ANSWERS TO QUESTIONERS
The notice published last month, that questions might be asked,
addressed to"Zadok," has elicited several queries,
from which we select the following. Hereafter "Zadok"
will continue his answers, but they will be given through the
Path's columns, except where their private nature may call for
From C.-(I) 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 to woman. 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 hand
in hand with God a controller of a creative force.
(2) Is a purely vegetable diet indispensable to a high
and serene spiritual life?
Answer - One might eat grass, grain and turnips, a
million years, but that of itself would not produce a
high or serene spiritual life. All these things are aids, not
If the physical condition is such that animal food can be dispensed
with, or without disturbing other people or neglecting the labor
given, then it is wise to do away with it. The physical is thereby
purified, making it less gross, material and animal like. But
"one man's meat is another's poison." Use that which
seems the wisest to you. "It is not that which goeth into
the mouth but that which cometh out that defileth a man."
The right thought, the proper motive, the true Will have more
to do with true Occultism than any exterior acts or practices.
From T. - (I) Am I the result of a series of existences
or a series of co-existences?
Answer - That which is known as you is the result
of continuous existence of an entity. Your present body and your
soul (or the personality) are the results of a series of existences.
Your Karma is a result of co-existence. The individuality, or
spirit, is the cause of the soul and personality, or what is
called "you." You are the manifestation of an entity
and are the result of many appearences of that entity upon this
stage of action in various personalities.
(2) May one walk for any distance along the Path without
being able to see into the Astral Light, or without recognizing
Answer - One may journey an entire life time on "The
Path" and not see into the Astral Light consciously.
All men see into it, for all who dream are looking there, the
body being asleep and not receptive.
One may journey a long distance and not see, for all do not
work in the same manner. Some may hear "ages before they
see," or may feel a long time before either seeing or hearing.
The tool most efficient at a certain period is the one used.
We may journey the entire way without recognizing anything
extraordinary or encountering phenomena. The most extraordinary
things are found in the most ordinary, and are overlooked because
of their seeming familiarity. When the understanding is directed
to the natural, one finds the supra-natural or supra-human things.
All questions are vital so long as they remain unsolved but
all will be answered. It requires patience in ourselves, for
many times the answers do not come until years after the question
has been propounded. If I can be of further use to you please
consider me at your service.
From J.V. - "There are two ways to ascend and
descend, the direct and indirect." Tea Table, Oct.
Path. (I) What are these ways?
Answer - The thistle down is blown hither and thither
with every breath of wind: The arrow speeds straight to the mark
from the powerful bow.
The indirect way is that of the thistle down; the Astral going
out when the body is asleep, does so in a diffused condition
- a passive state - with no adequate force to control it or master
unseen forces. It floats at the mercy of every current in the
Astral, gleaning here and there as a butterfly but taking the
good and bad indiscriminately. It may reach high spheres, but
is more likely to remain in those nearest to the physical. This
way is travelled by all when asleep, and there dreams are made.
It is the passive state where desire is the ruler, and sometimes
travelled in the waking conscious state, but is uncontrollable
The direct way is that of the arrow from the bow. The Astral
speeds directly to the sphere which holds the knowledge it is
to receive. It does so in obedience to an irresistible force
- the Will: Will in accordance with divine law. It is concrete
going and returning in obedience to this force, bringing little
with it from intermediate spheres other than that for which it
is seeking. This occurs in dreamless slumber and the knowledge
acquired is not communicated in a dream. This way is travelled
in the conscious state for it is the way of the student of the
Occult. Unless the man's thought and motive are pure, he is incapable
of using the true will, and his Astral goes where other wills
or forces drive it. It pauses when other forces interfere - learns
from the place it happens to be in, and brings back a horrible
(2) Where do these ways lead?
One way leads to Theosophia - Illumination - when traveled awake
The other to consideration of self - ordinary living with
its erroneous conceptions - as an Occult way, to love of phenomena
They lead to spheres within the astral, for the astral body
passes not beyond astral limits. Only when the soul is freed
from the astral and material bodies does it pass to higher spheres.
These ways also leæd to planets, stars, and other worlds,
for all these may be within the astral of this globe.
Path, November, 1887
From C.H.V. - Apollonius is said to have worn a
mantle of wool to aid in insulating himself from the astral currents.
Has wool in itself any such property as is seemingly ascribed
to it? The question has the value, perhaps, whether the occult
laws which govern the merely physical regulation of the toiler
toward adept-ship, may not be of great value from a sanitary
point of view and form, if properly understood, a useful medical
Answer - Wool in itself has no especial occult power.
It is a nonabsorbent to the exhalations of the human body; is
lighter, cooler in hot and warmer in cold weather than any other
fabric. The late discoveries of a German scientist prove it the
best of all materials from a sanitary point of view. It is a
conductor for electricity and other unseen forces. Apollonius,
as well as other occult students, knew its value and uses. Being
a student of nature's laws he was well aware of nature's requirements.
Upon the knowledge gained by occult students touching the human
body are founded all the schools of medicine. Bathing is essential,
a woolen dress where permissible, as little animal food as possible,
as sparing diet at best - a high ideal - an exalted motive and
strong will, a total forgetting of self otherwise, and neither
elementals or human beings will oppress one.
From J.C.V. - What is true Will? Is it a faculty
of the soul? How is it one with the Divine Will and how may we
make our will at one with the Divine? Is it something which now
we know not, or may we perceive its germ in our own Will, or
is it an instinctive movement of the soul?
Answer - (I) The will as known to man is that force
which he exerts for the accomplishment of his aims - he uses
it blindly and ignorantly - and self is always the one for which
he uses it. It is used as a brute force. As ordinarily used it
has little tendency to lift the personality farther than the
attainment of material results. It has for its source, the lower
elements of the soul. The true will is a concentrated force working
steadily yet gently, dominating both soul and person, having
its source in the spirit and highest elements of the soul. It
is never used for the gratification of self, is inspired by the
highest of motives, is never interposed to violate a law, but
works in harmony with the unseen as well as the seen. It is manifested
through the human will for things visible
(2) It is more that a faculty of the soul, for it is the soul
at work. The spirit is unmanifest except through the soul. The
soul manifesting the spirit is the true will. The human will
is the lowest form of this manifestation.
(3) As the true will is the manifestation of the spirit through
the soul, it must be at one with the divine, inasmuch as the
spirit is the divine in man. It is the God in man, a portion
of the all-pervading. Asserting itself through the soul, the
true will is brought forth and in truth we say, "It is the
will of God." We may make our finite wills at one with the
divine by elevating our aim, using it for good or in the search
for God, in striving to find how to use it in harmony with the
laws of God. By proper use in the right direction the human will
becomes purified, elevated, and being exerted only in conformity
with our highest ideal, eventually becomes at one with the highest
In our ordinary material state we know only the human will.
Through the human will we reach the divine will. We become aware
of the true will through the ordinary will just as we become
aware of the soul through the body. It is not instinctive of
the soul. The soul is father of the human will - the spirit is
father of the true will.
From E.L.T. - "A great deal depends on purity
of thought and motive," Oct. Path, p. 220.
Please explain what should be the actuating motive in developing
Answer - The desire to find God, the desire to know
one's self, our possibilities and capabilities, that we may be
of true use to the world, these are the motives. The thought
should be unselfish, undisturbed by material affairs - free from
wonder-seeking curiosity, concentrated, and in entire accord
with the motive, the search for God.
Is Sinnett's explanation of the origin and extinction of
"Intermediate Forms," accepted as being clear and satisfactory
by the majority of students who are beginning the study of Buddhism?
Answer - By the majority who are beginning
yes - but not by those who are advanced.
Sinnett claims that Kama Loka is (like earth) a condition
of unsatisfied longings, progressive idealization. It might be
the "ne plus ultra" at the time of entrance, but how
after a period of years?
Answer - All these states may be entered into while
in the body. The condition of unsatisfied longing does not cease
except in Nirvana. Beyond a certain point the intellect is useless.
Up to and at that point the intellect is increased in its powers.
It is never decayed or paralyzed. It is useless because a better
tool is used.
Do advanced students contemplate "Rupa Loka"
and "Arupa Loka" as at present desirable conditions?
If desirable then in what sense: absolutely or comparatively
as regards earth life? Is Sinnett's statement of the entire satisfaction
of the soul's longings, to be regarded as "Ex Catherdra,"
or is it only Sinnett's personal conception?
Answer - All states and conditions above the ordinary
material are desirable. In the absolute sense, any "conditioned"
existence is undesirable. "Advanced students" try to
be free from desires. "Rupaloka" means place of
form; "Arupaloka," place of no form. There
are many Lokas
His statements are his personal interpretation of the teachings
he has received. Read Nov. Path, p. 252.
Are we to understand that he "medium" who provokes
a representation of phenomena from departed spirits is thereby
riveting the chains by which the said "spirit" is held
fast to low conditions?
Answer - Yes - as you use those words - but I do not
call them "spirits."
Is Sinnett's use of the word "spirituality" to
be used as synonymous with our word conscientiousness?
Answer - No.
Does he not rather use it in the sense of imaginative or
Answer - No.
How do Buddhists regard this faculty as compared with conscientiousness,
self-sacrifice and integrity?
Answer - It is not a faculty. Conscientiousness, self-sacrifice,
integrity, duty, are all portions of the whole, which is spirituality.
Do they not accord respect and honor to preponderance of
intellect over purity of heart?
Answer - No, they honor intellect when governed by
purity of heart.
How can I cultivate thought reading? The impressions received
Answer - By continual exercise of the power. By concentrated
thought in obedience to the will. By purifying the thoughts as
well as the body. But your aim must be higher than the mere acquirement
of a wonder-working power, or you will fail. With all the power
you possess concentrate your thought upon the object you desire,
and receive that which is given by what is termed intuition.
From M.E.C. - What steps must I take to open the
heart so as to exercise the Will for governing the Astral body?
Answer - There is but one way to open the heart. That
is by living the life. It is a simple matter to govern the will,
but this is not the true will. The governing of the Astral body
is the smallest of the tasks of the true will. The will should
be used to obtain wisdom, and when so used it will control the
Astral body without effort. We should exert psychic powers only
to benefit others, never to free ourselves from the disagreeable.
Let you aim be to find God; your motive, to know yourself for
the sake of Theo-Sophia and humanity: you desire, to help humanity,
and the True Will will be developed, the heart opened and you
will not only control the Astral body but all in the Astral.
You must seek beyond the Astral for powers, but it is not wise
to desire the acquisition of powers. Let your aim be beyond that,
and the powers will grow of themselves. If the strong-willed
or sick depress you, seek to aid each in some way, forget that
you are depressed, forget your self, and they will not
affect you. The life of the Occult student is full of sorrow,
anguish and depressing influences. These go to make him a student
in the Occult. A portion of his training is to become aware of
these only in so far as they affect others. As to their affecting
his own personality, he does not know they exist. If you desire
to help humanity, then you possess the true motive. If you use
your will in this cause, wisdom, peace and all the powers will
Path, December, 1887
From Walter B. - (I) Is it well to cultivate the
intellect at the expense of the heart? Do we not pay too much
attention to intellectual progress, and in so doing allow the
Heart-Mind to wander where it may?
Answer - It is not wise to cultivate either at the
expense of the other. Each alone will end at the same place -
The Threshold. Both are excellent means for the manifestation
of that which is higher that either, when cultivated to their
highest in unison. Both are useless after a certain point, except
as tools for truth. Metaphysics, logic and emotion all end at
a dead wall.
(2) Do not the words and teachings of Jesus, taken in their
esoteric sense, point one (the) way to the Theosophic Path?
Answer - Taken in the sense he intended the people
to take them, they lead to the way. Taken in the sense
in which he desired his Disciples to receive them, they are teachings
upon the way. Taken in their esoteric sense - as he knew
them - they are the way. Were the wisdom of Egypt and
India today blotted out from both the seen and unseen worlds
- the true seeker would find in his teachings, when rightly
studied, all the teachings of Isis and Buddha. As he received
his instruction from Egypt, heired from India¸ it is more
than probable that esoterically his teachings are identical with
From F.F. - Will the Devachanic period form an interruption
to the work for humanity in the case of one devoted to this during
earth life? Is Devachan then a rejuvenating, strengthening period
necessary for us while in the bonds of flesh, and is the Elixir
of Life the only escape from this egoistic period? May an answer
be given to this?
Answer - As the Devachanic period is a result of work
for humanity - the true and pure devachanic state being only
thus obtained - it should form no interruption to such work.
It only does become such when the soul is selfish enough to prefer
Devachan to a continuance of work for other men, and even then
to a certain extent the soul continues its work. There is rest
in Devachan, but not idleness. As this state is frequently entered
and passed through while yet in the body, it should be an aid,
not a hindrance, to true work. In truth it is a state of reward,
but in that state no rewards are received. There is no state
up to Nirvana that can be an obstacle to work for humanity for
those who are devoted to that work. The Elixir of Life is the
only means by which we can pass beyond both Devachan and the
thoughts of it; the Magnum Opus is the only thing that entitles
us to it.
From M.E.S - (I) Are the Astral and the lowest plane
of mental life synonymous terms?
Answer - They are not. The impulses for all mental
life originate beyond the Astral. The outer man with his mind
interprets these as he conceives they should be. The lowest as
well as the highest mental life may receive knowledge from the
Astral, but it is not the Astral. All that all forms of mental
life produce is indelibly impressed upon the Astral.
(2) Is the "rising above the Astral" in effect
rising above the stings and probation of public opinion?
Answer - For us, there is no public opinion. We know
neither sting nor approbation. Rising above public opinion is
merely rising above the material. Until men forget the material,
they can not rise above self. Until they forget self, they can
not rise above the Astral: All things that please as well as
those that distress men are in and through the Astral. Rise above
From M.J.G. - Whence come the visions seen just
before dropping to sleep? They are uncontrollable - sometimes
unpleasant, and have increased since childhood, and since beginning
the study of Occultism.
Answer - When we enter that condition called sleep,
we open wide the doors and windows of the body or this house
we live in, and the soul goes forth as a bird freed from its
cage. In partial unconsciousness or falling into sleep, the body
has, to a great extent, ceased to act, but the brain is still
sensitive or receptive to the pictures or impressions of the
Astral. Of the lower principles the Astral is the last to cease
action either in sleep or death. The brain is its instrument.
In the partial somnolent condition, the pictures of the Astral
are conveyed to the brain; through that the outer man realizes
and beholds the visions. If he were fully asleep these visions
would be dreams. Precisely, as dreams, they may be either pleasant
or the reverse. Like dreams they are uncontrollable by the ordinary
every day mortal. The Occultist being master of himself beholds
only that which he desires, either in vision, or dream, or neither.
As one makes himself more sensitive to impressions from the Astral
when and after he begins the study of Occultism, visions and
dreams will increase in frequency for a time.
Path, January, 1888
From Adelphi - A most perplexed individual is writing
to you. I have been for three years endeavoring to study Theosophy.
I have heard lectures, have read an immense amount of literature
devoted to that cult, from the sages of old down to the Sinnetts,
Olcotts, and Blavatskys of the present day. I have conned the
Yoga Philosophy and I read The Path. Light on the Path
aids me not, nor does Bhagavad Gita, and why? Because
I am yet without the first steps towards practice. (Surely Theosophy
- like other sciences - must have something practical
about it?) Guide me with your friendly hints. Imagine me alone
in a room. How to commence? Show me the first step upon the practical
ladder! All I have heard and read seemeth to me so elaborately
unintelligible that I lay it aside and beg you to instruct me
in my Theosophical A B C, Astral Light! Is it a figurative light,
i.e. Revelation? or is it a light, as electricity - the
Heavens - coal - gives light? If abstract (into insensibility)
is necessary, can you instruct me upon Hypnotism (self mesmerism)?
"A shining object" is advised to stare at! A mirror
is a shining object, for instance. But of what avail to stare
at a mirror and see reflected ugliness!
Answer - You say that for three years you have been
endeavoring to study Theosophy. Such being the case, you
will meet with but little success. Divine Wisdom can not be a
subject for study, but it may be an object of search.
With the love for this same wisdom uppermost in our hearts, we
ask you if it would not be wiser to lay aside the study of
so called Theosophy and study yourself. Knowing yourself you
know all men, the worlds seen and occult, and find Theo-Sophia.
One cannot absorb Theosophy as a sponge does water, to be expelled
at the slightest touch. Our conception of Theosophy is apt to
be based upon the idea that it is an especial line of teaching
- a larger, wider, and great doctrine than others perhaps, but
still a doctrine, and therefore limited. We must bear in mind
that the true Theosophist belongs to no cult or sect, yet belongs
to each and all; that he can find the true object of his search
equally as well in the Hebrew bible as in the Yoga philosophy,
in the New Testament equally as well as in the Bhagavad-Gita.
You say you have "conned the Yoga philosophy." This
is not enough; merely to "con" it is not to know it.
It is in fact a most practical system (if you refer to that of
Patanjali), and one that will meet all requirements you have
in the way of difficulty; for it is one of the most difficult.
It is not possible for you to judge its merits without practice:
and it gives full directions. If for three years you study and
practice it - aye for one year -, you will find that you need
no other. In these matters there is no child's play nor the usual
English and American method of mere book-learning, - we must
absorb and work into the practice and the theory laid down, for
they are not written merely for the intellect, but for
the whole spiritual nature. There must be within the man something
which he already knows, that leaps up and out when he scans the
books of wisdom; a thing already existing, which only takes an
added life or confirmation from books. True Theosophy has all
that is practical, but many forget this; there is no greater
system of practice than that required by it.
Desire wisdom; love all men; do your duty; forget yourself;
let each thought and act of your life have for its aim the finding
of divine wisdom; strive to apply that wisdom for he good of
other men. If you search in every direction, Light must come
to you. Let the place in which you now are be the lonely room
you speak of, and seek to find in everything the meaning. Strive
to know what they are, and by what governed or caused. This the
first step. Live your life with this ever before you. Purify
your thought as well as your body. Reason all you can, feel all
with your heart you may, and when intellect and heart fail you,
seek for something higher. This is the A.B.C.; it is enough for
It is not Theosophy that is a science, but its application.
It is not a "cult," for it covers and includes all.
The Astral Light is an actuality. It is not revelation, but
a means through which that which causes revelation acts. Electricity,
the heavens, all lower fires, are but the shadows of the Astral
Light, just as the Astral Light is but the darkness of the Ineffable
Abstraction into insensibility is not intended. If it had
been so intended it would be unnecessary for us to be in these
bodies. If you can forget yourself sufficiently - forget that
you exist as a human body, you will not need to stare at a mirror;
but so long as you realize, when staring into a glass, whether
you be pretty or ugly, you can not reach Celestial sensibility
or terrestrial insensibility.
Hypnotism is the controlling of other personalities. Under
this you would be but a puppet for the thought of another. Your
outer self had better become a puppet for you own thought.
We seek to make the body alive, not to kill it.
Path, February, 1888
To Zadok - Suppose persons have reason to believe
they have found the beginning of the Way, and then find they
do not care to investigate the mysteries of Occultism; that they
are content to remain without knowledge on these subjects, though
they found Truth through Theosophy, and that they are happy because
they feel that whatever God orders in their lives must be right,
whether it is pleasure or pain.
Suppose also that such persons, though having put themselves
in a spiritually receptive condition, feel no weight of Karma,
though willing to suffer to whatever extent is needed from it.
Do you not think such persons may be deceiving themselves in
thinking they are Theosophists, when they have lived many weeks
in this condition? Do you think it harder for women to attain
spirituality than men? and if so, still should they not strive
all the more to obtain it? I know we should not avoid anything
merely because it is irksome or uninteresting.
Do not Theosophists allow themselves to feel happy if happiness
comes to them without their desiring it? Also why do Theosophists
wish to avoid feeling pain or pleasure, if God orders the circumstances
which produce them, after we have subjected our will to His?
Please answer in your next issue of The Path. L.
Answer - Men attach an erroneous meaning to Occultism.
If one has found the beginning of the Way he has found
some of the mysteries of Occultism, for none find the Way
until they find something of the Unseen. It is impossible for
one to put himself in a spiritually receptive condition without
"investigation" of or being under the sway of
Occultism or Occult conditions; and it is through these same
conditions that he knows that pain and pleasure are one and all
wise. Karma does not always manifest itself as suffering, by
any means; it is quite as likely to produce joy as sorrow, and
Karma is not always weighty. Such persons of whom you speak may
be trying to become Theosophists, but are not Theosophists. A
seeker for Divine wisdom seeks in all directions and refuses
(2) It is as hard for man as for woman to enter the mysteries.
Man works through the intellect, woman through the emotions or
heart. Both are equally useless after a time, and of the two
the heart is the better tool. But woman becomes engrossed or
overwhelmed by her emotions, and passes no farther. The greatest
Teachers have been those who have had most of the womanly in
their natures. It is more difficult to master the body as a woman
than as a man. This can be answered only partial in print.
(3) The True Theosophist allows himself, or is taught
to feel, both pain and pleasure, happiness and sorrow, for he
knows them all to be wise. Men long for and desire; they fight
for happiness and do not find it. We have given to us peace,
which is far beyond happiness. Happiness is of this world and
is a mockery of the True; yet as all other men we feel it, for
we feel all things, for in all these things lie the lessons to
be learned as men. I dare not speak for other men, but were I
to wish to avoid either pleasure or pain, knowing them to be
God's will, then would I utterly fail. Once having subjected
my will - my human will - to His, then I avoid nothing
that is His will.
To Zadok - (I) Why, since the Deity chose of His
own divine will to make the descent into matter, or - as some
put it - by this process alone came to Him a realizing sense
of His being, in the manifestation through and by matter, why
should this be considered a "fall," or, indeed,
an evil at all, since, being the work and choice of the
Deity, it must necessarily have been both wisdom and goodness
which dictated the "descent"; and, as Theosophy teaches
the inner Light and in dwelling Emanuel (God with us) to be ever
present in all forms of life, wherein consisted the evil of this
divine descent, and why must this experience be necessarily
associated with evil at all?
(2) I met an F.T.S. the other day who believes he has arrived
at "Saintship" and cannot therefore err. He cannot
bear the slightest contradiction , believing that he has arrived
at such a state of "enlightenment" that he is infallible,
whereas we less gifted mortals feel that he often makes grave
mistakes. Of course this assumption is untenable in this case,
but are sainthood and consequent infallibility likely to result
from the humdrum every-day life of an ordinary nineteenth century
Answer - For the Deity there is no fall. He can not
fall. In the so-called descent into matter, He must manifest
through something. Never does the Ineffable stand unveiled
before mortal man. When the All Wise deemed it good to manifest
Himself as individualities, He did so through the soul. After
creating the human man with the soul that all things possess,
"He breathed into his nostrils and man became a living
soul," or the Deity manifested Himself through the soul
in the man. Nothing below man is immortal. Man is not immortal;
his soul is not immortal; but the breath of God, which is God's
life or God himself, is forever. Man was to have lived
as the angels, "for they also were made"; but, although
by the grosser elements of matter or nature, by its lusts and
desires, its seductive beauties and deceptive pleasures, realized
most fully through the senses of the human body, the soul
was drawn down instead of upward, into ignorance of
the true instead of toward the wisdom of God, holding
and binding thus the spirit in the meshes of the grossest part
of nature, and so fell. God did not fall, - the spirit;
nor did man as the human man; but the soul, being a free agent,
did so, causing the spirit to be limited, and entailing pain
and anguish upon the human man. Man with the Divine manifest
in him was to know only the good, or wisdom; but, not content,
he must eat of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil,
or the misapplication of the good, and fell into ignorance.
There can be no greater evil than losing the wisdom of a God
for the ignorance of a man. Herein consists the only evil of
the fall after the descent into matter.
(2) How do your know that he makes grave mistakes? I may not
say that anyone errs or makes mistakes, other than my own self.
Neither you nor I may say another is saint or devil from our
own standpoint of what makes either. Both you and I have been
taught, however, that one who has arrived at the state of "Saintship"
never lays claim to it or to "enlightenment."
Saintship and a certain measure of infallibility will result
from humdrum ever-day life in the nineteenth century, and in
no other way, if rightly comprehended. Otherwise one would not
be here at all, or would have lived in some other time, before
time was. To become a saint one must know what sinners are and
what sin is. The best way to arrive at this knowledge is through
the nineteenth century or the time in which we live, through
life and all it tells us. Believing that one cannot err and in
one's infallibility is however not characteristic of saintship.
Path, March, 1888
From G.M. - (I) During sleep I have a feeling that
I can fly by an intense act of will. I then do float in dream
over the ground, my body seeming rigid. The force exhausts, then
I have to descend. What is your explanation of this?
Answer - It is part of the effort of your inner man
to demonstrate to your outer self the existence and action of
unrecognized and unfamiliar forces, which every man has in him
the latent power to use. Dreamless slumber is better.
(2) In Theosophical books I find occult or magical phenomena
referred to. I am disposed to reject these and consider their
publication of a very questionable character in light of matter
for the improvement of intelligent seekers after truth. Still
I do not deny them, and hold myself open for conviction in any
Answer - Why then bother yourself with the phenomena
of your dream state? The dream of flying is as much a phenomena
as any other that Theosophical literature contains. The proper
attitude for true theosophists is not to be ready or anxious
to bring conviction as to any phenomena to inquirers. Hence we
cannot enter into proofs. We know personally that phenomena of
a most extraordinary character have taken place, and are still
occurring; we also agree with you that the constant publication
of accounts of phenomena is unwise. Still it must sometimes be
done, as some minds have to advance through the aid of these
We also know that the Masters who are behind the Theosophical
Society have, in writing, condemned the thirst for phenomena
made so often degrading, and stated that the Society ought to
progress through its moral worth. One phenomenon can be seen
by but a limited number of people, some of whom even will always
doubt, and each one hearing of it afterwards will want a repetition
for himself. Further than that, it would be certain to bring
on a thirst for mere sight-seeing, resulting in a total forgetfulness
of spirit. But, on the other hand, there are laws that cannot
be guessed at without phenomena. And in each human being is a
complete universe in which daily occur phenomena that should
be studied. This is the proper realm for each student to investigate,
for therein - and nowhere else - is placed the gate through which
each one must advance.
From G.B. - Why does the Baron in Mr. Sinnett's
"Karma" advise Mrs. Lakesby not to communicate with
the "astral specters" she saw about the Professor?
Answer - The answer to this will not yet be well understood.
The English language has not acquired the needed words. The Baron's
reply was that thereby the real ego of the deceased would be
retarded in its advancement, and Mrs. Lakesby might lay herself
open to influences from the astral world that would prey upon
This answer opens fire at once upon the whole "philosophy"
of spiritualism, and contains a challenge of the ignorance of
most seers and nearly every student of psychical laws. The ordinary
spiritualist sees complete proof for the returning of deceased
friends in the phenomena of the séroom, and nearly every
seer is fascinated with his or her own pictures in the astral
light and the absolute truth of what is seen.
Mrs. Lakesby did not see the spirit of any person, but only
the reliquae. The spirit is never seen, and the
soul is engaged in experiencing a certain portion of its deserts
in other states. These states are unnameable and incomprehensible
to English speaking people. But for a period there is a magnetic
connection between that soul and the reliquae seen at
séand by seers. By means of that connection the soul is
prevented - against its will, except when it is extremely wicked
- from passing through its purification preparatory to entering
into devachan. This purification, or preparatory state
anterior to devachan, has not been explained by theosophical
writers. It is, nevertheless, a fact of the highest importance.
The second portion of the Baron's reply is also valuable.
When a seer or medium perceives these shades of the departed
and desires to communicate with them, a crowd of nature spirits,
of no moral character but solely moved by magnetic impulse, rush
into the shade of the deceased and give it a temporary life.
They too are then able, on their part, to see the seer or medium,
and may and do often transfer themselves from the shade to the
medium, whose lower, baser nature they occupy and vivify. By
thus incorporating themselves with the relilquae of dead
persons, these elementals stop the process of disintegration
of the atoms of matter composing the shade, which would have
gone on to completion if left to nature. As soon as this disintegrating
process is inhibited, the soul itself is held, so to say, in
a vise which it is powerless to open, and unaware as well from
whence comes the disturbance. Thus, then, these who run after
their deceased friends' shades or reappearances are each day
condemning their loved ones to a longer and more painful stay
in a state that closely corresponds to the Christian hell.
I know my words will sweep unheeded over the forest in which
our spiritualistic friends are wandering, but some sincere students
will believe me.
Path, April, 1888
From M.C.D. - I am told that an Adept has said "that
one can help or cure another if his Karma does not prevent it."
Am I to understand that when suffering is before me I am not
to relieve it if in my power to do so, on the ground that the
suffering person's Karma has brought him there and I must not
interfere? Some Theosophists have enunciated this rule.
Answer - If an Adept said this it is not incorrect.
But no Adept ever drew the conclusion you give. Some Theosophists
have, we are sorry to say, declared that they may not help for
the reason stated. It is not theosophical to take such a position.
The sufferer's Karma truly produced the suffering, but your Karma
offers the opportunity for a kind deed that my relieve him; it
may be his Karma to be relieved by you. It is your duty to do
this kind act, of whatever nature it be. The meaning of the declaration
attributed to the Adept is that you are to try to relieve suffering,
which effort will have a beneficial effect unless the Karma of
the sufferer prevents: but you know nothing of his Karma and
must not judge it; your duty lies in the act presented to you
for performance, and not with its result nor with the possible
hindrances resulting from the Karma. The wrong view given by
you in your question arises from the conceited attitude of persons
who, having slight knowledge, presume to be the judges of others
and of the great and hidden causes springing from Karma. Knowledge
of these causes and of their operation in any particular case
comes only to those who have reached Adeptship; for, in order
to rightly judge how to rightly act, you must know absolutely
the other's Karma, together with your own, in order not to fall
into the awful error of deliberately sinning.
It would be wiser for all students to seek to do their duty
and to act as true brothers on every occasion than to run about
endeavoring to imitate Sages and Adepts.
From B.J. - What can your tell me about the Mind
Cure and Christian Science? Are they true, are they theosophical?
Ought I to study them so as to be mens sana in corpore sano,
as it were?
Answer - As we have not made a thorough study of these,
we could not assume to tell you much about them, and hence cannot
say if they are true or theosophical. Many earnest theosophists
are believers and followers of both. We, however, have been trained
in the Eastern theosophical school. Following the teaching of
the latter, our advice is to have a healthy body by paying regard
to rules for health, so that your mind, whether it be healthy
or not, may exhibit its workings untrammeled. And the teacher
has ever said, as taught by the Sages of old, that the body must
not be the object of the student's care. The same teacher
also warned us that, as the body is a material thing, the proper
remedies needed to counteract extreme discordant vibrations are
also of a material nature. Our work lies not with your body,
but with your mind and heart. See to it that the latter is right.
The quantity and quality of mind that are yours may be little
or poor, but even if great and good, the heart and soul are greater,
and mind has its limits beyond which it passes not.
Path, June, 1888
A change of circumstances having made it necessary for Zadok
to remove to another sphere of action, no more answers to queries
will appear from his pen. Queries, however, will be answered
to the best of the ability of one or two others who have agreed
to undertake the work, and they may be addressed to the Path
From F.N.W. - (I) What is the difference between
the Esoteric Society of Boston and the Theosophic Society,
and is that difference very serious?
Answer - The last clause of the question shows that
the questioner probably means "disagreement" instead
of "difference." There can be no disagreement, inasmuch
as the Boston Society is no part of the Theosophical Society.
By reading the objects of the Theosophical body and those of
the Boston Society, any difference which may exist may be discovered.
I cannot say if there be any, as I know nothing of the latter.
William Q. Judge
General Secretary, T.S.
(2) Do members of the T.S. practice the method of regeneration
propounded by Hiram E. Butler?
Answer - I cannot say. The T.S. imposes no "method
of regeneration" on its members; it only asks them to cultivate
and exemplify Universal Brotherhood. As to a method of regeneration,
it would seem that there can be but one regeneration.
(3) Do members of the T.S. accept "Solar Biology"
as a real science?
Answer - There may be some who do. The term "Solar
Biology" is an example of the ability of the American mind
to strain English terms out of their usual meaning. Ordinarily
it would mean some biological effect produced by the sun of our
system, or, as equally, biologizing the sun himself. Since, however,
acceptance of a particular dogma or system is not required of
members of the Theosophical Society, one should not waste any
time in trying to find out whether persons who are members believe
in certain isms or sciences. The same amount of time devoted
to a careful, cold, and passionless scrutiny of our own outer
and inner nature will lead us nearer to compliance with the old
direction, "Man, know Thyself." This is the
only science worth knowing, for, as the old sacred books
say, "In the heart of man are all things, sun, moon, and
stars, all is contained within it."
From L.C. - What are the "peace" and the
"voice of the silence" spoken of in the Light on
the Path? Are they easy to attain to?
Answer - The peace is that period succeeding a storm
set up in your nature by any attempt to conquer the lower self.
It follows each such conflict if the battle has been waged to
victory for the higher. But few modern men can wage the battle
with more than one thing at a time. Hence, we have many such
storms. Each peculiarity, passion, or propensity has to be attacked
singly and overcome. When that happens, a period of inner silence
arrives in which the soul grows and attempts to instruct us.
This is the voice. And, as Light on the Path says (Rule
21 part I), "It cannot be described by any metaphor."
The silence has its counterpart in nature when, after storms
or cataclysms, silence occurs. The silence after a storm
is due to the effect of water falling through the air upon earth,
vegetation, insects, and animals, and to the peculiar results
of loud reverberations of thunder. All these combine to produce
a silence quite appreciable by any one accustomed to nature.
And when a cataclysm takes place, such as the falling of a tremendous
avalanche of snow, another sort of silence is brought about,
during which many things in the astral and natural world not
at other times evident can be perceived. Each of these silences
comes to an end because the ordinary normal operations of nature
reassert themselves. So it is with ourselves. Storms of disappointment,
or terrible upheavals from tremendous sorrows, or the effect
of our own intense will, bring about those silences in which
the voice of the soul has perchance a better opportunity of being
Path, July, 1888
A.C.R. asks if a long definition of Karma given in the
letter is in harmony with the Asiatic definition.
Answer - We do not think that the definition of A.C.R.
is good, for the reason that it is not clear what is meant. One
thing is certain, and that is that Karma is the governor of all
our circumstances, and is also in part a cause of acts, and is
again the act and the circumstance also. The Universe itself
is the Karma of the Supreme. Karma means work or action, and,
as action is performed in more ways than by the bodily organs,
the field of Karma must not be limited to the body. As A.C.R.
says, the most important thing to consider is how we think and
what is the motive with which we do any act.
On the subject of Karma the sect of Visishadwaitas of India
Karma is the cause of connection of Jivatma - or the particular
spirit - with matter in the shape of Karanasarira, as well as
the cause of misery or happiness. Karma is the producing cause
of birth, death, rebirth, and every kind of body. Karma is the
result of the conscious action of Jivatma, whether good or bad.
Good Karma is that which results in pleasing, and bad Karma is
that which results in displeasing, Ishwara. [He is held to be
the particular spirit in each body - our Higher-Self.] The action
of Jiva produces Karma through ignorance, and this ignorance
is of two sorts: one the confounding of the attributes of one
thing with those of another; and the second the confounding of
one thing with another. Thus, the Jivatma first confounds the
body with itself, and then such attributes as birth, death, and
so on, with the attributes which really belong to Jivatma only;
then certain actions are done, and they lead to other karma composed
of ignorance and of habit. Thus Karma works without any definite
beginning, and the causes of Karma mentioned above remain latent
during a pralaya or night of Brahma, and when a new evolution
begins they again become active and produce results as before.
Karma even works in Swarga or heaven, for, as soon as the
causes that take us there are exhausted, we are brought back
to rebirth under the operation of Karma; thus it is seen to be
stronger than the blissful state of Heaven. This going to and
returning from Swarga goes on until salvation is obtained, -
one who attains that state is called Jivanmukta. This condition
is defined as "an entire separation of Jiva from all connection
with matter, and complete destruction of Karma whether good or
bad." The word Moksha literally means "release
Path, November, 1888
From L. - (I) What plan of life should a theosophist
adopt? Take one who does not aspire to chelaship, but who is
anxious to live rightly. Should he give up literature, or music,
or art; and ought he to give up thoughts of marriage?
Answer - The plan of life should be that which shall
appear to the student the best one under his lights; any sort
of life may have as a plan under it the good of the race. It
is not required that literature or art should be given up: theosophy
seeks to round men out and not to produce moral skeletons. As
to marriage, we have nothing to say.
(2) Is Light on the Path written for chelas alone
or for all?
Answer - It was written for all who strive to understand
the meaning under the language; its real sense is not
that conveyed by the mere words in it.
(3) Why do so many warn against rashly attempting chelaship?
If it is right, why not for all? Will it be easier in some future
life, or will it be always a struggle? If the necessity for leaders
makes it right for some to essay this, how is one to tell which
is his duty, to try or not?
Answer - The reason for the warning has been given
over and over again. A chela calls upon himself awful possibilities
of disaster, and voluntarily exposes himself to the most pitiless
foes the race has, - those within the mind's plane and in the
astral world. These are not figments, and every one who forces
himself must meet the consequences, for the kingdom of heaven
is surrounded by monsters, and the way to it is enveloped with
the black cloud of the soul's despair at a place where knowledge,
power, and faith are needed and where sentiment plays no part.
The road winds up hill all the way even to the very end; but
in this life we may prepare ourselves to be ready to make a farther
advance in our next reincarnation.
Any one who is to be a leader will easily find that
out. We are not to try and discover that we are leaders, but
to do our every duty; if they are performed, the Law of Karma
will find those who are the real leaders, and all sham captains
From "An Outsider" - in England - If I
write to you sometimes anonymously, will you answer? There must
be many like myself, lonely and ignorant, who need help and might
find it in the Path. My health is poor; how can I regain it?
I have not the "superb audacity" you speak of.
Answer - Those who answer questions for us will attempt
replies to all reasonable questions, but we are not an oracle.
As to health we cannot say; each case is special, but cheerfulness
and faith in the implicit justice of Karma and in the Great Souls
who help all earnest students may give better health. All diseases
begin within, but the way to health is not found by brooding
on disease; some diseases proceed from causes generated in other
lives, and may have a given period during which they run and
cannot be stayed. But we cannot go into personal questions relating
to the physical body's ailments.
Maggie Crawford writes stating that she judges the
truth of theosophic doctrine by the characters of those who promulgate
it, and that she finds Mme. Blavatsky an objection to the truth
of theosophy. Charges are brought against other prominent persons
who are named by her A, B, and C; we cannot notice these, as
they are anonymous, or rather straw defendants, But as to H.P.
Blavatsky, we desire to say to the questioner that we have known
her many, many years and think her character is not ungoverned
nor uncontrolled; we also know her to be generous and just, as
well as wise and farseeing. But truth must never be judged by
any personal standard; and we advise our friend to pursue truth
for its own sake, and not because any person says it is true.
Jasper Niemand, Wm. Brehon, Eusebio Urban
Path, February, 1889
From Hadji - What is the meaning of newspaper references
to Mme. Blavatsky thus: "Theosophy, too, despite the exposure
of Mme. Blavatsky's impudent impostures is still flourishing."?
Answer - In 1885 the London Psychic Research Society
took upon itself to investigate the alleged letters from Adepts
received by Mr. Sinnett and others in India, and sent out a young
man named Hodgson to inquire into facts that had happened months
and years before. He reported that they were all frauds by Mme.
Blavatsky, and that she had a tremendous combination of conspirators
ramifying all over India. His report was published by the P.
R. Society. It is so preposterous however, that no well-informed
Theosophist believes it. The newspapers and superficial thinkers
often refer to it. Mr. Hodgson, in addition to inventing the
great conspiracy theory, was full of prejudice which he has since
displayed in various cities of the United States by declaiming
against H. P. Blavatsky although he says she is not worth pursuing.
Path, May, 1889
From C. N. (I) Is there a "Parent" Theosophical
Answer - Strictly there is not. Such a term would
imply a separate parent body which gave out Charters or Diplomas.
The Society is composed of its members who are, for administrative
purposes, in Branches or unattached; the latter are called "members-at-large,"
but all are fellows of the T.S. The government is in the General
Council, which now meets in India, in which all sections of the
Society have a voice, and which issues charters and diplomas.
But aside from Branch members and those at-large, there is no
parent Society; The term "parent" should be abandoned,
as it implies separation.
(2) Is there an Esoteric Section of the Society in America
different from that governed by H.P. Blavatsky?
Answer - There is not, and there never was. In the
first establishment of the T.S. other degrees than that of a
mere diplomaed member were recognized, but no one save H. P.
Blavatsky has had the authority to confer those degrees. She
has now fully announced the first of those, although during all
these 14 years they have existed and included certain members
who were also fellows of the T.S.
Some misguided persons may have pretended to confer those
degrees, but such a thing was improper on their part, and absolutely
worthless to the recipient. These real degrees in occultism may
not be trifled with, and yet they protect themselves because
pretenders and triflers can make neither entry nor progress.
In 1875 H.P. Blavatsky directed a certain fellow of the Society
to attend to the needs of all the members of the T.S., who were
then called "entered apprentices" by her, and her letter
of that date is still extant in which the present Esoteric Section
was plainly referred to.
(3) Why has H.P. Blavatsky waited until now to so publicly
proclaim the Esoteric Section?
Answer - As a matter of fact she has not so waited.
In 1875 and since many knew of its existence and have been in
it, and she has frequently spoken of it; but until now there
have not been enough members interested in the realities of theosophy
to justify her in a definitive statement and organization. These
efforts have to proceed slowly; people must first be waked up
and directed towards theosophical doctrines before it is wise
to open up that which is plain to those who know how to use their
intuition. But the Western mind, for all its boasted progressiveness,
is generally unable to know what is behind a wall unless a hole
is cut through it; others, however, can guess what is hidden
when they perceive signs and sounds that are quite plain and
made on purpose.
But for the first 14 years of a theosophical effort - periodically
made in every century - the work of such persons as H.P. Blavatsky
is always directed to preparing the ground, and then more open
invitation is extended. It is so done in the last 25 years of
From R.L.R.- (I) What is a Nirmanakaya?
Answer - Such is one of the appellations given to
an Adept who, in order to devote himself to mankind, has consciously
given up his right to pass into Nirvana. He has no material body,
but possesses all the other principles; and for such an one space
is no obstacle. There are many of them, and they perform various
works; some take full possession of great reformers, or statesmen
who carry on a beneficial policy; others overshadow sometimes
several persons, causing them to act, speak, and write in such
a way as to produce needed changes in their fellow men. These
Nirmanakayas pass through the haunts of men unseen and unknown;
only the effects of their influence and presence are perceived,
and these results are attributed to the genius of the individual
or to chance alone.
(2) Has a Nirmanakaya any sex?
Answer - No. The pronoun "He" has been used
because it has a general application just as "man"
or "men" has. In such a development as that of a Nirmanakaya
the distinctions of sex have disappeared, because in the spiritual
plane there is no sex.
From T.D. - If there be any defect in the Mind Cure
system, what would you say it is?
Answer - I should say the constant assertion that
there is no evil or badness is that prime defect. For if one
so asserts, he should also admit that there is no good. These
two opportunities stand or fall together; and they cannot disappear
until all has passed to that plane which is above all good and
all evil. Yet those who say that there is no evil are on the
plane of consciousness where they perceive these two opposites.
It appears to me that here in the Western world the old Hindu
doctrine that all is illusion because impermanent is half-used.
The illusionary quality is attributed only to so-called "evil,"
whereas the good is equally illusionary, since it as well as
evil is so judged to be from some human standard. As in a community
in which death is a blessing disease will be called "good,"
since it hastens death's advent; or, in another where insanity
is supposed to be due to the presence of some god, such a condition
is not esteemed to be evil.
Path, June, 1889
ARE THERE NEW SOULS? WHY REINCARNATION?
M.E.A - We all know that the population of the earth
is increasing yearly, and that in time this globe will not be
able to support its population unless the future inhabitants
can get along on air. Does Theosophy teach us that new souls
are created? Each one of these future unfortunates must have
a soul. Will the Path please explain?
Answer - There are some assumptions in this inquiry
about which no one has positive information. It is not settled
that the population "is increasing yearly." For the
apparent increase may be only a more accurate knowledge of the
number of inhabitants, following from a more accurate knowledge
of the globe on which we live. For instance: we have only lately
acquired information of vast quantities of people in Africa previously
Nor does it follow that the earth will not be able to support
its population in time. A great many well-informed persons think
exactly the opposite. Not very long ago several millions of people
were destroyed in China, Japan, and elsewhere in a single week;
this would leave a good deal of room for a population - in the
United States for instance - to expand. Hence the question is
narrowed down to the single one - "Does Theosophy teach
us that new souls are created?" Mme. Blavatsky answers this
in the Secret Doctrine by stating that from now until
the end of this period of manifestation there will be no new
Monads (which will answer to the word "souls" of the
questioner), but the old ones will be reincarnated on this globe.
If her view is the correct one, then the reincarnations from
now onwards will be incarnations of Monads who have been here
many times before. That is to say, we will all be worked over
many times. This opinion of Mme. Blavatsky's is held by many
If we started as spirit and therefore perfect, why need
we these reincarnations of suffering, only to finally attain
what we started with?
Answer - This is the old question, the old inquiry,
"What has the Absolute in view, and why is there anything?"
The question contains its own answer, for if we started as "spirit,"
and therefore "perfect," we must still be and so remain
forever perfect. But in the Upanishads it is said that
"These radiations from the Great All are like sparks from
a central fire, which emanate from it and return again for its
own purposes." Furthermore, there is nothing more distinctly
and frequently taught in Theosophical literature than this, that
it is the personal, the illusory, the lower "I," who
asks such questions as these, and that the real person within,
the spirit, sees no such thing as suffering but rejoices forever
in immeasurable bliss. "We" did not start perfect,
but imperfect, and "our" progress to union with spirit
is the perfection of the lower "we" and "our."
Path, April, 1890
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