several races or vehicles had been first fully evolved in due order and proportion.
From these considerations the old Hindu idea that what we see of man is but the inner (or outer) hard core -- the material body -- and that he, in fact, in his whole nature reaches even to the moon, would seem to gain some support. And I should incline to the opinion that Atma is never incarnated, but overshadows and shines into the being called man whom it has chosen to connect itself with.
Is it intended to be conveyed, in answer to Question 68, that true Occultists and sincere Theosophists would countenance or practice any lawful arts of White Magic for pay?
W.Q.J.-- My reply to this would be that the taking of pay for any act of "White Magic" is untheosophical and injurious to the taker. The example of all great men known to history or Scripture is against the taking of pay in such cases. Jesus would not take it, nor Apollonius, nor Buddha, although, if persons insisted, they were allowed to donate food or for food. Buddha depended on voluntary contributions of food, and accepted the gift of a garden or park from a rich man for the use of the disciples, but not for himself. A "right means of livelihood" does not permit the practice of powers belonging to another plane than this for pay. If we have to starve unless we take pay for what the querist calls "arts of White Magic," then I say, starve, and you will be the better off.
The accepting of pay at once takes away the character of White Magic from the act and makes it Black, for there is a selfish purpose in receiving the pay which no amount of argument or self-cheating can remove. There are many degrees of "Black Magic," running all the way from effort to get money for food up to deliberate, conscious work for self alone. If one has the natural gift of healing and then takes pay for its use, he is cheating. This is wide apart from the practice of medicine, which you have to give effort, time, and money to acquire.
But if a natural healer or a "spiritual healer" -- to use a most absurd term now in vogue in America -- practices healing, and takes of alms only enough for sustenance, there is no Black Magic. But all such healers can ask themselves if they have made money, saved money, bought property, lived in luxury on the proceeds of their art or practice -- or whatever they call it -- and, if they have, then certainly they have "robbed the gods," who gave freely a power and compelled no pay. The "gods" see these things, and have a time and place when and where the stolen property has to be accounted for.
(1.) Is there not a confusion involved in portions of the answers to Question 66 and 69 with respect to Atma?
(2.) In what sense is the word "correspond" used in Theosophical writings and the works of Swedenborg? In the sense of "cause and effect," and that things never "correspond" unless this relation exists between them?
W.Q.J.-- (1.) There is no reference to Atma in Question 69, and hence no confusion. A re-examination of answer to Question 66 shows none. It is clearly stated there that there is but one principle -- call it Atma -- which incarnates, so to say, through its six vehicles and at the end of the answer a private opinion is given that Atma does not incarnate except in the sense that it overshadows and illumines.
(2.) I presume the questioner refers to the use of the words "it corresponds," "there is a correspondence." This does not refer to cause and effect, but rather to similarity or likeness, as: "Good corresponds to light, and evil to darkness;" "Selfishness corresponds to frigidity and iciness, and generosity to heat." There is no relation of cause and effect between these, for generosity is not the effect of heat nor its cause, nor is the light the effect or cause of goodness. You are therefore essentially wrong in supposing the word "correspondence" is used to express cause and effect. An examination of a good dictionary discloses the meaning to be "fitness, agreement, proportion," hence "similarity." The questioner should study this word and obtain a clear understanding of its meaning and use, for if the conception of it remains so confused as the question indicates, many other errors will result. A more or less complete knowledge of correspondences gives the power to gain knowledge gradually from one plane to another.
In view of the condition of Astral Man stated by W. C. T. inFORUM No. 9, Question 32, what was the effect of our civil war on the astral plane, and reflexively on ourselves?
W.Q.J -- To answer this question aright would require the powers of an Adept who could see into the astral light and measure the exact results. But sudden deaths in war are not the same in effect as the killing of a murderer or a wicked man who has violated the law. The men destroyed in battle are engaged in the moving of troops, the arrangement of batteries, firing of volleys, and using the sword. Their attention is almost wholly thus occupied, and when they are suddenly killed it is with this idea of present attack and defence fixed in their nature. If we suppose them as lingering in the astral plane, then they will there continue the same actions which occupied them at the time of death. But the criminal, who has led a criminal life, who is full of evil passions, and who steps off into the other world with a heart full of passion and revenge, will linger on the other plane full of those unsatisfied desires, and not overmastered, as is the warrior, by a single strong idea. The astral warrior confines himself to the repetition of attack and defence, while the criminal seeks to satisfy his revenge and bad instincts in general. These considerations seem to me to point out a difference. I do not pretend to answer the whole question, however, as to the effect of war acting from other planes.
To be a good Theosophist, is it necessary to believe actively in Occultism? I mean: If a man feels the ennobling influence of the philosophy of Theosophy and endeavors to live by it, is it absolutely necessary for his profit and development to do more than believe that certain occult facts are facts, while he personally dislikes Occultism and avoids it in any form, finding Theosophic teachings sufficient to him without it?
W.Q.J.-- The questioner has either heard from others or read that a good Theosophist must believe that Occultism is our highest goal as members of the T.S. Such is not the truth. At present "the T.S. is not," as an Adept once wrote to Mr. Sinnett, "a hall for teaching Occultism," although that is pursued by some. It is a Society meant for the giving of true views of life and of Nature to a suffering race which otherwise would sink into a spiritual death brought on by the joint efforts of materialists and theologians. Hence, at present, the true Theosophist is the true Altruist who sinks his personal desires for progress in a secret and fascinating art, so that he may give this true view of life, of death, and of immortality to as many of his fellowmen as he can reach. Many members of our Society, dazzled by the wonders of Occultism, have hastily taken up its study without realizing that it is something that demands not only will but wide intellect and unflinching memory; and many have failed as many others will.
Fellows of the T.S. using tobacco defend the habit as having certain qualities very protective in studying Occultism. Is this true; and, if so, why is it incompatible with one of the five precepts taught by the Lord Buddha, viz: "Shun drugs and drinks that work the wit abuse; Clear minds, clean bodies need no soma juice!" And is it not possible to educate the will, the spiritual will, to resist effectually everything which this deleterious weed tends to annul, if it does annul?
W.Q.J.-- I should like very much to know who is that F.T.S. who "defends the use of tobacco as a protective in studying Occultism," for he or she cannot know what protection means or Occultism either. The Editor of the FORUM has well answered the question, since the sentence I refer to, being only narrative, is not a question. Yet it is important as pointing to error of a vital sort. There are hundreds of Hindu occultists who never have indulged in tobacco; but they have not interdicted it to others. They protect themselves by means that can only be used in the plane where such protection is needful, and that is the plane where neither tobacco nor sentiment on that or any other subject has place. Tobacco may protect the carcass from germs of disease, but that security to safety is needed by all men, whether they are studying Occultism or not. The whole question of tobacco or no tobacco is purely material. It has been discovered that it does not degrade except by abuse, but at the same time it was found and declared that other narcotics and stimulants, such as hemp, opium, and spirits, do dynamically obstruct and spiritually degrade. Hence these fears -- and tobacco.
Mr. Sinnett says: "It is not the goody-good or devoutly aspiring man that attains to the highest development." What is the highest development, and how best attained?
W.Q.J-- I should like to add that Mr. Sinnett had in view the doctrine found in many books old and new that wisdom as well as virtue is needed in him who aspires to the "highest development." Virtue leads only to heaven, wisdom leads to union with the whole. But wisdom must at last have virtue as companion. Virtue pursued and practiced through many lives will lead at last to wisdom, yet wisdom first attained makes the cultivation of virtue easier. The highest development cannot be attained in any single incarnation. The teachers say that we must seek the company of those who are pure and wise, who lead holy lives, and that we must look for knowledge with persistency, humbleness, and faith, and that thus setting our feet upon the path the goal will loom in sight after many weary struggles.
Has any Theosophical theory been advanced in regard to the atmospheric and electrical disturbances so prevalent in this country during the last few years?
W.Q.J.-- Some theories have been advanced by theosophists respecting the great atmospheric and electrical disturbances, but they are not specially confined to that; they include other great changes, and reach over into the realm of thought and the minor changes in the race. Atmospheric and electrical changes occur at all times, and are intensified at certain periods. The changes of the great cycles -- from one to another make all sorts of upheavals possible. The sun moving slowly in his great orbit carries the small earth's path out into new fields of space where entirely new cosmic conditions are met with, and the sun also goes through alterations of place and state. These latter must affect our atmosphere and electrical condition, for it is held by some theosophists that the sun is our great source of electricity. Science has lately admitted the possibility of there being an actual connection between spots on the sun and our great electric storms; the old Hindu astrologers always asserted this, for they claimed that, as the sun altered, so did the condition of the earth. But it would be premature to definitely state either that the sun causes the changes alone, or that they are due to a different situation of the earth in her great path through space.
In The Path for Aug. 1889, under the heading"Some of the Evil Consequences of Mediumship," we are told that the calling back of suicides and those who have met with accidental deaths is "productive of untold evils for the Ego that will be reborn under its nefarious shadow," and, further on, that "it is now cursing many men who find themselves forever in a mental hell, at war with themselves and with their best thoughts, they know not why." Are we to understand from the first quotation that some of us are born with this vampire fastened upon us? If so, then in the interest of those of us who seem to be in the condition described in the last quotation, how can we rid ourselves of this old man of the sea?
W.Q.J.-- The FORUM's title presupposes free expression of views, and of that I take advantage. All the conclusions of the Editor do not meet my approval, and many seem to be contrary to some accepted Theosophical premises. The septenary scheme of man's constitution and the conclusions as to how the separation of the so-called principles takes place, as well as their "fate" after death of the body, seem to be against the assumption that it is superstition to suppose that evil results from suicides and those dead by accident being drawn to seance rooms. It is well known that after violent death of the body the principles above the material do not separate as in other cases, do not go to Devachan, do not dissipate. In a case of natural ordinary demise the astral body dissipates, so does Kama-rupa; with the other cases it is not so. The man who kills himself is not really dead. Only his body is dead; he remains a living man in the astral spheres close to us, minus a body. If left alone he comes to his end in due course, but a long way off, generally measured by the length of years he would have lived if he had not raised hand against himself. But if he is drawn into a medium, he is given a new attraction which ties him to earth and makes him drunk, as it were, with the fumes of life. This retards him and causes him to live long, long years in Kama-Loka, and curses too the one who draws him thus further down. How does "the orderly working of Karma" go against this? It is his Karma that made him a suicide, that put it in the power of mediums to disturb him. It is exactly the case of a man who drinks to excess, and who thus puts himself where he may be harmed by other evil influences. Also in the case of accidental death. Karma made by the same person decrees that he shall so punish himself and so lay himself open to all the consequences that may follow. That is no reason why we should ignore the law and pay a dollar to gratify our whims and at the same time hurt a fellow-being. Hypnotism is an admitted fact. We know that people may be hypnotized and against their will made to make fools of themselves by ridiculous gestures and antics. Some people pay to see it done. In that case we may see the harm with our eyes. It is all improper. But is it therefore superstition to believe it and to declare what are its evils? I hardly think so. I may add that the "private letter" was by a high chela, and was endorsed by several high occultists as true.
Is the use of hypnotism for intended good, as in the case of surgical operations, looked upon with disfavor by Theosophists? What relation have the investigation and practice of hypnotism, when only good is intended, to the 3rd object of the Theosophical Society?
W.Q.J.-- Replying in part to this question, one can only give a personal opinion, and mine is that hypnotism should be prohibited by law. No one but some very few high-minded and learned physicians should be allowed to practice it. I would as quickly prohibit the general mass of physicians from using it as the general mass of the public, for I regard it as a dangerous and injurious power. The great Charcot who has popularized it says he would have only competent physicians use it. In the present age of black selfishness I would vote for its total seclusion from use for the present.
Is Kama-Loka definitely stated to be a state of suffering merely(therein somewhat analogous to the R. C. Purgatory), characterized solely by dissolution, or a violent wrenching apart of the four higher elements? If this be so, how comes it that after the separation of Kama-Rupa and lower Manas from Manas proper the surviving entity carries with it to Devachan the recollections of the earthly personality?
W.Q.J.-- I am unable to decide whether T. E. K. infers that suffering in Kama-Loka destroys memory, or that the separation of the "principles" takes it away. But if the question turns on "suffering," then I should say that that does not deprive of memory. This leaves for discussion the other query: How does the surviving entity carry with it into Devachan the recollections of the earthly personality? The Key to Theosophy in Section IX describes the process in general to which the question refers. There it appears that at death the body, life-force, and astral body are lost, and the middle principle (Kama-rupa), together with Manas, Buddhi, and Atma, is in Kama-Loka, which is a state or condition and not a place. Then the separation between Kama-rupa and the higher triad begins, after the completion of which Manas-Buddhi-Atma fall into the Devachanic state. Turning to page 92 of the same book, we find in the column "explanatory" that if the Manas naturally gravitates to Buddhi and away from Kama-rupa, the "Ego goes into Devachanic bliss." This gives the process. It cannot be said to be suffering or painful. The only point left, then, is as to memory. T. E. K. rightly says "recollections." Section VIII of The Key makes this clear. "Memory" is the physical brain-memory; reminiscence is the "memory of the soul." Each new brain makes a new physical memory used by Manas in each life, but Manas itself is the seat of memory proper, called by H. P. Blavatsky "reminiscence." It is not meant that Manas takes into Devachan the remembrance of every circumstance in life, but only the efflorescence of its life, the reminiscence of its best hours, leaving the painful and evil portions to the dying brain and to Kama-rupa. If the questioner desires, as a help, an objective illustration of what happens to Manas through the separation from Kama-rupa, this may do: Imagine Manas as attached on its lower side to Kama-rupa just as a photograph may be attached to a glass plate. When dry, the paper can be taken from the plate, leaving on it the film of the picture. Thus when Manas is separated, its lower film may be left attached to Kama-rupa, its higher portion going into Devachan. And it is in Higher Manas that real memory is.
Is it a fact that we have no right to condemn men, and should only condemn their conduct?
W.Q.J.-- While I agree with much of the editor's answer to the above question I disagree from its spirit and certain inevitable conclusions flowing from it.
First,I fail to see that in order to train the moral sense one has to practice condemnation of others. Second, The necessity for condemnation will never pass away if we occupy ourselves in such practice while waiting for the world to grow so good that there will be no one to condemn. Third, It appears to me to be a new and untheosophical doctrine that our moral sense is to be or can be properly cultivated by engaging in condemnation of others.
The maxim cited in the Question was never intended by the writer or writers as one for application in the State, but solely for earnest disciples who endeavor to follow the very highest rules of conduct. We are so prone to condemn others and let our own faults go by that sincere disciples are taught, as a discipline, to cultivate their moral sense by inspecting their own faults, and let others do the same for themselves, but when the occasion demands condemnation, that it shall be of the wrong act. This cannot apply to a judge, or any other proper inquisitor, teacher, or guide. It is meant solely for those who, believing that our span of life is so short that there will be no time left if we busy ourselves with faults of others, prefer to improve their opportunity by purging themselves, by cleaning their own doorway, by taking the beam out of their own eye. For all sages and occult practitioners declare that among the necessary facts to be known, as the editor of the FORUM observes, though not admitted in his conclusions, is the fact that each time a man indulges in condemnation of another he is himself prevented by his own act from seeing his own faults, and that sooner or later his faults increase. If a sincere student thinks this be true he will hesitate about others and occupy himself with self-examination and self-conquest. This will take all of his time. We are not born as universal reformers of all people's faults and abuses, and theosophists can not waste their energies in criticizing others. Furthermore I strongly doubt if anyone was ever improved by the fault-finding of his acquaintances. It is natural discipline that makes the improvement, and that only. Indeed, I have observed in much experience with those who constantly criticize others that nothing results in 99 cases out of 100 but a smirking self-satisfaction in the breast of the critic, and anger or contempt in the heart of the victim of the fault-finding. One illustration will do for all, and it is this: One evening I was leaving the elevated railroad car with a friend who hardly misses a chance for pointing out omission or commission by others. As he went out first, a roughly-dressed man blocked the way, appearing as if attempting to enter. My friend, being strong, caught him by the shoulders, shoved him back, and said: "The rule is that passengers are let out first." Result: as he walked off feeling that he had properly corrected a fault, the man cursed him loudly, and audibly asked for an opportunity to kick him. Thus naught resulted but anger and malice in one heart -- perhaps in the heart of a man born in adversity -- and in the critic a self-satisfaction which is known to be the handmaid of delusion.
In[Ques. 78] it says: "Virtue leads only to heaven. Wisdom leads to union with the whole." What is here meant by virtue?
W.Q.J.-- According to the dictionaries the radical meaning of virtue is strength. Other meanings are bravery, efficacy, valor, moral goodness, the abstaining from vice, or conforming to the moral law. In this last sense the word is used. There is nothing synonymous between virtue and wisdom. In the Christian scheme fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. There is the mere wisdom of erudition, but properly wisdom means having knowledge or to know; or skilled in arts, science, or philosophy, or in magic and divination. (2 Samuel XIV.) In homely language, then, to be virtuous is to be good; to be wise is to possess knowledge. If the kingdom of God is the perfectness of evolution, then knowledge is what leads to it sooner than virtue. Of course these terms are used with the theosophical scheme of man and nature in view, and in that light it appears that in addition to virtue we must have knowledge, for a life of virtue leads to pleasures of devachan, with good karma for next life and thus through many lives; but knowledge added to virtue shows how to use virtue and its results in finding and treading the path leading to the Supreme which is all.
Is it right to restrain the impulse to benefit another, either by teaching or by furnishing necessities for physical use, for fear of interfering with Karma?
W.Q.J.-- A little more ought to be said upon this question. It has been raised in several places, and is due to a slight misconception of what karma is, and also as to our position as men in the whole natural scheme, whether as judges or as executors. If karma were something about each man which we could plainly see, as for instance, if each one of us had written upon him what was his karma and what punishments or rewards should or should not be meted out to him, then it would be easy for one to say in any particular case what one should do in the premises. But such a state of things does not prevail. No one of us knows the karma that is coming to another or to himself, and it is only when events have arrived that we know. For each event small and great is karma, and the result of it as well as the maker of new, since this great law is action and the results of action. Hence, even if we knew the coming karma or that which was due and should then decide, "I will help this person although I know it will interfere with karma," acting accordingly, we could not interfere in the least, because it would still be karma. This is an absurdity, but it is just the absurdity of those who talk of interfering with karma. We cannot interfere with it for it is beyond our power, and we are, indeed, the very instruments it uses to carry out the decrees we have ourselves been the means of passing. The idea of possible interference has arisen out of the statement now and then made that Adepts have not done this or that because it would interfere with karma; but this has not been understood. What was really meant by such words was that Adepts themselves are karma just as we are, only they see what we do not, and, as some of us asked for a reason, they said they would not interfere, or, in other words, the law is strong and no being, god or devil or man, can interfere with it. Any attempt to "interfere" is merely new karma carrying out that seed of karma already sown, no matter how many ages or years ago. But, still further, it seems to me that if we assume to decide what we shall do out of fear that our brother may not be sufficiently punished, we not only lay up wrath against ourselves, but at the same time set the germs in our own character which will sprout in selfishness and pain. We need not fear that karma will not do justice. It often does it by offering to us a chance to help another, and, if we stand aside, it will at another day give us the punishment for our selfishness and arrogance.
As Karma punishes all sins, is it right or desirable that human laws should punish crime by death or imprisonment?
W.Q.J.-- My individual opinion upon the death penalty is that it is neither right nor desirable that human laws should punish crime by death, but this answer presupposes in the race such a knowledge of proper conduct and a constant practice of the same that every human being is a perfect law unto himself and for all, and that no laws are needed because all know and keep the laws of morality and nature. As, however, men as yet are very imperfect and are struggling to find the right rule of conduct, laws are necessary for evil-doers. Here, then, arises the question whether society is benefited by law imposing the death penalty, and as to that many able writers speak on one side and many on the other. To my mind it appears that the crime of murder has not diminished because of capital punishment, nor do I think any law will ever stamp out that offense. Indeed, I know that the majority of Theosophists regard capital punishment as a greater evil than that which it is directed against. But as Theosophists we have not much to do with such a question, since it lies in the domain of government. Our duty is to teach those ethics and that philosophy which alone will remedy the evil by raising men above the possibility of committing crime or becoming amenable to law. If we waste our energies in attempting reforms on the surface, either in law or in politics, a great opportunity will slip away before we know it. The remaining query is upon the subject of punitive law in general, and on that my view is that the question put flies wild of any point, because even these very laws enacted for the punishment of evil-doers are themselves the product of Karma. The state of the race which evinces crime is due to its Karma, hence the present system, the criminals who fill our jails, the judiciary and the executive departments administering the laws, are all products of Karma. It therefore follows that where, through man-made laws, offenders are fined or imprisoned, such punishments are those of Karma. It thus appears to me that the question is wholly one relating to reform in a mere social or political institution.