"DREAMS are interludes which fancy makes," Dryden tells us—perhaps to show that even a poet will make occasionally his muse subservient to sciolistic prejudice.
The instance of prevision in dream given above [in a letter addressed to The Theosophist] is one of a series of what may be regarded as exceptional cases in dream-life, the generality of dreams being, indeed, but "interludes which fancy makes." It is the policy of materialistic, matter-of-fact science to superbly ignore such exceptions, on the ground, perchance, that the exception confirms the rule—or, we rather think, to avoid the embarrassing task of explaining such exceptions. Indeed, if one single instance stubbornly refuses classification, with "strange coincidences"—so much in favour with sceptics—then prophetic, or verified, dreams would demand an entire remodelling of physiology; as in regard to phrenology, the recognition and acceptance by science of prophetic dreams (hence the recognition of the claims of theosophy and spiritualism) would, it is contended, "carry with it a new educational, social, political, and theological science." Result: Science will never recognize either dreams, spiritualism, or occultism.
Human nature is an abyss, which physiology (and indeed modern science in general) has sounded less deeply than some who have never heard the word physiology pronounced. Never are the high censors of the Royal Society more perplexed than when brought face to face with that insolvable mystery—man's inner nature. The key to it is—man's dual being. It is that key that they refuse to use, well aware that if once the door of the adytum be flung open they will be forced to drop one by one their cherished theories and final conclusions—more than once proved to have been no better than hobbies, starting from false or incomplete premisses. If we must remain satisfied with the half explanations of physiology as regards meaningless dreams, how account in such case for the numerous facts of verified dreams? To say that man is a dual being, that in man (to use the words of Paul) "there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body"; and that, therefore, he must of necessity have a double set of senses—is tantamount in the opinion of the educated sceptic to uttering an unpardonable and most unscientific fallacy. Yet it has to be uttered, science notwithstanding.
Man is undeniably endowed with a double set of senses; with natural or physical senses (these to be safely left to physiology to deal with); and with sub-natural or spiritual senses (belonging entirely to the province of psychological science). The word "sub," let it be well understood, is used here in a sense diametrically opposite to that given to it—in chemistry, for example. In our case it is a prefix, as in "subtonic" or "sub-bass" in music. Indeed, as the aggregate sound of nature is shown to be a single definite tone, a key-note vibrating from and through eternity; having an undeniable existence per se, yet possessing an appreciable pitch only for "the acutely fine ear"*—so the definite harmony or disharmony of man's external nature is seen by the observant to depend wholly on the character of the key-note struck for the outer by the inner man. It is the spiritual Ego or Self that serves as the fundamental base, determining the tone of the whole life of man—that most capricious, uncertain and variable of all instruments, which more than any other needs constant tuning; it is its voice alone, which like the sub-bass of an organ, underlies the melody of his whole life, whether its tones are sweet or harsh, harmonious or wild, legato or pizzicato.
Therefore, we say, man, in addition to the physical, has also a spiritual brain. If the former is wholly dependent for the degree of its receptivity on its own physical structure and development, it is, on the other hand, entirely subordinate to the latter, inasmuch as it is the spiritual Ego alone (according as it leans more towards its two highest principles,† or towards its physical shell) that can impress more or less vividly the outer brain with the perception of things purely spiritual or immaterial. Hence it depends on the acuteness of the mental feelings of the inner Ego, on the degree of spirituality of its faculties, to transfer the impression of the scenes its semi-spiritual brain perceives, the words it hears, and what it feels, to the sleeping physical brain of the outer man. The stronger the spirituality of the faculties of the latter, the easier it will be for the Ego to awake the sleeping hemispheres, rouse into activity the sensory ganglia and the cerebellum, and impress the former (always in full inactivity and rest during the deep sleep of man) with the vivid picture of the subject so transferred. In a sensual, unspiritual man, in one whose mode of life and animal proclivities and passions have entirely disconnected his fifth principle or animal, astral Ego from its higher spiritual soul; as also in him whose hard, physical labour has so worn out the material body as to render him temporarily insensible to the voice and touch of his astral soul—in both cases during sleep the brain remains in a complete state of anæmia or full inactivity. Such persons rarely, if ever, have any dreams at all, least of all "visions that come to pass." In the former, as the waking time approaches, and his sleep becomes lighter, the mental changes as they begin to occur will constitute dreams in which intelligence will play no part; his half-awakened brain suggesting but pictures which are only the hazy grotesque reproductions of his wild habits in life; while in the latter (unless strongly preoccupied with some exceptional thought) his ever-present instinct of active habits will not permit him to remain in that state of semi-sleep during which, as consciousness begins to return, dreams of various kinds are seen, but will arouse him at once without any interlude to full wakefulness. On the other hand, the more spiritual a man, the more active his fancy, the greater is the probability of his receiving in vision correctly the impressions conveyed to him by his all-seeing, ever-wakeful Ego. The spiritual senses of the latter, unimpeded as they are by the interference of the physical senses, are in direct intimacy with his highest spiritual principle. This principle (though per se a quasi-unconscious part of the utterly unconscious, because utterly immaterial, Absolute‡) having in itself the inherent capabilities of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, as soon as its pure essence comes in contact with pure sublimated and (to us) imponderable matter, imparts these attributes in a degree to the as pure astral Ego. Hence highly spiritual persons will see visions and dreams during sleep and even in their hours of wakefulness. These are the sensitives, the natural-born seers, now loosely termed "spiritual mediums," there being no distinction made between a subjective seer, a "neurypnological" subject, and even an adept—one who has made himself independent of his physiological idiosyncracies and has entirely subjected the outer to the inner man. Those less spiritually endowed will see such dreams only at rare intervals; the accuracy of the dreams depending on the intensity of the dreamer's feeling in regard to the perceived object.
Thus, in this question of verified dreams, as in so many others, modern science stands before an unsolved problem, the insolvable nature of which has been created by her own materialistic stubbornness, and her time-cherished routine-policy. For, either man is a dual being, with an inner Ego§—this Ego being the "real" man, distinct from, and independent of, the outer man proportionally to the prevalency or weakness of the material body; an Ego, the scope of whose senses stretches far beyond the limit granted to the physical senses of man; an Ego which survives the decay of its external covering, at least for a time, even when an evil course of life has made it fail to achieve a perfect union with its spiritual higher Self, i.e., to blend its individuality with it (the personality gradually fading out in each case)—or the testimony of millions of men embracing several thousands of years—the evidence furnished in our own century by hundreds of the most educated men, often by the greatest lights of science—all this evidence, we say, goes for naught. With the exception of a handful of scientific authorities—surrounded by an eager crowd of sceptics and sciolists, who, having never seen anything, claim, therefore, the right of denying everything—the world stands condemned as a gigantic lunatic asylum! It has, however, a special department in it. It is reserved for those who, having proved the soundness of their minds, must of necessity be regarded as impostors and liars.
Has then the phenomenon of dreams been so thoroughly studied by materialistic science, that she has nothing more to learn, since she speaks in such authoritative tones upon the subject? Not in the least. The phenomena of sensation and volition, of intellect and instinct, are, of course, all manifested through the channels of the nervous centres, the most important of which is the brain. The peculiar substance through which these actions take place has two forms, the vesicular and the fibrous, of which the latter is held to be simply the propagator of the impressions sent to or from the vesicular matter. Yet while this physiological office is distinguished, or divided by science into three kinds—the motor, sensitive and connecting—the mysterious agency of intellect remains as mysterious and as perplexing to the great modern physiologists as it was in the days of Hippocrates. The scientific suggestion that there may be a fourth series associated with the operations of thought has not helped towards solving the problem; it has failed to shed even the slightest ray of light on the unfathomable mystery. Nor will they ever fathom it unless our men of science accept the hypothesis of Dual Man.
H. P. Blavatsky
* This tone is held by the specialists to be the middle F of the piano.
back to text
† The sixth principle, or spiritual soul, and the seventh—the purely spiritual principle, the Spirit or Parabrahman, the emanation from the unconscious Absolute. (See "Fragments of Occult Truth," Theosophist, October, 1881.)
back to text
‡ To this teaching every kind of exception will be taken by the theists and various objections raised by the spiritualists. It is evident that we cannot be expected to give, within the narrow limits of a short article, a full explanation of this highly abstruse and esoteric doctrine. To say that the Absolute Consciousness is "unconscious" of its consciousness (hence to the limited intellect of man must be "Absolute Unconsciousness") seems like speaking of a square triangle. We hope to develop the proposition more fully in one of the forthcoming numbers of "Fragments of Occult Truth," of which we may publish a series. We will then prove, perhaps, to the satisfaction of the non-prejudiced that the Absolute, or the Unconditioned, and (especially) the Unrelated, is a mere fanciful abstraction, a fiction, unless we view it from the standpoint, and in the light of, the more educated pantheist. To do so, we will have to regard the Absolute merely as the aggregate of all intelligences, the totality of all existences, incapable of manifesting itself except through the interrelationship of its parts, as it is absolutely incognizable and non-existent outside its phenomena. and depends entirely on its ever-correlating forces, dependent in their turn on the One Great Law.
back to text
§ Whether with one solitary Ego, or Soul, as the spiritualists affirm, or with several—i.e., composed of seven principles, as eastern esotericism teaches—is not the question at issue for the present. Let us first prove by bringing our joint experience to bear, that there is in man something beyond Büchner's force and matter.
back to text
CHRISTENDOM sends its missionaries to Heathendom at an expense of millions drained from the pockets of would-be pious folks, who court respectability. Thousands of homeless and penniless old men, women and children are allowed to starve for lack of funds, for the sake, perhaps, of one converted "heathen." All the spare money of the charitable is absorbed by these dead-head travelling agents of the Christian Church. What is the result? Visit the prison cells of so-called Christian lands, crammed with delinquents who have been led on to felony by the weary path of starvation, and you will have the answer.
Read in the daily papers the numerous accounts of executions, and you will find that modern Christianity offers, perhaps unintentionally but none the less surely, a premium for murder and other heinous crimes. Is anyone prepared to deny the assertion? Remember that, while many a respectable unbeliever dies in his bed with the comfortable assurance from his next of kin, and good friends in general, that he is going to hell, the red-handed criminal has but to believe at his eleventh hour that the blood of the Saviour can and will save him, to receive the guarantee of his spiritual adviser that he will find himself when launched into eternity in the bosom of Christ, in heaven, and playing upon the traditional harp. Why, then, should any Christian deny himself the pleasure and profit of robbing, or even murdering, his richer neighbour? And such a doctrine is being promulgated among the heathen at the cost of an annual expenditure of millions.
But, in her eternal wisdom, Nature provides antidotes against moral as well as against mineral and vegetable poisons. There are people who do not content themselves with preaching grandiloquent discourses; they act. If such books as Higgins' Anacalypsis, and that extraordinary work of an anonymous English author—a bishop, it is whispered—entitled Supernatural Religion, cannot awaken responsive echoes among the ignorant masses, other means can be, and are resorted to—means more effectual and which will bring fruit in the future, if hitherto prevented by the crushing hand of ecclesiastical and monarchical despotism. Those whom the written proofs of the fictitious character of biblical authority cannot reach, may be saved by the spoken word. And this work of disseminating the truth among the more ignorant classes is being ardently prosecuted by an army of devoted scholars and teachers, simultaneously in India and America.
The Theosophical Society has been of late so much spoken about; such idle tales have been circulated about it—its members being sworn to secrecy and hitherto unable, even if willing, to proclaim the truth about it—that the public may be gratified to know, at least, about one portion of its work. It is now in organized affiliation with the Ârya Samâj of India, its Western representative, and, so to say, under the order of its chiefs. A younger Society than the Brâhmo Samâj, it was instituted to save the Hindûs from exoteric idolatries, Brâhmanism and Christian missionaries.
The purely Theistic movement connected with the Brâhmo Samâj had its origin in the same idea. It began early in the present century, but spasmodically and with interruption, and only took concrete shape under the leadership of Baboo Keshub Chunder Sen in 1858. Rammohun Roy, who may be termed the combined Fénélon and Thomas Paine of Hindûstan, was its parent, his first church having been organized shortly before his death in 1833. One of the greatest and most acute of controversial writers that our century has produced, his works ought to be translated and circulated in every civilized land. At his death, the work of the Brâhmo Samâj was interrupted. As Miss Collett says, in her Brahmo Year Book for 1878, it was only in October, 1839, that Debendra Nath Tagore founded the Tattvabodhini Sabhâ (or Society for the Knowledge of Truth), which lasted for twenty years, and did much to arouse the energies and form the principles of the young church of the Brâhmo Samâj. But exoteric or open religion as it is now, it must have been conducted at first much on the principles of the secret societies, as we are informed that Keshub Chunder Sen, a resident of Calcutta and a pupil of the Presidency College, who had long before quitted the orthodox Brâhmanical Church and was searching for a purely Theistic religion, " had never heard of the Brâhmo Samâj before 1858" (see The Theistic Annual, 1878, p. 45).
Since then the Brâhmo Samâj, which he then joined, has flourished and become more popular every day. We now find it with Samâjes established in many provinces and cities. At least, we learn that in May, 1877, fifty Samâjes have notified their adhesion to the Society and eight of them have appointed their representatives. Native missionaries of the Theistic religion oppose the Christian missionaries and the orthodox Brâhmans, and the work is going on lively. So much for the Brâhmo movement.
And now, with regard to the Ârya Samâj, The Indian Tribune uses the following language in speaking of its founder:
The first quarter of the sixteenth century was no more an age of reformation in Europe than the one we now live in is, at this moment, in India. From amongst its own "Benedictines," Swamî Dyanand Saraswati has arisen, who, unlike other reformers, does not wish to set up a new religion of his own, but asks his countrymen to go back to the pristine purity and Theism of their Vedic religion. After preaching his views in Bombay, Poona, Calcutta, and the N.-W. Provinces, he came to the Punjab last year, and here it is that he found the most congenial soil.
It was in the land of the five rivers, on the banks of the Indus, that the Vedas were first compiled. It was the Punjab that gave birth to a Nanak. And it is the Punjab that is making such efforts for a revival of Vedic learning and its doctrines, And wherever Swamî Dyanand goes, his splendid physique, his manly bearing, eloquence and his incisive logic bear down all opposition. People rise up and say: We shall remain no longer in this state for ourselves, we have had enough of a crafty priesthood and a demoralizing idolatry, and we shall tolerate them no longer. we shall wipe off the ugliness of ages, and try to shine forth in the original radiance and effulgence of our Âryan ancestors.
The Svamî is a most highly honoured Fellow of the Theosophical Society, takes a deep interest in its proceedings, and The Indian Spectator of Bombay, April 14th, 1878, spoke by the book when it said that the work of Pundit Dyanand "bears intimate relation to the work of the Theosophical Society."
While the members of the Brâhmo Samâj may be designated as the Lutheran Protestants of orthodox Brâhmanism, the disciples of the Svamî Dyanand should be compared to those learned mystics, the Gnostics, who had the key to those earlier writings which, later, were worked over into the Christian gospels and various patristic literature. As the above-named pre-Christian sects understood the true esoteric meaning of the Chrestos allegory, which is now materialized into the Jesus of flesh, so the disciples of the learned and holy Svamî are taught to discriminate between the written form and the spirit of the word preached in the Vedas. And this is the principal point of difference between the Ârya Samâj and the Brâhmos who, as it would seem, believe in a personal God and repudiate the Vedas, while the Âryas see an everlasting Principle, an impersonal Cause in the great "Soul of the universe" rather than a personal being, and accept the Vedas as supreme authority, though not of divine origin. But we may better quote in elucidation of the subject what the President of the Bombay Ârya Samâj, also a Fellow of the Theosophical Society, Mr. Hurrychund Chintamon, says in a recent letter to our Society:
Pundit Dyanand maintains that as it is now universally acknowledged that the Vedas are the oldest books of antiquity, if they contain the truth and nothing but the truth in an unmutilated state, and nothing new can be found in other works of later date, why should we not accept the Vedas as a guide for Humanity? . . . A revealed book or revelation is understood to mean one of two things, viz. (1) a book already written by some invisible hand and thrown into the world; or (2) a work written by one or more men while they were in their highest state of mental lucidity, acquired by profound meditation upon the problems of who man is, whence he came, whither he must go, and by what means he may emancipate himself from worldly delusions and sufferings. The latter hypothesis may be regarded as the more rational and correct.
Our Brother Hurrychund here describes those superior men whom we know as Adepts. He adds:
The ancient inhabitants of a place near Thibet, and adjoining a lake called Mansovara, were first called Deveneggury (Devanâgarî) or godlike people. Their written characters were also called Deveneggury or Balbadha letters. A portion of them migrated to the North and settled there, and afterwards spread towards the South, while others went to the West. All these emigrants styled themselves Âryans, or noble, pure, and good men, as they considered that a pure gift had been made to humanity from the "Pure Alone." These lofty souls were the authors of the Vedas.
What more reasonable than the claim that such Scriptures, emanating from such authors, should contain, for those who are able to penetrate the meaning that lies half concealed under the dead letter, all the wisdom which it is allowed to men to acquire on earth? The Chiefs of the Ârya Samâj discredit "miracles," discountenance superstition and all violation of natural law, and teach the purest form of Vaidic Philosophy. Such are the allies of the Theosophical Society. They have said to us: "Let us work together for the good of mankind," and we will.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.
. . . Commence research where modern conjecture closes its faithless wings (Bulwer's Zanoni).
The flat denial of yesterday has become the scientific axiom of to-day (Common Sense Aphorisms).
THOUSANDS of years ago the Phrygian Dactyls, the initiated priests, spoken of as the "magicians and exorcists of sickness," healed diseases by magnetic processes. It was claimed that they had obtained these curative powers from the powerful breath of Cybele, the many-breasted goddess, the daughter of Cœlus and Terra. Indeed, her genealogy and the myths attached to it show Cybele as the personification and type of the vital essence, whose source was located by the ancients between the Earth and the starry sky, and who was regarded as the very fons vitæ of all that lives and breathes. The mountain air being placed nearer to that fount fortifies health and prolongs man's existence; hence, Cybele's life, as an infant, is shown in her myth as having been preserved on a mountain. This was before that Magna and Bona Dea, the prolific Mater, became transformed into Ceres-Demeter, the patroness of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
Animal magnetism (now called Suggestion and Hypnotism) was the principal agent in theurgic mysteries as also in the Asclepieia--the healing temples of Æsculapius, where the patients once admitted were treated, during the process of "incubation," magnetically, during their sleep.
This creative and life-giving Force--denied and laughed at when named theurgic magic, accused for the last century of being principally based on superstition and fraud, whenever referred to as mesmerism--is now called Hypnotism, Charcotism, Suggestion, "psychology," and what not. But, whatever the expression chosen, it will ever be a loose one if used without a proper qualification. For when epitomized with all its collateral sciences--which are all sciences within the science--it will be found to contain possibilities the nature of which has never been even dreamt of by the oldest and most learned professors of the orthodox physical science. The latter, "authorities" so-called, are no better, indeed, than innocent bald infants, when brought face to face with the mysteries of antediluvian "mesmerism." As stated repeatedly before, the blossoms of magic, whether white or black, divine or infernal, spring all from one root. The "breath of Cybele"--Akâsa tattwa, in India--is the one chief agent, and it underlay the so-called "miracles" and "supernatural" phenomena in all ages, as in every clime. As the parent-root or essence is universal, so are its effects innumerable. Even the greatest adepts can hardly say where its possibilities must stop.
The key to the very alphabet of these theurgic powers was lost after the last gnostic had been hunted to death by the ferocious persecution of the Church; and as gradually Mysteries, Hierophants, Theophany and Theurgy became obliterated from the minds of men until they remained in them only as a vague tradition, all this was finally forgotten. But at the period of the Renaissance, in Germany, a learned Theosophist, a Philosopher per ignem, as they called themselves, rediscovered some of the lost secrets of the Phrygian priests and of the Asclepieia. It was the great and unfortunate physician-Occultist, Paracelsus, the greatest Alchemist of the age. That genius it was, who during the Middle Ages was the first to publicly recommend the action of the magnet in the cure of certain diseases. Theophrastus Paracelsus--the "quack" and "drunken impostor" in the opinion of the said scientific "bald infants" of his day, and of their successors in ours--inaugurated among other things in the seventeenth century, that which has become a profitable branch in trade in the nineteenth. It is he who invented and used for the cure of various muscular and nervous diseases magnetized bracelets, armlets, belts, rings, collars and leglets; only his magnets cured far more efficaciously than do the electric belts of to-day. Van Helmont, the successor of Paracelsus, and Robert Fludd, the Alchemist and Rosicrucian, also applied magnets in the treatment of their patients. Mesmer in the eighteenth, and the Marquis de Puységur in the nineteenth century only followed in their footsteps.
In the large curative establishment founded by Mesmer at Vienna, he employed, besides magnetism, electricity, metals and a variety of woods. His fundamental doctrine was that of the Alchemists. He believed that metals, as also woods and plants have all an affinity with, and bear a close relation to, the human organism. Everything in the Universe has developed from one homogeneous primordial substance differentiated into incalculable species of matter, and everything is destined to return thereinto. The secret of healing, he maintained, lies in the knowledge of correspondences and affinities between kindred atoms. Find that metal, wood, stone, or plant that has the most correspondential affinity with the body of the sufferer; and, whether through internal or external use, that particular agent imparting to the patient additional strength to fight disease--(developed generally through the introduction of some foreign element into the constitution)--and to expel it, will lead invariably to his cure. Many and marvellous were such cures effected by Anton Mesmer. Subjects with heart-disease were made well. A lady of high station, condemned to death, was completely restored to health by the application of certain sympathetic woods. Mesmer himself, suffering from acute rheumatism, cured it completely by using specially-prepared magnets.
In 1774 he too happened to come across the theurgic secret of direct vital transmission; and so highly interested was he, that he abandoned all his old methods to devote himself entirely to the new discovery. Henceforward he mesmerised by gaze and passes, the natural magnets being abandoned. The mysterious effects of such manipulations were called by him--animal magnetism. This brought to Mesmer a mass of followers and disciples. The new force was experimented with in almost every city and town of Europe and found everywhere an actual fact.
About 1780, Mesmer settled in Paris, and soon the whole metropolis, from the Royal family down to the last hysterical bourgeoise, were at his feet. The clergy got frightened and cried--"the Devil"! The licensed "leeches" felt an ever-growing deficit in their pockets; and the aristocracy and the Court found themselves on the verge of madness from mere excitement. No use repeating too well-known facts, but the memory of the reader may be refreshed with a few details he may have forgotten.
It so happened that just about that time the official Academical Science felt very proud. After centuries of mental stagnation in the realm of medicine and general ignorance, several determined steps in the direction of real knowledge had finally been made. Natural sciences had achieved a decided success, and chemistry and physics were on a fair way to progress. As the Savants of a century ago had not yet grown to that height of sublime modesty which characterizes so pre-eminently their modern successors--they felt very much puffed up with their greatness. The moment for praiseworthy humility, followed by a confession of the relative insignificance of the knowledge of the period--and even of modern knowledge for the matter of that--compared to that which the ancients knew, had not yet arrived. Those were days of naive boasting of the peacocks of science displaying in a body their tails, and demanding universal recognition and admiration. The Sir Oracles were not as numerous as they are now, yet their number was considerable. And indeed, had not the Dulcamaras of public fairs been just visited with ostracism? Had not the leeches well nigh disappeared to make room for diploma-ed physicians with royal licenses to kill and bury a piacere ad libitum? Hence, the nodding "Immortal" in his academical chair was regarded as the sole competent authority in the decision of questions he had never studied, and for rendering verdicts about that which he had never heard of. It was the REIGN OF REASON, and of Science--in its teens; the beginning of the great deadly struggle between Theology and Facts, Spirituality and Materialism. In the educated classes of Society too much faith had been succeeded by no faith at all. The cycle of Science-worship had just set in, with its pilgrimages to the Academy, the Olympus where the "Forty Immortals" are enshrined, and its raids upon every one who refused to manifest a noisy admiration, a kind of juvenile calf's enthusiasm, at the door of the Fane of Science. When Mesmer arrived, Paris divided its allegiance between the Church which attributed all kinds of phenomena except its own divine miracles to the Devil, and the Academy, which believed in neither God nor Devil, but only in its own infallible wisdom.
But there were minds which would not be satisfied with either of these beliefs. Therefore, after Mesmer had forced all Paris to crowd to his halls, waiting hours to obtain a place in the chair round the miraculous baquet, some people thought that it was time real truth should be found out. They had laid their legitimate desires at the royal feet, and the King forthwith commanded his learned Academy to look into the matter. Then it was, that awakening from their chronic nap, the "Immortals" appointed a committee of investigation, among which was Benjamin Franklin, and chose some of the oldest, wisest and baldest among their "Infants" to watch over the Committee. This was in 1784. Every one knows what was the report of the latter and the final decision of the Academy. The whole transaction looks now like a general rehearsal of the play, one of the acts of which was performed by the "Dialectical Society" of London and some of England's greatest Scientists, some eighty years later.
Indeed, notwithstanding a counter report by Dr. Jussieu, an Academician of the highest rank, and the Court physician D'Eslon, who, as eye-witnesses to the most striking phenomena, demanded that a careful investigation should be made by the Medical Faculty of the therapeutic effects of the magnetic fluid--their demand fell through. The Academy disbelieved her most eminent Scientists. Even Sir B. Franklin, so much at home with cosmic electricity, would not recognize its fountain head and primordial source, and along with Bailly, Lavoisier, Magendie, and others, proclaimed Mesmerism a delusion. Nor had the second investigation which followed the first--namely in 1825--any better results. The report was once more squashed (vide "Isis Unveiled," vol. i, pp. 171-176).
Even now when experiment has amply demonstrated that "Mesmerism" or animal magnetism, now known as hypnotism (a sorry effect, forsooth, of the "Breath of Cybele") is a fact, we yet get the majority of scientists denying its actual existence. Small fry as it is in the majestic array of experimental psycho-magnetic phenomena, even hypnotism seems too incredible, too mysterious, for our Darwinists and Hæckelians. One needs too much moral courage, you see, to face the suspicion of one's colleagues, the doubt of the public, and the giggling of fools. "Mystery and charlatanism go hand in hand," they say; and "self-respect and the dignity of the profession," as Magendie remarks in his Physiologie Humaine, "demand that the well informed physician should remember how readily mystery glides into charlatanism." Pity the "well informed physician" should fail to remember that physiology among the rest is full of mystery--profound, inexplicable mystery from A to Z--and ask whether, starting from the above "truism," he should not throw overboard Biology and Physiology as the greatest pieces of charlatanry in modern Science. Nevertheless, a few in the well-meaning minority of our physicians have taken up seriously the investigation of hypnotism. But even they, having been reluctantly compelled to confess the reality of its phenomena, still persist in seeing in such manifestations no higher a factor at work than the purely material and physical forces, and deny these their legitimate name of animal magnetism. But as the Rev. Mr. Haweis (of whom more presently) just said in the Daily Graphic . . . "The Charcot phenomena are, for all that, in many ways identical with the mesmeric phenomena, and hypnotism must properly be considered rather as a branch of mesmerism than as something distinct from it. Anyhow, Mesmer's facts, now generally accepted, were at first stoutly denied." And they are still so denied.
But while they deny Mesmerism, they rush into Hypnotism, despite the now scientifically recognised dangers of this science, in which medical practitioners in France are far ahead of the English. And what the former say is, that between the two states of mesmerism (or magnetism as they call it, across the water) and hypnotism "there is an abyss." That one is beneficent, the other maleficent, as it evidently must be; since, according to both Occultism and modern Psychology, hypnotism is produced by the withdrawal of the nervous fluid from the capillary nerves, which being, so to say, the sentries that keep the doors of our senses opened, getting anæsthetized under hypnotic conditions, allow these to get closed. A. H. Simonin reveals many a wholesome truth in his excellent work, "Solution du problème de la suggestion hypnotique."1 Thus he shows that while "in Magnetism (mesmerism) there occurs in the subject a great development of moral faculties"; that his thoughts and feelings "become loftier, and the senses acquire an abnormal acuteness"; in hypnotism, on the contrary, "the subject becomes a simple mirror." It is Suggestion which is the true motor of every action in the hypnotic: and if, occasionally, "seemingly marvellous actions are produced, these are due to the hypnotiser, not to the subject." Again . . . . "In hypnotism instinct, i.e., the animal, reaches its greatest development; so much so, indeed, that the aphorism 'extremes meet' can never receive a better application than to magnetism and hypnotism." How true these words, also, as to the difference between the mesmerised and the hypnotised subjects. "In one, his ideal nature, his moral self--the reflection of his divine nature--are carried to their extreme limits, and the subject becomes almost a celestial being (un ange). In the other, it is his instincts which develop in a most surprising fashion. The hypnotic lowers himself to the level of the animal. From a physiological standpoint, magnetism (Mesmerism) is comforting and curative, and hypnotism, which is but the result of an unbalanced state, is--most dangerous."
Thus the adverse Report drawn by Bailly at the end of last century has had dire effects in the present, but it had its Karma also. Intended to kill the "Mesmeric" craze, it reacted as a death-blow to the public confidence in scientific decrees. In our day the Non-Possumus of the Royal Colleges and Academies is quoted on the Stock Exchange of the world's opinion at a price almost as low as the Non-Possumus of the Vatican. The days of authority whether human or divine, are fast gliding away; and we see already gleaming on future horizons but one tribunal, supreme and final, before which mankind will bow--the Tribunal of Fact and Truth.
Aye, to this tribunal without appeal even liberal clergymen and famous preachers make obeisance in our day. The parts have now changed hands, and in many instances it is the successors of those who fought tooth and nail for the reality of the Devil and his direct interference with psychic phenomena, for long centuries, who come out publicly to upbraid science. A remarkable instance of this is found in an excellent letter (just mentioned) by the Rev. Mr. Haweis to the Graphic. The learned preacher seems to share our indignation at the unfairness of the modern scientists, at their suppression of truth, and ingratitude to their ancient teachers. His letter is so interesting that its best points must be immortalized in our magazine. Here are some fragments of it. Thus he asks:--
Why can't our scientific men say: "We have blundered about Mesmerism; it's practically true"? Not because they are men of science, but simply because they are human. No doubt it is humiliating when you have dogmatised in the name of science to say, "I was wrong." But is it not more humiliating to be found out; and is it not most humiliating, after shuffling and wriggling hopelessly in the inexorable meshes of serried facts, to collapse suddenly, and call the hated net a "suitable enclosure," in which forsooth, you don't mind being caught? Now this, as it seems to me, is precisely what Messrs. Charcot and the French hypnotists and their medical admirers in England are doing. Ever since Mesmer's death at the age of eighty, in 1815, the French and English "Faculty," with some honorable exceptions, have ridiculed and denied the facts as well as the theories of Mesmer, but now, in 1890, a host of scientists suddenly agree, while wiping out as best they may the name of Mesmer, to rob him of all his phenomena, which they quietly appropriate under the name of "hypnotism," "suggestion," "Therapeutic Magnetism," "psychopathic Massage," and all the rest of it. Well, "What's in a name?"
I care more for things than names, but I reverence the pioneers of thought who have been cast out, trodden under foot, and crucified by the orthodox of all ages, and I think the least scientists can do for men like Mesmer, Du Potet, Puységur, or Mayo and Elliotson, now they are gone, is to "build their sepulchres."
But Mr. Haweis might have added instead, the amateur Hypnotists of Science dig with their own hands the graves of many a man and woman's intellect; they enslave and paralyse freewill in their "subjects," turn immortal men into soulless, irresponsible automata, and vivisect their souls with as much unconcern as they vivisect the bodies of rabbits and dogs. In short, they are fast blooming into "sorcerers," and are turning science into a vast field of black magic. The rev. writer, however, lets the culprits off easily; and, remarking that he accepts "the distinction" [between Mesmerism and Hypnotism] "without pledging himself to any theory," he adds:--
I am mainly concerned with the facts, and what I want to know is why these cures and abnormal states are trumpeted about as modern discoveries, while the "faculty" still deride or ignore their great predecessors without having themselves a theory which they can agree upon or a single fact which can be called new. The truth is we are just blundering back with toil to work over again the old disused mines of the ancients; the rediscovery of these occult sciences is exactly matched by the slow recovery of sculpture and painting in modern Europe. Here is the history of occult science in a nutshell. (1) Once known. (2) Lost. (3) Rediscovered. (4) Denied. (5) Reaffirmed, and by slow degrees, under new names, victorious. The evidence for all this is exhaustive and abundant. Here it may suffice to notice that Diodorus Siculus mentions how the Egyptian priests, ages before Christ, attributed clairvoyance induced for therapeutic purposes to Isis. Strabo ascribes the same to Serapis, while Galen mentions a temple near Memphis famous for these Hypnotic cures. Pythagoras, who won the confidence of the Egyptian priests, is full of it. Aristophanes in "Plutus" describes in some detail a Mesmeric cure--"and first he began to handle the head." Cælius Aurelianus describes manipulations (1569) for disease "conducting the hands from the superior to the inferior parts"; and there was an old Latin proverb--Ubi dolor ibi digitus, "Where pain there finger." But time would fail me to tell of Paracelsus (1462)2 and his "deep secret of Magnetism"; of Van Helmont (1644)3 and his "faith in the power of the hand in disease." Much in the writings of both these men was only made clear to the moderns by the experiments of Mesmer, and in view of modern Hypnotists it is clearly with him and his disciples that we have chiefly to do. He claimed, no doubt, to transmit an animal magnetic fluid, which I believe the Hypnotists deny.
They do, they do. But so did the scientists with regard to more than one truth. To deny "an animal magnetic fluid" is surely no more absurd than to deny the circulation of the blood, as they have so energetically done.
A few additional details about Mesmerism given by Mr. Haweis may prove interesting. Thus he reminds us of the answer written by the much wronged Mesmer to the Academicians after their unfavorable Report, and refers to it as "prophetic words."
"You say that Mesmer will never hold up his head again. If such is the destiny of the man it is not the destiny of the truth, which is in its nature imperishable, and will shine forth sooner or later in the same or some other country with more brilliancy than ever, and its triumph will annihilate its miserable detractors." Mesmer left Paris in disgust, and retired to Switzerland to die; but the illustrious Dr. Jussieu became a convert. Lavater carried Mesmer's system to Germany, while Puységur and Deleuze spread it throughout provincial France, forming innumerable "harmonic societies" devoted to the study of therapeutic magnetism and its allied phenomena of thought-transference, hypnotism, and clairvoyance.
Some twenty years ago I became acquainted with perhaps the most illustrious disciple of Mesmer, the aged Baron du Potet.4 Round this man's therapeutic and mesmeric exploits raged, between 1830 and 1846, a bitter controversy throughout France. A murderer had been tracked, convicted, and executed solely on evidence supplied by one of Du Potet's clairvoyantes. The Juge de Paix admitted thus much in open court. This was too much for even sceptical Paris, and the Academy determined to sit again and, if possible, crush out the superstition. They sat, but, strange to say, this time they were converted. Itard, Fouquier, Guersent, Bourdois de la Motte, the cream of the French faculty, pronounced the phenomena of mesmerism to be genuine--cures, trances, clairvoyance, thought-transference, even reading from closed books; and from that time an elaborate nomenclature was invented, blotting out as far as possible the detested names of the indefatigable men who had compelled the scientific assent, while enrolling the main facts vouched for by Mesmer, Du Potet, and Puységur among the undoubted phenomena to be accepted, on whatever theory, by medical science....
Then comes the turn of this foggy island and its befogged scientists. "Meanwhile," goes on the writer,
England was more stubborn. In 1846 the celebrated Dr. Elliot son, a popular practitioner, with a vast clientele, pronounced the famous Harveian oration, in which he confessed his belief in Mesmerism. He was denounced by the doctors with such thorough results that he lost his practice, and died well-nigh ruined, if not heart-broken. The Mesmeric Hospital in Marylebone Road has been established by him. Operations were successfully performed under Mesmerism, and all the phenomena which have lately occurred at Leeds and elsewhere to the satisfaction of the doctors were produced in Marylebone fifty-six years ago. Thirty-five years ago Professor Lister did the same--but the introduction of chloroform being more speedy and certain as an anæsthetic, killed for a time the mesmeric treatment. The public interest in Mesmerism died down, and the Mesmeric Hospital in the Marylebone Road, which had been under a cloud since the suppression of Elliotson, was at last closed. Lately we know what has been the fate of Mesmer and Mesmerism. Mesmer is spoken of in the same breath with Count Cagliostro, and Mesmerism itself is seldom mentioned at all; but, then, we hear plenty of electro-biology, therapeutic magnetism and hypnotism--just so. Oh, shades of Mesmer, Puységur, Du Potet, Elliotson--sic vos non vobis. Still, I say Palmam qui meruit ferat. When I knew Baron du Potet he was on the brink of the grave, and nearly eighty years old. He was an ardent admirer of Mesmer; he had devoted his whole life to therapeutic magnetism, and he was absolutely dogmatic on the point that a real magnetic aura passed from the Mesmerist to the patient. "I will show you this," he said one day, as we both stood by the bedside of a patient in so deep a trance that we ran needles into her hands and arms without exciting the least sign or movement. The old Baron continued: "I will, at the distance of a foot or two, determine slight convulsions in any part of her body by simply moving my hand above the part, without any contact." He began at the shoulder, which soon set up a twitching. Quiet being restored, he tried the elbow, then the wrist, then the knee, the convulsions increasing in intensity according to the time employed. "Are you quite satisfied?" I said, "Quite satisfied"; and, continued he, "any patient that I have tested I will undertake to operate upon through a brick wall at a time and place where the patient shall be ignorant of my presence or my purpose. This," added Du Potet, "was one of the experiences which most puzzled the Academicians at Paris. I repeated the experiment again and again under every test and condition, with almost invariable success, until the most sceptical was forced to give in."
We have accused science of gliding full sail down to the Maëlström of Black Magic, by practising that which ancient Psychology--the most important branch of the Occult Sciences--has always declared as Sorcery in its application to the inner man. We are prepared to maintain what we say. We mean to prove it one of these days, in some future articles, basing ourselves on facts published and the actions produced by the Hypnotism of Vivisectionists themselves. That they are unconscious sorcerers does not make away with the fact that they do practice the Black Art bel et bien. In short the situation is this. The minority of the learned physicians and other scientists experiment in "hypnotism" because they have come to see something in it; while the majority of the members of the R.C.P.'s still deny the actuality of animal magnetism in its mesmeric form, even under its modern mask--hypnotism. The former--entirely ignorant of the fundamental laws of animal magnetism--experiment at hap-hazard, almost blindly. To remain consistent with their declarations (a) that hypnotism is not mesmerism, and (b) that a magnetic aura or fluid passing from the mesmeriser (or hypnotiser) is pure fallacy--they have no right, of course, to apply the laws of the older to the younger science. Hence they interfere with, and awaken to action the most dangerous forces of nature, without being aware of it. Instead of healing diseases--the only use to which animal magnetism under its new name can be legitimately applied--they often inoculate the subjects with their own physical as well as mental ills and vices. For this, and the ignorance of their colleagues of the minority, the disbelieving majority of the Sadducees are greatly responsible. For, by opposing them, they impede free action, and take advantage of the Hypocratic oath, to make them powerless to admit and do much that the believers might and would otherwise do. But as Dr. A. Teste truly says in his work--"There are certain unfortunate truths which compromise those who believe in them, and those especially who are so candid as to avow them publicly." Thus the reason of hypnotism not being studied on its proper lines is self-evident.
Years ago it was remarked: "It is the duty of the Academy and medical authorities to study Mesmerism (i.e., the occult sciences in its spirit) and to subject it to trials; finally, to take away the use and practice of it from persons quite strangers to the art, who abuse this means, and make it an object of lucre and speculation." He who uttered this great truth was "the voice speaking in the desert." But those having some experience in occult psychology would go further. They would say it is incumbent on every scientific body--nay, on every government--to put an end to public exhibitions of this sort. By trying the magic effect of the human will on weaker wills, by deriding the existence of occult forces in Nature--forces whose name is legion--and yet calling out these, under the pretext that they are no independent forces at all, not even psychic in their nature, but "connected with known physical laws" (Binet and Féré), men in authority are virtually responsible for all the dire effects that are and will be following their dangerous public experiments. Verily Karma--the terrible but just Retributive Law--will visit all those who develop the most awful results in the future, generated at those public exhibitions for the amusement of the profane. Let them only think of dangers bred, of new forms of diseases, mental and physical, begotten by such insane handling of psychic will! This is as bad on the moral plane as the artificial introduction of animal matter into the human blood, by the infamous Brown Sequard method, is on the physical. They laugh at the occult sciences and deride Mesmerism? Yet this century will not have passed away before they have undeniable proofs that the idea of a crime suggested for experiment's sake is not removed by a reversed current of the will as easily as it is inspired. They may learn that if the outward expression of the idea of a misdeed "suggested" may fade out at the will of the operator, the active living germ artificially implanted does not disappear with it; that once dropped into the seat of the human--or, rather, the animal--passions, it may lie dormant there for years sometimes, to become suddenly awakened by some unforeseen circumstance into realisation. Crying children frightened into silence by the suggestion of a monster, a devil standing in the corner, by a foolish nurse, have been known to become insane twenty or thirty years later on the same subject. There are mysterious, secret drawers, dark nooks and hiding-places in the labyrinth of our memory, still unknown to physiologists, and which open only once, rarely twice, in man's lifetime, and that only under very abnormal and peculiar conditions. But when they do, it is always some heroic deed committed by a person the least calculated for it, or--a terrible crime perpetrated, the reason for which remains for ever a mystery. . . .
Thus experiments in "suggestion" by persons ignorant of the occult laws, are the most dangerous of pastimes. The action and reaction of ideas on the inner lower "Ego," has never been studied so far, because that Ego itself is terra incognita (even when not denied) to the men of science. Moreover, such performances before a promiscuous public are a danger in themselves. Men of undeniable scientific education who experiment on Hypnotism in public, lend thereby the sanction of their names to such performances. And then every unworthy speculator acute enough to understand the process may, by developing by practice and perseverance the same force in himself, apply it to his own selfish, often criminal, ends. Result on Karmic lines: every Hypnotist, every man of Science, however well-meaning and honorable, once he has allowed himself to become the unconscious instructor of one who learns but to abuse the sacred science, becomes, of course, morally the confederate of every crime committed by this means.
Such is the consequence of public "Hypnotic" experiments which thus lead to, and virtually are, BLACK MAGIC.
H. P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, June, 1890
1See the review of his work in the Journal du Magnetisme, Mai, Juin, 1890, founded in 1845 by Baron du Potet, and now edited by H. Durville, in Paris.
back to text
2 This date is an error. Paracelsus was born at Zurich in 1493.
back to text
3 This is the date of Van Helmont's death; he was born in 1577.
back to text
4 Baron du Potet was for years Honorary member of the Theosophical Society. Autograph letters were received from him and preserved at Adyar, our Headquarters, in which he deplores the flippant unscientific way in which Mesmerism (then on the eve of becoming the "hypnotism" of science) was handled "par les charlatans du jour." Had he lived to see the secret science in its full travesty as hypnotism, his powerful voice might have stopped its terrible present abuses and degradation into a commercial Punch and Judy show. Luckily for him, and unluckily for truth, the greatest adept of Mesmerism in Europe of this century--is dead.
back to text
O ye Lords of Truth
who are cycling in eternity . .
save me from the annihilation in this
Region of the Two Truths
Egyptian "Ritual of the Dead"
THAT the world moves in cycles, and events repeat themselves therein, is an old, yet ever new truism. It is new to most, firstly, because it belongs to a distinct group of occult aphorisms in partibus infidelium, and our present-day Rabbis and Pharisees will accept nothing coming from that Nazareth; secondly, because those who will swallow a camel of whatever size, provided it hails from orthodox or accepted authorities, will strain and kick at the smallest gnat, if only its buzz comes from theosophical regions. Yet this proposition about the world cycles and ever-recurring events, is a very correct one. It is one, moreover, that people could easily verify for themselves. Of course, the people meant here are men who do their own thinking; not those others who are satisfied to remain, from birth till death, pinned, like a thistle fastened to the coat-tail of a country parson, to the beliefs and thoughts of the goody-goody majority.
We cannot agree with a writer (was it Gilpin?) who said that the grandest truths are often rejected, "not so much for want of direct evidence, as for want of inclination to search for it." This applies but to a few. Nine-tenths of the people will reject the most overwhelming evidence, even if it be brought to them without any trouble to themselves, only because it happens to clash with their personal interests or prejudices; especially if it comes from unpopular quarters. We are living in a highly moral atmosphere, high sounding--in words. Put to the test of practice, however, the morality of this age in point of genuineness and reality is of the nature of the black skin of the "negro" minstrel: assumed for show and pay, and washed off at the close of every performance. In sober truth, our opponents--advocates of official science, defenders of orthodox religion, and the tutti quanti of the detractors of Theosophy--who claim to oppose our works on grounds of scientific "evidence," "public good and truth," strongly resemble advocates in our courts of law--miscalled of justice. These in their defence of robbers and murderers, forgers and adulterers, deem it to be their duty to browbeat, confuse and bespatter all who bear witness against their clients, and will ignore, or if possible, suppress, all evidence which goes to incriminate them. Let ancient Wisdom step into the witness-box herself, and prove that the goods found in the possession of the prisoner at the bar, were taken from her own strong-box; and she will find herself accused of all manner of crimes, fortunate if she escape being branded as a common fraud, and told that she is no better than she should be.
What member of our Society can wonder then, that in this our age, pre-eminently one of shams and shows, the "theosophists'" teachings so (mis-) called, seem to be the most unpopular of all the systems now to the fore; or that materialism and theology, science and modern philosophy, have arrayed themselves in holy alliance against theosophical studies--perhaps because all the former are based on chips and broken-up fragments of that primordial system. Cotton complains somewhere, that the "metaphysicians have been learning their lesson for the last four (?) thousand years," and that "it is now high time that they should begin to teach something." But, no sooner is the possibility of such studies offered, with the complete evidence into the bargain that they belong to the oldest doctrine of the metaphysical philosophy of mankind, than, instead of giving them a fair hearing at least, the majority of the complainers turn away with a sneer and the cool remark: "Oh, you must have invented all you say yourself!"
Dear ladies and gentlemen, has it ever occurred to you, how truly grand and almost divine would be that man or woman, who, at this time of the life of mankind, could invent anything, or discover that which had not been invented and known ages before? The charge of being such an inventor would only entitle the accused to the choicest honours. For show us, if you can, that mortal who in the historical cycle of our human race has taught the world something entirely new. To the proud pretensions of this age, Occultism--the real Eastern Occultism, or the so-called Esoteric Doctrine--answers through its ablest students: Indeed all your boasted knowledge is but the reflex action of the by-gone Past. At best, you are but the modern popularisers of very ancient ideas. Consciously and unconsciously you have pilfered from old classics and philosophers, who were themselves but the superficial recorders--cautious and incomplete, owing to the terrible penalties for divulging the secrets of initiation taught during the mysteries--of the primæval Wisdom. Avaunt! your modern. sciences and speculations are but the réchauffé dishes of antiquity; the dead bones (served with a sauce piquante of crass materialism, to disguise them) of the intellectual repasts of the gods. Ragon was right in saying in his Maçonnerie Occulte, that "Humanity only seems to progress in achieving one discovery after the other, a sin truth, it only finds that which it had lost. Most of our modern inventions for which we claim such glory, are, after all, things people were acquainted with three and four thousand years back.1 Lost to us through wars, floods and fire, their very existence became obliterated from the memory of man. And now modern thinkers begin to rediscover them once more."
Allow us to recapitulate a few of such things and thus refresh your memory.
Deny, if you can, that the most important of our present sciences were known to the ancients. It is not Eastern literature only, and the whole cycle of those esoteric teachings which an overzealous Christian Kabalist, in France, has just dubbed "the accursed sciences"--that will give you a flat denial, but profane classical literature, as well. The proof is easy.
Are not physics and natural sciences but an amplified reproduction of the works of Anaxagoras, of Empedocles, Democritus and others? All that is taught now, was taught by these philosophers then. For they maintained--even in the fragments of their works still extant--that the Universe is composed of eternal atoms which, moved by a subtle internal Fire, combine in millions of various ways. With them, this "Fire" was the divine Breath of the Universal Mind, but now, it has become with the modern philosophers no better than a blind and senseless Force. Furthermore they taught that there was neither Life nor Death, but only a constant destruction of form, produced by perpetual physical transformations. This has now become by intellectual transformation, that which is known as the physical correlation of forces, conservation of energy, law of continuity, and what not, in the vocabulary of modern Science. But "what's in a name," or in new-fangled words and compound terms, once that the identity of the essential ideas is established?
Was not Descartes indebted for his original theories to the old Masters, to Leucippus and Democritus, Lucretius, Anaxagoras and Epicurus? These taught that the celestial bodies were formed of a multitude of atoms, whose vortical motion existed from eternity; which met, and, rotating together, the heaviest were drawn to the centres, the lightest to the circumferences; each of these concretions was carried away in a fluidic matter, which, receiving from this rotation an impulse, the stronger communicated it to the weaker concretions. This seems a tolerably close description of the Cartesian theory of Elemental Vortices taken from Anaxagoras and some others; and it does look most suspiciously like the "vortical atoms" of Sir W. Thomson!
Even Sir Isaac Newton, the greatest among the great, is found constantly mirroring a dozen or so of old philosophers. In reading his works one sees floating in the air the pale images of the same Anaxagoras and Democritus, of Pythagoras, Aristotle, Timæus of Locris, Lucretius, Macrobius, and even our old friend Plutarch. All these have maintained one or the other of these propositions, (1) that the smallest of the particles of matter would be sufficient--owing to its infinite divisibility--to fill infinite space; (2) that there exist two Forces emanated from the Universal Soul, combined in numerical proportions (the centripetal and centrifugal "forces," of the latter day scientific saints); (3) that there was a mutual attraction of bodies, which attraction causes the latter to, what we now call, gravitate and keeps them within their respective spheres; (4) they hinted most unmistakably at the relation existing between the weight and the density, or the quantity of matter contained in a unit of mass; and (5) taught that the attraction (gravitation) of the planets toward the Sun is in reciprocal proportion to their distance from that luminary.
Finally, is it not a historical fact that the rotation of the Earth and the heliocentric system were taught by Pythagoras--not to speak of Hicetas, Heraclides, Ecphantus, &c.,--over 2,000 years before the despairing and now famous cry of Galileo, "E pur, se muove"? Did not the priests of Etruria and the Indian Rishis still earlier, know how to attract lightning, ages upon ages before even the astral Sir B. Franklin was formed in space? Euclid is honoured to this day--perhaps, because one cannot juggle as easily with mathematics and figures, as with symbols and words bearing on unprovable hypotheses. Archimedes had probably forgotten more in his day, than our modern mathematicians, astronomers, geometricians, mechanicians, hydrostaticians and opticians ever knew. Without Archytas, the disciple of Pythagoras, the application of the theory of mathematics to practical purposes would, perchance, remain still unknown to our grand era of inventions and machinery. Needless to remind the reader of that which the Aryans knew, as it is already recorded in the Theosophist and other works obtainable in India.
Wise was Solomon in saying that "there is no new thing under the Sun"; and that everything that is "hath been already of old time, which was before us"--save, perhaps, the theosophical doctrines which the humble writer of the present is charged by some with having" invented." The prime origin of this (very complimentary) accusation is due to the kind efforts of the S. P. R. It is the more considerate and kind of this "world famous, and learned Society" of "Researches," as its scribes seem utterly incapable of inventing anything original themselves--even in the way of manufacturing a commonplace illustration. If the inquisitive reader turns to the article which follows, he will have the satisfaction of finding a curious proof of this fact, in a reprint from old Izaak Walton's Lives, which our contributor has entitled "Mrs. Donne's Astral Body." Thus even the scientifically accurate Cambridge Dons are not, it seems, above borrowing from an ancient book; and not only fail to acknowledge the debt, but even go to the trouble of presenting it to the public as new original matter, without even the compliment of inverted commas. And thus--all along.
In short, it may be said of the scientific theories, that those which are true are not new; and those which are new--are not true, or are at least, very dubious. It is easy to hide behind "merely working hypotheses," but less easy to maintain their plausibility in the face of logic and philosophy. To make short work of a very big subject, we have but to institute a brief comparison between the old and the new teachings. That which modern science would make us believe, is this: the atoms possess innate and immutable properties. That which Esoteric, and also exoteric, Eastern philosophy calls divine Spirit Substance (Purusha Prakriti) or eternal Spirit-matter, one inseparable from the other, modern Science calls Force and Matter, adding as we do (for it is a Vedantic conception), that, the two being inseparable, matter is but an abstraction (an illusion rather). The properties of matter are, by the Eastern Occultists, summed up in, or brought down to, attraction and repulsion; by the Scientists, to gravitation and affinities. According to this teaching, the properties of complex combinations are but the necessary results of the composition of elementary properties; the most complex existences being the physico-chemical automata, called men. Matter from being primarily scattered and inanimate, begets life, sensation, emotions and will, after a whole series of consecutive "gropings." The latter non-felicitous expression (belonging to Mr. Tyndall), forced the philosophical writer, Delboeuf2, to criticize the English Scientist in very disrespectful terms, and forces us in our turn, to agree with the former. Matter, or anything equally conditioned, once that it is declared to be subject to immutable laws, cannot "grope." But this is a trifle when compared with dead or inanimate matter, producing life, and even psychic phenomena of the highest mentality! Finally, a rigid determinism reigns over all nature. All that which has once happened to our automatical Universe, had to happen, as the future of that Universe is traced in the smallest of its particles or "atoms." Return these atoms, they say, to the same position and order they were in at the first moment of the evolution of the physical Kosmos, and the same universal phenomena will be repeated in precisely the same order, and the Universe will once more return to its present conditions. To this, logic and philosophy answer that it cannot be so, as the properties of the particles vary and are changeable. If the atoms are eternal and matter indestructible, these atoms can never have been born; hence, they can have nothing innate in them. Theirs is the one homogeneous (and we add divine) substance, while compound molecules receive their properties, at the beginning of the life cycles or manvantaras, from within without. Organisms cannot have been developed from dead or inanimate matter, as, firstly, such matter does not exist, and secondly, philosophy proving it conclusively, the Universe is not "subjected to fatality." As Occult Science teaches that the universal process of differentiation begins anew after every period of Maha-pralaya, there is no reason to think that it would slavishly and blindly repeat itself. Immutable laws last only from the incipient to the last stage of the universal life, being simply the effects of primordial, intelligent and entirely free action. For Theosophists, as also for Dr. Pirogoff, Delboeuf and many a great independent modern thinker, it is the Universal (and to us impersonal because infinite) Mind, which is the true and primordial Demiurge.
What better illustrates the theory of cycles, than the following fact? Nearly 700 years B.C., in the schools of Thales and Pythagoras, was taught the doctrine of the true motion of the earth, its form and the whole heliocentric system. And in 317 A.D. Lactantius, the preceptor of Crispus Cæsar, the son of the Emperor Constantine, is found teaching his pupil that the earth was a plane surrounded by the sky, itself composed of fire and water! Moreover, the venerable Church Father warned his pupil against the heretical doctrine of the earth's globular form, as the Cambridge and Oxford "Father Dons" warn their students now, against the pernicious and superstitious doctrines of Theosophy--such as Universal Mind, Re-incarnation and so on. There is a resolution tacitly accepted by the members of the T. S. for the adoption of a proverb of King Solomon, paraphrased for our daily use: "A scientist is wiser in his own conceit than seven Theosophists that can render a reason." No time, therefore, should be lost in arguing with them; but no endeavour, on the other hand, should be neglected to show up their mistakes and blunders. The scientific conceit of the Orientalists--especially of the youngest branch of these--the Assyriologists and the Egyptologists--is indeed phenomenal. Hitherto, some credit was given to the ancients-- to their philosophers and Initiates, at any rate--of knowing a few things that the moderns could not rediscover. But now even the greatest Initiates are represented to the public as fools. Here is an instance. On pages 15, 16 and 17 (Introduction) in the Hibbert Lectures of 1887 by Prof. Sayce, on The Ancient Babylonians, the reader is brought face to face with a conundrum that may well stagger the unsophisticated admirer of modern learning. Complaining of the difficulties and obstacles that meet the Assyriologist at every step of his studies; after giving "the dreary catalogue" of the formidable struggles of the interpreter to make sense of the inscriptions from broken fragments of clay tiles; the Professor goes on to confess that the scholar who has to read these cuneiform characters, is often likely "to put a false construction upon isolated passages, the context of which must be supplied from conjecture" (p. 14). Notwithstanding all this, the learned lecturer places the modern Assyriologist higher than the ancient Babylonian Initiate, in the knowledge of symbols and his own religion!
The passage deserves to be quoted in toto:
It is true that many of the sacred texts were so written as to be intelligible only to the initiated; but the initiated were provided with keys and glosses, many of which are in our hands(?) . . . We can penetrate into the real meaning of documents which to him (the ordinary Babylonian) were a sealed book. Nay, more than this, the researches that have been made during the last half-century into the creed and beliefs of the nations of the world both past and present, have given us a clue to the interpretation of these documents which even the initiated priests did not possess.
The above (the italics being our own) may be better appreciated when thrown into a syllogistic form.
Major premise: The ancient Initiates had keys and glosses to their esoteric texts, of which they were the INVENTORS.
Minor premise: Our Orientalists have many of these keys.
Conclusion: Ergo, the Orientalists have a clue which the Initiates themselves did not possess!!
Into what were the Initiates, in such a case, initiated?--and who invented the blinds, we ask.
Few Orientalists could answer this query. We are more generous, however; and may show in our next that, into which our modest Orientalists have never yet been initiated--all their alleged "clues" to the contrary.
Go to, let us go down and there confound their
language that they may not understand
one another's speech . . . Genesis xi
HAVING done with modern physical Sciences we next turn to Western philosophies and religions. Every one of these is equally based upon, and derives its theories and doctrines from heathen, and moreover, exoteric thought. This can easily be traced from Schopenhauer and Mr. Herbert Spencer, down to Hypnotism and so-called "Mental Science." The German philosophers modernize Buddhism; the English are inspired by Vedantism; while the French, borrowing from both, add to them Plato, in a Phrygian cap, and occasionally, as with Auguste Comte, the weird sex-worship or Mariolatry of the old Roman Catholic ecstatics and visionaries. New systems, yclept philosophical, new sects and societies, spring up now-a-days in every corner of our civilized lands. But even the highest among them agree on no one point, though each claims supremacy. This, because no science, no philosophy--being at best, but a fragment broken from the WISDOM RELIGION--can stand alone, or be complete in itself. Truth, to be complete, must represent an unbroken continuity. It must have no gaps, no missing links. And which of our modern religions, sciences or philosophies, is free from such defects? Truth is One. Even as the palest reflection of the Absolute, it can be no more dual than is absoluteness itself, nor can it have two aspects. But such truth is not for the majorities, in our world of illusion--especially for those minds which are devoid of the noëtic element. These have to substitute for the high spiritual and quasi absolute truth the relative one, which having two sides or aspects, both conditioned by appearances, lead our "brain-minds"--one to intellectual scientific materialism, the other to materialistic or anthropomorphic religiosity. But even that kind of truth, in order to offer a coherent and complete system of something, has, while naturally clashing with its opposite, to offer no gaps and contradictions, no broken or missing links, in the special system or doctrine it undertakes to represent.
And here a slight digression must come in. We are sure to be told by some, that this is precisely the objection taken to theosophical expositions, from Isis Unveiled down to the Secret Doctrine. Agreed. We are quite prepared to confess that the latter work, especially, surpasses in these defects all the other theosophical works. We are quite ready to admit the faults charged against it by its critics--that it is badly arranged, discursive, over-burdened with digressions into by-ways of mythology, etc., etc. But then it is neither a philosophical system nor the Doctrine, called secret or esoteric, but only a record of a few of its facts and a witness to it. It has never claimed to be the full exposition of the system (it advocates) in its totality; (a) because as the writer does not boast of being a great Initiate, she could, therefore, never have undertaken such a gigantic task; and (b) because had she been one, she would have divulged still less. It has never been contemplated to make of the sacred truths an integral system for the ribaldry and sneers of a profane and iconoclastic public. The work does not pretend to set up a series of explanations, complete in all their details, of the mysteries of Being; nor does it seek to win for itself the name of a distinct system of thought--like the works of Messrs. Herbert Spencer, Schopenhauer or Comte. On the contrary, the Secret Doctrine merely asserts that a system, known as the WISDOM RELIGION, the work of generations of adepts and seers, the sacred heirloom of pre-historic times--actually exists, though hitherto preserved in the greatest secrecy by the present Initiates; and it points to various corroborations of its existence to this very day, to be found in ancient and modern works. Giving a few fragments only, it there shows how these explain the religious dogmas of the present day, and how they might serve Western religions, philosophies and science, as sign-posts along the untrodden paths of discovery. The work is essentially fragmentary, giving statements of sundry facts taught in the esoteric schools--kept, so far, secret--by which the ancient symbolism of various nations is interpreted. It does not even give the keys to it, but merely opens a few of the hitherto secret drawers. No new philosophy is set up in the Secret Doctrine, only the hidden meaning of some of the religious allegories of antiquity is given, light being thrown on these by the esoteric sciences, and the common source is pointed out, whence all the world-religions and philosophies have sprung. Its chief attempt is to show, that however divergent the respective doctrines and systems of old may seem on their external or objective side, the agreement between all becomes perfect, so soon as the esoteric or inner side of these beliefs and their symbology is examined and a careful comparison made. It is also maintained that its doctrines and sciences, which form an integral cycle of universal cosmic facts and metaphysical axioms and truths, represent a complete and unbroken system; and that he who is brave and persevering enough, ready to crush the animal in himself, and forgetting the human self, sacrifices it to his Higher Ego, can always find his way to become initiated into these mysteries. This is all the Secret Doctrine claims. Are not a few facts and self-evident truths, found in these volumes--all the literary defects of the exposition notwithstanding,--truths already proved practically to some, better than the most ingenious "working" hypotheses, liable to be upset any day, than the unexplainable mysteries of religious dogmas, or the most seemingly profound philosophical speculations? Can the grandest among ' these speculations be really profound, when from their Alpha to their Omega they are limited and conditioned by their author's brain-mind, hence dwarfed and crippled on that Procrustean bed, cut down to fit limited sensuous perceptions which will not allow the intellect to go beyond their enchanted circle? No "philosopher" who views the spiritual realm as a mere figment of superstition, and regards man's mental perceptions as simply the result of the organization of the brain, can ever be worthy of that name.
Nor has a materialist any right to the appellation, since it means a "lover of Wisdom," and Pythagoras, who was the first to coin the compound term, never limited Wisdom to this earth. One who affirms that the Universe and Man are objects of the senses only, and who fatally chains thought within the region of senseless matter, as do the Darwinian evolutionists, is at best a sophiaphobe when not a philosophaster--never a philosopher.
Therefore is it that in this age of Materialism, Agnosticism, Evolutionism, and false Idealism, there is not a system, however intellectually expounded, that can stand on its own legs, or fail to be criticized by an exponent from another school of thought as materialistic as itself; even Mr. Herbert Spencer, the greatest of all, is unable to answer some criticisms. Many are those who remember the fierce polemics that raged a few years ago in the English and American journals between the Evolutionists on the one hand and the Positivists on the other. The subject of the dispute was with regard to the attitude and relation that the theory of evolution would bear to religion. Mr. F. Harrison, the Apostle of Positivism, charged Mr. Herbert Spencer with restricting religion to the realm of reason, forgetting that feeling and not the cognizing faculty, played the most important part in it. The "erroneousness and insufficiency" of the ideas on the "Unknowable"--as developed in Mr. Spencer's works--were also taken to task by Mr. Harrison. The idea was erroneous, he held, be cause it was based on the acceptation of the metaphysical absolute. It was insufficient, he argued, because it brought deity down to an empty abstraction, void of any meaning.3 To this the great English writer replied, that he had never thought of offering his "Unknowable" and Incognizable, as a subject for religious worship. Then stepped into the arena, the respective admirers and defenders of Messrs. Spencer and Harrison, some defending the material metaphysics of the former thinker (if we may be permitted to use this paradoxical yet correct definition of Mr. Herbert Spencer's philosophy), others, the arguments of the Godless and Christless Roman Catholicism of Auguste Comte,4 both sides giving and receiving very hard blows. Thus, Count d'Alviella of Brussels,5 suddenly discovered in Mr. H. Spencer a kind of hidden, yet reverential Theist, and compared Mr. Harrison to a casuist of mediæval Scholasticism.
It is not to discuss the relative merits of materialistic Evolutionism, or of Positivism either, that the two English thinkers are brought forward; but simply to point, as an illustration, to the Babel-like confusion of modern thought. While the Evolutionists (of Herbert Spencer's school) maintain that the historical evolution of the religious feeling consists in the constant abstraction of the attributes of Deity, and their final separation from the primitive concrete conceptions--this process rejoicing in the easy-going triple compound of deanthropomorphization, or the disappearance of human attributes--the Comtists on their side hold to another version. They affirm that fetishism, or the direct worship of nature, was the primitive religion of man, a too protracted-evolution alone having landed it in anthropomorphism. Their Deity is Humanity and the God they worship, Mankind, as far as we understand them. The only way, therefore, of settling the dispute, is to ascertain which of the two "philosophical" and "scientific" theories, is the less pernicious and the more probable. Is it true to say, as d'Alviella assures us, that Mr. Spencer's "Unknowable" contains all the elements necessary to religion; and, as that remarkable writer is alleged to imply, that "religious feeling tends to free itself from every moral element"; or, shall we accept the other extremity and agree with the Comtists, that gradually, religion will blend itself with, merge into, and disappear in altruism and its service to Humanity?
Useless to say that Theosophy, while rejecting the one-sided-ness and therefore the limitation in both ideas, is alone able to reconcile the two, i.e., the Evolutionists and the Positivists--on both metaphysical and practical lines. How to do this it is no there the place to say, as every Theosophist acquainted with the main tenets of the Esoteric Philosophy can do it for himself. We believe in an impersonal "Unknowable" and know well that the ABSOLUTE, or Absoluteness, can have nought to do with worship on anthropomorphic lines; Theosophy rejects the Spencerian "He" and substitutes the impersonal IT for the personal pronoun, whenever speaking of the Absolute and the "Unknowable." And it teaches, as foremost of all virtues, altruism and self-sacrifice, brotherhood and compassion for every living creature, without, for all that, worshipping Man or Humanity. In the Positivist, more-over, who admits of no immortal soul in men, believes in no future life or reincarnation, such a "worship" becomes worse than fetishism: it is Zoolatry, the worship of the animals. For that alone which constitutes the real Man is, in the words of Carlyle, "the essence of our being, the mystery in us that calls itself 'I'-- . . . a breath of Heaven; the Highest Being reveals himself in man." This denied, man is but an animal--"the shame and scandal of the Universe," as Pascal puts it.
It is the old, old story, the struggle of matter and spirit, the "survival of the unfittest," because of the strongest and most material. But the period when nascent Humanity, following the law of the natural and dual evolution, was descending along with spirit into matter--is closed. We (Humanity) are now helping matter to ascend toward spirit; and to do that we have to help substance to disenthral itself from the viscous grip of sense. We, of the fifth Root Race, are the direct descendants of the primeval Humanity of that Race; those, who on this side of the Flood tried, by commemorating it, to save the antediluvian Truth and Wisdom, and were worsted in our efforts by the dark genius of the Earth--the spirit of matter, whom the Gnostics called Ildabaoth and the Jews Jehovah. Think ye, that even the Bible of Moses, the book you know so well and understand so badly, has left this claim of the Ancient Doctrine without witness? It has not. Allow us to close with a (to you) familiar passage, only interpreted in its true light.
In the beginning of time, or rather, in the childhood of the fifth Race, "the whole earth was of one lip and of one speech," saith chapter XI of Genesis. Read esoterically, this means that mankind had one universal doctrine, a philosophy, common to all; and that men were bound by one religion, whether this term be derived from the Latin word relegere, "to gather, or be united" in speech or in thought, from religens, "revering the gods," or, from religare, "to be bound fast together." Take it one way or the other, it means most undeniably and plainly that our forefathers from beyond the "flood" accepted in common one truth--i.e., they believed in that aggregate of subjective and objective facts which form the consistent, logical and harmonious whole called by us the Wisdom Religion.
Now, reading the first nine verses of chapter XI between the lines, we get the following information. Wise in their generation, our early fathers were evidently acquainted with the imperishable truism which teaches that in union alone lies strength--in union of thought as well as in that of nations, of course. Therefore, lest in disunion they should be "scattered upon the face of the earth," and their Wisdom-religion should, in consequence, be broken up into a thousand fragments; and lest they, themselves, instead of towering as hitherto, through knowledge, heavenward, should, through blind faith begin gravitating earthward--the wise men, who "journeyed from the East," devised a plan. In those days temples were sites of learning, not of superstition; priests taught divine Wisdom, not man-invented dogmas, and the ultima thule of their religious activity did not centre in the contribution box, as at present. Thus--"'Go to,' they said, 'let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make a name.' And they made burnt brick and used it for stone, and built therewith a city and a tower."
So far, this is a very old story, known as well to a Sunday school ragamuffin as to Mr. Gladstone. Both believe very sincerely that these descendants of the "accursed Ham" were proud sinners whose object was like that of the Titans, to insult and dethrone Zeus-Jehovah, by reaching "heaven," the supposed abode of both. But since we find the story told in the revealed6 Scripts, it must, like all the rest in them, have its esoteric interpretation. In this, Occult symbolism will help us. All the expressions that we have italicized, when read in the original Hebrew and according to the canons of esoteric symbolism, will yield quite a different construction. Thus:
1. "And the whole earth (mankind), was of one lip (i.e., proclaimed the same teachings) and of the same words"--not of "speech" as in the authorized version.
Now the Kabalistic meaning of the term "words" and "word" may be found in the Zohar and also in the Talmud. "Words" (Dabarim) mean "powers," and word, in the singular, is a synonym of Wisdom; e.g., "By the uttering of ten words was the world created"--(Talmud "Pirkey Aboth" c. 5., Mish. I). Here the "words" refer to the ten Sephiroth, Builders of the Universe. Again: "By the Word, (Wisdom, Logos) of YHVH were the Heavens made" (ibid.).
2-4. "And the man7 (the chief leader) said to his neighbour, 'Go to, let us make bricks (disciples) and burn them to a burning (initiate, fill them with sacred fire), let us build us a city (establish mysteries and teach the Doctrine8) and a tower (Ziggurrat, a sacred temple tower) whose top may reach unto heaven' " (the highest limit reachable in space). The great tower of Nebo, of Nabi on the temple of Bel, was called "the house of the seven spheres of heaven and earth," and "the house of the stronghold (or strength, tagimut) and the foundation stone of heaven and earth."
Occult symbology teaches, that to burn bricks for a city means to train disciples for magic, a "hewn stone" signifying a full Initiate, Petra the Greek and Kephas the Aramaic word for stone, having the same meaning, viz., "interpreter of the Mysteries," a Hierophant. The supreme initiation was referred to as "the burning with great burning." Thus, "the bricks are fallen, but we will build (anew) with hewn stones" of Isaiah becomes clear. For the true interpretation of the four last verses of the genetic allegory about the supposed "confusion of tongues" we may turn to the legendary version of the Yezidis and read verses 5, 6, 7, and 8 in Genesis, ch. xi, esoterically:
"And Adonai (the Lord) came down and said: 'Behold, the people is one (the people are united in thought and deed) and they have one lip (doctrine).' And now they begin to spread it and 'nothing will be restrained from them (they will have full magic powers and get all they want by such power, Kriyasakti,) that they have imagined'."
And now what are the Yezidis and their version and what is Ad-onai? Ad is "the Lord," their ancestral god; and the Yezidis are a heretical Mussulman sect, scattered over Armenia, Syria, and especially Mosul, the very site of Babel (see "Chaldean Account of Genesis"), who are known under the strange name of "Devil-worshippers." Their confession of faith is very original. They recognize two powers or gods--Allah and Ad, (or Adonai) but identify the latter with Sheitân or Satan. This is but natural since Satan is also "a son of god"9 (see Job I). As stated in the Hibbert Lectures (pp. 346 and 347), Satan the "Adversary," was the minister and angel of God. Hence, when questioned on the cause of their curious worship of one who has become the embodiment of Evil and the dark spirit of the Earth, they explain the reason in a most logical, if irreverent, manner. They tell you that Allah, being All-good, would not harm the smallest of his creatures. Ergo, has he no need of prayers, or burnt-offerings of the "firstlings of the flock and the fat thereof." But that their Ad, or the Devil, being All-bad, cruel, jealous, revengeful and proud, they have, in self-preservation, to propitiate him with sacrifices and burnt offerings smelling sweet in his nostrils, and to coax and flatter him. Ask any Sheik of the Yezidis of Mosul what they have to say, as to the confusion of tongues, or speech when Allah "came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men had builded"; and they will tell you it is not Allah but Ad, the god Sheitan, who did it. The jealous genius of the earth became envious of the powers and sanctity of men (as the god Vishnu becomes jealous of the great powers of the Yogis, even when they were Daityas); and therefore this deity of matter and concupiscence confused their brains, tempted and made the Builders" fall into his nets; and thus, having lost their purity, they lost therewith their knowledge and magic powers, intermarried and became "scattered upon the face of the earth."
This is more logical than to attribute to one's "God," the All-good, such ungodly tricks as are fathered upon him in the Bible. Moreover, the legend about the tower of Babel and the confusion of speech, is like much else, not original, but comes from the Chaldeans and Babylonians. George Smith found the version on a mutilated fragment of the Assyrian tablets, though there is nothing said in it about the confusion of speech. "I have translated the word 'speech' with a prejudice," he says (Chaldean account of Genesis, p. 163), "I have never seen the Assyrian word with this meaning." Anyone who reads for himself the fragmentary translation by G. Smith, on pages 160-163 in the volume cited, will find the version much nearer to that of the Yezidis than to the version of Genesis. It is he, whose "heart was evil" and who was "wicked," who confused "their counsel," not their "speech," and who broke "the Sanctuary . . . which carried Wisdom," and "bitterly they wept at Babel."
And so ought to "weep" all the philosophers and lovers of Ancient Wisdom; for it is since then that the thousand and one exoteric substitutes for the one true Doctrine or lip had their beginning, obscuring more and more the intellects of men, and shedding innocent blood in fierce fanaticism. Had our modern philosophers studied, instead of sneering at, the old Books of Wisdom--say the Kabala--they would have found that which would have unveiled to them many a secret of ancient Church and State. As they have not, however, the result is evident. The dark cycle of Kali Yug has brought back a Babel of modern thought, compared with which the "confusion of tongues" itself appears a harmony. All is dark and uncertain; no argument in any department, neither in sciences, philosophy, law, nor even in religion. But, "woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness," saith Isaiah. The very elements seem confused and climates shift, as if the celestial "upper ten" themselves had lost their heads. All one can do is to sit still and look on, sad and resigned, while
The slack sail shifts from side to side;
The boat untrimm'd admits the tide;
Borne down adrift, at random toss'd,
The oar breaks short, . . . the rudder's lost.
H. P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, January, February, 1891
1 The learned Belgian Mason would be nearer the mark by adding a few more ciphers to his four thousand years.
back to text
2 In the Revue Philosophique of 1883, where he translates such "gropings" by atonements successifs.
back to text
3 As the above is repeated from memory. it does not claim to be quoted with verbal exactitude, but only to give the gist of the argument.
back to text
4 The epithet is Mr. Huxley's. In his lecture in Edinburgh in 1868, On the Physical Basis of Life, this great opponent remarked that Auguste "Comte's philosophy in practice might be compendiously described as Catholicism minus Christianity, and antagonistic to the very essence of Science."
back to text
5 Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Brussels, in a philosophical Essay on the religious meaning of the "Unknowable."
back to text
6 A curious and rather unfortunate word to use, since, as a translation from the Latin revelare, it signifies diametrically the opposite of the now accepted meaning in English. For the word "to reveal" or "revealed" is derived from the Latin revelare, "to reveil" and rot to reveal, i.e., from re "again" or "back" and velare "to veil," or to hide something, from the word velum or "a vail" (or veil), a cover. Thus, instead of unvailing, or revealing, Moses has truly only "reveiled" once more the Egypto-Chaldean theological legends and allegories, into which, as one "learned in all the Wisdom of Egypt" he had been initiated. Yet Moses was not the first revealer or reveiler, as Ragon well observes. Thousands of years before him Hermes was credited with veiling over the Indian mysteries to adapt them for the land of the Pharaohs. Of course, at present there is no longer classical authority to satisfy the orthodox philologist, but the occult authority which maintains that originally the word revelare meant to "veil once more," and hence that revelation means the throwing a veil over a subject, a blind--is positively overwhelming
back to text
7 This is translated from the Hebrew original. "Chief-leader" (Rab-Mag) meaning literally Teacher-Magician, Master or Guru, as Daniel is shown to have been in Babylon.
back to text
8 Some Homeric heroes also when they are said, like Laomedon, Priam's father, to have built cities, were in reality establishing the Mysteries and introducing the Wisdom-Religion in foreign lands.
back to text
9 It is commanded in Ecclesiasticus XXI, 30, not to curse Satan, "lest one should forfeit his own life." Why? Because in their permutations "the Lord God," Moses, and Satan are one. The name the Jews gave while in Babylon to their exoteric God, the substitute for the true Deity of which they never spoke or wrote, was the Assyrian Mosheh or Adar, the god of the scorching sun (the "Lord thy God is a consuming flame" verily!) and therefore, Mosheh or Moses, shone also. In Egypt, Typhon (Satan) the red, was identified both with the red Ass or Typhon called Set or Seth (and worshipped by the Hittites) and the same as El (the Sun god of the Assyrians and the Semites, or Jehovah), and with Moses, the red, also. (See Isis Unv. Vol. II. 523-24.) For Moses was red-skinned. According to the Zohar (Vol. I. p. 28) B' sar d' Mosheh soomaq. i.e., "the flesh of Moses was deep red," and the words refer to the saying, "The face of Moses was like the face of the Sun" (see Qabbalah by Isaac Myer p. 93). These three were the three aspects of the manifested God (the substitute for Ain Suph the infinite Deity) or Nature, in its three chief Kingdoms--the Fiery or Solar, the Human or Watery, the Animal or Earthy. There never was a Mosheh or Moses, before the Captivity and Ezra, the deep Kabalist; and what is now Moses had another name 2,000 years before. Where are the Hebrew scrolls before that time? Moreover, we find a corroboration of this in Dr. Sayce's Hibbert Lectures (1887). Adar is the Assyrian "War God" or the Lord of Hosts and the same as Moloch. The Assyrian equivalent of Mosheh (Moses) is Masu, the "double" or the "twin," and Masu is the title of Adar meaning also a "hero." No one who reads carefully the said Lectures from page 40 to 58, can fail to see that Jehovah, Mâsu and Adar, with several others--are permutations.
back to text
A WELL-KNOWN public lecturer, a distinguished Egyptologist, said, in one of his lectures against the teachings of Theosophy, a few suggestive words, which are now quoted and must be answered:
"It is a delusion to suppose there is anything in the experience or wisdom of the past, the ascertained results of which can only be communicated from beneath the cloak and mask of mystery. . . . Explanation is the Soul of Science. They will tell you we cannot have their knowledge without living their life. . . . Public experimental research, the printing press, and a free-thought platform, have abolished the need of mystery. It is no longer necessary for science to take the veil, as she was forced to do for security in times past," etc.
This is a very mistaken view in one aspect. "Secrets of the purer and profounder life" not only may but must be made universally known. But there are secrets that kill in the arcana of Occultism, and unless a man lives the life he cannot be entrusted with them.
The late Professor Faraday had very serious doubts whether it was quite wise and reasonable to give out to the public at large certain discoveries of modern science. Chemistry had led to the invention of too terrible means of destruction in our century to allow it to fall into the hands of the profane. What man of sense--in the face of such fiendish applications of dynamite and other explosive substances as are made by those incarnations of the Destroying Power, who glory in calling themselves Anarchists and Socialists--would not agree with us in saying:--Far better for mankind that it should never have blasted a rock by modern perfected means, than that it should have shattered the limbs of one per cent even of those who have been thus destroyed by the pitiless hand of Russian Nihilists, Irish Fenians and Anarchists. That such discoveries, and chiefly their murderous application, ought to have been withheld from public knowledge may be shown on the authority of statistics and commissions appointed to investigate and record the result of the evil done. The following information gathered from public papers will give an insight into what may be in store for wretched mankind.
England alone--the centre of civilization--has 21,268 firms fabricating and selling explosive substances.1 But the centres of the dynamite trade, of infernal machines, and other such results of modern civilization, are chiefly at Philadelphia and New York. It is in the former city of "Brotherly Love" that the now most famous manufacturer of explosives flourishes. It is one of the well-known respectable citizens--the inventor and manufacturer of the most murderous "dynamite toys"--who, called before the Senate of the United States anxious to adopt means for the repression of a too free trade in such implements, found an argument that ought to become immortalised for its cynical sophistry: "My machines," that expert is reported to have said--"are quite harmless to look at; as they may be manufactured in the shape of oranges, hats, boats, and anything one likes. . . . Criminal is he who murders people by means of such machines, not he who manufactures them. The firm refuses to admit that were there no supply there would be no incentive for demand on the market; but insists that every demand should be satisfied by a supply ready at hand."
That "supply" is the fruit of civilization and of the publicity given to the discovery of every murderous property in matter. What is it? As found in the Report of the Commission appointed to investigate the variety and character of the so-called "infernal machines," so far the following implements of instantaneous human destruction are already on hand. The most fashionable of all among the many varieties fabricated by Mr. Holgate, are the "Ticker," the "Eight Day Machine," the "Little Exterminator," and the "Bottle Machine." The "Ticker" is in appearance like a piece of lead, a foot long and four inches thick. It contains an iron or steel tube, full of a kind of gunpowder invented by Holgate himself. That gunpowder, in appearance like any other common stuff of that name, has, however, an explosive power two hundred times stronger than common gunpowder; the "Ticker" containing thus a powder which equals in force two hundred pounds of the common gunpowder. At one end of the machine is fastened an invisible clock-work meant to regulate the time of the explosion, which time may be fixed from one minute to thirty-six hours. The spark is produced by means of a steel needle which gives a spark at the touch-hole, and communicates thereby the fire to the whole machine
The "Eight Day Machine" is considered the most powerful, but at the same time the most complicated, of all those invented. One must be familiar with handling it before a full success can be secured. It is owing to this difficulty that the terrible fate intended for London Bridge and its neighbourhood was turned aside by the instantaneous killing instead of the two Fenian criminals. The size and appearance of that machine changes, Proteus-like, according to the necessity of smuggling it in, in one or another way, unperceived by the victims. It may be concealed in bread, in a basket of oranges, in a liquid, and so on. The Commission of Experts is said to have declared that its explosive power is such as to reduce to atoms instantly the largest edifice in the world.
The "Little Exterminator" is an innocent-looking plain utensil having the shape of a modest jug. It contains neither dynamite nor powder, but secretes, nevertheless, a deadly gas, and has a hardly perceptible clock-work attached to its edge, the needle of which points to the time when that gas will effect its escape. In a shut-up room this new "vril" of lethal kind, will smother to death, nearly instantaneously, every living being within a distance of a hundred feet, the radius of the murderous jug. With these three "latest novelties" in the high season of Christian civilization, the catalogue of the dynamiters is closed; all the rest belongs to the old "fashion" of the past years. It consists of hats, porte cigars, bottles of ordinary kind, and even ladies' smelling bottles, filled with dynamite, nitro-glycerine, etc., etc.--weapons, some of which, following unconsciously Karmic law, killed many of the dynamiters in the last Chicago revolution. Add to this the forthcoming long-promised Keely's vibratory force, capable of reducing in a few seconds a dead bullock to a heap of ashes, and then ask yourself if the Inferno of Dante as a locality can ever rival earth in the production of more hellish engines of destruction!
Thus, if purely material implements are capable of blowing up, from a few corners, the greatest cities of the globe, provided the murderous weapons are guided by expert hands--what terrible dangers might not arise from magical occult secrets being revealed, and allowed to fall into the possession of ill-meaning persons! A thousand times more dangerous and lethal are these, because neither the criminal hand, nor the immaterial, invisible weapon used, can ever be detected.
The congenital black magicians--those who, to an innate propensity towards evil, unite highly-developed mediumistic natures--are but too numerous in our age. It is nigh time then that psychologists and believers, at least, should cease advocating the beauties of publicity and claiming knowledge of the secrets of nature for all. It is not in our age of "suggestion" and "explosives" that Occultism can open wide the doors of its laboratories except to those who do live the life.
H. P. Blavatsky
Lucifer, August, 189
1 Nitro-glycerine has found its way even into medical compounds. Physicians and druggists are vying with the Anarchists in their endeavours to destroy the surplus of mankind. The famous chocolate tablets against dyspepsia are said to contain nitro-glycerine! They may save, but they can kill still more easily.
back to text