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Blavatsky Net - Theosophy

This site focuses on Madame Blavatsky and her teaching - Theosophy. It features an introduction to Theosophy, study aids, research tools, original text, supporting evidence, membership, and visitor interaction.


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DREAMLAND AND SOMNAMBULISM

[Vol. III. No. 4, January, 1882.]

[To the Editor.

(1) ARE dreams always real? If so, what produces them? If not real, may they not nevertheless have in themselves some deep significance?

(2) Can you tell me something about antenatal states of existence and the transmigration of the soul?

(3) Can you give me anything that is worth knowing about psychology as suggested by this article?*

Yours most fraternally and obediently,

JEHANGIR CURSETJI TARACHAND.

Bombay, Nov. 10th, 1881.]

To put our correspondent’s request more exactly, he desires The Theosophist to cull into the limits of a column or two the facts embraced within the whole range of all the sublunar mysteries with "full explanations." These would embrace:

(1) The complete philosophy of dreams, as deduced from their physiological, biological, psychological and occult aspects.

(2) The Buddhist Jâtakas (rebirths and migrations of our Lord Shâkya Muni), with a philosophical essay upon the transmigrations of the 387,000 Buddhas who "turned the wheel of faith," during the successive revelations to the world of the 125,000 other Buddhas, the saints who can "overlook and unravel the thousand-fold knotted threads of the moral chain of causation," throwing in a treatise upon the Nidânas, the chain of twelve causes with a complete list of their two millions of results, and copious appendices by some Arhats, "who have attained the stream which flows into Nirvâna."

(3) The compounded reveries of the world-famous psychologists; from the Egyptian Hermes and his Book of the Dead; Plato’s definition of the Soul, in Timæus; and so on, down to Drawing-Room Nocturnal Chats with a Disembodied Soul, by the Rev. Adramelech Romeo Tiberius Toughskin from Cincinnati. Such is the modest task proposed.

Our physical senses are the agents by means of which the astral spirit, or "conscious something" within, is brought, by contact with the external world, to a knowledge of actual existence; while the spiritual senses of the astral man are the media, the telegraphic wires by means of which he communicates with his higher principles, and obtains therefrom the faculties of clear perception of, and vision into, the realms of the invisible world. The Buddhist philosopher holds that by the practice of the Dhyânas one may reach "the enlightened condition of mind, which exhibits itself by immediate recognition of sacred truth, so that on opening the Scriptures [or any books whatsoever?] their true meaning at once flashes into the heart." (Beal’s Catena, p. 255.)

In dreaming, or in somnambulism, the brain is asleep only in parts, and is called into action through the agency of the external senses, owing to some peculiar cause; a word pronounced, a thought, or picture lingering dormant in one of the cells of memory, and awakened by a sudden noise, the fall of a stone, suggesting instantaneously to this half-dreamy fancy of the sleeper walls of masonry, and so on. When one is suddenly startled in his sleep without becoming fully awake, he does not begin and terminate his dream with the simple noise which partially awoke him, but often experiences in his dream a long train of events concentrated within the brief space of time the sound occupies, and to be attributed solely to that sound. Generally dreams are induced by the waking associations which precede them. Some of them produce such an impression that the slightest idea in the direction of any subject associated with a particular dream may bring its recurrence years after.

Tartini, the famous Italian violinist, composed his "Devil’s Sonata" under the inspiration of a dream. During his sleep he thought the devil appeared to him and challenged him to a trial of skill upon his own private violin, brought straight from the infernal regions; which challenge Tartini accepted. When he awoke, the melody of the "Devil’s Sonata" was so vividly impressed upon his mind that he there and then noted it down; but on getting as far as the finale all further recollection of it was suddenly obliterated, and he had to lay aside the incomplete piece of music. Two years later he dreamt the very same thing, and in his dream tried to make himself recollect the finale upon awaking. The dream was repeated owing to a blind street-musician fiddling on his instrument under the artist’s window.

Coleridge in a like manner composed his poem, "Kublai-Khan," in a dream. On awaking, he found the now-famous lines so vividly impressed upon his mind that he wrote them down. The dream was due to the poet falling asleep in his chair while reading the following words in Purchas’ Pilgrimage: "Here the Khan Kublai commanded a palace to be built . . . enclosed within a wall."

The popular belief, that among the vast number of meaningless dreams there are some in which presages are frequently given of coming events, is shared by many well-informed persons, but not at all by science. Yet there are numberless instances of well-attested dreams which were verified by subsequent events, and which, therefore, may be termed prophetic. The Greek and Latin classics teem with records of remarkable dreams, some of which have become historical. Faith in the spiritual nature of dreaming was as widely disseminated among the Pagan philosophers as among the Christian fathers of the church, nor is belief in soothsaying and interpretations of dreams (oneiromancy) limited to the heathen nations of Asia, since the Bible is full of them. This is what Éliphas Lévi, the great modern Kabalist, says of such divinations, visions and prophetic dreams, in his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (i. 356, 357):

Somnambulism, premonitions and second sight are but a disposition, whether accidental or habitual, to dream, awake, or during a voluntary, self-induced, or yet natural sleep; i.e., to perceive [and guess by intuition] the analogical reflections of the astral light. . . . The paraphernalia and instruments of divinations are simply means for [magnetic] communications between the divinator and him who consults him; they serve to fix and concentrate two wills [bent in the same direction] upon the same sign or object; the queer, complicated, moving figures helping to collect the reflections of the astral fluid. Thus one is enabled at times to see in the grounds of a coffee cup, or in the clouds, in the white of an egg, etc., fantastic forms having their existence only in the translucid [or the seer’s imagination]. Vision-seeing in the water is produced by the fatigue of the dazzled optic nerve, which ends by ceding its functions to the translucid, and calling forth a cerebral illusion, which makes the simple reflections of the astral light appear as real images. Thus the fittest persons for this kind of divination are those of a nervous temperament whose sight is weak and imagination vivid, children being the best of all adapted for it. But let no one misinterpret the nature of the function attributed by us to imagination in the art of divination. We see through our imagination doubtless, and that is the natural aspect of the miracle; but we see actual and true things, and it is in this that lies the marvel of the natural phenomenon. We appeal for corroboration of what we say to the testimony of all the adepts.


*A dream-story from ChambersJournal.
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List of Articles
1888
1890!
African Magic
Ahkoond of Swat
An Astral Prophet
An Unsolved Mystery
Ancient Doctrines Vindicated
Ancient Magic in Modern Science
Animated Statues
Answers to Queries
Antiquity of the Vedas
Apollonius Tyaneus and Simon Magus
Are Chelas "Mediums"?
Are Dreams but Idle Visions?
Arya Samaj
The Babel of Modern Thought
Black Magic in Science
Blessings of Publicity
Bright Spot of Light
Buddhism, Christianity and Phallicism
Buddhism in America
Can the Double Murder?
Can the Mahatmas Be Selfish?
Case of Obsession
Chelas
Chelas and Lay Chelas
Chinese Spirits
Christmas Then and Christmas Now
Civilization, the Death of Art and Beauty
Claims of Occultism
Classification of "Principles"
Count St. Germain
Cross and Fire
Cycle Moveth
Denials and the Mistakes of the Nineteenth Century
Devil's Own-Thoughts on Ormuzd and Ahriman
Diagnoses and Palliatives
Dialogue on the Mysteries of the After Life
Dialogues between the Two Editors
Do the Rishis Exist?
Does Vaccination Prevent Smallpox?
Dr. Beard Criticized
Dreamland and Somnambulism
Drift of Western Spiritualism
Dual Aspect of Wisdomhe
Echoes from India. What is Hindu Spiritualism?
Eddy Manifestations
Editorial Comment
Editorial Appendix
Eighth Wonder
Electric and Magnetic Affinities between Man and Nature
Elementals
Elementaries
Esoteric Axioms and Spiritual Speculations
"Esoteric Buddhism" and its Critic
"Esoteric Buddhism" and the "Secret Doctrine"
Esoteric Character of the Gospels
Fakirs and Tables
Fall of Ideals
Fate of the Occultist
Few Thoughts on Some Wise Words from a Wise Man
Force of Prejudice
Fragments
French View of Women's Rights
Genius
Grand Inquisitor
"H. M." and the Todas
H. P. Blavatsky on Precipitation and Other Matters
H. P. Blavatsky's Masonic Patent
Have Animals Souls?
Hindu Widow-Marriage
History of a "Book"
History of a Planet
Holmes Controversy
Holmes Controversy(continued)
Huxley and Slade
Hypnotism
Hypnotism, and Its Relations to Other Modes of Fascination
Imperfections of Science
Indian Metaphysics
Intro-Version of Mental Vision
Is Creation Possible for Man?
Is Denunciation a Duty?
Is Foeticide a Crime?
"Is it Idle to Argue Further?"
Is Suicide a Crime?
Is the Desire to "Live" Selfish?
Is Theosophy a Religion?
"Isis Unveiled" and the "Theosophist" on Reincarnation
Isis Unveiled and the Vishishtadwaita
"It's the Cat!"
Jews in Russia
Kabalah and the Kabalists
Kabalistic Views of "Spirits"
Karmic Visions
Knout, The. As Wielded by the Great Russian Theosophist
Kosmic Mind
Lack of Unity among Spiritualists
Lamas and Druses
Land of Mystery
Last Song of the Swan
Le Phare de L'Inconnu
Leaven of Theosophy
Leo Tolstoi and His Unecclesiastical Christianity
"Let Every Man Prove His Own Work"
Life and Death
Life Principle
Literary Jottings on Criticism, Authorities, and Other Matters
Lodges of Magic
Logic versus Peripatetic
Madame Blavatsky on "The Himalayan Brothers"
Magic
Mahatmas and Chelas
Memory in the Dying
Mind in Nature
Missing Link
Missionaries Militant
Mistaken Notions on "The Secret Doctrine"
Modern Apostles and Pseudo-Messiahs
Mote and the Beam
Mr. A. Lillie's Delusions
My Books
Mysterious Race
Nature's Human Magnets
Negations of Science
New Cycle
(New) York against Lankester. A new War of the Roses
"Not a Christian"!
Note on Eliphas Levi
Note on "Memory"
Notes on some Aryan-Arhat Esoteric Tenets
Notice to Mediums
Number Seven
Number Seven and Our Society
Occult or Exact Science?
Occult Phenomena
Occultism or Magic
Occultism versus the Occult Arts
Old Hindu Ships
Old Philosophers and Modern Critics
On Pseudo-Theosophy
On The New Year's Morrow
"Oppressed Widowhood" in America
Organisation of the Theosophical Society
Origin of Evil
Our Cycle and the Next
Our Three Objects
Paradoxical World
Parting Words
Persian Zoroastrianism and Russian Vandalism
Pertinent Queries
Pertinent Questions
Philosophers and Philosophicules
Popular Idea of Soul-Survival
Posthumous Publication
Practical Occultism
Pralaya of Modern Science
"Precipitation"
Premature and Phenomenal Growths
Progress and Culture
Protest
Psychic and Noetic Action
Psychic Warning
Psychology - The Science of the Soul
Puzzle from Adyar
Puzzle in "Esoteric Buddhism"
Queries and Answers
Questions Answered about Yoga Vidya
Re-Classification of Principles
Rebuke
Recent Progress in Theosophy
Reincarnations in Tibet
Reply to Our Critics, A. Our Final Answer to Several Objections
Republican Citizen
Retort Courteous
Roots of Ritualism in Church and Masonry
Russian Atrocities
Sacred Tree of Kum Bum
Science of Life
Science of Magic
"Scrutator Again"
Search after Occultism
Seeming "Discrepancies"
Seventeen-Rayed Sun-Disc
She Being Dead Yet Speaketh
Signal of Danger
Signs of the Times
Six-Pointed and Five-Pointed Stars
Society Without a Dogma
Some Scientific Questions Answered
Spiritual Progress
Spiritualism and Occult Truth
Spiritualism and Spiritualists
Spiritualism in Russia
Spiritualistic Tricksters
Star-Angel-Worship in the Roman Catholic Church
Stars and Numbers
Stray Thoughts on Death and Satan
Substantial Nature of Magnetism
Tetragrammaton
Theories about Reincarnation and Spirits
Theory of Cycles
"Theosophical Mahatmas"
Theosophical Society: Its Mission and Its Future
Theosophists and their Opponents
Theosophy and Spiritualism
Theosophy or Jesuitism?
Thoughts of the Dead
Thoughts on the Elementals
Tibetan Teachings
Tidal Wave
"To the Readers of 'Lucifer'"
Todas
Transmigration of the Life Atoms
Trickery or Magic?
Universe in a Nut-Shell
Views of the Theosophists
War in Olympus
Warning to Mediums
Was Cagliostro a "Charlatan"?
Washing the Disciples' Feet
What Are the Theosophists?
What is Occultism?
What is Theosophy?
"What Is Truth?"
What of Phenomena?
What Shall We Do for Our Fellow-Men?
What's in a Name? - Why the Magazine is called "Lucifer"
Which First - the Egg or the Bird?
Why Do Animals Suffer?
Why I Do Not Return to India
Why the "Vahan"?
"Word with Our Friends"
World-Improvement or World-Deliverance
Year is Dead, Long Live the Year
Year of Theosophy
Yoga Philosophy
 
Acknowledgement