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THEOSOPHY WORLD -------------------------------------- July, 2004
An Internet Magazine Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy
And its Practical Application in the Modern World
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(Please note that the materials presented in THEOSOPHY WORLD are
the intellectual property of their respective authors and may not
be reposted or otherwise republished without prior permission.)
"Martyrs and Martyrdom: Giordano Bruno," by B.P. Wadia
"After Death: You Are Yourself," by G. de Purucker
"A Medieval Mystic: John Scotus Erigena," by Margaret Smith
"India's Trishula in the Last Century," by Radhakumud Mookerji
"The Power of the White Magician," by James Sterling
"The Message of Bodhidharma, Founder of Zen Buddhism,"
by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
"Theosophy and Its Evidences," by Annie Besant
"The Study of Inner Worlds," Part I, by Boris de Zirkoff
> If we treat Blavatsky, or even the Mahatmas, as infallible and
> without fault, we risk destroying everything they did.
> Since World War II, the concept of the "hero" has changed,
> especially in the United States. It used to be that a hero was
> one who had flaws, but was able to transcend those flaws to do
> great things. Somehow, this has been transmuted to a hero being
> someone without flaws. This attitude has the problem that, as
> soon as one finds flaws, then the person ceases to be a hero, and
> all the great things that he or she did somehow become negated by
> this. The result is that, in order for our heroes to remain
> heroes, we blind ourselves to their faults, and attack anybody
> who points them out.
> Blavatsky was a great teacher, who introduced many important
> concepts. She was not perfect, and to treat her as such is to
> dishonor her memory more than any revelation of her faults could
> ever possibly do, unless you think that the religion of Blavatsky
> worship is, somehow, higher than the truth.
> -- Bart Lidofsky, April 19, 2004 posting to theos-talk
MARTYRS AND MARTYRDOM: GIORDANO BRUNO
By B.P. Wadia
Devotees especially remember Gandhiji for he died a martyr. In
one form or another, Martyrdom has been the price for many
seeking to restore humanity to the knowledge it had in the Golden
Age of Truth, but was subsequently lost. They struggle to
achieve freedom of thought and moral emancipation for the masses.
They promulgated spiritual ideas as opposed to forms, ritualism,
and dogmatism. In their efforts to act upon the higher thoughts
and nobler aspirations of the people towards the living of a
higher and nobler life, they burst through the limitations of the
established religious and social order of conventionalism and
Ignorance and fanaticism have done to death not a few of
mankind's great benefactors, from Socrates and Jesus to Lincoln
and Gandhiji. These were great Protestants and wise Reformers.
They were fearless and compassionate with understanding and
The word "martyr" literally means "witness," but during the early
days of the Christian era, when many Christians testified to the
truth of their convictions by sacrificing their lives, the word
assumed its modern sense.
The Protestant Reformation began as a revolutionary challenge to
sacerdotal authority. We may regard it as a notable achievement
in human liberation. At its time, there was a long roll of
martyrs who died for their faith. Each century, the struggle for
freedom continued on all fronts. With changing circumstances,
emphasis transferred from one front to another.
Proverbially, "It is the cause and not the death that makes the
martyr." Fanatics and foolish men and women rush into needless
danger and sought death too often. In their enthusiasm for
martyrdom, they became egocentric. They overlooked and forgot
their moral duty.
The breaking of convention is wrong when it drags all down to a
lower plane of thought. It is true when it raises others to a
higher plane of understanding and of action. "Folly loves the
martyrdom of fame," said Byron, but such foolish persons are soon
This month, our thoughts turn to Giordano Bruno. On February 17,
1600, he was burnt alive for teaching a spiritual philosophy of
life. His execution branded the Inquisition of the Roman
Catholic Church with an infamy that lasts even to this day.
Bruno died a martyr for repeating the doctrines taught by
Pythagoras and the Eastern Sages. They had taught when a bigoted
religious organization did not exist and narrow creedalism did
not flourish. The ideas of Bruno are recognized today as having
been "of epochal importance in the history of the human mind" in
the fields of science, philosophy, and religion. To quote from
his profession of faith before the Inquisition:
> I hold, in brief, to an infinite universe, that is, an effect of
> infinite divine power . . . There are infinite particular
> worlds similar to this of the earth . . . All those bodies are
> worlds, and without number, which thus constitute the infinite
> universality in an infinite space, and this is called the
> infinite universe.
> Moreover, I place in this universe a universal Providence, by
> virtue of which everything lives, vegetates, moves, and stands in
> its perfection. I understand it in two ways; one, in the mode in
> which the whole soul is present in the whole and every part of
> the body, and this I call nature, the shadow and footprint of
> divinity; the other, the ineffable mode in which God, by essence,
> presence, and power is in all and above all, not as part, not as
> soul, but in mode inexplicable.
> Moreover, I understand all the attributes in divinity to be the
> same thing. Together with the theologians and great
> philosophers, I apprehend three attributes -- power, wisdom, and
> goodness -- or rather -- mind, intellect, and love -- with which
> things have first, being through the mind; next, ordered and
> distinct being through the intellect; and third, concord and
> symmetry through love.
Giordano Bruno and others like him, who could not be persuaded to
deny what their souls told them to be right, defeated death in
dying. The utmost that the axe of the executioner or the fire of
the Inquisition could do was to pluck away its garment from the
Let us recognize these noble martyrs. Had it not been for their
death-defying devotion to Truth, we would not have that freedom
of thought, opinion, and expression. That freedom is ours to
enjoy. We use or abuse it depending upon how well we have
absorbed "the mind, intellect, and love" for which Bruno lived
and for which he passed through the fire of death to become a
Flame of Life.
AFTER DEATH: YOU ARE YOURSELF
By G. de Purucker
[From WIND OF THE SPIRIT, pages 29-34.]
I hope that the time will come when we Theosophists shall weigh
more strongly than we have been doing on the teachings of what
happens after death in the kamaloka and the devachan. The
average man seems to be today not so much immoral as amoral,
i.e., seems to have largely lost the sense of moral
responsibility. If men could realize what is going to happen to
them after death, it would awaken a certain sense of needed
behavior or conduct.
Now let us try to restore to mankind the teaching of the Ancient
Wisdom: As you live so will you be after you die. It is a simple
teaching and it is so logical, it appeals. Men may resent it at
first, men may not like it; but there is a thought there that
because of its logic, because of its justice, will finally throw
forth sprouts of thought in the mind.
If you want to understand the kamaloka and the devachan, just
study yourself now, and you will know what you are going to get.
Just that. You are going to get a continuation of precisely what
now you are. If a man indulges in vice, what is going to happen
to him? He reaps the consequences of his evil doing. He learns
by it the lessons that come out of the suffering. If a man fills
his mind with gross thoughts and evil dreams, he learns by it in
the end through suffering, but the effects and consequences on
his mind and character will ensue. He suffers, he is in torture,
he pays the penalty, he has poisoned his inner system, and he
will not have peace until the poison has worked itself out, until
he has become what is called re-formed, i.e., re-shaped. Then he
will have peace again, and then he will be able to sleep in peace
It seems to me that the answer lies in just these thoughts.
Study yourself in your daily consciousness; and study what kind
of dreams you have. Why are these two conjoined? Because your
dreams are from your own mind, and therefore are a part of your
own consciousness. A man during his waking hours has evil
dreams, evil thoughts; when he sleeps he has nightmares; he
learns by them, but he certainly is not going, when he sleeps, to
have a heaven of dreams because he has filled his mind with
horrid, hateful, mean, degrading thoughts. He has not built the
substances of heaven.
There you have the answer: and the kamaloka is simply a state of
consciousness that the man's consciousness itself is in after
death because he has made himself during his lifetime to have
that consciousness. It works itself out, and then he rises or
sinks into whatever is his destiny: a weak devachan, no devachan
at all, according to the individual. In other words, if he has
made for himself a character that is X, he will have that
character X, whatever it is, after death. He will not have
character Y, or Z, or A, or B. Contrariwise, a man who during
life has kept himself in hand, has controlled himself, has lived
manly, experiences the same law precisely. His after-death state
will be unconscious in the kamaloka, or very nearly so, because
he has no kamaloka biases in himself; and probably there will be
a blissful devachan.
Suppose a man has no marked character at all, is neither
particularly good, nor particularly bad. What kind of an
after-death state is he going to have? He will have a colorless
kamaloka, nothing particularly bad; and he will have a colorless
devachan, nothing particularly beautiful or blissful. It will
all be like a somewhat vague, intangible dream. It does not
amount to much and consequently he will not amount to much after
Take the case of a young man of evil ways who reforms, let us
say, at about middle age, and spends the rest of his life in
deeds of virtue, of self-improvement. What will be his fate in
the worlds to come? As I told you before, the kamaloka and the
devachan are simply a continuation of what the man is when he
dies. Consequently, an evil young man becoming a good old man
has practically no kamaloka of an unpleasant kind at all. He
will have to pay to the uttermost farthing for any evil he did as
a youth -- but in his future life. His evil deeds are
thought-deposits there. But as he reformed at about middle age,
and had lived a clean decent life as a decent man, his kamaloka
will be very slight, because it will be simply a continuation of
what he was when he died, and the devachan will be in accordance
One can be in the kamaloka, as well as in the devachan, before
death comes; indeed, it is possible to be in the avichi-condition
even while embodied. And here is a very important deduction we
should draw from this fact: if we have kamaloka while embodied
men and women, we shall have it after death; and precisely
according to the same law, because we have spiritual yearnings,
dreams of a spiritual kind and type or character while embodied,
we shall have the devachan after death. Do you see the point?
The kamaloka is a prolongation or a continuation, until it is
worked out, of what you have been through in your life. If you
set your thought and mind and heart on things that bring you
pain, which make you suffer because you are selfish, and
stiff-necked in pride and egoism, you will assuredly continue the
same bending of your consciousness after death. It cannot be
otherwise. It is simply you. Therefore, the devachan and the
kamaloka are prolongations or continuations of the same states of
consciousness respectively that you have gone through on earth --
with this difference: that being out of the body, which is at
once a blind and a shield of protection, you are, as it were,
thought, naked thought. Do you see what I am trying to say? If
your thought has been during life on things of horror, or if you
have allowed your thought to bend in those directions while
embodied, you will not be washed free of stain merely because you
have cast off the body. Your thought, which is yourself, will
continue and you will have to pass through the kamaloka and
exhaust that phase of thought. It will have to die out as a fire
will burn itself out.
Similarly, indeed exactly: if you have had beautiful thoughts,
grand thoughts, sublime thoughts, in life, you will assuredly
have the same thing, but a thousandfold stronger because no
longer smothered by the body, when you have cast it off; and if
you want to know what your destiny will be after death, just
study yourself now and take warning. There is a very important
and pertinent lesson that we can learn from this fact, just in
that. You can make your postmortem condition what you will it to
be now, before it is too late. Nothing in the universe can
prevent the bliss of devachan coming to you, or rather your
making it for yourself.
Deduction: Take yourself in hand. There you have the teaching of
the kamaloka. There you have the teaching of the devachan. It
is very simple. All the intricate, abstract questions I think
arise largely in failing to understand the elementary principles
of the teachings. When you lie down you dream, or you are
unconscious. When you die you dream, or you are unconscious.
You have, when you lie down at night, evil dreams or good dreams,
or you are unconscious. When you die, you will have evil dreams
or beautiful dreams or you will be unconscious -- all depending
upon the individual and the life he has led.
So the kamaloka and the devachan and indeed the Avichi, are not
things that are going suddenly to happen to you when you die; but
because your consciousness has been that way while embodied,
they, one or the other, will continue after you die. You see now
the importance of ethics, and why all the great Sages and Seers
throughout time have tried to teach men to spiritualize their
thoughts, to refine their thoughts, to live in the heart-life as
some people have said, to cast out the things that are wrong and
evil. There is the whole thing, simple as A-B-C. The devachan
is not waiting for you. The kamaloka is not waiting for you -- I
mean as absolute conditions now separate from you. If you had
them in life, you will have them after death. The man who has
had no thought of hatred or horror or detestation or venom toward
another, in other words whose heart and mind have never been
nests of evil, will have neither an Avichi in life nor after
death, nor an unhappy kamaloka in life or after death; he will
have an exquisite devachan, and will come back refreshed and
vigorous and strong and renewed to begin a new life and with
everything in his favor.
After death, you continue to be precisely what you are when you
die. There is the whole thing. There is the secret of the
kamaloka, of the devachan, and of all the intermediate states of
the Bardo, as the Tibetans call it. All the rest is detail, and
that is why I keep emphasizing in my public lectures and in my
writings, that death is but a sleep. Death is a perfect sleep
and sleep an imperfect death. It is literally so. When you
sleep, you are partly dead. When you die, you are absolutely
asleep. If you grasp these simple ideas, you will have the whole
teaching on your thumbnail, a thumbnail picture.
Now this is another point. I have heard people say that they do
not want to remain in devachan; it is a waste of time. This is a
misunderstanding. You might as well say, I do not want to have
sleep tonight; it is a waste of time. In fact, you need the
rest, recuperation, and assimilation of the experiences of the
past life. You are strengthened by it, you grow by it. So that
while the devachan is not a time for evolution, it is a time for
building, for recuperation, for assimilation, for inner
digestion, for strengthening, and is just as much needed as a
man's night's rest in bed is for his body.
There will come a time in human evolution when even the devachan
is no longer required, because the man has learned to live in the
higher part of his being. Devachan, however beautiful, is an
illusion. The time will come in the future when men will no
longer have to sleep at night; they will not require it. They
will have different kinds of bodies and thus learn to do without
the devachan, and thus reincarnate almost immediately in order to
help mankind -- that is the thing they love most of all -- and
all other beings. These men are what we now call Masters, in all
their grades. For us ordinary human beings, the devachan is a
The devachan, however, while a beautiful experience of the
consciousness, is an experience of the higher personal
consciousness, the higher part of us human egos, the higher part
of the personal man, its aroma so to speak. In this fact lies
the training bringing about the shortening of the devachan. If
you learn to live outside of the personality, and as the
Christians say, in the Eternal, while you are embodied, if it
becomes habitual with you, your devachan will be correspondingly
shortened because you will not want it. You will not need it.
The bent of your mind is not in selfish beatific satisfactions of
the soul. That is what the devachan is, a fool's paradise. When
compared with Reality, it is an illusion. Just because men and
women strain for those things and suffer to attain them, the
devachan in Nature's infinite pity becomes the time when they
have it, the resting, relaxing time, the time of recuperation,
digestion, and assimilation. As we grow, as the ages pass, in
future ages, we will not long so desperately to have these
beatific satisfactions of the soul. We shall find our happiness
in impersonal attachments to things of beauty, things that belong
to the higher spiritual man, and not to the hungry human soul.
Do you catch the thought?
That is where the training lies that all chelas are taught, that
same truth, that and nothing more. Rise out of the personality
so that you learn to use it as a willing, acquiescent instrument.
Live in the spiritual part of you, which means impersonally; live
universally so that you are not swayed by your own hunger for the
things that please and help and rest you; but live in the
spiritual, in the universal, and all these other things will be
added unto you.
I do feel that we should talk more about the kamaloka and the
devachan, and especially the kamaloka, in our public lectures.
Let people know how logical our teachings are, how simple, how
natural -- that you get precisely what you have sown in yourself
as character, i.e., what is coming to you. It gives man a
powerful reason for living decently. It appeals to his reason,
it appeals to his instincts of justice. While Theosophy has
removed the fear of death, we must instill the sense of ethical
responsibility lying upon me, upon you, upon every human being.
A MEDIEVAL MYSTIC: JOHN SCOTUS ERIGENA
By Margaret Smith
[From THE ARYAN PATH.]
John the Scot (Johannes Scotus), known as Erigena, was a Celt,
who was born, most probably in Ireland, between 800 and 815, and
he was still living in 877. The details of his biography are
very scanty and little is known of his early life. It is said
that he traveled widely, in Greece, Italy, and Gaul, and that he
studied not only Greek, but also Arabic and Chaldean. His
appreciation of Greek thought and his knowledge of the philosophy
of the Alexandrian school lend some support to the view that he
may have traveled in Greece. He appears to have been neither
priest nor monk, but a layman, though he was the most eminent
doctor of his time. The story that he was invited to France by
Charlemagne and was one of the founders of the University of
Paris is not supported by trustworthy evidence.
Charles the Bald, the youngest son of Louis the Pious of France,
who was made King of Aquitaine in A. D. 832, aimed at being
considered a great patron of learning. To this end, he invited
to his court some of the most distinguished scholars of the time,
so that it was popularly asserted that Greece was deserted of her
learned men and Ireland denuded of her philosophers, through
their attraction to the Frankish Court.
Among those drawn to this center of intellectual life was John
Scotus, later called Erigena, who settled there about 843,
probably at the invitation of Charles the Bald, who gave the
Irish scholar a warm welcome. Scotus came to be on terms of
intimate friendship with his enlightened patron, by whom he was
appointed to the Mastership of the Court school (Schola Palatina)
at Paris, which though not yet the ordinary seat of government,
was a favorite residence of the king. At the Court of Charles,
he lived and wrote.
There was a story current in later years, but not well
authenticated, that in 882, Alfred the Great invited him to
Oxford. William of Malmesbury, writing in the first half of the
twelfth century, tells of the coming of John Scotus to Malmesbury
Abbey as master of the monastic school, and of his being murdered
by his pupils there. The historicity of this is also somewhat
Not long after his arrival at Charles's Court, the Irish scholar,
who was recognized as a man of wide learning for his times, was
given opportunity to prove the value of his scholarship to his
adopted country. In 827, the Byzantine Emperor Michael had sent
to Louis the Pious a copy of the works of the Syrian monk
Dionysius, the so-called Areopagite, whose mystical theosophy,
though Christian in form was based mainly on Neo-Platonist
sources. The gift was deposited in the Abbey of St. Denys (near
Paris), who was identified with Dionysius the Areopagite, and
search was made for a translator who could make known to the
Western world the contents of the books. Erigena, with his
reputation for Greek scholarship, seemed marked out for the task,
and he was therefore commanded to translate the Dionysian
writings into Latin. He was responsible for the translation of
THE ECCLESIASTICAL HIERARCHY, THE CELESTIAL HIERARCHY, THE DIVINE
NAMES, THE MYSTICAL THEOLOGY, and the LETTERS of Dionysius.
The introduction of these books to the West was momentous in its
ultimate consequences, but it was no less so in its immediate
effect upon their translator. It was after this that he appears
to have made a study of the teachings of Plato, Aristotle, and
Porphyry, as well as the writings of Maximus, Gregory of
Nazianus, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, and
Erigena, in addition to translating the writings of the
pseudo-Dionysius, wrote commentaries on them and treatises on THE
SOUL'S COMING FORTH FROM GOD AND ITS RETURN TO HIM and on THE
VISION OF GOD, but his most famous works were those on Nature (DE
DIVISIONE NATURAE) and Predestination (DE DIVINA
Erigena's system is a combination of Neo-Platonic mysticism,
emanationism, and pantheism linked up with Christian doctrine in
a metaphysical scheme that he has succeeded in making very
complete. In his methods of thought, in his opinions, and in his
style of setting them forth, he stands alone in his age, in
which, says one writer, "he appears as a meteor, none knew
whence." In his originality and his uniqueness, he is to be
compared to that earlier Neo-Platonic mystic, Iamblichus (around
In his treatise on Predestination, Erigena states his view that
true religion and true philosophy are identical, and that the
solution of religious problems can only be effected by the study
of philosophy -- a re-echo of Iamblichus. True philosophy, he
holds, rests based on the Unity of God. In his teaching on the
nature of the Godhead, the Ultimate Reality, Erigena insists on
this truth from first to last. "Nature," by which he means all
that has existence, of which the mind can take cognizance.
Erigena divides Nature into four classes. First is that which is
Creative but not created, the First Principle, the Absolute
Godhead, Ultimate Reality. Second is that which is both Creative
and created, the prototypes or primordial causes, which are
identical with God, the Divine attributes of goodness, wisdom,
power, majesty, which are united in the Godhead and diffused in
the world of phenomena. Third is that which is created but not
creative, reality, emanating from God, the Absolute Reality,
passing through the ideas into the region of the sensible world
and becoming subject to multiplicity, change, imperfection, and
decay. Fourth is that which is neither creative nor created, the
Ultimate Reality under the aspect of rest, when all things have
returned into the primal Unity, and God shall be All in all.
The fundamental thought in Erigena's doctrine is that Nature, the
Universe, the Totality of existence, is God the Only Reality
manifested in plurality in the world of individual existence,
which is in truth but a theophany, a showing forth of the Divine
Essence in the things created. He writes:
> All things are from God, and God is in all things and nothing has
> been made apart from Him, since from Him and by Him and in Him
> are all things [made].
> -- DE DIVISIONE NATURAE, III, 22
His pantheistic trend is made even plainer in his statement that
"God is everything that truly is, since He makes all things and
is made in all things." (DE DIVISIONE NATURAE, III, 4)
Real being and absolute perfection belong to God alone -- all
else has only derived and imperfect being. "The being of all
things is the Over-being of God." But the Absolute Reality is
above all categories and therefore it is safer, Erigena holds, to
use regarding that Reality the negative mode of predication, and
say what God is not, rather than what He is; and it is not
improper to call Him Nothing (Nihil), being Incomprehensible
Essence. Only in this sense can creation be considered as a
making of something out of Nothing, for actually all proceeds
from God, who is predicateless Being. "Creation" is the
manifestation of the Divine Thought, the unfolding of the Divine
Nature, and as the Ideas that emanate from the Infinite Essence
are eternal, manifesting themselves in the world of creatures, so
creation is eternal, timeless.
Erigena deals very fully with the problem of evil, in his
consideration of the Nature of God. What is good, he declares,
cannot be the cause of evil, nor can the Totality of Being be the
cause of what destroys being -- misery, sin, and death.
Therefore, things have reality only if they are good: "being
without well-being is naught." Evil possesses no substantial
existence; it does not come within the knowledge of God. Since
there is no necessity above God, what is true of the Divine will
is true of predestination, and there can be no movement of the
Divine will towards evil.
Predestination, which Erigena distinguishes from foreknowledge,
is in one direction only, not towards sin and punishment, but
towards grace and eternal happiness. The only sense in which
Determinism can be accepted is that of God's permission of what
happens to the creature through His gift of free will, but God
cannot know of evil, for if He did, He would be its cause: the
Divine knowledge cannot be separated from the Divine will, which
is the cause of all things: evil, then, in relation to God, is
simply the negation of good. --
> The evil is null, is naught, is silence implying sound;
> What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
> On the earth, the broken arcs, in the heaven, a perfect round.
> -- R. Browing
Erigena conceives that God's Nature is a Trinity in Unity,
representing Being, Wisdom, and Energy, but these are only
nominal distinctions, not representing distinction of essence in
Man is the culmination of the process of being from God, for he
is the summing up of Nature, being possessed of reason,
understanding, and sense, combining the highest and the lowest
elements, the "meeting point" between creation and the Creator.
> He understands and reasons as an angel: he has senses and
> administers the body as an animal.
Man is made in the image of God, the soul partakes of celestial
being, but the union of Divine and human can only be adequately
contemplated in the Heavenly Man, the Word Incarnate, and the
(The doctrine of the Heavenly Man or the Primal Idea of man was
found in Proclus and later, as the Perfect Man, the copy of God
and the archetype of Nature, uniting the Creative and the
creaturely aspects of the Divine Essence, manifesting the oneness
of Thought with things, in the teaching of the Sufi al-Jili
Man, then, in his inmost essence, is one with God.
> In so far as, man participates in the Divine and heavenly life,
> he is not [an] animal, but by means of his reason and intellect
> and his thoughts of what is eternal, he partakes of celestial
> being. In that part of him, then, is he made in the image of
> God, whereby alone God holds converse in men who are fitted for
> -- DE DIVISIONE NATURAE, IV, 5
Erigena regards man also as representing a trinity in unity, for
he says that there is a threefold motion or rotation of man about
the Divine Center. The first and innermost circle is that
described by the Intellect, that power of intuition that
recognizes God as the Principle of its attraction, and the Source
of its enlightenment, but recognizes Him as the Absolute and
Incomprehensible Reality. The second circle is that of Reason
(the Logos or discursive faculty) which recognizes and
acknowledges God as the primary Cause of all that exists, and
realizes His action through the primordial ideas. The third
motion is that of the "senses," which is the perception of the
working out of those ideas in individual action.
Man has free will as part of his nature, whereby he is made in
the image of God, and this leads him to sin when it is attracted
to what is outward and lower rather than to the inward and the
higher. Erigena quotes the case of two men looking at a golden
vase, in one of whom it arouses feelings of admiration and in the
other of envy, but there is no evil in the vase that is the
object of these feelings.
> The evil, therefore, is not implanted in human nature, but it is
> caused by the perverse and irrational action of his reasonable
> and free will.
> -- DE DIVISIONE NATURE, IV, 5
The senses are attracted to what appears to be good, and so the
inner man "wherein naturally dwelleth truth and all good" becomes
corrupt and sins. Evil, then, exists only in the perverted
tendency of the human will, which is in itself good. But as it
cannot be said that God knows of evil, so also man, when he
assumes the Divine point of view and considers the All in its
entirety, sees nothing evil, and the Divine part of man must in
the end reassert its power. Evil, therefore, will end and will
not remain, since in all the Divine nature will manifest itself.
> Our nature, then, does not remain fixed in evil: it is ever
> moving forward and seeks naught else but the highest good, from
> which as from a beginning its motion takes its source and to
> which it is hastened as to an end.
> -- DE DIVISIONE NATURAE, V, 25
The soul, therefore, seeks to return whence it came; and it
begins the ascent when it discovers the illusion of the evil at
which it has been aiming, and so is delivered from sin. Since
the whole realm of created nature is a theophany, the soul can
attain thereby to knowledge of God, recognizing His Being through
the being of created things, His Wisdom through their order and
harmony, His life-giving Energy through their activity and
movement. So, to Erigena, all Nature is instinct with God, all
is sacramental, the material pointing to the spiritual.
> What is the glorious sun in heaven but a type of the Divine
> glory? This whole universe, in its beauty and its harmonious
> order, is but the sign and symbol of the beauty and harmony that
> lie beyond all the reach of sensual perception.
The human soul itself is the chief manifestation of the Divine,
wherein His Presence may be known and felt.
> As many as are the souls of the faithful, so many are the
> -- DE DIVISIONE NATURAE, I, 8, 9, 10
So the soul realizes that its chief end is to become one with God
through becoming like Him, an end to be attained by purification,
enlightenment, and completion. The stages of the return to final
unity, corresponding to the stages in the creative process, are
numerous and are reached and passed by degrees. Sin is
selfishness and selfishness is the destructive influence that
keeps man from realizing his great capacities, so that he must
first be cleansed from self-centered sin, and then, by the
contemplation of virtue, the soul can be changed into that which
it contemplates. (See DE DIVISIONE NATURAE, I, 9.)
The growth and establishment of the virtues means the gradual
deification of the soul. By the help of the Divine grace, man
can rise superior to the needs of the animal body, and learn to
place the demands of reason above those of the bodily desires.
From the stage where reason is uppermost, he can ascend through
contemplation to the sphere of the primordial ideas, and thence
by intuition -- that gnosis which is insight into the Divine
mysteries -- to God Himself.
Reason, contemplation, and intuition are the three degrees by
which perfection is attained, and man must pass through these if
he is to free himself finally and completely from that bondage
into which he has been cast by sin, and attain to that union with
the Divine in which salvation consists. That ultimate goal is
deification; theosis, resumption into the Divine Being, when the
individual soul is raised to a full knowledge of God and there is
no more opposition of thought and being, for knowledge and being
have become one. In the contemplation of the Absolute Nothing,
the pure and perfected soul at last loses itself, yet this is not
annihilation, for its individuality is preserved.
> This therefore is the end of all things visible and invisible,
> when all visible things pass into the intellectual and the
> intellectual into God, by a marvelous and indescribable union,
> but not, as we have said before now, by any destruction of
> essences or substances.
> -- DE DIVISIONE NATURAE, V, 20
The soul has now attained to that full knowledge of God in which
the knowing and known are become one.
> Precious is the passage of purified souls into the intimate
> contemplation of Truth, which is the true blessedness and eternal
And this deification is to be not only of the individual soul,
but also of the universe, for all things are to return unto God,
and in this restoration and redemption of the universe, evil
> True reason teacheth that nothing contrary to the Divine goodness
> and life and blessedness can be coeternal with them. For the
> Divine goodness will consume evil, Eternal life will absorb death
> and misery.
As all things were originally contained in God and proceeded from
Him into the various classes and forms in which they now exist,
so they shall finally return to Him and be gathered up and
reabsorbed into their original Source and all things thus become
deified. After all things have been restored to the Divine
unity, there is no further creation. The ultimate unity is
called the end of all things. This is the fourth class of those
into which Erigena divided Nature. It is that "which neither is
created nor creates," for after all things have returned into it,
nothing further will proceed from it by generation in place and
time, in kinds or form, since all will be at rest within it and
will remain an unchanged and undivided One, for God has become
All in all.
Erigena's teaching, therefore, rests on a pantheistic basis, a
philosophical system derived from Neo-Platonism, the result of
the profound influence exercised upon him by his study of the
pseudo-Dionysius. Like Origen before him, he endeavored to lay a
philosophical foundation for his theology, and he was, in fact, a
Though the doctrines of John the Scot appeared sufficiently
unorthodox to draw upon him ecclesiastical censure, they were so
far in advance of the ideas of his time that they were not
generally understood in his own age. He left some few disciples,
but it was not until much later that the value of his writings
came to he realized. It was through him that the influence of
the so-called Dionysius was transmitted to the West and it was in
the speculative spirit of John the Scot that both the
scholasticism and the mysticism of the Middle Ages had their
INDIA'S TRISHULA IN THE LAST CENTURY
By Radhakumud Mookerji
[From THE ARYAN PATH, June 1936, pages 275-80.]
The makers of modern India have been many, but among the sons of
Aryavarta who have given a moral and a spiritual direction to its
development, three men, whose overlapping lifespans bridged the
hundred years from the last quarter of the eighteenth century to
the last quarter of the nineteenth, stand out preeminent. Much
of the credit for the continuity of culture that obtains between
present-day India and the nation's glorious past must go to Raja
Ram Mohan Rai (1774-1833), to Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-83),
and to Sri Rama Krishna (1836-1886).
The movements that these men founded are vivid and potent
influences still. With personalities differing markedly in many
respects, all three were characterized by purity of life and
devotion to truth. Each struck a definitely spiritual note. The
influence also of their respective movements, complementary in
fact though not by deliberate intent, is preeminently a
religious, moral, and spiritual one.
RAM MOHAN RAI
Based on an unexampled width of knowledge, secular and spiritual,
a study of the different religious systems and scriptures, Hindu,
Moslem, Christian, Jain, and Buddhist, and of the Western
literature of Freedom, Democracy, and Rationalism, Ram Mohan Rai
emerged as the first modern Messenger of Universal Religion and
of Modernism in India. Of him, Madame H.P. Blavatsky wrote, "No
country can boast a purer or holier son than was this Indian
He was not merely the father of modern India but also a prophet
of the coming Humanity. The Great Men of olden times achieved
unequalled heights of excellence of particular types, like a
Buddha or a Christ in the unfolding of God-in-Man, or a Homer, a
Dante, or a Valmiki in poetic creation. But the modern age calls
for a slightly different type of great men, as Robert Browning
pointed out, men who should be great not so much by height as by
breadth, by synthesis, by a harmonious combination of many
excellences found to be conflicting or contradictory in previous
history. The modern world more and more requires heroes of
Peace, of Synthesis, and of Conciliation, who can reconcile the
conflicts of different cults and cultures, of divergent national
values and ideals. The India of Ram Mohun was already showing
the conflict of different cultures and civilizations, Hindu,
Moslem, Christian, Oriental, and Occidental, and in the solution
of these conflicts lay the real origin of modern India.
Thus, Ram Mohan began his appointed work for India. He detached
himself from different religions and took his stand as far as
possible upon their common elements and central truths, viz., the
recognition of one Deity and of some Principle of Creation, the
need of meditation on that Principle as the Supreme Good, and the
love and service of Man as the guiding principle of conduct in
life. Thus, he held that there was only one Universal Theism
that expressed itself only in certain varieties growing up under
different local conditions, e.g., a Hindu, Islamic, or Christian
Each such variety had its own scripture, rituals, and symbols,
which were determined by geographical, climatic, and ethnic
factors. Each also should not be regarded as only a part of the
Truth; each in its pristine purity was the Truth, specially and
ethnically expressed or embodied. Each also should preserve its
historic or traditional continuity, evolving along its own lines,
though the different religions should have mutual contacts by
which they should approximate a common ideal.
This philosophy led Ram Mohun to the curious position that he had
to engage in a double religious task: first to defend Hinduism,
Islam, and Christianity in their original pristine forms against
the orthodox and bigoted votaries of each, and second to defend
each against the attacks of the other two.
Thus Ram Mohun's religion was not a mere abstract eclecticism but
rather a living faith in the common truths underlying different
religions, to be understood as historic expressions and specific
embodiments of a Universal Religion, just as different
nationalities are so many embodiments of Universal Humanity.
His work in the spheres of social and political reform was
important and far-reaching. He was instrumental in the abolition
of suttee (where a good Hindu wife would cremate herself on her
husband's funeral pyre). He also was prominent among the first
patrons of modern education in India. His historic journey to
England won many distinguished friends for the Raja himself and
for the country whose unofficial spiritual ambassador he was.
The breadth of his interests and sympathies reflected itself in a
letter he wrote to the Foreign Minister of France. "All mankind
are one great family of which the different nations are only
One of the purest, most philanthropic, and most enlightened men
India has ever produced, Ram Mohun Rai's dauntless moral courage
and fervent religious feeling were joined to perfect modesty. He
made no claims to spiritual leadership, but his most lasting
monument in India is his Brahmo Samaj, which he founded in August
1828 on the lines of a pure Theism. The Brahmo Samaj was not
announced as a sect, though for its devotees it takes the place
of a formal religion. Many today look to it for their religious
inspiration and spiritual guidance. Its viability is
comprehensible in the light of the abundant spiritual vitality of
Swami Dayanand fought to rebuild and renew India on its religious
side by strengthening its spiritual foundations. He has himself
stated his Mission thus:
> The chain forged by superstition and ignorance fetters the world.
> I have come to snap asunder that chain and to set slaves at
> liberty. It is contrary to my mission to have people deprived of
> their freedom.
> Though I was born in Aryavarta and live in it, yet just as I do
> not defend the falsehoods of the faiths and religions of this
> country but expose them fully. In like manner, I deal with the
> religions of other countries. I treat the foreigners in the same
> way as my own countrymen, so far as the elevation of the human
> race is concerned.
Here Dayanand speaks as a world-teacher, as the votary of Truth
Universal, and not of any particular creed or sect.
Dayanand trod the way that the Saints and Seers of India have
trodden in their quest of Truth in all ages. That way is the way
of asceticism pure and simple, a concentrated pursuit of Truth
for which, as the BRIHADARANYAKA UPANISHAD states, "the desire
for sons, wealth, and new worlds [is renounced in a dedicated
life of mendicancy.]" This renunciation in the conditions of the
modern world has often no meaning, because most people have
nothing and have to renounce nothing. It was not so with
Dayanand, born and bred in affluence that he heroically gave up
for the life of an ascetic.
His Guru made him promise that he would consecrate his life to
the purging of the original and true religion of India, the
religion of the Vedas, of the abuses and impurities that had
grown round it through the ages.
Dayanand's religious originality lay in his slogan, "Back to the
Veda." Dayanand took upon himself the task of interpreting the
Veda. No doubt, his powerful and original commentary on the Veda
is not acceptable to all, and perhaps some more delicate work is
called for to bring out many subtle aspects of that profound
The worth of his intellectual work is not quite relevant to a
consideration of his moral greatness. The man is greater than
his work, his definite achievements, for he lives as an influence
that is indefinite, formless, and pervasive.
Dayanand took his firm stand upon the Veda to condemn the various
institutions and practices then current in the country and
passing for Hinduism, such as Idol-worship, Caste by Birth, Child
Marriage, Untouchability, and the like, and challenged all
Sanskritists to prove the contrary. The challenge could not be
answered in the face of his invincible knowledge of Sanskrit and
Never since Sankara had such a champion of the Veda appeared for
a Digvijaya. Dayanand challenged orthodoxy in its stronghold at
Benares where a battle royal was fought by him alone against
three hundred Pandits constituting the whole front line and the
reserve of Hindu orthodoxy.
He carried the message of the Vedas from the Pandits and narrow
schoolmen to the masses by lectures, discourses, debates,
discussions, conversations, pamphleteering, and writing books.
He carried this message to the masses in the language of the
masses, namely, Hindi. He thus literally brought down the Vedas
from the grandiose sky of Sanskrit to the marketplace.
The Veda was no longer a sealed book for the elect. Like
Vedavyasa of old, who made Vedic wisdom accessible to the masses
by composing a popular edition of the Veda, known as the fifth
Veda, the Mahabharata, Swami Dayanand brought to the masses his
gift of the popular Hindi Veda. He carried the message of the
Veda in this popular garb to the chief centers of population and
pilgrimage, everywhere preaching, writing, and discussing in
tireless social service.
As he was advancing in age, he, as a practical idealist, began to
think how he could make the Mission survive the man and work
after him. This meant the foundation of institutions that would
perpetuate his teachings, just as tanks hold the rainwater for
human use against the caprice of the clouds. In 1879, at
Udaipur, under the auspices of the Maharana, he first created a
Trust under the Trust Laws and founded the Paropa Karini Sabha
for propagating the knowledge of the Vedas with Vedangas, to
establish missions and depute missionaries to all countries for
the purpose, and to educate the masses and orphans.
His greatest achievement was the foundation of the Arya Samaj.
The first Arya Samaj was established in 1875 in Bombay and in
1877 in Lahore. This is not the place to give an account of the
great and manifold contributions that the Arya Samaj with its
network of various institutions for education and social service
has made, and is making, to the building up of modern India.
The daring originality of its founder, which is apt to be
forgotten, lay in his conception of building up that modern India
on the basis of its most ancient and pristine foundation, the
Veda and its religion. Every member of the Arya Samaj, a society
of Aryas, devoid of all distinctions of caste and birth, class,
and sex, is required by its founder to observe Svadhyaya, the
daily study of the Vedas as the book of Universal Knowledge in
which he profoundly believed, for he deliberately refrained from
learning even English.
He put before modern India the five elements of Vedic Religion,
(1) Tapas (asceticism and Brahmacharya), (2) Satya (reason and
truth), (3) Brahma (study of the Veda), (4) Diksha (dedicated
life), and (5) Yajna (self-sacrifice) forming the nucleus of
India's moral and spiritual growth. Thus, a man innocent of any
Western learning has been one of the great makers of modern India
by the strength of the eternal verities of the Veda.
The astounding greatness of Rama Krishna lies in that he has
flowered into perfection out of the commonest conditions of
modern life in this materialistic age, like a lotus out of its
seedbed of slough and slime. His life is the perennial hope of
his race. It has shown how a mortal can achieve and attain the
Immortal by only asserting the innate and irresistible supremacy
of Spirit over Matter, of Soul over Sense. It has left for the
modern world, so hopelessly held in the grip of materialism, the
supreme consolation that man is capable of infinite development,
in spite of the ills to which flesh is heir, even in and through
the body with all its limitations, and can become a god even
under the cramping conditions of mortal existence.
The message of Hinduism delivered to humanity by its chosen
exponent, Sri Rama Krishna, is that every mortal, a spark of the
divine, is a potential god, and it should be the supreme purpose
in life of each to develop only his divine potentialities until
the Individual merges in the Absolute out of which it arose. The
outgoing process of creation, of the individuation of the
Absolute, is always accompanied by the undercurrent process of
incoming, by which the individual makes his inevitable approach
towards the Absolute. It is these deeper undercurrents of the
soul that which every individual human being must carefully seize
for his salvation, so that he may not be swept away by the
stronger currents at the surface of life throwing him into the
vortex of endless objectivity. The path trod by Rama Krishna is
the most ordinary path of mortals, but to what an extraordinary
destination it led him!
In this progress towards the Universal and pursuit of the
Absolute, he became more and more convinced of the ultimate unity
of all religions, and could not remain confined to a particular
creed. He believed the only religion for a human being to be his
self-fulfillment, though there might be different paths towards
that end. To realize this Truth of a Universal Religion and not
to rest content with its mere intellectual or theoretical
apprehension, as was his wont, he began to seek the teachers of
other religions, those who were realized souls. He found a
Moslem saint and lived with him to study his inward methods and
disciplines of the life spiritual, which showed how they led to
the same goal. Similarly, he acquainted himself with the
doctrines and disciplines of Christianity and those of all sects
he could find.
Out of this universality of religious outlook sprang an uttermost
toleration and humility. This humility and self-effacement were
not merely verbal or theoretical. Putting himself to the most
severe practical tests, he practiced these virtues.
Five points sum up the elements of Sri Rama Krishna's greatness.
1. He has shown that man can achieve perfection even in this
body and in any condition of life. He has only himself to thank
if he does not achieve it. He should not depend upon any
intermediary to do it for him or upon vicarious salvation. A
man's self-realization must be his own work and concern. Of
course, the first step towards that is the finding of the true
Teacher who alone can direct this difficult process towards
2. Rama Krishna has shown that the religion for a realized soul
can only be the religion that is eternal and universal -- for
Truth is one. The differences of religion belong to its lower
planes, to its texts and tenets. They cease on its higher
planes, fading before the light of Realization.
3. His life is an example in Renunciation.
4. What he had acquired in solitude by his personal exertions he
now was busy giving to society. Thenceforth he saw no rest from
crowds flocking to him for his words. He would talk and teach
for twenty out of the twenty-four hours, and this for days and
years. This strain his body could not bear, but he would not
5. We may note that while he was always ready and anxious to
teach, he was not at all anxious to have a following or found a
sect. He firmly stood for the supreme truth that one could not
secure spiritual growth by any external machinery, apparatus, or
One cannot achieve it solely by schools, temples, or
congregational worship. It is exclusively a matter of one's
personal relations with the Divinity within. Each must work out
his own approach in his own individual way under the guidance of
Hope that the vast organization built up by the Rama Krishna
Mission in its network of institutions for social service,
covering the whole country, will carefully cherish at its heart
those principles of inner spiritual growth for which Sri Rama
Krishna was so much concerned. The organization must always be
able to derive its nourishment from an inner circle of devotees
and teachers who are living the life spiritual in yoga and
meditation in utter renunciation of all that is external.
THE POWER OF THE WHITE MAGICIAN
By James Sterling
The power of the white magician
Is centered in the concentration
Of his powerful will,
And an imagination to create
Images and glamour,
But only with the noble idea
Of helping others -- never for himself.
The power of the white magician
Is selfless; he has no longer any
Longings or desires for anything other
Than the will to assist in the
Struggle with the war
Against the black.
The white magician knows no bounds
To his endless task;
He hunts not to hurt or blame
The emotionally weak;
They are not to be blamed.
His love and compassion are as strong
As his indomitable and diamond-souled will.
He comes spirit to spirit with the dark powers
Who corrupt the minds of the children of the earth:
The mighty war with the mighty.
These dark powers are not an entity
Called Satan -- but they are worse
For they lure and destroy the innocent
Souls of mankind, creating
Illusions of doubt and despair.
While the whole world cries out for help
And the agony of desperation,
The white magician wars with the universal
Mind of superstition and ignorance --
The minds of men spin around,
But travels no distance,
Making little progress,
Like the hummingbird wings through
Space, but move not.
Our minds and souls exist but
Deny true spiritual growth and progress,
Consuming life without meaningful significance,
And the centuries roll by in darkness.
But when the new cycle opens,
The great white lodge will have
An opportunity to go into battle
With this sad ignorance that
The dark powers control;
And I, myself will be waiting,
To join the Buddhas of Compassion
In the fight for man's liberation.
But for now, I work with that "still, small voice"
For patience, purification, and perfection,
Eliminating petty desires
To strengthen concentration and will:
The power of the white magician grows within me;
And finally after years of turmoil and sweat,
I will complete my uphill journey of silent
Suffering and conquer myself:
Once and for all.
THE MESSAGE OF BODHIDHARMA, FOUNDER OF ZEN BUDDHISM
By Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
[From THE ARYAN PATH, January 1936, pages 10-14.]
The history of Zen Buddhism starts with Bodhidharma, popularly
known as Daruma in Japan and Tamo in China, who came to China
late in the fifth century. The significance of Daruma was not
fully recognized until the time of Yeno (Hui-Neng in Chinese)
when a dispute arose between him and his opponent, Jinshu
(Shen-Hsiu). They were both disciples of Gunin (Hung-Jen, died
675), and each claimed to transmit the orthodox line of the Zen
teaching traceable to the First Patriarch, Bodhidharma. This
being the case, we can say that the value and signification of
Zen Buddhism as distinct from all the other schools of Buddhism
so far developed in China was not manifestly appreciated by its
followers until late in the seventh century.
What is then the teaching of Daruma? Three characteristic
features of it may be pointed out as distinguishable from other
Buddhist schools. As Daruma's teaching, which later came to be
known as Zen Buddhism, belongs to the practical wing of the
Mahayana, it does not attempt to offer any novel method of
philosophizing on the truth of Buddhism. Daruma was no logician.
He simply wanted to live the truth. Whatever he taught,
therefore, consisted in presenting a method considered by him to
be most effective in the attainment of the final goal of the
Buddhist life. The characteristic features of his teaching
inevitably all relate to the Buddhist discipline.
1. The first thing needed for the discipline then was to know
definitely what the objective of the Buddhist life was. Without
full knowledge of this, the Yogin would be like a blind man
running wild. Daruma pointed out that the objective was to see
into the nature of one's own being, and this he designated shin
or kokoro (or hsin in Chinese). Shin or hsin corresponds to the
Sanskrit citta but frequently to hridaya. Translated as "mind,"
it is too intellectual; "heart" is too emotional; while "soul"
suggests something concrete, it is so strongly associated with an
ego-substance. Provisionally I shall make Mind with a capital
"M" to perform the office of shin or hsin. Now Daruma wants us
to see into this Mind. It is only when this is perceived or
grasped that we attain the end that is the "peaceful settling of
the mind," called anjin (an-hsin).
Daruma's interview with Eka (Hui-k'e) is significant in this
respect. He did not talk about realizing Nirvana, or attaining
emancipation; nor did he discourse on the doctrine of non-ego,
that is, anatta. When Eka told his master how troubled he was in
his mind, the latter at once demanded that he produce this
troubled mind before him so that he could calm it for its owner.
For this was Daruma's patented method, which had not yet been
resorted to by any of his predecessors.
When Eka complained about his mind being in trouble, he used the
term "mind" in its conventional meaning, which, however,
indicated also that his thought followed the conventional line of
reasoning. That is to say, he cherished an unconscious belief in
the reality of an entity known as mind or shin, and this belief
further involved a dualistic interpretation of existence leading
to the conceptual reconstruction of experience. As long as such
a belief was entertained, one could never realize the end of the
Buddhist discipline. Daruma, therefore, wished to liberate Eka
from the bondage of the idea of a mind. Liberation was a
"pacific settlement" of it, which was at the same time the seeing
into the inner nature of one's own being, the Mind.
Eka must have spent many years in this search for a mind, with
which he was supposed to be endowed, philosophically or logically
as well as conventionally. Finally, it must have dawned upon him
that there was after all no such entity as to be known as mind.
But this recognition failed to ease his mind, because it still
lacked a final "stamping." It did not break out in his
consciousness as a final experience. He appeared again before
Daruma and gave an answer to the master's former demand for a
mind: "I seek for the mind but it is not attainable." Daruma now
exclaimed, "I have your mind peacefully settled!"
Eka now had a real experience, this authoritative "stamping" on
the part of the master broke the intellectual barrier and made
Eka go beyond the mere formulation of his insight as the
unattainability of a mind. Without Daruma's absolute
confirmation, Eka did not know yet where to have his "mind"
fixed. A fixing was no-fixing, and therefore the fixing, to use
the Prajna dialectic. In other words, Eka found his "mind" where
it was not to be found, and thus his "mind" came to be finally
peacefully settled. This is Daruma's doctrine of Mind.
2. Did Daruma teach us any definite form of meditation? Zen
means Dhyana, i.e., meditation. Being the First Patriarch of Zen
in China, Daruma naturally advocates meditation. His is the one
specifically known as Hekkwan (pi-kuan), literally "wall-gazing."
He has never defined the term and it is difficult to know exactly
what kind of meditation it was. This much we can say, that as
long as it was differentiated from the traditional method and
claimed to be Mahayanistic, it was not mere tranquillization, nor
was it a form of contemplation. It was to follow the idea
referred to in the Vimalakirti: "When a mind is controlled so as
to be steadily fixed on one subject, such a one will accomplish
anything." This means, "to keep mind as self-concentrated as a
rigidly standing cliff, with nothing harassing its
imperturbability." Thereby, one can enter the Path (tau).
Daruma's Hekkwan, therefore, means "concentration," fixing
attention steadily on one subject. There must have been
something more in it. The Hekkwan was the method of finding out
the "abode of all thoughts," in other words, of having an insight
into the nature of Mind. The method is always defined and
controlled by the object. When the object is to experience what
is immovable in the movable without stopping its movement, the
self-concentration means a state of utmost activity, and not at
all mere quietude or passivity. The Hekkwan then in connection
with its object begins to have a definite signification of its
In fact, "wall-gazing" is not at all appropriate to explain the
Hekkwan. "To stand rigidly like a cliff" does not mean the
bodily posture assumed by the Zen practitioner when he sits
cross-legged with his backbone straight. "Being like a cliff or
wall" refers to an inner state of mind in which all disturbing
and entangling chains of ideas are cut asunder. The mind has no
hankerings now; there is in it no looking around, no reaching
out, no turning aside, no picturing of anything , it is like a
solid rock or a block of wood; there is neither life nor death in
it, neither memory nor intellection. Although a mind is spoken
of according to the conventional parlance, here there is really
no "mind," the mind is no-mind, shin is mushin, hsin is wu-hsin,
citta is acitta. This is the Hekkwan meditation.
If we imagine this to be the final state of the exercise, we are
greatly in the wrong, for we have not yet entered into the Path
(tau). The necessary orientation has been achieved, but the
thing itself is far beyond. When we stop here, Zen loses its
life. There must be a turning here, a waking-up, a new state of
awareness reached, the breaking of the deadlock, so to speak.
All the intellectual attempts hitherto made to seek out the abode
of all thoughts and desires could not come to this; all forms of
contemplation, all the exercises of tranquillization hitherto
advocated by the Indian and the Chinese predecessors of Daruma
could not achieve this. Why? Because the objects they erected
severally for their discipline were altogether amiss and had no
inherent power of creation in them.
3. What may be called the ethical teaching of Daruma's Zen
Buddhism is the doctrine of Mukudoku (wu-kung-te in Chinese)
which means "no merit." This is the answer given by Daruma to his
Imperial inquirer as to the amount of merit to be accumulated by
building temples, making offerings to the Buddha, providing
shelters for monks and nuns, etc. According to the First
Patriarch, deeds performed with any idea of merit accruing from
them have no moral value whatever. Unless you act in accord with
the "Dharma," which is by nature pure, beyond good and had, you
cannot be said to be a Zen follower.
According to Daruma, there is no antithesis in the Dharma of good
and evil, of detachment and attachment, of "self" and "other." In
Daruma's discourse on "the Twofold Entrance," he describes the
life of a wise man in the following terms:
> As there is in the essence of the Dharma no desire to possess, a
> wise man is ever ready to practice charity with his body, life,
> and property, and he never begrudges, he never knows what an ill
> grace means. As he has a perfect understanding of the threefold
> nature of Emptiness (Shunyata), he is above partiality and
> attachment. Only because of his will to cleanse all beings of
> their stains, he comes among them as one of them, but he is not
> attached to form. This is the self-benefiting phase of his life.
> He, however, knows also how to benefit others, and again how to
> glorify the truth of enlightenment. As with the virtue of
> Charity, so with the other five virtues: Morality, Humility,
> Indefatigability, Meditation, and Intuition. That a wise man
> practices the six virtues of perfection is to get rid of confused
> thoughts, and yet there is no consciousness on his part that he
> is engaged in any meritorious deeds -- which means to be in
> accord with the Dharma.
This concept of meritless deeds is one of the most difficult to
understand -- much more to practice. When this is thoroughly
mastered, the Zen discipline is said to have been matured. The
first intellectual approach to it is to realize that things of
this world are characterized by polarity as they are always to be
interpreted in reference to a subject that perceives and values
them. We can never escape this polar opposition between subject
and object. There is no absolute objective world from which a
subject is excluded, nor is there any self-existing subject that
has no objective world in any sense standing against it. Unless
we escape this fundamental dualism, we can never be at ease with
ourselves. For dualism means finitude and limitation. This
state of things is described by Mahayanists as "attainable." An
attainable mind is a finite one, and all the worries, fears, and
tribulations we go through are the machination of a finite mind.
When this is transcended, we plunge into the Unattainable, and
thereby peace of mind is gained. The Unattainable is Mind.
This approach being intellectual it is no more than a conceptual
reconstruction of reality. To make it a living fact with blood
and nerves, the Unattainable must become attainable, that is,
must be experienced, for anjin (that is, peaceful settling of the
mind) will then for the first time become possible.
In a recently recovered Tung-Huang manuscript, which for various
reasons I take to be discourses given by Daruma, the author is
strongly against mere understanding according to words. The
Dharma, according to him, is not a topic for discourse; the
Dharma whose other name is Mind is not a subject of memory or of
knowledge. When pressed for a positive statement, Daruma gave no
reply, remaining silent. Is this not also a kind of meritless
According to a Buddhist historian of the T'ang dynasty (618-907
A.D.), the coming of Daruma in China caused a great stir among
the Buddhist scholars as well as among ordinary Buddhists,
because of his most emphatically antagonistic attitude towards
the latter. The scholars prior to him encouraged the study of
the Buddhist literature in the form Sutras and Shastras; and as
the result, there was a great deal of philosophical
systematization of the dogmas and creeds. On the practical
disciplinary side, the Buddhists were seriously engaged in
meditation exercises, the main object of which was a kind of
training in tranquillization. Daruma opposed this, too; for his
Dhyana practice had the very high object of attaining to the
nature of the Mind itself, and this not by means of learning and
scholarship, nor by means of moral deeds, but by means of Prajna,
transcendental wisdom. To open up a new field in the Buddhist
life was the mission of Daruma.
When Zen came to be firmly established after Yeno (Hui-Neng),
there grew among his followers a question regarding the coming of
Daruma to China. The question was asked not for information, but
for self-illumination. By this, I mean that the question
concerns one's own inner life, not necessarily anybody else's
coming and going. While apparently Daruma is the subject, in
reality he has nothing to do with it, and therefore in all the
answers gathered below we notice no personal references whatever
to Daruma himself.
In order to see what development characteristic of Zen Buddhism
the teaching of Daruma made after the sixth patriarch, Yeno
(Hui-Neng), in China, I quote some of the responses made to the
question cited above, in which the reader may recognize the
working of the Mind variously given expression to:
> Ummon Yen: "Do you wish to know the Patriarch (Daruma)?" So
> saying, he took up his staff, and pointing at the congregation
> continued, "The Patriarch is seen jumping over your heads. Do
> you wish to know where his eyes are? Look ahead and do not
> Kisu Sen: "How did people fare before the coming of Daruma to
> China? Clean poverty was fully enjoyed. How after his coming?
> Filthy wealth is the cause of many worries."
> Keitoku Sei: "How were things before Daruma's coming to China?
> Six times six are thirty-six. How after his coming? Nine times
> nine are eighty-one."
> Gyoku-sen Ren: "How were things before Daruma's coming to China?
> Clouds envelop the mountain peaks. How after his coming? Rains
> fall on the Hsiao and the Hsiang."
> Houn Hon: "How was the world before Daruma's coming to China? The
> clouds dispersing, the three islets loom out clear. How after
> his coming? The rain passing, the flowers in hundreds are
> freshened up. What difference is there between before and after
> his coming? The boatman cleaving the light morning fog goes up
> the stream, while in the evening he comes down with the sail
> unfurled over the vapory waves."
To the question, "What is the meaning of Daruma's coming from the
West," the following answers are given by various masters:
> Ryuge: "This is the question hardest to crack."
> Ryozan Kwan: "Don't make a random talk."
> Fusui Gan: "Each time one thinks of it one's heart breaks."
> Shoshu: "A happy event does not go out of the gate while a bad
> rumor travels a thousand miles."
> Dosan: "I will tell you when the river Do begins to flow upward."
In Zen, there is no uniform answer, as far as its apparent
meaning is concerned, even to the same question. The spirit is
free in the choice of material when it wants to express itself.
THEOSOPHY AND ITS EVIDENCES
By Annie Besant
[From LUCIFER, January 15, 1891, pages 362-67.]
No more difficult work could be proposed, perhaps, to any body of
people, than the understanding of Theosophy and the effectual
carrying on of its propaganda. Its philosophy is more abstruse
than that of Hegel, while it is also far more subtle. Many of
its evidences require so much study and self-denial ere they can
be estimated, that they will certainly remain hidden from the
majority; not because they are in themselves incomprehensible,
but because average, easy-going people have not the capacity of
working them out.
The ethical teachings rest finally on the philosophy, and those
who cannot, or will not, study the philosophy are reduced to
accepting the ethics by themselves. These can, indeed, be shown
to be useful, by that most potent of all arguments, the argument
from experience; for they are most effective in promoting
morality, i.e., in inducing social happiness. On this
utilitarian ground, they can be taught, and can there hold their
ground against any rivals in the same field. There they can use
the conditional, but not the categorical, Imperative: the
categorical remains veiled; the ultimate authority can be found
only on the metaphysical heights, and those heights can be scaled
but by the strenuous efforts of the patient and undaunted
Each such student can bear his testimony to what he has seen and
known, but to all, save himself, his evidence remains
second-hand. Personally won, it remains a personal possession,
priceless to him, but of varying value to those who hear it from
Not on such evidence can Theosophy base itself in its appeal to
the cultivated intelligence of the West, intelligence trained in
the skeptical habit, and cautiously guarding itself against
unproven assumptions. Nor let it be forgotten that the West has,
in its own eyes, this justification: that it has freed itself
from the bondage of superstition, and has won its intellectual
victories, by the wise use of skepticism and the prudent
suspension of judgment until assertion has been demonstrated to
It is then necessary, if Theosophy is to make its way in the
West, and to give to it the much-needed basis of the
scientifically spiritual, that Theosophists should present to the
indifferent, as to the enquirer, sufficient prima facie evidence
that it has something valuable to impart, evidence that shall
arouse the attention of the one class and attract the other into
the investigation of its claims.
The evidence must be such as can be examined at first hand by any
person of ordinary intelligence, and it need not seek to
establish anything more than that Theosophy is worth studying.
If the study be fairly begun and the student capable of mastering
its initial difficulties, its acceptance is certain, though the
period of that full acceptance will depend on the student's
mental characteristics and the type of his intelligence. As
Madame Blavatsky says:
> Once that the reader has gained a clear comprehension of them
> [the basic conceptions on which the Secret Doctrine rests] and
> realized the light that they throw on every problem of life, they
> will need no further justification in his eyes, because their
> truth will be to him as evident as the sun in heaven.
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 20
In order, however, to begin this study, this prima facie evidence
must be given, and these basic conceptions of Theosophy must be
roughly outlined. Only when this is done can anyone decide
whether it is worthwhile to enter on the study and the deeper
evidences of Theosophy.
The value of this evidence is a point to be decided ere serious
study is commenced. Often, in our Lodges, when the members are
engaged in a consecutive course of study, a casual visitor,
admitted by courtesy, will get up and suddenly ask, "What is the
evidence on which Theosophy is based, and of what use is it."
This is as though a passerby, dropping in and listening to a
teacher instructing a mathematical class on the theory of
equations, should suddenly challenge him to prove the use of
numbers and the rationale of the algebraic signs.
In any science, save that of Theosophy, a person who expected a
class of students to stop, while the reasons for their study were
explained to a stranger who knew nothing of their subject, would
be recognized as taking up a foolish and irrational position. In
Theosophy, we are always expected to break off our work in order
to prove that we are not fools for doing it. If we show any
unwillingness to do this, it is at once taken for granted that
our position is unsound, and that we are afraid of investigation.
We do not have time to justify ourselves to each successive
visitor who may be led by curiosity to obtain from a member an
introduction to our Lodge meetings. This paper is to present
finally some of the evidences that have determined us to seek in
Theosophy the light that we have failed to find elsewhere.
The word "Theosophy" sometimes leads people wrong at the outset.
It gives the idea that the Wisdom-Religion as it is sometimes
called postulates a personal, and therefore a limited deity.
This is not the case.
> Divine Wisdom, Theosophia, or wisdom of the Gods, as Theogonia,
> genealogy of the Gods. The word Theos means a God in the Greek,
> one of the divine beings, certainly not "God" in the sense
> attached in our day to the term. Therefore, it is not "Wisdom of
> God," as translated by some, BUT DIVINE WISDOM, such as that
> possessed by the Gods.
> -- H.P. Blavatsky, THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY, page 1
The name is not ancient, dating only from the third century, used
first by Ammonius Saccas and his school. But the teaching itself
dates back many a thousand years, unchanged in its main features;
taught today in England to truth-seeking students as it was
taught when Buddha wandered over Indian plains, or earlier still,
when ancient Rishis guided their chelas along the path that leads
Theosophy regards the Universe as a transitory manifestation of
Eternal Existence, the summer-day flower of an eternal unknown
Root. That Root is the One Reality, the only Permanent among the
myriad and fleeting phenomena that surround us on every hand, and
among which we ourselves are numbered. From that, Unity proceeds
all diversity; into that Unity all diversity again returns. It
is manifested in the atom as in the man, in what is spoken of as
the non-living as well as in the living.
> [It], the infinite and eternal Cause -- dimly formulated in the
> "Unconscious" and "Unknowable" of current European philosophy --
> is the rootless root of "all that was, is, or ever shall be."
> -- THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 14
Periodically the aspect of the Eternal Existence that we call
Life radiates as source of the manifested Universe, the Universe
being but "the variously differentiated aspects" of the One Life.
Thus, to the Theosophist, the most differentiated forms are
essentially one: "matter" and "spirit" are but the two poles of
the one magnet, inseparable, not thinkable as existing apart from
each other. To use clumsy phraseology, spirit is the One Life in
its early manifestations, matter is the One Life solidified: the
objective Universe "is, so to say, held in solution in space, to
differentiate again and crystallize out anew" during a period of
The "spirit" or "divine soul" in man is a spark of the One Life,
undifferentiated from its parent Fire, and therefore alike for
every human being. It is the fate of this "spark" to win
self-consciousness by passing round the cycle of forms, and in
man reaching and finally perfecting self-consciousness; the fully
human stage once reached, all further progress is a matter of
personal endeavor, of conscious cooperation with the spiritual
forces in Nature.
> The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric Philosophy admits no
> privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego
> through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of
> metempsychoses and reincarnations.
> --THE SECRET DOCTRINE, I, page 17
This "pilgrimage of the Ego" is the central idea, so to speak, of
Theosophy: this gaining of self-consciousness is the very object
and outcome of the Universe: for this it was manifested, for this
it exists, groaning and travailing in pain to perfect and bring
forth the self-conscious spirit.
This bald statement must suffice as to the teachings of
Theosophy. This paper is not to expound Theosophical ideas, but
rather to set forth some prima facie evidence that Theosophy is
worthy attention. Let us then turn to the evidence, and ere
dealing with it in detail, let us consider the general nature of
the proof that may be fairly demanded of anyone who is willing to
study Theosophy, if it can be shown to him that the study is
likely to be fruitful.
Evidence must, speaking generally, be congruous with the position
that it seeks to demonstrate. The aspect of the subject under
consideration must govern the nature of the evidence to submit.
Physical evidences must demonstrate problems of physical life.
Intellectual evidences must demonstrate problems of intellectual
life. If there is the spiritual life that Theosophy posits,
spiritual evidences must demonstrate it.
Granted that the proof must be suited to the subject, save where
the spiritual is concerned. To seek to prove to a blind man the
existence of color by holding up colored objects before his
unseeing eyes would be considered absurd. Any suggestion that
there may be spiritual eyes that are blinded in some, and that
the use of those spiritual eyes may be needed for the discernment
of certain classes of verities, is scouted as superstitious or
Every psychologist recognizes the difference between the
Objective and the Subjective World, and in studying the
subjective, he knows that it is idle to demand objective proof.
The methods suited to the extended world are not suitable to the
unextended. A proof addressed wholly to the reason is
nonetheless cogent because it has neither form nor color. In
verity, to the trained intellect the purely intellectual proof,
has a certainty higher than that of any which appeals to the
senses because the senses are more easily to be deluded than the
intellect, where the latter has been strictly trained and
disciplined. Where the spiritual intelligence has been duly
evolved and trained, it speaks with a certainty as much above
that of the intellect, as the intellect speaks with a certainty
above that of the senses. It judges the conclusions of the
intellect as the intellect judges those of the senses, and utters
the final word on every question presented for adjudication.
The "average man" is apt to regard a physical demonstration as
the most convincing that can be given. It appeals to the senses.
"I must believe the evidence of my senses" is a phrase that often
drops from the lips of the slightly instructed person. One of
the early lessons learn by the student of physiology is that the
senses are very easily deceived and are subject to various
illusions and hallucinations.
Some ingenious Americans gave an instructive illustration of this
fact. They saw the famous "basket-trick" performed by a
wandering Indian. One of American drew what he "saw," while the
second photographed the various stages of the scene. The
artist's drawing showed the well-known succession of startling
events, the camera showed nothing. The senses had been led
astray by "glamour," and their testimony was unreliable. Still,
for demonstrating physical facts, physical experiments are the
most satisfactory, and, with certain precautions, may be taken as
Physical phenomena are not relevant as proofs of intellectual and
spiritual truths. No physical "miracle" can demonstrate a moral
maxim. The doctrine, "Love your enemies, do good to them that
hate you," is neither more nor less true because Buddha and Jesus
could, or could not, cure certain diseases by means not
understood by their followers.
The demonstration of a problem in Euclid is in no way assisted by
the teacher being able to levitate himself, or to draw across the
table to his hand without contact a box of mathematical
instruments. He might be able to perform these feats and yet
make a blunder in the working out of his demonstration. He might
be incapable of such performances, and yet be a competent
Mathematical and logical proofs need no physical phenomena to
accredit them. They stand on their own ground, are tried by
their appropriate tests. Many people cannot follow a
mathematical proof. It is impertinent to dazzle them into
acquiescence by the display of some irrelevant physical ability.
If they cannot appreciate the force of the demonstration, they
must either suspend their judgment on the conclusion, or accept
it at second-hand, i.e., on authority. They will be foolish if
they deny the conclusion because the evidence for it is beyond
their grasp; but they are perfectly justified in withholding
their belief where they cannot understand.
If some important line of action depends on their acceptance or
rejection of the conclusion, then they must make their own choice
between acting on authority and suspending action until able to
understand. The responsibility is theirs, and the loss of
non-action, if loss follows, is theirs. The propounder of the
proposition may fairly say:
> This is true. I cannot make the proof any easier for you than I
> have done. If you cannot see it, you only can decide whether you
> will act on my assurance of its truth. Such and such
> consequences will follow your rejection of the conclusion. I
> have neither the right nor the power to enforce on you action
> founded on that which I personally know to be true but that you
> do not understand.
In Theosophy, the student will often find himself in such a
dilemma. He will be left free either to proceed, accepting the
authoritative conclusion provisionally or fully as a guide to
action, or to decline to proceed, until the steps as well as the
conclusion lie plainly before him. He will never find himself
driven; but if he always stops until he has personally
demonstrated a conclusion, he will often find himself losing what
he might have gained by fearless confidence in teachers often
For after all, the student of Theosophy is only advised to follow
the methods adopted by pupils in every other science. It is not
the blind faith of the religionist in propositions that cannot be
verified that is asked from the Theosophical student. It is the
reasonable trust of a pupil in his master, the temporary
acceptance of conclusions every one of which is to be
demonstrated the moment the pupil's progress makes the
The study carries the pupil into the physical, the intellectual,
the spiritual worlds, and in each the appropriate tests and
proofs will be forthcoming: as physical proofs are out of court
in the intellectual world, so physical and intellectual proofs
are not available in the spiritual. Here again, Theosophy
demands nothing differing in kind from that which is freely
granted to our logicians and mathematicians by the physicists.
As the former are unable to grant to the latter experimental
physical evidences, so the spiritual adept is unable to grant to
the logician and the mathematician proofs couched in their
special intellectual forms.
Not therefore is his science superstition, nor his knowledge
folly. He stands in the realm of the Spiritual, as secure, nay
even more secure, than they stand in the realms of the Reason and
of the Material. He can justify himself to them in their own
worlds, by showing in the Material that he knows more than the
physicist of the powers latent in matter, and in the Rational by
showing that he knows more than the intellectual giants as to the
workings and capacities of the Reason. In his own sphere, he is
judged of none. He answers but to his Conscience and his
The words "Teachers," "Masters," and "Adepts" imply that
Theosophy, like all other philosophies and sciences, has its
authoritative exponents. These form a Brotherhood, consisting of
men and women of various nations, who by patient study and purity
of life have acquired exceptional, but wholly natural, powers and
knowledge. The Hindus speak of them as Mahatmas, literally
"Great Souls" -- great in their wisdom, great in their powers,
and great in their self-sacrifice. They are the custodians of a
body of doctrine, handed down from generation to generation,
increased by the work of each.
Into this body of doctrine, this vast collection of cosmological
and historical facts, no new statement is allowed entrance until
verified by repeated investigations, reiterated experiments by
different hands. This forms the "Secret Doctrine," the
"Wisdom-Religion," and of this, from time to time, portions have
been given out, and have been made the basis of the great
philosophies, the great religions, of the world.
By these, we may essay to track our road through history,
gaining, as we go, the evidence for the existence of this body of
doctrine from ancient down to modern times. We will seek (a)
evidence from history; (b) evidence from world-religions; then we
will glance at (c) the evidence from experiment; and (d) the
evidence from analogy. Thus may we hope to show that Theosophy
is worthy the attention of the thoughtful, and so perform the
duty placed in our hands.
THE STUDY OF INNER WORLDS, PART I
By Boris de Zirkoff
[This talk comes from the first part of the tape recording
entitled "The Study of Inner Worlds," made of a private class on
FUNDAMENTALS OF THE ESOTERIC PHILOSOPHY held on September 15,
In our study of the Esoteric Philosophy, we have arrived at
Chapter 14, which treats primarily of the inner worlds. Many
questions suggest themselves when students of Theosophy touch
upon the subject. These questions pertain to the nature and
structure of the universe and to the whereabouts of people,
forces, substances, and energies.
Anyone who is not even a student of the Ancient Wisdom wonders
about this. When he becomes a student of Theosophy and perhaps
knows a little, his questions are the same, but a little more
systematic. Where are the dead? Surely, there must be locations
where they are today. Can anything be in no place at all, in no
place in particular? No. Those who have died are in various
conditions of consciousness. That is perfectly true. Even so,
they cannot experience a state of consciousness except in some
locality. There is no state of consciousness hanging nowhere.
Between his last breath on earth and his devachanic sleep, an
individual passes through many states. Where does he experience
them? Where are the inner worlds, planes, or spheres that he
There are energies and subtler substances known to science, which
deals successfully with their effects. We do not see
electricity, only its effects. Where is it? You cannot move a
piece of electricity from one place to another physically. You
have a flow of the electric current. Is that current the same as
electricity? No. Where is electricity? On what particular plane
or sub-plane can we find it? Where is magnetism? We do not see
light. Where is it? We see illumination, an effect of light.
Where are chemical energies? Where are atomic energies? You
cannot move a glob of it around.
A wide field of energies, forces, and substances are not physical
in the sense that we cannot weigh or touches them. They are
subtler substances, more ethereal than ordinary matter. Where
are they? While we do not perceive them with our physical senses,
they are so close to being here that we can successfully deal
with their effects.
In nature is a complete, perfect, unalterable record of
everything that has ever taken place, is taking place, or is to
take place in a foreshadowing of the so-called future. There is
a record of every event in the universe, be it great or small,
physical or non-physical, ancient or modern. This record is the
astral light, a subdivision of akasha. These levels are
Despite many frauds, there have been genuine clairvoyants since
time immemorial. They see differently among themselves. One
penetrates a little into inner worlds; another penetrates much
more. One is on medical, another on historic, and a third on
scientific lines. Some unusually sensitive and artistic
individual has musical clairvoyance. They penetrate to different
levels, seeing and cognizing in different places. Chapter 14
establishes the foundation for our understanding this. The
answer is that the interpenetrating worlds and spheres are
practically infinite in the universe, an idea that has become
A scientist can devise a dial he can tune to a multiplicity of
vibratory rates, excluding one another. Although not every
scientist will agree, this proves the occult idea of
interpenetrating worlds. The inner worlds do not know of each
other just as two broadcasting stations operating on different
frequencies do not know of each other's existence on that dial.
They do not interfere.
The student of the Ancient Wisdom broadens the simile of dials
and vibratory rates pertaining to each frequency. Every
so-called physical or semi-physical vibratory rate has
corresponding psychic, mental, intellectual, spiritual, and
divine counterparts. It has resonances, correspondences, and
analogies at all levels.
Consider the whole picture. Everything balances in nature so
delicately that the various interpenetrating spheres and planes
interfere with one another but rarely. On rare occasions, two
radio stations might interfere with each other. Science knows
the causes and has remedies to correct it. By analogy, it
sometimes happens that certain sub-planes of the astral world
close to the physical interfere with the physical plane. There
is a momentary confusion of the physical with those sub-planes as
they interfere with it.
Precisely at such times in history, we find an outbreak of
psychic phenomena of all kinds, with even careful observers
sometimes unable to distinguish events definitely as astral or
physical. Such a time took place in Europe at the downfall of
the Roman Empire around the fifth or sixth century. Another has
been increasing since the middle of the nineteenth century and
has yet to finish.
The physical and astral currents cross. There is an overlap with
an inrush of strong psychic forces invading the physical plane.
The resulting interference is like two broadcasting stations with
wires crossed. Many physical individuals investigate the astral
world, becoming at times intoxicated with too much astral energy
lodging itself in their constitutions.
Intoxication can be physical, like from liquor, or astral. It is
from overloading the system with what is foreign, though not
necessarily out-and-out poisonous in itself. The western student
knows little of the astral version. Not knowing its laws, he
sees it as outlandish, strange, and peculiar. Its results are
far more dangerous than physical intoxication.
There is little interference between various worlds. They mesh
like wheels of a spiritual mechanism. Even so, there are
overlaps and temporary interference at times when unusual things
An advanced Occultist -- whether he is a high Chela or already an
Initiate -- can pass from one plane to another with great ease.
That is not interference between worlds. Intending to go
somewhere, he undertakes a journey knowing the appropriate
spiritual mechanism to get there. It is as scientific as buying
a ticket, boarding a ship, crossing the ocean, and finding
oneself in different surroundings to which one intended to go.
Not knowing where we go, we can drift physically. We can also
drift psychically. We can travel knowingly in the outer or inner
worlds. Traveling in the latter requires knowledge and skills
far greater than what we control yet.
The inner worlds interpenetrate. They exist within the auric
envelope of various celestial bodies, such as the earth, moons,
planets, and sun, the invisible moons, planets, and suns, and
other solar systems on inner planes.
We are used to abstractions, but they mean nothing when analyzed.
We must not deal in them. Many love them. Nature, the sum total
of all that evolves, does not base itself on them. Think in
positive but realistic terms.
The inner worlds interpenetrate. They do not float somewhere
unattached to one another. They intermesh in astronomical and
astrological systems of planets or suns. They are within the
internal structure of celestial bodies of some magnitude.
Where are the inner worlds of the solar system? They are within
its auric envelope or sheath. Like everything else, it is
sevenfold. It has auric emanations that are physical, astral,
mental, intellectual, spiritual, and super-spiritual or divine.
Science is beginning to discover its physical aura, which it
calls fields of energy.
The fields of energy exist on all planes within the auric
structure of whatever system we consider. The Orientals call it
the Egg of Brahma. Within this auric envelope are inner worlds
that interpenetrate. Myriads of entities journey through these
spheres, dwelling and evolving on them. Some beings are human,
others are sub-human, and yet others are far ahead of humanity,
being spiritual or divine. At any time, some embody on a
particular plane and others disembody, taking a rest and journey
between lives. Note that all entities enjoy a period of rest and
journey between their embodiments. This does not just apply to
There are ten planes to a hierarchy. The physical is but
one-tenth of its structure. Every plane is chock full of
interpenetrating worlds. Myriads of living entities of all
grades journey and evolve through them in innumerable visible and
invisible combinations. Each entity belongs to a particular
sphere until it transcends it evolutionally. Each is adapted to
that sphere, a denizen thereon, finding therein the full field
for its present evolutionary needs.
As we think more on this, our conception becomes grander and we
come to a point where words fail to give justice to it. Dwelling
on it, we begin to grasp the complexity of life and the endless
inner structure of things. As we conceive of infinity in
physical distance, we cannot establish a limit to extension.
Likewise, we can establish no limit to inner distance. It is as
infinite inwards as in physical extension. One is the
counterpart of the other, equally infinite, and equally
Whichever way you turn, whether physically or with your mind
directing your imagination and thought into the inner structure
of things, you always feel in the middle. There is infinity in
all directions. You can never be at the beginning or end of any
particular thing. There is infinity behind you. There is
infinity in front of you. There is infinite depth to inner
structure, about which there may be mathematical symbols but
there are no adequate words in any language.
Thinking of infinity, you may picture a direction to it, but even
physical infinity does not have a definite direction. Obviously,
if you draw a line, it goes off into space endlessly, but it goes
off in myriad other directions according to whichever way you
point it. It is hard to grasp infinity of size, picturing things
smaller than an atomic particle.
It is more difficult to grasp an infinity extending inwards.
Unable to experience it, the mind can only apprehend it
intellectually. One enters an inner world using higher senses,
not merely the mind. From physical experiences, the finite mind
imagines what the experience might be like. One needs higher
senses, yet undeveloped in man, to penetrate and experience the
Science talks about a fourth and possibly fifth dimension. It
refers to time as the fourth dimension, but that is a misnomer.
It has a tendency to misuse terms. The idea to increase the
number of dimensions is correct, but the terms are the worst
possible that science could have chosen. They are confusing and
will have to be undone. As long as the physical world is what it
is, it can have nothing more than three dimensions: length,
width, and height. It cannot have a fourth dimension.
Scientists have an intuition that there are other dimensions than
the physical, that there are extensions of substance and energy
into other directions than length, width, and height. Their
ideas are all right, but terms are wrong. We should not call
these extensions dimensions. They are simply other sets of
values, worlds, or planes.
Dimension means an extension of the physical world. There is
length, width, and height to the astral plane, but they have
nothing to do with the physical. There can be only three
physical dimensions. When science postulates other possibilities
of extension, it lamely approaches the idea of interpenetrating
Paradoxically, the inner worlds are both within and without the
physical. The outer world has its physical extension and limit.
From its surface, it extends a certain distance inwards. It does
not matter whether the surface is a mile thick and completely
empty inside or is full to the core. It is a physical object.
Where is the next more ethereal substance? This is part of its
astral structure and extends both within and out away from its
physical surface. Increasingly deeper levels of the spiritual or
ethereal structure of a globe extend further into the within of
things as well as further into the without. This reaches its
higher astral, lower and higher mental, Buddhic, and Atmic
The pattern is the same for man as for a globe. Where, for
instance, is one's manasic principle? What is its sphere of
influence? In its Buddhic counterpart, it is as wide as the solar
system. Where is the sphere of influence of Buddhi or
Atma-Buddhi? It is coextensive with the galaxy.
Consider the nice, simple question, "What is man?" Strictly
speaking, some occultists have taught that Man is a pillar of
light extending from the highest divine realms down to the
physical and back again. We think of man as a physical body
walking on the street. Scientifically, we now admit that he has
an aura. In his higher principles, he extends over the entire
solar system and beyond. Therein, he touches and connects with
every part of the solar system. Except for students of the
occult, does anyone pause to consider this?
Where is man? The answer depends upon your point of view.
Physical man sits on this chair. That is the end of it. By no
means does he stretch across this room. He is on this chair,
limited by his surface. Bringing your hand up to him, you do not
feel him unless you touch it. Using your inner senses, you might
be ten feet away and already bump into him, into a higher portion
of that man.
Thereby hangs a long but important tale as to exactly what man
is. It applies to our globe too. Where is Earth? Physically, we
know where. Where are its inner counterparts, the auras of its
inner structure? They are coextensive with the solar system to
which it belongs. Where is the sun? You might point to the
quasi-physical globe in the sky and say that the sun is there.
An occultist says that it extends millions of miles beyond the
outermost planets Neptune and Pluto. Both are correct because
within the auric envelope of the inner structure of the sun, the
planets float, exist, and evolve.
This differs little from physical concerns. A well-built
business, say a factory or manufacturing facility, is
overshadowed by and lives within the mental aura of its creator,
the one who organized and built it up. Every atom in it floats
within the mental, overshadowing care and attention of that man.
That is a physical analogy of the law. How much more important
are the spiritual analogies!
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application