It is perhaps fitting to reevaluate the wisdom of William Quan Judge on various health issues at this, the one hundred year commemoration of his death. As Judge emphasized, the human being is a microcosm reflecting the macrocosm. If one is to understand health, one must comprehend what a human being is and his role in this universe.
At the beginning of any cosmic hierarchy, such as our planetary chain, the Unknowable or Sat manifests divine fully conscious beings or jivanmuktas ("free lives"), along with divine elementals or unconscious god-sparks, to initiate the building of the new cosmos. From these jivanmuktas or monadic essences are formed monads which can be defined as
a spiritual entity which to us humans is indivisible; it is a divine-spiritual life-atom, but indivisible because its essential characteristic, as we humans conceive it, is homogeneity; while that of the physical atom, above which our consciousness soars, is divisible, is a composite heterogeneous particle.
Monads are eternal, unitary, individual, life-centers, consciousness-centers, deathless, during any solar manvantara, therefore ageless, unborn, undying. Consequently, each one such -- and their number is infinite -- is the center of the All, for the Divine or the ALL is THAT which has its center everywhere, and its circumference or limiting boundary nowhere. -- G.de Purucker, Occult Glossary, pp. 108-9
In Judge's Suggestions and Aids he speaks of "Gods, Monads and Atoms" and relates that the monads secrete from themselves, "from within," to form various lower vehicles from the most divine (monadic essence) to the spiritual, human, animal, plant, mineral, and finally astral monad or "life-atom" which forms the physical atom. With this context in mind, it would be impossible to observe a human being as strictly the physical body. As a matter of fact the body is the "lees and dregs" of the human. In respect to Judge's ideas on health it would be appropriate to quote:
Bodily ailments may be roughly divided for the purpose of the present into two classes, one being those that are acute or due to the imagination or the reaction of the imagination on the processes in the bodily economy; the other being those due to strong physical karma showing out in diseases in the mortal envelope, and being entirely beyond the reach of the imagination and not due to reactions from the mind of the sufferer . . .
. . . In the first class the physical troubles from reaction will of course disappear so soon as the person trains himself to look at life cheerfully and to grow into a more independent frame of mind. . . H. P. Blavatsky says: "This is all the secret. Half, if not two-thirds of our ailings and diseases are the fruit of our imagination and fears. Destroy the latter and give another bent to the former, and nature will do the rest." -- Echoes of the Orient, 3:362.
In the second class of diseases it is quite true, as has been often said by the metaphysical healer, that the disease comes from thought, but the error is in supposing it to be present thought had in this body. The thoughts are those of a past life, and have passed altogether from the mind plane into the realm of causes for dynamic disturbance . . . to result in the course of time in visible difficulty suddenly appearing, or resulting from our going into situations that bring to us the germs of disease. For Karma acts on us not only in inherited troubles but also in accord with the tendencies we have set up in ourselves in a previous life . . .
These causes for disease then being in the mind plane from the last life, and having become mechanical causes in this, are now on their way out of the system in the proper channel, and that channel is a physical, mechanical one . . . They should be treated by the ordinary methods of hygiene, of medicine, of surgery, of food. -- Echoes 2:276-7.
A famous American homeopathic doctor, Constantine Hering, M.D., once said that disease follows four main patterns as a person becomes better or well:
1) from a more important organ to a less important organ;
2) from above to below;
3) from the inside out;
4) from the reverse order of appearance.
These observations are consistent with Judge's ideas on moving the illness from the mind or higher levels to the physical -- that is, moving from the more important level of the human being to the less important; from above -- the brain being the most important physical organ -- to below; from inside out, the skin being the most peripheral part of the physical body and relatively less important than the internal organs. The reverse order of appearance is specifically in reference to suppression of the disease in whatever unique pattern.
Judge had great concern about suppressing the "dis-ease" (lack of ease or lack of harmony) and driving a physical problem back into the mind, to mental or higher psychological levels. He was especially concerned about people who use so-called mind cure or spiritual healing. He emphasizes that most of these people are otherwise excellent, kind, and well-motivated. He agreed wholeheartedly with the concept that a bright and cheerful spirit is a good thing to have, and that life should be faced with an attitude of courage and with an appeal to the spiritual energy inherent in the universe. These, of course, are not new ideas. Theosophy has voiced them from its inception and there is no doubt that there are other areas of agreement with both of these philosophies. However, there are also definite areas of disagreement. The genuine concern of Judge is using the mind to "drag the spiritual and divine down to this plane of being. In none of the ancient schools was it permitted to one to use for himself, or to sell, the divine or spiritual powers." (The Path, January 1892, pp. 304-7 [Echoes 1: 213].) He continues by stating:
The next fallacy is in the system of affirmations and denials. To assert as they do that there is no matter, that all is spirit, and that there is no evil but that all is good, and that "this my body is pure and sweet and free from trouble," is philosophically, and as a mere use of English, false in every respect. "Spirit" and "Matter" are terms that must exist together, and if one is given up so must the other disappear . . . Likewise Good and Evil are two opposites mutually existing, the one necessary in order to know the other, for if there were no evil we should not know what to call the good. One might as well say that there is no darkness but that all is light
. . . It is a sort of yoga without any right knowledge of method; it is blind wandering among forces so subtle and so violent that they are liable to explode at any moment. . . .
I have in mind several cases, and some of them those of actual insanity due wholly to these practises." -- Ibid. (Echoes 1:213-14).
Judge received criticism from various Mental Science or Christian Science groups that felt he was not observing things as they actually were or "this sort of thing" is not the Simon pure straight; it is not representative! The difficulty is that the different 'meta-physicians' say the same of each other, and when they are cornered by something like this they say 'O, that is not the proper thing.'" (The Path, March 1892, pp. 386-7 [Echoes 1:223].)
Other areas of interest were hypnotism and mesmerism. Judge has written much on these controversial subjects. In one article he states that H. P. Blavatsky related that the hypnotist throws off a fluid which "is composed in part of the astral substance around every one, and in part of the physical atoms in a finely divided state." (Lucifer, May 1892, pp. 197-205 [Echoes 2:218-9].) Therefore, it is the astral body (linga-sarira) that is mostly affected by hypnotism.
After the maturity of the child before birth this form is fixed, coherent, and lasting, undergoing but small alteration from that day until death. . . . It alters only from life to life. . . . It is the collector, as it were, of the visible atoms which make us as we outwardly appear. . . . the astral senses of any person are the direct inheritance of his own prior incarnations, and are not the product of family heredity, they cannot transcend their own experience, and hence their cognitions are limited by it. . . . These inner senses can perceive under certain conditions to any distance regardless of position or obstacle. But they cannot see everything, nor are they always able to properly understand the nature of everything they do see. For sometimes that appears to them with which they are not familiar. And further, they will often report having seen what they are desired by the operator to see, when in fact they are giving unreliable information . . . error creeps in if we rely on what he [the person hypnotized] says in the mesmeric trance as to anything that requires philosophical knowledge, except with rare cases that are so infrequent as not to need consideration now. . . . Many persons are deluded into supposing that the Higher Self is the responder, or that some spirit or what not is present, but it is only one of the many inner persons, so to say, who is talking or rather causing the organs of speech to do their office (Ibid. [Echoes 2:29-33]).
. . . the strange "recurrence of states," and the apparently distinct division or separation of intelligence in a single human subject, are all explained by the ancient eastern method of reducing the inner powers of man into seven classes, in each of which the hidden self -- the Ego -- can and does act independently, the body being only a gross instrument or field for the action of the real man.
This theory divides him into seven planes of action, in each of which the Ego or hidden self can have a consciousness operating in a manner peculiarly appropriate to that plane, and also partaking of the consciousness and experience of the planes above it but not below. And each of these layers or fields for consciousness is further divided into other subfields, in every one of which there may be a separate experience and action, or all may be combined. -- Hypnotism and Theosophy by W Q. Judge. An article printed in Fenness Miller Illustrated Monthly, New York, August, 1893 (Echoes 3:217).
Judge goes on to declare that mesmerism is often called magnetism (at times referred to as the "laying on of hands") and deals primarily with transference of vital force or prana from the healer to the ill person. Mesmerism is not the same as hypnotism.
Hypnotism is the contracting of the cells of the body and brain from the periphery to the center. This process is actually a phenomenon of the death state, and is the opposite of the mesmeric effect; and this point is not known to the medical profession, nor will it be as they now proceed, because post mortem examinations never reveal the action of a living cell. Magnetism by human influence starts from within and proceeds to the outer surface, thus exhibiting a phenomenon of life the very opposite of hypnotism. And the use of magnetism is not objectionable, yet it should be limited in practice to competent members of the medical profession. . . . In all its anaesthetic phases it can be duplicated by mesmerism without any bad effects. -- Ibid. (Echoes 3:216).
There were a number of other dangers delineated by Judge which included research by Dr. Charcot on the problem with "suggestion" or "post-hypnotic suggestion." It was discovered that subjects could do many strange things, including stealing and other criminal acts, after hypnotic suggestion (Ibid. [Echoes 3:215-16]). Also there is concern about suppression of a physical illness to a deeper level of the mind or psyche; again, disease goes from the mind or psyche to the physical body.
The last subject with regard to comments of Judge on health is on homeopathy and conventional Western medicine. Homeopathy literally means "like suffering" or more connotatively correct, "like cures like" or "curing by similars." Homeopathy in Germany was systematized in 1810 by Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. There are over two thousand medicines in the United States Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia, mostly of plant or mineral origin.
Judge had some positive remarks about a famous homeopathic practitioner, the Italian Count Mattei, who factually was known to use "subtle vegetable essences" which could "stop violent pain, restore sight, give back hearing, and dissipate abnormal growths." (Echoes 1: 264.) Judge also mentions his great respect for the homeopathic physician J. D. Buck, M.D., who was "a valued contributor to The Path, The Theosophist, Lucifer . . ." (Echoes 2:319-20, 2:453.)
It is probably appropriate to mention here that H. P. Blavatsky also had encouraging words for homeopathy, but stated that both homeopathy and allopathy (conventional Western medicine) should be taken to task.
The homeopathists, for their entire rejection of the allopathic methods; and their opponents, for shutting their eyes before facts, and their unpardonable a priori negation of what they are pleased to regard without verification as a quackery and an imposition. It becomes self-evident that the two methods will find themselves happily combined at no distant future in the practice of medicine. -- H. P. Blavatsky: Collected Writings 4:319.
Judge's words of wisdom on health are as valid now as they were then. The key to the cause of illness is selfishness, a person's egoistic tendencies both in the mental as well as psychological arena, whether in this life and/or in previous lives. It is primarily the physical body that is used to work these ailments out of the deeper levels of the human being. We must not use any method that blocks this venting process. And what is the best thing a person can do to prevent disease? Thoughts of unselfishness and sympathy, control of emotions, deeds of charity and kindliness and, in a word, by self-forgetfulness.
(From Sunrise magazine, April/May 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Theosophical University Press)