Dear Brother: Is there any dictionary or book giving the correct pronunciation of the Oriental words so current in theosophical literature?
In Sanscrit dictionaries the true pronunciation is found. But if our correspondent will, in these words, always read a as ah, e as eh, i as ee, u as oo, and o as oh, she will be right. Arjuna is sounded as Arjoona, Veda as Vaydah, Brahma as Brähmä, Prakriti as Präkreetee, Mulaprakriti as Moolah-pra-kreetee, and so on. - Ed.
Several letters have been written and inquiries propounded to the Editor regarding Sanscrit, and in one or two instances the assertion has been made that we were incorrect in saying that Sanscrit is not really a dead language. In reply to those asking about the language, we refer them to Perry's Sanscrit Primer (Ginn & Co., Boston), Lanman's Sanscrit Reader and Whitney's Sanscrit Grammar.To the others, we quote from Perry's Primer, § 21, p.7: "The Sanscrit is used in India to this day very much as Latin was used in Europe in the previous century; it is a common medium of communication between the learned, be their native tongues what they may, and it is not the vernacular of any district whatever." And in India, the Editor was told by many Brahmins that it is in constant use in all religious convocations and assemblies convened among people of learning who come from widely separated parts of Hindustan.
Path, June, July, 1886
New York, May 16, 1886
Editor of the Path,
Dear Sir: - Could you explain the following?
A friend of mine, a physician, who is a rational agnostic and scoffer at all so-called supernatural things, relates the following curious mystery, which happened to him the other day.
He was sitting in his office holding in his hand a letter from one of his regular patients, which asked him to come as soon as he could. It being then towards 5 p.m., when his office hours are over, he was thinking whether he could go that day or not as he has an extensive practice. While thinking he found that the letter was gone. He searched for it on his table, but in vain. A strange feeling came over him as he could not even remember when he had received the letter, nor when he had opened it. A feeling that the letter had after all been a physical delusion he dismissed with scorn; he was sure it would by and by easily explain itself. However the servant was sure that no letter had since 2 p.m. been delivered, as she never leaves the door during that time.
The next morning he called on his patient, who was very glad to see him, though being a little astonished that her daughter had been very sick the preceding day for an hour or two. It had soon passed over. "I am glad to hear that it is nothing serious," the doctor said, "I wanted to excuse myself for not coming yesterday, I received your letter only at 5 p.m." "My letter?" the lady answered, "I never wrote to you; it is impossible, for about that time I was with my sick daughter, and thought very intensely to write, but as I had but one servant in the house I concluded to wait till my son came in. By the time he came, my daughter felt better, and so we concluded not to trouble you."
My friend went home, perfectly sure that in spite of all appearance, though no letter could be found after repeated searching - the lady had written but forgotten it. I can vouch for the truth of the story.
Remain yours fraternally,
The explanation by those who adhere to mediumship would be, that this was what they call, "a spirit letter." But at this time we cannot accept that proposition; it seems rather a degradation of what we call "spirit," and many alleged "controls" of mediums have deprecated the constant referring of everything to spirit agency, when in perhaps the majority of cases, "spirits" have nothing to do in the matter. Many so called extraordinary things occur every day which are attributed to spirits, or classed as hallucination, which really are due to the powers of the living man, their laws of operation being almost unknown to western people.
The true student of Raj Yoga knows that everything has its origin in the mind; that even this universe is the passing before the Divine Mind of the images he desires to appear.
Now in the case before us, the doctor must be a sensitive man who has the power, unknown to himself, of seeing very clearly the mental images passing in the minds of those with whom he is in sympathy. These impressions are quite common, but they are not usually seen as apparently visible things. Some receive them as images, others as thoughts and ideas. We are all constantly affecting each other in this way every day of our lives, but not everyone receives the impression in the same way. The variations of the operations of manas, which may be properly called "mind," are infinite.
The lady whose daughter was sick, desired very intently to see the doctor, and the message was probably formulated in her mind at once. This is evident, for she awaited the arrival of the son to whom she would at once have given it. That message thus formed was impressed in the astral light, and because of the sympathy existing between patient and doctor it immediately rushed into the sphere of the doctor, registering itself in his mind. He then saw in his hand a letter, which apparently he could feel and read. This was either, (a) the reflection from his mind, or (b) an actual momentary appearance in his hand of the astral message. It was never found again because it had no corporeal existence.
It would be easy to cry "spirits," but it would be common sense. We might also say elementals did it, but that would infer that either the doctor or the patient has elementals devoted to them. Elementals do perform such things but the cases are not common, and therefore we are not justified in taking that explanation when neither party knows of elementals.
If the doctor had not been a sensitive man, he would merely have received the message and repeated it to himself as a sudden thought of that particular patient.
We know several persons of our acquaintance who habitually obey sudden impressions, causing them to write to absent friends, &c., always finding that they answer the other person's thought or written letter when on the way and undelivered until after the reply had been sent.
Let us then pay attention to these things in this light and not allow ourselves, except in known cases, to fly into the arms of alleged spirits or elementals. - Ed.
Path, June, 1886
Dear Path: Can you explain these?
(I) A young lady practicing on the piano a new and difficult piece felt a voice say "Stop! play no more." She paid no attention, but soon her arms felt heavy as lead. Persisting she spoke, "I will learn this," when a mighty crash as upon the outside of the house alarmed her, but no cause for it could be discovered. Returning she began again when the window was violently shaken as if by unseen hands. Her nephew, a musician, had died a short time before this.
Answer - If it be admitted that the noises were not produced quite naturally, then it is probable they were psychical. Such loud noises may be internal or psychic and only heard by the subject. The symptom of heaviness of arms indicates that she is mediumistic to a slight degree, or was at the time. Had she persisted and not given up, quite likely nothing more would have happened, - but she desisted and left thus a mental deposit for a repetition. If she were then mediumistic, it is probable that through elementals and the innumerable means for causing the production of such physical effects the noises resulted. Almost each such case is sui generis, and needs not only careful diagnosis but an equally careful record of the circumstances at the time.
(2) An aunt - a Spiritualist - of a young girl promised to return after death. One day the girl was intently studying arithmetic when a cold shiver ran over her, and looking up she saw form on the mirror a mist that soon took shape as the aunt who had died. Her shoulders were roughly shaken, and as the shape disappeared the aunt's voice was heard singing a favorite hymn.
Answer - Mere"spooks" and elementals aided by tendencies left in the family aura by the spiritualistic aunt. The rude shaking of the shoulders while a favorite hymn was sung was not gentle nor consistent, but strangely like the pranks played by elementals. There must have been on the girl's part some favoring predisposition of a psychic nature, and that, operating during the intent state of her mind while studying the lesson, tended to bring about those conditions which permitted the life-desire of the aunt for reappearance after death to be used by nature's forces, and produced the misty picture on the mirror. We do not believe the aunt knew anything about the matter. Her intentions and desires in life were enough as soon as the conditions favored, and the producing of a picture together with the favorite hymn were only tricks of the astral light. But the shaking of the shoulder was done by an elemental. Could you open yours ears and eyes to what goes on in the astral light, you would hear all the hymns ever sung still resounding, and see all the acts ever done being reënacted. Given the photographic plate, the object, the sun, and the chemicals, and you will produce the picture, but never apply the chemicals and there will be no picture; and it is obvious that no intelligence on the part of plate or chemicals is needed to produce the well-known result. It is much the same on the occult side of things.
Path, August, 1889
To The Editor: August 12th, 1889
In the August number of THE PATH is an article entitled "The Worship of the Dead," which incidentally discusses the condition in Kama-loka of those taken off untimely by suicide or accident. Does the law affect in the same way those who die in early life of disease?
Answer - We think that those who "die in early life of disease" may be said to have reached their natural limit of life, and that all their "principles" had been separated so as to prevent the fate of the others spoken of. The life of an individual is the expression of his Karma in action; in the case of suicide or accident - both of which are the sudden cutting off of a fixed term - the lower principles have not separated, while in death from disease the natural term of life is fixed by Karma at the limit when death occurs from the disease. - ED.
Path, September, 1889
Pasadena, Cal., August 22nd, 1889
I noticed in PATH an article on the "change which is coming," accompanied with a guess that this change might be the manufacture of gold. Has not Bellamy come nearer guessing the change - brotherhood and cooperation?
Answer - The article referred to, "A Dream of Gold," was only the speculation of one as to what would occur if gold could be made. He was not "guessing at the coming change." Edward Bellamy guessed well at a, but not at the, change. The state Bellamy pictures will not be arrived at except through blood and fire, and perhaps after the fall in value of gold shall have driven the thought of values out of the people's mind. The working man is no doubt oppressed, but he is still human, and, given power, will exhibit the faults of those who now have it. - ED.
Path, October, 1889
Dear Path: Is it advisable for me to go to India to forward my psychic and spiritual progress? I am told there they know about such matters. Would you advise me to go?
We would advise you to stay at home and find out that "the kingdom of heaven is within you," and not in India nor America. India is the land of mystery truly, and the cradle of the race, but you will get on no more there than here in your spiritual development. The Hindus of today are not those of the past; their ancient philosophy is ours as we find it; but to go there expecting immediate efflorescence of knowledge and power would cause you disappointment. You would probably find your Hindu fellows asking you for aid in the same road. H.P.B. and Mr. Sinnett report one of the Masters as writing some years ago that the Master could not stay among the Hindus of today because of their condition. Could you stand it any better? Stay here and do your duty, looking within for light; there alone - no matter where your body is - can it be found. - ED.
Path, July, 1892
Dear Path: The article in February about our seal interested me, but the writer only hints that perhaps the seal used by H.P.B. on her letter paper was the origin of our seal. Is there any proof as to dates? May she not have adopted it from our seal?
Answer - Since the February article was written I have obtained proof positive that H.P.B used the seal, as given in that article, upon her letter paper and envelopes as early as June, 1875. The Society was founded in November, 1875, so that she was using the symbol for four months before we adopted it. If the writer of the article "A Reminiscence" had known of this he might have gone further and positively asserted that her private symbol became our public corporate seal - another proof of the predominance of herself and her Masters in the Theosophical movement. The positive evidence secured during the month consists in old letters and envelopes of June and earlier in 1875, bearing the seal in colors, red, gold, and white. There lies before the writer a letter with its envelope, written by her from Philadelphia on June 10, 1875, each having the symbol precisely as printed in February Path and from the same plate.
William Q. Judge
Path, March, 1893
Life and Death
Sir: Will you kindly explain a little more fully what you mean by the following passage in the Ocean of Theosophy, p. 36: "So in sleep we are again absorbing and not resisting the Life Energy; when we wake we are throwing it off. But as is exists around us like an ocean in which we swim, our power to throw it off is necessarily limited. Just when we wake we are in equilibrium as to our organs and life; when we fall asleep we are yet more full of life than in the morning. It has exhausted us; it finally kills the body."
If we are throwing off the life energy during the day, how is it that we are more full of life in the evening than in the morning?
Manchester, England Student
As said above, our power to throw off the life force accumulated is limited. From this limitation it results that we come to a point when our resistance grows less, just as in the entire life-span a year comes when we begin to go down the hill of life. As it lessens we are drawing near to the hour when the need of sleep will arise. Sleep is that condition of the body needed for procuring the equilibrium between Jiva and the body. Equilibrium is about established when we wake, and then the organs begin to resist the further influx of life and to throw off some of what we have taken in. Life constantly presses us just as the electric fluid tries to fill the object placed in the electric field; we cannot resist this pressure every day beyond a certain number of hours, and we fall asleep because Life has disturbed the equilibrium. Resting in sleep, that equilibrium is again established, to be again overcome the next day, or rather, in the next period of activity. This constant struggle being kept up for years, the bodily organs are not able to stand the wear and tear, and hence the body dies. Thus Life destroys the body. Construe the words "throwing it off" as meaning resisting it, and you will dispel the slight confusion arising in a book written so quickly as this one.
Sir: (I) On p. 97 of Ocean you refer to the treatment of the Red Indians by the Americans, and seem to take for granted that the Indians did not merit such treatment. (2) Again, you say those Indians will be reborn in conquering peoples. If so, would not this process of retaliation go on constantly? (3) Animals seem to suffer and enjoy. If absolute justice rules, how do you account for their case? E.L.
Answer - (I) I fully agree that if people go on retaliating or hurting each other, evils will never cease and there will be an endless series of hates. But I do not take it for granted that the Indians did not merit in the eye of Karma as a law what they received. But man is not that law. His duty is compassion. The Americans as a higher race should have treated the Indians kindly instead of robbing and murdering them. Inevitably they will on their next rebirth follow out that practice and influence. But if we know Karma as the law, then we must act in the line of compassion and slowly but surely destroy the hate that exists, replacing it by love. We are not conscious agents of Karma. If we assume that position we assume to judge and execute, and may refuse to take up the good Karma of helping another who has offended. It is just the constant retaliation of men educated under such laws as the Mosaic or any like it, which has created a civilization of retaliation, of selfishness, and egotistical individualism. No. 2 is included in this reply. (3) Animals have Karma, or consequence of act, but they have not man's responsibility. While they seem to suffer and enjoy, it is all without any self-consciousness, and hence is less in itself and less lasting in effect. Their karma is bound up with man; and he is the responsible one and will have to bear the responsibility, although they feel the burden directly. All of the foregoing is, of course, my own opinion.
Path, April, 1894
Dear Path: Seeing in April issue the statement that the Letters compiled by Jasper Niemand were written by William Q. Judge, I would ask further: Were the Letters real, that is, not written for publication, and was each one written by the same person?
Answer - The Letters were written by me in the regular course of correspondence with the persons to whom they were sent, and were not then intended for publication, nor did I even dream of subsequent publication. Each letter as found in the book was written by one person, that is to say, myself.
William Q. Judge
Path, May, 1894
The following letter was sent from New York on August 3rd, 1894.
Dear Sir and Brother: I beg to call your attention to a very important and vital mistake which has been made by Brother Keightley in paragraph 5 of his letter to the Indian Section, published in Supplement to July Theosophist, and beg to request that this letter be given the same publicity in the journal as was given to his.
In that paragraph, page xxxvii, he asks the Indian Section to make an emphatic protest against what he called "the proposal of the American Section to remove the Headquarters of the Theosophical Society as such away from the sacred soil of India." This extraordinary request mush have been made without consideration of the full report of the last American Convention. At that Convention the Countess Wachtmeister, as delegate for the Indian Section, made a proposition for such removal and went into the matter at some length, but the proposal was voted down so far as the American Section is concerned by a resolution which you will find on page 34 of our report; and that resolution was drawn up by myself. We did not wish to consider the matter at all; my personal view is that no such removal should be made, and that idea I hitherto definitely expressed in writing to the President and Mr. Keightley over a year ago; but it would have been discourteous to have paid no attention to the proposition brought forward by the delegate of the Indian Section, and consequently the resolution, which is the third one on the page cited, was drawn in such terms as to politely dismiss the matter. I am in a position to state that at the time this resolution came up I took the same position privately in respect to the matter, stating that I did not think the General Headquarters of the Society should be removed from India; the question of removing the Indian Section Headquarters was one with which we have nothing to do as a Section. And the American Section wished the Indian Section to clearly understand that it has taken no position in respect to the General Headquarters, except as stated in the Report in which it has stated that it is premature to consider such a change.
The resolution reads a follows:
Resolved, That in our opinion it would be premature at the present time to consider any question relating to the removal of the Indian General Headquarters, deeming it advisable to leave such matters to be adjusted when the time for action shall have arrived.
William Q. Judge
Path, September, 1894
Dear Sir: (I) I understand lately that for some years you were in the habit of using many pen names - fictitious names in fact - to articles you printed in the PATH. The articles were valuable to many. But may I ask were these items included in the charges brought against you; and if they were not, is there any way of having them inserted and brought forward? Excuse me, however, I forgot to ask first if what I heard was true.
(2) Is it true that by merely rubbing your hand over your forehead four or five times - some say seven - you can write in any language and in any man's hand; and is it true that your are naturally a good writer, but for years have systematically written badly so that people might be deceived about your chirography? Homos
Answer - (I) It is too true that I have written many articles under "pen names." Letters that helped Jasper Niemand I wrote, and under "X" and other marks I allowed to be published. Many of my articles thus written have been of use. Would you advice me to collect and destroy all that I can find? These items were not in the charges, yet, though some subsequent edition may have them perhaps. In that case this will be a confession.
(2) I have not yet discovered that rubbing-the-forehead trick. But I am a good writer when I have time. I was a law copyist once for a few months and the writing was praised.
William Q. Judge
Path, July, 1895