[Answers to Questions on Adepts]
Supplement to Theosophist, December, 1883
Madame,—Will you, with your usual kindness, enlighten me on the following points, some of them being not satisfactorily understood, even by the perusal of “Fragments of Occult Truth” and “Elixir of Life.” The questions are raised, as they occurred to me while reading the said articles in your valuable journal. They are asked in the spirit of an inquirer after truth and not in the spirit of a biassed sceptic. I hope, therefore, you will kindly publish the following questions with replies thereto, in one of your ensuing numbers, of course, as soon as it may please you.
1. It is usually affirmed, what is a fact, that the adepts live very much longer than ordinary mortals. What is the maximum number of years for which they live or can live before they die their physical death like men in general, who live or can live for not more than 200 years at the most?
2. Do all adepts of any particular age, live the same or almost the same number of years? Do adepts of all ages live for about the same number of years?
3. In the article “Elixir of Life” (Vol. III, No. 7, p. 171), we read “By or about the time when the Death-limit of his race is passed, he is actually dead . . . gone to join the gods.” What is the exact state of an adept by or about the time, when the Death-limit of his race is passed? If he die a physical death at such a time, though without the agonies of dying, where is the difference with respect to longevity between him and an ordinary man who dies at about 100 or 150 or 200 at the most?
4. An adept, after he is dead in the sense in which it is used in the said article, is not reborn, having no will to live or Tanha as they call it. Where is he not reborn? On this earth as well as on any other sphere? What then becomes of his body, the seven principles of which he is formed?
5. When can it be said that an adept has attained Nirvana or Moksha as the Hindus call it? What is the exact state of his body, i. e., the seven principles of which he is composed, when he attains Nirvana?
6. The ancient Rishis of India, such as Vasistha, Valmiki, Viswamitra, Agastya, and other historical adepts do not exist in flesh and blood. Then, how, i. e., in what form do they exist, if they still exist at all in any other form? What has then become of the septenary men of which they were formed?
7. “A very high adept, undertaking to reform the world, would necessarily have to once more submit to Incarnation.” (Vol. III, page 17 1, No. 7) How, where, and when does he submit to Incarnation? Does he become incarnate in the sense in which Vishnu is said to have been incarnate by the Hindus?
8. Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, says that a perfect Yogi, becomes perfectly strong. Does he mean, by that, that he becomes physically stronger than the strongest athlete or gymnast, who is generally physically stronger than an ordinary man not taking exercise? And, if so, what makes him so very strong, since he eats very scanty or no food at all? Who is physically stronger—a vegetarian or a flesh eating man, not to say of the psychic powers he, the vegetarian, acquires?
9. Where is a man, an ordinary man, having Tanha, reborn immediately after his physical death, is it on this terrestrial globe or on any other planet of our system?
10. What becomes of an Elementary in the long run? Does or can it again become a human being? If it does, or can again become a human being, when is it and where, on this earth again or on any other planet of our system?
By throwing some light on the above questions, in an intelligible manner, you would highly oblige
DINANATH PANDURANG DHUMME
BOMBAY, 21st September, 1883.
Note.—It is to be regretted that the correspondents to this journal do not seem to realize fully the importance of the following four considerations in putting forth their questions and difficulties.—
(1st) The Fragments are but mere crumbs, and necessarily incomplete. Moreover, not being intended for serial publication, as they subsequently were, they cannot but be unsystematic in their arrangement. They were meant rather as food for thought for such as had the capacity to develop the crude ideas presented therein, than as a complete exposition of the Esoteric Doctrine.
(2nd) Most of these crude ideas have been sufficiently expatiated upon in works like the Occult World, Esoteric Buddhism and other subsequent articles in this magazine. These subsequent expositions must be carefully studied before framing any questions.
(3rd) There are certain facts which can be divulged only to such of the Fellows of the Theosophical Society as have proved their worthiness to receive them; others can be taught only to chelas as they progress; while the rest unfold themselves to INITIATES in their onward march towards BUDDHAHOOD.
(4th) For a comprehension of many of these truths the development of the “sixth sense” to which reference has already been made in the replies to “An English F.T.S.”—is an essential qualification.
If these four facts could but be realised by the well-meaning and earnest correspondents of the Theosophist, much unnecessary writing would be saved. Being bounded by these lines, the questions of Mr. D.P.D. may now be answered to a certain extent.
Esoteric Buddhism sufficiently deals with the first question. The physical life of the ADEPT is determined more or less by the conditions of the race in which he is born, by the energy of his Will and by various other circumstances. It will be admitted that each subsequent race after the middle point is once passed, must be more and more spiritual. So one ADEPT having to contend with a lesser amount of materiality than his predecessors, has his way much smoother. The exact number of years which an ADEPT of a particular race may live is a perfectly immaterial question and can be set down more to unscientific curiosity than to any philosophical enquiry. It must be at the same time remembered that when a certain stage is reached, the conditions which surround the ADEPTS of different races being nearly identical, their periods of existence must be almost the same. In this answer, question number 2 is anticipated. For a further explanation Esoteric Buddhism may be studied with advantage.
Question three would never have been put by one who had properly studied the article on Elixir of Life and understood the spirit it conveys. Suffice it to say that the passage in that article which tells us that the higher bodies become accustomed to the atmospheric conditions of the earth before the grossest ones are cast off, is a broad hint for a student of occultism who has begun to live the life. Question four is partly answered in the above reply and partly in Esoteric Buddhism.
The ADEPT attains Nirvana or Moksha when he identifies himself with the ONE LIFE or rather puts himself en rapport with it. His state then is something like that of the Dhyan Chohans of the Buddhists or the Prajapatis of the Hindus. D.P.D. would do well to study the Upanishads.
The four Rishis mentioned in the article live now as Dhyan Chohans. This of course does not mean that all the ancient sages have reached that stage.
The incarnation of Adepts is to be understood in the same sense in which Occultists interpret the incarnations of Vishnu.
What Patanjali means is that the Yogi becomes strong owing to the development of his Will Power to an enormous extent. Upon what he lives, is sufficiently answered in the article on the Elixir of Life. Akasa is the mother of all phenomena and the source of nourishment of him who knows how to use it. Vegetables have properties which are not fully known, and if certain undiscovered (to the general world) vegetables were prepared and eaten in a certain way, there is no reason why they should not give even more strength than animal food. Meat-eating is full of dangers, not only psychological but even physical; and the law which teaches the spread of contagion ought to have made this fact evident. How many diseases are inherent in an organised body and yet remain unsuspected? Vegetable diet is not attended with so many dangerous results.
The question of rebirth is extensively treated upon in the Fragments and in Esoteric Buddhism and it would be mere waste of space to go over the same ground. The tenth question also is pretty fully discussed there.