THEOSOPHY, Vol. 37, No. 9, July, 1949
(Pages 411-416; Size: 19K)
(Number 1 of a 3-part article)
THE "ELIXIR OF LIFE"(1)
(From a Chela's Diary)
By G____ M____ F.T.S.
"And Enoch walked with the Elohim. And the Elohim took him." --Genesis(The curious information -- for whatsoever else the world may think of it, it will doubtless be acknowledged to be that -- contained in the article that follows, merits a few words of introduction. The details given in it on the subject of what has always been considered as one of the darkest and most strictly guarded of the mysteries of initiation into Occultism -- from the days of the Rishis until these of the Theosophical Society -- came to the knowledge of the author in a way that would seem to the ordinary run of Europeans strange and supernatural. He himself, however, we may assure the reader, is a most thorough disbeliever in the Supernatural, though he has learned too much to limit the capabilities of the natural as some do. Further, he has to make the following confession of his own belief. It will be apparent, from a careful perusal of the facts, that if the matter be really as stated herein, the author cannot himself be an adept of high grade, as the article in such a case would never have been written. Nor does he pretend to be one. He is, or rather was, for a few years an humble Chela. Hence, the converse must consequently be also true, that as regards the higher stages of the mystery he can have no personal experience, but speaks of it only as a close observer left to his own surmises -- and no more. He may, therefore, boldly state that during, and notwithstanding, his unfortunately rather too short stay with some Adepts, he has by actual experiment and observation verified some of the less transcendental or incipient parts of the "Course." And, though it will be impossible for him to give positive testimony as to what lies beyond, he may yet mention that all his own course of study, training and experience, long, severe and dangerous as it has often been, leads him to the conviction that everything is really as stated, -- save some details purposely veiled. For causes which cannot be explained to the public, he himself may be unable or unwilling to use the secret he has gained access to. Still he is permitted by one to whom all his reverential affection and gratitude are due -- his last Guru -- to divulge for the benefit of Science and Man, and specially for the good of those who are courageous enough to personally make the experiment, the following astounding particulars of the occult methods for prolonging life to a period far beyond the common. --EDITOR)WE Asiatics have a proverb, probably handed down to us, and by the Hindus repeated ignorantly as to its esoteric meaning. It has been known ever since the old Rishis mingled familiarly with the simple and noble people they taught and led on. Devas had whispered into every man's ear, Thou only -- if thou wilt -- art "immortal." Combine with this the saying of a Western author that if any man could just realise for an instant that he had to die some day, he would die that instant. The Illuminated will perceive that between these two sayings, rightly understood, stands revealed the whole secret of Longevity. We only die when our will ceases to be strong enough to make us live. In the majority of cases, death comes when the torture and vital exhaustion accompanying a rapid change in our physical conditions become so intense as to weaken, for one single instant, our "clutch on life," or the tenacity of the Will to exist. Till then, however severe may be the disease, however sharp the pang, we are only sick or wounded, as the case may be. This explains the cases of sudden deaths from joy, fright, pain, grief, or such other causes. The sense of a life-task consummated, of the worthlessness of one's existence, if strongly realised, produces death as surely as poison or a rifle-bullet. On the other hand, a stern determination to continue to live, has, in fact, carried many through the crises of the most severe diseases, in full safety.
First, then, must be the determination -- the Will --the conviction of certainty, to survive and continue.(2) Without that, all else is useless. And to be efficient for the purpose, it must be not only a passing resolution of the moment, a single fierce desire of short duration, but a settled and continued strain, as nearly as can be continued and concentrated without one single moment's relaxation. In a word, the would-be "Immortal" must be on his watch night and day, guarding Self against -- Himself. To live -- to live -- to live -- must be his unswerving resolve. He must as little as possible allow himself to be turned aside from it. It may be said that this is the most concentrated form of selfishness; that it is utterly opposed to our Theosophic professions of benevolence, and disinterestedness, and regard for the good of humanity. Well, viewed in a short-sighted way, it is so. But to do good, as in every thing else, a man must have time and materials to work with, and this is a necessary means to the acquirement of powers by which infinitely more good can be done than without them. When these are once mastered, the opportunities to use them will arrive, for there comes a moment when watch and exertion are no longer needed -- the moment when the turning point is safely passed. For the present, as we deal with aspirants and not with advanced chelas, in the first stage a determined, dogged resolution, and an enlightened concentration of self on Self, are all that is absolutely necessary. It must not, however, be considered that the candidate is required to be inhuman or brutal in his negligence of others. Such a recklessly selfish course would be as injurious to him as the contrary one of expending his vital energy on the gratification of his physical desires. All that is required from him is a purely negative attitude. Until the Point is reached, he must not "lay out" his energy in lavish or fiery devotion to any cause, however noble, however "good," however elevated.(3) Such, we can solemnly assure the reader, would bring its reward in many ways -- perhaps in another life, perhaps in this world -- but it would tend to shorten the existence it is desired to preserve, as surely as self-indulgence and profligacy. That is why very few of the truly great men of the world (of course, the unprincipled adventurers who have applied great powers to bad uses are out of the question) -- the martyrs, the heroes, the founders of religions, the liberators of nations, the leaders of reforms -- ever became members of the long-lived "Brotherhood of Adepts" who were by some and for long years accused of selfishness. (And that is also why the Yogis, and the Fakirs of modern India -- most of whom are acting now but on the dead-letter tradition, are required if they would be considered living up to the principles of their profession -- to appear entirely dead to every inward feeling or emotion.) Notwithstanding the purity of their hearts, the greatness of their aspirations, the disinterestedness of their self-sacrifice, they could not live, for they had missed the hour.... They may at times have exercised powers which the world called miraculous; they may have electrified man and compelled Nature by fiery and self-devoted Will; they may have been possessed of a so-called superhuman intelligence; they may have even had knowledge of, and communion with, members of our own Occult Brotherhood; but, having deliberately resolved to devote their vital energy to the welfare of others, rather than to themselves, they have surrendered life; and, when perishing on the cross or the scaffold, or falling, sword in hand, upon the battle-field, or sinking exhausted after a successful consummation of a life-object, on death-beds in their chambers, they have all alike had to cry out at last: "Eli, Eli -- Lama Sabachthani!"(4)
* * * * *
The whole rationale, then, of the first condition of continued existence in this world, is (a) the development of a Will so powerful as to overcome the hereditary (in a Darwinian sense) tendencies of the atoms composing the "gross" and palpable animal frame, to hurry on at a particular period in a certain course of kosmic change; and (b) to so weaken the concrete action of that animal frame as to make it more amenable to the power of the Will. To defeat an army, you must demoralise and throw it into disorder. * * * The Will is strengthened, encouraged and directed, and the elements opposing its action are demoralised. * * *
The aspirant to longevity then, must be on his guard against two dangers. He must beware especially of impure and animal(5) thoughts. For Science shows that thought is dynamic, and the thought-force evolved by nervous action expanding itself outwardly, must affect the molecular relations of the physical man. The inner men ["principles"], however sublimated their organism may be, are still composed of actual, not hypothetical, particles, and are still subject to the law that an "action" has a tendency to repeat itself; a tendency to set up analogous action in the grosser "shell" they are in contact with and concealed within.
And, on the other hand, certain actions have a tendency to produce actual physical conditions unfavourable to pure thought, hence to the state required for developing the supremacy of the inner man.
To return to the practical process. A normally healthy mind, in a normally healthy body, is a good starting-point. Though exceptionally powerful and self-devoted natures may sometimes recover the ground lost by mental degradation or physical misuse, by employing proper means, under the direction of unswerving resolution, yet often things may have gone so far that there is no longer stamina enough to sustain the conflict sufficiently long to perpetuate this life; though what in Eastern parlance is called the "merit" of the effort will help to ameliorate conditions and improve matters in another.
However this may be, the prescribed course of self-discipline commences here. It may be stated briefly that its essence is a course of moral, mental, and physical development, carried on in parallel lines -- one being useless without the other. The physical man must be rendered more ethereal and sensitive; the mental man more penetrating and profound; the moral man more self-denying and philosophical. And it may be mentioned that all sense of restraint -- even if self-imposed -- is useless. Not only is all "goodness" that results from the compulsion of physical force, threats, or bribes (whether of a physical or so-called "spiritual" nature) absolutely useless to the person who exhibits it, its hypocrisy tending to poison the moral atmosphere of the world, but, to be efficacious, the desire to be "good" or "pure" must be spontaneous. It must be a self-impulse from within, a real preference for something higher, not an abstention from vice because of fear of the Law; not a chastity enforced by the dread of "Public Opinion"; not a benevolence exercised through love of praise or dread of consequences in a hypothetical "Future Life."
(To be continued.)
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
CELIBACY AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
Is celibacy necessary to the highest spiritual life and attainment? Is this your idea of true occultism?
Answer. By no single way is the highest spiritual life attained. The highest Adept and the true occult student have at some time been wedded. The highest attainment is never reached until a man has passed through this experience. Under certain conditions and at a certain time celibacy is a great aid, but if the student is wedded, then it is his duty to continue in that condition, and instead of proving a barrier it will be an assistance to his progress if he rightly comprehends its significance. All the lessons which are taught the true occult student are given in daily life and through nature's laws. The celibate loses some of these lessons -- lessons which he must inevitably learn -- because he violates a great law of nature.
The result of celibacy is that the student works by intellect alone. It is necessary for true occult work that the heart be used also. One of the greater of the "mysteries" can never be learned by the celibate, for he never stands as the controller of a creative force.The Path, November, 1887
[One of William Q. Judge's pen names.]
THE "ELIXIR OF LIFE"
(From a Chela's Diary)
By G____ M____ F.T.S.
(Part 2 of a 3-part article)
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FIVE (5) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(1) NOTE.--This article was first published in The Theosophist, March and April, 1882. At the time, A. P. Sinnett's Teacher cautioned him that the article "contains references and explanations, the haziness of which may remind you of a man who stealthily approaching gives him [one] a hit upon his back, and then runs away; as they most undeniably belong to the genus of those 'Fortunes' that come to one like a thief by night and during one's sleep, and go back, finding no one to respond to the offer.... As usual, it is an indiscretion, which, however, I have allowed to remain as there are few, if any, who will understand the hint contained...." The present reprint, which will appear in three installments, is somewhat condensed, in the interests of space. --Editors THEOSOPHY. [Note: Where you see a comment by the "EDITOR" that does not say that it was written by the Editors of THEOSOPHY magazine, like this footnote does, then it is H.P.B, who was the Editor of The Theosophist magazine. With this in mind, you will see that it was she who wrote the first indented paragraph that this 3-part article begins with, and footnote number (3). --Compiler.]
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(2) Col. Olcott has epigrammatically explained the creative or rather the re-creative power of the Will, in his Buddhist Catechism. He there shows that this Will to live, if not extinguished in the present life, leaps over the chasm of bodily death and recombines the Skandhas, or groups of qualities that made up the individual into a new personality. Man is, therefore, reborn as the result of his own unsatisfied yearning for objective existence. * * *
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(3) On page 151 of Mr. Sinnett's Occult World, the author's much abused and still more doubted correspondent assures him that none yet of HIS "degree are like the stern hero of Bulwer's" Zanoni ... "the heartless morally dried-up mummies some would fancy us to be"; ... and adds that few of them "would care to play the part in life of a dessicated pansy between the leaves of a volume of solemn poetry." But our Adept omits saying that one or two degrees higher, and he will have to submit for a period of years to such a mummifying process, unless, indeed, he would voluntarily give up a life-long labour and -- DIE. --EDITOR [The Theosophist].
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(4) H. P. Blavatsky writes (Lucifer, May, 1888) that these "are the Sacramental words used at the final initiation in old Egypt, as elsewhere, during the Mystery of the putting to death of Chrestos in the mortal body with its animal passions, and the resurrection of the Spiritual Man as an enlightened Christos in a frame now purified.... These words were addressed to the Initiate's 'Higher Self,' the Divine Spirit in him, at the moment when the rays of the morning Sun poured forth on the entranced body of the candidate and were supposed to recall him to life, or his new rebirth. They were addressed to the Spiritual Sun within, not to a Sun without, and ought to read, had they not been distorted for dogmatic purposes: 'MY GOD, MY GOD, HOW THOU DOST GLORIFY ME!'" --Editors THEOSOPHY.
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(5) In other words, the thought tends to provoke the deed. --G.M.
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