Of Occult Powers and Their Acquirement
The Path, February, 1889
There are thousands of people in the United States, as well in the ranks of the Society as outside, who believe that there are certain extraordinary occult powers to be encompassed by man. Such powers as thought reading, seeing events yet to come, unveiling the motives of others, apportation of objects, and the like, are those most sought after, and nearly all desired with a selfish end in view. The future is inquired into so as to enable one to speculate in stocks and another to circumvent competitors. These longings are pandered to here and there by men and societies who hold out delusive hopes to their dupes that, by the payment of money, the powers of nature may be invoked.
Even some of our own members have not been guiltless of seeking after such wonderful fruit of knowledge with those who would barter the Almighty, if they could, for gold.
Another class of earnest theosophists, however, have taken a different ground. They have thought that certain Adepts who really possess power over nature, who can both see and hear through all space, who can transport solid objects through space and cause written messages to appear at a distance with beautiful sounds of astral bells, ought to intervene, and by the exercise of the same power make these earnest disciples hear sounds ordinarily called occult, and thus easily transmit information and help without the aid of telegraph or mailboat. But that these Beings will not do this has been stated over and over again; for the kingdom of heaven is not given away, it must be “taken by violence.” It lies there before us to be entered upon and occupied, but that can be only after a battle which, when won, entitles the victor to remain in undisturbed possession.
As many have seemed to forget these rules, I thought it well to offer them the following words from one of those very Adepts they seek to meet:
“The educing of the faculty of hearing occult sounds would be not at all the easy matter you imagine. It was never done to any one of us, for the iron rule is that what powers one gets he must himself acquire, and when acquired and ready for use, the powers lie dumb and dormant in their potentiality like the wheels in a music box, and only then it is easy to wind the key and start them. . . . Yet every earnestly-disposed man may acquire such powers practically; that is the finality of it. There are no more distinctions of persons in this than there are as to whom the sun shall shine upon or the air give vitality to. There are powers of all nature before you; take what you can.”
This is perfectly clear and strictly according to the Secret Canon. “When the materials are all prepared and ready, the architect shall appear”; and when we have acquired the powers we seek, by educing them ourselves from our inner being, the Master will then be ready and able to start into exercise that which we have obtained.
But—even here is an important point. This. If the Master can, so to say, wind the key and thus start the machinery, He can also refuse to give the necessary impulse. For reasons that have to do with the motives and life of students, it may be advisable for a while not to permit the exercise of these powers which “lie dumb and dormant in their potentiality.” To sanction their use might in one lead to the ruin of other lives, or in another to personal disaster and retardation of true progress.
Therefore the Master says that quite often he may not only refuse to give the start, but yet further may prevent the wheels from moving.
THERE ARE THE POWERS OF ALL NATURE BEFORE YOU; TAKE WHAT YOU CAN.